Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1986 August 17 [audio](part 1)
- Discussing photographs of the Brandywine Manufacturer's Sunday School and the Stewart house, including details of the Stewart kitchen and her own family's house in Squirrel RunKeywords: Bedroom furniture; Brandywine Manufacturer's Sunday School; Dining rooms; Harvest Home stove; kitchen furniture; Living rooms; Squirrel Run (Del. : Village); window sills; Working class--DwellingsTranscript: Bennett: It's nice again to be with you, Mrs. Jackson, and your family.
Jackson: Well, it's very nice to be with you, Mrs. Bennett.
Bennett: Thank you. This is Sunday, August 17, 1986...
Jackson: You're very friendly and we feel at home with you.
Bennett: Oh, thank you.
Jackson: Yes, it is the 17th, that's the reason I checked to make sure. I always want to be accurate on dates.
Bennett: Guess what - I didn't, I waited for a phone call this morning. I thought, no, I'm going to wait until after ten o'clock, because I knew you were going to call me. You beat me by five minutes.
Jackson: Oh really?
Bennett: I knew you would. [Interruption as a member of the staff comes to ask about air conditioner not working.]
The last time that I was here, at the end of the interview, we were discussing what we at Hagley call Blacksmith Hill, and that's a group of houses, and I was having difficulty, and I realized later that you knew the places differently than they are today, so I brought some pictures of the turn of the century. Now that picture is what we call the Belin House, but in those days it looked quite different than it does today. Do you recall that?
Jackson: Yes, I saw that house.
Bennett: Okay, will you talk just a little louder, Mrs. Jackson?
Jackson: Yes, I saw that house, and that house was on the road down from Christ Church, back of - or in front of Christ Church, down back of — what was that Felin, not Felin, but Felin oh, that place there back of Christ Church?
Bennett: You mean...
Jackson: What's that little village right there alongside of Christ Church? It's changed now, that's where the...
Bennett: Oh, you mean Free Park?
Jackson: Free Park, that's what I'm trying to say, yeah. It was back of Free Park on the road, yes, I saw that house many times.
Bennett: Did you know anybody that ever lived there?
Jackson: Well, I don't know whether that's the house that Captain Stewart's wife lived in, but they lived down that road, but I don't think that's the house.
Bennett: No, that's not the house. Now this house was across the lane from it. If you were walking down towards the Brandywine, this would be on your right-hand side, and this would have been on your left-hand side going down the hill. Now that's where the Seitz ladies lived, and at one time away back it was called the Brandywine Manufacturers Sunday School, and then it became part of the holdings of Christ Episcopal Church. Do you recognize it as it is there? This is later, I'm sure, than...
Jackson: This, I believe a man and his wife, and he was an official in the powder yard - was Shields, Dan Shields, and he divorced his wife and he married Sally Grogan out of Free Park. I think it's Shields and he was an authority in the Yard, he was more than the working men. Looks like Shields lived there.
Bennett: You don't remember when it was the Sunday School at all and part of the Christ Church holdings?
Jackson: I don't remember, but Charles' grandmother, my oldest sister, Jenny McClaren, went there.
Bennett: She went there?
Jackson: Yes, she went there.
Bennett: You wouldn't have any pictures of that time, for...
Jackson: No, we have no pictures. Yes, she went to the Sunday School. And you know that building you showed me, just one room, I don't know what it is now, that at one time was a one-house schoolhouse in around Rockland somewhere and Charles' grandmother - it was one room — and Charles' grandmother — and she'd be 120 years old if she was living — why, went there to Sunday School.
Bennett: Oh, okay, okay.
Jackson: You showed it to me, I don't know what you said it is now. It holds some of the Museum affairs or something. It's one room with a roof over it. But it was up toward Rockland and my older sister went to school there, it was a one-room schoolhouse.
Bennett: That's this. That is this.
Jackson: With this added to it? Well, the front has this...
Bennett: Okay, yes, that was added in 19 - or 18 - in the 50's, I believe, but see here it was a home, but before that, this was the Sunday School.
Jackson: It has been made over since I was...
Bennett: Yes, yes, yes.
Jackson: I thought so, because I knew this wasn't like the front.
Bennett: Now they put it back.
Jackson: Well, that also was a Sunday School and was also the one-room schoolroom and it was up toward Rockland.
Bennett: Okay, all right. Now, this I should have shown you with this. Do you recognize this little building that was really beside this? On the same side - that's what the bookkeepers' house and so forth. And here it's a picture of Emma, Ethel and Sarah Fleming, it says. And this was right outside of, and closer to Free Park. And really across the street from the Sunday School.
Jackson: I remember the Flemings, I knew the Flemings, yes.
Bennett: Did they live in this house - they must have I suppose?
Jackson: Yes, the Flemings lived there. And I believe some of the - one of the daughters or so that married the Lathum, lived in this small house, she was a Fleming. She was Sarah Fleming.
Bennett: Now this is a picture of - it says here, Marian and Grandpa Macklem, Christmas of 1897. Did you know Marian Macklem?
Jackson: I knew the Macklems, yes. They all played music.
Bennett: That's Grandpa and that's the little girl.
Jackson: The Flemings must have come - or Lathums must have come after them - after the Macklems. I knew the Macklem's sons, there was William Macklem and - well I used to know them all. But they all played music - horns and things like that. Beautiful musicians and they played for Christ Church, the new Christ Church that I knew.
Bennett: Okay. Did you know the little girl - now that's sort of hard to see, Marian. I see her picture there.
Jackson: Well, I can't recollect now, I believe it was more before my time.
Bennett: Then when you talked about where the Stewarts lived, this, I think, is a little clearer picture and there is the family.
Jackson: Well, I don't recognize the pictures. My older sisters would recognize them. Her name was Florence Stewart and we had a little baby born after me and Mother called her Florence and Mrs. Stewart took care of her. And Mr. Stewart, Captain Stewart, was a very good friend of my father's.
Bennett: Do you know why he was called Captain?
Jackson: Yes, he'd been in the Army. That was his title - he was in the Army as a young man.
Bennett: Did you know any of the other family of the Stewarts? Can you identify any of the other ones in there?
Jackson: No, I was only about two years old when my sister was born. But I heard the other ones talking a lot about them, and of course as I was out on the road and with other children, I was associating...
Bennett: Did you ever go into this house - the Stewart house?
Jackson: Yes, I was in the house on the first floor, yes. They had a great, big, enormous kitchen. And then they had an outside kitchen where they kept a cook stove and kept a bench and wash tubs on it for washing.
Bennett: You mean under cover?
Bennett: Like in a shed?
Jackson: Yeah, it was a shed kitchen.
Bennett: Okay, it would be in here, in this part here?
Jackson: Yes, it was about this part, like this.
Bennett: And they had a stove in there?
Jackson: Yes, they had a cook stove in there and it was bare floor and they had a long bench in there and they had the wooden tubs. And they used to make the tubs, years ago, my father had a couple, they made them out of big powder barrels. And they cut the barrel in half and the half made a tub and they made their own handles in it. My father had two.
Bennett: Okay, all right. Now when you say bare floor...
Jackson: No carpets, no linoleum.
Bennett: Was it wood or brick?
Jackson: Wood. And the boards were about this wide.
Bennett: Wide boards. What would you say that is, at least a foot?
Jackson: I would say a foot - or ten inches.
Bennett: Okay, okay. Now how about the kitchen floor, was it brick or wood?
Jackson: Wood, they were all wood. I never saw any brick floors.
Bennett: You never saw any brick floors?
Jackson: Not in any of the DuPont houses that I can remember. The boards were wide boards and it was as white as snow. You could eat off the floors.
Bennett: Everybody kept them nice and clean you mean?
Jackson: Yes, they scrubbed the floors, yes.
Bennett: Can you remember anything else that the Stewarts might have had in that house?
Jackson: The Stewarts were pretty well fixed. They lived a little bit higher than anybody else, I guess. They had better food to eat and things like that, I'm not sure.
Bennett: But you don't remember, maybe, how they might have furnished the kitchen area?
Jackson: They had better furniture than the majority of the people that were poor.
Bennett: Well, I guess what I mean...
Jackson: The stove was just an ordinary stove like my mother's, only it would have been a Harvest Home, because they all doted on a Harvest Home.
Bennett: That was the kind of...
Jackson: The kind of stove. If you didn't have a Harvest Home stove, you had a cheap stove. I don't know how much cheaper you could get because the Harvest Home was only ten dollars - ten or twelve dollars.
Bennett: Well, that was a lot of money...
Jackson: That was a lot of money - men were only getting a dollar a day. And my father, when he went out there, he got thirty-six dollars a month wages, and our house was four dollars, but we had an eight-room house, and every room you could put two bedroom sets in it. Big house. No plumbing, no electric, no gas - outside. All we had was a good roof and good floors and good partitions. Because the partitions were that wide and the windowsills were about this wide and long enough for a little child to lay in, and us little kids used to take our school books and lay in the windowsills, down in the kitchen especially, and lay there and study our lessons in the window.
Bennett: They're nice, deep windowsills.
Jackson: They were deep. And the dining room the same, the little - we didn't call it dining room, it was the parlor, the little parlor was back of the kitchen. The kitchen was in the front, and a porch, and in back of it was a little parlor, small, but there were two windows back there and those windowsills were about this wide. Well it would hold children five and six and seven years old to lay in there and be very comfortable.
Bennett: I read one interview where that's where the child slept as a baby, in the windowsill when they came from Italy, his bed was in the windowsill.
Jackson: That's right. Mother made the beds, and even when we were two years old we still got our bottle, well they were breast feeding, but anyway that's where we were put to sleep. No cradles, very seldom.
Bennett: When you talked about the dining area in the kitchen, in this house that you visited, as I remember it, there is no - it's just the two rooms, it's the shed room where you said they had the extra stove and so forth, and this is one big room. They did not have - yes, they had a stove over there above where the chimney area is...
Jackson: That's right.
Bennett: But they didn't have a separate dining area. And their parlor was on the second floor.
Jackson: Well, some made their parlors on the second floor, took the front bedroom, because they had plenty of other bedrooms, and some put the parlor upstairs. Now the people that had our house, which was Cousin Harry Braden, we got his house after his wife died. He used the parlor for a dining room, little dining room.
Bennett: You mean in Squirrel Run?
Jackson: In Squirrel Run, I'm speaking mostly of Squirrel Run because I don't remember too much along the creek.
Bennett: Yes. I just wondered if you might have remembered any - were you ever upstairs at all in this house?
Jackson: No. The rooms all run the same. They had great, big oak bedroom sets, real heavy, take a derrick to move the beds, heavy oak.
