APRIL 1902 - HIRAM PRATT DIARY
Note: These diaries were in the Waveland Public Library for decades but were disposed of by a librarian several decades ago. Luckily, another librarian's daughter (thanks sooo much Pam, at the death of her mother, Virginia Banta Sharpe found them in some belongings and gave them back for proper housing. A complete circle; however, only 14 of the 50+ diaries were saved from the library's incinerator. I'm a librarian too and thought since they'd been lost to posterity for so many years that it would be a good thing to transcribe them and give them to the world. They are currently housed in proper temperature/storage at the Crawfordsville District Public Library - typed as they were written
Note 2 : Karen Bazzani Zach (transcriber) was raised in the big 'ol town (500 people) where HA Pratt lived 5 decades before I was born. I remember the building where his little shop was and wish it was still there. What an interesting little place. ALAS! Progress ! Oh, and I've tried to type the diaries as is - mistakes & all
Note 3: Some information about Pratt -- he was born in Parke County, Indiana April 20, 1840 the oldest child of eight born to Erastus & Elizabeth Allen Pratt and died October 12, 1914 in his beloved Waveland, Indiana. He was twice married, first to the love of his life (he kept a life-sized poster of her in one of his cabinets at his barber shop, even long after his second marriage) Eliza Franklin Shaw (born Oct 23, 1841 died Oct 12, 1887), and #2 to his friend, Evaline "Eva" McMains. He was very active in the community where he and Eliza chose to live. He gave generously of his time and money to the Methodist Church in Waveland. For a few years, he served as Marshall of the town. Also, he worked diligently for his Odd Fellows, Rebekah & Knights of Phythias Lodges, was for a time on the town board, and read to those who could not read from the several newspapers he was agent for. Pratt volunteered and served for three years during the Civil War (Co. B, 36th Infantry), and spent time in the dreaded Andersonville prison. He and Eliza adopted a son, Willie Franklin Stump, age two (not sure ever officially or just had permission to take him from the Poor House in Crawfordsville) and he was an amazing young boy (high grades, worked in the church, quite musicially inclined, just an ideal child) until Eliza was taken to the hospital where she was operated on for six cervical tumors (one weighing six pounds) from which she died. Willie went wild after that and he and Hiram's second wife, Eva never got along. He ended-up in Reform School (for stealing a dollar twice from Eva among other small crimes), and later sent home to die due to consumption (what we know as tuberculosis) dying in Hiram's arms on April 12, in 1894. Hiram missed Willie and Eliza more than most I do believe as he wrote about them so often in these diaries. Just wish the rest of Pratt's diaries he wrote for over 50 years as a barber in Waveland still existed :( kbz
Tuesday, April 1 - Cloudy. $3.60. We were treated to a little snow today, not enough to make a show on the ground. Miss Edward is sick in bed over at Russellville. She can't see good enough to tell the name of the person before her unless she knows the voice. Miranda Ellis came in from Hillsdale this a.m. I had left word at the station in Milligan to send me word by telephone. She arrived there at 8:35. She will make our house her home until next October. Paid 35 c for beef steak.. I have engaged John McMains to tend our garden this year.
Wednesday, April 2 - Cloudy. $2.10. Miranda took dinner at Mary Alfrey's. We had more snow today. The weather bureau says we are to have fair weather today. When I went home tonight the stars were shining and the clouds had about all disappeared yesterday morning and this morning a thin ice was formed over some water in a bucket at the well. Paid dues in the Ancient Order of United Workman. $3.85. In this order I have an insurance pollicy on my life; $2,000 and in the Union Mutual of Maine $1,000.
Thursday April 3 - Clear. $1.10. Miranda went over to her sister Nancy Kelso's this afternoon. She will stay there until Saturday evening. She wants to visit all the kinfolks before settling down. Mrs. Kate Sullivan is over at John McCullough's in Hillsboro, Fountain Co, Ind. Her daughter, Mrs. Olliver went over with her, but the daughter returned Tuesday evening. Henderson Olliver her husband went over after her. The old lady was the cause of a great deal of trouble between her daughter and husband. They came very near separating and would have done so had the mother-in-law remained in the family. The wife is a prospective mother.
