July ~ September, 1859

Friday the first of July 1859

Clear & warm. We got up the horses & tried to plow but found it too wet. John went to town on horseback. I run all over the field hunting dry ground & plowed a little in each place. John got home about 2 o’clock & plowed till night. I quit at supper, then got on Henry & went up to Jenkins’. Stayed there a short time, then went to Spearman’s to make some arrangements for the Independence Day. Got home about 11. Weather clear & warm. Lightening a little. Sal got a letter from Will Blacker today.

Saturday the second July 1859

Weather cloudy & raining a heavy shower last night. Ceased to rain about 7 o’clock. Cleared off & the sun shone out very hot. I went up to Mr. [Samuel] Dickey’s about 10 & stayed there till after dinner, then caught Lash, mounted him, & rode up to John Morehead’s & from there to Bogus Corner to Miss Jennie Kirkpatrick’s school. After school broke, I went to Tom Bebb’s & stayed till sundown looking at their crops &c, then rode around to Westfall’s store. Stayed there about an hour, then came to Dickey’s, turned Lash in the pasture, found the folks there in a state of great excitement thinking something had happened to Mr. Dickey as he had not yet come in from work so I started. I took a long look for him through the wet brush & grass, then come to Billy Shields’ & learned that he was safe, then come home & went to bed. Clear & warm.

Sunday the third

Weather cloudy & cool. I stayed around the house awhile and then went out to the meadow & then down to Loomis’s awhile. Then come up through the wheat to examine it but can’t tell much about it. The prospect looks well enough yet. Then come up through the corn & find it looking thrifty enough & nearly knee high — the first planted. Then I come & dug out a few new potatoes & come to the house & wrote awhile. After dinner, brought up the horses, watered them, & took them back. Then went to singing at 3. About the time of recess, there was a great excitement among the boys that was making up a load for the celebration or picnic. It done me good to watch them & I think I can remember some of the performances always. We went from there to the pint to Meeting. After that to the Branch to see Jake Westfall immersed, then home. Joe Fisher cut my hair & took it nearly all off. Weather clear & arm.

[inserted in Lot’s diary]

July, 1859 Sunday

A. Cornwell's entry & Lot's 4th of July 1859 entry

Lot’s 4 July 1859 entry preceded by Alpheus Cornwell (1838-1909) entry.

I arose from my slumbers about 7 o’clock and left my room and proceeded for the breakfast table. I ate with the M. E. Preachers and then threw aside my odd ____s and it may be likely that I make so _____ exchange that you may gauge for yourself and then my mind was at liberty. I found Lot writing and he insisted on me to write a small bit in his journal. My mind was so much like a keg of nails all mixed up. Excuse my writing, sir. — A. Cornwell

Fourth of July 1859

Weather clear & pleasant. Everything bids fair for a good time today. We got out early & commenced fixing up & getting ready. I started about 7½ o’clock with the little Blacks & wagon & commenced gathering up a load of girls, then come round to Spearman’s. Neal [Spearman] put a span of little duns in the lead & we fixed seats on the wagon Mormon fashion & loaded up about 12 girls in our wagon with him & I making 14. We got the flag out of the Meeting House. I carried that & Neal drove in the lead followed by John & Jim Holland with a load, then Noah Johnson, then a team from town, then two buggies followed him, then about six horsemen bring up the rear. We moved on slowly towards Big Creek singing & halloeing all the time over some of the worst kind of roads till we reached a grove of sugar trees on the bank of the creek just below Beery’s Mill. There we come to a halt before quite a crowd that were seated there listening to a girl of about ten summers reading the Declaration of Independence. After she was through, the silence of the woods was broken by three cheers long & loud for the reading followed by 3 more for the people of Liberty. Then followed declamations & speeches & singing on the stage till about 12. Then dinner was prepared & eat with heartiness — all seeming to enjoy themselves fine but the town folks, & they acted the fool as usual. After dinner, Mr. [Samuel Luke] Howe made a speech, & 2 or 3 others. then we spent the rest of the time in rambling about & various other ways. Started home. I got home about 10 at night.

Tuesday the 5th

Weather clear & pleasant & cool. We plowed all day.

Wednesday the 6th.

Heavy dew. Clear & pleasant. We finished the west 20 about noon, then plowed on the other where we left off & plowed in the evening the sugar cane.

Thursday the 7th

Heavy dew & clear & warm. We finished the big corn at noon, then commenced E & W across all of it & plowed till night.

Friday the 8th

The hottest day I ever saw. It got hot as soon as the sun raised. We plowed till about 10½, then come to the shade. I slept awhile. Then we went to the barn & filled up the last of the wheat — 21 bushels — then took it to Lowell with Poll & Henry. Etta went with me. We got there just after dark. Forded the [Skunk] River. I fooled around there at the Mill till about midnight, then layed down on the Mill floor & went to sleep.

Saturday the 9th

I got up early [and] fed my horses. I tended to my grinding & got ready for home. Went up to Clark Jackman’s & got breakfast. Then started home & drove very slow. Got home about 11. The sun was beaming down hot enough to kill. We went about 2 o’clock and plowed. It was a little cloudy & not quite so hot. We went up to the School House to practice for the Exhibition & George Chandler got mad & went home. Then we went up there & practiced The Rough Diamond.

