Over a hundred years ago a teenage girl, named Minnie Jane Lloyd, kept a journal during one of her years in the Union School in the Village of Madison, New York
The following, including excerpts, was taken from this journal.
Charles E. Page, Oneida, N.Y. Dec. 1999
After reading Minnie’s diaries written in her later years, [see story in Madison Co. Historical Society Heritage magazine #24 1999] we found two more notebooks containing her journal covering one year. [Age 15/16] There was a gap during which nothing was written between May 12 and Sept 14. No doubt she was kept too busy at home on the farm to write.
Her home was on Quarterline Road, north of Durfee’s Corners [which was at the junction of what is now Robinson Hill Road] where she lived at the time of this journal with her parents, Robert E. Lloyd, and stepmother Louisa Bennett Lloyd. Her grandparents, Peter and Margaret LLoyd lived on the next farm north. [Peter’s house shows on the 1875 map.] No doubt she attended the Durfee School there for the lower grades.
Robert and Louisa LLoyd and Daughters,Minnie [left] and Dora
It was the custom for many of the rural "hill kids" to board with some family in the village during the week to attend high school since snowy, muddy roads made travel uncertain in winter and spring. Parents would bring them by horse Sunday night and pick them up Friday afternoons. This applied mainly to the girls, since the boys were needed to help on the farms. This meant many of the boys got very little schooling past the elementary grades. The boys generally didn’t mind this.
Transportation in winter was almost entirely by horse-drawn sleigh, by cutter or bobs, or wagon if it was muddy. There were no telephones or radios. Contacts were made by letter through the post office, but very often made by note or letter carried by a friend or acquaintance that happened to be "going that way". The weather was an important consideration for any travel. Travel in winter was hindered often by lack of snow [poor sleighing], but sometimes by too much.
Sometimes on the trips to and from the village during blizzard conditions, her father had to walk ahead of the horse, which would follow him and thus keep to the road in the zero visibility. A cutter, if one runner ran over some unseen hump or bump on a rough country road, had an unpleasant habit of tipping over.
She wrote: Sunday, Feb.1, 1885- It is a very stormy day. The wind blows and the snow flies. We started for Madison about two o’clock in the storm the roads were drifted so badly that Pa was obliged to go ahead most of the way in order not to tip over, and so the horse would follow him and keep the track, it was about half past three when we arrived at Mrs. Morgan’s. [She boarded at Morgan’s, who also ran a hardware and general store, later run by Bicknell].
Sunday, Feb.22: It snowed some all day and the wind blew quite hard in the afternoon. I came down to Madison about three o’clock father was ahead of the horse trying to find the road and I was driving along, when I found myself wrapped up in the buffalo [robe] sitting in the snow, but I soon picked myself up and we started but we found better roads the rest of the way. [One day she wrote that they could not go to Morrisville because there was too little snow for "good sleighing".
While she had a great time during the week enjoying the freedom from home chores, and socializing with her friends, on the weekends she worked hard. Her mother had died when she was ten and until her father remarried when she was 13, she had the main responsibility of keeping house and caring for her younger sister, Dora. On the weekends later in her high school years she still did a lot of work at home.
Excerpts from her writings:
Saturday, Feb.7: Pleasant but the wind blew a little. I baked five pies and a fell cake and ironed in the afternoon.
Saturday, Apr. 25: I arose about six A.M. started for home, [walked] when I reached home they were eating breakfast. I made bread, pies, cookies, cake, and mopped. Uncle Ed left us five fish when he came home from Chas Lovejoy’s.
During the week in the village the young people’s activities were divided among school, church meetings, occasional parties at friends houses, and the skating rink. There were three churches in Madison, The Congregational, Methodist Episcopal, and Baptist.
Wednesday, Jan. 7: It snowed a little before we went to school. After school tonight Jen, Edith, and I went over to the skating rink and had lots of fun it was not open to the public. Went to the M. E. Church meeting with Kate and Edith.
Minnie Lower Row center"
Several times she mentions going to singing school after regular school. Jan. 17: We washed, Dora and I got all ready to go down to uncle’s to the sing but it snowed and blew so that Albion Head and Ed Bensted did not come, so we did not go, Job came down to cut up the beef.
