APRIL 1895 - Hiram Pratt Diary
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; however, only 14 of the 50+ diaries were saved from the library's incinerator. 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. 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. For a few years, he served as Marshall of the town. 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
Monday April 1– .35. Brother Shuey’s meeting was not very well attended tonight. A great many of the membership are sick with la grip – nearly every family is more or less infected. Mrs. Berta Eastlack Hewitt was at the meeting tonight. She was once a resident here. A photograph gallery has set up on the NW Corner of Main & Cross Streets. One pint Bay rum 30 cts. Daly Journal 15 cts. On acct 50. We have had some rain today.
Tuesday April 2—50. Cloudy & Clear. 31. We had snow most of the forenoon. It melted as fast as it fell. I went to hear Bro Shuey tonight at the close of the meeting on e young lady united with the church. The new Picture Gallery is now ready for business. He took one negative yesterday evening and one today. John Foster has sold his barber shop to the Band boys for a Mr. Gott who is a teacher of band music. Alfrey is arranging to move on to Tom Canines.
Wednesday April 3 – 60 cts are the receipts for today. Clear 24. Postal cards 5 cts 2 white fish 10 cts. Bro. Campbell called in to see me today. He walked out to Shelby McCormicks to pay them a pastorial visit. Shelby brought him home in his buggy. I was to hear Bro. Shuey tonight his subject was “The mission of the church.” The best discourse of all during the meeting. I went home with Eva. Indications are very mutch (sic) like spring.
Thursday April 4 – 30 cts. Clear 34. A letter from Mammoth Spring, Ark by Perla and Myrtle Petty says they have made a part of their garden and that the buds on the Peach trees are about ready to bloom, Their house plants got frozen in passing through the winter. Paid 10 cts repairs on wood saw. There are several limbs and other bits of wood about our premises. I can soon put in shape for the cook stove.
Friday April 5 -- .20. Clear 44. Paid 20 cts for 4 spools of white thread. A pair of shoes for Eva 1.35 2 pairs of cotton hose for Eva 25 cts. Eva has paid 1.50 on her church expenses since the first of the year. James Alfrey and wife were at our house last night. They have moved out to Tom Canine’s house some 3 miles north of town. I attended Bro. Shuey’s Bible reading tonight. The subject was baptism. He showed it was not with water but in it.
Saturday April 6 – 2.50. Rain 50. Paid 25 for the use of 30 dollars for one month. Paid the same on building & loan. We have had several showers of rain during the day – raining now at 10:25 p.m. I am done work for today. Had several new customers this evening. John Foster I heard is going to locate in New Richmond a small town a few miles east of Crawfordsville. Viola McMains worse.
Sunday April 7 – Cloudy 36. I made a trip to Cuppys shoe store this morning to exchange a pair of shoes for Eva, on the way home met her and returned. I went to hear Bro. Campbell. He had a good sermon on the sanctification of Isiah the profit of old. After meeting I visited Willie’s grave. At night I went to hear Bro C. again on the “Comforter that Jesus would sent that should abide forseen? Walked home with Mrs. Smalley she and her husband don’t live peacibly together. He gets drunk. I done what I could in the interest of peace.
Monday April 8 -- .00 Rain 46. Rain fell most of the day not very profusely but enough to help the water dripping most al the time. Eva was faithful to her usual weekly task, the cloths she hung on a line in the summer kitchen. Daily Journal 15 cts. Tonight I attended the IOOF lodge. The noble Grand being absent, I presided in the chair in his stead. We had no business of importance to transact and under the head of “Fur the good of the order” had several very good short speeches.
Tuesday April 9 – 1.25. Cloudy & Clear 40 degrees. Eva went over to Kelso’s with her sister Mary Ellen. She came in from home this morning. We got word that Viola Kelso was worse. She will be apt to make a die of it. I bought a half pie and 6 cakes for my dinner cost 10 cts. Sunday I paid 25 cts in church collection for nursing Mrs. Sue Thornton. Two gallon of gasoline cost 25 cts. A collection of 7.99 came in today for collection. I had no money with which to pay it. I could pay my debts if others would pay me.
Wednesday April 10 – 55 cts. Anderson McMains daughter Viola is very low. His brother john returned from there this evening. It was the opinion she was a very little better. Charlie Demaree’s wife is not expected to recover. She has the grip – a very malignant type of a very bad cold. Wm. Bridges has the grip. Wm. Kelso is convalescing having had the grip. Eva was at her prayer meeting tonight on the way home I called in for her.
