Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wednesday February 6, 1895

12 below at 8 o'clock
Cold but clear and beautiful
A charming moonlight evening

Sent a note to Mrs. Allen this afternoon in acknowledgment of her letter. Have felt more restful today. All the school rooms were cold this morning so that there was less order. Children had their sleds this noon but too cold to stay out long--chicken for dinner, oysters for supper--have felt tired and lazy all the week and have done only a little mending perhaps partly due to the cold. My cough is nearly gone. Have come to bed early. Hope I can sleep well. Enjoy reading from David Brainard's life so much. E. Car stalled near W. Hartford with a party all night.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tuesday February 5, 1895

Cold, windy & bright. Very cold tonight

11:30 a.m.

Last night I felt as if some trial were hanging over me, but this morning I feel a quiet calm. Is it the calm before a storm! My verses for today would indicate it. Well my "Father knoweth what things ye are in need of" and can give the strength to bear! Had a good letter from Miss Hinman, she may visit us soon. Sophia Hull is worse, has Bright's disease.

P.M. Everything passed off as usual. Very cold tonight but Miss Sweet & the girls took a long walk after study here. Have been looking at Mr. Belknap's church scrap book--very interesting. Sent Ada my subscription to the "Golden Rule."

3 cars from Unionville stalled near W.D. all night.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monday February 4, 1895

Stormy but not cold--colder, a small blizzard for an hour or two tonight

Sometimes feel tired of my duties but most of sending the girls out twice every day for I am never free from it on school days. Miss Glass or Green can be away or stay in their rooms, but I must get the girls out. It is so wearisome. No letter though I have expected one from George for a day or two. Still it is best to learn to wait patiently for God's time. Wrote quite a letter to Ada this morning. Mr. Love is worse, has a high fever caused by his exertion in preaching yesterday. Mrs. Waite has gone to bed with rheumatism. My heart is weary tonight.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday February 3, 1895

Floyd Weld is 17 years old today

A cold but bright & beautiful day

Eleven long years since Mother went home, but today has been the brightest anniversary for me. The prayers I have made for Ada & George and their encouragement together with the latter's love and its coming answer in my own head makes me feel Mother is glad for me! Have not been to church but have read and prayed and so rested. I feel stronger spiritually, mentally & physically than for a long time. Mr. Taylor is spending Sunday here. Mr. Gillette from Washington D.C. lectured in the chapel this p.m.. God is so very good to me, & seems so near!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday February 2, 1895

Will Thompson is 35 today

Stormed this a.m. Clear & growing colder this evening

Had a good letter from Ada. She wants to study the S. S. lesson every week now. "While they are speaking I will answer!" Also had a nice letter from Mrs. Allen in regard to my withdrawal from the Y.P.S.C.E. It has been a very hard day for me, lay down a few minutes while they were sweeping this a.m. but the storm kept the children in and I am very tired but they were good. Next week will be free--Mrs. Waite didn't like it because I said Miss Green waited for second table. But I held my tongue.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday February 1, 1895

8' below 0
Coldest morning--bright and beautiful

Gave my room a thorough cleaning & mended Mr. Holt's coat before dinner. Mr. Webster invited me on a sleighride but could not go as Misses Grenslaw and Green were both going with Mrs. Job. Two sleigh loads of children visit the school again today.

Bath night again and as I am not well tonight feel very tired.

Mrs. Waite made some lemonade and sent me a glass of it in the bathroom. It was so refreshing!

Read over manuscript on my own--may use sometime.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday January 31, 1895

Frosty early. Cleared and warmer

A beautiful winter day. Mrs. Job W. invited Mrs. Waite, Mrs. Allen and myself for a sleighride. It was splendid.

Another sleighing party--Wethersfield School to visit us.

The Children had their sleds this noon. Am feeling much better in every way. There is "peace" for God will guide me in all things. Had chicken for dinner--with gravy! Sewed on my nightdress. Mrs. W. F. Jones called on me while I was riding. It was my second call from the church.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday January 30, 1895

Foggy & very cold, cleared this p.m. & warmed

Miss Williams gave me a few of the flowers from the Chinese tea. They are very pretty. Had a letter containing some knit edge from Mrs. Humphrey of South Norfolk. She was very kind to think of me and will always like the apron. Have written her a letter. Went to the Park Drug Store after shop tonight as it cleared & was warmer. Have not been outside for nearly two weeks before, but wanted my medicine. Have not been as hungry for a few days. Mary Dennis will go home tomorrow as her mother is dying. Boys worked well. Am feeling better today. A school came to visit us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuesday January 29, 1895

Snowed until noon, clear & pleasant

I am nervous or something. It seems as if the children would drive one wild, some of them, and the talking in the sitting room too, so I have come to bed a little after 7.

