Interview with Olive Gillis and her daughter, Frances Gillis Fowler

transcribed by Rachel Vore Engle

Interviewer: We're at the home of Mrs. Arthur Gillis, Olive Gillis, who is sitting here with her daughter, Frances Gillis Fowler. And now we will begin the interview:

Interviewer: Olive, would you tell me your name and your present age?

Olive: I am 96 years old and my name is Mrs. Arthur Gillis.

Interviewer: What -- was your name was Mrs. Arthur Gillis also at the time of the flood?

Olive: Bayes (sp?)

Frances: At the time of the flood Olive

(a bit unsure here is all was caught during transcription)

Olive: At the time of the flood Olive Bayes. No Gillis at the time of the flood.

Interviewer: Olive Bayes.

Olive: Olive Gillis. Olive Bayes Gillis.

Interviewer: That's right. And you were how old then approximately?

Olive: About Thirty-three.

Interviewer: Thirty-three, that's right. And you were living at what residence?

Olive: East Franklin Street

Frances: 725 East Franklin Street.

Olive: 725 East Franklin Street.

Interviewer: And Frances, you were how old then? At the time?

Frances: Why, I would have been eight years old the fifth of April.

Interviewer: And your name is now?

Frances: Fowler.

Interviewer: And where do you live?

Frances: 1426 Sussex

Interviewer: That's right. And where does your mother live now?

Frances: 617 S. Walnut.

Interviewer: All right, good. Would you tell us about your home at the time of the flood? It was two stories and it had how many rooms?

Olive: Seven. Oh, it had about 7 room house.

Interviewer: All right. And it did have electricity?

Olive: No, it was not modern.

Interviewer: Uh-huh. It was modern for them probably though Olive.

Olive: Well, we didn't have a furnace. We burned a stove.

Interviewer: Uh, you didn't.. we're not sure whether, you do think you had gas lights?

Olive: I think we had gas lights down there.

Interviewer: City water.

Olive: City water, plumbing inside.

Interviewer: And last you had plumbing, water, running water.

Olive: We didn't have water inside but, yes, we had a bathroom sure.

Interviewer: All right, good. And you had a partial basement.

Frances: Yes.

Olive: Mhmm.

Interviewer: And it was a frame house and it's. Where is that now? That's still there?

Frances: Yes. At the corner of Frank and Franklin. Which would be the north and the west corner. And it has recently in the last 2, 3, 4 years been made into either a four or five room - five apartment house. Mrs. Loomis * projects.

Interviewer: All right. Then you had how many children Mrs. Gillis?

Olive: I had the two, Frances and Almeda (unsure name is right).

Interviewer: Mhm. And your son was born later? Your son was born later then?

Olive: Ten years and twelve years. Twelve years later than her, ten years later than Almeda.

Interviewer: All right. Then you were married - your husband's occupation was.. what did he do?

Olive: He worked with his father in the livery stable.

Interviewer: And where was the livery stable?

Olive: On Walnut Street.

Frances: You said that I should tell you a little bit about that. Grandpa Gillis had about 250 head of horses in the livery stable. And he furnished horses for the fire department and for the police department and for the sheriff's department. And the grocery people had used the horses. Plus the milk people. So he had a lot of horses that each and every day were harnessed and so forth and ready to put on the street for the very places where they were supposed to go. Then there were a lot of horses for hire. That is you and I could go hire a horse or a team of horses. And then..

Olive: It was the only way people had of going.

Frances: The undertakers at that time did not have equipment but Grandpa Gillis and his livery barn had I think four hearses.

Olive: No.

Frances: Yeah, 'cause there was a gray one, and a white one, and a black one and one that had purple in it. And it was according to the age of the people, as to what color you got. If it was a baby, they'd have a white horse. If it was an older person, it was usually the gray or the purple. And the in between people had the black hearses. So you could kind of tell if you'd see a white hearse you knew that it was a little baby's funeral. And then oh I think there must have been what eighteen or so of the coaches that they had. That also went to the..there a large amount of them.

Olive: And I think they had ten or twelve.

Frances: There was a large amount of them though. And they were used for funerals.

Olive: They were all used for funerals.

Frances: Or weddings and all those kind of things, the same bunch of equipment. (laughs)

Olive: The undertakers didn't have anything of that kind. Grandpa had them in his livery barn and they were used for all..they were used for weddings, and for funerals or any kind of a big doings where people wanted to kind of put it on.

Frances: And there were picnic riders (?).

Olive: Why they had a use for them.

Frances: They had six on either side, you faced each other. And they would hold 20 or 25, maybe 30, I don't remember.

Olive: How's that?

Frances: The picnic wagons.

Olive: Oh the..yeah.. I would expect they would hold 20.

Frances: And there was equipment that could be used for sleigh rides. That is, a quantity of people for sleigh rides. Or a quantity for bobsled or hay.

Olive: He had everything in that town connected with the livery barn because that was the only way that people could get around. And there as a certain amount of people that they just kept going all the time. There was enough people to get it agoing that way.

Interviewer: And this was in back of Penny's, then? Is where it was. Ok. And they were very busy then. But you were at home taking care of your children weren't you?

Olive: Yeah, oh I washed and ironed and sewed and I was always busy.

Interviewer: I'm sure that you were I think. The..your husband worked for his father then or with his father that is..

Olive: Yes.

Interviewer: The two of them together all right. But this home, the home you lived in and the livery stable were not affected by the flood were they?

Olive: Only seep water.

Interviewer: Seep water in the basement.

Olive: In the basement, uh-huh. We didn't have any on the outside.

Interviewer: All right. What is your. Let's see, the types of transportation available at that time was then horses from your father and.

Olive: What was what?

Interviewer: The horses were how you traveled then, is that right?

Frances: There were trains too.

Interviewer: There were trains, all right.

Olive: Oh yes, there were trains.

Interviewer: The people in Troy traveled either by train, by foot, by horse, or with horses.

Frances: Bicycles too.

Olive: They didn't have bicycles. (indistinct)

Olive: They didn't have the streetcars then.

Interviewer: They didn't have streetcars, all right.

Frances: Well, at least we don't think they did.

Interviewer: All right.

Olive: Did they?

Interviewer: Can you remember? What was the farthest that you can remember traveling then? That way? Did you take a train? Did you take trains? (indistinct at end as Olive answers)

Olive: Yes, we didn't go very many places but if we went anywhere (pause) no, did they have a way of going to Piqua, there was a wagonette or something that went to Piqua. And we could go that way.

Interviewer: All right.

Frances: Now that's past my remembering. I...

Olive: (indistinct, not positive on what was said) you may have been younger than that.

Frances: we may have had streetcars, I don't know

Interviewer: Well

Frances: when the Troy...DP and

Olive: DP&L, when did that go through?

Frances: I don't know.

Interviewer: But you did travel by train, even to Dayton then, is that right?

Olive: Yes, if you went. But we didn't go. (laughter)

Interviewer: But you didn't go very often, I suppose. (indistinct muttering) You belong to what church then?

Olive: I always belonged to the Lutheran Church.

Interviewer: The Lutheran Church across from the Courthouse. And uhm..You were active in the Lady's Aid and many organizations.

