Interview with Eleanor Kane, 1984 February 21 [audio]

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  • Biographical and genealogical information; suggestions for other potential interview subjects
    Keywords: Family histories; Genealogy
    Transcript: Bennett: Miss Kane, I'm going to ask you your name, your address, please.

    Kane: Eleanor Kane, 2221 W. 17th Street.

    Bennett: Your age and your telephone number?

    Kane: Seventy-eight, 658-9829.

    Bennett: Would you give me your father's name, his place of birth and date of birth?

    Kane: William Henry Kane, Yorklyn, Delaware, October 3, 1875.

    Bennett: And your mother's name.

    Kane: Ann C. Dougherty. She was born Free Park, February 2, 1876.

    Bennett: Do you have brothers and sisters?

    Kane: I have one sister living.

    Bennett: Where there other sisters?

    Kane: There were five of us.

    Bennett: Would you name them, please?

    Kane: Margaret, John ...

    Bennett: Is that in their order of birth?

    Kane: Margaret, then I'm next, John, Donald and Louise.

    Bennett: And where were they born?

    Kane: They were all born in Wilmington.

    Bennett: And your grandfather's name?

    Kane: Daniel Dougherty, he was born in Ireland and I - I have a name here in the death notice and I'll give you that so you'll have it.

    Bennett: Would you give it to me now?

    Kane: I think, I have to look here, I have to spell it for you because - it's Invershone - I-N-V-E-R-S-H-O-N-E, Donegal. Never seen or heard of it, but - must be a small place.

    Bennett: Would you give me his date of birth, please?

    Kane: I don't know that - I think we could maybe estimate - it would be, let me see, it might be - my grandmother I'll skip there, was January 1, 1836 and he was eight years, so it would be 1828, around that I would say.

    Bennett: And where was your grandmother born?

    Kane: Well, it's Donegal, but I know, but see this is...

    Bennett: The county.

    Kane: Yes, same county.

    Bennett: Alrighty, and the date you did mention the date.

    Kane: January 1, 1836.

    Bennett: Do you know any other people that might be available for interviews?

    Kane: Well, I think there are two or three that may be, I don't know how much they would know, but some would...

    Bennett: Would you name them?

    Kane: Yes - there's a first cousin of mine, William X. Hearn, who would be Daniel Dougherty's grandson.

    Bennett: Would you spell the Hearn please?

    Kane: H-E-A-R-N, and he lives at 607 Ashford Road, A-S-H-F-O-R-D Road, Sharpley, and it's 654-4602. And he has a sister, Sarah Hearn Hackendorn and she lives at 121 South Ford Avenue, Colonial Heights, and her telephone number would be 654-8439. Now, also her husband, who is deceased, was John Hackendorn who was born along the Brandywine there, now just exactly where, I'm a little vague, but he also has a sister Catherine Sheldrick, who was a Hackendorn and she was born and raised there. Now she is somewhere in the vicinity, but Sarah Hackendorn could tell you her telephone number if you called her, I think. Now the other one might - his grandmother lived on Brecks Lane, would be Marie Forrest, F-O-R-R-E-S-T, and she lives on Delaware Avenue, 2018 Delaware Avenue. Her telephone number is 654-5694 and her grandmother was Annie Gibbons. I don't know her maiden name, but her husband, I think was Neil Gibbons. Now not Grandmother Dougherty's brother, you see I think there were two or three Neil Gibbons mentioned at different times, but he was a cousin of Grandmother's and I think that Annie Gibbons lived there all her married life, and I don't know how much before that.

    Bennett: M-hum. In...

    Kane: At Hagley - or up the - which is the Hagley - it's the Brecks Lane is where I remember as an elderly lady, she lived there.

    Bennett: Henry Clay Village, I believe is the area. Is that everybody? That's quite a list.

    Kane: I think that's everybody - well, I don't know what you would get from them, but at least it may give you a little bit.

    Bennett: Do you have any pictures or letters or objects from those days that we might be interested in?

    Kane: Well, I think they asked me before, sometime before when you - about any, and I had nothing, but Sarah Hackendorn has, and I'll give you this, she has the original newspaper clippings when Grandfather was in the explosion and it's listed - written alongside of it, not dated by the paper, but written, 1882 and it's kind of old fashioned writing, so you can tell it's old, and I'll give you that. And then there's also, when Grandmother died, comment and also about the accident and the rest of it. So that's one thing, and also - the picture that was taken, and it was along the Brandywine, and it's the Seitz girls, Pauline and Florence and their father, and Ed Bradford, and my two sisters and Anne Seitz. Anne Seitz who was the Seitz - Jack Seitz's granddaughter, John Seitz's daughter, and lived in New York, and she still does. We went across the Brandywine to look or see something that had happened, that I can't remember, and I would imagine it's about 1922 or '23, some time through there, that's the only picture, only the one of Grandfather and Grandmother. No, I don't have many clippings of that far back, but that - because I have asked Sarah, and she will give me the clippings again to make another copy if you'd like to have that.

