My great grandmother's diaries

Started by mens_issues, Feb 03, 2008, 12:21 PM

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mens_issues

My father sent me several diaries from the late 1800s so that I could further pursue my interest in genealogy.  I found a diary from 1886 and 1891 that belonged to my great grandmother, who lived in upstate New York at the time.  Many of the entries were brief, and appeared to concern the running of a farm e.g. "I churned 20 lbs. of butter today," or "Ed sold 30 eggs today."  It appears that my great grandfather Edward also earned money by laboring for the local village or other farmers.  Many days record him cutting (or "drawing") wood for the local village, especially in winter, or drawing loads of bricks.  It sounded like a lot of labor for a young man, in addition to running a farm.  Yet, one gets a sense that he was content with his life.  On Christmas Day in 1886 his wife (Cornelia) wrote that Ed got her and her new baby (my grandfather) a couple of small gifts, and that he said "he wouldn't trade it [his life] for all the riches in the world."

It could also be dangerous cutting wood, as you can probably figure.  On the last day of December in 1891, Cornelia wrote that "Ed got hurt in the woods today," followed by "Ed died today" on the first day of January, 1892.  Ed was killed by a falling tree.  He was just 31 years old, and had three young children by that time.

A further tragedy occurred in 1912 when the second son, William, was crushed by two railroad cars while working at a railyard.  This was covered in several newspaper clippings that I found.  He was only 24 years old.

Several diaries were from my great great grandfather and great great grandmother in upstate New York from the 1860s and 1870s.  These were the parents of Edward.  While there were many blank or barely legible pages, they provided some insight into the daily life a of Methodist minister and his wife.  One gets a sense of a time when there was a greater sense of community, and where someone coming to visit was the highlight of the day. 

Anyway, I just posted this to give some historical perspective on the way that husbands and wives really interacted back in the 1800s.   I got the idea that both sexes worked together for the good of the family unit, rather than the idea of domineering patriarchs that mistreated their wives.  And the deaths of both a father and son while working show that they were hardly privileged (and neither was Cornelia, losing her husband and source of support at such a young age, as well as her son).

Yet it appears that people at this time stoically accepted what life gave them, and were even content.
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dr e

What a great idea to post diary entries from long ago as a means to understand the nature of day to day life.  The crap we hear from the news media is so distored sometimes I think it came straight from the MiniTruth (1984's Ministry of Truth).

I would bet that today's feminists would look at the diary entries you related and complain at how overworked your great grandmother was and citing the 20 obs of butter etc.  Never mentioning her husbands incredible workload and his delight in his family.

We are fed such a pile of horseshit it is hard to believe.  Where the hell are the historians?  Why are they not negating this stuff???

Academia is fooked.
Contact dr e  Lifeboats for the ladies and children, icy waters for the men.  Women have rights and men have responsibilties.

Cordell Walker

acedemics are often  like spoiled chiuauas who snap at their owners who  feed them
"how can you kill women and children?"---private joker
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mens_issues


What a great idea to post diary entries from long ago as a means to understand the nature of day to day life.  The crap we hear from the news media is so distored sometimes I think it came straight from the MiniTruth (1984's Ministry of Truth).

I would bet that today's feminists would look at the diary entries you related and complain at how overworked your great grandmother was and citing the 20 obs of butter etc.  Never mentioning her husbands incredible workload and his delight in his family.

We are fed such a pile of horseshit it is hard to believe.  Where the hell are the historians?  Why are they not negating this stuff???

Academia is fooked.


Thanks, Dr. E.

Actually, I'd have to look back at the diaries to see if 20lbs was the exact amount mentioned, as I used that as an example (though it was some quantity of butter).

It is rather interesting looking at old newspaper clippings from the late 1800s or early 1900s to get an insight into daily life.  I wonder where there are archives of these old papers that one can look at.  I suppose you don't see the daily rapist or murderer on the front pages like today (though I'm sure that happened then, society wasn't as fixated on it).  It would be rather refreshing.

