Monday, January 31, 2011

Lennie Creates a Photo Scrapbook

Lennie loved photography. Earlier I mentioned that his diary included postage-stamp size photos. But I was mistaken. There are TWO little books in Hubby's possession. One is Lennie's diary. The photos are in a second pocket-size booklet. I've found the album but cannot find the diary itself.

Several years ago I had typed those entries and made copies for family and I am posting from that typed copy. But I cannot find the original diary. I know it's here somewhere. But where?

Here's a pic of the photo album. As you can see, there are numerous pages with 4 to 6 photos each page. Many must be Lennie's classmates. But many photos are later when Lennie was a young adult in his early twenties.
I've already posted Lennie's diary entries for February 1 and 2. So today I'm just going to show you some photos from his album. As you can see the individual photos are less than an inch square. I've scanned them at a high resolution to produce this copies. I especially like this page where Lennie has included four portraits of himself. Note that his suitcase is marked with his initials. (You can click for a closer view.)Here's another member of the Wakefield Cornet Band. But I don't know his name. He must have been a friend, though, for Lennie included his photo in his little book.Below is a portrait of Lennie's brother-in-law Charles Emil Schulz, and his wife Flora Olive Davis (Lennie's sister). Lucile in the front row is their firstborn, born in 1899. This photo must have been taken about 1903. The little girl in the background is possibly a Davis relative but I do not know for certain. When he was a teenager Charles emigrated here from Germany with his widowed mother, Albertina Schmidt Schulz, and his siblings Maria Louise Helene, Anna Louisa Marie, and Frank Rinhold Schulz. Ollie's family, on the other hand, had been in this country for at least two hundred years (and as of this writing, three hundred years!).

Ollie may be pregnant in this photo with little Lucile's brother, Leonard, born in 1903. Sadly, Ollie died in childbirth in 1908 with the couple's third child, Charlotte. But Lennie does not yet know that when he pastes this tiny photo of his sister and her family in his album.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lennie Experiments With Chemistry and Thomas Edison Goofs Big Time

Sunday, January 30, 1898
Guy and me took in the town. (Obviously, Lennie has recuperated from his several days of illness.)

Monday, January 31, 1898
Nice Day.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, February 1, 1898
Slid on hill.
Went to church. (There surely seemed to be a lot of mid-week church meetings for Lennie to attend.)

Wednesday, February 2, 1898
Chemistry had a big time. (It's good to see that Lennie is enjoying chemistry! And I wonder what constitutes a "big time" in chemistry class?)
Church closed.

Meanwhile, in the wider world, according to the Omaha Bee, Feb. 1, 1898:
Thomas Edison is experimenting with an airship with inflated sails. The article in the Bee states:
"Young Thomas A. Edison, jr., is experimenting with an airship, which he believes will be successful. The ship is the invention of Frank Sauther of Milwaukee, Wis., but Edison hit by accident upon a gas which he believes is the only thing required to make the ship a practical thing. Sails were substituted instead of any propelling power. Mr. Edison says: 'It was at this point that I conceived the really new principle. It struck me that it would be a good idea to inflate the sails with gas, thus making them serve as balloons, as well as supplying the sailing power. It would not do to make baggy balloons of the sails, so they were divided into numerous compartments, which, when inflated, resembled thing water bags. The gas tube running into the balloon was tapped in three places to supply gas to the main sail and rubber tubes carried gas to the two jibs. The compartments of the mainsail were connected by narrow openings, the gas thus flowing freely through the entire sail. A rudder completed the airship. After many failures, we were successful. The ship actually flew, and we succeeded in steering it. I believe that the inflated sail idea is the one that is going to solve the aerial navigation problem.'"

Thomas Edison produced an improved light bulb in 1879. We all can be grateful to Mr. Edison for making electric lighting a wonderful thing! But his airship? Ummm, Mr. Edison, the airship was not such a great idea.

P.S. I will be posting some photos from Lennie's version of a high school photo album. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lennie Spreads Germs Throughout the Town

Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis, age 16, Wakefield, Nebraska continues daily entries in his pocket diary.

Wednesday, January 26, 1898
Did not feel very well. (Probably coming down with a cold!)
Went to church. (a mid-week meeting)

Thursday, January 27, 1898
Was sick all day but went to church (Spreading germs all around!)