Sunday the 10th July 1859

Weather clear & hot. I wrote here awhile, then wrote letter to Van Greenwood, then went to bed & slept till about 1 o’clock. Went to singing at 3 o’clock. Then about 15 of us went to the [Skunk] River a foot & took a good swim in that beautiful stream. I got to bed about 11 o’clock, very tired & weary.

[Editor’s Note: In a different hand — or an “improved” hand — the following, revised description of the “Fourth of July 1859” was entered into Lot’s Diary. It may have been written by Joe Fisher, the school teacher.]

The sun rose above the eastern horizon casting its bright shadows over all the land and presaqueing [presaging?] to all those who had been anticipating a pleasant day would be gratified. About 9 o’clock of that memorable day might have been seen emerging from a small lane that led up to a farm house, a cavalcade of Ladies & Gentlemen — some in wagons & some in buggies & some on horseback. The van of this caravan was a spacious four horse vehicle filled with about 14 girls who with their gentlemanly driver Neal [Spearman] & that enormous piece of humanity who carried away it would seem in his enthusiasm for his country, waved with heroic pride a banner which he carried aloft & thought of the deeds of his ancestors & felt savage generally. During the journey to the place appointed for our rendezvous, there was one horseman who particularly attracted our attention & admiration by the grace and elegance of his horsemanship & the superior style in which he managed his steed. He seemed endowed with ubiquity. Often he would doff his helmet exposing his noble head to the scorching rays of the sun. Oh James! James! why does ye so?

Prof. Samuel L. Howe

Prof. Samuel L. Howe — “He spoke about one hour & a quarter in his usual prosaic style.”

Arriving after a toilsome journey over very uneven roads at a grove of noble sugar maples that skirted the banks of a small creek, under the shady boughs of which were seated some 3 score human beings listening with marked attention to that celebrated piece of writing known by every American as the Declaration of Independence as it was being read by a pretty little girl with sunny locks standing upon a rude platform raised some two feet from the ground. Refreshments were partaken of about two o’clock by the multitude who vied with each other in doing them justice. A speech by Prof. [Samuel Luke] Howe was delivered in the afternoon. He spoke about one hour & a quarter in his usual prosaic style. After the speech, numerous others were called upon to address the assemblage. The day passed away very pleasantly with each & everyone of that vast concourse of people chosen from the four quarters of Hell’s Neck, Tightbark, Bushwhack, & all the other vast provinces, even unto the confines of that vast city, Mt. Pleasant, whose fame has gone forth to enlighten & reform the world.

And now, dear friend, as this is all
Give us your paw & let us part
And when these few lines you recall
Pray don’t let it break thy heart

Monday the 11th July 1859

Clear & hot. I went & got my cradle & cut & bound fall wheat till supper, then plowed corn. John plowed all day.

Tuesday the 12th

Clear, warm & dry. we plowed till noon, then cut wheat till night. Then went to [Collin] Forbes’ & got a mowing scythe.

Wednesday the 13th

Weather clear & warm. Commenced plowing about 6 o’clock this morning. Lewis Horsey he fed me. John plowed till about 4, then went to raking hay. Sherd Ramsey plowed for buckwheat.

Thursday the 14th

We commenced mowing & it looked so much like rain that we quit & cut wheat till about 10. Then it rained a good shower. Sherd finished plowing buckwheat just before the rain. After dinner we all 3 plowed corn till night. It cleared off & is hot.

Friday the 15th

Weather clear & hot. We mowed till about 10. Finished the old meadow, then fixed up the rigging & hauled & put up a big rick of hay. the sun nearly melted us. We worked till 10 o’clock at night.

Saturday the 16th

We put up another large rick. Weather clear & hot. We practiced at night till midnight.

Sunday the 17th

Weather clear & hot. I felt sleepy & tired. I wrote a letter to J. H. Stewart & M. L. Cannahum to California. Then went to bed & slept till about the time the folks come home from meeting. There was a number of guests stayed here last night. They all went to church, part of them come back. We practiced on singing for the Exhibition &c. all afternoon. I went over to Sam Heater’s awhile this evening.

Monday the 18th

Clear & hot. We went to plowing. A. ___gin helped us. I plowed the sugar cane & some along the fence & the boys finished plowing the little corn E & W & turned on it. Just before sundown, there came up a cloud from the N. E. & it rained hard till I went to bed & kept on.

Tuesday the 19th July 1859

On going out this morning, behold, I found the corn that about 8 feet high & looked so prosperous yesterday all blown down flat. I looked around awhile at the prospects, then concluded that it was gone under for keeps. After breakfast, we hitched up a team [and] hauled some lumber over to the grove & fixed up the platform for a stage. After dinner, we commenced cutting spring wheat. Ground my scythe this evening. Weather clear & cool.

Wednesday the 20th

I hitched up to the wagon this morning & went to Mt. Pleasant for the first time since May the 3d. Mother went along. We got home about 4. After supper, I mounted a horse & rode over to Dick’s. Got home about 10. Weather clear, cool & pleasant.

Thursday the 21st

19th Century Advertisement for a grain cradle

19th Century Advertisement for a grain cradle

Is partly cloudy & cool. We pitched into the wheat. I broke a finger out of my cradle, then went over to Sam Heater’s about 5 o’clock. Found Jeff there cradling. I worked in his place till night & he went home & mended it.

