Wanda Rill

Wanda was born and raised on a farm in Hampstead, MD. She talks about the chores she had on the farm and what life was like as a child.


BRIAN SWISHER: I’m Brian Swisher. And joining me today is Miss Wanda. It’s May 12th. Thank you, Miss Wanda, for being with us today and sharing your memories.

WANDA RILL: Thank you.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, you’re welcome. And just to begin here, um, could just give me a– a little history on, um, yourself? You know, where were you born and raised?

WANDA RILL: Oh, wha– OK. I was born in Hampstead and I’ve lived here all my life. And I was born and raised on a farm. And we always farmed. And, it’s like all the farmers, they helped each other out and things, when the farmers come due. And of course there was a lot of farmers more now– then, than it is now.

And it seemed like we always had planting our grain. And we, all the neighbors, they always come in. They would help us. As seems like it– it always be raining. And when we were supposed to harvest pigs, it seemed like, oh, that’s a wet season. But we all managed to get along. And everybody helped each other along. So that was that.

And then of course then we’d have to take them to the canning factory. We used to have canning factories in them days. And we hauled our peas up to Bankerts and they done all the can and peas, the corn and tomatoes. And I worked there sometime in the summertime skinning tomatoes. And other people, that’s where they went to for their extra help. Was at the canning factory there at Bankerts. And that was there for years and years and years.

BRIAN SWISHER: OK, that’s very good. So, um, you know, being born and raised here, where did you– where you go to school? Did you–

WANDA RILL: Went to Hampstead School.

BRIAN SWISHER: The Hampstead?

WANDA RILL: The Hampstead. Uh-huh.

BRIAN SWISHER: OK. And did you have any siblings as well?

WANDA RILL: Any what?

BRIAN SWISHER: Any siblings? Brothers or sisters? Or was it–

WANDA RILL: I had my mos– mot– my brother and– I had a sister, Helen Curtis, and a brother, Leroy Curtis. But she joined the Navy. And just us three. And we was born and raised on the Huffmill Road there off of Hawkstail Road.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, OK. OK. And, um, you know, growing up with your siblings as well as your friends, did you have any favorite games you would like to play? Or did you have any, like, really fun little hangouts in Hampstead where all the kids used to get together? Do you have any fond memories of that?

WANDA RILL: Well, uh, it seems like the– the children all stayed home. You know, because they all had plenty of work to do. We always had our cows to milk. We also had our housework to do. But then we gather when the snow was on the ground. We’d go to somebody’s house. And we’d have hot chocolate. Over to Marshall Richards is a lot of time, and Alma Richards. We’d go there at night time and go sliding on the sleds. And wi– then they’d come over to our house. And we’d go back and forth. And, um, we had really had a– it’s just a nice community. And everybody knowed everybody.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, wow. Well, that’s good to hear. And, um, you know, being a Hampstead resident, did you work in the area through your life? Or did you work, you know–

WANDA RILL: Only place I ever worked at wa– was– was– was, um, went to– I got out of school. I went to work at, um, Merman’s Sewing Factory. They– there in the middle of town across from Sunset now. I worked there a while. Then I work up at Graff’s and Manchester [INAUDIBLE] factory for a while. Then I got married and I didn’t work no place.

BRIAN SWISHER: There you go.

WANDA RILL: And then I had two children. And that was Harry Vernon Martin and Nelson Reed Martin. And they’re both married now. And Vernon, he has– um, wait a minute now– he has four children and, um, four grand– four grandchildren. And I have four grandchildren. And, um, I stopped counting now. Two, four, four, Becky has got two, I got, uh, four great-grandchildren.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, wow. Wow. And are they in the Carroll County area as well?

WANDA RILL: And they live here in Hampstead area.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh. Great. So you get to see the generations grow.

WANDA RILL: Right, uh-huh.

BRIAN SWISHER: That’s good. They’re all close to you.

WANDA RILL: Right, uh-huh.

BRIAN SWISHER: Um, so, um, you know, you’ve– you’ve been in the Carroll County for quite some time. What changes have you seen in the Hampstead area? Or can you just go into a little detail there of how you s– how you’ve seen the neighborhood change through time? Or, you know, any similarities that you’ve seen?

