Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter of 1898 - Lennie Goes Skating

The year1898 is winding down. Charles Leonard (Lennie) Davis, age 17, of Wakefield, Nebraska is still faithfully writing each day in his pocket size diary.
Today's photos feature Lennie's sister, Olive and her husband, Charles Emil Schulz. As of December 1898 they are still a young wed couple with no children. Their first baby, Lucile M Schulz, will be born September 1899 in Wakefield, Nebraska.
While Ollie's family has been in this country for generations, her husband Charles emigrated from Germany in about 1883.

Sunday, November 27,
Fred Poff came in (to town). Snowed in afternoon. Ellis (Paulson) and I took girls out walking.

Monday, November 28, 1898
Cecil is mad. Will, Ellis, Sam, Ella, Mable, Jennie, Edna and I went to lake.
Tuesday, November 29, 1898
Nice day. Went to lake at night. Fred Poff staid all night.
Wednesday, November 30, 1898
Another nice day. Had examination. Sam, Ellis & I ate ??? of peanuts.
Thursday, December 1, 1898
Went skating. Ada & Clara walked in.
Friday, December 2, 1898
Prof Culver visited school. Went out with girls. Myrt & Ollie went to Allen (nearby town of Allen).
Myrtle and Olive are Lennie's older sisters. Olive (Ollie) is married to Charles Schulz. Lennie may already be acquainted with Charles' niece, Alma Kuckku who at this writing is only 5 years old. When she turns 18, she and Lennie will wed.

Lennie and Alma's wedding will be Aug. 2, 1911 at Crystal Lake in Dakota County, Nebraska. Witnesses will be William H. Kuckku (Alma's older brother) and A. R. H. Miller, Minister. Guests will include Elizabeth von Bergen, Chas. E. Schulz and wife Ollie*, Myrtle Davis, Earl Davis, Lucile Schulz, Leonard Schulz,and Vivian Schulz.

*Ooops. I named Charles' wife as Ollie.  Sadly, Ollie will die in childbirth in 1908. At the wedding will be Charles' second wife, Nellie. Charles and Nellie will have three children together, Vivian, Lorraine and Helen.  But that is still 12 years in the future when Lennie writes today's entry.
Saturday, December 3, 1898
Banked house. Went down to Art's. Boys went to show.It is possible that when Lennie says he banked the house, he is talking about placing dirt against the foundation to keep out the cold. This may be an erroneous assumption on my part...surely they would have done that earlier in the fall and would not have waited until December.
Sunday, December 4, 1898
Ada Adair went home. Sam, Ellis, Fred and I had a time.
Monday, December 5, 1898
Ate dinner at home. Victor got his hand hurt. Snowed at night.Victor's hand is injured badly. Next week Lennie notes that the Doc cut off his middle finger.

Tuesday, December 6, 1898
Ranked 3 in class. Prof. Culver gave metal (???) to school. Snowed at night.
Wednesday, December 7, 1898
A dull day. Wrote a letter to Ada. Bessie Allen ate at Drs.
Thursday, December 8, 1898
Boys went skating. Went to choire practice at Lecture room.
Friday, December 9, 1898
Entertainment at Presb Church. Went out walking. Went to Entertainment.
Saturday, December 10, 1898
Wrote letters to Boss and to F. T. (Flora Town) Went skating in bandwagon.



  1. I'm sure amputating that finger was not a pleasant experience in 1898!

  2. "Banked the House" - I think you are right on that one.

    and this: "We banked the house up to its window sills with manure from the barynard to keep out the cold, put on storm doors and windows, and spent the greater part of the time carrying wood from the shed to the house,
    feeding fires and trying to keep warm."

  3. I would love to see pictures of the wedding at "Crystal Lake." I actually have a postcard from the early 1900's (maybe 1913) picturing sailboats on Crystal Lake. It looked amazing. They would have had a beautiful setting.

  4. Thanks, Scott, for those links.
    My dad used to bank dirt up around the brick foundation of our home up to the siding. The bricks had many loose holes in the mortar and wind could whistle under the house. Even with the embankments, he often had to crawl under the house on subzero days to thaw water pipes.

    I've shortened your links to:

  5. As a child in rural Iowa in the 1960s, I remember neighbors with old houses would bank the foundations with straw bales in the fall, then bank snow over the bales as it came. The straw and the snow would be a very effective insulator. Also, a home to mice.

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