Friday the 22nd

Weather partly cloudy & cool. I commenced cutting in the 12 acre piece in the N. W. corner of the field & we pitched into it like blue thunder & lightening till noon, then went over to the picnic for a short time. Then come back & worked till supper & it commenced raining.

Saturday 23rd [July 1859]

[Editor’s note: This entry was written by someone other than Lot Abraham & may be in the same hand as the previous description of the 4th of July Celebration]

Exhibition. Well if I must, I must. So here goes. After the examination on Saturday in the grove, it commenced raining a little so we all absconded to Mrs. Abraham’s. Stayed there some time when the rain continuing in a kind of misty shower we thought it advisable to take down our stage, curtains &c. and convey them with all speed to the School House not far distant. Accordingly, some five or six of the fraternity set themselves to work & a wagon chancing to appear just at this particular moment everything moveable was thrown into it when in mounted our gigantic friend & away they sped to their place of destination. Here a stage was speedily erected. A Forrest might have envied & the band which we were expecting having come in the meantime in about 2 hours from the erection of the stage. We drew the curtain before the largest audience that ever assembled at Liberty School House to witness an exhibition or anything else connected with common humanity. The house was corded from one extremity unto the other, so thick were they that it seemed as if it would have been impossible to place another anywhere in that vast assembly. the performances did very well taking everything into particular consideration. Well, I’ll have to quit now without giving the fanciful this time as Miss — (with the unmentionable name) is bothering me so. So much for the girl with the curls.

Sunday the 24th July 1859

We arose this morning in good time & got out in the morning air feeling the effects of the last night’s proceedings by the headache & tired limbs. After breakfast, Joe & I went up to the School House, took down the stage & swept out the house &c. Got home at 10 o’clock. Spent the rest of the day & reading, writing & sleeping about 6 o’clock. Joe went & got a buggy & took Miss Campbell home. The girls & I went up to the pint to Baptist Meeting. Got home about 9 tired, sleepy & with headache. Clear & warm.

Monday the 25th

Weather clear & cold. We worked at the wheat all day & till 10 o’clock at night & finished the 12 acre corner piece. It was a little cloudy this evening. We left about 1½ acres not shocked. I had the headache all day.

Tuesday the 26th

It rained a little last night. We commenced at 8 o’clock & cut 2 acres on this side of the Branch — the last that was ripe. It was not as good as the other & was down. I broke a finger out of my cradle. After supper we took it to Jeff’s, then went to Jack Spearman’s to trade for a span of mules. Come within 15 dollars of it. Weather clear & cool.

Wednesday the 27th

A heavy dew & clear & cold or cool. John & I mowed slowly all day.

Thursday the 28th

Clear & cool. We mowed slowly till about 3. Then commenced a rick. Hauled 3 loads. begins to look like rainy weather.

Man sharpening his scythe in foreground while hay is being loaded onto a wagon in the background

Man sharpening his scythe in foreground while hay is being loaded onto a wagon in the background

Friday the 29th

Went to Jeff’s early & got my cradle. Then we cut wheat till noon. John cradled & I bound after dinner. We sat & talked to Noah Johnson till about 8, then hauled 3 loads of hay. Left one on the wagon. Looks like rain.

Saturday the 30th July 1859

About 3 o’clock this morning, Mother aroused us from our peaceful slumbers & warned us of a dreadful storm that was approaching. We made our way to the wagon in a hurry & unloaded the hay that was on it which happened to be a big load & consumed some time while it made the sweat roll down in big drops. About the time we got it piled up in the middle of the rick, the rain began to pour down & we fled for shelter & crept back into our roosting place. The rain continued pouring down at a rapid rate till about 5 o’clock. It then partly cleared off. We fooled around & done nothing for awhile, scattered out some windrows of hay in the field. After dinner we went to the wheat field & by the time the sun was sinking in the west, we was cutting the last of our wheat for 1859. Then John put up hay & I went & put up about 50 shocks that some horses had tore down last night. It commenced raining just after dark. Rained hard.

Sunday the last or 31st July 1859

the rain ceased this morning about 6. I went out & looked around awhile, then gathered up a scythe & mowed weeds for two hours — something that I intended to do yesterday morning but failed on it. Great preparations had been made for a Basket Meeting at Hardscrabble today & the rain interfered. About 9 o’clock, John & I mounted on horseback & started for the appointed place, stopping to gather a few blackberries along the roadside. Made it just meeting time when we arrived. I got very tired before meeting was out listening to a man that knew scarcely anything. There was only a few listeners. After preaching, quite a worthy old gentleman invited me with him for dinner. I refused. Went to Hal’s & took dinner & back to the ground at 9, then stayed on the ground for night services which was rather slim as I thought with only a few spectators.

Monday the first August 1859

Weather clear & cool with a heavy dew. I was up in time for breakfast. We cut some timothy for seed & opened the rick today. Then plowed & sowed a patch of turnips down into the west end of the field. I opened some shocks of wheat. About 4, we commenced & finished the rick. Clear & pleasant.

Tuesday the second

Cloudy & looks like rain. John went to Carnahan’s & took their loom home. He worked Jack for the first. I went with George Chandler to the graveyard. He commenced fencing it. After dinner we hauled all the hay that we had out & made a little stack, then hauled some rails & made a rick bottom. Then went to [Collin] Forbes’ & ground the ____. It commenced raining slowly about 3 o’clock but very slowly & continued.

