Note; This account was summarized by Carrie Cowles, Joseph's daughter. The original along with his diary and account book was found in the attic of a house in Friendship, New York where his grandaughter, Bertha Davie Tuttle lived until her death. Apparently her father, Sam Davie, acquired it. Joseph wrote the autobiography in 1879 and the diary was written in the spring of 1873 when the whole family was suffering bronchitis; then the children coming down with scarlet fever; Joseph tapping 170 maple trees in a day with homemade wooden buckets with his ever helpful son "sammie" age 17, helping. The documents were copied longhand as the ink was so faded to make mechanical copying impossible. Two Places are blank by one line. Spelling was duplicated as possible and though some dates are questionable they can be noted on copies. Joseph Samuel Davie died April 21, 1899.
Autobiographical sketch of Joseph Samuel Davie and family who was born in Bolivar, Allegany county, New York, Feb. 29, 1824.
My father moved to this place from Orange county where he was raised by English parents -- he married Jane Sissem a young dutch girl from Duchess county NY who had 18 brothers and sisters and all living and married at the same time. Jane being the fourth From the oldest. She was a woman of unusual good health and vigor. She had also an Exceedingly active and brilliant intellec although the opportunities for developing those faculties were limited -- after she married she abandoned the Duch language and Became quite fluent in the English language.
She experienced religion at the age of 20 years of age and joined the Methodist Episcopal church where she remained a faithful and zealous advocate of Christianity during the remainder of her life which terminated in the fullest triumph of Christian faith in the 46 year of her age and now since she is dead we can see some of the most noble traits of character humanity is capable of possessing. She died without sitting for a portrait of any description therefore I desire it heare to give a sort of description of some of the most prominant points of her person.
She was 5 feet and three inches high and usualy weight 112 lbs and good proportion -- heavy dark brown strait hair and dark blue eyes and brunett complection had a fine cut face though features rather prominant especially her nose a little inclined to roman and a mouth a little unproportianetly large which in this case was a truthful indication of an excellent singer.
She had a mole a little below the center and front of her left cheek and also one on the right side of her neck with long hairs protruding from each one. She had a full chest -- and a voluptuos bust and prominant breasts and or compleat physicle organization with a nervous temperment which rendered her extremely vigourous and active so that she could not be excelled by any of her sex. She developed these faculties and ennured herself to the rough way of life so as to render it an easy task for her to rake and bind two acres of heavy grain in one day or to keep up with a good cradler all day besides taking care of a babe and doing her house work.
My father Samuel Davie enlisted in the war of 1812 as a substitute for a man that had been conscripted. He was twenty one (21) years of age when he enlisted he served that war four months and twenty-eight days (4 mo. 28 da). At the close of the war he was honorably discharged at Queenstown, Canada. On his way home he crossed the head of Cayuga Lake on the ice which was less than one inch thick wich yield to his heft so as to bend under his feet. He arrived at his home in Cherry Valley, N.Y just in time for the second day of elections where he first voted at a state election. The following spring he married and commenced farming for a living until his aged mother (whom he had to support) died. In 1821 he moved his family which consisted of a wife and four children to Bolivar, Allegany co. N.Y which was a vast wilderness. There were but too families in the vicinity who came in the spring before he came. He immediately located a farm on the little Genessee Creek where he remained until three years before his death and where he raised a family or compleated a family of ten (10) children five boys and five girls. The following is a list of there names and also the names of their companions and the number of ther children commensing with the oldest and following the regular order down to the youngest until this matter is compiled.
|Betsie Davie maried||C. W. Cowles||Had 6 children|
|Daniel D. T. --||Azubah Burdick||" 5 "|
|William --||Angenett Montrose||4|
|Almira M.||John Jordan||3|
|Mary C.||Alpheus Williams||4|
|Charles B.||Claricy Barnes||4|
|Martha J.||Rockwell Williams||7|
This table shows an agregate of Forty two (42) grandchildren some of whom maried and are raising families so that in eighteen-hundred and sixty five (1865) there were one Hundred and six (106) in the family including the grandchildren and Great-grandchildren of the four generations-besides Emily K. Who died at the age of Sixteen (16) years and James who died at the age of eleven months who were the two youngest of the family.
My father was poor as opportunities for schooling was exceedingly limited so that my education was so limited to only a parcial knowledge of some of the common branches -- the two last terms I attended being worth more to me than all the than all the previous times I ever attended.
In 1842 I went to Wm P. Cowles teacher and in 43 went to Sheldon Buckley -- Then I did not go to school again until 1846. I went to James Marvin two terms in 1846 and 1847. Which terminated my going to district school. When I came of age (Feb 1846) the first strike I made was to take Eli Le Seures' sawmill to run on shares. I made what was considered at that time a good strike & run the mill from march 1847 (4 months and sold out my interest) at a gain of $300.00 which I made during the 4 months and in July of 1847 -- for a farm of 50 1\2 acres of Cyrus Cowles which is situated on NW W corner of lot No 62 Bolivar township etc for which I paid six hundred and fifty dollars ($650.00) I paid three hundred ($300.00) down and the balance in two yearly installments.
The first year I cut one hundred dollars $100.00 worth hay. In September 1849 I went to Utica to learn the daguerrotype of my brother DDT Davie who had just located a gallery in the Devereaux block, Utica, N.Y. I ... One year for the knowledge of the art and a course of chemical lectures by Prof. Avery of Hamilton Colage and also music lessons of Prof. Wright of Utica, N.Y. It may seem strange that I should be taking lectures at Hamilton College and at the same time on a sallery of $300.00 a year. The fact that I made three trips each week to Clinton whare the col. is located outside of business hours a distence of 14 miles and always on foot except when I accidentely caught a ride with other travelers. At the experation of the term I engaged another for four hundred $400.00 a year. In oct 1850 brother DDT Davie located a branch gallery in the capitol at Washington D.C. whare he remained during the winter during which time he took a 1\4 size daguerreotypes of all the thirthy first congress which was then in session. I had by this time become proficiant in the art so as to enable me to take charge of the business in Utica during the absence of my br. successfully and satisfactoryly. In February 1850 I was awarded a silver meddle by the Utica mechanics association for the best daguereotype on exhibition at thar fair. I also rec'd a premium from the N.Y.S. fare for the best pictures which was held at Rochester 1850 (Sept) in 1852 I was elected secretary and treasurer to the first daguerreotype association ever organized in America which was called the Utica Daguerrean Association, Utica, N.Y. Dec 14, 1849. In March 1851 br DDT Davie returned from Washington with his grand Exhibition of...light printings of the 31st congress and when foren dignitaries which created a perfect panic for pictures. We were driven with work to that extent that I did not go to dinner the whole summer but would content myself with a brandy pie which made things lively so long as the brandy extended its influence so that by the following fall
....faded line..... I was (?)
