September 1888

Saturday, September 1, 1888

Very rainy this morn but cleared away so we started for home at quarter before 11. Came down the “break neck” road home. Reached here at 1-45. Ed. and Nettie came about 4 o’c this P.M. Brought Mattie home.

Sunday, September 2, 1888

Very pleasant. Mattie and Emma walked down to church.

Monday, September 3, 1888

Pleasant. Louise and Matthias stopped work here today. F. went to the village this morn. Grandpa to Northampton. They both went to So. Deerfield this P.M. F. went to the village to get money for Matt & L. I have made bed tick for my bed.

Tuesday, September 4, 1888

Pleasant. Mother and I have done our ironing etc. This P.M. I put feathers into the new bed tick. Frank carried off pears and took Matthias things to the depot, then went to Leeds.

Mat and Louise have not eaten with us since Mon. morn: think they must have taken their breakfast in the village as they went there this A.M.

Wednesday, September 5, 1888

Very pleasant and not very warm. Cleaned up the floors all round. Been getting rid of foreign dirt. Done mending this P.M.
Men been picking Bartlett pears. Charles Johnson and Henry Leonard here to help. Mother’s tree had four bu. nearly every one good.
Rec’d letter from Mary and Marion another card from her tonight.
She is coming next Mon. P.M. Susie has said several new words lately – today she said warm.
Heavy frost on the hills and in some parts of this town. None of our crops were affected by it.

Sunday, September 9, 1888

Pleasant. Frank has been getting Bartlett pears ready to send off – men worked until 4-15 P.M. Mr. Oscar Frommel came on the 2 o’c train after going over orchards in this street they went to Conway, spent the night there then went over the hills to Huntington and Chester Hill. Mr. F. went home Saturday and Frank went to cousin Ellen Camps in Montgomery and stayed until it stopped raining – it rained very hard here all day Saturday and it has been cloudy all day today. (Sunday)
Thurs. Grandpa drew 5 bls. pears to the depot. I wrote a letter to go with them.

Fri. he took down one load of pears and two loads of apples. I wrote labels and a letter to send on.
Prescott stayed at home from school Thurs. to help sort fruit.
Fri. I cut out two pairs of drawers for Emma and made one pair.
Sat. mother baked bread, biscuit, pies, cookies and beans.
I washed windows in my room and the sitting room. Swept my room etc. etc., made E. another pair of drawers this P.M.

Sun.9 Frank came home at noon bringing Jamie with him. Marion is coming on the cars tomorrow. Old Mr. [Transcription note: Xerox copy cuts off this entry.]

Monday, September 10, 1888

Pleasant. We have done our washing and cleaning up. This P.M. commenced to rip my brown flannel dress.

Tuesday, September 11, 1888

Pleasant. We have done our ironing. Marion came this P.M. on the 2-15 train. Grandpa went down to meet her.


Marion A. McBride (also spelled MacBride, maiden name: Snow) was Emma’s cousin, and was born Jan 5, 1850. Marion was the only child of Joseph Preston Snow, brother of Julia Snow, Emma’s mother. Marion had one son, James “Jamie” D. McBride. Marion made her home and career in Boston.

Through some internet sleuthing, I found out that Marion McBride was quite an accomplished woman.

A 1904 book called Representative Women of New England, edited by Julia Ward Howe, includes a biographical sketch of Marion A. MacBride. From that piece, a selection of her work and interests:

  • Reporter and correspondent for the Boston Post from 1881 to 1885
  • Contributor to Boston Daily Globe, New York Herald, New Orleans Picayune, Cleveland Plain Dealer, St. Louis Chronicle
  • Active with Women’s Christian Temperance Union
  • Leadership positions for periodicals concerning domestic science
  • Organized the National Women’s Press Association in 1884 or 1885, which spawned regional chapters – in one publication I found, she was dubbed “the mother of press associations”

The founding of the National Women’s Press Association was apparently preceded by some internecine controversy. It took place at the Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans. Apparently Julia Ward Howe had named MacBride as the Superintendent of the Press Department of the Woman’s Department of the Exposition but later rescinded the invitation due to lack of funds. When MacBride showed up to the Exposition to carry out the original plan, Howe apparently was displeased. It’s hard to follow all the details of what one scholar called “The McBride Flap“.

