Cloudy like for rain, had a slight sprinkle this evening. Still rectifying the house and arranging summer and winter clothes. Sent Addison to Ju’s for vinegar and some green tomatoes for pickling. He brought some nice tomato’s and over half gallon vinegar. Bill’s attempting to make a crossing place over the mill creek for hauling corn. – – Patsy batted cotton for comforts after washing two white counterpanes. Pigeo, Nan and I laid them on for a comfort for Bill’s bed. – – Commenced finding Tom today, for what little work he may be able to do. He is very complaining, but it’s impossible that he can live on nothing.
The weather continues to be fine, though the ground is very wet. I think it is time to be digging potatoes, if were not quite so wet. The cause of our potatoes not keeping last year was owing to their being dug so early, I think is the reason. I’ve delayed one month later. We dug on the 9th of Oct. last year and if nothing prevents, we will dig about that time in Nov. this year. – – Nan thinks she had a chill this morning. Pigeo and Nan are about their gown tucking and making them very prettily. The former rode Fannie to the C. H. for the mail this evening, no letters. Patsy’s spinning today the yarn for my flannel. – – Had a new dish for dinner today, sweet potatoes fried. I have been working about and arranging the house ever since Bake left. Making little alteration in rooms. Repairing and preparing comforts for winter, grim stern winter, which seems to be approaching with rapid strides. – – Gave a pair of pants apiece to Jim and Washington by Zac’s request. Bill prepared the oxcart body today for hauling corn
Cloudy and warm. Salted the beef, cut out on Saturday evening. After that took Patsy and Addison upstairs and moved some things. Changed the children’s room and Bill assisted them in moving their wardrobe this evening. – – He finished sowing wheat this morning. Had to finish off with three bushels of our old white wheat, making seventy-two bushels in all seeded. – – Came on to rain this evening. – – Washington and Sandy came in to settle up their wages. Paid Sandy $3.00, paid Dandridge $2.00 a day or two ago on Patsy’s acct. – – Nan drank a cup of strong coffee that sat out all night, to cure her chill. It had the desired effect. Dandy knocked off today. Don’t know whether Bill will employ him again or not.1
- It appears Dandridge has a nickname. (back)
A lovely day. I arose quite early this morning and as there was no prospect for an early breakfast at the kitchen, I just went down and with Addison’s assistance soon had a nice breakfast prepared on the stove. – – Sent some hot biscuits, a plate of butter, a bit of steak and a small roasting piece of beef to Mr. Cooke by Clarissa. – – Sent Mrs. Lipscomb a basket of eatables by Martha, and took a basket with a steak and roasting piece to Ju as we went to Church. Washington rode by on a mule and carried it and overtook us again with a request from Jennie Hill and Bell for Pigeo to accompany them to Acquinton. Not returning an answer by the boy immediately, they left before Pigeo returned from Zion. Though little, Mr. Garrett took her back in the buggy as soon as we reached there. While I objected to her going, I was very glad it happened. We met with Jennie just at the tavern on her way back. Rose called me in question, rather abruptly, about some reports circulating. We returned to dinner. Ju and Mr. Slaughter spent the evening.
A very pretty day. Sent Bill’s breakfast to the field. He finished sowing the Mediterranean wheat today – 20 bushels. The fifty bushels was subject to some loss.1 – – Sent Mr. Patrick Slaughter a hind quarter beef weighing forty-nine pounds, also six pieces bacon weighing fifty-seven pounds, making in all that we have furnished him 163 pounds, dates 13th and 17th sent, and 27th Oct. Paid Pigeo $3.80 today for some little things of hers, 30 cents on acct. of Patsy included. – – She cut out a gown for herself today. I’ve been fixing my cloth shoes. – – Addison cut down and brought the corn stalks out of the garden. Martha cooked dinner, her Mother has gone to pay a visit of two days to Miss Mildred Garlick’s. – – Bill went out to look for geese. Cut out 3 quarters beef this evening, then dug some potato’s, they are fine.
