July ~ September, 1860

Sunday, July the 1st 1860

Got up about the usual hour for Sunday, took breakfast, read awhile, then went to Dick’s & read about 2 hours. It rained a shower during the time I was there. Then I came home & read all that seemed interesting. Then wrote awhile & the crowd come from meeting. Then I had to quit & cut up till about 4. Then went to singing. There was only a small crowd out this evening & we had a poor singing. Very little interest taken in them by the members of the society. It had the appearance of rain & caused it to break at recess. After I got home, I finished writing a long letter to Kate Blacker. It commenced raining & rained all night.

Monday 2nd

It held up this morn & cleared off. John got on a horse & rode off. Billy went to hoeing corn. I went over to Forbes’ & stayed awhile, then come home & tinkered around the rest of the day. Ground scythes, fixed the smoke house &c, &c. The day has been clear & warm & drying off fast.

Tuesday the 3rd

We got to plowing about the usual time & went it slowly on account of the heat. The big corn &c. The corn waved high above my head. At suppertime we quit, turned the horses out, caught the mules & harnessed them to the wagon & 8 boys of us piled in & drove south singing, yelling &c. at a terrible rate. Arriving after a considerable drive to the bank of the [Skunk] River just above [Hugh] Boyle’s Mill, tied the mules, & plunged in. Had a good time generally. Drove home again. Got here about 10.

Wednesday, July the 4th 1860

Early in the morning we was out & soon had everything ready to leave. We loaded up about 6½ o’clock & drove to Johnson’s, then put on a couple more good horses making a splendid four horse team with Jim driving as usual & a load of 12. We started about 8 o’clock from Johnson’s plantation for the vast city of Mt. Pleasant & soon arrived within the bounds of the city which seemed to be filling up fast with the citizens of High Henry coming in every direction & by 10 o’clock the streets around the square was completely blocked but all was quiet — no excitement. The crowd all looked as though they had come for a good time & all seemed happy. We drove around through the city & the crowd without any difficulty but concluded to take off the leaders.

Lt. Col. Samuel McFarland (1824-1862) was killed at the Battle of Prairie Grove, 7 December 1862

Lt. Col. Samuel McFarland (1824-1862) was killed at the Battle of Prairie Grove, 7 December 1862

The procession formed in front of the Brazelton House. The states was represented by ladies. They took the lead followed by the Military Company, then the citizens kept falling in the rear till the leaders was in Saunder’s Grove where a small platform was erected & a few seats prepared but not half enough for the crowd. They had to hang around in the sun or set on the ground. But all listened with marked attention to the reading of the Declaration [of Independence] by Dr. [Andrew Wilson] McClure & songs by the choir & two orations — by [attorney’s] Spink first (that was good), then [Henry] Ambler. Then toasts of the best kind were read by Samuel McFarland & responded to by citizens in the ablest manner.

Then come the dinner which was taken in regular picnic fashion. All through the grove could be seen groups of persons squatted on the green grass with the green trees ____ing over their heads & keen appetites partaking of their own fixtures with unusual hardiness at about the hour of 12. Our crowd at dinner was not small but was the largest that could be seen in that part of the grove with plenty for all & plenty left for a good supper.

Remaining somewhat of an enigma is Lot's reference to the "Pizerinctum Brigade." I believe Lot meant "Spizzerinctum" (or some such variation of the spelling) which was a mid 19th century term meaning vitality. Lot's description suggests the "brigade" wore outrageous costumes and carried on to the delight of the crowd with their silly antics and speeches.

Remaining somewhat of an enigma is Lot’s reference to the “Pizerinctum Brigade.” I believe Lot meant “Spizzerinctum” (or some such variation of the spelling) which was a mid 19th century term meaning vitality. Lot’s description suggests the “brigade” wore outrageous costumes and carried on to the delight of the crowd with their silly antics and speeches.

No sooner had we finished eating, gathered up the fragments & stowed them away in the wagons, baskets &c. that the Pizerinctum Brigade appeared fully equipped with everything odd or ugly.  To describe them would be impossible. They entered the grove causing great excitement & a general stampede in the direction of them wherever they went. Mounted the stand, read the Independence of the Declaration &c., the broke for the streets of the city followed by all & great excitement. The streets was soon completely blocked again & the heat, dust, & thirst made it all very unpleasant.

A portion of Lot's 4 July 1860 entry describing celebration in Mt. Pleasant.

A portion of Lot’s 4 July 1860 entry describing celebration in Mt. Pleasant.

