April ~ June, 1860

Sunday, April the 1st, 1860

Weather clear, windy & cool or cold. Got up early this morning. Elias W. Shortridge & family were here & a pedlar. I wrote a long letter to Cousin Frank, then took up this to write but don’t feel like writing much. Finalized the wheat yesterday. It was cloudy & I hoped we would have some rain. Got but very little — not enough to do much good. The ground is very dry.

Thursday, April the 19th 1860

Lot describes the drought of 1860 and mentions the fistfight he had with Ed Bebb.

Lot describes the drought of 1860 and mentions the fistfight he had with Ed Bebb.

Once more I take my pen to write a few thoughts & now the month of April is nearly gone & still the cry is for rain. We have had none yet to do any good. Several times it had commenced & bid fair to give a good shower but would soon blow away & leave the dust to blow in our faces. The wheat now sowed over a month can hardly be seen. Not more than half of it is up yet. We got 20 acres in the west end of the field ready for corn & I took sick day before yesterday & have been sick as a hog ever since. John got Dick to help him & they commenced planting yesterday. Billy [Morehouse] has 20 more plowed in the east end. He has gone today to help plow for Sam Heater. The neighbors have nearly all turned out with their teams & will plow his ground for him today. Him & his two boys have been very sick for a long time. Saturday eve the 7th at Singing, Ed Bebb insulted me in the worst manner. I just laid it over for him & the next time I met him was Friday eve the 13th on our way to an Exhibition at Fox School House. I just pulled off my coat & pitched into him. We knocked for a long time, then I gathered him & throwed him & they pulled me off. I wasn’t hurt any worth naming.

Sunday, April the 29th 1860

This morning the weather is pleasant. Wind blowing gently from the south and has been for the last 24 hours. We got up early & was at the school house in time for Sunday School. Then stayed for meeting. Now home & I with pen in hand. Friday the 20th, we had about enough rain to settle the dust and Saturday the boys finished planting the aforesaid corn. I was able to cover corn on Friday. On Saturday, I went to town a horseback. On Sunday the 22nd, we — a crowd of 8 — went out across the creek to a Shortridge meeting & to Foxes & Edgar’s & home about 8 at night. The day was cloudy, cold & sprinkled a little. Monday Dick & I made a log roller & since I have rolled the planted corn on Thursday, we planted a small patch of cane & Friday we crossed off the east 20. Saturday I took a load of corn to town, got 28 cts. for it. Was offered 30 for all we have. The wheat looks no better yet. Today it begins to look like rain. The cry is God send. It clouded up & looked very much like rain. We went to singing. It sprinkled a little, then turned cold. Wind changed to the north.

Saturday, May the 5th

By candlelight I write again. The wind has been blowing from the south nearly all this week & kept us looking for rain every day, but all in vain. We commenced planting Monday morning & finished the east 20 Wednesday noon. Then took a load of corn to London. Dick shelled it for us. Got 35 cts for the shelled. Thursday afternoon I took down 40 bushels. Got 35 cts. Friday went to Lowell to mill. Today we planted most of the cane & some potatoes & fooled around part of the day. Billy finished plowing & rolling the middle 20. He rolled the other after we planted. Looks like rain tonight.

May the 15th 1860

Weather clear & cool & no rain yet. On Tuesday last it rained enough to lay the dust. We finished planting the 10th (Sixty acres planted). The first is up & seems to grow some. The second is coming through slowly. The wheat looks bad. We concluded to plant 20 acres of it & Billy commenced harrowing it yesterday. Since we finished planting, we planted the orchard in beans, sheared the sheep, &c. Yesterday eve we went to the creek & washed the wool. Last night I finished a letter to Bob Blacker. Some ten of us went to the [Skunk] River today, hired a seine, & caught upwards of a barrel of fish & had all kinds of fun.

The 16th

John & Billy got 10 acres ready to plant. I went up the River & found ___ & _____ that he lost yesterday & went with Dick after corn. The 17th we planted. Finished the morning of the 18th. It is threatening rain all the time but none comes. We all went to Holland’s at night & had a general rally & an interesting time.

Saturday the 19th

I selp a good portion of the day. In the evening I went to Noah & Sarah Johnson’s for the first visit.

Sunday morning [the 20th, 1860]

Went to Tightbark to Sunday School & it commenced & rained a small shower. From there I went to Johnson’s. The from there, Jim & I went in a N. E. direction to a singing school not over a thousand miles. After singing we had an interesting time at a swing nearby. About sundown, the clouds began to gather & my gigantic friend & I thought it best to streak for home. It rained but little.