Permanently contracted for that kind of stimulant and I at once made up my mind to quit it. I also made a contract with myself to abandon all kinds of stimulates except tobacco or at least to shun every kind of alcoholic drink. I fulfilled that contract For 25 (?) years since then up to the present time January 1879 I have indulged to a very limited extent though I have always had a relish for good liquor. In Nov 1850 I went home to Bolivar, Allegany co. on a visit and to get a wife. Was married Dec 2 1850 by a P. Stetson at the residence of Azubah Chapin of Bolivar N.Y. Three days later I returned to Utica where I resumed my former business with my br DDT Davie until January 1, 1851. I hired the gallery of him for 1 year for the sum of $500.00 and in May 1851 I commensed housekeeping in no 11 Spring street Utica, N.Y. Mr Ira Gates our landlord occupied part of the same house. The gallery enterprise proved be a financial success which enabled me to establish a gallery of my own. In April 1851 I established the largest and best gallery west of Albany, N.Y. It was located in the franklin buildings Genesee st Syracuse, N.Y. This proved a success until the middle of the summer. Sick with ague which finally degenerated into a billious living which kept me on my bed for eight months during wich time my opperations run me in debt for stock and expense and I had appropriated the receipt of the business to thare own use to the extent that it was impossible for me to revive the business again and consequently was under the necessity of selling out. I put the gallery on the market and sold out in a few days and after paying up my debts I had three and 88\100 dollars left out of the three thousand which I invested. While I was thus engaged in closing out this Syracuse gallery, I had an offer from M. B. Brady of New York of $16 pr. week to superintend his operating department and make his chemicals so I immediately engaged to Mr B. After three weeks he advanced my wages to $20 per week. I remained with Mr Brady for one year and six months after which I moved back to Bolivar, N.Y. where I engaged in farming and dagguerre typing. On leaving Mr Brady he requested me to go into his stock-room and select me a country fit out for taking pictures as he wish to make me a present of the same and in compliance (I went and selected a 1\2 size harrison camara and corresponding traps to the amount of one hundred dollars ($100.00) which he truly and cheerfully presented to me as a token of his appreciation of my efforts while I was engaged to him and as a natural consequence I bad [bade] him and his men (to whom I had become very much attached) a reluctant farewell and on the following day...I took passage on the N.Y. and Erie rroad for Bolivar, New York my native and country home.
Well here I am on a farm without a house to live in without team, tools or stock or anything to live upon. In the spring of 1854 I built a house with a nice sellur [celler] under it the whole size 24 feet square which was quite comfortable for our small family. My first experience in country operating was at the Bolivar Hotel which was kept at the time by Hiram Bears. I had a good result the greatest part of the season. In September 1854 I Took A. G. Williams in and located Angelica, N.Y. where we found good business and remained three weeks then moved to Belfast during the county fare from Belfast we moved to Shongo, town of Willing and finally closed up our engagement or partnership at Honeyoy Forks and went into winter quarters. In April of 1855 bot [bought] the rear part of D.A. Newton's store and moved it across the street on A. G. Williams lot and fitted it up with a nice side and sky light combined which I kept in successful operation For two years after which I sold the building to S. D. Williams who worked it into a whisky rectyfying establishment. Williams occupied the building one year and in May 1856 I bot [bought] the building again and resumed photographing again which I continued until the January 10th 1857. Again entered into parternership with my br DDT Davie in the Devereaux block Utica, N.Y. We introduced life size photographs colored in oil collors [colors]. Colored by Alexander Francors and his father. We sold the first to Alric Hubbell for $100 July 12, 1857. At the close of the year I bot [bought] out my bro interest in the gallery for fifteen hundred dollars ($1500.00) I took possession the 10 of January 1858 And continued the business untill May 28 1859 when I sold out to one of my pupils B. W. Raymond of Cedarville, N.Y. and moved back on the farm in Bolivar, N.Y. whare I located perminently. I bot [bought] 2 cows a pair of steares [steers] and a few sheep to start in with so that at the end of two years I had accumulated a nice little stock and a pair of young horses. In 1859 I cleared 25 acres of land which enabled me to increase my stock to 25 head of cattle and 30 to 50 head of sheep.
In 1860 I built a cattle barn 33 1\2 feet by 23 1\2 feet and in the meantime I continued photographing a part of the time until September 11, 1864 I enlisted in the army as a member of the first brigade band Hardings division and 21st army corpse under the direction of C. E. Lesure of Bolivar, Allegany co., N.Y. After filling our quota of 500.o00 men (or) troops we went to Rochester, N.Y. whare we enlisted for one year or during the war to fill the quota for the town of Riga, Monroe co. N.Y. for which we received a bounty of $500.00 from the county of Monroe and $300.00 from the town of Riga in said county which in the agregate amounts to $800.00. We were mustered into service in October 1864 but was detained in our state under arms at Elmira until a short time before elections. We were permitted to go home on a furlo to election after which we were sent on the Fort Reno near Tenellia town some four miles from Washington D.C. whare we went into comfortable winter quarters whare we remained until April 1865 we were moved to Fort Slocum which was about 6 miles from Fort Reno. We remained at Fort Slocum until July 12 1865 when we were discharged.
I returned home to Bolivar June 15 1865 and immediately resumed my former operations farming and photographing. Brother DDT Davie visited me from New York the last of September 1865 and stayed six weeks and assisted me in taking pictures at my old stand in Bolivar whare I continued until the next spring when I gave most of my attention to farming. Produce was so extremely high that farming was the best branch of my business. During the summers of 1866 and 1867 I worked in the gallery but one day each week (on Friday) the remainder of the time I spent on the farm. During that time I traveled taking pictures through the country winters more or less up to 1875. In 1867 I sold my gallery in Bolivar village and built an addition or upright part to my house and arranged the upper part into a suit of photographic rooms with a side and Sky light combined. In March 1867 Uncle David ChapinL came to live with me, he proposed to help me to money to help build my house with me. He let me $100.00 for which he promised to board out. He stayed until the following November when he left without settling his bill. He sold his acct. to his son Chas. Chapin and hastened to the far west where he died two years later. So much for his honesty.