Cooke’s Circus had taken away a part of the crowd but didn’t make it look much less. The exercises lasted about an hour on the streets, then the Pizerinctum’s entered their hole & took the hole in with them, I guess. Then the crowd began to disappear slowly & all the excitement died away. One bloody fight on the street about 3 but was soon over without much excitement. Then the time was spent for awhile in different ways, mostly strolling around for few could be still & many left for home. About 5 o’clock, Miss Sallie C. [Sarah Cornelia Alden] & I went to a large circular swing in the west part of town where we was sent whirling through the air in a manner that I didn’t relish very much at first but soon got used to it & enjoyed a good swing. We then started in search of our crowd that we hadn’t seen for a long time & visited several places before we found them but finally found them on the square preparing for to leave.

I took my leave of them, bade them all farewell for this glorious Fourth of July & joined the company of Ben F. Jenkins. We then got in a buggy and took our leave of the city. We drove in a N. E. direction across the beautiful prairie that is situated in that direction. Oh! who could not enjoy such a ride across a country with such beautiful scenery. Not I, no never. It would make the saddest heart grow merry & always fills the soul unutterably full of joy. We crossed the noble stream Big Creek on whose banks we spent last Fourth of July so pleasantly & along this noble stream I have had so much pleasure that the sight of it always creates pleasant thought. And after crossing it, the scenery seemed more beautiful for the bright sun that had so brilliantly shone over his glorious Fourth of July was just casting his last lengthening rays on that beautiful landscape & bidding the day of Independence to depart for the long term of one year. Oh! who knows if he or she will ever see her rise on that day again with such splendor. Many such thoughts entered my mind while riding over that beautiful prairie in conversation with my companion.

McCabe Hall must have been the John McCabe residence in New London Township, Henry County, Iowa -- north of Big Creek.

McCabe Hall must have been the John McCabe residence in New London Township, Henry County, Iowa — north of Big Creek.

But dark was fast coming on & the scenery so beautiful at sunset we had passed & that around us attracted less attention so we hurried on toward the N. E. & soon arrived at the large field known as the McCabe field, opened the bars, drove in & across the field & halted before the large house with its large rooms & hall known as the McCabe House where a crowd of pretty girls & lighthearted boys was fast gathering all in a good humor with mirth & cheerfulness on their countenance. Soon the notes of the high-toned fiddle could be heard ringing in the spacious hall where I have listened to it with attention in days that are past & gone, followed by the same sound as before — the feet of many lighthearted girls & boys clattering on the hall floor keeping time with each other & also with the sweet music of the violin. Oh of all the joys, save this for me. No matter what the thoughts of others may be, I have seen many things & know what I know — that good music & dancing is not slow.

You may talk of your meetings & good times at home but never compare them with the ballroom. You put on your mixups to church you go. If you can’t be happy, you’ll try to seem so. You try to look serious all the time, but your looks and actions never rhyme, Even if you are a professor, there’s no reason you are a possessor.

July the 5th 1860

Just as dawn Aurora began to break in the eastern horizon, the big boy might have been seen getting out of the buggy at the end of Dickey Lane & bend his steps homeward where he arrived before anyone had aroused from their slumbers & crept silently to bed where rest was to be found & was found till about the hour of 9 o’clock. Then the same boy crawled out, harnessed a horse, went to plowing with the other boys. Plowed hard till noon without any breakfast, then took a hearty dinner & went back to plowing but felt rather dull. Plowed about an hour, then concluded to quit splitting middles, come to the house, talked to one Heft awhile, then went  & plowed Dick’s crop & sat around the house rubbing swelled eyes awhile. Went to bed before dark.

Friday the 6th

Weather clear & cool. John & I commenced cradling wheat — or weeds with some wheat mixed with them. Billy [Morehouse] plowed. John bound [in the] afternoon slowly & I cut slowly till night. Billy finished laying by the big corn.

Saturday the 7th

The boys bound slowly all day & shocked up in the evening. I cradled a few rounds but couldn’t stand it. Was too near gone up. Sat around the house most all day & slept about 2 hours. In the afternoon, went down to Dick’s & stayed till suppertime. Felt most tarnation mean. Pain in my back was the worst. There has been a meeting at the School House for the last 2 nights by Warren. I hadn’t been so I got ready & went up, took a back seat in the House, & listened but wasn’t much interested.

Sunday the 8th of July 1860

Weather clear — or nearly so — all the time & cool for the season. I didn’t hurry out of bed this morning but got up in time for breakfast. The folks all went to meeting & Sunday School but I layer around the house & took my rest. Wrote some in here from before the 4th. There was a crowd come home with them from meeting & among them was Cornelius F. Spearman. Then we put in the time talking till time  to go to 4 o’clock meeting. Then all went. Cornelius & I got in a buggy & talked while meeting lasted. Came home from meeting & we had some political talk by Warren, the preacher, on one side by himself, Jim Chandler, Johnson & others on the Douglas side. Elias W. Shortridge has been holding forth in town for some time & all the folks went up tonight but I. It looked to me & seemed to me & I felt like it wouldn’t pay, so I went to bed & took a good snooze.