Interviewer: The Lady's Mission .... (rest indistinct)

Olive: And the missionary (?) And an Epworth(?) League

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Olive: Before we was married we had that. I had it all along but I mean I belonged to that all. (indistinct)

Interviewer: You were younger and then when you were married.

Olive: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Interviewer: When were you married Mrs. Gillis?

Olive: In 1905.

Interviewer: All right. You were married then in the frame church that was were the Lutheran Church is now.

Olive: We married.. We furnished our home and was married in it.

Interviewer: Oh, you were married in your home.

Olive: Right back.

Interviewer: 625 E. Franklin was it?

Olive: No, no. That was after we was married was where we lived down there.

Interviewer: Oh.

Olive: No, 1905, we lived right behind Fisher's funeral home.

Interviewer: Oh, I see.

Olive: a the house back there.

Interviewer: I see. All right. On Cherry Street.

Frances: Cherry Lane.

Interviewer: Now, I think I'll establish now. You had a mother, and a sister living on Garfield. Am I right?

Olive: Yes.

Interviewer: On the 400 block of Garfield. And what was your mother's name?

Olive: Margaret(?) Bayes.

Interviewer: And your sister's name was?

Olive: Una Bayes.

Interviewer: And your other sister was married wasn't she? And to whom was she married?

Olive: Yes, she was married. Because Stella was the oldest girl. I was the next, and Una was next and then Mrs. Miller. And Mrs.Miller. Una was the only one that did not get married. And the rest of us was all married the same year, 1905.

Interviewer: Your mother must have been busy.


Interviewer: Getting all of you girls married.

Olive: Pretty busy.

Interviewer: Oh, I guess.

Interviewer: All right. Can you remember the day of the flood? When it first happened? What are your memories of that?

Olive: The day of the flood this happened?

Interviewer: Yes, uh-huh. What happened the day of the flood?

Olive: Well, the first memory that I have of it (?). I remember that man that came down on horseback on Franklin Street and warning everyone to get out or do something to take care of themselves. And we went right to work to carrying things upstairs. Why those.ya (laugh) kids, they was nothing but kids, but I just made them go to it.

Interviewer: You were at eight.almost eight. You were carrying furniture?

Frances: The thing that I remember about it, was that she gathered up our raincoats and our boots or galooshes or overshoes, something. We had to put on our shoes anyhow. And sat them all by the door (?) a chair. And then we worked to get everything upstairs. And we ended up with a..we hadn't..did not take the piano. Naturally, we couldn't. We couldn't take the davenport. And we couldn't take the dining room table. And then we put the mattresses from the beds on the dining room table. But everything else in the house now, we carted up the steps.

Interviewer: You too afraid she(?)

Frances: And she wouldn't even let us stop and get a drink of water.

Olive: (laugh) Oh, we all worked like (?).

Interviewer: Was your husband home at that time?

Frances: No.

Olive: No! He was up in the livery barn.

Frances: ...take care of the horses..

Olive: Doing things up there that had to be done.

Interviewer: What did you.. How did you feel when he.. the man was using a livery horse store..livery horse?

Olive: Well, I didn't know that, but Mr. Gillis did. He realized it right away when he went out and saw who it was and everything. He knew the horse. And that it must be something awful if they got a horse out of the livery barn to let people know about it, you know. So, he just took out of the livery barn and we had it all to ourselves.

Interviewer: Did you take everything upstairs? So your husband is at the livery barn and you're taking everything upstairs. And is it raining out at this time?

Frances: Oh, raining hard.

Interviewer: Raining hard.

Olive: Yes. Yes.

Frances: And I think maybe thunder and lightning.

Interviewer: Ok. Thunder and lightning. All right. Can you remember then you got all things upstairs, and what did you do then?

Olive: I remember that they said to be sure and take what you had to eat upstairs.

Interviewer: You grabbed everything.

Frances: Well then the next thing would have been Seth Hodge coming down to take us over to Grandpa Gillis's house on Mulberry Street.

Interviewer: Now tell me about going to Grandpa Gillis's. Why did you go there? Can you?

Olive: Because grandpa had heard about my mother and daughter..mother and sister. And another sister and family being drowned. And he thought that it would be awful for me to stay down there on Franklin Street if I would happen to hear about that. And he was sure that I would. So he went down there after us. And we had to walk, didn't we?

Frances: We walked all the way.

Interviewer: You walked then...

Frances: We walked up Franklin Street to the railroad and then we walked south along the railroad. That would be the present B&O. And, now this is what I'm remembering. That Seth Hodge only had one eye and he carried Almeda 'cause she was little. And I had to walk on the side that didn't have an eye. Then he held onto mom on the other side. And we walked the tressel. We were never allowed to walk the tressel that was forbidden territory. And all this water gushing underneath. And I was just sure. that I would fall in between the cracks...

Olive: Oh..just clear up...

Frances: the railroad tracks...ties. But we finally got past it. And then I got a blank.

Olive: The city pool (unsure what Olive says here)

Frances: We didn't go that far. We didn't go that far. We went in the vicinity of either Lafayette or uhm maybe..

Olive: Oh he's further down than Lafayette.

Frances: No, we weren't. We weren't because you see then what we had to do was go from place to place on high ground to get over around where were supposed to go to Grandpa Gillis's. But now that 400 block on Mulberry Street, all of those properties are kind of high. They would have oh, 4, 5, 6 steps up to the house. But the block above that, the one from Lafayette to Race Street is low.

Olive: That's where Mrs. Warner was. You see she was in a house that only had one story but all those houses only had one story.

Frances: Mother if you'd go down Walnut. Mulberry Street and look, the 300 block of Mulberry, the houses are even with the road of the sidewalk. But then the next block, they're all up high. I don't know hows come.

Interviewer: But Grandpa Gillis, your father-in-law, lived in the 400 block of Mulberry Street.

Frances: That was a high block.

Interviewer: And that was higher. That was a high block.

Olive: Yeah, that's a high block.

Interviewer: So tell me when you got there then, through this having to walk and avoid the water.

Olive: Oh yes we had to walk.

Interviewer: What did you do? What happened when you got there? Did they tell you about your mother and your sister?

Olive: Oh people were (?) to come in from all directions.

Interviewer: Everybody...

Frances: I don't think they told mama for quite awhile.

Interviewer: They didn't tell you about your, I see.

Frances: A day or so.

Interviewer: I see, but by this time you knew it was.

Frances: It was hush hush. Don't tell Olive anything about her mother and her sisters.

Interviewer: You hadn't heard yet that they were all right.

Olive: Oh.

Frances: Well, they didn't know either

Olive: They didn't know.

Interviewer: What about

Olive: No, they didn't know for a long time

Interviewer: Now your sister and uhm lived on Garfield

Olive: My mother and my sister were on Garfield. And my sister, Mrs. Miller and her family were out on West Race Street, wasn't it? West Race. And it was low out there. Oh my. You know when they took them out in a boat from the upstairs window. So, you know that it was low and the water was awful deep. Oh, big logs just come floating down that banged (smacks her hand) the house. It was just awful.

Frances: Now Selma Bayes (?) never left her house, nor Aunt (?).

Olive: But they lived on. what street did they live on?

Frances: They lived on Garfield and so did Aunt Stella and Uncle Jean Single (?).

