Sunday, April 25, 2010

Miracles Do Happen

For years I have searched for the missing diaries which should have sat between the 1913-1919 ones that have been published in Lillian's Diaires: Whispers of Galena's Past* and the 1925-1931 diaries which I am currently working on to be published this year. Despite all the searching these diaries - which tell of Ruby's wedding and the sale at the Trudgian farm, etc. etc - remained hidden until a week ago when an email arrived from Janet Temperly (whose mother - Sadie Dittmar Temperly - was a cousin of Lillian's)who found the diaries when searching through a box of old photographs for pictures of Lillian) She sent them to me - God bless her! and now there will be 2 more books of diaries to be published -1920-1926 and 1927-1931! Watch for some of Janet's photographs in the next couple of blog postings!

Saturday, April 25, 1925: We were busy all day with Saturday work and getting Ruby’s room straighten. All but Mother went to town this eve. It was nearly nine when we started. The roads were rough. Friday we had a dandy rain during the night and quite a few showers during the day. We baked and finished papering Ruby’s room. Also finished ironing. Made applesauce.

Thursday we washed and also did most of the ironing. It was another very warm day. It came to a storm that evening. Had a nice rain. On Wednesday we finished planting early potatoes and made some garden and papered some today. Had our first asparagus today. About five oclock Aunt Till came down. She then went to town that evening with Ruby & Len to the Presbytery at Stauss’ church. We took her up before they were ready so she could get ready. Very hot weather.

Tuesday we planted some more potatoes. Also papered the ceiling of Ruby’s room. The oldest calf (that is this year’s calf) died in the morning. I guess it bled to death. It was all right last night. It was such a pet. Thought of keeping it for a steer. The Scales Mound Methodist minister called here in the P.M. Monday was cloudy and cold. Len plowed part of the garden patch. We planted six rows and a part of a row of potatoes and got Ruby’s room already to paper. Rained a little that eve.

* Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past is available at Book World in Galena IL and on

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dubuque, Digging and Death

Saturday April 18, 1925: Dad, Ma, Ruby & I went to town this afternoon. Before we came home we drove over to Tippet’s on Park Ave., thinking Uncle Edd and the Aunts were there getting ready for the Snows, Mattie and Grandpa to come home. Snow was going to meet them about 200 mi down state with the car. They were there already. Got home about twelve oclock. Today is Grandpa Tippet’s ninetieth birthday. Saw Mary and the children. Stormy after we got home but didn’t rain very much. Friday all felt tired. Baked and etz. Thursday morning Sally had six little puppies out in the summer kitchen. Len & Ruby drowned four and left two. Then Friday morning they drowned one more.

Thursday’s morning about eight thirty the Stauss came on their way to Dubuque. So we jumped in our clothes, put together some lunch and went. We met Stauss in town. Went thro Menominee. Ate our dinner before we got to East Dubuque. About eleven thirty we got there. Well, Ruby got a hat and I a dress. Paid twelve dollars for it. An odd dress and odd color. Yellowish brown. Mother got a brown coat. Mrs. Stauss got a coat and dress. Edna a coat and hat & Eloise a hat. They went home by Hazel Green & New Diggings. Wednesday, morning all but Mother went to town. Ruby had Dr. Stone fill our teeth for her. I had one pulled - upper right side next to the wisdom tooth. It didn’t hurt but it was a terror to pull. Broke up so. And the roots was hooked. Came right home. Hurt awfully this afternoon. Some easier this eve. Mother & Ruby tore off the paper in Ruby’s room this afternoon.

Tuesday I worked about the car in the afternoon. Mother and Ruby made a little more garden. Edna Stauss went along to Galena with J. Virtues. They stopped. They, Raymonds & Mr. & Mrs. Stauss want to go to Dubuque some day soon. Said Len could ride along or take his own car and go along. Monday we washed. Aunt Margaret came down. The others had gone to town. They came down this evening. Last Sunday was Easter. A most beautiful day. Very warm and roads very dusty. We all went to Galena to services that morning. The church was full. Had to use chairs. Mr. & Mrs. Jack Combellick’s five week old baby girl had died Friday and was buried from the house at one oclock. Mrs. Whitham’s funeral was at three on Easter afternoon. We didn’t have any company that day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Gardening Begins

Saturday April 11, 1925: Dad, Ma & I went to town this afternoon. There was a meeting of the young people of the church at the Pres. Church today. Vada and Lester drove in and Aunt Dora came along. Raymond, Leon and Alvina were in also. Said they would stop here on their way home, but they didn’t. Naomi was in also. Friday we were busy baking. Also made a little more garden.

