MARIA DIVEN [MRS. GENERAL ALEXANDER SAMUEL DIVEN] 1891 - 1917 ORIGINAL ARCHIVE OF TWELVE  MANUSCRIPT DIARIES HANDWRITTEN BY WIFE OF NOTED CIVIL WAR GENERAL AND PROMINENT WEALTHY FLORIDIAN AND ONE TIME NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN
JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA FL BROOKLYN NEW YORK NY 1891 Good+ Autograph
On offer is a sensational archive of twelve  original manuscript diaries all handwritten by Maria Diven, second wife of General Alexander Samuel Diven who married Maria, his junior by 25 years, in 1876 after the death of his first wife, Amanda Beers, who died in 1875. The diaries represent the years of their lives in 1891, 1892, 1896, 1897, 1900, 1902, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1910, 1912 and 1917. Save for the last year when her health declines and there are entries in only the first third of the year, she writes rather densely throughout. In the early years they were living at their home called Hazzard's Bluff on River Point Road, just across the river from Jacksonville Florida. In later years they are based in Brooklyn. Their Florida estate was built in an area well known for the many wealthy Northerners that settled their after the civil war. Collectors and historians of the area and the era will no doubt find a treasure trove of details of what life was like living as a very wealthy and prominent family along the St. John's River. The family seems to travel around by yacht and launches a lot and in the company of other prominent Generals and Colonels. There are lavish parties, trips on the yacht, trips to their Elmira New York home, plenty of socials, sitting on the piazza and much, much more. This is a large wealthy family with much on the go all described in great detail. At the turn of the century we find the family based in Brooklyn for most of the year then head to Orange County in the fall. They also take a longish trip in the West and the mountains, visiting and every other conceivable activity and adventure. This is a look with a breathtaking vista of breadth and depth by an articulate, intelligent woman of means and position. BIO NOTES: Alexander Samuel Diven, soldier, politician, businessman, popular Board of Director for the New York & Eire Railroad had a distinguished military career along with other outstanding accomplishments. He was the grandson of John Means and Elizabeth Clark and great grandson of Robert Means and Jane Irving, sister of General Irving of the Continental Army. Online sources say he was born in 1809 but in these diaries his wife says he celebrated his 74th birthday in 1893 which makes his birth year 1819. Also from another source: 'There's a big house with columns at 4915 River Point Road. It's not brick, though, it's wood, but you may have thought it was painted brick. In 1850 the first circular steam sawmill in Florida was built at the mouth of Pottsburg Creek. After the Civil War (in 1876), the old Empire Mill site was sold to Alexander S. Diven, a general in the Union Army and Congressman from New York. Apparently, he was just one of many Northerners who settled along the southern bank of the St. Johns River after the War. The house was built around 1877, and the property contained 34 acres at that time. The timbers used to construct the house are huge, some 10" by 12". They were taken from the log pond next to where the old mill had been. The foundation and chimney are made from bricks that were made at the claypit one-quarter mile from the homesite. General Diven started a grove of 700 orange trees on this site, with their own irrigation system. This grove continued until 1952, and the last of these trees was killed by the Christmas Freeze of 1983. I don't know if you were in Jacksonville then, BJ, but it snowed and school was out for days due to power outages and icy streets. Major Joseph Durkee, another Union officer, was County Sheriff, State Senator, and railroad executive. His son, Dr. Jay Durkee bought this home in 1909 from General Diven's son. in 1952, Major Durkee's grandson developed the adjacent 90 acres into a subdivision and named it "Empire Point," after the area where his old family home still stands.' Lastly this information: Amanda Malvina Beers b. 22 Oct 1810 m. 16 July 1834 at Angelica, New York, Alexander Samuel Diven b. 15 Feb 1809 Dix, Schuyler County, New York. Resided Elmira, New York. Amanda d. 18 Aug 1875 63y 9m 27d (Elmira City Death Record) buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira. Some of the diaries are in great shape, some in poor shape but all pages seem to be accounted for. Overall G+.