Friday, December 29, 2006

About Josephine Jordan & Her Diaries

My Mom passed away in 2003. A few weeks ago, my stepfather
gave me a box of my mother's family papers. Among those papers
were three old notebooks. Two were daily diaries of my great,
great, grandmother, Josephine Jordan. They span the years 1892
to 1898. Grandmother Josephine wrote only a line a day.
Occasionally she wrote two. On a few rare occasions, she penned
three lines. I don't think she missed a day of writing in those seven
years.Here's what the diaries look like:





As I read the 1892 diary, I began to learn about this ancestor who I
previously knew absolutely nothing about. I discovered that, within
the constraints of only a few words each day, Josephine could not
elaborate. Nevertheless, as the chronicle of days and months and
years pass, a life story develops. Because of the lack of details,
the story is something of a puzzle. It can only be assembled by
understanding the historical setting (more about this later), the
cultural context, picking up little clues in the entries, reading
"between the lines," and employing some imagination.

There are people who will, undoubtedly, find the diaries to be
boring. But the combination of genuine humanity, unpretentious
writing, seven years of continuity(I will be posting all the years if there is an interest), and 115-year-old agrarian setting
will be of interest to many. I believe that if you read the first year of
Josephine's diary entries (a line a day doesn't take long to read),
you will be drawn into the story of this woman's life. You will find
yourself putting the puzzle together, wanting to know more,
wondering what will happen next.

One thing is abundantly clear right from the very first entry.
Josephine is a Christian woman. Her faith is rooted deep. It is the
central focus in her life. It is the well from which she draws hope
and joy. It is what sustains her through the difficulties and
disappointments she encounters along the path that God, the
Great Orchestrator, scripted for her.

Josephine and her husband, who she refers to as "Husband" or
"Hubby" (I have not yet discovered his first name) had a farm in
Aroostook County, Maine. That's way up in the northern part of the
state. It appears that they lived somewhere around the town of
Presque Isle. Like every other farmer in that region, they grew
potatoes. Farming was all about potatoes in Aroostook county
back then, and it pretty much still is.

But the Jordan farm was surely not like the typical farm of these
days. Farms back then were smaller. They were also more
diversified and self sufficient. Farm folk provided much of their own
food, and fuel from the forest. The community they lived in was
more closely knit than communities of today. People relied on, and
cared more about, their neighbors.

Josephine and her husband had four children. When the diary
begins in 1892, Blanche, the oldest, is 19 years old. Three years
later, she would marry a local farmer named George Lang. They
would have a daughter, Gertrude, who would grow up and marry a
local farmer by the name of Percy Philbrick (the man pictured with
me on the cover of This Book. Gertrude and Percy were my grandparents.

Josephine's other children were Frank, who is 18 years old on
January first of 1892. Another son, Laurie, is 14 years old. And the
baby of the family, Gertie, is 9 years old. It is a small family
compared to many farm families of the time.

It's worth noting that Josephine was not a doctor, scientist,
inventor, entrepreneur, or politician (women could not even vote in
1892). She did not travel the world. She was not directly involved in
any great historical event. She wasn't even a good writer. The fact
is, she never distinguished herself in any notable way outside the
little circle of her home and family.

Which is to say, Josephine was an ordinary farm wife. As such she
devoted herself to helping her husband, caring for her home, her
family, and, at times, others in her community when they were in
need. She dealt with great tasks of cooking, washing, ironing,
feeding, churning, sewing, and so forth--day after day, month after
month, year after year.

It is the commonness of her life, her hard work, her self-sacrifice,
her hospitality, and her devotion to faith and family that
distinguishes Josephine--especially when viewed from the
perspective of our modern culture where so many woman have, by
choice or circumstance, refocused their daily work away from
home and family.

The fact of the matter is, Josephine Jordan demonstrated her love
for her Lord and her family by her devotion to the work of being a
wife and mother. That is one of the things that stand out when I
read the lines of words that chronicle her years.

Another thing that stands out is what appears to be Josephine's
greatest desire in life. It is not for any personal or material
gratification. It is, rather, that her children would know Jesus Christ
as their Lord and Savior. Time and again Josephine speaks of this
spiritual burden she has for her children, and her great hope that
they would follow in the faith.

As I write this introduction to the diaries, I have read only about two
years into the seven. I do not know exactly how Josephine's life
unfolds. I do not know if all her children embraced her faith. But in
the one other notebook among my mother's papers is a line-a-day
diary from daughter, Blanche. From Blanche's diary it appears that
she did hold fast to the Christian faith. Blanche's daughter,
Gertrude, did too. So did Gertrude's daughter, Mary, (my mother).
And I have also. So, to a degree, God gave Josephine the desire of
her heart. That is something to keep in mind as you read about her
life.

There was one more item among my mother's papers that is
pertinent to this story. It is a small page of yellowed notebook
paper with a faded pencil-scrawl. The words touched me deeply
as I read them...



In Memoriam

Oh Josephine, thy gentle voice is hushed.
Thy warm true heart is still.
And on thy pale and peaceful face,
is resting death's cold chill.
Thy hands are clasped upon thy breast.
We have kissed thy marble brow.
And in our aching hearts we know
We have no Josephine now.

Through all pain at times she smiled,
A smile of heavenly birth.
And when the angles called her home,
She smiled farewell to earth.
Heaven retaineth now our treasure.
Earth the lonely casket keeps.
And the sun beams long to linger,
Where our sainted mother sleeps.

