Friday, March 4th 1864
Isaac Worstell brought me home horseback. ‘Tis very muddy. I was disappointed about getting my pay.
Saturday, March 5th
Spent most of the day reading “Self Made” in the back numbers of the “Ledger.” I was three months behind.
Sunday, March 6th
Went with Uncle [Barnabas] Gilbert [Alden] to class led by Mssrs. Steward. Heard some of the young converts speak. ‘Twas refreshing. Spent the afternoon with Jane Lingo at Bro. Whites.
Monday, March 7th
After washing, Wilber took me on “Old Fox” to True Hill. Spent the afternoon in the Sugar Camp.
Eat Sugar & wrote several letters.
Wednesday, March 9th, 1864
Went early over the hill to Uncle Vince’s to let them know that Lib was very sick & had sent by Uncle Moses for them.
Thursday, March 10th
As they could get no other girl, I consented to go for a few days, & Gib Gould took Aunt Beal & I to Marietta. ‘Twas very muddy & rained on us all the way. Lib is very sick.
Friday, March 18th 1864
The 4th Batt. has arrived. Russel & Dave were in to see us this morning. I should like to go to Salem now.
Saturday, March 19th 1864
The 36th O.V.I. has arrived, but Cousin True will not be a Veteran, so he is not with them. I’m sorry for that.
Thursday, March 24th 1864
Susan Chandler came to take my place so I am relieved from the care of the sick woman & can go home with “Hosea” who brought the girls in. Cretia & Jennie Lingo start today for the west. Seeing them go has made me quite homesick; but I’ll have to let Salem cure me. Got me a new calico dress for my two weeks work, 25 cts per yard — rather dear, but such are the times. Had a rough, cold ride home.
Friday, March 25th
Alice & I walked up here to see Grandpa [Jonathan Alden]. Am tired & sick with headache. Grandpa is very glad to see us after our long winter’s work. He is quite feeble — cannot go out atall. Had a terrible snow & rain storm today. Cousin Esther is here.
Saturday, March 26th 1864
‘Twas too muddy for walking so we got on a sack of corn on the ox wagon which the Delong boys were bringing to mill & had a gay ride home. Finished making my dress.
Sunday, March 27th
Went to church & heard Bro. White. Then wrote numerous letters to my soldier boys & others. To prayer meeting at night.
Thursday, March 31st 1864
Have been confined to the house all week on account of rain & mud, until last night, went with Russ, Al & Dave to an oyster supper at the Valley House. Am disappointed although I have letters this week, none from Lot so I suppose I am not to see him this spring. God give me patience!
Friday, April 1st 1864
Came with Hiram to town. Found Lib up & thriving. It rained all the afternoon, but after doing some shopping, we drove out here, gave Uncle Ruf’ & Aunt Sophy a rich “April Fool.” Just one year I’ve been from home. How I’d like to be there just for one little while now.
Saturday, April 2nd
Was busy all day, making a net for my hair & tinkering. Spent the evening reading Bayard Taylor’s “Hannah Thurston.”
Sunday, April 3rd
Aunt Sophia & I went over to Rainbow. Were spending an agreeable day when about noon we were surprised by the ushering in without warning of Hiram & Lot. Directly after dinner we came home.
Wednesday, April 6th 1864
The morning the cars bore Lot again toward his home & duty. ‘Tis sad that we must part again so soon, but my soul is full of peace & joy. I have spent two days & a half with him — the Lord of my heart & life. We are eternally united by the holy, sacred bond of love & whatever may come, I know that we belong to each other. Separation, war, nor death, can break the tie, & while thus blessed in loving, why should I not be happy. He is gone, but ’tis to duty — a duty which I love no less than he does. I can but bid him go & pray for the accomplishment of his mission & for his safe return. The sacrifice is great but the cause is glorious. Oh! Lord, give me strength to bear my part without a murmur, & Oh! keep him by thine almighty power, & prosper the cause of right.
Came up from Marietta on the “Emma Graham.” Got an introduction to Lieut. Miles A. Stacy — Aunt Sophy’s brother.
Thursday, April 7th 1864
Washed some today. Have company this eve — Mr. & Mrs. Mason & family. Mrs. Mason is Aunt Sophia’s sister Luceba. Lieut. Stacy called again with the handsome Capt. [James C.] Selby who has given his right arm to his country & still sticks to the service, is a furloughed veteran. Enjoyed looking over the Lieut’s selection of 36th Herves with the Capt to explain. My own collection has received quite an addition lately. A veteran brought me “Cousin Melvin” on cardboard and “Uncle Ruf” [Rufus Gustavus Alden] has given me his whole family. Have been writing to Lydia & Melvin.
[Editor’s Note: Capt. James C. Selby was born 3 December 1838. He lost his right arm at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee on 25 November 1863. He was wounded again in a skirmish at Berryville, Maryland on 14 September 1864. He is buried in the Rainbow Cemetery north of Marietta on the west side of the Muskingham River.]
Friday, April 8th 1864
Have been writing letters to Melvin & Newt & reading “The Deserted Wife” [by Emma D. E. Nevitt Southworth, published in 1850]. Cousin Wib & his Sarah White came.
Saturday, April 9th 1864
Has been dark & rainy all day so we couldn’t go to the examination as we wished, so I read & worked a little the first this week.
Sunday, April 10th
Have finished the novel & written to Jane Beery & to Aunt Melvina to tell her I’m coming to see her this week. Then went out to the schoolhouse through a shower & heard Mr. McMasters preach a miserable sermon to prove that all our good & evil are sufficiently rewarded in this world. Miles spent the evening with us. He’s quite sociable, easy to be acquainted.
Have been very busy today sewing. Only stopped long enough to learn the game of Whist from the old Bach. Spent the afternoon at Mr. Barker’s. Tried to discover Mrs. Howe’s relatives supposed to be named Stowe & Perrin.
Thursday, April 14th 1864
Read the “New Gospel of Peace according to St. Benjamin.” Finished it on the road as Uncle Rufus drove to town. Spent the afternoon and night with Lib.
[Editor’s Note: The New Gospel of Peace according to St. Benjamin” was written by Richard Grant White. It was a satirical attack on the peace-at-any-price Copperheads.]
Friday, April 15th
Promenaded the streets with Lib & just as we were starting out the fourth time, we met the two Jennies from Salem. They had come in with Rus & Davie to see them off to the war. We soon found the boys & I was much put out to find Alice had not sent me any letters. Had a negative taken for some photographs, told Lieut. Stacy “goodbye.” Then spent a very pleasant evening at Lib’s. All the better because Uncle Gilbert came just after dark & brought me letters from Lot, John, Kenney, & Alice. Am very sorry to learn that Alice is sick for I will be disappointed about my company up the river & she would have enjoyed this evening so much. There is a secret bond of sympathy between David & me which made us enjoy the evening’s chat hugely. As he says — it was all in the family.
Saturday, April 16th 1864
We’re up early in spite of late hours, & had a foot race almost to get the cars. The other girls went off with them for a car ride but I heard my boat whistle & had just time to go back with uncle B. G. [Barnabas Gilbert Alden], get my carpet bag, & get on board the Emma Graham & steamed up the river. Uncle introduced Mr. & Miss Bess. for my company to Wheeling. The day was cloudy & stormy, could not see much as we passed as the weather forbade being out.
Sunday, April 17th 1864
Reaching Wheeling about three o’clock this morning. ‘Twas very dark & raining. I did not like the possibility of finding myself put off in a strange place, all alone, at that time of night, so I concluded to stop with my Wheeling friends & risk reaching Martinsville in the daytime. We had a long dreary walk & some difficulty in rousing our little hostess, Miss Sarah Tannahill. But at length, found ourselves comfortably in bed where we remained until near nine o’clock when we were called to a good breakfast which we enjoyed with keen appetite. Afterward Mr. Bess accompanied me through the city which is a long “string town” up the river to the ferry where we crossed in a skiff, inquired until I had explicit directions where to find my friends, then bade me “goodbye” accepting only thanks for his valuable services. I found Aunt Malvina & little Adda but Uncle John is gone into the army.
