Interview with Mary Braden Jackson, 1986 September 14 [audio](part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • Location of outhouses in Squirrel Run; window treatments and interior decorations of the Stewart house on Blacksmith Hill
    Keywords: Draperies; horsehair furniture; Interior decoration; Outbuildings; Outhouses; Picture frames and framing; Prints; Squirrel Run (Del. : Village); whitewashing; window treatments; Working class--Dwellings
    Transcript: Bennett: This is September 14, 1986, Mrs. Jackson, and it's nice to be with you and your family again.

    Jackson: It's been a pleasure being with you all this time.

    Bennett: Well, thank you. We got off on outhouses right away didn't we?

    Jackson: That's right.

    Bennett: And we were discussing the ones at Squirrel Run. You wanted - can you go through that again, describing how the - you shared with the...

    Jackson: Where the outhouse was?

    Bennett: Yes, would you mind?

    Jackson: Well, on the end of the Village of this row of houses, which was whitewashed, but made of that gray stone, they were whitewashed every year, my father and mother - the parents whitewashed them, you came - the front porch was to the front and your kitchen was next to the porch, in the front. And you come off of the porch down three wooden steps, everything was wood mostly, and you crossed a road. It was a wide road and it was just dirt road and it was stony, stone, big stone growing in it. And then the shed was right in front of you after you crossed the road, a great big whitewashed shed was there, and on the other side was the next neighbor's shed, that was Buchanan's. Then between the two sheds was a boardwalk of wide boards, two together, which was made very wide - I'd say this wide, and you walked down that boardwalk, there was a fence for the backyard, there was a little yard off of the porch, off of the shed, then there was a fence railing went down forming a yard, and at the end of that yard was a chicken house, but on the outside where the boardwalk was, we walked down the boardwalk and there was a shed on both sides, you walked down that boardwalk, and on the left side was the Braden's outhouse, and you went up just a little hill, two or three steps like, didn't sit level. And you went in there and the door opened in the front. Then on the other side, the right side, Buchanan's outhouse stood there facing our outhouse, and their door opened to the front. And when we'd be in our outhouse, if we wanted to talk to the Buchanan children in the other outhouse, they left their door open, we left our door open, and we talked face to face.

    Bennett: That's interesting. And the corner - who lived on the corner?

    Jackson: On the end, the corner house, the first house coming down the row was - and Kee's Hill was back of us and a big hill up there - Constano's, Joe Constano and his family. And Joe Constano, they come off of their porch, and then there was a little wooden walk in front of the porch, and they got off of that - instead of steps they had like a little walk there - they come off of that, they crossed this road, this rough road, and it was a rough road, a country road, and you crossed over it and at the other side was Constano's shed and then there was a little fence around the back of the yard there, there was a little yard there back of the shed, then there was a boardwalk, as you opened the gate there was a boardwalk - wide - two wide boards - you walked down that house and a little bit down past the shed, I'd say, oh I wouldn't know how to measure it, but a good ways down past the shed, Constano's outhouse stood there and the door opened to the front, just - it faced the gate. If anybody was coming in the gate, and the outhouse door was open, they could talk to them or say something to them.

    Bennett: That was at Squirrel Run.

    Jackson: That was Squirrel Run.

    Bennett: We've discussed on the telephone the Stewart house that you visited?

    Jackson: Yes.

    Bennett: Do you remember the lane that went down past the back door of the house, it was the kitchen door?

    Jackson: Well, what I remember about the house, the house stood there and it seemed there was quite a road or walk up on the side, the side of their house. Then on the side, the outhouse stood partly in the back, but you could see it from the side of the house, on the other side, and the door opened to the back of the house, but it opened front ways.

    Bennett: Was it on the side - it was a shed - I've seen the pictures of, like the chicken coops and so forth. Was it on that side over there?

    Jackson: It was on the other side, like of the chicken coops, not in the back, completely in the back, but not on the side, but you could see from the side and you could get out the back and it was there, but it opened from the front.

    Bennett: Do you remember anything else about how the Stewarts decorated their house - do you remember, for instance, did they have curtains that you might recall or...

    Jackson: In the kitchen they had the little half curtains that the women always made their selves, but the walls were thick and the windows were sort of set back that it was hard to get curtains there unless you put the curtains on the outside of the wall over the whole business like, down. That's the way we had it in our house and we had the little back room which we called the parlor with a horsehair, black horsehair furniture in it. And the windows were wide and you could get up and sit in the windows, or us children, we could lay in the windows they were so wide. The windows were about like this wide, the structure was so thick, well the windows set back in there like a shadowbox almost. Well, Mother had curtains, but how she got curtains, every time you bought something from Topkis, and that was like the Wilmington Dry Goods, why you got a coupon. And when you got five dollars worth of coupons, then Topkis would give you a pair of curtains. But then you had to save until you had another pair and they were like Irish - well they looked as nice and as good as the Irish curtains does today. They were rough, they were coarser, coarse, they weren't fine. And then Mother wanted the whole window covered and instead of trying to cut them down and put them back in where the panes of glass were, she put it - up on the wall on the outside and they hung down to the floor pretty near. But it covered the windowsill, if you can understand me - like that windowsill, you'd cover it like down.

    Bennett: All the way down, I see. At the Stewart house, do you remember if they had pictures on their walls?

    Jackson: Yes, in the kitchen, as a child, I noticed that there was pictures, but the pictures had a dark frame on them. They were small pictures, like maybe a picture of a dog or a dog with puppies, or something like that. I remember a dog with puppies and the frame was dark, it was a dark frame, either a dark brown - it wasn't black, it was more of a dark brown, but as the picture frame went over this way, it crossed and at each corner of the picture was a cross like this.

    Bennett: You mean like, let's see, how can we describe that?

    Jackson: I'll draw it - I can draw it for you.

    Bennett: I know, but we have to describe it for the tape recorder. Sort of like half of an X?

    Jackson: Yes, it was like an X at each corner.

    Bennett: Swastika almost, sort of part of a...

    Jackson: Yes, I remember one picture, it was a dog on it with puppies, I believe it was puppies or something like that. But I noticed the frame, I can remember that frame. We had one in our house like it, it was an X on each corner.

    Bennett: Did she have...

    Jackson: In the parlor, in the back room, which was supposed to be the sitting room - parlor - I remember the - you could get them with coupons, too - the large gilt frames like they used them in later years for shadowboxes, the pictures set back in the frame, and it was a heavy, gilt frame - wide - I'd say two or two and a half inches or maybe three inches - well it'd be that wide anyway, and the glass sit back in it, and they were mostly pictures of farms, of the cows or a barn, all country pictures. And we just thought they were beautiful. We had one in our house and it was a picture of a red barn and there was some cows going down from the barn to a stream of water and all grass around it. But it was the large, gilt frame around it. They were bought with coupons.

    Bennett: They're valuable now, those frames.

    Jackson: Yeah, they're using them now as shadowboxes.

    Bennett: Yes, they're very pretty. Is there anything else that you remember about the Stewart House? The way it was decorated - do you remember? Do you remember upstairs at all?

    Jackson: I have been upstairs running around, but I would just notice the beds up there, that they were high beds. The beds in them days, the headboard used to come up to the ceiling practically. A lot of people in later years cut them down and made it three-quarter.

    Bennett: There was two rooms up there - do you remember...

    Jackson: Well, from what as a child and going around them houses and in their house, they looked like real light oak bedroom suites and real heavy bureaus there, and the posts were real thick posts at the bottom of the beds.

    Bennett: Yes, I know what you mean, heavy posts.

    Jackson: Well built and good lookin'.

    Bennett: Do you remember a door going - you know that house is built sort of into the hill - do you remember a door upstairs in the second floor?

    Jackson: There was doors on the bedrooms, then it seemed to me there was a hall run between them two bedrooms and at the end of that hall was a door that you could open to go out. A door - it was a door, and I think it was a door that you could open, maybe there was back steps there, I don't know. A lot of them were built that way. Ours was built the same way. There was a bedroom on this side and there was a bedroom to the front and then there was a hall run to the back and at the back was a door and in the summertime you could open that door and there would be a breeze come through the house. They were warm houses in the wintertime, they were cool houses in the summertime.

    Bennett: It was thick stone.

    Jackson: We had no fans, there was no air conditioning, there was no heater. All you had was the cook stove in the kitchen, or sometimes some of them had little kerosene stoves that you could pick it up with a handle and carry it from room to room.

    Bennett: Yes.
  • Making diapers and baby clothes; typical routines for expecting and new mothers; christenings at Christ Church; swimming at Sandy Butt
    Keywords: Baptism; Breastfeeding; Children--Social life and customs; Christ Church Christiana Hundred (Wilmington, Del.); Diapers; Infants' clothing; Infants--Care; Midwives; Nicknames; Peoples Trolley; Pregnant women; Street-railroad tracks; Swimming
    Transcript: Bennett: Last time when I was here and we had just finished talking, I think, about weddings, so the next thing that comes up is the babies. Do you remember how the ladies prepared for children - did they make the clothes?

    Jackson: They made the diapers - started with the diapers and they had to make two or three, I don't know how many dozen of diapers, and the mothers would tell them what to do. They hemmed all the diapers and then they bought belly bands, they were something like this that they wrapped around the baby when it was born so its stomach wouldn't get big or get large or something - I don't know why, and the diapers and the belly bands come first. And then the grandmothers would knit the little socks or stockings for them to put on. And then they just kept them in a nightgown, but it was a long nightgown, when you got to the end of the baby - you never knew where the baby's feet, then, were, because the robe would go down maybe two feet or more longer - it would almost touch the ground. They had all long clothes.

    Bennett: Did they mostly nurse the babies or was there - do your remember baby bottles?

    Jackson: No, very seldom, I never remember a baby bottle. My oldest sister had three, well she had two out in Squirrel Run, that was this young man's father and brother - Ethel, don't do that, you're distracting me. And she had them home and old Mrs. Harney, an Irish lady, took care of her and she charged ten dollars to stay two weeks, and the mother never dared to get up out of bed until the ninth day. And she was mostly fed toast and tea. And the doctor, Dr. Joseph Wales, he was her doctor, he came, but then after a woman just had a baby, got up out of bed, the doctors ordered so much porter. I don't know, that's something like beer, but it's not beer, porter, and they drank porter for quite a while. But all nursed their own babies, and I never saw a baby bottle all the time I lived in Squirrel Run, I don't know of anybody that ever had a baby bottle. And if a neighbor had a baby, after she got up, if she had to go to town or go somewhere away for a few hours and would miss the baby's nursing time, if a couple of neighbors down the street or road had a baby, she would come up and nurse the baby and do for the baby cause it's mother couldn't be there. She would give her milk for somebody else's baby to take care of it while the mother was away.

    Bennett: That's the first time I heard that.

