MAY 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
Wednesday May 1 – Eva was too tired to go to her church prayer meeting tonight. She has cleaned the room in which we sit as a family. I planted some corn and beans in the garden. The brick masons will reach the end of the first story of the new hotel some time this week if not prevented by rain. The town will not hold an election this spring as the time prescribed by law for making nominations has passed.
Thursday May 2 -- $10. Walter Grimes paid this on his store account. Last Saturday night I paid out 35 cts for beef roast and steak. Bob McMains was at our house over Sunday night. He was on his way to Rockville to sell fruit trees. Br. AC Gure ? our former pastor was in attendance at our prayer meeting tonight. We had a good meeting lead by our pastor Laribee M. Campbell.
Friday May 3-- $1.40 Paid out 2 on coal bill and $2 on gasoline bill. Gasoline cost 12 cts I used to buy it at 7 ½. Charley Critz (Kritz) and Dr. R. Kelso have bought the Kleiser Drug Store. The new hotel Dr. Stebbins has now reached the altitude of one story. Eva has about finished house cleaning and will spend the morrow in arranging things. Paid 10 cts for Ice cream. The laides of the Christian Church gave the entertainment for the benefit of the Endeavors. ?
Saturday May 4 -- $.350. Paid 20 cts for a stove pipe joint. Loyd McMains returned home Thursday p.m. A terrible devastating cyclone visited Sioux County Iowa yesterday. 300 people are reported killed. I am engaged by Charley Sutger to go to Terre Haute next Tuesday evening and sell a car load of potatoes for him. He has about 2 car loads to sell. The mercury went up to 91 in the shade.
Sunday May 5 – Before going into Sunday school I visited Willie’s grave. The grave will soon be covered with myrtle. Bro. Campbell’s text was “Fear not little flock & c.” At night his subject was concerning the providence of God. I am still of the opinion that he is the best Methodist preacher we ever had. I never get tired or sleepy while he is talking. The attendance tonight was not as large as I expected owing to meeting by the Baptist society. Very warm day.
Monday May 6 -- $2.05. This was not all for work done in the shop. Paid 15 cts for the journal. .40 for a sack of flour. Put 10 cts in the contribution basket. Paid $3 at our last quarterly meeting. Charley Sutger has engaged me to go down to Terre Haute tomorrow evening and sell a car load of potatoes for him. I will not get back before next Saturday morning. Eva done her usual weeks washing. Signs of rain fail to materialize.
Tuesday May 7 -- $1.50. Paid 40 cts for a sack of flour which I got of Charley Milligan last week Pd 25 for 2 prs cotton hose. We have the finest prospect for small fruit some peaches we ever had. I left home for Terre Haute at 15 minutes of six o’clock and in an hour and a half was at Alec Shaw’s a brother of my first wife Eliza F in the city of Terre Haute. At 9 o’clock I went to bed. On the way, I had a nice view of the thrift among the farmers. I am well.
Wednesday May 8 – This forenoon I spent in canvassing among the commission men and leading grocery men for the sale of the car of potatoes. I find the market for old potatoes very low and dull. I am in hopes of 60 cts per bushel but if I get 50 will do well. At about 8 o’clock I went to 14th street to see Ed Fieldhem? He did not want any potatoes. I am now greatly sure that Mr. Goldsmith will get them. (very very hard to read – his ink was extremely faded – one of few places in the old books I find this problem)
Thursday May 9 – I sold the potatoes this forenoon to Charles H. Goldsmith at 52 cts per bushel. I was at Father Shaws for dinner. He lives in Farmersburg 15 miles below Terre Haute. Yesterday evening I visited the house No. 210 S. 13th street where my little Lida died. Mrs. Low still resides there. I love to visit this place when in the city and have time. Took supper with Theodore Shaw and stayed for the night at Ben Dowells 3 miles from Farmersburg.
Friday May 10 – I visited my wife’s grave at 7 o’clock this morning. There is a nice blue grass sod covering the mound. A bucket of flowers had been placed by it by her sister Matt Dowell. I plucked a couple of verbena ? flowers from the head of the grave and brought them home with me. Eliza was 45 years 11 months and 19 days old when she died 13 day of Oct 1887. I took dinner in Terre Haute and was home for supper at 6 o’clock. The day has been very warm. Signs of rain tonight.