Olive: Yes.

Frances: And they lived next to each other. And Grandma had all been through several floods. Troy had had some floods prior to this 1913 flood. And she was more or less accustomed to knowing that she had to get things upstairs and included the food and a certain amount of water. And she had either a coal oil or gasoline stove I imagine coal oil

Olive: I think so.

Frances: that she had that she could do a little bit of cooking on. And then she and Aunt Stella had windows that were even, and they had some kind of. They passed stuff back and forth. I don't.

Olive: I know they had a clothes line.

Frances: attached to some

Olive: clothes line and I don't remember how

Frances: I thought it was

Olive: they got that. How did they get that across?

Frances: Well, they had two windows that were opposite of each other. And Stella had a window and Grandma had a window.

Olive: Yes, but how did it get that rope back and forth?

Frances: Well, they did before the water got to deep.

Olive: Oh well, maybe (indistinct)

Frances: Because they anticipated the need and Aunt Stella didn't have any way of getting, of cooking anything. She didn't have anything. A stove she could take upstairs. So grandma would make coffee or soup or tea or whatever it was. I don't know. And then she'd share with Aunt Stella.

Olive: It's in a bucket and took Ethel and her family. Ed and her husband, Ed Miller, he got his wife and two children, oldest from Wilbur and James. And he took them out to the hill, the Hospital Hill. That was the nearest for them. And those people out there weren't fixed to feed them or do much of anything with them wherever they took them. And as soon as the water got down, so that they could get in with a team of horses and a big wagon. Why Mr. Fessler belonged to our church and he came in with his big wagon and a team of horses. He loaded them up and brought them to our house down on Franklin Street. He found out there where my mother and the other sister lived. And then he went back and got them and brought them down. So we had all of them down there with us.

Interviewer: I see.

Olive: But then let's see now. I think we..we went home when we knowed they was coming, wasn't that it?

Frances: Well, I kind of think see, that's very vague in my mind. I don't, I don't..the time is gone.

Olive: Well we had to get home in order to have things ready for the folks when they come down there. I think it was the biggest end of a week. (?)

Frances: Now I know that.

Interviewer: You were at Grandmother Gillis's for a whole week weren't you?

Olive: Oh, I don't know if it was a whole week or not but it was several days. I think the biggest end of a week.

Interviewer: And there were lots of people there. Tell us about how you fed them. How did you feed all those people?

Olive: Well, Grandpa Gillis always did have plenty on hands to eat. And then Mr. the Stecky's boys run the bakery uptown. And they knew how we were situated. That of course they had Mr. Stecky's wife's mother we had her you see. And it was Mr. Stecky's mother-in-law and his wife's sister. No, his wife.

Frances: No, no. It was Mrs. Warner and her daughter Mary, who was the mother and the sister of his.

Olive: Oh yes. Mr. Stecky had a wife beside that.

Interviewer: And you were taking care of that of part of his family. So he..

Frances: And the Bath (?) family came too. And in the Bath family would have been Bertha Dill (?) or Bertha Bath that would be the mother of Sarah Dill Schaffer that belongs to the church.

Interviewer: So was she in the house too then? With you?

Olive: No?

Frances: Yes, Bertha Bath was.

Olive: Oh yes, yes.

Frances: And Ella Bed? And two or three Bed boys. Now I don't remember whether it would have been Web. He's the only one I think living today maybe of the whole family. But I.. the mother..

Olive: But they all came in there to eat.

Frances: Well they slept there.

Olive: Hm?

Frances: They slept there too.

Olive: Oh I know, they slept on the floor.

Interviewer: Because there was a lower area. Your father-in-law's home was high and all these surrounding people had to come into you father-in-law's home. So you had a lot of people there.

Olive: Oh yes. We had. I don't know how many. It was an awful lot.

Interviewer: How did you cook for them?

Olive: Well, Grandma just put on what she had to cook and she cooked it. She was a good cook. She knew how to manage things.

Interviewer: How to stretch things.

Olive: How to stretch things out. And she divided it out among everybody and everybody seemed to have enough.

Interviewer: And they were there several days. How long were they there before the water went down?

Olive: Oh, it was a bit before they could get back into their homes.

Interviewer: What did she cook on? A gas stove do you think? Was it? And what did..

Olive: I believe she did.

Interviewer: And she you said I believe that a special kind of stove.

Frances: Oh, she had a base burner. They had had a furnace put in, and of course, the water got into the basement. So that put the fire out in the furnace. Grandma had decided that the furnace would heat the house. And she wouldnít let Grandpa get rid of the base burner. So it was set up in the dining room. And of course, I suppose the coal pile maybe was outside. Anyhow, a base burner went all the time so the house was warm and it was dry. But most every place was very damp. Not enough..

Interviewer: But you think there might have been gas for the stove, still?

Frances: Oh Iím sure. I can remember the stove and it was. And Iím sure it was a gas.

Olive: Oh yes, they had a base burner.

Frances: No, no. That they cooked on. The gas range.

Olive: The gas range.

Interviewer: And did they keepÖ

Olive: They had a base burner to keep warm.

Interviewer: Yes, and that really came in handy didnít it? What about the water now? Did you. You werenít couldnít drink the water.

Olive: We couldnít drink the water. We warned about that. People went around and warned people what to do and what not to do. And that was one of the things that we got right away early, was to be sure and boil all the water we drank.

Interviewer: And where did she boil that? Did she just kept water on the stove?

Frances: She kept the washboard(?) on the stove all the time with water in it.

Interviewer: So that you always

Frances: I donít think that it ever quit cooking or boiling or..

Interviewer: And you take it out and cool it I suppose before you drink it.

Olive: Oh yes.

Frances: I donít remember drinking hot water but it wasnít very cold.

Interviewer: Can you remember what are the other doís and doníts they said do not..

Olive: Do I remember whatÖ

Interviewer: Yeah, what else did they say when they came around to tell you what to do and what not to do. One was not to drink the water unless it was boiled. Can you remember anything else?

Frances: Donít use any of the food in basement that has any water on it.

Olive: your water logged canned things. (not sure if this is what was said)

Frances: Or your apples or your potatoes or those kind of things. Now I donít know why apples..

Olive: Nothing that was exposed to the water. They didnít want to use anything that was exposed to the water because there were dead horses and dead cows and pigs and things here and there (?) around. And people too. A lot of people that had drowned.

Interviewer: When did you.. Did you know about your mother and sister andÖ

Olive: I didnít know it until I found out it wasnít so.

Interviewer: Oh, thatís good isnít it?

Olive: And that came with (?). That when they found out it wasnít so they told me what they had heard and what they was a keeping from me. And, so it all come at once and I was mighty glad.

Interviewer: Oh yes. The first that you knew that they thought that they were dead wasÖ

Olive: If I had been told that, I would have put in an awful time.

Interviewer: Yes.

Olive: But I wasnít told that.

Interviewer: So when they arrived with Una and your mother and Ed (?)..

Frances: Well then we got home first.

Interviewer: You went home before then?

Olive: Oh yeah, we went home first.

Interviewer: Oh then it was several days before they knew that your mother was safe.

Frances: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: Now your mother never letís that..Was she..

Frances: Grandma Bayes and Aunt Una stayed in their house on Garfield.