Thursday April 11 -- $1. I worked for PM Conner today. He is a house carpenter and is building a house for Mrs. Ed Wall. I drove nails all day, putting on lineing (sic). The frame of the house is covered with pine boards one in thick. From there to form ? nails were put in at every studing through each board. I don’t remember to have ever enjoyed a better prayer meeting than the one tonight. Bro. Banister of Terre Haute was with us. Par Campbell was the leader.
Friday April 12 – 50 cts. I had hard work to milk the cow this morning. My right hand was very sore from driving nails yesterday. Viola is not any better. The doctors say she must die soon. One year and one month ago today at 20 minutes of 3 a.m. Willie died. Seven years and six months ago today at 20 minutes of 3 a.m. my dear wife died. The same day of the month and same time of day. Had a good rain early this am. Weather is warm and summer like 2 ladies under vestu? For Eva. .20
Saturday April 13 – Eva and her sister Nancy Kelso went to Anderson McMains this morning. They had not been out of town 10 minutes when a dispatch came from Lewis McMains that Viola had died on last evening at 6:20. This is the first death in Anderson’s family. He has nine yet living. Eva returned this evening. Viola will be buried next Monday at 10 a.m. We will go up on the train. Wind was pretty high this evening for a few minutes Rain.
Sunday April 14 – Clear. 43. Eva went to hear Bro Shuey at 11 and I to class meeting. Bro. PM Conner leader. Had a fiar attendance and a real good meeting. Before entering the house I visited little Willie’s grave. Tonight Eva and I attended Easter Sunday services at the ME Church house. A large assembly and a little over $2 collection. At 10 cts ahead for Adults and 5 cts for children the receipts would have reached in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 dollars. I gave 25 cts.
Monday April 15 -- .00. Clear 45. Paid 85 cts for round trip ticket to Crawfordsville to attend the funeral of Viola McMains services were held in Christian Church by the pastor SH Creighton. Her Sunday school class had a beautiful wreath of flowers cost $5. This was afterwards photographed. The Endeavor Society had also a nice token of respect. Her body was put away in Oak Hill Cemetery, a beautiful burying ground. Eva went in a carriage with Kelsie ? I paid 25 cts for a tin bucket of coffee. It will hold a quart. Seen a fire in the city.
Tuesday April 16 -- .45 Cloudy 46. Paid 35 cts for a small sack of flour 25# sack. Mrs. Smalley has bought the property adjoining us on the west. Two houses and lots. Loyd has not returned from Kelsos yet. He went over there yesterday a.m. to stay wit Buddie, who is not well, was not able to go to the funeral yesterday. We have not yet made our garden. The weather is to cool all day and have had a cold chilling east wind. Fire in stove all day.
Wednesday April 17 – Clear 47. I spaded up ground for garden will plant potatoes in the little strip as it lies north of the onion bed. Mary Lewis brought Lloyd McMains over this afternoon. I got no work to do in the shop today. I attended a lecture at the Presbyterian Church tonight by a native of Siam. His father and mother were Missionaries from this country at the time of his birth. I was much interested.
Thursday April 18 – 30 cts. Clear 44. Loyd, Eva and I cleaned up our garden today. I do not know yet whether I will have it plowed or spade it up. I can do this at odd times and never know just how easy I would get through with the job In the spring of 1892 Willie and I spaded it entire. The half gal tin cup he used to hold water to drink hangs in the fence where he hung it while at work in the garden.
Friday April 19 – 45. Clear 47. Eva has been cleaning the dead grass from off the garden lawn. I planted a few potatoes yesterday. Rec’d a postal card today from my brother John Allen Pratt’s wife Katie. Bro Al is at the Presbyterian hospital on Van Buren Street to be operated on for Floating kidney and abcess. He has been a sufferer for 7 years. She wants me to come up there but I don’t see how I can.
Saturday April 20 – 3.75. Clear Temp 34. We had considerable frost this morning. I am 55 years old today and write this without the use of spectacles. I can hardly see the ruled lines by squinting can see fairly well. The letters look blured (sic) or like there were two of them. I was weighed this a.m. and tipped the beam at 225 in my shirt sleaves (sic). I am hearty. Paid 25 cts for a beef roast. Past midnight.
