Monday, June 25, 2012

Photos of Lennie's Diary in its Original

A short followup on Lennie's 1898 diary.

All last year, while posting daily entries, I had only my transcribed copy.  I could not find the original diary itself. The photos posted were from a separate little pocket sized book that Lennie used as a photo scrapbook.

But I've found the actual diary!  I thought perhaps I had given it to Lennie's great-granddaughter.  But we found it in Hubby's desk.

So today I am posting a couple photos of Lennie's diary in its original condition.

As you can see Lennie's entries are scrawled in pencil.  This page is readable...sorta.  But some pages were difficult to read because the words were very faint.

Note: You can click for a closer view.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lennie Eats Christmas Dinner at His Sister's Home and Celebrates at the Swede Church Several Nights In a Row

Before we finish up Lennie's Diary for the year 1898, I cannot resist posting this photo, taken approximately 1910, of Lennie and his single cylinder Thor IV motor bike. Note the dandy bike clothing. Lennie was always interested in the new inventions coming into the world at that time. He had a curiosity about many things and must have been a most interesting man and well-liked.

Sunday, December 25, 1898
Fred (Poff) staid in town. Ate dinner at Ollie's.
(Christmas Dinner was at Lennie's sister's home. Flora Olive "Ollie" Davis married Charles Schulz in August 1895. Nine months from this Christmas, their first child will be born...Lucile M. Schulz. She will be the first of three children. The second child, Leonard will be born in 1903. The third, Charlotte Olive Schulz, will be born March 1908. Sadly, Ollie dies giving birth. But the joys of those births, and the sadness of Ollie dying, are still in the future. And Christmas Dinner is an enjoyable family event, with undoubtedly, the entire Davis family...those that reside in attendance.)

Monday, December 26, 1898
No School. Went skating. Went to Sweed Xmas tree.
(Lennie is possibly speaking of the Swedish Mission Church. Throughout the year he mentions attending social gatherings at various churches in town. But I believe his family may have been members of the Presbyterian Church for this is where Lennie and his future bride, Alma Matilda Gazina Kuckku, will raise their three daughters, Imogene, Marjorie, and Frances.)

Tuesday, December 27, 1898
A nice day. Helped clean house. Went to Sweed Xmas.

Wednesday, December 28, 1898
Fine day. Had a headack all day. Went hunting. Went to Sweed Xmas.

Thursday, December 29, 1898
A cold day. Blizzard in afternoon. Staid and visited Clara.

Friday, December 30, 1898
A cold day. Went to party at Mrs. Nobells.

Saturday, December 31, 1898
A nice day but cold. Went skating in afternoon. Went to party at Nanballs (sp?).

(Lennie's word, not mine. He adds the following addendum to his 1898 diary:

I owe
Star Clothing $1.15
Rawlings Bros. $1.00
A Quimby $1.75
Ben Davis $ .50
(Ben is Lennie's brother, 8 years older than Lennie. Ben is still single, but on Christmas Eve, 1907, he will marry Anna Laura Weaver. The will have two children, Ivan and Dorothy. Ivan never marries. Dorothy marries Howard Beckenhauer and the couple will have 8 sons and one daughter.)

From family records, we deduce that Lennie had 9 siblings. Five of those siblings moved to Wakefield with the parents Josiah and Martha Jane (Crawford) Davis in about 1883.

Lennie will die in May 1946. His wife, Alma, will die in 1974. They are buried side by side along with Lennie's parents and his and Alma's youngest daughter and son-in-law, Ellis Edward and Frances Arlene (Davis) Peterson. Lennie's grandson and a granddaughter regularly visit the cemetery, placing flowers on their graves. Sometimes Jim brings his own daughter and grandchildren to visit the family gravesites in remembrance. It is a good thing to remember where you came from.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lennie Ranks Second in His Class and Enjoys Christmas Break

Lennie was persistent in writing his year's diary and completed in Dec 31, 1898. Today we read through December 24. Next week we will finish to the end of the year. Charles Leonard Davis will turn 18 in the spring of 1899.

Today's photo was taken about 1917. Lennie and Alma show off their three daughters as well as their wind-up Victrola. The youngest, Frances, sits on Alma's lap and is the only one of the three who will bear children.