Monday, April 18th
Took Adda over to Wheeling & had her likeness taken. We walked down & found it very tiresome so we came back on a boat as I had my carpet bag to bring. Wheeling is like Zaneville — very black & dirty-looking, is strung along the river for five or six miles & generally only two streets wide, backed by an almost insurmountable hill. Martinsville is a little scattering town just across the river above Wheeling. The most noticeable feature is the Suspension Bridge connecting the city & the island.
I purchased a beautiful dress pattern of Queen or leather-colored worsted & a handsome bead collar.
Tuesday, April 19th 1864
A cool or quiet day. Sewed some & read the story of the “Engine Thieves” in a book entitled, “Daring & Suffering” and wrote a letter to Keney.
Wrote to bro. John & dressed Adda’s doll this morning. Knit trimming & visited the post office.
Helped Aunt Malvina sew carpet rags & this afternoon Emeline & I visited the beautiful little graveyard in a grove north of town & the glass works. Initiated to the operation of glassblowing. This evening an old lady came & taught me the art of making collars out of beads.
Friday, April 22nd 1864
Walked down to Wheeling and got on board The Eagle. The air was raw & chilly. Arrived in town at nine o’clock. Found Lib & Charley still up.
Saturday, April 23
Lib & I walked out for our health & I found a good letter from Mag in the office for me. Went to the courthouse to attend examination but found we were mistaken in the day. Came out with Mssrs. Twiggs & Chapman. Had quite a gay time with the krout sausages & cider at Shrum’s. Arrived & found waiting me besides the folks a beautiful little album containing Lot, Mag, Hort Detrick, & I suppose Gen. Sherman, and two letters from Lot, one from Philena, & one from George & nothing to make me unhappy in any of them. But the contrary. Alice is quite slim yet after her sickness.
Sunday, April 24
Went to Sunday School & then listened to a long sermon from our new preacher Bro. Verticum. ‘Tis cloudy again. Guess ’twill rain. Wrote to Mag.
Tuesday, April 26th 1864
Yesterday after washing, I received and answered a letter from Mother. There appears to be considerable disappointment at home because I didn’t go home this spring, but guess ’twill be all right in the fall. Today we have finished Aunt Betsy’s collar, sewed some, I had a call from Mat.
Sunday, May 1st 1864
At Salem again & have just returned from Sunday School & class. Wednesday after getting my billet from Cairo, I jumped into a Mill wagon & went to the foot of the big hill & walked up to Grandpa’s to see my great Aunt Mrs. Mary Parsons — grandfather’s youngest sister, just from Massachusetts to see her old brother again in this world. They had not met for thirty-six years & appear to enjoy calling up old scenes & names & places with a zeal which I cannot realize. She is a good specimen of a genuine Yankee matron — social, motherly, Christian, and deeply interested in education & improvement of all kind & a zealous patriot. She was a public school teacher until she was thirty-six years old & could sympathize with me in my duties & aspirations & I enjoyed myself finely while visiting with her.
[Editor’s Note: Neal’s grandfather was Jonathan Alden (1785-1867). Jonathan’s younger sister was Mary Gould Alden (1806-1878) who was married to Josiah Parsons in 1843.]
Came down yesterday morning feeling miserably with a severe cold I have and am not much better today. Went to prayer meeting this evening and have written to George.
Monday, May 2nd
A good long letter from Lydia telling of her good luck — a long paying school this summer, and prospect of a term in Iowa City next winter. Also a letter from Dias.
Sunday, May 22nd
I have been gone up the creek for the past three weeks, at Uncle Moses’ most of the time waiting on Aunt M. who is very sick. In the meantime I have made up my mind to go home. I must see Lydia before she leaves. So I spent the latter part of the week going to tell my friends above here “goodbye” but did not get up as far as I would like. Oh how I would love to see the Road fork people once more, but I suppose I will not.
We are having thrilling war news lately. There is terrible fighting at Richmond, Sherman is advancing, and news from the 4th Iowa two weeks ago tells of their starting on a raid after Forrest. I am very anxious to hear from them.
Today I have been to church or class, I suppose, for the last time in Salem. The girls are scattering from here very fast. If Alice & I get away, it will be no less than seven that have gone this spring — Jane Lingo, Cretia D., Alice & I for the far west, Esther Hill, Esther Lingo, & Lizzie White for places not so remote.
Uncle Gilbert decided this morning to let Alice go home with me. Oh, I am so pleased. So we pitched into the work of preparation, had company all the afternoon — Oldine Unger & Kate Hart, Mrs. Stewart, Hubbard, Brady &c & Esther Gould came tonight. Letters came from Mag, Coz. Mary, & Lot which I have answered. Their raid ended all right.
Company all day. Mix, Mrs. Lingo &c &c. Saw Mr. Gregory on his road to Marietta. Must write & send a note by him tomorrow.
We had a visit from Mrs. Parker — Aunt Mary’s sister from Upper Lawrence, Washington County. I got a good letter from Lot, just eight days old. Also a letter from the Corresponding Secretary of the Freedman’s Relief Association in reply to one I wrote applying for a teacher’s situation in the South. Our application is laid upon the table.
May 27th Friday
Wrote to Cousin Fannie yesterday to tell her we’re coming. Then went up to Uncle Moses’ to tell them goodbye. Had a great time with Wib but got Cynthia away from him at last. He’s had the picture ever since last winter. Hiram brought me home this morning. Esther Hovey is here tonight.
Saturday, May 28th
Alice & I finished our sewing, then went to Aunt Jerusha’s & up to Uncle Joel’s [Joel T. True] to say “goodbye.” Aunt Mary is here.
Sunday, May 29th 1864
Went to Sunday School & class this morning. Uncle Gilbert led class. Had a good meeting. This afternoon, all of us — Uncle Barnabas Gilbert [Alden], Aunt Betsy, & Jerusha & Mary, Mrs. Stuart and Porter, Angerona, Rosa, Alice & I — walked down to the old graveyard below town where Uncle Ira True & Aunt Abigail are buried. ‘Tis a dilapidated looking place on a bench at the point of the hill. The stones are mostly sandstone — old & tumbling down. uncle Ira died in 1850, aged 36 years, & Aunt in 1845, aged 26. This verse is on her tombstone:
Go home, dear friends, dry up your tears,
I must lie here till Christ appears;
Repent in time while time you have,
There’s no repentance in the grave.
[Editor’s Note: Ira H. True was born 18 September 1814; he died 9 February 1850. He was the son of John True (1782-1841) and Jerusha Tallman (1788-1861). He was married to Abigail Alden (1819-1845), the daughter of Jonathan Alden (1785-1867) and Lucy Bryant) in 1841. They are buried in the Salem Township Cemetery in Lower Salem, Washington County, Ohio.]
Monday, May 30th 1864
Well we have left Salem at last. Esther and Julia Lingo came down to spend the last night with us. Uncle Vince came with the team but concluded to wait until the mail came in. So we remained at Aunt Betsy’s talking, fixing, fussing, &c till almost noon. Then ate a hasty dinner, jumped into the wagon, and drove to the post office where we halted for the letters to be called over. A crowd gathered round us & we shook hands & said “Goodbye” to nearly all of Salem. Uncle Vince carried our letters out to us — one for Alice from David and mine from Lydia & Russel. These put us in a good humor and we drove out across the bridge amid the good wishes and acclimation of the crowd. Uncle Gilbert, Lib and the children with our trunks, boxes &c. &c. made a pretty full load. The weather was fine & the road in uncommonly good condition for the Marietta and Salem Plank although ’twas plenty rough yet for comfort. Uncle Vince’s songs whiled away the time and we enjoyed the ride to Mr. Devols very well. There we deposited our trunks, told our dear uncles “goodbye” and walked down through the pleasant, shady lanes & cool groves to Uncle Rufus’.
I almost tremble at what we have undertaken — not for myself, for I feel perfectly safe and much pleased with the prospect of soon again seeing my friends at home — but for Alice who is leaving her father & mother and going out into the world to carve her own fortune. She is not very healthy is what troubles me most, but perhaps the trip will do her good. We will hope for the best.
Thursday, June 2nd
Yesterday morning I spent in finishing “Peculiar” and getting myself thoroughly roused on the subject of war & slavery.