Monday the 9th

I went to cradling & finished the bearded wheat at noon & then helped John bind it. We got done before dark binding but didn’t get it shocked. It’s the damnedest wheat ever I cut. Billy commenced by the School House & plowed all day.

Tuesday the 10th

Partly cloudy & cold. We all plowed laying the corn by east & west making it nearly clear. ‘Tis as high as the horses’ backs — most of it — and looks damned well. ‘Tis pleasing to the eye to look over the 60 patch about now & see it wave with every little breeze. We all plowed all day & finished the east 20 late. In the evening we shocked up some wheat that was down.

Wednesday, July the 11th 1860

blah, blah

Lot and most of his fellow Democratic Iowans referred to the Republicans as “woolly’s” and their anti-slavery platform as “woolyism.” This was undoubtedly a derogatory reference to the “woolly” hair of African Americans. The newspapers would have been full of campaign news with the Presidential election less than four months away.

It rained a little last night & is cold enough to wear a coat today. The boys plowed in the middle 20. I plowed the late beans. Lost my knife, hunted for it an hour. Loaded up a load of corn. After dinner took it to town. Sold to Hills for 22 cts. only. It commenced raining &  rained slowly for an hour or more. I run around the city. Got a letter from Angeline [Blacker] & one for [my sister] Beck from Dick. It sprinkled on me all the way home. Got here after dark, went down to Beck’s & read the news. Then come home & perused my bundle of papers till my candle burned down. Then turned in full of Woolyism.

Thursday the 12th

It rained during the night but was clear when I got up but that was late. Billy plowed & John & I cradled wheat till noon, then he bound [while] I cradled till night. ‘Twas clear & cool all day. J. C. ______ come & borrowed 6 bushels of wheat today.

Friday the 13th

I was sick all night, the effects of a big mess of pudding that I eat for supper. I got up about the time breakfast was over & went to the field & commenced binding. Bound two rounds, then come back & got in bed again. Stayed there till noon, eat a little dinner, then went out & cradled awhile — about two hours — then come in & stayed till after supper. Billy finished plowing the corn before supper. I took the team, went & gathered up a load of wood late in the evening. Jim Cure borrowed 3 bushels of wheat.

Saturday, July the 14th 1860

‘Twas late when we got up. The sun was shining bright with all appearances of a hot day. I wrote a letter to Van Greenwood partly this morn, then finished at noon. We bound up what was down & finished the 12 acre piece in this field by the house. Then ground a scythe in the afternoon. We cut over by Forbes’ & went to meeting at night. [Rev. Francis E.] Judd was the preacher. We all listened with sparked attention.

Sunday the 15th

The sun rose with all his usual splendor casting his bright shadows over all the landscape & over the beautiful cornfield that lies just above the house. I got up in time to behold all this splendor, then I took my pen & wrote an answer to Angeline’s letter & Billy was going to town so I sent them both up to office. About the hour of 8 o’clock, John & I got on our horses & rode toward the west. Al Forbes’ joined us & we rode through the woods to the [Skunk] River & down till we found the deepest water & then we took a good swim, horses & all. From there we went up on the other side of the river & eat a few blackberries. Then I slipped off from the boys & rode west through the brush & soon found myself at Bushwhack School House. It was full with the inhabitants collected there to hear preaching. To describe the preacher would be impossible. All seemed to listen with attention to the eloquence that was being displayed. For my part, I was taking a general survey of the listeners (the female portion especially). After the meeting broke, I spoke to all that I was acquainted with. Talked awhile, then went home with Nicholson’s young folks. Several others went along to the same place. We stayed there till 2, then went back to meeting again. A different man this time. i thought from appearance to listen wouldn’t pay this time so I went out & talked to some boys till meeting was out, then come in company with Miss H. Binford, Miss P. Alden, & Mr. Curr to ___ Nickolson’s. There we got supper & stayed till dark. Then I mounted Henry Horse & rode. Soon arrived at the lower stable, fed &c., then put for the School House. It was crowded to overflow. Judd preacher.

Monday the 16th

Weather clear & hot. John & I cut wheat slowly. Billy plowed.

Tuesday the 17th

John finished the plowing corn for this year. About 10, Billy & I commenced in the 10 acre field among the weeds but it was tedious & we went slowly. Cut part of the oats this eve & quit. It looks like a bad prospect.

Wednesday the 18th

I loaded yp 16 bushels, went  to Lowell to mill, took a swim in the [Skunk] River, got home about super time with grinding. John mowed a little today. Billy bound the oats. Hottest day.

Thursday the 19th

John & I mowed. Billy hoed awhile & put up hay. In the afternoon, I made some 2 rakes this morn. This day was the hottest. Elias W. Shortridge preached at the School House the last 4 nights commencing Monday night.