- Discussing photograph from "The Workers' World at Hagley" and a photograph of the all-purpose kitchen bench built by her father; taverns in Henry Clay and the horse-drawn trolley; the Christ Church fall and spring festivals and the picnic hosted by T. Coleman du Pont for the village childrenKeywords: Bars (Drinking establishments); Church festivals; church picnics; Du Pont, T. Coleman (Thomas Coleman), 1863-1930; horse-drawn trolleys; Jeff Blakely's tavern; kitchen furniture; Peoples Railway Company; Peoples trolley; Rising Sun tavern; Street-railroads; Turntables (Railroads); Working class--Social life and customsTranscript: Bennett: Now, this is a picture, again, of the - it says, W. F. Lynch and his pipefitter group, and I'm curious as to whether you think you can identify any of those and if you can, fine, and if not, please don't get...
Jackson: Well, I think these two on the end would be Andrews boys that lived up on Breck's Lane.
Bennett: That would be on the top, the two on the right-hand side.
Jackson: And this man here...
Bennett: On the left-hand side.
Jackson: Yes, looks like Jim McLaughlin, but it's the father, not the son, but he was a man looked like something like Jim McLaughlin. And this looks like one of the Miller boys.
Bennett: The one seated below McLaughlin.
Jackson: Yes, it looks like either Don Miller or the other Miller boy. And this looks like a Lynch boy, Tom Lynch when he was young, his son.
Bennett: Would that be related - would that be the son?
Jackson: Yeah, that looks like his son.
Bennett: Okay, that's the second in the back row, it would be the second from the left. Okay, thank you. Well, we got over that one. I'm full of pictures. And then you brought me a picture of the bench, and I'm going to take that.
Jackson: There's another one of that. Did you give her the whole - all of the pictures? Give her all of the pictures so she can select what she wants.
Bennett: This is the picture of the bench that you...
Jackson: I wanted her to have all these pictures so you can select them or put whatever ones you want.
Bennett: Would you tell me for the tape recorder where that bench came from and what it was used for, please?
Jackson: My father made it over a hundred years ago. He made it in about 1896 before I was born and it set back of the cook stove, but it didn't come out past the cook stove, and it was this size, but it was large enough, it was enough for any of us little children to go back there and lay there and take a sleep. And for our pillow we used to put a chunk of wood under our head.
Bennett: A chunk of wood for a pillow [laughs].
Jackson: And then when mother mashed potatoes, she used the big iron pots. When she mashed potatoes or turnips or anything she mashed, she pulled this bench out and put the pot on this, cause it had little iron feet on it, and my father mashed the potatoes and the turnips. Then when she made a big batch of bread, rather than sitting it on the table in the end of the kitchen, it would be too cool, and she would pull this bench up and put her bread back here to rise for morning. It was used - and then when we were short of chairs at the table when we had company, mother pulled this bench up and the children sat on the bench.
Bennett: So it was a very useful bench.
Jackson: It was used for everything and anything and there's no nails in this bench, its doved, and it's over a hundred years old.
Bennett: Okay, okay. Was it al - it's white now, right.
Jackson: It's white, but we had it, it was dark red, but that doesn't matter now.
[Unidentified man]: It had fifteen coats of paint - there was an awful lot of green on it, too.
Jackson: Yes, father painted that and kept it in good shape.
Bennett: I sort of thought it was going to be gray, because the one I'm familiar with was gray. It's lovely.
Jackson: It could have been gray in its day, but in my later years it was always a dark red.
Bennett: But it was red, also, okay.
Jackson: But I think this is much prettier, the light.
Bennett: Yes, it is, I like it, that's very pretty. I'm going to take some of those pictures, if you don't mind.
Jackson: Yes, that's what we want you to take them, I told them that you wanted them.
Bennett: Okay, very good. [crosstalk] I'll choose afterwards, because we want the tape to go on if you don't mind.
Jackson: It's even got the bench turned upside down, I don't know why, but you can see the inside of the bench.
Bennett: Well, that's good.
Jackson: There's nothing hid in the bench.
Bennett: [laughs] You know, I really - I know we got sort of off the last time because of the...
Jackson: Ob, I know. I didn't know what I was even talking about toward the last. Well, you repeat anything you have and I'll try to answer it.
Bennett: Do you remember, let's say, we did discuss Sam Frizzell's Store, I know. Do you remember the taverns, like Tim McCarthey's, Blazing Rag Tavern, do you remember Tom Toy's or...
Jackson: Yes, I remember Tom Toy's well.
Bennett: Okay. Could you describe the tavern, whatever you remember, Tom Toy's?
Jackson: Tom Toy's saloon sort of went back under the house, the house come out over it like, and the saloon went back in a little bit, and there was a big swinging door on the front, swinging doors, corrugated or something, and then there was like an alley that anybody that wanted to go up and buy whiskey or anything could go to the side door and get what they wanted and nobody knew that they were there. And then it was just open, it was just a straight road, and then past that a little bit the Peoples Trolley line went up past that.
Bennett: All righty, how about the William Penn Tavern?
Jackson: I didn't know that.
Bennett: You don't know anything about that?
Jackson: It could be a tavern - the taverns I knew were Jeff Blakely's, that was on the Rising Sun, at the head of Rising Sun was a saloon called Dugan's.
Jackson: Dugan's in my time.
Bennett: Can you describe it?
Jackson: Dugan's was just like the end of the row of houses, the end house like was made into a saloon. And they were up there at the top and of course the Delaware Avenue car coming around that loop, the people would get off of there, and of course he caught the first ones that wanted a drink. Then if they got thirsty, a little further down was Jeff Blakely's you could go into, just about three squares down was Jeff Blakely's. Well then you come down from Rising Sun and along the Creek Road past Craig's Grocery Store and come along past the barber shop and Dick Cavanna's store and the Redman's Hall and then you struck Tom Toy's. Well if you got thirsty, you could go into Tom Toy's. Well, that was the only saloons there, but then the next saloon was Tommy Lawless' up next to St. Joseph's Church. That's all the saloons I know, only up toward Rockland I think there was a saloon, but I didn't know the name of that.
Bennett: You have them all pegged I think. [laughs] Where did you say Dugan's was, at the top of Rising Sun Lane?
Jackson: At the top of Rising Sun Lane where the Delaware Avenue car made its turn. And at one time there was a - what do you call something that turns for the car?
Jackson: The turntable, yeah, and they were drawn by two horses, or four, I'm not sure, and when they come to the turntable, them horses had to go around this turntable to turn the trolley car.
Bennett: And you remember that?
Jackson: I remember that.
Bennett: 'Cause that was going to be a question about that a little bit down.
Jackson: They were drawn by horses and years and years ago, I think before my time, in my father's time, the cars only come as far as the B. & amp; O. Station. And you had to walk to the B. & amp; O. Station to get a - I wouldn't call them trolley cars because the horses pulled them, but they were like big trolley cars.
Bennett: Well, horse-drawn cars, I guess is what you would call it.
Jackson: Horse-drawn cars, yeah. There were seats in them like trolley cars. But then later on they come up past old Vic du Pont's home on the Kennett Pike and come around and turned down, down past Mt. Salem Lane and they turned down to the top of Rising Sun hill and then, when I was real tiny, they had the thing that turned them around and the horses on to them. Then I think they stopped at the B. & amp; O. after so long and they changed horses and then they went on down to the Pennsylvania Station.
Bennett: Do you remember any fairs or festivals or anything like that?
Bennett: Whatever kinds, yes.
Jackson: Oh, yeah, that's the only amusement, pleasure we had, the church's festivals and things like that. They made our entertainment. Christ Church would give a peach festival, a strawberry festival and ice cream. They gave a dinner in the spring, you paid for it, and give a dinner in the fall, fifty cents, but you got all you could eat.
Bennett: Was there a reason for the spring and the fall festival?
Jackson: Well, yes, they made money for the church.
Bennett: But I mean, they weren't celebrating anything in particular, just a...
Jackson: Oh, no, no, it was just to make money, and one in the spring. I think the one in the spring consisted mostly of a lamb dinner and then in the fall, in the holidays, around Thanksgiving I guess, it was roast turkey or roast chicken. It was fifty cents but the table was like home table, it was all on there and when you finished it, they'd bring more on. For fifty cents, you really got fifty cents worth.
Bennett: Everybody just went and ate and then went home, there was no other entertainment or any social event with that?
Jackson: No, no entertainment. That's all they were after, just the food.
Bennett: How about fairs as such, like we have today, more or less like carnivals or fetes...
Jackson: No, but what - there used to be amusement for the children of the Village - Coleman du Pont had a woods, I'll not tell you just where it was, out in the country somewhere. He had a woods, he owned it, and every spring, or it'd be in the summer, he gave Christ Church Sunday School a picnic or a fair and he put swings out there and he put see-saws and anything that would amuse us that could be made, he put out there. Then he gave us all the food we wanted and all the ice cream and cake we could eat. And that was a fair to us, or rather a picnic, they call it a picnic now, but it was a fair, and Coleman du Pont paid for all that.
Bennett: And what was the reason?
Jackson: Just to entertain the children of Christ Church in the Village. And of course others went there besides Christ Church children. There was no charge, it was all free.
- Porch on her family's house in Squirrel Run; older women smoking clay pipes during local wakes; water hydrants and spring water; discussing Hardwick's house near Squirrel Run and possible location of the Swamp Lily ClubKeywords: Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Clay tobacco pipes; Drinking water--Purification; Irish Americans--Social life and customs; Outdoor furniture; Rocking chairs; Squirrel Run (Del. : Village); Villages--Social life and customs; Wake services; Water-supplyTranscript: Bennett: I'm going to talk now a little bit about your home - now I guess it would be Squirrel Run.
Jackson: That's right, that's the only one I remember well.
Bennett: Did you rent your home?
Jackson: We rented it from DuPont's.
Bennett: You rented it from the DuPont's?
Jackson: Four dollars a month.
Bennett: Four dollars a month, and how...
Jackson: Eight rooms.
Bennett: Eight - would you describe it for me?
Jackson: Well, there was a big front porch, and on that porch was a great, big closet at the end where in the cold weather we could, Mother used to put vegetables and things to keep on that porch. No one ever broke in, we didn't know of anybody ever breaking in or anything like that. Then on the other end - it was a long porch - then on the other end Father made a bench, or he had a bench made up the Yard, and Tom Stirling was the boss carpenter at that time and he told Tom Stirling he wanted a nice, long bench, and it was a good, long bench, as long as that pretty near. And it took the whole width of the porch.
Bennett: That's got to be six feet?
Jackson: I wouldn't say it was quite that long, but it was a good, long porch. It was half as much again as that little porch, so you can judge from that. And on that Mother kept two water buckets with a dipper in to take a drink with, then under that porch she kept a bucket so what we didn't drink, we could put in the bucket underneath and on that porch then she had a great, big white enamel basin and a bucket of water close to that so that we washed our hands - well, we washed our faces, everything, cold weather, no cold weather, we went out on the porch. And then she had a roller towel on the wall, cause the wall went up - separated the two porches, like Buchanan's porch and ours, this wasn't a wall, it was a boards went up, but no one could see each other. And the roller towel, and that roller towel wasn't taken down til she seen that every spot of that roller towel was used. And it was used, believe me. And that was all that was on the porch.