Interviewer: What about the Millers?

Olive: And so did Stella.

Frances: The Millers were take to Ridge Avenue, the top of the hill. And Aunt Stella and Uncle Gene never left their.

Interviewer: Now they were on Garfield.

Frances: Garfield

Interviewer: And they stayed in their home.

Olive: (indistinct)

Frances: But they all had water that was clear up to the ceiling on the first floor. It didnít get into the second floor.

Interviewer: On Garfield?

Frances: Mhmm. (yes)

Interviewer: But the family on Race had to leave their homes.

Frances: Well I donít think that they had water upstairs. But I think that they were taken out as a precautionary measure.

Interviewer: And They went on to Ridge Avenue also.

Frances: They went to Ridge and I donít..

Interviewer: You donít know what home they stayed in.

Frances: I donít.

Olive: I think it had come up to within one step of the upstairs.

Frances: Well, it still wasnít upstairs was it?

Olive: No, it wasnít upstairs.

Interviewer: Öthey wanted to getÖ (indistinct in back)

Olive: But they was afraid. They was afraid of it. And they were also afraid that the house might tumble.

Interviewer: I see, might be kind of..

Olive: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Can you remember any other rescue work other than the you know, people being rescued? They, they left their homes that were around yourÖ

Olive: Oh there were a lot of people that ran to the hill. My, there was lots of people. All of the west end. Thatís where they took them.

Frances: There were lots of people too that got up into trees or got up on to the roof of the houses. And then the houses would break loose from the foundation and go floating along. Particularly small houses. But then after they dynamited and it must have been two or three days after the flood.

Olive: No it wasnít long (indistinct)

Frances: Wasnít it that long?

Olive: Oh no. It wasnít near that long. It was just raging at that time. And Elmer Thompson, our undertaker at that time, went down here, right where the railroad goes. Where you drive under the railroad. And he put dynamite in there and blowed out the..blowed out a hole so that the water washed the dirt out and it wasnít long until the water commenced to going down. You see, it went gushed through there. And the more it gushed, the more it took the dirt out of the bank. You see, and it made an awful big whole.

Frances: They never filled that hole. Thatís South Market Street down here at the railroad.

Olive: Yes, thatís where they finished it up and made a driveway through there.

Interviewer: Did you hear the blast? Can you remember hear that blast when the dynamite went off?

Olive: Oh yes we heard it.

Interviewer: Did it kind of shake? You were kind of far away from it.

Olive: Well.

Frances: Well you see we were over

Interviewer: Youíd have heard it if..

Olive: We was at Grandpa Gillisís when that went off.

Interviewer: But you did hear the blast. Did you know what it was?

Olive: No. We didnít know right then. But we soon did know.

Frances: I thought we knew what they were going to do.

Olive: No, I donít think we did. I donít think we knew. I donít think very many people in Troy knew that was Elmer Thompson was going to do that. But he was.. He was a hurricane of a man.

Frances: Very civic minded.

Olive: Oh boy, there wasnít anything he wouldnít try to do. Thatís the kind of fella he was. And I donít think he told very many people what he was a going to do. But he went down there and done it.

Frances: I knew (?)..

Olive: And that of course opened up the space and the water kept running through. And then it kept going down here.

Interviewer: Thatís right.

Frances: But of course it took all the water South of Troy, too. It flooded that area down there.

Olive: Oh my they had an awful flood below here then. Course, that took the water out of here.

Interviewer: Were there very many people living on the other side of the embankment?

Olive: (indistinct) There were people drowned down in there.

Interviewer: I bet there were.

Frances: Not the quantity thatís there today but I think there were quite a few people that were down there.

Olive: There were people drowned right over here on the corner of Grant where Grant ends.

Frances: Grant and W. Market.

Olive: You know thereís a filling station right there but right in there. There

Frances: There was a barn on that triangle you know thatís there. Thereís some kind of a barn there. And the people were up on the roof of the barn. And the barn I guess, maybe, broke loose.

Olive: I think it came apart.

Frances: Some how or another the people wereÖ

Olive: There was such a gush through there. That I think it that.. that barn came apart.

Frances: A lot of things.

Olive: Back up there though on that hill. Now that water, that ground is high back there. And Ed

Frances: All right now where you live is another example. Your place was high. That house was there at the time.

Interviewer: Yes, yes it was.

Frances: But then see, all along there would be about the highest part there is in Troy. And always my remembrance of Garfield and Lincoln and Race that particular area, Madison and all those little. Pennsylvania. It was always a flooded area. And it really is today, unless they have corrected it with what theyíve done as far as (?) and the sewers.

Olive: Who was that Ed that worked for dad that had the (?) harness and when up there? Colored man.

Frances: Crowder. Ed Crowder.

Olive: Crowder, Ed Crowder. Some of his boys live here in Troy now. And he went after his family. But he, I donít think he got them did he?

Frances: Well they didnít drowned.

Interviewer: Where were they..

Olive: No, they didnít drowned. But I donít..

Frances: Well they would have lived..

Olive: Grandpa let him have a two horses and a wagon of some kind to go after his family. He worked for dad. He a colored man. He worked for dad. He drove one of the cabs when thereíd be a funeral or anything. We put on their robes, you know, away theyíd go. He was a good fella.

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: Dependable. And grandpa gave him a couple horses and maybe it was his spring wagon. It was some kind of wagon. Any how, he went after his family but I donít remember that he got them.

Interviewer: Where were they living Olive?

Olive: Out around in there some place.

Interviewer: In that S. Market area?

Frances: Well, they would have lived on Pennsylvania and near Olive.

Olive: Way out in there some place.

Interviewer: Pennsylvania and Olive Avenue or Road.

Olive: And I know that he was so awful worried, this Mr. Crowder was of his family because he was afraid they wouldnít get upstairs. They had an upstairs where they lived but he was afraid that some how they wouldnít get up there. But they did.

Interviewer: And he wasnít able to reach them?

Olive: But he wasnít able to reach them. On account of the water. He would have had to wade into the water with the horses. Lots deeper than he dared.

Interviewer: Tell me about your husband and your father-in-law and the horses. What were they doing meanwhile about the animals? Were they..

Frances: Well they had an ample amount of food - grain, corn.

Interviewer: Enough to feed them for several days.

Frances: Yes, there was no problem with the feeding of the horses at all. The top of the livery barn was storage for the hay, the grain.

Olive: But I think you better made a difference in the amount of horses grandpa had. He didnít have 400.

Frances: I didnít say that.

Olive: I thought you did.

Frances: I said around 250.

Olive: Well, that would be more like it.

Interviewer: Thatís a lot of horses to feed. Did he have enough help that time?

Olive: Yes.

Interviewer: Did Mr. Crowder help him or who?

Frances: There were a tremendous amount of colored people that were the grooms or..

Interviewer: That took care of them and groomed them?

(end of the first side of the tape)

Frances: It seems to me there were more colored people around working with the horses. Doing the actual work. Grooming the horses. And while my father would have done some of it, and so would Grandpa. But..and Uncle Alvie, his..Grandpa Gillisís other son. But I donít think that they did the hard work.