    Bennett: Fine, thank you very much.
  • Visiting the Seitz house on Free Park near the Brandywine as a child
    Keywords: Free Park; gardens; houses; Seitz family; Stoves; water pumps
    Transcript: Bennett: Since you didn't really grow up on the Brandywine, I know that you have many remembrances from your mother, and this is what I would like to hear about primarily. Do you remember her talking about the house, do you remember the houses at all or having seen it?

    Kane: Well, I remember what she said, but I'm not sure, this would be something that would have to be verified, I had the impression that they lived in the house adjacent, or connected with Jack Seitz and Annie Gibbons Seitz, right on Free Park. Now I think, from what Pauline Seitz said later, that was one house, and hadn't been two made into one and I can remember, of course, visiting that house of theirs. We always went in the back door it seemed to me because that was an entrance, well you came to first, let's say. And also when you went in there, there was a - it would be a shed or a storage place to the right before you went in the house at all. It was an enclosed storage space, and then to the left, you went into the kitchen door. And off that kitchen, there was a bedroom on that first floor. And of course, I imagine with a coal stove, cook stove in there, it helped to heat that bedroom.

    Bennett: Not a wooden? Not a wood-burning stove, a coal stove?

    Kane: I think it was a coal - when I say a coal, I don't know whether a coal stove or a wood-burning stove that would be heat for the kitchen, I would think, and also help heat the bedroom. But it was to the back, back toward the garden side was the bedroom, not toward the road. The living room I can remember and the stairs - you went right in the front door and up the stairs, it seemed to me, kinda ...

    Bennett: To the parlor, so to speak?

    Kane: No, they had a front door, well it's - I'm not describing it very well - and I think it had a front porch on it, on those houses. You went in and then as you went in the front door, right from the road, the steps were right in front of you. If you went to the right, you went to the dining room and kitchen, to the left would be the living room. And I think off the back of that living room there was a porch that you could look down back over the garden, which would be down toward where - well I used to say the Belin - Mrs. Belin lived, whatever they call that house today, but out that direction. But I don't remember too much other than the fact that it was - and I think they had a pump in that area to the right.

    Bennett: Water pump.

    Kane: Because I did mention one time to Pauline, I was trying to identify - this is some time ago - that my recollections as a child, there was a pump at the end of that row before you made the right turn to go down to it, and she said, yes there was, that the other houses used that. It was a common sort of a community pump. But they did have a pump in their house, or in the shed or whatever.

    Bennett: Do you remember the gardens?

    Kane: Only it seemed so long, from the house down. And I went as a child one time, I remember with Aunt Belle, up by streetcar, up along the Brandywine. And we got off the streetcar and went across the creek and up and we came out some place back of Christ Church. And then it seemed to me those gardens extended from those houses on Free Park, almost as far down as where that - I'm sure it didn't - but down as far as the house that's been rebuilt or reconstructed.

    Bennett: The Gibbons House you mean?

    Kane: No, the one across the street from it.

    Bennett: Oh, okay.

    Kane: You can tell I don't remember - well I can remember Pauline saying that with Mrs. Silliman, that, I think Pauline felt it was going to rack and ruin and it really wasn't right to happen, and she said your Grandmother went from that house to be married and she thought it was very important that - it meant something to her and it ought to be taken care of.

    Bennett: I'm glad that they did.

    Kane: Yes, really see, it made a difference. Of course, there's a big change, you know , it had a front porch on it, and it was taken off because originally, evidently it didn't have one. My recollection, the first...

    Bennett: That it didn't have any.

    Kane: Oh yes, it had a front porch. But isn't it - one of these stories, you know, that she just felt that it really was not right for it to look like that.

    Bennett: Well, I think that's great, and you'll have to come back and see the area again, because I think you'll enjoy it. You'll enjoy the Gibbons House again I'm sure.

    Kane: Well, you say there's been so many changes now?

    Bennett: U-huh. When you mentioned the wedding, did you hear anything about the wedding - do you know anything about that, or the customs or...

    Kane: No, the only story I heard about that is one that is funny. I think Aunt Belle used to tell it, and she was my Mother's oldest sister and born in 1856, but that Mr. Belin, no the Mr. du Pont had married the Mary Belin, went to Mr. Belin to ask her hand in marriage and Mr. Belin said something to the effect that he thought he had more respect for him, he thought he was making fun because she was an unattractive person.

    Bennett: Oh, that's interesting.

    Kane: It was that she was not attractive at all. But evidently a very fine person, but her father was kind of shocked, surprised when he asked to marry her.

    Bennett: But very pleased, I'm sure.

    Kane: I'm sure he was, but it was also - maybe he was a very humble person, I don't know, but it was the fact that he thought - he said something to the effect - "I thought you had more respect." And of course, he was very much in earnest, he wasn't...

