EUGENIA [GENIE] A. GOODRICH 1869 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN DIARY OF THE HARD RURAL LIFE OF DEATH, DISEASE AND NEVERENDING WORK DURING A VERY COLD YEAR IN CENTRAL VERMONT
PROCTORSVILLE VERMONT VT 1869 Good+
On offer is the original 1869 manuscript diary in Eugenia A. Goodrich of Proctorsville, Vermont. Researchers and collectors of Vermont ephemera will be hard pressed to find a more detailed retelling of local history and genealogy as this young woman does a super job keeping a careful record of the events in her life, her family and the doings of her small village along the Black River in central Vermont. That said we find life is hard and brutal sometimes. It a cold region and a cold year and she and the family are frequently snowbound. Genie (her nickname) records the events as dear Ella grows weaker and then dies. February is a bad month with several deaths of friends and family. Genie sews for local ladies. She records the active visiting that people did in the days before automobiles and telephones, except when the roads are filled with snow. Things look up in April when the sugaring starts. One day her brother boils off ("done off") 57 pounds of sugar. She records murders and fatal accidents in nearby towns, and writes about fear in the village that the reservoir will break and they'll all be drowned. She writes about one beau: "he is splendid", but others annoy her. The Fourth of July is "Glorious"; it's quite an honor when President Grant visits Proctorsville in August. There's a bad flood in October that takes out all the local bridges across the river and carries away Mr. Atherton's house. There's a smallpox scare in the village. Proctorsville celebrates Christmas, and Genie writes about a merry Christmas at home; her brother receives a box of collars. This is a fine view of life in New England just after the Civil War. Here are some general notes and snippets: Jan. 1 1869: It has snowed all day and Genie is all alone and feeling lonely as she faces the New Year. She notes that this time last year brother Johnnie was with her, so full of life, and now he is gone, to a better world. Genie lives in a village near Cavendish on the Black River in central Vermont. It's cold, there's lots of snow. She sews for herself, and for others in the village. There are lots of visits back and forth. On Monday Jan. 18 she writes about Mr. Oliver Perry visiting and taking her to Chester, about 10 miles away. Then she writes "He is splendid." On Tuesday, Jan. 19 she writes about a shocking murder in nearby (20 miles) Claremont, New Hampshire. A man was murdered by his nephew. "Murders are so common one doesn't know when they are safe these days," she writes. [No doubt this refers to the murder of George Woodell by William Kenney on the night on Jan. 18 as reported by the Boston Post.] Genie and her mother take turns caring for Ella. Genie notes on Tuesday, Feb. 2 that Ella has failed very fast within a few days. Feb. 3 others come to visit Ella. Genie doesn't think she will live till morning. Feb. 4 Ella is about the same. Genie thought Ella was near death several times, but she hangs on. Friday, Fed. 5 Dear Ella left us this p.m. at twenty minutes to four, to join that angel choir in our heavenly home. Dear Ella we mill thee, but hope some day to meet you when our life's work is over. Saturday Feb. 6 spent all day at Mrs. Spaulding's helping to prepare for the funeral. It's Joseph's birthday today-he's 17. I would like to go see him tonight. Sunday, Feb. 7 very cold. Joseph carried me up to help Viccie make a wreath. Uncle Wheeler Spaulding died this morning. Quite unexpected. Another life is ended and another home made lonely by the "Grim Monster", death! Monday, Feb. 8 Ella's funeral today. Genie will stay at Mr. Spaulding's tonight. Tuesday, Feb. 9 Uncle Wheeler's funeral today. Also Mr. Gibson's. Monday Feb. 15 we learned that Hale Spaulding was dead. He dies last night. Wed. Feb. 17 Miss Damon, the Woman preacher, preached at Hale's funeral. P.H.O. was here this morning. Genie received an invitation for a sleigh ride but had to decline. Sunday, Feb. 21 Mother and Russell went to church all day but I didn't go. We heard today that was a woman in Andover, VT murdered yesterday. (15 mi. south). Feb. 24 the murder was all a hoax. Thursday, April 1. Joseph and the hired man commenced to make sugar today. Tuesday, April 6. We done off 57 pounds of sugar today. Thursday Apr. 15. Saw a most remarkable display of Aurora Borealis this evening, the like of which I have never seen before. Its rays illuminated the whole heavens, converging with wonderful brilliancy. Sunday, Apr. 18. Didn't go to church-bad travelling. Done off more sugar…may be the last this spring. Wed. Apr. 21. Considerable excitement downtown. They