WANDA RILL: That I’ve seen. Uh-huh. Well, when we was growing up, my father, he liked– he liked Western movies. So every Tuesday night, we’d go out to [INAUDIBLE]. Stewart Thompson, he run a movie parlor. And we went to movies for a quarter.


WANDA RILL: In them days. And that was every Tuesday night. Then [INAUDIBLE] have a store there. And, of course, we’d take when we get some candy and go to the movies with it. That was every Tuesday night.

And then we’d take– do that, and then we used to have a bus service here in Hampstead. Years back, Graham’s Bus Company. And they’d pick up a bus and ride it from Hanover to Baltimore every day out there. So that was that.

And then we had two sewing factories. Where they sew– where they, um, four houses they used to be a sewing factory. And then they moved down– then down there. And then, what else was with– then we used to have– then the movies moved from there over where Dickie and Matthew’s is. They run– had a movie there for a while.

And then out of– and then [INAUDIBLE] Mary had a recreation center. And everybody hung out there on Tuesday night. They used to shoot pool, had a bowling alley down underneath. And everybody enjoyed theirself down there.

And then that– and then they had an awful fire. And that burnt all the way out. So then that took care of that. But then a lot of people went there on Saturday night. And even during the day. And shot pool and done other things. So that’s– that’s– that’s what happened there.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, that’s nice. It sounds like a nice little area to get together.

WANDA RILL: Yeah, right. We had a nice– a nice– everybo– everybody knowed everybody.

BRIAN SWISHER: Mm-hmm. But now nobody knows nobody.


BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, yeah, so, um, you know, with that statement there, would you say the, um, the community, or– would you say it’s been more urbanized? You– you see a lot more buildings as opposed to farmland. Of course, there’s still a lot of farmland. But you know, what changes, landscape-wise, have you seen?

WANDA RILL: Uh-huh. Well, they– seemed like all the farmers has quit farming. And they have put the land and soil back and what other people haven’t bought, they have a lot of houses down right back on– off [INAUDIBLE] river tract. There all of them house back on– it has all been built up there.


WANDA RILL: So we’ve got a lot of changes. Then we also had an American Legion that had– every Saturday night, they’d have for young children to go. And they all went and they all enjoyed theirself. And the children was well-behaved.

BRIAN SWISHER: Was that a dance, or–

WANDA RILL: Yeah, they had a dance every Saturday night down at the Legion. And that was run nice. My children always went there, too.



BRIAN SWISHER: That’s really nice. Um, so, um, you know, back to the– so you stated you had grown up on a farm. And– and everyone, you know, all the farmers helped each other–


BRIAN SWISHER: –and now you’re stating, oh, the farming, you know, it’s still here, but it’s not as big as it used to be.

WANDA RILL: Oh, it’s nowhere as near as it used to be, because our beef farm down there at [INAUDIBLE], they sold that to an industrial place. And that’s a big farm. And then, of course, we had a big farm. It’s like, all the farms down around us has either been sold to make property or land for the government. But there’s no farming much around like it used to be. And the rest of farmgrounds all gone, too. I mean, they build houses, you know, stuff around now.


WANDA RILL: So that took care a lot– used to be a lot more farming in Carroll County than it is now.


WANDA RILL: But still some, but not like it used to be on there.

BRIAN SWISHER: Right, right. No, I– I absolutely agree. And, um, in regards to your life through Carroll County, do you have any, like, really fond moments, or something that, you know, just pops in your mind. It makes you laugh every once in a blue moon? Or something you think of to cheer you up even when you’re down. Is there anything, you know–

WANDA RILL: Not really.

BRIAN SWISHER: No, not really?

WANDA RILL: Only thing I– that does that is getting my family all together.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, really?

WANDA RILL: And then I really enjoy myself there, because they’re all full of jolly. You know, with all my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren and my sons and their wives. We really enjoy ourself. And we get together maybe two or three times a year, especially in summer time.


WANDA RILL: So– and right now, my son, he runs the [INAUDIBLE] down here at the lower end of town.


WANDA RILL: So he is right busy, too. And she is, too. But we all get together.

BRIAN SWISHER: Well, that’s really good, that’s really good to hear. And then, you know, you went to Hampstead. And I’m sure the schooling through your time has expanded as well. Like your grandchildren or your children, did they go to Hampstead as well, or did they go to one of the other schools that were opened through time?

