Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lennie Reveals His Mischievous Nature

If you scroll to the entry for Sept 10 you will read that Lennie confesses to going "ticktacking". You've probably already surmised that while Lennie is an industrious lad, he also has a mischievous side to his personality. An online dictionary defines "ticktacking" as "a prankster's device for tapping on a door or window from a distance". The prankster would toss a handful of corn kernels at someone's window and then run and hide. Do you suppose there was a pretty young Miss behind those windows?

Sunday, August 28, 1898
Excursion. Went to Sioux City. Guy & I went out walking.

Monday, August 29, 1898
Helped Charlie Smith thrash.
Went to band practice. Went to a party at Dearborns.

Tuesday, August 30, 1898
Did not work. This was a dead week for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 1898
Did not work. The same thing over again. Charlie is fixing his kitchen.

Thursday, September 1, 1898
Guy and I went in the country. Frank came home.

Friday, September 2, 1898
Took Georges dinner out to him. Band Practice.
George may be Lennie's brother...George Weldon Davis. George is thirteen years older than Lennie and is married with three children at this time.

Saturday, September 3, 1898
Rained last night. Cool this morning. Made a trunk. Fred Poff and me ate a basket of grapes.

Sunday, September 4, 1898
A hot day. Charlie printed pictures. Went to Poff's for watermelons.

Monday, September 5, 1898
Started to school. Had no band on account of Chas Herrington.
I don't know how Charles died but he was only 38 years old according to census data.

Tuesday, September 6, 1898
Buried Chas. Herrington.
Pres. CE had business meeting.
Stopped taking the corn.

Wednesday, September 7, 1898
Pa built Charlie a coal house. Cecil and I made a kite.

Thursday, September 8, 1898
Cool. Went out riding with Bennie.

Friday, September 9, 1898
Went to band practice.

Saturday, September 10, 1898
Finished trunk. Worked for Charlie.
Went out ticktacking.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wherein Lennie Works, Bums, Plays in the Band, and Bikes!

Our hero, Lennie Davis, works on neighboring farms all week, thrashing oats, shelling corn, fixing fence. Finally, on Friday afternoon, he gets some time off and bums around town. And in his entry for August 27, he goes bicycle riding!

Sunday, August 14,
Frank went to Chicago. Art & Charlie came down. Walked out to Petersons.

Monday, August 15, 1898
Thrashed for Dillon.

Tuesday, August 16, 1898
Thrashed for Dillon until 4 PM. Stacked oats rest of day.

Wednesday, August 17, 1898
Finished stacking oats. Fixed fence. Came home.

Thursday, August 18, 1898
Shelled corn for Anderson.
Went out to Porters
with Ida LeMay.

Friday, August 19, 1898
Shelled corn. Bummed around town in afternoon.

Saturday, August 20, 1898
Helped ?? (sp?) in shop. Hotest day in Neb for years. 104 degrees.

Another week has gone by. The weather has turned hot. This following week Lennie takes time off to play.

Sunday, August 21, 1898
Another hot day. Went to Presb Church. Took Ed and Ells (Ellis Paulson) home.

Monday, August 22, 1898
A hotter day than Saturday. Band practice. Went to lecture at Prest. Church.
(Hotter than Saturday? Hotter than 104 degrees!! Please be reminded that the Presbyterian Church did not get air conditioning yet for decades!)

Tuesday, August 23, 1898
A cool day.
Fixed pictures in this book.
(Lennie is speaking of his diary. In the front and back inside covers he had glued tiny photos. Unfortunately, they are faded beyond recognition. These tiny photos are not to be confused with the photos in his pocket-size photo album which contained dozens of well preserved photographs of friends, self, and yes, even his dog, "Sport". )

Wednesday, August 24, 1898
A nice day. Worked for Edmond & Bradford. Went down to tennis court.

Thursday, August 25, 1898
Did not work. Shellington's farm caught on fire. Woodman's pinick at ?? (sp?)

Friday, August 26, 1898
Helped George and Charlie put up hay.
Got a letter from Sioux City to play for Carnival.
(Lennie and the Wakefield Cornet Band have a gig!)