Friday the 20

Rather cloudy & hot. We commenced a wheat rick & got it nearly done. John mowed some. It clouded up & commenced to rain about dark. We had to leave the rick.

Saturday the 21st

Clear again this morn & only a sprinkle of rain. We tinkered around till noon. Went over to the grove to see Miss Sallie C.’s [Sarah Cornelia Alden’s] school. This is the last day [of her school]. Finished the rick this eve.

Sunday the 22nd July 1860

Got up early this morning to find it raining only to think of the disappointments. Great was the expectations for the day as E. W. [Elias W. Shortridge] commenced at Hardscrabble friday eve. I wrote a few lines to Dick this morn in answer to his that I got last eve. Beck got one. About 1 o’clock, the clouds began to break away in the sky & we was fixing to leave for the place about 11 o’clock with 9 in the wagon. We started & got there before meeting was out & saw Noah Heater & his wife seated in buggy first & then many other things of interest. Heard that Elias W. Shortridge married Noah & Sarah Runnells this morn. By the time meeting closed the sun was shining hot. We drove out to the shade of a huge oak near Walter’s well — a short distance from the grove — & there partook of our basket dinner which by the way was good. Meeting again at 2. We was all back there & listened with the usual attention but it was so long & we got tired. After we strolled down to the banks of the noble river, culling flowers with an occasional blackberry that we would chance to find. Sung some songs on the bank &c. Got back before sunset & partook of supper in a grand style before the crowd that looked on with surprise stayed & listed to E. W. preach a long discourse after dark. Then some of the River Boys tried to show themselves by raising a big fuss on the ground just as the crowd dispersed. I tried to break it up but failed. Then I listened awhile & then we started for home. Had a good time. No trouble & got home about 11½. The meeting closed there for this time.

Monday, 23 July 1860

Weather clear & pleasant. We mowed slowly all day & went to meeting at night. E. W.’s.

Tuesday the 24th

Clear & warm. We hauled & put up a rick of hay at the lower stable & went to meeting.

Wednesday the 25

We learn from this diary that Sarah Cornelia Alden was teaching at the school house near the Abraham farm and boarding with Lot's sister, Rebecca ("Beck") & her husband Dick Jackman. Her school closed on July 20, 1860. Lot would later call her "Neal" but at this point her called her "Sallie C."

We learn from this diary that Sarah Cornelia Alden was teaching at the school house near the Abraham farm and boarding with Lot’s sister, Rebecca (“Beck”) & her husband Dick Jackman. Miss Alden’s school closed on July 20, 1860. Lot often refers to her as “Sallie C.” in this diary.

Cloudy & sprinkling a little today. We put up some grass before it commenced, then I went to Forbes’, then sowed some turnips, them mowed some &c. Beck & Mary went over the [Skunk] River today & took Sallie C. [Sarah Cornelia Alden] over & left her.

Thursday the 26th

Clear & hot. We mowed till the din [dinner bell?] went off this morn in the new meadow. Then we hauled in & stacked the oats & rest of the wheat. Billy raked hay &c. Stayed at home tonight.

Friday the 27th

Partly cloudy & moderate. We mowed till noon, then hauled hay till supper. Got a big rick about half done & left it & I broke for parts unknown. Had a time long to be remembered. There was meeting again at the school house.

Saturday the 28th

It rained a little last night & is sprinkling a little yet. About sunup, I could have been seen riding in at the end of the lane & ride to the stable, dismount & put Henry in the stable. Then come to the house & waked the folks up. E. W. [Elias W. Shortridge] was here. John hadn’t got home yet. About 8, I went to mowing & John come. Alex & Billy helped us & we mowed till noon. Got nearly dome. After dinner all went to the pint. Mr. Parker preached on baptism. Him & E. W. had a big time. Ten went from there to the River. Kirkpatrick baptized ___ & poured water on me. It rained a little on us coming home. I was a horseback & went to meeting tonight.

Sunday, July 29th 1860

The clouds parted & rolled away this morning & left the air cool & pure & also nearly dry. I got up at a late hour as usual & by times we was all ready. Hitched up the team & drove to Dickey Grove & tied horses to wagon. Heard E. W. [Elias W. Shortridge] from 10½ till 1. Then all hands joined, put benches together, & spread before that vast assembly a large & splendid dinner & all partook in harmony. There was plenty for all and much left. At 2½, E. W. commenced again & taught till 5. The crowd was much larger. We hitched up & come home, put up the horses, took supper, then went back. The grove was lighted up & E. W. took the stand before a large assembly. Gigantic Jim & I took our places in a buggy accordingly & went to sleep. Took a nap, was waked up by Billy Shields about closing, after which some of the brethren took issue & they had quite a talk. By and by, all left dissatisfied with such talk, but well pleased with the day’s proceedings. A day long to be remembered by many that met in that assembly.

