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.


--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.


Liz said...

This is wonderful. Waiting for more....

Susan Humeston said...

I looked up the average weight for a 15 year old boy today. I found out that in 1966, the average weight of a 15 year old boy was 135.5 pounds. Today, it is over 150. Your G Grandmother's son must have been quite skinny at 88 pounds! Perhaps he wasn't so tall as children have been the last 50 years either.

Mama Podkayne said...

"Very fine. Husband went down to start the car."

I am enjoying this series very much, but I have a question regarding the above quote. Car?

Lew said...

My youngest daughter (7yrs) loves this diary. She likes me to read it to her and if I happen to skip a line by mistake she is sure to tell me. Very interesting...having lives the farm life a little myself I can feel a lot of what she is saying. I love this history!!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

TheMrsVolfe said...

Cars in those days we crankers..and there were a lot of step to starting them BEFORE you could crank them...I am really enjoying this...This woman always seems to find something to be gratful for..a lesson I wish more people would learn...

Desiree said...

Thank you for sharing this diary with us. I am finding it very interesting even though the entries are short and sweet. I feel like I am right there with her...

Rosanne said...

Thank you for sharing. This is such a blessing to read. We are gearing up now to go back to the basics. Self sufficiency will be much more precious than gold. Praise God for people that love the Lord!

Marie said...

Thank you for posting her diary entries. This is very interesting to me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting your great great grandmother's diary. I am thrilled to have discovered them.

Kara said...

So fascinating! Can't wait to read the rest. Have you seen the Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm series from BBC? The episodes are probably all on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the phrase "Start the car." meant starting to fill another railroad car with bark, not cranking a vehicle.

Lisa J said...

I think maybe I will make this a nightly commitment. Reading this blog to my children will no doubt inspire them to learn about their grandparents from the 1890's. (What a cool school project it will be someday!)

Anonymous said...

"We made a fire and sweat him, then he seemed better."

We did this growing up. We were rarely sick and when we were, it only lasted a day or two. Wish my husband would let us sweat it out.

Anonymous said...

These one line entries say so much. I am reading between the lines and comparing this womans daily life to todays world. Had your G G Grandmother been alive today I don't think she would have been so productive, smart, and resilient. Her faith in the Lord would probably be replaced by Prozac, knee/hip replacements, counseling for her children, Tee Vee etc. As for her amount of sick days spent in bed - don't wage slaves get these many sick days? A day of rest for the mind and body is not a bad thing considering the amount of productivity of this family. Yes - productivity - The remedies of today compared to yesteryear are no better and in fact slow us all down - dumb us down to be more clear. Most of you know what I am talking about. Faith in the Lord, hard work, and you keep going against all odds. I assure you - antidepressants, knee replacements, therapy, counseling, and this family would not have been able to accomplish what they did.

SharonR said...

Okay, Mr. Kimball I understand that when Husband went to load the car, it means a railroad car, as you mentioned in the introduction. But, what does it mean in the Jan. 18 entry that he went to "start the car". I'm baffled on that one. Do you suppose that a rail car was moved to the area and they had a hand-pump car to move it,and "starting the car" meant moving it in that way to another farm area? What do you think?

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Sharon,

See Matthew's comment about starting the car above.

I think that is probably the answer.

Nice of you to stop by...

Unknown said...

I have recently come across your blog-The Deliberate Agrarian. I have had some fun reading through it. I then saw the link to this blog. What a treasure that you have. Thanks for sharing.

My husband comes from a dairy farm. We ourselves farmed for a time. He is now working a corporate job in the Ag industry for the sole purpose of providing the funds to buy a homestead.

We live like homesteaders now, but to do it on our own land is what we dream of. Lord willing he will bless us with such a place.

Thanks you again. Your work has been a blessing to me this week.

Anonymous said...

I am re-reading this diary by our great, great grandmother. This month my oldest grand daughter, Miranda, will celebrate her 15th birthday with a traditional Quincenera, the celebration where her Dad(my son) and her Mom give their permission for her to begin to grow into a beautiful, God loving adult. I have a berry dish that was great, great grandmother Josephine's. It went to her son Frank, then to his son Earl (my grandfather), to Earl's daughter Ruth, (my Aunt) who just a year before she passed away, gave that priceless treasure to me, Earl's eldest grandchild. At my grand daughter's Quincenera I will pass that dish on to her to carry into adulthood and someday to her own home and one day to her first born child. Grandfather Earl served the Lord his entire adult life, well into his 90's, almost all of his sons and daughters followed his example, as has my generation, my sons generation and now my grand daughter's. At 15 she is the worship leader for her youth group, that my son pastors. From Grandfather Earl Jordan to my grand daughter's generation there are more than 20 family members who are ministers or missionaries. Great, great grandmother Josephine's diary has proven the value of a mother's prayers and of praying for generations to follow. How I would love to have been able to sit in her kitchen and talk to her. Herrick, when time permits you to do so, I would love to see more of her diary posted. Blessings to you and yours. Lorraine

MommaFaye said...

Thank you for posting these pages from her diary. I hope you will continue to do so. I am touched by Josephine's faith and gratitude.

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Isobe Ltin said...

I want my children to give their hearts to thee.
meet and greet at Heathrow