Diary of Hiram A. Pratt, Waveland Barber
(Standard Diary #31) -- March 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. 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
Tuesday March 1 -- Pd rent on shop $2.00. Snowed some today. Rec'd the conrile (conrice? courile? ) from Iowa. Bought 1 gal molasses $1.00 and a # tea .40. Bought goods to make a pair of pants and vest for myself cost $6.70. Think I have made a good choice as regards durability. Tailor C R Clark cut them out for me cost 80 cts. I have spent more today than I really want to have done. Eliza is usual as regards to her health.
Wednesday March 2-- $3.90 - I made today. I have summonsed James A. Steele to appear before Blakley Brush JP on next Friday at one o'clock in thie afternoon where in W H Bridges is Plaintiff. Bill done some halling (hauling) for Steele, they can't agree on settlement hence the trial. The roads are almost impossible. Eliza some better.
Thurdsay March 3- Have summoned a jury of 6 men to hear the trial on tomorrow. Richard Pratt brought me 4 bushel of chicken feed and 2 doz corn we went on home with them. Aunt Susan is more reconciled to go out west now than at any time before. Rained and snowed some this evening.
Friday March 4- The trial was decided in favor of Steele he got a judgment of $1.55 Bridges had halled 15, 223 brick for Steele to build the Methodist Church. He also had a subscription of $10 for the church he was to have $1 per 7.22 ? for halling brick. Steele had a claim against Bridges of $6.75 desides the subscription. Bill didn't want to pay the 10 dollars. The jury butted accts and allowed the difference to Steele. Richard brought Eliza home this morning.
Saturday March 5 - Brought 1 pt hair oil .75. 1 per gallons .50. $5.75 is all I made today. The forenoon I had but very little to do, throughout the day I done some work that I rec'd no pay for. Uncle and Aunt went to Grandma's last evening. They started soon after Rich returned home). Uncle Roy Grimes son Johnie Grimes and Billy Pratt uncle Marshal's boy was in the shop tonight. Snowing when I came home. Pd for work done on my vest .30
Sunday March 6 -- The deepest snow of the season fell last night; it was about 4" on the level, a good deal of it melted off during the day. We attended services today at our church. Bro. Hayes preached a funeral sermon. Mrs. John Todd the deceased. We had John Crutchfield and wife were here for dinner at 3 p.m. we attended class. Snowed some today.
Monday March 7 -- Uncles folks returned yesterday and have decided to start for Kansas one week from today. Aunt Polly Shally came home with them. We were at uncles until night then Polly went with us to John Crutchfields, here we will stay until morning. I directed 5 boxes of freight to David J Pratt, Burlingame KS. Eliza is not very well. She rode her horse back.
Tuesday March 8 -- We were at uncle Daves again today. Stayed untill night then came home. Joseph Grimes had one box of goods for uncle halled to Rockville on the little wagon used to carry mail. We are at home tonight. My little woman suffers great pain from suppresion of the meanes?
Wednesday, March 9 -- $.70 is all the money I made today. Ause Pratt and uncle were up town with the little wagon this evening. We went out home with them. Several citizens from town were out at uncles tonight and had prayers and a social meeting which was very imposing. Frank & Polly Shalley and Eliza Jane Rush came home with us tonight.
Thursday, March 10 - We were at uncles again today. Rode out Eliza did on horseback. The sale of property today amt of $1471.25, $38 in money rec'd. I done the clerking. Uncle gave me 3 old chairs and some lumber. John Ause Rush and his wife Eliza Jane Rush his sister came with us. She was not here last night as I have stated. Cyntha Pratt went home with uncle Marshal's folks.
Friday, March 11 -- Uncle Dave made me a present of a nice pair of suspenders this p.m. I went up town this morning and bought some callico for uncles girls and a couple of yds for Aunt Susan cost 50 cts. We went over to uncles a little while this morning. Rec'd Harriett Pratt and little Johnie guadly ? they went down to granma's with John Ause' Uncle & Aunt and Rich eat dinner at Mrs. Moores, Ause come over with my I Bid them (the boys) goodby at my shop. Uncle & Aunt will stay here tonight.
Saturday March 12 -- $3.00 is all that I rec'd today. Tis the least sum that I have rec'd on the last day of the week since in the place. I bade aunt Susan goodby here at the house this morning. Went with uncle uptown and bade the dear old man farewell probably for the last time. I was grieved at parting with such dear good people. May the Lord finaly save them all in heaven a-Men. Rained hard today.
Sunday March 13 - Uncle went off from here yesterday and forgot his new hat and a pint bottle full of brandy. The brandy he can't well do without being in very poor health, he has to take a table spoonfull after eating. This evening Ause came up from Grandmas on horseback for them. He stayed with us about 2 hours, leaving the house at 10 minutes past 6. We bade him good by again was glad to see him. Eliza has been real poorly today.
Monday March 14 - If no bad luck hopng uncle Dave they will leave Rockville at 40 minutes past nine this morrning. Ause took supper with us for the last time last night. I went over to the old place this morning and piled up all the loose boards - about 3 wagon loads. Uncle Dave game them to me. I feel very thankful to him for all that he has ever done for me. One gal coal oil .50 cents
Tuesday March 15 - Snowed and blowed all day by far it has been the warmest of the season. This morning before sun up it was raining and had been at most of the night. Eliza done a big washing. I helped her whenever called on. She is not very well, but would rather do her own work than to have it done. Roads are almost impassable.