Quite a bit of emphasis, in school, was given to recitation and essay- writing. One essay she wrote and later had to give as an oral presentation was entitled "A Trip to Utica".
Feb.10: -----I recited a quotation this morning in school it was "Honor and fame from no condition rise, Act well your part there all the honor lies". March 23: ---------we practiced our pieces over on the horse block in front of the M.E. Church
Jan. 26: there was no fire in the classroom and it was so cold we could not recite, so we had no recitation, in the afternoon Miss flint was sick so Ina heard the junior class.
Sunday, Jan. 18: Dora [her younger sister] went to meeting to the schoolhouse.[probably the Durfee School]. I started --------arrived at Madison about three o’clock, got warm and was sitting in the sitting room about four o’clock Jen Shelton came up. Then I built a fire in our room we were sitting there and Ina and Edith came up from Ina’s. Edith, Jen S., and I went to church we sat with Jen Jones and Mrs. Wratten there were a number of schoolboys in back of us Fred Sturdavant tied his hat to my hair and then he took my ribbon and unbraided it.
Monday, Jan. 19: Took some of Ida’s snuff this noon. Edith and I went to Mr. Chubbok’s[?] after some fool’s cap paper and I sneezed and kept sneezing. Fred S. laughed at me came very near being late for school.
Evidently, Fred S. was her heart- throb at the time, for every time she wrote his name in the diary, she made a little mark after it [something like an X with a small rectangular mark across the top of it]. Once he lent her his comb and another time his watch. Later they exchanged "monograms". [She mentions three different "Fred S’s; Fred Stone, Fred Spooner, and Fred Sturdavant, and if one of these was "her Fred" we don’t know]. When her interest turned more to Ed Jones, in the fall, she no longer wrote the mark after Fred’s name in the journal.
Tuesday, Jan.20: Bertha and I rang the first bell at noon but Maurice and Kate would not let us ring the last one. Went to meeting to the M.E. Church with Kate, Edith, Jen S. and Jen J. sat in front of Bert Johnson he kicked me and I pulled his hair. Jen Jones and I took a walk after meeting.
Sunday, Jan. 25: [she had gone to spend the weekend with Edith Isbell]-----------Was storming when we arose, ate breakfast, and Edith, Addie, Emma, Mr. Isbell and I went to the Baptist Church in Morrisville. Then we went to the Baptist Church Sunday school. After Sunday school Edith and I went home with Gertrude Jones heard her play and sing on her piano then we went up to the Baptist church to services went home [to Isbell’s] and you may bet I was tired. Ate supper, Hervey, Edith and I started for Madison with old Colonel [the horse] on the cutter about half past four, you bet we had some fun, reached Madison about half past five, we combed our hair and Miss Hynes accompanied us to meeting which was held in the Congregational Church. We sat up gallery, Jim D. [Dunster] and Fred S. sat behind us of course we behaved as well as could be expected in the position we were in.
After such social activity, it is not too surprising that back to the work and relative isolation at home on the weekends, Minnie wrote that she was "lonesome".
Some of the expressions used then are not used now , for instance: They would say they had a "boss" time, meaning "great". When she indicated one girl had a "crush" on a certain boy, she would say, "she is caught on him". Quite often Minnie spoke of going on a "promenade". If someone drove her somewhere in sleigh or cutter, she might say, "Grandpa carried me to school". March 8: I carried Dora over as far as Nina Lovejoy as she was going to Uncle Alfred Bennet’s.
Monday, Feb. 9, she wrote: Kate, Edith, and I went to singing school-----we came out of church and had a street promenade went to the rink but did not go in, sat on the steps by Morgan’s store.
[NOTE: For present day pictures of the school and for the Morgans' house, see my story "Schools"]
Tuesday, Jan. 27: [after another very busy day of activities] ----Edith and I have shaken hands on not going to bed tonight, but I bet we will before morning. ------------ We didn’t go to bed, but I got to sleep in my chair and fell on the floor. About four o’clock in the morning we went downstairs and took a walk as far up as Mrs. House’s. Wednesday, Jan. 28: Edith and I are a little sleepy today we cannot tell the reason of this.
