March 1890

Saturday, March 1, 1890

Cleared off a little. Colder tonight. I have sat up part of the day. Commenced to get up the day the baby was a week old.

Been crocheting and sewing carpet rags.

Sunday, March 2, 1890  

Pleasant but quite cold. Emma and Mattie walked down to church.

Prescott is not as well as usual; think he has taken cold.

Frank carried Mrs. Graves home tonight. She has been here just ten days. She did not ask us but .75 (cents) a day. She thought she had had a very easy time.

I have written a letter to mother.

Prescott is all broken out – think he must be as E. Graves was 2 weeks ago.

Monday, March 3, 1890

Cold and windy. A little snow fell during the night snow squalls this forenoon – pleasant this P.M.

Alice and mother have done a large washing.

Frank slept on the lounge and kept fire for me. I took care of the baby all right. Gave her the bottle twice during the night.

Frank Sanderson his wife and 9 mos. old boy called on us this evening. It seemed very pleasant to have a neighbor come in. Men drawing manure. F. & Grandpa piling wood down to the mill.

Tuesday, March 4, 1890

A very beautiful day. I am out in the sitting room for the first time today. Mrs. Graves called on her way over to Mr. Lawley’s. I made night shirts for Ruby.

We have had five lambs come – but two of them were too small and feeble to live.

Alice did part of the ironing.

Men drawing out manure.

Wednesday, March 5, 1890   

Pleasant. Men are drawing manure on to the land between here and Mrs. Wheelers. Children out enjoying the fun. I have sewed all day and evening. Emma has the breaking out.

Mother W. has had dizzy head all day. She could not sit up tonight.

Thursday, March 6, 1890  

A little snow came in the night and the wind blows and the snow has fallen fast all day.

Alice has done all the kitchen work and mother has tried to get a little rest.

I mended stockings and laid on the bed when Ruby did not want me. She weighed 5 lbs. this morn.

Frank went to Mr. Coopers after the churn.

Mattie is coming down with the breaking out. Emma has helped do the kitchen work.

Friday, March 7, 1890  

A very bright sunny day. Merc. down to 0 last night.

Men drawing manure over to the side hill.

Grandpa went to village after dinner. Jim horse has been down to Mr. Keplinger’s for several days. Mother had Prescott to help her churn. We have two boxes of butter to send off now.

I trimmed one pair of pillow-cases for Mother W.

Mattie is quite spreckled today and feels very weak and restless.

Emma feels well except the itching.

Saturday, March 8, 1890     

Pleasant – I put new sleeves into Susies dress etc. etc.

Sunday, March 9, 1890    

Warmer and pleasant. I took dinner with the others out in the kitchen this noon.

Mattie and Emma are nearly well again. No one has been down to church. Today is Communion day.

Monday, March 10, 1890  

A beautiful day. Mother did not try to do much washing as she had fall this morn before breakfast.

I spend my time cutting rags and fixing things.

Mr. Hiram Graves called.

Men drawing manure the snow is leaving so they will have to use a wagon again.

Tuesday, March 11, 1890     

Rainy. Grandpa went to Florence and Northampton today. Frank has been at work in the apple-house. The children have had good fun out there with him.

Alice has made apple pies today. Mother put new sleeves in her gingham dress. The children and I have sewed rags.

Ruby Elma has been having canker in her mouth, but is better tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 1890   

Foggy and quite warm so we have needed the doors open to keep comfortable.

Grandpa has stayed in bed with a hard cold – kept mother pretty busy going up and down stairs.

The flannelette came from Springfield today. Mother made Susie a nightgown of it so she had it on tonight. I commenced to mend mother’s gray cashmere dress. Wrote a postal to “Aunt Libbie”.

Rec’d a letter from mother.

Mattie helped Alice iron – she made bread. (A.)

Frank has been getting manure out of the sheep-barn.

Thursday, March 13, 1890   

Foggy and not much rain. I have been all about the house down stairs.

Made two lemon cream pies for supper. Frank at work in the sheep barn.

Mother has had a bad time with her head again today. Grandpa has been down stairs.

Friday, March 14, 1890    

Very rainy day – with snow squalls. Mother made butter; had 13 ¾ lbs. Alice cleaned girl’s room. She bought a black dress of a peddler and paid him $3.00.

I commenced fixing over girls old flannel dresses. Frank and Prescott at work in sheep barn.

Jesse Wells called. Emma and Mattie have been extra good girls today.

Sunday, March 16, 1890

Pleasant. Prescott, Mattie and Emma rode down to church in a sleigh but they found rather hard scratching.

Alice went down to Mr. Coopers – he is feeling discouraged about his wife staying away so long. Susie and I went to the barn today.

It is the first time I’ve been away from the house since Ruby was born.

Monday, March 17, 1890   

Pleasant but not very cold – with quite a wind blowing. Mother and Alice washed. Prescott tended the machine. Blanche spent the P.M. here. Henry is not as well as usual. Think he is coming down with the chicken pox.

I finished girls dresses etc. cut out nightdress for Ruby.

Frank went to the village after meal.

Tuesday, March 18, 1890   

Warmer the wind and sun are carrying off the snow. Men had to stop drawing manure at noon as the ground was too soft. Henry is all broken out. Emma had a fine time ironing handkerchiefs. Clothes all got dry except bed spread. Blanche here this P.M. Mrs. Cooper came home yesterday and walked nearly home. I went all around outdoors this morn. Frank put hams up to smoke.

We came near having another fire tonight.

