AUGUST 1890 - Diary of Hiram Austin Pratt
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
Friday August 1 - Bob and I stowed away a few mere heading in the car this morning. We have now stowed away 19 wagon loads. Mr. Aaron Miles will take the job off my hands. I find that I have other business which will pay me better and not so warm work. Albert Deer is going to learn the barbers trade with me if he can get the practice. He done a dollars worth of work today. Home at 10 p.m.
Saturday August 2- $6. I rec'd from my shop work during the week. Albert Deer at present is very slow about doing the work. It took him 40 minutes to shave one man. Three shaves in that time would have been at a slow enough rate. Frank Kritz came in after night and done considerable work for his part he rec'd 75 cts. I was done by 12.30.
Sunday August 3 - 34 months ago today my little woman was here. We left that morning for Terre Haute, Ind. She never returned. Her body lies burried in the cemetery adjoining Fletcher's Chapel 1 ¼ miles north of her father's residence in Pierson Tp Vigo Co Ind. Many, many times every day I think of her. No more lovely woman ever lived, none could be nicer or neater at house keeping. I was at church twice today NSS.
Monday August 4 - I helped Eva awhile at her washing. Sent 3 of my shirts to the laundry at Lafayette, Ind. Recd a letter from Willie. He does not complain of imprisonment but says if she (my wife) will stop further proceedings he will agree to never show up again in this part of the country. He thinks he could get to Chicago and could find work for his support. Poor boy I am so sorry for him.
Tuesday August 5 - The weather is considerable cooler today than for common. This day of the month 34 months ago Dr. Leo J. Weinstein of Terre Haute removed from my little pet 6 tumors. She was unable to endure such an awful ordeal and on the morning of the 12 of Oct 1887 at 20 minutes of 3 she passed away. Tears flow from my eyes when ever I think of her for any length of time.
Wednesday August 6 - Miss Ida and Nettie McIntosh were in Crawfordsville on last Saturday and called at the mail and seen Willie. He seemed to be amusing himself very well. He does not complain of confinement. I dream of him after last night I thought he showed me the finger on the left hand where a thorn or blackberry brier had cut a deep gash. I am so sorry that he was not a good boy.
Thursday August 7 - Albert Deer attended the family reunion at the Shades of Death today. When I went home for supper Eva had a nice lawn dress and a nice white collar. She looked real neat and reminded me of my little woman. Of this I am always reminded and while I write these lines my eyes are blinded with tears. I finished reading my diary of 1885 today. I was glad to see any mention of her.
Friday August 8 - I wrote Willie a long letter today. Finished the letter at 9 o'clock or a little thereafter at night. It is just one month ago today since I left him in the jail at Crawfordsville. I also sent a couple of papers to him. I took home today a fine large water melon. We are going to save it for next Sunday. I was out in the new railroad grade today.
Saturday August 9 - We had a nice little rain yesterday evening and feel very thankful. Mr. Wm. R. Barton stocked the market with watermelons and nutmeg melons this morning I bought 3 doz nutmeg and 50 water melons. I was busy all day. First in the grocery and then in the shop. Frank Kritz helped me in the shop from 8 to 12 at night. I was home by 12.30. Eva had been asleep 5 hours.
Sunday August 10 - I was at class meeting this morning and at Sunday school this afternoon at 3 o'clock. I used to say Willie and I attended so and so, and Sunday but now I have to go alone. Wm. Kelso and family were at our house for dinner today. Eva had a splendid feast. She is a good cook and keeps plenty of good things on the table to appease the appetite. The weather is all that could be desired for comfort but rather dry now.
Monday August 11 - I assisted Eva at her washing this morning. Did not help clear through. 40 men track layers on the Midland RR are boarding here in town this week. The engine will be very close to town by next Saturday night. Mary Kelso Lewis is at our house tonight. She and I will visit Terre Haute on Thursday the week of the fair, Aug 28. If the weather is cool, Eva may conclude to go too.
Tuesday August 12 - Just 34 months ago this a.m. at 20 minutes of 3 o'clock my precious little lady breathed her last. I am never tired of thinking about her. Many times every day she is in my mind. I have a large life size picture of her cost me 30 dollars. I often stand before this and think of her. My eyes fill with tears and I go away with a sad heart. Be careful of how you spend your money and don't spend it foolishy was her last advice to me.
Wednesday August 13 -The work on the new railroad is progressing finely. The engine will be here at town next week. 34 months ago today the body of my little pet was burried. Time flies swiftly by, the moments to refuse to stay. We are all hastening on to the great judgment day.
Grandma McMains is quite feeble. She is not past going about Eva is remodeling an old dress.
Thursday August 1 4-I was out on the new railroad this afternoon. They are within half a mile of town with the engine. A bridge to be put in will hold them back a little while. A man by the name of AG Snyder had all of the finger son the right hand mashed off by the pile driver. This happened a few minutes before my arrival. The fingers I procured and had them burried on the grade.
Friday August 15 - Willie Butcher was sick today and was not at the store except to open up this morning. He was at the picnic yesterday over in Ad Hanna's woods. Eva and Mary Bloomfield were at the store awhile tonight. They had been at Mrs. Jim Dulin's on a visit. The old settlers have a PicNic at the Shades tomorrow. Silver ore reported on the farm of Jas R. Canine.
