October ~ December, 1859

Saturday the 1st October 1859

Weather clear & pleasant. We toiled in the cane all day. In the evening we got in the wagon [and] went over to Johnson’s, fixed up four horses & a load & went to Bogus Corner to singing. Had a good time & a fine ride. Got home about 1 o’clock.

Sunday the 2nd

Weather clear, cool & pleasant — a little smoky like Indian Summer. I went to the school house to hear Musgrove preach at 11. Then home & about 2½ left for  [see Book No. 1]

Monday the third

Weather clear & pleasant. We toiled in the cane all day, I cut corn till about 11, then got up in the hay mow & slept till dinner. Dick & family come over this eve. They are all better. We went to the school house tonight & started the Debate [Society] again.

Tuesday the 4th

Dick & I went to work on the mill & found it much better than it has been before & so it will save one hand. About noon I commenced grinding again & put it through till night. All the [Hell’s] Neck folks & everybody else went up to Jim Forbes’ tonight & had what is called a Social Party. Quite an interesting time they had of it too. I went up a horseback; nearly all the rest went in wagons — one four horse vehicle of note. We got home about 1.

Wednesday the 5th

We toiled in the cane. John & John Wurth cut corn after noon.

Thursday the 6th

The same all day. The weather is fine — a regular old-fashioned Indian Summer.

Friday the 7th October 1859

Weather cloudy & rained a little this morning. If I mistake not, we toiled in the cane all day. In the evening we got in the Old Ship of Zion & started for another Social Confab (or party) that had been talked of for a long time. I was driving the little  Blacks & there was another noted team in advance of us. I, thinking that was the place for me, reined my horses out of the road, [and] whistled to them. In an instant, they were running far in advance of their worthy competitors. But soon I heard a cry in the hind part of the wagon that Mary had fallen out. It was with some difficulty that I stopped the team. Then I run back part of the way & met her coming all are. She fell off behind when the horses first jumped. We then rode in safety to the aforesaid appointed place where about half of the night was spent in the usual way. Only we had a big kettle full of taffy to condense. Part of it they eat, the rest they daubed over each other. We drove home about midnight by clear star & moonlight. I took of 26 gallons of mollases after we come home. We are making Harrison’s on the shares for ½.

Saturday the 8th

We breakfasted about the usual hour (8), then Dan & I took the wagon [and] went over to the Irish coopers, got a barrel for which we paid a dollar, then went to Carnahan’s to see if the hogs had been there & found they had not. We brought a load of wood home. We sat around the house all evening. Neal Spearman was here. We sold him a barrel of molasses 40 cts. a gallon. We took off 20 more of Harrison’s tonight. About 11, then went to bed.

Sunday the 9th October 1859

A hard freeze last night. Still indian summer last & makes everything look pleasant. I tinkered around this morning fixing up things till about 10, then Noah & Jim Johnson come with a pair of horses. We rigged up mine & put to to the ship. Got in even 10 & started. Drove to Mt. Pleasant to E. W. Shirtridge’s & H. Penny’s where we put up our horses & stayed till about 4. Then hitched up [and] drove to the [Iowa Lunatic] Asylum & went all through it and had a good time. Then went back, put up the horses, & went to meeting. Heard Elias W. [Shortridge] preach, then come home a Kiterry. Got to bed about 11.

Monday the 10th

John & I cut corn till noon. Then I tinkered at the mill awhile, then ground the Brosler’s full & a barrel of Harrison’s. Then went to the debate. Clear & warm.

Tuesday the 11th

It clouded  last night & rained a little this morning. I worked as hard as I could till 2 o’clock. Finished grinding enough to keep them boiling, then mounted a horse & went to town to the election. Voted the following ticket:

Democratic State Ticket
For Governor — Augustus C. Dodge
For Lieutenant Governor — Lysander N. Babbitt
For Judges of Supreme Court — T. S. Pilson, Charles Mason, C. C. Cole
County Ticket
For Representatives — John B. Lash, R. M. Pickel
For County Judge — none
For Treasury & Recorder — none
For Sheriff — none
For county surveyor — Isaac M. Hughes
For coroner — none
For Superintendent of Schools — none
Township Ticket
Trustees — none
Clerk – none
Assessors — W. T. Spearman
Constable — H. Penny
Co. Supervisor — Frank Yearn

Fooled around there awhile, then went down to Hones to George Chandler’s room, stayed there for supper, then we went to another room where Miss Alden, Miss Beery boarded & stayed there about 2 hours. Then I went up in town & looked around but saw nothing. Then mounted my horse & rode home. I got a good letter today without name. John cut cane, George Shaffer helped.

Wednesday the 12th October 1859

Weather clear & pleasant. We worked at the cane all day. Finished ours & finished grinding Harrison’s pretty near. There was a crowd in here tonight. Made taffy & staid up till about 12.

Thursday the 13th

We finished boiling Harrison’s cane today & commenced on M. H. Sels & G. Levan’s. Cloudy this evening. We got to ___. There was a crowd here tonight.

Friday the 14th

I worked at the cane all day. John went to Lowell to mill with 5 bushels wheat. I went to Isaac Andrews’ tonight. He had moved back.

Saturday the 15th

John got home about 4 last night or this morning. Dan & him went to the Irishmans & got a barrel today. I ground slowly all day. Jake filled a load of corn. We hitched to the wagon & drove to town this evening. Got a load of girls & come out to Bogus Corner to singing. All the [Hell’s] Neck was out there. The house was full. After singing we drove back to town & had a good time — John, Dan & I. We got home about 12m took out our molasses & retired about 1 o’clock.

