1910. Original manuscript. This Excelsior Diary contains entries for every day of the year. 32pp of printed matter (“information for businessmen”, celestial doings, church calendar, etc.) precede the holograph diary. At the back are 32pp of unused address and ledger pages. Bound in a wallet-style case of red cloth with “Excelsior Diary” in gilt script on the front. 6” x 3 ¾”. Very Good. Item #040217
The diarist, a married man with children, is a farmer who works on his own and his neighbors’ farms, roads, silos, barns, etc. He is constantly busy with seasonal farm routines, and each day’s entry includes a brief weather report followed by a description of the day’s chores. He spends the winter months splitting and sawing wood, “ditching”, greasing harness, getting the horse shod, planting potatoes, making and mending fences, etc. Spring sees him plowing, “working on corn” (both “our” corn and that of others), working at the neighbor’s grainary and barn, roofing a neighbor’s barn, setting out his “strawberrys”, mowing a lot of weeds, and helping neighbors with the hay. Summer month tasks include threshing, ditching (again), hoeing and weeding, etc. Sept. and Oct. see him digging “our” potatoes, digging a well (a long job) for a neighbor, cutting “our” corn and the neighbors’, shucking/stripping corn, helping neighbors fill their silos, and a lot of working on “the road” and at the gravel pit (in fact, three named gravel pits). Late fall work includes husking corn, hauling fodder, doing plastering and cementing on a neighbor’s cellar, and building a hen house for another neighbor. The year ends with more ditching, fodder-hauling, and helping neighbors with their butchering. There are mentions of hogs, cattle, and chickens, belonging to him and to the neighbors, and he of course does own at least one horse. ~~ Towns mentioned most often in the diary are Highland and Georgetown, though our farmer also goes to Milton, New Carlisle and Phil[l]ipsburg. Dayton, Polk, and Ludlow Falls are each mentioned once. It appears, then, that he lives in the southwestern part of Ohio. While his name is not given, he does mention his wife Sarah occasionally, and his children, as well as “Ma” whom he frequently dines with on Sundays after church in Georgetown. His neighbors are always named (mainly David Shellhass and “Birt”, M.L., and Mose Dohner, though other names are mentioned). He is a church-goer, and goes every Sunday to both Sunday School and Church, and frequently he attends church in one town (e.g., Georgetown) in the morning and another in a different town (e.g. Highland) for evening services. He joins in a “camp meeting” in Carlisle two days in the summer, and also goes to a Sunday School Convention at Ludlow Falls, a popular church retreat even today, and another one at New Carlisle. These forays, plus attending “the Quarterly Meeting” (Philipsburg, Georgetown), and dining with Ma or neighbors, constitute our writer’s social life. He also goes “to town” fairly often for errands such as a haircut, buying shoes for his children, and purchasing cotton, molasses, etc. Though he doesn't tell us who he is, he is careful to note neighbors’ deaths and funerals (he even digs a grave for one woman), and he occasionally reports local news: “the storm unroofed some buildings last night and blew off the smoke-stack at the Rower house at Milton”; "went to view the high water at David Shellhass’s where it done a lot of damage”; &c., &c.