This interview is wide ranging and covers many topics relevant to life in Tabernacle during the first half of the last century. Some of them are:
The history of the Gerber Family (Louis & Ada) in Tabernacle.
The history of the O’Neal Family in Tabernacle.
The Supplee Milk Company in Camden NJ.
The re-location of the Two-Room Schoolhouse on the corner of Carranza Rd. & Chatsworth Rd, to its new site on Carranza Rd. near Flyatt Road in 1936.
The 2-sectioned outhouse used by the students of the Two-Room School.
Anna Barthold – a teacher.
The Coming of electricity to Tabernacle in the late 1920s.
Cooperation among farm families in getting farm work and home improvement projects done.
General household chores of early 1900s.
Bathing weekly in tubs in kitchens before indoor plumbing.
RG: Do you want to talk about the Gerber family? Louis and Ada Gerber that moved to Tabernacle about 1913. 1913 or 14. Now, I don’t know exactly.
Interviewer: Where did they come from? Where did they move from?
RG: Uh, I can’t think of it now. Where the little schoolhouse came from. Friendship, they came from around Friendship. Which was the other side of Chatsworth, of course.
Interviewer: Now how long had they lived in Friendship?
RG: I don’t know. I don’t know. All I know they came from there to Tabernacle in 1913 or 1914.
Interviewer: Now, do you know what they were doing in Friendship?
RG: Yeah, mostly cranberries and they would work in the turf. They would gather turf and move it from the cranberry bogs and that sort of stuff. They picked wild berries, huckleberries, when they were in season. That was before cranberry season.
Interviewer: Now what country did they……
RG: German, as far as I know, German.
Interviewer: Did they both come over together?
RG: I don’t know.
Interviewer: Do you have any history of that?
RG: I don’t know, I don’t know.
Interviewer: So, in 1914 they moved to Tabernacle. In 1913 or 1914 they moved to Tabernacle. Where did they move to?
RG: On Chatsworth Road. Of course, there’s no house there now. That’s where Brian Gerber lives there now. The little corner is where the homestead was. There was a house and a barn, a couple of barns. Of course, none of its there now, it’s all gone.
Interviewer: And what did they do when they came here?
RG: Well, when they came here, they more or less went into, I guess you would call it truck farming, raising asparagus and corn, field corn. That sort of a thing. And some sweet corn. I can remember when I was a kid, we used to put it in bags and, uh, till it would go to the New York market or the Philadelphia market. Either one, it would depend on who was going where.
Interviewer: Now were you already born when they came here?
RG: Oh no. I was born in ‘27.
Interviewer: Ok. Do you have brothers and sisters?
RG: I have a brother living and I lost two sisters who passed away.
Interviewer: Ok. Can you give us their names?
RG: The first one that passed away was my sister Dorothy. She was only seven years old. And whatever was wrong with her we may never know. They never said if they did know. Cause she was not much bigger than a baby when she was seven years old when she passed away. They more or less kept her in a room until she passed away. And my sister she just passed away about three years ago. From cancer.
Interviewer: How old was she when she got this disease?
RG: Oh 65, something like that. 65, 66. Somewheres along there. My brother lives next store to me. He’s what 70 now, I believe. I’m 73.
Interviewer: All of you were born in Tabernacle after your parents moved here?
RG: No not all, some were born in the Mount Holly hospital. I was born here.
Interviewer: Ok, you were physically born in Tabernacle?
Interviewer: Were you the only child who was born in Tabernacle?
RG: I think so, I’m not positive but I think so.
RG: At that time, my dad lived in the house where Joe Rogers is. That was a little teeny house at one time. Remember …. Well, that’s where I was born, there. We lived there for about a year and then of course my dad had the house built where I am now. On Zimmerman Road.
VS: Oh, and then when they built the other one where he lived.
RG: Yeah, he built that later. He built that around…
Interviewer: Let me… Where’s Joe Rogers house?
RG: It’s the second house on the left as you go by Hillman Concrete. It’s a yellow house now, before it was like I guess a two or three room house at that time, not very big. Of course, Joe Rogers he added on and expanded it and made a pretty nice place of it I think.
Interviewer: But your father built that house, or he just moved into it.
RG: No, no, I don’t know who built it. I don’t know anything about that. But that’s where I was born and that’s where I lived for about a year. And then we moved where I am now.
Interviewer: Ok. Originally when they moved from Friendship, they moved to the corner, that corner property where Brian Gerber is now.
RG: Right, yeah. And when my dad married, he went to Roger’s place.
Interviewer: Now do you know how your parents met? Did they move here together?
RG: No, no, no. My mother is from Medford.
Interviewer: Your mother is from Medford.
RG: Right. That was Edith Gerber. Smythe then Smythe (Smith?) at that time. No, he was over to Medford for some reason. He had his first car, and it was a 1919 or something like that when he went over there. How he got to know, boy, I think it was like from playing baseball. And then were over playing baseball I suppose and that’s where he met her over there.
Interviewer: Do you know how old they were when they got married?
RG: My mother was seventeen, I think. And he was about nineteen I don’t think.