    Bennett: He wasn't...

    Kane: Oh no, wasn't kidding at all, or being funny.

    Bennett: Back to the house, do you remember, like the root cellar, that type of thing? For storage, where there was storage?

    Kane: I have no recollection of that at all.

    Bennett: How about the bedrooms upstairs, how many...

    Kane: I don't think - I can't ever remember being upstairs. You see, it was just a visit to go in, but my impression is at the end of the garden, there's a garden gate, and I have an idea the water closet or outhouse was almost down, way down there from the house. That's my impression.

    Bennett: At the end of the garden?

    Kane: Yes, u-huh, and it would seem so far away - never went there, so I can't - other than the fact that - my recollection is you came in the gate off to the left was this frame building.

    Bennett: Was it a quiet area, was it noisy?

    Kane: Oh well, of course, it seemed almost desolate to me to go out there as a child. There was nothing going on usually.

    Bennett: Not like being in the city.

    Kane: Coming - very quiet.

    Bennett: Did they have chickens or pigs?

    Kane: I can't remember the Seitz having chickens, but I know they did, because I was talking to Jim Conley, I think you mentioned something before when I spoke to you about the garbage and what they did, yes indeed I have no idea. Now Jim Conley lived out there and he's a cousin to the Mrs. Toomey. Did you talk to Mrs. Toomey?

    Bennett: Someone did, yes.

    Kane: Well, he is a cousin of hers so they were raised - and I asked him about the garbage cause I thought, he said, "Well, I don't know, unless we fed it to the chickens." (Laughs) So it didn't seem important somehow or other. Because I can remember visiting my Grandmother at Yorklyn, and she had chickens and they did feed some things to the chickens that they pecked at, you can say.

    Bennett: How about, when you went out there, did you play or did you...

    Kane: It was mostly visits, sit and talk, I think, and you went with my uncle, he had a car, we didn't, and so it usually - I'm sure he was the one we went with. One time I was there and stayed a couple of nights with Pauline, up in Free Park, before they went, so you see that's a long time ago. And Florence was in the hospital in Philadelphia, she had an operation on her foot, and I would go out and stay overnight with Pauline and then when she'd come in to work in the morning, the trolley, wasn't a bus at that time, I'm sure it was the trolley, I'd get off and come home and she'd go on in to work, because she went to work earlier than I had to go to school. And that's the only time - and then we slept in that downstairs bedroom, so that's the one that I remember.

    Bennett: Will you tell me about the walnuts that you...

    Kane: Well, when I mentioned the Marie Steptoe Forrest, her grandmother was the one who lived on Brecks Lane and I remember going there one time with my brother and cousin, and we could have been about twelve, maybe not much more than that, and Mrs. Gibbons, Marie's grandmother, went across up to Miss Marry's woods with us to help us pick walnuts, and it was picking black walnuts. And I think we had come with our old flour bags, that was another custom, of course, the flour and salt came in cloth bags, and they were always washed out and kept and used for something. And I think we had a cloth flour bag to go for her walnuts, and she went up to locate the trees and then...

    Bennett: They showed you which trees?

    Kane: Yes, she knew the trees and the walnuts were on the ground, and you just picked them.

    Bennett: That was kinda of fun, I suppose?

    Kane: Well, I think it's the only time I picked walnuts, I can remember that. And I thought since, this elderly lady who went with us, so good of her, took the time to go with us to get them. Also there seemed to be no - was no trespassing around, I mean no hint of that, you were just free to go and pick them.
  • Her grandfather adjusting to life after being blinded in DuPont Co. accident; the economic depression of 1894
    Keywords: Blind; Blind--Rehabilitation; Depressions; Industrial accidents; Industrial accidents--Patients--Rehabilitation; Pensions
    Transcript: Bennett: That's nice. Now do you remember anything there, like the camaraderie between the neighbors - I'd like you to tell me what you said about your mother and when she left and when they came back.

    Kane: Well there was - the one that I can remember her visiting and Mother talking about this - there was a store keeper along the Brandywine and this is what I wondered about that. And I know where he moved - down to 17th and Mt. Salem Lane and his family, some of the family is still there, the Hawks live there. Well, he came down to see Grandmother and Grandfather and I suppose it was because not only maybe they'd been customers, but also the fact that Grandfather was blind and didn't do a lot of visiting around, so he came and they sat on the side porch and talked. Grandmother commented to him that she didn't know whether she would like to live across from the cemetery. And he commented back, "Ellen, they're very civil neighbors." (laughs) Well she was not going to pick the cemetery, he found it a very comfortable place to live.

    Bennett: A quiet neighborhood.

    Kane: Right, right - no trouble with the neighbors.

    Bennett: That's very nice. Let's see, I'm trying to think what else we had discussed that we would...

    Kane: Well, some of those sayings of Grandmothers?

    Bennett: Yes, okay. But maybe first we should talk about your Grandfather's accident and...