Don't forget to come back next week to read the final entry in Lennie's Diary.

Sunday, December 11,
Doctor cut Victor's middle finger off. (If you have been reading, you will remember that Victor hurt his hand December 5. The injury must have been severe.)

Monday, December 12, 1898
Received letter from Ada. Went to band practice.

Tuesday, December 13, 1898
Got up at 6 oclock. Frank Schultz came down. Art went to Omaha. I went out walking. (Frank is a brother to Ollie's husband, Charles. Frank and Charles immigrated with their mother and sisters to the United States as young teens after their father died in a work accident in Germany.)

Wednesday, December 14, 1898
Art went on to O. I went down home after supper. (Lennie has been boarding in town with Doctor Rowse. Often high schoolers did this so that during inclement weather they could get to school.)

Thursday, December 15, 1898
Stopped chemestry untill after holidays. Staid in office after supper. (Lennie's spelling is still a bit "off".)

Friday, December 16, 1898
Sent letters to Ada, Hoss, Thos. Went to Social at Rawlings.

Saturday, December 17, 1898
Staid at office all forenoon. Went to Methodist supper. 26 of us went skating in bandwagon. (Quite obviously the 26 did not skate IN the wagon...they went IN the wagon to go skating. *smile*)

Sunday, December 18, 1898
Cousin Mack and Flossie came. Went to Ollis in evening. (Went to sister Ollie's home)

Monday, December 19, 1898
Reviewed for examination. Sy Long and our folks played (music?)at home. Snowed a little.

Tuesday, December 20, 1898
Had examination in Geom., Gen. History.

Wednesday, December 21, 1898
Had examination in Civics and Literature. Went out walking with Sam & Ellis after prayer meeting.

Thursday, December 22, 1898
Had examination in Grammar, Chemistry & Latin. Went out with choir boys and girls, poped popcorn.

Friday, December 23, 1898
Got report books ranked 2. Jessie 1. Last day of school for two weeks. (In spite of Lennie's mis-spellings, he ranked second in his class. I'm sure he had an agile mind.)

Saturday, December 24, 1898
Stayed around office all day. Went to Xmas tree at Christian Church.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter of 1898 - Lennie Goes Skating

The year1898 is winding down. Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis, age 17, of Wakefield, Nebraska is still faithfully writing each day in his pocket size diary.
Today's photos feature Lennie's sister, Olive and her husband, Charles Emil Schulz. As of December 1898 they are still a young wed couple with no children. Their first baby, Lucile M Schulz, will be born September 1899 in Wakefield, Nebraska.
While Ollie's family has been in this country for generations, her husband Charles emigrated from Germany in about 1883.

Sunday, November 27,
Fred Poff came in (to town). Snowed in afternoon. Ellis (Paulson) and I took girls out walking.

Monday, November 28, 1898
Cecil is mad. Will, Ellis, Sam, Ella, Mable, Jennie, Edna and I went to lake.
Tuesday, November 29, 1898
Nice day. Went to lake at night. Fred Poff staid all night.
Wednesday, November 30, 1898
Another nice day. Had examination. Sam, Ellis & I ate ??? of peanuts.
Thursday, December 1, 1898
Went skating. Ada & Clara walked in.
Friday, December 2, 1898
Prof Culver visited school. Went out with girls. Myrt & Ollie went to Allen (nearby town of Allen).
Myrtle and Olive are Lennie's older sisters. Olive (Ollie) is married to Charles Schulz. Lennie may already be acquainted with Charles' niece, Alma Kuckku who at this writing is only 5 years old. When she turns 18, she and Lennie will wed.

Lennie and Alma's wedding will be Aug. 2, 1911 at Crystal Lake in Dakota County, Nebraska. Witnesses will be William H. Kuckku (Alma's older brother) and A. R. H. Miller, Minister. Guests will include Elizabeth von Bergen, Chas. E. Schulz and wife Ollie*, Myrtle Davis, Earl Davis, Lucile Schulz, Leonard Schulz,and Vivian Schulz.