Saturday May 11 -- $3.40. The weather turned cold last night and a good fire has been the order of the day. If the clouds drift away I look for a frost. My brother Al at the Presbyterian hospital 664 West VanBuren street, Chicago has been operated upon and one of his kidneys removed. It was done the 7th of this month. While away from home I spent $2.85. AOUW 2 dollars for last month. Pension check rec’d $24.
Sunday May 12 – Before going into class I visited little Willie’s grave. James Alfrey and wife and Nancy Kelso were at our house for dinner. Buddy Kelso just in his appearance later I got 3 qts of ice cream of C. Alspaugh and treated the crowd. We have kept up a big fire in the stove in our setting room all day. I went with Eva to hear Bro Shuey tonight. Father Shaw has been a great sufferer since last March.
Monday May 13--$43.0. For the trip to Terre Haute Charley Sutger received for the carload of potatoes above expenses $188.90 – a fraction over 45 ½ cts per bushel 412 bushel. I have had to keep up a fire all day. Mercury this afternoon registered 42 degrees. Paid 15 for the journal and 90 cts for repairs on my shoes. Clara and her sister Helen are keeping boarders. Clara is not well nor never will be. Her sister Matt has a tumor same as my wife had. It grows no more.
Tuesday May 14 – Cloudy. 30. The weather has been cold all day, requiring as much fire as in mild weather in mid winter. I sent a card to my sister-in-law, Al’s wife in Chicago. I am anxious to hear from him everyday. Would be glad if it was the Lords will that he be restored to his family. Eva has her ironing done and the contents of the house neatly arranged. Everything about the house is in “apple pie order.” I am as well as common.
Wednesday May 15 – Rain. 31. Eva was at Frank’s lecture tonight. The weather continues very cold. The frost has been of great damage to corps and fruit in many places. There are a great many dispatches in the daily papers of damage done. I have returned a gasoline stove to the Home Stove Co. of Indianapolis because I could not get the money to pay fro it. Gasoline now sells at 17 cts per gal. I used to sell it at 12 ½. Our garden is not damaged but very little by the frost.
Thursday May 16 – Clear. 30. Eva went out to her sister Nancy Kelso’s with her niece Mary Lewis ? this morning. At 11 o’clock I went out with Bob Kelso for dinner and rode with him to the turn of the road in the north edge of town. He went out to Alfrey’s to help plant corn after dinner was over. I got a card from Bro Al’s wife last evening he is getting a long the best kind. Praise the Lord. I attended prayer meeting tonight.
Friday May 17 -- $1.15 Frost was plainly seen this morning. 32. The damage done to our garden is very light yet I hear of some that will have to be replanted. Corn in some places is cut down to the ground. One 25 lbs sack of flour 40 cts. One lb of soda 10. last Monday I paid out $5.98 for gasoline. It cost 12 cts per gal. Lloyd McMains is out at Kelso’s will be home tomorrow. Bob Mc was here over night.
Saturday May 18 -- $3. 37. The weather has been considerable warmer today. Paid 20 for doz bananas and 25 for a small beef roast. Tonight we have had several good showers of rain. This morning I seen and talked with poor little Willie in a dream. Eva moved out again yesterday night our summer kitchen. I was done work by 10 ½ but did not start home until after 11 o’clock.
Sunday May 19 – I subscribed 2 dollars to Missionary cause. Bro. C. preached two good sermons on missionary work. Eva went with me to meeting tonight. I visited little Willie’s grave before going into meeting. Mrs. Mary Crooks visited her husbands grave at the same time I did Willies. The cold weather is still on. Wheat is going up in price. We have top ay 45 cts for 25# flour.
Monday May 20 -- .30. We had front this a.m. Eva done her usual weeks work and this afternoon she and Mrs. Smalley visited Mrs. Irve Fullenwider. I paid 2 dollars on a bill of gasoline. The price per gal is yet 12 cts. I have made up my mind to send all my accounts to the Mercantile Agency for collection and will make out the list tomorrow.
