DALE SCHAFFTER [?] 1941 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A WOMAN WHO DETAILS THE NEVER ENDING HARD WORK OF LIVING ON A FARM AND THE SOMETIME CRUELTY OF THOSE SHE LIVES WITH IN AND AROUND THE AMISH AND MENNONITE COMMUNITIES OF OHIO
WOOSTER KIDRON ORRVILLE OHIO OH 1941 Very Good
On offer is an original manuscript relic of another time and another era being a 1941 diary handwritten by, we believe, a woman detailing her life on the farm somewhere near Wooster, Kidron and Orrville Ohio in and around the Amish and Mennonite communities. [While unidentified in the book recent research suggests it is that she was Dale Schaffter, who died in an Orrville, Wayne Co., OH nursing home 23 Feb 1988 at age 98. In 1940 (Ohio/Wayne County/Sugar Creek/Enumeration District 85-39, image 25 of 32), she was living in a household with her younger (apparently not very kind!) sister Blanche (also not married) age 46, her widowed (perhaps divorced) mother Elsie age 75 and "foster daughter" May Kiener age 16. They lived right next door to a Yoder family. Ohio death records indicate that Blanche also never married, but Dale outlived her (Blanche d. 07 Jul 1983 at age 89 in a hospital in Canton, Stark Co., Ohio). The 1930 census shows the household headed by Augustus Schaffter, a blacksmith, age 67, and May Kiener is already with the family. The 1920 census includes a son Floyd, b. ca1901--also mentioned in the excerpts.] and her diary is typical of the time and the place mentioning cleaning, baking and gardening with Mama often, sewing and her chores and animals [mostly pigs] on the farm but there are some interesting anecdotal entries such as Blanche having some of her 'spells'. Her are some snippets: "I finished the dress that Wilma gave me except the belt. Dawn brought me a buckle for it, cost .50. I sold her 3 dz. eggs at .18. I sent my sacks to be washed, those Aunt Millie gave me. My pig feed was delivered from Nussbaum, m's (sic) charges 3.20. I had Blanche get me a water fountain for chicks $1.60." She also mentions other women Blanche and May who I thought may be her sisters but her last entry for Dec. 31st would negate that. She also mentions a boy, Floyd, a few excerpts: "Mamma and I were canning beef all day. Blanche had another spell - ordered my and May's things out of the kitchen. I made the waist and sleeves for May's navy dress, while I watched the processer (sic). My 3rd peep died. Elva C. was here for Floyd taking him to spend weekend." Next day she wrote: "I canned more meat and worked at May's navy dress, but didn't quite finish it. I sent with Blanche to Kidron for 200 lbs. chick starter at L.E. Sommers and 1 qt. cod liver oil. We have canned 41 qts. of beef an 6 pts." She also writes of when she and others went to church. Her everyday activities center around cleaning, cooking, baking and farming like most women's lives were like on a farm but this is distinctly different in the descriptions she provides of her clothes and other tangibles helping one to visualize what her day-to-day life was like. Oddly though hardly surprising given the nature of Amish life there is no mention of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. However in the last entries of December we note discord that may provide a better understanding of just what the relationship with Blanche was - and it was not an easy one. They may have been related somehow--Blanche, Mama, May, and the writer of the diary, or they lived together out of necessity or because it was the Amish way. Starting with a few lines on Dec. 29, 1941 "Blanche took Mamma to Dalton to Uncle Als. I went along to Dalton Mill paid my bill and ordered mash and oats...... ; Dec. 30, 1941: "I went to Kidron with Blanche, got grit for peeps 25 cts. and paid $20.00 on acc. at L.E.'s. I bought a gift for May to take to Banquet and gift exchange at the church 25 cts. May went to Akron with Ward and Elsie. My feed from Dalton Mill didn't come. May and I cleaned the brooder house." And finally, but sadly, Dec. 31, 1941: "Feed delivered this evening. Uncle Al brought Mamma home, Uncle Al dead, funeral at Medina Jan 1, 1942, 2 P.M. I went to Paul Armst_____? P.M. for May. Lillie was here to tell me of a place May and I could go. Blanche ordered Mamma and I to sell our belongings and move." Overall VG.