*Ooops. I named Charles' wife as Ollie.  Sadly, Ollie will die in childbirth in 1908. At the wedding will be Charles' second wife, Nellie. Charles and Nellie will have three children together, Vivian, Lorraine and Helen.  But that is still 12 years in the future when Lennie writes today's entry.
Saturday, December 3, 1898
Banked house. Went down to Art's. Boys went to show.It is possible that when Lennie says he banked the house, he is talking about placing dirt against the foundation to keep out the cold. This may be an erroneous assumption on my part...surely they would have done that earlier in the fall and would not have waited until December.
Sunday, December 4, 1898
Ada Adair went home. Sam, Ellis, Fred and I had a time.
Monday, December 5, 1898
Ate dinner at home. Victor got his hand hurt. Snowed at night.Victor's hand is injured badly. Next week Lennie notes that the Doc cut off his middle finger.

Tuesday, December 6, 1898
Ranked 3 in class. Prof. Culver gave metal (???) to school. Snowed at night.
Wednesday, December 7, 1898
A dull day. Wrote a letter to Ada. Bessie Allen ate at Drs.
Thursday, December 8, 1898
Boys went skating. Went to choire practice at Lecture room.
Friday, December 9, 1898
Entertainment at Presb Church. Went out walking. Went to Entertainment.
Saturday, December 10, 1898
Wrote letters to Boss and to F. T. (Flora Town) Went skating in bandwagon.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lennie Doesn't Say Much About Thanksgiving But the President Makes a Proclamation

Thanksgiving is upon us. Er, I mean, upon Lennie and his family. He's been boarding with Dr. Rowse, presumably to be closer to school during inclement winter weather. On Thanksgiving he mentions only "No school, went home for dinner."

But in the nation's capital, President McKinley makes a Thanksgiving proclamation as follows:

The approaching November brings to mind the custom of our ancestors, hallowed by time and rooted in our most sacred traditions, of giving thanks to Almighty God for all the blessings He has vouchsafed to us during the year.

Few years in our history have afforded such cause for thanksgiving as this. We have been blessed by abundant harvests; our trade and commerce have wonderfully increased; our public credit has been improved and strengthened; all sections of our common country have been brought together and knitted into closer bonds of national purpose and unity.

The skies have been for a time darkened by the cloud of war, but as we were compelled to take up the sword in the cause of humanity we are permitted to rejoice that the conflict has been of brief duration and the losses we have had to mourn, though grievous and important, have been so few, considering the great results accomplished, as to inspire us with gratitude and praise to the Lord of Hosts. We may laud and magnify His holy name that the cessation of hostilities came so soon as to spare both sides the countless sorrows and disasters that attend protracted war.

I do therefore invite all my fellow-citizens, as well as those who may be at sea or sojourning in foreign lands as those at home, to set apart and observe Thursday, the 24th day of November, as a day of national thanksgiving, to come together in their several places of worship for a service of praise and thanks to almighty God for all the blessings of the year, for the mildness of the seasons and the fruitfulness of the soil, for the continued prosperity of the people, for the devotion and valor of our countrymen, for the glory of our victory and the hope of a righteous peace, and to pray that the divine guidance which has brought us heretofore to safety and honor may be graciously continued in the years to come.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 28th day of October, A.D. 1898, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-third.

Signed William McKinley (President)

Sunday, November 13,
Chas helped get ???s in forenoon. (can't read Lennie's writing)
Went walking with girls in afternoon & night.

Monday, November 14, 1898
Dr. brought in cot last night. Went out at night with girls.

Tuesday, November 15, 1898
Started to have experiments in Chem. Did not have band practice last night.

Wednesday, November 16, 1898
A dull day. Worked on ditch after school. Cecil & I went out again.

Thursday, November 17, 1898
Worked on composition at night. Got report of school ???

Friday, November 18, 1898
Read composition. Got 95. Had no band practice. Went to social at Neffs.

Saturday, November 19, 1898
Worked around house all day. May Rowse came.
Wrote to Hess, Lue, and F.T.
(F.T. is Flora Town, living in Shell Rock, Iowa)

Sunday, November 20, 1898
Truman Pff staid all night. Went walking down by the Davis dam in the afternoon.

Monday, November 21, 1898
Snowed last night. Regular blizard outside. ?? & I ate dinner at school made coffee. No band practice.