    Jackson: Yes. Charles' father was a baby, and the mother had to go in town to - I don't know, the bank or some business of some kind - and the trolley cars went off the track and it detained her from getting out of town. That was a good distance, it was a good half hour to go to town. And Mrs. McKluckus was three doors down, or two doors down, three doors down, and she had just had a baby girl and my mother was living - stepmother was living, and the baby was crying and carrying on so that she went down to Mrs. McKluckus and she said, no, she didn't take the baby down, cause Mrs. McKluckus came up and sat on the steps, I saw it. So she asked Mrs. McKluckus to come up and feed the baby because Jenney was detained, the trolley car was off the track. So Mrs. McKluckus come up and sat on the wooden steps of the front porch and she took the baby in her hands and she took her breast and the baby nursed there for quite a while. In fact, Mrs. McKluckus said he was so hungry he almost drained her of the milk. They all did that, any of them did. It the mother was away and couldn't get back to the baby, another mother in the neighborhood would feed the baby.

    [Unidentified man]: There was always one available.

    Bennett: That's right - yes, I'm sure there probably was.

    Jackson: As long as the cow's there, they can get the milk.

    Bennett: Was there a certain person that was known, sort of, as midwife? Is that the lady you mentioned?

    Jackson: Yes, Mrs. Harney, Dan Harney's wife. And she was an elderly lady, but she was good. That was her trade. And they mostly always got Mrs. Harney, then there was another woman lived in the Village and her name was Mrs. McDowell. And Mary McDowell, she had had a family of her own, but she was always avail - they engaged them a long time ahead of time and then when the time drew near they had them come. But they only charged them ten dollars and they stayed for two weeks and did the washing and ironing and took care of the baby and helped to feed the mother and carry the meals up and down stairs. They didn't dare get up until the ninth day. Now they get up on the second day.

    Bennett: Yes, times have really changed. Do you remember baptisms or christenings?

    Jackson: Sure.

    Bennett: Would you describe what you remember, please?

    Jackson: Well, up in Christ Church, the holy water, or the water they used for christening, was up in, not a vase, but something that was...

    Bennett: Font I think.

    Jackson: Yes, and after the service was over, then he read the baptismal in the prayer book and then all of us were in the back, they mostly kept the babies in the back of the church that was going to be christened, oh, there was always, maybe a half a dozen, more or less, and then when he called them up, they all marched up. And one at a time he baptized them and passed them on to their parents or godparents. But the godparents that stood for them mostly went to church before that and they took the baptismal vows, and there is vows.

    Bennett: After the christening or baptism, was there a special occasion like a party or a dinner, something like that?

    Jackson: Yes, yes, everybody that had a christening, then they always had a good dinner, some good dinner - maybe roast chickens or...

    Bennett: Made it special.

    Jackson: Made it special.

    Bennett: I'm wondering, do you think the traffic is getting into this?

    [Unidentified man]: I don't know, but I think her voice is overriding it. Want me to put this one down?

    Bennett: Okay. Why don't we open maybe one down there would be better for Mrs. Jackson also maybe.

    [Unidentified woman]: That was a draft coming right in on her back.

    Bennett: Let's open that one, maybe there.

    Jackson: That feels better.

    [Unidentified woman]: I don't want you to get arthritis in that shoulder.

    Jackson: If I'm talking too loud, you tell me, for I do talk loud.

    Bennett: Oh, no, you're doing just fine. But I was wondering about the traffic.

    [Unidentified woman]: Seemed to be getting louder, didn't it?

    Jackson: Yeah, I thought it was, too.

    Bennett: All of a sudden it's - I'd like to talk about your neighborhood. Did you have nicknames for certain places or things, like a particular tree or an area. Like in the Brandywine, I know they had a rock that they named "Big Rock". Okay, did you have anything at Squirrel Run that had sort of nicknames?

    Jackson: Well, we knew that it was Kee's Hill and we knew the trees and how large they were and we would say to each other, we're going to get some of our fathers to put a swing up on the big oak tree. Well, there was one tree that stood out up on Kee's Hill, it was large, and had the large limbs going out, and some of us would get our fathers - that's all the amusement we had - it was a wooden swing, you know, up on a rope, and we'd say we'll get them to put a swing up on the old oak tree - that big old oak tree up there. And then there was a large rock up the roadway between the end of Squirrel Run, between Constano's house and Hardwick's house, and Hardwick's house was way up at the end there by itself. And we would say, "Well, after supper you meet us up at that big rock," like the couch, there was a big rock up there and the front of it was this way. And then there was the other part of the rock come up back of it, and we called that the old rock couch.

    Bennett: Rock house, because it sort of looked...

    Jackson: Looked like a couch to us.

    Bennett: Okay - like a den so to speak or a...

    Jackson: And we could sit on it and we could lean back on that and sometimes we could put...

    Bennett: Or a sofa...

    Jackson: Yeah, like a sofa.

    Bennett: Okay, now I see what you mean. How about a swimming hole - what did you gals call that?

    Jackson: We called that Sandy Butt.

    Bennett: Sandy Butt.

    Jackson: That was up near, at the end of the meadows. And you went up the railroad track, or up above Hardwick's house up toward the meadows, there was a run, it was only about three feet deep, wasn't very deep because we could walk in around it, us children. One end of it was pretty deep, but the other end was about three feet that we used to stay in. And at the end of that, it seemed to taper off when it come to the end and it was all sand, an awful lot of sand at the end of it like, and that's what we called Sandy Butt. And the railroad track, or People's Trolley Line, run up in the meadows and run right past Sandy Butt. And there was trees all around there and we took our clothes off, we always had little old wrappers to put on, and we'd hang our clothes on the trees. There was a couple of willow trees there and the willow branches hung down low and we hung our clothes on that.

    Bennett: What did you wear as a bathing suit?

    Jackson: A little wrapper, little old dress.

    Bennett: That was your bathing suit?

    Jackson: That was our bathing suit. And then we'd take a bar of Orlene soap, or any kind of soap that we had up with us and we'd take our bath up in Sandy Butt, wash ourselves good, and Mother would give us an old towel and then when we'd get out, we'd stand up and dry ourselves off good and put our clean, put our clothes on.

    Bennett: Can you think of any other places that had kind of cute names?

    Jackson: Well, the houses that were down from - that was torn down - that was down from the Museum, they call that the Long Row - the Long Row - and I don't know.

    Bennett: Nothing, well I just...

    Jackson: Not that I know that was outstanding. Breck's Lane, they all had their names, there wasn't any...

    Bennett: They were the regular name.

    Jackson: No, there wasn't any nicknames.

    Bennett: Nothing as good as Sandy Butt.

    Jackson: And the road that went up past Mrs. Crowninshield and into Christ Church, that was called Buck Road, but I believe that is Buck Road.

    Bennett: But that was the road, yeah, that was nothing unusual, not a nickname as such.

    Jackson: No, I don't know of too many nicknames of the places.
  • Door locks and window shutters; Annie the peddler, the coal dump cart, and the fish peddler visiting Squirrel Run regularly
    Keywords: Carriages and carts; Coal--Transportation; Delivery of goods; Dwellings--Heating and ventilation; fishmongers; Locks and keys; Peddlers; Window shutters; Women sales personnel
    Transcript: Bennett: Did you have locks on the doors of your house?

    Jackson: Yes, we had a big black lock, it stood out - it was about this square, on the front door.

    Bennett: It's about at least a foot square, I guess.

    Jackson: Yes, well I'll tell you it's that anyway, it was good and square, you couldn't miss it. And then there was a long, oh, it was a real long old fashioned key that went into it, but half the time it never was locked.

    Bennett: That was going to be my next question. You didn't really use it - it was more decorative?

    Jackson: It was more decorative - I just don't think they ever bothered to lock the doors much then. And when father went out, why we'd go up to bed and the door was left unlocked, and that was the only door there was. And then the kitchen window, there was one shutter on that one wide shutter that the DuPont Company made and put on, and on the outside the little bolt was on the outside. There was no lock or nobody or anybody trying to get in. If you wanted to get in, you took the little bolt off and opened the shutter.

    Bennett: When did they use the shutter - what was the purpose?

    Jackson: In the wintertime.

    Bennett: To keep it...

    Jackson: Summertime we didn't bother.

    Bennett: It kept the house warmer?

    Jackson: Well, we thought it did, yes. And then...

    Bennett: So did it make it darker?

    Jackson: Huh?

    Bennett: Must have made it darker.

    Jackson: No, we had good lamps inside. We had two good lamps inside and it was nice and bright. And in the daytime we never shut it, and we had no shade on the...

    Bennett: It was just shut at night time then.

    Jackson: At night time.

    Bennett: I see, okay.

    Jackson: Or if Mother and Father were sitting there reading or something, sometimes they shut it that everybody passing by, but I don't think anybody paid any attention to them reading the paper either. But mostly in the wintertime. Then on the kitchen door there was a window like, I guess it was four panes, maybe six, they were small panes like this, six, and we had no shade on that and in the wintertime my father made some kind of a shutter that you put it on from the inside, we put it up against the window from the inside, and then there was two little hooks that hooked on, and that was on until morning. They thought that kept the house warm, too, maybe it did.

    Bennett: Well, more like a storm window, so to speak.

    Jackson: But it wasn't on the outside, it was on the inside. I always thought that was kind of strange, for I thought the cold air would come from the outside. In, I never thought the inside would have that much air to bother, but maybe it kept it out from the outside. It was their idea.

    Bennett: When you had visitors come, did they come to the front door or to the back door?

    Jackson: Oh they had to come to the front door because the back door was partly up Kee's Hill. Our back door...

    Bennett: It would be inconvenient?

    Jackson: Inconvenient. And then we had a fence all around the back. Everybody had their yard in the back and nobody could get up the back. They had to get in the house and out the back door upstairs to get out. And then of course us kids, we could jump up on the wall and get over the fence and go up over the hill and woods. It didn't bother us none, but company never went up there and jumped over the wall.

    Bennett: No, no.

    Jackson: No, they come in the front door. And the front - the kitchen and dining room combined it was, was in the front. And they could see when the wagons come up - the butcher wagon or the ice wagon or any wagon - the fish man, no matter who come up, Mother never missed them because she was at the front window in the kitchen cooking and she could see what was on the road.

    Bennett: And they would all come to the front door - the peddlers, would they come to the front door?

    Jackson: Yes, peddlers come to the front door. Come up to the porch, sit down, open up all their wares.

    Bennett: Can you remember what, maybe, a salesman or a peddler might have brought as his wares?

    Jackson: Yes, there was one woman come up there, we called her - her name was Annie, Annie the Jew, and she had everything from shoe laces up to pearls, string of pearls, something like - they were imitation - and she'd put all the beads and things out - of course the kids loved the beads and things, but they didn't often buy them for them. Then there'd be different pieces of like woolen material and maybe some cambric or some lawn, things like that, just in pieces, and she'd put all these pieces of goods out. And they used to wear fancy little lace - they called them Dutch collars - little collars that went around them, the mothers, grown people, and she maybe had a half dozen of these little collars, and she'd put them out. And there'd be an assortment of anything from needles to dresses, material. Nothin' was made up.

