Volume 31, Number 3 - Spring 1992

W. D Sylvester
Journeyman Pioneer (1867 - 1938)
by Lynn Morrow and Linda Myers-Phinney

The W. D. Sylvester Diary (1898-1902) contains terse, but engaging glimpses into an Ozarks pioneering experience at the turn of the twentieth century. Unlike most published pioneer accounts, Sylvester was not a recognized outdoorsman whose passions sought the chase. Even if he had a hunters s vision, his migration into the Ozarks came after significant depletion of game and habitat. Instead, Sylvester’s background was in railroad towns where men had skilled jobs and worked by the clock. Sylvester moved to a rustic country, made a new home, and made a living something like owners of modern farmettes do—by teaching school, by practicing his mechanic skills locally, and by commuting to other towns where larger job markets were available for a master craftsman.

William David Sylvester was born in 1867 near New Palestine, Indiana. His parents were born in Indiana, too, but his paternal Sylvester grandparents hailed from Maryland. W. D. was the eldest of four brothers that included Ephraim Riley (1874-1932), Lemuel Pleasant (1880-1961), and James Miles (1888-1972).

On October 1, 1880, the family left Indiana in covered and open air wagons. On the fiftieth anniversary of that emigration, W. D. recalled that he was "in a hurry to conquer the great and abounding West" as they moved to the vicinity of Sheldon, Mo., near the Vernon-Barton County line. In 1890-1891 W. D. atended the Collegiate Institute at Pilot Grove, Missouri. As a result he acquired a life long affection for books and language. Ralph, one of his sons, recalled, "He had the largest private library in the country [in Barry County], no trash, all classics. I never heard him swear, he didn’t even use slang, not even doggone. He said there were too many nice words to use bad ones. Young W. D. landed a job with the Kansas City Southern Railroad as station agent at Worland, Bates County, Missouri. He also operated a small general store, published the local Worland Watchman newspaper for a short time, and in 1893 became postmaster of Worland.

The next railroad town south of Worland was Hume. W. D. courted the daughter of a couple that ran a room and board hotel for the railroad traffic. In 1897 the young lady Nettie Reynolds (1880- 1924) and W. D. married.

In 1898 W. D.’s parents, John and Malissa, and the three young families of their sons’—Riley, Pleasant, and W. D. — moved near Flat Creek in eastern Barry County. W. D. homesteaded 160 acres of rough White River hill land about one and one-half miles east of the senior Sylvesters. The homestead entry cost $18.00 and with other local fees W. D. spent $35.30 to officially begin pioneering in the Ozarks. While on this homestead from 1898 to 1904 they had their first child Raleigh (1899-1972). Unfortunately, the elder Sylvesters died young — John in 1900, Malissa in 1904, both at age 60.


Sylvester’s diary lists his numerous building and construction works—some were for his home, others for sale. He traded a horse for a 14’ x 16’ log house, moved it in pieces to his homestead where he assembled and developed a small farm in east Barry County. He hauled rock for a hearth and fireplace, stone fence, and built a stone forge and lime kiln. He erected a kitchen, hen house, smokehouse, fodder shed, and carpenter’s shop; built a stable, crib, and hog pen. He constructed a road, bridge, yard fence, and surveyed property lines; sawed logs and timber, cut posts and split rails, made cross ties and rived boards. And in his spare time, he repaired tools, his logging wagon, and remodeled his parents house.

Sylvester honestly portrayed his pioneering experience as one of hard work and many disappointments. His railroad ties weren’t acceptable at the selling point; tree limbs fell on him, injuring him and crippling his other efforts for a considerable time; hogs would not always drive home, and mules would run off into the open range, requiring a time-consuming trek through the timber.

But W. D. was determined. He planted shrubbery, grape vines, fruit trees, and tapped nearby maple trees; he raised stock, grain, poultry and tobacco; he took grain for grinding at nearby mills; and he planted garden, gathered berries, and burned the woods.