Wednesday, March 19, 1890  

Cloudy this morn. Commenced to snow about 9 o’c. We had quite a nor’easter. It is pleasanter tonight. I helped mother make her pies. She had 18 of them: two apple, two custard, the others mince.

Been doing mending and fixing.

Henry is very patient over his chicken pox, but he is having it harder than the others did. Susie was quite covered with spots tonight when I put her to bed.

Grandpa is better and has been out to work these three days. They drew manure until nearly noon, then they worked in the barn. Fixed shelf to put on the new sink etc.

Thursday, March 20, 1890  

Pleasant. Alice has been cleaning up to go away tomorrow.

Grandpa has been down to village to get money and meal. I received a letter from Florence and Harry. Their new boy’s name is Arthur Bell Clapp. H. has had his teeth out and F. has been having some filled.

Today is Mrs. Burke’s birthday, but I cannot tell what her age is.

H. Dwight James has a daughter – born the 14” of this month. They live in Omaha, Neb.

I fixed up two big chairs.

Friday, March 21, 1890   

Rainy. Frank carried Alice to the depot to take the 10 o’c train for New Haven. We owed her $8.00, which was paid to her. She gave mother $3.00 in payment for money borrowed to get a dress.

Henry made a book-mark for papa.

The children gave us cards for a remembrance. Mother gave me a new petticoat.

Twelve years ago today we were married. Now we are 32 and 35 yrs. old. Soon we shall be classed among the old people.

We had considerable sap from the two maple trees that Frank set the other day.

Mother made chocolate marble cake for our birthday supper.

Saturday, March 22, 1890

A very stormy day. Grandpa went to the farmers meeting down to the town hall. Prescott took him down and Frank went after him.

Grandma made bread and biscuit. Frank helped her pack away the dried beef.

I have not done very much but tend the baby. Received a letter from mother. Father is at work for Uncle Francis. She expects to get ready to move next week. Arthur is going to see Ed. for a while.

Sunday, March 23, 1890  

A very tumultous night – wind, rain & hail. Clouds and sunshine today.


                “No life

Can be pure in its purpose and strong in its strife,

And all life not be purer and stronger thereby.

The spirits of just men made perfect on high,

The army of martyrs who stand round the throne,

And look into the face which make glorious their own,

Knows this surely at last: honest love, honest sorrow

Honest work for today, honest hope for tomorrow, –

Are these worth nothing more than the hands they make weary,

The hearts they have saddened, the lives they leave dreary?

Hush! The seven-fold Heaven to the voice of the Spirit

Echoes, “He that o’ercometh shall all things inherit.”

We have all been at home today. Prescott did not feel like driving down with the girls.

A man called here tonight to get something to eat and to inquire the way to Hancock. It is a small place near Lanesboro. The man was looking for a chance to work in an iron foundry.


The poetic verse that Emma has copied over into her journal is an excerpt from the narrative poem Lucile. This poem was written by Lord Robert Lytton under the pen name Owen Meredith and was originally published in 1860, when Lord Lytton was 29 years old. According to the LUCILE Project website: “The heroine, Lucile, is beloved by two bitter rivals, the English Lord Alfred Hargrave [i.e., Vargrave] and the French Duke of Luvois. She loves Alfred, but misunderstanding keeps them apart. Long years after, Alfred’s son and the Duke’s niece fall in love, are separated by the old feud but finally reunited through the efforts of Lucile, who has become a nursing nun, under the name of Soeur Seraphine.”

Lucile was apparently much more popular among the American public than it was in England. Still, he was well regarded in English literary circles. In fact, Oscar Wilde dedicated his play Lady Windermere’s Fan to Lytton: “TO THE DEAR MEMORY OF ROBERT EARL OF LYTTON IN AFFECTION AND ADMIRATION”.

Hancock, Massachusetts is right on the border with the state of New York. At the time of Emma’s journal, there would still have been a Shaker community in Hancock though it would have been in decline.

Monday, March 24, 1890

Warm and pleasant. Prescott and mother did the washing. I worked here and there the same as usual. Took a walk out around wherever I could go without getting buried in the mud.

Mrs. Cooper and Blanche here this P.M.

Tuesday, March 25, 1890     

Cloudy and snow squally – men drawing manure and picking stone on the side hill.

We ironed. Mother made bread, cut out the waists of Ruby’s white dresses. (Wed.26) She has been quite tendsome today and evening.

Thursday, March 27, 1890   

Pleasant. Prescott took (walked) the saws down to get them filed.

Rec’d card from mother. Men commenced to trim the trees above the house and down the road.

I cut out Susie’s pink chambray dress. Mrs. C. & Blanche here this P.M. and stayed to tea.

Sent letter to mother.

Mrs. Forsyth called.

Friday & Saturday March 28 and 29, 1890  

Mother not very well. She made butter Fri. Had 143 lbs. Saturday I was troubled with rheumatism in right arm and shoulder.

The girls do finely helping about the work.

The weather is very damp – with snow, rain, or hail falling. Heavy thunder Fri. evening.

Rec’d letter from Mrs. Geckler and Miss Prouty.

Sunday, March 30, 1890

A beautiful day. Prescott, Mattie & Emma have been to church. I have not done much but tend my arms. Grandma’s head does not get any better.

Fast Day comes next Sunday.

Monday, March 31, 1890   

A pleasant day but hazy tonight. Frank and Prescott have been trimming trees. Mother and Prescott did the washing, but it was too hard for her.

Ruby was very tendsome this morn.

Mr. Cooper and Blanche here. He brought Susie’s pail he had been fixing. She is very happy over it.