Charles Hamilton Britt Interview by Elizabeth Ann Britt Marlor - November 2002


The audio recording featured on this page is an interview of Charles Hamilton Britt by his daughter Elizabeth Ann Britt Marlor (Beth Ann). The interview consisted of two sessions: November 19th, 2002 and November 26, 2002, just before Thanksgiving that year. The first day of recording was at Beth Ann's house, just north of Columbus, Ohio; The second day was at Margie and Chuck's house at 8588 Liberty Road, Powell, Ohio. Joe Six, Beth Ann's husband (now deceased), and Terri Marlor, Beth Ann's daughter, were also present for both interviews. Beth Ann planned and organized the interviews and did a great job of prompting stories and at the same time letting the conversations flow.

Charles Hamilton Britt (Chuck) and Marjorie Morrison Britt (Margie) were both born in 1921. Chuck on May 7th in Elyria, Ohio and Margie on September 29th in Columbus, Ohio. They both died in Columbus in 2006, Margie in August at the age of 84 and Chuck in December at the age of 85. This is mostly an interview of Chuck, but Margie plays an important part, prompting Chuck to tell stories.

The Stories

Chuck tells a surprising number of stories in two hours. A few of the stories are repeated, but told in a slightly different way each time. There is a lot of jumping back and forth in time. Click the "Timings" button to view a list of the stories with the time in minutes and seconds when particular stories start and end. Click the "People" button to view an alphabetical order list of names of those mentioned and present for the interview. Click the "Files" button to find download links for related files, including PDF versions of the Timings and People lists.

Chuck's stories cover the main parts of his life and the lives of his family members: His parents' childhoods, the births of his siblings, life in and around Elyria and Lorain Ohio (about 1916-1921, before his birth); life on "the farm" near Medina, Ohio (about 1922-1934); Life in Columbus and Worthington, Ohio (1934-2002); Life for about a year in Tampa, Florida (1941-1942) and also two car trips to California to visit the Carroll family (his maternal uncle's family). The first car trip was when Chuck was 16, in 1937. The second was when he was about 20, in 1941. A contemporary story regards the funeral of Chuck's friend William A. MacDermott (known as WAM).

The Recording

The total time of the recording is just under 2 hours. It was done on a cassette recorder, and converted to a digital audio file at an unknown time. The original cassette tapes were lost, but a copy was found in June 2019, and it is the source of digitized recording linked on this page. This is fortunate, because the previously digitized copy had various extraneous noises. These are no longer an issue. Using the shareware audio editor Audacity, I have been able to eliminate most of the tape hiss.

--Rob Britt, Seattle, November 21, 2018 (updated July 6, 2019)

Charles H. Britt and Marjorie Morrison Britt, 1921-2006, About 2002
Charles H. Britt and Marjorie Morrison Britt, 1921-2006, About 2002
Charles H. Britt and his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Marlor, About 2002
Charles H. Britt and his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Marlor, About 2002
Charles H. Britt and his daughter Elizabeth Ann Marlor (Beth Ann) as a baby in 1945
Charles H. Britt and his daughter Elizabeth Ann Marlor (Beth Ann) as a baby in 1945
Charles H. Britt, Marjorie M. Britt, and daughter Beth Ann Marlor Britt, about 2002
Charles H. Britt, Marjorie M. Britt, and daughter Beth Ann Marlor Britt, about 2002

Note that the new digitized version (July 6, 2019) is about four minutes longer than the previous digitization. The total time is now 1 hour, 55 minutes, 50 seconds. Because of this, some of the timings below are off. I will try to update them when time allows. --Rob

0:00:00 - 0:00:54

0:00:55 - 0:02:00
Starting at the beginning, as I was saying. in Elyria. Bought a farm in Medina County, Ohio, of 151 acres. Chuck was 6 or 7 years old (about 1927 or 1928)

0:02:01 - 0:02:48 -
Pop works for the Thew Shovel Company.

0:02:49 - 0:03:39
Chuck's Grandma Jeanette Margaret Ralston Britt, 1852-1930 visits Medina.

0:03:40 - 0:04:09
Pop installs a Delco Electric electricity generating system, sometime in the late 1920's.

0:04:10 - 0:04:41
More improvements are made to the farm house (late 1920s), including indoor plumbing, and later (1933 or 1934?) the Delco is replaced when the Rural Electrification hits Medina, and a local utility provides electric service.

0:04:42 - 0:05:11
The plan: Uncle Ralph Roney and his wife, Aunt Jeanette (Mom's sister) move in to help with the farm and help raise the kids.