Sunday April 21 -- This morning I was at my regular and accustomed place of worship. It was brother Campbells day but he was absent at Crawfordsville in Elder Middleton’s place holding quarterly meeting. The preachers name sent here was Aikman a local preacher residing at Crawfordsville. He was not as entertaining to me as our own pastor. Before entering the meeting house I visited little Willie’s grave. I see that cows have been in the cemetery and have tread upon the graves.
Monday April 22 – 65 cts. Last evening I went with Eva to her church and heard Bro. Shuey deliver the Baccalaureate sermon for the benefit of our graded school. A rain prevented the assembling of the citizens to a large crowd. Otherwise the house would have been full. Paid 15 cts for daily Journal and 3.11 for gasoline. 60 for cow feed. Eva paid her church 50 cts. My brother Al is in Chicago to be operated on for Floating kidney and ulceration.
Tuesday April 23 – 1.15. John McMains plowed our garden this morning. I gave him credit for one dollar. Sent my brother Al a letter. If I had the money necessary for the trip I would go and see him. I don’t have much hopes of ever again seeing him alive. He is my youngest brother. I suppose he is about 35 years old. Tomorrow I expect to work for PM Conner on the IOOF Hall building.
Wednesday April 24 – 1.00. Eva and Mrs. Smalley were uptown this evening called upon Mrs. Hayden who is bad sick. Charley Demaree’s wife died this morning at about 8 o’clock of Meningitis. She had had the grip and had not fully recovered. Paid 15 for bread. The Alumni organization of our school children held their carnival in the Baptist Church house tonight. John McMains charge me $1 for garden plowing. Mary Kelso stayed at our house tonight.
Thursday April 25 -- .45. I have been driving nails for Bro. Conner yesterday and today, put in the entire day yesterday and only a part of the time today. Bro. AC Geiger ? wife and child returned from Tennessee this evening. Eva and I attended the graduating exercises at the Christian Church tonight. Barnet Harris, Jasper Rice, Nellie Berks and John Johnson were made Bas by Prof. Dunn. The Crawfordsville Orchestra dispensed real good music. House crowd full. Tickets for entertainment. 30
Friday April 26 -- $1.05. Paid on Life Insurance $3.88. Lunch 10 cts. Eva has cleaned up our summer kitchen so nicely that it looks entirely new on the inside. Lime for white washing cost 5 cts. I only worked a part of today for Bro. Conner. We have had considerable rain today. I attended our prayer services last night. Had a very poor attendance but a rather good spiritual service. I could see Willie’s grave from off the top of the building upon which I worked.
Saturday April 27 -- $4.15. This includes one days work on the building for Bro. Conner. Rec’d a letter from Dan Haley, Minnesota. Eva and Mrs. Smalley were up in the business part of town late this evening commonly speaking we say, “up in town”. Last evening I rec’d a card form Bro Al’s wife. Al was not so well. He is fully resigned to his fate and is praying “God’s will be done.” Bought 5 cts worth of white hillibore (?) for the distribution of insects on goose berry bushes. Paid this months rent $3. I am done work by half past 10 o’clock.
Sunday April 28 – Before going in to class meeting I visited little Willie’s grave. After meeting I met with Eva at her church house and from there we were driven out to Buddy Kelso’s for dinner at 3 p.m. I attended preaching service at the Baptist Church house. Heard a good sermon from their pastor who resides at Browns Valley his name is Faulk. Our class meeting was real good though our number present were few.
Monday April 29 – 55 cts. Eva done her weeks washing and ironed most of the clothes. She intends to clean house this week. Lloyd went over to his brother James’ last Friday and had not yet returned Charlie Demaree’s wife was buried – The Waveland cemetery last Saturday. The roof is now on the new lodge room of the IOOFs hall. It seems that Rusia (sic) is not disposed to admit of the peace negotiations between China and Japan. Her privileges are to much prescribed.
Tuesday April 30 -- $1.00. The weather is now warm like real summer season. It does not now seem like we can have any more cold weather but snow has fallen as late as the 14 of May. I have paid 15 cts for bread since the last report. Paid yesterday 15 for the Journal. Paid 5 cts for Paris Greene with which I make a weak solution to use in spraying plumb and other small fruit trees. It seems that insects are to be a great pest.