Diary of Hiram A. Pratt, Waveland Barber
(Standard Diary #31) -- December 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. 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
Thursday Dec 1 --This the first day of the winter month has been a real nice one. We have had to keep up a little fire but nothing like for a common winter day. I was up in town this afternoon and bought one yd of rubber cord for Eliza and Alice 2# of crackers paid 35 cts. I have not laid down today. 25# buck wheat flour at Talburts for 1.75 (time) ?
Friday Dec 2 -- This has been another fine day, how much longer real winter weather will be put of(f) none can tell, we will not be supprised to see it commence any day. This afternoon I was uptown, bought me an overcoat on time from E. M. Milligan and bro for 25 dollars. It is made of beaver cloth, a good one. I do not gain in strength as fast as I would like, but it is allright.
Saturday Dec 3 -- $1.30 I received today. I done no work in the shop had numerous pressing invitations not feeling able to do justice to all that might call. I declined. Pd one dollar towards paying expenses for remonstration against one O. Good who proposes to put up whiskey shop here in town. .45 I paid for some medicine.
Sunday Dec 4 -- Yesterday I rec'd a letter from Ause Pratt. The folks were in usual health. Uncle and Aunt talk some of coming on a visit next fall. Wrote a letter to Bro. Ben. Went with Eliza to Presbyterian meeting, this forenoon. Eliza and Alice went to Methodist Prayer meeting at 3 p.m. We all went to hear the camolites tonight. Alice went with Henry Sympson.
Monday Dec 5 -- It looks like our pretty weather has about come to a close the wind has been high all day. Rained some at intervills (sic). We expect to go hear the camolites again tonight. Holt is their preacher he said last night that sins were washed away by water in the act of baptism. I always thought and think so get that the blood of Jesus Christ clenses them from all sin Maby Holt knows best.
Tuesday Dec 6 -- The weather has calmed the wind has not been high. I was up town and blacked Mr. Stone at the shop, cleaned up a little so as to commence tomorrow (work). I have borrowed $15 of Tom VanCleave promised to pay him back by Christmas. Bought lamp burner and chimney .30 one pin alcohol .50 Health is gaining.
Wednesday Dec 7 -- $1.30. I made today in the shop. I don't feel as steady in nerve as I used to hope soon to be all right. Paid Mr. Glover for some sugar & hadgos ? $1.00 Weather has moderated and turned a little colder late this evening. Alice went with Mac Mains folks to Camolite prayer meeting tonight. Bob of course was along (crackers .25).
Thursday Dec 8 -- .35 is all I made today. I was up town twice today. Pd. Irwin for a can of oysters .75. Pd 90 cts for 8# of meat (beef). 20 for whale bone for Alice and Eliza. 50 cts for 2# butter 25 for 3 lamp chimneys. James McCormack offered me 75 dollars today. I told him that I would not need it before Christmas day. The weather has been fair today. The French have been defeated several times during the last week.
Friday Dec 9 -- $2.00 I made this afternoon. The weather is beautiful. The attempt to establish a whiskey shop in this town has failed. I was summoned on a jury this forenoon. A. Moore plaintiff W. Kelso Defendant. The case was compromised Kelso had shot a breechy ? stag for Moore. Lace for Alice and Eliza cost 65 cents.
Saturday Dec 10 -- $4.35 I made in shop today. The weather has been pleasant turned a little cool in the evening. The Cincinnati Gazette contains the President's message. The railroad engineer and surveyors are in town. They are going to locate the road as soon as possible. The Road will be done by next fall.
Sunday Dec 11 -- Commenced to rain last night and has been at it most all day. I read the Presidents message like it first rate. We stayed at home all day, this evening we went to Presbyterian meeting. Alice went with Henry Sympson. Thompson who has been their pastor for several months was regularly installed yesterday. Uncle Roy Grimes and wife were here for supper yesterday evening.
Monday Dec 12 -- Sent of(f) 3 letters of(f) this morning one to the Gazette office and one to Blade office and one to father Shaw. Paid Mr. Miligan rent 2 for Sept & owe him Oct & Nov. Pd John Talburt $2. Bought Alice a new dress 7 1/2 yds Plaid luster at 75 per yd 5.72 1/2 2 1/2 yds muslin 25 per yd 62 1/2. 1 spool of thread .10 Total $6.35 paid 1.35 on bought it of Davis & Hanna.
Tuesday Dec 13 -- I was in the shop this afternoon no work came in for me to do. Sent with letter to Ause Pratt at Burlingame Kansas in it was a 10 dollar bill for Uncle David. I now owe him 2 more dollars, paid Annie Robinson on butter 1.00 paid Sam Belton on beef 1.00 Pd Dick Ball for pint whiskey .65 Snowed a little one yard more for Alice dress .75.
Wednesday Dec 14 -- 50 cts I got at the shop this evening. The weather has been cool today, not enough of snow to make a show on the ground. I have procured a few subscribers for the Blade. Mrs. Haley came down and gave us an invitation to dine with her tomorrow. Mrs. Annie Robinson is to be there how many more I do not know. We attended the funeral of Mrs. Thomas Whittington at 12 today. One doz eggs .15 1 qt vinegar .10
Thursday, Dec 15 -- $.50 I rec'd in shop today. We took dinner at Mrs. Haley's (6 persons at there besides their own family). The weather has not been so cold today as it was last night. I got a bottle of medicine for Eliza at Mr. Allens owe him .25 for it. Our railroad is not located yet through our town.