Sunday the 16th

Cloudy & windy. I got up about 8. We eat breakfast at 10. I fed the horses, then come in the room, sat down, & commenced writing & don’t know when I shall stop. Wrote here from last Monday a week ago. Stopped for dinner, then wrote in Book No. 1 about an hour. Then spent the rest of the day in resting myself. It commenced raining slowly about sundown. I went to bed early.

Monday the 17th

It rained hard last night & is cold. A drizzly [rain] today. I ground cane all day. John plowed. It snowed a little tonight about dark I went to bed early.

Tuesday the 18th October 1859

John made me get up about 11 last night, then we boiled down the molasses & took them out about 4 o’clock. Then filled up with Lorenzo D. Housel’s & commenced grinding it. Cleared off about 10 last night & is cold. I ground & boiled all day. John hauled some wood. I went down to Wurth’s in the evening to try to hire Bill but failed. We all got in the wagon & went to Holland’s tonight to see the sick. They are better. Got home at 11.

Wednesday the 19th

Clear & pleasant. Dan & I went to town to get the horses shod & fixed up for starting to Missori. I tinkered around till about midnight. John worked at the cane (Housel’s).

Thursday the 20th

Clear, cold & frosty. We got up early, loaded up all that was not loaded last night, & by the time the sun got up we was starting across the fields south west for Missouri with the wagon crowded full with boxes, trunks, & children, &c. Driving Henry & Poll, we crossed the creek at Cures’ & met Mr. Short on the hill. He gave me some directions & told me to go to his house & get a map of Missouri. I then run & overtook the team, took off my coat & run 1½ miles off the road, got the map, & overtook the team near the [Skunk] River. Crossed at Boyle’s Mill (forded), then travelled a S. W. course for Farmington. Stopped near a house at noon, fed the horses, & eat a snack, then travelled on in about the same direction. Warm about noon. About 4 o’clock P.M., passed through a little village called Primrose, then due west about 5 miles & stopped for night near a farmhouse. Got a load of hay for 10 cts., fed the horses, fixed our nest in the wagon & crept in.

Friday the 21st October 1859

Lot's 21 October 1859 entry describing trip to NE Missouri.

Lot’s 21 October 1859 entry describing trip to NE Missouri.

Weather cloudy, windy & cold. The wind made our old wagon cover clatter last night. I got out long before daylight, fed & harnessed the horses, & was ready to start long before Mrs. Gibson come out. Then they wanted coffee for breakfast so it took a long time to get that ready. Then when we went to eat, I accidentally spilled some hot coffee on the baby’s head & scalded it badly. Then we had to wait a long time on that account. That made us late starting. 1½ miles brought us to Farmington. There we crossed the Des Moines on a horse ferry, then traveled S. W. 3 miles to the Iowa & Missouri line, then west 3 miles to a hard looking place called Possum Holler. Then on west over hilly county — mostly prairie — 6 miles to a little town called Dogtown (in Iowa). There we crossed Fox River & stopped of the west side for dinner & to feed (stopped an hour), then due west on or next the [state] line to a little villa called Upton. There we turned south & traveled about 10 miles & stopped at Capers, took our supper in the house, made coffee & eat off the table. After supper, I got a boy for guide & went about ½ mile to Joe Cooper’s. Stayed about an hour, then back & Dan & I fixed our nest & got in.

Saturday the 22

Lot's 22 October 1859 entry describing visit to NE Missouri

Lot’s 22 October 1859 entry describing trip to NE Missouri

Weather clear & pleasant. Mrs. Gibson wakened us up this morning by calling to us from the house. We was ready & started before it was light. About 3 miles brought us to a small stream where we watered. There was a small strip of timber along the creek, then fine rolling prairie. 2 miles more brought us to Memphis — the County Seat of Scotland County, a fine thrifty looking village — mostly all brick houses. From there we went due south through the timber 1 mile & we crossed North Fabius River, then through some fine timber for about 4 miles, then broken prairie through a small town called Edinburg 6 miles from Memphis, to South Fabius River about 10 miles from Memphis — a little scrubby timber along its banks (a fine bridge across all the streams). There we stopped for dinner & was overtaken then by John Wurth & George Clouse. They tied their satchels on the feed box & kept up to us. Then about 6 miles over fine rolling prairie brought us to a little village called Greensburg. There the town was alive with men drinking whiskey & swearing. We stopped there a short time & learned the cause of all this was a 500 dollar horse race (we crossed the Knox & Scotland Co. line about 2 miles north of this place) traveled due south to Edina — county seat of Knox — 25 [miles] from Memphis. All the way fine rolling prairie. Crossed Tabby Creek 1 miles north of Edina. Stopped there awhile (at Edina). Left there just about sundown, went 3 miles through scrubby timber, then stopped for night with some Irish people. Put the horses in the stable, bought a bushel of corn for 30 cts., eat our supper, & slept in the wagon.

Sunday the 23d

Mrs. Gibson wakened us early again & we made ready & started long before daylight. Traveled over some broken country, [and] crossed several small streams with some scrubby timber along their banks. About 8 miles brought us to Salt River. Some timber there, a good bridge across, then 2½ more to a little town called Woodville (or Goodland) traveling a south west direction. Some brush & scrubby timber & some broken prairie & several small streams. Stopped near a Mr. Carnahan’s for dinner on a nice rolling prairie. Then a mile more we crossed the line of Knox & Macon County, then a south west course over fine rolling prairie to little place called Vienna. Then through some timber & broken country a south west direction about 15 miles to Macon City. Then 2 hours after dark we went to D. Bradford’s & stopped for night. Put our horses in the stable, eat our supper in the wagon, then went in the house & stayed till midnight. Then turned in our nest again.