    Bennett: Did she have a wagon and a horse?

    Jackson: No, she carried it in a great big suitcase and strapped to her back, and had the straps over here and she held the straps this way. And it was a big, square suitcase and it was about this big.

    Bennett: That's twenty inches's a pretty big suitcase.

    Jackson: It was the size of a suitcase, but it was an extra deep suitcase because the top had like a shelf on it and a top went over the suitcase and down - over it. It didn't just be a lid, it had an opening to go down over it. Like take this, I had something that went right down over that.

    Bennett: A cover.

    Jackson: A cover, but it was leather. She was a pretty strong woman.

    Bennett: Yes, and then she carried this with the two straps over her shoulders.

    Jackson: She had it strapped on her back someway and she had two straps in the front and she had her hands on it like this, holding it down.

    Bennett: Were there men peddlers as well as women?

    Jackson: Oh, yes, men peddlers used to come around with pieces of carpet, or a little, small rug. Little rugs and things like that, and then if you wanted a bigger rug, you could order it from them. Miller brothers started out that way, one of the Miller brothers years and years ago started out carrying around pieces of carpet, or maybe little small rugs like this that you throw anywhere you want, in front of a chair or something like that.

    Bennett: Samples.

    Jackson: Yes, samples. And if you wanted a larger rug, or you wanted to order some carpet for your parlor or something like that, he'd take your order and they'd bring it out - horse and wagon.

    Bennett: Do you remember the coal man?

    Jackson: Well the coal come from the DuPont Powder Yard and we mostly got our - all of them got their coal through DuPont's, it was cheap, and the wagon from the powder yard - not trucks, but I'd say dump carts. The dump carts would bring the coal up and empty it in the coal bin.

    Bennett: Where was your coal bin?

    Jackson: Right alongside of the shed. Our coal bin was between our shed and Mr. Constano's shed. One shed was here and the other shed here and the coal bin was in there.

    Bennett: Out front?

    Jackson: Out front across the road.

    Bennett: Sort of like a wheelbarrow would you say is the way the coal came?

    Jackson: In a wheelbarrow?

    Bennett: Like a wheelbarrow?

    Jackson: No, it was a horse, maybe two horses. It was a dump cart. Don't you know what a dump cart is? A dump cart. It's a wagon, a crude lookin' wagon, not a great big wagon, and it can go up on the edge a little bit and then you turn it down into the coal bin.

    Bennett: Yes, now I know what you mean.

    Jackson: We called them - I don't know what their names way - a dump cart. What, Charles...

    [Unidentified man]: Yeah, that'd be a dump cart. This just tilts, that's all.

    Bennett: I have to learn, you know.

    Jackson: That's all right, dear [crosstalk]. That's what we called them.

    Bennett: Well, it makes sense, now that I picture one on a train. They had that - yes.

    Jackson: And Bancroft Mills, they had these dump carts and they used to go around and clean the yards up and things like that. But it was like one horse, sometimes there was two, but when they come to a certain place to dump the dump cart went up like this and then stuff would fall out of it.

    Bennett: Do you remember a fish peddler?

    Jackson: Yes, indeed, I remember them, and twenty cats after them. The fish peddler used to run through - he blew a horn. That's what they used to call it, used to buy fish horns in the ten cents store. Well, they used to call them fish horns. And every Christmas our house had to have two of these fish horns in it, and his father and the other brother, I'm telling you, there wasn't a dull moment with them fish horns, but it wasn't Christmas if it wasn't those horns. They were decorated pretty, yeah, and he'd come up and he kept blowing his horn, and he stopped at certain places. Like, say, he stopped in front of Beacom's, well then all the neighbors below that come up and then the neighbors, my Mother and them, come down the road and they all lined up back of the wagon, and there was about fifteen cats lined underneath the wagon, 'cause they got the heads and tails and whatever, and he had all kinds of fish in there, and they bought whatever they wanted. And I think fish was about - oh, six cents a pound, four cents a pound.

    Bennett: Did he come on a certain day?

    Jackson: Mostly on Friday or Thursday, sometimes he'd come on a Wednesday. During Lent they used to come Wednesday and Friday - Lent. For some people, you know, didn't eat meat during Lent.

    Bennett: Was it a - did it develop into a fish business in Wilmington, do you know?

    Jackson: I don't know...

    Bennett: You don't remember - didn't know the man.

    Jackson: Another place they used to get fish, mostly on a Sunday morning, down at the wharf, down on the East Side of the Delaware River, there used to be men go out and get fish and my Father went down many a time - a lot of the neighbors went down on a Sunday morning, and took a bushel bag with them, and they could get two nice shad, Delaware shad. Sometimes it was seventy-five cents, sometimes it went a dollar, sometimes it got small, it's two for fifty cents. And he'd bring them home and they'd be all cleaned and my Mother would stuff them, we always stuffed the shads, course they went further and we had more food for the children. And she would stuff those two shad and bake them, and by one o'clock or half past we would have - on a Sunday - a fish dinner, they were good.
  • Picking apples in local orchards; the scissor grinder, ice delivery man, and peddlers selling pantry items; her parents reading the newspaper and her mother sending clippings to Ireland; multiple barn fires in 1906; differentiating Catholics and Protestants by the newspapers they read
    Keywords: apple dumplings; apple picking; Baking--Equipment and supplies; Delivery of goods; Diamond Bridge; Evening Journal; Every Evening; Helen Walker; ice chest; Newspapers; peddlers; Royal Tea and Coffee Company; scissor grinder; serial novels
    Transcript: Bennett: Was there a fruit peddler - do you remember anybody that would bring fruit?

    Jackson: Well, the children used to go out and get their own fruit, and bring fruit home, because we used to walk through Greenville and up through Montchanin and them places and there was, them days there was a lot of orchards. And right up back of Barney Hunter's store, and that was right up at the end of Wagoner's Row, Jim Ball had a big orchard and they allowed the children to come in there and pick all the apples they wanted off the ground. And we used to go and Mother used to give us - we were taught not to steal, but when we went out for a walk, Mother would always give us a flour bag and say, "Now if you come near an orchard, your pick up whatever apples you can and bring them home to me, I'll make applesauce and apple pies." And which we did. And she used to make apple dumplings, I don't know how she fixed the apples, and she'd roll it in dough and put them in a bag of some kind, canvas, and then she'd put them in a pot of boiling water. And that was our meal, and then when they were lifted out, she had a big pitcher of cold milk, and the milk then had cream in it, but it don't today. And we made a meal on that.

    Bennett: Do you remember a scissor grinder?

    Jackson: Yes, a scissor grinder come 'round and he used to grind the scissors, but he didn't get much trade because the parents used to take their scissors and knives over to the powder yard and they had these grinding stones and things like that and they could sharpen most everything they wanted. My father had a big sickle and he used to take his sickle over there and sharpen it. What they could do for themselves, even if it was ten cents, they saved ten cents by doing it for themselves.

    Bennett: How about the ice man?

    Jackson: Yes, there was an ice man come around. And there wasn't a refrigerator or anything, but we had a large, oak chest and you lifted the lid up, then there was a small lid you lifted, and then you could get in. And there was these galvanized trays in there, and they were hard to keep clean, they would get greasy and thick - I guess you call them galvanized, don't you? They collect the grease terribly, or dirt, and these little shelves - there was like three down this side and three down this side and then in the middle you put tall things, like a quart of milk, or a half gallon of milk, and the ice, it was only ten cents, but you'd get half a block - half of a whole block. And he'd bring that in and he could put that whole half a block in the bottom of your chest. Then you put these trays over it and you put your little things on the side, but if you had a big bowl of soup or something, you could put it down in the middle on the ice, and then on the side where it was high, you could put your half gallon of milk or jars of things that would stand up. And then this lid came down first, then the great, big heavy lid come down. Us children couldn't hardly lift that top lid it was so heavy, it was solid oak.

    Bennett: How often did he come?

    Jackson: I believe he only come once in a week. He could have come twice, but I remember he used to come toward the weekend, 'cause we always had plenty of ice over the weekend.

    Bennett: Do you remember those cards that - I remember that my mother would put in the window, it said, "25" or "50" and they would bring that many pounds of ice for you?

    Jackson: No, in earlier...

    Bennett: That probably was later on.

    Jackson: Yeah, that was later on. In earlier that ice man knew where ice was needed and he would holler up to the porch or the door, and he'd say, "I have ice here. Are you ready for it?" And Mother would say, "Yes, bring me half a block in." Of ice.

    Bennett: He would bring it in a wagon?

    Jackson: Oh, yeah, with horses, maybe two horses to it. Great big solid blocks of ice, but he had to - he had tongs or he could carry them with or he had a thing he could chop it up or split. He used to be able to split that thing right in half, even.

    Bennett: There was a trick to it, I'm sure.

    Jackson: Yeah, well I think there was a ridge in between or something.

    Bennett: Do you remember any other vendors that would come through?

    Jackson: Yes, there was a man used to come around selling baking soda and all kinds of baking powder, and all kinds of spices and things like that. And then there was a tea man and a coffee man come around selling tea and coffee. And every time you bought something, you got a coupon. And it was great in them days, you used to always save your coupons and you could get something for - oh, like ten dollars worth or five dollars worth, you could get a carving knife or get a large fork, or a big spoon, batting spoon to make things with.

    Bennett: Do you remember the name of the companies or the brands?

    Jackson: I used to know - yeah, I used to know the tea...

    Bennett: I think Watkins is too new, that's the only one of the spices, I remember that.

    Jackson: It wasn't Watkins - it was something like Royal...

    Bennett: Like the...

    Jackson: The Royal Tea and Coffee Company, something like that.

    Bennett: Okay, something like that. Did your parents read the newspaper...

    Jackson: Oh, yes.

    Bennett: And magazines?

    Jackson: They didn't read magazines, but they read the newspaper. The newspaper was one cent, or two cents. A good paper, too. And Mother and Father, they never stopped. Mother would - Father would read the paper first, and he'd mostly tell Mother the news that was in it, but then after Father laid down on the settee to rest a little bit, then Mother would get the newspaper, then she'd go all over it again and read it. And if there was anything that she thought was special, she would cut it out and the next letter she wrote to Ireland, she'd send some news of this country out of the newspaper for them to read over there.

    Bennett: What type of news would she usually send, do you know?

    Jackson: Well, one time all the barns burnt down and she cut all that out, and now the people of Ireland didn't know there was any barns out here, but she sent all that news about the barns burning down. There was DuPont barns and my cousin's barns in [Bryn Mawr?] burnt down and she sent all that over to Ireland. Then if there was any neighbor that died that might have lived in Ireland sometime or other, she'd always cut their death out and send that over to them. They never missed knowing who died in America.