[Editor’s note: On March 5, 1864, Elizabeth Boynton wrote to her soldier friend Will Harbert, ” You have doubtless noticed criticisms upon a new book called ‘Peculiar’ the hero of the book being a slave named by his master ‘Peculiar Institution.’ I read it last week and it has given me more intense views of that enormous evil of the nineteenth century, American Slavery, than I have ever had before — and when I closed the book and …thought of all the evils attendant upon slavery I thanked God that I had been called on to give him who is dearer to me than all else, to a war that will eventually produce its overthrow.” [Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, By Scott E. Casper, Joanne D. Chaison, Jeffrey D. Groves, page 210]
As soon after dinner as practicable we went up to Mr. Barker’s, spent a short time in a farewell chat, then went to the bank of the [Muskingham] River where our trunks had been placed and under the shade of an aged apple tree, patiently waited the arrival of the boat while I read a yellow backed novel & Alice & Aunt Sophy knit. About three o’clock, the Emma Graham swung in and took us on board into a crowd of Universalists who were coming up here to a convention. Lib was on board & had engaged us a room & passed us off as going to the convention so we came at reduced price.
Arrived about midnight. ‘Twas very dark and rainy. No one was out to meet us as the boat was ahead of time, & the the whistle did not waken them, but we managed to get up the hill very easily by the aid of Mr. Hutchin’s lantern. He had come after Lib. We woke Caroline & Fannie & went to bed. Today I have been making a bead collar. Alice is knitting & reading — seems pretty well contented. Aunt Sarah is gone to Zanesville. Uncle Sam & Emma are quite unwell & as bad Copperheads as ever or worse. The rest are like they were last summer. We have written a short letter to Aunt Betsy. Were out walking & called to see Miss Woodmas but found she had gone home the day before we came. So will not see anything more of Stafford. Went to the Universalist Convention this evening. ‘Twas a very sociable meeting and an eloquent sermon.
Friday, June 3d 1864
A beautiful morning. After the dew had dried from the grass, we took a walk off the hill and down the whole length of the town in search of Lib. Found her at Thomas Hutchins’ about a mile off in a nice quiet little place almost covered with trees & flowers. After wandering over the graveyard — which is very nicely kept and ornamented — we returned & dined with Lib. Have written to Mary that we are coming up. Caroline, Alice & I went over to Malta & called on Mr. [Albert] Clarke. Found cousin Mandana there. Had a pleasant time & Alice remains over night. I am to go back for her tomorrow. At church again this evening. ‘Twas a Universalist’s General Class. Very entertaining and pretty good. What a pity their beautiful and all sufficient doctrine isn’t true.
Sunday, June 5th
I read and knit yesterday morning but immediately after dinner accordingly as we had arranged, I went over the river. Spent a very pleasant afternoon in company with Mr. Clarke, Mrs. Pond, Mandana & Sarah & Alice. We rambled to the top of Malta Hill & along the ridge of the Mound getting several fine views of the towns and river, thence descended to the river bank & home to tea. I like my father’s cousin Mandana very much indeed. She is a younger edition of our old Aunt Mary — genial & pleasant as April sunshine, intelligent & refined. “Twould be a great advantage could we have more of her society.
This morning Methodist Episcopal Sunday School & Church have been the program. Heard a very excellent sermon from 1st Peter 1st & 3d. Have written a long letter to Kenney. Edward took Alice & I riding this evening down past the canal & fairgrounds & up past the refinery. At the [Universalist’s] Convention again tonight. A good sermon on the central idea of our National existence, which was shown to be Liberty. A discussion of the Sabbath School question & a collection for the Army Mission afterward.
Monday, June 6th 1864
Went with Fannie to her school this morning for an hour or two but found it a very dry affair. Then went to the Post Office to mail some letters, & very unexpectedly received one from Lot. Cousin Mandana & Sarah called & have persuaded Alice to remain with them awhile & not go to Zanesville with me tomorrow. We called on Mrs. Barker — a cousin of our big Aunt Mary’s.
Tuesday, June 7th 1864
We’re up early this morning in order to have breakfast & take the six o’clock boat. Had a very slow trip and did not arrive until after noon. Found Cousin Mary waiting for me & we walked up to Uncle Franks’s. I brought Aunt Emily a splendid bouquet from Caroline. Left Alice at Malta with the Misses Clarke who were at the landing to receive her, but am lonesome without her. Am sorry she didn’t come along. I meet with a hearty welcome here & am made perfectly at home. There is some pleasure in visiting where the folks seem glad to see one & I am sure I’m glad to spend a short time with such kind friends.
Wednesday, June 8th 1864
Spent the morning reading & knitting & chatting with Aunt Emily. Went this evening to Mary’s schoolroom & together we mailed letters to Lot and to Col. Lowell to inquire about Sam. Then called on Aunt Sarah at Mr. Saunder’s. We are having a fine shower tonight which was much needed.
Friday evening, June 10th 1864
Went with Cousin Maggie over into Natchez Wednesday night after she was free from her duties as clerk, which is at 7 o’clock. Aunt Margaret was not at home, but we girls with Eliza Vanhorn for company had a gay night. Yesterday morning the girls had all to be off to their work. Mary to her teaching, Susie to her studying, Eliza ditto, Maggie to the store. I was to remain on the Lot with Aunt Susie Lewis’ & at Aunt Sophia Vanhorn’s. Before noon, Aunt Margaret came home. I had one of my headaches all the afternoon and night so I could not enjoy much of the pleasure the rest had.
A Miss Harrison — one of the Zanesville schoolmaams — was there. I came over with Mary this morning but did not feel fully recovered from my sickness so Aunt Emily & I had a very quiet day sewing, reading, talking &c. This evening we had an extensive drive out through town to the north and on top of the hill where we have a complete view of all of Zanesville & its suburbs & the river, but looking down upon the blackened roofs gave the city a very dirty aspect. We then went out toward the southwest into the country, passing some beautiful residences all looking gay in their adornings of verdure & flowers.
Saturday night, June 11th 1864
‘Tis very cool tonight. I almost fear a frost. We have been sitting by the fire in the little sitting room. Alice is here. She came up about noon. I met her at the boat after reading a letter from bother John. He has done just as I expected — gone into the country to work. Alive had letters for me from Newt & Lot, both good of course. I braided little Julia a saque this afternoon. Cousin Susie was over & this eve Frank drove us out round by the fair ground & left her at home.
Sunday, June 12th
Uncle Frank took Alice & me out the Licking beyond the poorhouse and across to the Muskingum & back — a delightful drive of seven miles. ‘Twas so cool that we enjoyed a seat by the fire when we returned. I have headache some. Did not go to church. wrote to Russel & read Fern Leaves some. Dick Griner and Hiram Waller were here this evening.
Monday, June 13th
Wrote to Uncle Paschal to meet us at Andersontown next Tuesday. Sewed some, called on Aunt Sarah & got her photograph. Frank took Rose Griner, Alice & me on a visit of inspection to the poorhouse. It is a hospital for the incurably insane of this county also and contains many pitiable specimens of humanity.
Tuesday, June 14th 1864
A walk up the hill to the reservoir, bead collars, an hour in Mary’s school, and a long ride down the river & the evening spent in reading Commercial.
Friday, June 17th 1864
Wednesday evening we went over to Aunt Margaret’s and had a gay time with the clever people of the Lot. Yesterday Cousin Mary gave her school a picnic excursion. She gave me an invitation to ride in one of the omnibus & assist her in keeping her little wild folks in order. So I went with her to the schoolroom at nine o’clock and exerted my ingenuity to the utmost to entertain the children, through the tedious hour that we had to wait for the busses, but at last they came & we packed over seventy into two carriages and drove to the fairground where we proceeded to romp & play & roll on the grass &c & c till one when we had dinner — very nice — but such as is bought at the bake shops, & at five we had supper. We remained in the grove till after six when the buses came & brought us home. During the ride, the children did up an immense amount of singing. Appeared to enjoy themselves hugely.
