March 1897

Sunday, March 21, 1897   

Very cloudy this morn. Heavy thunder-shower last eve. Snow fast disappearing.

Emma took care of Florence so I went to ch. with the family. Mr. Snyder preached – Text Walk in the Spirit. Subj. Christian Self Restraint. We all went over to see the two grandma’s. Mother was not as well yesterday. Grandma W. is to stay with her longer. Susie stayed down with her. Mattie came home to dinner. Henry went with the others this eve. Spoke a piece. A Union Temperance Concert to celebrate Neal Dow’s birthday. He was 93 yrs. old this month. I have written to Aunt Florence, Cousin Almera Burke & Aunt Sarah tonight.

Aunt S. gave me a nice letter with a dollar in it. Mother gave me some cotton cloth. Grandma W. the Delineator. Grandpa $2.

Rec’d a letter from Aunt Sarah Tilton last night.

Mrs. Baxter Rice died this P.M. of consumption.


Neal Dow (March 1804 – October 1897) was a Maine politician and temperance activist, known as “The Father of Prohibition” due to his successful efforts to prohibit the sale of alcohol in Maine while he was the mayor of Portland. Dubbed “The Maine law“, this total prohibition law was the first law of its kind in the United States and other states soon adopted it. The law was not met with equanimity among the Maine populace. Hearing news that Dow was keeping alcohol stored in a city government building, a large mob rioted outside that building, in what became known as the Portland Rum Riot. At a certain point in the riot, Dow ordered the state militia to fire into the crowd. One man was killed and seven others were wounded. Due to this controversy, Dow did not seek re-election as mayor. However, he did continue his activism and was the Prohibition Party’s presidential candidate in 1880.

Monday, March 22, 1897        

Men cutting hickory “butts.”

Thursday, March 25, 1897

Rain, hail, snow and a little sunshine have been the rule so far this week.

Frank and Prescott cut up 4 hams so I could pack them down in jars.

Bought a calf of Charlie Damon so they have two fatting now. Susie walked home with Henry this morning.

Prescott set a hen yesterday.

Frank and Prescott at work on the hill. Wind & snow squalls all day.


To “set a hen” is to make the conditions right for a brooding hen about to lay eggs. From a 1856 issue of “The New England Farmer“: “Never set a hen upon hay or straw without earth underneath, as the heat escapes more readily, and in the early season is very essential; also when she leaves her nest for food it will retain the warmth longer. The bottom of the nest should have two or three inches of earth, and nearly level, to enable the hen to move her eggs when instinct prompts her so to do. Always provide food and water where she can readily obtain them, and return as quickly as possible.”

Friday, March 26, 1897    

Cold night last night. Snow squall today but the sap run good.

Frank and Prescott drew hickory to depot – rec’d $15.94. for 100 ft. delivered to the depot. Mr. Larrabee of Westfield bought it for bicycle rims.

Emma, Prescott and Papa gone to Haydenville to attend convention of the Y.P.S.C.E.

Grandma Alvord died in Hartford. Is to be brought here to be buried tomorrow: Funeral in the M.E. ch. at 11 ½ o’c.

Mother feels more comfortable today. Emma expects to stay with Ruth Porter tonight.

Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher died last week.


Eunice (Bullard) Beecher was a Massachusetts-born writer who moved to Indiana with her husband, and her published works included: From Dawn to Daylight: A Simple Story of a Western Home (1859), Motherly Talks with Young Housekeepers (1875), Letters from Florida (1878), All Around the House; or, How to Make Homes Happy (1878), and Home (1883).

Her husband, Henry Ward Beecher was a famous preacher, abolitionist and supporter of women’s suffrage. His name may sound familiar as he was also the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

Henry and Eunice reportedly did not have a happy marriage. In what became a national scandal, it was rumored that Henry had an affair with Elizabeth Tilton, who was the wife of Beecher’s close friend, Theodore Tilton (very very distantly related to Emma – they share the ancestor William Tilton (1587-1652)).

Theodore told of the affair to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who shared this information with fellow women’s rights activist, Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull’s philosophy of free love had often been condemned by Beecher, so when she learned of the affair, she published an accusation that Beecher practiced the same sexual promiscuity that he publicly condemned. Beecher used his influence to get Woodhull arrested for publishing “obscene material”. She was briefly jailed. In 1875, Theodore Tilton sued Beecher in civil court for his adultery, but the jury could not agree on a verdict. Beecher successfully sought exoneration from his church denomination.

(All information summarized from the wikipedia pages of Eunice White Beecher and Henry Ward Beecher. Here is also the page of Victoria Woodhull.)