Husband
Presque Isle, June 28th, 1914


Why I am Posting These Diaries to The Internet

When my mother, the great granddaughter of Josephine Jordan,
lay dying of cancer, she asked me to read her Psalm 103. There,
in part, it says:

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he
flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.


The flower that was Josephine Jordan's life faded generations
ago, but a precious piece of her remains in two old notebooks.
Now, one hundred and fifteen years later,wonderfully, amazingly,
providentially, that fragile remnant testifies of my great, great
grandmother's love and trust in Jesus Christ. And, more than that,
in entry after entry, Josephine's humble writings glorify God.

With that in mind, I have decided to share my grandmother
Jordan's diaries with you beginning where the first note book begins.

It is a way of honoring her memory and the simple agrarian life she lived--a life focused on faith and family. I think we can learn some things from this common, but remarkable farm wife of 1892.

I am also publishing these diary entries so I can copy them off, put them in a binder and keep them for my children (perhaps even my grandchildren) to read one day. Josephine's old style of penmanship takes some effort to understand and it's easier to read in this format.

1892 Historical Perspective

As you read Joephine's diary, keep in mind that in 1892 she does
not have ANY of the household conveniences that we take for
granted these days. Though Thomas Edison's light bulb was first
displayed to the public in 1879, it was not until 1910 that the
Central Maine Power Company was founded, and household
electricity probably did not get to northern Maine farms until the
1920's. So there were no electric stovetops, ovens, refrigerators,
washing machines. irons, toasters, blenders, or any of that. There
was also not radio or television or telephone.

The Jordan home probably had a hand pump to get water, unless
they had a spring above the house and could gravity feed it into the
kitchen.

Prior to the Civil War, President Millard Fillmore installed the first
flush toilet in the White House. But in 1892, twenty-seven years
after Lee surrendered to Grant, it's unlikely that there were any
flush toilets in the farm homes of Aroostook County, Maine.
Outhouses were the standard.

Josephine cooked on and baked in a wood stove. She also heated
the water for clothes washing and bathing using a wood stove.
When she ironed clothes, her irons would have been heated by a
stove too. Chances are there was another stove (or more) to keep
the house warm in winter.

The family probably had an ice box, but possibly not. Perhaps they
had a spring house to help keep food cool. One thing Josephine
did have was canning jars— they were in widespread use at that
time.

When Josephine writes about going for a drive, she is not in an
automobile. It would be 1909 before the first affordable
automobiles (the Model T) started rolling off Henry Ford's
assembly line. Which means there were no tractors on any of the
farms in 1892. The work was accomplished with animal power,
man power, and human ingenuity.

In 1875 a new Maine law required children between the ages of
nine and fifteen to go to school for at least three months a year.

That same year, the New Brunswick Railway was run into Fort
Fairfield, thus opening up outside markets to Aroostook's farm
and forest products (potatoes in particular). More land was being
cleared to farm and more people were moving into the area to
establish farms. When Josephine's diary speaks of Husband
loading a car, it is a rail car he is loading. In 1894, the Bangor &
Aroostook Railroad was established. That made the northern
woods of Maine even more accessible.

At one point, Josephine writes of potatoes going to a factory. It is
probably a starch factory she is referring to.

When she mentions an event at the Union, she is probably
speaking of the Union Meetinghouse which was a place for civic
and religious functions. Such meeting houses were built in the
1800's all down the Eastern Seaboard. The Union Meetinghouse
Josephine speaks of is probably one built in 1859 at the junction
of Blaine and Presque Isle roads.

When Josephine speaks of ordering material for a dress she may
well have ordered it from the Montgomery Ward catalog. By 1886
the catalog (which was targeted towards the rural population of
the country) was 280 pages in length with more than 10,000
illustrations. Aaron Montgomery Ward's merchandise catalog was
the official supplier to the Grange. Sears and Roebuck was just
getting its business underway and would soon overtake
Montgomery Ward in sales.

Josephine does not mention the Grange but it was established in
1867 by Minnesota farmer and activist, Oliver Hudson Kelley. If it
had not made it to northern Maine by 1892, it would soon be there.
Daughter Blanche's husband, George Lang, was a member of the
Perham Patrons of Husbandry in 1920.

As I consider the comforts of my home and the average farm home
of 1892, it occurred to me that they probably did not have spring
mattresses on their beds. Rope beds and feather ticks were the
norm.

And one ubiquitous modern-day thing that was certainly not found
anywhere in Northern Maine would be.... PLASTIC.

Can you imagine a world without plastic?


More Historical Perspective: The Second Industrial
Revolution


Until I did some research into the era around 1892, I did not realize
that it was a time in history referred to as the second industrial
revolution. The following information from Wikipedia sheds some
light on what was happening in the world at large during the time
of Josephine's diary entries.



From 1865 to about 1900, the U.S. grew to become the world's
leading industrial nation as evidenced by the expansion in the
pace of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which expanded from
under $10 billion in 1800 to well over $350 billion by 1900.

Where the First Industrial Revolution shifted production from
artisans to factories, the Second Industrial Revolution pioneered
an expansion in organization, coordination, and scale of industry,
spurred on by technology and transportation advancements.
Railroads opened up the West, creating markets where none had
existed. The First Transcontinental Railroad, built by Irish and
Chinese immigrants, provided access to previously remote
expanses of land. Railway construction boosted demand for
capital, credit, and land.