Friday, January 28, 1898
Did not go to school in afternoon. (But he went in the morning? Half the class will be sick tomorrow!)
Did not go to the ??? (Can't decipher Lennie's handwriting... I'm glad he didn't go spread more germs!)
JOGT (Meeting at the Odd fellows)

Saturday, January 29, 1898
Did not feel well. (Get well soon, Lennie! Being sick is no fun! We wish you well!)
Snowed in afternoon.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Lennie is Not Ready to Marry Alma. She is Too Young.

We continue reading Lennie's diary.

Sunday, Jan. 23, 1898
Box band instruments came. (Perhaps they arrived Saturday and Lennie mentions them Sunday?)
Junior C.E. at Presb. Church. had 6 graduates. (The Junior C.E. includes the young folk at the Presbyterian Church. Thanks to commentor Lynn we find that C.E. stands for Christian Endeavor, the church youth group.)

Monday, Jan. 24, 1898
Received examination as in fore part of book.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 1898
Snow blowing
snowing now and then.

Lennie seems indiscriminate (or nondenominational) in his attendance at church events. Last Dec 18 he mentions the "Sweed Xmas tree" which I propose was an event at the either the Swedish Lutheran Church or the Swedish Mission Church. On January 11 he attended a meeting at the "church Christ". And now, here he is, at a youth group event at the Presbyterian church (not a vintage photo).

It is at the Presbyterian Church that Lennie and his future wife, Alma, will raise their three children. But those days are still long in the future.

Alma today, January 1898, is only five and a half years old. She is living in Wisner, Nebraska, with her parents. Her maternal uncle, Charles Schulz, is brother-in-law to Lennie. If you go back to this post you will see Charles when he played with the Wakefield Cornet Band. You will also see what I believe may be the wedding photo of Charles and Ollie (Olive is Lennie's sister). They've been married three years but their first born will not appear until 1899.

It is possible that at this time Lennie has not yet met Charlie's niece, Alma. As we read his diary for the rest of the year we will see that Lennie is interested in walking many girls home from church or youth group. But none of them is 5-year-old Alma.

This is Alma in about 1898. Alma's life was to have many tragic events but her marriage to Lennie and subsequent family of three children were surely happy days.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Exams, Burials, Baptisms and Dr. Nansen of the North Pole

First, I want to say that the attached photo of a handsome Viking has nothing to do with our Lennie...except that Dr. Nansen appeared in Omaha in the Year 1898, the following week, January 25, to lecture on his past explorations to the Polar regions. Mr. Nansen was a famous fellow. Lennie may have heard about Mr. Nansen but he makes no mention of him.

Lennie, age 16, writes from Wakefield, Nebraska:

Thursday, January 20, 1898
Took examination algebra & rhetoric, civics, very poor.
C??? went to Omaha. (I surely wish Lennie had written more clearly. We'll never know who went to Omaha.)

Friday, January 21, 1898
Belknap was beauried. Died Wed.
Physics 80
Botany 70

Saturday, January 22, 1898
Went skating.
Sunday School convention at Emersons.
Jim Cooper, Earl Grant baptized.
Two years later, according to the 1900 census, Earl Grant lived with his father, David, and mother, Lottie, and siblings Walter, Arthur, Clinton, David and Bessie in the village of Wakefield. In 1898, when Lennie wrote of Earl's baptism, Earl would have been 13 years old.

Perusing the Omaha Daily Bee for January 19 we read that January white sales are on. Men can buy muslin and sateen night shirts, in sizes 14 and 15, only 59 cents, reduced from $1 and $1.50. Or if you were in need of men's heavy ribbed cotton shirts and drawers (underwear), the price was reduced from 85 cents to 50 cents.

As for the Viking in today's photo, the Omaha Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) advertised as follows:

Two Lectures
Matinee - Creighton Theater
Eve. - First Methodist Church
January 25th
The Arctic Viking
Eminent Scientist and Explorer
Dr. Fridjof Nansen
Will Lecture on His Thrilling Experiences
Across the Polar Regions
Magnificent Illustrations.
Prices 50c, 75c, $1.00, $1.50
Tickets at Kuhn's drug store, Friday, Jan. 21.