Had a letter from Leila telling of a good Y.P.S.C.E meeting on Sunday. And one from Anna she is pleased with the homburg.

I have been cross ever since I got the boys ready for school but I have tried so hard not to be. Cleaned my hair this afternoon, had a long nap before tea. My cold is better, but I am so tired--Miss Hammond has a party tonight.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monday January 28, 1895

Pleasant and cold. Clouding up.

A day full of restlessness, but partly due to wakefulness in the night, caused by coughing. I have thought & prayed much for George--And there been fretted by the children. How consistant! But I have "overcome" some of the fretting. Received a note from Leila, she has found out the fraud in the "Chain letters"--I have written her a long letter tonight. Had a short nap this morning and another p.m. The Pearl St. Church Chinese give their social to the teachers this evening. Am feeling better.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday January 26, 1895

Beautifully cold & windy

Have not been to church for fear of getting more cold. Read and had a little nap this morning. I could not help feeling Mr. McCord's words might help some today and I prayed that they might also for George and have written him a very long letter. I feel content for I think he must find Christ soon. My head has ached some tho I don't see why. But I will retire soon.

George's birthday isn't until Oct. 3rd. He knew mine all the time & wanted to send me something.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Saturday January 26, 1895

Stormy (snow--rain) cleared this p.m. growing colder

My cold made me feel about sick, but my quiet afternoon has done me good. Have sewed on my night-dress & knit a little on my slippers. Received a long letter from George and my thoughts have turned to Will Reed. The letter Leeila enclosed asking for ten stamps to help a cripple lady is proven to be a fraud. I shall write Leeila about it. Debby Marshall came this afternoon, will try studying. Miss Noyes has a party for her.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday January 25, 1895

Clear & cold

Another bath night. The children are so much better now than either year before. Mr. Newman had another fit tonight just before tea. Cut out a heavy night dress, finished a handkerchief, & begun some slippers, beside other work so think I have done well.Was sick in the night--pain in my side, but have felt better today than any day before since Tuesday. Took more cold yesterday and cough more. The children had their sleds again today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thursday January 24, 1895

Clear and cold

Children have enjoyed their sleds again. Mr. Morey's eyes are better so he will watch tonight My wrapper is done and hung up and it is a relief. Miss Glass went down & had a tooth out this p.m. Her sister came over this evening. My head & heart felt badly all the morning. Took a nap before differ, felt better late in the day. Had a letter from Lila. Her aunt ants her to make her home with her in York state. The children have been good. Nellie Sullivan did an errand up town for me and lost the change 50 cents. She felt very badly & wants to pay it but I won't let her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wednesday January 23, 1895

Another lovely winter day, some clouds

Feel better than yesterday but took a nap this A.M. before going to the shop. Think it was the medicine which effected me. Mr. Comstock, Miss Noyes and I played "words" until 9:30 p.m. I beat. We had a very nice time. Sewed a little this afternoon. The children have been good, had their sleds today. It is very nice sledding. Miss Glass had a ride.

The boys moved the snow image over to their fort. Mr. Holt is to watch tonight. Smith brought me two splendid oranges.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tuesday January 22, 1895

A lovely spring-like day

Ada & Burt came in to the organ recital, and stayed to the opera house. They came up to see me & invited me to go with them but could not. Now they are gone I feel lonely.

I coughed nearly all night and so have felt wretchedly to-day. My heart & head--lay down all the afternoon & now feel better. Mrs. Williams said I have been withdrawn from the Y.P.S.C.E. at last. Mr. Chas. Prentice died last night. Mr. Love is better. Had a letter from Mrs. Atwell. The boys made a snow image and named it for me.

[Editor's note: Y.P.S.C.E. is likely the "Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor" I have no information as to why Helen Webster would have withdrawn from the organization.]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monday January 21, 1895

Cold early, warmer with rain

My cough seems tighter today and I ache all over, feel sleepy too but think it is partly the weather. Have sent Anna material for a fine long skirt. Mr and Mrs. Williams have gone down again this evening. Dr. Walker's sermon reminded of Mr. Bliss and it did Mrs. W. also. Mr. Meany's eyes still keep bad, and Roy sat up last night. Do not know who will watch tonight.

The children have been good today.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sunday January 20, 1895

Cold, clear and lovely

Father and Mrs. Atwell's birthdays. Have read over my journal written while working in N.B. and I believe I am brighter and near God. Dr. Walker gave us an appropriate session from Matt. 11:29. The meetings are to be continued, this week Mrs. Gage was at church. Was up to breakfast. My wrapper is such a comfort.