This morning we have been out shopping. Aunt Emily presented me with a beautiful little gold watch key. She also got a handsome Photographic Album for me to take to mother. She will put the likenesses of her whole family in it. ‘Twill make a nice present & I’ll be proud to take it. See an account in this morning’s paper that Gen. Sturgis’ command has been in a terrible fight. Many killed and wounded. I cannot rest until I hear particulars. God grant he may be safe.
Monday, June 20th 1864
Saturday morning Alice & I went over to Aunt Margaret’s. The ten girls of us on the Lot were invited to tea at Aunt Susan Lewis’. Had a very nice time with conversation, songs, & music on the melodeon. I pieced patchwork for a quilt from pieces they gave me. Have got a fine lot of them. Yesterday was extremely hot & sultry. We did not go out but remained at Aunt Margaret’s. I read a sermon from Henry Ward Beecher, then read Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliette. Came over home in the evening. Today we have been to see the glassworks. Monday the girls have been here & spent the last evening with us.
Mt. Pleasant, Iowa
Thursday, June 23rd 1864
Again I am back in this dear old town, but I can hardly realize that I have really got home. Have seen but few friends yet & things are much changed. Philena in living in town & has two little girls instead of one, & little Alice is so large that I should not have known her. I feel very pleasantly, however, to be with them again and I have more to make me feel comfortable for I have found here a letter that tells me that Lot came out of the terrible fight unscathed — that he is safe for a little time at least.
Tuesday morning at eight we bade our kind Zanesville friends “goodbye” & started on our long car ride. At noon we were at Columbus, at three p.m. at Xenia, at five at Richmond, Indiana. The principal features of our journey were noise & heat & dust, but by this time I was completely prostrated with sick headache. We were allowed to wait & rest five hours if we could find a comfortable place which was not to be had in the depot. But luckily Alice found a friend — Miss Hutchins — who invited us home with her & I got my face washed, an hour or so of sleep, & nice fresh supper & felt like a new person & was ready for a start at half past ten. We had a very pleasant night’s ride considering the want of sleeping accommodations & reached Chicago just in time to miss the western trains & this was the beginning of the longest day I ever spent with nothing in the world to do but wait as we could not go out sight-seeing alone. But “all things must have an end,” and at nine we were in the cars enroute for Burlington. Had no farther bad luck but reached here safe & sound. I began to meet old friends at Burlington & enjoy my arrival.
Saturday, June 25th 1864
We could not do much but rest Thursday afternoon and yesterday. I took little Bertha up & got her likeness. Also a big package from Salem containing letters from Aunt Uncle Barnabas Gilbert [Alden], Melvin, Russel, Leander & Fisher. In the evening we called at Mr. Pixley’s & Frick’s. ‘Twas good to see the folks. This morning went up to Frup’s. Got a letter from Lot. Saw John & Dick. Just missed seeing Mag about a minute. That’s too bad. Have written to Lot & Uncle. Asa has come to take us to Canaan, so will be off directly.
Tuesday, July 5th 1864
Had a nice visit to Canaan. Went to church with Asa, Kate & Robison Sunday & in the evening had a fine rain. We came back to town Monday morning. Grandpa & Mrs. Dorance were in to see us but we got an opportunity of going out to Mother’s & left immediately. Stayed with Mother until Saturday evening when we walked over to Mr. Purcell’s to see Newt’s wife & baby. Found a bundle of letters waiting us. Mine from George, Jerry & Dias, James Calvert, Kenney & Lot. That pleased me well. Came on to Adaline’s to spend the night. Sunday, Adda & I & the children went to Sabbath School & church. Things looked rather strange in the old schoolhouse. All the children have grown into young people almost above my knowledge. Went home with Willefords to dinner & had a good old time. My seven years ago friend Ed & Albert Ketcham were there.
Yesterday morning, as it was the Glorious Old 4th, we felt as if we ought to be moving, so we walked to Oakland, got into a wagon filled with youngsters out hunting fun, & came to town. I mailed a lot of letters that I had written to Newt, Sam, Melvin, Uncle Barnabas Gilbert [Alden] & lot. Met Mag in the Post Office & at her solicitation got ready & came with her to Liberty. Becca Horsey’s, Jenkin’s & Heaters were along. Had all been up picking gooseberries to can for the soldiers. I found a hearty welcome here & it seems more like getting home than any place I have been. Things are changed so much everyplace else. I went with Sarah to the old house where I used to stay so much — seems quite natural.
Today we have stayed indoors & picked berries over &c., &c. Had a nice shower of rain which kept the boys in a while. We have been out exploring the brand new barn. Mag, Alice, & a gay time we had.
Wednesday, July 6th 1864
Mag had to drive on the reaper so I helped some about dinner, picked & put up a little can of berries to send to some soldier in Co. D who has no friends — supposed to be John Porter. Was helping Mag mash some in the afternoon when we were astonished by the arrival of Lydia. She had got tired of waiting & came over to see me. After supper, we all went out & helped shock up rye to save it from the impending storm. Jennie Andrews was with us awhile.
[Editor’s Note: Commissary-Sergeant John Porter of Company D, 4th Iowa Cavalry, was from Mt. Pleasant.]
Thursday, July 7th 1864
We four girls rigged up the oxen & wagon & went to Lowell after the Rolls. Had just about the gayest time I ever saw. Little Al Heft drove for us. Got dinner at William Jackman’s & supper at Uncle Thomas Short’s where we had left Alice & Lydia. Tom has got him a new wife & it has made quite an improvement in his household arrangement.
Friday, July 8th 1864
Went to Becca’s early & spent all day with her. We girls visited the graveyard. ‘Tis the same quiet spot it was. Mag & I shocked wheat a little while.
Saturday, July 9th
I went to Uncle Colin’s this morning & took a lot of letters I had written the morning before to send to town. My share to coz. Mary, Kenney, Lot. Had a neat little visit with Aunt Jane. We killed a large rattle snake — 3½ feet long & having eight rattles. Came back & did a little ironing. Then we girls came to Sarah’s & spent the rest of the day. We are all disappointed tonight for there are “no letters.”
Pilot Grove [Iowa]
Monday, July 11th
I stayed with Sarah Saturday night & until noon yesterday. Mag & Marth Heater were there awhile. Rain fell in the night & I supposed had drowned our morning arrangements but when we went down to Dick’s after dinner, found them preparing to come over. Spent last night at Mr. Jackman’s. Had a gay time. John J. brought us in the morning. Lydia & Alice went to school while I proceeded to hunt up old friends. Called at Jones’ & French’s where I sat up part of the night with Grand’am French who had fallen out of a cherry tree & mashed up both her ankles.
Tuesday, July 12th 1864
Taught for Lydia during the forenoon while she washed. Then went out to Neal’s, whither the girls followed me after school. Had quite a pleasant time though ’twas rather lonesome without the girls & Elwood. Lizzie is married. Elwood goes to war. Mary was away with her sister. Spent the night at Jones’.
Wednesday, July 13th
Went with Jonathan J. & Emma to West Point & to a circus. The ride was fine but between the soft old widower & a poor show, ’twas rather sickening. Stayed with Lydia at Mrs. Bingham’s at night.
Joel Jones’, Thursday, July 14th
Called to see Lydia E. Townsend a few minutes. Then Mrs. Goodell (formerly Hattie Jones) came with the carriage to bring us here. Stopped a few minutes on the road to see Mary. Then at Clark Frazier’s, then at Garrettson’s. Arrived to find the folks all absent but Emma & Aunt Abby. But Joel came in from the field & Cal from town bringing Het’ with her, so we are quite a family.
Friday, July 15th
Borrowed “Jack” this morning & went out to Chestnut Hill to raise some money if possible & see my former friends. Succeeded better than I expected in the former. Had a good visit. Our Garretson friends came out in the evening & we had a real old-fashined time.
Saturday, July 16th
Picked & seeded cherries for Cal’ until noon then came with Dorman’s to Mt. Pleasant expecting to get some news but found that a misadventure had taken letters out to Liberty. Was provoked but finding Dick or Becca in town came out with them & was paid well by reading letters from Russel, Dave, George, Newt, Aunt B.B. & Lot.