Monday the 30th

Clear & cool. We finished mowing & hauling & stacking, then fixed some fence around Dick’s crop. Worked till late.

Tuesday the last of the Glorious, pleasant & well spent month of July 1860

I hitched up & hauled two loads od stone along the N & S cross fence between the meadows. John & Billy mowed the clover. After dinner we rest fence. Billy cut cockleburs out of the corn. It is cloudy this eve. Beck & mother went to Tightbark & stayed. One ripe melon.

August the 1st 1860

A cloudy cold morning & about 8 commenced raining. Shortly I went to Forbes’ & stayed till 10. John and Marg went hunting blackberries. Got home about 1 with a small quantity. Billy & I staked fence. I stayed all night with Beck. It looks like storming. Rained a little today.

Thursday the 2nd

Only rained a little last night as usual & cleared off this morn. I commenced digging a well. John helped some after dinner. I went tomorrow hunt dirt buckets &c. got none. Billy hoes in the corn.

Friday the 3rd

We dug 4 bushels of potatoes & took some melons & them to town, Got 15 & 20 cts for potatoes & 10 & 15 ct. for melons. It rained a small shower. We got home at dark.

Saturday the 4th

Iowa Senator James Harlan (1820-1899)

Iowa Senator James Harlan (1820-1899)

Cleared off this morn & looks fine. There was a big picnic going off north of town. We was on a stand where to go for awhile. About 8, we mounted our horses & went to Forbes’, then B.F., E.R., & Al Forbes joined our company & we rode towards sunset at a slow gait for us. On we went through the well known woods to the [Skunk] River. At the K Ford, there we crossed & soon came to the prairie but still kept our course till we come to the noted city of Salem. There seemed to be great excitement. The town was fast filling up. Soon they all drew up around the square & in the center raised a pole to 100 feet high with a Lincoln & Hamlin banner on it. Then spread a table but eatables was soon made scarce. About 1, Senator [James] Harlan took the stand & made a rousing woolly speech followed by Wilson on the same track. After that, we started home but I didn’t reach it that night.

Sunday the 5th August 1860

It commenced raining this morn & rained a little. Billy [Morehouse] brought his father & mother down here yesterday. We passed the day very pleasantly. Went to singing at 4 and had a good one. Had plenty of melons. Billy took the home about 4. ‘Tis clear.

Monday the 6th

Clear & warm. I took the team & went after the bucket again & had to wait till nearly noon for them. Put them up & dug. After noon, got along very well. It clouded up & blew hard just after dark.

Tuesday the 7th

It rained hard last night. Cleared off this morn. We fun all day. Got along slowly. Had to dip water often. Clear at dark.

Wednesday the 8th

Cloudy & raining this morn. I wrote here. Cleared off about 8 & we went to work. Had to dip water first a long time, then dug till noon. ‘Tis hard digging & water comes in freely. Dug about 17 feet below the surface of terra firm. Then after dinner, commenced to wall, Got along first rate. Weather moderate.

Thursday the 9th

Weather clear & cool. I built wall till about 2 when the boys informed me that the rock was all in. We  then hitched up & hauled 3 loads of rock. The day was gone. Clear & cold.

Friday the 10th

Clear & cold. Billy let rock down & built & John hauled 3 more loads. By supper time I had the last stone laid. The wall was done. I covered it & left it. We put the tops on some stacks that had blowed off, fixed them ready for the next gale that sweeps along. We stop to watermelon about 8 times a day on an average & have plenty of ’em.

Saturday the 11th August 1860

Lot's 11 August 1860 describing Political Mass Meeting.

Lot’s 11 August 1860 describing Political Mass Meeting.

Clear & about cold enough for frost early in the morn. Yesterday Johnsons sent for us to go today to a big Democratic & Republican Political Mass Meeting. So early this morn we hitched up the Blacks, mules & went to Johnson’s. Put in Noah’s horses, but in doing that, I got kicked & hurt. We then loaded in 10 in number & drove to London, finding plenty of Democrats there. We stopped there awhile. In that time, Al Forbes came with Henry to a buggy. Him & I then went on as far as Saters’ & stopped there, fed our horse. ‘Twas then nearly noon but before dinner was ready, the Big Wagon come & I got in & went on with them to Center or Danville in Des Moines County where we found plenty of Democrats but found that we had been misinformed about the meeting for it was purely wooly. We looked on awhile & saw the crowd come from Burlington &c &c. Saw many things & many people but nothing to interest us so we left the place. I come back in the buggy, got home about 6 o’clock in the eve. I staid at home on account of my lameness. Mother was at town today. Got a letter from Uncle John McCue.