    Kane: Well, he was the only one in that accident.

    Bennett: And this was in 18...

    Kane: 1882, now that's according to the slip that I had there. And they thought that he was gonna die and it was a long illness. I think two or three months or so he was in bed and the doctor - Chandler - came every day. In the beginning, I think they knew immediately that he was blind and the eyes were ruptured, but he had pieces of wood, the flying whatever had into the scalp and scull and for months afterwards these pieces were coming, they were working their way out. But I don't think ever, I don't know whether he was unconscious or not, but evidently there was no brain damage from this. Oh, when he was sick, Mrs. du Pont, who lived right across Free Park there, and I think it was Mrs. Frances du Pont, Mrs. [Wilman?]'s grandmother, was very interested and wanted him to go up to a school in Philadelphia. She thought he could be trained, he could do something, but Grandmother was against it because she thought he would be with strangers and would be helpless and it would be better for him to stay home, stay where he was.

    Bennett: What age was he at that time ?

    Kane: I think 52, so it was - and he wasn't helpless in this sense when they moved and went to the Lincoln Street house, there were a lot of things he did to help.

    Bennett: Would you tell me about some of them?

    Kane: Well, I think it was, may seem like just busy work but it was, would be helpful if it looked like a storm, thunder storm coming up, he would go and close all the windows - the third floor and then he would also, when Grandmother, one of the things that happened was, she was preserving, evidently did a lot of this, and he knew, he would carry and she would tell him where to put them when he took them to the cellar to the rack or the shelf where they were put. And I think from what I can understand, it was one of those like a hanging shelf from the rafters and he would know to put the tomatoes, preserved tomatoes at one end, peaches at another end. And this would save her steps going up and down steps. And one time he did put them where they were supposed to go but evidently the weight was too much and it crashed and all her work - whether it was all her work or a great amount of the work - and I think she was distressed and so was he, that this, after standing over a hot stove doing that. That was one of the things. Then also he would go to the cellar to the coal bin for the coal, bring the coal bin filled. And it was certain times of the day that he would go down and get that. He would put up the clothesline, and of course in those times, cold - anything but rain, you put up the line. And of course also it was - being she was the kind of housekeeper, you didn't leave your line up, it came that day, you didn't let it in the elements. But I think these kinds of things he did without - walked a lot up and down the porch, exercise, but I think that was pretty much the limit - went to church. So it wasn't that he was totally inactive and of course I know that they said about the children. The youngest child was born in '79 and this happened in '82, so that they would still be small enough, you know, to be - I guess wanting attention and getting his approval for things. When they'd get new shoes, he always checked and that was part - showing him as though he could see them, the shoes. And another habit, another custom they had, my Mother read, and I think maybe she wasn't the only one, but read the newspaper from the first column on the left to the very last page, so that she had a habit through life of missing nothing in the paper, because it was anything that might have interested him, and that was the daily ritual, they read the paper.

    Bennett: And so she spent time with him reading the paper, and he helped her with her chores.

    Kane: Well, I think it really, was the kind that was - my impression is never isolated, he was very much a part of - and I think Grandmother cut up meat so that - and this kind of thing. And I can remember one story that - gelatin was a problem and when she'd make gelatin, and he called it shivery shaky, because I guess he would get the spoon with nothing on it by the time he got it to his mouth. But they didn't feed him, I know that, he fed himself. In other words, it seems he learned to do things.

    Bennett: He accepted it.

    Kane: Right, it didn't seem to be any - no I never heard them ever say that. And I think, but this is just supposition, they had moved away from Hagley twice. Once, and it must have been around 1865 because - now I don't have that list to give, but I was going to - I had it, well I gave some to nephews and nieces and I got left, the one on the back with nothing on it. That's why I know Grandmother's birthday, it was listed, but Grandfather's wasn't - and all the children's birthdays, and Aunt Elly, who was the fourth child - the fifth child, was born down near St. Mary's Parish on the east side of town. They were only there a short time, and Grandmother was very unhappy because she was away from the family and friends and that was her, kind of, her environment, and I think very much, maybe, content there. But they were away and Aunt Elly was one who had a different disposition from everybody else, and Grandmother blamed herself, she said she was unhappy the time she was away and she cried more because she missed them, she was kind of homesick. Now Aunt Elly was good hearted and she was a good worker and all this, but she was the kind that would have more of a chip on her shoulder. Poor Aunt Elly wouldn't like it, I think, if she heard me say it, but I this was - then again they moved away after my Mother was born in 1876, and they went up into Pennsylvania where Grandfather had two sisters. And I know they were gonna farm, bought a farm there. And if we figured ages, the oldest child was past twenty and she went up to see them. And she was - oh, thought it was desolate, throughout the whole place, of course, wasn't home as far as she was concerned so they all packed up and came back home, and that was between 1876 and '79. 'Cause Mother had been born, Mother was the baby when they went, and then later Aunt Margaret was born. But you see, they'd been away twice, but I think both times it was coming back where they were more content. And I think Grandmother sort of felt maybe if they'd stayed away, that wouldn't have happened to him. Well of course, what could have happened, something else might have - but it certainly was home base at that time.