Monday the 24th

The sun was up & shining long before Dan or I wakened. We took breakfast with Bradford’s this morning & looked around at the town a little. Found it a stirring little place. Started about 8 o’clock a little east of south along the railroad through fine country & well settled about 12 miles to a town called Jacksonville. There we took a southwest course & about a mile we struck the timber. Then we passed tobacco farms & saw Negroes at every house. We bought a bushel of corn for 25 cts. & stopped near a school house for dinner & to feed. Made coffee on the stove in the school house. Had bad water to drink & none for the horses — only in branches & sloughs & that poor, black-looking stuff. We traveled over hills & through timber, crossed several small streams, passed Nigger & tobacco plantations all along. About 15 miles brought us to our journey’s end — Huntsville, the county seat of Randolph County — just about dark. We soon found Gibson. Dan & Tom Shafer unloaded & camped right in the street, eat our supper, then fooled around town till near 9 o’clock. Then crept in our nest. The day was clear & hot. We got lazy & tired of riding.

The Second Randolph County Courthouse was built in 1858. Little is known about the James and Mary Gibson family of Huntsville. The infant scalded with coffee was probably 1 year-old Alice Gibson.

The second Randolph County Courthouse was built in 1858. Little is known about the James and Mary Gibson family of Huntsville. The infant scalded with coffee was probably 1 year-old Alice Gibson.

Tuesday the 25th

It was late when we got up this morning. We fixed up our wagon then & fed them. Went in the tavern & got our breakfast for 25 cts. apiece. Then took a look at the village & the Niggers &c. We found Huntsville a stirring, thrifty looking place. We stayed there till about noon, inquired aboit apples, [and] found we would have to go 20 miles & pay from 20 to 50 cts.. We concluded to travel empty. We started from Huntsville about 11 due east 6 miles through an old settled country to a little town (Allen) on the [North Missouri] Railroad. Then along the railroad for Macon City through some fine prairie thinly settled 6 miles to Fairview — a little town. Then on through the prairie & shot 2 prairie hens. Got to Jacksonville just about dark, stopped & fed, went to a tavern, got our suppers for 25 cts apiece (had no dinner & we made the supper pay) then got in our nest. The day was hot & clear.

Wednesday the 26th

We got up early & started. Stopped at every house & asked as many questions as we could think of. We wanted corn, hay, bread, butter, milk, cheese, potatoes & other things too tedious to mention. Could find nothing but corn & they asked 40 & 50 cts for that. We fed the last of the corn in the morning before we started but wouldn’t pay that for it. We got some crackers at McClainsville — a little town on the road, made our breakfast on them & molasses. Then I found some butter & some potatoes & got some of each. Then traveled on to Bradford’s. There we got our horses fed & dinners & stayed about 3 hours, then started & took the Kirksville Road. Bought 2 bushels of corn of a boy for 50 cts., traveled about 10 miles, shot a pheasant & saw some fine turkeys & was afraid to shoot till it was too late. Camped near a farmhouse where we got hay & a pone of cornbread. Had to go ½ mile to water. We made a big fire & cooked our birds, roasted potatoes & parched corn till late, then turned in our nest. Windy and disagreeable. The wind raised about 10 today.

Thursday the 27th October 1859

Lot's 27 October 1859 entry describing conversation with Missouri Slaveholder

Lot’s 27 October 1859 entry describing conversation with Missouri Slaveholder

Weather cloudy & cold. We got up in good time. I went to the farmer’s and got some warm biscuits & had a good breakfast. Then put on & passed over some fine prairie to La Plata — a nice little valley surrounded on all sides by large prairies. We passed on as fast as we could & stopped to feed about 1 within 4 miles of town. While we was there, they led a big nigger past & we had a long talk about Missouri & niggers with a chap. We then put on to town. Stopped there & warmed & bought 7 loaves of bread, some cheese &c., & had quite a quibble about which road to take. Then finally decided in Dan’s favor to take the Memphis Road. Then he was in a better humor & commenced bragging on the country & fine farms. We found Kirksville a thrifty looking village — the county seat of Adair. From there we took a N. E. course & traveled 6 miles. Camped on Salt River, built a big fire for ’twas a cold night. About the usual hour we crept in.

Friday the 28th

Clear & the ground froze hard. We got started early & traveled over some rough country for awhile, then some better. Crossed the Fabius Rivers & several other small streams. Reached Memphis about 4. Stopped & warmed, then went 7 miles & camped again. Cloudy & cold.

Saturday the 29th

Cloudy & cold. We started early & traveled fast. Passed through Upton. Then we took north, passed through Niles — a very small town, then to the River Des Moines where we forded. Then along down its banks one mile to Keosauqua, the county seat of Van Buren in Iowa. There we stopped awhile, then took at N. E. direction to Utica. From there east to Hillsboro. Then we struck Henry County again. Then to Salem & camped for the night after traveling about 50 miles. Cloudy & cold.

Sunday the 30th October 1859

Weather cloudy & cold. We started early & drove down to Dick’s. The we got our breakfast & stayed till about noon. Then started for home where we arrived safely about 2 P.M. & found all right. We all went to Mt. Pleasant in the evening to Shortridge’s Meeting. Got home about 10 o’clock. Cold & tired.