Sunday, July 17th
Has been a very warm day. We were too lazy to go to the chapel to meeting but stayed in the shade & wrote letters to Lot & George, walked up to singing this eve. ‘Twas a small affair led by Barnes as usual. Sadly the war has interfered with social life at Liberty.
Tuesday, July 19th 1864
We have just finished quilting a quilt we put in yesterday morning, & I’ve written to Aunt Betsy.
Washed in the morning & intended going to the Aid Society in the afternoon but were prevented by company.
Thursday, July 21st 1864
If anyone had been in the vicinity of Aunt Sallie’s today, they might have heard two girls singing, laughing, & talking as their busy wheels made lively music to the tune of a dozen a day. And about the time Dick got home from town the music changed to screams over a letter containing a proposition of marriage. Marry my grandfather — ridiculous! Our big job of spinning is begun. Goes very well so far.
Saturday, July 23d 1864
By spinning eleven scains yesterday & this morning by ten o’clock we allowed ourselves time to go awhile to the grove and witness the closing exercises of Jennie Andrews’ school. ‘Twas interesting to notice how the little fellows had grown in mind & body since I taught them sixteen months ago. Proff. Smith made a good little speech.
Sunday eve., July 24th 1864
Mag & I walked to the chapel this morning & Sunday School and church. At recess, went to Mrs. Spearman’s and saw Mec’ who has just got home. This afternoon we started out for a stroll and sauntered to Detrick’s where we spent the afternoon. Am awful tired. Have a letter written to J. Calvert.
Monday, July 25th 1864
___ two dozen of the nicest chain today & I got letters from Uncle Barnabas Gilbert [Alden] & Mattie Gregory.
Wednesday, July 27th 1864
Spun in the morning, then walked to the chapel to the Aid Society. Had hardly begun our labors when Kate & Elijah came along. We prevailed on Kate to stop a little while but she soon got homesick & we had to come on with her. In the evening we went to Old Liberty & listened to a tiptop political or rather preacher by the name of Uriah Long. He left an appointment for preaching tomorrow night. We have the report of the safe return of “Our boys” to Memphis after another long scout. Not confirmed.
Friday night, July 29th 1864
Just about the tiredest girls that ever walked, we are tonight, for we have been blackberrying. Walked to the river & got Salathiel Carnahan to ferry us over on Old Drag to what was thought to be the most fruitful patch but searched in vain. We found none. Were transported back in the same procession, took dinner at Mr, C’s, then came down & spent the p.m. in Jane Boyle’s school. She was just finishing the small affair. When we got home found a letter from John & a note from Alice begging me to come to town. Guess I’ll go in the morning.
[Editor’s Note: Salathiel M. Carnahan (1836-1890) was born in Clinton County, Ohio and came to Henry County, Iowa with his parents in 1837. His father, Fergus M. Carnahan (1807-1838) died a year after their arrival, however. Salathiel’s brother Malcolm remained with the family until 1859 when he left for Nevada, leaving Salathiel to take charge of the farm. In March 1863, Salathiel was married to Celestia H. Cure (1844-1930).]
Tuesday eve, August 2nd 1864
Went to town with Bro. Horsey Stopped at Mrs. Jenkins & filled our pockets with apples. Mag & I shopped till the mail was opened. Then I got a good letter from Lot and we had a report that Sam was killed. Went to Pixley’s with Alice to supper & got my box of things removed to Philena’s. Sunday, went to Sunday School & listened to a good sermon from Bro. Jocelyn, then remained to Bro. Grantham’s class. Wanted to visit the graveyard in the afternoon but were prevented by a drenching shower so we remained indoors, looked over all my old letters & wrote to Lot & El’ Lingo. Monday went to Leisenring’s & got a negative for Photo’s. Then went down to take a look at the Old Steam Mill & its inmates. Spent a pleasant hour with Mrs. A. Newly & got a letter from Mrs. Col. Lowell confirming the report of Sam’s death. Thus, at last one of our family has fallen. They have all been mercifully spared until now. I had hoped to see him again but now I shall not until the resurrection morning. I made my old lawn dress over. In the evening Mr. John Fairbrother — a distant cousin of Alice’s — called to see her. He is going to take her to his home in Missouri next week for a visit. I came out ready to go to work again this afternoon with Mr. Tim’ Francy.
[Editor’s Note: Sam Rhodes (b. 1829) was Neal’s first cousin, but when Neal’s mother married Neil’s uncle, John Wesley Rhodes, Sam became her step-brother as well. Sam was not killed as Neal was led to believe. He mustered out of the service with his unit in July 1865. See entry of 13 August 1864 below. The engagement is not identified by Neal but it was undoubtedly the raid on Washington D. C. in which confederate forces under Jubal Early nearly marched into the Nation’s capital. Fierce fighting in the streets at the margin of the city finally turned back the confederates.]
Friday eve, August 5th 1864
We have been putting in the time faithfully spinning while it has rained & John has grumbled about his hay getting spoiled. But today has been fair & all are in better humor. We have finished & scoured our flannel chain & done some fancy coloring. Had company too, Mrs. Lavan & Miller. We went to Dickey’s Wednesday evening. They appear very friendly. Marth brought letters from Newt & Kenney. Now I must write to John.
Monday, August 8th
Saturday morn. Mag & I took “___ Pball horse” & Jenny & Deidrick’s old buggy & started for Kate’s residence three miles east of Winfield. Went past Mt. Pleasant, got a piece at Philena’s, my hat at Mrs. Golden’s, a letter from Mary at the Post Office, & five photographs at the [Leisenring] Gallery, & “Pball” shod & then on to Canaan where we got dinner & took Aunt Emma with us to Winfield. Crossed some of the big prairie sure. Reached Kate’s snug little home about six & had a nice little visit looking round &c. until Sunday near noon when we started home with Aunt Sallie. Got back to Uncle Asa’s in time for supper & home before dark. I went down & stayed with Sarah & wrote letters to Aunt Mary Parsons, Dave & Lot & sent each of them one of Alice & my photographs. Gave Mag one & put the other in Sarah’s Album. Today we have been spinning.
Tuesday, August 9th 1864
Mag was cooking, expecting thrashers, & I made the wheel buzz, but company came — a cousin of Mag’s & her three children & we had to keep still in the afternoon so I sowed. Braiding my Garibaldi.
Wednesday, August 10th 1864
We concluded to get out of the way today so we moved to the barn. Had just got the floor cleaned when Marth halloed that there were letters for us so I ran over & got Oh! such a good letter from Lot & one from Mag from Enoch. That helped us along a good deal & we got seven skains off. Had to come to the house this afternoon. The boys wanted to put in more hay. Had a fine shower of rain.
Thursday, August 11th 1864
Did up a big washing & then went over & helped Mrs. Horsey quilt. Heard that our boys have gone out on another long scout after Forrest. Oh! how terrible this suspense is. May God pity & protect them & us.
Friday, August 12th 1864
We have been trying ourselves at the wheels today. Got off forty one cuts & am pretty tired. Must write to Newt.
Saturday, August 13th 1864
Oh! Joyful news this morning. A long letter from Sam. He is not dead nor even injured, but was prisoner & has escaped. Good for him! Ironed & spun a little some, pulled a block for the soldier’s quilt. We want to make at the Aid Society. Went to Sarah’s. Dick brought a letter from George.
Sunday, August 14th 1864
Came up & found the folks starting to take their cousin to Sater’s. Mag had a notion of going along so I got Jule’ to go to Beery’s but John proposed that we should go over on Salem Prairie. So he saddled Lot’s big horse for me & “Ball’ Worth” for himself & off we started. Had a gay ride to the New Quaker Meeting house just in time to be in at the breaking up & shake hands with a host of old friends & get an invitation to Clark Frazier’s to dinner. Enjoyed the visit & the apples hugely. Then made a short call at Bartlett’s for John to see Kil’. Rode on to Pilot Grove, found Lydia sick. Prevailed on her to relinquish the remaining week of school & go home & rest. Waiting there until the affair was arranged & till after supper made our ride a late one. Stopped & chatted with the Misses Jameson a little while in the yard & then had a fine long moonlit ride home. Liked my steed first rate. Just met Dick’s getting home. Was awful tired & glad to sleep.