And then, well we didn't have no porch chairs. When they wanted to sit out there, they'd take a kitchen chair out there and sit. And the kitchen chairs were just like them little Hitchcock chairs you see now, that was the kind of chairs we had, but they weren't called Hitchcock's, they were kitchen chairs, low, short. And then there was a couple of rocking chairs, plain wooden rocking chairs and if extra company come, Mother would allow them two rocking chairs to go out on the porch for someone to rock in. They didn't often sit on the porch, they mostly liked to be in the house to talk. Cause they talked Ireland, they talked Scotland and there was a lot of privacy there that they wouldn't want anybody else - although they were miles apart, they wouldn't want anybody to hear anything happened in Ireland or Scotland. But they all lived the same.
And my Father always said that anybody that looked over the back fence in Ireland and Scotland were related, which they were. When they all come out, they'd say, "Oh, that's a third cousin to so and so and so and so." And I remember far back, I don't know whether it was the third or fourth cousin, or the second cousin, everyone was a cousin come out. At least they lived friendly, I guess, and felt like family.
Bennett: Well, I think it was a friendly village actually.
Jackson: Well, when I lived in Squirrel Run, I always figured that that was very friendly and everybody was good to each other. If there was a death in your house, the neighbors would come in, clean your house all up, take your washing away and do it for you, make a big batch of bread and bring the hot bread in while the funeral was going on. They really lived high on the hog when a funeral was going on, nobody was hungry, there was always plenty - and plenty of white clay pipes were given out and they could smoke until two o'clock in the morning.
Bennett: Who smoked the white clay pipes?
Jackson: The men, some of the old women.
Bennett: So I've heard that the ladies smoked the pipes.
Jackson: I had a great aunt, my father's aunt, Aunt Mattie, and she lived in Squirrel Run down toward the high steps on the other side, in the woods like, bottom of the woods, and she used to sit out in her little chair with a little bonnet on her all the time and she smoked that clay pipe and you could sit there and talk to her and she never stopped smoking, clay pipe. My mother didn't, but all the rest did. My father never smoked, I don't know why.
Bennett: Did many of the ladies of your mother's generation, or was it the older ones that smoked? The pipes, your mother's generation for the most part?
Jackson: This old Aunt Mattie was my father's aunt.
Bennett: But she was a generation older is what I meant.
Jackson: Older than my father, yes.
Bennett: It was those ladies that smoked - the younger ones didn't?
Jackson: No, no, my mother didn't smoke, and my step-mother never smoked.
Bennett: Do you know how much the clay pipes cost?
Bennett: Where did you buy them?
Jackson: Any of the stores carried them.
Bennett: They carried them all the time?
Jackson: The only store carried them - Dick Cavanna Store carried them, and I think Bob Blakely carried them, too. The older people died off and...
Bennett: And then at a funeral, they used to supply...
Jackson: At a funeral, they all brought their white pipes and they smoked, and they smoked until you couldn't see what was in the room for smoke.
Bennett: Oh, they didn't go outside and smoke, they smoked in where the - at the wake?
Jackson: The wake - they called it a wake. Well, they all sat in the house and talked about Ireland and Scotland or whatever, and then the people of the house always had sandwiches made up for them and there was always plenty of bottles of beer for them. But they really celebrated a wake. They were very, very sorry for the family, but they really had a good time. That's the way it was. And if someone died, you used to hear them all hollerin' to each other, "You're going to the wake, aren't you?" "Oh, don't forget there's a wake, so and so - oh, you know we'll have a good time there." And some of them used to say, "We'll go to the wake and we'll see what we can hear, and we'll go to the funeral because we might know how their money went, how the will was made." They were always anxious to know if there was any money, who was getting it.
Bennett: You know, I guess people never change, do they? 'Cause that happens today, too.
Jackson: Well, that was in my time, I remember it well.
[Unidentified woman]: [inaudible comment]
Jackson: Oh, that was in Ireland, dear, in Ireland, wasn't in this country. In Ireland it was said sometimes they used to magnify them by dressing them up good and having them stand somewhere in the house, or somebody.
Bennett: Oh really?
Jackson: Yeah, I heard my father talking about it, but that wasn't in our...
Bennett: They didn't do that here?
Jackson: Oh, no.
Bennett: In your house, somebody had to bring the water to the house. How far - I guess your father did this, correct?
Jackson: No, he didn't, my mother did it, and the children did it.
Bennett: Oh, okay. How far did you have to go for the water?
Jackson: From our porch, about a half a square. We went off our steps and down the road a little bit and the hydrant was there. There were hydrants.
Bennett: Wasn't that far away, then?
Jackson: No, no. And then below us, when you come to Mrs. Harkins' house, well I wouldn't say it was more than a good square, maybe a little bit better, there was another hydrant. Then on the other side of the road there was an old pump, but it was pretty near done, there was a red pump, but we could still pump water and us kids used to go down there and pump and pump water. We thought that pump water was better than the hydrant water. Then above our house at the end of the row and away up past the lawn and below Hardy's house, there was a spring, and oh, that spring was like ice water all the time. And in the hot weather we used to always go up there and get a big pitcher of ice water or a bucket of spring water, and the old folks used to put vinegar in it so they wouldn't get the stomachache - vinegar.
Bennett: Oh. Is that the water you used to like made lemonade?
Jackson: Yes. Because it was cold.
Bennett: Because it was cold.
Jackson: Yeah, it was like ice water. It was colder than ice water - the spring. You could either dip your bucket down in the spring and bring it up, or there was a place that it run through and you pulled the plug out and you got your bucket full there, right below. It was from the same spring. You could either pull the plug out and get a bucket or your could stop in the spring - the spring was a little further up, and put your bucket down in the spring, but it was colder than ice water. But the old folks always used vinegar in the cold water and they never had the stomachache.
Bennett: For heaven's sake, that's new to me. But did it taste like vinegar or was it just such a little bit of...
Jackson: Yes, it tasted a little bit tart, but I never heard tell of any of them having the bellyache from drinking it, and it was like ice water. And my father used to drink two glasses of it down at a time. And he'd say, "Oh, thank the good Lord for that good, fresh water."
Bennett: Now where was the spring, Mrs. Jackson, because I'm lost in my mind. Can you describe it again as to where it was?
Jackson: Well that house where Hardwick's lived at the head of the road, way up the hill road, Hardwick's had a little house there, then you walked down a little piece, then the row of houses in Squirrel Run started. But this house of Hardwick's is now Hallock du Pont's hunting lodge - hunting lodge. And he built his mansion up in Kee's Hill and that Kee's Hill was just above the row of houses, that was the woods. And this house was over from the woods at the head of the road, way up the head of the road, I'd say three squares, maybe more, up and it was like a little cottage you see in Ireland. And on one side of the yard coming down was purple lilacs and on the other side of the road coming down from Hardwick's house was white lilacs. And when you went up past there, when they were in bloom, you'd have thought you had entered Heaven.
Bennett: Would you say, from where Christ Church is, then there's a big lot, and if you would go down a hill, is that where that hunting lodge was?
Jackson: You go down that hill and then there was a foot bridge went over a run, or race, run we call it.
Bennett: No, I don't mean there. I think I know where you mean. I mean, would you say the hunting lodge was not too far from Christ Church.
Jackson: No, no, it wasn't very far, no. You come down through that lot, crossed over the foot bridge, and then you went up a little hill and turned up the road, and you went to Hardwick's house.
Bennett: Would it have been called Swamp Lily by any change?
Jackson: No, no - that was Alfred I. du Pont's place.
Bennett: That's Swamp Hall, that's on Breck's Lane. But there's a place there that sounds like what you're describing to me that we know as - was called the Swamp Lily Club.
Jackson: Oh, that was where Mrs. Crowninshield's house is, one time they called that Swamp Lily Club. No one lived in it and it was vacant and they let them use it as a club.
Bennett: No, that's the Eleutherian Mills, that's the home. No, this is very close to Christ Church. You know where Hallock du Pont's home is?
Jackson: That's on Kee's Hill...
Bennett: Okay, but it's in - I think I would say behind the home, but diagonally from Christ Church.
Bennett: And it's not a very big place. It had, oh gosh, and it's falling down actually, and I've seen it - and they're now removing some of the debris.
Jackson: Well, Alfred I. had a musical fair, see, and he might have had that club and called it Swamp Lily because he's the only one that used the name of Swamp Lily with anything. In his home was a Swamp...
Bennett: Swamp Hall.
Jackson: Well if that was a club there, he had that for his...
Bennett: Yes, but see it was on the wrong property. It's - maybe that's another name for what you're telling me, 'cause I have a feeling I think I know - I think I know where you mean. Because it does sort of look Irish...
Bennett: There was a door, one door on the front and maybe two in the back?
Jackson: Yes, just a plain building. Yeah, I think his orchestra; it was supposed to be an orchestra. Sam Buchanan played in it, [Albert?] Buchanan played in it, Walker Matthewson played in it and a...
Bennett: But that was in Breck's Mill because...
Jackson: Later years he took it to Breck's Mill, but before that he had this orchestra somewhere else, and that might have been where he had the Swamp Lily.
Bennett: Okay, okay.
Jackson: He's the one that has the title of swamp land and the Swamp Lily.
- Outhouses and Larkin's catalog as toilet paper; her sisters working as domestic staff; neighborhood sounds including the tin shop bell, the boiler house whistle, the river, and the differences in sounds made by explosions depending on what had exploded at DuPont Co.Keywords: Catalogs; Drowning; Du Pont, Ethel Hallock, 1876-1951; Explosions; grinding mill; Gunpowder industry; Industrial accidents; Larkin's catalog; Mill and mill-work; Outbuildings; Outhouses; Sam Buchanan; Simon Dorman; Toilet paper; Women household employeesTranscript: Bennett: Okay. Back to your house - how many rooms - you had the two rooms on the first floor...
Bennett: Did you have curtains in the windows and so forth?
Bennett: You didn't need them?
Jackson: The kitchen - we had a kitchen window and then we had a window in the door, but we didn't have any curtains on them, we didn't even have shades on them. 'Cause Mother said there was nobody across the road but sheds and she knew nobody would be looking out of the shed to them. And then on the kitchen - on the door of this big kitchen, in the winter time Father had a wooden thing made that fit into the window and he would put little locks on it like and held it there, he thought it kept the cold air out. And then he built a - had Tom Stirling make a shutter for the kitchen window in later years and then it was hooked onto the kitchen window and it was only used in the winter time to keep the air out, not to keep the sun out or to keep anybody from looking in. Didn't worry about that.
Bennett: Where was your outhouse?
Jackson: Well, the outhouse came off the porch. Then there was a big shed there, whitewashed, and you walked along the shed, there was a boardwalk there, I'd say less than a square down, and it sit like on a little hill.
Bennett: Behind your house or beside your house?