Monday the last of October

Cold & clear this morning. John went to plowing this morning while I was gone. He plowed some & dug the potatoes, finished making L. D. Housel’s Cane Molasses, & Dick made what what was left of ours for him. Joe Fisher come down & helped John fix a straw shed. Joe & I cleaned & fixed the granary, ten hauled a load of wood. Afternoon we helped Hartman’s thrash. He finished thrashing 111 bushels.

A horse-powered threshing machine in operation

A horse-powered threshing machine in operation

Tuesday the 1st of November

Pleasant & cool. Abbot’s was here about the time we got up. Soon got ready & was thrashing. Worked Henry & the big colt on the machine. I hauled with the Blacks. We thrashed 153 bushels. Was all that we had. Got done at dark. The day was Indian Summer & has been all that.

Wednesday the 2nd

Clear & cold. The threshers left early. John plowed. Dan & I hauled 3 loads of wood. Joe went home.

Thursday the 3d

Clear & pleasant. The wind raised about 10 & blowed hard. Dan & I thrashed a load of corn before noon. Then after dinner we come in the room & slept till 4. Then covered the potatoes. John plowed all day. I was nearly sick.

Friday the 4th

Cloudy & windy & rained a few drops. Dan & I pulled the cabbages & fooled around till afternoon. Then I took 10 bushels of wheat — 4 of buckwheat — & went to Lowell. Heard Ramsey raised __ bushels of buckwheat. I stayed at Brown’s. Very warm tonight.

Saturday the 5th November 1859

Weather changed last night & is very cold this morning. I fooled around there all day. They commenced grinding my grist shortly after breakfast & went it slowly. The [Skunk] River is nearly dry. They got it done about 5. Then I started & come home in a hurry. ‘Twas after dark when I arrived. Then we went to old Liberty to singing again but a small crowd was there. Mother & Dan was to town today. Joe come down today. John plows all the day. Weather clear, calm & warm

Sunday the 6th

Froze a little last night & is clear & pleasant. I got up early & fed &c. I had been writing a little of nights & this morning I finished thus far. Then tinkered around here awhile fixing to go to Hardscrabble to a big meeting. Then after I got on my horse, give it out & went over to Tightbark, then down to J. Andrews & took dinner. Then stayed there till near night. Then come & went up to Jenkins’ & stayed till 8 o’clock. Then drove home & to bed. The day was warm & smoky.

Monday the 7th

Clear & warm. I went & borrowed Dickey’s Buggy this morning & mother & Susan & Dan started for Jefferson County. I fixed the fence around the meadow & burned off some grass for John. Then commenced making plank fence along the west side of the farm. Went to the Debate at night. Indian Summer.

Tuesday the 8th

Cloudy & sprinkling rain. I hauled some fodder for Hartman out of the big field. Then worked at the fence. It cleared off this evening without rain. The ground as well as other things is drying away. Corn is all very dry. 1859 Lot Abraham

Stripping tobacco

Stripping tobacco

Wednesday the 9th, November A. D. 1859

Weather cloudy & cool. I worked at the fence till noon, then it commenced to sprinkle rain & I went to stripping tobacco. The folks got home about dark, Mit Greenwood with them.

Thursday the 10th

It only rained a little last night. Cloudy & cold today. I finished the tobacco & lead a floor in the crib. Then hauled corn till night. John plowed all the time.

Friday the 11th

Weather cloudy & pleasant. John & I husked corn all day — 2 loads of white that we put in the crib. There was meeting at the school house. Elias W. Shortridge was expected but failed to get there. I stayed at home.

Saturday the 12th

This morning finds the ground covered with snow & the wind blowing strong from the N. W. drifting the snow that was falling slowly. Everything began to have the appearance of winter. The cattle had all gathered up in the lane when I got up (which was about 9 o’clock) looking towards the straw pile with a hungry winter look & I turned them to it. About 11, John & I started afoot facing the storm & went over on the ridge to Dawson’s & found a 2 year old heifer & led her home about 3 miles. About 2, it quit snowing & commenced turning colder fast. We made fires & sat by them till night. Then went to the school house again. Elias W. Shortridge was there & made a preach for them. There was only a few out.

Sunday, November 13th

This morning the weather, which the sudden change has rendered extremely cold, still continues to make a wintery appearance notwithstanding the warm rays of the sunshine with unequaled splendor upon the fields & meadows imparting to everything around a cheerful and happy appearance. The day passed off with nothing worthy of particular note save the enjoyment of a good fire. In the evening, all went to meeting which was crowded with people, some of whom came for the good of the meeting, others for curiosity, and a precious few for the inestimable privilege, the extreme felicity, & the inexhaustible happiness, of securing for themselves each a companion which would make the distance seem rather shorter than it otherwise would do if all were so selfish. The gentlemen seemed trying to surpass each other in their fallatries to the ladies. My friend of “Turkey hunt notoriety” surnamed Evan(gelist) was on hand. The other gent who lent his invaluable company on the same occasion dodged out and stood in rather melancholy & subdued expectation. Poor fellow. How I did pity him. Shade of the departed behold how hope doth urge on the youth to vex the company of the fair. In imagination, we all follow the adventurous Lot & his partner Dan through the meanderings of an unfrequented forest road to the residence of —–XYZ where after an extremely good time as (we suppose) they arrived. After sitting around the fire for some time, the old folks disappeared with seeming satisfaction depicted upon their benign countenances. We presume that all had retired now except our worthy friends and their sweethearts and a certain young man who as he arose majestically to depart exclaimed, “Boys, squeeze them well.” After the tumult had subsided, arising from this little incident all was again quiet as chairs were arranged around for an all killen time & here imagination will carry us no farther. The extreme bliss is too much for us to conjecture.