    But you know there was one time that the DuPont barns was burnt down and Bob Blakeley's barn was burnt down out of spite work, and my cousin was a meat man, Jim Braden, and he kept his horses and wagon across the Diamond Bridge, in the stable there, and seemed as though there was two men was fired from the DuPont Company, I think they were both carpenters. One was named Burns, Alec Burns, and I don't remember whether it was Billy Stewart or what the other one was, but I know that Alec Burns was one, and they were carpenters, and they had been fired. I think they come in the Yard with drink on them or something like that - I was quite little at the time, four or five - and one night, it was in 1906, because Charles' grandmother just came from Canada in 1906, and we were all there and the barn went on fire and Bob Blakeley had a horse and carriage in there and all the men run with bucket brigade to get from the run, the water from the run, and they were trying to put out Bob Blakeley's barn when Jim Braden's was right up, about a square up over across the Diamond Bridge, and then Jim Braden's barn went on fire, and then half of them left and went to Jim Braden's barn and they carried water there, but it didn't amount to anything. But they did get their horses and carriages out and a lot of their leather goods and things like that, but all their food and stuff for the horses was destroyed. Well, when them two got burning real good, DuPont barns was up in Wagoner's Row, up in a field up there across from Wagoner's Row, the DuPont barns where they kept the horses and the wagons that they used to use, the barns and all. And then somebody said, "The DuPont barns have gone." So then - course they had the Wagoner's Row men, and the Greenville men and most all them, then they come and tried to put the barns out, the fire out in the barns there. And oh, that was a great talk. But all them barns burnt down, DuPont's barns burnt down. I don't know how many it was, two or three, I'm not sure, but Jim Braden had a big barn and Bob Blakeley's barn, and they all burnt to the ground. But the du Ponts built them up later.

    [Unidentified man]: How did you get your newspaper?

    Jackson: They come out to the top of Rising Sun, and then the Lundy boys were head of it, they would get the newspapers and then they had the boys and girls deliver them. The boys and girls would go up there and they'd give them so many papers. And one little girl, it was Helen Walker, she had all of Squirrel Run, she had all Upper Banks, and she had all of Wagoner's Row, she had all them, and she made a dollar and a half a week. She had over a hundred - more than a hundred papers to deliver.

    Bennett: That would take her quite a while.

    Jackson: Well, she did it every evening. Oh, she used to have some of the other little girls go with her and help her.

    Bennett: Oh, okay, I see - she had a business then.

    Jackson: Yeah, when one was doing this side of Squirrel Run, the other girl was doing the other side of Squirrel Run.

    [Unidentified man]: Did the people pay the girl, or did they pay Lundy?

    Jackson: Pay the girl. I think it was one cent, or two cents, I don't think it was over two cents.

    Bennett: So they didn't subscribe, like by the year, like you would a magazine, for the newspaper?

    Jackson: No, if somebody wasn't getting a paper, they'd go call this little girl, Helen, she was up there. And her brother, Tommy Walker, and he was head of the records there in Breck's Lane, but he was killed on the rail - highway. And his father was killed in the powder, James Walker. They would, "You just tell Helen. Helen, Mrs. So and So says leave her a paper." That's all the way you ordered.

    Bennett: What was the name of the paper, so you recall?

    Jackson: Evening Journal.

    Bennett: It was the Evening Journal then.

    Jackson: And there was two - there was the Evening Journal and the Every Evening. Then they consolidated. Now, all the Protestants took the Evening Journal, this is how we knew religion. And then the other side, the Catholics all took the Every Evening. Us kids would say, "Oh, they're Catholics, they're getting the Every Evening." "No, so and so is Protestant, they're getting the Evening Journal." Five and six years of age, that's how we designated the religion.

    Bennett: Was the owner Catholic or Protestant of the different papers?

    Jackson: No, no, we never knew that. No, I don't know why, why the distinction was made.

    [Unidentified man]: Probably more politics than anything.

    Jackson: It was politics. And you know when politics - the Republicans and the Democrats, we children would say, "Well they won't vote for Teddy Roosevelt because they're Catholics." We thought the Protestants were Republicans and all the Catholics voted Democrat. And there was a good bit to that too, but that was eighty years ago.

    Bennett: Things haven't changed too much.

    Jackson: No, but that's how the children designated it and that was the difference of the paper, the Every Evening and the Evening Journal - the Protestants took the Evening Journal, as a rule, and the Catholics took the Every Evening. And us children - if I would be with, like Helen Walker and go around delivering the papers, and I'd say, "Helen, you'd better give me the Every Evening because I'll be going past them Catholic houses up there and I have to give them the Every Evening." We just took that, that that was the way life went.

    Bennett: But you had no magazines?

    Jackson: I don't remember any magazines. The only magazines I remember in later years was the Ladies Home Journal.

    Bennett: Did your Mother subscribe to that?

    Jackson: No, she didn't. She read the church papers and they read the Bible. I never saw a magazine in the house. There used to be a man come around that used to sell novels, and boy, he had it made. And the funny thing was, the neighbors never woke up to it. He'd sell two of these little tiny thin magazines - oh, some love story or something - three for a quarter, but he'd sell every house this, see. Instead of them getting wise and saying, "Well, I'll get the magazines this week, and when you get them next week, I'll read them." But they all took the magazines every week, and the next week they all took the magazines, and I often thought in later years, why didn't they get wise and one say to the other, "You pay for the magazines this week, and then when we get the ones out next week with more of the story, we'll trade." But it seemed they never did, but that man was wise to it, he knew he was - he would say to them, "You'll have your own magazines, you don't have to depend on anybody. And it's a nice thing to be independent." But he was selling them twenty-five cents worth of magazines.

    Bennett: So this was more or less stories.

    Jackson: Stories, love stories and novels, like that. They didn't get much time to read, but once in a while, I guess that relaxed them a little bit to read something different.
  • Local nicknames including Bess Beacom the "Ball Player; " pulling taffy and making other homemade candy; going to the Wilmington Savings Fund to cash checks; Jack Connell's barbershop
    Keywords: Albert Buchanan; Banks and banking; Barbershops; baseball players; Elizabeth Beacom; fudge; games; Haircutting; hard candy; Shaving mugs; taffy pulling; tongue-tied
    Transcript: Bennett: Okay, how about nicknames for people. Do you remember any nicknames or how people got nicknames?

    Jackson: Well, now there was Mr. Buchanan lived on Breck's Lane and his right name was Albert, and they called him Yabba.

    Bennett: Y-A-B-B...

    Jackson: Y-A-B-B-A.

    Bennett: Do you know why?

    Jackson: No, I never knew why. He stuttered a little bit, it was a little bit - talked thick or something, it might have been that. Maybe he didn't - he never had any teeth, up or down, and I think maybe he stuttered over a name or something and maybe before he said a name, he might say, "Yab, yab yab," or something like that and they got it from that. That's the only thing I can...

    Bennett: That sounds like a real good reason.

    Jackson: Yeah. And Ned Edler, 'course he couldn't talk much at all, but he'd make you understand what he wanted. He was the one that worked for Sam Frizzell up in the store.

    Bennett: And you called the mute.

    Jackson: Yes. I wouldn't say he was a mute, he knew, he knew everybody and he could wave to each other and all like that. He was tongue-tied and it could have been fixed now, but years ago they didn't look into that kind of thing. He was tongue-tied, and I heard in years later, if these cords had been cut down back through his throat, Ned Edler could have talked as good as anybody else, but of course they didn't have the doctors then and people didn't have the money.

    Bennett: How about your friends, did any of them have unusual nicknames?

    Jackson: Well, Helen Walker, we used to call Red, because she had red hair. What was it we used to call Bess Beacom? Oh, we used to call Bess Beacom the Ball Player because she always had the bat and ball and she had to be the pitcher or she wouldn't play, let us play, and she wouldn't play, and later years, oh it was a lot later years when the balls - we used to always say later years she was our Babe Ruth - Bess Beacom. When we'd see her coming up to church, well here comes Babe Ruth. We called her Babe Ruth.

    Bennett: Did you have a - you gals have a baseball team?

    Jackson: Oh, yes.

    Bennett: What was it named?

    Jackson: It wasn't any name, it was just our team, but we let the boys play. We wouldn't let them pitch too much, they could be on the outside, but the girls were always the batters, we were the batters. We'd let them pitch or we'd let them be catcher, something like that, but we didn't often let them up to be in the batter's game. Bess was a batter and I was a batter.

    Bennett: Okay, was there any trouble between the boys and the gals when you played or were they happy to have the girls to play with?

    Jackson: Yes, we fought with each other a lot of times, we chased them home and wouldn't let them play with us. We'd be all back together again the next day. Yeah, we had our ups and downs with them. They tried to take over but Bess Beacom and I and a couple of others, we defied them and let them know that we were boss, too.

    Bennett: Well, you gals had to be good at it.

    Jackson: Yeah, we were.

    Bennett: Or if they weren't, the guys wouldn't have played with you.

    Jackson: Bess was a good batter, she could bat the ball halfway up the Village. Now we didn't mind them running after it and being the catcher and all like that, but we didn't let them get up to the batting box very often. And Mr. Beacom, old Mr. Beacom, oh, he loved children. He used to sit on the high steps and watch us and if Bess missed, he'd say, "Bessie, you missed that." and she'd say, "No, pop, the bat slipped." Bess never made a mistake. But we had fun, we made our own fun, we had to. We didn't have no games to play, not bought games, we had to make our own. We went swimming, we played ball, we skated on the ice, we played jacks and on a winter's night we'd go into Beacom's or some other house and play Parcheesi, Old Maids, Checkers, anything, but we always had to come home at eight o'clock.

    Bennett: Did you ever do, like taffy pullings and that type of thing?

    Jackson: Oh, yeah. [Pause while tape is switched]

    Bennett: Any more nicknames?

    Jackson: Well, like Albert would be called Bert.

    Bennett: But that's not a funny name.

    Jackson: That's not a funny name, no, I don't remember too many funny names given out. I was going to tell you about the candy, we seldom every go, had any bought candy, very seldom, maybe once in a month if Mother went in town to cash the check, she might bring home some peppermints or some lozenges or something like that. But I had a sister, Isabelle, and she was pretty good at making candy and Mother always had plenty of molasses in so she used to make the molasses candy, and when it cooled off a little bit, we would all start pulling it and making taffy out of it. And while it was dark brown when it came out of the pan and was on the plate, but after we started pulling it, we could pull that as white as snow, the taffy, and it was taffy. And she made it a lot. And she was good at making fudge, and sometimes Mother made it. That's all they got - maybe once in a week or every two weeks maybe Mother would make a pan of - and we had walnuts, and we had walnuts and put in the candy. And when Mother paid the store at Blakeley's, he always give her a bag of candy, now the store would be eight dollars, maybe ten at the most, couldn't go over ten, and then he would give her a bag of candy, but he would give her a good, full bag of candy and then we had a ball with the bag of candy. That was given to her for paying the bill.

