Diary of Hiram A. Pratt, Waveland Barber
(Standard Diary #31) -- April 1870
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. 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. For some time, he served as town marshall, of Waveland. 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. 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
Friday April 1 -- $.10 is all that I received today. This surely is a small business yet it is more than scores of others have made in this town. The weather is very bad, scaresly anyone was in from the country. Some bad boys innocently amused themselves by throwing eggs agains Leem Biddle's house last night. Considerable talk about having some of them arrested.
Saturday April 2- $4.00 is all the money I've taken in today. Roads continue bad we have had a little rain occaisionaly today. No arrests have been made today, my opinion is there will be none. Eliza has suffered a great deal since last night, her complains get no better. I am as well as common.
Sunday April 3 -- This morning Eliza concluded she was well enough to go to church. So we went at 10 1/2 and hear Bro. Hayes delivered one of his best sermons, concenring our relation with Christ, he explained how it is that we may know that we have been adopted into His family. I wrote my bro Ben a letter this evening. In the morning I will send it out. We have had a clear sky today. 3 persons here for dinner today.
Monday April 4- - $.60 I made today. Sent a regisered letter to the Blade containing $9.10 for papers. Rec'd 25 dollars for services as Marshall for the year 1869-70. Time out the first of next month. Pd tax for corporation. Bought 2 3/4 # sugar for .50 Eliza done her washing. On the account of bad roads the hack will not go out to Rockville tomorrow.
Tuesday April 5- 25 cents I made today. I made arrangements to go out to Rockville with a couple of horses for Eliza's brother, but afterwards learned that the hack was going to take out some ladies for the cars, to start tomorrow morning. I then gave up my trip. Steven S. if no bad luck will be here tomorrow. Rec'd a letter from bro Benjamin. 1 pt hair oil .75
Wednesdy April 6 -- $.25 is all I made today. This account should be on the 7th Thursday instead of Wednesday. I dug up a couple of hills for onions, went up town late and got a little work to do. Rec'd the Blade and Gazette. Fifth amendment ratified and declared to be a part of the consitituion by the President and Secretary of State. Bought Eliza a new dress cost 3.93. Bought butter to the amount of 1 dollar. Aunt Polly Shelley here for supper. Polly brought up this notes of Uncle Davis?
Thursday April 7 - This should be for the 6th -- 60 is all I made today. Elizas brother Stephen Shaw arrived at 12. When I came home to dinner, they had eat. Pd rent on the shop $2. 1 hair net for Eliza .50 Coffee $1. Sugar .50 nutmeg .15 Steven is now troubled with a sore finger. The middle one of the left hand. Eliza has been in high spirits all day.
Friday April 8 -- The day was spent at home until late this p.m. I went to town to do some work for some student. The money rec'd will be added to the receipts of Saturday. Steven and I were at the Academy tonight to hear the Charlotte Elizabeth Society on exhibition. Eliza has got her new dress nearly done.
Saturday April 9 -- $8.40 is all I rec'd today. Rec'd a letter from Ause Pratt. He reports all well at home their home is 3 miles of Burlingam Kansas. Have returned for one year. Pd. Jas McCormack $25. He was up to Crawfordsville yesterday and paid my taxes which were $5.45 when I pay him the same back then we will be even financially. Quarterly meeting commences today. John Crutchfield was here for supper.
Sunday April 10 -- We attended meeting this a.m. and this evening til 3 and at night Steven and I went Eliza stayed at home. The Elder preached a real good sermon each time. Tonight after night preaching was dismissed he scolded the people for stopping in the house to talk.
Monday April 11 -- Sent a letter and papers to Emaul Dorne (Samuel? Female?). Preacher Hayes and wife & Mrs. Reed were here for dinner. Steven and I were up tonight; this afternoon returned home by the way of Mr. Shellady's This a.m. were at the meat market and shoe shop and grocery store. Bought 8# fresh beef for 1.00. 50 for sugar .40 for tea. 15 for rice; 50 to Shellady for cutting garment .10 for postage.
Tuesday April 12 -- Rec'd the courier today Dug up some ground in the garden and planted some onions. Eliza seems in good spirits her misery to some extent has left here. Yesterday Preacher Hayes and wife and Mrs. Reed was here for dinner. Mrs. Reed remained until evening, while the other two went to Crawfordsville. The weather is beautiful now.
Wednesday April 13 -- .80 is all I made today not many people are in from town or country. Mr. Milligan has paid me on the not (sic - note I assume) that uncle holds against him $1200. I will go to Rockville tomorrow and get a draft for it and send it to Uncle Dave. Steven Shaw will go home tomorrow.
Thursday April 14-- Rained last night and this morning. We got a couple of plug horses from Tom Roberts and proceeded to Rockville on horseback. The one I rode at one time rared and picked at such a wonderful speed as to brake the saddle girt and leave me out on the ground. Hurt my finger on the right hand a little (middle one). Spent .25 home at night.