[Note: The entries made in Lot’s journal from November 14-27 were clearly written in a different hand. We learn later that they were written by Joe Fisher because Lot was having some difficulty with his vision.]

Monday 14th

School commenced today. Only 17 scholars in attendance. Lot & John pitched into the corn.

Tuesday 15th

Nothing of importance transpired today. Weather good. Boys still gathering corn.

Wednesday 16th

School increasing slowly. Things remain the same. Corn comes into the crib rather slowly for two such busters.

Thursday 17th

Everything the same. Appearance of snow. Saw Mrs. Lawyer today. Girls — hoops.

Friday 18th

The school increases slowly. Had compound declamation in the afternoon.

Saturday 19th

Went to town today with Uncle Collin. Lot went to dig a grave for a child of Mr. Cure’s after which him & John took a load of corn to town. Came home with them in the evening. Went to singing at night. Dr. Gibbs was present & also Mr. Schriver. The teacher from Bogus Corner to whom the Dr. kindly gave me an introduction when I invited them both to stay over night with me which they did. Quite a number of young people were present this evening. A large wagon load came from Bogus Corner. Among them was Miss Hesser & Miss Sterr — the former to whom I was introduced by my recent “Soi distant” friend Schriver, the latter I have a rather indistinct recollection of seeing a few times.

Sunday 20th

The day passed off very much as such days are wont to be passed until about 3 o’clock when rigging up the Old Ship of Zion we had a goodly number of us started forth to hear the first attempt of a young aspiring gent who claimed to have “a call” to preach the doctrines as taught by the Methodist Church. I will forbear commenting upon the remarks made by the gentleman at present. Suffice to say that he closed his scattering remarks in about 30 minutes & turned it into a general class. After meeting at the chapel, we all started for Tightbark taking in the two illustrious Jim’s. Arrived there [and] found the house crowded with the “Tight Barkers,” heard considerable of the sermon, all started home about 9½ o’clock, dark as Egypt. Put our Old Guide of the “Chase” out to direct the precarious footing of the streets & chariot across a bridge that was thrown over a deep ravine. After quite a number of adventures of minor importance, we arrived safe at ___.

Monday 21st

Monday is a cloudy day. We thought in the evening it was too bad to go to the debate so we went up for that night.

Tuesday 22nd

We pass over.

Wednesday 23rd

The two Miss Dickey’s & their cousin came down to visit. The singing being at Bogus Corner this evening, we concluded to go which rather offended our worthy friends so they immediately went their way to their place of abode.

Thursday 24th

Nothing worthy of note transpired today. The weather still cloudy, damp & disagreeable.

Friday 25th

Rained this morning very hard all morning. Was very much disappointed when I went to school and found quite a number of scholars present. It finally cleared away & became quite a beautiful day.

Saturday 26th

Went to town today. Got some tickets to use this winter in school. Went to singing school which lasted until about 9½ o’clock after which retired to dream sweet dreams of the future.

Sunday 27th

Went to the chapel today expecting preaching but was disappointed as there was only class meeting. Came down to the school house. Stopped there until meeting concluded, then journeyed across the fields home where there very soon arrived quite a large concourse of the fair sex. Among them was one who in the language of my worthy friend Dan, far surpasses anything of the feminine gender ever produced in these parts. Their coming caused quite a stampede among the male portion of the inhabitants who absconded the back way but presently returned with a palpitation of the heart barely perceptible. Quite a lively time was had until meeting time. Hearts were talked of as being changed &c. &c. All went to meeting in a promiscuous profusion. After meeting, my gigantic friend yoked himself to the “generally admired” and was soon lost in obscurity beneath the thick foliage that lines the way across to “New Orleans.” The youth seems to have found a very lengthy road to that distant locality as its name would naturally lead a person to suppose as he did not return until the feather _____ ___ from his majestic throne in the stable last vociferated forth in stentorian tones the certain of approaching day. Joe S. Fisher

Monday the 28th

Weather clear & frost. The ground froze hard. About 8 o’clock, John, Dan, Tom, Ramsey & I ventured out in the field to husking & put it through all day making 4 loads in good time to go to the Debate where there seemed to be a great interest taken in discussing the Cuba Question.

Tuesday the 29th

Clear & cold. We took both teams today. Tom & I with one, John & Dan with the other & made 2 loads to the team (finished the early planting). Everything seems to pass along fine only my eyes have been sore for 2 or 3 weeks but now are on the mend. Prayer Meeting at the School House tonight.

Wednesday the last

Clear & pleasant this morning. I was up early this morning & we got work in good time. Our worthy friend Tom couldn’t held today so 3 of us done our best & made 3 big loads with one team in good time. It commenced drizzling rain about 4 o’clock this evening. I covered up a large pen of corn & one more we left open that is about 2/3 full. The crib also is heaping full & about 10 bushels of nice seed corn that I have picked at leisure times. ‘Tis warm & raining slowly.

Thursday 1st December 1859

Lot's 1 December 1859 entry describing trial in Mt. Pleasant Court House involving counterfeiting and cattle thieves.

Lot’s 1 December 1859 entry describing trial in Mt. Pleasant Court House involving counterfeiting and cattle thieves.

