April 1888

Sunday, April 1, 1888

A real spring day, pleasant but clouds working up for a storm. Frank, Mattie and Emma have been down to ch. The sleighing is very bad – snow deep up this way but bare ground in the village. A day of neuralgia for me.

Monday, April 2, 1888

A slight fall of snow during the night with rain today until nearly noon. We fixed Frank off to take the six o’clock train for New Haven. He goes from there to N.Y. to sell cider and settle with Mr. Frommel for his winter’s work.

Susie weighs twenty lbs. 2 ft. 4 in. high. She can say burn ye! burn ye! by-by etc. but she is so successful in making us understand her signs that she does not try to talk very much.

Grandpa W. been down to town-meeting – brought home news of the death of Mrs. Hart Ives of Haydenville and Mr. Geo. Smith of Florence. Mr. S. lived in this town for 10 or twelve yrs – moving to F. about 10 yrs. ago. He joined the M.E. ch. while Mr. Thorndyke was here and has since been a very active christian man.


Why “burn ye burn ye” is part of little Susie’s vocabulary I have no idea.

Mr. Thorndyke – more likely spelling was Thorndike – was probably the father of Edward L. Thorndike, a man considered to be a pioneer in the field of educational psychology. Edward L. Thorndike’s biographical details state that he was born in Williamsburg, MA in 1874 and that his father had been a Methodist minister.


Tuesday, April 3, 1888

Quite pleasant – good “sap day.” Prescott has been busy gathering sap from his one tree. We have boiled it down for him.

We had a two weeks wash today. Took down the white curtains in the sitting-room.

Mrs. Ives funeral was held in Haydenville this P.M. at 2 ½ o’c. She was my friend, Nellie N. Baggs’s grand-mother.

Susie is so ambitious to learn to walk that it is hard for her to sit down and be amused with her playthings.

Children rec’d handsome cards from Marion last eve.

Wednesday, April 4, 1888

Pleasant. Rec’d card and cong. list from mother. Grandpa went to the depot and waited until the last train but Frank did not come. We ironed part of the clothes and starched collars. Mother made birthday cakes for the children. We had over two qts of very thick syrup from our one tree. Prescott saves all the sap so we can have a “sugar off” his birthday.

Mr. Geo. Smith’s funeral is to be held this P.M. in Florence. Mr. Thorndyke comes to attend it.

Thursday, April 5, 1888

A pleasant forenoon and a very rainy afternoon and evening. Sent a letter to Ella Bradley and paper to Arthur. Celebrated Prescott’s birthday by having boiled eggs for breakfast, waxed sugar for dinner and two kinds of fancy cakes for supper. Mother W. gave him a silk handkerchief. F. has not come yet – he may get here on the last train. Sharp lightening and thunder this eve.


Waxed sugar refers to the treat created by spreading boiling maple sugar onto snow.

Friday, April 6, 1888

Warm with a strong wind blowing. Snow is going off very rapidly. The first wagon went by here today. Mr. Wm. Nash drove up from the village.

We made yeast and ginger-bread. I have finished a sheet and the mending for this week. Mother has made me an apron of unbleached cotton and finished working a “splasher.”

Susie raised herself up alone today for the first time.

Prescott is 4 ft. 4 in. tall

Mattie   “   “   2 ½ “

Emma     “ 3 ft. 11 “ “

Henry     “ 3 ft. 4 in. “

Susie     “ 2 “   4. in. “


From Redwork Embroidery: An Overview by Patricia L. Cummings:

“In the days when it was common to wash up using a pitcher and basin, splashers prevented water from sloshing onto the wall behind the washstand. It was important to keep walls dry so that they would not develop mold, especially at a time when spot heating by fireplaces and wood stoves was the norm and central heating via a furnace was not common.”


Saturday, April 7, 1888

Pleasant. Frank came from N.Y. via of New Haven. Settled business with Mr. Frommel, had good time stopping with Mr. Wm. F., called on cousins Mattie and Tirzah. Bought him a new suit for $10.50.


Sunday, April 8, 1888

Colder again ground frozen quite hard. Very pleasant. Roads are so bad no one went down to ch. from this street. Mr. Price preached here for the last time today. His family expect to leave for Minn. tomorrow. Mattie had a hard cold. Susie has been my girl today.

“Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Cor 13” 11.)


From the History of Minnesota wikipedia page: “Minnesota’s population in 1870 was 439,000; this number tripled during the two subsequent decades.”


Monday, April 9, 1888

Very pleasant quite cold. Quite a good “sap day.” Prescott has gathered a no. of qts of sap from his one tree. A large washing today. Mother is pretty well tired out with her days labors.

“Homes! Ye may be high or lowly, Hearts alone can make you holy

Be the dwelling e’er so small, Having love it boasteth all”

Have written to mother and Marion.