Saturday, August 27, 1898
Guy and I went out to the country on bikes.
Aha! Lennie is enjoying the weekend! We wish we had a photo of his bicycle, but we don't. However, as you can see from the prints included here, bicycles haven't changed an awful lot, but costumes have! Especially for the gals!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lennie Sweats While the Crowds Enjoy the Expo in Omaha

This week we again feature Lennie's daily entries in his 1898 diary.

Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis, age 17 , of Wakefield, Nebraska spends a busy week in the wheat and oat fields doing the sweaty work of harvesting.

Meanwhile, a world's fair, the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition is in full swing in Omaha. It will run from June 1 to November 1, 1898. While Lennie is sweating in the sun, thousa
nds are enjoying themselves at the Expo. It is indeed a grandiose event as you can see by the photos.

You can read more about the 1898 Expo at this site and this and many links to photos here (photos by F. A. Rinehart). I'm including a few of Rinehart's photos in today's post to whet your appetite. Isn't that a cool photo of the John Deere & Company exhibit? (Remember that you can click for a closer view.)

Meanwhile...Lennie writes the following. H
is words are in bold black.

Sunday, August 7, 1898
Nice Day.
Ellis Paulson came down from Norfork (Norfolk, Nebraska, some 10 miles to the west of Wakefield.)

Monday, August 8, 1898
Stacked wheat.
Fred went to town after Joe's watch.
(Lennie had recently purchased a watch for himself. It appears he has influenced Joe to do the same.)

Tuesday, August 9, 1898
Stacked wheat.
Joe went to town twice after watch finally got it.

Wednesday, August 10, 1898
Stacked wheat.

Thursday, August 11, 1898
Thrashed at Will Moers (Moore's ??)

Friday, August 12, 1898
Thrashed in forenoon.
Stacked wheat.

Saturday, August 13, 1898
Stacked oats in forenoon.
Thrashed for Dillon.

The weather has been cooperating in this labor-intensive work of harvesting wheat and oats. The Omaha Daily Bee reports daily highs in the 70s and mid-80s. This is near perfect weather for the Expo as well as for Lennie and his fellow harvesters. Next week, however, it will get hot. HOT!

Take note of these last two photos. The last photo is labeled a "war balloon". And the photo just prior is the machinery used to fill the balloon with "gas"...whatever that gas is, I don't know. Perhaps simply heated air.

Omaha Daily Bee continues to mention the Spanish American War (as well as the Expo) on a daily basis. The hostilities end this week according to the front page of the Bee.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wherein We Look to Lennie's Future

In Lennie's diary it is Aug. 2, 1898. Thirteen years from this day in the year 1911 Lennie will marry Alma, the niece of Lennie's brother-in-law, Frank.

Lennie will be 30 years old. His bride will be 18. Their marriage will last as long as they live and they will raise three daughters. One will die in her early 20s from a blood clot. One will marry but will remain childless. One will marry and raise five children.

Oddly, on this same date in 1918 Lennie will receive a letter from the Post Office Department appointing him a rural carrier for Wakefield, effective Aug 16. The letter notes that his annual salary will be $1488 and suggests "you provide yourself a vehicle of such capacity as will enable you to handle all mail that may be intrusted to you and protect it from adverse weather conditions."

Lennie's grandson remembers that Lennie often carried a shotgun with him on his rural mail route, grabbing it up occasionally to shoot a pheasant out the window of his vehicle. That's illegal these days (to shoot a gun from the road) but perhaps it was okay then.

During their marriage Alma's only sibling, her older brother William, will die on the battlefields of France during the Battle of Cantigny in May 1918. His body will first be buried on the field, then disinterred and placed in a cemetery dedicated to Americans. The U.S. Army will contact Alma, asking her if she wants his body brought home for burial. She makes that request and Lennie makes arrangements for William's body to be buried beside his parents at the Wisner, Nebraska cemetery. (photo is William Henry Kuckku)

When World War II comes along, the youngest daughter of Lennie and Alma will be living in New York with her husband and three children. During those years rationing will make it difficult to buy meat, eggs, sugar, tires, clothing, etc. Lennie and Alma will periodically fill a large wooden egg crate with eggs, ham, and other goodies and put it on a train to New York. The young family will return the empty crate to be re-filled and shipped again on a regular basis.

Many letters will be written between Alma and her young daughter...letters that detail the daily lives of the grandchildren. There will be many visits to Wakefield where Lennie, otherwise known as Grampa, will make his grandchildren feel welcome and loved.