DECEMBER 1903 - 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 ! Oh, and I've tried to type the diaries as is - mistakes & all
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 -- ENJOY
Monday Dec 1 -- $2.70. Paid yesterday $1.95 for 15 gallon of gasoline - 15 c for a package of Malta Vita. I use it for my supper. Put milk over it. It soon becomes soft having been previously thorough cooked. John Robertson was to see our calf today. He will probably exchange corn for it. I want $8 for it. Dowey thyself styled successor of Elijah the prophet of old is financially busted. ?
Tuesday Dec 2 -- $2.20. Sent the Globe Democrat a dollar note - Silver certificate for dues on the paper. Sent the Cincinnati News last week $10. I had run out of money on deposits Have ordered a diary for 1904 from the Cin News co. Eva was at Mrs. Penn Hannas tonight as I went home. Mrs. Eliza Jarvis is moving into her new house on W. Main Street.
Wednesday Dec 3 -- $2. I received this morning. 30 pounds of magazines and papers. The News of yesterday evening did not arrive until about 3 o'clock this afternoon. Sent the Chicago American $1.70 last week, the receipt was returned today. I am going to try Dr. Ordways feet Plaster for my foot. They are so sore I can't hardly walk at times. Warmer tonight.
Friday Dec 4-- $2.35. On Monday last I paid dues in the Order of United Workmen $4.09. 70c for a 20 pound bag of flour 10 c for a pound of Graham crackers. Sent the Crawfordsville Journal $1.24 for the papers sold last week. Eva has written a letter to her niece Mrs. Myrtle Alderson at Ocmulgee, Indian Territory. Fullenwider & Taylor are in the grocery business.
Saturday Dec 5 -- $7.45. Paid 35 c express on the laundry. 56c for oysters 1 qt of NY count - 25 c for 3 pounds of crackers 5 c for a box of "SB" cough drops. I am trouble with a hacking cough since the noon hour. We were done work by 10:30. The weather has been a little colder today. Rachel Crabb says there was snow in the ground in Little Rock, Ark Dec 2.
Sunday Dec 6 - I went with Eva to meeting at 11 a.m. had to leave before the meeting was out on the account of a bad cold, am so horse that it requires an effort to talk. At 4 o'clock I visited the grave of my poor little Willie. I notice the grave needs filling up. I will attend to this when the winter is over if I should live and well enough went to meeting tonight with Eva.
Monday Dec 7 -- $2.70. Paid $3 for 25 gallon of oil. 25 c for two packages of Arbuckle Coffee. Sent The Curtis publishing Co a dollar note, also a dollar note to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Bro EE Moorman took "Bob" out this afternoon for a drive. He gave us a rabbit. We had a nice mess of fried oysters yesterday for dinner. I enjoyed the dinner fine. Jim and Mary and Mary Lewis Kelso eat dinner with us.
Tuesday Dec 8 -- $1.55. Mrs. Frank Belton is getting better and the doctor is speaking more hopeful for her. We all expected to hear of her death at any hour, night or day. Her relatives from Texas and Louisiana were here in response to urgent request. Bought 22 yds of Calico for Eva to make herself Bought 22 yds of calico for Eva to make herself 2 dresses cost $1.10. There is good indications for snow.
Wednesday Dec 9 -- $2.05 Paid 25 c for 4 boxes of Chapmans past or baking powder. 15 c for a large bottle of oil for serving machine ½ pt. There was a little bit of snow fell last night and during the day a bit more was added, melted about as fast as it fell. Jim Alfrey is glad he is done with the husking of his standing corn. My cold is better.
Thursday Dec 10 -- $2.75. Mercury at 6 o'clock at our house registered 5 degrees. We have a promise of more cold weather. The above 3 lines belong to the date of the 11. There was a little more snow fell today. It is about 1" deep now. The ground is bare in many places. The weather is turning colder. Harry Barr is employed to light and turn out the street lights 5 nights in a week.
Friday Dec 11 -- $5.55. Sent the St. Louis Starr $2.70. Expense 7 c. Sent the Crawfordsville Journal a dollar note and 55 worth of stamps. Ex 2 c. Two pounds of fresh pork ham 25. The Knights of Pythias boys are having a roll call tonight. I was invited but was not at liberty to go. PM Connor has been sick a week and I never heard of it until tonight. Cold tonight.