Wednesday the third

The rain is pouring down this morning. I wrote the opposite page & this. About 9 went up to the Library, got two books, [and] came home. Then after dinner, went over to Loomis’. Got home about 5. There was a crowd of boys here. Just before dark, John come home. He had traded for the mules & was leading them — a dark bay or brown & a black, both two years old last spring & very small. Gave Jack & a cow & calf, a two year old steer & 25 dollars for them. [see Jack, or “Old One Eye”] It cleared off this evening.

An 1850's horse rake prior to the addition of a driver's seat

An 1850’s horse rake prior to the addition of a driver’s seat

Thursday the 4th

Weather clear & cool. We commenced mowing again. Albert Forbes helped us. We mowed till noon. After dinner we took the wagon & started to Wurth’s after a horse rake & the boys left me to go & hunt blackberries. I went on on & waited 2 hours. Then got the rake & come home. We didn’t get to work till about 5. Then Al raked & we hauled two loads & commenced a rick on the stack that was there that there. They tried to drive their cow home & she got away from them this morning.

Friday the 5th August 1859

Weather clear & pleasant. We went to the graveyard, cut & hauled off a tree that stood inside of the fence, then hauled one load of hay. Then commenced a large rick of wheat. Hauled 11 loads.

Saturday the 6th

Hauled 4 loads & finished that rick. Then finished the hay rick. That took the day. Weather clear & cool.

Sunday the 7th

Was a clear & warm day. We went with Jack & ___ to hunt their cow. Hunted awhile, then met at Carnahan’s, stayed there awhile till there was quite a crowd had accidentally met them there. Then we went to the [Skunk] River & took an old fashion swim. Then concluded we must have some more fun. Finally we all agreed on a bee hunt & started off for that purpose — some on foot & others mounted on horseback — &  proceed in that way altogether up the river for about ½ mile. There the crowd separated, breaking out over the hills in every direction. Sam Heater being the most experienced & on foot, we expected him to do the most hunting. We had not gone more than ¼ of a mile till we heard a whoop from him & we made for him & soon came to a halt beneath a large white oak tree & on looking up among its branches, could see the bees falling out & in at a knothole near the top. We dismounted, turned loose our noble steeds to graze upon the fine pasture. Sitting ourselves down beneath the bee tree in the shade while two horsemen rode off in search of an axe & some bread which was soon brought. Gathering up the axe, we pitched into the tree which proved to be hollow & a few licks brought it to the earth. On taking out a block near the hole from whence the bees proceeded, we found honey in large quantities. ‘Twas then we pitched in to the same not paying any attention to the poor little industrious owners who were crawling upon the ground, flying in the air, & drowning in the honey & stinging when they could make it convenient. Once only did I get stung & that on the finger. The place was a scene of confusion for about an hour. By that time, we had eat all we could conveniently & filled two large baskets with the fragment. We then mounted [and] rode to Carnahan’s. By that time I was sick as a hog. Called for some buttermilk. After drinking a pint, felt some better. Rested awhile, then mounted & went in search of the cow & found her not. 4 o’clock found us at Liberty at singing. Then at night we went there again to prayer meeting.

Monday the 8th

Weather clear & warm. We commenced another rick of wheat. Worked on it all day & finished it about 11 at night.

Tuesday the 9th

Clear & hot. Dick come last night from town & commenced moving. We tinkered around hardly knowing what to do. I went to see the thrashers at [Levi] Cornwell’s. In the afternoon we hauled two big loads of wheat up to Harrison’s for to get it thrashed when they get there.

Wednesday the 10th

We helped Dick finish mowing the new meadow this morning, then we hauled another load up to Harrison’s & they commenced thrashing. We helped all day & got ours thrashed. We had 18 bushels of fall wheat & 10 of spring. Hauled it to Forbes’ barn. Then come home & went to Chandler’s to a farewell party. Jake Westfall leaves for California in the morning —  & Patrick Elliot’s folks — all of them are going. I got home at 10.

Monday the 11th

Clear & hot. I wrote from last Thursday this morning, then we went over to the barn [and] cleaned over the fall wheat & put it in a granary. Got home about noon, then tinkered around awhile, then left.


Farmers flailing grain

Tuesday the 12th

Clear & hot. We helped Dick stack his hay this morning thereafter. Hauled the timothy & ____ wheat that was left over to Forbes’ barn & commenced flailing.

Saturday the 13th August 1859

Weather clear & hot. We went back to the barn to flail & had a tedious job of it. Got done about 2 o’clock. Had 2 bushels wheat [and] 2 timothy. Then in the evening I went across the creek & hauled a load of rails. Will Morehouse came home yesterday to work. He went with me. We put them on the fence over by Forbes’ to keep the cattle out of [Henry] Hartman’s corn. After dark we went over to Forbes’ with Jim Johnson. Got home 9½ o’clock. Clear & moonlight.

Sunday the 14th

Weather clear & hot. About 9 o’clock, John & I caught the mules & saddled the brown. He seemed to be more quiet than the black. I mounted him & rode along nice till turning out of the lane. All of a sudden the mule stopped, put his head down & commenced jumping. After making a few very wicked bounds, the girths [cinch] give away & I was left laying right in the road & holding tight to the reins. However, I soon gained my feet, led the mule back, fixed the girths again & mounted, & was found riding safely along. The mule could do nothing for me. We concluded not to try the other so I went to bed & took a sound nap.

