HIRAM PRATT DIARY - May 1888
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 !
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, May 1 -- $1.20. Mr. Erb of Chicago was to see me today. He came to repair a couple of gasoline stoves. Put our cow in pasture with Harry Kritz at $1.50 per month. Bought 5 gal gas .75 and 3 doz cabbage plants 15 cts. Snow this a.m.
Wednesday, May 2 -- $3.60. Paid 35 cts for a chicken which it is designed to feast on next Sunday. Coal oil 6 gals $1. One bushel of potatoes $1.25. The weather is very nice at present.
Thursday, May 3 -- $1.20. Seven months ago today my little woman and I went down to Terre Haute. She looked through the car window as we passed out of town towards our house and said, "Oh, will I ever come back to my pretty little home?"
Friday, May 4 - $.70. Bought two fish for .50 Gave John Hunt a bottle of medicine 50 cts and one to Eliza .50. Joseph Miehl of Decatur, Ill $3.55 for 100 cigars 10 cts for horse show advertising. The show was here last Sat.
Saturday, May 5 -- $7.80 Five pounds of feed .55 65 pounds mill feed .55 a mess of green onions and pie plant 10 cts. One pair of suspenders for Willie .15 cts. Seven months ago today my little woman had 6 tumors removed.
Sunday, May 6. Attended church at 10 1/2. We stoped in for a few minutes at McMains and was talking with Eva which caused me to be a little late. Willie & I were at sunday school (sic - no caps) at 2 1/2. Weather very nice. I am well.
Monday, May 7 -- $3.60. B & L 5 - Charles F. Stoker of Chicago for Sewing Machine $24.83. 1 doz lemons 25. The town election resulted in the election of Dana Moore for Marshall, WT Hanna for Clerk and Peterman & Milligan for Trustees.
Tuesday May 8 -- $1.35 One sack of flour 65. 7 1/2 # cod fish 54 - one gal gas 15. Pd 35 cts for a hen and then got no good of it for it ran away after staying about the house 3 days. Rain last night. Warm. Heard reported on the 2nd ?
Wednesday, May 9 -- $1.85 -- Ed Davis has sold his barber shop to Ed Cuppy. Cuppy took possession last Monday morning. Bottle of Medicine for Eliza .50 The weather is warm. We are using our gasoline stove.
Thursday, May 10 -- $1.05 - Bran for cow feed 45 cts Farmers are sure to be short of wheat this season. Hay will also be short. Millet will have to be substituted. Had Harry's wagon fixed 10. Weather warm. Rained.
Friday, May 11 -- $2. Pd 70 cts for freight on "Jewel Grand" gas stove. The Campbellite preacher has left for Bowling Green Ind, OB Jewel was his name. 2 doze Apricots 2# cans $4.40.
Saturday, May 12 -- $10. 7 months ago today my precious little woman lay a corpse God be merciful to me. *Six gal coal oil $1. One gal gasoline 15. There was a good rain last night in consequence colder weather. *Replace 2nd
Sunday, May 13 -- On the account of this date being first 7 months from the day of the burial of my little woman, I have been very lonesome and of sorrowful heart. Wilie and I attended class and Sunday school. In bed at 7 1/2.
Monday, May 14 -- $3.50 -- B & L 5 dollars. 5# Apricots $1. 2# coffee 45 cts. Writing paper for Eliza .05 cts. Cabbage plants .05 cts. Peanut candy .05. Gave Evaline McMains perfumey and Cream of Roses 60 cts. St. Rep 75 cts.
Tuesday, May 15 -- Bran for cows .45. Beef 45 cts. Snowed a little yesterday. We had a big white frost last night. Our beans were cut down. Rained today. Have had to keep a fire. corn gaz ? 5.33
Wednesday, May 16 -- $1.20. Two gal gas 30. One doz banannas 30. 1 spool of thread .05. American News Co $10.10 $11.80 Indianapolis Journal Black linen lawn dress patern to Clara $2.05. Sent her a letter. Warmer
Thursday, May 17 -- $2.20. Repairs at Valley in roof on the house 10 cts. Sentineal Co. 25 cts. Rained most all of this afternoon. Merle Evans borrowed of me over 4 weeks ago $10. He promised to return it within a week. Has not done it.