- The Mediterranean wheat Bill finished sowing is a soft red wheat first imported into the United States in 1819. It quickly became popular in areas with relatively mild climates. (back)
Not quite so cold, no frost. Bill had a nice beef killed this morning. Patsy ironed. I starched some things. It always tires me so much, I had to lie down to rest. – – Had the cotton brought down out of the kitchen stairs and packed away in the store room by Martha and Addison. – – Had my late corn gathered for fall use. It’s just old enough for the table. – – Pigeo wrote several letters to her friends. One to Bell Boykin to make some enquiries of Mrs. Jacobs, her sister, respecting boarding Nannie. Bill rode Fannie to Acquinton Church and the C. H. Will let Mr. Slaughter have a quarter of beef to be returned in a few weeks. – – Brought a letter to Pigeo from Liv and one to me from Bake in Baltimore, also a bill for Pigeo’s cloak delivered by Byrd, by Express to George Smith in Richmond.1
- As he his serving as a middleman for a cloak made in Baltimore it is likely George Smith is in the commission merchant business. But the City Directories for Richmond fail to identify a likely George Smith. (back)
A white frost last night and really cold today. – – Patsy washed. Addison drove the tumbrel and Bill rode Fannie to Acquinton Church. Carried some bacon, but sold none. Also carried Mollie, a mule which had gotten hurt. Settled Mr. Houchings’ account up to this time, also Mr. Gary and Spiller’s. Received eighty dollars for the 20 sheep sold Mr. Brill the other day.1 I’ve been jobbing all day pretty much, fixed the bricks in the front chamber fire place, cooked dinner, &c. Bill returned about 4 o’clk.
- Mr. Brill appears only once and remains unidentified. As he does not appear on local period tax records, he may be an itinerant merchant who will transport the sheep to market elsewhere. Suggestions welcome. (back)
Quite a pretty morning, and I thought Nan and I would ride to Canton as she wanted shoes and I some little articles. Took Addison along on Fannie. It commenced turning so cold that I thought it would almost freeze by night. Found nothing I wanted but cheese, which I paid 30 cents per pound for. Returned about 4. Found Pigeo at home just from Mrs. Hill’s, where she has been ever since Sunday evening. Willie and Bell brought her as far as Ju’s and Rhoda walked with her down. – – Bill sowed about 7 bushels red wheat today, finished the white I yesterday, I believe. – – Pigeo had been quite sick at Mrs. Hill’s. I had some tea made and cheese brought up. She ate a little. It was so cold we all 3 slept in one bed tonight.
A considerable quantity of rain fell last night. – – Nan and I remained alone. She pretended to be afraid, but I soon talked her out of it. I was in the dining room before light, and while there Bill came. Did not receive the money for the sheep. The gentleman will send it to him on Wednesday by Mr. Gary. Collected through the constable $40 of Jack Braxton for corn sold him for cash last summer. – – Paid a little acct. to Mrs. Davis for weaving, which should have been paid long ago, but I could never see the parties. Paid $2 for mail and some other little things. Bill saw Capt. Bramble yesterday, who is down the river taking in grain. Fixed up the bed bolster and two pillows, a couple bags flour, was so harried on acct. of the Capt. that I forgot the two hams of bacon and some other little things. – – Nan and I, with Addison waiting to put the house to rights and have a little cleaning up. Had the carriage and buggy harness put in hampers and carried upstairs. Washington pulls it too much to pieces in the carriage house. Addison had a chill today. – – Hauled corn again today and feeding hogs, very high fan in it.
I arose very early this morning. Finished a long letter to Hardie and one to Zac enclosing Hardie’s in his, thinking it would be best to send it in this way as he would be in the mountains sometime. Bill will take it up goes to Court. – – He started away on Fannie about ten o’clk. to deliver 20 sheep, sold a butcher last week for eight dollars. Took Addison with him, by way of Acquinton Church. I gave him Mr. Gary’s acct. to settle, also Mr. Houchings’ book to have a credit of $20 made, and also thirty-one pounds bacon. – – Had my chamber and Bill’s room scalded and washed today by Patsy. – – (Nan and I fixed the buggy harness). Addison returned at dark. Bill has not returned at all. I suppose the cloud with rain, thunder and lightning prevented him. I know of nothing else. Mr. J. McGeorge came for wheat, but I could not deliver it as Bill has not named it to me. Capt. Bramble’s vessel passed here this evening. I’m very sorry Bill was not here to fix up and send Bake’s things to Balt.