The carpenter’s shop was a special place to a man who took pride in creating domestic furniture. He manufactured chairs, bedsteads, desks, bookcases, clothes baskets and coffins; he made gun stocks, potato mashers, rolling pins, tool handles, and tools themselves. W. D. and father John Sylvester donated logs for the seats at Horny Buck school where W. D. taught a term.

With the passing of W. D.’s parents and prospects for more income in town, the Sylvester family moved to Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1904. Nettie and Raleigh went to Bates County, Mo., where Nettie’s family lived. W. D. found work and established a home in Pittsburg where the family reunited several months later. The rest of W. D. and Nettie’s family were born in Kansas—Ralph "Mack" (1906-1977); Nettie Jane (1907-); and Anna Laura (1910-1991). Ralph treasured his father’s diary and wrote a fond remembrance of family history from which some of this introduction is drawn. In 1904 W. D. worked in the Tn-State Mining District for developers in southeast Kansas. In this new beginning of his career W. D. made $2.50 per eight-hour day as a carpenter. He also worked in a local foundry and as an upholsterer of railroad passenger cars.

About 1914 W. D. injured his right hand in a wood working machine. It healed, but he lost the first joint on the two middle fingers; apparently the injury did not affect his building skills as he continued to build houses, commercial buildings, and furniture for many years. After more than a decade in Pittsburg, the Sylvesters decided to move back to the hills of Flat Creek in Barry County.

In Spring, 1917, W. D. and family returned to the Ozarks. Charles and Edgar Stumpff had used their pastures, paying the taxes during the Sylvesters’ absence. To the surprise of the Sylvesters, however, their former log house had been stolen while the family lived in Pittsburg. A neighbor assumed the house was abandoned and appropriated it for his own use. After more than a decade of sitting empty the house probably would have needed major repairs. Looking ahead, they moved onto a ridge in July, 1917, near Dry Hollow; W. D. began this farm with a $300.00 bank loan.

The carpenter began a new house—a log bungalow that eventually included a fashionable, rustic, field stone veneer and rock porch. Of course, he also built various dependencies including a barn, smokehouse, and workshop. W. D. consulted the popular


pattern book plans for bungalows and fashioned his own on the ridge. He bought trees from Stark Bros. Nursery to decorate the landscape and set cedar gate posts in front of the yard. He bought a cow, had her bred, and butchered the calf—the small farm was now open for business. During the early 1920s W. D. increased his production of furniture for a regional commercial market and in July, 1922, began construction on the field stone veneer skirt around the bungalow and on the stone porch. The demands of his work and the illness of Nettie stalled completion of the house until 1923 or 1924, but the family lived in the bungalow long before its final finish.

By now the Flat Creek locale included a number of businesses integrated into the Ozarks orchard-railroad economy. The Sylvesters raised tomatoes for export and Fred Akin, one of the local entrepreneurs, hired W. D. in 1918 to build his Dry Hollow and Dry Creek factories that made wooden crates, and processed tomatoes and later pickles. Son Raleigh worked with W. D. and soon they began building houses, too. At this point, W. D. bought his first piece of power equipment—a four horsepower woodworking Witte Engine from Kansas City, Mo. The engine provided power in the Sylvester workshop and W. D. was able to move it around the country to various jobs. It served him unerringly until it needed its first repairs in 1929.

By 1921 W. D. and his engine were building his first brooder house for a family poultry business. He went on to establish several projects during 1921-1922. He built a boat for Fred Akin, put a wind mill on his clothes line post, built a goat fence around his north forty, made his first sorghum, and set a post and mail box for the beginning of rural delivery on July 3, 1922. He later wrote that he only missed getting his mail one time until April, 1933, when times became so difficult that he could not continue the daily paper. In Fall, 1924, he bought a Kingston and Douglas saw mill from John Blythe.

