Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lennie Takes On a Dirty, Smelly Job

Weatherwise, it's still cool in Wakefield, Nebraska this first week of August, 1898 with temps on Monday hovering just under 70. By Friday the thermometer will soar to 88 or thereabouts.

Lennie is doing a man's job...working in the fields. In July he helped with the wheat and oat harvest.
This week the work shifts to a "dirtier" job. Lennie begins hauling manure. The manure from the barn and feed areas would be tossed onto a wagon via muscle power and a pitchfork. Then the wagon was pulled by a team of horses to the fields where Lennie would use a pitchfork to toss the stuff into the field. The winds would carry the "aroma" for miles. And probably so did Lennie's clothes.

With all this field work I'm thinking that 17-year-old Lennie was pretty buff by summer's end.

The photo? That's Lennie in his old age. By then he had gone through the Depression of the 1930s, had lived through World Wars I and II, buried an adult daughter, and lived life as an honorable man who took care of his family and was a good neighbor to all. I like this photo of Lennie for I can see how much his grandson (my hubby) resembles him.

Let us move on to Lennie's diary.

Sunday, July 31,
Got a book and stayed home and read.
Went down and seen G.
(I'm suspecting G is a girl. Lennie often used initials when referring to girls.)

Monday, August 1, 1898
A rainy day.
Petersons got new table.
Hauled manure.

Tuesday, August 2, 1898
Hauled manure.
Joe Peterson sent after watch.
Fred and me went to town.
(Remember that Lennie himself got a new watch July 23. Now his buddy is influenced to get one for himself.)

Wednesday, August 3, 1898
Fixed up shocks.
Hauled hay in forenoon.
Stacked hay afternoon.

Thursday, August 4, 1898
Hauled manure in forenoon.
Stacked wheat in afternoon.
(indecipherable) came home.

Friday, August 5, 1898
Stacked wheat all day.
Storm came up after noon.

Saturday, August 6, 1898
Hauled manure.
Fred felt funny. Gave me a nice ride on hayrack.
(I'm thinking Lennie meant Fred felt he was in a joking mood...hence, the "nice" ride in the hayrack.)


Monday, July 25, 2011

Upon Which Lennie Continues to Shock and Also Buys New Shoes

Weatherwise, it's been a relatively nice week 1898 in Wakefield, Nebraska. The daily high temps have been just nudging above 80 degrees, making this ideal weather for shocking wheat and working long hours in the sun. Seventeen-year-old Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis is undoubtedly working with a large crew of men on his friend's farm for it took many hands to do this kind of work.

Sunday, July 24,
Rained in afternoon.
Went to C
(Lennie begins his week by going to church on Sunday.)
Emery came down to see ??? (can't decipher the name)
Went out to Petersons.

Monday, July 25, 1898
Started to cut wheat, shocked all day.
Went to town.

Tuesday, July 26, 1898
Shocked wheat.
Did not go to town to the show.
Rained at midnight.

Wednesday, July 27, 1898
Shocked wheat.
Went to town at night.
Got new shoes.

Thursday, July 28, 1898
Shocked wheat.
Binder broke at noon.
Boys out until 9 oclock.

Friday, July 29, 1898
Rained in morning didn't work in morning finished shocking wheat.

Saturday, July 30, 1898
Fixed up shocks in forenoon.
Hauled hay.
Cut weeds in afternoon.

This week President McKinley provided terms for peace to the Spanish through France. The Omaha Daily Bee is full of news on the Spanish-American War. Troops have landed at "Porto Rico" as it is spelled in the Omaha news.

The photo to the right was taken nearly a month previous on July 1 at San Juan Hill and depicts Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Upon Which Lennie Has a Shocking Week

Okay, okay, I'm playing with you. Lennie indeed had a "shocking" week but the word refers to working in the oat fields.

The photos are vintage photos found online and are of this era or close to it. (Click for a closer view.)

The first photo is in an oat field. The second is in wheat, but I'm thinking both oats and wheat were harvested in similar manner. Lennie was undoubtedly working for a nearby farmer. While the men worked in the field the farmer's wife would be cooking up a storm, making sure each man had a good portion of vittles including pie for dessert. A farmer always fed his hired crew.