In Oct 1867 br DDT Davie exploded 4 lbs of gun. cotton (accidently) while weighing and Packing in his laboratory in New York. The shock and burns impaired his right hand so as to render him a compound cripple-- his left hand being crippled when he was a boy so as to render it entirely useless. He was tharefore unable to take care of hiself so he came to me for care and treatment in Nov 1867 and remained with me until July 1868 when his right hand partially recovered so as to enable him to do a little work.
In 1871 I traded farms with Samuel Davie made a contract to pay him $2000.00 boot. I arranged with Mr. Russel of Belmont for money to pay the boot-- said arrangement was To give a mortgage on the farm to secure the payment. But my good friends C.B. Davie and William Davie out of gealousey [jealousy] and selfish motives succeeded in breaking up the trade. During the summer I acquired a considerable equity by way of improving the farm by clearing and cutting enormous ditches one of which was 40 rods in length five feet wide and three to four feet deep with a sufficient amount of water to float a plank and other improvements to the amount of four hundred dollars. After securing the crops in the barns I moved back to my old farm and in a short time my good friends (Referred to above) influenced my father to sell my produce on the farm I had bot. I was therefore compelled to sue my father in the county court in order to get a settlement the results was I accepted a proposition to take three hundred dollars insted of four hundred which really belonged to me.
This diary was found in the attic of the home in Friendship, New York in 1992 by Don Cady, great grandson of Ella Enette Davie Wightman (Ellie)<. It was transcribed from Don Cady's hand into print by Floyd A. Davie, grandson of George Davie and 1st cousin twice removed of Joseph Davie.
March 7 - concluded to keep a diary for a short time. We (Ellie, Cashuis and myself) returned home from Ulysses Pa. on Tuesday night
25 February 1873 - found family well
26 [ditto] - Set up photographic apparatus
27 [ditto] - All ready for work again-chemicals in good Working order.
28 [ditto] - Recvd a letter from Parmer and Stephens, Cuba stating that unless DDT Davie's acct was paid immediately they would under necessity resorting to legal measures with me. 28. West to Cuba on horseback -- met R.G. Williams at Thomas Crandall's whare I put in my horse with one of his and drove to Friendship Found the 11am Train of Carrs 5.45 minutes late took a way freight 1\2 past 2 p.m. &npsb; Had a slow but safe passage to Cuba whare I arrived 1\2 past three pm. I consulted Messrs. Champlain and co. In relation to DDT Davie's lease but did not come to any conclusion in the matter but said he would submit the matter to the firm and report any success by letter. Thought there was no other way for me to pay the rent which is now due which is 43.75 and he advised me to work the lease in my own hands so I can controll the matter myself. I then saw DDT Davie who promist Mr. Parmen he would pay the rent next Wednesday without fail. I then purchased 3.80 worth frames and started for the depot -- but was two minutes late and consequently had to stay to Cuba all night. I spent the evening with DDT Davie had a good visit discussed social and family matters and photographing.
29. Took the accomodation train for Friendship whare I arrived about the same time the Bolivar stage did.
Feb 29 - Visited several places of business priced picture frames and furniture at hunts found there prices ranging from 15 to 25 per ct Higher than in Cuba N.Y. I did not feal well during the day and in the Evening when I arrived home fealing exceedingly sick.Joseph Davie
[ditto] 30 - Fealing a little better
[ditto] 31 - Quite sick
March 6 - Had a visit from Wm and Ann Genett and Bartoo. Matie did not enjoy the visit very much I was not able to sit all the time I was so hoarse I could not talk with any comfort. Thomas Tilson tiped [tipped] over a load of hay had Sammie draw him out with our team and sent on his way rejoicing, did not get a thank you sir. Sammie became quite dissatisfied on account of it . The weather is warm and clear with warm and balmy south wind and sleighing begins to be poor.
Mar 7 - The weather a little coalder with high west wind I have not been out of doors today though a little better than I was yesterday. Dr. Cutler called on me today -- gave me medicine -- he thinks I will be all right in a few days. Sammied Dr D Lice on cows with lard and kerosene equal parts and went to Richburgh to mill in the afternoon -- found the sleighing extremly poor. The winds continue to raise -- it blew Cyrus le Surer shed clear from its foundation and unroofed one fourth of his large barn and other buildings tremble like a leaf Had ceresis [serious] religious impressions during the afternoon and continued to increase in fury up to midnight
Mar 8 - Weather mild and pleasant except light sugar snow. Feeling better than yesterday went out to the barn this afternoon found the choores in good order horseses doing better. Carrie and Matie both sick with bad coalds and epazantic. Charlie and Genie made us a good long visit today talked about building a cheeze factory near Uncle James Davie's. Charlie said he would take a liberal amount of stock in a good factory but none in a poor one or in the old Ed Smith shanty - he thinks there are 300 cows that would come to Uncle James with proper management. He thinks he will work his milk up at home this season. We discussed the propiety of farmers in this country making shugar and cane to the conclusion that it is bad economy to neglect spring work to make shugar besides it exposes ones health and weares him out for but little pay. There is hay and other fodder in abundance this year. Hay is worth from 12.00 to 15.00 per ton and prospects of being cheeper. Some think it will be worth from 8.00 to 10.00 per ton. Have read but little today. Read Buchanon on education and some to Charlie who embraced his sentiments. Our place has been unusually quiet here today have not been in the gallery since day before yesterday - begin to get anxious to go to work again Have siters ready as soon as my health will admit. Thomas Richardson wants work soon so they can get it. This has been a lonely and quiet day nothing much going on to attract and not able to read but few minutes at a time so that the time is not filled up very agreeably or profitably have spells of fealing religious. [in the margin] All my thoughts today have made some good resolutions intend to practice them hoping to profit from the same for godliness is profitable.