21st, 22nd, & 25th

We made board fence along the west side. 23rd, John & Billy commenced harrowing the first corn. 24th, Billy & I worked at the north fence resetting. J. Munth helped 1½ days. Tonight we went to the pint to prayer. Thought that would bring rain. Sure enough — it did. 24th, the warmest day.

Friday the 25th May [1860]

We had a fine shower last night. Billy & I worked at the fence. John harrowed.

Saturday the 26th

Clear & warm. We finished the fence through the lane today, then hauled the rails that was needed. John finished harrowing corn. We went to singing at 5 o’clock. Then I took a big ride. Then went to Tightbark to meeting. Got home about 11, Mother is sick.

Sunday, May 27th

Weather clear & pleasant. I wrote a letter to Frank & one to Angeline. Went to meeting at 11. In the evening, we all went to Tightbark in the wagon, got disappointed, got home at 10.

Monday 28

Cool in morning. Warm day. Looked like rain part of the time. We all worked on the roads, two teams.

Tuesday 29th

A cloud passed over & showered a few good sized hail on us this morning, then disappeared. We all went on the roads & finished our working for the season by working all day with 2 teams. The day was disagreeable, windy & drizzly in the P. M.

Wednesday the 30th

Cold & raining. I went down to Dick’s & mended harness all day. It rained a little.

Thursday the last of May, 1860

The boys commenced plowing corn. I tinkered till noon, then Dick & I went to town in the little wagon. Went to the pint to prayer meeting at night. It cleared off afternoon & is pleasant.

June the 1st 1860

We all plowed corn all day. Warm & pleasant.

The "frightful cloud" that passed over the Abraham farm on the evening of June 2, 1860, may have been the same weather system that produced a tornado later that evening at Alton, Illinois. The following day, June 3, 1860, another storm system passed through central Iowa spawning several tornadoes that caused widespread damage. These tornados stuck several counties north of Henry County, however.

The “frightful cloud” that passed over the Abraham farm on the evening of June 2, 1860, may have been the same weather system that produced a tornado later that evening at Alton, Illinois. The following day, June 3, 1860, another storm system passed through central Iowa spawning several tornadoes that caused widespread damage. These tornados stuck several counties north of Henry County, however.

June the 2nd

We plowed till about 11 o’clock, the from the N. W. came a storm of wind followed by a heavy rain — the first for 1860. The another [came] in the afternoon. Then in the evening about 5, a frightful cloud arose in the N. W. & come with speed until right over us, then poured rain. Then cleared up about sundown.

Sunday, June the third 1860

Rained some in the night & is cloudy & cool this morning. I mounted a horse, rode to the pint, heard a big sermon from the mouth of Kirkpatrick on baptism. Home for dinner, then back at 3 & heard another off the same piece. Then I rode to Hardscrabble to Seamag’s barn to meeting. The following week was all spent in the corn with fair weather.

Saturday the 9th

After harrowing corn all day, Jim Johnson & I rode some 5 miles & put in the night.

Sunday the 10th

Went to the School House to Sunday School, meeting, & singing at the usual hours. In the evening, took the buggy, Dick, S. C. [Sarah Cornelia Alden] & I went across the [Skunk] River to [ink blot] at Sam Pickard’s on his way to the west. We went to Tom Nicholson’s. Stayed all night.

Monday the 11th

Home about 6 o’clock this morning. Harrowing corn. The boys plowed (all plowed Tuesday). It rained Monday night a good shower.

Wednesday the 3th

I commenced plowing up wheat & sowing Hungarian grass & Thursday I plowed & sowed.

Friday the 15th

I went up to Oakland Mills. Took the wool, 10 bushels of wheat, 4 corn, got it ground & was home before night. Got a letter from Kate B.

Saturday the 16th

The boys helped afternoon & we finished the Hungarian grass. Went to the swing about dark.

Sunday the 17th

About 7 o’clock on this memorable morning, S. C. A. [Sarah Cornelia Alden] & I mounted on horseback, rode west to the [Skunk] River, then up the same shady banks to Oakland where we crossed, then [rode] west some 3½ to her home where we arrived about the hour of ten after a tedious, tiresome ride of about 12 miles. About a half hour later arrived a wagon from Bushwhack loaded with 7 lively creatures — all strangers to me save one that was not. Soon an acquaintance was made that answered the purpose & then the day was spent in different ways & pleasantly until 3 when we all went to singing school to log school house in the vicinity. About 7, we started for home where we arrived safe about 10. The following week was spent in plowing corn. No rain but many threatens.