Mrs. Clark took the children into the chapel tonight. Have written a note to Mrs. Atwell. Mr. Love does not seem as well. Mr. Holt watched last night.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saturday January 19, 1895

nice winter day

Am very tired. Finally have my wrapper so that I can wear it but not quite done. Have been on duty all day but the children were good. They had "tableaux" this evening. Slept better last night but am coughing more tonight. Have been very hungry all this month--it seems good.. Mr. Love is unable to preach tomorrow because of a hard cold. I have felt that strange influence this evening, , but he must not know it--unless! Perhaps my letters are just received! I wonder if Miss Glass tries as hard not to argue me back as I do her sometimes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friday January 18, 1895

Nice winter day until p.m. began snowing this evening

Cleaned up my room this morning. The boys were good. They did 30 prs of stockings this week. Everything has gone smoothly today, only I have felt cross from lack of sleep, but have not spoken out much. Mr. Williams took Miss Green to ride this afternoon.Worked on my wrapper but too tired to accomplish much, so will put it away until next week. It will be wiser, may begin my slippers tomorrow, sent for the soles this noon. Miss Jennie had her pupils upstairs this evening. She sent Miss Glass some of the ice cream & cake.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday January 17, 1895

Bright and cold, perfect winter day

Things are happening this year. Mr. Robertson was not a Christian, but our prayers are answered, for he is one now. Mrs. Williams has told me much about the meetings held by Mr. Love. Mr. Williams took me for a little sleigh ride this p.m. It was such a pleasure. My arm is better, but my cough is not. Mr. Job came over today, a new boy came: Charlie Monro--Miss Green tho't I never offered to help Miss Glass nights and she was gld to know I did. We have had only one "spat" this term and that did not last long. Boys & girls have been good. Have been working on my wrapper and it is late.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wednesday January 16, 1895

Cold but pleasant. Snowy

Three of Mr. Clark's girls did not have their lesson and I was so disappointed that I cried all the noon to think they were so deceptive. Tonight ran a large needle into my arm and it is very painful. Miss Allen's party was a great success. I enjoyed it. Miss Bessie sang and read. Miss Fay played and Miss Noyes gave three selections in signs. Mrs. W.P.W. told me of the church meetings. Mr. Love wants us to pray for ourselves that we may be filled, for the church, and for individuals. Pray purposely & read of revivals, to gain a deeper spirit. I am to pray for Mr. Robertson. The Miss Fushes were here & seemed cordial. Mrs. Waite told me of her trouble with Mr. Holt. She reported a boy. He was mad and called her cranky, but I think there was some [unreadable] distaste. It does not seem like Mr. H.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tuesday January 15, 1895

Clear and cold--Cloudy part of a.m.

Mr. W. P. Williams took Willie Randolph to the "Consumptive Home" today. He looks very badly. Stitched up my wrapper. Went up to town, bought two ginghams & some cotton cloth. While I was gone Mr. Love called on me. I am so sorry I missed him, especially as it is my first caller from the church. I saw Mrs. Addie Smith. She said Lewis and Anna were in yesterday. Mr. Job is better, my cold is too. My boys have been very good all day & the girls too. Had study hours and it rested me. Wish i could have gone down to the meeting. Mr. Love holds three this week.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Monday January 14, 1895

Cold and pleasant

Wrote letters to Hattie Humphrey and Anna, washed my flannels, ironed the napkins I need for tea Saturday evening and basted up my wrapper--it fits nicely, I think.--and have done my regular work. The children have been good, could skate and slide again. Miss Hathewey made me a nice visit this evening. She looked very pretty. Took more cold Saturday & so cough more. Miss Allen has invited me to a social time on Wednesday evening. Mr. Job is better but not out yet. Teached Mamie Oxly up all the morn. Mr. Clark has to send her to bed she was so bad.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunday January 13, 1895

Rained hard early, cleared & nice but around 4 p.m. came a cold snowstorm & wind

Went to church. Had a good sermon from Matt. 27:6-10. I think Mrs. Robertson's death had something to do with the subject as he dwelt on the joy which came to us from taking Christ's view of a great calamity. Mr. Robertson was there with one child. Mrs. Jones spoke with me. She is sister of a former Brown School teacher & attends our church. Was on duty this evening. Mamie O. very bad both times. Jennie R. room was entered by drunken man and I think Mr. Holt wants to marry her now. Have written a long letter to George for fear some harm may come to her.