March 9 - weather clear warm and pleasant snow fell last night about three inch deep but has already all disapeared nearly warm enough for sap to run. Health better went to the village this afternoon. Settled with Kenyon and Cowles they were owing me $6.00 for leather for Carrie's shoes Horace Collins reported the snow in the shugar bush to be two and a half feet deep. Sap run a little this afternoon. Wrote a letter to George van Vrandenburg, Tommie Richardson and Maxon Burdick, L.B Coon and B.M. Kenyon has a lawsuit at Bolivar village today. Lavina Williams on horse run taken sick today. Denis came out after the Dr. Today. This afternoon Sammie took a heavy coald today he is most sick. Shugared off this afternoon the children enjoyed it very much. Milt Wilbur moved his buckets in the woods today he says the sap ran a little. Divided calf skins with Kenyon and Cowles today - those that were tanned on shares last year. Priced double harness of Edgar he charges $45.00 for good 1 1\2 inch tug lines and black trimmings - good stock and made well but I think it is to dear at present think I shall look further. Visited two of three shops and stores uptown today business unusually dull. The general complaint is money is tight but little in circulation. And prospects are that it will be still tighter before business opens in the spring -- had a cheese factory meeting at Little Genesee last night but did not come to any conclusion. The last so of cheese James Coon mad [made?] of cheese in inquiring his factory or his reputation for the season the patrons were not all represented at the meeting Adjourned to meet again same time next [in the margin] perfect faleur and became somewhat impatient
March 10. Weather midling coald some snow and high winds. Sharp lightening and heavy thunder about 3 oclock afternoon which was followed by a violent snow storm. Coalds all a little better except Carrie's abut the same. I have been out of doors once or twice today. Split a little wood and made shoes for Carrie and cut and fitted a pair for Ellie. Lovellie [Louellie?] came a visiting had a pleasant time playing with the children in the evening. She stay all night, says her folks will move the first of next month says she and Fr is comming this week to get a large grop [group] of themselves in an ovil frame. Had all kinds of weather today some cold high west wind some of the time snowed a perfect torrent and some of the time quite mild and plesant though not warm enough to thaw at any time today. Have not been out of doors much today I carried in one handfull of wood and finished Ellie's shoes. Coald 11th about the same but headache worse. Had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Horace Collins and daughter Ellie German. Had a good visit and a charming dinner though the conversation was not of the highest order. Talked about cheese factorys making buttermilk and the factory to Genesee next Monday night. Meeds have decided to carry their milk to the Genesee factory this year. They have engage to Hiram Meed to hall their milk. Horace Collins says cows are worth from 40.00 to 50.00 per head and hay is worth 10.00 to 12.00 - Ton and field western corn with 1\3 oats ground together 11.40 p.c. [in the margin] John Millard spent this evening here he's just lost 12 small pigs. He said $60 worth or if they would have lived to four weeks old they would be worth $5 a piece.
Have just been reading Buchanan on anatomy of the brain I have this day resolved to be more temperate in the use of tobacco, begin to feel is ingurious to health. I think I have used it about long enough I have used it faithfully for 22 years have at present limited a chew to 1\2 the usual size which is in every respect perfectly satisfactory. Have practiced the Above for 3 days and feal no inconvenience for want of more but feal much better and relish for tobaco and food much better. Its now 1\2 past 10 oclock the family all gone to bed except Ellie went up to William Davies with Lovelli to stay all night and make them a final visit before they leave (move). They rode up with Jacynth Finch this afternoon children all had a deliteful visit with Louelli she says she cannot visit us again before she moves. She is now anxious to be in her new home. Lessons this summer. George L. Perry came in town last night he is here on a visit from his new home in Michigan. He intends to visit us all before he returns home. &nbps;He is not yet married looks rather old for a man of his age. He talks bying a farm of 200 acres in Michigan he like that country much better than this for farming but thinks society is better here besides he think this country have other advantages over his. He has worked out the most of the time the last ten years that he has been in Michigan. He has money and notes enough to buy him a good farm. He thinks of locating in the spring. Ellie Perry intends to go back with him. Its now 11:00 oclock and I must go to bed. The children are coughing badly this evening [in the margin:] I have more cough than usual and a violent headache which makes it uncomfortable to write I am tired an sleepy and off to bead in 2 minutes.
13 March 12 health better have worked some today helped Sammie draw out seven loads of manure though tired out and had to go to bed at noon.
13 Called on Milton Wilbur he promis to help get out manuer tomorrow if he is well enough he is most sick today with a bad coald . Had a good visit with Edd Bartoo and lady. Carey DeForest and Louelli and father. They started for home at nine o'clock except father intends to stay with us a short time. His health is better that usual. He brot us seven bushels of green apples which he bot of William Davie. Children all highly pleased With them as they are quite a rairity to them. Carrie's cough continues very bad all the others very much better. Ellie has just returned from her visit with Uncle Williams. Denis Williams called to get Ellie to work. Lovina is sick with roomaties. She is not able to do her own work. Denis Williams returned our large Dr. book he wants to keep the other a short time longer he says he has bot Chas Cowles cows he is to pay 45.00 pr head the first of April reserves four best and throws in 4 doz pans dog and dog churn power. He gives his note due four year from the first of April. M. J. Cowles moved to horserun. He has engaged to make shugar with Denis Williams. He takes his father's job of his hands and has one fourth of what they make. Carlie has one fourth and Denis one half. Engaged to make shugar with Horace Collins again this year he thinks we better not go in the bush until the snow settles which is about 3 1\2 to 4 feet deep. To deep for me for so little pay. [in the margin] it is now ten oclock and nearly bedtime. The rest of the family all gone to bed and I intend to follow suit in less than 3 minutes. Want an early start in the morning.
March 14 - weather clear and plesant warm enough for sapt [sap] to run sleighing all gone and the roads muddy and breaking up and snow nearly all gone in the fields. Heard a robin sing today it begins to look like spring again all fealing better today coalds much better I have worked all day today. Milton Wilbur helped us draw out manuer today we have drawn out sixteen loads today. Feal exceedingly tired tonight this is my first full days Work I have done in three months. Cannot stand it to work as well as when used to work. Cheese meeting at Little Genesee on Monday evening next. The patrons are all requested to attend the meeting had a special invitation from Horace Collins to attend the factory meeting. Father has enjoyed himself first rate today he is better than usual he is anxious to see Jani Williams. Engaged 16 lbs of large clover seed of Milton Wilbur, seed that Is raised in Michigan price not yet fixed but he think it will be in the neighborhood of $8.00 per bushel. I am too tired and nervous to write much this evening and feal the need of a little slumber for myself. Ellie has just been writing a letter I think to her beaux in Ulysses. Now almost nine oclock Mercia and children all gone to bed except Ellie and father. It is warm enough for rain think it will rain before morning it has clouded up black as a black cows back and looks like a heavy storm. Hope it will rain and settle the snow in the woods so we can get in the shugarbush. Cannot get in the wood with a team on account of the deep snow. [in the margin] Mercia requested me to state that she overloaded her stomach for supper which makes her extremely sleepy and will not be comforted until I come to bed but I must look at Buchanan a few minutes first.