To finance the larger-scale enterprises required during this era,
the Stockholder Corporation emerged as the dominant form of
business organization. Corporations expanded by combining into
trusts, and by creating single firms out of competing firms, known
as monopolies. Business leaders backed government policies of
laissez-faire. High tariffs sheltered U.S. factories and workers from
foreign competition, federal railroad subsidies enriched investors,
farmers and railroad workers, and created hundreds of towns and
cities. All branches of government generally sought to stop labor
from organizing into unions or from organizing strikes.

Powerful industrialists, such as Andrew Carnegie, John D.
Rockefeller and Jay Gould, known collectively as "robber barons",
held great wealth and power. In a context of cutthroat competition
for wealth accumulation, the skilled labor of the old-fashioned
artisan and craftsman gave way to well-paid skilled workers and
engineers, as the nation deepened its technological base.
Meanwhile, a steady stream of immigrants encouraged the
availability of cheap labor, especially in the mining and
manufacturing sectors.


And Finally....

I hope you will enjoy and be blessed by Josephine's 1892 diary. Please feel free to add your comments and questions.

January 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

January 1892

--Friday, January 1, 1892
Clear and fine. I have a great deal to be thankful for--all the
mercies of the year that has just passed. May I be more faithful this
year that has just commenced. May my children repent and turn
unto thee. Thou knowest how I want my children to give their
hearts to thee and in thy good time wilt thou answer my prayers.

--Sat, January 2
Snowing most of the day. I expect we will have plenty of it now.
Laurie is helping his father saw part of the day.

--Sund, Jan 3
Raining but we all went to church, but Hubby.

--Mon, Jan 4
Raining and snowing most of the time. Was down to see Mrs.
Varman in the afternoon. All well, thank God.

--Tues, Jan 5
Snowing quite fast. Went down town and did some shopping quite
a lot for husband. All well.

--Wed, Jan 6
Very busy washing. Got through nice and early.

--Thurs, Jan 7
Am quite sick. Did not feel able to sit up.

--Frid, Jan 8
Lovely and fine. Feel nice and smart. I am able to do some baking.
How good the Lord is to me.

--Sund, Jan 10
Lovely and fine. We all went to church.

--Mon, Jan 11
Fine and mild. Mr. & Mrs. Shaw, Mr. & Mrs. Hutchings were here
and spent the evening.

--Tues, Jan 12
Our Laurie is fifteen years old today. He weighed 88 pounds today.
Hope he may have many happy returns.

--Wed, Jan 13
Storming quite fast. Made Gertie some under clothes. Called on
Mrs. Crockett. Had a very pleasant call.

--Thurs, Jan 14
Got up real early for the men could go to depot and load a car of
bark. But they had to come home for it stormed so bad they could
not work until noon.

--Fri, Jan 15
Got up about four. Got the men off by daylight. They got the car
most loaded but it's a very cold day.

--Sat, Jan 16
Lovely and fine. Men finished loading the car.

--Sund, Jan 17
Very cold. Yesterday we went to Presque Isle. Started about noon.
Was gone about three hours.

--Mond, Jan 18
Very fine. Husband went down to start the car.

--Tues, Jan 19
Storming very fast. Husband sick. Fear it's Erysipelas.

--Wed, Jan 20
The storm has abated. Husband had a bad spell last night. We
made a fire and sweat him, then he seemed better.

--Thurs, Jan 21
Doctor Sincock came this morning. He thinks it's not Erysipelas. I
hope it's not. Hope he’ll soon be better.

--Fri, Jan 22
Am thankful to say he is better. Bless the Lord.

--Sat, Jan 23
Husband a little better. I feel very very glad.

--Sun, Jan 24
Blanche, Frank and I went to church and sabbath school.

--Mon, Jan 25
Husband a little better. I feel so glad about it.

--Tues, Jan 26
Fell sick myself. But I sweat and feel better.

—Wed, Jan 27
Husband much better, I think. Bless the Lord.

--Thurs, Jan 28
Husband does not feel so well. Feels discouraged.

--Fri, Jan 29
Lovely and fine. Husband better. Thank the good Lord. Mr. Shaw
our neighbor is sick.

--Sat, Jan 30
Baking for Sunday. Hubby is better. I am so glad.

--Sund, Jan 31
Fine but cold. Blanche & Frank and I went to church and Sunday
School.

February 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

February 1892

--Mond, Feb 1
Husband had a good night. Is weak yet. Frank took a load of
potatoes away. Brought them out of the cellar alone.

--Tues, Feb 2
Frank took potatoes away. Blanche & Gertie and I went down town.
Shortly after we got home, Mr. & Mrs. M. came and spent the
evening.

--Wed, Feb 3
Washed today. Mrs Tweedy came. Spent the afternoon.

--Thurs, Feb 4
Neighbor V. sick. F. gone for the doctor.

--Frid, Feb 5
Frank with the rest of his Sunday School Class are invited to the
Wright's.

--Sat, Feb 6
Not able to sit up but a few minutes.

--Sund, Feb 7
A little better. Thank the good Lord.

--Mond, Feb 8
Finished a dress for Blanche. Feel very weak.

--Tues, Feb 9
Mr. Crockett came with some apples. We got some.

--Wed, Feb 10
Am real sick. Cannot sit up but a few minutes.

--Thurs, Feb 11
Not well, but the good Lord can help me.

--Frid, Feb 12
Am still sick. God can help me. May I be faithful.

--Sat, Feb 13
A little better. Thank the good Lord.

