Friday, December 25, 2009

A Somber Christmas


Saturday, December 25, 1926: We surely had to hustle to get ready to go to the cemetery. We went up as far as John Tippet’s and waited till they got out with the body. We had a sleigh and team. There was just the sleigh and our two cars at the cemetery. Mother staid at Aunt Annie’s. Besides Mr. Caille and the driver there were just us folks and Uncle Edd and Wilbur Bastians. We knelt and said the Lord’s Prayer at the grave. We then all went to Aunt Annie’s to dinner. They had planned on a Christmas dinner, so went ahead with it and it was very nice for us. Al started out right after dinner for home. Wilbur went along but intends to stop here on his way home. Win & Martha were at Aunt Annie’s to dinner also. Tresidders came up there this afternoon. They were expecting to visit with the folks but they had gone. Raymond Dittmar & Alta Waswund were married Thu. Dec. 23 at Pres. at Schapville parsonage.

Christmas Eve day was very icy in the morning. We all had hurried around to get ready to go to the funeral. A wreath of yellow christantumums came in that morning’s mail for the funeral. It was sent by Mary Potter. They were frosted. We had started about eleven and called at Aunt Annie’s. Uncle Dan and Aunt Tillie were going in town so mother rode with them. The roads were very icy but we had no trouble. We called at Nash & Bertsch’s Chapel and saw Uncle Thomas he looked quite natural but I think he looked thin. We then went up to Zimmerman’s to see the folks. Al got there at nine last night and Wilbur was coming this afternoon at 3:30. So they had the services at the Chapel at one. There were quite a few there. Roy & Mabel & Willie were there also. Uncle Henry & Aunt Lue, Uncle George & Arthur Schlichting. Quite a few folks to the funeral. After the services we waited around then went to train to meet Wilbur. After Wilbur saw Uncle Thomas, Al and his family and us folks started out and the hearse was to follow. When we were out to the fair grounds the hearse did not follow so we stopped and Len, Wilbur and Al went back. The hearse could not make Shea’s hill and as it was getting late, they decided they would bring the body out tomorrow at nine oclock with a team. There were several cars stuck on Ehler’s hills. One in the ditch, delaying us for sometime till they got out. Charlie Ehler had to pull some up with a team. Nancy, Geraldine, Aunt Rachel & Mother walked up the hill. But we had no trouble. When we got to Uncle Edd’s hill there were several cars that couldn’t make it again, but by several men pushing & etz they got up. Al’s & our car made it alright again, but it surely was a good thing the hearse didn’t get any farther. We had quite a time to get the fires going. All were cold. Agnes, Milton & Blanch came up that evening. Geraldine was to sleep with me. Aunt Rachel & Nancy in bedroom. Al & Wilbur in the parlour. We’re were all asked up to Aunt Annie’s to dinner Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Death of Thomas A. Trudgian

Thursday, December 23 1926: It is raining today and tonight, and getting very icy. I’ve worried so much about it raining. We swept and cleaned up the house. We didn’t bake anything as we bought bread, rolls and cake and etz. Wednesday Al, Nancy and Geraldine were to come back tonight. They were to leave out there after the funeral which was to be at two. I am afraid the cement will be very icy. Aunt Rachel will come with the body on the train at 4 oclock tomorrow morning. They will stay at Annie Zimmerman’s till the funeral.

Wednesday Dad, Ma and I went to town. Uncle Edd rode along in with us. Uncle Dan took Aunt Annie and Tillie. Tresidders were in also. All of us made funeral arrangements. Sullivan was to get Nash and Bertsch funeral chapel for the funeral. We got Rev. Brewster and Uncle Edd and John ordered the singers. He got Wallace Ford and Wallace was going to try to get Miss Eustice, Mrs. Bader and Herbert Dallyn. Mother called up Aunt Rachel to see for sure when they were coming and if the arrangements were satisfactory. She said they weren't going to have funeral here but that it would be all right. Tresidders came up this evening. Aunt Rachel said Wilbur and Anna was not coming.

Tuesday we had a card from Al saying he thought Uncle Thos was some worse. So we washed and Dad and Ma prepared to start for Waterloo on Wednesday. About eleven oclock Uncle Edd and Johnny came down to tell us Uncle Thomas* passed away that night. Al had called up and said they were going to bring him back to Galena Friday morning and Uncle Edd should see Sullivan and get the minister from our church. We hadn’t heard from Uncle Thomas on Monday. It was a nice warm day. Len, Dad and Ruby husked corn today. Mother and I made fruit cake and filled cookies. We staid at home all day on Sunday.

* According to the Records of Death , Black Hawk County, Iowa Thomas Alfred Trudgian (my great grandfather) died in Waterloo, Iowa on 12-21-1926 of Chronic Nephritis . Dr. W. Ellepson was his doctor and Peterson Brothers were the undertakers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Begins To Take Its Toll

Saturday, December 18, 1926: We were busy with Saturday work as usual. Did not hear anything about Uncle Thomas.

Friday was cloudy most of the day. Cold yet, but ever so much warmer than it has been. At least we could keep warm in the house, so we did a small wash. Len went into town with feed. Thursday, Ruby & I walked up to see how the Aunts were getting along. It was very icy walking. We called at Tresidder’s to let them know about Uncle Thomas. It was warmer in the afternoon.

Wednesday was another terrible cold day. The kitchen window were frozen shut all day. There was not one bit of a sign of thawing. The dining room windows were also frozen. For three days we lived in solitary confinement. We got a letter from Al on Wednesday saying Uncle Thomas was in very bad condition. He has been out of his head all the time. He wasn’t sleeping hardly any day or night just a few minutes at a time. He was in the hospital from Sun. till Thursday and then wouldn’t stay another minute. Aunt Rachel was worn out. He ran away Sunday and went over to Metcalf’s with a bath robe on. Al scolded about Anna going away down to Arizona when he was so bad.

Tuesday was clear and very cold and very icy. We just couldn’t warm up the house. The kitchen window was altogether froze up both Tuesday and Wednesday. But it started to thaw a little Tuesday night. Len had thought of going to town but decided it was too cold.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Excitment in Galena


Monday, December 13, 1926: It snowed some this morning an awful windy day and very cold. A very cold night. Yesterday we staid home all day. It was rainy most of the day, which made it icy getting around. That afternoon Mr. Fetter came. He wanted to us to take in a radio on trial but we didn’t let him. He had brought one along. He is the first agent we ever had on Sunday. In one way I guess it would have been alright. From here he went up to Fiedler’s.

Saturday, Len & I went to town in the afternoon. There was a big crowd in town. Officer Dwyer had ordered a very drunk man out of town. The man tried to drive out with his wife & baby. Officer Dwyer might as well committed murder as send such a dead drunk out of town driving a car. I surely expect to see the man drive right into a car or somebody. It was a terrible thing. It would be a lot better if Galena had no officers. I don’t see why the decent people of Galena stand it.

Friday we were all busy baking and ironing.