Wednesday March 16 - $2.35 is all I made today. Snowed at times throughout the day sometime snow would fall for an hour and then the sun would shine a few minutes, then more snow first such weather I never noticed at any other time before. Eliza wrote her brother a letter. I wrote one to my bro Ben. Turned some colder late this evening.
Thursday, March 17 -- $1.20 I made today in the shop. Lee Stone from Burlingame KS is here. He started from home the 10 of this month. Did not see Uncle Dave on his way here. He says the weather has been first rate out there this winter. Eliza done her ironing today. The snow melted fast on the account of the suns heat.
Friday March 18 - $1.30 I made in my shop. The snow has almost disappeaered from the house tops and from the road. Bought one pint hair oil for 75 cents. and 2# butter for .50 Eliza went to see Mrs. Vinson this p.m. I have sent for a specimen copy of Appleton's Journal published at NY City. I am well and harty (sic).
Saturday March 19 -- $3.15 is all the money I got. The weather has turned warm and the snow has all disppeared. Wind is high with indications of rain. The roads continue very bad consequently a very dull day in town. Soon farmers will begin to get ready for work, then town will be almost deserted. I intend to devote my time in my shop. Eliza seems some better at the present time.
Sunday, March 20 -- Rained some last night & come very nigh it several times today. There has been a high wind from the northwester. I was at morning preaching, did not attend class was at preaching tonight. Eliza remained at home on the account of bad weather and poor health. She has writen a letter to her sister Matta and father.
Monday, March 21 - Cloudy untill nearly night. I stayed at home all the forenoon helped the little woman some. After dinner I went up town and mailed a couple of letters. Paid Z M Ball 3 dollars for soap and received from him 35 cents to be added to my work tomorrow as I expect to be at my shop. Eliza appears tolerable well.
Tuesday March 22 -- $1.45 I made today a good deal more than I expected. The weather is nice now yet the roads are awful muddy. Early this a.m. there could be seen a few flakes of snow falling. Eliza has had a good deal of company here today viz Mr. Huff, Mrs. McLain and Molly McIntosh his daughter. Meck McLinn, Mrs. Smith and Allice Smith her daughter, Ben McIntosh, Sarah McIntosh, Gramma Mcintosh and enough more to make 12 even.
Wednesday, March 23 - $1.30 is all I made today. Sent one dollar to Hunter & Co. at Hinsdale, NH for Hunters Guide 6 copies. Pd for 1 pt hair oil 75 and for butter 30 and for 1 yd bed tick 40, for candies 20. Rec'd a letter from Allice & Mary Shaw. Mag Talbert and her two children were here for dinner. Mud is drying up.
Thursday March 24 - $.45 is all I got in money for my work. The weather is getting to be nice, roads are drying up and will soon be passable. Eliza had Mag Talbert and her two children here for dinner. She done her ironing before noon. Bought a yd bed tick 40. 2 yds cotton .50 The blade is the only paper I rec'd today. Have read Dan Vorhees' finance speech. He is a grand humbug (?) Hair dye .45
Friday, March 25 - $.80 is all I made today. Uncle Marshal Pratt was here for dinner. He brought me a bushel of apples. Rec'd a letter from Ause Pratt writen (sic) the 18 and mailed the 21. They all got through safe and are well pleased, was at their journeys and Wednesday evening they left Rockville. Aunt Susan is very well pleased and uncle says he is mending in strength. Ause said he was lonesome. 4# of butter at .25
Saturday, March 26 - $5.45. is all I made in the shop commenced raining last night and has been at it slowly all day. This will make the roads as bad as ever. Several men have made enquiry concerning Uncle Dave's folks in Kansas. All are pleased that they are so well, satisfied as what they are. Lee Stone has gone home. Started this morning from Rockville
Sunday March 27 - Rained last night and some today. This morning John Crutchfield came by and I went with him to the Presbyterian meeting. The remainder of the day I stayed at home. Late this evening I wrote a letter to Uncle David's folks, directed to Burlingame, Kansas. Eliza is not well tonight.
Monday March 28 - $.95 is all I made today. Rain has subsided yet it remains cloudy overhead. Eliza was up to see Ella Steele who is very sick not expected to live. James Steele started for Kansas today will be back in two or three days. Pd Davis & Hannah for molasses 1.25. Have read Senator Morton's speech delivered at Indianapolis Feb 22 - Voorhees is going to reply to him. Then it will be Morton's time next.
Tuesday March 29 -- $1.20 I made today. Hair dye .45. The weather has been beautiful today. I am of the opinion this a break of bad weather. Grandpap Lowe was called upon today by two men, one of them had a forged note of $500 on him, he had the pleasure of seeing it burned. Rec'd a letter from Bro Ben. The weather in Iowa when I last wrote to him was the same. They were all well. Bought Eliza a switch of hair for .50 cts.
Wednesday March 30 -- $.60 is the am't rec'd today. Rained this morning, ceased before noon. Rec'd a letter from Father Shaw, he informs us that the 'professor" (Stephen) will be at Rockville next Tuesday and will be here one week from today. Eliza made a nice kettle of soap yeterday. Bought 1 pt whiskey for her and 1/2 gal coal oil for myself.
Thursday, March 31 -- $.45 is all I rec'd today. Eliza had mailed a letter to my mother and one to her sisters Allice and Mary. Rec'd a letter form Bro Ben containing $.10 with names 6 in number for the Toledo Blade to be sent to Blakesburg, Iowa. The letter was mailed and registered on the 24 of this month. Rained some today.