UNUSUAL, HANDWRITTEN 1884 "TANDEM DIARY," KEPT BY THESE WIFE & HUSBAND FARMERS, BEE-KEEPERS, AND MAPLE-SYRUP TAPPERS OF CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, NEW YORK.

1884. Original manuscript. Leather. 6" x 3.5", flexible black leather, bound wallet-style, about 700 entries, memoranda, accounts, etc. The documents section documents their income from selling butter, wood, eggs. and maple sugar, monthly receipts for selling cheese, and income from boarding. In a pocket at the rear are: a 2.25" x 3.5" photograph of the family group of 8 with Lavina's image labeled; a handwritten, folded list of 22 names "on bond of Owen Sperry, County Treasurer"; a list of Miss Langworthy's purchases, marked paid. Entries are written in ink by legible hands, with Charles (whom Lavina always calls Charlie) writing his daily entries at the top of each page, and Lavina (whom Charles refers to as Vina) writing hers on the lower portions of pages--such dual entries being a rarity. Once in a while. Charles is too busy to write, so he leaves blanks in a few places. Lavina writes every day. Very Good. Item #041460

Charles Langworthy (1854-1888) and his wife Lavina Briggs Langworthy (1857-1943) live in Charlotte(?), Chautauqua County, New York, and run a farm that produces dairy products and eggs for sale as well as crops and garden vegetables. They also keep bees, and both writers report on activity at the hives. They apparently charge “board” to at least one person, according to the accounts at the rear of the volume. Their entries demonstrate that the young couple (ages 30 and 27 in 1884) not only perform their own daily chores on the farm and in the house, but often assist each other with various tasks. Theirs is a tight-knit world, and they frequently visit or are visited by Charles’ mother, whom he calls “Ma” and Lavina calls “Mother” (Cornelia Langworthy, 1816-1891); Lavina’s “Ma” and “Pa” (whom Charles calls “Father Briggs”); Lavina’s sisters (?) Ida, Elva, and Sarah, who frequently stay several days to help Lavina with her work; and “Uncle Ed” Briggs, “Uncle Dave” and Aunt Milly”. There are also frequent mentions of La France Soule, who often stays (sometimes as a boarder) and helps with various farm chores, and another worker, “Harlow, and there are visits to and from their neighbors, including the Picketts, Will Arnold and family, etc. Chautauqua County towns they all frequent include Delanti (now named Stockton) and Sinclairville, where various relatives live, Tinkertown (home of Aunt Milly), Brockton, Mayville, and Dewittville. // They apparently charge “board” to at least one person, according to the accounts at the rear of the volume. Their entries demonstrate that the young couple (ages 30 and 27 in 1884) not only performed their own daily chores on the farm and in the house, but often assisted each other with various tasks that required extra assistance. Theirs is a tight-knit world, and they frequently visit or are visited by Charles’ mother, whom he calls “Ma” and Lavina calls “Mother” (Cornelia Langworthy, 1816-1891); Lavina’s “Ma” and “Pa” (whom Charles calls “Father Briggs”); Lavina’s sisters (?) Ida, Elva, and Sarah, who frequently stay several days to help Lavina with her work; and “Uncle Ed” Briggs, “Uncle Dave” and Aunt Milly”. There are also frequent mentions of La France Soule, who often stays (sometimes as a boarder) and helps with various farm chores, and another worker, “Harlow, and there are visits to and from their neighbors, including the Picketts, Will Arnold and family, etc. Chautauqua County towns they all frequent include Delanti (now named Stockton) and Sinclairville, where various relatives live, Tinkertown (home of Aunt Milly), Brockton, Mayville, and Dewittville. // Charles' entries are briefer than his wife's, and always include statements about the weather. His seasonal doings include: cutting and drawing wood; tinkering around with the buggy and the bobs (sleds); getting Fan the horse shod; mending harness, mending fences; tapping maple trees (90 one day, 40 another); boiling off , sugaring off in March and April; killing calves in March and April; killing the hog in December; going to the grist mill with buckwheat; taking milk to the factory; milking, churning, taking cheese to Mayville; crop-related chores such as dragging, manuring, plowing, marking off land for potatoes, planting and sowing, haying, mowing, threshing and hiring thrashers; buying feed for the livestock, up to 600 pounds at a time. Charles also works for others: drawing wood for the preacher in February; went out to Sinclairville and hired out to E.B. for a year at 300 dollars. Charlie is a hunter: cooning and skunking; in April, he kills first two crows, then 11 more two days later, "one shot with a single-barrel shot-gun, and kills two young hawks in June. He goes fishing at Point Chautauqua and Bemus Point, catching broadheads and, one day, 14 suckers. // Lavina’s entries often start with “did up the work”. Her household tasks include ironing, washing, mopping, dusting, washing the woodwork and windows, sewing or mending specific articles of clothing (including making “overhalls” for Charlie, cutting rags and making carpets from them, making pillows, crocheting and knitting various projects, and doing lots of canning (cherries, berries of various kinds, tomatoes, etc.) and baking—cookies, pies, as well molasses candy. She helps “set” the hens, and does work in the dairy, often alongside Charlie--churning, making, salting and washing butter, milking the cows, “scuming” the milk (skimming), etc. She also feeds the pigs and hens, and when Charlie is away overnight, e.g. April 14, she has “most of the chores to do.” She helps her husband tap the trees for syrup-making, and her Ma and Pa help her make soap in June. Unlike Charlie, she occasionally tells of her inner feelings—e.g. loneliness when Charlie is away, or reporting that “Charlie got mad because we would not go up to Will’s at night in the mud.” / Their lives do not lack entertainment: visits with friends and relatives; card parties; local dances; 4th of July celebratiion, making ice cream and lemonade; a lecture by ex-Govnernor John P. St. John, Prohibitionist;, in July; a Soldiers Reunion in August where they "saw the chamption swimmer perform; and the Sinclairville Fair in September. Charles occasionally "plays ball...lots of fun" while Will Arnold got his eye blacked. In September, Lavina attends a "hen party...five women and four babies...very good time." She also enjoys "ever so much" a trip to the woods with her husband, where it was so nice and warm. On New Year's Eve, Lavina sums the year: "I have laughed more the last five days than I have all the rest of the year." The couple are not shut off from local and national events. In November, Charles goes to vote in Delanti and is very excited by the election of Grover Cleveland as President, judging from his use of capital letters. In October, Lavina worries in several entries about the diphtheria epidemic in Delanti, writing that "it worries me terrible for fear the girls, her sisters, will get it...has nearly driven me wild." In the following year, Lavina will give birth to her daughter, Mabel L. Gage (1885-1977), followed by Eva (1888-1889), Charlie will die four years after writing his diary entries.

Price: $350.00

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