Diary of Abigail Hackett
Wednesday 1st. This has been quite a pleasant day. Charles and Attalia
went to Merchantsville today. Eddy, Willie and I went up to Miles P. 's
and stayed to dinner. Helpt Tess sew carpet rags—had a good time.
We thought we should have to stay alone but Elisa and Lucina came so we
shall have company after all. Lucina has given up her school, it is too
cold and drifted. Finished Tallie's stockings tonight.
Thursday 2nd. Another blustery day. The wind has done the clean things
this time and has filled the roads full again. It began to blow last night
and oh how it did sing. Not a sign of a track, Charles has had the promise
of a furlough and will be home soon. Can I ever let him go back if he
does come. Lina and Tess called tonight. My work is much the same every
day. Don't amount to—don't earn 5 dollars a month. Whistle old wind
we are all here tonight.
Friday 3rd. The wind continued to blow till midnight—then it grew
warmer and began to thaw. Charles and the rest of the men shoveled out
the roads and he got his team home. Had a hard time, one is very lame.
21 years tonight since I married and I am getting old but my mind has
been traveling back through the long years that have passed since I was
a gay and thoughtless girl, free and easy going. It does not seem so long
but when I look at my children then I feel old—my first born is
away in the tented field and one teaching school—surely I am getting
old. Oh, if I could get the mail.
In the days before a county road crew, all the men along a stretch of
road were responsible for the maintenance of that road. If they wanted
a road open in the winter time the neighborhood men got out their shovels
and opened it.
Saturday 4th. Snowed this morning, about four inches. The weather was
quite warm this morning. About noon the wind got around in the west and
has commenced blowing again. What will become of our roads again. We have
not got any mail yet. What awful lonesome times. I find myself quite unwell,
fear the quinsy again. Have doctored some and will go to bed. Oh, how
the wind does blow tonight.
Sunday 5th. Very cold this morning, but grew warmer at noon. Sary O.
and John H. came here to tea. Had a good visit with them. I called up
to Miles'—feel very lonesome. Can I wait another day without news.
Monday 6th. This has been quite a pleasant day—thawed some around
south door. Rita came after me to go up and help her ma color—we
had good luck. Stayed to dinner, Lina made apple dumplings and they were
good. Eddy drawed Willie onto the snow drifts.
"Help her ma color"—dye cloth.
Tuesday 7th. This has been a fine day. Thawed some around the south side
of the house. Charles went to Bennettsville [Canisteo] today. Has forgotten
to come back, I am afraid I worry. Attalia is quite sick with the headache.
Brother John was here today. He came afoot from Thurston. Heard that little
Phil Sheridan has captured the whole of Early's Army. Now that is good
Bennettsville—what we call Canisteo today. When the railroad went
through, the station was placed at Bennettsville and it became the larger
settlement. The post office was moved there but it retained the Canisteo
name and the settlement gradually came to be called Canisteo rather than
Bennettsville. When he is going to Canisteo he means to the Stephens Grist
Mill that was at what is called Carson today.
Wednesday 8th. Been quite a pleasant day. Quite a good many calls. Lib
and Elisa went to Sam's avisiting, called for me but I concluded to stay
at home and visit with brother John. M. P. was down and paid on Charles's
bond. He was taken bleeding at the lungs this afternoon. Sam Dickey has
gone to Cameron after mail—hope he will get us a letter from Charley.
"Bleeding at the lungs"—Miles Powell has consumption or tuberculosis
which will eventually cause his death.
Thursday 9th. This is brother John's birthday—29 years old. His
mother died when he was 2 hrs. old. Well do I remember the day, she was
my stepmother, but a good one. What a change 29 years make. I have another
stepmother now and 7 more brothers and sisters since then and here I am
an old lady with five children. Still it seems but a few months ago that
I was led by my father to look on the face of my dead mother. Lucina and
Mrs. Turner had a war of words today and I fear it will cause many a sour
look and bad feelings before it is all forgotten. Lucina did not do right
in saying what she did but the tongue is an unruly member that cannot
be tamed. I regret it but it is done. I hope it will be a good lesson
to her in after life. Verily what a great fire a little spark kindeleth.
Growing colder tonight.
Friday 10th. A cold blustery morning. Brother John and Lucina started
for Cameron afoot. They got a ride with W. M. or they would have had a
time. She was very anxious to go to Erwin and have a ride on the cars,
so she started. We could not take them for we have a lame horse. This
afternoon Narcess called. We thought we saw Charley coming and got all
excited over it, but it was not.
Saturday 11th. Last night was very cold. Had the headache all night—felt
some better this morning. Tallie flew around and done up the Saturday
work in good style. Charles drawed hay from Miles' barn. A very cold day.
The papers come today but no letter from Charley. What can be the matter—has
he forgotten that we want to hear so bad or is he coming home on a furlough.
We have heard that Dan wrote he was coming this week. Can it be.
Sunday 12th. Rather warmer today, but don't thaw any yet. May and Fran
called today. Elisa is here quite sick with the headache—has gone
to bed. Her ride yesterday was too much for her over to Kents. Oh, how
lonesome it is today. Can I ever stand this dull round. We only know that
out in the world is war and bloodshed and weeping and here so much snow
that we cannot get off the hill without great trouble. Am I as thankful
as I ought to be for having a home and shelter even here.