Winter commenced with its season. The ground is froze hard. The wind blows cold from the north & at times it tries to snow but is too cold. ‘Twas a great cross to have to get up this morning & make a fire. ‘Twas near 9 o’clock when we seat breakfast. Then I done up the feeding &c. Then Dan & I started for town afoot facing the storm & had quite a tedious walk of about one hour & a half before we reached the City Hall. There we found the Henry County Court in session & a large number of the citizens of Henry County listening with  marked attention & great interest to the trial of Jim Myers — the great counterfeiter. ‘Twas about 4 o’clock when the trial was over & the jury found him guilty. He was sentenced to the state prison for 10 years with 2 other indictments hanging over his head. Court has been in session for near 3 weeks. A old counterfeiter named Lottie was sentenced for 3 years & an old man named Estep for stealing cattle 8 years, & a Robert Cox for stealing horses 5 years, & seven others too tedious to mention. Dan & I visited some friends in the evening. We left town about 9 o’clock at night & struck for home where we arrived about 11 cold, tired & hungry. After eating an enormous supper, we went to bed satisfied. It cleared off today & is cold enough to freeze Hell over.

Friday the 2nd

From 23 December 1859 Boton Traveler

From 23 December 1859 Boton Traveler

About 10 o’clock today Dan & I got out of our nest & partook of some refreshments. About that time I was taken with a severe pain in the back & it is with difficulty that I can walk. Went to Hartman’s, got some stovepipe & we moved the cook stove in the room to keep us from freezing. ‘Tis cold for certain today. Dick got here today. Has been on the jury. Family has been here since last Sunday. At meeting tonight at the school house.

Saturday the 3rd

Clear, calm & cold. John hauled 3 loads of wood. I went to Hartman’s, talked with him awhile, then got on a horse & went to town for curiosity sake. Got home after dark. All went to singing. Gibb commenced his school. Dick went home today.

Sunday the 4th December 1859

Evan Jenkins' Grave Marker

Evan Jenkins’ Grave Marker

We got up about the usual Sunday morning hour. They all went to meeting at the usual time but Joe & I. I run after the cattle awhile, then Joe & I finished writing here for the last two weeks up to this date. At this point the folks come in from meeting & with them a number of friends. The day passed of in the usual manner until late in the evening when the time come for the ladies to start home. My friends Dan & Joe were ready & off they started for the residence of Levi in company with the 2 generally admired misses that reside in that humble cottage. I followed them to the end of the lane, then I went to Mr. Jenkins.’ The old gentleman is quite unwell & looks as though his stay on earth would be short.

From there I went to the pint. On my way I saw six men of Mt. Pleasant returning after taking 4 convicts to Ft. Madison. It was only prayer meeting at the pint but the house was nearly full. The meeting commenced in the usual manner & was carried on so for about an hour. Then the excitement commenced about as usual but was carried much higher than I ever saw it before according to the number present. About 9 they broke & I made tracks for home. The day was cloudy & cold & commenced sprinkling a little just before dark. By the time I got home, there was quite a sleet on the ground. Oh! I would that I could follow the boys through their night’s adventure. But as it is, I shall have it to be remembered against them in the day of judgement. Anyhow, about the time the male of the feathered tribe began to clear out his throat to give us the midnight warning, the 2 gents stole cautiously in & retired in silence. No doubt but Levi could (id so minded) relate in glowing language the cause of their speedy return.

Monday the 5th December 1859

Weather cloudy, cold & sleeting a little. John & I hauled some manure & covered the potatoes in the forenoon. Then husked fodder corn till it got too cold. Went to the debate.

Tuesday the 6th

It snowed a little last night & turned cold. Is partly clear & very cold today. We sat by the fire till about 2, then hauled some fodder & corn.

[Note: Beginning with the next entry and continuing through December 11, 1859, the hand writing is clearly different. It may have been written by Joe Fisher or someone else.]

Wednesday 7

The day passed off with nothing worthy of note. In the evening it was proposed that all should take the nearest route leading directly to Mr. Wurth’s. The girls pleading the lateness of the hour as an excuse contented themselves with remaining at home. Whilst Dan, Lot & I sallied forth. ‘Twas a most beautiful night. The soft rays of the moon spread like a silvery curtain over all the earth. The sleet coated trees, sparkled & glittered ‘neath its luxuriant beams. Nature seemed to have put on her costliest robe for diamonds in countless myriads dazzled the eye ______ed to such a display of fascinating brilliancy. We gazed awestruck upon the scene around us. Not a sound to break the profound stillness. All was calm and serene. Not a cloud showed its form in the blue ether above. ‘Twas thus we stood spell-bound to the spot, when an inferior specimen of the canine species scenting our whereabouts no doubt by that infallible guide (which the brute species of this quality possess to a high degree) called the “nasal organ” began the jubilee by vulgarly barking most ferociously which set the rest of the animal kingdom to going & so destroyed our mediations which otherwise have been given to the world.

Thursday 8th

This day is one of the coldest of the season. It seemed almost impossible to keep comfortable inside of the school house. Another like this (if the windows are not repaired) & the school house will “Keerflummicks.”

Friday 9th

Had several friends in to see us today. Exercises in composing and declaiming came off as usual in the afternoon. The day was very pleasant for the season.

Saturday the 10th

Went up to town today to see how things were getting along. Come down with Dr. Gibbs. Attending singing in the evening. Not quite so large an attendance as usual owing to the meeting being held in the chapel. Quite a number of spectators were present who had neither the manners nor good breeding to withdraw when politely invited to do so by the teacher. “My God! on what a slender string hang the hopes of those who sing.”