Thursday we got a card from Aunt Rachel{Trudgian}[the photo above is Thomas and Rachel with their three children - Alfred , Wilbur and Anna]. She said they did not bring Uncle Thomas home Wednesday night as he wasn’t able and that she staid at the hospital till ten and Al was going to stay the rest of the night there but as Uncle Thomas was sleeping Al went home. Uncle Thomas was some better in the morning.

Wednesday we washed. It was cloudy. Uncle Edd & Uncle Dan came down that evening to ask Leonard to help saw wood on Thursday. Uncle Edds got a letter from Aunt Rachel, saying Uncle Thos was very poorly and that he has in a sanitarium but they wouldn’t keep him as he annoyed the other patients.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Has Arrived

Tuesday, December 7, 1926: It was raining today turning into snow, loading trees and bushes with ice & snow. Luckily, on Monday, Len went to town with oats to grind. Dad, Ma & I went too. We took Aunt Tillie along to take a kiropathic* treatment. Roads are kind of rutty.

Friday had been a very nice day. It was a little too warm and the roads got soft. They finished husking shock corn. Ma & I were busy baking as usual on a Friday.

Saturday was rather cold, so we did not go to town. Then it snowed during the night. Sunday Len, Ruby & I went up to see the Uncles and Aunts in the evening.

*The Illinois Chiropractic Society (ICS) is an organization that represents the chiropractic profession in the state of Illinois. ICS was established in 1926 as a non-profit organization and is acknowledged in the Illinois Medical Practice Act of 1987. ICS works to promote and advance professional standards of ethics, education, training and quality health care for all of their members.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"I Say Thank You For The Music"


Thursday December 2. 1926: It was quite a nice day. Dad, Len, Dan & Ruby were busy husking & hauling corn. We got a card from Aunt Rachel. Uncle Thomas is about the same. They had heard from Anna [Trudgian-Bates] when she was on her way to Arizona.

Wednesday was cold. We finished ironing. Dad & Dan husked. Len & Rub hauled in corn. Tuesday, Dad, Len & Ruby went to town in the forenoon. Dad & Uncle Dan husked corn, while we baked, ironed some & etc.

Monday we washed as usual. Uncle Dan came down that morning to husk shock corn. Len went up to R. Baus’ that afternoon to get the bull calf.

Sunday we all went down to Tresidder’s in the afternoon. The Aunts and Uncles were there also. We heard the new Atwater Kent radio* [see photo above] they had put in last Monday. It was very clear and nice. The best I ever heard. The roads were quite muddy that afternoon. Fiedlers were to church that forenoon in their new sedan. It was the second time we saw them with it, fear it got a bit muddy.

Saturday was a very nice day. That evening cloudy & chilly. Len went up to Ray Baus’ and bought a young bull. He wanted to get it next week. I put the heater on the car in the afternoon.

* Arthur Atwater Kent produced his first radio components in 1921, selling the do-it-yourself kits consisting of "breadboards" that could be assembled by early radio enthusiasts. In 1923 his firm started producing complete radio sets, using a facility on Stenton Avenue. In 1924 the company moved to a new $2 million plant at 4745 Wissahickon Avenue in North Philadelphia. This plant, constructed in sections, would eventually cover 32 acres (130,000 m2). In 1925 the Atwater Kent Manufacturing Company became the largest maker of radios in the nation. The company also sponsored the popular The Atwater Kent Hour, a top-rated radio concert music program heard on NBC and CBS from 1926 to 1934. The show featured top entertainment and became one of the most popular and acclaimed regular radio programs of the era. At its peak in 1929, the company employed over 12,000 workers manufacturing nearly one million radio sets. The plant itself was an architectural sensation and received hundreds of visitors annually. By 1931 the company boasted that it had produced over three million radios. source : Wikipedia.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving ~ a day later

Fri. November 26, 1926, we were busy with baking, ironing and etz.

Thursday,was Thanksgiving. It was cloudy and foggy with a drizzle about all day. Nobody appeared for dinner. We had chicken, dressing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, crab pickles, cole slaw, bread, butter, saffron bread, cookies and pumpkin pie. This afternoon the Uncles & Aunts came down. The Aunts didn’t want to come but Uncle Edd wanted too. I suppose he was feeling badly because Johnnie’s didn’t ask them to their dinner. The Aunts thought the weather was too bad to come. They went home again before dark. It was warm today and very slushy this afternoon. There were several thunder storms this evening with rain and hail.

Wednesday was a nice day. Mother made some saffron cake & pies, Ruby made cookies. We asked Aunts Mag & Til & Dan to come down for Thanksgiving if Uncle Edd & Aunt Annie were going to Johnny’s but they hadn’t been asked yet as of Sunday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Winter On Its Way

Tuesday,November 23,1926: We washed and baked today. It was quite a nice day. Got a letter from Aunt Rachel. Uncle Thomas [Trudgian]* is very poorly. His blood pressure is 240.

Monday was cloudy with a light snow. We mended & etz. On Sunday it was very cold. That morning the windows were all frozen up. We had thought perhaps the Tippet family would be down but no. So that afternoon Dad, Ma & I walked up there. Then we came home in the beautiful moonlight. It had been a nice clear day & evening.

Saturday Dad, Len & Ruby went to town by car in the afternoon. They brought home a supply of eats. The roads were not so bad or good. They are the worst if you have to turn out of the road. Some sleighs going along now days.

Friday the sun had peeked out once. It was the first time for a week I guess. We washed and baked as usual we were always busy.

* Thomas and Rachel Trudgian were my great grandparents. They are buried in the Miner Cemetery with Lillian and her parents, as well as my great-great grandparents -Joseph and Mary [Pellymounter] Trudgian.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another Dittmar Leaves This Earthly Life


Thursday,November 18,1926: The snow is deep and it is still snowing. We had to wear high overshoes and leggings. Len, Ruby & Ma are busy taking some cattle over to the Weis’ place and choring about all day. Wednesday was another cloudy day with snow late in the afternoon. It came down fast and was quite deep by bed time. Len went to town with feed to grind twice that day.

On Tuesday, the weather was dark & cloudy. All but Dad went out to Hulda Dittmar’s* funeral in the forenoon. Len took his car. The roads were very muddy. It was nearly noon when the funeral got to Schapville. A very large crowd was there. But I guess it would have been very much larger if the roads had been good - about half the people there had their teams. Bessie was here from Dakota. The pallbearers were cousins. 4 Cooks and 2 Dittmars. Hulda did not look natural. She was very thin and so much older. The funeral car had a hard time getting thru the mud. It got mired several times. Uncle Ben & Uncle Joe Dittmar and his family were there. The roads were some better coming home. Uncle Dan had came home Monday morning to tell us that Hulda had died Saturday evening at 5 o’clock. She has been sick for a long time with heart trouble. The funeral was to be on Tuesday morning at 10 at the house in Elizabeth then to the Schapville Church. Uncle Dan had also said that John had been killed by the train in Galena on Sunday.

