ETHEL VERA THOMPSON DIARY
The fact that this diary exists and is available to be shared is really a wonderful thing. We never would have found "Nana" and her family history without this diary. Our lives are richer for the things we have come to know and realize, because of it. Our lives are richer for the people we have encountered, corresponded with and even met because of this diary.
I never had the pleasure of meeting her - she was my great grandmother, but I have come to know her in spite of the obvious obstacles. Nana has been described to me as being ' serious-minded, thoughtful, subtle, observant, reserved, empathetic, honorable, fair and genuine. And warm and sweet and infinitely caring to those whom she loved.'
Nana grew up in Farnam, Nebraska, in what was a very rural and some what untouched place in the MidWest, her family were pioneer Nebraskans. Nana played the violin - this we know and sometimes wonder how that came about, when you read this diary you think, these were busy people, Nana was 15 at the time, she worked hard but also had a great deal of fun, where did she ever have the opportunity to learn to play.
I haven't found a suitable piece of violin music to have playing for her, but I think the one I have chosen in the meantime, expresses some of what I feel for the fortune of coming to know her, I think it has some of those qualities that she was about.
We have something here that many people will never have the fortune to have, and for that I am very thankful. I know she is looking down on us and is pleased with what we are doing and how we are thinking.
( inside front cover: Columbus married Miss Palistrello in 1470 - she lived in Lisbon, Portugal.)
( on front of fly leaf: Ethel Thompson / Farnam / Neb. / Volume 1st.)
( on back of fly leaf: "Lives of great men all remind us / We can make our lives sublime / And departing leave behind us / Footprints on the sands of time" )
This is My Birthday. Edna and I are both going to commence keeping a Diary. Will started to the Junction to hunt work Mon. 23 of April. Dont know how long he will stay.
They had a dance at Robson’s for Will. Ada and May Cooper, Annie Patterson and Mrs. Edwards and Struthers. Also Mr. Archie Howard, Bud Cunningham and Roy Struthers were down to R’s. They all came down here Saturday evening excepting Ada she came down with us in the Morning. Ada, Laurence and I went to Farnam after dinner had a high old time laughing at Ada she would sing at the top of her voice every time we would meet anyone or pass a house.
Nice day - (Friday) I dident do much of anything but help clean up the smoke house.
Ma and Agnes did most of the work. Ma intended to go to Alice’s but didn’t. we caught Maud for her. Pa went to Peckham’s for his money. He intended to start for Ashland but missed the train. he was going to bring Grandpa up to stay with us. Mrs. Speck was here, too.
This is Sat. Very windy and disagreeable.
I mop(p)ed and swept the dining room and kitchen and helped with the rest of the work until noon and then went to Ida’s and Alice’s saw Mina Teel. It rained soon after I got home and caused me to stay home from Griffith’s. I was going to go and stay all night with Bertha.
Ed. came home from Ida’s just as We were finishing the milking.
May and Katie Speck were here after onions.
Sun. April 29-1894
Nice day but rather cloudy and rained in the evening. We did up the work in the Morn. Mary, Elmer and Myra were here to dinner but went over to Ida’s in the afternoon. Edna went with them. Wesley came just after they left.
April 30 (Mon).-1894
Nice but terribly muddy. Did work as usual. Pa went to Farnam to work so we are alone again. Awfully lonesome without Edna.
Ma and I went to Alice’s & I went on up to Ida’s. Agnes commenced Ma’s dress.
We planted some flower seeds in the evening and milked.
Tues. May 1- 1894
We washed & churned. Milked, and did all the rest of the Men’s work we could find.
Ada (Cooper) and Mary Robson were down. we had more fun than a little. Ada and I had two cart rides and nearly a runaway coming down that hill at Wilson’s. Ada dropped one of the lines and then commenced pulling on the other, jerked the horse over the bank. I grabbed the line she dropped and pulled too so we didn’t tip over. She was dressed like a boy and Wilsons thought she was, I guess.
Wed. May 2-1894
Nice but windy. did up the work and did part of the ironing. Agnes and Ma sewed. Matie was so lame with the Rhumatism that she couldn’t walk. I had a lame ankle, it was where I sprained it a long time ago when I was going to school.
Ed went to town and was at the house in the evening long enough to eat supper and help milk. (He came home last night.)
Thur. May 3-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Agnes ironed some and Ma went to Ida’s.
Agnes sewed a little too.
Ma dident get back from Ida’s ‘till after Agnes and I got the milking all done.
We thought probably Ed would come but he did not.
Matie has been very sick, but is a little better.
Fri. May 4-1894
Real nice day.
We did up the work.
Ma and I planted flower seed in the fore noon and a little in the afternoon.
Agnes went to see Sadie Hall (Shaw) used to be. She saw Mrs. S. and Alice.
