Catherine Slagle Oral History

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Record 15/16
Copyright HSKC and Tyler Campbell
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Date 05/09/1984
Abstract Catherine Dickerson Slagle (born 1902)

Born in Baltimore, Catherine Dickerson Slagle and came to the Cliffs City area of Kent County, where her father was a waterman and her mother worked as a midwife, seamstress, and farm hand and ran their own small store. Going to town was a big deal in those days, and the main source of news was when mail carrier brought the newspaper. "We couldn't get to town, never got to town. Once a year maybe, or maybe twice." When guests came from Baltimore, they would borrow a team from their neighbors and ride to Chestertown, where they would go shopping, visit the ice cream parlor and eat at Titter's Restaurant where there were "nice white tablecloths and real silverware." It was a rare occasion to splurge. "We always made a day of it. We had a big time." Not until she got her first job did Slagle spend much time in town. Still, she was not anxious to leave home.

Within their small community, residents established special traditions. Every fall, the church would have a two-night event at "festival hall" featuring homemade ice cream cakes and candy. "We had a name for good cooking. Some of the farmers would give pigs and we'd have roasted pig. And of course fried, oysters, scalloped oysters, oysters any kinds of oysters you wanted and all kinds of poultry, chicken salad, everything that you could think of." People traveled from all over the county for the food and the conversation. "I never heard so much talking in my life." During election years, "all the politicians come down and they'd buy people [tickets] to get them to vote for them. And we made money that year!"

Slagle finally got her first job off the farm at Schreiber's Store on High Street in Chestertown when she was 18. "My mother got it for me. In those days your mother got your job for you….He come down with the candy, and I guess they got to talking about wanting somebody, and she got me the job. I didn't want it because I was spoiled and didn't want to go to work. I would rather have worked in the home store." Clearly, her mother wanted to instill in her the willingness to work. "I didn't have any education so I just had to take what I could get." She only attended school until the fifth grade. The thrift and hard work she learned as a child proved to be valuable lifelong skills.

Index (detailed). 4 original cassette tapes.
Interview date 05/09/1984
Length of interview 115 minutes
Media Compact Disc
Narrator Slagle,Catherine
Object ID 2676
Object Name Disc, Compact
Title Catherine Slagle Oral History
COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~ Oral histories copyright Historical Society of Kent County. Images copyright Tyler Campbell. Duplication or publication only with permission.

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Last modified on: September 07, 2012