Monday, August 15th
Felt rather the worse for my long ride but went at the wheel with a good will but were interrupted by visitors — the Dickey family. Spent the p.m. at Sarah’s & sowed on my waist.
Spun in the morning. Then went to the chapel to [Aid] Society but few present. Wrote to Sam.
This is my twenty-third birthday. Have been spinning & thinking all day while the rest were coloring & washing. My thoughts ran in the usual direction — the war & its effects & speculation about the end. Letters from Lot & Uncle Barnabas Gilbert [Alden].
Friday, August 19th 1864
Finished spinning for flannel & spooled the piece for Balmorals [petticoats]. Wrote a long letter to meet Lot on his return to Memphis again.
Tuesday, August 23rd 1864
Went to Horsey’s Saturday morning & warped our piece. Then John, Mag, Sarah & I went to town. Spent the afternoon shopping & the night at Kerr’s with Lydia, whom we found better in health than when I last saw her. Sunday morn, John & Mag & the Miss’s Coiner came in the wagon & we all went to Hickory Grove to Advent meeting. ‘Twas rather a dry time — the same old story in the sermons & no excitement between times. Had a very lively ride home. Yesterday we spent the day making shirts to send to Lot. Today has been dark & rainy. Finished the shirts & got the piece in the loom ready for weaving.
Worked at the loom all morning. Got one robe of our Balmorals woven. It looks handsome. John brought me a letter from Lot away down below Holly Springs. Had to tell the family the news but that wasn’t hard to do as it was all good. Went to the [Aid] Society where we finished piecing our hospital quilt. Favor brought us some grand songs, — “The Homespun Dress” & “The Captain with the Whiskers.” Wrote to Aunt Mary Alden.
Thursday, August 25th 1864
Been weaving all day but get along slowly. Had a call from Jennie Andrews for a donation to the flag to be presented to the 4th [Iowa] Cavalry in honor of its being the first veteran regiment from the state. Wrote to Mattie Gregory.
Wove two widths of Balmorals. Wrote to Kenney.
Sunday, August 28th 1864
Stayed at home to write letters to Aunt B.B. & Lot, but spent part of the time in the watermelon patch & eating hazelnuts. James Chandler came & we went to Sarah’s awhile
Wove all day & stayed with Sarah at night.
Tuesday, August 30th 1864
Tramped the treadles until dark. Then Mag & John & I footed it to the chapel where we listened to Mrs. Hagar speak to the [Aid] Society & then had a gay time at the talk outside eating ice cream, cakes, cider, &c. &c. for the good of invalid soldiers.
Wednesday, August 31st 1864
At ten o’clock Mag & I went to the chapel where we met several of the [Aid] Society & put in our quilt. The rest came & we quilted it out. There were two children buried. Pleas’ brought me a letter from James Calvert, but none from Memphis & we are so anxious. We went to Mr. Morehead’s to see the sick child but they sent for Mag saying her mother was sick. I remained & sat up all night having a Mr. Sam’l Graft for company — pretty good company too. He is a young gent from Ohio visiting his Aunt Eliza Morehead. Has selected Mag for him a wife and sent him here to see her. Suppose he’ll be down soon.
Thursday, September 1st
Felt badly out of sorts but Al’ came through for me & I wove two & a half yards of Balmoral & slept some.
Finished our piece & took the loom out. Then Mag & I took the two Balla’s & went to Mr. Morehead’s to attend the funeral of little Johnny. The procession was very large for a child’s funeral. The sermon was preached at the chapel by Bro. Brigg’s from “Is it well with the Child.” Letter from Wm. Springer.
Tuesday, September 13th 1864
Have neglected writing a long time but have been too busy. Sunday the 4th we spent at the chapel, Sunday school, sermon by Charles Clarke, took dinner at Coiners. A funeral of Bebbs’ child & singing in the afternoon. Mr. Graft brought us home. Monday cooked some for threshers. Tuesday eve went to town with Becca on an errand for John . Found Lydia preparing to start away to school & remained with her the rest of the week. Visited some. Attended a lecture By Picket & Jocelyn & an exhibition at Howe’s. In the meantime, got letters from John, Lot, Sam & Wib’. Answered Lot’s. Came out Saturday evening, found old friend Dan’ here. He & I went to Beery’s Sunday horseback. Got back in time to meet Mr. Graft coming who spent the evening here. ‘Twas pretty gay. Yesterday I went to wash for Mrs. Wilkins who is sick. Did a big day’s wash & got home late, sick with a cold. Am no better today. Am sowing at my dress some. The young folks talked of going to Jenkins to cut apples but the threatening aspect of the weather prevented. Sam came, however, & I ‘spect Mag will have a good time.
Monday, September 19th 1864
Another week gone & no time to write. Put in the time faithfully last week sure. Stripped cane one day. John hires us at a dollars per day. Colored black for flannel. Friday got a letter from Mr. Gregory telling that Kenney has gone to the army. In the evening Mag, John & I went horseback to ___ers to a little party. Saturday night after we were asleep, ___ters young folks & Miss Parrot came & were here till 2 last night so all was bustle & confusion. I had no opportunity for writing letters though I wanted so bad. We went to chapel to meeting. “Sam” came home with us so we had a gay crowd & all went to singing at night. Have sowed today on pants for John.
Tuesday, 20 September 1864
Finished the pants & two bead collars for Mag & Sarah. News came from Lot away in Arkansas. He’s safe to the 7th. Went to Heaters to an apple cutting.
Worked hard all day at the sorghum. Sarah & James Houseman, Lib Coiner & Mr. Graft came in the evening & we made taffy & had some fun.
Fed the sorghum mill all day & am awful tired. Friday it rained in the morning. I washed, then fed the mill in the p.m. Saturday, ironed &c. Sam G. came with the carriage & took us to Mr. Sater’s. Sunday, visited Tom Sater’s near Center. Came home about nine o’clock. Found letters waiting me from Dave with ____ & from Lydia telling of her safe arrival in Iowa City.
Monday, September 26th
Washed. Then rode Balle to town to get my things to wear to the fair. Got a good letter from Lot from Brownsville, Arkansas the 12th. Got home late & Mag & I went to Sarah’s & stayed. Sam came.
Saturday eve, October 1st 1864
Well, we are home at last from that wonderful fair. What had so filled our imaginations for weeks is now as a dream that is ended & I wake to find myself wearied out by the four days dissipation, glad to get back again to the quiet home circle where I can rest my limbs & eyes & enjoy the privilege of thinking calmly over the scenes of mirth & pleasure which I have lately witnessed.
27th, Tuesday afternoon, John, Mag & I went to town, stopped a little, got a letter from John, spent the evening at Trapp’s until eight o’clock, then went to the depot where we waited an hours or so for the cars but were at length transported to Burlington, climbed to the top of South Mountain & spent the rest of the night at Mr. McKinney’s. Wednesday, after some delay, we obtained seats in an express & were taken to the Fair Ground & spent the day seeing sights of interest which were hardly so numerous or extensive as I had anticipated. Met many friends among whom were the Sexson family. We accompanied them home & spent the night. It rained considerably during the afternoon & night & was quite cool. Our visit was quite gay, enlivened with company of the Spearman’s. Thursday morning before starting to the Fair again, I wrote to Lot. After we arrived, Dan’ & I examined the Agricultural implements, grain, fruit, &c. Jimmie & I the sheep & hogs. Went in the evening with Dick to town intending to go home with Dan’ but found we were too late for the boat, so we girls left the boys in the street consulting about what was to be done & went to the Sanitary Fair where we met Messrs. Garretson & Bosley who were attentive escorts during the evening & saw us safely to Mr. McKinney’s. Dick met us there Friday morning & all to the Fair again where I ran independent line all day. Had a real good time too. Put in the time faithfully. Attended the Sanitary [Fair] with John in the eve a little while & then piled into the cars & came to Mt. Pleasant. Were very glad to find a resting place at John Kerr’s after midnight. This morning we were in no hurry about srtarting but managed to get home after noon. Alice came out with us. ‘Tis cold & cloudy.