In 1923 local Crane Chronicle journalist B. F. Carney traveled to the Dry Hollow neighborhood and commented upon the W. D. "Billy" Sylvester enterprises. Carney declared that this 56-year-old carpenter was a "wood craft man of rare talent and attainment" that would astonish any observer. Billy told the reporter that in 1921 he thought he might try making some furniture for a little extra income. The popular favor of regional residents resulted in almost a full-time occupation as a furniture craftsman. In fact, W. D. did not farm, except for his goats, poultry, peach trees, strawberries and grapes, but managed a brisk woodworking business.

Billy Sylvester fashioned rocking chairs, high chairs, cedar chests, dining tables, clocks, porch

swings, library tables, and sold some furniture wholesale to Home Furniture Company, Cassville. It was the rocking chairs, though, that seemed to be a favorite with his clientele—in 1922 he sold forty-one of them. Among these purchasers were Fred Akin, James Bailey, Jim Carney, Leonard Coons, Claude Henson, Cicero and Buddy Hilton, Willie Moore, C. B. Stumpff, Maynard Taylor, Mrs. J. T. Thurman, Opal Williams, and more. In time W. D. had his own letterhead stationery advertising himself as "Builder of Fine Furniture" specializing in "chests, chairs, clock cases, curios, carvings, inlays and tables." Nettie Sylvester died in 1924; three years later W. D. wed widow Daisy Ferril Queen (1879-1944). The Sylvesters and Queens knew one another as young folks in Bates County. W. D. and Daisy continued life on the ridge and, like their neighbors, soon faced an unforgiving Great Depression. On a moribund note W. D. still made coffins for the neighborhood. In 1935 he provided the service for Hadley Asher’s wife who died in childbirth, both baby and mother buried in the same coffin. This made nine coffins W. D. crafted for burials in the Summers cemetery alone. And the lack of a constant cash flow for the living made for tough times for those with mortgages and taxes to pay. In the depth of the Depression W. D. wrote his children that "It just keeps us rustling to get a few groceries." Eventually, son Raleigh, living in Arkansas, bought the farm in 1935 while W. D. and Daisy continued to live on it.

Today, owners of Billy Sylvester furniture prize these hand-crafted items, made by an Ozarks master craftsman, which contribute to the distinct legacy of Ozarks history and culture. Perhaps even more significant to some is that this latter homestead remained in the family. Raleigh, who had taught the neighborhood school in 1922 and 1923, and Avis Sylvester kept the homeplace, leaving it to their son David and his wife Mary Margaret. In March, 1991, W. D.’s granddaughter Mrs. Anna Dailey purchased the 153 acres, still fenced with W. D.’s cedar posts, and plans are underway for the construction of a new house—one with a veneer of native rock!

W. D. Sylvester Diary 1898

Jan 24 Went to Cassville Barry Co Mo to file on claim.
Feb 17 Blazed out road down cave hollow to get to building place.
Mar 1 Traded horse named "Shake" to Birt Woodhouse for log house.
Mar 9 Worked on road down Cave Hollow blazed out on Feb 17th.


Mar 16 Sit out first shrabbery—l0 grape vines and 7 peach trees just up the hill from the house.
July 15 Got house moved by this time and raised it to-day.
July 26 Moved into house to-day.
Aug 7 Went to Joplin Mo and worked in J.W. Freeman’s Foundry two months, got sick, went to Hume, Mo., and returned home Oct 17th
Nov 20 Began building first crib and stable.
Nov 28 Filled 4 wagon wheels for Tom Moore.
Nov 15 Bought 5 sheep of John Butler for $15.00
Dec 6 Bought one male hog of Geo. Carney for $3.00
Dec 15 Been very cold and heavy snow for several days. Have not done much. Pleas and I went to Aurora and Marionville yesterday. Went after meat and lard I ordered from Kansas City. Bought a grinding stone; cost 40g.
Dec 20 Brought Bassett sow home: put her in the pen built of stone. Has [lacunae] for several days.
Dec 24 Brought male hog from Geo. Carney’s that I recently bought.
Dec 25 Christmas Day: We visited at home: David’s were there; Rily came home from Joplin; Geo. Woodhouse came and took the picture of the house and all of us.
Dec 26 Folks came to our house—all but Pleas: he went to work for old Cal Carney this morning; Rily started back to Joplin this evening.
Dec 31 Last day of the year; last day of the month and last day of the week. I went to store in evening. It was very cold. 1899
Jan 1 Stayed at home till late in the evening and then went over to pa’s[.] Ed Stumpffs came over in the afternoon.
Jan 3 Hauled a load of corn in forenoon and pa helped me saw board timber in the afternoon.