Interviewer: So, they met each other once he moved here, and your mother came from Medford. The children were all born, whether you were born in the hospital or you were born here. Ok. And they were primarily truck farmers. Now, how is your father related to other Gerbers in the family?
RG: Well, let’s see. Irene’s father and some of them are just uncles.
Interviewer: Oh, ok.
RG: That’s all I ever heard. Skimmer uh.
IA: My father and his grandfather were brothers.
Interviewer: Ok. Ok.
RG: And then there was a bunch of them.
RG: We went through that earlier.
Interviewer: Now that I see the connection there. OK. And what do you remember about …uh. Well, we can start on any of these topics. Let me find out a little bit about Mr. O’Neal’s history coming to Tabernacle and then we can talk about what Tabernacle was like.
VO: I was born at Laurel, Delaware.
Interviewer: And what year was that?
VO: um, my father worked on farms down there. He worked for a man named John E Herm. He had 500 acres of farmland.
Interviewer: That was quite a bit at that time.
VO: And in December of 1925 we moved up to Tabernacle here, on Chatsworth Road there where Howard and Thelma Gravatt live. So, in 1927 we moved to Verga, well between Westville and Verga. My father went to work for Campbell Soup Company. They had a farm down there and he worked there five years.
Interviewer: Well, how did they come to Tabernacle? How did they end up choosing Tabernacle?
VO: Well, that is the thing. So, we lived there till ‘31. We moved to Moorestown. My father worked for C A Collins in Moorestown in Fellowship. Of course, we was in Fellowship, it’s Moorestown, you know. So, he worked two years for him, and my dad told him he’d like to have more money. “Can’t afford it, can’t afford it.” Of course, the Collins’ they used to have colored and Pollacks, polish work them. And they would work for practically nothing, nothing. So, he was going to Florida and he said to my father. “I’m going to Florida, which you know. I’ll be back in two weeks and we’ll talk it over.” So, my father he had made arrangements in talking with another farmer, and the other farmer, and the other farmer, Erstow from Marlton sent his son and another driver up to load up our stuff so we could move to Medford.
So, when we was loading stuff up on the trucks the mailman goes by and he leaves this in the mailbox. “Harvey when I get back, I’ll give you a raise, but don’t you tell the other fellows.” And we were on, you might as well say, on the express line you might say, and we moved to Medford in 1934. I went to Medford school from I don’t know just what month it was now, but anyhow they used to cut potatoes.
They had to have them all cut by March 17th because that was St. Patty’s Day to start planting potatoes. And I of course, had to run down the lane cause with the farm he had, you know where Bill Johnson’s farm is next to the Lenape High School, that was the farm. He had three farms: what was called the home farm, and Milton Place, on Evesboro road there – it’s all built up today – and this one up here. So, the fellow had the farm in back of it, was Harry Kirkbride. His brother owned this place where Bert was moving in to and he had to many things in the fire, going this way, going that way, going out leaving his wife at night, coming home three or four o’clock in the morning. And he went broke, so Bert bought it. And that’s where I wound up in 1936, in September.
Interviewer: How old were you?
VO: I turned seventeen and I got the car. Of course mother and dad one thing or another they come up here to church.
Interviewer: Come up where to church?
Interviewer: Here in Tabernacle
VS: Right here in Tabernacle.
VO: And I of course, I came with them. When I got old enough, I had my license, why, Helen told you the rest. (all laughing)
Interviewer: Let’s go back to when your parents moved to the uh, home on Chatsworth Road. How did they decide to come? You know why they decided on Tabernacle?
VO: Well, we lived up there where Howard and Thelma lived. On the other side of the road goes back to where his daddy lives (Zimmerman Road) is where our dad and mother moved to in 1918.
Interviewer: They came to be near your grandparents?
VO: Louie her nephew, has got a thing up on the garage door there where Shirley has her beauty parlor, “Louis Gerber Farm, 1918.” Established 1918.
Interviewer: I see. Ok. So, they came up here from Delaware to farm?
VO: Yeah, for George A Moore.
Interviewer: George A Moore. OK. Were you born by then? Or no, you hadn’t been born.
VO: Born in Delaware.
Interviewer: You were born in Delaware. Well, how were you then when you moved here? I want to try and get this straight.
VO: Well, they moved up here, I was six. I must say I was born in July in 1919. And they moved up here in 1925, December.
Interviewer: Ok, ok.
VO: So, that would make me, I turned six. And I started school in Bethel, Delaware.
Interviewer: Ok, and do you have any brothers and sisters?
VO: I have a brother. He married a girl from Tabernacle here.
Interviewer: What is his name?
VO: Her name is Emily Worrell. My brother’s name was Asbury, Harvey Asbury.
VO: He was named after my father and my uncle, first names. I think that was her grandfather’s name, Asbury. So, he got the name of Harvey from our father (unclear) you know.
Interviewer: Now how um, what did your parents farm, were they also truck farmers?
VO: This farm up here where Howard and Thelma is… This George A Moore was a good friend of John Herms, from Laurel, Delaware. Of course, that was a post office. And he wanted somebody, and my father moved up there and he went to work farming with Jack Waller. He had a movies in Laurel, he had a big clothing store and he liked to go out and mess around on the farm. So, my father went to work for him. Worked for him for a year and a half, we come up here.
