Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lennie Misses Seeing the Tornado

Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis, age 17, Wakefield, Nebraska continues to write short entries in his pocket-size diary. Lennie's words are in bold black.

Sunday, April 24,
Went out riding in afternoon with Frankie Weaver.
Since Lennie often mentions his "wheel" (bicycle), I'm thinking they went bicycle riding. It's possible, of course, that he's speaking of a horse. But since he often mentions the bike, I'm betting on the bike. Lennie's friend, Frankie, is 15 years old.
According to the 1900 census for Wakefield, Dixon County, Nebraska, Frank's parents are Noah and Margaret Weaver. The
Wakefield Journal a year previous mentioned Noah in a short one-liner...."Noah Weaver is now sending out notices to tax payers to "whack up". Don't be offended if you get one." According to the census, Noah is a wagonmaker. The 1896 History of Dixon County, Nebraska, also names Noah as a wagonmaker. He must have been on some county board if he were sending out tax notices. Noah Weaver's brother Issac (Frankie's uncle) lived next door.

Monday, April 25, 1898
America has captured 9 ships to Spain's one.
Ellise's moved.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, April 26, 1898
Seeded down the yard at home.
Going to business meeting.
Nice day.

Wednesday, April 27, 1898
Do not feel well.
George S is to be baptised tonight.

Thursday, April 28, 1898
Captured three more ships.
There will be a social at Weavers tonight.

Friday, April 29, 1898
Nice day.
Went to JOGT. Elected officers.

Saturday, April 30, 1898
Received word that Mrs. Swartz was dead.
Went to school today.

Lennie fails to mention a tornado that struck Dixon County Saturday afternoon. The Newcastle Times
reports: "Dixon County was visited with two young tornados between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

The western vein struck the county at Charley Johnson's on the Cedar county line, destroying his barn and blowing the house off the foundation. It then destroyed O. B. Severson's house and moved his barn, shook up W. D. Blatchford's barns and house, granaries and machinery. It then demolished the two Norwegian Lutheran churches at Lime Grove and N. C. Jacobson's barn. N. Johnson's house was unroofed. Ole Severson had everything swept away. Ole Halvorson lost his barn as did Ben Benson. Ole Severson and his wife were quite severely injured, though not fatally.

The southwest vein was hardly as severe as the western. It demolished two schoolhouses southwest of here, then dropped down at Thomas O'Toole's, completely destroying all out buildings, farm machinery, grain, etc., and almost wrecked his dwelling. It then struck Peter Nelson's and lifted the house, dropping it a number of steps away onto a cave into which the family had gathered. It then gave Andy Spellacy a call, destroying a house and all outbuildings including barns and granaries. Near here it drove a 2 x 4 studding through a basswood tree about 8 inches in diameter. The studding can now be seen in the tree.

The two twisters traveled in a northeastern direction, doing damage in South Dakota and Iowa."

The Ponca Newspaper
reported the same storm with the following story.

"Last Saturday afternoon was the scene of numerous cyclones in this section and northern Iowa. About 3 o'clock a black could was seen in the south but nothing further than a rumble as of thunder attracted some of the citizens to it. It seems the one visible from Ponca that struck the O'Toole farm just east of Newcastle touched the ground first about five miles south west of that place. It is believed to have divided after a few miles journey, the larger portion taking a direction of north and striking in and near Limegrove utterly demolishing the Peterson residence, completely tearing two churches in pieces and making it's way across the river at a point due east of Limegrove.....

Later reports than the above gives definitely the names of the parties and the damage they suffered....Ed Luther a mail carrier between Newcastle and Limegrove, was caught by the storm and lifted from his cart over a fence and the mail sack was carried nearly a mile away.

At Elk Point, SD, three houses were destroyed, three cows killed and John I. Johnson was carried about 200 yards from a building by the wind and picked up dead with his head nearly severed from his body. It is next heard of at Canton, SD, but no damage was reported done. Two children were killed at Sheldon, Ia., and a large number of buildings were laid waste."


Monday, April 18, 2011

Lennie Goes to Church With His Girl

Sunday, April 17, 1898
Cloudy & rainy.
Sam, Ella, Gertie & I went to Wayne
(Nebraska) to church.
Wayne is a little over 10 miles from Wakefield. A nice buggy ride with the girls.

Monday, April 18, 1898
Raining all day.
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, April 19, 1898
Big day. Worked hard in physics.

Wednesday, April 20, 1898
Nice day.
Gertie is mad at
(name crossed out by Lennie).
Got examined in Physics. (He studied yesterday. Wonder how he fared on his test?)

Thursday, April 21, 1898
Nice day.
Went to ?? Bluffs.
Band played in the school.

Friday, April 22, 1898
Arbor Day.

Saturday, April 23, 1898
Worked around the house.
Went fishing.
Choir practice at our house.

Do you remember Lennie mentioning the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor (Cuba)? Today, April 23, 1898, President McKinley asked for 125,000 volunteers to fight in what was to become known as the Spanish American War.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lennie Plants Potatoes and Buys New Shoes

This week Lennie celebrates Easter, enjoys a walk with his "girlfriend" Gertie, and comments on the senior class. Lennie is a junior this year. It was a busy week but Lennie is brief with his words. The guy is not very verbal. At least not in writing. But I'm thinking he was a talker...just like his grandson (my hubby). And I bet he laughed a lot, just like my hubby. And interested in many things. Here are his writings for the week of April 10-16.