Friday April 4 - Clear. $2.50. Paid rent for last week $1.25. Sent the Post. Dispatch of St. Louis, Mo. 24 - Post Office box rent 15c for the Quarter June 30, 1902. I took Eva over to her sister Nancy Kelso's this morning and went over at half past 11 for my dinner. John McMains brought me back to town. At night he brought Eva home. Yesterday I bought 3 pound of fresh fish 30c. Eva cooked them for dinner and we come very near eating all of it for dinner. Paid 20c for a cake baked in a roll and for a ten pound package of corn meal 12c a can of sour krout 12 c.
Saturday April 5 - Cloudy. $6.45. We have been blessed with beautiful weather so far as temperature counts. A light rain fall late this afternoon. Beef roast 65c. Dried peaches 50c. 80c for a bag of corn. I forgot no note in yesterday's report that our cow "found" a calf early yesterday morning. It is a girl calf of the Jersey stock. John McMains done some work on the garden, it is now ready for the plow. Sister Ellis did not come home today. Mr. and Mrs. Neely were there visiting today. Done work by 11 o'clock.
Sunday, April 6 -- Cloudy. I was in my accustomed seat at 11 o'clock after the meeting was dismissed I visited Willie's grave. Miranda Ellis was with us for dinner. After dinner I put "Bob" to the buggy for a drive. Miss Sarah Barton was passing by on the opposite side of the street when Eva called her over and said the Gentleman (referring to me) wishes to drive out this afternoon and wants me to got with him and asked her (Miss Barton) to take her (Eva's) place. Miss B. accepted and we went over to Russellville, I called upon Miss Francis Edwards. She was able to sit up, but did not know me but for my voice. We were home before sundown. Eva went to meeting with me tonight. Growing colder all the time.
Monday, April 7 - Cloudy. Snowed. $2.30. Miranda and Nancy went over to their bro. Sam McMains' this morning. They will return tomorrow. Snow fell at intervals throughout the day. Mercury at some time tonight was 22 degrees below zero. Saida Barton told me Sunday that Dell McCall was soon to be married to John Conway. Bob Moore is not expected to live from one week to the next, his feet is badly swollen which is a sure indication of the end of the race in life is close to the end. Eva is teaching the calf to drink milk instead of putting it to the cow.
Tuesday, April 8 -- $6.90. Sent Gosnell's Laundry $9.42. 8c expense. Sent the Sentinel Co. of Indianapolis $4.34. Expense 7c. The Cincinnati News Co. $5 expense 7c. Monday of last week I paid 43.15 for 30 gal of gasoline. Yesterday the oil man left 10 gal of oil. I made no collection don't know what he meant by it. Some time ago he left10 gal of gasoline without charge and yesterday told me that I could use it now as it was reported lost to the Standard Oil Co. The ground was covered with snow this morning. Snow fell after 7 o'clock this morning.
Wednesday April 9 -- $1.30. Bob Moore yesterday evening was thought to be dying. He bade all the family and others present a good by. This a.m. he was yet alive and expressed a dissatisfaction that he had survived the night. A mistake occurs in penning the above item. It would be correct to read it in tomorrow's memorandum. It was thought by a good many that Bob Moore was dying this evening. He believed that he was going to pass out and bade his family relations good by. There has been no fire in his room for a month. Paid 41.15 for bacon at 15c a pound 12c for a package of Arbuckle Coffee. John Shanks commenced our papering at noon one room he completed. It looks nice (bedroom).
