MARY A. HERRICK 1864 + 1867 + ACCOUNTS BOOK ARCHIVE OF HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A YOUNG PIONEER CIVIL WAR ERA WOMAN BESET BY TRAGEDY
Blandford, Massachusetts 1864 Very Good Manuscript
This modest archive of diaries belonged to Mary A. Herrick of Blandford, Mass. Sometimes slow reading but legible, each page details the incredibly hard life of this pioneer woman. We believe she is a young (late teens perhaps as she mentions once she is making cheese for the very first time....) woman (married I think as I believe the girl, Hattie, was hers) living with her brothers, sisters and father. I have not found reference to a mother and I am not sure about the husband. Most of the chores fall to her, each day toiling, many days tragedy to report, for example the year begins straight off; "A solemn New Year with the corpse of little Hattie lying in the south room. Aunt ____ and children gone home. Holden and Louisa worked for us all day. In my black duds." "Mr. Osborn brought home the coffin, black walnut." The neighbor down the road assesses that Hattie's death is "from diptheria and then croup." Feb 14th, "Went to church first time since Hattie died. I was very much affected not a child to sit with me". It takes Mary until July to pay Dr. Andrews the monies he is owed. Another entry states "chimney caught fire". "Little May is not well. Father borrowed Mr. Tiffanys machine as his is broke." "Went to __'s fraid he's got diptheria. carried up some medicine." The only direct mention of the Civil War is "We hear bad news from the Army." Other references are more subtle. This pioneer woman is too preoccupied with hard scrap times to worry about the war otherwise it seems. Father makes many occasional trips to Springfield. The last, heartbreaking entry for Dec. 31st, 1864 - "exactly one year ago today my Hattie passed away." Then there are ledger pages first couple of entries for cash accounts. Not much else there until the very end with a list of deaths for the years. Poor Mary was beset and pre-occupied on the subject the whole year. Other entries dealing with everyday life, so many ending with how very tired she is. Only 4 days do not have any entry at all in 1864. 1867 is a little less written but not by much. The diaries measure 4" wide x 2.5" high. The cash ledger, 4 x 6 in., is being held together by the strings in the binding. There is a 2.5" tear on the lower rear spine edge. Three of the pages are loose. 52 pages have entries. The name on the inside front cover appears to be A.A. Leffingwell of Massachusetts (Barrington?) Making of cider, selling of lamb, charges for the use of a horse are among the transactions. Some of the names listed are Henry Chapman, William Golden, Henry Bigelo, William Avery, L.K.Bosworth, Henry Woodruff, Edward Pease, John Aldrich, E.B.Cole, Charley Washburn, Charley Bartlet, John Campbell, Elisha Avery, Theodore Lyman, William Johnson. We are uncertain as to the connection of the items but they came from the same estate and our policy is to keep items together.