(click here to read more about the famous Nansen -- handsome fellow, wasn't he!)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Fifteen Persons ... That Is, Unless Lennie Counted Wrongly

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week Lennie is meticulous to record baptisms in the community of Wakefield, Nebraska. Were they all at the same church? Most likely. But which church? As we go through the year you will see that Lennie attended meetings (at least youth meetings) at several churches.

Lennie writes:

Monday, January 17, 1898
Prof. is cross. (Uh-oh! I wonder if this is his algebra professor? As the year goes along, you will find that the Professor never gets least while Lennie is in the class.)
Gertie, Mr and Mrs. Johanson, Frankie W. & Jay Quimby was baptized.
According to the 1900 Census for Wakefield, Jay Quimby would have been 13 years old when he was baptized in 1898. His father was a brick mason.

Tuesday, January 18, 1898
Cloudy, snow in morning.
Got picture taken.
Cecil, Joe Peterson & Mrs. &. Ellis got baptized.

Wednesday, January 19, 1898
Williams went to Omaha.
Jessie C., Clara G., Dora G., Anna S., John Crain (?), & Willie Rice were baptized.

Hmm, if I'm counting correctly, that is a total of fifteen persons baptized on three consecutive January days in 1898 in the little village of Wakefield, Nebraska. We can safely assume they did not get baptized outdoors by immersion. Perhaps the church used immersion with a tank inside the building. Perhaps they practiced sprinkling. We don't know. Because we don't know which church. However, we can guess that these baptisms took place at what Lennie calls the "church Christ" in his notes for January 11 and 12.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lennie Turns In His Sled for a Pair of Skates

Today I will post Lennie's notes from Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Friday, January 14, 1898
Went to band pratice (I'm trying to type exactly as Lennie spelled.)
Then to lodge.

JOGP (Again, I believe JOGP was a Lodge organization...perhaps for the young people.)

Saturday, January 15, 1898
Williams had a sale today.
Things went ??? (Sorry, can't read what Lennie wrote. Perhaps things went dirt cheap? Or perhaps sky-high? I haven't a clue.)

Sunday, January 16, 1898
Nice day.
Skating is fine. (Aha! Lennie not only sleds, but he skates as well. Skates in those days were likely to be made of wood or of metal. Both were used.)

In news this week, The "Ponca Journal" opined that "Dixon County has no corn to ship to outside markets this year. The great number of cattle being fed in that county this year are sufficient to consume the entire crop."

The "Ponca Journal" also included an ad for Hall's Vegetable Sicilian hair renewer, with claims that "It Has made miles and miles of hair grow on millions and millions of heads. Not a single gray hair. No dandruff." If truth in advertising was in place at that time I imagine there must have been an awful lot of people (millions, I say!) with awfully long hair...miles and miles of hair. Much longer hair than in the recent 2010 movie, "Tangled", wherein the heroine has really, really long hair! Perhaps Disney got his idea from Hall's Vegetable Sicilian hair renewer and after reading about the millions and millions of consumers of that product? You find out weird things when you start googling.

In other news for this week in January 1898 we read ..."The postmaster general has decided to order a postage stamp to commemorate the Trans-Mississippi exposition at Omaha the coming year. They will be of the denomination of 1 , 2, 5 and 10 cents and $1. ...The McCook Tribune, McCook, NE Jan 7, 1898
More about this huge and fantastic exposition will show up in Lennie's journal later this year. Not that his words were plentiful but google will surely fill in the blanks.

P.S. If you have not read Debby's comment, you must. As a fellow cancer patient she suggested that we who lose hair during chemo would surely benefit from this advertised product. Anybody have some sitting in the back of their medicine cabinet? Gave me a laugh, sure did.


Lennie Parties With His Friends

Lennie writes today:

Thursday, January 13, 1898
Had a party to Cheavers
Staid at Fred Poff.
John Dillon in ???

I think I spelled Cheavers correctly...Lennie's writing was tiny! And those tiny penciled notations were somewhat smudged.

Afterward, Lennie "staid" overnight at Fred Poff's house.

I haven't a clue as to where John Dillon was. Was he "in town"? Was he "in trouble"? We simply do not know. At first I thought Lennie might be referring to that infamous bank robber but I was wrong. That fellow's name was John Herbert Dillinger, not Dillon. And he would not be born yet for another five years. So, no, this was not the bank robber.

