May 1888

Tuesday, May 1, 1888

Pleasant. Mother has baked doughnuts, cookies and lemon pies. I have not done much but take care of Susie. My face is quite badly swelled. Frank is grafting the flemish beauty pear trees over to Swan’s Orange and Buerre D’Anjou.


Flemish Beauty trees are known for being winter hardy. The pears were sometimes called “Sweetmeat of the Woods.” This variety still seems available today as an heirloom variety.

Swan’s Orange – an American variety also known as Onondaga. Online search results are mostly mentions of the variety in mid-19th century horticultural books, leading me to think it is not a variety propagated today.

Buerre D’Anjou is also known as Anjou, and is still a very popular variety of pear.

Wednesday, May 2, 1888

Rain and sunshine – somewhat cooler – snow flakes flying. Mother has made bread and churned; also set a hen in the apple house tonight. I have not been worth much today – fixed mother’s room after F. took the stove down.
Anton spent the P.M. down to Mr. Miller’s.
Sent Emma and Mattie up to inquire after Aunt Fannie.

Thursday, May 3, 1888

White frost last night – pleasant today. Frank has been grafting trees in the pear orchard. We did our ironing.

Friday, May 4, 1888

Cloudy. Henry took a walk up to Aunt Fannie’s alone this forenoon and stayed until Grandpa went for him. Anton started for Holyoke this A.M. Fixed the girls gingham dresses.

“A precious thing is all the more precious to us if it has been won by work or economy.” (Ruskin)

Frank has been to Northampton to draw money to take up Mr. B’s note. Rec’d letter from Florence.

Saturday, May 5, 1888

Clouds with a little rain. Mother has made bread and biscuit. Mattie Emma and Henry went up to Aunt Fannie’s this P.M. Frank has been to Chesterfield after a load of hay. Grandpa went down to pay Mr. Belcher.

Sunday, May 6, 1888

A beautiful day. This has been a “red letter” day in our lives. Father, mother and Arthur drove over to hear Rev. W.W. Parker preach and took tea with us. Went home at six o’clock.
Frank has been down again this eve. A great treat to go to church and communion. F. came home with Grandpa, Prescott and Henry at noon. Mattie, Emma and I rode up with Grandpa Tilton this P.M. Mr. Parker’s text was Matt.5 – last verse.

Monday, May 7, 1888

Very pleasant. We have done our washing. Frank has been grafting pear trees in front of the mill. Susie and I kept him company an hour this P.M.

I sent Aunt S. a letter as it is her birthday. Also sent a card to Florence.

Tuesday, May 8, 1888

Pleasant this A.M. Clouds and a little sprinkle tonight. Trimmed the girls summer hats and fixed mother’s gray dress a little. Frank has been to Chesterfield after another load of hay. Finished his grafting this P.M. Mother went up to Aunt Fannies this P.M. found she had gone down street.

Wednesday, May 9, 1888

Clouds this morn., pleasant this P.M. We have done our ironing. Jack broke through the stable floor while Frank was on the hill with the cows. They drew him up with the teacles when F. got home. Did a little mending this P.M. Went up to Aunt Fannies took S. and Henry. Men have been drawing manure onto the garden and into the pear orchard.
Rec’d a letter from mother containing one from Aunt Susan.


Jack is their horse. And as “teacles” doesn’t seem to be a real word, not even historically, it’s possible that Emma wrote the word down incorrectly or a transcriber read her handwriting incorrectly.

Thursday, May 10, 1888

Cloudy – Grandpa Henry and I have been down to the Florence store. We waited there while Grandpa went to Northampton.

Friday, May 11, 1888

Cloudy. I have been getting ready to go to Conway.

Saturday, May 12, 1888

Cloudy with some rain in the morn. F. carried Henry, Susie and I to C.

Sunday, May 20, 1888

The first pleasant day for more than a week. Frank and the three older children came to C. after us last night. He stayed with Susie so I could go to church with the rest. The first time I have been to the new church. Mr. Cowell of Ashburnham preached – text from Daniel.
After supper we made ready and drove home reached here about 5 ½ o’c. Found Mrs. Susan Munyan here she came last Thurs A.M. Mother W. is quite tired out with work and visiting.