Olive: No they

(Frances and Olive indistinct)

Olive: But when Grandpa got rid of (?), his harness and the horses were just right. They wouldnít let them go out until everything was just right. The harness had to be shined all up and all the bright things that was on the harness you know. And the horses had to be just right and everything.

Frances: Here we return to the Franklin Street part of our story. The undertakers had what they termed as a Ďfirst call buggyí. It was black and I think it had one seat. And, our father had come down to Grandpa and Grandma Gillisís to get mother and Almeda(?) and I and take us home in the Ďfirst call(?) buggyí. And old Mr. Ramert (?), who was a neighbor of ours on Franklin. Lived on Main Street really, saw the Ďfirst haul buggyí and he had not heard that Mrs. Bayes and her daughter hadnít drowned and he came over and was giving mother all kinds of sympathy so on and so forth.

(Olive laughing)

Frances: Because he was sure that wasÖ

Olive: Oh that word got all over Troy.

Frances: Ďcause we come along in the first call buggy. Why that was, he was very certain that death..that there had been death. And mom, I remember her being busy, trying to straighten Mr. Rambert out. That no, her mother and her sister hadnít died. And that Aunt Ethel and her family hadnít died and they were all right. And they were eventually going to come, she didnít know how soon. We had to hurry up and get the house fixed up. We had to bring all the stuff that was upstairs, downstairs again.

(Olive laughs, Interviewer laughs)

Frances: And it seemed to me that Mr. Ramert contributed something either to the food or to maybe..

Olive: He got food for us.

Frances: Or did he get the milk? I donít know.

Olive: He got some food, I know.

Frances: He helped some how or another. But

Olive: He wanted us to have plenty. He wanted us to have plenty of everything to feed them people. Yes, give them everything they want to eat because theyíve had a hard time out there on the hill. (Olive laughs) Everyone knew that, they just wasnít fixed.

Frances: Well they had (indistinct)

Olive: out there on the hill. There was no groceries round up there. They couldnít go and get anything. And what you had in the house was all they had.

Interviewer: So they were hungry.

Frances: Oh they probably had several days of very slim pickings.

Interviewer: The day of the flood, after you went over to Mr. And Mrs. Gillisís, you stayed several days then.

Frances: Mhmm.

Interviewer: Before the water went down. Or did the water go down?

Frances: Or before it was safe. They let it be known that the authorities, somehow. The police maybe, or the sheriff or maybe the mayor. I donít know. Anyhow, the people that were in authority gave the word that it was safe for people to return to the East end of town to their homes. And then still later then that, it was safe for people to return to the West part of town, to their homes. The majority of them would go there and work all day, cleaning the mud and the residue and so on and so forth.

Olive: Itís the way our folks did. They went each day over to their houses to clean the mud and gook and everything that was in there. The sticks and the logs and everything that busted the doors open and the windows out and everything. Well, thatís where this water just took everything ahead of it you know. And if it happened to hit a house or window, it went right through.

Interviewer: This is Mrs. Bayes, your mother.

Olive: No, I think my sister, Mrs. Millerís house, was the worst of all.

Interviewer: I see.

Olive: They all had an awful, oh, they all had a lot of muck and mud and stuff like that.

Interviewer: What was it like cleaning up? Did you go over (?) and help?

Frances: It was just cleaning up like mud and you just scrapped, part of it. Then it began to kind of dry off. And some of it, you could sweep up. But it seemed to me people worked with shovels more than anything else.

Olive: (indistinct) They just worked any way they could.

Interviewer: Were you able to help them? You had (indistinct)

Olive: A lot of people went out and helped them that was able to do it.

Frances: I remember seeing it.

Interviewer: Even you could probably help do something at eight, couldnít you?

Frances: I donít think I did. I donít remember having done anything.

Interviewer: Well first you remember (indistinct).

Frances: (indistinct) they wanted to get us out of the room. Maybe we was more bother than we were. I canít remember mama doing it either. Other than I think that she stayed home and got the food and I kind of think she sent food with them at noon. Or in the morning when they went so they would have something to eat at noon. And then she kind of had a big meal, or a big evening meal.

Interviewer: See she was, you were cooking most of the time werenĎt you, for all those people.

Olive: Yes. I had to cook all the time after I went home because my folks were all hungry.

Interviewer: Where did you get the food?

Olive: Oh, there was always a way for the Gillisís to get food.

(everyone laughs)

Olive: Grandpa was great for doing it and so was my husband. They just come home with a wagon load of stuff.

Interviewer: Thatís it, did he go out into the countryside and get food and bring it in?

Olive: Yeah, uh-huh.

Frances: Well now, the farmers

Olive: He knew (indistinct)

Frances: would have had things available. See, in March, you would have left over winter stuff. Your potatoes and apples and things of that kind would have been things you would have stored in the fall. But I donít know where the meat came from. I have no idea at all. I feel sure (indistinct)

Olive: I think there were people in the country butchered and gave people.

Frances: I feel sure that we had meat because we are a meat eating group of people. That is the Gillisís are.

Interviewer: You can remember fixing meat, Olive?

Olive: Say what?

Interviewer: You can remember fixing meat for the family.

Olive: Oh yes, we had meat.

Interviewer: And your husband brought it to you.

Olive: Yes, he got it some place.

Interviewer: What about people renting? Did they use your husbandís horse and wagons to haul stuff.

Frances: Oh yeah. Uh-huh.

Interviewer: And so they, your husband must have been very busy?

Olive: Oh, they were very busy. The whole family were very busy. There was always something to be hauled.

Frances: (indistinct) that when somebody let it be known that he could go someplace and get a wagon full of potatoes, then grandpa said, ďWell, all right, Iíve got a wagon and a team of horses. And you can take it. Or IĎll send a driver with you.Ē He was rather particular about who drove his horses. Just wasnít. If you didnít have I guess, maybe a pretty stable reputation, you didnít get to use a horse. But I think that they would have gone into the country and got the load of potatoes. Or the load of apples.

Olive: We had plenty to cook with, I remember that.

Frances: I donít. I canít remember having a scarcity.

Olive: No, I (indistinct)

Frances: But now, Aunt Stella and Uncle Jean, and grandma and Aunt Una would have had a scarcity of food.

Olive: Oh yes they would have. They didnít have anything. To speak of.

Interviewer: About what, three days do you think they were unable to get out of there.

Frances: Oh, I suppose three, four days. When youíre eight years time

Interviewer: I know it goes slow it probably seemed a lot longer.

Some times it goes real fast.

Interviewer: I know. Do you think it was about three days that your mother and brothers, I mean mothers and sisters were..

Frances: We didnít have to go to school.

Interviewer: You didnít have to go to school?

Olive: Oh no, there was no school.

Frances: There was no school.

Interviewer: There was something that someone (?) that there was some snow. Can you remember snow at all? Was it cold?

Frances: Yeah it was cold.

Olive: Oh it was cold, but I donít remember any snow.

Frances: I think the thing. It was a type of cold that..cause you didnít have enough heat. Like a damp type of cold. And I think we had to maybe we didnít even take our nightgowns. Nightgowns were what we would have. But when we went to bed, we didnít get undressed the right way. We either didnít get all of our clothes off or we didnít have enough of the right kind of clothes to put on.

(Olive chuckles)

Interviewer: Well, I donít suppose that you would. You werenít in your own home. How did your mother and father-in-law put up all those people? Did they sleep on the floor?