The word for today is "staid". Yes, Lennie used this word incorrectly. But it IS a word.

Staid - Adjective
...Marked by settled sedateness and often prim self-restraint.

I don't think anyone could ever call Lennie prim or sedate. Nobody who is out sliding down the hill nearly every day of the week could be called "staid".


Monday, January 10, 2011

Lennie Battles It Out With Algebra!

Today I'm posting entries for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, January 10, 11, 12. Lennie is dealing with algebra, the dread subject of 95 percent of high school boys. I wonder if his poor grades were due to his dog eating his homework? Lennie had a dog. Yes, he did. But I don't know if he ate homework. He just doesn't look like a homework eating dog to me. What do you think?

Monday, January 10, 1898

Poor algebra.

Received average for month.

Doing better.

Tuesday, January 11, 1898

Poor algebra.

Went to ??? meeting.
Church Christ.
(Since Lennie mentions the church, I'm thinking this was some kind of youth or revival meeting.)

Wednesday, January 12, 1898

Went to ??? meetings. (How could he twice write this word so poorly that I could not decipher it? It looks like "attractive" but I know that simply cannot be.)
Slid down hill.
Dull times.
(Lennie must be getting tired of this sledding business. No fun any more. No fun atall. Or perhaps the rest of the gang decided to go home and play video games, or whatever they did in 1898...pull taffy?)

I'm thinking that Lennie wasn't exactly at the head of his class. Oh, it's not that he wasn't bright. Family stories indicate Lennie was always interested in the latest invention and the latest news. For one thing, Lennie enjoyed photography. Later it was motorcycles. He had a great interest in life itself and thoroughly enjoyed being amongst his friends.

But that algebra. It must have been a trouble spot for Lennie.
Things haven't changed much, have they!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lennie Continues In His Lack of Verbosity

Sunday, January 9, 1898
??? meeting. (Indecipherable. Again!)
Went to church together.

Lennie speaks of going to JOGT several times in his diary. But what is JOGT? Google is of no help on this one. I'm certain it has something to do with the Odd Fellows Lodge but I don't know what the letters stand for. Can anyone help me out on this one?

And, Lennie, with whom did you go to church "together"? JOGT members? Family? Boys and girls?
Lennie, I wish you would have been more verbose. And where, Lennie? Presbyterian? Christian? Methodist? Swedish Lutheran? Swede Mission? Which church?

While Lennie was dedicated to writing something every day of Year 1898, he certainly was not verbose.

I think I will call "verbose" the Word of the Day.
Verbose. Meaning "containing more words than necessary".
Lennie was not verbose.

Family members say Lennie was very talkative. But he wasn't much of a writer. Yah, you've already figured that out and here it is, barely a week into the new year.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Wakefield Cornet Band And How It Became Art!

That Lennie! His diary was a small notebook that would fit into his shirt pocket. It's not surprising that each day's entries were limited to a few words.

The book also included postage stamp size photos glued several to a page. One of those photos was Lennie wearing a band uniform. I posted that photo yesterday but I'm including it again today because I want you to see that Lennie is wearing the uniform of the Wakefield Cornet Band.

Surprisingly the quality of the thumbnail size photo was good enough that my scanner was able to copy Lennie's picture at a high resolution so that it could be enlarged. Who would think they could take such good photos in 1898! Old photos are sometimes like that. If you want to check for the amount of detail available in an old black and white photo, simply look at it through a magnifying glass. You may be surprised that you see details with a glass that you don't see with your eye. If so, the photo can be scanned at high resolution for enlargements.

This photo of the "Wakefield Cornet Band" is undated. And, no, Lennie is not in this particular photo! But his brother-in-law is. In fact this is the fellow Lennie mentions in today's entry.

January 8
Big ??? in town. (Sorry, I just can't read that. Too may have been exciting!)
Got Chas. S. cornet.
(That's Charles Emil Schulz, Lennie's brother-in-law.)
Slid on hill. (Again! That Lennie was a sledding fool!)

Charlie Schulz had married Lennie's sister, Flora Olive, in August 1895. I'm guessing this may be their wedding photo.