Friday, Dec 16 -- This morning Alice and I went over to George McIntosh's took her new dress over there to get it stiched around the skirt and sleaves. I done the sewing got it done by noon, after dinner sewed some for Julia and some for her mother. I got 2 gals molasses owe him 1.25 (George).
Saturday Dec 17 -- $4.75 is all I made today. It snowed some barely enough to make the surface look white the air was to warm for it to stay very long. Rec'd a letter from Bro Ben his letter was writen (sic) last sunday (sic) at the Methodist meeting house he sayes will be a festival on the 21. He intends to go. Alice's new dress is done. Beef .80 and coal oil .50.
Sunday Dec 18 -- John Crutchfield came by this morning on his way to sabath school. I went with him from there we went to hear Thompson of the Presbyterian church. His sermon was delivered from the 6 commandment. John was here for dinner. At 3 we went to prayer meeting day pleasant.
Monday Dec 19 -- Commenced to snow this a.m. kept it up all day mixed a little with rain this evening. Pd Bill Davis $2 to take that Shawl off of my hands it cost 6.50. Pd Milligan rent 2.00 for the month of Oct. Pd Allen for the medicine I got for Eliza 1.25 Pd Glover on acct $1.75. Bought 2 yds velvet ribon 40 for Eliza & Alice.
Tuesday Dec 20 -- 80 cents I made today. Bought Alice a set of black jewelry for 75 cts. Snowed a little at one time it fell nearly as fast as on yesterday it is now about 6 inches deep. Winter after all has set in for earnest. I do not believe I will raise any subscribers for the Cin-Gazette this year.
Wednesday Dec 21 -- $2.20 I made today. Rec'd a letter from father Shaw containing 3 dollars at first I thougth he had sent for Alice but found out that he wanted me to send him the Blade one year and one copy one year to BL Dowell I have mailed the money for tomorrow cold winter weather.
Thursday Dec 22 -- 80 cents I made today. The weather is cold. Thermometer indicated 10 degress below zero. Tomorrow evening Mr. CT Darwin is going to have an oyster supper. Hope he may have a large crowd. He proposes to give all the oyster a person may want to eat for 50 cents.
Friday Dec 23 -- $1.50 I made in shop today. Therometer stands 18 below zero. Colder than at any time last year. Had rabit for dinner. Paid 50 for my oyster supper. There was not very many at the supper. He will not get back the money he has paid out for arrangement (expenses). Rec'd a letter from father Shaw he sent 3 dollars for the Blade for himself and Ben Dowell.
Saturday Dec 24 -- $3.25 I made today. The weather is so cold, it seems not many want any work done. Bought one sack of flour 1.50 one broom .50 Owe Mr. Milligan & Bro for sugar 2.00 one willow basket for marketing .75 Got home by 10 tonight.
Sunday Dec 25 -- We were at Sunday school in time for the election of officers for the next year. Reed is our superintendent. McGill for assistant sup. James Roberts is secretary. John Thornton is Librarian. We went to Presbyterian meeting at 11. Have been at home all this afternoon Not quite so cold.
Monday Dec 26 -- I got Mr. N. Lewis horse and harness and a sleigh from Tom Roberts and went down granma's at which place we will stay all night. We stoped at Rube Marrs, they were not at home, then stoped at John Ause Rushes, they were not home. Stoped next at Frank Shalleys and got our dinners. All the folks are well. Weather cold as Greenland.
Tuesday Dec 27 -- I rode out to Hollandsburg this morning to see a man for Uncle Dave to get some money. He was not at home. I've took dinner at Uncle Roy Grimes. And got home by 3 1/2 or 4 o'clock. James Bushong had brought me some pork 2.87 at 1/2 per lb. 21.92 1/2 dollars.
Wednesday Dec 28 -- 60 cts I made in shop today. Weather has moderated a little. John Milligan pd me for Uncle Dave $140 for a reaper he bought at his sale. Mr. Kritz has pd 10 dollars owes 2 more. Bought one doz eggs for 20 cts. Hair oi and bay rum 1.00 Diary for 1871 for 70 cts.
Thursday Dec 29 -- Salt & envelopes 45 cents. $1.60 I made in shop today. Mr. GH Scott came in and paid off his note for $57.40. I gave John Crutchfield $150 to be paid on W B Grimes note which he holds against Uncle Dave. John McAlister died at Mattoon, Ill last monday evening he leaves a wife and 4 children here in town. Alice went with Henry Sympson to a "gum sucking" party tonight Pd. Milligan Rent 1.00
Friday Dec 30 -- 3.25 I made today in shop. We have had 4 different kinds of weather today. Snowed hard for a few minutes. Tomorrow our quarterly meeting commences. Monday next a debate begins at the camolite church between Hatt (Camm) and Hatch a soul sleeper. Not as cold tonight.
Saturday Dec 31 -- 2# of candy for 90 cts. $11.00 I made today in shop. The weather had not been very cold today. Eliza and Alice were a quarterly meeting today and at night. We now must bid the old year a sad farewell, many pleasant recollections we have of pleasure enjoyed in the year1870.
Below this no date given but obviously NOT a continuation of the above -- "$2.00 I made in shop. This has been a real nice day. I made some more garden this forenoon. The Railroad surveyors are idle today. Head men are looking out the right away. Pd Dick Ball for sugar $1.40.