    [Unidentified man]: Didn't they have a bank out that way, or couldn't you cash the check at the store?

    Jackson: Well, you could at the store. Yeah, a DuPont check, but you couldn't cash any other kind of a check. I don't think anybody had a checking account.

    Bennett: I think the ladies, sometimes, used it as an excuse to go in town.

    Jackson: Oh, they were glad to get a day to go to town.

    Bennett: Yes, this is really what it was, I think.

    Jackson: And at that time, I believe, the only bank that was in there, if I remember right, was the Savings Fund, and it's still there, the Savings Fund. And they wouldn't have a bank book anywhere else but in the Saving Fund. That's eighty years or eighty-five years ago.

    Bennett: Yes.

    Jackson: That's all that I heard, the Savings Fund. And they all had a bank book even though there wasn't much on it, and when they cashed the check they sometimes put two dollars on the bank book. So I don't know if any of them become millionaires or not, but that's what was put on the bank. And my father used to crow about it and so did Mr. Constano and Mr. Buchanan. They said, "Well, thank God we have our bank book." But I wonder if there was fifteen dollars on it sometimes, I don't know.

    Bennett: Well, that fifteen dollars would go a lot further than today.

    Jackson: That was something. That's right, it was a big difference.

    Bennett: Where did everybody go for a haircut - let's say, the men, where did they go?

    Jackson: Well down along the Long Row and the main street where Dick Cavanna's store was and the Redman's Hall was down there, there was a barber shop at the end, Jack Connell run it for years and years. It was either Connell or Conly, I don't know, I think it was Connell. What's Jackie's people's name - grandparents?

    [Unidentified man]: Oh yeah, her mother's name was Connell I think.

    Jackson: Connell, Jack Connell, and he was a handsome looking guy, he married a girl along the creek there. And he had it, and if you were a steady customer, it was twenty-five cents for a haircut and a shave, I think it was fifteen cents before that, then I think it was raised, and if you were a steady customer, Jack supplied you with your own shaving mug and had your name on it. And anybody went into that barber shop, would look around to see who had earned a cup, and we used to read all the names, us kids used to go in and read all the names of who had a shaving cup in there.
  • Women's and girls' hairstyles and using rusty nail water to eliminate gray hair; women wearing hats, gloves, and shawls
    Keywords: "frizzy hair"; "hussy"; barrettes; Dress accessories; gloves; hair bows; hair plaits; Hair--Dyeing and bleaching; hairpins; spit curls; Tortoiseshell combs; wool shawls
    Transcript: Bennett: How about the ladies, where would they get a haircut, if they had their hair cut?

    Jackson: They never had none cut that I knew of. There was no beauty parlors, no place to go. One neighbor would cut the other neighbor's hair if it was straggly or they wanted something done. And then they had these kid curlers and when you washed your hair, then another neighbor would put them up in kid curlers you wore around for a day and a night. I don't know how they slept, but they had them on, then they had curls. Then sometimes us young girls growing up, the mothers used to say to us, "Take a cup of coffee and put a lot of sugar in it, get it real thick with sugar, and when you plait your hair, plait a lot of little plaits in your hair, and wet your hair with this sugar and coffee, and then when you let it out the next day, you had frizzy hair. So you did, your hair would be that frizzy you couldn't hardly come in the front door, but you thought you were dressed.

    Bennett: So it was - that's how you curled?

    Jackson: That's how we got frizzy hair - they didn't call it curled, they called it frizzy hair. And they said, "My, she's got a lot of nice frizzy hair." And we called it frizzy hair. And Mrs. Beacom, she made spitty curls, and she had real black hair and she had a lot of hair. And how she did it, I'm not sure, but it seems as though she put her hair back, then she'd pull her hair down here so long, and she would...

    Bennett: On her face?

    Jackson: Yeah, and she'd have sugar and water and pat it with it, and she'd have them all over. They called that spit curls, but she always had them, and she was a nice looking woman too, Bess' mother was nice looking.

    Bennett: Did she keep them, like tight to her head or did she comb them to make them soft?

    Jackson: Yes, plastered right to the forehead, right in front.

    Bennett: Okay (laughs).

    Jackson: Didn't stick out at all.

    Bennett: Were you aware of anybody dyeing their hair?

    Jackson: Well, if you dyed your hair, you were a hussy, and it seems to me somebody told our family or someone about somebody up on the Rising Sun, I don't know whether it was Louisa McVey or some of those girls, they dyed their hair red, and she was looked down on. Whether she did any wrong or not, nobody knew, but she was looked down on because she dyed her hair. That's the only one I knew dyed their hair.

    Bennett: How about permanents?

    Jackson: Never heard tell of them, no permanents. But the women that had black hair and wanted to keep their hair black, from getting gray, they used to put nails in a jar of water and leave them in there until all that rust and everything fell in it, then they used to sprinkle this on their hair and they said that kept it black, rusty nail water.

    Bennett: Rusty nail water blackened your hair, I don't know why they didn't use stove black. It would have been easier.

    Jackson: Well, that's all I ever heard. Because I often heard my mother...

    [Unidentified man]: ...superstition.

    Jackson: I heard my mother say many times, she'd say, "That woman, her hair wouldn't be black if she wasn't using that nail water she's using." And that's what it was, you'd put nails into a jar of water and the nails got rusty and the water got rusty, reddish and brownish, and they were supposed to use...

    Bennett: Okay, if you were reddish or brownish, if you had that color hair, it sort of would...

    Jackson: Whatever turned out, that's what you were.

    Bennett: Would - was there some people, let's say, had a fancier hairdo that were looked down upon?

    Jackson: No, a hairdo come out, everybody picked it up. When the figure eights come out, all the young girls, and everybody had hair, we all had plenty of hair, we'd make a figure eight.

    Bennett: What's that?

    Jackson: A figure eight, you'd make an eight on the back of your hair, you'd twist your hair around, and when you lift your hair, there's a figure eight back there.

    [Unidentified man]: Oh, the knots back there.

    Bennett: Oh, a knot, okay, okay.

    Jackson: Instead of making a knot, you'd twist your hair this way, and there was an eight.

    Bennett: Twist it so that it - okay.

    Jackson: And then you had the big bone hairpins and the larger the hairpins were, and the shinier they were, they were brown or gray or red, whatever you wanted to use, or black, you used them. Then you used side combs, yes side combs, or a back comb, and the back combs always stood up high like a shawl - they used to call them tortoise - and the little tiny rhinestones, they'd look like diamonds, and on the dance floor you had to have one of them combs in your hair to make believe you had diamonds up there in your hair. Then also a little later come out barrettes, I see they're coming out again, barrettes. Now barrettes was a piece of, well just like hairpins, and it come across like this and then there was a slit underneath where this went in and you would take all the ends of the little hairs that hung down in the back, or hung around here like, you'd gather them up and then you slip this thing through it and it held them up high until they grew up to be an inch of hair, you wouldn't have no little ends, you shouldn't have any little ends hanging down, so you wore barrettes later. But the side combs and the tortoise combs were great. And the young girls when they were flipping around, about sixteen and eighteen, they always wore a bow in their hair, a satin bow - pink, white - Charles' grandmother always wore bows, and the night she was married she had two white satin bows, one on the side here and one in the back somewhere, under her veil. Then when she took the veil off, she had these...

    Bennett: I think of those big bows as being for younger children.

    Jackson: She was about eighteen or nineteen when she was married.

    Bennett: No, no, I mean I think of little girls, you know, with long curls and the big bows. I don't think of the ladies.

    Jackson: Oh, no, the...

    Bennett: Were the bows instead of hats, would it be the same idea as a hat?

    Jackson: No - yes, but in a way they were, and in another way they didn't go anywhere without a hat - you weren't a lady if you went out without a hat and gloves.

    Bennett: I do remember pictures now that you say that.

    Jackson: Yes, yes, but the bows were there when they went any place and took the hat off, they had the bow in their hair. And they wore - no matter hot it was, you wore long white gloves - thin gloves - never went out without a glove, you weren't dressed if you didn't have a hat and gloves on. You weren't a lady. And you never wore a sweater downtown, or a sweater anywhere, if the people would see - you could wear a sweater around the house or to the shed or something like that, but very few people - they had shawls, little light shawls, the older people like, they had shawls - gray shawls and things that they would crochet out of yarn themselves.

    Bennett: Rather than a sweater.

    Jackson: If they went down to the post office, and that was down to Cavanas, why along the creek it was a little chilly, they'd have a little shawl. My Mother had a gray shawl, but her gray shawl she could put up on her head and bring it down and come down to her knees. She brought it from Ireland.

    Bennett: What was it mohair or wool?

    Jackson: It was wool, gray wool in a stripe like. Part of it was light and part of it was dark, very good looking. But she was dressed in that shawl. But she wouldn't go in town with it, but she'd go down through the Village.

    Bennett: Oh, yeah, sure.

    Jackson: Shawls were great back in them days.
  • Furniture and cupboards in the kitchen; wash tubs and laundry; children and adults telling ghost stories; local superstitions; her Christian upbringing
    Keywords: Bible stories; clothes props; Clotheslines; Ghost stories; Girls--Conduct of life; Harvest Home stove; Irons (Pressing); Ivory soap; Laundry; Phonograph; RCA-Victor Company, inc.; sad irons; Seating (Furniture); settees; superstitions; wash tubs; Willie McDowell; Working class--Religious life
    Transcript: Bennett: If you think back on your kitchen, what is the main thing that you remember?

    Jackson: The settee. The settee had a feather bed on it with red cretonne on it and all, ruffle that hung down from it and two red pillows that stood up in the back of it and I thought that was very attractive. And the kitchen never seemed to be finished if that settee wasn't shook up and the pillows just so, put back of it, and it was a good place if you wanted to lay down - on the settee. The settee was a great thing. Everybody had to have a settee.

    Bennett: That was in your kitchen?

    Jackson: That was in our kitchen. It was on one side of the kitchen - one side was like the kitchen, the other side was like a little sitting room. A settee was back there on that side, there was two rocking chairs and there was a little parlor table on that side. On this side - oh, our kitchen was like a ballroom. Then on this side was a great big Harvest Home stove, cook stove, the bench was back of the stove and we had about eight chairs back there and we had a large square oak table with a red tablecloth on it. And then there was three cupboards along the back of the wall. One was to keep the barrel of flour in - the middle one was to keep the barrel of flour in, the first end one near the stove had dishes in it and had the pots and pans in, the irons were in the bottom, and then the end one toward the window, we hung our coats and hats up in, nubies and shawls, whatever we had, we come home from school, we hung them up in the closet, they didn't go upstairs.

    Bennett: Okay. This was in the kitchen side, is that correct?

    Jackson: Yeah, but it was...