Interviewer: Now, ok, when you came up here? Did he work for somebody up here when he came here?
VO: For J Moore. He was the president of Supplee Milk Company in Mt Carney.
IA: In Camden? In Camden?
Interviewer: What was the name of the Company?
VS: Yeah, it was a very important. My goodness, very important.
Interviewer: Well, I’m not from South Jersey, so I don’t understand. I don’t know the names of all the companies, but I never heard of that one.
VO: Abbotts, that was Philadelphia.
Interviewer: Yes, I’m familiar with that one.
VO: Scott-Powell, they was in Camden.
Interviewer: Ok, I’ve got some milk bottles from that.
VO: Ok then you should have been old enough to see with what they used to have horses, the milk routes. They would walk up these steps. The trucks, the wagons, not the trucks, the wagons and everything was down on the first floor. And they had these steps, and the horses would walk up, up into the stable part of their living quarters inside and come down.
Interviewer: They must have been very wide steps, and shallow. For horses?
VO: I’d say about that wide. Bout that high.
VS: Oh my goodness.
VO: When they was coming down, they would walk just the same as you or I would.
Interviewer: To deliver the milk?
IA: No, the stable was up there.
Interviewer: Oh, the stables were up there.
VO: The stables was upstairs; the milk wagons was downstairs. The horse, the harness and all this was upstairs. And they would harness them up in the morning. Say you were a driver a wagon, you come in you had Jack and Jenny we’ll say, and whatever. You would harness them up, clean them off, harness them up. They had a man who would stay in the stable all night long. He would feed them all before it was time for you to come in to go to work.
Interviewer: How interesting. That was somewhat German. I think German farmhouses were designed where you had the living quarters upstairs, on the top floor. And then underneath they would have the animals.
VO: Now I was up in Maine, I gotta to stop to think what year it was. We went up there I was working over in Medford there for a fellow named Charlie Ships. Well, he owned some ground up there and the man he bought it off of had this cow barn. When came time to clean the barn out in wintertime why, it was up in Maine, up there in these hills you couldn’t get up and down cause of the snow. So, they had the chickens come out, we’ll say this is a chicken. This is the house, you walked across the driveway, or where we used to go across with the horses and wagons into the barn. Well, the horses were in there and the cows was in there and when they got ready to clean out they pulled the lever and it went down the stairs.
Interviewer: Very clever.
VO: In the spring of the year, that’s when they cleaned the barn out. Took it out and spread it.
IA: Very interesting, I wonder if they ever did that around here.
Interviewer: I was just going to ask that question. Have you ever seen anything like that design around here?
VO: They had this big doorway where they would go in with the horses and the wagons, fill up the wagon or spreader, or whatever, and they would go out and spread it. If the whether was too bad, they would put four head to the wagon or spreader.
IA: When the, this gets back to the Supplee Company in Camden. When they did their round with their horses, they only went with one horse and wagon. They couldn’t use two horses, did they?
IA: Wagon and deliver the milk bottles here there and everywhere.
IA: I’ve only ever seen you know, a single horse with a small wagon.
IA: Maybe they had a lot of deliveries to stores or something. Could they use a bigger, like a bigger arrangement?
VO: Well, these big doors that they used to go in, drive in, was doors you that wouldn’t think about having like we have down here. When they shut em, there was no air to get in.
IA: Yeah, but you’re talking about Maine again now. I want to talk about the Supplee Supply Company in Camden.
Interviewer: The Supplee Supply Company in Camden.
VO: Yeah. You used to go in the old Sears and Roebuck. Just get up past them and you get on Ferry, I think that was it. You got to the first curve to say where the school is now. Here on the right-hand side was this big building. A block or bigger.
VS: So that was Supplee. So, they had a lot.
VO: They had a road section of Camden. Scott-Powels had …
IA: Another dairy? My goodness.
Interviewer: Well now did your father work for dairymen, or did he work for truck farmers?
Interviewer: Which? Which did he work for? The truck farmers or did he work for dairymen?
VO: He worked for George A Moore doing truck farming.
All: Truck farming, truck farming, ok.
Interviewer: Now let’s go back, what did you say about your siblings, your brothers? You had a brother?
Interviewer: You had a brother and a sister? Was Asbury your brother? Did you have a sister?
VO: There was two older ….. one lived to be eighteen months old the other died at birth. There was two older than him. One lived to be so many months old the other died at birth. And there was two between him and I, they both died at birth. Stillborn, or whatever you want to call it, you know. So anyhow, to make a long story short he got to goin with … and they got married. I remember the night we went up to, I know you heard of whom I’m gonna say, used to give out license for getting married.
IA: Yeah, my papa.
IA: Oh Haines, he was before my papa’s time.
IA: Nelson. I didn’t know he did that.
VO: Well anyhow we went up there with my father. He wasn’t over twenty-one at that time. My father went up there and he signed for him. Of course, me I jumped in the car and went too.
Interviewer: How old were you at that time?
VO: He was twenty something.
Interviewer: So that would have made you 7?
VO: I turned eight in ‘87, or ‘27. They got married by Reverend Hess.
IA: Oh yeah, I remember that name.