--Sund, Feb 14
Cold and the roads are drifted. All well.

--Mond, Feb 15
Not so cold. Ploughed out the roads this afternoon.

--Tues, Feb 16
Lovely and fine. Hubby and Laurie went to Presque Isle.

--Wed, Feb 17
Blustering and cold. Dare not go out today.

--Thurs, Feb 18
Roads all full. Snowed all night. But we know who sent it.

--Frid, Feb 19
Lovely and fine. Hubby and I went to Presque Isle.

--Sat, Feb 20
Fine. Went to the village. Roads are very bad.

--Sund, Feb 21
The three eldest went to church. All quite well.

--Mond, Feb 22
Fine and soft. Did not wash. Went to see Mrs A. who is sick. Hope
she will recover.

--Tues, Feb 23
Lovely and mild. Went to see some more sick folk.

--Wed, Feb 24
Husband went to Presque Isle. Got some groceries.

--Thurs, Feb 25
Blanche went with her father for a drive. I got dinner.

--Frid, Feb 26
Lovely and fine. All at home.

--Sat, Feb 27
Cold and clear. Washed and baked. All well.

--Sund, Feb 28
Went to church and Sunday School.

--Mond, Feb 29
Husband went to see Melon Lombard.

March 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

March 1892

--Tues, March 1
Clear and cold. Hubby went to Presque Isle. Got $20.00

--Wed, March 2
Husband paid Gary $18.50 on a debt, leaving a balance.

--Thurs, March 3
Dull and gloomy. Mrs. E. Washburn buried today.

--Frid, March 4
Last evening Elder Young took Frank up to meeting.

--Sat, March 5
Snowing real fast, but we are all well, thank God.

--Sund, March 6
Did not go to church. But I can read the Bible.

--Mond, March 7
Hubby gone to the woods. Don't know when he'll be home.

--Tues, March 8
Blanche & Gertie are visiting this afternoon.

--Wed, March 9
Blanche and her father got ready to go to town.

--Thurs, March 10
Very windy. Sold some hay. All well.

--Frid, March 11
Sold more hay. Got ten dollars for it.

--Sat, March 12
Real March day. Mrs. Hutchings here.

--Sund, March 13
Am sick today. Cannot sit up. Hope I'll soon be well.

--Mond, March 14
Real cold. Hubby gone to Presque Isle.

--Tues, March 15
Blustering. Real cold & clear.

--Wed, March 16
Mrs. H. was here and paid $26 on their farm.

--Thurs, March 17
Settled with L. Gary paid him in full.

--Frid, March 18
Washed today. Am still lame. Sprained my knee.

--Sat, March 19
Tried out my lard. Made hogs head cheese & cookies.

--Sund, March 20
Storming most of the day. Did not go to church.

--Mond, March 21
Clear and cold. Husband has got cold.

--Tues, March 22
Lovely and fine. Husband gone to the woods.

--Wed, March 23
Storming real fast, but not too cold.

--Thurs, March 24
Went to Presque Isle. Got very tired.

--Frid, March 25
Blancher & I have gone to the village to do some shopping.

--Sat, March 26
Blanche and I have gone to Washburn.

--Sund, March 27
Lovely & fine. Did not go to church. Can't very well.

--Mon, March 28
Blanche and her father started to go to N. Sweden, but did not.

--Tues, March 29
Very fine. Washed today. Hope I'll soon be well.

--Wed, March 30
Gertie went down town to make some visits.

--Thurs, March 31
Very fine. Went to Presque Isle. Am still lame.

April 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

April 1892

--Frid, April 1
Just one year since we moved here. All well.

--Sat, April 2
Very lame today. Don't seem to be any better.

--Sund, April 3
Have a great deal of pain today. Must not complain.

--Mond, April 4
Bless the Lord, oh my soul. He is so good to me.

--Tues, April 5
Thank the good Lord I am better. Had some maple sugar.

--Wed, April 6
Feel a little better. Frank commenced working for E. Hall.

--Thurs, April 7
Blanche churned today. I am still lame.

--Frid, April 8
Blanche washed, I worked out of doors. Feel very pleased.

--Sat, April 9
Had some new maple sugar. Not quite so well.

--Sund, April 10
Feel discouraged. But God is able to bring me through.

--Mond, April 11
No better. Hoped I'd soon get better but don’t feel like it.

--Tues, April 12
Think I feel some better, though my knee is very lame.

--Wed, April 13
Commenced to go on wheels. Mr. Wright fell down dead.

--Thurs, April 14
Very fine. Have done a lot of work. Had some maple sugar.

--Frid, April 15
This morning Mrs. Wright & Elder Young left for Vermont with the
corpse to inter him, where she is going to live.

--Sat, April 16
Boiled 24 pails of sap today. Sent for Frank. Flora. S. was here and
we had a nice evening. Dear little Frank was so glad to get home.
We had sugar and candy.

--Sund, April 17
Blanche, I & Laurie went to church and sunday school.

--Mond, April 18
Lovely and fine. Am boiling sap as fast as I can.

--Tues, April 19
Blanche is twenty today. Hope she may have many happy returns
and gve her heart to her Saviour.

--Wed, April 20
Mr. & Mrs. B. were here & spent the afternoon & three children. Eva
Smith died today.

--Thurs, April 21
My knee pains me very much. Had a short drive.

--Frid, April 22
They have just taken up Mrs. Smith's casket.

--Sat, April 23
Dear little Frank came home after supper. Raining.