Tuesday, November 22, 1898
Cold outside but stoped blowing & snowing. Truman Poff staid last night and tonight.

Wednesday, November 23, 1898
A nice day but cold. Went out walking. So did Ellis Paulson.

Thursday, November 24, 1898
No school. Went home for dinner. Went out at night but Cecil & Fred out.

Friday, November 25, 1898
No school. Went skating yesterday. Put on storm windows today. No band practice.

Saturday, November 26, 1898
Worked around house. Went skating at lake. Dr. went to Emerson. Got back Sunday PM.

May we also, in 2011, give praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings that He bestows upon us moment to moment and year to year.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Lennie Writes to His Friend Flora and Enjoys a Party At The Shumway Residence

Lennie (Charles Leonard Davis) of Wakefield, Nebraska, continues with his 1898 diary. He is currently 17 years old.

Lennie often mentions "walking with the girls". However, he is quite gentlemanly and does not mention their names. Or perhaps he was afraid family members might read his diary and give him a bad time.

He did not label his 1-inch photos and while I have been able to identify those who were family members, I simply cannot identify the others. You can click on today's photos to see enlargements of these two pages from his album. (P.S. Lennie has photos of many male friends as I am showing only some of the female.)

Tuesday, November 1, 1898
Dr. Rowse came home. Wrote a letter to F.T.
According to the 1900 census for Wakefield, Nebraska, the good doctor is Dr. Robert Q. Rowse. Dr. Rowse is 28 years old as of Lennie's writing. The doctor and his wife, Sarah, will have a baby girl in the year 1900 and will name her Francis E.

I suppose you are curious as to who Lennie is referring by the initials "F.T." In the front of his diary he had a short list of addresses/names. One of those is Flora Town, Shell Rock, Iowa.

Wednesday, November 2, 1898
John Watkins came home from Florada.
Art Shearing was mustered out.
(As you notice, Lennie was not the best speller in the world. But, Hey! They did not yet have two-letter abbreviations for the states in 1898! We'll cut him some slack on this one.)

Thursday, November 3, 1898
Went down to Cecil's after supper.

Friday, November 4, 1898
Got a picture of the ?? (can't read this) Went to band practice.

Saturday, November 5, 1898
Washed off buggy. Band played for Pep (?? political??) Rally. Went out with girls.

Sunday, November 6, 1898
A nice day. Wrote a letter to F.T. Went out with girls.

Monday, November 7, 1898
Girls in school had a big time laughing at C & me. Went uptown to band practice. Didn't have none.

Tuesday, November 8, 1898
Election day. Went uptown but did not stay.

Wednesday, November 9, 1898
Chas. & I started to dig on 75 ft of water works.
Thursday, November 10, 1898
Worked on ditch. Went to social at Shellingtons. Took girls home. IOGT.
(According to the 1900 census for Wakefield, the Shellingtons probably lived down the street from the Josiah Davis family. The Shellingtons in 1900 included J.W. and his wife, Mary, as well as children Ella, Floyd, Bessie and Elbert.)
The IOGT was (and is) an organization of men and women of all ages who promote the ideals of temperance, peace and brotherhood. You can find info here. Lennie mentions the IOGT meetings often in his diary.

Friday, November 11, 1898
A dull day in school. I went walking with girls. Went to band practice.

Saturday, November 12, 1898
Dug on ditch till it rained. Went to club at Shumways. Had a hot time with Ozoea Harman.
The Shumways are probably Herbert and Nellie. They have four children - Earl, Howard, Persey, Ruth. Herbert Paine Shumway was a prominent businessman in Wakefield and you can read more about him here.

As for Ozoea, she is the only child of Dr. B. T. Harman and his wife, Margaret. Ozoea turns 15 this month. Since Lennie is so circumspect so as to not name or even write the initials of the girls with whom he goes out walking, I'm assuming that his mention of a hot time with Ozoea is an indication of an evening of fun at the home of the Shumways.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Lennie and Friends Celebrate Hallows Eve and Have a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

It is October and an early storm hits Wakefield, Nebraska the third week of the month. Still, Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis and friends have nice weather for Hallow's Eve day. They will go "out on the town" and have a raucous evening doing the things teens did in those days for "fun".