Mr. Ciss__ came & we walked to the chapel & back. Lib Coiner came with us. I wrote to Lydia, Dave & Russel. Went in the wagon to singing tonight.
Monday, October 3d 1864
Has rained all day so Alice had to stay with us. Have spun a little. Were to have gone to Uncle Colin’s to an apple cutting but the weather is too bad. I am well contented to rest. Have written to Wilber.
Tuesday, October 4th
Went to Horsey’s to work & were caught in the rain. ‘Tis dismal weather. I’ve written to my 25th Ohio Boys.
Thursday, October 6th
Yesterday we spun all day. Alice went to town. I stayed with Sarah at night. Got a note from Salem asking me to teach that school. Washed a big washing & scoured fifty skeins of yarn. K. T. Cisson came.
Friday, October 7th 1864
Spun in the morning then went over to Mr. Williams for apples, got back late & found an invitation to a party at Uncle Colin’s awaiting us, so of course we went & played with the little ones till the dear knows how late.
E. Macy’s. Salem, Iowa, October 9th
This Sunday morning finds me a resident of the Quaker city. How strange! My life of quiet & labor is gone again so soon & I must be a public servant once more. I wrote to Mr. Pickering telling him I was busy but would be ready for teaching in about six weeks & stated my terms expecting to hear no more of it. But yesterday Mrs. Garretson & Macy came empowered to accept my terms & urge my immediate presence. After a painful consultation with Aunt Sallie, Mag & John, we concluded it best to accept the position & leave my work there unfinished. I hated to come even worse than when I came onto this prairie the first time & above all hated to leave what has grown to be such a dear home. But it had to be some time at farthest. We came past Mt. Pleasant & got my trunks — also a letter from Kenney. Spent the night at the house of Mr. Elwood Macy, my principal.
Evening. Went with Mrs. Macy to Quaker Sunday School, then to Methodist Episcopal Church & found not preacher but met Grandfather Ables whom I accompanied to his home & spent the day. Have written to Lot & James Calvert.
Monday eve, October 10th 1864
Another day I have been a teacher. Have a very neat room in the nice new schoolhouse. Nineteen fidgety scholars. Have engaged boarding at George Bailey’s & come to Mr. Macy’s to arrange a programme for my school.
Tuesday, October 11th 1864
School is improving some. Began to hear a Latin Class & find I shall have to rub up my ideas on that a little. Commenced to study Book-keeping & recite with Mr. Macy’s class. Attended Mrs. Hagar’s lecture at the M.E. Church & found it the same to which I listened at Pleasant Hill Chapel August 30th. Had a heavy rain.
Wednesday, October 12th
Mine was the only school kept today on account of monthly meeting at Friends. Wrote to Mag.
Wrote to cousin Mary. Had a better school than common & several visitors. Mrs. Dr. Schriner, a director, Mrs. Lucy Hess & Henry Henderson, just home from Ohio.
Sunday eve. October 16th 1864
Yesterday morning after doing my ironing I went to see Mr. Macy’s school. Am not any too well pleased with it though it does better than I’ve seen here before. After dinner, went to the P.O., got letters from Lydia, Lot, M.C.T. & Uncle B.G. [Barnabas Gilbert Alden]. The 4th [Iowa Cavalry] has gotten up into North Missouri after Price. (Oh! if they only might come home.) Then went with Elma & called on Eliza Henderson for an hour or so then went on to Joel’s. Was at Dorman’s all night. Sue’s babe is not likely to live long. Today I wrote to Lot, Lydia, & visited with Mary. She & Joel brought me home. I have just been in to see Mrs. Marsh who is apparently dying.
School & study takes up about all my time. Have written to Mrs. Gregory & Kenney.
Monday eve. October 24th
School & work last week kept me busy until Saturday afternoon when I went out & called at Mr. Garretson’s. Found Cyrus & Elvira just starting to Mt. Pleasant & I went along for a change & to see Lydia who I heard had just got home & to show Alice letters from Uncle B. G. & Dave which I had received with one from John Masters a day or so before. Had a gay ride as usual with that company. On our way we met Mr. Parcells who told us that Milt had just got home from Arkansas. Found Lydia & Alice at John’s & we didn’t get ready to sleep until two o’clock Sunday morn. Consequently I awoke with the headache. John & I went to Pixley’s to tell B. F. & George ‘goodbye’ for Dixie to work for Uncle Sam. Saw Joe Linell just home from the army. About 2 p.m. we were again launched for Salem & Lydia with us.
Came by Uncle Leonard’s & saw Han’ and the children who have grown out of my knowledge, & grandpa who is failing very fast indeed. Arrived on the prairie once more, concluded to go out to Joel’s as it was understood Milt was to be there. Found him looking natural as life. I remained till morning & walked in with Mary Hobson. Lydia has been down to see about her school & is to commence in two weeks at $24 per month for four months. She & Cyrus saw John last week in Galesburg & they say he has grown to be almost a man. Oh how I wish I could see him! Henry Henderson was in school this morning & tells me his brother John has just returned from the East & has brought a wife with him. That’s astounding! Called at Mr. Hockett’s at noon to see Clark & Lucinda.
Tuesday eve, October 25
Lydia was at school today. Also saw George Thompson. Am tired & worried. Have written a little to Mag.
Wednesday eve. October 26.
While I was scribbling last night, Cyrus came in to tell me that the Good Templars had voted to accept me as a member if I desired to join them. I hesitated some on account of cider but concluded that if I could do any good, I ought not to stop for that so I went & was initiated. Making a solemn pledge of Temperance. Finished a letter to Dave this morning. Went to Grandpa Ables’ to see Lucy & William & family after school & have written a letter to Sam.
Monday, October 31st 1864
Saturday morning. I wanted very much to go to Mt. Pleasant to the rally but knew of no opportunity so I did my ironing & mending & about noon, H. T. Henderson came to invite me to go with him. That was all right and he & I, Cyrus & Mary Jones made a gay load & reached town in time to hear a speech from Senator [James Wilson] Grimes & be almost crowded to death on the stairs. Met Mag, John, Lydia &c. & after some consultation, went out to Liberty & stayed overnight. Kate & Lige were down & we had a gay time. Yesterday morn after calling on Sarah & Becca, we came to Boylston & heard Rev. Lee preach the funeral sermon of three soldiers. Jameson & Halls. Then to Joel Garretson’s to dinner & home. I went over to church in the evening & heard the Elder preach on “The Witness of the Spirit.” This morning the stove pipe fell down at the schoolhouse so we adjourned school till after noon & I came home & wrote to Lot & to Uncle B.G. [Alden]. Got an old greasy paper from Sam.
Wednesday, November 2d
I am very tired this evening & have just read a long mess of argument from John B. Now I have written to the M.C. & Will. H. T. Henderson, Mary & Jane Boyles have been in & spent the evening.
Thursday, November 3d
‘Tis quite cool today, verging on toward winter. Was at a little female prayer meeting at the M.E. Church tonight. I am getting very anxious to hear from the 4th [Iowa] Cavalry. I suppose they are chasing Price. Heard a fearful story of danger & escape of Lot & some others while at Liberty.
Sunday, Nov. 6th 1864
‘Tis cool & rainy this morning & bids fair for a quiet Sunday at home & I may read, write &c to my satisfaction. Have just finished the “Philanthropic Results of the War” & was well entertained. My sympathies deeply moved. It makes me feel very small to read of the gigantic charities of our afflicted country & know that I have had so little share in them.
Yesterday we were to have a Teacher’s association & I went in the morning but finding the patronage so very limited, did not go again but called with Mrs. Stinsman, on Mrs. Shriner, & then visited Henderson’s until evening. Cyrus had made arrangement that he & I, Elma, & Mr. Lewis were to visit Mother today but I fear the rain will prevent. I wanted to go very much. Haven’t seen Mother since July 3rd but will improve the time writing to John.
Evening. Luckily the clouds cleared away just as I was finishing John’s letter & Cyrus came to tell me we would go and we went & had a right good time too — going & coming — & spent three hours pleasantly with Mother & Milt.
Monday, Nov. 7th
Got very tired of school today. ‘Tis raining this eve, Was so disappointed with a letter from J. Calvert tonight.