--Sund, April 24
Frank & Blanche Have gone to church. I should like to go.

--Mond, April 25
Went over to Mrs. Shaw’s and spent the day. Husband Ploughed.

--Tues, April 26
The Lord is so good to me. A lovely day.

--Wed, April 27
Feel miserable. Did not get up until after breakfast.

--Thurs, April 28
Better today. Trimmed a hat for spring.

--Frid, April 29
Fear I got cold yesterday. Fear I got careless.

--Sat, April 30
Better today, thank the Lord. Feel so pleased.

May 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

May 1892

--Sund, May 1
Went to hear Elder Young. Fine but cold.

--Mond, May 2
Frank went back to Hall's yesterday afternoon and worked until
today at noon. Got ten dollars and came home.

--Tues, May 3
Raining quite fast. Mr. McHenry the M.M. married today.

--Wed, May 4
Raining and blowing. All well.

--Thurs, May 5
Fine but cold. Finished Ploughing today. All well.

--Frid, May 6
Hubby & I were down town. Got a pair of boots.

--Sat, May 7
Men sowed peas and oats today.

--Sund, May 8
Frank drove his colt to church and took Blanche.

--Mond, May 9
Men harrowing. Fine but windy.

--Tues, May 10
Blanche & Gertie gone to circle, which meets at Mrs.Varnum.

--Wed, May 11
Yesterday Husband sowed some peas & planted potatoes in
garden.

--Thurs, May 12
Got our phosphate of Ulrich. 2-1/2 tons. Gave our note for $92.50
for 7 months from date. All well, thank the Lord.

--Frid, May 13
Got our apple trees. Fifty in all for $15, payable 8 months from
date. Commenced to plant potatoes.

--Sat, May 14
Helped cut potatoes this morning. Men putting in.

--Sund, May 15
Frank, Blanche & I went to church. All quite well.

--Mond, May 16
Cut potatoes this morning. About four p.m. commenced putting in.
Got in three barrels.

--Tues, May 17
Still working as yesterday

--Wed, May 18
Cutting potatoes and planting is the order of the day.

--Thurs, May 19
C. D. exercises. Blanche has gone. Boys are going.

[Note: I assume "C.D. exercises" must mean Commencement
Day exercises]

--Frid, May 20
Graduation. Blanche has gone. Boys are going.

--Sat, May 21
How many trials we have.

--Sund, May 22
Rained all day. None of us went to church.

--Mond, May 23
Still raining real fast. All quite well.

--Tues, May 24
Frank is working a few days for Sampsons.

--Wed, May 25
Married twenty one years today. It seems like fifty.

--Thurs, May 26
This morning found a little colt in the barn.

--Frid, May 27
Did a little washing. Blanche & Gertie got greens for dinner.

--Sat, May 28
Husband went down town three times on business.

--Sun, May 29
Did not go to church. The boys went to church and drove the colt.

--Mond, May 30
Laurie and his father are putting in potatoes.

June 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

June 1892

--Wed, June 1
Quite fine. Men finished putting in potatoes.

--Thurs, June 2
Feel rather blue, but my God is so good. Moved out the stove.

--Frid, June 3
Scrubbed doors and windows. Am real busy.

--Sat, June 4
Churned this morning. Had a drive in the afternoon.

--Sund, June 5
Blanche & Frank went to church.

--Mon, June 6
Frank went down town. Bought Laurie a pair of shoes.

--Tues, June 7
Finished sowing oats this morning.

--Wed, June 8
Men just finished piling. Mrs. Shaw here.

--Thurs, June 9
Went away to try to get some money.

--Frid, June 10
Washed. Men put in our buckwheat.

--Sat, June 11
Got my baking all done for Sunday. All quite well.

--Sund, June 12
None of us went to church but Frank.

--Mond, June 13
We have been white washing. Feel very tired.

--Tues, June 14
Blanche has gone to circle at Mrs. Brown's. Feel quite smart.

--Wed, June 15
Papered our pantry.

--Thurs, May 16
Have been in bed all day. Worked too hard yesterday.

--Frid, June 17
Did not get up until most night.

--Sat, June 18
Got up this morning and did what I could.

--Sund, June 19
Got up this morning and cooked the steak. Had strawberries and
cream.

--Mon, June 20
Dear little Gertie got stung. Hope she'll soon be better.

--Tues, June 21
Raining. Sold a little pig for $2.50

--Wed, June 22
Dear little Gertie most well. Sold two pigs today.

--Thurs, June 23
Would like to go to circle but cannot.

--Frid, June 24
Have picked some berries and done some weeding.

--Sat, June 25
Made hogs head cheese & done some other work.

--Sund, June 26
Nice and fine. None of us went to church but Frank.

--Mond, June 27
Dull. Went down town. Did not stay long.

--Tues, June 28
Raining all day. Children at school.

--Wed, June 29
Husband, Gertie & I went to Woodland. I stopped at W.B.

--Thurs, June 30
Lovely and fine. Washed today. All quite well.

July 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

July 1892

--Frid, July 1
Went down town. Did not stay long. Blanche baked.

--Sat, July 2
Gertie and I picked strawberries most all day.

--Sund, July 3
Raining most all day. Did not many of us go to church.

--Mond, July 4
Blanche, Gertie, and her father went down town. Boys went in the
afternoon.

--Tues, July 5
Gloomy, oh how gloomy. Eva Kates came to see Gertie.