Monday 13th. It is quite warm and the snow settles fast. Washed this
morning. Sam Dickey drawed hay from Miles' barn. He heard that Richmond
was evacuated, but hardly believe it.
Tuesday 14th. Quite warm today. Thawed all day. Mrs. Diamond was here
today avisiting. She came down on foot. We had a good visit and I was
so glad to see her. Mrs. Downs was here and Mrs. S. D. and May called.
Charles went to mill today. I called up to M. P. and heard that Grant
had a fight at Petersburg.
Wednesday 15th. Quite warm and rainy. Mrs. White called here—have
been quite busy, baking and washed some. Worked on carpet rags. Charles
worked in shop all day. Lina called in evening, L. White also.
Thursday 16th. Another warm day. Snow seemed to run today. Commenced
raining a 4 o'clock—still continues—half past eight. Sam D.
brought us two letters from Charley—he is well. Hope to get some
good news tomorrow again. We shall have an awful freshet if the rain falls
Friday 17th. It began to blow this morning and snowed some. Received
a letter from Fanny Ingraham with a photograph of her mother. I was much
pleased with it. What a satisfaction that art is that gives us a shadow
of our friends and makes them look so near. Mrs. Downs is staying here
today and N. P. came down visiting. We have had a very good visit. H.
Turner brought me a letter from C. E. H. written the 10th. We have heard
from Charley and he is well. It is warmer tonight. The snow melts fast.
Charles worked on Abe's bobs.
Abigail's husband Charles is a blacksmith, hence her references to his
working in his shop. He is doing the iron work for a bobsled for Abe,
probably Able White.
Saturday 18th. Baked bread, mopped and churned. Rita came after Tallie
and Willie to play and I got the Ledger but no war news. Charles has been
quite sick this morning but he feels some better tonight. Been a pleasant
day. The wind blew hard all night and today from the west.
Sunday 19th. Today has been quite pleasant. The sun shone. I have read
a considerable today. Called on E. D. and S. Dickey called. Saw Fan's
Beau from the Gulf. Why can't the papers come and let us hear from the
war. If there is good news, let us have it, do.
Monday 20th. Has been a very pleasant day. Wind soft and spring like.
Have had plenty to do, mending and so forth. Charles has been busy in
the shop and Willie has been with him a good deal. Eddy went after pitch
and got a fine bunch and Tallie made it all into gum. They had a fine
I assume he got pitch from a white pine tree. Anyone know how they made
gum out of it?
Tuesday 21st. This has been a warm pleasant day—wind in the south
all day. Tallie and I have a drove of business today. She done a whole
washing and it looks nice. I baked and mopped and commenced making soap.
Rita came down this afternoon and I and Willie had a fine call. Tess called
in the evening and we have arranged to go to John Benom's tomorrow. Charles
worked in the shop today. I called on Granny Creasy tonight.
Wednesday 22nd. It rained all night—stopt this morning and grew
some colder, I went over to John Benom's—Narcess and Tess, Mrs.
Frank Converse and myself, had a first rate day. Rather colder tonight.
All well, hope to hear something from our Charley tomorrow.
Thursday 23rd. Have spent the spare time today in mending. Tallie went
up to visit Nana Converse with Rita. The wind blew very hard all night.
Snowed some but has been a nice day. Rather colder tonight. All well,
hope to hear something from our Charley tomorrow.
Friday 24th. A cold blustery day. Have been doing housework, and mending
today. Mrs. Frisbee called and N. P. called and brought me some warm sugar.
Charles went over to Miles' sugar bush and eat warm sugar—brought
me some so I fared well. The news is that the railroad is damaged so that
there will be no cars run for 2 weeks—no mail so I got to wait 2
weeks longer. How can I wait?
Saturday 25th. Today has been quite a busy day. I have cleaned the chambers
and stairs, mopped the lower rooms, baked bread and cake. Mrs. Benom here
today, also Mrs. Downs, Mrs. Howe and Linda. Charles went to Cameron and
has forgot to come back—so I might as well go to bed as any other
way. I can't see what keeps him so late—the children and I read
till our eyes ache for him and hoped he would bring the mail.
Sunday 26th. Charles came with papers last night just as I got abed and
just as soon as it was light I began to read. Everything seemed encouraging.
Got breakfast and read again—till Grandpa came in and said Charley
E. had come to Cameron. Could hardly believe it but got supper and sure
enough about 3 o'clock he came. Quite sick but hope will be better in
the morning. I feel quite happy tonight. Amen.
Monday 27th. Thought I would not wash. Charley seems quite sick. Charles
E. has had several calls today to see him. Mrs. Brownell called to hear
from her Dan.
Tuesday 28th. Charley is no better yet—rather worse. Narcess has
given him a sweat and blistered him with mustard. Hope he will feel better
tomorrow. Calls today. Weather warm and pleasant.
Wednesday 29th. Quite a pleasant day. Charley is no better yet. Think
we shall have to have doctor soon if he can't gain. Feel quite anxious
Thursday 30th. A rainy day. Charles went after the Doctor. Narcess stayed
with us. Eddy went up to Frisbee's and got some apples to bake. Charley
continues quite sick. Charles can't get Doctor until tomorrow.
Friday 31st. A very rainy day. Dr. Riddle [probably Dr. George Riddell
of Canisteo] came today. Says Charley has the bilious fever—he is
quite sick still. Mrs. Powell stayed with us today. Isaac Jones called
to see Charley.