Sat. May 5-1894
Nice but cloudy.
Did up the work dident get done until after noon. Agnes went to town after Pa and Edna.
Ed came home just in time to get his Supper and go to Robson’s. he dident wait to milk either.
Pa, Ma and I milked.
Sun. May 6-1894
We did up the work. Archie Liggitt came before we had the work half done up and staied till after supper.
Wesley and Ida were here till after supper, Ralph came in time to eat supper.
It is bedtime and he is here yet. I dont know when he will depart.
He went about two or three I guess. (added next day)
Mon. May 7-1894
Nice. We did up the work.
Edna came home from Ida’s in the afternoon.
Ma took Pa to town in the morning, got back about noon. she made Pa an undershirt.
Agnes finished her pink waist. (like mine)
Tues. May 8-1894
Nice. Did up the work.
Ma and Agnes made my pink waist.
I planted some morning glory seed, and set out some wild buckwheat to train over the windows.
Mrs. Wilson and Gladys were here.
Wed. May 9-1894
Looked like rain all day. We washed and watered the yard and trees and garden.
Ed came home in the evening. Rob came past and when he went to shut the gate the dogs began to bark and the horses started to run but he caught them. it is fifteen minutes past nine now.
Thurs. May 10-1894
Nice. we did up the work. Ma churned and ironed some.
Mina Teel came over in the afternoon and staied till after supper.
Edna brought in the cows just before Mina left.
Agnes finished the waist to her new dress. it is kind of a grimy red.
Ugly I think. I got dinner.
Fri. May 11-1894
Nice but windy. We did up the work. Agnes finished her calico dress. Ma and Matie darned socks.
I wrote three letters. One to Will and two to get some paterns and things for Agnes and Matie.
We milked in the evening as usual.
Sat. May 12-1894
We had a geeroasting lot of work to do. I moped the kitchen: no! I scrubbed it.
Edna and I went to Farnam after Pa. We dident get back untill after seven.
Ed and Ag. milked.
Ed went to the Robson’s in the evening.
Sun. May 13-1894
Nice. We did up the work.
Laurence came before we were through the work.
Pa went to Speck’s and got three pigs paid fifteen $ for them.
Laurence, Agnes, Ed. and I went to Robson’s in the after noon when we got back it was dark and Susie Bateman, Charley Beaver and Ralph were here.
Mon. May 14-1894
Nice. A. did up most of the work. Ma took Pa to town got back about noon.
Edna cried with her back hurting her.
I churned and worked the butter.
I felt might mean all day. Smashed my toe .. was tilting around on my chair and my foot slipped and the chair foot came down on it.
Agnes don’t feel well either. Minnie and old Wilson passed going home from Gothenburg.
Tue. May 15-1894
Nice. We did up the work and Ma and Agnes sewed. Matie pieced quilt.
I had the tooth ache. Edna and I got some wood in the evening.
Wed. May 16-1894
Windy. we did up the work. Wesley came after Ma to see Maud .. she was sick. Agnes sewed. I dident do much of anything but get a little wood.
Thurs. May 17-1894
Windy. we did up the work. Ma and Agnes sewed. Pa came home in the afternoon (from Farnam.
Fri. May 18-1894
Windy. Did up the work. I helped Pa grub up some trees so he could plow. Ralph came and told us about a dance at Dempey’s. Agnes and I went to the dance with Ralph. dident have a good time.
Sat. May 19-1894
pretty nice. We did up the Sat. work. We got home from the dance about six in the morning.
My! but I was half dead all day. I dident get but a little bit of sleep. Mary and Ada were there and Maggie.
Sun. May 20-1894
Nice. did up the work.
Ed went to the valey.
Bismarck Wautilbury (sp?) and Bertha Griffith and Will Chittock were here.
Mon. May 21-1894
Nice. We washed. Ma and Agnes and Edna went to Wilson. Pa and Edna went to Ida’s.
Ed came home in the evening.
I have had the tooth ache ever since Tue.
Tue. May 22-1894
Nice. We did up the work in the morning. Agnes ironed most all of the ironing. Ma and I ironed a little. Pa ploughed. I had the tooth ache. Ed went to Ralph’s and R.
Wed. May 23-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Pa went to town in the afternoon. Fannie came up a while Byrle was with her.
Ma planted some water and musk melon seed.
Ed went to Gothenburg.
Thur. May 24-1894
Nice. I did up most of the work. Ma churned. Agnes made my brown dress skirt. Agnes and I went to town in the afternoon to get my tooth pulled .. dident get it. Saw Mary and Mrs. Divoll (sp?)
Fri. May 25-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Ed went to R’s to get some tools to fix the (...) Charley and Wesley helped him. Alice was here to dinner. John Shaw was here in the morning after the pipe cutter. Ed went to take the tools home. It clouded up and we thought it was going to rain but it dident
Sat. May 26-1894
Nice only a little cloudy. We did up the Sat. work. I had the toothache.