Saturday, June the 23rd 1860

Long before the sun got above the saplings in the east, we was out & soon had the wild mules harnessed to the wagon. Then hauled two loads of rails & put on the lower field fence. Then got ready & started 6 in the wagon, 2 in the buggy. We drove! Crossed the creek at Beery’s Mill & the [Skunk] River at Boyle’s Mill, then drove to Pilot Grove, tied mules to wagon & went to the Assembly near the center where was erected a large platform where they stood to deliver their speeches & in that way the day was spent with occasionally a song or a comic speech by Prof. [E. L.] Belding. The day wore away rather slow — tedious if anything. I was very tired & heard many others complaining of the same. But night came & the crowd dispersed. John started home with the team, Beck, Kate & I stayed, went up to N. Jackman’s, eat supper, then I went back to the drive & heard 2 speeches — Republican & Democrat. Got back & to bed about midnight.

On a separate page in Lot's journal, the following entry, written in another hand, describes John Abraham's return trip home in the mule-drawn wagon. Not clear who rode with John and wrote this account. May have been Billy Morehouse or Jim Johnson.

On a separate page in Lot’s journal, the following entry, written in another hand, describes John Abraham’s return trip home in the mule-drawn wagon. Not clear who rode with John and wrote this account. May have been Billy Morehouse or Jim Johnson.

Saturday, 23 [June] 1860

We started home about four. Enjoyed ourselves pretty well. Nothing of great importance transpired on our journey home without it was losing a dog of Mr. Edger’s which he seemed to mourn considerably. We arrived at home at the end of the lane [where] Mag got out [and came in home] while me and John went on down to Cornwell’s to take the girls home. We arrived there about eight, stopped the mules, and was about to help the girls out when the mules started and by some means there John [fell] out of the wagon. He fell between the wheels. The mules started, run the wagon over his hand and legs, I not seeing that he was under the wagon or could have prevented it. The mules started with the girls in the wagon, run to Cornwell’s barn gate and Jane jumped out [but] Manda rode until she come to the bridge below Cornwell’s stable. Manda seemed to be very much hurt when we first saw her but we hurried on to find the mules while Cornwells were taking care of the girls. Found the mules & wagon all right in the brush the side of Spearman’s pasture by the help of some of our friends. Managed to get the wagon out of the brush, hitched the mules up and started for home. Arrived at Cornwell’s once more, stopped and John went in to see how the girls were by that time. Found they were not as badly hurt as expected. So ends this disastrous event.

Sunday the 24th

About half cloudy & hot. I took a very poor sleep last night for many reasons which made me feel mean all day. We stayed around the house all day, slept about 2 hours. About 3, started home & arrived at 6. Heard the wonderful story [about the runaway wagon]. Went to bed early & took a good snooze.

Monday, June the 25th 1860

Weather clear & hot. We got to work early & plowed all day. Finished the east 20.

Tuesday the 26th

Weather continued dry & hot. I plowed beans & potatoes till noon. Then after we all plowed corn.

Wednesday the 27th

Finished the north 20 at noon. After we hoed some beans, layed in the shade, & I tinkered some.

Thursday the 28th

It rained a little last night & we done nothing today. Yoked the mules [and] turned them in the pasture. Hoed some &c.

Friday the 29th

It rained a good shower last night & is full wet to plow. We commenced laying the big corn by 3 furrows in a row. Very hot. We got but little done.

Described as "short, stout, with a big head, black hair, rather deep set eyes, a musical voice, and a heavy face," which was covered by a full beard and moustache, Dean loved to eat and to drink enormous amounts of coffee and would be seen with food stains on his notorious slovenly attire. Consequently, his detractors dubbed him "Dirty Shirt Dean" and "the great unwashed."

Described as “short, stout, with a big head, black hair, rather deep set eyes, a musical voice, and a heavy face,” which was covered by a full beard and moustache, Dean loved to eat and to drink enormous amounts of coffee and would be seen with food stains on his notorious slovenly attire. Consequently, his detractors dubbed him “Dirty Shirt Dean” and “the great unwashed.”

Saturday the last [June] 1860

The sun rises clear in the east & begin to shine with double splendor, casting his rays of double reflected heat on the beautiful landscapes so early in the morn making the beautiful corn that is covered with shining drops of water glisten while not a single breeze is aloft to disturb its shining splendor nor the silence that reigns around. Not a sound is to be heard save the squealing of the hogs or the squawking of the geese or the mews of proud Manutho as he goes stalking around so early in the morning. We got to plowing a little after the usual time & plowed with energy until dinnertime. Then after dinner, I hitched to the buggy, took mother in & drove to Mt. Pleasant where behold, in the corner of the square on a large platform, stood Henry Clay Dean addressing a large audience on Democratic principles & on the late nomination of Steven [Stephen] Douglas & H. V. Johnson to the presidency. It rained a good shower just as Dean finished. We got home about dark.

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