Thursday, We made a little more garden. Cleaned Dad’s and Ma’s room today. Len and Ruby went to town this afternoon. Wednesday, We made a fence around a plot out west of the house for a early garden. Also spaded some and planted onions seed and tomatoe and radish seeds. Roads are very dusty.

Tuesday, we ironed and baked bread. Also oatmeal drop cakes. Election Day! Dad, Len, Ruby and I went over to Guilford, but Ruby and I didn’t vote*. Bert Weis was on the township ticket for school trustee. We had green onions of our own raising for supper. We sowed the seeds last year. Monday was another beautiful day. I never saw the weather as beautiful and clear and warm and dry for so long this time of year. Need rain badly to start grass and etz. Washed today. Len & Ruby went to Scales Mound this evening.

*Although by 1920 all women had the right to vote in United States, in 1913 Illinois was on the cutting edge, allowing some voters’ rights to women. According to Wikipedia; “In 1912, Grace Wilbur Trout, then head of the Chicago Political Equality League, was elected president of the state organization. Changing her tactics from a confrontational style of lobbying the state legislature, she turned to building the organization internally. She made sure that a local organization was started in every Senatorial District. One of her assistants, Elizabeth Booth, cut up a Blue Book government directory and made file cards for each of the members of the General Assembly. Armed with the names, four lobbyists went to Springfield to persuade one legislator at a time to support suffrage for women. In 1913, first-term Speaker of the House, Democrat Champ Clark, told Trout that he would submit the bill for a final vote, if there was support for the bill in Illinois. Trout enlisted her network, and while in Chicago over the weekend, Clark received a phone call every 15 minutes, day and night. On returning to Springfield he found a deluge of telegrams and letters from around the state all in favor of suffrage. By acting quietly and quickly, Trout had caught the opposition off guard. U.S. women suffragists demonstrating for the right to vote, February 1913. After passing the Senate, the bill was brought up for a vote in the House on June 11, 1913. Trout and her team counted heads and went as far as to fetch needed male voters from their homes. Watching the door to the House chambers, Trout urged members in favor not to leave before the vote, while also trying to prevent "anti" lobbyists from illegally being allowed onto the House floor. The bill passed with six votes to spare, 83 to 58. On June 26, 1913, Illinois Governor Edward F. Dunne signed the bill in the presence of Trout, Booth and union labor leader Margaret Healy.

Women in Illinois could now vote for Presidential electors and for all local offices not specifically named in the Illinois Constitution. However, they still could not vote for state representative, congressman or governor; and they still had to use separate ballots and ballot boxes. But by virtue of this law, Illinois had become the first state east of the Mississippi River to grant women the right to vote for President of the United States.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Moving into April

Sunday, April 5, 1925: Len, Ruby and Mother went to town to church this morning. They went to the Presbyterian Church on the hill*. Late this afternoon Uncle Edd and the Aunts came down and went back again before dark as Uncle Edd was afraid there would be so many cars on the road. I believe thousands went along today. Just out riding I guess. Saturday, Dad, Len & Ruby went to town in the forenoon. Cooler but a very clear day.

Friday was a beautiful day. Baked and swept upstairs & etz. Thursday was another beautiful day. We cleaned the rag room . Certainly was some job. Got wallpaper for 2 rooms. Wednesday, the first  day of  April, we ironed and dug around the asparagus.  Uncle Edd & the Aunts came down that evening. They got word today that Mrs. Beil of Apple River was dead. They may go to the funeral and asked Ma to go along. (a lovly day). Tuesday, the last day of March,  Mother went along to the funeral with them. They didn’t get back till nearly dark. Uncle Henry was up to Apple River too. Guess he and Uncle Dan are having quite a time of it as Uncle Joe is so poorly. We finished raking the lawn today.

*The First Presbyterian congregation is housed in the oldest church building of any Protestant denomination in continuous service in the Old Northwest Territory (which consisted of all or part of six states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin). The building was built in 1838, but the congregation really had its start in 1829 when the Reverend Aratus Kent decided to leave his prestigious New York City parish to bring the gospel to what was then this country's western frontier. He wrote to the American Board of Home Missions and asked to be sent to "a place so tough no one else will take it." They assigned him to Galena.