* Hulda Dittmar was only 20 years old when she died, having been born in 1906. She was the daughter of John H.Dittmar[1867 - 1937} and Anna H. Dittmar {1874 - 1921} who were also buried in the Schapville Presbyterian Cemetery {Thompson Township} pictured above, but Hulda was buried with Joseph, {1875 - 1938} and his wife Regina C. {1879 - 1968} Dittmar - or I guess I should say they were buried with her.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Armistice Day ~ No, Veterans' Day!

Sun. November 14, 1926 was very cloudy and showery. We were at home all day. Yesterday it rained some in the morning and also rained that night. So we didn’t go to town Saturday. Friday we stayed home and baked bread, coffee cake, apple kuken and a cake. We also churned.

Thursday was Armistice Day*. Eight years ago the war ended. Dad, Ma & I went to town in the afternoon. That eve. we all went up to see the Aunts & Uncles. Wednesday was a nice clear day but cold. We ironed. Len & Ruby husked the standing corn. Dad helped too.

* From Military.com we learn, “Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, most Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs. What's more, some Americans don't know why we commemorate our Veterans on Nov. 11th . It's imperative that all Americans know the history of Veterans Day so that we can honor our former service members properly.
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.
Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11th "

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Status of Church Attendance

Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1926: The clothes didn’t get dry yesterday. Mother took them off the lines last night as some were down on the ground. She rinsed them and hung them out again today. It was a very cold day.

On Monday we washed and hung the clothes outside. Then it started to rain in the afternoon and was a very stormy night. Mr. Stauss came down today. He husked corn.

Sunday was a real warm day. We all went to Galena to church in the forenoon. That afternoon we went to Council Hill to church*. The roads to the Station had all been widened and graded lately. It is a great improvement. This eve we went up to Aunt Annie’s but they weren’t home so we came home.

Dad, Ma & I went to town Saturday afternoon. It was another nice warm day. I wore a spring coat.

*Lillian's family was pretty faithful in attending church each week. But what church, what week is the question. I cannot find the church that Lillian mentions in this entry. The only old church I can find a history on is Lutheran and although the church history includes names of Lillian's neighbors, I don't think the family would have attended a Lutheran church - most mentions of churches pertain to either a Presbyterian or a Methodist affiliation. This visiting one church after another makes it really hard for a genealogist to find the valuable information that is often present when an ancestor was a long standing member of one particular church.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Multi-purpose Building


Friday, November 5, 1926: It is a most beautiful warm day. There is no relation to yesterday. We baked and churned. I also coated some chocolates. and filled a box to take to the Miner School* social. The Uncles and Aunts came down this evening but we went on to the social. Len, Ruby & I drove our car over. There was quite a crowd. The baskets for bidding went good. There was 6 or 7 boxes of candy. Mine brought .50 cents. Then there was some mistake. The baskets and candy got mixed and the fellows didn’t get what they bought. One of the White boys got my box of candy. They had quite a good program. Lottie & Evelyn rode home with us.

Thursday was an awful cold miserable day. Len, Ruby & Dad finished husking the church field.

On Wednesday Len took 4 old sows to Scales Mound. Mother churned. It tried to snow on Wednesday.

Tuesday we ironed and baked bread . We all went to the elections in the afternoon. From there we went to Scales Mound as Len wanted to see about sending away some hops*. It was nice and warm that A.M., but in the afternoon it was very cold. I nearly froze going to Scales Mound & Guilford.

Monday had been a cold day. We washed. I had carried in some more squash, pumpkins and cabbages & etz.

* There is some differing of opinion, but word has it that at one time the little brick building,[pictured above] which is in the Miner Cemetery served as a school and at another time as a church. According to a plat map of 1893 it was a school in the cemetery....this is also true on the 1913 plat map. On the 1938 plat map it is only marked with the school symbol, but believe me it still as the cemetery as the Trudgians are buried there. The building through all my plat maps is on Joseph Tippits' property. Several elderly residents of the area have told me they once attended school there also. Anyone have any additional information on this subject? If so, please comment.

*Hops: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the beer ingredient.
"Hops are the female flower clusters, commonly called cones or strobiles, of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus).[1] The hop is part of the family Cannabaceae, which also includes the genus Cannabis (hemp). They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine. The first documented use of hops in beer as a bittering agent is from the eleventh century. Prior to this period, brewers used a wide variety of bitter herbs and flowers. Dandelion, burdock root, marigold and heather were often used prior to the discovery of hops.[2] Hops are used extensively in brewing today for their many purported benefits, including balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing a variety of desirable flavors and aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable micro-organisms."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Did You Know?

Harry Houdini Died On October 31, 1926The famous magician was killed (accidentally) by a McGill University student named J. Gordon Whitehead who was hitting him in the stomach repeatedly as part of a stunt. A week later he died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix. Despite acute appendicitis, Houdini refused to seek medical treatment.

The First Jack-O-Lanterns Weren't Made Out Of Pumpkins
They were originally hollowed-out turnips. The modern practiced mutated from the Irish tradition of carving faces of the the dead onto the gourds and putting candles inside to make them glow. These days your Jack-O-Lantern is most made out of a pumpkin, which most likely came from Illinois-a state that grew 542million pounds of pumpkin in 2007.


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/30/the-history-of-halloween_n_321021.html

All Tricks and No Treats For Lillian

Sun.October 31, 1929*: "We all went to church this forenoon. Then we staid at Aunt Annie’s to dinner. It was nice this forenoon but cloudy this afternoon. It was colder on Saturday. I had thought something of going to town that night but as usual twas too late, cold & etz. & etz. Wish I could go to something without trying to drag all the family along.*

On Friday,Tom Glanman came to finish the painting in Einer’s place in the morning. He painted the lip under the roof and then painted the windows on the east and south side of the house. He also painted the front door. His & Einer’s bill was 15 dollars. There was a box social* at Independence School on Friday night. I had wanted to go so awfully bad, but I hardly felt able to stand up and Ruby didn’t care to go. Then its always so terribly late by the time the chores are done. So had to eat my heart out at home again.

Thursday Mother blackened the parlor stove and set it up. Len went to town twice in the forenoon with oats to grind."

* This is one of the first times that Lillian does not mention that it is Halloween .
* Lillian would have been 29 in 1926. You will note that she never goes anywhere without another family member or relative. It was indeed the accepted social mores that a young woman should not be out and about unaccompanied, but how confining! It had to limit her social life and in both of the entries for Saturday and Friday above she really seems to be feeling those constraints. It is times like this that my heart goes out to Lillian.
* The box socials at the different schools were a part of Lillian's social events, as well as the whole community's. Everyone went from the youngest to the oldest in the family. Sometimes the school children put on programs before the baskets/boxes were auctioned off. In the first edition of Lillian’s Diaries: Whispers From Galena’s Past they happened quite frequently. Sometimes they were a happy occasion and you can feel her joy, other times they will break your heart. As she grew older in the soon-to-be second edition, the accounts of these events get shorter and shorter.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Typical October Week

Wed. Oct. 27, 1926 : We ironed today. Dad, Ma & I went to Galena this afternoon. It was a nice warm day. Yesterday, Mother churned butter and also baked. Len & Ruby were busy husking corn on the Weis’ place*.