WANDA RILL: No, my children, um, my children went to school. They went to Hampstead– I went to Hampstead School. But then most of them graduated from up here, the middle school. Because that’s was– but that’s where they went to, up there. But most of them went to the other school. My chil– grandchildren all went up there.

BRIAN SWISHER: Definitely. Because I know the schooling district, as the neighborhood’s grown, you know, the schooling district, you know, that this school opened next door. That school, so.

WANDA RILL: Well, see, my school that I went to, now, is for the– the middle class, or the poor class. Whatever you want to call it. You know, now they live there. So that’s all tooken care of, too, been used.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, OK. And, um, yes, I mean, I’m through with my questions here. Were there any memories, you know, we may not have touched on? Is there anything else that you would like to share?


BRIAN SWISHER: Oh, was there anything else that you would like to share? Was there any memories we may have left out here through our questions?

WANDA RILL: No. The only thing is I’m– the only thing I don’t know– I’m not– I was home. When I stayed home with my father and mother, you know, for a long time. But that’s about all I can think of. Outside a new bypass is coming. And everything coming up here.

BRIAN SWISHER: It’s changed a lot.

WANDA RILL: And the roads. And lot of– roads been built. You know, different things that I don’t know been built up around every place.

BRIAN SWISHER: Definitely. Yes, it certainly been a lot of changes, huh?

WANDA RILL: Oh, my. A lot of changes.

BRIAN SWISHER: Oh. Um, so the only other thing I can– um, or the only other item I can think of touching on, is you stated you– you met your husband here in Carroll County.

WANDA RILL: Oh, yeah. I– I met my husband– I’ve worked at [INAUDIBLE] for a while. And he– there used to be a motorcycle place up there. And of course, I used to go up there, you know, with the boys, course, naturally, right?

And I met my husband up there. And we went together for a while and then we were married. His name is Larry Martin. And then I was married, then I was– then I had two children, Vernon and Nelson. And then my husband, he went to New York, he died the heart attack.

So then I remarried again. And I married Noah Rill. And now he’s gone. And I’m by myself.


WANDA RILL: But I had– all I had– I had– both marriages were– turned out fine.

BRIAN SWISHER: And they were– and both, um, were met in Carroll County?

WANDA RILL: Oh, yeah.


WANDA RILL: My husband’s from the Rills right up the street here. He was electric– electrician or plumber. And, um, so they– he was born and raised– he was born and raised on [INAUDIBLE] on [INAUDIBLE] Road.


WANDA RILL: So he was a home guy, too. But I really– I got going with him through church. I go to Shiloh Church. And he goes to Shiloh Church, too. He did. Uh-huh.

BRIAN SWISHER: That’s really nice. That’s really nice. So, yes, um, yeah, that– that’s all the questions. And, you know, were there any other items you’d like to touch on? Or–

WANDA RILL: Well, I can’t think of any. I’ll probably think of a lot when I get out of here.

BRIAN SWISHER: That’s how it always goes. Well, I’d like to thank you again, Miss Wanda, for sharing your memories with us today. It’s certainly appreciated.

WANDA RILL: Sure. Right. You’re quite welcome, I’m sure.

BRIAN SWISHER: Well, thank you.

INTERVIEWER 1: OK, we’re rolling whenever you’re ready.

WANDA RILL: OK, well, in the meantime, I’ve said that my children got through school, then, uh, they– my son went on the farm, he took [INAUDIBLE] grandfather versus my home farm. And then he went on into huckster business. And then he met Linda [INAUDIBLE]. And then him and Ha– him and Linda remarried– uh, Linda remarried. And then they got married and had the children. And then– then now– now, Linda and Vernon run Rita’s in Hampstead here. Our old home town.

BRIAN SWISHER: OK. So they run the Rita’s Italian Ice.

WANDA RILL: Uh-huh. Well, it’s not– it’s not Italian ice, it’s– it’s– a little different than Italian ice. It’s more of a– a custard. And they run it here on [INAUDIBLE] Street here in Hampstead. And they both– and they– he lives right here on [INAUDIBLE]. He has a house built on the farm which he farmed all his life. So that’s it.



INTERVIEWER 1: OK, we’re rolling.

WANDA RILL: Then my other son, Nelson, he’d– married. And then now that they live down in South Carolina. And they have one child named Shawn. And then that’s it. OK?

INTERVIEWER 1: All right.

WANDA RILL: I thank you. Now I feel better.