Quite a pretty day. Nan and I went in the buggy to Zion, returned by Ju’s to see Pigeo and get Gen. Smith’s address to the Cadets, and home to dinner. Found Pigeo taking quinine Ju had given her. She was disappointed in going to Mrs. Hill’s with Bell yesterday on account of a chill and she had to return without her. She will come for her this up again evening after reading the address aloud to Nan. We took a long walk and Bill joined us before we returned. Came by the turnip patch and went to look at his hogs.
Beautiful weather. Clarissa went up for Nan after breakfast. Pigeo remained in order to return Bell Boykin’s visit and spent several days with her. – – Washington laid up today. Turned the tumbrel over with the baggage yesterday, and the wheel ran over him. – – The mules got frightened at a hog. – – Bill sowed seven bushels wheat today, making thirty-seven bushels in all. – – I commenced to answer Hardie’s letter, will finish it if nothing prevents, and write to Zac also and send for Bill’s Monday when he goes to Court. – – Gave out meat for three weeks to Jim, Sandy and Washington.
Well, this is Friday night. A very lovely day has passed away quietly. I took a nap this evening, felt quite weary. Sat up most of the night last night for fear we would oversleep ourselves and not have things ready for Bake and George to start for the boat, but they were up and dressed and took breakfast before light, and started as soon as they could see to drive. They in the buggy with George and Washington, and Addison in the tumbrel with the two trunks, the latter to drive the buggy back. This is the third time in ten days George and the buggy have been to Tappahannock. Such a thing has never occurred before. The children have all gone to the meeting at the C. H. tonight, the 4th night they’ve attended. All took supper before leaving. Clarissa walked with Pigeo and Nan up, and Bill rode Fannie after. Jim came with the 20 bushels wheat from Dr. Braxton’s. Gave 20 bushels white wheat for the red, same quantity. Pigeo finished her calico dress to wear, and Nan altered her figured mouslin.1 – – Sent Smith and Watkins the check they sent us in order that they may furnish George the $150 he loaned me a few days ago. Bill intended to have gone to Richmond, but was too busy, and that answered just as well. Requested him to draw $25 besides to pay for Pigeo’s cloak, one made to order like Bake’s. Gave Bake a $5 on acct. of Jim and Washington. I hope Bill will be able to start to work tomorrow. Everything has been stopped today. Have only sowed 30 bushels wheat yet. Washington and Addison returned a little after dark, arrived at Tappahannock in good time, and Bake is off for home after an absence of more than two months. – – Hope they will find all things qualified when they get there, as the children say.2 Put out all my yarn counterpanes to sun today. Patsy washed 6 of them. – – – Since furnishing Ju, May, and Bake, I have only twenty left. Must try and have some more before another child marries. – – I went in the bridal chamber this morning after Bake left and took down the evergreen &c that have been there ever since she was married, and now I must have that room ready for the next one. Wonder which one it will be? Bill returned from the C. H. soon after I retired, brought some six or eight letters for Bake and myself, one of eight pages from Zac and one of four pages from Hardie, written from Stanton.3
Beautiful weather. Sent Martha up after breakfast for Pigeo and Nannie. She met them halfway on their way down. Martha kept on and delivered Bake’s note to Ju. – – They attended the meeting two nights. Made the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Holland, and are very much pleased with them, particularly the latter.1 – – Willie Boykin came down this morning to escort the children to the Acquinton Church to the winding up of the singing school. Put up a snack for them. Pigeo rode Willie’s horse and he, Shakespeare; Nannie, George – was back home in half an hour. George became so unmanageable she had to give him to Willie and take Shakespeare. – – He and Pigeo returned about dusk. Had their horses fed and rode up to the night meeting. Bill went also. Bake and George would have gone, but for having determined to leave for Savannah, via Tappahannock in the morning, if it is possible to get a conveyance for themselves and baggage. They sent Martha to Hill’s to try and hire his spring wagon. Failed to get it. Bill tried to hire Mr. Powell’s tonight, did not succeed. We shall have to arrange some way by stopping all farming operations. I never have been so worried hardly in my life. We are so straightened I scarcely know what we are able to do. I have more to do every day than my constitution will admit of, but there is no respite, and I am now sitting up, one o’clk. at night in order to wake them up at three to get ready to start at day i.e., if a way can be provided. – – Bill, Willie and Pigeo returned about eleven.
