Anna L., age 75, Illinois

Mrs. B. planned on going home with Ruth’s men folks as they came over to bowl. Guess she waited until 11:00. Washed car in spite of rain as it was so dirty. Rain rinsed it thoroly didn’t try to dry. Salvation Army men came for papers etc. Glad to get rid of that.

Henry S., age 26, Michigan

Finished papering the kitchen this morning, sawed a little wood also.  Practiced on the songs for the concert.  Drew the rest of the manure out on the garden this afternoon.  Carried the baby over to Mrs. Neill’s for Kate and then went up to Mr. Olion’s to see him but he was absent.  The concert came off tonight and everything went off real well.  Prof. Greenlee leaves tomorrow; we have all enjoyed the institute and hope to see him again.  It is freezing tonight.

*(R. Henry Scadin Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville)

Laura M., age 15, North Carolina

Got a letter in 6th period telling me that I’m in the fashion pages for the yearbook. Cool. Went 2 Ashley’s with Zach. Ashley left 2 get her permit and me and Zach waited 4 my mom. Ashley got back b-for my mom did. No permit (no birth cert.). Did homework. Dinner. Talked 2 Courtney, Renee, Ashley. Me and Zach had nice talks at Ashley’s. Love him.

Samuel P., age 27, London

(Lord’s day). Early to my Lord’s, in my way meeting with Dr. Fairbrother, who walked with me to my father’s back again, and there we drank my morning draft, my father having gone to church and my mother asleep in bed. Here he caused me to put my hand among a great many honorable hands to a paper or certificate in his behalf.

To White Hall chappell, where one Dr. Crofts made an indifferent sermon, and after it an anthem, ill sung, which made the King laugh. Here I first did see the Princess Royal since she came into England. Here I also observed, how the Duke of York and Mrs. Palmer did talk to one another very wantonly through the hangings that parts the King’s closet and the closet where the ladies sit.

To my Lord’s, where I found my wife, and she and I did dine with my Lady (my Lord dining with my Lord Chamberlain), who did treat my wife with a good deal of respect.

In the evening we went home through the rain by water in a sculler, having borrowed some coats of Mr. Sheply. So home, wet and dirty, and to bed.

*(The Diary of Samuel Pepys M.A. F.R.S., edited by Henry B. Wheatley F.S.A., London, George Bell & Sons York St. Covent Garden, Cambridge Deighton Bell & Co., 1893.)

Cornelia H., age 26, North Carolina

Mr. Henry a good deal better but not able to attend court. He has laid down nearly all day. Sent after Dr. Thrash this evening, he was not at home. I have quilted some today, got along slowly. Rolled this evening for the third & last time.

*(Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family, Eds. Karen L. Clinard and Richard Russell, used with permission.)

Henry S., age 25, Michigan

It rained so we could not thrash this forenoon and just as we got ready this afternoon a big wind and rain came up and put an end to proceedings for today. It has blown fearfully all the afternoon and is at it still. The thrasher went home tonight.  

*(R. Henry Scadin Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville)

Laura M., age 14, North Carolina

Wore my new shirt to school but it was pretty shitty happiness wise. I’ve decided that lunch always brings me down. Mario’s flirting with “Holly” now — instead of making fun of her accent. No fair. (Huh?) Went to Shannon’s after school and Phred came. 🙁 Walked home. Had soup with Mom and Kathy. Went to Dad’s and babysat Rebecca. I’m making money! Talked to Sean there but not about much. Came home and went to bed.

Abbie B., age 22, Kansas

Over a week since I wrote in my journal. I should have taken it along. Now I have much to write, and most likely will miss some things of interest.

Saturday I was fixing a duck for dinner, and a goose for Sunday, when Jannette Rose came with a letter for Father sent me a draft of $300.00 to prove upon my claim.

Then Mr. Springer came for me, they were ready to start on a hunt. He wanted brother to go along, but he said he was not well enough. He was in a flurry about “shooting irons.” Wanted all he could get.

I would rather have stayed home, but had promised Mrs. S I would stay with the children. He had a good saddle, and the best riding horses I have seen in this state. I enjoyed the ride, my horse paced along. Mr. S who is from Va., talked all the time, with his southern accent. He declared that if he was a young man I “should never leave the Ninnescah single.” I laughed at him, and said there are very nice young men in the East. When we crossed the branch, we saw a very large snake. The largest I ever saw, “Well” he said “if I were not in such a hurry I’d get off and kill it.”

They had the waggon packed, and left soon after we got there. When leaving Mrs. S said, “There is nothing in the house but flour and bacon.”  I thought she was joking.