Friday, May 18 -- $2.25. Rec'd a couple of Washing Machines from Bluffton, Inda, "The American Round Washer." A good machine. The weather is not so cold as it was a day or so ago. Yet it is cool enough to keep a fire.
Saturday, May 19 - $11.20. New onions 10 cts. Shoe polish 10 cts. We were done work by 12 tonight. One galon of vinegar 30. One sack of flour 65 cts. Have had no fire in the shop stove today. I am feeling well.
Sunday, May 20 -- Willie and I attended church this forenoon. Bro. Buckles gave us a Missionary sermon. Willie was at Sunday School. I was with Eva McMains from 3 p.m. to 6 1/2. Heard the Campbellite preacher tonight.
Monday May 21 -- $4.60 - B & L 5. Beef steak 30 cts. Rubber garter for Eliza 10 cts. Ticket for Willie to go to Terre Haute to see PT Barnum's bigest show on earth. Cost $1.65. Weather cool garden truck of slow growth.
Tuesday, May 22 -- $1.00 Stamps 30. Beef steak 35. One bot of Kennedy's medicine for Eliza 1.25 10 yds of Calico for Eliza .75 ice cream 30 cts. Bacon 10 cts. Willie was up at 3 o'clock this morning. Started at 3:40.
Wednesday, May 23 -- $4.20. Paid Sam McNutt $105 for the monument which marks the resting place of my little woman. The cost of setting it up I count at $5 for I took that from the price of the organ because Ben would make no charge.
Thursday, May 24 -- $1.10 -- I had a talk with Eva McMains at one o'clok. We are having a rain tonight. The show at Terre Haute was a big affair. 15,000 people supposed to be within the canvass. Some 200 more went from here. Reddish .05 Onion .20
Friday, May 25 -- $3.20 Onions 15. Five pounds of fresh fish .50 Rent for April 3. One doz lemons 25 cts. 1 1/2 doz pearl buttons for Eliza .15 Ice cream and cake 10 cts. Rain most all this forenoon. 3 cakes (Eva one cake) of cuticure soap. 75.
Saturday, May 26 -- $7.45. Bread 10 - pies (3) 25. Shaving soap 30. We had very light work until late in the afternoon at 12 or midnight were through. Threatening rain as I noticed on the way home.
Sunday May 27 -- Willie and I attended the memorial service at the ME Church sermon by our Bro. LS Buckles. I attended the services at night. Willie the Sunday School at 2 1/2. The day has been pleasant Rain tonight.
Monday May 28 -- $3.65 - B & L $5. Fresh beef 50 cents. Rained all the forenoon. Evaline McMains was at our house this evening. A light rain detained her for awhile. I accompanied her home. Eliza had gone to bed when Eva came.
Tuesday May 29 -- $2.30. Paid $1.05 for 7% of breakfast bacon. 25 cts for 6# of soup beans. Onions 20 cts raddishes 15 cts. AOUW $2. This was paid yesterday. No rain today. Corrected Willie for general disobedience.
Wednesday May 30 -- $2.55 -- Met with the GAR Post No. 423 and marched with them to the different cemeteries for the purpose of decorating ex-soldiers grave. There was a good turn out. Weather warm. I am well.
Thursday May 31 -- $2.35 A letter from Clara Shaw. Cow pasture $1.50 Ice cream 10 cts. Three hundred sweet potato plants $1.05. Weather is fine indications of rain tonight. Had Mrs. Julia Stone out for ice cream. She is with Mrs. McCormick in the Milliner Store.