Tuesday May 21 – 45 cts. There was a white frost plainly to be seen on roofs on houses and on the grass. This morning when the cold weather has passed we will replant our garden where needed. I have almost completed my list for the Mercantile Agency. I have not heard from Bro Allen for several days. I presume he is getting along all right. Bread 25. Beef roast 25. Journal 15
Wednesday May 22 – 30. There was a white frost this morning .32. Tonight Eva and I went to the lecture at the Christian Church PH Faulk Baptist minister of Browns Valley was the lecturer. He spoke nearly 2 hours. “Rachel’s Tears” was the title of his subject. The congregation was entirely to small for the lecture for it was a good one. Two spools of thread 10 cts. The price of wheat is on the up grade. Going at 8 cts a bushel. It will go higher.
Thursday May 23 -- $1.75. There was a light frost this morning. 32. Beef 10. Ham 18. One lb each. Farmers in many places are plowing up the wheat and planting corn. The boys of the town are on a great craze for bicycles to ride on by propelling themselves. The wheels vary in size and are so constructed that one follows the other. They have pedals for the feet and the rider sits between the wheels and tramps like he was walking. 50 of them were here last Sunday. A man makes 100 miles a day easy on one of them.
Friday May 24 -- .75. There was no frost last night in this locality. John R. Canine took a barrel of flour down to our house cost $3.60. Paid Wm. Milligan rent for last month $3. I took a small gasoline stove down to Mrs. Sallie Smith. She says she will buy one from me this summer. Eva broke off one of her front upper teeth at dinner. She looks rather funny about the mouth.
Saturday May 25 – 2.50. Clear. More frost this a.m. but very little damage done here. Eva and Dolly Butcher came up this evening after dark and remained until I went home. Eva bought for me a real nice summer hat, color brown. She got tired seeing me wear an old straw hat her brother Bob had cast away several years ago. I had been wearing it 3 or 4 yrs. Pd AOUW $2. I am well.
Sunday May 26 – Clear. 36. Bro Campbell preached the best memorial sermon today that I have any recollection of hearing. The house was full and the interest was depicted on all I seen several whose eyes were made dim by the effusion of tears. Eva could not go with me tonight for at her church house the little children had an entertainment. The Baptist minister “Faulk” he preached a splendid sermon. I have been well entertained all day.
Monday May 27 -- $1.05. Clear. 32. Frost this morning. I paid my usual weekly visit to Willie’s grave yesterday morning before the sermon. Eva done her usual weeks washing. Buddy Kelso eat dinner with us yesterday. Bob McMains is with us tonight. Yesterday I paid .45 for meat and donated 25 to defray decoration day expenses. I drove nails half a day for Frank Clark sheeting the roof of the new hotel.
Tuesday May 28 -- .30 Clear. Bob Mc went over to Russellville this morning and took his sister Eva over to spend the day with her niece, Mrs. Emma McCune. Lloyd and I eat dinner at home. Mary Ellen was in town today. She and her husband were at our house Sunday evening awhile. 15 cts for a sack of meal. My bro Al has had a relapse but is on the upgrade again.
Wednesday May 29 – 1.10. Cow feed (bran).46. The weather is real warm and dry. The wheat crop for this year is almost a failure, having been injured by frost, chince, hesian fly and drout. The masked cloud today at 82 ½ cts jar bushel for wheat. Eva from May 1, 194 to same date in this year made 312 pounds of butter from our little Jersey cow. Sold 182 of it besides she sold new milk about $9. Butter at 15 cts per pound.
Thursday May 30 -- .80 cts. The ice cream I bought two or three Sundays ago. I have failed to note expense which was 80 cts. The Journal for last week 15 cts. Eva and I went out to Freedom church to attend decoration service. Rev. TJ Shuey was the orator. He gave us a real good speech. As good as the best. We had a picnic dinner at Mrs. James, ½ of a mile from church house. Ohio Miller gave us conveyance in his carriage.
Friday May 31 – 3.16 Decoration expenses 50 cts. Paid 4.36 for gasoline. 50 cts for sliced ham .18 cts per lb. Rebel Gen Wade Hampton of South Carolina made a good speech at the unveiling of a confederate monument at Chicago yesterday. Gen. Wm. McKinley of Ohio died likewise at the town of Gen US Grant at New York. Very warm and dry weather. Eva and I were to hear Rev. Lucas at Christian Church tonight. Good speaker.