Jackson: Behind the sheds.
Bennett: Behind the sheds.
Jackson: Between our porch and the run, there was a run back of us, some called it a race, but it was a run, it was about three, maybe four feet deep, and us children used to go down there and play.
Bennett: How many seats did you have in your outhouse?
Jackson: Two - now the outhouse across from us was Buchanan's, they had one large seat, then lower down they had a real small seat for the little children. Some of them had two seats in them, we only had two the same size, but they weren't too large. Us little children could sit on it. But there was a board over them and on this board, the board extended over it, when you were sitting on it as a child, you could hold this board, the edge of it like, under this table like this, we could hold on.
Bennett: Sort of for support, so to speak.
Bennett: What about paper, what kind of paper did you use?
Jackson: Well, there used to be - it wasn't a Sears & amp; Roebuck, but it was called a Larkin's book. You ordered things from this catalog and when that book was one year old, that book was always kept for the outhouse. It was softer paper and the newspaper, they didn't like the ink on it and it was too hard, they didn't respect the newspapers at all. And when you cleaned and scrubbed it, and mostly I did it, too, scrubbed the outhouse, and it was as white as snow - clean, and Father whitewashed it every spring, and you could see that in the darkest night of winter - it shone out like a star, you couldn't miss the outhouse, you could get to it, because it was pitch dark, we had no lights of any kind. And we could get to that outhouse. And in the winter time he boarded up the moons, and summertime he took them off, and it was white, but this Larkins' book, it was like a Sears and Roebuck book - the paper was a little softer, you know. We never knew there was any roll toilet paper, we never saw any.
Bennett: I don't know when that started, I have no idea, when we first got...
Jackson: I don't know either, when toilet paper started.
Bennett: Would you save other paper, I know you said you didn't use newspaper, but was there tissue paper maybe from...
Jackson: Well, very seldom we every got any packages with tissue paper in it, but if we did get tissue paper...
Bennett: You would save it?
Jackson: That was saved especially for our father, we didn't use it, our father got that. Oh, he was the prince; he was the king of the house. We had a good father.
Bennett: Oh, I know you did, I'm sure you did. Did anybody in your house work for an extra income? By that I mean did your mother take in ironing or sewing?
Jackson: Oh my Lord, no, she had eight children to...
Bennett: I have to agree, but this is one of the questions.
Jackson: Yeah I know, no, she never took...
Bennett: How about your sisters, did anybody have a job - you know like boys had...
Jackson: No, my older sisters, like his grandmother and Elizabeth, she went up to Philadelphia, they did domestic work, got a dollar and a half a week.
Bennett: This is what I mean.
Jackson: Yeah, yeah they worked domestic, then I had a step-sister, Florence Douglas, and she was child's nurse for Mrs. W. K. 's children when they were little babies.
Bennett: Mrs. who?
Jackson: W. K. du Pont.
Jackson: She was a nurse, she was only about fourteen, fifteen.
Bennett: And anybody else do anything? Did you Dad have any extra job?
Jackson: Heavens no. He worked twelve hours a day. He went to work at six o'clock in the morning and if there wasn't a relief, he worked on up until twelve o'clock at night. He worked Saturday and he worked Sunday and he never got no extra, there was no overtime. He worked Christmas - they all did, worked Christmas and all the holidays and they never got nothing extra.
Bennett: I want you to think, if you can, about the sounds in your neighborhood. Like, do you remember like the noise of children playing and do you remember - all right, now could you hear the mills, the machinery, could you hear all of that?
Jackson: Sure, we could hear the mills running, yes.
Bennett: You heard it all the time?
Jackson: We heard the tin shop bell ringing, the different hours. And my father blew a whistle at twelve o'clock and he rang it again, I think, at quarter of one, and he rang it in the evening, I believe. I don't think they rang it for breakfast or anything, but he had a whistle and many times when I was a little kid, there was two ropes that hung down that you pulled both of them down to make a loud noise, then you let one go and you pulled the one down and then you could let that go and pull the other one down. And when I was a child, he used to get a little bench and I'd stand up on that bench. I was about eight years old, seven, and he let me do that for fun, but I could pull them. They were hard to pull, but I pulled them, both hands way up. 'Course he was standing right back of me, and then I let one go and then I'd pull the other one down real hard, and then toward the last I pulled them both down real hard.
Bennett: Now this was to call the people to work?
Jackson: Yeah, quarter of one for them to come back to work. Or half past twelve, I'm not sure, it was either half past twelve or quarter of one. And then at night, and in the daytime, too, I think at noontime, they rang a bell from the tin shop, that's where the Hagley museum is today, and they rang this bell and whatever hour it was, they rang it. And at night, when we were out sledding, it rang at seven o'clock and it rang at eight, and if we didn't get off that hill and home by eight o'clock, we didn't get out the next night. Because Mother said there was no excuse, we could hear the tin shop bell ring at eight.
Bennett: Now did the tin shop bell ring it specifically for the children, or was it just normal that they rang the bell at eight o'clock?
Jackson: They rang the bell at eight to let the Village people know what time it was to set their clocks.
Bennett: That was a very convenient thing for the parents, right, inconvenient for the kids [laughs].
Jackson: But when they rang it at six, they rang the bell at six, they were getting dismissed from work. They didn't work night work in the tin shop.
Bennett: How about explosions, do you remember the noises from explosions?
Jackson: Deed I do - knocked you out of bed sometimes. You had to know it, yes. Oh, we knew as soon as that went off. Everybody would holler in a chorus in the Village, "Oh, there's an explosion. Jim so and so is gone, or Henry so and so is gone or Billy so and so is gone." They all knew who the mill was - we knew whether it was the rolling mill or whether it was the grinding mill or we knew whether it was the packing house. We knew how heavy that sound was, we knew what men had gone up.
Bennett: You knew which it was?
Jackson: We knew it was the - the rolling mills weren't so loud, but we heard the rolling mills when they went up - on the morning, it was seven o'clock, half past seven when Sam Buchanan was killed in the grinding mill. Some call it grinding, some call it graining. I don't know which is proper. And it was about half past seven and my father had just come home from work, he worked all night. And as soon it went off, my father says, "Oh, God bless us, there goes Sam Buchanan." And we all went out on the porch, and we run down the road, we were going to the gates, you know, everybody, all the older people to find out who it was, and sure enough it was Sam Buchanan. And the large grinding mill wheel that was in his powder house that blew up, that was what was erected on Mrs. Crowninshield's estate in 1952 when the Company was 150 years old and I was there. And got ice cream and cake from Henry du Pont's farm.
Bennett: I think that's neat. I've seen that wheel there.
Jackson: I was there, right under it.
Bennett: Do you remember the noise of the river? Was it always in your mind, you didn't hear it so much.
Jackson: No, the river was very calm, unless there was a terrible storm, then we could hear the water gushing, and gushing and gushing. And then we hear, see a lot of limbs of trees going down. Or sometimes a chicken house went down, sometimes an outhouse went down. Where if it come up close to the - like Upper Banks, either Upper Banks or Charles Banks, it went up that high and those chicken houses and outhouses were very close, some of them, to the river. But ours, we just had the run in Squirrel Run, but the creek was in the Long Row. We lived - and that was before the wall was put up, there's no wall up there. And I never knew of a child to get drowned or get hurt. I never knew of a man to be drowned until Simon Dorman was drowned, but he was drunk the night he wandered into the creek, and that was in late years. But I never knew of a death or anybody being drowned in that river. And they used to skate on that river when the ice was breaking up in chunks, but they'd all take a chance and jump from one block to the other, with skates on.
Bennett: Just confident.
- The rooster as her mother's morning alarm; worst outhouse smell during typhoid epidemic; best smell of flowers; helping her father with the vegetable garden; interior of Bob Blakely's grocery storeKeywords: Baked products; Bob Blakely's store; Candy; Canned foods; Canning and preserving; Cooking (Sauerkraut); Fathers and daughters; Grocery trade; Neighbors; Outhouses; Roosters; Typhoid fever; Vegetable gardening; Widows; Wild flowersTranscript: Bennett: You mentioned the chickens - were you conscious of the chatter of the chickens and the dogs and so forth? That was just a common, ordinarily sound like you hear automobile horns today.
Jackson: Yeah, just like the automobiles go past. We heard the chickens, we used to hear that old rooster crowing around four o'clock in the morning and that was a good sign for them to get up at four o'clock. My mother used to always say, "Dear, don't you set a clock?" She says, "No, I always hear that rooster when it crows at four o'clock and I know it's time to get up." There were a lot of clocks around that you didn't have to wind - the rooster and the bells and all like that.
Bennett: All convenient.
Jackson: Yeah. And my father used to look out the window and he'd say, "Charlotte," he'd say, "I think it's close to four o'clock." How he knew, I don't know, and they could look up at the moon at night and see and the different ones would say, "Yes, I think there's rain up in that moon tonight, yes, I believe it will rain." Or "It's gonna be hot the next day", or "It looks like good weather." They told by the moon the weather. They didn't have no radio to tell them what the weather was gonna be, they told - they knew it themselves. They weren't educated, but they had good...
Bennett: Well it was different, it was a different kind of education.
Jackson: They had to learn those things for themselves. They could tell by the way the trees blew, too, whether there was a storm coming up - back in the woods. When those trees started blowing a certain way, north or south or whatever way, they'd say, "It looks like a bad storm coming, I see the trees are..." They told time, well there was nobody to tell them. Now we get it over television.
Bennett: We don't have to worry about it, do we? What's the worst smell that you remember?
Jackson: Well, when I was in Squirrel Run, the worst smell we had, and there was an epidemic of typhoid fever, there was an Italian family, I don't know quite what their name was, and it was quite a family, and there was quite a few Italians come over from Italy. And they lived on different foods and things than we did, and their outhouse at one time was very strong and the DuPont's sent the men to clean it out, but oh, it was a stagnating smell. And at that time there was quite a few typhoid fever. Mrs. Constano, she lost a girl with typhoid fever, and Mrs. Gamble, she lost a girl, or a girl and a boy, and there was a number of cases of typhoid fever and they all thought that it had come from this terrible smell that had come from this outhouse. Whether there was anything else dead, whether a possum got in there and died or not, but it was a terrible smell, but the DuPont's sent men out to clean that. Then they put in cesspools, before that they just dug holes, but then later on they put in the cement - I guess they're called cesspools - and then set the white outhouse over it, and then they were better, there wasn't the odor then. And in the real hot stinking weather, of course, there was odor.
Bennett: Now what was the most pleasant smell that you remember?
Jackson: The flowers. Up on the hill, Kee's Hill, was flowers. There was blue lilies grew, there was white lilies grew, there was Lily of the Valley grew up through the trees there and there was also Johnny Jump-Ups, or Johnny in the - the Preacher in the [pause while tape is switched] in the back yard when they were in season and then there was a couple of cherry trees around there and when the cherry trees were in blossom, that was a sweet smell and that was up through, up toward Hardwick's house up the road a good ways was magnolia trees with magnolias on it.