On Monday we washed. We also brought in the celery. The Aunts & Uncles* came down this evening.

Sunday the weather looked nice in the morning. And the roads still looked good so we packed our lunch and went to town to church. We ate our dinner in the car over by the park and then we went on the cement to Robert Virtue’s.* We found them home. Mr & Mrs. Charlie Gray and 4 children were there also. They wanted us to stay for supper but we didn’t. We thought it would be too late to get our choring done. They thought we ought to have come to spend the day. Vera teaches at Derinda, IL.

* Len and Ruby rented a piece of the Weis' property and farmed it for a few years.

* The aunts and uncles would have been Annie and Edd Tippet with Tillie, Maggie and Dan Dittmar.

* The present owners of the Trudgian house are related to the Virtues. They are the ones who have seen a elderly ghost in the back yard by the old barn dressed for farming and sitting on what is left of a brick wall from one of theout buildings.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

Sat. October 23: Dad, Ma & I went to town this afternoon. It started to rain soon after getting to Galena so we didn’t stay long. We got home before roads got slippery. It was rainy tonight.

As usual on Friday we were busy baking and ironing the rest of the clothes left from yesterday. We also made some grape juice. I wanted to go up to Aunt Annie’s that evening but rained a little so I staid at home.

Thursday we washed. I pickled* some wild grapes late in the afternoon for juice or jelly. I started to ironed some yet Thursday evening.

Ruby, Ma & I went out to Schapville on Wednesday to the mission feast in the afternoon. There were not as many there as on Sunday. Uncle Edd and the Aunts were out there also.


* Does anyone have a recipe for pickling grapes for jelly? There are none in Lillian's cookbooks.

It really seemed to rain alot in the Galena area. When I first started transcribing Lillian's Diaires: Whispers From Galena's Past I toyed with naming the book Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall. The weather did have an impact on so much of their lives.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Schapville Zion Presbyterian Church



Tue 19, 1926: Dad, Ma and Len went to town this forenoon. This afternoon we took up carrots and beets and also made bread. Len & Ruby went up to Scales Mounds to help celebrate Mrs. Stauss’ birthday*. It was rainy this eve.

On Monday, Mother and Ruby finished digging the potatoes, even Dad dug a few. We also put up the basket of grapes we got over in Dubuque.

Sunday was the dedication of the Zion Presbyterian Church addition at Schapville* today. All but Dad went out in the afternoon. There was a big crowd there. Uncle Edd and the Aunts [Annie, Tillie, Maggie] were there. Also Uncles Ben, George, Dan, Henry & Joe Dittmar with their families came. The church served dinner to a large crowd. It was cool and cloudy today.

* The Stauss family was much more inclined to celebrate birthdays it seems. There are multi entries in the second volume of Lillian’s Diaries of either Ruby and Len going to Scales Mounds for a celebration or Mr. & Mrs. Stauss coming to the Trudgian house.

* “According to the 1855 and 1856 the General Assembly referred to this church as Zion Presbyterian Church. The deed is dated May 15, 1861 and bears the name,"Old School Presbyterian Church of Mill Creek." In 1925, the church was incorporated and given the official name of "The Schapville Zion Presbyterian Church." even though it is listed as being in Elizabeth, IL.
Source: the history section of the Schapville Zion Presbyterian Church's website [check my "Links I think you will like" for a more detailed history.]

My great-great grandmother and grandfather – William and Anna (Winter) Kloth and Anna’s parents are buried in this church’s cemetery.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Trip To The Dentist: never a happy experience

Sat 16:Today we baked bread, coffee cake* and a cake. And, we also cleaned up. Ruby helped hay all day. They also picked corn after dark. It was a lovly moonlight evening although cool. I rather wanted to go to town tonight but Dad didn’t come until it was so late.

We all went to Dubuque yesterday. We went over on the new cement road. It took 45 minutes from Galena going over & 40 minutes coming home. I had six teeth filled. At least that is what was supposed to be done. One of my teeth had nearly as much of a hole as before. I believed I was badly hoodwinked. The dentist wanted me to have 50 or 100 dollars more work done. I paid twelve dollars on the bill. That is all I had but a few pennies.

Thursday was another nice day but cooler. Len and Ruby went to look for a stock hog. Then they went to Elizabeth, then to Wulff’s where they bought their hog but couldn’t have it until Wulffs are done with it. Mother, Ruby & I each dug some potatoes that day and we also ironed. Wednesday, Einer was here all day painting. He and Len put some roofing on the barn. Ma and Ruby washed while I had to do the housekeeping. Einer wasn’t coming till its dry enough for a second coat. It was a lovely day.

* One of the coffee cake recipes that Lillian used can be found on page 49 of Lillian's Diaries: Whispers From Galena's Past. This particular recipe was handwritten by a Miss Sophia Sachs who was born October 22, 1892. Leonard Stauss' mother was a Sachs before she married his father. I will have to do more research as to how Sophia fits into the lineage.

Ever wonder how I obtained Lillian's diaries? You'll be able to find out when the ISGS's Winter Quarterly comes out. I was most honored to be asked to write an article on the subject by the Illinois State Genealogy Society and thrilled that my article was accepted. The ISGS will also be doing a review of the first volume of Lillian's Diariesin the same issue.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Bolivia Coat

Remember Lillian's new coat that was mentioned in the Tuesday, September 15, 1926 posting that said that she had bought a bolivia coat? Well Leaves on the Trudgian Tree's newest follower, Debbie V. actually found a picture of an All-Wool Bolivia coat on p. 3 of The Frisco Employes Magazine for October, 1926, Vol. IV. What a good researcher......it's not a color, it's a style. And look at the cost! Wish I was living in 1926!

Unfortunately, I cannot seem to add the picture to this post, but if you go to Debbie's comment on September 15th the link is there and you can see it for yourself.

Where Will We Eat Tonight?


"Tue 12,1926: Dad, Ma & I went to town this forenoon. We met Aunt Mag coming down. The other Aunts were in town. It rained some last night so Einer Glanman did not come till after dinner. He got started painting under the eaves. He came yesterday and was here all day painting and he got the two chimneys fixed and half the roof painted.* I dug some more potatoes on Monday. Sunday, we all went to church in the morning. Then we came home to dinner. The roads were good. In the afternoon Dad, Ma & I went up to Aunt Annie’s. Otto Grebner and family and Gesselbrachts were there. We staid to supper. Len & Ruby came up that evening to see Aunt Annie."

* You have seen the front of the Trudgian house in an earlier post, and now you can see the back in the photo above where Einer was painting and fixing chimneys

Are any of you amazed at how many times the Trudgians are dropping in to someone’s house for dinner or supper without an invitation …or how many times they are hosting “a dinner party” with no warning whatsoever? It must have been a custom or accepted social action of the day! I know my housekeeping and meal planning would never be able keep up with a continuous flow of unexpected guests. How about you?