--Wed, July 6
Very fine, but oh how I feel. God help me to be faithful.

--Thurs, July 7
Very pleasant. Eva K. just gone home with Frank & Gertie.

--Frid, July 8
Started early this morning for the Fort. Got some things I needed
so much, for which I am very thankful.

[Note: "the Fort" is the town of Fort Fairfield, Maine]

--Sat, July 9
Made Frank a shirt today. Feel quite well.

--Sund, July 10
All went to church but Laurie and his father. Heard Elder Young.

--Mond, July 11
Made a shirt for Laurie today.

--Tues, July 12
Am going to make a carpet. Walked down to Mr. V.

--Wed, July 13
Walked too far yesterday. Knee very lame today.

--Thurs, July 14
Feel better, thank the good Lord. Will try to be more careful.

--Frid, July 15
Put down ten quarts of strawberries. Feel quite well.

--Sat, June 16
Finished some sewing for Husband.

--Sund, June 17
All went to church but Laurie and his father. Husband and I went in
the afternoon. Heard Elder Young.

--Mond, July 18
Went down town and came home in the rain

--Tues, July 19
Feel quite smart. How good the Lord is.

--Wed, July 20
Picked & put down two qts of strawberries.

--Thurs, July 21
Picked berries and sowed today.

--Frid, July 22
Quite fine. Had green peas for dinner.

--Sat, July 23
Men put fifteen loads of hay in the barn after dinner.

--Sund, July 24
All went to church but husband and Laurie.

--Mond, July 25
Finished a dress for Gertie. Men put in one load of hay.

--Tues, July 26
We washed. Men put in eight loads of hay.

--Wed, July 27
Men put in seven loads of hay.

--Thurs, July 28
Went to Baptist circle at Emma A. Had a nice time. Men got in three
loads of hay. Hubby got a fall.

--Frid, July 29
Dear little Gertie is ten years old today. God bless my child. May
she give her little heart to the Savior. Men got in two loads of hay.

--Sat, July 30
Do not feel very well today.

--Sund, July 31
None of us went to church but Frank.

August 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

August 1892

--Mond, August 1
Men got in two loads of hay.

--Tues, August 2
Very fine. Men got two loads of hay in. A girl here selling Dry goods
staid to dinner.

--Wed, August 3
Got in three loads of hay. Went to Mrs. Mc Lishe's.

--Thurs, August 4
Had a man to help mow. They put in three loads of hay.

--Frid, August 5
Put in five loads of hay. Blanche and I went down town.

--Sat, August 6
Hubby, Gertie and I went to Mrs. Wallace's. Came home in the
rain.

--Sund, August 7
Heard Elder Foster preach in the afternoon.

--Mond, August 8
Blanche and her father went down town.

--Tues, August 9
Quite raining. Busy about my work.

--Wed, August 10
Dear Frank 19 years old today. Hope he may have many happy
returns & above all give his heart to the Lord is the prayer of his
mother.

--Thurs, August 11
Got some groceries. Hubby & Frank to the pasture.

--Frid, August 12
Am very busy. Fried doughnuts.

--Sat, August 13
Still raining. Baking for Sunday. Bless the Lord.

--Sund, August 14
Blanche & Frank gone to church. Hubby and I went in the afternoon
to M. meeting.

--Mond, August 15
Went down town on business.

--Tues, August 16
Blanche has gone to circle to Mrs. Robinson's.

--Wed, August 17
Frank has gone to Baptist picnic.

--Thurs, August 18
Men put in two loads of oats. Nice and fine.

--Frid, August 19
Quite fine but looking like rain. All well.

--Sat, August 20
Had a dreadful storm last night. Thundered, lightened & rained. A
young man was here. Came in out of the storm. The good Lord
kept us from harm.

--Sund, August 21
Don't feel very happy. Wish my children were good.

--Mond, August 22
Frank is away for a few days.

--Tues, August 23
Am working on my dress as fast as I can.

--Wed, August 24
Feel sad about my children. Hope they'll be better.

--Thurs, August 25
Blanche invited to a class reception at Prof. Knowlton's. B. Mitchel
& wife are here.

--Frid, August 26
Hubby & boys put in a culvert. Mr. & Mrs. Mitchel here.

--Sat, August 27
Went down town and got some groceries.

--Sund, August 28
None of us went to church but Frank.

--Mond, August 29
Very fine. Men are ploughing.

--Tues, August 30
Went to Association and stayed all day.

--Wed, August 31
Feel tired. Guess it don't agree with me to go to association. We
had lovely sermons

September 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

September 1892

--Thurs, Sept. 1
Men butchered a heifer. All well.

--Frid, Sept.2
Quite cool. Very busy looking after the meat.

--Sat, Sept. 3
Cooking meat and making mince pies.

--Sund, Sept. 4
Heard Elder Young preach this afternoon.

--Mond, Sept. 5
Quite warm. Cutting more mince meat.

--Tues, Sept. 6
Made eight mince pies. All quite well.

--Wed, Sept. 7
Very, very busy writing and making mince pies.

--Thurs, Sept. 8
Frank & his father are away today. All well.

--Frid, Sept. 9
Commenced digging potatoes. Quite well.

--Sat, Sept. 10
Husband took 28 barrels of potatoes.

--Sund, Sept. 11
Frank & Blanche went to church. We went in the afternoon.

--Mond, Sept. 12
Hired man came this afternoon. Morning took 28 bbl.