Sunday 11th

Went to meeting at the school house today. Not a very large congregation present. Come home about one o’clock. Found Lot had left, as I expected, for parts unknown. Dined at 2 P.M. After which nothing of particular interest occurred until time arrived to start for that consecrated locality familiarly termed the “Pint.”  When two of the company started across the fields at a rate which seriously threatened danger to their necks leaving the rest to follow at a less precipitous rate around the well traveled road. We entered the church barely in time to secure seats, as it was fast-filling up with saints & sinners (the last mentioned party being considerably in the majority). In a few minutes the entire house was filled to overflowing. Not a place could be found even for a single person to stand so densely was it packed. After the sermon & exhortation &c. were finished, an invitation was extended to all who wished to come forward to the mourner’s bench and be prayed for &c. &c. It would be useless & vain for me to try to paint in reality the scene which followed. All noises that the mind of man can conceive of were imitated here in the most admirably ludicrous perfection. From the music of the cricket & katydid to the shrill scream of the panther & from the unmusical hooting of the owl to the more delightful strains of a certain animal denominated f-r-o-g. In the consternation & excitement following, seats were broken down by those eager to behold the scene transacting before the altar where congregated so closely together that it would seem almost impossible for them to get breath. They were praying, exhorting, & singing all so nearly at the same time that it sounded like a jumbled up mess of inconsistencies. But everything must have an end and so had the meeting, about 10 o’clock, whereupon all separated and betook themselves to their several places of abode, judging by myself not soon to return.

[The following entries are In Lot’s handwriting…]

Monday the 12th

Weather cold & disagreeable. This morning finds me scarcely able to speak on the account of a bad cold. However, I got out to husking corn in good time (considering everything). Dan come home about 8 o’clock & come out to husking. We took it slowly all day. John started to school this morning. Joe [Fisher] come home tonight almost sick. I had to go to bed awhile & could only whisper. John & Dan went to the Pint & reported.

Tuesday the 13th

Today I concluded to stay in the house & see if it would help me & I done so. The day was cold & disagreeable. About noon, Dan started away for parts unknown & knew not when he would return. About 3 o’clock, Joe [Fisher] come home very uneasy about his health, mounted a horse, & put for town to consult a physician. About dark a crowd was starting from here for the Pint & I could not resist the temptation so I followed. We found the seats nearly full. I took a seat on the R. H. as I thought that would be the best position to see all. But was soon invited to leave for the S. H. & had to move. The meeting was carried on in the highest style — all kinds of talk & laugh & hallooing. We got home about 11 satisfied for this t___ anyhow.

Wednesday the 14

Weather clear & pleasant. I took the team & loaded up the corn that Dan & I husked. Then H. Dawson came & I sold him a cow for 20 dollars. Heaters sold him one & we drove them to town. I took my corn & sold it for 25 cts. by taking a overcoat at 10 dollars for John. ‘Twas after dark when I got home. John & I got on horses & rode to the Pint.

Thursday the 15th

Clear & frosty. John helped me husk a load of corn off the fodder. I started to town at 2 P. M, unloaded, & got home after dark a short time. Stayed at home.

Friday the 16th

Weather clear & pleasant. About 8 I took the team & a pair of skates that Joe brought from town belonging to Dr. Gibbs & I went to the creek, put on the skates, & there I had a good time for about an hour. Then went & cut & loaded a load of wood, then put on the skates again & run myself down. Then come home. John & I rode to the Pint. They had a big time.

Saturday the 17th

Cloudy but pleasant. We hauled 3 loads of wood out of the pasture. Dr. Gibbs come about 11. Then Joe [Fisher] began to stir for a skating party that he had in contemplation but all his grand efforts failed. Not a lady could be got to go so we boys went alone to the creek & spent the afternoon pleasantly. Nearly all the members were present to singing. Had a good time.

Sunday the 18th December 1859

This morning finds the ground once more white with snow & still slowly falling. We found difficulty in getting John up this morning & it was 10 before we breakfasted. Folks all went to meeting about 11. I took up the pen, spread the old journal before me, & wrote thus far. I have nearly got over my bad cold. Can sing a little this morning for the first. Amen.

[Note: The following entries from December 19, 1859 until January 1, 1860 were written in another hand — possibly Joe Fisher.]

Monday, December 19th

Nothing of interest occurred today. One or two scholars failed to have their compositions & had to read them this morning. Lot continues to draw up fodder slowly. Debate tonight. Quite a large assembly present to discuss the question: Whether the credit system should be abolished or not. Principle heroes in the combat — Lot Abraham & William Wurth with numerous small champions to back them. After a spirited & ferocious combat of arguments pro & con, & after the leaders had made their last speech, decision was given in favor of the affirmative. This highly interesting debate closed about 9 o’clock.

Tuesday, December 20th

A very cold day. Dick & his brother came over today hunting. Killed several rabbits, quails, &c. All went to prayer meeting in the evening. Sarah went to Cornwell’s today. Didn’t return. Got home from meeting quarter after 9 o’clock with considerable of a feeling of condemnation.

Wednesday, December 21st

Snowed some almost all day, yet did not amount to much. In the evening went over to Mr. Cornwell’s, took supper, & stayed. Well, till after the next meal, had some of a time. Didn’t retire until I went to bed which was some time after as my worthy friend Lot expresses it. The feathering heeled ____ had pealed forth his midnight warning.

Thursday, December 22d

Cold as ever today though we have the sun shining brightly all day. Meeting is held at the chapel this evening by the Methodists. My scholars got in a great way to have spelling school this evening and I told them that I was willing if we could have good order but they seemed to think that whispering &c. was not out of order & I think they’ve had their last.

Friday, December 23d

It snowed considerably this forenoon but stopped about noon entirely. Scholars wanted me to sign an article to treat them today but I would not. They then consulted & I think likely thought some of making me say whether I would treat them or not, but probably thought best not to! Spelling school down at Bera’s School House tonight. Lot & John have gone down. Went to the school house to prayer meeting. Heard one of my unruly boys get up & speak, hope will do better.