Saturday August 16 - I was at the store early this morning. Will Butcher was in a head of me. He thinks he will be able for duty today. This morning I rec'd a letter from Willie. He was well. I think I will go up there during the fair and if the sheriff will let me have care or charge of him for the day, I will take him to the fair. Jim McMains and wife eat dinner with us today. Weather warm.
Sunday August 17 - I was at class this morning and at Sunday School at 3 p.m and at night. I went to bed at 9 a few minutes after returning from church with Eva. Sam McMains and family were at our house for dinner. Will Kelso and family were also at our house for dinner. Bob Kelso was omitted he is halling near Terre Haute . Weather warm.
Monday August 18 - I assisted Eva with her washing awhile this morning. Willie Butcher is talking about visiting his uncle near Greencastle on tomorrow. He expects to be gone about a week. I will have to go it alone. The Midland RR will be laid to the street crossing by Wednesday. They have a couple of bridges to put in or would be here sooner.
Tuesday August 19 - Ed Oldshure and Mary Canine were married week before last and returned from their wedding trip today. LD Stone has been absent for a couple of weeks in Owen County. He reports crops very poor there. Potatoes are a very scarce article everywhere. We are much in need of rain. The weather is quite warm.
Wednesday August 20 - I wrote Willie a letter today and tonight. If the sheriff will allow me I will take him to the county fair one day on Thursday. I miss the little boy oh so much. He was a bad boy. The advice I gave him seemed to go in at one ear and out at the other. I expect he will finally land in the penitentiary or at the gallows. Rain last night good.
Thursday August 21 - I was at the street crossing of the Midland and seen the passenger train pull out this morning at 6:30 for the fair at Lebanon only one lady passenger a little girl and several men employees of the road. Nancy Kelso and Will were at our house for dinner. Mary Ellen was at our house yesterday. Rained a little more today.
Friday August 22 - Eva went out to the Shades this afternoon. The different Sunday school s of the township held a union picnic. Mary Kelso Lewis and Mary Bloomfield went out there early this morning. I sent Willie two copies of our town paper. The Independent and one copy of the Hoopston Ill Herald. The Midland folks are going to put up a depot here made of bolders. The weather is very nice.
Saturday August 23 - I was not home until after 12 tonight. Receipts in the store were even 60 dollars and for the week $152. The receipts of the shop brought me for my share $3.15. We are to have a prohibition speech here on next Wednesday night. The Engine on the Midland can now roll into town.
Sunday August 24 - I was at class this morning. Had a good meeting. At 3 p.m. I was at my post in the Sunday school. Eva attended services at her church. This evening she went over to Freelove Moore's I went over there after our Sunday School when we returned home we followed the Midland grade for a few rods.
Monday August 25 - Willie Butcher came home this evening. He feels some better than when he went away. Loyd Mc helped his sister Eva at the washing this morning. I sent Willie a few papers to read. He must surely get very lonesome and tired being shut up in prison for so long. I am sorry for him. I wish he had been a good boy.
Tuesday August 26 - Mary Kelso Lewis came in this afternoon to see if I had given out the proposed trip to Terre Haute on the 29th. I assured her I had not. She will accompany me Eva does not like to ride on the cars well enough to go. To ride on the cars makes her sick. We are going to have rain pretty soon. I judge from appearance.
Wednesday August 27 -- Rained a little last night and today the rain has been pretty constant breaking away a little while before night. The train will leave for Terre Haute in the morning at 7:30 for Terre Haute. May came over this evening that she might be ready for the trip. We were surprised this p.m. to hear of the sudden death of W.M. Butcher. He fell dead at work.
Thursday August 28 - Charlie Deer and wife Mary Bloomfield, Mary Kelso Lewis and I at 7:30 left for Terre Haute. Arrived there at 9. We visited Alfrey's heading factory railroad repair shops. Electric light works, Charlie, Mary and I went up to the highest point attainable on the courthouse cupola. We could see all over the country for many miles. After dinner we went out to the fair. Seen several races and a balloon ascension.
Friday August 29 - Yesterday Mary and I visited residences NO 210 South 13th Street where my dear little woman died. GranMa Mahan had moved away. Mrs. Lowe was there. We also visited Dr. Leo J. Weinstein's office to see the tumors taken from my little woman. He was not in. Bought Eva a shawl for $4. The entire trip cost $8.75. Eva has been at work today putting up the grapes of which we have an abundance. Billy Butcher is home on sick list.
Saturday August 30 - I was at home tonight by half past 12. The shop paid me $2.75 at odd time. I done work to the amount of 50 cts. Today has been real warm and very dry weather. Earnest Smith called to see Willie twice today. He was well and seemingly content was much fleshier than when he left here July 8. I dream of seeing him quite frequently.
Sunday August 31 - I was not at our class meeting this morning. At 3 p.m. I was at Sunday school. After SS I took a walk over the new railroad grade. Had not been over it for one week. A big lot of work had been done. There is a big lot more of it to do. The grade spoils the boy's swimming hole or "the stop off" as they call it. Jas McMains and will call this pm. ?