Saturday Dec 12 -- $5.10. We have had a real blizzard nearly all of the first part of the night. I was in my shp until after 11 by 10 the storm was over. Snow is about 6" deep and rather soft. It will not be apt to remain with us very long unless colder weather sets in. Paid 35 c for Expressage 40 c for a quart of oysters. 90 c for a load of mill wood. I have this wood a month or more ago.
Sunday Dec 13 - When I arrived at home last night the hour was 11:45. There was not a cloud to be seen. The wind had ceased to be more than a gentle breeze, quite a charge from a few hours before. Bro. Paxons audience consists of 35. I did not visit Willies grave did not care to break the way through the snow. I was at church tonight 45 were out Mercury was 8 below at 6:30 a.m.
Monday Dec 14 - $2.50 Paid $1.95 for 10 gal of Eocene oil at 14 c and 5 of gasoline at 13 c per gal. Paid 50 c for two sofa pillow cases stamped and to be worked with silk floss. Eva will send one to her sister Almira and one to her niece Ella Owens at Ocmulgee the Indian Territory. The snow melted a very little so as to be seen on the eves of houses. Mercury was 4 below at 6:30 this morning.
Tuesday Dec 15 -- $3.55. Bought 6 boxes of matches for 25 c and 5 cakes of lava soap the best soap for removing all kinds of dirt from the hands I ever used. Eva sold our calf 4 months old to John D. Fisher for $5. I shaved Bro PM Conner at the noon hour. He is very poorly. Eat my dinner there. The News failed to arrive. Paid Wilson Lee 50 c for distributing the papers last week.
Wednesday Dec 16 - $2.95. The snow melted considerable, yet not enough to show the ground. I have read in the Newcastle, Ky papers of the death of John L. Butch. He was at one time living on the opposite side of the street from our house. He died Nov 17 at noon, was nearly 88 years old. He has a daughter Mrs. Dan McCall living in this town. I had to clean out the stove pipe before making fire this am.
Thursday Dec 17 -- $2.85. Sent 5 silver dollars to the laundry at Logansport wrapped in a table cloth. Eva was up in the business part of town today. She spent 41.75 for goods at Wolfe's. We eat dinner a t Mrs. Amanda Bloomfields. The News didn't get in tonight. It is a big disappointment to its patrons. Snow melted more today.
Friday Dec 18 -- $5.95. Sent the Crawfordsville Journal $2.16. The Commercial Trib $1.78. The Indianapolis Journal $2.71. Expense 13 c. There was a barn burned on a farm belonging to a man by the name of Rice living on the other side of Sugar Creek about 6 miles due north of this place. The blaze was seen by our citizens and the light was reflected by Hanna & Kritz's store.
Saturday Dec 19 -- $9.55 - Paid Wilson Lee 50 for 1 quart of oysters 35 for 3 pounds of crackers 25. Express on the laundry 35. There has been a slow rain falling all day. Should it turn suddenly cold to freezing it would be almost impossible for a person to get about. Bought two No. 2 lamp chimneys for 15 c. Cheese and crackers 5c.
Sunday Dec 20 - There was no preaching service in town today. I remained at home most of the day, took one little drive to the east part of town in Kelso's buggy and delivered the Saturday Evening Post to Henry McCampbell. He was left out on the deliver yesterday. I did not visit Willie's grave. Nancy Kelso and her grandson Clay Lewis were with us for dinner today. We dined on fresh oysters. Pleasant day for winter.
Monday Dec 21 -- $8.75. Paid $3.28 for gasoline and oil. Paid Winter Fullenwider $5 for corn. The snow has about all disappeared. Mrs. Frank Belton is getting better day by day. She was wonderfully low and her death was looked for at any moment. Her relatives have about all returned to their respective homes. Eva is preparing present for her niece in Kansas City and Ocmulgee.
Tuesday Dec 22 - $4.35. yesterday was the shortest day of the year. Paid $6.75 for 4 ½ cords of cooking wood. Wood for the cook stove. Paid John R. Canine $10 ($100?) for some groceries. The Presbyterian minister Rev. Gibson was installed as pastor of the Society here. The weather is damp and chilly. CW Spender had a new gasoline lighting plant in his hardware store. They put it up yesterday. Sent 60 c to Womans Home Companion for Mrs. DG Demaree 1 yr.