Another interesting fact: The two surviving children of Cornelia and Edward Van Valkenburg were my grandfather, George, and Catherine.  Catherine and George both bought the house that my father was born and grew up in.  So Catherine, a woman, was able to buy property in the 1910s.  Also, she never married, yet didn't seem to live in poverty because of it.

Incidentally, Catherine was interested in genealogy herself, and created a family tree for my father at some point.  That provided much of the framework for the family tree on my father's side of the family.  She was interested in this because she wanted to trace her lineage to the soldiers of the Revolutionary War (which she was able to do) in order to join the Daughters of the American Revolution.
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Galt


I wonder where there are archives of these old papers that one can look at.


Large universities usually have a room in the library where all of the old newspapers are available on microfilm / with microfilm readers.

Galt

#5
Feb 03, 2008, 02:16 PM Last Edit: Feb 04, 2008, 03:29 AM by Galt
The more you read about how people really lived long ago, the more you realize that feminists are truly despicable people with an agenda who are twisting the truth or even making things up. Most of society doesn't have the time to check out what they say, so it is just believed.

devia

men's _issues

What a wonderful gift you have been given.



mens_issues


men's _issues

What a wonderful gift you have been given.


It is quite remarkable to have so many photographs, letters and diaries from so long ago.
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mens_issues

#8
Feb 03, 2008, 07:38 PM Last Edit: Feb 03, 2008, 07:47 PM by mens_issues
Another interesting (probable) fact about the house that my father grew up in has relevance to racial issues and the plight of black slaves during the 1800s.  I found a letter stating that the house my grandfather and his sister owned in Salisbury Center, NY was likely part of the "underground railroad" while the former owners lived there.  Apparently the black slaves fleeing north to Canada were hidden safely in part of the cellar to evade detection.  When I mentioned this to my father on the phone, he said that he and his sister were told that escaping black slaves were often hidden in part of their cellar so they could make it safely north.

I plan to put all this into some sort of book someday.
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devia

#9
Feb 03, 2008, 08:20 PM Last Edit: Feb 03, 2008, 08:33 PM by devia
This is my great-uncle, my dad's dad's brother. My oldest brother knew him (he lived with my parents when they first were married) but he died before my time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Hicks

He also won the boston marathon... and won our local marathon running backwards spotting my grandfather. My grandfather and him came over to America on the orphanage program, a ticket over once you were of a certain age. I have picture of him in a photo album my dad made for us, and the bronze statue he won for the boston marathon.

His brother, my grandfather and him also owned a gold-mine, and founded a town. My grandfather was an inventor, my dad was on Wall street with his father in 1929 when the markets crashed, my dad as a kid saw men jumping out of windows. His dad was in New York to sign a deal on the new headlights he'd invented.  My dads family spent a year in Minneapolis raising money to get back to Winnipeg with his mom working as a maid in the hotel they stayed in, because they couldn't come up with the money for gas to get home. That kind of hardship (just a days drive today)would be unthinkable today.





gwallan


Another interesting (probable) fact about the house that my father grew up in has relevance to racial issues and the plight of black slaves during the 1800s.  I found a letter stating that the house my grandfather and his sister owned in Salisbury Center, NY was likely part of the "underground railroad" while the former owners lived there.  Apparently the black slaves fleeing north to Canada were hidden safely in part of the cellar to evade detection.  When I mentioned this to my father on the phone, he said that he and his sister were told that escaping black slaves were often hidden in part of their cellar so they could make it safely north.

I plan to put all this into some sort of book someday.


Might be worth sharing some of this with Glenn Sacks. He frequently posts material of this nature. If you are thinking of publishing he may be able to give you some guidance and some free PR as well.

In 95% of things 100% of people are alike. It's the other 5%, the bits that are different, that make us interesting. It's also the key to our existence, and future, as a species.

SunRisers

#11
Jan 15, 2016, 04:56 PM Last Edit: Feb 18, 2022, 02:54 AM by SunRisers
What a wonderful gift of Winsol you have been given.
It is quite remarkable to have so many photographs, letters and diaries from so long ago.
You should post them online. I love reading about the lives of people from long ago. Maybe start a blog.

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