February 1898

Sunday, February 6, 1898  

A mild beautiful day after a week of below 0 weather. The snow is very deep on a level and drifted some in places.

Grandpa is not feeling very well. Emma stayed with Florence – the rest of us went to Church. I have not been before since the Sun. that cousin Frank Adams was here. I think it was the last Sun. in Oct.

A year ago today Ed’s wife’s mother Moody was buried. Grandma Williams and my mother went down to the funeral.

I enjoyed going into the church today. It seemed like going home. Mr. Pierpont preached. Text: “Thou shalt not steal.” Showed the different ways that we could take from others what rightfully belonged to them.

Cousin Eliza is at Aunt Susan’s. She, Aunt Susan, and Emma went to a lecture in Northampton on art last Fri. night. Miss Whitman the drawing teacher in Northampton sent them tickets.

Monday, February 7, 1898

Beautiful day. Grandma & Emma did our washing. Papa chopped wood on the (Walnut) hill. Prescott drew wood from there down here. I have worked butter (8 lbs) made a new night-dress for Geo. done some mending, etc. Tonight have written a short letter to Marion. Sent one of Mattie’s memorial cards. We had 26 for $2.50. They were copied from her class-pictures.

Tuesday, February 8, 1898  

Warmer. Pleasant. Grandma made apple and mince pies.

Frank cutting wood. Prescott drawing it.

Wednesday, February 9, 1898

Pleasant. Prescott took Grandpa down to the village this P.M.

Brought home a bl. of flour. Henry went for G. at night. He called on Mrs. Simeon Bartlett & others. Did ironing.

Thursday, February 10, 1898       

Warm and hazy. Grandma W. has washed some of my mother’s dresses and some of mine to be fixed over & made up. I was most of the P.M. pressing them out.

I made bread & biscuit.

Friday, February 11, 1898     

Cloudy & warmer. Fixed the rags in the kitchen carpet. Grandma made birth-day cake for Emma. I made buns tonight. Papa & Emma went down to Mr. Watsons this eve.

Fixed stockings & gray waist.

Children received a letter from Miss Prouty this week.

Saturday, February 12, 1898   

We celebrated a little. Made buns, cornballs and corn cakes and molasses candy, chocolate caramels. Were not very successful with the candy. Ruth Porter and her father were here this afternoon. Mrs. Porter is in Springfield.

Note: This was younger Emma’s birthday.

Sunday, February 13, 1898

Mild and pleasant. The Richards family all went to church.

Florence enjoyed it very much. Aunt Susan went to Boston last Thurs. Expects to return Mon.


Sunday, February 20, 1898  

A very stormy day. Rain, hail and snow. Frank, Henry, Prescott and Emma ventured out to ch.

Today is Ruby Elma’s birthday. She could have been 8 yrs. old today.

Monday, February 21, 1898  

Men at work in the apple-house – lining up the inside. Stormy.

Geo. is 7 yrs. old today. Emma brought out Mattie’s tea set and they had a “P.M.” tea-party. Crackers & butter, sugared doughnuts choc. cake, candy, pop-corn.

Tuesday, February 22, 1898   

Not very pleasant. Men had to plow roads again. Finished Grandma’s green wrapper. It looks finely for a made over garment.

Wednesday, February 23, 1898

Partly pleasant. Florence is 2 yrs. old today. She was born on Sun. about 9 o’c. Betty bossy had a calf last night that they named Flora. She (Florence) has been very happy today celebrating her birthday.

Arthur and Grace Ball called this P.M. A. brought a frame for Mattie’s picture to give Emma. (.25)

Commenced to fix a waist to go with my black skirt.

Prescott ploughed out roads around the house and to the wood-house down to the mill.

Thursday, February 24, 1898  

Grandma & Emma did washing today. Emma went to the village this P.M. to help Aunt Susan at the conundrum supper. Temperance rally in the Town Hall. P. H. & Papa went down this eve.


From a 2015 posting on a linguist listserv, I found a description of a “conundrum supper” offered by George Thompson of NYU who described himself in his signature as “the guy who still looks stuff up in books”:

“Offering a “conundrum supper” seems to have been a fad in genteel society in the 1890s and perhaps earlier.  The earliest occurrences in the Proquest newspapers I have access to is 1891, but in as much as those stories don’t explain the term, it must have been more or less familiar.    The first item quoted below is the earliest to explain; the second, from Google Books, offers sample conundrums.

>From 6 to 8 o’clock a conundrum supper was supper was served in the dining room, and the manner in which the menu was gotten up caused much sport. Unique and amusing terms were applied to the various kinds of foods, and when one sent in an order, unless he happened to guess correctly, he was apt to be surprised at what the waiter brought on.

Hartford Courant, June 4, 1892, p. 6

Woman’s Auxiliary . . . of Spokane Typographical Union, gave its first reception. . . .  ***  The unique feature was the “Conundrum Supper,” a California importation by the president, Mrs. Foster.  The bill of fare contained such strange items as “A Group of Islands” (sandwiches). “Backbone of History” (dates), “Things without Ends” (doughnuts).  However, the translations were not given on the bill; that was left to the wit of the person ordering.  The supper was served in courses and was the occasion of much merriment.

Typographical Journal, Volume 24, 1904″


Friday, February 25, 1898  

Aunt Susan Williams Munyan’s birth-day today – 71 yrs. old. We did ironing etc. today.

Fine sliding for the children on the crust.

Saturday, February 26, 1898

Pleasant. Mr. Henry Thayer of Searsville died this week. had a shock. A runaway team came across the flower-bed into our front porch last evening. Frank had gone to bed so he had to get up and dress to help the man out of trouble.

Sunday, February 27, 1898  

A beautiful clear day. Florence and I did not go to ch. The others all walked down on the crust.

My head and eyes trouble me – possibly my eyesight is beginning to fail.

A singing school was opened here in town last Fri. night. A Mr. Birge of Easthampton is the singing master.


Mr. Birge of Easthampton is almost certainly Edward Bailey Birge, who went on to have a distinguished career in music education. From 1901 to 1921, he was the Supervisor of Music for Indianopolis’ Public Schools. According to the University of Maryland‘s finding aid for the Edward Bailey Birge Special Papers, “He was a founding member and later president of the Music Supervisors National Conference, which would later become the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and then the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).” Birge also wrote the first history of American music education.