Tuesday, November 8th 1864
This is the great Election Day. I suppose important issues will follow the actions of today, but to me ’twas only a very dark, rainy, disagreeable school day with no redeeming features except a kind letter from Kenney & Ella Frazier for company. Too rainy for Lodge [meeting].
Wednesday, Nov. 9th 1864
This has been one of the most disagreeable days on record. Has snowed & blowed & rained all day, but tonight the clouds have disappeared & the moons beams brightly. School about as usual. I finished my mittens this ‘eve & have written to John Masters.
Saturday eve, November 12th
Oh this is a lonesome, dreary time sure, & I’ve got the blues just about as bad as I’ve had them lately. All the comfort I got today was an unaccountably cool letter from John B.
Wrote to Kenney (176th Co. I), to James Calvert, to Lot & Alice. Went to church & heard Randolph preach. Then to Congregational Sunday School & this eve have written to Uncle Rufus & John B.
Monday eve, November 21st 1864
I was “lonesome, sad & dreary” all last week, tired & worried with school, but worse than all, was very uneasy about the fate of the Missouri rangers. Could get no tidings or comfort from any source. Friday evening by invitation spent the evening at Henderson’s with some more sole-mates. Saturday morning finished my dress which had employed my odd minutes through the week. ‘Twas a beautiful morning, nice for a ride, so I procured a horse & set out for Liberty. arrived about noon & of course enjoyed the visit hugely, of course. Found the rest of them anxious about the soldiers but our suspense was somewhat relieved in the eve by a little note from Pea Ridge, 2nd instant.
Sunday morn we all went to the chapel [on] horseback. Stopped a few minutes at Dickey’s as we came back & directly after dinner ’twas time for me to start. The wind was blowing cold & heavy-looking snow clouds hung all round, but I must come so I mounted with my new flannel dress in a roll on my lap & John for company as far as the river where he left me to call on Kitty & I came on facing a fierce northwester & fine snow. ‘Tis winter sure enough. I didn’t get my flannel too soon. Have scribbled a note for Lot.
Wednesday, November 23d 1864
Mary & Wesley came at last to see me this ‘eve. Wes’ is home from the war. Oh that it were all the soldiers. Lodge last night was a small affair. Went up with little Ben’ Maris.
Thursday, November 24th 1864
This is Thanksgiving Day & there was a grand supper &c &c at the Emporium. I went up with John Mitchell & returned. 14th Soldier. Had a passable time.
Sunday, Nov. 27th 1864
‘Tis a kind of dreary time to me lately. Don’t have much to excite any sort of exuberant feelings. Was very sick with headache Friday but school passed of quite well. Yesterday after finishing my dress & ironing & reading a good letter from old Duckcreek, I started out for a lonesome promenade. Met Lib’ Pickering & concluded to go out with her as far as Joel’s. Did so & found Newt & his wife & baby there, reunited at last. Joel is suffering immensely with some of Job’s Comforters. Came back with Pickering’s this morning & have been to church & heard Bro. Nichols & spent the afternoon in Sunday School & Class. To church at night with Eugene. Rogers preached.
Salem, Wednesday November 30th 1864
Had quite a gay time at the Lodge last night with my most substantial Salem friend. This eve I spent at M. Marsh’s with Han’ Benford &c. Mr & Mrs. Emerson were there. Nothing from school worthy noting. Dave & John have been trying to cheer me with letters & theirs are very welcome but I sadly miss those that should come from the South.
Thursday, December 1st
Oh! how miserably dark & dreary is the weather & my mood. ditto. I commenced wearing my flannel today. Guess some of the Salem aristocracy won’t relish a school ma’am in homespun but I can’t help it.
Friday eve, December 2nd
Thanks for the good news tonight from the right place too. Now I can be contented for a week at least.
Monday morn, December 5th
Had just finished up Saturday’s chores when I got the chance of riding with Jesse Bartlett to T. C. Fraziers & towards evening Lydia came out hunting me. We were having a good old-fashioned visit when just at dusk Bro. John very unexpectedly dropped in with us. He had come from Illinois to see us & traced us there. We all felt at home & had a good time. Addison spent the evening with us. Yesterday we all went to Quaker Meeting which was uncommonly good. Then came back & finished up the ‘Turkey’ soon after which we separated. Lindly bringing John & me to town & Lydia going ‘East.” We listened to a short sermon from Bro’ Randolph in the evening. John remained with me over night & went to Joel’s this morning. Oh I am so glad he came. It did me good to see him. He has grown as tall as I am & looks and behaves quite gentlemanly.
Wednesday eve, December 7th 1864
Had a gay storm of snow last night. I got a note from Alice with an invitation to Beery’s. ‘Twas an awful homesick letter & I wanted to go and see her but ’twas folly to talk of it. so I went to the Lodge with Cyrus, as usual, & snowballed him when we came home. Tonight brings the best of letters from St Louis.
Monday eve, December 12th 1864
Just got home from the coldest of trips. Went in the hack to Mt. Pleasant Saturday morning/ Found Alice not well. I expected as much from the note I received Tuesday evening which told me they were going to Beery’s to a ball. Spent the day with her & in the eve got into John’s sled & went to Liberty to see Dan &c &c. During the night it turned cold. The wind raised & blew a biting hurricane all day Sunday. John brought me back to town in the evening. Then went & brought Ezelie McChinney down & spent an hour or so with the ‘Maids of the Mill.’ Mr. Russell broke the hack so I had to stay in town till afternoon & did not get back here till near night. Find John here.
Wednesday, December 14th 1864
Attended a grand supper given by the Odd Fellows with Mr. & Mrs. Bailey. Had a grand time with my old friend Lib Cook & his new wife. Romped more than I have for a long time. Expect I made a bad impression on Salem propriety. Can’t help it now.
Salem, Sunday, Dec. 18th 1864
Why don’t I write journal. I’ve been looking over what I have scribbled here for the past two months & find only circumstances, unimportant & uninteresting to read of written as if I were only a machine without any interior life of happiness or aspiration, & yet it is not because I do not live but my soul is full of a deep happiness too sacred for the eyes of the world. And oh, I want my life to be a constant thanksgiving for this great blessing which God has given. I see many hours of anxiety & sometimes feel that, with suspense & the care of my difficult school, I have all that I can bear. Yet I feel sure of a pleasanter life in the future & in that beautiful hope & a fervent trust in the care of my all wise Father I try to be happy.
Helped Mrs. Bailey with her work some yesterday. Went to church & heard an excellent sermon from our new preacher, Bro. Stafford.
Saturday, December 24th
School with all its petty cares & vexations is done. we finished up yesterday very quietly — but few visitors & no show. When it was done, I wrote to Lot in memory of the 23rd & then called in to see Aunt Hope’ & to mail it & got another good one from Cairo. Then called on Mrs. Dunham — poor woman. Her soldier is dead in a southern prison & leaves her with poverty & four little children. Cyrus called in & we had a long chat. Today Lydia came & then Philena & family & with the company of preparation for Christmas we were very busy.
Sunday, Christmas 
The morning was very dark & gloomy. Lydia & I read Wadsworth awhile, then went to church & heard an excellent little sermon on our Christian duty with regard to the Governor’s recent proclamation to the approach the last day of the year to contributing to the wants of the needy soldier’s families. The expectant load from Mt. Pleasant came & with John, Kitty, Dave, & Alice & some assistance from Cyrus, we spent a very pleasant afternoon. They went on to Mr. Bartlett’s & we went to church in the evening. John gave me a little news that makes my heart throb wildly with the vague hope. Oh, I pray it may be true!
Friday morn, December 30th 
This week has been so busily put in that I’ve hardly had time to think let alone write. Been at Institute day & night almost. Am recording secretary also & that fills up all of what would otherwise be leisure moments. Monday evening our Mt. Pleasant friends & a few others had a social time at Henderson’s & on Wednesday, Cyrus & I went to the wedding. Saw Mary Jones transformed into Mrs. Dougherty. Elma & Henry stood with them & all looked very nicely. Dinner was excellent. Yesterday evening the Salem Board of Directors concluded to give me my passport to better diggings so I’m free to follow my inclinations if I can.