Jan 4 Rained all forenoon; Afternoon I rived my first boards to amount to anything.
Jan [?] Cut rail timber on the ridge at the head of Cave hollow this afternoon[.] This is the first rail timber cut except around the house. We went to Davids with pa’s folks[.] It rained in the evening. I had the head ache so bad I could not get home. We stayed at pa’s.
Jan 12 It has rained every day this week so far; have not done much. Made boards, etc.
Jan 19 Cut rail timber on the ridges at top of hollow, and finished putting roof on shed stable south side of log crib.
Jan 23 I cut down 4 saw logs this forenoon. Wesley Smoot began making rails for me[.] Rained and snowed in the evening.
Jan 25 I finished cutting the timber and west Smoot finished splitting the 500 rails he made for me. Pa hauled a log to the mill to get sawed for his part to making seats for Horny Buck school house.
Jan 28 Fixed up the clock Nettie’s pa and ma gave us. Got it running all right.
Jan 29 Sunday: We stayed at home all day.
Jan 30 Snow began to fall last night. Heavy snow on ground this evening.
Jan 31 Snowed most all day to-day.
Feb 5 Heavy snow still on. Daze died this morning.
Feb 7 Snow still on and too cold to do much.
Feb 14 Valentine’s day. First nice day since storm came on Jan 30th
Feb 18 Have been sick with cold; nice weather now. Tapped five sugar trees to-day.
Feb 20 Tapped six more sugar trees this morning. Filed two saws and worked on wheel for David Ayers bal. of day.
Feb 22 Went to John Butler’s and bought [missing] feet of lumber @ 80g per [illegible]
Feb 25 Have two lambs now: one came [missing] and the other to-day. Feb 27 Killed the hog I got of Clouty. Another lamb come to-day. Pa and Ma were here. David came and got his wheel and wagon tongue.
Mar 2 Last lamb that came, died.
Mar 3 Brought down 12 hens and one rooster. Pa brought load of lumber from Butler’s saw mill. I laid the upper floor with it.
Mar 5 Snowed to-day.
Mar 7 Chopped rail timber forenoon; Deadened trees by Ed Stumpffs in afternoon.
Mar 8 Made rails in low gap north of Cave Hollow. Mar 10 Made rails on ridge above Cave in forenoon.
Mar 11 Put sides on roof window in forenoon; went up home in afternoon. Windiest day I ever saw in this part of the Country.
Mar 13 Began flailing out seed oats
Mar 14 Flailed out seed oats. Pa and Jim attended the Carney boys trial. I made a window frame also.
Mar 15 Flailed out oats
Mar 16 Flailed out oats.
Mar 17 Rained forenoon. Afternoon began putting rail fence around garden.
Mar 19 Sunday: We went to "Jones" church with Ed. Stumpff’s
Mar 20 Split a few rails in forenoon; Worked at garden fence.
Mar 21 Took out the potatoes and finished flailing
out seed oats.
Mar 22 Worked on garden fence.
Mar 23 Finished garden fence.
Mar 24 Cut rail timber forenoon. Finished rocking chair in afternoon.
Mar 25 Split rails forenoon. Helped plant Winter Onion Sets, and laid up some stone fence in afternoon.
Mar 26 Sunday: Went up to pa’s. A ewe got her leg broke yesterday.
Mar 27 Cut some rail timber near stable; laid up some stone fence; Charred a post and put in near the big sugar tree by the path.
Mar 28 Snowed quite a snow last night. Didn’t do much to-day: Pleas altered the Carney hog for me.
Mar 29 Pa and I went to Bill Carney’s after a cow and calf Pleas bought.
Mar 30 Little Bill Asher commenced to make rails for me on ridge above cave. Is to make 400 @ 60~ per hundred; take corn @ 40 per bushel.
Mar 31 Worked on fencing lot around stable.
April 1 Finished lot around stable. Hung a gate by the big sugar tree.
April 2 Sunday: David Ayer’s were here to-day. Cow and calf got out and left.
April 3 Got up cow and calf and fixed the pen in forenoon: set out three yakas [yuccas?] and
4 rose bushes in the noon: rained most of afternoon.
April 4 Thrashed out oats to finish sowing.
April 5 Finished sowing oats. Traded watch to Pleas for 3 pigs.
April 6 Hunted Cow and hacked round.
April 7 Went over to Bill Carney’s after the cow where she had went back. Plowed the garden planted potatoes and two rows of pop