Mr. Williams no better.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saturday January 12, 1895

Cloudy this morning, cleared at noon

Took the 12:30 M, east for Unionville and spent two hours with Anna. She looks well, her dining room set is so pretty. She showed me the little sewing she had done. Popped corn & I brought home some. Also a big piece of loaf cake. Felt too tired to eat supper and was intending to have a gruel-evening here, but Miss Mann took supper with me, she seemed to enjoy it very much. George Atwell brought back my book, but did not see him. Had a long talk with Dr. Newton's mother on the ear. I am so tired. Have heard Mrs. Holt is to leave. Mrs [unreadable] is sick with a hard cold.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Some more background on the project

My sister left the following comment, but I'm turning it into a post so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. Here's some more of what we know about Helen Webster.
She was a teacher at the American School for the deaf in Hartford CT in 1895. Those are the children that she speaks of in her writings. Like most special needs schools at the time, the children and teachers lived at the school. George was married to Helen's best friend, but she died. After some time, she and George married. They eventually moved to the Dakota territory. Helen was not a young woman when she wrote this diary. She was likely in her 40's. After she married George, she had Grandma's (Wilma) mother. Sadly, she died in 1902 when her daughter was only 7.
Hopefully, I'll be able to get copies of the other volumes, but I've still got lots to post here.

Friday January 11, 1895

Very unpleasant all day, fog &c.

That reminds me what an affectionate little girl Fogg is! The children have been very good. Had another letter from George. Such a true letter too! Just before I awoke this morning, I dreamed he came for to see me. I did not expect him but we met on the train and Mother came to me too. She told the girls we were soon to be married and seemed pleased. When G. and I were alone I thought he drew me to him and I knew I loved him. Then I awoke, my heart still throbbing & I thought it would be sweet to love & be loved like that! It was only a dream! Finished cutting my dress--cleaned my room up. Have written a short letter to George.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thursday January 10, 1895

Still another stormy day, colder

Sent notes to Miss Hatheway & Anna and letters to Auntie and Leila Thompson. It is Jennie A. Taylor's birthday. I sent her a handkerchief. The boys have been good. Have worked some on my wrapper. The days pass so quickly and I accomplish little outside my regular work. I feel like crying for three little ones are left motherless. The parents attended our church. The mother was my age. Our church gives its yearly report to-night; each society is to report.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wednesday January 9, 1895

Cleared this forenoon, colder

The boys have been good, but kept Lars and Jas. Jellison tonight because they would wear their hats in the room. Sewed a little on my dress and put away some clothes in my trunk. Have felt light-headed most of the day. Burned the letter I wrote Sunday. Mrs. Holt & Mrs. Waite had a "spat" tonight--do not know the cause. Mrs. Beliga spent the evening here. The c. drops help me. Mrs. J will give me the rest. Had good night's sleep. We had a good chicken pie this noon. Must bathe and go to bed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tuesday January 8, 1895

Raining nearly all day, snowed tonight

Feel very tired, finished an apron did some mending and cut out part of my outing napkin. Slept better last night but coughed harder to-day.

Mr. Tyran--Mr. Stone's father in-law buried today. Miss Glass went up-town. Mr. Millard called on her & he thought I was a mute. We had a good laugh. Boys were good. Mr. Marcy is sick again, so Mr. Webster watched last night. Mr. Holt is teaching for Miss Hammond this week. Miss Jennie gave me some of Arthur K. cough drops to try.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Monday January 7, 1895

Rainy all day, warmer

Mrs. Wallin sent me a lovely jewel-box made of yellow ribbon and glass. I am very much pleased, sent her a note of thanks. Have felt tired and half-sick all day because of my cold and lack of sleep. The boys have been very good. Miss Greenbaw, her sister Miss Mann, Mrs. Waite & I played "Old Maid," not war. Miss G. first game. Did not get any letters today and did not send the one I wrote.

Some background on this project

Parts of this post originally appeared at Incertus.

Helen Webster is, I believe, a great grandmother of mine, who was a teenager in the 1890s. Beyond that, I know nothing. My grandmother's sister (great-aunt? I can never keep these things straight) found this diary probably ten years ago and photocopied it for everyone in the family who wanted a copy. My sister passed it along to me, as a curiosity of sorts, and it's been sitting in a portable file cabinet ever since. I'd long planned to transcribe it, but frankly, the job seemed overwhelming, especially since the handwriting is small and has gone through the photocopier a few times.

But then I saw this story and was inspired. I post a new diary entry every day, and I find myself approaching this not as a task, but as a joy. I've had to force myself to not transcribe more than a day at a time, and in fact, I find myself deliberately delaying the transcription so as to increase the pleasure I'm getting from it so far.

I've been a bit overwhelmed by the reception thus far, and I'm quite appreciative. I'll keep it up as long as I have entries to work with, and when I'm finished, I plan to leave it up indefinitely, as an archive of this person at this point in time.