Friday April 15 -- Was uptown today and paid out for butter paper and envelopes 50 cents. Hair oil and bay rum and one paper of beet seed $1.20. There has been considerable rain falling at intervals throughout the day -- after dark it commenced to sleet by morning we may be in mid-winter so far as appearances. Next week I have promised the little woman to fix her summer kitchen.
Saturday April 16 -- $7.40 is all I made today. Rec'd a letter from old McLeakin requesting me to collect a few claims of his outstanding on a few persons residing close here. He wants to come back and put up another drug store. The ground was covered by a big snow this a.m. it snowed most all the forenoon. Bought 1/2 bushel of apples for .30
Sunday April 17 -- The snow has melted away very fast since yesterday evening. We went to our meeting house to hear young Wm. Hickman preach. Think he is improving very fast. He preached again at 5 p.m. but we concluded to remain at home. Yesterday I rec'd a letter from Bro. Ben, all are well.
Monday April 18 - The most of today I have been at home fixing and arranging things for spring. Have remodeled the meat house so as to make a good summer kitchen. Was uptown a few minutes and bought 1 1/3 # butter .35. Nails .45. It is now said to be a fixed fact that we are to have a railroad. Work on it to commence the middle of next month. Weather clear and cool.
Tuesday April 19 - Went uptown this morning and bought 4 1/2 fresh beef and one bottle Hostletters Bitters for my stomache's sake. Beef cost 50. Hosletters 1.00 I have now got the kitchen done with the exception of 2 or 3 shelves. Have done some gardening and cultivating some gooseberry bushes. The weather is nice. 4 ladies were here for dinner.
Wednesday April 20 -- $3.20. I made today. This is my 30 birthday and I am in the enjoyment of first rate health. God has been merciful to me in sparing my life thus far. I hope to live more devoted to his services in the future than in the past. My little woman is getting anxious to move out in the summer quarters. Expenses today 1.70
Thursday April 21 - Rain last night. We have had Mrs. Shellada's company here today. Mr. Shellada was also here for dinner. They are very nice clever old folks. Was glad to have them come to see us. Eliza done her washing yesterday but as the weather was so favorable to rain she never put them out to dry until today. Cleared off nice today. Mrs. S remained until 5 p.m. Bought/broom for shop .40.
Friday April 22 - Today I cleaned off some dirt and trash from the back yard and by the aid of Mr. John McAlister moved the cooking stove out to the summer house. I have got it fixed up so as to look very respectable. Next week if the weather will permit we will make our garden. Negroes have a vote now everywhere in these united states (not capitalized).
Saturday April 23 -- $8.75 is all I received today. The weather has been real warm. Rec'd a letter from my bro Ben he states that my dear mother has sore eyes very bad and will probably go blind. They haven't had Eliza's eyes doctored yet. She is very low spirited and grieves much on the account of her eyes. I feel very sorry for them.
Sunday April 24 - We remained home until 3 this evening then went to the Presbyterian Church to hear the funeral sermon in memory of E M Milligan's youngest child. There was a large crowd of people out and a long procession from the church house to the cemetery. We stopped in a while at J D Haleys and were home at about sundown. Vice President Colfax and lady have an heir, a son.
Monday April 25 - We were up early this a.m. in order to get about our work. I spaded up some ground enough to plant a wooden pail of potatoes and four rows of corn and 2 rows of roots (2 of beets one of parsnips) was up town a few minutes, mailed a letter to Bro. Ben and bought 2 paper carpet tacks. Eliza cleaned up one of her rooms today.
Tuesday April 26 - Today has been a big day for Odd Fellows at this place. I done $2.80 worth of work in my shop, went to the supper at night and had a good dish of oysters for 50 cents. bought 1/2 bu apples for 30. One pint hair oil for 75. Eliza was at the ME Church to hear the lecture by Prof Locke of Greencastle, Ind.
Wednesday April 27 - $1.50 I made today. Spent .35 for postage stamps, pd 70 for fish. Bro Ben has sent me some onion seed that will grow large onions the first season. About sundown there came up a big rain and lasted untill about 9 o'clock. Eliza done her washing this morning Uncle Marshal Pratt was here for dinner. Eliza set out some strawberry plants.
Thursday April 28 -- We cleaned up the East room today. Paid 3.95 for Eliza's dress 2.75 groceries 1.75 for hoop skirt. 40 for a broom. 50 for 3 panes of glass. 30 for a box of collars for myself. Making a total $19.15. Rec'd a letter from Uncle David's folks, they were all well. Rich and Ause had caught a deer. Rich had killed a couple of rattle snakes. Aunt Susan was gaining in flesh. Rec'd 3 papers.
Friday April 29 -- I wrote an answer to Uncle Dave's letter. Late this evening I was up town done some work and will add it on the report for tomorrow. Senator Morton made a telling speech last week on the Georgia Bill. The weather is remarkably nice. The trees are getting green.
Saturday April 30 -- $5.15 is all I made today counting the dollar I made yesterday. There was a while today that I had nothing to do. I recon on the account of such a beautiful day, most men were busy on their farms some home planted corn. If the weather is suitable there will be acres of it planted next week. My little woman has been complaining some today.