0:05:11 - 0:05:38
The Depression hits, but only a glancing blow.

0:05:38 - 0:05:49
Chuck's Uncle Jean, Pop's brother.

0:05:50 - 0:06:42
Uncle Ralph builds his house next door.

0:06:43 - 0:07:21
Aunt Jeanette's slip is showing.

0:07:22 - 0:09:54
Uncle Ralph pokes Chuck with a hay fork and fears the wrath of his sister-in-law, Mom. What's a hay conveyer?

0:09:55 - 0:11:10
Another farm remembered: Mom plucks a goose when she was a girl.

0:11:11 - 0:11:43
Mom's tales of adventure when she was a girl, and how unfair that Chuck couldn't even climb a cherry tree; the origin of "Do as I say…"?

0:11:44 - 0:12:46
The goose story continues.

0:12:47 - 0:13:34
Mom (as a girl) helps plant punkin (pumpkin) seeds, and her scheme is revealed later.

0:13:35 - 0:14:24
Meeting at the bank

0:14:25 - 0:14:58
Sweet talking deposit slip: "One heart full of love", and a whirlwind romance

0:14:59 - 0:16:36
Chuck asserts himself while driving the family down to Columbus; Avoids an oncoming train.

0:16:37 - 0:17:25
Pop drives through a red light.

0:17:26 - 0:18:14
As a young man, Pop takes a short cut; Delivers the ladies home very quickly.

0:18:15 - 0:18:20
As a boy, Pop and his brother Jean are naughty.

0:18:21 - 0:19:50
As a young man, Pop manages to make it to the ball game in time, in spite of pressing duties.

0:19:51 - 0:29:00
A bus accident in Medina, 1931. All four Britt kids were on the bus, plus a lot of other kids. Frank saves the kids. Little Chuck slides on his book satchel.

0:29:01 - 0:31:50
California older cousin Helen remembers about Chuck's "little foot" in later years. She remebers that chuck walked across the table at the doctor's office at 15 months, when the Britts still lived in Elyria, and before Helen moved to California. Massages by Mom helped.

0:31:51 - 0:33:15
Uncle Charley sets up a dental office in California, around 1922. He goes out there by himself first, then comes back for the family. They return together by car. Roadrunners have sharp bones, causing tire troubles.

0:33:16 - 0:34:24
When Chuck was 20, the Britts drove to Los Angeles (again). Present were Mom, Pop, and Ida.

0:34:25 - 0:35:45
Mom, Chuck and Ida take a side-trip up the coast to San Francisco, and find quality service at the gas stations there, but it makes Ida wary of the restrooms. Mom insists on Ida's company.

0:35:46 - 0:39:14
When Chuck turns 16, Uncle Ed, Aunt Grace, and Mom? borrow the Britt family car (a '37 Ford 4-door sedan), Young Chuck drives, and they head out to Los Angeles. Chuck's driving is scary. Ted gives him a speed-shifting lesson. Participating in an illicit drag race. On the way back to Columbus, Chuck finally gives in and takes Sal Hepatica [Sal Hepatica is the name of a mineral salt laxative that was produced and marketed by Bristol-Myers from its inception in 1887, becoming its first nationally recognized product in 1903, until 1958.].

0:39:15 - 0:41:00
A visit with cousin Frank, the bouncer, at his place of work. Frank was 6' 5", 300 pounds. Drinks were ordered: "make mine milk." "Ya want me to warm it for ya?" Uncle Charley entertains the Britt contingent.

0:41:01 - 0:43:01
Mom nurses Aunt Mary. Flashback to 1934 back in Medina on the farm: Aunt Mary's not worried about going up and down a lot of steps, because she says, "I'll just take another pill." Aunt Mary and Uncle Charley Carroll's kids are (in order) Frank, Helen, Grace, Ruth, and Ted (the California Carrolls).

0:43:02 - 0:45:45
Uncle Charley's visit to Ohio in 1948? Chuck meets him at Port Columbus Airport, and surprises Uncle Charley with a wild ride. But Uncle Charley was only scared once.

0:45:46 - 0:48:18
Back on the farm in Medina, a Bull gets frisky with Frank Britt. Bob Britt comes to the rescue with a pitchfork. Bull gets away, temporarily.

0:48:19 - 0:49:27
The boys and their BB Gun. Watching the chicken jump. Mom puts an end to it.

0:49:28 - 0:49:48
Sweeping 151 acres out of the back door.

0:49:49 - 0:51:02
The Armstrongs (neighbors): Charley (father), Jim (son). Chuck and Jim Armstrong play horseshoes, and one gets away from Chuck.