Weather dark and rainy commensed at 11 am has rained all the afternoon and warm south wind has melted away nearly all the snow in the fields the rain continues to fall in torrents. The visible heavens and earth are filled with that liquid element which the god of nature sends forth the brooks and streams are filled and overflow their banks and has nearly innundated the valley below. Health improving the childrens coughs are much better. Went a fishing with Chester today the water was to [too] high did not ketch any went down to Kenyon's old mill saw the ruins of the old splash. Went in the mill And shot at a mark the first two strings was a tie the second string and finally made one shot each to determine which was best. Chester made the best shot though it was not worth braging of. We then walked up to Chas W. Cowles in the rain got some wet had a good visit with Betsy. Charles had gone to horserun to hoop some buckets they have taped thirty trees. Chester has made a bargain with Benj. Kenyon to take his place or farm to work on shares this year. Kenyon proposes to furnish one team tools stock with 22 cows and furnish half the seed and each have half Chester thinks it is a favorable bargain and intends to close up the trade on Monday next or as soon as convienient and move in the red house as soon as the contract is made. Willie and Lyda is favorable to the enterprise. Chester called to see me in relation to it I advised him to take it if he can get a contract specifying most explicity every minute point in the [in the margin] father is suffering the effects of bloating his feet and legs are bloated as much as the skin can hold and are hard as a board. His body is also hosted which gives him pain and uneasiness.
Saturday evening March 15 1873
March 15 -- ten oclock the rain continues to fall in torrents the wind is changing in the west and a little coalder. Saw two robbins today. Heard them sing their happiest song and to all appearances the winter has broke. Read one of H W Beechers sermons tonight. Religion in business fervant in spirit surving the lord A nice practice thing and beautifully dressed in his native eloquence. Mercia and father very much displeased with it Simply because it has embodyed in it too much human (nature) a little too much human and not quite enough god and holy ghost in it. Read two Sherman patriot papers one containing President Grants second inaugural address which as the edition says rings with the mettle of the man. The paper states that cheese making has become a sucess in Texas the greatest difficulty they have is that during the hottest part of the season the cheese is apt to spoil before it will cure sufficiently for market it is stated that $40 worth of pork can be mad [made] of the whay of one cow during the season. There is now one york state cheese factory near Sherman that proved a sucess last year and which will be conducted upon a more extensive plan this season. The two new roads are going through Sherman this season. That town is growing as rapidly as any town in the United States and they claim that such is the case it is stated that they have in that town 31 licensed hotells and saloons whare spirituous liquors are retailed and only one church -- so much for southern society. Though there are several denominations Who hold meeting in public halls and other suitable places though churches is not very popular yet they doing more to improve their school system than any other state in the union according to the statements in the Sherman patriot. [in the margin] Sammie went to the village today payed $3.00 for one Sack of second quality flour. Charlie Davie taped his shugarbush today -- yesterday sayed the sap run good today and yesterday.
March 16 -- Weather coald with extremely high west wind. Snowed a little bit last night but today has been clear and coald. Childrens coalds much better Family all comfortably well this evening. Father is about usual this evening. Have read today a little scriptures a little Jewish antiquity and a little B. Buchanan on the journal of man. Have been lonesum this day for want of better reading. Have not had any company today something that has Not happened (ocured) on Sunday before in a long time. Something which makes the day seem extremly long. The children and Mercia are all busy with there reading this evening and father is sleeping in his chair except Sammie has gone a sparking or somewhare ells. He started off on horseback about dark he did not say whare he was going. We have all concluded to attend Sabath school at the village this summer intend to commense as soon as the roads get settled and passable going. Cheese factory meeting at Little Genesee tomorrow evening. The patrons are all [in the margin] had a bad (?) dinner today eat harty and consequently have a severe headache this evening. It is now nine oclock and I shall be off to bed in less than one half hour. Cows are begining to make bag very good feeding about 1 1\2 bushel per day feeding wheat without being threshed. Cows like it first rate and do well on it. It makes better feed than hay. Cows do not eat straw good any more since it has come warm. Sheep begins to get there own living on grass which is quite green where the snow has just gone off looks greener than it did last year the 5th of April. Cows fead on grass nearly all day day before yesterday. The wind continues to blow a perfect hurrycane and is coming coalder than in the morning
March 17 -- weather clear warm and plesant prospect of a storm. Roads muddy and breaking up. All well this evening coalds much better. Sammie took father over to Rockwell Williams on horserun this afternoon he - father thinks he is visiting horserun for the last time. He thinks he will not live through the summer. Took 1\2 doz photographs W S Cowles today. Father gave us $2.00 to buy a sack of flour with. I shaved him today he says it is the last time I will shave him alived in all probability. Walked to Little Genesee this evening attended the cheese factory meeting at Rus Prindle's store. The meeting was called to order by Rogers Crandall. Avery Langworthy was appointed chairman and Acy Maxon secretary of the meeting. The meeting apoint Square Green, L.J. Coon and Horace Collins as committee to confer with Jim Coon in relation to the price of making cheese and other maters [matters] prepairatory to a contract. The last years treasurer read his report last season it took 9 lbs 3\8 of milk to make one lbs of cheese. The net price of cheese averdged 9 1\2 cents per pound. Meeting was conducted mostly on social principals good deal dissatisfaction was expressed in the management of the last sale of last years most of the patrons are not willing to pay more hat 1 1\2 cents for making or no more that other factorys got under similar circumstances. Committes are instructed to report next meeting. Adjourned to meet at Rus Prindell's store one week from tonight. Rod home with Warren Cowles. Good butter is quoted in new york at 50 cents per pound.