Thursday April 10 -- $2.60. Our dining room has new paper on it. The paper hangers finished it by noon. Bob Moore was yet alive at 8 o'clock. I have had no fire to amount to anything in the heating stove all ay. Heat water by the little oil stove, by it I can keep water below the simmer. Yesterday, I received a letter from my sister Eliza. Mother is entirely helpless, sister says she is up with her every hour of the night. She expressed a desire to see me. Eva is at Irve Fullenwider's tonight. Mrs. F is in travail. Alice Smith is there, too. Tonight I am alone.
Friday, April 11 -- .50. I telephone to Eva this morning to learn of the expected event. She said it was a 9 ½ pound boy. I wanted to know of the hour of arrival and she said the little fellow missed the train at St. Louis and did not arrive until 2 o'clock this morning. I was at Mary Alfrey's for breakfast, Miranda and Mary Kelso Lewis were there too. I have had John McMains at work preparing our garden for the plowing. Telephone rent $1 for last month.
Saturday April 12 -- $12.65. Paid $6.40 on church expenses last Sunday and the Sunday before I gave a dollar at each days service for the same purpose. Paid 70 c for beef roast at 10c a pound. 35c for 4 head of cabbage. Eva bought some fish for dinner, also a head of cabbage. Last night I bought a can of Sour Kraut for 10c. I was done work by 15 minutes of midnight but did not get started for home until half past 12. Miranda Ellis will return to Rossville Monday, Charley Ellis' wife has been sent to the Insane Hospital. Eva rece'd a letter from Perla in reply to the one sent her the fire past ? of the week. This date in 1887 Eliza F. Pratt died (Month).
Sunday April 13 - This date of March 1894 Willie Pratt was burried. Clear. I was about 5 minutes late to church service this morning. After the meeting was dismissed I visited Willie's grave. This was our 3rd quarterly meeting. Dr. Pavey of Russellville (one too many l's in Russell :). We had with us at our dinner or noon meal Mrs. Russell and her son John Q. Miranda Ellis, Wm. Kelso wife Herbert Lewis and his mother Mary. Later in the evening Jim and Mary Alfrey and Nancy Bloomfield come in on a call visit. I was over to see Bob Moore this afternoon. He wants to ? sayed he would pass away before 1 o'clock tonight. He has a good many bed sores.
Monday April 14 -- $12.50. Snowed a very little. John C. Canine took Miranda Ellis to Marshall where she got on the cars for Hinsdale, she will have a straight track for her home in Roseville, ill. Paid John Shanks 410 for paper and papering in two rooms. They look very nice. Henderson Olliver plowed over garden this evening. John McMains went over to Mrs. Russells and got a bushel of Early Rose potatoes. Last Saturday night I paid 41.25 for the week's rent ending April 5th. Paid 12 for a package of Arbuckle Coffee 55c for a 24 pound sack of flour, 1 gallon of white onion sets 50c 82c for a bag of corn 10c for bread and 10c for apples (6).
Tuesday April 15 - $1.30. Seen snow falling yesterday morning. On ? Saturday night at 9 o'clock. Rev. T DeWitt Talmage died at his home in Washington DC. He was the best known preacher in the world. His congregations depended upon seating capacity of the house. His sermons were printed in all countries where moveable type is used. It is reasonable to estimate that 30,000,000 people read his sermons every week. Paid Henderson Olliver 50c for plowing the garden. He done good work and his charge was reasonable. I have paid $1 for work not so satisfactory. The News was belated tonight.
Wednesday April 16 - Clear. Cool. 80c. Sent the Globe Democrat 33c including expense. The President has ordered an investigation of the Beef Trust. The price of cut meat is considered out of reason. Tenderloin steak is 20c a pound. Roast is 10c. My opinion is that the demand is greater than the supply. If the supply was in excess of the demand the price would not be so great. The Indianapolis News failed again to arrive. Twice in succession is rather trying of the temperament of some of its readers. Our cow is improving in her flow of milk. I got from her of mornings 5 quarts. She has to subsist on dry feed.
