JOHN JAY VIETS 1863 ORIGINAL CIVIL WAR MANUSCRIPT DIARY AND HANDWRITTEN RELIC OF EAST GRANBY CONNECTICUT BY NOTED LOCAL MERCHANT WITH STRONG CONNECTION TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL POLITICS
EAST GRANBY SIMSBURY LAMINGTON CONNECTICUT CT 1863 Good
On offer is an original 1863 Civil War manuscript diary handwritten by we believe by John Jay Viets of East Granby Connecticut. Not identified by his ownhandthere are a number if clues most assuredly identify as such and local historians and researchers of Hartford County Connecticut should have little problem confirming. There are a number of clues such as the death of his Aunt Abi Fuller Case, the widow of Mamry (or Manny) Case and an online biography provides: "John Jay Viets was born in Simsbury (East Granby) in 1806. He was in business for a number of years in his native town, dealing extensively in general merchandise. Though a Republican in a strong Democratic town, he was often called upon to take an active part in public affairs; and his ability was generally recognized. His death occurred December 10, 1885. He was married in 1851 to Jane Wadsworth, of Lamington, Conn., daughter of Timothy Wadsworth. and a direct descendant of William Wadsworth, who was one oi the first settlers of Hartford, coming thither with the Rev. Mr. Hooker from the vicinity of Dorchester. Her mother's maiden name was Strong. Mrs. Jane Wadsworth Viets died at the age of sixty-one years, sixteen days after her husband's demise. They reared three children: Jennie A., wife of O. L. Livesey, now living in California near Los Angeles; : Hubert Wadsworth Viets, proprietor and manager of a large steam laundry in La Crosse. Wis." He mentions Copper Hill, Hartford, Fox Hole, Farmington, North Britain, Pleasant Valley, and Spoonville but assuredly he lives in East Granby. He writes: "At a meeting of the Republicans of the town of E. Granby held at Pains Hotel January 19th. Jeremy H. Holcomb Chairman. J. J. Viets scribes the following persons were appointed delegates to the several conventions forth coming….." He lists numerous names of the men holding the different positions for their committee. Also in the back are several handwritten expense and account pages and all of them seem to be signed by J. J. Viets. The author also owned a store and these are the accounts for that store. He also mentions Jane his wife in the diary and the children. The diary is full with an entry for every day of the year. There is talk of the war, lots of talk concerning his business as a merchant and also other events around the town of East Granby. Here are snippets: 1863 "January 1st, Pleasant morning and plenty of snow. Ed Wells took both horses and went up after Rollins new painted sleigh at cars, West Suffield. Was against going home, says there is not time to go over and return to the donation at the parsonage! ____ did not go up this evening. We turned out and had a good time. I sold the calf to Fisby, $5.95." "January 27th, Rained and has all night. Old Pratt is lurking about and put a line into my pigeon hole. I gave him a tug to go home with and chew. Rollins has not been to the store yet and is no better. Quinine is having it's course. Got medicine today from Hartford by train. Rainy all day and very muddy." "February 17th, Mr. Gains called me after 4:00 and says Walter Holcomb died 11:00 last night, wishes me to have the bell tolled 21. Ed Viets tolled the bell. Dull times for trade. Weigh some cattle. Mr. Gains came and painted the railing at church and I furnished paint in part and lunch. Rollins returned 9 o'clock…" "March 2nd, Pleasant, good sleighing for awhile in morning. Rollins went over to see Watson V. and when returned went to Suffield. I harnessed Fan to go to Chris. Street or E. Granby Depot and she was tired all day at Port and not drove out of the yard. Secession is raging all the time about the street etc. Seth drove his horse and sleigh to Bloomfield." "March 14th, Cold. Mr. Cheney took his school to Shaker Village for a ride by help of Harvey Dibble. 18 scholars went. Had dinner and got home soon after dark. Ed's father came and took the heifer home, I have kept four weeks and paid $1.05." "March 17th, Pleasant day and has thawed the snow some. I made ready for the Senatorial Convention that met at Tariff and carried Carlos Bates and C. K. Thrall over. Fine sleighing and then was near a full delegation. Collins of Canton was nominated. Mr. Meacham of Bloomfield was chairman. Doc. A. Ham had tea party evening." "April 5th & 6th, Rainy and snows some alternately. I did not go to meeting and all were at house. Boys are uneasy and want to be out doors. Have been sad at the thought of the coming election tomorrow. Am not ready to give over the state to rebellion…..Pleasant spring day. Very muddy and wet under foot. Freeman's meeting and we ought to "crawl under the barn!" for not doing better. 27 on state ticket for the rebellion!! Old Granby has gone for union. 