March 18 -- Family all well except slight coalds. Weather mild and stormy. Commensed snowing about noon and last night it changed to rain. Went over to Williams after hoops today. Horace Colins came over about noon took dinnar and started out in the storm after hoops. Cut about 57 hoop poles had a tigeous time of it got wet through. Went to the house warmed up and eat apples and started for home just before dark. Had a nasty wet time coming Home. Ellie went to work to Chester's today Lyda and Rue is sick with coalds chester did not take Kenyon's farm as yet. Rockwell William's commensed building his house today. Chester is helping him built his cellar. The sap runs a little today. Visited Ed Bartoo a short time this afternoon found them all well. William and DeForest went to Friendship today to finish of the upper rooms of there house. They intend to stay until Saturday night they are keeping bachelors hall and boarding themselves what a good time they must have; they intend to move next week. The children shugared off today they had a nice time and enjoyed it very much. Engaged two thousand feet of hemlock fence board of Joseph Stillman today. Stillman is to apply his old account on the boards. Wrote a dunning letter to Thomas Crandall, Genesee. Requested him to meet at the factory meeting on Monday night to settle book acct.
March 19 -- All well except slight coalds. It has been clear and plesant until towards evening. The wind changed in the west and it is now getting coalder [ had a good sap day today. Sap run half a bucket full in Denis William's bush. Caried four axes to Swick Covey's on the Honeyoy [Honeoye] to get upset. Said would do them next week he had no water suitable for tempering with. He has got to send to Wellsville for sal ammoniac to prepair water with for tempering with. Stoped at George Days on my return home took dinner assisted him in setting some bucket hoops. Saw Horace Colins at his house (George Days) said Colins was on his way home from Osway. He advised me to come down a cooper buckets tomorrow if the weather is suitable or if it is not stormy he thinks we can get in the woods with a team. I returned home just dark have split and shaved and cut lock on one end of 56 hoops since dark. It is now 9 1\2 evening. Sammie is out sparking Lib Wilbur this evening. Solomon Miller and wife came today to get there likenes taken. Ellie returned home from Chesters this evening. Orrin and Nett Lesures came and brot her home. Lyda and Rirac is better so they can do their own work. Jacob Meed wants to sell his wood bo?. He offord to sell it to me today. Alford Meed lost one of his oxen today. John Crandall bot Wicksons oxen Today for $85.00. They are a good pair of 5 year old well matched and well broke. Worth $125 or $120. Rock Williams traded horses yesterday got cheated badly. The folks are all well on horse run saw Den and Monroe in their s bush [sugar bush]. [in the margin] I am unusually tirid tonight. Rode to the Honeyoy [Honeoye] today on horseback most of the way. It makes me tired and sore. Now I am off to bed In a minute.
March 20 -- All well coald much better snowed about all day today fall about three inches deep. The sap run a little today. Worked at hooping and washing buckets at Horace Colinses today. Finished those at the house about 3 oclock afternoon went up on the hill and commensed hooping those. Found the snow 2 1\2 to 3 feet deep and most imposeble go through it. Came home just dark found Rockwell Williams and Lib Williams at our house. Rockwell stayed to supper and then went home. Lib stayed all night quilted for Mercia in the evening. I have been reading Buchanan on phrenology this evening after a social chat with Rockwell and our family. Made some good resolution today intend to put them in constant practise. Have fealt unusually gloomy today had some religious impreshions. Think it occationed from reading a little chunck from John Bunion this morning, moraral sentiments have not been in the highest condition today. Fealt a considerable frety and fractious during the fore part of the day but as soon as I got to work the excitement passed off and I became calm and thoughtfull and shortly the scene presented a favorable prospect and I Finally Came to the conclusion that I have been a midling consistent Christian this afternoon or at least so far as my own consciousness will permit me to judge of Christianity. Chester has taken Ben Kenyons farm for one year finished the contract today. I think he has a good bargain he intends to move on Monday next. To nervous to write.
March 21 -- All well today, storm continued all day today snow fell about four inches since yesterday west wind today and coald as dreamland. To coald to work outdoors today. Ground up an old ax and fited [fitteded] it for choping repaired farm tools and harness for coalt. Sammie harnessed up the coalt today he drived good. Samie got out a load of grist of corn today and dun the choors. Milton came after Libi about noon today. Mercia finished her quilt this evening it is a nice one. The children have all gone to bed but Sammie. Things have moved of plesantly and agreeably today had a good boiled dinner at three oclock today eat harty and relished it much. Read a chapter in Josephus this morning think I shal read another this evening. Reading is getting scarce here think will have to fall back on the bible and school books -- have not taken any pictures in three days chemicals are working finely and everything in readiness for customers. I expect work as soon as the going is passable went upstairs in the gallery today for the first in three days found everything all right but too dark and stormy to take pictures today have plenty shop and farm work on hand. The bad weather Has put us a little behind the season have not got out all the manuer yet take four days to finish. Shall work at it tomorrow if the weather is tolerable a wood sleigh will work well now as the snow is about five inches deep. Fences blowed down badly today had to shake off the snow from some of the fruit trees to keep them from breaking down under the heavy burden of snow.
March 22 -- All well tonight weather extremely cold and snowy the snow has fell since the 20th 10 inches deep sufficient to make quite good sleighing weather is to coald to work outdoors today. Visited Charles Cowles today Saw Denis Williams, Monroe and Gene and Chester and Willie assisted them in cleaning out there house. Had a good visit with Charlie and charming dinner about three oclock. Samie went to mill today. Payed D. A. Newton $25.00 to apply on account. Amina Andrews sick at the point of death. Dr thinks there is no pulses in her ? It is reported that she has been poisoned. Heard from George Van Vradenburg they are well. Florence is smart enough to ride out she is doing her own work. Mrs. Seth Lewis is quite sick. Sleighing is good at Ulysses. Have not worked any today got a severe headache tonight. Abijer is staying with Sammie tonight.
Family all in good health except slight coalds the weather is clear and plesant except high west wind. It has been a good sap day today. The snow has nearly all disapeared in the fields today. Gene Cowles, Willie Davie and John Miller been here today. Johnny will stay here all night he is recovering from a sickness he is complaining of a sore throat tonight. Read today Colonel Bakers history of the late rebellion. Mercia is reading scriptures tonight. Children have all gone to bed but Sammie. Amina Andrews died this morning at nine oclock her funeral will be held at the church day after tomorrow at two oclock. Post mortum examination will be held over her remains tomorrow. Physician D. Cutler and Dr Willard [in the margin] its reported that Mrs. Andrews died from the effect of Poison.
