This is a diary of a farmer’s wife written in 1908 by my great-great grandmother whom lived in central Pennsylvania and spoke Pennsylvania Dutch. Minerva was a proud woman that went to church every Sunday, even if her husband didn’t. Hauling ice during the winter and using that ice to make ice cream during the summer is one example of their day’s events. I hope you enjoy this diary as much as I. More
This is a diary of a farmer’s wife written in 1908 by my great-great grandmother whom lived in central Pennsylvania. Minerva’s daily chores and details were written as the way the Pennsylvania Dutch folks spoke. It is a unique way of talking that is still used today here in Pennsylvania. For example, I red up the room. I still use that myself, meaning to clean or straighten up a room. I put in bold the explanation of any confusing Dutch words and what they mean by each days entry. She was a proud woman that went to church every Sunday, even if her husband didn’t. Folks back then had such hard work to do like hauling large chunks of ice in winter and then keeping it packed away for their daily use on the farm. I was surprised to read they used the ice to make ice cream during the summer, even in July when black raspberries came in season. Her daughter Bessie and husband Simon are mentioned in this diary. I remember as a very small child going to Bessie’s funeral at my grandmother’s house. My first funeral. Simon, her husband was the first to die of Typhoid Fever because of drinking impure water while working on the construction project of the Carlisle Pike. Included are newspaper clippings of his death, court details and details about others that got sick. It was the first case of its kind to go to court for workmen’s compensation. Twenty eight men got sick and fourteen died, all from this impure water.
What a difficult and hard life to live back then. It makes me so appreciate what my life is like today. At the end of the year in 1908 she puts details about their monthly expenses. She was clearly proud of the fact that they owe no one any money at the end of the year. I was amazed at how much money they had made that year. Included are their full names, birth, death, burial details and their children’s names. Also are several photos my grandmother had kept.
I hope you enjoy reading this diary as much as I did.
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