Today's photo, circa 1914, shows Lennie standing in front of his home in Wakefield where he and his wife Alma raised their family of three daughters. The home, located near the swimming pool in Wakefield, still stands in good condition. It has been the home to several families since Lennie and Alma lived there.

Sunday, October 9,
Shaved Cecil for the first time.
Took Gertie out to her school.

Monday, October 10, 1898
Wrote a letter to ??? Got my pictures last Saturday. Did not go to Band practice.

Tuesday, October 11, 1898
A dull day. Went to depot after supper.

Wednesday, October 12, 1898
A dull day. Started to do Smiths chores last night.

Thursday, October 13, 1898
A dull day. ??? went to Omaha. McKinley was in Omaha Tuesday & Wed.
In 1898 Omaha presented an exposition, "Westward the Empire: Omaha's World Fair of 1898". It culminated with the visit of Pres. McKinley on October 12. Nearly 100,000 people jammed the fairgrounds for a glimpse of the President. Admission to the Exposition was 50 cents.

Friday, October 14, 1898
Rally in hall last night Judge Robison. Went to band practice. Big storm 18 years ago today.
The storm Lennie mentions was of epic proportions. The winter of 1880 was a bad one and was the basis for Laura Ingalls Wilder's novel, "The Long Winter". You can read about it here.

Saturday, October 15, 1898
Helped to bury potatoes. Hauled 2 loads of cobs. Went over to Wats? to help with his alfalfa.
I'm thinking Lennie and his family buried potatoes for winter storage. When a root cellar was not available, vegetables would be buried in a shallow hole, covered with straw. This would protect them from freezing and the straw could be removed in order to retrieve the root crops.
I don't know about 1898, but in 1950, we were still burning corn cobs in our kitchen stove. It is possible they were used in this manner then as well.

Sunday, October 16, 1898
A windy day. Went to Methodist Church. Took Blanche home.

Monday, October 17, 1898
A cold wind. Started to snow at 10:30 and snowed hard all day. big wind.
(This is an early storm for this part of the country.)

Tuesday, October 18, 1898
Snowed in forenoon. Stopped in afternoon. Mr. Swartz came in town.

Wednesday, October 19, 1898
A nicer day. Mr. Swartz at our house for supper. Went over to Cecil's after supper.

Thursday, October 20, 1898
A nice day.

Friday, October 21, 1898
Had Social at Weavers. I went to band practice.

Saturday, October 22, 1898
Got a letter from L.W. Hauled cobs. Got job from Dr. Rows.
(L. W. is Lennie's friend, Lew Walden, who earlier this year moved to Arizona.)

Sunday, October 23, 1898
Cecil bummed around town. Went to Dr. to work for board.
It sounds as if Lennie is boarding in town for the winter while he attends school. I've been unable to determine where the family lived at that particular time, but many young people boarded in town with friends or family during the bad winter months in order to attend school.

Monday, October 24, 1898
Didn't sleep good last night. Mrs. Rows went to Omaha. So did Dr. Cecil staid all night with me.

Tuesday, October 25, 1898
Done up chores and went to Slingers (sp?) for dinner & breakfast. Went to show. Ellis Paulson came home.

Wednesday, October 26, 1898
Got my pups (??) from Dakota City. Went to Emerson after Dr.

Thursday, October 27, 1898
Had examination. Wrote a letter to Lew Walden. Staid at home and read.

Friday, October 28, 1898
Had examination. Went to band practice. John Cooper started to play drum.

Saturday, October 29, 1898
Band plaid for Nicklejohn (Nickelodeon?) in hall. Cecil and I went walking with two girls. (Note that Lennie does not write the names of the two girls in his notebook.)

Sunday, October 30, 1898
Nice day. Sam an boys came home at 11:30 PM. Went out with girls.

Monday, October 31, 1898
Hallows Eve day. Had a hot time in the old town. Girls and boys went out together.
The custom of trick or treating was not yet established in America in 1898. However, pranksters abounded and old-time stories tell us that young folk would take apart buggies and wagons, carry them to the top of some building (the school house for instance), and reassemble them. I'm sure 17-year-old Lennie and his friends had an evening full of prankstering.