April 8 Got wood for Sunday and made rails. April 9 Sunday: Ed Stumpffs, Geo Stumpff’s, Pa [missing] Ma, and Ida and Silva Foster were [missing] to-day. We all went to prayer me[eting] in afternoon.
April 10 Got up a ewe and lamb that had strayed off. Laid some more rock around the Spring.
April 11 Worked on a buggy shed.
April 12 Do [meaning "ditto"]
April 13 Made some boards for buggy shed.
April 14 Rained; did not do much.
April 15 Stayed at Cal Carney’s last night. Finished buggy shed.
April 16 Sunday. We stayed at home all day.
April 17 Sick. Did not do much.
April 18 Deadened timber on ridge by Stumpff’s.
April19 Do
April20 Do
April 21 Rained. Bassett sow had 3 pigs.
April 22 Rained. Shod pa’s Jack mule.
April 23 Sunday: Stayed at home all day.
April 24 Built fence on ridge by Ed Stumpffs[.] Pa hauled the rails. Little Bill Asher got a bushel of corn on rail making. April 25 Built fence by Stumpffs. Burnt over the field.
April 26 Marked the hogs I got of Pleas—split in each ear. Traded twelve bushels of corn to Geo Stumpff for a sow.
April 27 Went to Old Cal Carney’s funeral. Geo and Ed Stumpff’s stayed with us for dinner.
April 28 Cut Sprouts at pa’s and burnt trash in my field.
April30 Sunday. At home all day.
[missing] Cut sprouts at pa’s in forenoon. Sheered 3 sheep in the evening.
[missing] Finished sheering the sheep and cut sprouts. Cut sprouts at pa’s.
May 4 Cut sprouts at pa’s. Set out some sweet potatoes.
May 5 Worked in field burning trash in forenoon. Hard rain afternoon.
May 6 Done nothing
May 7 Sunday. We went to Geo Stumpffs.
May 8 Worked burning trash in field by Ed Stumpffs in forenoon. Fixed the crossing between house and stable that washed up by the rain, in the afternoon.
May 9 Finished the fence and burned trash.
May 10 Tinkered ‘round. Pleas started to Joplin.
May 11 Split a few posts for pa
May 12 Hauled the scattering of logs off the field byEd’s. in forenoon. Tinkered round in afternoon.
May 13 Began planting corn.
May 14 Sunday: We all went to Herman Smoots.
May 15 Took the wool to Ellis Bros. Got 150 per lb. Planted corn in afternoon.
May 16 Finished planting corn and planted the kaffir corn and plowed the potatoes.
May 17 Hoed the potatoes and chored round.
May 18 Cut sprouts and gathered sarvice berries.
May 19 Worked on a chair and went up home.
May 20 Gathered sarvice berries and worked on a chair.
May 21 Sunday: Went to pa’s. Bill Asher got balance of his corn—5 bushels.
May 22 Furried [furrowed] out corn ground for pa.
May23 Do
May24 Do
May 25 Finished furrowing out for pa. W[missing] store in afternoon.
May 26 Broke patch for sweet potatoes, and p[missing] beans.
May 27 Brought sow from Geo Stumpff s and tinkered round.
May 28 Went to Pa’s. Traded for a horsepower of H. Smoot.
May 29 Plowed corn. Wind blowed top out of spring elm.
May 30 Rained
May 31 Clerked Carney’s sale.
June 1 Finished sale work and went to store.
June 2 Plowed corn and set out sweet potatoes.
June 3 Plowed corn.
June 4 Sunday. Helped Herman Smoot bring
over the power all but master wheel.
June 5 Finished plowing over my corn in the morning. Went to store and back and shod pa’s Beck mule in evening.
June 6 Cut sprouts
June 7 Rained all day.
June 8 Went out to cut sprouts and rain run me in.
June 9 Showers. I used what lime I had in underpinning south side of house.
June 10 Finished cutting sprouts.
June 11 Stayed at pa’s last night and to-day. Mr. and Mrs. Foster were there.
June 12 Replanted corn.
June13 Do
June 14 Rained most all day[.] I put two logs across the branch between house and barn for a bridge
June 15 Rained all day. Geo Stumpff borrowed [illegible] bushels of corn.
June 16 Finished Stumpffs rocking chair and chored in forenoon[.] Plowed all afternoon.