Tuesday, April 10, 1888

Pleasant this morn. Snowed very fast all the P.M. Children took cold out this morn.
We have churned had 9 lbs. and a few ozs. I have done mending and fixed petticoat out of red and black dress. Frank has been cutting pear scions and trimming the trees.


Wednesday, April 11, 1888

Rainy all day. Frank has been down after a bl. of flour. Bought it at Mr. James’s. Opened a bl. of Baldwin apples – not a decayed one to be seen. We have done our ironing and fine starching. Had warm biscuit and maple syrup for supper, the product of Prescott’s maple tree.

Susie walked alone several steps today.

Oliver Munson brought Aunt Fannie Williams down to her house to stay there alone. She would not stay up with them, so uneasy all the time.


Originating out of Boston, the Baldwin apple was very popular at the time. The variety waned in popularity during the early 20th century and then a hard winter wiped out most of the great Baldwin orchards in the 1930’s, though it is a variety that still exists today.

According to the website Orange Pippin:

“Baldwin was one of the most important American commercial apples in the 19th century, being an excellent keeping apple and with a fairly thick skin which made it able to withstand long-distance transportation.

Baldwin is a genuine dual-purpose apple.  The flavor for eating fresh is sweet and unpretentious, but crisp and pleasant.  It is equally at home in the kitchen where it retains its shape when cooked, and lends a moderately rich sweet flavor to apple pies.”


Thursday, April 12, 1888

Clouds and sunshine. Grandpa drew Mr. Newhall’s vinegar bls. up from the depot. Frank not very well. Mattie and Emma have a bad cold. Susie and Henry are getting it.

Friday, April 13, 1888

A very pleasant day. Mother went up to see how Aunt Fannie was. She is glad to get home but she is not very well. Mother has made pies, ginger-bread and cake. Henry not as well today. Mattie feels better & E. is about the same. Frank has given up and gone to bed. Mr. Dorus Bradford, Mr. Hiram Nash and Mr. Alanson Nash have been here today. Prescott has gathered some more sap.

Saturday, April 14, 1888

Snow and rain. Grandpa and Mr. Oliver Nash walked down to the village. Susie has occupied most of my time. Frank has not tried to work any today. Henry is better but still coughs considerable.


Sunday, April 15, 1888

Very pleasant, but clouds kept running over. Mr. Oliver Munson came down to see Aunt Fannie found the travelling very bad.
Ferdinand gone to town. We have all kept Sun. by staying at home.
“Oh, keep not any watch with care, for care
Mocks God, who gives the sunlight and the rain;
Grow to thine utmost hight, then stand as brave
As winter’s green, however cold the time;
Yield all thine heart in balm; give fear no place;
Nought harms us in God’s world, where day
Comes ever on the track of night, and sun
Meets frost, and He who made the light rules still.
Trust God for all; trust Him; He sends a day
To match each night; the fullest on the last.”

Monday, April 16, 1888

Pleasant. Mother W. is sick with a hard cold. We did not work, but did our churning instead. Mr. Sam’l Williams here to dinner: he came to get apple-tree scions. Grandpa and Prescott have been getting ready vinegar stock. Frank has been mending roof to the apple-house.
Susie is very tendsome. She wants to walk and does not know how.
Henry is not very well tonight.

Tuesday, April 17, 1888

Pleasant. Mattie’s birth-day: she was born eight years ago this morning at 2 ½ o’c. during a thunder-storm. I had Mrs. Lizzie P. Robinson for nurse for the first time. She has been here for a like purpose three times since.
Mother and Henry some better. We had a “sugar off” this noon and made “sugar kisses” and chocolate car. for Mattie’s supper.
I went up to see how Aunt Fannie was this P.M. Found her more comfortable than I expected to. Carried her some Cong.lists and peach sauce. Mr. Chauncey French died at his home on No. St. yesterday at the age of 71 yrs. He had been suffering from kidney troubles for some time. He lived in the house formerly owned by Dea. Warner Nash (deceased) he bought of a Mr. Phelps who built the house and lived in it some time. Mr. Phelps has two daughters and a crazy wife the oldest daughter died here in town.
Ferdinand spent day cutting ice out west of the house.

Thursday, April 19, 1888

Very pleasant. We did our washing. Frank has been trimming sweet apple trees. Henry feels a little better.

Friday, April 20, 1888

Rain, hail and snow. Frank has been to Northampton and Florence. We have done our ironing. Mother is very tired – wish the noise could be avoided so it would not be so hard for her. Done a little mending this P.M.

Saturday, April 21, 1888

Rain, hail and snow. Frank has been to Northampton and Florence. We have done our ironing. Mother is very tired – wish the noise could be avoided so it would not be so hard for her. Done a little mending this P.M.