Sunday the 12th

Weather clear & cool. I read nearly all the morning. Wrote some here &c. My lameness is better. Wrote a letter to Mary Abraham. Got on Henry & went to singing at 3. At recess, got on my horse & rode off in another direction. Had a good time. Got home late. The following week was spent in many different ways. We plowed some, mowed weeds, brush &c, made troughs. Wednesday I went off & had a good time. The weather has been cold, cloudy & rained some Tuesday &c. Was very cold Monday night. Tuesday night & Wednesday night. Billy plowed Monday & Tuesday.

Friday the 17th August 1860

Cloudy & cool. I went to Forbes’ & walled a well till about 3 o’clock. Got about half done. Then rigged up & rolled out for camp meeting in the wagon. 5 of us got there about dark & then commenced looking for the fun but found none that night. Al & I slept in the wagon. Weather clear & cool.

Saturday the 18th

Judge Chester C. Cole (1824-1913)

Judge Chester C. Cole (1824-1913)

It was late  before we got up. Then we went & washed & eat breakfast in the wagon our crowd together. Then melons &c. Then run around to see the people come. They come by hundreds & filled the whole woods up. I went around seeing and talking to strangers till noon. Then we took another meal (dinner). Then Al & I took the team & come to town. Heard the Hon. C. C. Cole address the people in a very becoming manner, pleasing to all Democrats. Then we went to [Professor] Howe’s Exhibition. Left town about midnight & drove home. When we got here, we heard that Flints had been here since we left. They come in about an hour after we left, stayed all night & this morning. Started to the Association.

Sunday the 19th

Weather clear & war. We got ready as soon as possible & started for camp. The girls, Al [Forbes], & I drove the little Black Snake & soon found ourselves on the ground among more people & more dust than I ever saw together. We stayed there till about noon, then drove out north west about 3 miles to the Association & there found our friends. We heard Uncle Flint preach in the afternoon, then late in the evening we drove back to the campground. Stayed there till about midnight, then home.

Monday, the 20th August 1860

Weather clear, warm & very dry &c. I commenced working with my harness mending & oiling them. The boys went to cutting brush in the pasture. I started a letter to Dick this morn. We continued to work slowly along at this work 4 days. The weather continues the same.

Friday the 24th

We turned some hogs out of the corn early this morning, then fooled around the rest of the day. Billy went home — his time was out. I went to Wurth’s tonight at night & stayed up with Bill nearly all night. He is sick. Come up to Forbes’ about 8 o’clock with Al & went to bed. Slept awhile.

Saturday the 25th

We got out about the time Aunt Jane had breakfast ready feeling about like we looked, I expect. After breakfast I come home and commenced fixing up for our trip. Put on our wagon cover (that Al borrowed), put in feed and grub, and about 9 o’clock we three rolled out for camp. Drove west, crossed the [Skunk] River at the Keokuk Ford, then to Salem. There we inquired for camp meeting and was told to go one mile west which we done among clouds of dust and there we found it as it was a rude tent made of rough boards with platform in front [which] stood at the west end of the ground. Then along each side was about 6 or 7 tents and such looking ones I never saw before — about one respectable looking one and the rest was motley. Then plenty of wagons covered and used for tents. We got ours as close as we could in front, unhitched, & hung up our harness in a tree. Then took dinner. The crowd was just leaving from 11 o’clock preaching. There was only a few left on the ground and very few that we was acquainted with. ‘Twas rather lonesome but we got along well till night. There was 2 or 3 tents put up in the evening and there was a pretty good crowd there at night. I didn’t find out the preacher’s name nor hear his sermon but I saw a good many things that was going on. After preaching, they had some shouting, singing, and praying. We fixed our wagon & turned in in good time leaving them still howling around.

Sunday the 26th

Most of the folks around was eating breakfast when we got up. We washed, fed our horses, fixed our grub before us, & partook in order. Then fixed it away, made up our beds &c. and had a singing in our tent (wagon0. Meeting commenced. We had to quit then. We took our horses to water at a farm house nearby — water plenty. The crowds was then pouring in from all directions and clouds of dust flying all the time. Dust 6 to 8 inches deep all along the roads. I contented myself in watching the people drive up and unload their crinoline in the dust, nearly all strangers to me. Once in awhile a load would come that I would recognize & so the day passed off. I heard no preaching nor didn’t want to for they had poor preachers. I accidentally happened to meet cousin Mary McCue in the evening. They was just starting home. Saw Miss H. B. Had a short talk with her. Learned something by it. Enjoyed myself well most all the time while on the campground. Heard some shooting after night preaching, then we hitched up to our tent & rolled out for home. The boys both went to sleep & left me to drive (moon shone bright). Got home kind a sleepy.

Monday the 27th August 1860

Weather clear & hot. We commenced cutting brush in the thickets that stand in the field where the old pasture was. Cut slowly all day.