0:51:03 - 0:52:00
Hanging the jury. Talking to Mom, who couldn't move from the breakfast table.

0:52:01 - 0:52:50
The house burned down, temporary accommodations in a chicken coop, and how Jim Armstrong told about it.

0:52:51 - 0:53:20
Margie's religious affiliation.

0:53:21 - 0:54:56
Funeral for Chuck's friend, (William A. McDorman, aka WAM). Around November 2002.

0:54:57 - 0:56:24
About a nostalgia tour to see the farm, summer 2001, with Rob and Sharon, Sue and Jim, Beth Ann.

0:56:25 - 0:57:57
The Stouffers (neighbors), the "successful farmers".

0:56:58 - 0:57:30
Impressions of the Depression. Uncle Jean got in trouble.

0:56:33 - 0:58:02

0:58:03 - 1:00:20
Uncle Jean (continued). Pop's brother. Out of work for a while. Stayed for a couple of years. 3.2 beer issues. Banished from the farm by Mom. Meets a sad demise.

1:00:10 - 1:00:47
Pop's Siblings: Uncle Jean and Aunt Anna. Uncle Jean was in WWI (not WWII). His issues. Where was he buried?

1:00:48 - 1:01:50
Uncle Bob's butting lessons for pet lambs. Chuck is falsely accused.

1:01:51 - 1:02:11
Beth Ann's pet black lamb (in the 1960s). More butting.

1:02:12 - 1:03:09
What's a barn bridge?

1:02:13 - 1:04:07
Uncle Ralph hurries Chuck up with a pitch fork. Fear of HCB

1:04:08 - 1:04:32
The four siblings.

1:04:33 - 1:05:12
When the horse stepped on Bob's bare foot.

1:05:13 - 1:07:38
A cucumber thief, and the boys find a solution. Pop severs relations.

1:07:39 - 1:10:09
Uncle Frank roller skating, and the bully trips him. Pop's solution

1:10:11 - 1:12:01
The boys kidded Ida, and called her the "Powerful Katrinka" (a cartoon character in a popular newspaper comic, "Toonerville Folks") which wasn't very nice. After that, Ida refused to help with the "hard work". Results of the bus wreck. Her two kids, Alice and Bill.

1:12:02 - 1:13:33
Frank and the pet bull. Bull jumps over the gate. Bob saves Frank with a pitch fork.

1:13:34 - 1:14:49
Frank saves little Chuck, who was on a a runaway horse.

1:14:50 - 1:16:45
Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Ralph. They help farm. They build a house next door. The scoop pulled by a horse to make a basement. They help raise the Britt kids.

1:16:46 - 1:18:01
Flying kites off Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Ralph's back porch. Grinding popcorn seeds. Good eatin'.

1:18:02 - 1:19:59
More on Chuck's little foot. Going barefoot after May 7th.

1:20:00 - 1:22:02
Charley Armstrong's house burning down. Jim Armstrong, Chuck's friend. The Chicken coop, and what Jim called it. Charley Armstrong's peculiarities. Hanging a jury.

1:22:03 - 1:23:56
Driving down to Columbus

1:23:57 - 1:23:59
Driver's license issues.

1:24:00 - 1:24:37
Uncle Ed and Aunt Grace (Carroll McConn) to California in Britt family car to visit Uncle Charley (Carroll), Chuck driving. Chuck's driving is scary.

1:24:38 - 1:26:55
King Avenue house. 354 West King Ave, the twin-single. Near Battelle. The ice dam on the Olentangy, nearby, near "the polo grounds".

1:26:53 - 1:27:58
Neighbors on King Ave. Landlord was the mother of their dentist. Shoveling snow, getting cake every year. A tooth pulled.

1:27:59 - 1:28:33
Mose the neighbor. Mom gives Chuck a scolding for singing a popular song. A dumb kid.

1:28:34 - 1:28:52
Bob looks naked on the front porch, and also gets a scolding from Mom.

1:28:53 - 1:29:22
Everett Junior High. Frank takes Chuck there for the first day of class. A scary place.

1:29:23 - 1:30:03
How Chuck did in school.

1:30:04 - 1:31:19
Hijinks with friends, Nelson and Blaine Briggs, the preacher's son. Removing the light bulb one twist at a time, and playing catch with it. Stealing the annoying dinger from the streetcar. Well you naughty boys!

1:31:20 - 1:32:31
Hailing a cab, and a ride for a nickel a piece. "Neat!" The wrong cab, and a near cab war.