March 24 -- all in good health today. Weather cool and midling coald north wind. Had a cheese factory meeting At Prindalls store this evening. Jim Coon and Horace Colins appointed salesmen. Coon is to furnis and manufacture the cheese for $1.75 per cut. Major Crandall took the job of halling the chees to Friendship for 12 cts per cwt. On examining Mrs. Andrews the Drs found she had taken poison which was the cause of her death. They are holding a coroners inquist over her remains. Got out manuer today got ten loads it was froze so we had to chop it all loose. More work To chop it than to load it. Halled a load of oats from the big barn think we will have plenty of hay this spring. Just commensed feeding hay from The big barn have now on hand about 120 bushels of oats. Spent the most of the evening reading the nurse and spy (a history of the war with the south) Mercia read the most of the evening. Too tired to write much tonight the family has all gone to bed and I must go too.
Family all well tonight weather dark and middling coald wind in the north is the morning and changed around in the east at noon and this evening it is in the south and much warmer and prospect of rain. Samie went to mill today got 20 bushels Oats ground for the cows. Went with a sleigh found good sleighing about half they halled three loads manuer and took photographs of Mr. & Mrs. S. Miller.
Family all well the weather coald and snowy it is the roughest day we've had since February. To coald to work outdoors today. Repaired six old sap Buckets. Cut out new heads and them good as new. Put one bail in gethering bucket the children are making so much noise and confucion that I cannot write they are having a regular playspell this evening. Mercia and Ellie are setting another quilt together this evening. Found my old fort reno pipe and have commennsed smoking a little. Jim horse got kicked on the hind leg three or four days ago it became inflamed and swelled very large. We took down the swelling with strong smart weed tea with only three or four applications. Have been most successful with smart weed for inflamation Than any other medesin. Got a sick cow think she will die she is going so weak she cannot get up without help three or four cows begin to make bag think they are coming in the first of April. The butter market is constantly improving. The best quality are quoted at 50 cts per pound it is generally calculated that butter will do better this season than cheese.
All well , weather clear and plesant north wind and a little coald got out Manuer today. Took 1\2 doz photographs for Rosa Miller. John Millard spent the evening with us. Rose Miller stays all night with Ellie. Lent J. H. Davie 30 cents finished manuering the wheat stubble today.
March 28 -- All well today but myself. Worked to hard yesterday and most sick Today. Have symptoms of roomaties [rheumatism] in right arm and shoulder. Worked some today getting out manuer. Weather warm with south wind snow disappearing quite rapidly sleighing nearly all gone. Sap runs some today though the snow to deep to get a team in the woods. Some of the earliest bushes have made from 50 to 70 lbs of shugar. Have decided to bring our buckets home After shugaring this year and make at home another year. Rec'd a letter from M. J. Chapin his son Tommy died with congestion of the brain and was buried between the 10th and 25th of March. Made arrangements with Andrew Miller for shingles to cover the big barn which we intend to move over here this summer. Samie is attnding a shugar party of the good templars hall this evening. Read the history of Jacob in Josephus last evening, Jacob had four wives and twelve children. He worked for Laben 14 years for his wives and finally runaway with some of Labens cattle. Jacob lived 150 years and died in Egypt a special favorite of the king and his son Joseph. Joseph also died a short time after the death of his father Jacob. Mercia is spinning and the children are buzzing around in such confusion That it is difficult to write. Dolpheus Burdick has nearly recovered his mind and is coming home day after tomorrow. He has been to Utica insane asylum since last fall. He was a raving maniac when he went to Utica. Chas Cowles moves next Tuesday, we will have new neighbors in his place the last of the week. Mr Halburt expects to work the farm this summer [in the margin] ??? Or sight [?slight] symptoms of hypochrondria have immagined my condition much worse than it really is.
March 29 -- All well tonight except I have roomaties [rhuematism] in right arm. Weather coald again it commensed raining last evening and rained the most of the time unti this evening the wind has changed in the west and commensed to snow a perfect hurrycane and this evening is so coald as Greenland. Have not worked out any today made and repaired tools mad [made] 2 puches [pouches] one scratch awl one peging [pegging] all handle one file handle and one mallett besides put up some fixtures in the shop and made one new bucket out of an old one. Have been busy all day and have filled up the time to good advantage. It is now nine oclock the family are all in bed the room is coald and I am going to bed soon. The sap has run good today some of the lumbermen started down the river (River ?) this afternoon
All well tonight. Weather warm with south wind have read all day children all gone to bed but Samie he has gone down to stay with Willie tonight. Intend to go in the shugarbush tomorrow sap run some today now past 9 oclock and I must go to bed.
All well except matie and carrie is complaining. Weather moderately warm with west wind cloudy snowed some in the middle of the day. The sap run good today. Coopered and washed and scalded out the remainder of the buckets and choped some wood. The snow is about 2 1\2 feet deep in the woods. Father came home heare from Rockwell Williams today his strength is gradually failing. Rockwells family are well. Willie Davie stayed with Samie tonight. Sam and will went out to see Milt Wilbur boil sap this evening they heard some big horse stories over there. Read a chapter in Josephus this evening I am unusually tied this evening the family is all gone to bed.
All well this evening weather warm with slight south wind. Prospect of rain it has been a good sap day taped 140 trees and shovilled road through three to four foot of snow for 40 rods got both teams upon the hill and distributed three loads of buckets. Have a sick cow raised her this evening with hayfork pulleys and a horse. The plan work well. Samie and myself worked the thing through alone without any difficulty. The cow was so weak she could not help herself but a little. Father is coughing hard this evening. Think he has taken a worse coald. I am unusually tired and sleepy this evening it is most ten oclock the family all gone to bed. Chas Cowles moved yesterday he hated to leave the old homestead. Mr Halburt is moving down today. Rec'd a Sherman patriot this evening. Andreus Miller brought down our mail tonight. Deforst Baxter got his arm badly hurt in a sawmill yesterday. Dr Cutler dressed it and attended to it. He thinks he will get the full use of this arm again.