Thursday April 17 -- $1.10. Paid 25 for a comb for Eva to use in holding up the back hair that is too short to comb up with the longer hair. 5c for a blue celluloid coarse comb. John Dietrick paid Eva 50c for the use of the buggy to make a trip to Crawfordsville. He was home before 5 o'clock. Received a letter from Brother Wm. of Ottumwa, Iowa. He was to see Mother last week. She is getting weaker as the days go by. Rent has been raised on him 10 dollars a month. Now 50. He has had a good deal of improvement done on the house. Thinks Carrie will make a mistake in the choice of a hubby.
Friday April 18 - A very light rain late today. $2.10. Sent the SS McClure Co. of New York 80 for a years subscription to McClure's Magazine. I have written to my bro. in Ottumwa, Iowa. Eva was up in the business part of town today and made a purchase of a new hat. We are calculating to go to Crawfordsville the 27th of this month. Harvey Canine said he would deliver papers for me on the following Monday morning. There was a little rain fall late this afternoon. Eva called on Mrs. Sallie Smith after she had selected the new hat. Mrs. S. lives in the extreme eastern part of town.
Saturday April 19 -- $5.35. Eva's new hat cost $2.75. Paid 15c for my supper. Eva brought it to me from the Variety supper given by the women of the Christian Church in the Glover building. Paid for a small beef roast 35c. For last weeks rent $1.25. The Baccalaureate sermon by Jack Ashley at the Christian Church tomorrow will be the one great feat on tap, a crowded house is assured for there will be no preaching in any other place in town. The weather has turned a little cooler. A good rain shower is needed.
Sunday April 20 - Rained a very little. I was at the Christian Church this morning and heard the Baccalaureate sermon by Elder John H. Ashley. H e gave a good discourse on a well rounded out life, house was full to overflowing. Jim and Mary eat dinner with us. Tonight I went to the Methodist Church. AJ Wolfe and I took a short drive late this p.m. Eva and I were at Irve Fullenwider's a couple of hours this p.m. Visited Willie's grave at 6:30 p.m. This is my 62nd birthday. I write this without the aid of glasses. Health is as good as usual.
Monday April 21 - Clear most of the day. $2.10. Paid $1.50 for 15 gallon of Escne oil. I notice the trees in the woodland are showing a little tint of green, some of our maple shade trees along the streets in town have leaves that show nearly a half inch. All the trees that have stood the winter will be dressed in summer attire with a week or 10 days. There are no peach trees thus far showing any blooms. Pear, plum and apple trees will have bloom. Eva has commenced house cleaning. Mrs. Rachel Crabb is helping her. Eva likens her cleaning unto a case of typhoid fever. The patient has to get way bad before it shows signs of getting any better. Bob Moore is yet alive.
Tuesday April 22 - Clear and cloudy, too. $2.70 Paid 35c for a tin milk pail. 40c for 2 pounds of cheese. 10c for nails. 5c for a loaf of bread. Wind was high nearly all day. Late this evening we had a light shower of rain. The wind tore a part of the partition fence down on the lot we use for cow pasture. I will put it up tomorrow. T he posts have rotted off. I will put braces to the old posts which will make the fence passable for awhile longer. House cleaning continues and will for another day. Jim Alfrey came home a sick man yesterday evening but is up and about this p.m.
Wednesday April 23 - Clear and cloudy. $.80. paid 25c for 1 1/14 pounds of beef steak. I believe this is the first time I have had to pay this price for beef. Eva has all the rooms cleaned except the kitchen we use during the winter season and has discharged her assistant. The weather has turned as cool I have had a fire in my heating stove since 5 o'clock. Mrs. Cochran mother of Wm Harvey and Mary. (all married) died yesterday morning at 1.30. Bob Moore is still among the living. I signed a remonstrance against a proposed saloon. Rep. Convention for the state is on at Indianapolis.