30. No more heard from. Some noise occasionally and every ignorant paddy had guard to crowd him in." "May 5th & 6th, Rainy morning and has continued all day. Slow April showers. Rollins went to the funeral with black team and carriage. Eve went to burying ground and immediately after Jane started with Fan to Sal. Depot after Mrs. Gould from Westfield. I traded the Benj. wagon and old buggy with James Alder for his old buggy…..rainy morning and we hesitate about started for Hartford till ½ past 10:00. Started ¼ to 11 with Fanny and the carriage with all. Arrived in time for all we had in view. Bought the boys hats and were ready for the procession, it having been delayed. Rained some but there was a great show of military etc. Started for home ¼ to 5:00. Home before dark." "May 7th, Wind N.E. as has been for two days past and rains right down and has continued slowly all day and evening. News from the army is bad this evening. Hooker (?) is reported this side of the river. I have ground axes etc. part of the day….." "June 17th, Cloudy and part of the time threatening rain. I worked at the papers awhile and 9:00 went up town to get Mr. Harrell's (?) to sign the distribution having completed a copy of the original. He was starting for Bristol and I continued up town, turned into the old burying ground for a time and spent fifteen minutes reading the sad history of time past. Passed to see Mr. Hill erecting new clock on the church then to P.O. after called at Mr. Ham a few minutes and home before dinner. Finished up most of the writing. Went down and settled with Jas. W. Cowles and made him leave out four dollars from damages claimed. After tea to Mr. Crampton to have the dis. finished, returned to Mr. Hadrell's. George rode up to meet the military and arranged who should go to war." "June 29th, Foggy morning and I made ready for Hartford and started after 6:00. Willie Pratt with me, drove the black Ned. with Fan. Dirty and dry weather. 22nd regiment arrived in Hartford from the seat of war. Ought to staid there for the present to put down with raid of rebels in." "July 13th, Rainy morning and has threatened more all day. Some trade and loafers are about speculating on the draft taking place today in Hartford for this county. I went over to C. E. 2:00 and returned soon after 4:00. Laid out a board for rack wagon. Dark cloudy evening but does not rain." "August 17th, Cloudy morning. C. E. sent Rob over and says is going a fishing. We turned out with the black team and car and Addie and her two heirs. Charles Seymour was ready and we went on with three teams. Took the boats from Wilcox's barn where stored. The boys and all have had great day but not a great haul of fish. Returned ok about sunset. Ed said the Alderman came." "September 27th, Rev. Wells is absent to Peekskill. Funeral of Mrs. Stephen Griffin 1:00 at the house and sermon at the church after by Rev. Gorton from Copper Hill. Great crowd. W. Suffield minister and part of his congregation." "October 4th, Pleasant morning and day…..Mr. Wakefield died this morn. Lived in Capt. Clark's house and had the consumption. The Skedaddles got a _____such as they have deserved a long time." "November 25th, Pleasant. Banning went to Rainbow soon after breakfast. Went and bought our parlor cook stove. We put up the coal stove in sitting room. James from _____came to find work. I set him working the carriage and he worked three hours on it and did not finish. Drawed in some wood from street. Two loads…" "December 3rd, Pleasant morning. Great stir among the Captains going to N.Y. to get warriors to put down the great rebellion. Can't break down the government as they concluded and have wheeled about and are looking for redemption. Jane and Hubert went to the depot and Mary and Ruth not there. Came evening. Holcomb's team." "December 20th, Nancy called me 2;00 and says she thinks mother cannot live but a short time. We got up and found her mother gone. Making much noise, choking up, moved part of the time and she breathed last 6 o'clock. Adeline, Nancy, Chancy, Jane and Addy were that were present. We sent for Mrs. Gould and Mrs. Wells. ….J. R. came 3 o'clock in wagon. Rollins and C. E. to Tariffville to engage coffin…" "December 22nd, Cold. I. B. came and when the undertaker came we got Mr. Sheldon to assist and we had as much as we could do to get the coffin down from up stairs. Rev. Wells red from the bible. Made some remarks etc. and went through very well. A. U. were present, the children and many friends from Simsbury, etc." Many names mentioned are; D. A. Akins (died in the war), Young, C. A. Bowers, McCormick, Mary Gould, Gains, Cheney, John Fox, Wells, Burdet Loomis, Patrick Gilligan, Aldrich, Dr. Preston, Wakefield, Alfred Gray, Rev. Watts, Rev. Cooley, Homer Runnel, Harvey Dibble, Col. Baird, Rev. Phillips, Tiffney, Dr. Chaffey, George E. Wadsworth, Capt. Sam Hayden, John Rook, Pierce and many more. The diary measures about 3 ¼" x 6 ¾" and the cover front flap is torn and the cover itself very worn. The pages and binding however look good. Overall G.