When dinner time came, one of the children said “I guess you will have to bake bread for dinner.” I looked, but there was not a crum of bread in the house. And no soda. She had started “salt risin” in a tin cup, but that would not be ready before night, and I had never baked any. I had left a duck dinner, with good yeast bread ct. Here were three of us, and almost an empty larder. I found a few potatoes and dried fruit, also yeast—and started bread at once—which I baked Sunday.

When we were out on a hunt we were gone one night, and I never thought they would be away more than two nights at the long­est. Well they left Saturday morning and never got back until Wednesday evening.

It was windy all the time they were gone. Pieces of the chinking would fall out from between the logs, on the south side of the house. The house which was 18 by 14 had no windows. Along one side were two beds—at one end a stove, along the other side were a table and chairs—and at the other end chests or trunks. The neighbors were too far away to go calling, and none came to see us.   The children were good, but we all seemed stupid.

Tuesday I had a shake. I had many chills—but never a shake, before. Then came the fever. So time draged on, and not one word from Philip, and I was worried.

I was as glad as the children, when they came Wed. evening!

They had to go so far, before they found any buffalo, is what had kept them so long. I wanted to go home at once— but they said it was too late, and they were tired, would take me home in the morn­ing. Thursday early—we saw smoke and thought the fire was com­ing over the divide towards us. so they rushed out to plow a fire guard beyond their hay stacks. The wind favored them, and the fire did not get on their side of the branch, but all between the branches—and beyond—way up this way, and on to the river.

Brother was alone, and had his hands full. He quick “back fired” when he saw the fire coming, then moved the ox there, after which he had to watch the dugout. Half our wood burned and a load of chips. The ground thrown out when they built the dug out, helped to save it. From Springers we could see the flames beyond the branch—when it burned the sunflowers on Mr. Smiths dame, It burned Elsworths hay stacks and some others, also Mr. Smiths stable and corn crib.   He is away freighting.

I was so anxious about my brother – but could not go to him. J. R. was at Elsworths, and could not get to his claim or my dugout until the fire had burned down. When he came up here, Philip had gone to the river to see his cabin, which fortunately escaped.

In the meantime the Springer men did not get back to the house, until 2 o’clock. Then we had dinner and the boy brought me home. Mrs. S gave me some buffalo meat and two preserving citrons. She offered to pay me for staying with the children, but I considered it an act of neighborliness, and told her so. The S are not poor, but in loading up when they left, they in their hurry had taken the eatables along, and left us short. She is a vary capable woman. When the boy and I finaly got started in the big waggon toward home, and when we rounded the branch we were on burned over ground. Down toward the Hall we could see where the fire had run through three acres of corn. The wind was so high, the fire burned the dry leaves and some of the husk, that many ears were half exposed, others that had fallen down, were still smouldering. The stalks were mostly standing.

Rounding the head of the other branch between the Hall and home, we saw three deer, running toward the sand hills. What a dreary sight it was—not a green thing in sight, except the trees at the river. I had expected to find things looking bad, but my imagination was short, far short of the fact. The prairie had burned black and even; but over the bottom where the grass grew rank, it left the blackened stalks standing. The ground was still hot, and a high wind blowing.

We were both glad to be together again, and I was so relieved to find him as well as he was. Everything in the house was covered with burned grass—that blew in—and O the skunk smell, how it sickened us. Philip was angry at J. R. for shooting the skunk in the house—but that did not help matters any, after he had gone to the Hall.

Philip tried to clean up a little. Fresh wood ashes back of my trunk absorbed the scent to some extent. He was baking sweet potatoes for supper. I soon laid down— after he told me of his fight with the fire, leaving the cleaning of the house for next day. It was cloudy and windy coming from Springers and I got chilled through. After going to bed fever came on.

Some time later Brother called me. He said if I felt able, I should wrap up well, and come out and see the fire, that it was not likely I would ever see the like again. The scene was grand beyond description. To the North there was a sheet of flames extending east and west. To the west there was fire beyond fire. Acrost the river, a hay stack was burning. Jake had the logs for his house ready to put up, the fire got among them, and did much damage. I cant give a description of the wild fearful—yet facinating sight.

I went back to bed, thankful that we were safe. The first fire, the one that came over the divide early in the a. m. while it swept on, at a terrible speed, did not extend far in width. I cannot understand how so many fires in different directions, should be burning that night.

The people and hearders acrost the river did not expect the fire to cross, but it jumped the river, and caused much trouble. One heard of cattle and ponies stampeded—and some were burned. Another hearder lost $700. Before morning a thunder storm put out all the fires.

*(, Kansas State Historical Society, copy and reuse restrictions apply)