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Break in The Weather & Maybe The Fence

"Sat 9, 2009: All but Len went to town this afternoon .There were a great many cars going along this evening, in fact the road was busy all day.. Today was a nice warm day. Yesterday was another beautiful day. It was quite warm, but we didn’t get many potatoes dug today. Dad spent most of people’s time running after the cow & calves* etz. Len, Ruby & Dad hauled some hay this afternoon. We baked a cake, churned, and finished ironing.

Thursday was a most beautiful day. It was the first one we had had for a long, long while. I* would liked to have gone on a long ride somewhere but felt we could not afford the time. All but Dad dug potatoes a while Thursday forenoon. Our potatoes are very poor potatoes. It is very discouraging. In the afternoon Len went to town to try to have his car fixed. It wouldn’t run on the magnets. He took it up to Paul Stauss’* and he fixed it in a few minutes. Almira, Wesley & Eleanor Dittmar [cousins] came in the afternoon for some of our apples. After they had gone Uncle Joe Dittmar and his family called on their way home from Galena. Dad, Ma & I went up to Aunt Annie’s Thursday evening."

* Lillian loved cars. She spent hours of her life after that first car in 1917, fixing and grooming the family cars, as well as driving here and there. And, she was quite good at it! Rather unusual for a woman in those days.

* We can assume that, once again, the cows have gotten through the fence and run off. It wouldn’t be the first time. If the Trudgian cows weren’t in someone else’s pasture, then someone else’s cows were in the Trudgian’s pasture. Everyone knew whose animals were whose. Don’t ask me! I’ve never been a farm girl!

* Paul Stauss appears to be a man of all trades. In the first volume of Lillian’s Diaires he is always bringing parts in the Trudgian farm and helping to fix the radio, now he is fixing Len’s car. I think he is related to Leonard Stauss, Ruby’s husband. Perhaps he is a nephew.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Same Old, Same Old ...Work, Work, Work

"Wed, Sept 6, 1926: Sunday was rainy in the morning and Uncle Henry and his family did not come to visit us. But, the Aunts (Annie, Tillie and Maggie )and Uncle Edd came down for dinner. Then in the afternoon Uncle Edd, Len & Dad went over to see Billie Bastian as he has been sick. He was up and around again. It threatened to storm this afternoon but didn’t. On Monday Len and Ruby & Dad picked apples. Mother dug some potatoes. There was a terrible windy forenoon and the apples were falling so. Tuesday Len,Ruby Dad & Ma dug some potatoes. In the afternoon Len & Ruby picked corn. I hulled some walnuts and sliced some large cucumbers for slicer pickles. Today we washed laundry and baked bread We also made six qts. of slicer pickles."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cooking Chow-chow and Cars




Sat, Oct. 2, 1926: The last day of September was cloudy and misty all day. It has been cloudy since Sunday. We ironed and dug some very dirty potatoes. We were afraid that they would rot in the ground. We made sliced pickles. That night we ground things for chow-chow*. Dad & Len went to town. It stormed about all night with a very heavy rain. Friday, Aunt Till went up to Aunt Annie’s in the morning. We baked and put up chow-chow. I washed the car. It was quite warm , which was nice. Today, we did our Sat. work in the forenoon. Just before we had our dinner Aunt Maggie came. Uncle Edd brought her down to tell us that Uncle Henry had called them up. He wanted them to tell us that they are coming in here tomorrow. Dad, Ma & I went to town this afternoon. It looked like threatening weather before we went and started to rain as we got to town. We hurried to get our trading* done and it rained quite hard. The rain let up a little before we started for home. The roads were quite muddy. Mother and I washed the car* yet this evening and I shined it some after dark. I just got through shining it this morning. It surely draws rain.

* You can find Lillian’s recipe for chow-chow on p. 648 of Lillian’s Diairies. They would have chopping or grounding up the green tomatoes, ripe tomatoes, onions, green or red peppers and cabbage and let it sit overnight with spices and vinagar.

* Trading is shopping, not bartering

* Since the 1920-1924 diaries are missing, I am not sure what kind of car the family has in 1926 – I am sure it is not the original Ford that Lillian’s father purchased on Monday, April 2, 1917. Lillian had gone along with her father to town and Mr. Anton Grube took them for a ride in a Ford car. They rode out toward Apple River on the south road and then went out north of town, where Lillian’s father moved to the back seat and Lillian got behind the wheel. It was her first trial of running a car and she drove very crooked at first. Her father sat in the back saying “Look out for the ditch” and “Turn this way and so on, all the time”. She fell in love with cars that day and was thrilled when her father ordered the first family car. The car was driven to their home on June 25 and Lillian took her first driving lesson. On her third lesson Lillian was going to shut the throttle and instead opened it as far as it would go. The car jumped the ditch and the results are shown in the picture* above.

* The picture was sent to me by one of the Lillian’s Diaries’ readers, Agnes Coletta Weis Schultz, the oldest child of Albert Weis and Clara Weis who lived next door to the Trudgian property. Coletta’s father took a picture of the car the day Lillian drove it in the ditch.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Frost is on The Pumpkins or at Least on The Squash

"Wed, Sept 29, 1926: Everything froze Sunday morning. It was a very hard frost that made ice in the bottom of pails. It seemed too bad that the squash vines were frozen and all the squash were partly froze. All, but Dad, went to church in the morning. He wouldn’t shave! After church we went up to Aunt Lizzie Dittmar's in the afternoon. Len went to his folks. Tresidders came up this evening to visit with us.

On Monday, Len & Ruby went down to Len Atz’s near Elizabeth, Illinois and got a sheep buck. Meanwhile, Mother and I put up 8 qts of pickles. Tuesday we washed as we do almost every Tuesday.

Today is Ruby & Len's sixth wedding anniversary. Len & Ruby spent it digging potatoes this afternoon. Len had gone to town with feed to grind this forenoon. Aunt Till [Dittmar] came down today. She and I went up on the Weis' hill to look for hickory nuts but didn’t find many. Aunt Till is going to stay with us over night.>"

Living in Michigan, I can, for the first time, relate to the temperatures in Lillian's Diaries. This year has had very unusual weather. Today the temperature had a high of 51 degrees and tonight, we are cutting down from three to one window open in our bedroom. When I was transcribing Lillian's Diaries the weather was so different from what we experience today. Global warming????

Note the lack of fanfare over Len and Ruby's anniversary.....no cards, no gifts, no romantic candlelit dinner. Throughout her diaries you will find that Christmas and big anniversaries - 30-40-50th were the only times that the day was marked with cards and/or gifts. Occasionally, Lillian will write that she has received a birthday card from a cousin or aunt, but as she gets older they appear less and less.