- This is likely John Lyttleton Tazewell Holland and his wife Emma Alice [Walton] Holland of Fluvanna County. Mr. Holland is a young circuit minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He is likely the Mr. Holland who returns to King William Court House next May to preach. (back)
A lovely day. Started Washington early this morning to Tappahannock for George. They arrived at dusk, George looking very well and improved in health. Completed his business there to his satisfaction. Brought Bake a beautiful black cloth cloak, had it made to order. She is delighted with it, as it was unexpected. She had contemplated getting one in Richmond. She and I spent the day very pleasantly, she finishing off a beautiful chemise and I facing and binding my skirt. Had her two chemise nicely done up. Mrs. Martha Cobb came to rent the mill house to live, on hearing John Banks would leave. Patsy boiled an old ham for dinner. Bill killed some eight or nine partridge. Dellah left this morning. Bake made her a present. Bill attended the night after supper. Went meeting more to see Lucian Robinson than anything else, about some red wheat. Dined with Mrs. Robinson yesterday. Crop dragged again today. Addison took Washington’s place. Jim and Sandy are dragging.
This has been a lovely day. I went down and starched things and Dellah hung them out. Patsy ironed. Pigeo and Nan, after getting ready, went up to Ju’s in order to attend the night meeting. Martha carried their satchel. They will be gone several days. – – Bake and I anticipate a quiet time in their absence. We retired early, feeling right much fatigued. She did up some little things for herself beautifully, her first experiment. Her little ruffles look like they were fluted. She is a little wife worth having and I believe George puts a proper estimate on her. He promised to bring her a sugar doll if she would behave well in his absence. – – Pigeo nearly finished her dress before leaving. – – Nan commenced about her brown dress to be trimmed with blue. I should have said “maroon” dress. – – Thirty bushels wheat sowed on the pea fallow. Crop dragging today.
I arose quite early this morning, intending to write to Zac, but before I finished looking in the desk for some papers Bill wanted to see, day broke in upon me and I had to defer it till after breakfast. Enclosed it with Pigeo’s and Bill took them up and had some six or eight mailed for Bake, Pigeo and myself. Ju sent Rhoda down to borrow two pecks flour. Mag sent for a wrapping to wear to the night meeting at the C. H. Expect to have preaching there all the week. Sent a pressing invitation for us all to come up, but it will not be in our power to go, the roads are impassible. – – Bake trimmed my sleeves for the dress Hardie gave me. – – Bill sowed some ten or eleven bushels of wheat today, making about twenty-eight in all. – – Dellah came to see Bake and brought Ben. Martha baked some excellent ginger cakes in the front chamber. Pigeo’s making a calico dress. Dellah sewed some on the skirt. Made me think of old times to have her and Martha in the chamber. – – Patsy washed. I went up in Bake’s room and sat a while. Assisted her a little bit in changing the ribbon on her bonnet. Came down and had an early supper. Martha baked biscuits in the chamber after finishing the cakes, while Patsy got the rest at the kitchen. Bake brings old times forcibly back to my mind, I can scarcely think she is married.
A beautiful day, except being a little windy. All remained at home. Nan rose quite early this morning and read the Bible till light. Bill walked with Pigeo after breakfast and got a nice basket of grapes. She went down and had breakfast. I dressed in Bake’s calico dress and kept it on all day. Had no idea it would have fit me so well. She put on the beautiful lustre Hardie gave her, to let us see how prettily she had made it.1 She and Nan took a walk up to the quarters to see the servants. Were anxious for me to go, but I didn’t feel like walking.