Tuesday the 28th

We cut brush slowly today. Hunted for hogs in the corn awhile. Went over to Heater’s awhile at night. Heard music. It rained a little last night & was cloudy most of the day today. Looks like rain tonight but is dusty.

Wednesday the 29th

Cleared off this morning & is very warm. We cut brush till noon, then John took a team & went to Horsey’s to help thrash. I sung awhile, then went to sleep till 3 o’clock, then wrote here awhile, read some, &c. In the evening, I got up my team & we all went Noah’s to a _____ party & ok! What a time we had. A large crowd there &c.

Thursday the 30th John went and helped finish thrashing. I commenced pulling beans in the orchard. The day was a hot one. John got home at noon. Him & I went & hived some bees that had settled on some bush in the pasture & then fooled around the day out.

Friday, August the last [1860]

Weather clear & hot. The sun beaming down on us without mercy. I pulled beans awhile but didn’t like it much. John spent most of the day in getting up his black mule. The bees took with a leaving today. I followed them awhile, then quit. We filled up & loaded 9 bushels of wheat this evening — the last that was there.

Saturday the 1st September 1860

Lot's 1 September 1860 entry describes the route to his Uncle Riley Greenwood's home in Jefferson County, Iowa

Lot’s 1 September 1860 entry describes the route to his Uncle Riley Greenwood’s home in Jefferson County, Iowa

We had been talking of a visit yesterday so we rode this morning fully determined to travel west today. The sun shone out with his usual splendor and had got an hour high when with the mules wagon wheat, Kate, John, & I started. We drove up the [Skunk] River to Oakland [Mills], crossed there, & then west to a mill on Big Cedar Creek known as Jay’s Mill. There we left the wheat & took the main road leading to Glasgow where we arrived about noon. Drove about one mile, then stopped & took dinner, fed the mules, then traveled N.W. again. We had a cover on our wagon that sheltered us from the sun. I could lay in there comfortable while John would drive. The wind raised in the evening & then the dust flew like fog. About the time we passed through the quiet little city of Fairfield, ’twas terribly unpleasant but got better after that. We reached the residence of Uncle Riley Greenwood just at the close of the day. Found them all well & looking for us.

Sunday, the 2nd

The morning was passed off pleasantly & was a beautiful morning. Uncle Charles [G. Abraham] arrived about 9. I talked with him awhile, then got on a horse & rode with him out through Brookville & on to cousin Lot Abraham’s. John and the others all come in the wagon. We stayed there for dinner, then all started for Elm Grove to singing & sure enough, there we found one. Surely a singing we had — long to be remembered. Then drove back to Uncle Riley’s & John took the team over to Uncle Charles.’ Kate & I stayed all night there again & singing songs &c.

Monday the third, September 1860

Cloudy & cool this morn. We went over to Uncle Charles.’ John & the boys went to Fairfield. I stayed there with Uncle [Charles], Aunt [Elizabeth], Grandmother [Susannah Griffin Abraham] & the girls till about 3 o’clock [when] Uncle [Charles] & I went to Brookville, stayed a couple of hours, then back, & John & I went over to Millen, talked with him till after dark. Saw his fine stock & his late improvements &c. Then back to Uncle Charles’ & stayed all night.

Tuesday the 4th, September 1860

This morning we found that a heavy shower of rain had fallen during the night but we determined on traveling for home & got off early but found the hills in a bad fix. I footed it all the way to Fairfield over the hills, then we got along well after that. Stopped for dinner to feed about a mile this side of Glasgow, come on to the mill, got our grist, & come home by town. Got here just at dark. Since then I have been too busy to write in here & have let it slide for one month which has been spent in different ways. I plowed some 4 or 5 acres in the time, part of the time with four horses to one plow drove myself. Out the hogs up to fat & have hauled corn for them every day or two. Rigged up our cane hill, made what was in the garden, & made Samuel Heater’s cane. Something like a acre but not very good & did not turn out very well. We have cut up the corn by Forbes’, shocked & tied it & cut a few shocks in this piece by the house, pulled the beans in the orchard, & thrashed some of the ____. Sold 4 bushels at 60 cts. per bushel.

Lot describes the 'Douglass Guards' horsemen he organized for political rally.

Lot describes the ‘Douglass Guards’ horsemen he organized for political rally.