Friday, September 25, 2009




Sat, Sept 25, 1926: Thursday was a cloudy, rainy day, a very bad day for the Elizabeth Fair. We intended to go if it had been nice weather. We washed in afternoon and made some yellow tomatoe preserve. There were storms and heavy rain that evening. On Friday, we were busy baking and etz, & etz. We made two kinds of jelly. I wondered if the Fair would be put off, as the weather was cold and wasn’t much better than Thursday.

Today is a very cold day but sunshiny. We wanted to go to town today, but Dad has about 3 weeks’ whiskers on and wouldn’t shave so we didn’t go. We spent about all afternoon and evening gathering in tomatoes, peppers, sting & lima beans, cucumbers and etz. Ruby & I went over to the garden at Weis’ place and picked lima beans at eleven tonight with lantern & flashlight - everything was all ready frozen."

Having been a social worker for years before retiring, family dynamics always fascinate me. Here we have Charles and Amelia Dittmar Trudgian[see today's photograph], Lillian's parents living in the house that Charles grew up in with their two adult daughters - Ora Ruby Trudgian Stauss and her husband, Leonard Stauss and of course Lillian. They are living on 88 acres of land - what remains of the original purchase made by Joseph and Mary Pellymounter Trudgian [Charles' parents]. The rest had been sold off in years past [The land the neighbors -Fiedlers - live on once belonged to Charles' parents and then my great-great grandparents - Thomas and Rachel Kloth Trudgian]. In the first volume of Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past there seems to be a division of labor, with everyone helping out when a particularly large task had to be done like husking corn in November.

Now it appears Ruby and Lillian are working, working, working and occasionally their mother helps out. In the meanwhile Charles is out gathering nuts and Leonard is out helping the neighbors and his parents but not at the Trudgian homestead.

In the 1913-1919 period of the first book we see what might be questionable behavior of Charles......everyone is busy working and he takes off and to chance a ride* to another town and stays overnight, sometimes without telling his family who he is staying with or how long he will be gone..... or being so sick that all the womenfolk are worried about him and he is again leaves to chance a ride in the cold and rain to go somewhere.

In today's entry he hasn't shaved for three weeks and is refusing to do so. It seems that the whole family will stay home because he won't shave. Was it necessary to shave before going out in public? Was he growing a beard? I am sure that period of time had many more guidelines as to what was proper to wear or do while out in the community than we experience today......do you agree?
* to chance a ride is to hitch hike

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Harvest Continues


"Wed, Sept 22, 1926: On Mon we made apple sauce plus cooked 2 kettles of plum preserve or 4 ½ qts. and made a batch of catsup. That was besides digging some potatoes, gathering in plums,crab apples,tomatoes and pop corn.I went looking for hickory nuts but didn’t find many yet at our place. Meanwhile,Dad gathered nuts all day on the Weis’ hill. Tue we made 4 qts plum preserve and made crab apple pickles and baked bread, fired two stoves and nearly baked ourselves. Len & Ruby went to town in the afternoon and brought home a box of peaches. Today it is cloudy & gloomy most all the time but cooler. We put up 9 qts peaches, churned, and made apple sauce. Uncle Edd & the Aunts came down this evening brought 4 mush* & a watermelon.

* mush - yes you guessed it - is muskmelon. Although I have heard people pronounce it mushmelon as well as muskmelon. Either way, I am allergic to it and don't even remember what it taste like anymore.

Although this entry is not that exciting, it is an ideal example to illustrate how hard our ancestors worked just to keep going. During the September and October entries each year in "Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past" most of the information is about harvesting, preparing and canning the food that they would live on over the winter months and until spring when the process begins again - this time with all the berries. And all without air conditioning, food processors, electric stoves and all the other appliances and cooking aides that today we consider to be essential!

Once a year I get into my "Lillian" mode and for a few weeks spend all my free time preparing Wolf River Apples....this year we added Michigan peaches so the tiny freezer of our side-by-side is overflowing with unbaked French apple pies, peach cobbler, applesauce, peach freezer jam, peach/blueberry freezer jam and apple crisp! I have about a half bushel left to go and I am exhausted and we are going to buy a small freezer chest to suppliment the one we have! How did they ever do all this work and still manage to go into town?

Today, I also included the picture at the top of the post. This is a piece of farm equipment that Lillian's father, Charles Trudgian, designed and patented. It is currently at the Galena Historical Museum with some other items from the "old Trudgian house". Can anyone guess what this machine does?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Grapes Over The Big Pond


"Sun, Sept.19,1926:We have been busy,busy, busy the last few days. Len helped finish the trashing, first at John Tippet's and then at Win Tippet's. It was a very warm day on Friday and a terrible hot day yesterday. Could hardly work but had so much to do. Thursday we washed and then baked and made 2 kettles of plum preserves besides going to the Weis place and gathering plums and crabs.* Friday we made a cake, cooked more plum preserves, ironed and cleaned up. Uncle Edd went to Apple River on Friday and picked up Aunt Tille and Aunt Maggie [in photo from L. to R. Aunt Annie, Aunt Maggie, Aunt Tillie and Amelia -Lillian's mother] to stay with them for awhile. Saturday night around 10-30* it started to rain and it rained a good part of the night.We didn’t go to church today as the roads were so muddy as usual on Sunday.

This noon when we were eating dinner a car drove up by the gate. Three fellows jumped out and two went down in the ditch and one fellow sat on the bank and proceeded to pick grapes on the wire over the big pond, as big and bold as can be! We got worked up about it. Not that we want the grapes but don’t like to have them picked for wine. Len hollered out the window but they didn’t move. Then Ruby went down and wrote down their license & city license number and ordered them off. They wanted to know who lived here, very much provoked I guess. They stopped at Fiedler’s place.

Len went up there this afternoon. They had asked Fiedlers the way to Nick Weis’. They said they was chased off the property down here. Mr. Fiedler told them they should have asked for the grapes instead of just picking them.

Ruby & I walked up to Aunt Annie’s this afternoon. We staid to supper."

* crabs are crabapples
* 10-30 is 10:30 p.m. As you read Lillian's Diaries you will note how she changes the way she indicates a time. I think this must have been influenced by how others during this period were doing it. I see it reflected in her letters as well as the diaries.

I just found an interesting blog you might want to explore. Check out "Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog" at midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tasty? Treats

" Thu, Sept 16, 1926: Yesterday we put up 4 quarts of tomatoes and 2 quarts of ground cherries*. Then Ma & I went over to the Weis' place and got a few Chickasaw plums*. Also picked a paper sack full of towl grapes*. Today we washed clothes. Dad, Ma, & I went to town late this afternoon. Len helped finish the thrashing at John Tippet’s place."

*Ground cherries are small orange fruit similar in size and shape to a cherry tomato. The fruit is covered in papery husk. Flavor is a pleasant, unique tomato/ pineapple like blend. The ground cherry is very similar to the cape gooseberry, both having similar, but unique flavors. They grow on a small shrub-1-3 ft.in height similar to the common tomato as an annual or perennial. Source: http://tradewindsfruit.com

*Chickasaw plums come from a twiggy, thicket-forming tree, 15-30 ft. tall, with fragrant white flowers in flat-topped clusters and yellow fruit ripening to red in August or September. The tree has a short,crooked trunk and flat-topped crown with scaly, nearly black bark. Reddish branches are covered with thorn-like side branches. Cultivated by the Chickasaw Indians and other indigenous peoples before the arrival of Europeans. This plum is eaten fresh and made into jellies and preserves. Source: www.wildflower.org.