1:32:32 - 1:35:30
A riot at Ohio State after the Michigan game, in November 1938. Chuck's senior Year at North High School. A rock breaks a window, cuts Chuck's his hand. Rowdy students disrupt the movie theater. Then these students disabled the street cars, blocking High Street both ways. It got dark. Bob prevents a rock from being thrown at a policeman.

1:35:31 - 1:36:15
Another time downtown during a celebration, a little guy runs into Bob, and Bob doesn't even notice. Bob was a really big guy. The little guy says, "pardon me," and Bob asked Chuck, "what did he do?"

1:36:16 - 1:37:00
Plans after high school (May 1939). Working at the Ohio State U. Agricultural Experiment farm (H and F Building, horticulture and forestry) for 35 cents an hour.

1:37:01 - 1:38:19
Horseplay once again. Hitting in the shoulder turns into a chase, with Chuck running through a sheet of glass in a door at the bottom of the steps. 16 stitches.

1:38:20 - 1:39:00
Moving over to 8th avenue. Ida works at Starling-Loving Hospital, Chuck takes her to work over there at midnight every day, while Ida was working toward a bachelor of science degree in nursing. The Britts were still taking in borders, Chuck was still working at H and F.

1:39:01 - 1:39:34
On King Ave., Pop gets quinsy (throat inflamation), rides ambulance, bribes the driver to ding the bell.

1:39:35 - 1:40:14
During Pop's convalescence from quinsy at home, he runs Mom ragged.

1:40:15 - 1:40:22
One of the borders on 8th Ave was Lois Austin, who worked out at the State Home, Chuck happened to remember.

1:40:23 - 1:41:20
Pop, still convalescing, alerts Mom to a spider on the ceiling.

1:41:21 - 1:42:05
Chuck attends Ohio State University for one and a half years (1939 to 1940).

1:42:06 - 1:44:10
Learning about airplanes: From fall 1940 to graduation in May 1941, Chuck attended Ohio Institute of Aeronautics and got an Aircraft and Engine license. Mom paid $540 for the 9-month course for an engine license. Chuck learned to weld, do fabric work, wood work, work on engines. The aeronautics school was located at 340 East Broad St, Columbus. At the end of the 9 months, Chuck passed the written test, and the practical test.

1:44:11 - 1:44:55
First job at Lane Aviation which didn't pay much. Colonel Molser came to Columbus looking for airplane mechanics. Molser hired Chuck to go to MacDill Field, Tampa Florida, along with another guy [to work on B17s and other planes].

1:44:56 - 1:45:32
By that time, Chuck and Margie were engaged, and corresponding. They got married (September 29th, 1942), returned to MacDill, Margie got pregnant. Lockbourne field (another Army Air Force facility; now called Rickenbacker International Airport) near Columbus opened up in the meantime, so Chuck transferred there, and Chuck and Margie returned to Columbus and lived with Sally and Carolyn (Margie's parents) for a month or so. He was at MacDill in Tampa for about a year total, the last part together with Margie.

1:45:33 - 1:46:25
Chuck and Margie married September 29th, 1942. They returned to Columbus in 1943. Chuck worked at Lockbourne Army Airfield, again as a civilian mechanic. After living with Sally and Caroline, Chuck and Margie decided to rent a house on Selby Blvd. in Worthington, Ohio, near Margie's parents' house. Dad finally decided they could afford the $52.70/month rent.

1:46:26 - 1:47:58
The house on Selby Blvd. First built on the block, built to provide housing for defense workers. Five models available. When Sally Morrison (who was a Worthington City Council member) saw the inexpensive housing going in on Selby Blvd, said "boy, there goes the neighborhood!" Chuck and Margie rented for about two years, then bought it for $6350, including a stove and refrigerator.

1:47:59 - 1:51:50
How did they meet? Blind date, New Year's eve, 1942. A double-date with one of Margie's friends, Rosemary Tharp, one of the twins. The Tharps had dated someone who lived at Britts, and Margie had gone out with Chuck's brother Bob. Rosemary called Margie at the bowling alley, where she was bowling with her father, asking if she wanted to go on a date with Chuck. Margie said yes; Chuck showed up at Margie's house in a wild green plaid sport coat. They went to the Ohio Theater to see a movie. But Chuck didn't call her back for several months. "She didn't remember my number! It was University 1777." Beth Ann: When he called you back, then you became an item.

Listen to the Interview

People Mentioned and/or Present, and their relation to CHB: Interview of Charles Hamilton Britt

Name used | Full name | relationship to CHB

November 2002; In alphabetical order

Alice | Alice Stewart, 1952-
Niece, daughter of IJB and Bill Stewart | Lives in southern Ohio.