Immediately after I come home, I went to work to get up a company of horsemen (Douglas Troops) & had a meeting at Tightbark to organize & then one at Liberty, & then one or two to train & by the 20th had the thing accomplished. On that day, [Chester C.] Cole & [Col. Samuel R.] Curtis, Democrat & Republican candidates for Representative of the Southern District of Iowa was to debate in town. The republicans had their Grand Rally on the 14th which I attended — it was a large one — & they done well but the true Democrats — not to be outdone — had determined to rally on the forenoon of the 20th. Our company met at John Morehead’s  at 8 o’clock, about fifty troops uniformed with hat band 4 foot long, 3 inches wide, Douglas & Johnson in big letters in the middle of it, a red scarf over right shoulder tied under left arm, a flag carried by myself, & J. M. Holland in front, a flag on each horse’s head, 8 by 12 inches, red, white & blue with the word “Nonintervention” in large letters in the center on the white strip, & a hickory club 4 foot long carried in the left hand — followed by a four horse wagon with a bower over it made of green hickory & 13 girls in it, Jim Johnson & John. We started from there at 9 & went to town. There met 40 ladies on horseback, then went out by the college where the prairie seemed to be alive with people. Democrats there are drilled for a long time under command of Cornelius F. Spearman, our Captain. When the London Flags hove in sight, we went to meet them & was hailed with shouts [ink smudged] that throng of true Democrats. Then the procession formed & the longest one that ever paraded the streets of that town.

The speaking commenced at about 3 o’clock in the eve & ended in Cole using Curtis up completely. Then our troops formed again & paraded the street in a becoming manner. It filled the woollies with astonishment. Halted in front of a large brick house — the residence of C. N. McDowell — gave 3 loud & hearty cheers for Cole when he stepped forth on the portico & thanked us kindly & addressed us in a becoming manner & then received many other cheers & then we gave three cheers for Douglas & heard the orders of Capt. by sections, right wheel, forward, & away we went through the streets again, all right & around the square on a keen run a few times, then struck out for home.

The boys broke their wagon tongue out before they got home &c. The day was cold & windy.

The 21st [September, 186], we met at Morehead’s again at 12 o’clock & went to London, heard the speakers again, & saw the sights. Saw another horse company from Danville 104 strong. Looked well. I got back to the school house just after dark. We had appointed a meeting & we organized an elocution school. Since that we have been to work. The day clear & pleasant. The bext day, 22nd, Tom Ramsey, John, Al Forbes, cut corn all day. Tom & I cut & tied 84 shocks. The others not so many. The day was clear & warm. That night, Dick got home about 9 o’clock.

Sunday the 23rd

I spent the forenoon in talking with Dick. Went to singing at 4, then home where I stayed. Then made molasses the following week till Thursday, then went to Henry County Fair. Took Tom — Dick’s 2 year-old, & Henry. The day was cold, cloudy, & chilly. Had rain a little the night before.

September 1860

A young Iowan Wide Awake in full uniform demonstrates for the 1860 Republican candidates Abraham Lincoln (for president), Hannibal Hamlin (for vice president), and Samuel R. Curtis (for congressman). His stern expression reflects the dire, militaristic seriousness that often replaced exuberant hoopla in the Wide Awake ranks. Reprinted from “‘The Prairies A-Blaze’: Iowa Wide-Awakes Carry Torches for Lincoln,” Iowa Heritage Illustrated, 77 (Spring 1996). Courtesy Floyd and Marion Rinhart Collection, The Ohio State University Libraries.

A young Iowan Wide Awake in full uniform demonstrates for the 1860 Republican candidates Abraham Lincoln (for president), Hannibal Hamlin (for vice president), and Samuel R. Curtis (for congressman). Reprinted from “‘The Prairies A-Blaze’: Iowa Wide-Awakes Carry Torches for Lincoln,” Iowa Heritage Illustrated, 77 (Spring 1996). Courtesy Floyd and Marion Rinhart Collection, The Ohio State University Libraries.

We bought two family tickets & entered our stock. Then spent the afternoon in looking at the sights. Dick & John come home with the team. I went to town, put up at Morehouse’s, then went to see the Wide Awakes perform &c. Heard some terrible speaking in the City Hall & on Saunder’s Corner. Then went up & went to bed. The night was clear & moonlight.

Friday the 28th [September, 1860]

Got up early. After breakfast, went down to the [fair]ground, fed [livestock] & waited their coming. Mother, Mag, & John, Beck & Dick come about 9. Then the day was spent in looking, talking, &c. ‘Twas partly cloudy but pleasant. Got home about dark. Got premium on both of the cattle. 5 dollars each. Troops drilled that night.

Saturday 29th

Cloudy & cool. We cut & hauled fodder, husked corn for hogs, hauled pumpkins &c. We 4 went to a candy party at night a horseback. Had a good time.

Sunday the last of September [1860]

Raining & cold all day. Stayed by the fire & wrote this month &c. Wrote a letter to Will Blacker in the eve & studied elocution. It rained all day & was raining slowly when I went to bed. Had a big log fire on all day & was seated around it. Comfortable with nothing to bother — only that we had to go out & feed [livestock] get wood once in awhile. In the eve, John got on a horse & left.

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