*Towl grapes: After searching the internet for an hour trying to find these I pulled out the actual diary and I think the word she has written is tame.
Source: Sheryl's aging eyes

This family was adventuresome with their eating habits, picking and canning foods from field and hill. Has anyone ever eaten any ground cherries or Chickasaw plums? I bet you have had a taste or two of "tame" grapes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Tue, Sept. 15,1926: Monday Dad, Ma and I went to town. Today, Len wanted to go to Dubuque as Raymond's family [Leonard's brother and family] and his folks were going. So Ruby, Ma & I went along. We took Len's car and went to Scales Mounds and nearly to Shullsburg, Wisconsin. Then we drove through New Diggings and etz. We It was about ten oclock when we got over to Dubuque. I bought a winter coat and hat. Coat is wine color bolivia*. The hat is also about the same color. Coat cost nineteen-fifty and hat six dollars. It was about dark when we got home."

Dubuque, Iowa seemed to be the Trudgian family's favorite place to shop. It appears to be it was like going into Chicago from the suburbs. The big city with so many choices. Lillian is always very detailed with what she bought and how much she paid for it. Where her money came from I will never know. In Vol.I she mentions when her mother or Ruby pays for Lillian's items, so it appears she did have a source of income. And she does write about little projects she works on like the bouquet of flowers she makes and sells. But the whole family often went on shopping trips and Lillian hardly ever comes home empty handed. I don't think her flower bouquets footed her bills. Every year she sat down and created a list of everything she spent money on. Another Trudgian house treasure was finding a stack of these lists. I can tell you how much almost anything a woman needed in the years 1916-1928 cost. I love these little extra views into the time period.

*bolivia - I tried to research this word. Everything tells me that Bolivia is not a color or a fabric, but a country - another time I need that old dictionary. My best thought cames from an Wikipedia article on Chicha which is a term used in some regions of Latin America for several varieties of fermented beverages. In the country Bolivia,amaranthus chicha is traditional and popular. Amaranthus is collectively known as amaranth or pigweed and is a cosmopolitan genus of herbs. Approximately 60 species are recognized, with inflorescences and foliage ranging from purple and red to gold. Not only is it used for a beverage, but also for a dye. I think the "wine color bolivia" blended the whole beverage/dye/chicha concept together and is meant to portray a reddish-purple wine color. Let me know if you come up with a better explanation.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


"Sun, Sept. 13, 1926: Friday and Saturday was spent doing the usual work. On Saturday we were busy with baking and etz. and etz. But in the evening Dad, Ma & I went to town. On the way home we stopped in at Aunt Annie’s. Today, we all went to town to church in the forenoon. Rev. Smith had a sermon on the sins of Galena. It was very interesting. He is quite worked up over the Eagles’ doing last Sunday. Lots of drinking went on there. This afternoon we all went to Scales Mound to Aunt Lizzie’s [Dittmar], while Len went to visit with his folks*."

The church was more than likely the First United Methodist Church on Bench Street in Galena - pictured above. The family vascillated back and forth between the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches in Vol. 1 of Lillian's Diaries but evidentually Lillian's mother, Amelia Dittmar Trudgian and Ruby, Lillian's sister joined the Methodist Church. She never says in her diaries that she has joined also. The years 1920 thru 1924 are missing and it is possible that she did join during that period.

One of the treasures from the Galena house was a small Methodist Hymnal - the kind you see the women in the late 1880's carrying in their gloved hands as they enter worship service. Inside, written in black ink, is Mrs. Mary Trudgian's Book Sept 4th 1889. Below that in another hand is written Chas Trudgian. Mary is my great-great grandmother - the one who came from St. Austell, Cornwall, England to Galena in 1852. Chas is Charles Trudgian, Lillian's father.

*Ruby married Leonard Stauss in 1920 [one of the missing diary years. He was the son of Jacob and Sophia Sachs Stauss who also lived in Scales Mound. Some of Sophia's handwritten recipes are included in Vol. I.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Quiet Day at the Trudgian Home

Thu, Sept 10, 1926: "Yesterday forenoon Len & Ruby went to town. Mother and I stayed home and washed the weekly laundry and hung it out to dry. No rain, so it was able to dry before late afternoon. We took it in and folded it. Today we ironed. Ruby helped and then we made catsup and put up 10 quarts.”

Here’s a question for those of you who read Lillian’s Diaries Vol. I - did you enjoy the recipes I included from the old handwritten and newspaper clippings cookbooks from Lillian’s kitchen? Or is that something that distracted from your reading the diaries?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day is Spent Laboring


Tue Sept. 8, 1926: Yesterday was Labor Day and the whole family labored. We didn’t go to the Eagles’* big celebration. It had been a nice day and there must have been a big crowd who did attend, as cars went by our house in great numbers. Meanwhile, we all were stuck at home. Dad, Len, Ruby & Mother dug potatoes. Even though they worked hard all day they didn’t finish digging the early ones.

Today we were inside all day as it rained hard all forenoon*. I sewed some on Mother’s black silk that we started to make over last year.

*Turner Hall: The Fire
“1926 was a huge year in the history of Turner Hall. In the spring, the Hall was sold to the Eagles for $10,000. The very popular show “Abbie’s Irish Rose” was brought to the Hall in April 1926. In May, 1926 the Hall was officially dedicated as a combined opera house, dance hall and general hall. Luck was not with the Eagles, however, for 10 weeks later, on July 1, 1926, the Old Turner Opera House was gutted by fire. The loss was considered nearly total or over $12,000. At 10:50 AM, Mrs. F.H. Rickeman of Prospect Street turned in the alarm. According to the Gazette:
“Others also noted smoke issuing from the cupola of this massive building at about the same time, but thought that bats or bees were being smoked out of the apex of this building. The custodian, Wiliam Wilhelmi, was working in the building at the time the general alarm was sounded and did not know that the structure was on fire until he came out to see where the fire was.

The cause of the fire was never determined. At least one person reported seeing lighting strike the cupola of the Hall. It was also suggested that faulty wiring might be the culprit. There was also a faction that believed a pigeon brought a lit cigarette butt up into the cupola. Whatever the cause, the Hall was severely damaged and the $8000 of insurance money collected by the Eagles was not enough to rebuild.

