Lucy Nace White DeGeorgio – 1

Interviewee:  Lucy Nace White DeGeorgio; three other men and one other woman were also present
Date of birth/age at interview:  1897/88
Interviewers:  Jack Creamer, Harry Haenigsen
Interview date:  1986
Interview location:  Lambertville, NJ; probably a seniors’ residence
Interview length:  1 hour
Time span discussed:  early 1900s

Summary:  This piece retells the history of a young illiterate girl in canal boat days. The interviewers were from New Hope and clearly wanted to get stories about New Hope. Lucy at 88 had forgotten a great deal but was very clear and outspoken (despite “can’t talk right don’t have my teeth in”), countering each question with quick responses both on and off topic. At times, without intending to be, it is a very funny conversation due to the cross purpose of the parties. Lucy “lead a dog’s life” from 8 years old when her mother died. Canal boat life was not in any way picturesque, and this history underlines the tough quality of the life, via the power of Lucy’s voice.


Time markers:
00:34 – no school, 9 years old on the canal boat
01:24 – Lehigh Canal, Delaware Canal
04:20 – canal day schedule in 1905, 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., March through November
05:30 – locktender’s duty and pay $30 per month
06:30 – mother died when Lucy 8 years old
09:30 – married at 21, first of two husbands, confusing dates
12:00 – New Hope impressions
15:40 – lost one child in accident; washing clothes on the boat, Sunday’s only
19:00 – second husband Italian, builder lived on hill in Lambertville
23:50 – trolley Lambertville to New Hope
27:00 – mules on canal
29:00 – coal stoves on boat
32:00 – conch shell:  blew it to alert locktender, she still had one
49:00 – young girl on canal, all work, no play; Mennonite, totally disliked “saloons”
51:00 – father married 3 times; school for first grade only,  cannot read or write
53:00 – lost second child in accident with mule

Lucy Nace White DeGeorgio recording 2.

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