Olive: They didnít put them up. They just laid down on the floor with their clothes on and slept.

Frances: Oh, they had a pretty big house.

Olive: They was so tired, they was glad to sleep wherever they could lay down.

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: And they just laid all over the floors.

Interviewer: You had a lot of people there.

Frances: They had four rooms and a bath up. And then one, two, three, four, five rooms down. A bedroom, and uhm a dining room and a kitchen and a living room. I donít know the first room that you went into what it was.

Olive: And the reception room.

Interviewer: And it was all full of people at this time?

Olive: Yes.

Frances: Yes, (?) all the people there.

Interviewer: People. Did you know everybody? Or..

Olive: Oh yes we did know just about everybody.

Frances: (indistinct)

Interviewer: And you had that for at least what.. That crowd was there for three days?

Olive: Oh, I suspect they was.

Frances: Three days.

Olive: Yeah, any how.

Interviewer: Can you remember when it stopped raining? Did you keep an eye on the weather?

Olive: I remember that..I remember that the sun came up and they was all so glad. Because they thought it would help dry up the muck and the mud and everything in their houses. I remember that. Oh, they had an awful mess of stuff in their houses.

Frances: Now I can remember we did get, momma didnít take Almeda and I. And I canít remember of A.W. ever being, that would be my father, at Grandpa Gillisís. But she and two or three of those neighbors would walk around Mulberry St. to look and see how deep the water was or what it was doing and so forth like that. But now we didnít get to go.

Interviewer: Mhm. (?) worried.

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: We was over here on this lot. That was where we most (?). But we were here on (?), I remember that there wasnít any water here at all. And I thought that was one good thing and a reason. When we bought this place, thatís one of the reasons that I (?) we wanted to buy it. Because I knew it stood above the flood, when we had the 1913 flood.

Frances: If there has ever been a time in my life that I have ever though I wanted to live on Garfield or Lincoln, Race, Pennsylvania - any of those streets out in there.

Olive: But there was boats(?) that went right along there and the street.

Interviewer: Uh tell now..before..this tape is used up, I want to be sure that we get everything that you want to say. Can you remember..have you saidÖwhat is the thing that you remember the most about the flood?

Olive: Well the thing that scared me the worst of all, I think was that man coming down on horseback early in the morning and yelling the way that he was and letting people to know to get upstairs and take their things upstairs and take their food upstairs. And get upstairs!

Interviewer: Is that what he was shouting?

Olive: (indistinct) uh-huh.

Interviewer: The flood was here..the flood was coming..can you remember what he said?

Frances: Why yes, the dam broke at the reservoir.

Olive: Yes.

Interviewer: Is that what he said? He shouted?

Olive: Thatís what they said at the time.

Frances: The dam had broken at the reservoir.

Olive: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: He was going..going like Paul Revere, shouting that the dam had broken at the reservoir.

Olive: Yes, oh yes.

Interviewer: When you heard that..

Olive: (?) street and back down the other.

Interviewer: And you heard him and you were frightened.

Olive: Oh yes we heard him.

Interviewer: And you were frightened? And you started too..

Frances: Now Mr. Kline(?), who would have been Eugene Klineís, you remember any of the Klines in the church at all?

Olive: You remember Lucille(?) donítcha?

Interviewer: Yes, I remember her.

Frances: Well any how, their father, Frank Kline, lived three beyond us..west of us on Franklin. And he was rather a wise man, supposed. And he thought that if the people of Franklin Street went to the Forrest School, that it was about as strong a building, in our part of town. And that it was a big enough school, would hold an awful lot of people. And thatís where we thought we were going to go

Olive: Yes.

Frances: up until the time that Seth Hodge, was the only one that had come down and got us. And took us down the railroad tracks.

Interviewer: It was Seth, Mr. Gillis, your husband, sent Seth down to get you at that end.

Frances: Mhm.

Interviewer: I see.

Olive: Grandpa.

Interviewer: Grandpa sent Seth down to get you.

Frances: Grandpaís the one.

Interviewer: But Seth is the one that got you from 725 E. Franklin and took you to the 400 block of Mulberry Street. But you thought you were going to Forrest School. Did a lot of people go to Forrest School?

Frances: Yes, quite a lot.

Olive: Oh, it was a lot of people from the east end that went to Forrest School.

Frances: But they didnít have any food, only what they took with them. And Forrest didnít, wasnít set up for cooking.

Olive: But they soon got..settled in their own home, cause their homes wasnít affected. There was no water in none of their homes down there.

Frances: (indistinct) then they realized they only had seep water in the basement, so they could go home.

Interviewer: The people on East Franklin that went to Forrest School then, went back home.

Olive: East Main and Franklin and Canal, all around there.

Frances: All those streets down there.

Olive: And the East end was free from water.

Frances: (?) the railroad. The (?) Bridge crossed the Miami River, there still wasnít the water in the east end of town that there was in the west end of town.

Interviewer: So that they could go back home and..

Olive: And they did.

Frances: (?) that low area before you get to 202, and 504. Now that was full of water. Oh the river was real, real wide down there.

Interviewer: Did anyone live there then Frances?

Frances: Yeah, there were some houses there. I donít remember who.

Interviewer: I donít know. Mhmm.

Frances: But there were some houses there. But now on up Main Street, there was some water again, in the basements and like that.

Interviewer: The seepage.

Frances: Now where Harry Howser lived, was a real high place. That was a farm. (?) Riech(?), county commissioner, he would have lived there with his sisters, mother and father. But, the east end didnít have the water. The west end..

Olive: I could stand on my cellar steps and read the labels of all my canned fruit down below underwater. They was all underwater. I could read the names, tomatoes, pears and peaches.

Frances: (indistinct) float around.

Interviewer: You could eat that, once you washed off the jar?

Olive: Yes, after (?) time because they were sealed.

Frances: Yeah, but they said not to. I canít remember. It seems to me that we didnít eat anything out of anybodyís basement.

Olive: Oh yes we did.

Frances: But it wasnít safe.

Olive: Oh it was sealed. It was all right. Everything that was sealed was all right.

Interviewer: So, what else do you remember? The most, your first memory then, is the one that you remember the most. The one of the man running on the horse..

Olive: That scared to death, nearly, when I heard that. I just didnít know what in the world was going to happen. Of course, we didnít know.

Interviewer: No, no. Of course you didnít. What about you Frances? What can you remember as an eight year old, an almost eight year old?

Frances: Why, everything we that had carted upstairs. We just moved upstairs. It didnít make any difference if we had the strength or the energy. It went upstairs anyhow.

Interviewer: Were you frightened? Do you think that energy came from fear a little bit?

Frances: No, I donít.

Interviewer: At almost eight you didnít know enough probably to be afraid.

Frances: I donít think I knew enough. I donít think I was.

Interviewer: Momma was making you take that stuff (indistinct)

Frances: (Indistinct) upstairs. And (indistinct)

Olive: Oh yes. (Indistinct) Putting them through the mill. I tell you what. I did pass them a going and a coming.

Frances: We couldnít stop for anything. I donít think I ever worked so hard in all of my life as I did right then.

Olive laughs.

Interviewer: How was it taking it down again, when you got overÖ?