Interviewer: Now where did they get married?
VO: Right next store here at the parsonage.
Interviewer: Ok, over at the Methodist Church. Ok, I just want to make sure that was clear. Now Mr. Haines, Nelson Haines, who was he?
IA: One of the seven Haines brothers.
IA: Vincent’s father.
VO: Vincent and Samuel
All: Their father.
IA: And they have three sisters still living.
VO: He lives up here now where the…..
VS: Begins with a C and I can never remember that name. They do truck farming.
VS: That’s the place.
VO: You say it, I don’t care. But that’s where he lived at that time.
Interviewer: What did he do, what position did he hold?
VO: He was a truck farmer.
Interviewer: He was a truck farmer. Nelson Haines was a truck farmer. But he also married people….
VS: No, he did not marry people. He gave out licenses.
Interviewer: Oh, he gave out licenses. Did he work for the Township?
IA: And I don’t know at that time whether they got paid. They probably did because when my father worked for the Township this way, he did get a very small salary.
VS: I don’t know whether Uncle Nelson besides giving out licenses, did he have to go around and quarantine people? Was he anything to do with the health? Because my father did. I remember did I remember the little placards that were nailed to the doors.
VO: I don’t know what to say about that part. Anyhow, he had a sawmill where Fletchers, over on the other side of the road, he had a sawmill over there. And in the wintertime people would go in the woods, or swamp we’ll say, and cut cedar and cart it out. And he would saw it up. There were people working for him. So, he had the sawmill making money in the wintertime in the sawmill.
Interviewer: Now Mr. Gerber, what do you remember of what your childhood was like growing up, what it was like growing up here. Irene and Viola we talked about what it was, what they did as children on the farms. What kinds of activities they participated in, you remember the kinds of things you did when you were growing up as children on the farms, what kinds of activities they participated in. Do you remember the kinds of things you did when you were growing up?
RG: We’d go with our parents. And if they went cranberrying we went cranberrying. They went out picked beans, whatever, you went with them. My mother took youngest daughter, I know, when we went picking cranberries, used to put her in a cranberry box while we was out the bogs picking cranberries. I was pickin blueberries up to her dad’s place up in the woods. Had to ride there on a truck to get up there and do that. As far as, didn’t seem like we had much play time, but we did have some. But then we had to go around to different farmers setting up tomato plants. And get together when my dad would come home from work. We’d go to her dad’s place and set out plants and might go across the road where Skimmer Pepper lived at that time. We do the same thing for him. I guess they got paid for it, I don’t know.
IA: Family probably went to family.
RG: In the wintertime, of course we had one school bus. It was a blizzard and all the men and boys who could handle a shovel got in the school bus. We went around the routes for the school bus. The next day it was all blown in again, but that’s what we did.
Interviewer: And where did you go to school?
RG: Tabernacle here.
Interviewer: Here, to the two-room building?
RG: Two room school, yeah, that’s right. That’s where I started.
Multiple speakers, words unclear.
RG: I don’t remember the year..
RG: Yeah, that’s right. It was ‘36. I remember Kenny talking about it. Cause they moved it with a horse. They had some kind of a turntable anchored in the road, somewheres up the road aways. And that horse would walk around, walk around and that dragged the schoolhouse up the road.
Interviewer: They didn’t have the schoolhouse on anything? It just moved on its….
RG: I think, oh yeah, they had it, I suppose, on some kind of skids or something.
Interviewer: Oh, the horse wasn’t right there, pulling?
RG: They had a cable or something or a rope. And the horse would walk around this thing, wind the rope up, and pull the schoolhouse.
Interviewer: That’s amazing! I just thought it just yanked it along.
RG: No, one horse did it.
Interviewer: One horse, did it? By doing that?
RG: Must be like a block and pulley.
Interviewer: Pulley, that’s the thing, I guess.
Interviewer: Do you remember, oh, you want to add something to that. Go ahead.
RG: His father, and of course her father and a bunch of them, before they got to the cultivated blueberries around here, they used to go out and knock blueberries off the wild bushes. They had a belt made out of old automobile carpet. The leaves would go up to the top and the berries would roll down.
VS: Do you know Mark had one of those. And it disappeared before I had a chance …………
Interviewer: How big was it?
VS: Oh, it was like this…
Interviewer: A few feet across?
VS: No, they weren’t. They were about a foot and a half across, but they stood up. The back of it was elevated, so the berries could roll down this carpet. And they had a handle on it that you moved that you moved the carpet around and around and around. And they kept pouring on the berries. And as he told you, the leaves would stick.
VS: And they would come back with, you know …. I guess you do it on a windy day, preferably. And the berries would roll down and be captured. And they were, … It was very different in those days. They had big crates, I’ve got a crate out there, that big crate, that’s got the two buckets in it. That was for blueberries.
Interviewer: That was for blueberries?
VS: And they were all in quarts. And there were tomatoes. It took a long time to fill up a crate of blueberries. Because they were teeny-tiny.
Interviewer: I was going to ask you how large were these wild …..
RG: They were like peas.
VS: Like peas.
Interviewer: Like the Maine wild blueberries.