Thursday April 24 - Cloudy. $1.10. Paid 40c for a bale of ? straw and 75 for a bushel of corn. Hogs sold yesterday in the Chicago Market as high as $7.20 per hundred weight. Market went off a little from reports of the day before. Eva has every room in the house cleaned and is now arranging the furniture and pictures. She is glad the storm is over. We now sleep in the east bedroom. A letter from her sister Almira Petty of Okmulgee, Indian Territory says they are all well except a general complain of bad colds. Sent the Enquirer $1.
Friday April 25 -- $1.90. Cloudy. Had 4 new shoes put on Bob, he will take us to Crawfordsville next Sunday if the weather is fare. Mr. James Rice died suddenly this afternoon at about 2 the clock. He eat more heartily for dinner than for 2 or 3 days. I judge he was close to 8 (sic) year of age. I hitched Bob to the buggy and took Mrs. Margarett (sic) Rhoads out there. They live about a mile north from town. Eva got a letter from Elizabeth McMains of Rossville, Ill. She said Mary McMains' daughter of David McMains of Hoopston, Ill will be married next Saturday night week to a boarder (?) Blacksmith. Will live in Hoopston.
Saturday April 26 - High wind & rain at night. $4.40. paid 15c for ¾ lb of beef steak. 12c for a pound package of Arbuckle Coffee. There was considerable rain fall last night in different parts of the country, not very much fell here. In the Christian Witness of April 17 is a son gin verse entitled Perfect love version of How tedious and tackless the hours" (maybe tasteless the hours? Hard to read). It's like much better than the old formula. The first line runs thus: "How glorious and blissful the hours, since Jesus unceasing I see!".
Sunday April 27 - Clear. We started for Crawfordsville at 7 o'clock and at 9:30 were at Dry Branch Bridge just in the edge of the city. We went to Bob McMains from there to James McClures then to the ME Church and back to Bob's for dinner. Jimmie McClure and wife were there for dinner too. After dinner Jimmie McClure and wife took our horse Bob and the buggy and went to see Jimmie's mother who is very feeble being 82 years old. At half past 3 p.m. I attended the meeting in the YMCA Hall and at 7:30 attended the meeting at the Christian Church. At all of these meetings I heard Harry Maxwell sing. We are at McClures tonight. The day was well spent. Had no chance to visit Willie's grave today.
Monday April 28 -- $1.50. Paid Union Mutual Life Insurance $1.88 fee included State and county tax $7.29. Fruit 15. Two hundred and fifty Envelopes 30c One hundred and 5 NF Singer needles 80c. The Crawfordsville Journal $2.70. Took dinner at Bob McMains. Paid 25c for Notary fee on application for increase in pension. We made a few fashionable calls and started home at half past two o'clock and were home by 5 o'clock. Anderson McMains and his daughter, Elsie McMains are in town tonight. Elsie is at our house tonight. Paid 10c for half pound of beef steak. Rained a little this afternoon.
Tuesday April 29 -- $1.85. 1 ¼ lbs of beef steak 25c 1 loaf of bread 5c. Anderson McMains and daughter Elsie (11 years old) were at our house for dinner today I was glad today when I called for my mail and found a beautiful picture of Miss Carrie M. Harrow. The last words she uttered in my hearing were, "When I get some good pictures taken, will send you one." She has kept her word. God Bless her. Work was commenced today by a force of workmen in putting gin the Acetalyne Light Plant for the town. Bob more is yet living, His feet are badly swollen. He is suffering all the time.
Wednesday April 30 -- $1.10. Paid 75c for a bushel of corn and 40c for a bale of oat straw. About the 15 of next month I hope to be able to turn the horse and cow on pasture. Jim Goslin has gone to Crawfordsville to work in the water works. Plant night shift at the power house. He gets 45 dollars a month and as soon as he can get a house to live in his family will follow. Sent Hearst's Chicago American $1.131. The Indianapolis Journal $3.38. The Indianapolis Sentinal I mean News $3.15. Commercial Tribune $3.34. Chicago Record Herald 41.76. Fee 21c.