    Bennett: Yes. You talked about his pension, and that - the time that it didn't arrive.

    Kane: Oh yes - right. In around, I think 1894, in through that period, there was a depression and the DuPont Company was having difficult times and the pension didn't come. Evidently it came by mail, so Mother, my Mother who must have been about 18, 16-18 through there, walked with him up to the office, which was at the time where the Seitz girls later lived, the Sunday School room,...

    Bennett: From?

    Kane: From 1907 Lincoln Street, up now - and I'm sure they didn't go out to Kennett Pike and walk that way because that would have been a longer way, it must have been up along the Brandywine, and all I can think of is the rough walk that could have been for somebody who couldn't see. 'Course if she maybe was used to walking with him, they had a system so it made it a little easier. So it was taken care of, it hadn't been sent. But later, or around that time when they were having this problem, it was reduced from $18 to $15 a month, because it was...

    Bennett: Bad times.

    Kane: Really, they were having hard times and I know in through 1894 there was a depression at that time. Because my Father had gone to Goldeys to school and when he was finished school, there were no clerical or office jobs at that time, so he continued doing what he had done part time after school. Now he lived at Yorklyn and came in on the Landenburg train every morning, and went home every night out there. But I know in 1894 was the time he graduated and that was the depression. That's why I'm a little more positive about that than some other things.
  • Fourth of July picnic; her grandmother owning her house and her good reputation
    Keywords: Credit; Holidays; Home ownership
    Transcript: Bennett: Do you remember anything that they might have talked about - the holidays. Let's start with Christmas.

    Kane: Well, I don't recollect - the only holiday, isn't it funny I can remember talking about the Fourth of July picnic.

    Bennett: Okay, let's talk about that.

    Kane: I remember not too much, but Aunt Belle saying one time, I don't know whether our Fourth of July we didn't have ice cream or whether she had it late and said, "Well, it was the first Fourth of July I was gonna remember without ice cream." So that seemed to be the big thing as far as the tradition - as far as her memory, with ice cream on the Fourth of July.

    Bennett: Picnics - did they attend picnics?

    Kane: No, but I can remember one time going, with a picnic, and I think again, this uncle of mine, my Mother's brother, was a great one for organizing things, and I think it was just the two families and we went up Buck Road and before you come to the cemetery, off in the meadow, the pasture there - now my recollection, I don't think Carpenter, that house that's been torn down recently, I don't think it was built at the time, so when that was built - but my recollection it was in that meadow that we had the picnic.

    Bennett: Now, do you remember fireworks that the Du Pont Company used to do on - they were down for the fireworks...

    Kane: Well, of course, the only ones I remember is Irenee du Pont's fireworks - that was much later that I remember.

    Bennett: How about - there's nothing special at Christmastime that you might remember way back?

    Kane: Nothing - no, no recollection.

    Bennett: Do you have any idea what they paid for rent for their homes?

    Kane: Certainly couldn't have been much, I don't think.

    Bennett: No, not when you talk about the pension.

    Kane: Oh, well now - see they owned that house down here when they went - they owned that house. And I don't know, but if I say, again that can't be - but I don't think that was much more than $2400, and it was a nice house and well built. Two sister had built those houses and they had a connecting door one time. But it was - no, they bought that house, and as I say, she, Grandmother later had - when you say Grandmother bought, but I imagine it was in both their names, this kind of thing, but a couple of other houses. Again, I wouldn't say, they couldn't have cost too much. She had a brother in Wilmington who was one of the four that came over together that time, who came out on Sundays to Free Park, and he would - we had places in Wilmington, you know, where you could rent a horse and carriage, and he - and I don't know who came with him of his family came - and had Sunday dinner with Grandmother. So I think that was kinda of - she got ready on - quite a baker, pie baker and get things lined up on Saturday, and they would visit on Sunday.

    Bennett: Do you know where they got their supplies or staples?

    Kane: Well, there was a store, and if I say a Hunter's Store, I don't know why that's in my mind, and whether Mrs. Hawk's father was John Hunter or not, but there was one little incident about that that was, I thought, interesting, and Mother told it because it was showing Grandmother's credit, an honest person. Somebody came to her who needed money and I guess whatever the cause, she thought it was needed and she said, "Well, I don't have it, but I can get it for you." And she went to this storekeeper, and it was Mrs. Hawk's father, and I'm not sure whether it was two or three hundred dollars this party needed, and she got the money and then paid it back. But I was thinking, was the storekeeper, did other people use him like a bank, was this the kind of resource that - put in a small place like that? I don't know, but it was the kind that - she was also a resourceful person, I think if they needed it and was justified, she could do it for them. And whether it was weekend or what it was, and of course it wouldn't have been the most convenient thing to come in town the the bank anyhow, maybe...
  • Her uncles' jobs in Wilmington; her mother's eye accident and trip to Wills Eye Hospital; Irish naming traditions
    Keywords: Joseph Bancroft andamp; Sons Co.; Leather industry and trade; Machine molding (Founding); Names, Personal; Transportation; Wills Eye Hospital (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    Transcript: Bennett: Yeah, that's true, cause it was - how long would it take to go in town, would imagine it was quite a while?