Aunt Anna | Anna Frances Britt, 1885-1963
Aunt, sister of Pop (Robert Ralston Britt)

Bill | Bill Stewart, 1954-1985
Nephew, son of Ida Britt Stewart; brother of Alice Stewart

Aunt Grace | Grace Carroll McConn, 1882-1965
Aunt, sister of Chuck's mom, wife of Uncle Ed | Lived in Ohio, next to Chuck's mom in the 1950's/'60s, in one unit of a "twin single" on Kanawah St, in Columbus, Ohio

Aunt Jeanette | Jeanette Carroll Roney, 1878-1937
Aunt, wife of Uncle Ralph, Chuck's mom's sister; Also called Nettie, Jeanette

Aunt Mary | Mary Jane Stevens Carroll, 1879-deceased
Aunt, wife of Uncle Charley, Mom's sister-in-law

Beth Ann | Elizabeth Ann Britt Marlor, 1944-
Daughter, interviewer; Also called Beth, Beth Ann

Bob | Robert Gilmore Britt, 1916-1992
Older brother; born in Wheeling, West Virgina

Carolyn Morrison, 1896-1948
Mother-in-law, Margie's mother. Had asthma.

Charley Armstrong, 18??-deceased
Neighbor, father of Chuck's friend Jim Armstrong.

Chuck | Charles Hamilton Britt, 1921-2006
Self; born in Elyria, Ohio

Frank | Frank Carroll, 1906-deceased
Cousin, son of Charley and Mary Carroll; Lived in California.

Frank | Frank Carroll Britt,1914-1966
Eldest brother; born in West Alexander, Pennsylvania

Grace | Grace Carroll, 191?-deceased
Cousin, daughter of Charley and Mary Carroll; Lived in California?

Grandma | Jeanette Margaret Ralston Britt, 1852-1930
Paternal Grandmother; Visited Chuck's family in the 1920s, at the farm in Medina.

Helen | Helen Carroll, 1910-2001?
Cousin, daughter of CEC and MC Lived in California

Ida | Ida Jeanette Britt Stewart, 1915-1974
Older sister; born in San Luis Obispo, California

Jim | Jim Armstrong, 1921?-deceased
Best childhood friend, son of Charley Armstrong.

Joe | Joseph Six, 193?-2008
Son-in-law, husband of Beth Ann, present at interview.

Margie | Marjorie Kraft Morrison Britt, 1921-2006
Wife, daughter of Sally and Caroline Morrison, mother of Beth Ann; present at interview

Mom | Harriett Rebecca Carroll Britt, 1880-1966
Mother; born in Pennsylvania; also called Hattie, Grandma

Pop | Robert Ralston Britt, 1887-1952
Father; born in Pennsylvania; also called "R"; shares name with grandson, born 1953

Rob | Robert Ralston Britt, 1953-
Son; named after Pop, who died the year before he was born. Compiled this website and edited the recording.

Ruth | Ruth Carroll, 1912-deceased
Cousin; daughter of Charley and Mary Carroll; Lived in California, Nevada(?)

Sally | Ansel Morrison, 1893-1965
Father-in-law; Margie's father | Lived in Worthington, Ohio. Served on Worthington city council.

Ted | Ted Carroll, 192?-deceased
Cousin; son of Charley and Mary Carroll; Lived in California; Moved to eastern Washington in the 1980s. Chuck and Marjie Britt visited him there a few times.

Terri | Carolyn Teresa Marlor,1966-
Granddaughter; Daughter of Beth Ann, present at interview.

Uncle Charley | Charles Everett Carroll, 1876-1948
Uncle; Mom's Brother; Moved to Los Angeles, California to establish a dental practice with wife Mary and kids; around 1922.

Uncle Ed | Edgar Kimmons McConn, 1875-1949
Uncle; Mom'a brother-in-law; Aunt Grace's husband; Lived in Pennsylvania, (and Ohio?). Married Aunt Grace 10 Jun 1925

Uncle Jean | Jean McBride Britt, 1888-1943
Uncle, brother of RRB Stayed on Chuck's family farm in Medina at times. Was a bridge engineer. Died falling from a bridge. Served in WWI.

Uncle Ralph | Ralph R. Roney, 1875-1949
Uncle; husband of Jeanette, Mom's brother-in-law

WAM | William A. McDorman,191?-2002
Chuck's friend; Had a machine shop in Columbus, Ohio; Also known as Bill; Died just before the interview; Chuck and Marjie attended the funeral.

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