Saturday 24th

The boys have gone to town today. Very cold morning. Everything is covered with frost. Mr. Horsey came over this morning. Had a talk with him. [He] believes in the original sin of our first parents as still clinging to infants. Thinks no man will get to Heaven without a change of heart. Wanted him to explain himself which he failed to do. This evening is Christmas Eve. Lot & I hitched the horses to the sleigh, got in, and started for Mr. Short’s where there was to be a gathering of the young people of the regions round about. Lest I should neglect it, I will mention that the worthy gentlemen to whose house we were making our way had on this day a wood chopping where all the young gents of that locality vied with each other in wielding the ax whilst in the house were gathered together all the fair damsels of the neighborhood around a frame in which was a quilt which they were busily engaged at. When we arrived we found I should say rather a promiscuous assembly seated after the manner of almost every nation on the globe — that of the Turks predominating, I believe. The young gentlemen did not like our appearance well & some even expressed a very decided resolve to return home, but finally concluded to stay. After awhile we retired to the next room together with the rest of the folks & while the playing was going on swimmingly, Gigantic & myself having previously spoken to the girls, they passed out & we followed silently though not entirely unobserved, got in the sleigh, went off, & did not return for over an hour. I will not tell which direction we went lest some might accuse us of stealing honey on the road. Came back & for the rest of the evening “Liliputian” & I occupied a chest on the east side of the fireplace without interruption (the aforesaid chest being just large enough). At 12 o’clock we all started home arranged like we were when we took the sleigh ride, with a slight difference. Giant took Miller’s Darter. Arrived safe at the stopping place of the ladies, went in, stayed until about 2 o’clock, took leave of the girls & reached home about 3 o’clock & retired immediately.

Sunday, 25th December

Arose about 7 o’clock being hurried considerably by those who were getting breakfast. About 11 o’clock we went up to the School House to meeting. Got back about 2. Found Dick had come over and brought some walnuts which we for awhile made disappear very fast. In the evening, gigantic & I started together on another tour towards the south, got a fresh horse on the way, arrived at ______ about dark, found everything as well as we could wish. I will pass over the occurrences of the evening and only mention the excessive heaviness of the eyelids & yawning occasionally of one of the fair ones made it incumbent upon us to return about 12 o’clock.

Monday, December 26

Went to town this morning. Got there about noon. Stopped on the way to see Old Man Jenkins. Lot hauled fodder today & went up to debate night. Went to Institute the afternoon. Not much done. Exhibition at the College tonight. Didn’t go.

Tuesday, December 27

Lot went over home with Dick this morning. Attended the Institute all day today. Had quite a rich time admitting everything. Prof. Griffith lectured in evening. Went. So did “Lilliputian.” Had rather an extraordinarily uneasy seat during the evening. The exercises over, adjourned to the “Mill” for awhile after which took a crooked straight line for home and retired about 10 o’clock.

Born in New York in 1830, Wells graduated from the State Normal School at Albany in 1852, and then in 1853 came to Muscatine, Iowa, to become principal of one of the city schools.  In 1856 Wells was placed in charge of the Normal Department of the State University and spent 10 years there. He later served as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  He died in 1869.

Born in New York in 1830, Wells graduated from the State Normal School at Albany in 1852, and then in 1853 came to Muscatine, Iowa, to become principal of one of the city schools. In 1856 Wells was placed in charge of the Normal Department of the State University and spent 10 years there. He later served as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He died in 1869.

Wednesday, December 28th [1859]

Attended the Institute today. A large number of teachers were present from different parts of the county & state and some from Illinois. It would be useless for me to go on with a description in detail of the various incidents that came under my observation. Adjourned to meet in the evening to hear Prof. [D. Franklin] Wells of Iowa City lecture. I was on hand with my friend. The professor’s lecture was very good but would have sounded much better if he had not read it. The lecture over about ½ past 9.

Thursday, December 29

Still here at the Institute. I believe from this out it will be much better than it has been. The term of office of the directory has expired & the teachers will now have the matter in their own hands. At four o’clock the Institute adjourned till half past 6 at which time Prof. Griffith’s lecture commences. Punctual to the hour, I was there but found the house crowded. Got a seat for “Lilliput.” Histed a young Methodist from the other side and got to set down on the same seat. The lecture was very good & the readings & recitations which he gave afterward were excellent. Adjourned about 9½ o’clock.

Friday, December 30

Things progress today about the same. Don’t see that we are mending any. Lot came up today. Exhibition at the College tonight. We didn’t know whether to go there or Institute but finally by a game of chance chose the latter. There were but a few there. Left & went a few paces farther in the direction of the sun rises. Had a superlatively good time. About 9 started out to find my wandering friend. Not succeeding, I got home [and] retired about ½ past 10. About ½ past 11, he appeared almost frozen. I rather think he must have been to the “Mill.”

Saturday 31st

Today a great many of the teachers are leaving by the cars & by their conveyances to their homes. Prof. Griffith lectures tonight again at the Town Hall. Went about ½ past 6, got a very warm seat, espied my lofty genius sitting in front of me. After the lecture, which was very interesting, “Lilliput” wished to go to a certain party at the Rev. Mr. [Andrew J.] Drake’s. Wither we bent our course. Went in [and] found them just partaking of refreshments. We were served very faithfully by Miss McDowd after which we passed the time off in various ways until ½ past 11 when we were dismissed by prayer by Rev. Drake. As I presumed Lot had by this time got home, I turned for home and was soon snugly tucked in and snoring profoundly.

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