June 17 Plowed till 10 oclock; broke plow handles and finished fixing them and chored round rest of the day.
June 18 Sunday. Pa’s and us went to David Ayers[.] I got 150 feet of lumber of him.
June 19 Plowed corn forenoon; went to store in afternoon.
June 20 Plowed corn forenoon: was sick in afternoon
June 21 Finished plowing corn over. Set out sweet potato plants. Went to mill.
June 22 Chopped logs for bridge between house and barn. Fixed shaft for water wheel; Fixed a scythe and cradle.
June 23 Chopped some posts; worked on bridge.
June 24 Went to Store and hunted a mule.
June 25 Sunday: Pa and ma were here.
June 26 Worked on the road.
June27 Do
June 28 Plowed corn
June29 Do
June30 Do
July 1 Finished plowing corn; went to the store and up home.
July 2 Sunday[.] We visited at Templeton’s.
July 3 Went to mill and bound oats.
July 4 Bound oats until noon. Rained in afternoon. David’s were at Pa’s. July 5 Sowed a patch of millet; planted a few beans and fixed a spring seat for Ed Stumpff.
July 6 Done nothing but pick a few blackberries.
July 7 Done some work on a wagon for H. Smoot.
July 8 Cut oats, and went to Peck’s store.
July 9 Sunday[.] Geo Stumpffs were here.
July 10 Cut oats
July11 Do
July 12 Picked some berries.
July 13 Stacked the oats.
July 14 Went to store etc. etc.
July 15 Made a forge blower. Rained in evening.
July 16 Sunday[.] At home all day. Rained
July 17 Built a stone forge. Rained last night.
July 18 Picked some blackberries in the morning[,] was sick bal of the day.
July 19 Built the fence over the bluff south from the gate in barn lot.
July 20 Rained all day
July 21 Very heavy rain last night. Did not do much to-day.
July 22 Pleas came from Bates Co to-day. I tried to get a hog home from Geo Carney’s but could not.
July 23 Sunday—We were at Pa’s[.] Geo Stumpffs were there.
July 24 Went to the store and got the carpet. Helped Pleas get up his cow.
July 25 Picked the blackberries and chored round.
July 26 Worked a little on Smoot’s wagon. went to Geo Stumpffs and got some roasting ears
July 27 Began clearing the patch down the hollow. Geo Stumpff and Annie were here.
July 28 Put the logs in the fence below the foot bridge in the lot.
July 29 Picked the blackberries and brought home 25 young chickens[.] Began fixing our log wagon.
July 30 Sunday—We went to Herman Smoots.
July 31 Ragged some poles out and put the two bottom steps in that lead to the spring. Began setting fence posts in front of the house.
Aug 1 [Illegible] in the clearing patch down the hollow in the morning[.] Got too hot to work. Pa and ma were here.
Aug 2 Worked at clearing down hollow. Very hot weather now.
Aug 3 We went to Geo Stumpff’s in forenoon. I worked on my log wagon in afternoon.
Aug 4 Worked on log wagon.
Aug 5 Finished log wagon and built some rock fence at the hog pen.
Aug 6 Sunday. We went to Pa’s. They were not a home but we stayed.
Aug 7 Went to the postoffice; dug out some rock and worked in clearing.
Aug 8 Worked in clearing and got out rock
Aug 9 Worked in clearing and burned out a stump to give room to build a kitchen.
Aug 10 Sold a hog to Geo Carney for 4.00. (bought the same hog of him Dec 6th 1898 for 4.00) Went up home to get the mules. Could not catch them[,] they jumped out and ran off.
Aug 11 Hunted for the mules
Aug12 Do
Aug 13 Do till noon
Aug 14 Found the mules at Bill Ashers. Brought them in and hauled sand in afternoon.
Aug 15 Sowed turnips in forenoon and hauled rock for fireplace in afternoon.
Aug 16 Hauled rock for fireplace
Aug 17 Hauled rock forenoon. Picked beans and chored round in afternoon.
Aug 18 Went to mill for Pa and went to Peck’s Store.
Aug 19 Finished the fence for a turnip pa[missing] the garden. Build a hog pen. Chopped posts and chored round.
Aug 20 Sunday[.] Stayed home all day
Aug 21 Chopped logs for fence in lot.


