April 1889

Monday, April 1, 1889

Very rainy. We had a little “sugar off” today. F. went to N. Haven and N.Y.

Tuesday, April 2, 1889

Not very pleasant. Grandpa went to Whately and brought home a dog for Prescott’s birthday present. He is six weeks old, black as night very handsome.

Wednesday, April 3, 1889

Pleasant in the morn but rain began to fall before our clothes began to get dry. We are busy on patch work these days.

Thursday, April 4, 1889

Pleasant. Fast Day – services in the M.E. ch. with a prayer-meeting in the morning. Frank has been at home today.


In 1735, Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher declared the first Thursday of April to be a Fast Day – “a Day of Solemn Fasting and Prayer”. Other colonies established their own Fast Days. Massachusetts abolished the holiday in 1894. New Hampshire was the only hold-out and didn’t abolish the holiday until 1991.

Friday, April 5, 1889

Pleasant. Prescott’s birthday 10 yrs old 3 o’c P.M. Frank went to New Haven to sell apples – went down on the 10 o’c returned on the 6.45. Brought Prescott a pair of suspenders and each of us an orange. We did our ironing – Mother did sweeping upstairs.

Grandpa went to Florence after a bl. of flour. Killed pig this morning. Mr. Wheeler walked up here today.

Saturday, April 6, 1889

Pleasant. Grandma was taken with poor turn so suddenly that she fell a dead weight on to the floor. She bruised her head badly – it was nearly an hour before she came out of it to really know what had happened. Dr. came after having to come from Goshen and to see Mr. Bardwell. Pease rode Jim bare-back to the village after Grandpa and Frank; they had been gone from home just long enough to get to the depot.

I baked bread, pudding and spare-rib. Fixed ham to smoke – Grandpa put pork down to salt. Henry sick this P.M. but went to sleep soon after 3 o’c and felt much better when he waked.

Mr. Bardwell and his grand-daughter were overturned down into the st. by the R.R. Station – no serious damage.

Sunday, April 7, 1889  

Pleasant. We did not go to ch. Mother has been around some today but her head and shoulders are quite lame. Frank has taken Susie out in the baby carriage.

Monday, April 8, 1889       

Very pleasant. Rec’d postal from mother. Men have been fixing the mill. We made head cheese, tried out lard – baked rest of the pork, etc. etc.

Dea. Erastus Graves died this morn about 4 o’c aged 82 yrs. He had been feeling nicely until about Fri. when he took a pill which caused him to run right down in strength.

Mother has washed the dishes and helped considerable. Dr. called again this noon. He spoke quite encouragingly about her, but I’m afraid she will not look like herself again.

Tuesday, April 9, 1889

Pleasant. Mother did washing with some help. Rec’d card from mother last night – Mary Abell has had a slight stroke of paralysis.

Wednesday, April 10, 1889

Very pleasant and mild. Arthur brought father and mother over to take 10 o’c tr. for Westfield. Grandpa and Frank went to Dea. Graves’s funeral at 1-30 o’c. then F. went to the depot. He goes down every P.M. to put apples into the car.

Mother baked bread & worked butter – I “stirred” the cream – we had 14 ¼ lbs.

Arthur here to dinner and is to stay over night.

Thursday, April 11, 1889

Pleasant. Mr. Warner Tilden here to see about Aunt Fannie’s place. I ironed then took up carpet in the kitchen. Fixed a gray flannel blouse for Henry. Mother’s head aches nearly all the time. Pease went to hear Comical Brown this eve.


Comical Brown was an entertainer from Maine.