are afraid the reservoir is giving out and they will be drowned. We hear that George sanders and Katie Mitchell were married. A "baby wedding" we should call it-both are so young. Sun. Apr. 25. Rev. J.S. Little preached his farewell sermon today at Proctorsville. Wed. Apr. 28. Mother quilting a bedspread. Saturday June 26. This would have been sister Hattie's birthday, she'd be 20. Sunday June 27. I got all fixed up expecting a Bo (beau) but nary a one came only that hateful Adams fellow. Humph. Wish he knew enough to stay at home some of the time. Tuesday June 29. Mr. Elijah Bemis was killed this morning at Springfield, and his wife was seriously injured. They were thrown from a carriage. Wed. June 30. Did not go strawberrying because Albert played me false. Thursday, July 1. I went out and picked enough strawberries for one cake. Mother went strawberrying over in Parkers. I tried to sew some but did not accomplish much. "Albert bothers me so." Sunday July 4. Well this has been the Glorious fourth and is the ninety-third anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in this broad free land. I have celebrated it in a becoming manner. We stayed at Mr. Whitney's until after dinner then we came down to Warrens and called there a while and then came home. Sat. July 10. Little brother Johnnie would have been twelve years old today. Sat. Aug. 28. President Grant was at Proctorsville this afternoon. Quite an honor for our little town. Monday Oct. 4. It has been a continual pouring of rain all day. Cavendish never see such a __ before. The damages are immense. The bridges are all gone and the roads are washed so they are impassable. I went down to see the ruins. It looks rather rough along the (Black) river. We hear that Mr. Atherton's house is washed away. Tue. Oct. 5. The water in the river has fell considerably but not so we can cross it yet. Thurs. Nov. 30. Great excitement about the smallpox of which there are several cases in town. Friday, Dec. 24. This evening all hands have been down for Proctorsville's Christmas eve. "Old Santa Clause" was generous this year. He put a present on the tree for me. Sat. Dec. 25. I spent a Merrie Christmas at home. This evening they have had exiting times at Farrsville. Quite a skirmish? Merry, merry Christmas indeed I should think. Joseph had a present of a box of collars and much, much more. BIO NOTES: [Courtesy of the Cavendish Historical Society] Eugenia A. Goodrich was born in Cavendish, 16 April, 1846, daughter of Joseph D. and Lucy M. (Paine) Goodrich. Genie lived her whole live in the community of Proctorsville, a village in the western part of the town. She also lived through the utmost tragedies that can ever be afflicted into the life of one little girl. During the first typhoid epidemic in Cavendish in 1851, her baby sister Hannah was taken. But even worse, during the typhoid fever epidemic that struck Cavendish during the fall and winter of 1863, Genie lost her beloved father, her twenty-year old sister Cassandra, and her fifteen old sister Harriet. This left her poor grieving mother a widow, at the age of 42, with three surviving children. Lucy did what she could, but she was not strong and as time went on, her heart grew weak. It was through her piety and humble work in the Baptist Church that she was adopted as a charity, but she never asked for charity. Rev. Swett Brown was a pillar in the community and made sure that Lucy did not want for protection, food and shelter with attentive neighborly love. Lucy Paine Goodrich was a gracious, loving, intelligent woman. Her life was a tragedy, just as her daughter Genie's was. Lucy died of heart disease at her home in Cavendish, 14 Oct., 1878 (age 57). Her surviving son Joseph P. Goodrich, lived with his wife Lizzie Oriette (Kingston) Goodrich and their children on a small farm in the Gassetts section of Chester, a town south of Cavendish. Eugenia, Lucy's daughter was married in Cavendish (at the Baptist Church by Rev. Swett Farnsworth Brown) 4 April, 1872 to Albert Butler Adams. Albert was a Civil War veteran of Cavendish who enlisted at Cavendish, 5 Aug., 1864 in the 2nd Battery Light Artillery as a private. He was discharged 28 July, 1865. They lived in Cavendish District #8 on their own farm. Albert had a pension as he came home from war a very sick man. Genie died of consumption, 15 June, 1873 (age 27). This was only three months and twelve days after giving birth to her only child, Albert. Albert died of a scrofula illness, 24 July, 1878, at the young age of 34 years. They were buried in Cavendish. The book proper is a standard 19th century diary, with astronomical items, postage rates, moon phases, time of sunset and rise for each day, etc.4"x2"x1" page a day small leather-bound book has a worn cover lining loose but overall G+.