--Tues, Sept. 13
Nice and fine. Took 28 barrels of potatoes away.

--Wed, Sept. 14
Raining. Man gone home. Took 13 bbls away.

--Thurs, Sept. 15
Still raining. Took 14 bbls to factory.

--Frid, Sept. 16
Quite fine. Man back again. Took 28 bbls away.

--Sat, Sept. 17
Went down town and paid H. Jones what I owed him.

--Sund, Sept. 18
Frank & Blanche went to church. Hubby, Gertie and I went in the
afternoon.

--Mond, Sept. 19
Went down town. Rode after the colt. Paid Dow tax $4.08.

--Tues, Sept. 20
Took 28 bbls of potatoes away. All quite well.

--Wed, Sept. 21
Took 28 bbls of potatoes away.

--Thurs, Sept. 22
Took 28 bbls of potatoes away. Digging potatoes all the time.

--Frid, Sept. 23
Went down town & got a stew kettle & pan.

--Sat, Sept. 24
Preserved a kettle of plumbs. Had good luck.

--Sund, Sept. 25
Mild & lovely. Blanche & Frank went to church.

--Mond, Sept. 26
Raining. Do not feel very happy. The tonge is a wicked thing.

--Tues, Sept. 27
Quite dull. Don't feel very happy. But I am to blame.

--Wed, Sept. 28
Feel better. Hope the Lord will forgive me.

--Thurs, Sept. 29
Am very busy. But feel better. Bless the Lord.

--Frid, Sept. 30
Bless the Lord, oh my soul. He is so good.

October 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

October 1892

--Sat, Oct. 1
Sent Madigan & Madigan $150.00

[Note: I did an internet search of "Madigan & Madigan" and found
an 1895 Houlton Maine Directory that lists Madigan & Madigan as
attorneys. Houlton is in Aroostook county and probably where she
sent the money.]

--Sund, Oct. 2
Very cold, but we are all well, thank God.

--Mond, Oct. 3
Gathered crab apples. Rained in the afternoon.

--Tues, Oct. 4
Went down town. Got some paint & other things.

--Wed, Oct. 5
Men very busy getting out potatoes.

--Thurs, Oct. 6
Men did not work in the afternoon. Put our stove up in the front
room. Makes it very comfortable.

--Frid, Oct. 7
How I would like to see my children give their heart to the Lord.
How happy I should be.

--Sat, Oct. 8
Am preserving and canning. Mrs. Shaw here.

--Sund, Oct. 9
Am real sick. Did not sit up much of the day.

--Mond, Oct. 10
Feel better. Husband & Frank up country for cattle.

--Tues, Oct. 11
They are ploughing with the new oxen. In the afternoon a man
came to buy some land. Blanche is down town.

--Wed, Oct. 12
Husband, Gertie, and I went to the Fort. Had a nice time.

--Thurs, Oct. 13
Went to the Union. Had a nice time. Frank came for me.

--Frid, Oct. 14
Lovely & fine. Husband wants me to go to Washburn. Think I'll go.

--Sat, Oct. 15
Went to Washburn yesterday. Had a pleasant drive.

--Sund, Oct. 16
All went to church but Frank. Had a good sermon.

--Mond, Oct. 17
Thrashers came and set up their machine..

--Tues, Oct. 18
Am very busy. Four extra men to dinner.

--Wed, Oct. 19
Men left after breakfast. Am not sorry. Kept us busy.

--Thurs, Oct. 20
Raining today. Hubby & Frank helping Mrs. Shaw.

--Frid, Oct. 21
Wrote for Blanche this afternoon. Am very busy this afternoon.

--Sat, Oct. 22
Hubby, Gertie and I went to the fort. Got a Wolf Robe & some other
things.

--Sund, Oct. 23
Quite dull. All went to church but Laurie. Came home in the rain.

--Mond, Oct. 24
Husband ploughing. I wrote for Blanche.

--Tues, Oct. 25
Blanche and her father gone to town. Hope my children will be
better.

--Wed, Oct. 26
Washed today. Want to see my children better.

--Thurs, Oct. 27
Last night Husband went to the doctor for one of our neighbors.
This morning I went down but had only been a short time before
they sent for me. We had company.

--Frid, Oct. 28
Wrote a long time for Blanche. All well.

--Sat, Oct. 29
My sister's birthday. Do not know how old she is. Should like to
see her and my dear mother. Perhaps I will.

--Sund, Oct. 30
All went to church but Laurie. He went in the evening.

--Mond, Oct 31
Lovely & fine. Wrote in the morning. Sewed in the afternoon.

November 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

November 1892

--Tues, Nov. 1
Snow on the ground. It makes me feel sad.

--Wed, Nov. 2
Clear and cold. Butchered a cow. Mrs Varnum here.

--Thurs, Nov. 3
Went down town. All well, thank the good Lord.

--Fri, Nov. 4
Got the bottom of a hogshead. Lots of molasses.

--Sat, Nov. 5
Lovely & fine, but very busy. Wrote what i could.

--Sund, Nov. 6
All went to church but Laurie. He and Frank went in the evening.

--Mond, Nov. 7
Laurie commenced to go to school. Very fine.

--Tues, Nov. 8
Election day. Husband went and voted. Did not stay.

[Note: Josephine did not vote because women could not vote in
1892. Her husband probably voted for the incumbent Benjamin
Harrison in the Presidential election. Aroostook county and the
whole state of Maine went for Harrison. Nevertheless, he lost to
Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland. 44 states voted in the election that year.