VS: Yep, but they weren’t quite as small as that. They were more pea sized. The ones in Maine are very, very tiny.
Interviewer: Were they sweet?
RG: They were when they were ripe, you know.
VS: Well actually the blueberry wasn’t ….
RG: Did you ever get the job of turning?
VO: Well yeah turning, turning the cleaner, yes. Never had to go out…..
RG: I did. I went out in the woods and helped and helped.
VS: Well and they were high bush blueberries.
RG: Yeah, you could pull them down.
VS: They were very tall. They weren’t the little things like in Maine.
RG: You had a basket tied around your waist, pull it over and go up and knock the berries off the branches.
Interviewer: Now did you have a special tool for knocking the berries?
RG: A short stick.
VS: Now the blueberries that they are talking about, the high bush blueberries, are not the ancestor of ours today, blueberries.
VS: They came from the swamps, blueberries. I don’t know how much you did any swamp.
RG: Sometimes you call em upland berries and sometimes you call them swamp berries.
VS: Yeah, well.
RG: Both, whatever. Wherever you find em that’s where we went.
Interviewer: I’m sorry, go ahead.
RG: You grab a bush like this. One day when I was going doing this there was a snake sticking his head out.
Interviewer: What species of snake was it?
Interviewer: Did you hear any rattling?
RG: Not that I recall, probably a black snake. But I don’t know.
VO: While we were living up here, her and I went to school out here…
Interviewer: Viola, that is.
Interviewer: Did you two know ….
VS: Sure, same class. Sure, sure.
VS: I do not remember.
VO: You don’t remember going to school here?
VS: I remember going to school here. I remember lots. But I don’t remember the various teachers to well. But I do remember that I had a woman by the name of Anna Bartold. And years and years later when I went into Mt Holly to teach, there was Anna Bartold and she was still teaching first grade!
VS: And she is 92 now. And still is very alert as far as her mind is concerned. And I remember her, vaguely. I remember more about the building than I do remember about the various teachers, and the various people. I don’t think I was very observant in those days. I was five!
Interviewer: Exactly, you weren’t expected to do oral history some years later.
VO: Well, do you remember when the teachers used to bring Emma to school?
VS: Mrs. Kauffman? Was that Mrs. Kauffman who did that? Cause she lived in Medford?
VO: What was her maiden … Haines? Old “tinny” (?) Haines they used to call her.
VS: Oh, that’s the one that the woman I’m talking about. She was Anna Haines, at that time. Now she’s Anna Bartold.
VS: No, she was from Vincentown.
Interviewer: Now who’s Emma?
VS: My cousin. Emma New, Emma Beaumont.
Interviewer: Go ahead.
VO: So, the three of us was going to Tabernacle School at the same time, the old two room school.
Interviewer: Now Mr. Gerber you went to the two-room school also. What year were you? You were behind them.
RG: Right, I was behind them. I think I was the last one that went to school there before they moved it. One of the last ones to go there.
Interviewer: Ok. Do you remember anything in particular about your time at the school?
RG: Two rooms. Two-seater outhouse.
Interviewer: Do you remember whether you were cold or hot?
Interviewer: This is interesting, we never talked about this. What was it like having to use an outhouse?
RG: You didn’t make any ……. cause that’s all you had home.
VS: Yeah, sure. It’s what everybody had.
RG: Everybody had an outhouse. I still have one.
Interviewer: Well, this is a very important for folks to know about, that’s why I am asking. Everybody had an outhouse, it was common, there wasn’t indoor plumbing…
RG: No electric.
Interviewer: Can you give more details, ok no electric, about it. You would be in class, what would happen? You need to go use the outhouse. Did you have to be specifically excused to go?
RG and VS: Sure, yes.
RG: I mean you just didn’t get up and go out of the classroom.
Interviewer: Ok. And well do you have anything, anything you want to describe about it?
RG: You didn’t waste a lot of time out there in the wintertime.
VS: And you were out for recess, if you needed then you could go on your own. But otherwise, you were either supervised or alone.
Interviewer: Ok, anything you want to add to the outhouse discussion?
VS: Well, they were cleaned. They really were, they were cleaned. And then before they got so full, they had to be cleaned, they would douse the remnants with lime.
VS: So, it wasn’t unpleasant, really. And everybody lived the same way. So, you did not think anything about it.
RG: That’s the way we were raised.
VS: And you used the daytime, I’m not talking about school, cause you didn’t have school. But at nighttime at home, you had the chamber pot.
RG: Yeah, we had in the bed….
VS: Sure. And that’s just the way it was. And that’s why, the woman in some of these programs is called the chamber maid. She wasn’t called the chamber maid because she took care of the room, the chamber, she took care of the chamber pot. (laughter by all). I mean, whether it was at home, or traveling, going to an inn as the early settlers did, they lived exactly that way. And it was just, just a way of life. Nobody thought anything about it.
Interviewer: Well, when did you, Irene when did you get indoor plumbing? Do you remember. Do you remember around what time?
IA: Not till electricity came. (laughter). I’ve forgotten, 1920 something. ‘26?
RG: Bout ‘28 or ‘29. I can remember …… Our house was about two or three years old when electric came. And they started putting electric in. The house where I’m living at now, when we moved there, was no electric.