Bennett: They're all lovely odors. What else did you have in your flower garden?
Jackson: Well, we only had things that grew by themselves, we didn't buy that much flowers. Sometimes we used to go up through the woods and dig up some Sweet Williams and bring them home and plant them in the yard - Sweet Williams - they're real pretty - purple.
Bennett: Did you have a vegetable garden?
Jackson: Yes, my father had a big piece of ground. And that also was up - that was between Squirrel Run and Wagoners Row, and the other two fields were planted in corn for the DuPont's horses, but then there was another big field that they divided off for the men of Squirrel Run, or whoever wanted it, a good piece of ground. And my father raised tomatoes and potatoes and cabbage, turnips, string beans and radishes and carrots, all that. And my mother put up sixty quarts of tomatoes in the summer, she put up forty or fifty jars of string beans. My father cut up cabbage and made a large keg, you know where they have beer in, a leg of this cabbage and that was sauerkraut. And then he buried onions, no he hung onions up in the back of one of the attics, the attics come down low like this, well down where it was low he hung like a hammock it was, and he hung the onions in there and they kept because it was no - it was cold, and he kept enough potatoes - we had enough potatoes to do us all year. And mother had these jars all up - then in the parlor there was a large closet and one end of it was real high with shelves on it, then back - it went all the way back under the staircase, just a floor, and in the wintertime mother put all those glass jars of things back in that - you couldn't keep them in the shed, you know, it was too cold. And she made her jellies. And that closet was the preserve closet. It was in the parlor, but it was a preserve closet, but our food was in there.
Bennett: Did anyone help your dad with the garden or did he do it himself?
Jackson: No, his children helped him - I helped him. I planted all the potatoes and I helped him put in the tomato plants - I was only nine or ten years old, and after we put them in, there was a spring outside of the piece of ground, down further, down on the railroad track, and I had a bucket - of course I was pretty hefty at ten, and I went down and carried buckets of water up for my father to water the tomato plants - he didn't have to water the potato plants, but the tomato plants he did have to water. And I carried, not only one night, I carried two and three buckets one night and then the next night I carried two or three buckets, but they were good buckets and I was a sturdy kid, and it was about - oh, less than half a square, but I would take them up. And I helped him - and I planted every potato he planted and I helped him cut the potatoes, and he always told me to cut the potato with two eyes in it so if one died, the other would live.
[Unidentified woman]: And then he planted them, didn't he?
Jackson: I had a little apron and I would put all the cut potatoes in the apron and Father would lift the dirt up, and I was little, and I would stoop down and put two pieces of potato in. And he'd always say, "Make sure it's two pieces." And we never lost a potato plant - two pieces put in. But I knew to cut the two eyes, I helped him cut, and the other girls, sure.
Bennett: Did your father ever trade or sell any of his vegetables?
Jackson: Well, if there was a poor neighbor around there that was a widow and had children or something, he would always give them things. He'd give them a basket of tomatoes or he'd give them - now Mrs. Walker, her husband was killed in the powder and she worked every day and she had four children, she had no garden, and many a time my father would take her down a small basket of potatoes or tomatoes, many a time he'd give her a head of cabbage or so. And who all - there was another one around there - oh, Mrs. Buchanan next door. He kept Mrs. Buchanan supplied, she had six children.
Bennett: Would you describe the store, now this - I know you remember Squirrel Run better - would you describe your store, the Company store, what you bought there?
Jackson: That was Bob Blakely's store.
Bennett: Bob Blakely's - did he run a store?
Jackson: Yeah, he owned everything in it. Of course it was a Company - DuPont Company's building - the store was in the front and then their home was in the back.
Bennett: In the back of the...
Jackson: Yeah, he had two sons.
Bennett: Can you describe it for me please?
Jackson: The store?
Jackson: Well the store had a counter this way, then it had a counter down that way.
Bennett: There was like on an angle?
Jackson: Yes. Then the shelves were all along that wall, like, and these shelves held, oh, rice and bags of sugar and canned goods and all like that. Well, then on this side, I remember well, on this end of the counter was the candy place where all the candy was in boxes standing up. I remember every box of that. And then down from that was the cakes - he had good cakes, then he had on the end of the counter a great big glass case of some kind and when the bakery come - that was name of Pete something - he brought the bakery and he brought all these little - they were five cent pies, but they were good, and he would take all these pies and he had drop cakes in there and maybe something like a jelly roll. And if you got a dozen of drop cakes, you got thirteen, he always give you good measure.
Bennett: A baker's dozen.
Jackson: Baker's dozen - and then the little pies, how they were marked, like apple, raisin or what - was in the dough. Apple had an "A" on it and raisin had an "R" in it, cut in the dough, that's how you could tell them, but they were good. Five cents.
Bennett: Do you know if your dad paid cash or did he maybe trade off his vegetables - do you know how he paid...
Jackson: No he didn't barter, we paid the store bill once in a month and the store bill had to be around ten dollars or less for the month because we had everything else in the house to eat and all mother had to buy was sugar and well things like that or cakes or pies or anything like that. She never bought much canned goods because the cans then weren't good, they turned black when you opened them because the tin wasn't right years ago. No, we paid cash, but my mother tried to keep the store bill down to ten dollars a month.
Bennett: Did you go to Wilmington for anything?
Jackson: Yes, my mother went to Wilmington once a month when the check come in, she went in to cash the check and when she was in there, then, she would buy fish or oysters, things that we couldn't get out on the Brandywine.
Bennett: They didn't come out - the fish man didn't come out...
Jackson: Once in a while the fish man come around with twenty cats following him. The cats got the fish heads and there'd be about twenty of them under his wagon - but they were getting the food when he cleaned them.
- Purchasing textiles from catalogs; luxury items including perfume and taffeta; transitioning from child to adult and the accompanying changes in women's clothingKeywords: Adolescence; Catalogs; Corsets; dry goods stores; Ferris waistcoats; Girls' clothing; Larkin Club; Taffeta; Teenage girls--Social conditions; Women's clothing; Working class womenTranscript: Bennett: Did you ever buy anything from a catalog?
Bennett: What did you buy from a catalog?
Jackson: Larkin's - well, we used to buy toweling - my mother would make towels, and we used to buy outing flannel because mother made our nightgowns and it would be green, sometimes yellow, but it was good outing flannel. And then sometimes she bought sheeting, she bought the unbleached sheeting and it would only come, I think, forty-five inches, but she'd put the two pieces together and make full sheets, but it was cheaper, see, buying the - but when she washed them a number of times, they turned white - bleached.
Bennett: U-huh - they gradually bleached out, yeah. Did she buy anything else - let's say, luxuries or furniture or anything like that from a catalog - let's say - I don't mean furniture as such because you would have had that, let's say luxury items?
Jackson: No - I'll tell you, most of the women kept a Larkin Club and every time you sold ten dollars worth of Larkin goods around the neighborhood or where, you got a certificate. I'm not exactly sure on this, but when you got like ten certificates, then you could send away and you could buy a sideboard - get a sideboard for it. And in Topkis, mother used to buy little things like underwear and things in Topkis for us - winter, you know, you got a ticket in there and when you got maybe five dollars worth of these checks - amounting to five - then mother could get a pair of lace curtains and that's how we got our curtains for the parlor and for the upstairs bedroom, but they looked like Irish lace - you got them on checks, you didn't buy them, you couldn't buy they, I mean we didn't have the money to buy them.
Bennett: Now, Topkis, was that a Wilmington...
Jackson: Wilmington Dry Goods...
Bennett: Department store?
Jackson: Yeah, Wilmington Dry Goods took it afterwards.
Bennett: Oh, okay, it's the same place. When would you say, Mrs. Jackson, the children became more or less adults? Was there an age or how did you recognize the transition from a child to an adult?
Jackson: When they reached about fourteen or fifteen, they were a child up until they were about fourteen or fifteen, very innocent of anything up until fourteen or fifteen.
Bennett: Were they dressed differently?
Jackson: Yes, they wore longer dresses and they wore more ruffles on them and they wore lace on their clothes. And they wore lace on their panties and slips - petticoats, wasn't slips then, petticoats.
Bennett: Okay, and how about the boys - did they go...
Jackson: Yeah the boys kept getting their pants a little longer and when they got to be about twelve or thirteen, then they dropped the pants from above the knee, below the knee.
Bennett: Knicker you mean, like the knickers or do you mean just a loose pants below the knee?
Jackson: Loose pants.
Bennett: Okay, all right.
Jackson: Loose pants, below the knee. Then when they got around sixteen or so, they went into the long pants, but the longs pants then was up to the shoe top. They were called longs pants, but they were up to the men's - boy's shoe tops.
Bennett: Well, it was probably the style at the time, cause it changes around, you know.
Jackson: Sure it does, the style, of course now they have them down past the ankles. But the pants - I remember years ago even my father's was short - was above the ankle, his good suits, his white suit.
Bennett: Would the community, let's say, recognize that there goes Mary Braden, she's now a young lady because of the way you dressed - would they treat you differently? Or did they still think of you as...
Jackson: Well, they would look at you around twelve or thirteen, and the neighbors would say, "Oh, dear, you're growing up, you'll soon be a young lady." They always said, "You'll soon be a young lady." And then when you dropped your skirts and put your hair ribbons higher and put your hair higher and put it up on your head or something, then they'd say, "Oh my now you've reached a young lady now, now you're a young lady."
Bennett: Now did you want - let's say your family, did you want to become the young lady and your parents tried to keep you back as a child or did they encourage this or maybe you wanted to put your hair up and your mother would say "No"? How did that go?
Jackson: No, when you'd say to your mother, "I want to put my hair up, I want to make curls or spitty curls," or spitty curls you made then, she'd say, "You're too young for that yet, now you just wait a while longer." Yes, they held you down, and when you said you wanted your skirts, you wanted a ruffle on your skirt or something like that, she'd say, "When you get a little older, I'll fix your dresses like that, but you're too young for that now." They kept you a child as long as they could.
Bennett: And then when she finally did let you grow up, was it a celebration?
Jackson: Well, then we were lectured to take care of ourselves and not to run around and keep good company and to keep your dresses down all the time and if you went sledding, when you were a good size, make sure that your dress didn't blow up when you were sledding. We got all this kind of teaching to us, but it worked out. There were eight girls of us and we all turned out to be good girls.
Bennett: What would you say, as a young girl, was considered a luxury?
Jackson: Well, anybody that had face powder, that was a luxury.
Bennett: Face powder.
Jackson: If they used some kind of perfume, and of course the perfume they got in the ten cents store, but if someone could smell it, and I used to hear some of the older ladies say if a certain young girls about sixteen or seventeen were around them, you could smell perfume on them, I've heard some of the old ladies say "They're not out for any good with that perfume on them."
Bennett: How about fabrics and dress goods - then did you have a more elegant kind of dress, let's say, as a young lady, maybe a Sunday dress that would be...