It took him almost a month to get here from New York, traveling by horseback and steamboat. He arrived on a Sunday morning and immediately went knocking on doors, telling everyone he could find that he was going to have a worship service that afternoon at 3 o'clock.

He swept out the back room of a saloon on the corner of Bench and Hill Streets (next door to where the church is located today) and about 50 people showed up. At that point, he probably thought that evangelizing the frontier was going to be an easier job than he'd imagined, but those 50 people turned out to be the largest group to attend one of his services in Galena for many years. Apparently, many of them came to that service because worship was such a novelty in Galena. For the next several years, Rev. Kent worked very hard, riding a circuit with a one hundred-mile radius, preaching at dozens of locations and teaching numerous Sunday school classes. Eventually, it all began to pay off in terms of church membership. He was able to found a number of congregations throughout Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, including the First Presbyterian Church in Galena, which was officially organized in October 1831.

At that time, there were only six members: two who lived in Galena and four others living as far as 40 miles away. That's a very healthy commitment in the days of horse-and-buggy travel! Seven years later - after Rev. Kent had helped lead a series of revivals throughout this region - our congregation had grown to include 100 members. It was then that they decided to build the church building we still use today. (Before that time, the congregation had been meeting in the old log court house that was located next door to the present church location on the Franklin Street side.) The building was constructed with limestone quarried in the Galena area. The pews are original - from 1838 - except that they used to have doors on the entrances to keep drafts off people's feet as they sat in worship. At that time, the only heat in the sanctuary was from two fireplaces in either corner up front, so that in those early days - unlike today - everyone wanted to sit up front in order to be closer to the heat. However, in those early days people couldn't just sit wherever they pleased. Each of the pews is numbered on the back along the aisle side, and every family was assigned to a certain pew, for which they had to pay a pew tax. That was the way the church raised money to pay the internal bills of the congregation, such as the pastor's salary, the purchase of candles, etc. The congregation would also take an offering to be used for mission work - those needs which were outside of the immediate congregation. The church still has a receipt for one family's pew tax from the mid-1840's when the tax was $6.00 a year.

Our founding pastor, Rev. Kent, was a graduate of Princeton and Yale Universities. When he officially organized this church in 1831, Yale donated the pulpit and the four chairs that are currently in the front of the sanctuary. This was a gift to the fledgling congregation and a means of encouraging the mission to what was then the country's western frontier. The two chairs on either side of the communion table and the two in the back of the sanctuary came from Rev. Kent's home. We aren't sure how old they are, but he died in 1869, so they're at least that old. The large chair in the right front was built in the 1860's and was designed to match the style of the chairs behind the pulpit.

When the building was built, the windows were made of an opaque yellow glass. The stained glass windows you see today were installed between 1890 and 1910. They all have a dedication "plaque" near the bottom of the window. A couple of the dedications are to previous pastors and one is for the Christian Education Society; all the rest are to former members. The windows are made of Belgian stained glass with the colors fired in rather than painted on.

The vestibule section was added in 1851. That addition includes the steeple, which stretches 125 feet above the street. Even though the congregation officially began in 1831, the current pastor - the Rev. Jim McCrea - is only 20th installed minister to have served the church. Source: Church website

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Something Extra VI

I have really been neglectful in reporting my thoughts on the challenges from "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" from Facebook. This request of reporting is for those who have genealogy blogs after we try out the challenge. I have found that I am not as charmed by the most recent challenges. # 12 was to check sites about the Society of American Archivists...which I did and actually found an interesting article on how to donate diaries, memoirs, letters, etc that may have historical information and to whom. I have been wondering what to do with Lillian's Diaries once they are all transcribed and this answered alot of my questions. Challenge # 13 was to visit Cyndi's List for Genealogy which I do on a regualr basis anyway. I did try using a new surname for the search - The Westbergs- which is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My mom has just finished the Westbergs as far back as she could and I was looking for a bit of information that would be new for her....unfortunately I didn't find anything. Challenge #14 was to use the search engines,, and  I again used the surname Westberg for a search on each of them (the first ten pages) and was unable to find any information I could use and was unable to find how to get a translated page on any of them as most of the information was in Swedish. So think for the moment I will stick with Google & Yahoo.