VS: No, well nobody had electric then.
RG: I was born in ‘27 and we moved there in ‘28, so it was after that when electric came.
VS: And then, uh,
Interviewer: So, plumbing followed the electric.
RG: Oh yeah.
VS: For a long time.
RG: Long time.
IA: A lot of people were established in their homes and maybe they had to cut a bathroom, er a bedroom in half or something to put these bathrooms.
VS: Yeah that’s what happened right here.
IA: That’s what we had to do in the farmhouse.
RG: That’s what happened in my house.
VS: You only had one. You didn’t have three or four, you didn’t have a powder room, you had one!
RG: You take a bath in a tub alongside the kitchen stove. We did the same many, many …….
IA: Saturday afternoons.
RG: Saturday afternoon, Saturday nights. That’s when you got your weekly bath. You didn’t get one every day.
VO: You didn’t see the daily one.
RG: No way. No way, my mother would heat the water on the stove alongside….
Interviewer: I have one thing to ask you. How wide was the tub that you used? Was it a large tub?
RG: We still got one.
Interviewer: Do you, really?
RG: It was about that big around.
Interviewer: How big around? You have to describe it. How wide was it? What would be the diameter of it?
RG: About three foot, three and a half foot across.
Interviewer: Ok, and how high did it stand off the floor?
RG: Oh, about like this here.
Interviewer: Would that be two feet?
RG: No, no , no.
Interviewer: Not that much.
IA: It was what was used when they had wash day. The same, it was a wash tub.
RG: That was the reason it was called a foot tub.
RG: And we had two of em. You’d use a scrubbing board.
VS: Yeah, yeah yeah, right.
Interviewer: And about how high?
RG: Bout the same height.
IA: About the same height, a foot and a half high.
Interviewer: Ok, ok. So, Saturday was, Saturday night was your washday?
RG: Yep. Ready or not you got a Saturday night bath.
RG: Mondays was mother’s washday.
Interviewer: Monday was for your mother’s washday. Was that for all of you?
VS: But they really had a routine.
VS: Tuesday was wash….. Monday was washday. Tuesday was iron day. Wednesday was, I don’t remember now… My mother had this routine and I have forgotten. But every day was a specific job. I don’t think they could have gotten through everything if they didn’t. Like we do we try to do it all in one day because we have all this helpful equipment, the appliances to help us. But they didn’t. And so, you didn’t do something else on the day that you had to do the wash. Because that took all day.
IA: By the time you heated the water, filled the washer, washed the clothes, run them through the wringer.
VS and RG: If you had a wringer.
IA: Which is best to have one.
RG: Right, right.
VS: One day, the following Saturday, was probably the day they baked. Because Sunday was coming, and you had to have special deserts for company if they came.
RG: You never knew who was going to come in on Sundays.
IA: No, not at all.
IA: Your father killed a chicken, and you know you had to clean that and get that ready for Sunday dinner.
Interviewer: Well did you have a wringer? Do you remember when you got clothes wringer?
VS: The one you’re talking about was a separate thing that……
IA and RG: It was on the washer as well.
IA: The washer twirled around and then the wringer was attached to it.
Interviewer: Ok, now that would have been run by electricity, that one.
Interviewer: OK, ok.
RG: I still have one of those.
VS: You kept your old washer?
RG: I’ve got two of them. Donald’s got one in his basement and one out back.
VS: How about that.
RG: My mother’s house has still got one in it. She still used it, until, of course, she passed away.
RG: Regular wringer washer. I think my mother had one of the last ones you could buy. It’s still at my dad’s and my mother’s, I could use it.
VS: Well, that’s what she was used to and so …
RG: She didn’t want nothing else. Well, we didn’t get one until my son in law bought us a new style washer. Spin dry unit and that sort of thing.
Interviewer: Well did you get your washer, um, with the wringer, as soon as electric came in? Or was it done years after that?
IA: Ours was several years after that.
Interviewer: And what about you Mr. Gerber? Do you remember when you got that?
RG: No, I don’t specifically. No, no.
Interviewer: It was just (tape being changed)
RG: We had a heater well this run back and forth from … This goes one way, when this went across and go one way and come back it’d go another way.
Interviewer: Was that electric or manual? Electric or manual?
Interviewer: It was electric.
RG: His mother had it His uncle Jim, who was here last week. He used to say when he was out in the field working for his dad, plowing or something or another, he could tell when Edith was washing because you could hear that old washer … glug, glug glug.
Interviewer: Do you remember that washer?
RG: Yeah. It’d cool things off. You carried in wood in for the stove every day, to heat the hot water.
VS: Did you have the kind of stove that has the water tank on the side to the stove to heat the hot water?
RG: No, we didn’t. We just threw a bucket on the stove to heat it.
Interviewer: Did you have a stove that had a tank attached to it? (directed to Viola)
VS: Yes, uh huh.
Interviewer: Can you describe it?
VS: Well, it was just an ordinary cooking range. You know, it was about that height. And it was about five feet long, something like that.
VS: It was about five feet long and it would stand up about the height of the table, which is what thirty……
VO: And outdoors, if your feet got cold, you know what they used to do?