Aug 22 Went to store. Traded for a spring colt of Ab Templeton[.] Gave 3 shoats and $1.50 (I call it 5.25)
Aug 23 Drug a rock from top of the hill south of the house for a hearth for fireplace in the kitchen. Drug up some logs for log fence for stable lot. Hogs got in my corn to-day and destroyed a lot of it. Put up the Bassett sow to fatten. We went up to pa’s.
Aug 24 Began having the chills. Nettie had chill every day also. Pa’s eyes are so sore that we stay there. I do the chores at both places. Got the chills broke.
Sept 1 Came down home and the Stumpff sow has 8 nice pigs. Have to haul water at Pa’s every day.
Sept 7 We came home to-day. Nettie had not been home since Aug 23d
Sept 8 Worked a little on Smoot’s wagon. We go back to pa’s and I haul water.
Oct 2 We came home to-day to dig our sweet potatoes. Have been staying up at pa’s[.] I have been cutting saw logs and pa hauls them. Haul to Peck’s and Butler’s both. Since I have been up there I have traded as follows. Gave Sim Barns a sucking colt and one sheep for a gray mule. Mule cost me equal to 8.25 in cash. Gave Ab Templeton 3 shoats and $1.50 for the colt I traded to Sim Barnes. Colt cost me equal to $5.25 in Cash[.] Gave Ab Henson the Geo Stumpff’ sow and 5 of her pigs and 5 sheep and a small shoat for a mare [.] mare cost me equal to 7.00 in cash. Geo Stumpff made me 300 rails about Sept 20, cost me 6O per hundred. Cattle have destroyed a lot of my corn besides what the hogs destroyed in August. It is terrible dry now [.] the Elm Spring has stopped running, But still holds water in the basin. Branch still runs. Did not get a turnip to come up. No turnips in the country. Sweet potatoes are a poor crop. I worked the roads Sept 28-29 & 30. Worked along Carney Branch.
Oct 9 Pa brought the first load of lumber for the kitchen. I laid the foundation.
Oct 30 Killed the Bassett sow. Have been up to pa’s till this time most all the time[.] Built their warm house and fixed up their house.
Hauled in the pumpkins the 28th inst. Had two wagon loads.
Nov 4 Traded Birt Woodhouse the mare I got of Bob Templeton for 3 shoats.
Nov 5 Geo Stumpff’s was here to-day: Sunday.
Nov 11 Riley came home to-day
Nov 12 Pa’s were all here to-day.
Nov 13 Worked on kitchen
Nov 14 Riley helped me saw board timber
Nov15 Do
Nov 16 Baby’s birthday. Pleas and Maud came home.
Nov 17 I rived boards.
Nov 18 Rained all day
Nov 19 Sunday: Pa’s all here. Also Mr and Mrs [missing]
Nov 20 Rained.
Nov21 Rived boards
Nov 22 Finished laying floor in kitchen.
Nov 23 Worked on kitchen in forenoon; helped Riley saw board timber.
Nov 24 Cut saw logs and worked on the steps at the east kitchen door. Ma has been here since the 16th. She went home to-day
Nov 25 Cloudy dismal day. John Carney’s Administrators Sale to-day. I finished the steps at the east kitchen door, and began to nail on the kitchen roof. Also done some more tinkering on the clock to get it to run.
Nov 26 Sunday: Pleas and Maud here. Ma and Riley came in afternoon.
Nov 27 Worked on kitchen. Have to wait now for lumber.
Nov 28 Began building a hen house.
Nov 29 Pleas, Maud and Ma came. Pleas and I looked over the 40 acres of Gov. land east of mine. He talks of locating on it. I filed the crosscut saw in the evening.
Nov 30 Thanksgiving day. I work on hen house forenoon and build rock fence north of hen house in afternoon.
Dec 1 Worked on the road in cave Hollow
Dec 2 Built rock fence and placed the big rock along the path between house and stable.
Dec 3 Sunday: Herman Smoots were here. Pleas & Maud and Riley were here in the evening.
[missing] I cut out the brush around the bluff to the right from the mouth of Cave Hollow, and worked at clearing the patch down the Hollow. Began laying rock fence at the west end of the patch.
Dec 5 Worked at clearing same
Dec 6 Do Pleas came over in the evening and informed me he had bought the right of the claim on the 40 acres east of mine, of John Summers, for $5.00
Dec 7 Worked at Hen house
Dec 8 Do and did some work on a chair.