Sunday, April 10,
Easter Sunday.
Fine day.
Saw Ella.
Gertie and me took a walk.

Monday, April 11, 1898
Had examination. Stood to an average of 81 percent. (Good job, Lennie! Study pays off!)
Went to band practice.

Tuesday, April 12, 1898
Rained all day but not hard.
Senior class had a social in JOGT hall.
(The JOGT was somehow connected to Odd Fellows. But I'm not an Odd Fellows expert, so can't explain further.)

Wednesday, April 13, 1898
Graduates had their picture taken.

Thursday, April 14, 1898
John Madden came home.

Friday, April 15, 1898
Went to band practice.

Saturday, April 16, 1898
Hot all day.
Plowed and planted potatoes.
He would have plowed and planted the potatoes using horses. No tractors yet in Lennie's teen years.
Got new shoes on credit. Cost $1.25.
I like the idea of Lennie getting a new pair of shoes. His feet were probably still growing at age seventeen and a new pair of spring shoes was probably necessary. The shoes cost only $1.25 which was probably a lot of money in those days. As you can see from this ad in the Omaha Bee he could have purchased an entire suit for $6.75. And a hat for 99 cents.

By the way! Wilbur Wright (of Wright brothers fame) will celebrate his 31st birthday this week. He will not make his famous flight (the first ever heavier than air, manned, powered flight) for another five years in 1903. Airplanes were still a thing of the future and the skies were clear of contrails in those days.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lennie And His Friends In The Band

If you've been reading along, you know that Lennie (Charles Leonard Davis) played the cornet in the Wakefield Cornet Band. So did his brother-in-law Carl Schulz. And so did several of Lennie's friends.

The group photo must have been
taken before Lennie began playing, because Lennie is not in it. However, a couple of his friends are already in the band. How do I know they are his friends? Because their individual photos appear in his pocket-size photo album in the form of what we would call thumbnail photos. (Click for a closer view.)

. .
This, of course, is Lennie. And the next photo shows his "Friend A" who also plays cornet. We do not know his name but you can find him in the group photo, back row, first on the left.

Friend "B" appears in the back row, second from the left. He, too, played the cornet. He was a dapper young fellow.

. . . .

"Friend C" played the bass drum. At least I'm pretty sure this is the same fellow. Take a look yourself.

. .

Photos of "Friend D" also appear several times in Lennie's album. In one photo he is jauntily wearing a top hat and posing with a buddy. His buddy must not have a top hat and wears his regular hat for the photo. This fellow is not in the group photo so we do not know what instrument he played.

. . . .

Now that I've (namelessly) introduced you to several of Lennie's friends you can go back to my previous post wherein I told you how the Wakefield Cornet Band became "art" (thanks to artist
Artist Charlotta Janssen).
. .


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Upon Which Lennie Sells Horseradish

Lennie has a pretty busy week. Mine was busy, too. That's why this post is a "catch-up" post with a full week's entries.

Saturday, April 2,
Went to Allen.
Morse Fogg went home.

Sunday, April 3, 1898
Cloudy & rained a little.
Came back home from Allen.

Monday, April 4, 1898
This week is vacation.
Went to band practice.
(Tomorrow I will try to post photos of several of Lennie's fellow band members.)

Tuesday, April 5, 1898
Worked on Ella Shelvington's wheel (her bicycle)
& went riding with Myrtle & Georgie.

Wednesday, April 6, 1898
Went out to Gertie Fitz with Georgia Smith.

Thursday, April 7, 1898
The Presb Church had a convention for the Ladies Aid Society.

Friday, April 8, 1898
Sold horse reddish made $1.
Went to the convention and to the JOGT.
You can read about how to make horseradish sauce from the roots of the horseradish plant here.

Saturday, April 9, 1898
Wind blew hard all day.
Went to a party at Moors.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lennie Has a Busy Week and An Old Friend Comes Back to Town

Charles Leonard Davis spends a quiet week in the Year 1898 at Wakefield, Nebraska. The following entries are as he wrote them in a small pocket diary that he kept that year.

Sunday, March 27,
Had a blizzard.
Snowed and blew.
Cleared off at night.

Monday, March 28, 1898
Fixed up batteries at School.
Went and took a big ride with John Boothes

Tuesday, March 29, 1898
C.E. of Presbertain C had an entertainment.
I went to ?? to a C. E. business meeting.
(C.E. refers to Christian Education)

Wednesday, March 30, 1898
Lillie Weaver went to Omaha.
Rode wheel
(bicycle) around town after supper.

Thursday, March 31, 1898
Nice day.
Had a Swedish entertainment at Sweed church.

Friday, April 1, 1898
April Fool.
Morse Fogg was in town.
Went to band practice.
(check back later this week for photos from Lennie's album of individual band members)
I believe Lennie means "Morris Fogg" who appears as a resident in the 1885 Nebraska Census of Wakefield, Nebraska. His father is listed as a physician. Morris was about a year older than our Lennie.

Saturday, April 2, 1898
Went to Allen (Allen, Nebraska)
Morse Fogg went home.