Rebuilding

The Eagles began fundraising efforts and made plans to build a modest hall. Their simple plans, however, caused an outcry from the public who believed that a grand, up-to-date building was called for. The support for a modern large Hall was so great that the Eagles relented and made new plans, but asked for financial support from the citizenry as well. In the September 16, 1926 Gazette a list of people donating money to the cause was printed.”* www.turnerhall.com

* forenoon is used to indicate the morning – hours before twelve noon.
* The rebuilt Turner Hall is pictured above. Today it remains a historic landmark in Galena, used for special events.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weather Ruled The Day


Mon. Sept. 6, 1926: "Buster (their pet dog) did not return today. We have nearly given up hope that he will come home anymore. Len made a round over and around John Weis’ round mound then in to Win Tippet’s and Charles Ehrler’s pasture and up by the church & etz. Dad went up along the ridge as far as the school house and down the road. I went up around on Joe Weis’ hill but did not find him. Perhaps someone killed him. This is Labor Day and the big celebration at Galena. Quite a number of cars went along.

Uncle Edd & Aunt Annie came along about 3-30 and asked Ma & Dad to go along out to Uncle Henry’s with them so we wouldn’t have such a load. They went but soon after it came to look rainy. It got very dark in Northwest. We were all ready by 5-30 but it was such threatening weather we feared to start. By six it began to look brighter. Len didn’t want to go then, claiming it was too late. Anyhow we started. The weather looked so clear and nice back by Weis’ and our road so good. We went along so happily. But as we turned onto the ridge road it got awfully muddy. We stopped and put on the chains, but they were too big. I was afraid to go on that way so we went back and thought we would try it by Scales Mound but it was very muddy up that way so we got gas and telephoned down to Uncle Henry’s and told them we weren’t coming. Then we came home with a very sore heart. After we got home we went to bed without any supper."

If you read "Lillian's Diaries" you are aware of how dependent everyone was on the weather. If you count how many times Lillian and/or her family planned on going somewhere and it "came to rain" (meaning it started to rain) you will find that they cancelled their plans more times than they carried through with their plans. For Lillian, as a teenager, that had to be heartbreaking - to be invited to a party, a anniversary party, a bridal shower, a dance, or a school social and then to not be able to go after all your preparations because of the rain, the snow or the muddy roads!

At the time of the entry above Lillian was still living at home - which would be expected in 1925- with her Mother, Father and with Ruby (Lillian's older sister) and her new husband, Leonard Stauss. The house was made of brick and two stories high with an extension room made of wood in the back that might have been a summer porch or maybe even a summer kitchen in the days before Lillian's family lived there. Charles, Lillian's Father, had lived there all his life, except for the short time he lived with his family of origin in the barn where he was born.(see previous post). I have had the opportunity to tour the house and I can't picture how everyone could have possibly fit into the house. But, as my Mother says "In the old days people were much more inclined to put up with less of everything than we are today."

Friday, September 4, 2009


"Friday, Sept 4, 1926:
Len & Ruby had an early dinner and then went to Warren Fair. Called a little* on way home at the Aunts’. After they got home Mr. Brandt & the agent for the separator they had on trial came. There was such a stew to get milked so they helped milk our cows. Supper had to go to grass and so be and etz*! Then he didn’t get no cream!

We put up eight quarts blue plums or prunes and wasted 1 qt by breaking the jar. Also baked and ironed."

One of the comments from readers of Lillian's Diaries was that there were words and/or sayings that they had never heard or that they did not understand. In the next book I plan to footnote meanings such as;
*called a little means to stop in and visit for a while
* etz. is her abbreviation for et cetera
What do you think? I have also added some words in her text to make full sentences.

When I first toured the house and barn{Pictured at the top of this entry and showing the very tiny windows that I had written about.These were only on one side of the barn just big enough to put a gun barrel through and can be seen on either side of the square opening - if you really squint)I found about a hundred - maybe more - of the canning jars like the one Lillian mentioned above that broke during the canning of the blue plums.

It was not a pleasant task, but I collected as many as I could to take home with me. Unfortunately, all kinds of little critters had made their homes in these jars. I found clear jars, aqua jars, green jars - pint jars, quart jars and 2 quart jars, some with bales some with glass covers. The prize was two very old ones from the
1800's. Some were stacked in paper boxes that had all but disintegrated other were strewn about hidden under clumps of matted hay. I am sure that this was but a small amount of the jars Lillian, Ruby and their mother, Amelia, used for canning throughout the years. When you read her entries throughout the Summer and Fall of each year almost every week they are putting up some sort of food item and she always tells us when a jar has been broken,as if she felt it were very precious.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In The Beginning

In 1852 Joseph and Mary Trudgian arrived in Galena, Illinois after sailing from Plymouth, England on May 3, 1852 on the ship John with two of their own children under the age of 6 and two slightly older children from Joseph's first marriage. ( He had married Ann Woolcock on March 6, 1833 and after having two children, Ann died in 1844. On Christmas Day of 1845 he married Mary Pellymounter who was, as they say, a spinster.)

About 80 acres of land had been purchased by Joseph just outside of Galena.....but there were no structures on the property. Imagine having four young children, coming to a new country and not having a home. The family built a barn - which is still standing today - of field stone and wood and the family moved in and lived there for a year or two until their home was built. The barn's foundation of fieldstone was equipped with special little windows to allow someone on the inside of the barn to aim a shot gun at any intruders [ family stories say the area was occasionally visited by Indians] while keeping out arrows or bullets from "enemy" from harming anyone inside. Both Lillian's father, Charles and my great-grandfather, Thomas were born in the barn, as was their brother, Samuel.

If you have read Lillian's Diaries: Whispers From Galena's Past you will may have noticed that Lillian starts right in with her first entry in 1913 in the here and now. There is no mention of her father having lived on the land from the first day of his life, or of any correspondance from anyone in England or for that matter any mention of her true "roots". In fact, in one entry she states the family is Irish and in another that they are French. So here is a difference between Lillian and I......she appears to never be seeking information about her family tree, while those that know me, know that I can't seem to stop seeking genealogical information about the Trudgians and those associated with them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday, September 1, 1913

9-1-1913: "Well today is Labor Day. No mail today.Papa got up today, Is feeling a little better. They are having a celebration in town today, baseball and horse racing. Quite a few people went along today." or so wrote Lillian Trudgian in her first diary.

She had just celebrated her sixteenth birthday on August 29th and describes herself as "....good looking and tall (about 5 foot and 9 1/2 inches) and slender...." . She goes on to say she ".....has brown eyes and long black eyelashes and medium brown curly hair (Ha-Ha)." She lived near Galena, Illinois out on Stagecoach Trail. The house still stands and is occupied.

In my search for genealogy information on the Trudgian surname I found not only birth, marriage and death certificates at the courthouse......but also Lillian's home and some of Lillian's diaries which have extended my genealogy on this family, while also painting a picture of what life was really like in a midwestern town like Galena in the early 1900's.

Lillian's life was so different than mine....yet there are some similarities between her and I. I turned sixteen on August 1st of 1961 - so we both are Leos. I was also considered to be tall - 5 ft. 7 1/2 inches and slender ( oh, how I wish I could turn back the pages and be slender once more!) with light brown hair that really was curly! And my last name at that time was Trudgian. Lillian is my third cousin once removed!