- Bake seems to have made a dress from a material with a shiny (lustrous) appearance. As Caroline mentions Hardie, it is likely this is material he brought back from France almost two years ago, mentioned 2 December, 1864. The luster may have come from silk, or a silk blend, or from the rapidly developing science of yarn and fabric finishing. Those interested in how fabric and fashion will evolve may be interested in Clothing Through American History: The Civil War Through the Gilded Age, 1861-1899, by Anita Stamper and Jill Contra (2010). It is, however, a bit pricy. (back)
It has set in to rain again after only part of a day sunshine. An enormous quantity of water has fallen during the week, which makes very much against farmers. Bill says the roads are so washed it will be impossible for me to attend Church tomorrow. I am very sorry to hear it. Bake packed her two trunks, nearly all day packing them. – – Nan assisted her. Bill and I sat in her room a short time with her. She read Mr. Shafer’s letter to us. Bill gave her advice relative to its contents. Pigeo finished braiding her apron. Nan still overcasting. She went with me down and assisted in making some excellent potato pies, enough for several days. All enjoyed very much.
The day is rather better. Cleared up after the morning, but a very great quantity of water has fallen during the last few days. I don’t know when we shall be able to go about the wheat again. Bill rode to the C. H., took breakfast with Ju. Gave him $5 to purchase a pair of shoes of Maj. Butts.1 – – Bake finished hemming the day towel she commenced last night. Pigeo and Nan rode to Mrs. Hill’s after dinner, the former on George and Nannie on Fannie. Changed saddles with Mrs. Larkin Garrett as they passed. I am a little indisposed this evening, and I think Bake is a little also. She bears the separation from George much better than I expected. Has written to him and sent a letter from Mr. Shafter to him, one of some importance, and rather a presumptuous one, one that has given her some uneasiness. We went round, she and I, to collect and select some articles of housekeeping. I will enumerate them. One feather bed and 2 pillows and a bolster, a pair of sheets, a comfort and white counterpane to be put up in a coarse sheet. Also a muslin quilt. Those things in addition to a yarn counterpane, calico quilt and pair of pillow cases already given. – – Gave her some little things for the table and a table cloth, ½ doz. breakfast plates and a butter dish (China), ½ doz. cup plates, ½ doz. gilt cups and saucers, ½ doz. little goblets, and 2 water glasses. Two glass preserve saucers and a molasses stand, 2 salt spoons and a little knife and fork for pickles, a China teapot and white and gilt waiter, 2 little bake pans and ½ doz. muffin molds, 2 little white dishes, one rug and a little yarn counterpane for a cradle, ½ gallon peach pickle.
- Perhaps the purchase by Bill of shoes from Maj. Butts is an indicator of the close relations he established with the white community in King William, to the eventual displeasure of the county’s newly freedmen suggested in the 14 August footnote. (back)
I arose quite early this morning as usual, and the children soon followed suit. Bake joined me in a cup of strong coffee before writing in my journal (as it is my custom generally to do so). The rain continued through the day. I am always late in the dining room, and this morning looked over and weighed some wool for Patsy to break to finish my flannel. She finished spinning the blue cotton she was about. The children have been quite busy all day. Bake finished a worked chemise. Nan is overcasting her gown and Pigeo braiding and making a couple of aprons. I finished banking the balance of yarn for my counterpanes. – – They all sat up till about 12 tonight. I laid down to take a nap, and they awoke me laughing immoderately. Bill had some corn shelled, I believe.
Another fine morning. I arose quite early and wrote in my journal by lamplight. Bake and I slept in the back chamber, Pigeo and Nan in the front chamber. I’ve employed the day pretty much banking some white yarn for a couple of counterpanes. Nan at work on her gown and Pigeo making a watch pocket. Had an earlier breakfast than usual. I washed a flannel before breakfast. Came on to rain about 12 and increased during the evening with severe thunder and lightning all the while. – – Bill’s broken up in sowing wheat. Had to bring it from the field through the rain and then sat in the chamber and made fun for the children the rest of the evening. – – I wouldn’t trouble Patsy to cook supper, just had an oven of rolls baked in the chamber. Went down and ate supper by early candlelight. – – Addison rubbed furniture all evening as it was raining. Bill rode to the C. H. and brought letters for us all, except Nan. I one from Hardie and Liv, Bake one from Zac, Pigeo one from Zac, and one from the University, and one from Savannah for George. Bill one, with returns of wheat from Smith and Watkins.