Monday the 15th

Clear & hot. I got up early, mowed weeds till breakfast. After we dug 4 bushels of potatoes [and] thrower them in the wagon with some other stuff, hitched up & went to town — Will, John & I — to hear the big trial that was pending for today, but for some reason was postponed till tomorrow. We fooled away the day, sold our potatoes for 30 & 40 cts. &c. Got home just at dark & to my surprise setting underneath the vine-covered porch found Daniel McCue.

Tuesday the 16th August 1859

Lot's 16 August 1859 Entry describing Mt. Pleasant Court House Trial

Lot’s 16 August 1859 Entry describing Mt. Pleasant Court House Trial

Weather clear, hot & very dry. Dan & I went over to [Collin] Forbes’ & Sam, Ed & his family start to Missouri. We then went to the pasture, caught the ponies and rode to Mt. Pleasant again. Saw them bring out the big desperado — Jim Mires — lead him to Court House to trial. The House was crowded. We could hear nothing. Great excitement there. The old log jail now holds 13 great big rascals — Al Cure among the rest. We stayed there all day. Saw them lead out two others to trial. The crimes are counterfeiting & stealing horses. We got home just about sundown. John & Will mowed Hungarian [grass]. It tried to rain about 3 but soon cleared off.

Wednesday the 17th

Weather clear & hot. I mowed some weeds before breakfast. We mowed till noon & finished the strip between the meadows & the orchard. Then lay scattered around on the floor till late in the evening. It looked a little like rain. We went and put up some hay.

Thursday the 18th

Cloudy & cool. We hauled manure till noon, then I went to Poke Nose Corner to Miss [Neal] Alden’s school. [It was] examination day & a number of spectators were present. Everything went off fine. After school broke, we all went to the creek, put up a swing, & spent the evening a swinging. Then at 8 o’clock, went into the Lodge & proceeded to business. I got home about 12.

Friday the 19th

Clear & cool. I wrote awhile this morning, then we hauled manure till noon, then layed around on the floor till 2. Then took a horse a snaked up the Haycock’s & stacked them there & we all went to Stanbrough’s to a party.

Saturday the 20th August 1859

Weather hot & hazy. About 8 o’clock this morning Dan & I mounted the horses & went to Dick’s. Anything with me but work today. We layed around over there all day eating melons, sleeping, &c. Fed my horses a feed of green corn today for the first. Sarah come home with us this evening. The boys hauled a load of wood today. Is clouded up this evening &  sprinkled a little.

Sunday the 21st

We was favored with a fine shower last night. This morning is clear & cool. I learned today that it hailed  last night & that lightening struck a wheat rick of J. Shields’ & A. Jenkins’ on Miller’s farm & burned it to the ground. After the folks went to meeting, I concluded to go & done so but got mighty tired before I got away. Mr. [Henry] Musgrove preached. Went to singing at 3 in the evening and up to Jenkins’ awhile. Looks like rain.

Monday the 22d

Was cool & favorable. Mowed weeds all day slowly. In the evening, Dick’s come over. [My sister] Beck [Rebecca] is worse. Susan is about the same.

Tuesday the 23d

Dick & I went to Lowell to milling. Took 10 bushels wheat [but] couldn’t get it ground. Fooled around there all day. Jim Chandler was there. We went to bed on the mill floor. It rained today.

Wednesday the 24th

Weather clear & cold. About an hour before daylight, while the moon was shining, we loaded up & started for home where we arrived safely just after sunup. After breakfast I took Bill Wurth’s rake home. We hauled up some grass for the horses, then finished the rick that was on hands. Hauled the beans out of the orchard, then I went across the creek for rails. They was so hard to get that I brought a load of wood. A little cloudy tonight.

Thursday the 25th August 1859

Cloudy & cool. We hauled two loads of rails. ‘Twas all I could find. John & Sam Heater butchered a sheep. Afternoon, I hauled a load of lumber from Cure’s Mill — lumber that has layed there 18 months. I concluded to make a plank fence along the west side. It rained a little this forenoon. Cleared off this evening. Camp Meeting commenced.

Friday the 26th

Lot's 26 August 1859 entry describes attending a Methodist Camp Meeting near Mt. Pleasant.

Lot’s 26 August 1859 entry describes attending a Methodist Camp Meeting near Mt. Pleasant.

Clear & cool. Heavy dew. I fed my horses the first thing, then wrote all this week. Bill & I mowed weeds till 9 o’clock, then went to the graveyard & mowed all the underbrush off that. ‘Twas drawing close to 12 when we got back & time for us to begin to think about camp meeting so we went to work & was soon ready to start with a wagon load of provisions, horse feed, &c. Just after 12 we started. Went to Johnson’s & there another team joined our caravan & we moved on to Bebb’s & was joined there by two others. Then at Tom Bebb’s [were] two more making 12 in number. We stopped a short time in Mt. Pleasant & reached the camp ground about an hour before sundown. Unharnessed & fed our horses, then spread out our grub on the ground, formed ourselves in a circle & pitched in. Supper over, we then commenced tramping around &c. We found about one hundred families had tented on the ground & still more were coming & great preparations was being made for the meeting by the Methodist Brethren. I listened to a sermon at night, then after that they hauled around those in their tents till about midnight & we all running from one place to another watching them. We then thought about retiring. Noah Johnson & I got in the wagon; the others went to a big tent for accomodations.

