SEPTEMBER 1890 - Hiram A. 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
Monday September 1 - Loyd helped his sister Eva with the washing this morning. The receipt of the store today were $30. A good rain would be acceptable to all parties notwithstanding we had a real good rain one day last week. We have to pay $1 a basket for potatoes now. Last year I bought them for 25 cts a bushel. Our Pastor HL Kindig and Prof JB Evans returned last week from their trip East.
Tuesday September 2- This afternoon I was out on the new grade of the Midland railroad. Two sets of graders are at work, they hope to finish the grading in three weeks. By the first of September trains will be apt to be put on running regularly from here to Anderson. I took peaches from off of one of our trees yesterday and Eva made them up into peach butter. Mary Kelso Lewis is going to stay all night with us.
Wednesday September 3 - Thirty-five months ago today my little woman and I went down to the city of Terre Haute. I remember the event distinctly. I spent a good portion of the afternoon out in town. When I returned to her, she said where have you been all this time? You ought to have been with me for maybe the time is near when we shall be separated for ever. I said to her, "Oh I hope not." She was profelitic.
Thursday September 4- This evening I rec'd a letter from AB Anderson asking me to come up one day this week for the purpose of making arrangements necessary for Willie's case before the Judge. I have concluded to go up in the morning. A half barrel of sweet cider from Terre Haute rec'd yesterday is no good. It has a bitter taste. The weather is very warm. Eva has an abundance of good things put up for winter
Friday September 5- I was in Crawfordsville by 8 o'clock this morning. Called to see Willie at 9 ½ By 11 he was before Judge Snyder and plead guilty to the charge and received as his punishment one year in the Penitentiary at Michigan City, Ind. He looks well and is in good cheer. He blames no one but himself for being where he is. I left him at half past 4 o'clock. Gave him 35 cts with offeist? And paid 80 cts for repair on shoes.
Saturday September 6 - A boy 18 years old living at Hugh Groves by the name of John Patten was killed yesterday evening by lightning. He was burried this p.m. in Waveland cemetery. Elder OP Badger preached the funeral. He ate supper at our house tonight. Had a little shower of rain yesterday. We would be glad to have as much more. Rec'd a letter from Willie yesterday p.m. written Sept 1, 1890.
Sunday September 7-Sunday School at 3 p.m. church at 10:30 a.m. At church at night with Eva. Elder Badger did not preach. The style of the meeting was "The Christian Workers." I got awful sleepy. After our Sunday school was over PM Conner RC Foster and I took a walk over the new grade of the Midland. It will take about two weeks yet to get the grade done. Elder Badger stayed over night with us tonight.
Monday September 8 - This morning I sent by Elder OP Badger to Willie a few peaches and apples then I sent a couple pairs of cotton hose to him also which cost me 35 cts. Mr. B. said he would call on Willie and counsel with him. I also sent a letter to him by Mr. B Eva did not do the washing today on account of unsettled weather. Two months ago today I put Willie in jail for stealing the day of the week was Tuesday.
Tuesday September 9- We have had a bad rainy day, a slow rain. Work out of door was suspended I sent Lyford Canine to see Willie today, gave him a paper and handkerchief to give to Willie. The handkerchief I found in a pocket of an old pair of pants he had cast off and hung up in the barn. The republicans elected the entire state ticket yesterday in the state of Minn.
Wednesday September 10 -Rainey weather set in last Monday and has continued ever since. Eva done her washing yesterday but could not have the cloths out on account of rain. Work on the new railroad is greatly hindered with anything like fair weather the grading will be completed next week. Mrs. James Rice is very bad sick of tyfoid (sic) fever.
Thursday September 11-I went up to Crawfordsville this morning and was in to see Willie three times during the day. I took peaches and apples with me and gave to him. I also bought a French harp cost 30 cts for him. I took final leave of him at about half past 4 o'clock. Kissed him through the grates of his cell. I am oh so sorry for him. It seems so hard for such a young person to be behind the bars.
Friday September 12 - The rain has subsided yet clouds are thick and threatening. Weather turning cooler. Eva had a nephew and niece from Illinois by the name of McMains to come in. They are Philip McMains children. 35 months ago, today my deal little Lida lay a corps at the resident of old "Grandma Mahan" 210 S. 13th Street, Terre Haute, Ind.
Saturday September 13- Eva and her nephew and niece went to the fair today. I was there last Thursday. I would have taken Willie with me had it not been that he made an attempt to break jail a few weeks ago. At the fair a man goes up in a balloon and descends in a parachute every day. 35 mos ago today I put the remains of my little Pet away in the cemetery at Fletcher Chapel Pierson Twp Vigo Co Ind.
Sunday September 14- This morning Mary Kelso Lewis and I visited the summer resort at Lake Maxinkukee 111 ½ miles north of here. We were at the Lake by 20 minutes of 11 at 6 we started home arriving at about half past 10. We had a splendid trip. We took a ride around the lake in a small steamer, the distance claimed over the route we took is 7 miles. The lake is a beautiful body of water.