    Kane: I don't know, but of course with children - going to Yorklyn on the Landenburg train, I thought I was going to Europe practically - didn't take that long. But it reminded me again, this distance - Uncle Huey, they had two boys who grew, they had three boys, one who died when he was six, and I think it was a kidney infection or kidney disease that he had, but both of the sons came in to town to learn trades. I don't think they ever worked in the powder mill. Uncle Huey came to a leather, morroco factory at 2nd and Madison, I think it was a Piles - the man who had it was a Quaker, and at that time Wilmington had four or five - my time, Wilmington have five or six morroco factories. It was evidently quite a center for leather. But Uncle Huey came in and I think the training period was two or three years. The first year they got nothing, and I think the second year nothing, but he was - someone at the banks said to Grandfather, "Dan, I would think you give that boy carfare." And Grandfather said, "I do give him carfare." Well, he was saving the money, the five cent carfare and walking from Free Park all the way to 2nd and Madison. Now I don't know whether he stayed home in bad weather or not, but it would certainly be a long walk, but it also was typical, I think, of him. He was not a stingy, miserly kind of person, but he did know the value of money, and from then on until the time he died, and he was very successful. He had Bar and Dougherty Leather Works at 6th and Church, and it was - well when I say he was, he was successful. The other son was a molder. Now today I don't think you use a molder any more, and I roughly know what it is, you made wooden molds for the machinery, for the pieces of machinery that were to be molded, and you had to be very exact, it was an exact skill. And I know a man in later life who did this, a special kind of wood that they used. I'm pretty sure they neither one every worked in the...

    Bennett: Now was it that gentleman that worked in a leather factory that went to Germany?

    Kane: No, there was - William Gibbons had another - he was the one had the leather factory was a grandson of William Gibbons, and then was another grandson who at some time lived at Hagley, because he lived with Grandmother and Grandfather Dougherty for a while because he was an orphan. And he was older than Uncle Huey, so it was within a matter of four or five years I think, but he worked at Bancrofts when I knew him, and he had been sent to Germany to study or find out something about the dyes, now how long he was there, whether it was a matter of months or not, I don't know, but he was sent by Bancrofts to do that. And he was in charge, I think, of the dye house or the dye room or something at Bancrofts. But he was another grandson, and then I mentioned there was another grandson. And he was another William Gibbons who had the Gibbons and Moore Real Estate Company in Wilmington, and then later after he died, it became the Hickman Insurance Company - real estate and insurance.

    Bennett: I know that name, yes.

    Kane: It had an office on Ninth Street near Shipley and it was when Gibbons and Moore was there too.

    Bennett: Let's go back to the doctor, you said that when big Dan was ill, that the doctor came every day, he came from Centerville.

    Kane: Yes, Centerville, right. And I'm pretty sure, I think it's Dr. Chandler, I'm pretty sure he was the doctor.

    Bennett: Chandler?

    Kane: Dr. Chandler, and he had one of those houses out at Centerville, you know there are a couple of quite nice stone houses, and I'm not sure whether it's the one that's right on the highway or the one that's at right angles to the highway, a little farther, but that's where Dr. Chandler was, right in that area.

    Bennett: And would you tell me the story about the eye injury.

    Kane: Oh, Mother's?

    Bennett: At the ...

    Kane: Wills Eye Hospital? Oh, well of course ...

    Bennett: Sunday School, wasn't it?

    Kane: No, St. Joseph's School, so that she - well she was playing at recess, you know, usually the chasing and she went running up the steps and as she went to the top of the steps, the latch ran as she either stumbled or fell and the latch ran in her eye. And a couple of days later, you know one of those latches that have a thumb piece on one side and just a rod out the other, and she was studying at night and they noticed that her eye was watering, and she hadn't complained about it, hadn't said anything, so Aunt Belle, again the oldest, took her up to Philadelphia to Wills Eye Hospital, and I've been questioning why or how they would know about Wills Eye Hospital, and also what a trek that would be to go from Hagley in town to Philadelphia. Well, if she was in school, really, it would be after Grandfather had had the accident, so he must have known something, there must have been some contact with an eye doctor at that time, so this would explain why Wills Eye - and maybe the doctor came from Wills Eye, I don't know. But I'm sure either some of the du Ponts would know about eye doctors, and I'm sure Dr. Chandler would know.