Saturday the 27 August 1859

After kicking around in the wagon for I could not sleep more than a few minutes at a time all night. I heard the rain begin to patter down on the wagon cover & we rolled out, got our crowd together, washing & made ready for breakfast. Got some coffee & went in the big tent, spread out our grub & pitched in. The day was spent in running from one tent to another to prayer meeting &c. There was preaching in the big tent at 3. The rain continued slowly till about 6 o’clock, then cleared off partly. We took dinner in the same way as breakfast. After that, Johnson’s team started home. We heard that Dan had come back & about 2 o’clock John started home with our team taking all the boys but Billy & Dutch Charley. I took supper with B. F. Hausel this evening. There was some dry straw hauled & scattered on the ground this evening. Preaching at candlelight. After that they went to the tents & howled till two o’clock, then we went to the big tent & went to sleep. The boys acted the fool all night. I slept sound only when awakened by the devilish boys.

Sunday the 28th

We was awakened this morning by nice singing on the camp ground. We had plenty of bread & butter & two pies left for this time the boys got a boiler of coffee & some meat & we went out to a big log & took breakfast. I spent the morning in watching the crowd gather on the ground which was a splendid sight for the crowd was not a small one. About 11 o’clock, Johnson’s boys & John come with a four horse load. I stayed at the wagon till after dinner. We had plenty of melons &c. Then I _______ till night. The team went home in the evening. I stayed on the ground but heard no preaching after night meeting broke. I got in John Linch’s wagon & went to Canaan with him. ‘Twas light as a moonlight night.

"Heard great wondering today about the big light that was seen in the Heavens last night." Newspapers like this described the unusual Aurora Borealis. Referred to as "The Superstorm" today, the bright light was caused by a solar flare.

“Heard great wondering today about the big light that was seen in the Heavens last night.” Newspapers all across the U.S. reported the unusual Aurora Borealis. Scientists now know “The Superstorm” of 28 August 1859 was caused by a solar flare. The Methodist Ministers at the Camp Meeting surely must have capitalized on this Devine sign.

Monday the 29th August 1859

I got to bed at 11 o’clock last night & slept sound till sunup this morning. Then I rode & took a view of the prairies till about 8 o’clock. Then the wagon started for camp meeting again. Heard great wondering today about the big light that was seen in the Heavens last night. I spent the day in the usual way. Eat dinner with Finches. Dan come just after dinner & we put in the time to good advantage. There was a lot of boys from the Neck [Hell’s Neck] there & we caved around big. At dark the grove was once more illuminated & looked beautiful. Lea mounted up & commenced preaching in his usual manner. I listened to him part of the time. After meeting broke, I saw the sights. About 2 o’clock we went to the big tent & coiled down. Everybody was still in the night.

Tuesday the 30th

We rolled out early this morning & took a stroll around the ground & come back to the Boarding tent & seated ourselves at the breakfast table, called for something to eat, but it come very slow. We kept on till we eat ’em out, then quit. After that we deviled around till about 10 o’clock. Then I got a wagon & come to town. Then in another & come on home. Got here about 2. After eating, we went & ground a scythe, then went & gathered plums & hazelnuts &c.

Wednesday the last of August [1859]

We cut Hungarian grass slowly all day. I went & took my library books back at noon. Then went to Horsey’s & got a scythe. In the evening, we got on the horses & went to the camp ground where we found a lot of the boys from the Neck. We deviled around there & come near having a big fuss with the Methodist guards. We got home about 1 o’clock.

Thursday the 1st September 1859

Clear & cool of night. We finished cutting grass this morning by noon. After noon I hauled two loads of lumber from cures — the last of the old lumber. The roads is in good order. I hauled big loads. Went to bed early & slept.

Friday the Second

Behold! this morning a frost appeareth. I gathered up a load of lumber around here & hauled it out. Then hauled one from Bebb’s kins. Laughlin & George Chandler was here at noon & I talked with them till 5. Then we hauled another load. Dan come here from camp today. Clear & cold.

Saturday the 3d

I hauled one load — the last of the lumber, then 2 loads of posts from the graveyard that was left. The boys worked at the grass. They hauled some. I went over to Holland’s. He’s sick. Then come over to the Library, then home.

Sunday the 4th

Weather cloudy & cool. Dan & I got up about 8 o’clock, fed the horses, & I wrote awhile. I got on Henry at 11 & went to the pint & heard Mr. Lea preach Mrs. Bower’s funeral. After preaching, we hurried home, hitched to the wagon, got Johnson, W. Walters, & Dan, John & I piled in & drove to Camp Meeting in a hurry. Got there in time to hear the 3 o’clock sermon by Ingalls, Mt. Pleasant preacher. The rest of the time we spent in various ways. The weather was cloudy, cold & disagreeable. We thought it would be policy to come home. About 1 we arrived here safe after a hard drive & retired satisfied.

Monday the 5th

Weather cleared off this morning warm. We hauled manure today.

Tuesday the 6th September 1859

Weather clear & warm. We took two teams across the creek & made fence posts & hauled 3 loads of them & one of wood. We went up to the School House to watch the endeavors of a Mr. Howlet[t] trying to get up a writing school but they proved unsuccessful. Dick come over tonight sick.

