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:

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'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.