Jackson: Oh, yes, we had Sunday dress. Even as children, your Sunday dress was different. Your Sunday dresses would be like voile or thin, maybe a little rosebud in it or a little flower in it or something. But mother bought the whole bolt and we all had the same kind of a dress, but then when the girls got older and they were out to domestic work and had their own money, the best and the most luxurious thing was taffeta. And if you owned a taffeta dress, you were somebody. And you could rattle up and down the road and rattle up to church and rattle out of church, but everybody knew you had taffeta on.
Bennett: You know, I remember taffeta did make a noise. [laughs]
Jackson: Oh, yes, I imagine that's why they liked them, made a noise and everybody knew - everybody would notice them, I guess they thought they would be noticed more if they made a noise, if their dresses rattled. And then, you know, they had the stiff petticoats underneath and you wore...
Bennett: That was my next question - what was the petticoat of, was it of taffeta or...
Jackson: Well, yes, some had taffeta, but not too many had taffeta. But mostly had just the white petticoats with oh, maybe two ruffles or so sewed so that the skirt would stand out all around them. And they would be starched real stiff, took you a long time to iron the petticoats because you had all these ruffles to iron first, then ironed the body of it. And they had a string through them and they tied in the back, they only come up to your waist, but they were starched so that your dresses would slide around or when whirled around and whirled around they would be showing.
Bennett: What color mostly?
Bennett: No, no, the dresses, the taffeta.
Jackson: Well, when you got older, you wore darker clothes. You wore - well, some of the young girls even wore black taffeta, then there was blue, then there was a plum colored taffeta, then there was brighter colors, 'till the silks later, come out later in years, and then they come out, oh, cream colored, blue colored and all like that. But the early dresses were mostly dark.
Bennett: Would taffeta have been a winter fabric rather than the summer, I would imagine?
Jackson: Yes, that's right.
[Mrs. Jackson's niece]: [Inaudible comment.]
Bennett: Can you describe the top of the dress? Your niece just said your petticoat, which came to your waist - what did you wear at the top?
Jackson: Corset cover.
Bennett: A corset cover.
Jackson: A corset cover - it was a cover...
Bennett: Let's go from the beginning. Your wore a brassiere, or a corset - was it all in one?
Jackson: We wore a corset - no early, the young girls wore ferris coats like, and they were something that just were stiff, but they buttoned all the way down the front, but they held you firm. When you were about ten or twelve you wore them, when you were just beginning to shape.
Bennett: Okay, and this was a wide top, I guess, like a...
Jackson: It was like a little jacket you put on and buttoned it all the way down the front here, but it was soft, but it was a little bit more like canvas.
Bennett: Okay, and it kept - it gave you a little shape.
Jackson: Then after that you wore a corset cover, and the corset cover, there was no sleeves in it, and it was insertion, or lace in around here and sometimes you had a little blue ribbon through here, we used to lace it through with a needle like, and then it buttoned here, and it was starched good and stiff and it pulled out like this so people wouldn't think you had anything up front. You weren't supposed to show these things, you could pull this out and nobody would think you had anything.
Bennett: You were flat, you wanted to look flat.
Jackson: We were flat here and we had a corset cover stood out so that nobody would see that there was anything underneath them. Now today they show them, but then you mustn't show them, the corset covers puffed out and your waist, when you put your waist on, you tied it down here at the waist and then you pulled it up and puffed it all up, just like this, that I hold it out - your waist stood out like this and of course so nobody would know you had anything under here.
Bennett: I guess it's really what we're back to today which is a half slip and the top - the teddy - that business, it's the same.
Jackson: That brassiere you people wear would take the place of a corset cover, I guess.
Bennett: Well, no, I think it would be the top of a slip maybe, more of a...
Jackson: Yes - oh, well, a slip now comes over you - covers the whole thing, you have your petticoat and your slip, well this would be your corset cover and petticoat all in one.
Bennett: But the latest thing now is, you wear a half slip. Okay, but a lot of times the dress is lined automatically, but you need something at the top, so they are just wearing the top called a "teddy", so I think it's exactly what you were wearing as a corset, so we're wearing a bra cover.
Jackson: Yes, and we wore the corset cover. See, and then you had to cover your corsets, the corsets should never be shown and of course when we were young girls we wore this ferris waist they called it.
Bennett: Ferris - F-e-r-r-i-s.
Jackson: F-e-r-r-i-s waist - and it was just like a real thin canvas for these young girls, just when they were beginning to develop. And it come up here and low and come down here to here and that held the young girls in, give them shape. And after that they went to a corset, when they got to be young girls, went to a corset.
- Tobacco use; bosses' rapport with DuPont employees; being allowed in the powder yards as a child; neighbors offering to help with funeral costs for her step-mother and step-brother; her step-mother's remedies for illness and injuriesKeywords: Castor oil--Therapeutic use; children in the powder yards; Electric generators; funerals; Industrial management; Industrial relations; Industrial safety; Life insurance; Medicinal plants; Natural foods--Therapeutic use; Red Man tobacco; Sick; Social status; Tobacco use; Traditional medicine; Undertakers and undertaking; Working class--Health and hygieneTranscript: Bennett: My next question is tobacco - what a difference! [laughs] Are you familiar with the tobacco that your dad might have - no, you said he didn't smoke.
Jackson: My father never smoked.
Bennett: Okay, were you familiar with the brands in the neighborhood and so forth or from the stores?
Jackson: What was that bagged tobacco Joe used to smoke, dear?
[Mrs. Jackson's niece]: Red Man?
Jackson: Red Man.
Bennett: Red Man - that's the one that you remember?
Jackson: Red Man - tobacco.
[Unidentified man]: Durham.
Jackson: Durham, yeah Durham was out.
Bennett: Oh yes, I do remember that now.
Jackson: And Red Man. I don't know too much about tobacco, but them I do remember.
[Unidentified man]: That was chewing tobacco - Red Man.
Jackson: Well the chewing tobacco come in a plug - well they had that in Red Man too, the chewing tobacco. They cut that off with a knife when they wanted to take a chew.
Bennett: Yes, like a plug I think they called it.
Jackson: A filthy habit.
Bennett: Would you say that the people that were maybe a boss in the DuPont Company, just above the workers, was their social status considered a little better in your village than the actual workers?
Jackson: No, the bosses associated with the working men, went into their houses and had tea with them when they went in, and the working people went into the bosses and they were great friends. Tom Stirling was a swell guy and he come into our house many, many nights - sat and had tea here, whatever we had, with my father, and talked. And he was one of the nicest, and then there was Harry Miller, he was the machine shop boss. And Harry Miller dropped in whenever he was on the - he always dropped in. And he used to go up to the boiler house to see my father - no, they associated just the same as though they were all in the same class.
Bennett: They were just friends, everybody was...
Jackson: All good friends. Joe Haley was another fine man. He was boss of the powder yard. And Walker Matthewson, he was in charge of the machines that helped make electric or something - dynamos. He was in charge of the dynamos, Walker Matthewson and [Albert?] Buchanan and Emil Krauss run those dynamos. I don't know whether they made electricity or not, but I know they were called dynamos. And my father's boiler house was right above them, and the boiler house went over the race. There was a little bridge over there and there was high steps. When I was a little kid, thought I would never get to the top of them steps carrying his breakfast, but he always met me at the top of those steps.
Bennett: See, a lot of people say they could not get into the yards, you could not get into the yards, no way. The children.
Jackson: Yes you could - later years when there was an accident up there...
[Unidentified woman]: I've heard that for years and years and years, about her going up.
Jackson: Oh, we all went in - we played in the powder yards.
Bennett: Well, every once in a while you read about the contradiction, and this is what everybody says.
Jackson: Oh, anybody says...
[Unidentified man]: Was there areas that you weren't allowed into?
Jackson: Beg pardon.
[Unidentified man]: Was there areas you were not allowed into?
Jackson: We weren't allowed to go into the powder mills. And our fathers wouldn't let us go in, but we'd walk alongside and sit on the bench outside of them. I sat on the bench with old Benny Watson and he run the glazing mill, the most dangerous mill that was run, if it had ever had gone up, it would have taken mostly Wilmington with it. And I sat out on the bench with him, and he really wasn't supposed to be all normal.
[Unidentified woman]: Didn't you come in to granddad?
Jackson: The boiler house, yes, I lived in there. And he had an engine room and I went all through it. I was down in Walker Matthewson, the dynamos, I was in there down around the machines. I knew all them big machines were running, course I didn't know nothin' about them. But years and years ago even the grocery wagons and any wagons could go up through the yard. Until there was one time nearly a bad accident.
Bennett: That's right, there was an accident.
Jackson: Bad accident, and then they stopped everybody - wagons, but they never stopped people from carrying the meals up there, or the children to go up there and get walnuts, not in my time. I lived there until I was eighteen, I can't tell you what happened after that. I lived on the Banks until I was eighteen.
Bennett: Was there someone in your - in Squirrel Run - if you father had a problem, or your mother, that they would go to, considered like the wise person or the person that knew how to take care of all different affairs?
Jackson: Harry Miller was pretty well educated, I guess he went to school as far as he could go, and then another kind man, and I always thought he looked like the Disciples of Jesus, was Joe Constano. And when my step-mother died, Joe Constano come in to our house, and I was in the kitchen when I was a little kid, and I heard him tell him, "Harry, if you need money for this funeral, I have it and you ask for it." And my father said, "No thank you, Joe, I appreciate it very much, but I have $150 coming to pay for the funeral, from the insurance." A hundred and fifty dollars from the insurance and he paid for it. And then we had a little step-boy died at six years old and when he died Harry Miller come to - Frank du Pont come to him - no, when my mother died, Frank du Pont come to him, but my father didn't need the money - had a five cent policy on him, but they thought they were stealing it, and anyway, you could go to Harry Miller, you could go to Tom Stirling - they had a little bit more money than the rest, maybe a couple hundred - and they would always offer, but my step-brother, my father had Jim Chandler, old Jim Chandler come in to bury him. Before he did anything to him, he said, "Harry have you any insurance?" My father says, "Yes, I have an insurance." He says, "How much?" He said, "Seventy-five dollars." So he said, "Don't worry about a thing, I'll take care of the funeral." He buried the little boy and he didn't have to buy anything for him but a little white casket which was made of cigar box stuff, so when the bill come in, Chandler made the bill just seventy-five dollars. And Pop says he didn't even leave me enough of the insurance to get a glass of beer. He made the...
Bennett: Whatever it was, he was going to get the whole thing.
Jackson: He got the whole thing and my father was mad because he said at least he could have left him a dollar to buy a glass of beer with. So he didn't think much of Jim Chandler from then on, he never had him again. He was never going to get the insurance again, even if it was seventy-five dollars, Jim Chandler was never gonna get it.
Bennett: I have to agree...
[Unidentified woman]: We haven't had a Chandler in the whole family, we never had him, did we, for anybody - your sisters.