All: No, no.
VO: Open the oven doors.
Interviewer: To warm up.
RG: Right Ralph?
VS: You always had hot water though.
Interviewer: And that was warmed by wood.
VS: Wood. On a wood stove.
VS: My father was always wanting to have the best things, the first things, you know. So, I don’t know how many other people around here did what he did. But he didn’t like putting in the wood, I guess. He didn’t like leaving the ashes.
VO: So, he heard about the, uh, fuel … It was kerosene. And there was a tank attached then to the stove. And it fed fuel to whatever kind of burners were put inside to use. I don’t know anything about it. Except I know we didn’t fiddle with it. We didn’t take care of the stove anymore except to watch that the tank was always full with the fuel. And it was always run.
Interviewer: Do you know around what time that was, what year that was?
VO: I was still going to school here, so I don’t know. I was still going to school here in ‘36 because cause that’s when I graduated from high school and when I went from here. Because when you go away to college, you only come home for the summer. You’re away from here.
Interviewer: Yes. I know what you mean.
VO: It’s not quite the same as always having lived here every day and sleeping here every night, you know. It’s a change of life entirely. So, I remember what happened before then. And we did have the small, I don’t know if they’re called Franklin stoves, I don’t think they were called Franklin stoves. But anyway, the stove in the dining room, between the dining room and the living room, and the parlor door was shut. So that was always cold (laughing). And I remember that was filled with them. We had that. For a long time, we didn’t ……. in the cellar.
But, scared me to death one night. The chimney caught on fire. And I don’t know how old I was, maybe eight, ten, whatever. I was afraid, it was dark outside. And I was afraid to go outside and go across to my uncle’s house and tell my father who was over there visiting, that we had a chimney fire. So, I opened the window and I yelled.
VO: And I don’t know how somebody heard me.
Interviewer: Do you know how old you were at that time?
VO: I don’t know, eight or ten or something like that. And, uh, he heard me, and he came over. And he doused, he opened the door, and he sprinkled salt. Put the chimney fire out.
VO: But I had visions of my house burning down. You know at eight or ten years old; you’re depending on an adult to take care of things. And I think my mother, she was not, she was not, she was like me, scared to death. It was up to me to do something and I did it. So, I don’t know what would have happened if he had not come home and sprinkled it with salt. She probably would have been able to do that if she wasn’t panic stricken. Right, you know, because she became panic stricken very easily. I think.
Interviewer: Was it common to have chimney fires in those days?
RG: Seemed like it, yes.
IA: I think so.
RG: I think so cause that was the main source of heat.
VS: Well, they…
RG: In the fall, they would, before they started using it to much, they would, my dad would go out and, in the woods, and get us a cedar tree the right size, put a rope on each end; one would pull it down and one would be on the top, he would pull it up in the chimney. That’s how the chimney’s got cleaned.
Interviewer: Can you describe that more? How would that get done?
RG: Because… well a chimney is about eight-inch square…
RG: So, they would get a cedar tree cause it was real… like a bushy and put a rope on each end of it. And one person would pull it down……
VS: Well, somebody had to go up on the roof?
RG: and someone would pull it back up. So, you’re pulling the tree back up and down in the chimney.
RG: And they’d the soot and stuff out that would come out.
Interviewer: Now what wood were you burning?
RG: Mostly oak, everybody mostly burned oak because they don’t like pine because of the sap out of it.
RG: Creosote, it makes too much creosote. Pine did, that’s why people didn’t like to use it.
Interviewer: Yeah that would…
RG: But at the time if they didn’t have a choice, they would use it. But the …. was oak or maple or whatever.
VS: And you had to have a place where you could go and gather your wood.
RG: Yes, right.
VS: I remember my father, back here, he had a wood lot, there is a development there, and uh.
Interviewer: He had a wood lot?
VS: He had a wood lot.
Interviewer: Where the church is now?
VS: No, no, over there, over on New Road.
VS: What’s the name of that development? We sold the land to the people who developed it. Mallard Woods. That was my father’s wood lot.
VO: Didn’t I cut some wood for your daddy from up there in back of Tim Campbells in there.
VS: When you get tired of chopping you find somebody else to do it.
VO: With a horse and wagon, and we were living down here then. Then Samuel come over with his tractor, and Vince and Sammy Pepper, the three of us sawed the wood up for your daddy.
VS: Un huh. A portable saw? Yeah, a gasoline engine, it would have been, wouldn’t it?
VO: No, this was right on the front of his tractor.
VO: You hooked it up, you fastened it up there, take off and go.
VS: Well, there were a lot of gasoline engines for the tractors for the tractor used gasoline.
Interviewer: In a way. Yeah.
VS: They were innovative! Especially when they had to start working.
RG: Uncle Herbert used to have one that was a stationary engine mounted on a Model T truck chassis.
VS: Un huh.
VO: Yeah, Uncle Herbert had that.
RG: Yeah, you could go around my grandfathers, or my house, or wherever, whoever needed their wood sawed. We’d all get together and saw wood here today and tomorrow somewheres else.
Interviewer: It was like thrashing.
RG: Oh yeah.
IA: Your house today and somebody’s else’s tomorrow.