    Bennett: Did it go from the ceiling to the floor, this cupboard?

    Jackson: Yes, yes, it went from the ceiling all the way down. The one that held all the dishes, I guess there was five or so big square shelves in there. And then the bottom was like a rock floor, solid, some kind of a solid floor, wasn't cement. It looked to me like an old rock was down there, some kind of a part of a rock. And then down there we kept the stove blackening, and the shoe blackening, well things like that, then on the other side, I guess we had eight or ten sad irons. Sad irons was the ones with the handle on it.

    Bennett: Yes. Was part of it - did you have a ledge, part of it as a counter space. In that cupboard, did it - was it like divided, let's say with the dishes above and then a counter?

    Jackson: Well, the top shelf, we kept the tea and coffee and the baking powder and baking soda and a big bottle of castor oil and vanilla and all those things were in the top, then the second were cups and saucers and plates was in there - white they were - then down next was the small pots and then down in the next shelf would be a couple or three iron pots inside of each other, pushed back.

    Bennett: Where did you keep your wash tubs?

    Jackson: Down in the shed.

    Bennett: In the shed.

    Jackson: Kept the bench down there. She washed down there.

    Bennett: Did you have a wringer?

    Jackson: No, Mother wrung them by hand, sometimes my Father used to help her wring the big heavy sheets out, cause they were all heavy unbleached sheets and he used to help her, when he'd come home at dinner, he'd help her wring out the sheets. Then we had to walk way up above Constano's, well we walked maybe about two squares, square and a half anyway, up the hill, up the side of the lawn, it was a lawn, and the clotheslines went from tree to tree.

    Bennett: What was your clothesline made of?

    Jackson: Just regular rope.

    Bennett: It was rope? Some had metal, some had rope. Did you have clothes props, those...

    Jackson: Yes, yes.

    Bennett: You used those?

    Jackson: My Father cut down some branches of trees up on Kee's Hill, and he cut them out at the top to make clothes props, and then he shaved them down that they were smooth that Mother wouldn't get splinters in her hands.

    Bennett: Who emptied the wash tubs?

    Jackson: I, for one, and my other two sisters.

    Bennett: You would carry them out and...

    Jackson: We would put the water into the buckets and carry the buckets down and throw them over the race, over the bank that went down to the race, and we'd throw it over the bank, the water. And they dried - the sun dried it up. I don't think it ever went into the run, I never noticed ever water there. It was a good - oh, the bank come down from them windows down like the bank, until you got to the water down here, and we'd throw it down over the bank, but there was a lot of bushes and trees and grass and all that kind of stuff, and the water got lost in that. No sewerage.

    Bennett: Do you remember, or did the children tell ghost stories and that type of thing?

    Jackson: Yes, yes. We used to go up to Hardy's and they had a pair of wooden steps at the end of the yard, I don't know why they were there, there wasn't nothin' to get into, we went up these steps, there was just three steps down and three steps on the other side, and we'd all fill the steps back. There was Bess Beacom, Louisa Cary, Charlotte, myself, Flossie, Bella and Elsie Hardwick and Mattie Hardwick and Amy Jackson from across, Florence MacAdoo and Rose Constano, we all got up on those steps, and what didn't get on the steps sat on the grass below, and the older girls would tell ghost stories. I remember they told one about Ivory soap one time and they kept saying, "And this ghost said it floats - it floats - it floats." So we got tired of listening to what floats and somebody said, "Well, what floated?" They said, "Ivory soap." [laughs] Well, we listened for a long time to that story. All in fun. A happy life.

    Bennett: Sure, I mean, really, they all did, there's no question.

    Jackson: I enjoy looking back. We were poor, but we lived a Christian life.

    Bennett: You had a lot of fun.

    Jackson: We had a lot of fun. It was a Christian home to live in. My father read the Bible every night after supper, he'd read the Bible and he'd explain it to us, and I was a tiny thing, but I never forgot him explaining to us the shortest verse in the Bible, and I've answered the Bible teacher here at the Home, she comes every Monday, and he always said to always remember the shortest verse, and the shortest verse is, I think, in St. John the sixteenth, it's "Jesus wept; " that's the shortest verse in the Bible. And this Sunday - this teacher that explains the Bible to all of us, we all enjoy it, she's asked so many questions, and I've always been able to answer. And she said to me, "Did you read the Bible?" I said, "Not all the way through, but my Father read it through twice, and I never forget the teachings when we were only five and six years of age, and seven, sitting around the table. There was no pictures, there was no radio, there was nothing. If anybody was rich enough, they could have a - what's that the Victor has the dog on it?

    [Unidentified man]: Oh yeah, phonograph.

    Jackson: Phonograph - it was like a little box and then the things were round like this and you'd have to slide - well these were records, but there were round things that you slipped in..

    [Unidentified man]: Yeah, they were cylinders.

    Jackson: Right, and they played and played and of course if they hit a snag, it was r-r-r-r-r, r-r-r-r-r-r, until somebody got up and changed it.

    Bennett: Did any ghost stories - did they talk about any ghost stories as such?

    Jackson: The old people?

    Bennett: Well, did they talk about ghosts being in the DuPont Yards? Did you ever hear those kinds of stories?

    Jackson: Yes, yes. Yes, there was a woman lived on the other side, over the Diamond Bridge, on the other side of Squirrel Run, and she used to tell ghost stories and she says that, like after a man would be killed in the powder yard, well she'd say, "Well guess who I saw walking up along the race last night?" We'd say, "Who was it?" She'd say, "Well, I saw little Willie McDowell." We'd say, "Well, Willie McDowell was killed." "Yes," she said, "But I saw his ghost walking up." And she says, "Always remember, a ghost." And we'd say, "Did he go over to the other side?" She said, "No, a ghost never crosses water." And we never forgot that, but they all say they saw this one and they saw that one.

    Bennett: This was sort of - people would say this?

    Jackson: Yes, this old lady, old Mrs. Binsley, used to tell us things like that. And then Mrs. Hardwick sometimes would say, "Well, there was someone prowling around here last night, but he just looked like - it looked like a cloud or a mist around here, but there's somebody either leaving this earth or coming to this earth." Yes, they all believed in ghosts.

    Bennett: There's a lot of...

    Jackson: And very superstitious, we couldn't do anything on Sunday. You must never put a shoe box on the table, that was bad luck. You must never spill salt, if you did, throw some over your right shoulder. Oh, they had so many superstitions.

    Bennett: Can you remember any more?

    Jackson: Yes, on New Year's morning, before midnight somebody with black hair must go out the front door and he must come in with black hair, never let a red-haired person enter your house on New Year's morning - bad luck, bad luck. What was it they used to say - there was something if you did would cause a death - oh, if you dreamed of a wedding, be careful, because you're going to hear of a death, if you ever dream of a wedding, that means a death. Oh, there was a number and number of things that they used to say.

    Bennett: What was the most important thing that your parents taught you?

    Jackson: To be truthful, to be honest, to be sincere, to be good to other people and be kind to the old people.

    Bennett: You had a good Christian upbringing, is really what - kind and considerate, yeah.

    Jackson: Yes, you must never speak back to an older person and if you had a chair and somebody come in the house, get up and give the person that come in your chair.

    Bennett: Respect for your elders.

    Jackson: That's right, have respect for your elders. And if people come in, and we had too many for the meal, the children were supposed to stand back while the guests or company sit down to the table and eat, then we got our food afterwards, but we mustn't try to - and we must never talk at the table. When you come to the table, we want you to eat your food and let your Father and I do the talking and you children keep quiet. Unless you raised your hand and asked permission - could you go out to the outhouse or had to go somewhere. You had to be polite.
  • Favorite doll; her step-mother's Bible and her father's watch fob; local trolley fare; getting flowers around the area and planting them in the back yard of her family's Squirrel Run house
    Keywords: Bible records; doll carriages; doll clothes; dolly baby; Du Pont, Alfred I. (Alfred Iré né e), 1864-1935; family Bibles; Flower gardening; geraniums; Kee's Hill; marble top table; pansies; People's Trolley Line; Street-railroads--Fares; Sweet Williams; trolley fare; violets; Watch fobs
    Transcript: Bennett: What was your favorite possession?

    Jackson: A doll, I suppose at that time, I loved dolls.

    Bennett: Can you describe your favorite doll?

    Jackson: Yes, it was a black china-headed doll with a sawdust body and little white legs on it, when they got it, there'd be no clothes on it, and little white arms and then Mother would give us pieces of material that she had left over from sewing, and then we'd make our own doll clothes. We were pretty good at it, too.

    Bennett: That was your favorite doll?

    Jackson: That was my favorite doll. And then, and of course when I was real little, in the Long Row, when Alfred du Pont used to give me a doll with hair on it, oh I worshiped that, I just hugged that and took it to bed with me and loved it. But after Alfred I. stopped doing that, when Mother bought the doll, it was a ten cent doll out of the ten cents store. And we never had a doll coach, she saved the shoe boxes, nice clean shoe boxes, and she put a string on the shoe box and at Christmastime when you got your doll, you made a bed in the shoe box and put the doll in that.

    Bennett: You had told me that before, and I had forgotten about it - that's, I think, interesting. What was your Mother's favorite possession - do you have any idea?

    Jackson: Mother's possession - her Bible. She bought a Bible out from Ireland, and it was about this thick.

    Bennett: One of the big old fashioned thick ones.

    Jackson: Yes, brown leather, and it was about this long.

    Bennett: That's got to be twenty-four inches, would you say?

    Jackson: It was so heavy, we couldn't lift it. And one-half, some part of it, beginning part of it, was an album like where we put all pictures. Then like in the back of the Bible there was a number of pages in there where you put births, weddings and deaths, and anything important you wrote on this record. That's the reason people used to say, if you have an old Bible, look in it, because it will be in the Bible.

    Bennett: Yeah, they're nice to have.

    Jackson: And my brother-in-law, it was really my step-mother's and her oldest daughter took it up to Boston, her husband was President of the American - United American Paper Company up there - and he took it to a college and it was the old, old scriptural writing in it, and I think he got $450 for the Bible, they wanted that old antique printing - the printing that was in that Bible.

    Bennett: I think it's a shame it's still not in your family myself.

    Jackson: Well, at the time we didn't worry about keeping things. We do have, my Father and Mother, when they went to housekeeping, Mr. Lobdale that owned the Lobdale Shops out around 30th and Market or out around them Pullmans or somewhere, he was getting rid of a living room suit which was horsehair and a white marble-topped table, and that marble-topped table is still in our family. Ethel owns it. And it came from Italy because Lobdale was a man of money, you know, and that marble-topped table, the marble came from Italy, I guess the table, I don't know, and it is pure white with blue veins in it, and that's the only way you can tell true marble, there has to be blue veins running through the marble. And the way you cleaned that marble, or any marble, is to take lemon juice and rub it over your table and then wipe it off with warm water and it brings it up beautiful.