Frances: I canít remember getting that stuff down there at all.

Interviewer: You remember taking it down? Trying to get ready for you mother and sister?

Olive: Well, it wasnít long until Arthur had stuff gathered up, to cook. And it wasnít no trouble for me to cook it. And I just cooked meals, just a cooking all the time.

Interviewer: Where were your pots and pans? Could you find them?

Olive: Oh, I had.. They were in the.. Those kind of things were in a cupboard underneath, underneath the..

Interviewer: Didnít you take those upstairs?

Frances: No, I donít think we did that.

Interviewer: They were in the cupboard.

Frances: I think it was the beds, and the bed clothing and our clothes, and chairs.

Interviewer: So your pots and pans were in a safe place and you could cook for your (indistinct)

Olive: Yes.

Frances: Well, as I could see it, the flood wouldnít hurt the pots and pans.

Olive: I donít think (indistinct)

Frances: (indistinct) the bedding and that kind of stuff, the towels.

Interviewer: That would be damaged by.

Frances: We had to get the chairs. I remember carting chairs upstairs.

Interviewer: But when you got back, your house had not been flooded, except the basement had water in it.

Frances: We had no water other than.

Interviewer: How far up was the water in your basement?

Frances: Oh, about..

Olive: It was pretty deep.

Frances: I think we could go down one or two steps.

Interviewer: But it was almost up.

Frances: Now Iíd rather think that people, maybe from the livery barn, some of the colored men would have come and help to cart the stuff down stairs and to put the beds back. Well we had the heads and the foot..feet away from the bed.

Interviewer: You two little girls getting those upstairs. And so, when your sister, sisters and mother came, you were ready to put them up for quite awhile.

Olive: (indistinct) They worked and we worked. And we got things just kind of livable. Oh, it just wasnít like we would live. But it was so we could get along.

Interviewer: And did you? How long were they at your home before they could move back?

Olive: Oh, it took a good while for them to get their houses clean.

Frances: (indistinct) two weeks, maybe longer than that, wouldnít it have been. Two week, maybe longer than that.

Olive: Oh, we didnít have that much, more I suspect. Because it took a long time to dry out.

Interviewer: How long were you boiling your water? A long time? You canít remember?

Olive: Do what?

Interviewer: How long did you have to boil your water before you could drink it?

Olive: Oh we boiled our water (?).

Frances: I thought an awful long time, but now it may not have been.

Olive: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Olive: I think we boiled our water when we went home.

Frances: Oh yes we did. You see, they were afraid of typhoid and thatís one of things. And diphtheria was another thing that was very prevalent during.. (indistinct) that hadnít been curtailed.

Interviewer: Can you, Can you think of anything else now that you, that you remembered as we were talking?

Olive: There was an awful time. My, my.

Frances: Well.

Interviewer: People were all doing for each other, werenít they?

Frances: It seemed to me that everybody was trying to be a.. If I had tools (indistinct) you were most welcome to them.

Olive: Just everybody shared with everybody else. And we were all like one people. It was really, there was a lesson in it for us to learn. It really was.

Frances: But I think the lessons have been forgotten.

Interviewer: Maybe we can think about it again with this bicentennial now. Weíll think about it and remember how people..

Olive: It was wonderful how people shared and shared everything they have. And people that had money gave money to those who didnít have money.

Frances: The farmers I remember being very generous, too.

Olive: Who?

Frances: The farmers.

Olive: Oh yes, the farmers.

Frances: With the excess amount of things.

Olive: They brought a lot of things to town.

Frances: I canít remember change of money. I mean, like someone would bring a wagon into the public square and sell the potatoes off the wagon. I canít remember that going on. Uhm, I think if they brought a wagon of potatoes, there was somebody told them where to take the wagon or their contents, only because that particular neighborhood needed the food. I donít know.

Olive: The pretty, nearly knew where to take this stuff. Because they were really in a way organized. There was an awful a lot out west, up on the hill. There was an awful lot in the south end of town and there was a lot in the west, north end.

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: It just seemed like people, they knew, and they would take things to those places. It wasnít long until people had plenty.

Frances: Frank Humburgerís (?) wife, who would have been, no, I donít know who she was, canít remember. Troy woman though. He would have been the music teacher, the Troy School music teacher.

Interviewer: Yes.

Frances: And they had a child born during the flood that died.

Interviewer: Oh.

Olive: Whose was that?

Frances: Frank Humburger?

Olive: Oh yes.

Interviewer: Did it during? Do you mean it died at birth or?

Frances: Well, I canít remember too much about that. Only that it, I thought that it died from the lack of care that they couldnít give it.

Olive: Whose was it?

Frances: Frank Humburger?.

Olive: Oh yes, uh-huh.

Interviewer: Can you remember, Olive, anything about that? You feel that it was because of the flood conditions that it died? That the baby died?

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: Circumstances were such that you couldnít take care, good care, of anybody. It was (indistinct) just get along the best you could with what you had.

Frances: (indistinct)

Olive: And that didnít work with babies.

Interviewer: Where was the hospital at the time? Or didÖ

Olive: We didnít have a hospital then.

Interviewer: You didnít have a hospital.

Frances: McCullough. Dr. McCullough had a small hospital there on Plum Street, right back of, across from Mrs. Hobart?

Interviewer: Was that flooded then?

Olive: No.

Frances: Dr. McCullough would have been..


Interviewer: Who did Mrs. Humburger. Or no, was it Mrs. Humburger who..

Frances: It would have been Mrs. Humburger.

Interviewer: Was she in the hospital then?

Frances: No, no. She had it at home up on the hill and they couldnít get the doctor. This is what Iím remembering. That they couldnít get the doctor. Or the doctor couldnít get to her from. He couldnít get over the water to her. And, somehow or rather, maybe there wasnít anyone up there that knew how to take care of her or what to do or it happened to quick. Itís too vague in my mind. Someone thatís eight years old, they donít tell to much of that.

Interviewer: No, you just listened and heard didnít you? And you remembered. Can you remember anything else that you want to tell us, Mrs. Gillis?

Olive: I donít think I do.

Interviewer: Just how you felt and it was.. Once you were at your father-in-lawís house did you feel better about everything?

Olive: What is this?

Interviewer: Once you were at your father-in-lawís house did you feel better about everything?

Olive: Well I, I felt like. We knowed we were coming away from home that didnít have any water in it. And it seemed to me like was agetting right into it down there.

Frances: We worried (indistinct).

Olive: We they brought that Mrs. Warner down in that boat and it pretty near got away from them.

Interviewer: Oh, well tell us about that, Ďcause I think we missed that in the other. Mrs. Warner.

Olive: Well, they. She was the mother of this postmaster. And she was the mother of this Mr. Stephenís(?) wife. Well, they was abringing her. They had to get her out because the water was in the house. And coming up all the time. They went in there with a boat and put her in it. And started down to our house, the Gillisís, to bring her there and oh, the water was so swift through, what street was that?

Frances: Ö whirlpool. Lafayette.

Interviewer: Lafayette.