April 2 -- All well except Matie's Jennie and ? Has canker rash. Carie has the symptom though not very sic. Father has a bad cough tonight weather clear and warm this morning with south wind but the wind changed in the west at noon and coalder. Stormed some this afternoon worked in the shugarbush today taped about 200 trees. Cut roads and distributed most of the buckets. Samies birthday today he is 17 years -- he is so fraid the children will whip him that he has gone to stay with Abiger tonight. I cut my thumb today which makes it difficult to write. Had an early breakfast this morning about 1\2 past nine oclock. Harace complains a little now. 9 oclock the children gone to bed. More than tired tonight.
Carie, Matie and Jennie all sick with the scarlet fever. Carrie is quite sick. The rest of the family are well. Stormed this afternoon some rain and some snow and plesant and warm this afternoon. Sap run some this afternoon. Worked in the shugarbush Today. Got 400 trees taped got about 8 buckets of sap. Father is better tonight had a good visit with him tonight. Mercia is busy waiting on the sick children 1\2 past 10-all gone to bed but Mercia and myself. Quite tired and sleepy tonight.
Carrie, Matie and Jennie sick the scarlet fever a little better than last night the rest of the family are all well the weather warm and clear the sap run good today. Laid up the arch and gathered 96 buckets of sap, taped some trees. Tired and sleepy tonight all gone to bed but Mercia an myself.
Scarlet fever much better, the children sitting up most of the time. Weather warm and cloudy this forenoon and heavy thunder showers and hail this afternoon - the water is the highest it has been known in four years. Boiled sap today had 2 1\2 buckets of syrup. Sap run a little today finished gathering sap had 150 buckets of sap. The water in the river is too high to run lumber. Horace Colins engaged to go down the river for R.L. Andrews. It is reported that hailstones the size of hens eggs fell near Bolivar this afternoon. Andrews commensed work for Colins today heard the peaper frogs last night saw a large flock of pegions in the woods today. The weather is clear and plesant this evening and getting coalder.
Carrie and Matie and Jennie is better tonight. Ellie is sick with the same as the rest of the children weather clear and warm this morning and heavy thunder showers during the middle of the day the water is higher tonight Than last night. Brot syrup home this afternoon and shugared off this evening. Chester and Willie spent the evening with us and enjoyed there sugar very much.
All well except Ellie she is about the same. Weather warm and cloudy slight shower just at night the grass begins to grow and looks quite green and the cattle begins to grase. Sheep get their living on grass. The roads are so muddy they are nearly impassable for the horses. Shod today finished distributing the buckets. Taped 200 trees sap run a little. Shugared off the balance of the syrup today had about 40 lbs. Had a good social shugar eat at Horace Colins today -- feeding our horses potatoes at noon. They are doing extremely well and gaining finely. Have been wading in the snow today So I am unusually tired. Children all went to bed. Father went over to Charlies today -- he went crosslots a foot -- now 10 oclock and I go to bed.
...all well tonight Ellie sit at the table to supper tonight. Weather warm an cloudy wind changed in the north just night and this evening is a little coalder nearly cold enough to freeze. Worked in the shugarbush today finished taping and gathered 100 buckets of sap. We have now 900 trees taped. The snow has nearly all melted away in the woods. The water is 1 fet deep on the sidewalk from the depot down to Portville village. Charlie round carried his mail from the depot to the p.o. in a skiff and the river still raising one inch an hour. The Allegany river is the highest has been in years.
April 9 -- All well this evening weather warm and cloudy with south wind. Commensed raining at three oclock rained hard from that time to nine oclock The creeks are higher than before and still raising rapidly. All the mill dams on this stream has gone out and also the white and low Warner dam at Ceres. The water is four feet deep in some of the houses in Portville. It is feared that many of the houses in Portville will be carried away with the flood. Boiled sap in the rain had a severe time syruping off in the rain Horace Colins went to Ceres today he found the water four feet deep just below the bridge at Edwards -- the stage did not run today for the high water. Got wet through today. Feal tired and sleepy guess I'd better go to bed.
All well tonight weather clear and cool Northwest wind. Farmers begins to plow sap run good today. Ploughed this forenoon - Jim horse was taken sick had her bled this evening got some medisun of Horace Colins he thinks she has taken a heavy cold. She acts lie a foundered horse. Father came back this evening shugared off this evening got plenaty of sap to boil tomorrow. Prospect of a good say day tomorrow. Heard from cousin James Davie today. The friend[s] are all well in that country. Jonathan Davie is at Elmira think he will come and see us before he returns to Orange county. Some tired and sleepy tonight.
April 11 all well weather warm and clear this forenoon and cloudy this afternoon. Boiled sap today sap run a little gethered 200 buckets of sap. Had a sick horse yester but better today got 2 new milk cows. Abijer stays with Sammie tonight -- taken 3 acres greensward to plough and sow to millt of Horace Colins. Moved the banking away from the cellar yesterday tired and sleepy tonight. Got new neighbors. Mrs Wickson has moved in with Levi Mead it is reported that there is small pox in Belmont. George Davie is coming back home to work his fathers place. Father went over to Charlies today.
All well. Weather coald and cloudy with north wind finished boiling sap today to tired to write.
All well weather clear and coald north wind. Rec'd letter from mssrs Parmer and Stephens and notice that DDT Davie has not paid last quarters rent and requested me to look after it immediately. Dun choors nearly all day today. Taken Andrew Halburt old ground to sow on shares each furnish half the seed and will divide in the shock. Halled 2 loads of manuer from the big barn -- have concluded to move the big barn over this season.
[In Mercia's handwriting]: Moses Chapin 1800-1832,
Azubah Chapin 1802-1852 aged 55 yrs,
Dennis Banks Chapin born Nov 8 or 10 1826, (d-1851),
Mary Anne Chapin born Feb 20 1826 d. March 1,
Mercia Chapin Davie born Nov 2 1829.
Moses Jewett Chapin born nov 6th or 10th 1827. (Moved to texas ?)
[Note: This is where the diary stops. As spring comes and the plowing begins, to much work on a farm to to devote time to writing a diary. This account copied in longhand from original found in attic of home in Friendship, NY 1992, By Don Cady, great-grandson of Ella Inette Davie Wightman (Ellie). Transcribed from Don Cady's hand into print by Floyd A. Davie, grandson of George Davie and 1st cousin (twice removed) of Joseph.