Monday September 15 - This morning I assisted a short time with the washing. Bettie Evas niece helped as she had some of her own she wanted done. Bob and Charlie McMains and his sister Bettie went over to Sam McMains tonight or rather they are there tonight. Ed Cuppy has a journey man barber at work for him. He comes from Ladoga. The nights are cool.
Tuesday September 16 - The Crawfordsville Daily Journal contained a notice of an escaped prisoner recaptured and incarceration in the jail where upon he struck Willie Pratt in the face giving him a black eye. The brute was finally put in a cell. He will be put at work on the stone pile. Willie wrote me that he would be sent to the reform school and wants me to come over and take him there.
Wednesday September 17 - I slept but little last night on the account of the news concerning Willie. It was so awfully mean in that brute striking him such a blow in the face. The Governor has not yet sent word to have him taken away. Lawyer Coppage & White says they will try and have me appointed to take him to the reform. Rain last night. Cool weather.
Thursday September 18 - I was at prayer meeting tonight. The Midland railway is to be extended west and south according to present report. Mary Ellen, Eva's sister came over today. She is going to stay until Saturday. We are talking of spending a couple of days at the state fair next week. The weather is real nice for all kinds of work.
Friday September 19 - Charlie Kritz and his father were in from Crawfordsville today. They are engaged in teaching. Charlie McMains and Bettie his sister are at our house tonight. They will go home with Mary Ellen tomorrow evening after the colt show. A letter from Willie the forepart of the weeks shows that he is quite willing to be more careful of how he conducts himself in the future.
Saturday September 20 - Miss Anna Pierce ? of Albia Iowa is in on a visit. She was formerly of this place. She is a granddaughter of Mrs. Noys Lewis. There was a very large crowd of people here to see the colt show. I roasted peanuts five times. Eva was up town most of the time. Wm. Smith and Samuel Shaul had a fight. No one expresses sympathy for Smith.
Sunday September 21 - I was at church this morning. Bro Kindig preached his last sermon for this conference year today. I was at our Sunday school at 3 p.m. and at church again tonight. Bro. Kindig's text was for tonights discourse "What think ye of Christ." He used manuscript. I have a book on Jewish History I want to read. The good weather continues.
Monday September 22 - I was on the Midland road awhile this afternoon. The iron is laid today to a point southwest of our home within a few rods of the county road west of town. They have the grade nearly done if not quite so. It would be an easy matter to make the connection with the Vandalia this week. Lloyd McMains helped Eva with the washing today.
Tuesday September 23 - I have a sweet potato at the store which weighs 7 ¼ pounds and measure in circumference 23 ". It grew on Scotts Prairie grown by Nelson Lough and bought here by Charlie Deer. I am in love with the nice weather we are having. Today I sent Myrtle Petty at Mammouth Spring, Ark a nice little case for a birthday present. We are well.
Wednesday September 24 - A card from Coppage & White states for reasons to be known to me hereafter they cannot get me appointed to take Willie to the Reform school. They also said that he would be very likely taken over tomorrow. The grade on the Midland is to be moved a little higher up where it intersects the Vandalia. Eva had her sister Nancy Kelso over to see her today. The weather is threatening a change.
Thursday September 25 - I was at our Prayer meeting tonight. Eight souls were present. PM Conner was the leader. I sent Willie a few papers yesterday morning. The Crawfordsville journal had an item in it that his sentence to the penitentiary had been commuted for confinement in the Reform school for 4 years or until he was 21 years old. Rained today.
Friday September 26 - this afternoon "Buddy" Kelso let us have his yellow mare and buggy and we (Eva and I) went over to Alamo to visit Eva's sister Mary. We arrived there at about 5 p.m. Left here at 2 ½ distance about 8 miles. Matt White was there. Eva made arrangements with her for a new dress. She will go home in the morning (at Crawfordsville). Found them all well. Weather decidedly cooler.
Saturday September 27 - We left Alamo at 2:35 p.m. and arrived at home by 4 ½ p.m. Mary Kelso came over and kept house for Lloyd and his ma until our return. The weather is getting colder all the time. I look for a big white frost in the morning The papers do not say anything about Willie having been sent to Plainfield and I don't know whether he is in Crawfordsville or not. We're well.
Sunday September 28 - I went to class this morning and at Sunday School at 3 ½ after which John Spruhan took a walk over the Midland to where it connects with the Vandalia. The Midland RY came in this morning with 135 passengers for the "Shades" a pleasure resort some 5 miles to the north. They had a very pleasant day. Eva and I called on Mrs. Peter K. Smith and at Penn Hannas and were at the Presbyterian Church.
Monday September 29 - I helped Eva a very little at the washing. A letter from Willie this morning. He says that on yesterday he seen his mother for the first time. He wrote Saturday evening. Her husband and little girl was at the jail to see him. The little girl called the second time to see him gave him a hand looking glass and asked him to come and live with them when he was out. I wrote him a letter today. God bless the boy.
Tuesday September 30 - Eva done her ironing this forenoon and this afternoon went to see further about her dress being made by Miss Emma McCornish. The daily Crawfordsville Journal had a notice in it about Willie which I clipped and pasted in the back of this book. Tonight in his first night in the Reform School. I mailed him a letter tonight Indications are good for rain. The rails are all laid on the Midland.