Oliver Osborne’s Journal – February 1862

We continue to follow Oliver Osborne’s journal – picking up from January 1861.

Here are some comments on the remainder of 1861

-it was a momentous year for the world with the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the succession of the Confederate states and the first battles of the Civil War.  Oliver’s journal is silent on philosophy but he does mention drilling frequently – apparently the old New England militia tradition was still viable (the May 6, 1861 entry mentions a town meeting to organize the militia)

-It was still a close knit community and Oliver seems to have known of most if not all of the deaths that year and attended most of the funerals:

  • Mr. Mack 62
  • E. Parker’s child 13 Mos.
  • Mrs. Joel Davis 81
  • Mr. Nickerson
  • Thos. Egleston 61
  • Mrs. Post
  • Charles. Merrel 6 years 3 Mos. 15 Ds.
  • Hattie Howes 9 years 10 months
  • Mrs. Farley
  • Sally Ford 84
  • James Collins 62
  • Albert Root

(the last five were all in December)

-Other entries that reflect the closeness of the community

  • May 18 – turned cows out, Elijah put his cow in (Elijah was his brother who lived next door)
  • June 9 – Milo Osborne taken sick watched with him tonight
  • Mr. Bower’s barn burned July 19 – there was a barn raising by August 9 to replace it
  • Sept. 19 – A cattle show in Lenox
  • Oct. 30 – Frank Bartlet’s husking
  • Nov. 5 – election day – Militia drill and parade
  • Nov. 21 – Thanksgiving – M. Kellog, F and Matt visited

And, we continue to see evidence of O.W. Osborne, still a widower,  managing a self sufficient farm and taking care of his two girls.  There are entries related to

  • hauling and cutting wood (presumably for himself as well as for cash)
  • planting a variety of grains and vegetables
  • slaughtering a calf
  • making soap
  • shingling (with shingles he made) part of the roof
  • adding a “piazza” to the house
  • taking the girls to Pittsfield for bonnets
  • going at the end of August for a school exam (presumably for the girls).

Here is what’s going on in February, 1862.

1st Sat – Cloudy began to snow PM Snowed till 10 PM Went to Lee in aft

2nd Sun – Pleasant in morning Cloudy in afternoon Charlotte Perry’s funeral

3rd Mon – Cold Cloudy Chilly Nellie washed worked on door casings on back room

4th Tues – Not cold snowed some all day by turns went to woods to meet M Bourne Mr. Wilson’s funeral

5th Weds – Very pleasant all day went to look at Wood with M Bourne worked on door casings

6th Thurs – Clear in morn snowed in afternoon and we went to Lee to see J Mack Boiler Burst at paper Mill ½ past 7

7th Fri – Clear windy in forenoon worked in back room went to Lee in aft to water street

8th Sat – Clear and pleasant sawed out casings whoveled snow dug stairs from Gate down to road in drift

9th Sun – Pleasant quite cold in morn Snowed hard part afternoon cleared up Before night

10th Mon – Pleasant moderate went to village to see Sques about beef aft to see Elijah

11th Tues – Mild pleasant Butchered Cub. Hind quarters weighed 287 fore 263 tallow 71 hide 69 total 690

12th Weds – Snowed in forenoon pleasant in aft Went to carry away hide sleigh ride to G Barrington Warm

13th Thurs – Mild snowed in forenoon Cut up and tied part of tallow pleasant in aft and eve

14th Fri – Snowed moderately all forenoon Wind howled and blowed Aft Finished try tallow 9 frans 60 ½ lbs

15th Sat – Cloudy in forenoon Wen to Lee in aft Snowed moderately all aft blowed from N West eve

16th Sun – Cold today with wind NW but bright and pleasant A Cervin’s Child died in night

17th Mon – Morning cold Nellie washed warm at noon aft chilly cold appearance of storm Snowed Salted Beef

18th Tues – Rained a little in morn but cleared up day warm bright thawed in sun hurt finger funeral A Corvin’s child

19th Weds – pleasant in morn day cloudy warm went to Hutchinsons and Judds Eve Snowed wind south

20th Thurs – Windy Wind North West Lathed in Backroom Chas to Pitts Mr. Hotchkin died Age 67 Oats Peas 1 bu BWheat

21st Fri – Cloudy cold in morn Aft warmer Gils to Geo Mack’s Lathed in B Room to Mill with 3 bush

22 Sat – To woods in morn. To Lee in aft Cloudy rather cold Began to burn Cubs Tallow

23 Sun – Very pleasant in morn Aft cloudy Snow Squall at 4 PM Looks like rain Mr. Hotchkin’s Funeral

24 Mon – Rained today at times Lathed in Cheese room at 3 PM Wind N West snowed hard with heavy gale lost my cap snowy at dark but wind continued through night Very Heavy

25 Tues – Very cold ther 4° B 0 on west end Barn at 8 AM Lathed in Cheese room Maty made 12 mind (mince?) pies put brine on beef

26th Weds – Pleasant in forenoon afternoon Cloudy Lathed in cheese room Went to Vill Lucian came in eve pulled tooth

27th Thurs – Began to snow in morn snowed till 3 PM Wind turned and blew snow flew Lucian here

28th Fri – A Hard day Wind blew hard snow flew all day Lucian went away this morning for Adams. I Lathed in cheese room No Mail from N York today.

Thanks to the Lenox Library for sharing this handwritten diary of East St. native O.W. Osborne.

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