    Bennett: When she was taken up there, did they stay overnight do you know?

    Kane: I don't know, but again I've been thinking about that, because to me it would seem to be a long jaunt for one...

    Bennett: Jaunt for such a thing.

    Kane: Well, I don't think she could have been more than maybe eight or nine, something like that. But now they did have relatives, that's what I wondered afterwards, would they have gone and stayed with relatives, because there was another son - Great Grandfather Gibbons who lived in Philadelphia. I wouldn't know about that, but to me - when I keep saying about the William Gibbons, because he had at least four that I know of, I think, grandsons who were William. Three William Gibbons.

    Bennett: Would you explain how they name after the relatives.

    Kane: Well, I thought maybe it was just in my family, but I did hear that we were all named for grandparents, and they named them in regular order. But there was a - I bought a book in Dublin in Trinity Book Shop, and it was on genealogies, I think mainly genealogies and I had passed it on to somebody, but that was, first of all, that was an interesting book, it gave lists of people who came on ships, what ships they came on, list male or female, Protestant or Catholic, and it also listed the province or the town they came from. Now some of them had long lists - and also you could tell if the whole families came at that time. Well, anyhow, that book also listed the fact that it was the custom in Irish families to name the first boy for the father's father for the paternal grandfather and the first girl for the maternal, or the paternal grandmother, and then the next two were maternal grandfather and maternal grandmother. And in our family they did that, and when you see all these William Gibbons, I can well see why some of these others, I've never heard William P., or William N., why they would put the initial sometime when they're identifying them.

    Bennett: Well, I guess, just to kinda keep them straight. Same way with the du Pont family, I get lost with that after - I can keep the first ones straight, you have to...

    Kane: You do need that.

    Bennett: Yes, you do.

    Kane: The chart don't you? Genealogical chart.
  • Her grandmother's expressions and skills; family music traditions; her grandmother preparing a trousseau for each daughter
    Keywords: Capabilities and skills; Colloquial language; Dowry; Music lessons; Musical instruments; Shopping
    Transcript: Bennett: What else would you say about the family - well, I had a thought, now I've lost it.

    Kane: Well you know when you started, something I have marvelled, see I know so little about where they came from, what the conditions were when they were there, but it amazes me that, well they either had such high hopes that they had developed either standards, or had them, they were able to take and do what they could when they were so limited. Now they must have had a limited amount of money, you know that, how much education they had before they came and how much after they came. And yet all I can think is, with my Grandmother, she was from all accounts and what, people quoting her, an excellent housekeeper, she was only a little eleven year-old child when she came. Who trained - now her father later married, but how soon I don't know, who would be responsible. Also, she was evidently very capable, had not only the ability to face problems and solve them, but also to take financially, to manage, and evidently - and all the people, now as I say, Pauline Seitz would say to me, "Your Grandmother would say ..." Or this neighbor would say, "Your Grandmother would say..." These different sayings. Oh, and she really was, as my sister, Louise, said, she was better than Benjamin Franklin, or as good as Benjamin Franklin, 'cause everybody had to say, she would say, oh I don't know, the different things, "The cheapest thing you can do is be pleasant whether you like them or you don't, you could be pleasant and go on your way." And Mrs. Cody would quote her and say, " Your grandmother would say, 'Lie with dogs, you'll rise with fleas.'" In other words, you're gonna be contaminated if you pick poor company, then you're gonna have to bear this. And it would be - oh, I'm trying to think of some of the others that she had that were - well, she had them for almost every occasion. I'm trying to think of some of them.

    Bennett: If you think of some more of them, you can just kind of put them in there, because I think it's fun.

    Kane: Oh, well I know this matter of quality, I think I - when you think how did she know to buy good things that would last and it would be a question of - oh and the other thing when I say good things, how would she, when they were down on Lincoln Street, they bought a piano, my Mother took piano lessons, and Mother was very proud of that piano. And Mother said, "Four hundred dollars, your grandmother paid four hundred dollars cash." Now, you see, that was important, it was not only the - and Mother would play and sing and they would have - but Grandmother liked to just sit and listen to it. But it's the kind of thing, in other words, wanting a piano, and you see Mag Gibbons, John Gibbons's daughter, had the organ and she played the piano. There's the organ in the house.

    Bennett: Is that the organ that we have now in the house?

    Kane: That's right, and it was, I think, supposed to be hers, but I know she played the piano, so it seemed to be important for them to do something like that.

    Bennett: Would you say that they spent a lot of time together, let's say the family, singing, did they enjoy each other's company?

    Kane: I think this was - get together, it was - if I say cheap entertainment, it certainly was, but a pleasure.

    Bennett: But it was entertaining.

    Kane: Oh, definitely, and Mother had - of course we didn't keep them, but you know we had a music stand with all the books, or a music cabinet with the - and a lot with old fashioned songs, Irish songs that they sang. Now I can't remember whether Grandmother was a singer, but the children, my Mother and her sister, Aunt Lizzie and Aunt Margaret, they were all singers. And Mother played the organ in church and she also sang in the choir, so I think this was ...