Sunday, July 17, 1898
A hot day.
Wind blew hard all day.
Union meeting.

Monday, July 18, 1898
Tried to fix Guy's wheel.
93 in the shade.
Took possession of Santiago yesterday.
(Lennie is writing in reference to Santiago, Cuba, and the surrender of the Spanish forces to General Shafter, U.S. Army. You can read about that in the Omaha Daily Bee for this date by clicking here. You may have to enlarge the page to read it. )

Tuesday, July 19, 1898
Came out Peterson's last night.
Rained this morning.
Shocked oats in the afternoon.

Wednesday, July 20, 1898
Shocked oats.

Thursday, July 21, 1898
Shocked oats.
IOGT had picknick in Dixon's Grove.

Friday, July 22, 1898
Shocked oats.
Cut weeds in afternoon.
Came in town to IOGT.
Out for 3 mo.

Saturday, July 23, 1898
Cut weeds in morning.
Shocked hay in afternoon.
Band in town at night.
Got a watch.
Next week Lennie's friend, Joe Peterson, will have been impressed by Lennie's new watch and will be ordering one for himself.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lennie Goes to Work Even Though He Does Not Feel Well

We continue reading the 1898 diary of 17-year-old Charles Leonard Davis, Wakefield, Nebraska.

Although our Lennie has a cold this week, we see that he is an industrious person. He continues to work at his job on the street (road) in spite of not feeling well.

Nobody ever said Lennie was lazy. No, all his life he was full of adventure and energy.

In spite of being under the weather, Lennie also goes swimming this week.

And on Saturday he goes for a walk with Lyda. We do not know who Lyda is. And w
e doubt any of these young ladies is Lyda. However, we show you these photos from Lennie's pocket-size photo album so that you can view their hair styles, their rather fancy hats, and the dresses of that time. How fun it would be to know their names, but Lennie did not pencil that information into his album. (Note: Many of the photos in Lennie's album were posed. Holding and reading a letter was a common pose.)

We read on.

Sunday, July 10, 1898
Nice day.
Did not feel well.
Sam, Ellis and me went to Wayne.

Monday, July 11, 1898
Did not work.
Sam and Ellis went over to Haskells and played
No band.

Tuesday, July 12, 1898
Fixed Frank's wheel.
Worked Frank's Pole Tax.
Went swimming after supper.

Wednesday, July 13, 1898
Did not feel well all day.
Worked on streets all day.

Went swimming.

Thursday, July 14, 1898
Did not feel well today.
Have a bad cold.
Worked on roads.

Friday, July 15, 1898
Worked on roads in forenoon.
1-1/2 hours in afternoon.

Band played on street.

Saturday, July 16, 1898
Worked on streets in forenoon.
Walked with Lyda S.

(Remember that you can click on the photos for a better view.)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Upon Which Lennie Goes For a Buggy Ride With His Sister Ollie

Sunday, July 3, 1898
Nice day.
Went out buggy riding with Ollie.

Ollie is Lennie's sister, older than he, and married for three years to Charles (Carl) Emil Schulz. Lennie is back row, center. His two sisters are Myrtle, left, and Olive (Ollie), right. And look at Lennie's brothers. Did you ever see such handsome moustaches? Their parents are Josiah Davis and Mary Jane (Crawford) formerly of Ohio.

Monday, July 4, 1898
Went to Allen (Allen, Nebraska, a small town eleven miles north of Wakefield.)
Got news that Schley had captured Cervera's fleet.
(The associated press article about this event in Santiago harbor, Cuba, is in the Omaha Bee of July 5, page 1, lower right corner of the page. Commodore Schley, U.S. Navy had captured the Spanish fleet. Click here and enlarge the page to read.)
Played tennis at Allen.

Tuesday, July 5, 1898
Nice day.
Celebrated 4th with fireworks.
Had business meeting.

Wednesday, July 6, 1898
Bummed around town.
Went out to Swansons to work.

Thursday, July 7, 1898
Plowed corn all day.
Nice day.
(On this day in 1898 President William McKinley signed the Treaty that made Hawaii a U.S. Territory.)

Friday, July 8, 1898
Plowed corn.
Went to town.
Went to IOGT.
No band practice.

Saturday, July 9, 1898
Worked in forenoon.
Came to town.