Agnes went to Ida’s in the forenoon dident get back untill four o’clock.
Ed went to the valey in the evening.
Pa came home about supper time.
Sun. May 27-1894
Nice. We did up the work. I dident have the tooth ache as bad as I did Sat. Archie, Ralph and Charley Beaver were here. Archie came in the afternoon just before dinner. Ralph and Charley not ‘till evening. I stayed in the bedroom all day .. did without my supper and dinner. Ralph staied all night.
Mon. May 28-1894
Nice. Did up the work. Ed came home yesterday. Ed went home with Ralph.
Agnes worked on my dress. I fixed my white underskirt binding.
Tue. May 29-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Pa went over this morning to help Wesley load a hog he was taking to market. Ed went to the decoration with Ralph.
Weds. May 30-1894
Nice. We did up the work. (Agnes and I) Ma and Pa and Edna went to Farnam to the Decoration.
Ed went to the Fort (on the valey) to Decoration.
Thurs. May 31-1894
Nice. only a little bit windy. We did up the work in the Morning. Pa went down to Wilsons. Ma and I went to F. in the afternoon. I went down to the Dentist and had my tooth pulled. He is awfully nice, has such pretty white smooth hands on him. I am smashed.
Ed and Ralph came.
Fri. June 1-1894
Nice. We washed. Ed helped Wesley. Ma packed the butter.
Sat. June 2-1894
Nice. Ed went to Wesley’s. He and Pa went to F. in the afternoon. Laurence came home with them. Sadie Hall was here all afternoon. Laurence, Agnes and I went a piece way home with her.
Sun. June 3-1894
Nice. We did up the work what time we were not teasing Laurence. Maggie R., Bertha G., Archie L., John C., Niel G., Will C. were here. I went a piece way home with Bertha. Rob was at Specks and when us girls (E and I) turned around to go home, he got on his pony and rode down to where we were and tried to scare us.
Mon. June 4-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Agnes made Ma a dress and Ma made herself a bonnet. I made myself a bonnet like Ma’s.
Tue. June 5-1894
Nice. We did work. Wesley and Ida came home from Jamence’s (sp?) and staied here to dinner. Owen staied all night. He and Edna swung nearly all afternoon. Then Owen said he wanted to talk politics. Said he liked Coxey, but Mama and Papa dident.
Wed. June 6-1894
Nice. We washed. Pa helped. Ed went to town. Got a letter from Will.
Thur. June 7-1894
Nice. We did the work. I did nearly all of the ironing. Ma helped a little bit.
Pa plastered the hall.
Fri. June 8-1894
Nice. It rained hard in the afternoon. Pa whitewashed Ma’s room and hard finished the little room. Took the trowel and brush to Wilmouth’s. (He borrowed them) We worked like trooopers all day. It is just nine O. Ck now.
Sat. June 9-1894
Nice. We did up the Saturday’s work. I scrubbed two floors and mopped one. May W. and her husband came past and May wanted me to up and stay with Bertha. I went, when I got there she was just milking. She had given me up. Ethel staied all night with us. Huf came up and tried to scare us but didn’t succeed.
Sun. June 10-1894
Nice. I and Bertha did not get up untill after seven. Then we eat breakfast and while we were milking, Rob came past. Bertha went home with me in the eve. Agnes and I went up there to church. Had a regular securious (??) Rob kept me laughing all the time nearly. Chester preached and he hopped up and down like a rubber ball. Ida and Wesley were here. (At home I mean .. I did not see them at all.)
Mon. June 11-1894
Nice. I came home from Wilmouth’s about ten. (Staied with B. again) The folks had nearly all the work did. Mary and Elmer came and staied untill evening. Owen is here. he staied last night.
Tues. June 12-1894
Windy. We did up the work. Ma and Agnes sewed. I did not do much of any thing.
Wed. June 13-1894
Windy. I did most all of the work. Agnes, Ma and Pa went to Mary’s. Agnes staied. Jonnie Wilson was here also old Peter and Wesley.
Thur. June 14-1894
Nice. We washed. Pa, Ed, Edna and Ma went to gather currants. Got about a quart after they were stemmed.
Fri. June 15-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Ma and I ironed. Agnes is still at Mary’s. Bertha came down to see if I would go to the party at Sadie H’s. I went and we had a real nice time .. played Spin the Platter, Secret Society, Jacob and Ruth, Tin-Tin, and Borrowed Property. There were 31 people there including Harry and Sadie. Six of Shaws, three of Specks, 4 of Smiths, 3 of Austins, 3 of Holdermans, Bertha, Maggie and I. Will Hunt, Archie Liggitt, 3 of Wilsons. I don’t remember who the other one was. I didn’t get home untill after 2 o’clock AM.