Olive: OhÖit was just a whirlpool. And that boat would just go around and around. And the men just held on to it with all their might. And part of the boat dipped into the water and the water went in and it just looked like it was gonna.. We thought they was gonna loose her. We all thought so. But they finally pulled and worked. There was other men, I canít think who they were. But Mr. Stuart and Bill Babb (?) was the two men that I do remember. And they pulled and worked and oh, they worked hard to get the boat up on our yard.

Frances: Grandpa Gillisís yard. But, now, I thought she got dumped down the road.

Interviewer: Mhmm.

Frances: And she had put on so many clothes before she left her house. She, oh, she just had so many clothes on. And she had starched petticoats on. And I thought that the starch petticoats, when she floated, the water wouldnít absorb. And sheís float. It made like a, uhmÖ

Olive: I donít remember that.

Frances: what you call it around her. Oh, I do.

Interviewer: But that is something that an eight year old would remember.

Olive: I do remember. I do remember about that boat, putting her (?) away from those men. Where the.. If it had she would have drown because there wouldnít have been any other way.

Frances: And thatís the other thing, she was a very religious and (?)

Olive: Oh yesÖ

Frances: and a very, oh what would you say, straight laced individual. And, uhm. And Grandma Gillis..Grandpa always had whiskey in the house and she thought that Mrs. Warner should have like hot toddy or any how to keep her from taking cold. So then, they finally got one made up for her. But any how, she didnít want to take it. And finally, they got her to take it, but she just knew that she was going straight to hell Ďcause thatís where people

(soft laughing)

Frances: where they went when they drank whiskey.

Olive: She didnít want it (?). She said that was the first whiskey Iíd ever drank in my life.

Frances: And we always wondered, a good many times, if the woman was really as old as what we thought she was. As old..

Olive: Oh, she was old.

Frances: I doubt if she was that old. I truthfully doubt.

Olive: I donít know how old she was..

Frances: She impressed me like, in todayís world that she would have been 90 or maybe more than that even. But, I donít..from now remembering the age of the Steffieís(?) and so forth, I donít think she was that old a woman.

Interviewer: Where was she living? Where was the home that they rescued her from?

Frances: One, two, three, four...four or five houses on north of Grandpa Gillisís there on Mulberry Street. About the middle of that block.

Interviewer: But you were kind of an island, werenít you?

Frances: Well, that whole block was high though.

Interviewer: The whole block..

Frances: From Simpson(?) Street to Lafayette was high. Every place down there has, oh, four or five steps up to the porch.

Olive: All those people had people stay with them.

Interviewer: Öthat block..

Olive: They had friends and they were glad to get anywhere they could get in.

Interviewer: Can you remember any of the things that you ate? That you had to kind of..

Olive: Do I what?

Interviewer: What did you..? How did you fix food? What did fix? Can you remember?

Frances: We just had gobs, and gobs and gobs of bread.

Interviewer: You had a lot of bread from Mr. Steffieís(?) bakery.


Olive: Oh yes, we had lots of bread. Mr. Steffie would just bring us the most bread and cookies and buns. Oh, just oodles of them. And heíd go right back and bake some more and come with a whole. My we had all the bread we could use.

Frances: Why, heíd come a couple, three times a day. The big stuff.

Interviewer: What else did you have then, that you could eat with that many people?

Frances: I donít think we had.

Interviewer: Just bread?

Frances: we had beef and potatoes at all.

Olive: We had lots of potatoes.

Interviewer: Where were those?

Frances: I donít know. I donít..

Interviewer: You remember cookies and bread, Frances.

Frances: Cookies and bread, and it seemed to me it was all we had.

Interviewer: Could you remember anything else?

Olive: OhÖ

Frances: But now Grandpa Gillis was the kind of person, he always bought a stalk of bananas. Great big stalk, you know. And laid in many, many bushels of apples and potatoes and so forth like that. Now maybe (?) all that stuff got upstairs before the..

Interviewer: Before it got wet. Before it seeped in.

Frances: Before the water got to the basement. I donít..

Interviewer: So maybe you pulled some of thatÖ

Olive: I do know that we had plenty to eat.

Frances: I canít remember being hungry. I can remember being very thirsty. Mother wouldnít let us stop and get a drink at home. We had to keep on working. Now all my life, I drank lots of water but then..

Interviewer: (laugh) That day you didnít.

Frances: No.

Interviewer: Then you had to wait for it to be boiled, Frances, before they would let you...

Frances: And it was horrible. It was the awfulness tasting stuff that ever was.

Interviewer: That copper boiler water. (laugh) What about washing clothes? Did you bother with that at all? You really couldnít.

Frances: I donít think anybody washed.

Olive: You couldnít take time.. (jumbled)

Frances: I donít think you even washed your face very good, did you?

Olive: I donít think that anybody got sick over it. Was they?

Frances: No, but can you remember having washed your face? Oh, nobody took a bath. That was off limits. There wasnít that much water.

Interviewer: You didnít have that much water.

Frances: But I think that you washed your face very sparingly. Or maybe two or three of you.. Mama make Almedia(sp) and I wars the same water.

Interviewer: (laugh) Can you..

Olive: (laughs) I donít remember that..

Interviewer: Well, thatís what an eight year old would remember.

Frances: I do.

Olive: We done things that weíd never done before.

Interviewer: (laugh) Or said.

Olive: And we lived.

Interviewer: Oh..

Frances: I donít..Now grandma had chickens with her. She still had chickens or not, I donít know.

Interviewer: Did you kill the chickens? Or did they get drowned? Or what?

Olive: No, but you know over there where Stella lived, on Garfield Avenue. She had a.. one room to the front, and then the next bath, one there and one back here. And then the kitchen was in the back. She had all them live. And out of that, where that (pause) Part of the house went this way and part of it went that way. Right up in this corner, there was an old hen and chickens. Little chickens. They were on a board that had floated in there and banged up against the house. And they took some of their food and throwed down to that poor chicken.

Interviewer: Did it live? Did it?

Olive: Well, disappeared some how.

Interviewer: Oh then it floated away again.

Olive: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: Oh my goodness.

Frances: Grandma, though, and Aunt Stella both kept chickens. At that time we were permitted to keep chickens.

Interviewer: But you canít remember what happened to the chickens? I wondered if you ate the chickens.

Olive: No, no. No place to put them.

Interviewer: No, you didnít have any place for the chickens. They just either got away..

Olive: Uh-huh.

Interviewer: You donít remember what (trails off)

Frances: I (jumbled) I think they would have drowned.

Olive: I suspect they got drowned.

Interviewer: Drowned. The chickens got.

Frances: Oh many, many heads of cattle and horses and like that.

Olive: Grandma cut her cow loose.

Frances: Did she?

Olive: And let her float.

Interviewer: Grandma Gillis..

Olive: And I donít remember where she ..Bates

Frances: Bates.

Interviewer: Oh, Grandma Bates had a cow?

Olive: Yes, she had a cow.

Interviewer: But she lived on Garfield. And she had a cow?

Frances: Yeah, but then. Now, right back of her was, they called it commons. And that area, along the railroad track, there on Race Street, there werenít any houses at all.

Interviewer: Did she have a little farm?

Olive: And a lot of pasture land.

Frances: Well.

Interviewer: So she had a cow, and some chickens.

Olive: Uh-huh.

Frances: She didnít have a (trails off)

Interviewer: And she cut the..

**recording stops here.

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