In any case, the establishment of the National Women’s Press Association was apparently met with enthusiasm. MacBride herself became active with the New England Women’s Press Association (NEWPA).  The Illinois Woman’s Press Association, which was established right after the founding of the national association, is still in existence today and mentions MacBride’s role in their website.

MacBride also is briefly mentioned by African-American journalist and author Gertrude Bustill Mossell in her 1908 book The Work of the Afro-American Woman. In a section about “Our Women in Journalism” she wrote, “. . . one can always find a helper in a fellow-worker. I have received such kind, helpful letters; one from Mrs. Marion McBride, President of the New England Women’s Press Association comes to my mind.”

Wednesday, September 12, 1888

Rained hard this morn. Cleared off before noon. We have spent the day visiting as hard as possible. Grandpa’s eyes are bad.

Thursday, September 13, 1888

Pleasant and cooler. Mrs. Tilden and Mrs. Weeks & baby of Chesterfield here to dinner. Marion and I went up into Aunt Fannie’s mowing after maiden hair ferns. Grandpa has been down to Loudville after a load of ladders.

Note: Houseplants, and ferns in particular, really took off in the Victorian era.

More information about Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern) can be found on GoBotany’s website, which is run by the New England Wild Flower Society:

Friday, September 14, 1888

Pleasant. Mother baked three kinds of cake this morn. After we picked tomatoes and cucumbers. Marion, Jamie, Henry and I went to the village – called at Mr. James’s store, P.O., Mr. Sesostris Warners – then drove down So. St. as far as the Almon Warner place stopped in the yard and spoke with Mrs. Champion Brown. She is not looking very well.

Saturday, September 15, 1888

Pleasant. Frank started for N. Haven and N.Y. on the 10-40 train. Grandpa sent him a telegram to N.H. and letter tonight telling of the rise in the price of fruit.
Mother has made bread and pies. I have done the usual running about work.

Sunday, September 16, 1888

Rainy day. Children spent the most of the day in the carriage house. I have been visiting with Marion and taking it “easy generally.”

Monday, September 17, 1888

Clouds and hard rain tonight. Frank came home this evening: he went to see Uncle E’s family. They have a pleasant place on Gates Ave. No. 912. Mattie and Uncle E. are looking very well. Tirzah is not looking very well.
We did not do any washing. Marion has been making “Slumber cushions.”
I have partly cut out my turkey red wrapper.
Mother has been canning tomatoes.
Susie’s face is badly broken out.


Uncle Edward Snow, Mattie and Tirzah’s Gates Avenue home was in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, NY.


Tuesday, September 18, 1888

Clouds and rain. Some of our clothes got dry by watching them closely. Grandpa fell on the wharf to the carriage house last evening consequently he has not felt able to get around very much. Marion is fixing over her blue flannel dress. F. went over to Whately this P.M.

Wednesday, September 19, 1888

Rainy. F. went to Poland this P.M.

Thursday, September 20, 1888

Clouds and rain a little clear weather then a fearful rain commenced soon after 3 o’c this P.M. Very sharp lightning and heavy thunder this eve.
Father came over this P.M. and brought Ed. and Nettie but the rain kept them here over night. We had a splendid time.
Mother picked peaches before the rain. We all went up with her.
Father and Jamie drove down to the village and returned just in time to escape the rain. Men have been picking some of the King apples.
Grand Army parade in Northampton today.

Note: The full name of the “King” apple variety is “King of Tompkins County”. Here is some more information about the variety:

I haven’t quite figured out why there was a Grand Army parade on this particular day.

