Although the response to the first installment of Sam Bland‘s Journal was somewhat less than enthusiastic, I’m going to post the second part anyhow. In my opinion it contains much of interest, but I know how it is when one has a lot of emails and limited time to spend on them. I skim some of the more complicated ones intending to get back to them later. If you’re doing that too, you’re forgiven.
Maybe I didn’t point out enough of the interesting things Sam recorded? Much of it is about gardening – planting things. That is not one of my interests. But I know there are many gardeners out there. Is there nothing of interest to a gardener in Sam’s journal? We’ll try it again.
These are Sam’s entries for January 1920. The cold weather kept him inside. During the first 11 days he records, “Stick indoors, Cold nothin doin, Slippy – Loaf, Do, Do, Do, Nix outside”. Then on the 13th, “Letter from Percy – re sale of house”. followed by on the 14th, “Write Mottaz re payment on land.” I speculate that is payment on their farm at Bismarck. On the 15th,” Sign deed to Maplewood lot.” On the 19th, “Percy sends check for $675 for Maplewood lot.” The story unfolds.
February 1920. Sam must have gotten sick for the first couple of days. On the 6th, “Will Grave digging.” On the 8th, “Mietje – stricken with flu.” On the 12th and 13th, ” Send Mottaz $10.00.” Temperature is 5 degrees. On the 23rd, “Nessie down.” From Maplewood, I think. On the 24th – 26th, ” All froze up. Loaf indoors – Damn it.” On the 27th, “Nessie washes under extreme conditions.” I believe he is talking about the laundry. I can’t imagine what that must have been like in frigid weather. The good ol’ days.
This clipping was stuck between the February pages. Not hard to understand.
Beginning in March, Sam’s notes on planting nearly fill every page. This one is from July. On the 19th is the first time he has used the word “Telephone.”
On the 7th of August 1920 is Sam’s first mention of the word, “Auto” used as a verb, “Floyd & Kate Auto down.” Sam records their activities for the next week. Being driven around in an automobile must have been a novelty for many folks. I imagine a trip from Maplewood to Bismarck in 1920 would be grueling.
October 23, 1920, “Floyd & Kate motor down.” On the 24th, “Floyd & Kate return with Mietje.” On the 30th, they bring her back.
December 8, 1920, “Fix up chemical closet.” Sam must have followed through on the ad from the newspaper. That chemical closet must have come in handy especially on the 27th when it was 5 degrees outside.
Sam gets off to a rough start in February 1921. From the 3rd to the 5th, “Lay up in bed. Asthma – Bronchitis.” He mentions these health issues many times in his journal. In addition he has a bad leg. At the bottom he reminds himself, “Say up – Take Doc Kerlagon’s stuff.” Doc Kerlagon makes numerous visits to their home.
On the 16th of April 1921, the temperature plummets from 68 degrees to 27. The next day Sam records, “Ice 1/4 thick.” Then one week later, it was 80 degrees. On the 23rd, “Word came of Ed Clark’s death.” You can find a photograph of Ed and his brass era automobile here. Many images of the family can be found here.
January 1922. The new year finds Sam, “Laid by Broncho.”On the 4th, “Will kills sow.” I believe hogs are the only animals that Sam mentioned in his journal. There must have been a horse or two because he mentioned painting a wagon. He never mentions having to feed any animals or take care of them in any way.
March and April are very busy months. March 4th, “Mum laid up. Doc visits.”
May & June 1922. June 13-17, “Cloudy bluffs. All buggered up. Nought to do but hoe weeds in field corn-beans-cabbage & sunflowers-Drought affecting the brain with 90 to 100 degrees continuously- Damn it!!!” On the 18th, Read-cuss & sleep.”
In July, Sam began to record his weekly bath on Sundays. On the 16th, “Bathe and Loaf all day.”
December the 17th, “Rip cypress for sashes.” On the 29th, “Mortising sashes.” On the 30th, “Sashes-part time.” Sam was more than an ordinary house carpenter. Here he was making the window sashes by hand. This is highly skilled woodworking and hard to do. He ends the year, 1922, with this summation, “Day by day I’m getting fatter and fatter. Eat well & sleep good-Right leg bum-Nettie rheumatic but very active and cheerful-Mietje in pink of condition but overworked-“
January 7, 1923, “Paint sashes.” February 16, “Laid by throat & leg-” On the 17th, a Saturday,”Will took my job fitting & glazing sashes-” As I’m sure most of you know, glazing is the installation of the glass in the wooden window sash.
This is the last page with Sam’s writing on it. It is sad that almost the last entry on the 31st is, “Nettie & Ju go to Maplewood-on hearing of Floyd Fennell’s death.” You may recall from an earlier post that Floyd lost his life in a motorcycle accident. You can find a photograph of Floyd and his family on that motorcycle here.
The advertising pages in the back of Sam’s journal featuring the ad placed by the Maplewood Mill and the listing on the facing page.
I don’t know anything about this ad placed by Sam in the STL Post-Dispatch in 1918.
Sam was a victim of Alfred Syrett, the swindler who had been involved with the sale of property in Greenwood.
There you have it. We’ve run the book on Sam Bland. This is the last post I will make from the Fennell trove that Nancy Fennell Hawkins has so kindly allowed us to view. The last post for now, I should say. Who knows what will turn up in the future?
Next I’m going to take a look at a collection of letters from William Lyman Thomas to his future wife, Kate Sutton. The collection includes every letter he wrote to her following their first meeting in June 1867 until they married in March of 1869. These are lent to us by Thomas’ great-granddaughter Christina Hayes McConnell.
As I write this the weather person is predicting a warm Christmas. This is fine by me. We’ve had enough of the white already!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Doug Houser December 20, 2019.