Sat. June 16-1894
Nice. We did up the work (Ma and I) Had a big job of it too. Agnes came home from Mary’s today with Ed. Ed is thinking of going up where Will is (G.J.). I do not like to have him go.
Sun. June 17-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Laurence, Wesley, Ida, Archie and Ralph came today. I don’t think much of Archie since he put his arm around Bertha at the party. It was not necessary at all, when he was Jacob and she Ruth. (Frank Holderman caught Maggie H.that way too when we were playing Ruth and Jacob.) Mary is here too.
Mon. June 18-1894
Nice but a little cloudy. Edna and I went currant hunting over in Plum Canon. Ma and Pa went up the canon above Robson’s. Ed went to town.
Tue. June 19-1894
Hot and windy. Ma and Agnes sewed. Pa and Ed cultivated the corn.
Wed. June 20-1894
Nice. We washed. Pa and Ed cultivated.
Thur. June 21-1894
Nice. but awful warm. We ironed. (Ma, Agnes and I) Wesley and Ida came in the eve. Owen went home with them.
Fri. June 22-1894
Nice. We did up the work and finished the ironing. and Ed went to town. Agnes, Edna and I went to the Wilsons.
Sat. June 23-1894
Nice. Cloud and rained in afternoon. We scrubbed, baked and cleaned up the house. Ed went to town. Edna and I picked currants.
Sun. June 24-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Archie came in the afternoon. Byron and John were here staied to supper. Bessie and Jessie Robson and Grace Struthers were here.
Mon. June 25-1894
Nice. Clouded up and rained in eve. Has rained every eve for five Nights.
Ma and I hoed, Agnes and I gathered currants. Ed went to town. Pa went over to work on the place.
Tue. June 26-1894
Nice. We washed and did up the work. Ma and I gathered currants.
Wed. June 27-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Agnes went to Ida’s to help her sew. Ed started for Grand Junction.
Thurs. June 28-1894
Nice. We did up the work. I ironed some and picked some currants. (Picked currants yesterday)
Fri. June 29-1894
Nice. We did up the work and picked currants.
Sat. June 30-1894
Nice. We did up the Saturday’s work.
Sun. July 1-1894
Nice. We did up the work and went to Sunday school. Archie and Ralph were here.
Mon. July 2-1894
Nice. We washed. Agnes and I went to town. Agnes got herself a hat.
Tue. July 3-1894
Nice. We did up the work. I ironed. A. sewed. Ma baked for the fourth.
Chittock was here. He brought me some firecrackers. Owen, Edna and myself shot off some of them. Wesley came over after the buggy to go to F. to fourth.
Wed. July 4-1894
(at top of diary page: Hurrah! Hurrah! + two little US flags drawn in ink)
Nice. We did up the work, ironed and baked.
I and Agnes went to Robson’s to the dance .. with Archie and Ralph resp.
Pa hoed the garden.
I was mad because I had to go with A.
Thu. July 5-1894
Nice. We got home from the dance about 5 o’ck .. A and I .. Agnes dident get home until six. May, Maysie, Edith, Maggie and Mary were down. We had a geroosting nice time.
Fri. July 6-1894
Nice. We did up the work. We moped around and dident do much of anything.
Sat. July 7-1894
Nice. We did up the Saturday’s work. Pa went to town. Ma went with him. Agnes and I went to R’s this eve. Us girls (A and I, Maggie, Mary, Maysie, Edith and May danced. It rained - and got so dark that Chittock had to come with us.
Sun. July 8-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Ma, Pa, Edna and Owen went to R’s. Alice and Charley were here.
Mon. July 9-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Ma and I gathered currants.
Tue. July 10-1894
Nice. We did up the work. and washed. Ida and Wesley came over - and brought the babys. they are going to stay ‘till Ida and W. get back from the Palatte.
Wed. July 11-1894
Nice. We did up the work and minded the babys and ironed. Pa went after some hogs. I churned.
Thu. July 12-1894
Nice. We did up the work. Pa and Wilson went over in Jeoffery after some hogs they had bought. They built some pens for them after they got home.
Fri. July 13-1894
Nice. We did up the work. I churned. Ma washed out some of the kids pantaloons.
Ida and Wesley came over after the kids. Owen went home with them.
Sat. July 14-1894
Nice. We did the work (Agnes and I) Chittock came past going to town. Ma went to town with Minnie.
Sun. July 15-1894
Nice. I helped do up the work.
Archie and Ralph were here, staied late - of course.
Bertha was here to dinner and supper. I went a piece way home with her.
Mon. July 16-1894
Nice. Ma and I went curranting with Grace, Minnie, Sam C. and Jonnie. Pa went off to buy some more hogs. I churned. Agnes sewed. Ma baked bread.