Wednesday the 7th

Looks some like rain. I made two ax handles. Then we took a couple of horses, dragged up the Hungarian grass & built a rick. Then took two teams across the creek, made 40 rails, then finished our loads with wood & come home. Looks like rain. Sick folks no better.

Thursday the 8th

Weather dull & unpleasant. Dry & dusty. Sickness prevails all over the land. I took one team & went to town today. Took some wood to Shortridge’s, got some barrels, a barrel of salt &c. Dan & Sal went with me. I got a letter from Jim Steward. Mrs. Shortridge come home with us. About dark here come E. W. right from Missouri — been gone 3 months. The boys hauled two loads of wood.

Friday the 9th

‘Twas late when we got up. We sat around & talked till 10. Shortridges started home about 11. The rain began to descend slowly & steadily upon the parched earth. I seated myself, took nap. My pen wrote here awhile then wrote letter to R. Blacker’s folks & another to John McCue. About 2 o’clock, I & Dan took the horses & went up to [Samuel] Dickey’s. I left Tip there & got Lash — the big colt — mounted him, then rode over to Horsey’s to see how Louis was (He was better) & then home & to bed at dark but was soon aroused from our slumbers by the appearance of George McCue, Roderick Philips & Pete Smith from Indiana.

The Iowa Lunatic Asylum, southeast of Mt. Pleasant, was under construction when Lot & his friends visited in in September 1859. The first patients weren't admitted until 1861.

The Iowa Lunatic Asylum, southeast of Mt. Pleasant, was under construction when Lot & his friends visited in in September 1859. The first patients weren’t admitted until 1861.

Saturday the 10th September 1859

We stayed up & talked late last night, then made up lost time this morning. About 10 or 11, we all got on board of the wagon & started for town. Went past & stopped at the [Iowa Lunatic] Asylum. Went to the top & over part of that. Then went on to town. Then we spent the rest of the day in various ways. Got in our wagon just before sundown. We saw a storm approaching & we drove like blazes. Just as we got home, it commenced raining & rained hard. We put way the horses & after supper got in the old kitchen. Pete played the fiddle & we had quite a takedown. Turned in about 12.

Sunday the 11th

The rain ceased after giving us a good shower & it cleared off tis morning.  (Roderick Philips is very sick today.) We went out over the farm & over to Forbes’ [and] got some melons. George & I got on Henry & the big colt & went down to Blacker’s timber, then up the creek to Holland’s to see how they was & found them some better than home & found them starting Billy after that Doctor for Philips. We went to singing, then rigged up a four horse team to go to town to hear Shortridge preach. The doctor come & said that Philips had a sinking chill & he was so bad we couldn’t go so part of us went up to the pint to prater meeting in our four horse covered wagon. By the time we got back, he was some better. The chill had left. Weather clear & cold.

Monday the 12th

Clear & cool. We went across the creek & got a Sugar tree log for to make rollers [for the mill]. Worked the big colt, then I plowed awhile in the evening for grass. Dock was able to go home today. Billy went with him. Philips is on the mend. We all got in the wagon tonight & went to John Ikens to a farewell party for Joe Fisher. Coming home we drove too fast & broke the ____ off the wagon.

Tuesday the 13th September 1859

Weather clear & cool. I put my log in the wagon & went to town with it. Pete went with me. I had to dress out the rollers with an ax. That took me most of the day. Then left them there to be turned. I took up 15 bushels of Dick’s sweet potatoes [and] got 75 cts. Pete & I went & had our pictures teen in one case to take to Indiana. We then came home a ____ing. Johnson’s folks got here about the time we did. Then we put four horses to the wagon, loaded in 14 full grown persons & drove back to town in a hurry. Went to hear Shortridge preach. Got home safe about 11. Billy plowed today. Clear & moonlight.

Wednesday the 14th

This morning is cloudy & cool. The boys hitched up this morning & left — all but Philips. He is waiting to get better. I harrowed awhile, then set Billy at it (they hauled a load of wood before noon). I sowed the Hungarian patch with timothy. Bill finished harrowing it. Then John & I & the girls went to town to meeting & got the rollers. It commenced to rain slowly just as we started home. We got here at 11.

Thursday the 15th

Is raining slowly. I gathered some seed corn, then slept about 3 hours. Afternoon, I set Billy to plowing N & S between here & Hartman’s. Dick & I worked at the cane mill. John hauled a load of wood. ‘Tis cloudy.

Drawing of Mill for grinding Sorghum or Sugar Cane. Lot mentions the "rollers" and the "sweep-pole" that had to be fabricated to build the mill.

Drawing of Mill for grinding Sorghum or Sugar Cane. Lot mentions the “rollers” and the “sweep-pole” that had to be fabricated to build the mill.

Friday the 16th

Is clear, warm, and pleasant. John took 11 bushels of fall wheat & went to London to mill. Bill plowed. Dick & I worked at the mill. John got back about 8.

Saturday the 17th

It commenced raining slowly about 8 this morning & drizzled till about 2. Then partly cleared off. I was sick all day & done nothing. About dark, Noah Johnson come along. We went to Bogus Corner to singing school.

Sunday the 18th September 1859

‘Tis cloudy & raining slowly. We got up about 7 or 8 & fooled around till about noon. Then we went over to Holland’s awhile to see the sick. They are some better. We stayed there about an hour, then went back to Thomas Johnson’s & put in the rest of the day in singing &c. It rained hard about 4 & kept on raining. I started & rode home through the rain. Got home about dark. Disagreeable weather.

