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, 1898
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.