Dec 9 Rained. We went up to pa’s in the evening. Dec 10 Sunday: We are still at pa’s[.] Bought 5.95 worth of books of Riley.
Dec 11 Began work on a lime kiln to burn some lime for Pleas and me.
Dec 12 Do
Dec 13 Pleas and me both worked at the lime business down the ridge on Ab Templeton’s place
Dec 14 Finished the lime. Had good success with it. Dec 15 We are still at pa’s. I do not do much to-day. It snowed the 13th a light snow. It is still on as it is tolerable cold.
Dec 17 Sunday: At home all day.
Dec 18 Pa brought a load of lumber to-day and I put it on the north end of the kitchen.
Dec 19 Helped Pleas put in his hearth and work at my kitchen.
Dec 20 Begin building a fireplace for Pleas[.] I got 150 feet of lumber from Ed Stumpff and pa hauls it home for me.
Dec 21 Finished Plea’s fire place. Maud and Please stay all night with us.
Dec 22 Rained most of the day. Did not do much. Helped saw out a window in west end of Pleas’s house and tinkered round. Pleas & Maud stay another night.
Dec 23 Go up to pa’s in the morning and work on door for west side of kitchen bal[.] of the
Dec 24 Sunday: Were at home all day.
Dec 25 Christmas: Mule got out and went to Sim Barnes’s. I went and got him and we went up to pa’s in the evening. We had a family oyster supper.
Dec 26 Commenced to build a fireplace in the kitchen.
Dec 27 Worked on fireplace.
Dec28 Do
Dec 29 Made door frames for Pleas[.] Sand gave out and I had to quit work on my fireplace as it is too frozen to haul any.
Dec 30 Made door frames and door for Pleas.
Dec 31 Sunday: Ed Stumpff’s were here to-day. This is the last day of the year and the last time to wright it with an "18". We must now go to "1900"[.] It will seem awkward for awhile but soon we will be familiar with it. Let us hope that the year 1900 will bring forth better things than all the past. Good by old century. Thou art soon gone forever. One more year and a new century begins.
To be continued.


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