Another interesting bit of information regarding the election that
year was the rise of the Populist party. One thing the Populast party
advocated was inflation of the money supply by putting more silver
coinage in circulation. Cleveland was a hard money advocate and
not in favor of inflating the money. This information is from
Wikipedia]

--Wed, Nov. 9
Made soup. Went over to Mrs. Shaw's in the evening.

--Thurs, Nov. 10
Cold & freezing. Got ready to go to the village. Found it too cold.

--Frid, Nov 11
Hubby went to look for a cow. I went part of the way.

--Sat, Nov. 12
Nice & fine. Men are hauling out rails. Am baking.

--Sund, Nov. 13
All went to church but Laurie. He and Frank went in the evening.

--Mond, Nov. 14
Lovely & mild. Went down to Mrs. Wallace. Sold a lot of land to
Grimes.

--Tues, Nov. 15
Men stumping & ploughing. Still mild & lovely.

--Wed, Nov. 16
Raining. Hope it will fill the wells. Brother Arch came to see us
today. Dr. Luce died this afternoon.

--Thurs, Nov. 17
Men are ploughing. Are nearly done.

--Frid, Nov. 18
Men are ploughing. I am making mince pies.

--Sat, Nov. 19
Raining. Butchered our hog today.

--Sund, Nov. 20
Mild & muddy. All went to church today but Blanche & Laurie.

--Mond, Nov. 21
Husband & Arch gone to the woods.

--Tues, Nov. 22
Frozen real hard. Hubby & Arch gone down town.

--Wed, Nov. 23
Snowing. Hubby & Arch gone to look at a farm.

--Thurs, Nov. 24
Frank's going after dinner. Hubby and I went for a ride in the
sleigh.

--Frid, Nov. 25
Men in the woods cutting & sawing wood.

--Sat, Nov. 26
Went to auction at Mrs. F. Got some things.

--Sund, Nov. 27
Lovely & fine. Husband and I staid at home.

--Mond, Nov. 28
Lovely & fine. Did the washing all myself.

--Tues, Nov. 29
John Spaulding married today. Should like to have gone to
dedication at Mapleton.

--Wed, Nov. 30
Men are busy in the woods. Quite dull.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

December 1892

Josephine Jordan was my great, great, grandmother. She lived the
life of a common farm wife in northern Maine. She kept a line-a-day
diary. I have her complete diaries from 1892 to 1898. You can
learn more about Josephine, her diaries, and some historical
perspective by going back to the first installment of this series.

Your questions, insights, or comments about this month's diary
entries are welcomed.

December 1892

--Thurs, Dec. 1
Raining. Men only worked half the day.

--Frid, Dec. 2
Husband went to the woods. I staid with Mrs. Tuttle.

--Sat, Dec. 3
Men cutting rift. Frank got his sheep home today.

--Sund, Dec. 4
All went to church but Arch & Laurie. Came home in snow.

--Mond, Dec. 5
Blanche washed. I made brewing and fried doughnuts.

--Tues, Dec. 6
Blanche sent her M. today. Hope she'll get a good price.

[Note: I'm wondering what exactly Blanche sent this day? Was it a
manuscript of some sort? Is it what Josephine was helping her to
write in previous entries? It's a mystery.]

--Wed, Dec. 7
Men in the woods. Gertie got some Christmas presents.

--Thurs, Dec. 8
Wanted to go to the Union but could not.

--Frid, Dec . 9
Went to Mrs McLishe's. Sent for material for a dress.

--Sat, Dec. 10
Men did not come out of woods until about two.

--Sund, Dec . 11
Heard the presiding Elder preach a good sermon.

—Mond, Dec. 12
Fine & lovely. Washed. Men away. All well. Thank God.

--Tues, Dec. 13
Fine. Got the ironing done. L. Varnum here.

--Wed. Dec. 14
Went down town. Staid with Mrs. Wallace.

--Thurs. Dec. 15
Storming real fast but we are all well.

--Frid, Dec. 16
Men are cutting rift. Arch cut his thumb.

--Sat, Dec. 17
Men cut in the forenoon. Baked G. apple pies.

[Note: I wonder what or who "G" is? Perhaps it is Josephine's
husband's first initial?]

--Sund, Dec. 18
Went to church. Was real cold coming home.

--Mond, Dec. 19
Snowing real fast but we have lots to be thankful for.

--Tues, Dec. 20
Cut out my dress. Gertie real sick.

--Wed, Dec. 21
Dear little Gertie better, thank the Lord.

--Thurs, Dec. 22
Husband and Arch went down with rift.

--Frid, Dec. 23
Storming. Men in the house.

--Sat, Dec. 24
Blanche and her father went down town. Got things for Xmas.

--Sund, Dec. 25
Very very cold. Did not go to church.

--Mond, Dec. 26
Colder than yesterday. Men in the woods.

--Tues, Dec. 27
Fine but cold. Washed. Husband gone with rift.

--Wed, Dec. 28
Fine, very fine. Mrs. Brown here. Took a load of rift.

--Thurs, Dec. 29
Another fine day. Am working on my dress

--Frid, Dec. 30
Lovely & fine. Mr. & Mrs. Hitchings spent the evening.

--Sat, Dec 31
Fine as September in the afternoon. Husband, Gertie and I went
down town. Did some shopping. Had a nice drive. Roads most
lovely. Poor old year most gone. If my life is spared another, I hope
I'll be more faithful.