Jackson: What, dear?
[Unidentified woman]: Chandler, we never had him as an undertaker.
Jackson: No, no. My father hated him. He took that seventy-five dollars and never left him money for beer. He never forgave him.
Bennett: If someone was sick, what made your mother or father decide whether they needed a doctor if the person was sick enough for a doctor?
Jackson: If someone was turning black in the face or couldn't get their breath.
Bennett: You mean on their last legs, in other words, they tried to nurse them...
Jackson: My mother was the doctor, she never went to college to learn it, but I'm telling you my mother knew more than any doctor did, here I'll tell it. She had castor oil, she had mustard plasters, she had hops that she put in the oven to get hot in a bag for a heating bag. She had onions she'd cut and put under the bed. She had onion poultices, and if you didn't die from the disease, you die - you were out, as soon as them plasters got on you, you were out.
Bennett: And you had one under the bed, under the...
Jackson: And under the bed, and that...
Bennett: Under the mattress?
Jackson: I found that in an old magazine not long ago, that the best thing the old people used was the cut up onions under the bed. Sometimes they'd parboil them, put them under the bed and the hops - the hot hops they used. And she had a bottle of castor oil and if you said you had a pain in your big toe, "Well, I'l1 give you a big dose of castor oil, dear, it'll take care of it." But we never told her half the time.
[Unidentified woman]: What did the onions do?
Jackson: Well, whatever was in them onions, whatever germs or whatever, they killed germs, they just killed germs.
Bennett: The odor must have supposedly permeated...
Jackson: And if you run a nail in your foot, what they used was vinegar and that's the best thing to kill germs that's known - vinegar.
Bennett: Yes, the rust.
Jackson: And that was in this old magazine I was reading not long ago. Some of the things our mother gave was - is just - the doctors now are coming into light that there was a method in them.
Bennett: Yes, I think this is true. There's a lot of the old like the herbs and things that they're using,
[Unidentified woman]: Rather than all these synthetics.
Bennett: That's right.
- Nurses and midwives; new mothers staying in bed for nine days after childbirth; the family ice chest; fighting back a school bully; older neighborhood boys watching out for small children playing in boats on the BrandywineKeywords: Bullies; Childbirth; Children--Safety measures; ice delivery; Midwives; Neighborhood spirit; New mothers; Nurses; refrigeratorsTranscript: Bennett: Do you remember any nurses in the community?
Jackson: Well the only nurse that I ever saw or ever knew there was a nurse was when my stepmother was very ill, she had cancer, and on her last days and all someone said to my father, if you could get a good nurse, they'd pull her through. But she was past being pulled through, so he hired a nurse, and who was this nurse but May Horty, who lived up in Free Park. And her father was Jim Horty and worked in the yard with my father.
Jackson: So May Horty, she was a young woman then, she came down and took care of mother, did what she could at the last for her, but it was impossible for her to save her. And she was only 52, but my stepmother died I thought she was about 75, she had gray hair and she pulled it straight back of her and she wore dark wrappers trailing down to her ankles and she always had a gingham apron on, plain gingham apron on, and very seldom she got dressed up unless she went to church or unless she went in town to cash the check.
Bennett: Did she see the doctor for her illness at that time?
Jackson: Oh, yes, we had Dr. Wales, Joseph Wales.
Bennett: Do you remember midwives?
Jackson: Oh, yes. And my oldest sister had Charles' father, old Mrs. Harney that lived in Squirrel Run, when she was notified, she was told when it was expected and all, and at that time when we sent for Mrs. Harney - she was gray-haired, short and plump, lovely person, and she wore - always would put on a white apron and then she'd come up and she'd charge ten dollars a week to take care of the baby and my sister and help around the house. She did a lot for ten dollars, but it was only ten dollars.
Bennett: How long would she stay, just one week, or would she stay longer?
Jackson: No, more than - a week. Them days the mother did not get out of bed for nine days, she must not put her foot on the ground until it was nine days. Now they come home in two. Jenny, she had, that's Charles' grandmother McClaren, she was in bed for a week, give herself another day, but you must stay in bed for the nine days and only drink tea and soups. And there was - wasn't beer, but it was something called porter, and they used to get porter and that was to give the mother milk. No, they always had to stay at least nine days, and ten days or so. Just when they thought they could get up on their feet. Course I think they could have got on their feet long ago, but I guess they enjoyed laying in bed. That was the only time they could lay in bed.
Bennett: Well also, I think, they worked so hard when they were up, and they had a lot more difficult tasks than we do today. We push a button and the clothes wash, they had to scrub. And I think part of that is the difference right there.
Jackson: And Charles' father, that was Archie McClaren, was the first grandson born and my oldest sister weighed 98 pounds and when the baby was born, Charles, or it was Archie, he weighed ten pounds, and my sister almost lost her life, very near lost her life. And the doctor asked her why she let this baby, and she said, "Well, all the women around here told me I was eating for two and I was eating as much as I could all the time." See they weren't put on any diet or anything.
Bennett: No, those...
Jackson: See, all people says "Now you're eating for two here, now eat plenty. You've got to have strength, you know, for this baby, so eat all you can eat." So she did, but she only weighed 98 pounds herself so you know how close she come.
Bennett: Where did you get your ice?
Jackson: Well, when we were able to buy ice, there was an ice man come around and he had blocks of ice on his wagon, with two horses. And, oh a half of a big block of ice was ten cents and we didn't have an ice box, very few had an ice box, we had a chest and you had to lift the top lid up, and it was as heavy as it could be, and put it back, then there was another lid, you lifted that up, then there was galvanized shelves, and they used to get dirty and we'd take them out. Then the box was emptied, then he could put this whole half a block down in and that would last us - and then Mother would put a lot of newspapers over that to save it. Then we put the shelves back in. These shelves were corrugated - what is that stuff that collects a lot of dirt and stuff?
[Unidentified woman]: Not plywood?
Jackson: No, they're not tin, no, not wood, not tin.
Bennett: You mean a metal?
Jackson: Galvanized, galvanized. Yeah, they'd get green, we'd have to take them out and scrub them with ash, we didn't have no Dutch Cleanser, we used ashes to scour. And we'd scour them off and make them all...
Bennett: You scoured with ashes?
Jackson: Yeah, we didn't have any Dutch Cleanser, I don't know if there was any Dutch Cleanser. We didn't buy anything, only what was really necessary.
Bennett: What you had to buy. How often did you get the big block of ice for your chest?
Jackson: Oh, about three weeks, maybe it would hold us a month. Mother kept putting fresh newspapers...
Bennett: Okay, where was your chest? Out on the porch?
Jackson: Out on the porch in the closet.
Bennett: Okay, so in the winter. How about in the summer, how often would you get the chest filled?
Jackson: That was in the summertime we got the ice. We didn't get any in the winter.
Bennett: Okay, and you only needed it once a month?
Jackson: About three weeks, yeah. Now this was a half of these great big blocks.
Bennett: Okay, it must have been so big.
Jackson: Yeah, and they made them big them days, and it was half. And just that half, I'd say it was like this, fit down in this chest.
Bennett: Who emptied it? The ice chest?
Jackson: My father made a hole in the porch and put a little pipe down there and the water come from the chest down to the ground, went into the ground.
Bennett: Okay, so it automatically got emptied - very good. That's the first I've heard that.
Jackson: That's the way they defrosted. We didn't empty no ice, My father didn't have any education, but he was pretty smart on some other things.
Bennett: That doesn't matter, I think, a lot of times.
[Unidentified man]: Common sense.
Bennett: That's what you really need is common sense.
Jackson: There was a hole in the chest and my father, at the yard, course you could get anything at the yard you wanted, he'd get a piece of pipe from the pipe fitters and he put that pipe down there, and then he'd go bore a hole in the cellar.
Jackson: It was under this - and he pushed that down and then it drained down on the ground. It went into the ground, the ground was sandy, you know. Never come out on the street, it just sunk into the ground.
Bennett: Can you think of a neighborhood bully?
Jackson: No, I think all the boys seemed to be really nice - there was a family lived along the - well, between Breck's Lane and the Cavanna store, toward the creek, down there. And I only know what I heard about this, and there was a family lived there by the name of Thornton, and there was two boys there, Patty Thornton and another Thornton boy. They were about 17 or 18, around that - they used to drink a lot. And the other boys used to be afraid of them because they always wanted to fight. And that's all I know about that. Otherwise, I don't know.
Bennett: That would be a bully, I think, if you constantly wanted to fight.
[Unidentified man]: How about the one that slapped you one time?
Jackson: Oh, that was up in school, dear, he lived way up in [?], that was in school days. We were walking home from school and this boy that went to school with me, somehow or another he wanted to - he slapped me somehow or another and I went home crying. And my father said, "Why are you crying?" And I said, "So and so slapped me coming down Breck's Lane." And he said, "Why did you come home and tell me?" "Because," I said, "I wanted to tell you what he did." "Well," he said, "if you don't slap him back and beat him, don't ever come home to me crying." So the next day or two I met the same boy in Breck's Lane and I walked right up - now I had the strength then now to do it, that gave me moral support. I went right up to him and I said, "You slapped me the other day, didn't you?" He said, "Yeah and I'll slap you again." I said "Will you?" And I slapped him and knocked him down and I weighed 100 pounds and I sat on him [laughs]. And I went home and told my father. He said, "Did you do what I told you?" I said, "Yes, I knocked him down and I sat right on him." "Well," he said, "he really had a load on him when you sat on him." I weighed a hundred pounds. And that man was head of the Chamber of Commerce here in Wilmington at one time, years ago.
Bennett: And you can say you sat on him.
Jackson: I always tell myself, I'd like to meet up with that guy and tell him "Do you remember the day when I slapped you, beat you on Breck's Lane and sat on you?" And he was a fine man later, but I never got a chance to ever tell him.
Bennett: How about a neighborhood hero, was there a hero in the neighborhood?
Jackson: Well, I'll say most all of them were heroes, because when we were children and we'd go down to the creek when the ice was breaking up, or we used to go down and get into the little flat boats, and after the men would come to the yard, you know, and leave their boats chained, didn't lock them, then us children, girls and boys and girls both, used to go down, get in the boats, and there was two paddles in them, we would paddle across the creek. Back again, up again, down again - the men knew we were using the boats, but it was always the older fellows that would be sitting like on the bank and they had an eye to us. And they'd say to us - there was Davy Ward and there was Dick Cavanna, well there was a lot of those younger, and the Miller boys, and they'd say, "Now don't go down the other way because the race is there and you'll go right over that race." And there was a race right there at Breck's Mill. And they told us never to go down - they sort of warned us. And then we used to swing on the willow trees - willow trees used to give a lot, you know, and they were along the creek there, down near the creek, and we used to get a branch down and we could swing way out over the creek with this branch, children you know. And they'd watch that limb and they'd say, "Don't use that limb no more, we'd better get another limb for you because that one is getting weak." And so the older boys, sort of...