    Bennett: Oh, I didn't know that.

    Jackson: And the bottom of it looks like, oh twigs of wood, it's solid walnut, but one little leg goes on into the other legs and twists around it all the way until it got down to the bottom, then they have the four feet at the bottom of the table.

    Bennett: Sounds very lovely - black walnut, sounds very lovely. I'll bet it's beautiful.

    Jackson: Ethel has a brass container on it with green fern or something green in it and that flowing over the white marble table is very artistic looking.

    Bennett: I'll bet it's most attractive.

    Jackson: It was mine, but I passed it on to Ethel.

    Bennett: What was your Father's most favorite possession that you might know of?

    Jackson: Well, he belonged to a lodge years and years ago, it was called The Forresters, Dr. Forrester was head of it, and they sold chances for something, and he didn't have a watch, but he sold more chances than anyone else, they were five cents a chance, and he was awarded a watch fob, and that watch fob was a little square thing, well, it was cut out at the corners like, and like a little bit of gold around it and it was on a little chain. And he never had a watch, but he wore that watch fob for years.

    Bennett: He just wore the watch fob?

    Jackson: He wore the fob, he didn't have a watch for years, later, later in years, he had a Hamilton watch.

    Bennett: That's interesting, isn't it?

    Jackson: M-hum, but he wore the fob.

    Bennett: Did you have a favorite homemade toy?

    Jackson: No, I had a doll baby.

    Bennett: But that was a...did you have a game?

    Jackson: No, nothing was homemade.

    Bennett: Nothing - you did have the shoe boxes that - the coaches, yeah.

    Jackson: We had the shoe boxes that we made beds and called them coaches and we loved them just as much as I'd love a coach.

    Bennett: Did you have a favorite store-bought toy?

    Jackson: Store-bought toy? No, we didn't get any toys, only at Christmastime. We got a doll and we got a couple of games at Christmas and a stocking with walnuts in it and candy toys and an orange, and I thought - oranges you never could get an orange only at Christmastime, I didn't think they grew any other time because that's the only time we ever got an orange, it was Christmas. And as a little child I thought, glad when Christmas comes we can get an orange, because you can never get one any other time, you couldn't buy them. I guess they were twelve cents a dozen in them days, maybe not that.

    Bennett: Well, transportation too, was really very different.

    Jackson: Five cents - well, I mean, the trolley cars when they come up in 1904, up Squirrel Run and through the Brandywine Creek, People's Line, the carfare was five cents and if you bought the red tickets, you got six for a quarter, so that only bring it - brought you down to four cents or three and a half cents a ride. Then it went up to eight cents for a long, long time, then it went up to ten. Oh, everybody was going to boycott the trolley cars. Now, I think, up in Philadelphia, it's close to two dollars.

    Bennett: I was born in Philadelphia. When I started working, it was seven and a half - two fares for fifteen cents, or a straight eight cents.

    Jackson: M-huh, I believe it.

    Bennett: And I got paid once a month so I would buy my fare to and from work first of all. You got a discount, and my goodness, think of that.

    Jackson: It was great.

    Bennett: The changes.

    [Unidentified woman]: I remember the eight-cent fare.

    Bennett: Or two for fifteen, which you were...

    [Unidentified man]: Remember the little tokens you used to get?

    Bennett: Yeah, the little - that's right. In fact, I think I have a few of those.

    Jackson: These were red paper, little red paper tickets like this, and they were in a book.

    Bennett: Like a coupon, u-huh.

    Jackson: Coupon - and if you bought the book, you got six for a quarter, and if you didn't, then you paid five cents straight.

    [Unidentified man]: The only thing I remember was the transfers.

    Bennett: No, I think you pay for a transfer, don't you?

    Jackson: Well you don't remember, you don't remember 1904 do you?

    [Unidentified man]: What?

    Jackson: You don't remember 1904, do you?

    [Unidentified man]: Oh, no, I don't remember that.

    Bennett: And they have zones now, which...

    [Unidentified man]: Yes, I think it's like five zones from Newark to Wilmington, you've got to pay for each zone.

    Bennett: When you think of your home, what would you say was, to you, the most beautiful thing that you had in it? To you, what was the most beautiful?

    Jackson: Of course we loved the kitchen because we knew food was down in the kitchen. We loved our beds, pretty beds upstairs. We loved the bureaus and we used to love to go through bureau drawers, even if they didn't belong to us, we used to like to go through the bureau drawers to see what was in them.

    Bennett: Well, so do I.

    Jackson: And then playing - and we had the back yard upstairs, you went up the first stairs and out the back door, and there was a small yard, oh, it was a yard half as big as this out there, and we used to love to go up there and plant geraniums. We used to go around the neighborhood and anybody had any plants, we'd get slips of them and take them home and plant them in the yard and then watch them and wait for them to grow. I remember one time I went up on Kee's Hill, and I went away back in the woods, and I found two Sweet Williams - flowers growing - and they're really pretty and I took a fork or something up there with me and I dug down and got up the roots of them, and I took them home and went over the back fence and jumped down in the yard - pretty good at that - and I planted these Sweet Williams along the back where the stone wall was and in no time I had a whole row of Sweet Williams - pink and blue, and like that. Sweet Williams are pretty, it's very decorative.

    Bennett: Yeah, they are, low and,...

    Jackson: And geraniums, we used to plant geraniums. We'd go around the neighborhood and get a slip off this one and that one. And we always had pretty good luck with them - they'd grow, pink geraniums. And pansies, we were fond of pansies, and violets. Of course the violets up on Kee's Hill, across, well toward the field where the du Ponts used to plant corn, oh when the violets were blooming, oh, one side of the field was blue violets and on the other side was white violets. And we used to go up there and fill every glass in the house, we had no vases. We'd fill every glass in the house, put them out on the banister - blue and white violets.
  • The family organ and taking music lessons; the Harvest Home stove using coal in the winter and wood in the summer; her friendships with other neighborhood girls
    Keywords: Bess Beacom; childhood friendship; Harrison Street Church; Harvest Home stove; hymns; Jesus Lover of My Soul; Nearer My God to Thee; organs; Rock of Ages; Squirrel Run (Del. : Village); tea kettles; warming shelf
    Transcript: Bennett: What was considered the most expensive thing in your house?

    Jackson: Well, when we were little, Father bought an organ for twenty-five dollars, and he watched over that as if it was twenty-five thousand. And he gave us lessons to learn.

    Bennett: He knew how to play?

    Jackson: My father? No, he didn't know a note.

    Bennett: Oh, you mean he...

    Jackson: He paid for our lessons.

    Bennett: Okay, okay.

    Jackson: He paid for our lessons - it was fifty cents, I think it was fifty cents, thirty-five cents, I don't know which. We took from Professor Hifield, he was head of Harrison Street Church, but he didn't want us to play anything but hymns, but now, my other sister, Isabelle, she was very good, she could play very well and she took lessons for the voice, and she was a singer for Harrison Street Church, soprano singer for seventeen years. She sang at Christ Church, too, she sang in a lot of the big churches. Well, she took very good, but I was running around with the boys at the time - fifteen - and I wasn't practicing, so it was just a waste of money, so my Father stopped giving me lessons, but I could do pretty good with one hand, I was just beginning to use the two hands - I could have taken it up, but I wouldn't stay in to practice, but he never wanted us to play anything - we all know Jesus Lover of My Soul and Rock of Ages and Nearer My God to Thee, we knew that anywhere - if you were down in a hundred foot ditch, we'd know how to sing that, but that's all he wanted, but we sang that, we played other things.

    Bennett: So that was considered the most expensive thing, I'm sure.

    Jackson: Twenty-five - it was secondhand - twenty-five dollars, but he thought that was very precious - we thought we were very smart to have an organ - uptown - very few people had it. Mrs. Beacom had a piano and Mrs. Constano had a piano and that's the only two I knew ever had a piano up in Squirrel Run Village.

    Bennett: Did they play?

    Jackson: Yes, Bess took lessons, Madeline started to take them, but I don't think Madeline made out very good, but Bess was very good. And Rose Constano was a beautiful player, because when Rose was married, she moved her piano down to Hamilton Street where she moved. We were over there one night and she was playing it, yes, she was good. And Isabelle, she could play, and then she transferred the organ in later years and bought a piano, or had a piano, got a piano, and then she was taking up voice music then too, so she was successful at both.

    [Unidentified man]: Did the stove come with the house, or did you have to buy that extra?

    Jackson: No, you had to buy your own stove. All you got was a roof on the top and a floor on the bottom - floors, that was all was in the house. No, you bought your own - they were only ten dollars, but you got the best for ten dollars. That was the Harvest Home, if you didn't have a Harvest Home, you didn't have much of a stove. I think they all cooked the same, but that's what they always used to say.

    Bennett: What was the - was there a difference?

    Jackson: Well, some of the other stoves were smaller. The Harvest Home was the biggest stove, it would take up a big corner of the kitchen, and the oven was larger and there was a double oven, like I mean there was a grating in there that you could put things on the bottom grate, then you had one in the middle that you put the cooking in the oven on the next one. Then on the top of the stove there was a warming shelf - it was just like a shelf around the stove, black, but as you cooked something, you could put it up on that shelf and it would keep warm until you took it to the table - they called it a warming shelf.

    Bennett: Did you have a container for hot water - to do hot water - in your stove?

    Jackson: No, no, we had a tea kettle, large, and it was iron, large tea kettle, and that was kept full all the time. We always had hot water, that was one thing they should never run out of, you were a very poor housekeeper if you ever run out of hot water. And it was on the back of the stove when it wasn't in use and it was always toward the front when there was anything doing. And of course you had to use that for your dish water too, out of that, and make your coffee, tea, all that kind of thing.

    Bennett: Now, that stove went winter and summer?

    Jackson: Yes, only in the summer Mother burned wood, and then when the meal was over, she could let the fire go out, but in the wintertime it was coal, and we kept that going all night long. She used to get up at four o'clock, or before four o'clock, and my Father always had the wood ready for her on that little bench that Charles has, back, and she'd get up four o'clock and start the fire with the wood, and then she'd cook the summer breakfast on wood. Then after everything was over, she's would let it go out for the rest of the day until she wanted to cook the evening meal.

    Bennett: Who was your best friend?

    Jackson: Well, all of the children were good friends then, if it's children. Bess Beacom and I were closer than anyone and Elsie Hardwick was a great friend of mine. Because Elsie used to get money sometimes and buy candy and give me some so I loved Elsie.

    Bennett: You had a sweet tooth, I think.

    [Unidentified man]: Friends of convenience.

    Jackson: Bess Beacon - I was very fond of Louisa Carey, they were a French family and she had bright red hair, but her hair, when I look back on it, her hair was beautiful - she had two long plaits down the back, red, they were French. And she could talk French and I used to try to get her to teach me some French, but I did copy a few French words off of Mrs. Constano - she was French and she taught French to her two dogs, and one of her dogs was named Nero and when that dog didn't do what was right - and that dog knew French - she say, "Parlez-vous francais" and that dog would cringe down like this and crawl around. We got to learn to say that and when we didn't want to play with anyone we say, "Oh, parlez-vous francais!" And the kid would go away.