Monday, May 21, 1888

Pleasant. Mrs. M. went to Easthampton this A.M. We did not wash – I have spent spare time in sewing. Rec’d card from mother. Frank went to village this eve.

Tuesday, May 22, 1888

Pleasant. We have done our washing. I have finished a turkey red dress for Susie tonight.
Brush fire got into the grass and run over the side hill up into Aunt Fannie’s lot. The men had to fight it for nearly two hours.
Mother kept watch on the east side.

Wednesday, May 23, 1888

Pleasant. Made fine starch, finished an apron mother gave me, nearly finished another dress for Susie. Men have ploughed the side hill and planted sweet corn in the garden.
Written the second time to the Industrial School.


In the last sentence, Emma is referring to the Lancaster Industrial School for Girls, a Massachusetts correctional facility established in 1854. According to a National Park Service webpage, “Institutions like the Lancaster Industrial School led the way in social reform, copying a cottage system created in France that emphasized a wholesome, family-like atmosphere and the opportunity to rise above the “low life” slums from which Victorians assumed delinquent children came from. Providing individual rooms for each girl rather than in crowded dormitories, the architecture of the Lancaster Industrial School was as progressive as its goals.”

Emma mentions the school again in the May 29, 1888 journal entry.

Friday, May 25, 1888
Clouds and rain. Emma stayed at home today on account of her eyes.

Saturday, May 26, 1888
Very rainy after 10 o’c. Curran here after cider. 2 double teams. I had to give up and go to bed with sick headache.

Sunday, May 27, 1888

Rainy. I have not sat up to do anything today. Frank went down to meeting this evening. Father and mother were married 31 yrs. ago today.

Monday, May 28, 1888
Very rainy – heavy thunder after 8 o’c this eve. Fixed the girls white dresses.

Tuesday, May 29, 1888
Clouds, rain and sunshine. Cut out an apron for Henry. Men on hill fixing fence. Frank sprouting young trees. Father and mother called here on their way home from Goshen via of the village. Rec’d a letter from Industrial School Lancaster, Mass. Miss Jeanie Kendall is dead. Her parents went on to Minn. to come home with her but she only lived a few hours after getting home.


Unfortunately, my online searches did not yield any information that would shed light on who Miss Jeanie Kendall was, and what her connection was to the Lancaster Industrial School for Girls.

 Wednesday, May 30, 1888
Clouds, rain and sunshine. We did our washing today. Grandpa took the children down to hear Decoration music.
Susie was terribly hurt tonight – while I was helping Emma to bed she played by the washstand and in some way pulled it over on to her, the top of the stand and wash-bowl went across her little face.
Frank and Prescott went to Leeds tonight.
Mother and I shortened F’s new suit of clothes. Mr. Robert Damon and wife called.


Decoration Day was established in 1868 by the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Army veterans. It is more usually called Memorial Day now. More Memorial Day History from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website:

Probable Civil War deaths in the family: According to the genealogical website,, Emma’s uncle, George Tilton died on December 21, 1863 in Alexandria, VA at the age of 22. The website also indicates that Emma’s aunt, Susan A. Tilton married a man named George (no last name given) who died at Fredericksburg on Dec. 11, 1863. I’m thinking that the site may have the death year wrong for these men, since the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought on Dec. 11-14, 1862 and over 12,000 Union soldiers died in that battle.

The aunt, Susan A. Tilton, is the Susan Miller mentioned in the journal. She married Lewis Miller in 1865.

Thursday, May 31, 1888
Weather same as yesterday. We have ironed etc. F. took the six o’c train for Worcester this morn and returned this eve. Stopped an hour or two in Springfield. I have spent most of the P.M. out of doors with Susie. I could not sleep much last night I felt so badly about Susie’s hurt. I have written to Tirzah tonight. Been sorting out clothes for carpet rags.

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