Wednesday Dec 23 -- $2.10. Paid $1.20 for 10 pounds of lard, 15 c for whisk holder 10 c for small bread pan. Eva was uptown today and made a few purchases of Christmas goods for presents. She sent a small package to her sister Miranda Ellis at Rossville, ill. Paid 3 c postage and 2 c for cards. A week ago I got a package of 25 cards. Indications are good for rain and snow.
Thursday Dec 24 -- $4.45 This has been a damp day. Eva attended the Christmas entertainment in the Methodist Church house. I had all the work I could do up to t half past 10 was tolerable busy from 9 o'clock this morning. Yesterday morning I sent a batch of laundry to Logansport and this morning another to Terre Haute. My feet hurt me.
Friday Dec 25 -- $2.45. We were over at Kelsos for dinner. Jim and Mary and Jennie and her son Raymond. Bob Kelso and his wife and Earnest Ellis of Rossville Illinois were there too. We had a splendid dinner. About 3 p.m. we all left for home except Jennie Hanna and Earnest. Snow was falling. Had a real blizzard. Pd 50 c for oysters and crackers. Eat supper at Alfrey's.
Saturday Dec 26 - $7.20. Paid 25 c for my dinner at the hotel. 35 c for a maple butter boal ? (bowl?)
boat? Boot? My left wrist is hurting me it is swollen and I do not know when or how I hurt it. My left knee is lame. The six spots discovered night before last on my left leg have never disappeared. Plants froze in our bedroom last night. Mercury was 6 below at 7 am. Cold tonight. Paid Wilson Lee 50c.
Sunday Dec 27 - I visited little Willies grave immediately after Bro Paxon had dismissed the meeting. His effort was a talk to the children at the close he asked for a children's Christmas Present for Christ. I gave them a dollar . After dinner Eva went up to her sister Mary's. Nancy and Mary Bloomfield were there for dinner. I heard a good sermon tonight by Bro. Paxon.
Monday Dec 28 -- $1.40. Paid $3.10 for the laundry work done in Terre haute. $3.35 for 20 gall of oil at 12 and 15 of gasoline at 13 per gallon. Had a full set of new shoes put on our "Bob" for $1.20. For a 24 pound sacKnights of Pythiasilsbury Best flour 85 c. 5c for lunch last Saturday night. Snowed a little about 7 p.m. Eva rec'd a letter from Perla Conover a niece of hers in Kansas City. Her name was Perla May Petty.
Tuesday Dec 29 -- $5. Paid $2.25 for 1 ½ cords of ? wood for shop use. 20 c for 2 lbs of stick candy. Sent the Journal of Crawfordsville $3.32 expense 7c. Sent the News of Indianapolis $7.73 expenses 10 c. Hubert Loudermill took our "Bob" and the little wagon and went out to Deere's Mill for mill feed for the cow cost 42.40 at 60 c per hundred pounds. Snowed little today and last night.
Wednesday Dec 30 - $5.20. John Rosebaum and wife are speaking this week in Chicago. Ice over 9" thick is being stowed away in ice houses. Miss Sattie Smith is bad sick, can't last very much longer. Mrs. Frank Belton is able to sit up some. Wilson Lee has gone to Terre Haute and I am out of a boy to deliver papers.
Thursday Dec 31 -- $3.35 Sattie Smith died 10 minutes of 9 o'clock this morning. Eva spent the day over at Kelsos helping them put away their meat. She brought home 2 rabbits, some ribs and sausage and 3 pieces of foles ? - fat meat used in cooking beans in summer. This morning papers contained an account of the burning of the Iroquois Playhouse in Chicago yesterday evening. 664 persons were killed over a 1000 crippled it was appalling. John Rosebaum and wife returned tonight. They were in the fire or rather the burning building. He lost overcoat to ? wife lost her hat and found in her hair a button of some ones over cast. They had to walk over the dead dying and mangled forms of men, women and children.
NOTE: There was no final account of his finances as was in most of the other diaries.