    Bennett: Did the red-headed French girl, did she live at Squirrel Run?

    Jackson: Yes, it was Harry Carey's daughter, there was three daughters, there was Mary Carey, there was Josephine Carey and there was Louisa Carey. And then she had - the boy was Henry Carey, Louie Carey and Victor Carey and in later years, they said she was pretty near fifty, but I don't know whether that's true or not, in later years she had another child and he's called Joe. And somebody said that she was between forty and fifty, I don't know whether that was true or not, Mrs. Carey.

    Bennett: Well, it happens.

    Jackson: Her family was over and they were all grown, and she gave birth to a baby boy. I believe she was in her forties, because the children were getting up - Mary was married. Her daughter, Mary, had a baby the week before her mother had one, Mary Carey. And everyone said the Carey boy was an uncle to Mary's boy, so we always had a big to-do over that.

    Bennett: I guess the nice part about that, they probably grew up together more or less, it wasn't a lonely child.

    Jackson: Yes, they did.

    Bennett: So you think then, Bess Beacom was your...

    Jackson: I consider Bess Beacom my best friend. Then there was Bella McGarvey, we were very friendly, and Elsie Hardwick, we were very close. Then there was Florence - oh, there was so many - Florence MacAdoo and Blanche MacAdoo. Now Blanche owns that Yetter's Restaurant up there in Claymont, she's living, but I don't think she's too well, there's something wrong there, I don't know, but Florence is dead.
  • Additional household items including woodcutting tools, coffee pot, dish pan, water buckets, towel rack, mason jars, Larkin catalog, reclining chair, mouse traps, closets, and oil lamps; telephone exchange at Hagley and Anthony Dougherty's telephone
    Keywords: Anthony Dougherty; Canning and preserving; catalog coupons; closets; coffee pot; dish pan; Jam; Larkin catalog; mason jars; maul; mouse traps; oil lamps; reclining chair; sideboard; Tam o'shanter caps; telephone exchange; towel rack; water buckets; woodcutting tools
    Transcript: Bennett: I have a list of things here and I'm just going to mention - there's a lot of them - but you can just tell me yes or no, but if it brings a pleasant memory to you, if you want to tell me a little bit about it, it would be what you might have had in your house, or did your Dad, I'm sure he did, own an ax?

    Jackson: You said you wanted to hear about the shovel and the picks and the things Father...

    Bennett: Yeah, but I was gonna...

    Jackson: Well, they were precious...

    Bennett: We have forty-five minutes, I think. Did you have an ax?

    Jackson: Oh, yes, we had an ax - two axes, and we had a hatchet, we had a hammer, and then we had a hammer that was rounded at both ends like, I don't know what you call that.

    [Unidentified woman]: Maul.

    Jackson: Yeah, we had a maul, too, because Father used to split trees, he'd cut some down, and he'd bring it down in the back yard and he would put these wedges in and he had a maul to hammer it down and the first thing you know, the tree was split open. And then he would cut it all down until he made regular fire wood, then he'd stack that all away because it was green and we kept it so long before he used it. They had to get their own wood.

    Bennett: Did you have a muffin tin - called a gem pan?

    Jackson: Oh, yeah, we had muffin tins.

    Bennett: And a coffee pot?

    Jackson: We had a large - the coffee pot, them days, was about this round at the bottom.

    Bennett: Big - like the tea kettle size almost?

    Jackson: Yeah, and then it come up and tapered off, because Mother had to make a lot of coffee because she used to give all the children coffee if they wanted it, and put half milk in it. Or tea, she did the same things with tea. And my Father, sometimes - well, some of us had two cups, I mean the older ones would take two - my Father always had two and my Mother had two, so it had to be a lot of coffee.

    Bennett: Some of these might seem silly to you, I'm sure you had a dish pan. Did you have a dish pan?

    Jackson: Yes, and the dish pan hung on a nail out on the front porch, why I don't know, but that dish pan, you come out the front door and on the side of the whitewashed part, there was a nail there and the dish pan hung there. Then underneath that dish pan was a wooden bucket so that when you took a drink of water and you didn't want all that was in the dipper, you threw the rest of it in the wooden bucket. We could have threw it on the street, I don't know why we saved it in the bucket.

    Bennett: Well you probably saved it for, maybe to water the flowers or whatever.

    Jackson: No, we just took and threw it away when it got filled.

    Bennett: How about a towel rack?

    Jackson: Yes, there was a towel rack on the porch - one end of the porch was where we washed and combed our hair and my Father shaved. It was a long red bench there, I don't think we brought that with us, a long red bench there my Father made, and on that was two water buckets and dippers in them to get a drink out of, then there was a large enameled white basin, then there was - I don't know whether there was a little, small plate or a saucer or something, kept the soap. There was Orleans soap there and there was tar soap - that's about all we had. And then the towel rack come down and Mother made these towels, it was like a coarse crash - they called it crash, but it was a real heavy, it was like a linen, but it wasn't linen, but it was real coarse, but it absorbed the water and stuff more so than - and then when that got completely dirty, but you turned it around and seen if there was any clean spots on it and you used every clean spot that was on it - then when it really got dirty, you took it down and you put another clean one up. But we did have - they were called roller towels.

    Bennett: My Mother had one of those. Did you have a fluting iron?

    Jackson: We just had these flat, solid...

    Bennett: Flat iron, you didn't have the fluting...

    Jackson: No, we had...

    Bennett: I think the ladies that were laundresses had those, they were that heavy - they made the ruffles, it was a heavy, brass...

    Jackson: I think the du Ponts, anybody that went to be a laundress at du Ponts, they had them.

    Bennett: Yes, that's what I think they were - did you have Mason jars?

    Jackson: Oh, yes, dozens and dozens of them. Mother used to put up sixty jars of tomatoes, and forty and fifty jars of string beans, and then she put up peaches, she put up applesauce and pears, anything like that. And we used small jars for jelly, the smaller, like the pint jars or smaller, we used for jelly and jam.

    Bennett: How about a Sears catalog?

    Jackson: Yes, the beginning we had the Larkins' book, that was like a Sear and Roebuck book, the Larkins' book, you went around and tried to get a ten dollar order and every ten dollar order you got, you could get a chair, get a table or a piece of furniture - ten dollars. And everybody would buy a little bit at a time and you soon got a ten dollar order, and you sent that ten dollar order - Mother had it, had that ten dollar order, why then you could send that ten dollar coupon away and pick out some kind of piece of furniture. The woman next door to us, Sally Dougherty, she sent a ten dollar order in, oh, she got a beautiful sideboard - a sideboard, not these buffets, but a sideboard that went up high, more shelves on it.

    Bennett: I met a lady visiting Hagley one day and she had a Larkin chest.

    Jackson: Chest, yes.

    Bennett: And she said they're valuable, they're collectors' items today.

    Jackson: I imagine so.

    Bennett: That was the first that I had heard about the coupon deal.

    Jackson: Well, it was through Larkins, if anybody had an easy chair, you got it - had to get it through Larkins, they had - I forget what they call that chair now, but it was an easy chair. But in the back, it was like a ladder in the back, and if you wanted it to go low, you moved a stick down a rung lower, and it went back further...

    Bennett: Sort of like our recliners.

    Jackson: Yes, like a recliner, and if you wanted it straight up, then you put the stick up high on the ladder and you sat up straight. And we had one from the Larkins.

    Bennett: How about a mouse trap?

    Jackson: Oh, we had plenty of them, too, yeah, we used to have the field mice come in. They used to come in where the flour was, but Mother had a tight lid - my Father had made a tight lid over at the Yard and it fitted down. It was like a cup - cupped down on the bottom and they couldn't get in, but they always run for the flour closet.

    Bennett: What type of mouse trap did you have, was it...

    Jackson: Something like the mouse traps we use now.

    Bennett: Like used now?

    Jackson: Yeah, you put the cheese on it and threw this thing down, that's all I remember.

    Bennett: Did you have a wall telephone?

    Jackson: No. We had no telephone. The office - the Hagley office had a little exchange in there, and when anybody wanted to - it was open day and night - and when anybody wanted a doctor or anything important, why they'd go down to the Hagley office and - whoever was operator, they'd get the doctor or whoever you needed. No, the only one I knew in later years, was Anthony Dougherty, and then he was something up in the Yard or something - he was on call I think, all the time or something, and Anthony Dougherty had - and then that wasn't quite down as far as the office, and then a lot of times we used to go down to Mr. Dougherty. And he'd get up two and three o'clock in the morning and let any neighbor in to call a doctor - that's how good they were.

    Bennett: Yeah that's - did you have a hat and coat stand, one of those like a coat tree?

    Jackson: No, I had in my home, but - I had one that come from Coleman du Pont's, Helen has it now.

    Bennett: But your parents - you didn't have one growing up?

    Jackson: No, my Father had his good clothes - he had his one good suit in a closet up in the front bedroom where he slept, but then there was this closet down in the kitchen, big closet, where all us kiddies could hang up our coats and hats. We wore tam o'shanters or ski caps, you know - we called them tukes.

    Bennett: You did have a closet in the bedroom upstairs - had a closet upstairs?

    Jackson: In the kitchen. They had du Ponts build it. They built it right against the wall, it wasn't inside.

    Bennett: It came out into the room?

    Jackson: Yeah, it was out in the room. Then we had one in the back bedroom up in the attic where us children used to hang our good Sunday dresses in there. Well, there wasn't many clothes to hang up. My nephew, Norman, my nephew once said to me, he says, "Auntie, do you remember we didn't have many closets up there in Squirrel Run." And I said, "No, we didn't, son." And he looked at me and smiled, he said, "But you know, Auntie, we didn't have many clothes them days, either."

    Bennett: So there wasn't the problem.

    Jackson: No, there was no problem. Then on the back bedroom you used to drove nails on the back bedroom door and your nightgowns or anything extra, just hang on the nail back of the bedroom door.

    Bennett: Did you have oil lamps?

    Jackson: Oh, yes, we had all oil lamps, we had quite a number of them. We had two in the kitchen, we had one in the back parlor, and then upstairs, well, we had a couple for up there, but the lamps seldom ever went in the bedrooms. Mother left, they called them a landing, we call it hall, but Mother called them landings - the lamp was out on the landing and on that landing, that lamp showed into this front bedroom and on this side bedroom. And then up in the third floor where all the children slept, there was a landing up there, in fact there was a little, square platform up there above the stairs and our lamp mostly sat out there and then when the last one was ready to go to bed, she would go out and turn it down a little bit, that it didn't burn so much oil.

    Bennett: Did you have a soapstone griddle?

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