Lovely weather. Bill sowed 8½ bushels wheat today, making 16 in all that’s brined. – – Patsy ironed and while she was about dinner, Nan ironed some things for herself and Bake. She and Addison beat out the peas in the office for winter use. – – George went to Tappahannock to take the steamer for Balto. Washington drove George to the buggy, returned at dark. – – I have been quite indisposed all the evening from eating cabbage for dinner. Bake fixed me a dose of Jamaica ginger. It relieved me very much. – – Gave Pigeo quinine. She missed her chill, got up and went down to supper. – – Cut out a gown for Nan.
A lovely day. I think we have the most beautiful weather I ever experienced. Commenced sowing wheat this evening. Put in 7½ bushel. Bill had it brined in order to cleanse it perfectly for seed another year.1 I hardly know how my time passes about jobbing, employ it nearly all. Bake and the children do some little sewing. Patsy spun a little blue cotton today. I’ve had Addison about the house all day. Martha churned. Pigeo had a chill today, gave her broken doses tartar. George rode to Ju’s this evening. Borrowed quinine of Ju for her to take tomorrow. He returned to supper. Will start to Balto. tomorrow by way of Tappahannock. I wrote a long letter to Emily before retiring for him to carry. – – Bill wrote to Smith and Watkins respecting the wheat shipped them by Rowe.2
- Using salt water to prepare seed for planting had become standard procedure by English wheat farmers for at least 200 years. We do not know if the Littlepages understood just how this treatment reduced wheat “rust,” but they certainly knew the process worked. (back)
- Probably merchants “Smith and Watkins,” 66 Exchange Place, Baltimore, MD. If any of our readers have access to a Baltimore city directory or gazetteer for this time period and can find any additional information about Smith and Watkins I will be happy to update this footnote. (back)
A beautiful day. Nan and I attended Church in the buggy. The rest remained home. We returned to dinner. Called by Ju’s. Found Pigeo with a chill. – – Bake and George had taken a long walk. Came in just as dinner was ready. Clarissa cooked today. – – George rode to the C. H. to enquire for letters. We all took a walk while he was gone, except Pigeo, who was in bed. We walked to the turnip patch. Bill pulled up a radish. They are the largest I most ever saw. One is enough in a day for a person to dine on. I returned to the house and Bake and Nan continued their walk to the grape and chinquapin bushes and got some nice ones. Bill told them where to find them. – – Bill carried three pieces bacon in the wagon Saturday as he passed the Acquinton Church to Mr. Houchings weighing thirty-one pounds, which he will credit on his book.
Another beautiful fall day, just cool enough for a little fire all the time. I was busy in the dining room most of the day. Starched some things for Bake and did various other things that wearied and tired me very much. – – Bill started the oxcart and wagon to Dr. Wm. P. Braxton’s for fifty bushels blue stem wheat.1 George was kind enough to lend me $150 till we get the return from our wheat shipped to Baltimore middle of Sept. The Dr. sold his wheat for cash. Bill on Fannie and the wagon and cart arrived about 5 o’clk. I banked a few yarn broaches this evening for counterpanes.
- While the term “Bluestem” has been applied over the years to several varieties of wheat, it is likely this is a soft “white” wheat. Planting a variety of wheat varieties provided flour for different usages, and also provided some level of protection from pests and diseases. (back)
Another beautiful day. I went up in Bake’s room early this morning and changed some bed coverings and brought her clothes down for Patsy to wash. I notched facing for my black dress Hardie gave me. I do a little every now and then, I have so little time to sew. Pigeo had a chill today. She tried to make a watch pocket. – – We had a snack in the chamber and didn’t stop Patsy to get dinner. Lewis came to work today, and Clarissa worked in the fodder also. Sent Washington up with the buggy for Bake and George. They arrived about sunset. Brought me letters from Zac and Emily. I’ve not received one from her before for a long time. She has recently moved to Baltimore. I can’t see why Zac’s letter should have been so long on the way, it was written on the 15th Sept. – – I must answer them both just as soon as I can. Bill had a square ploughed in the garden for transplanting strawberry plants.
A lovely day. Left Nan and Bill to housekeep and the rest of us, Bake, Pigeo, George and myself, went up in the carriage to spend the day at Oak Dale. Spent a pleasant day. Washington drove, returned home and came up to drive the carriage back about 5 o’clk. Pigeo returned with me, and Bake and George remained. Will send up for them tomorrow evening. Nan finished her new muslin dress and bound the scallops quite nicely.