Bennett: They would sort of watch.
Jackson: Sort of watch. Our mothers never bothered with us. They just didn't call us or bother us, they knew we were down there playing - I guess they trusted in the Lord, and none of us ever got hurt.
Bennett: That's really very nice.
- Her parents' attitude toward their lives in the United States and work expectations; her mother's ship journey from Scotland with her older sisters; her uncles' attitude toward work and their returning to Ireland after briefly immigrating to Philadelphia; attitudes towards changing fashions and technologiesKeywords: attitudes toward new technologies; Emigration and immigration; Immigrants; Immigrants--Attitudes; Irish Americans; Irish immigrants; Irons (Pressing); living conditions; Pennsylvania Railroad (Corporate Name); Railroads--Employees; steerage; Work ethic; Work--Philosophy; Working class women; Working class--Attitudes; Working class--Social conditionsTranscript: Bennett: Would you say that your family, when they immigrated from Ireland, would you say that they got what they thought they were going to get when they came here? Were they satisfied with their life here?
Jackson: No, they had a hard time. Because when my father come out here, and the only work he could get was in Philadelphia unloading ships, and he loaded baskets of tomatoes. He got fifty cents a day and someone told him he could eat them tomatoes and my father tried to eat one day and he thought he was poisoned and he threw the tomato away, but in later years he loved them. And he got fifty cents a day and I think his board was two dollars a week, there in Philadelphia somewhere. And then he would do favors for other people if they needed to go up a tree - one time there was a cat up a tree, and my father went up a ladder to the top of the tree and got the cat down for somebody up there - I wasn't born then - and they give him fifty cents. And anywhere he could pick up a little extra why he got it. And he saved enough money to bring my mother and the two girls, that was Jenny McClaren and Margaret McClaren, out from Scotland, but they come out steerage and she had to take her own feather bed with her for them to sleep on, I'm taking you back 120 years ago.
And one part of the boat down in steerage, one half was for the cattle and then the other half was for the steerage people. And she was one month on the ocean, and my father met her. And then my father left there and came to Wilmington and went out to Lobdales, and he worked there and they gave him a dollar a day - or a dollar and ten cents, but he had to ride the train from Church Street down on the east side, he moved to Wilmington then, and that costs ten cents a day - five cents going and ten cents coming. And he had quite a hardship getting along, but they made out some way, somehow, then in later years someone told him about the DuPont's giving you a house - the houses were five dollars on Church Street a month, and that was high - and then they told him about the DuPont's giving a house and a piece of ground to it where he could get some food - make food. And so then he moved out to - he come out to Frank du Pont's up there across from Christ Church, and Frank du Pont looked him over and he says "We just need good Irish men like you in the powder yard." So he was sent to the powder yard working as a laborer for a while - $36.00 a month, and he did get the house and it was four dollars a month, as I told you.
And he made out pretty good there because my mother she was thrifty, she had to keep the store bill down to ten dollars a month, and when she went out to buy meat from the butcher, she would only allow herself two dollars a week for her ten people - no, eleven people, I guess. There was eight of us - well ten anyway, and she'd say, "Well, I'm not giving that butcher any more, I'm just taking two dollars out and I know I won't spend any more." So she spent two dollars a week and that was enough meat for the week. Beef kidneys were ten cents, or three for a quarter, scrapple was six cents a pound or less. And then he'd always throw in a big shin bone with plenty of meat on it; that was free. And to buy a beef heart, she could get the beef heart for about fifteen or seventeen cents. And a roast of beef would be very high, it would run around fifty cents, a roast of beef was high. Course she had to get about eight pounds or so. Then we had our chickens and our ducks, so we had plenty to eat, never lacked for plenty to eat.
Plenty of turnips, plenty of potatoes, plenty of tomatoes, we never were hungry. But none of us ever asked for anything more because we were so glad to see food on that table we were like locusts, we jumped.
Bennett: You ate it.
Jackson: There was no crumbs left to throw to the birds.
Bennett: Do you remember any people that went back, that didn't like it here? Went back to the old country?
Jackson: Oh yes.
Bennett: Do you know who went back - I mean I don't necessarily - but do you know why people went back?
Jackson: Yes, my father had two brothers come out afterwards and my father had the eight children and my mother and himself. And his two brothers come out and they went down to my father's other brother, James Braden on the east side and so he got them a job at the Pennsylvania Railroad painting. My Uncle James was boss painter for the Pennsylvania Railroad years ago. So he got these two, it was Robert and George, and he got them work down to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and there was others just like them, and they went a couple of days. And the third day or so, Uncle James went to call them. They said they weren't going to get up. He said, "You have to get up, and go to your work to hold your job." And they said, "No, you'll have to get us a job when we can go at ten o'clock in the morning because we don't like getting up early." So Uncle James said, "Well, if you're not going to get up and go to work, then get back to Ireland." So they didn't like getting up at six o'clock in the morning to go to work, they'd rather go in at ten, course we all - and so they said it was a hellava country - you had to get up at six o'clock to go to work, so they went back to Ireland.
But while they were here, my father one time took them down to a barbershop down on the east side and they wore caps, and my father heard an awful ruckus in the barbershop and he went back and he said, "What's the matter?" He said, "Well, these boys want their hair cut and they won't take their caps off." So my father had to tell them - so that's how dumb the Irish were. But many, many went back, because you had to get up too early and they weren't - my father said in Ireland, with these farms and all, they could lay until nine or ten o'clock and then they'd get up and have a good hearty breakfast then he said they put their hands in their pockets and walk around the farm a lot, and he said maybe they wouldn't do anything on the farm until late in the afternoon. That's why Ireland, and them countries are the way they are. My Father said they could be as good as this country if they all got up and worked and did what they should do. But they were more or less on the easy going way, didn't want to be bothered. But they raised plenty of potatoes, and onions and celery.
Bennett: You've answered my next question which was, what was your parents' attitude towards work? I just learned that, you got ahead of me there.
Jackson: My father was a good worker. My father got up at four and five o'clock in the morning. If they needed him at two o'clock in the morning, he'd get up out of the bed and go to the DuPont's.
Bennett: He had a personal satisfaction with his job, he was proud.
Jackson: He loved his family and he didn't want them to go hungry and he didn't want them to go without shoes. And shoes were 49 cents a pair, but before we wore them, my father took them over to the boiler house and he put a half sole on them - you could hear us coming clickety click from one end of the school to the other, but the shoes lasted us.
Bennett: Well then wouldn't you say that he was satisfied with what he found when he came to the United States?
Jackson: Very much.
Bennett: I would say so because he accomplished a lot and..
Jackson: Very much, he was very happy with - he said there was no country like America. He said the other countries could be just as good and all, but he said they don't have the technique and they don't want to learn and some's on the lazy side. Now I had friends come from England, and she said some of the houses over there, the water - they have the water coming into the house, but they have a bucket under the sink to catch the water and then they take that and throw it out. They don't go to the trouble to take the water and have it discharged somewhere else. And I knew that for a fact and that wasn't too many years ago, and they said when they get the water in, they're satisfied. Then the water, when it runs out, they have a bucket and they can throw it out. And they have some outhouses over there now because they don't have a lot plumbing. In some of the poorer places.
Bennett: Yeah, I think that...
Jackson: Not in the Castles.
Bennett: I think that's true. Would you say that the living conditions in the villages that you lived in was pretty good considering the times?
Jackson: Yes, we had clean beds to sleep in, our house was clean and we had good food. No luxuries, but we had plenty of it, enough to do us.
Bennett: But now overall as a village, wouldn't you say it was a nice area to live is what I mean?
Jackson: Yes, I think they all lived the same. They all prided in their homes and they kept their homes clean. That's all the old women years ago knew, they lived in a scrub bucket, scrubbing and cleaning.
Bennett: I guess that's true [laughs]...job description.
Jackson: Yeah, there was no vacuum cleaners, nothing like that. You had to - but when my mother used to sweep the parlor, that was the only room that had carpet on it, she used to take tea leaves out of the teapot and drain them a little bit and she'd throw them all over the carpet, and if she didn't have tea leaves, she took the bag of salt and threw a lot of salt around. That kept the dust down because you had to take the furniture out of the parlor, put it in the kitchen, while you swept the parlor and that kept the dust down and then when you got to the end of the parlor door, you had a dust pan or something there - fire shovel - and you lifted all that up and all the dirt and dust and all was there. And then your furniture, when you brought it in, all you had to do was take a rag and wipe it.
Bennett: All right - now you're ahead of me again because I'm going to ask you about inventions. How about when the vacuum cleaner was invented - did they like progress? Did she...
Jackson: She never had one.
Bennett: She never had one?
Jackson: She never had a washer.
Bennett: No, but I think - well, when did vacuums...
Jackson: They come after my...
[Unidentified woman]: They came in my era.
Bennett: The vacuum?
[Unidentified woman]: The water washer and the vacuum cleaner. They just started to come in when I was little.
Jackson: There was no electric up in Squirrel Run.
Bennett: That's true. How about a carpet sweeper, were there carpet sweepers?
Jackson: Well, we used to have them as carpet sweepers you could pick up here and there, then you emptied it.
Bennett: Did she enjoy - did your family enjoy progress - did they enjoy inventions? They would have adapted if they could have afforded it?
Jackson: Yes, and my mother used to look in books to see the styles in dresses that she could make for us children. She wanted...
Bennett: She kept up with the styles of the, yes.
Jackson: Not too much, just what we could afford - what material she had. She wouldn't go to extremes because she had to stretch the material out for everybody to get a dress.
Bennett: She wouldn't go high fashion.
Jackson: No, she wouldn't put a lot of ruffles and tucks and things like that.
Bennett: Can you remember inventions and what your family thought of them - I can't even think of anything at the moment.
[Unidentified woman]: Airplane, cars?
Jackson: My father, they were very much taken up with the trains, they thought they were wonderful things, the trains.
Bennett: They approved of trains?
Jackson: Oh, they thought that was the greatest invention ever come out, the train. And you could go up to Philadelphia then, I think, for thirty cents, on the train.
[Unidentified woman]: The iron - do you remember the old irons?
Jackson: We had the flat irons, we didn't have any...
[Unidentified woman]: No, I know, but that...
Bennett: You used just the flat irons?
Jackson: Flat irons, put them on the cook stove, they got hot.
Bennett: Did you have the kind with the separate handle that you would click on?
Jackson: No, no, the iron handle was on the iron, you had to have an iron holder to hold the iron - to take it up.
Bennett: You had a separate holder?
Jackson: Yeah, a cloth.
Bennett: Okay, but now there's two kind I've seen...
Jackson: I know...
Bennett: So the plain kind that you just used the entire iron?
Jackson: Charles' grandmother had it when she went to housekeeping. This handle, you pulled it up and put it down in the iron and then you picked it up. No, we didn't have that, no we had the solid kind - weighed a ton. But they pressed the goods all right.