Monday the 19th

Weather cool & raining slowly all the time. The next thing we look for is frost or freezing & the corn is mostly all soft yet & ready to freeze. I spent all the morning in fooling around & thinking of these things. I took up my pen & wrote here awhile, then wrote a letter to ——. Then looked over my letter & burned up a lot of them. About noon, I saddled up the ponies & took Roderick Philips to London. He was just able to ride. He was aiming to take the cars & overtake the other boys. We went to Munson’s & stayed there waiting for the train. ‘Tis raining all the time. I stayed as long with him as I could, then left him there, mounted my pony, led the other, & rode at a rapid rate against the storm. Got home a little before dark. Raining hard.

Tuesday the 20th

It has ceased to rain & is cold. John plowed all the time. Dick & I went over to his habitation to see how things was going on there. I cut up corn & dug sweet potatoes all the time we was there. We started home about dark & had a dark drive of it. Cold & cloudy.

Wednesday the 21st September 1859

It cleared off in the night & is frosty. Dick & I worked slowly at the mill till noon. Then I took the little wagon & took Beck to town to the doctors. This wet, cold, disagreeable weather has been most too hard on my hoofs so I bought a pair of shoes for ’em. I neither heard nor saw anything of importance in town today. We got home about dark. It was cloudy part of the day. Is clear & cool tonight.

Thursday the 22

Clear & cool. I sowed timothy seed till noon. John harrowed all day. Bill Wurth worked on the mill all day & they finished it this evening. I hung up the tobacco this afternoon, then went over to Tightbark to prayer meeting at night.

Friday the 23d

Clear & cool in the morning. We started about daylight with a team. Drove over to Carnahan’s, tied up the horses, & hunted hogs till about 9 but none could we find. Then we drove around past Jim Dickey’s & stopped there awhile. They have all been sick all fall but are better now. Then we drove around to our timber, loaded up a load of wood, & got a sweep-pole for the mill. Got home just at noon. After dinner we went to work to put up the mill in the potato patch east of the house & worked at it till night. Oh how lonesome it is here now. Billy left last Wednesday & all of Dick’s folks today. I wrote since last Monday tonight.

Saturday the 24th

Weather clear & hot. We got out to knocking around early, finished setting the mill & tried it. Then I dug some potatoes. John hauled 3 loads of stones. We ground enough [sugar cane] to make a gallon of molasses. They boiled it on the stove in the evening. I got on Henry & went to the Lodge. Got home at 11.

Sunday the 25th September 1859

We rolled out this morning about 8 o’clock. I had a severe headache — slept none hardly lat [night]. John & Jim Johnson come in just before midnight last night. They had been out to Bogus Corner to singing. They was telling me the sport they had with Sam Horsey. We got the horses fed between 9 & 10 this morning, then we went down to Hartman’s to get a colt & break it to ride. I mounted the thing & rode it this far, then John mounted it & they rode off & left me here in solitude. All gone but mother & myself. There is meeting at 3 places this morning. I felt more like staying at home so I took up my pen & commenced writing. It commenced raining about the same time. Now I see the boys have come back & are putting up their horses. I quit writing here & wrote a constitution for a Debating Society at Poke Not Corner. Then fooled around the house all day. It rained slowly all day. I wrote a piece in Mrs. Hartman’s Album in the afternoon. In the evening we went to the pint for night meeting. I heard that Mr. Jenkins was about to die so I left & come on down there & stayed with him till about 10. Then come home & went to bed.

Monday the 26th

Weather has cleared off & is warm. I made a furnace & got the boiler set about 4. Then ground & filled it, then fired up. John hauled 9 loads of cane. Wurths ground a load just after dinner. I boiled till about 10 o’clock at night, then we had it all in the boilers & a hot fire under it. We went to bed satisfied & slept sound.

Tuesday the 27th September 1859

This morning I went out to the boilers & found it all boiled down in taffy & burnt butter. We poured it out into an old barrel, then filled the boiler with well water. Then we hitched on to the wagon & went to Carnahan’s hunting hogs again but had to come back as we went. We brought a load of wood, then John hauled 4 loads of cane. I took Henry & went to grinding & got the boiler clean & filled again & boiled on till about 11 at night. Then took it off & had about 10 gallons. Then went to bed. Weather clear & warm. Dan come back this evening.

Horse drawn mill for grinding cane in operation

Horse drawn mill for grinding cane in operation

Wednesday the 28th

Weather clear & warm. ‘Twas late when we got up this morning. We cut & hauled 4 loads of cane while A. Jenkins & Joe Shields ground a load of cane. then I commenced grinding & boiling & put it through till about 9. Then took out about 8 gallons & filled up the boilers again. There was some boys here & we stayed up till about midnight, then turned in. John hauled 2 loads of cane till evening.

Thursday the 29th

Weather cloudy & cool. We got to work early to grinding & boiling & pitched in all day & turned off just after dark. Hauled 4 loads of cane. Filled a barrel. It commenced raining just after dark.

Friday the last

It rained hard last night & cleared off this morning. Ground out 5 loads of cane today & made about ½ of a barrel tonight. There was some girls here tonight & they made the barrel of taffy fly. We went to bed about midnight, September the last.

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