I was able to find the table of contents for a songbook written by Comical Brown (whose real name was William B. Brown) through William & Mary’s library website:

Table of Contents:

  • The strong minded female. Words by Wm. B. Brown (first line: I’m a strong-minded female, from Boston)
  • The kiss at the door. Music by Wm. B. Brown (first line: We were sitting in the doorway)
  • William Henry White. Pathetic ballad, composed by Wm. B. Brown (first line: Come all ye people high and low)
  • Shun the broad road (first line: The happy home circle is breaking, my boy)
  • The Irish wedding (first line: Now won’t you hear what roaring cheer was had at Paddy’s wedding)
  • Pat Murphy’s employment. Words and music by Wm. B. Brown (first line: Pat Murphy’s my name, I’m a broth of a boy)
  • The wife-hunter. Written and composed by Wm. B. Brown (first line: I married a wife, a loving wife)
  • The ‘orrible tale. Composed and sung by W.B. Brown (first line: It’s an ‘orrible tale I’m a goin’ for to tell)
  • The little boy that died. Poetry by Dr. Chalmers. Music by Wm. B. Brown (first line: I am all alone in my chamber now)
  • Werry Mysterious. As sung by Wm. B. Brown (first line: O dear! what a world of misfortune and care).

Friday, April 12, 1889

Shower during the night – sunshine, clouds and showers today. Men have been grafting and trimming the trees in the “clover lot” this week. Frank went from there to the depot soon after 4 o’c., and as he has not returned yet think he has gone out of town. Mother has made ginger-bread and doughnuts. I swept and cleaned the west chamber etc. Did mending this P.M. and evening. Henry was happy as possible this morning when he found that he was not to have to have on skirts any more – he looks nicely now his hair is cut. Heard thunder in the distance – we have had two thundershowers this spring – one in the night and one at noon.

The following is something that came to me in good time.

“Do thou thy work; it shall succeed

In thine, or in another’s day,

And if denied the victor’s meed

Thou shalt not miss the toiler’s pay.”

(Robert Moffat)


The occasion on which a little boy first wore trousers even has a name: breeching.

Saturday, April 13, 1889

Showery this morn. but very pleasant before night. Grandma made pies and bread.

Grandpa  and Prescott went to a farmer’s meeting down to Dr. Learned’s – they discussed hog raising. Had a fine time all around.

Pease worked chopping over in the “clover lot.” Frank has not returned. He went to N. Haven last night.


Dr. J. B. Learned’s Strawberry Hill Farm in Florence, MA was well-known for its “porcine products”. An 1888 Good Housekeeping article describes the hog-raising methods at Strawberry Hill Farm in glowing detail, praising the farm for its cleanliness and roominess for the hogs, as well as for the “purity” of its pork. A picture of the farm in a book about Northampton mentions in a caption that “No Cholera Here” was the farm’s trademark for its pork. Hog cholera was a big concern in the United States at the time. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s webpage on the history of hog cholera: “Whether hog cholera originated in America or Europe is not definitely established, but most experts believe it to be native to this country. Cholera was first reported in the United States in 1833 in southern Ohio. By 1893, 90 separate areas of infection were known to exist. Outbreaks in 1886, 1887, and 1896 each killed more than 13 percent of the Nation’s hogs; more than 10 percent died during the 1913 outbreak”.

Dr. Learned was a physician. In a genealogical book about the Learned family, it mentions that Dr. Learned was thrown from a carriage in 1880 and “unable to practice his profession” for some years.

Sunday, April 14, 1889

A very pleasant day. Grandpa and Pease went to ch. with the children – the first time Henry has been without me.

Frank came up to Northampton this morning then walked home on the R.R. track – he was very tired.

Pease went down to lecture this eve. M. Kimball of Chicago was the speaker.


My working theory for the identity of M. Kimball is that Emma had the first initial incorrect, and that the speaker was actually Edward A. Kimball, a Chicagoan who studied Christian Science under the movement’s founder Mary Baker Eddy in early 1889 at her Massachusetts Metaphysical College (located in Boston).

Monday, April 15, 1889

A beautiful day. Mother has done a large washing.

Frank has been grafting trees in the “clover lot.” Pease drew saw dust and cleared the garden. Children commenced going to school. The young lambs began to arrive this P.M. They reported the no. to be seven just before dark.

Tuesday, April 16, 1889

Very pleasant. Henry and I went over across into Mr. Quartus Warner’s lot and picked some trailing arbutus – he was so delighted when he found the flowers growing.

Men butchered the other pig.

Wednesday, April 17, 1889

Mattie’s birthday. Grandpa gave her a dollar to get a dress for herself and Emma. I fixed her a new collar.