Friday, September 21, 1888

Rained too hard to send children out to school. Heavy thunder and powerful rain until nearly noon. Father, Marion and Jamie started for Conway soon after dinner. Ed. and Nettie started for S. on the 5.45 train. Prescott, Mattie and Emma went to the depot. Done our mending this P.M. and eve. Neuralygia troubles during this weather.

Saturday, September 22, 1888

Cloudy but only a slight shower now and then. Five men here to help pick apples – gather in 93 bls.
I have put the house to rights finished brushing flannel dress etc.
Mother has made bread, pies and cake and put up two cans of peaches.
Prescott has wind colic this morn but got over it and went to work again this P.M.
Mattie has helped me real good by caring for Susie. Emma swept her room and the stairs.
Susie’s face is quite uncomfortable but think it is a little better tonight.

Sunday, September 23, 1888

Very cool – We wore flannel dresses to church.
Miss Louise Thayer’s funeral this P.M. at the M.E. Church.

Monday, September 24, 1888

We did our washing. Mr. Utley of Chesterfield and Mr. Atkins of Conway came to pack apples.

Tuesday, September 25, 1888

Cool and pleasant. Arthur brought Marion Jamie and Mrs. Raymond over: arrived here just after dinner. A. took them to the depot for the 5-45 train.

Wednesday, September 26, 1888

Very hard rain this morn until nearly noon. Aunt Ruby and Cousin Almera came this P.M.

Thursday, September 27, 1888

Pleasant. Mother W. has a very hard cold so she could not go to the Old Folks gathering. Grandpa went and carried Mrs. Burke, took ½ bu. peaches, loaf of cake and a plate of biscuit. Mother came over father could not come because of butchering that must be done. Mary Guilford came up from Westfield and went home with mother.



I found a description of a 1896 Old Folks gathering that took place in another western Massachusetts town called Charlemont that may be a similar style gathering to the Williamsburg gathering mentioned in Emma’s journal. [Excerpt below is taken from an article called “A Unique Gathering” by Helen M. North in New Outlook Volume 54]

“The day selected for the ‘Gathering’ is always an early one in September . . . only those of seventy years and over may become members of the Old Folks’ Society, and it is for these that the entertainment has been provided . . .

By ten o’clock in the morning, all the roads leading to Charlemont are dark with conveyances, in most of which an old grandfather or grandmother is sitting, carefully wrapped up and tended by grandchildren or other friends. Lonely ones who have no family are sought out and brought by some friendly young hand.

A large hall has been arranged with loving care for the comfort and pleasure of the aged guests . . . Rows and rows of cozy home rocking-chairs have been sent in from all the houses along the river street . . . By eleven o’clock all the rocking-chairs are full”

The article goes on to describe the activities of the day:

An old favorite song is sung

Mortuary record is read with tributes to departed members

Names and ages of members are taken. The oldest member present receives a bouquet.

Speeches and songs by choir

An 1883 publication called “A Sketch of the Origin and Growth of the Old Folks’ Association of Charlemont, Mass” can be found through Google Books. It contains further description of the Old Folks’ Gathering of Charlemont.

Friday, September 28, 1888

Pleasant. Frank has sent off two cars of apples today – Mrs. Burke rode to the village with him. Henry is four years old today. I got out the little tea-set for the children when they came from school.

Saturday, September 29, 1888

Cold. Prescott and I have picked the ripe tomatoes. Mother has made pies, etc. Grandpa bought oysters then when Frank came he brought two more qts.
Frank has been down to Mr. Clarks and Mr. Warrens looking at apples.
Mary Kazer has been here today. Mr. Wm Frommel came over from Chester Hill so home sick he can hardly stand it.

Sunday, September 30, 1888

Cold and rainy. Snow squalls through the day. The snow looked like tiny snow-balls instead of hail. We did not go out to ch. Mr. F. and F. spent most of the time out to the office. I do not get much sleep these days – consequently I feel very much like hating myself.


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