Charlie and his brother, Frank Schulz, were instrumental in Lennie meeting his future wife. But that's a long ways in the future yet. Perhaps we'll mention her later.

Here's something interesting about this vintage photo of the Wakefield Cornet Band. Artist Charlotta Janssen used this vintage photograph as the basis for a painting in her series "Americana on Canvas". You can read about Janssen's version of the Wakefield Cornet Band here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lennie Plays in the Band. And He's Still Sledding.

It is January 7, 1898. Lennie writes in his diary the following words.

Nice day.
Band practice afterwards.

Slid on hill.

I wonder how big was this hill? And I wonder if Lennie's friends were joining him every day, for he's mentioned sliding on the hill several times this week. In my mind's eye I see several of them, wearing caps and scarves and gloves, sledding until the cold (or the hour) forces them to head for home. I suppose if you had no television or video games, you might be out there sledding, too.

The band Lennie mentions is a town band. In today's photo Lennie is wearing his band uniform. He's not included in the group photo that I will post tomorrow, but perhaps he was not yet a full-fledged member. Be sure to check in again tomorrow to read about the Wakefield Cornet Band and how it became "art".

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Afternoon in January, 113 Years Ago

Sorry that I've almost missed today's post. We've had visitors over the holidays and I'm a bit off schedule. Since it is nearing the end of the day, I will post today and tomorrow's entry in one post.

A hundred thirteen years after Lennie was sliding down a snowy hill in Wakefield, Nebraska, his grandson Jim holds in his lap Lennie's great-great-great grandson Marcus, hoping the little fellow will take a nap.

But on with Lennie's diary. He writes as follows:

January 5
Slid on hill.
Messer? had a scrap (he means someone got in a fight!)
Hot time. (which means this was a pretty exciting event!)

January 6
Got Lew's picture.
Nice day.
No letter.

Lew is Lennie's friend, Lew Walden, who had recently moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Census data shows the Walden family lived probably within two houses of Lennie's house.

Lew must have been a good friend because Lennie mentions him many times. Somewhere I have a photo postcard with a fellow in a ten-gallon hat astride a white horse. I suspect that is Lew or possibly his brother. If I could find it, I'd post it, but I can't, so you'll have to use your imagination about Lew.

Lew later moved back east, to Ohio. where he worked as a telegraph operator for the railroad. He died at age 47 at his home in Cincinnati.

P.S. Whenever I include a word with a question mark, it's because the penciled word is not legible. Even with a magnifying glass I've had to guess as to the spelling of the word.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Overnight at a Friend's Home

Last night Lennie stayed at Fred Poff's home. I'm thinking this would have been a school friend. And if that is so, the two of them are still taking advantage of snow on the hill. They're still sliding! Can't you hear them whooping and hollering? Here is Lennie's entry for the day.

Stayed at Fred Poffs all night. Slid on hill. ?oitz show tonight.

Snow is still on the ground. I still can't read Lennie's entry about the word "?oitz". Whatever it was, it was entertaining enough that Lennie attended two nights in a row. Lennie, being a sociable fellow, did not sit at home and twiddle his thumbs in boredom.


Monday, January 3, 2011

School Begins Again After New Year's

Lennie writes:

Started to school again.
Mable H went away to school.
Went to ?oitz show. Sorry, I simply cannot decipher his penciled word.
Slid on hill after school.

Today's photo is of the Wakefield High School.

Lennie's household this year probably includes his parents Josiah and Martha Jane (Crawford) Davis as well as his brothers Frank age 25 and Benjamin age 27, sister Myrtle age 19, and Lennie who will not turn 17 until March. Three older siblings live elsewhere.

Lennie's mention of school sometimes includes his conflicts with the "prof". He doesn't elaborate but you will see as the year goes along that he sometimes riles the fellow.

Come back tomorrow.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 1898

Lennie again writes few words.
Nice day.
Church election.
A. Shumway was baptised.

Throughout the year Lennie mentions going to church, to youth group, or to church parties. He does not discriminate between churches and seems to attend several around town.

In Wakefield, Nebraska at that time there possibly were five churches: Presbyterian, Methodist, Christian, Swedish Lutheran, and Mission Church (sometimes known as Swedish Mission Church).