    Bennett: They had a musical background really.

    Kane: I think it was - oh and the other one thing that I was - and again, I think I mentioned that I'm reading something into this, I remember my Mother commenting about some family where the father had gone off, and I think we said, "Well, where did he live, or where did he go?", or something. And Mother said, "Well nobody ever knew." And it was, you could tell, it was not something that was done, and the fact that you had a family and you took care of your family. And she said, "Your Grandmother would say, 'The beasts of the field take care of their young. '"

    Bennett: Another one of your grandmother's expressions.

    Kane: Yes, this was the kind of a thing, it was important that you took care of your young, you looked out for them. And I think that, this interest again - back again on the other - the music, I think she was very proud of the fact that they had the piano and you had a clean house, you had a well-kept house. And another - I don't know how many - when the younger girls got married, they got a trunk and the trunk had sheets and pillow cases, linen tablecloths... [pause while tape is changed]

    Kane: Well, it was, I think not only that Grandmother was busy and had many things to do, but I think it was planned that every daughter that got married - whether the first ones, whether she had that much time, but the last three I know for sure, she bought trunks and as soon as they were engaged or gonna be married, she would start buying and there was a store at Fourth and Market, Smith and Solengers, and she knew the man in charge of the white goods, and when they were having a sale, she would go in, or he would say when she went through, "Mrs. Dougherty, we have so and so," tea towel linen, linen that you'd buy and hem, sheet material - I think the sheets were just, they hemmed themselves, they were hand hemmed.

    Bennett: What do you mean by...

    Kane: They weren't like we have them today, they were turned and hemmed, you bought the sheet already hemmed. She hemmed them. Also tablecloths were bought and hemmed, and that meant in the evenings she would be sitting and working on napkins and tablecloths, and again we have, I have one upstairs that isn't in the best condition, a patchwork quilt that she made. I don't think she was maybe - I may not be giving her credit - too artistic, but it was, no question, it was a star pattern and on the back it's unbleached muslin, but the quilting isn't a fancy, beautiful feather kind of quilting that you find on some, but it's lasted a good many - not used every day, but it's there. Also, there were other things that she provided and - oh, the china stores or the shops that you were provided with household articles - pots and pans - this was important to her.

    Bennett: This was all before they were married?

    Kane: Yes, buying, getting lined up for the - also with clothing. I know, I don't know what winter coat my Mother had when she was married, but I know Grandmother was very much horrified that a neighbor, young woman came, and the first year she was living there as a bride, the husband had to buy her a winter coat and she thought that was really - she was an only daughter and here they sent her off into the world with no winter coat that she could fall back on. Isn't it - when you think about it, but with her, that was important, that that man didn't have to buy her a winter coat that first year.

    Bennett: I think your trousseau was supposed to last you so many years.

    Kane: But I kinda of - trousseau sounds kind of elegant, but...

    Bennett: Yes, but it was.

    Kane: But you were provided this...

    Bennett: Now I didn't realize the dishes - now did they gather their - did they have a shower, did they have...

    Kane: No, I don't think they had, I think it was the family or if she, when Grandmother would be shopping, it would be something she would keep in mind, rather than that. Now some of the gifts that Mother got, I know a lot of cut glass, when she was married, 1903. She was married in 1903. So that would be the era when that would be...

    Bennett: I love that beautiful cut glass.

    Kane: Well, my sister has it now, but it was - you know it's kinda delicate, too, the way it cracks. And I don't know whether - I passed it on after Mother died, 'cause I thought it would be nice for her to have it, and I don't know how much is left, but you know the water carafes and the pitchers, she has those. But, I was trying to think of some of the other things that would be, well I know when the other one when Grandfather died and Grandmother broke up the house, she sent the piano to Mother because she was the one who had used it, and it was the one who stuck to it more than the others. I think they prized that piano; it was an important purchase when they did that. Well, again I'm coming back to the fact that I still wonder how they acquired, or how they got - if they had it, if it was innate in them, the ability to make out, to do and to live such a happy, full life. And I think - a satisfied life, a life that they felt that - they didn't seem to be watching somebody else or begrudging somebody else what they had.

    Bennett: They were satisfied with their own accomplishments.

    Kane: And I think I mentioned that Aunt Belle with her getting up one night and saying, "Thank God for a good dinner."

    Bennett: Yes.

    Kane: And I've never known what it was to be hungry, but of course she was born at Hagley, she had lived many years there, so that was part of that period. They certainly weren't starving at Hagley, you know, and all the rest of her life, so it was, I think, a very content, and it's - going back to the Seitz girls, my impression with them, there was no place quite like it, and I think it was just exactly where they wanted to be.

    Bennett: Thank you very much.

    Kane: You are quite welcome.