RG: Or next Saturday or whatever.
IA: Yeah, they went around. Families helped families.
RG: Yep, they sure did. They moved ready in the woods, in the woods.
VS: Well, that’s because families were big, and they stayed put. They didn’t go here, there and everywhere.
Interviewer: Not like they do today.
RG: Everyone helping one another, they kept one another warm. Right Irene?
RG: We used to do the wallpapering the houses.
RG: They used to go around house to house. Bunch of women be there and of course the men would help sometimes. Tear the paper off, the old paper.
All: Yeah, yeah.
RG: You’d get the paste board out, somebody paste’s board, and put paste on the paper, and put the paper on the walls and ceilings. And sometimes there was six or eight women in there working on it at the same time. Maybe they do two or three rooms at one time, they’d be still working on it.
Interviewer: You should talk about that.
VS: You asked her one time, you asked Irene one time, did we miss anything? And I don’t think we did. Because we had all of these people around us being busy.
VS: You talk about the cooking bees. Was it the Amish, well they were here too.
RG: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah.
VS: I mean, there was work, but it was fun. It was companionship.
RG: Right, right.
VS: You didn’t feel you were missing out on anything.
VS: Actually, I think a lot of the kids were happier than they are today.
Interviewer: Do you think that’s like, families today, that you’re related to, get together get together as much and help one another as much as they did back in the day?
All: No, no, no.
VS: Well, there’s nothing to set things for, for one thing.
RG: You hardly see each other on a Saturday now. Very seldom, the families ever visit. They used to over Christmas time. They used to go house to house. Go in this house, come out and go to the next house. All relatives. That’s what you did. Every night you go to two or three houses. Around Christmas time.
Interviewer: Uh huh. You visited one another.
RG: Yep, uh huh, yep.
IA: You see their tree and their gifts. You’d maybe spend a half hour with them and then you’d go to another house. Maybe two, three, four houses. You know, in one evening. Then you’d come home, set around your own tree and talk and …
VS: It was hard in some ways. But as I say everybody was doing the same thing, so you didn’t feel put upon, because you were doing this, that everybody else was doing. (laughter). And then, life was a pleasure.
Interviewer: Now what do you remember about when electric came in here? Um, the way you felt, the way your parents felt about having electric.
VO: We didn’t live here when that came in.
Interviewer: Ok, well you were in …
VS: Where were you? Did you have electricity wherever you went?
Interviewer: Where were you, in Moorestown?
VO: Well, they didn’t have electric there when we went to Moorestown. It went by but Aaron never put it in the house. It was too much expense.
Interviewer: uh huh. Yes.
VO: Then when we come to Medford, and there was no electric there. And when we moved up here …
Interviewer: Where’s here?
VO: ….. paid to have it put in the house, there whatever. Right down the road here. The first place there, of course the house has been tore down and a new one built there.
Interviewer: Ok, so this was this Chatsworth Road or Carranza?
VS: Chatsworth. Going towards Chatsworth.
VO: It was the first house on the right-hand side.
Interviewer: Where the church is now?
IA: Ok, where Joe Conte Jr lives. There was a big farmhouse there and that’s what he is talking about.
Interviewer: Ok, ok.
VS: We’ve learned a lot, huh?
VS: You’ve moved around a lot.
VO: Well not as much as some people did. You know what I can remember Irene? When I was going to school out here, there was snow, on the ground, and the boys was having a snow fight. Your sister, the one still living..
VO: A bunch of the girls was standing over along the hall. One of the boys threw a snowball over there at the girls and hit her in the eye.
IA: No, I don’t remember that one.
VO: I know, you wasn’t going to school then.
Interviewer: How old were you when that took place?
VO: I was, well we moved from here in ‘28. Went to Verga or Westville or whatever. And when I went down there, I had to go upstairs, the grade I was in was in the firehouse. There was a four-room schoolhouse at Verga there and the first grades was in the firehouse. Upstairs. Teacher’s name was Miss Burn. So, when I went to second grade, I went to the school. You know. It had all eight grades. In that schoolhouse. Then they built an addition on to it, had an auditorium and a workshop for the boys and a shop for the girls underneath of that part.
VS: So, Tabernacle didn’t have anything like that. (laughter). There were two rooms and eight grades.
VO: Do you remember when they moved the school down the road there? With the Pat, what was his name, Orlando.
VO: Hooked that one horse, had the school all jacked up. They pulled it down the road with one horse to where it is today.
Interviewer: Yep, I remember Irene and …
VO: Do you remember Ralph?
RG: Yeah, that was in ‘36.
VO: That was in ‘36?
VS: Well, this has been very interesting and entertaining.
Interviewer: But it is time. That’s right, we talked about that too.
IA: And Mike Rogers, was he the school bus driver too? He was for the high school.
RG: I remember him driving a bus.
VO: It had an extension on the back, and he’d pull into Vincentown and the front wheels would go up.
VO: That’s what kind of boys you used to have around here.
VS: Listen they did harmless things. Today the kids are in hot soup.
Interviewer: Yeah, it’s terrible.
Interviewer: Ok, we’ll um, there’s still a lot of things to talk about. I would like to talk about the uh,
END OF TAPE.