Sunday, April 22, 1888

Ground froze considerable last night. Frank and Prescott walked down to church today. Rev. Mr. Snyder of No. Branford, Conn. preached. They had a very interesting meeting this evening, quite a number out. Mattie, Emma, Henry and I went up to stay a while with Aunt Fannie. She is looking better than when she first came home.
The S.S. lesson was about the ten virgins.
“And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.” (Golden Text)
“Five were foolish, and five were wise;
All were waiting with heavy eyes;
Five were ready, and five were not;
Five remembered, and five forgot;
Their lamps were not filled; The wicks were not cut;
The bride-groom went in and the door was shut.”


According to the online Merriam-Webster, Golden Text refers to a short passage of Scripture “chosen as embodying the thought of a Sunday-school lesson”.


Monday, April 23, 1888

Pleasant. We have done our washing – hung all the clothes out of doors for the first time today. Emma and Prescott began going to school. Mattie coughs too hard and is broken out with a rash.
Frank trimmed trees “over east;” Grandpa cut off some of the young budded trees.

Tuesday, April 24, 1888

Sunshine and snow squalls. Churned 11 lbs. of butter. Henry has not felt as well today had spells of vomitting. Mattie has stayed at home. Rec’d two postals and work-bag from mother.
Mrs. Ida Bartlett Tower of Haydenville died quite suddenly last Sun. (the 22nd). Her funeral was Mon. P.M. She was 29 years old – her father Mr. Spencer Bartlett lived in Wmsburg village and was washed out by the Mill River flood of May 16” 1874.


This is the first of very few mentions of the 1874 Mill River flood in Emma’s journal. The flood was caused by a poorly constructed dam which broke in the early morning of May 16, 1874. 139 people were killed by the flood, including Emma’s maternal grandmother, Sarah (Strong) Snow, and Emma’s younger brother William Henry Tilton. Emma was 16 years old at the time of the flood.

The following excerpt is from Elizabeth M. Sharpe’s book In the Shadow of the Dam. Henry Tilton was Emma’s father:

“Adams’s other employee, Henry Tilton, lived about one hundred yards below the sawmill. [After being warned] he hurried home to find his wife and four of their five children safely upstairs, but his three-year-old son Willie and his mother-in-law were not with them. Tilton soon located his wife’s mother, Sarah Snow, near the house. As he tried to carry her to safety, the water hit them; she slipped from his grasp and fell into the current. Tilton grabbed hold of a cherry tree limb, climbed the tree, and clung there for twenty minutes until the churning water a few feet below subsided. From his unsteady perch he could see the torrent scour the yard and take away the barn where Willie had been playing. Tilton’s house was protected by the widening of the valley, which allowed the water to spread out around his house so that family members who remained upstairs survived.”

Emma mentions in this entry that Spencer Bartlett was killed in the flood. From the accounts I have found, his wife died as well, which means that Ida Bartlett was orphaned by the flood as a teenager. She may be the unnamed daughter in this excerpt from Sharpe’s book:

“When the torrent crashed into the home of Spencer Bartlett, a lifelong resident in his seventies and in poor health, he and his wife, Saloma, tried to leave the house but were swept up and killed. Their daughter, who remained inside, survived.”


Wednesday, April 25, 1888

Very pleasant. The men have been trimming trees in the lot towards “Aunt Fannies.” Grandpa says he planted the seeds for those trees fifty years ago this summer.
Mother has not been very well today. We have done our ironing.
Mattie has been to school.

Thursday, April 26, 1888

Very pleasant, the first real spring like day. I carried Susie up to Aunt Fannie’s. Henry went with us: he stayed out of doors most of the day. Anton came tonight. He has been sick with the fever – stayed two weeks in bed – took him some time to walk from the depot. He brought Henry the promised watch.
My humor has come out so my face is handsome and feels decidedly uncomfortable.
Men put up barbed wire on Aunt Fannie’s road from the bars to the mowing

Friday, April 27, 1888

Pleasant and warm mercury went up to 75⁰ in the shade. Mother has baked dried apple pies, two kinds of cake and two custard pies. Aunt Fannie came down to bring a letter to mail. Frank has been cutting young trees. Went to the village tonight. Susie has been on the move all day. Hard work to keep track of her.

Saturday, April 28, 1888

Warm and pleasant. Grandpa W. and Prescott have been to Northampton – Prescott went to see them make crackers and had a fine time seeing all the sights. Grandpa Tilton and Arthur came over – were here to dinner and tea. Mother sent over some maple sugar for Aunt Fannie and for us.
Frank has been “burning over” the garden spot.

Sunday, April 29, 1888

Warm and pleasant. Frank and the three older children have been to church – my face has too badly swollen for me to go. Think I must have been poisoned some way. We have spent most of the day out of doors. Susie, F. and I went to see Aunt Fannie.
Mr. Snyder preached again today – meeting time was changed to seven o’c. this eve.

Monday, April 30, 1888

A little cooler tonight. We have done a large wash today. Grandpa W. helped take care of Susie. Mother W. persuaded Anton to stay until he felt better able to go to work.
Frank is behaving tonight consequently will postpone writing any more now.