Friday, April 19, 1889

Very warm and pleasant. Frank went out distributing circulars – Pease went to Florence with Susie, Henry and I.

Mother tried out lard and took care of other meat – also washed out the soiled clothes.

Saturday, April 20, 1889

Showery – Men worked in the garden a little. Put in peas and made ready for few potatoes. Pease went home – had Jack and the sulky. Heavy thunder shower this P.M.

Sunday, April 21, 1889

Pleasant but very windy this P.M.

Grandpa, Prescott and Henry walked down to church. The meetings today had special reference to “The Constitutional Amendment.” Shall we vote Yes or No?


The Constitutional Amendment was for state Prohibition. This did not pass in 1889.

Monday, April 22, 1889

A beautiful morn – but wind clouds blew over and was so windy we could hardly get clothes on to the line.

Grass is up two inches high and is very green, and fresh.

The vote for the Amendment came in 11 or 13 ahead in this town. School did not keep – children all went after checker-berries.

Grandpa carried Mr. Wheeler down to vote.

Pease came home tonight.


The checker-berry plant also goes by the name American wintergreen or eastern teaberry.

Tuesday, April 23, 1889

We had twenty lbs. of maple sugar come from Worthington – paid .10 per lb.

Thursday, April 25, 1889

Mr. Wheeler and Copper had the express wagon and Jack to go to Haydenville.

Friday, April 26, 1889

Mr. Wheeler came up and stayed over an hour. Grandpa and Frank went down to Dr. Learned’s. He has been writing a piece on pork raising to be sent to the Gazette. Cleaned sitting room closet. Rainy – with heavy rainfall tonight.

Saturday, April 27, 1889

Men have been sawing shingle – Rainy most of the day.

I have fixed a blue check blouse for Henry and cut a new one of striped brown and white gingham for him. Also cut and made a pair of pants for Prescott. Cleaned my back closet and entry. Emma has not been to school this week.

Sunday, April 28, 1889

Rainy. Mr. Wheeler died this morn soon after Frank came home from milking his cow. Mr. Alexander, Frank and Mr. William Nash laid him out. Mrs. N. came down and stayed a while. I was down there 3 or 4 hours. Frank went to the depot and telegraphed to Orange, Springfield & New Haven.

I have taken a hard cold some way. Finished a letter to send to [assume rest was cut off in transcription].

Monday, April 29, 1889

Rain, clouds and sunshine. I stayed down to Mrs. Wheelers until after 11 o’c – when Mrs. Geckler came. Went down again this P.M. Mr. Smith – Phillips and wife called – also the Dr. Mrs. Parker came just after I came away. Will. Nash went to town to get a coffin etc. Pease drew two loads of wood down to them. Frank has stayed down there most of the day. “Aunt Libbie” came up here to supper and to spend the night.

Prescott went to school alone. My cold is quite troublesome.

Tuesday, April 30, 1889  

Cherry trees just putting out blossoms. Pleasant but chilly wind blowing.

Frank went to the depot and met Mr. Parker and Mr. Geckler – Rec’d a letter from Clara G. saying that they would not be able to come to the funeral. The services were held at the house at 2 o’c Mr. Snyder conducting. Mr. Cooper went home yesterday after his wife. He returned on the 7 o’c train last eve. The following is a list of names of those who attended the funeral.

Mr. Hiram Nash and wife – Mr. Oliver Nash and wife.

Mr. Prescott Williams and wife – Mr. Wm. Nash “  “

Mr. W.W. Nash and wife – Mr. F. C. Richards “   “ & children

Mr. Billings, Mr. Skiff, Mr. Joseph Graves, Mrs. Bartlett

Mr. Lewis Alexander, Miss Ellen Nash, Mr. Charles Geckler & wife

Mr. F. W. Parker and wife

Mr. Seth Cooper, wife and child

J. Howard Pease

Mr. William Nash carried Henry and Howard over to the cemetery. Prescott went with Grandpa and Grandma. Frank carried Mr. & Mrs. Geckler to the depot before he came home. F. & Pease went to the village this eve.