Thursday, Jan.1, 1885: It was very cold. I went up to see Jennie Jones yesterday and stayed all night with her. Went to the rink at Madison today, with Jen and her two brothers and also G.H. Went in a wagon.
One of Jen Jones’s two brothers just mentioned was probably her future husband, Edward E. Jones, whom she married about four years later. There was little mention of him by name in the first diary-book. He was more of a factor in the second book when he apparently began to compete with Fred S. when Ed and Minnie picked hops together in the same box.
Feb. 11: I and a number of others stayed after school for whispering. Prof. did not scold but told me to write fifty times, "I ought not to whisper in school". Jen Jones came up to spend the evening-------she bought a pound of dates-------came up to our room and ate all of them, counted the stones I believe there were seventy. Had lots of fun.
Sat. Feb.14" Today is Valentine’s Day and a very pleasant one. In the evening Dora and I went up to Henry Edward’s to the sing in Jim Fisher’s load, after playing we danced a little.
Monday March 23: Jen S. came over and told me we could meet at Jay Neff’s tomorrow night as we expect to have a party up there. I have written ten invitations tonight so I think I will retire.
Mar. 24: ------was very stormy in the evening we had a party up to Mr. Isaac’s just the same, had Mr. Morgan’s team and George Marshall drove there were eight of us went had a boss time got home at one o’clock.
In reading Minnie’s journal it struck me that birthdays and holidays were handled in a very "low key" manner.
Sunday Mar. 1: Today is my birthday [her 16th], and a pretty stormy one too, it rained this forenoon and snowed this afternoon. Edith and I did not go to church this morning. Jen Jones and Jen Wratten came up here and caught us curling our hair as we were going to wear it curled to meeting-----etc. etc.
December 25: [Christmas Day] Was pleasant. Father took the beef hide to Hubbardsville, got mother and Dora a pair of shoes. I gave Dora those shellback mittens [That Minnie had knitted.] Uncle Ed and Aunt Florence came here and I went home with them and learned her how to knit shell mittens. I sewed in the forenoon.
Apparently the school year ended sometime in April.
April 30: ----I helped father doctor the sick calf and baked bread. A. Head fell dead the night before while talking in the kitchen.
Apparently, work to be done, such as harvesting the hop crop, determined when the kids could return to school in September. Minnie started about the first of October. Others straggled in as their fall farm activities allowed.
Monday Sept. 14, 1885: --------Found seven body lice in Will Schartz’s bed. I made custard for supper. Dora and I smoked some cigarettes that one of will Jones’s pickers gave us and I was deathly sick.
Sept. 15: I washed the pans beside the rest of the work. In the afternoon I went to Madison saw Mike he came near kissing me. Got ten dollars from Fuess for Pa, but did not get any of Uncle Austin for he was not at home. Grandma was having a terrible time because their hops are not picked and they are spoiling. It won’t make much difference for they are only nine cents.
Sept. 16: Grandpa and Uncle Ed sold their last year hops for seven cents. I am so tired I think it best not to go to the dance but told Jen Jones I would go so Dora and I got ready and went with Albion, had a good time and danced until nearly two o’clock. Billy Pollock fell on the floor in the woodshed.
Friday, Sept. 18:-------we went down to Grandpa’s, he had sixteen pickers and got 35 boxes of hops. I picked some and helped some in the house. Sept.19: Dora and I walked up to Nell’s then rode up to Jones with them. We ate three meals there. I picked to the box with Dora, Emma Shelton and off the pole with Nell, Nell and I got two boxes only.
Sept. 21: ----went up to Jones’s, did not get in the yard until seven o’clock so did not get but one box. Father went to Madison in the evening- and was mad because I don’t know what. Because he can’t make anything of me. -----Oh! How I wish I knew how to please everyone.
Sept. 25: Jen and I started for the hop yard and met Ed. I managed to get two boxes today. I have Ed’s gum it is boss because he has chewed it. Jen Shelton says Fred is mad- I can’t help it- if I could I would. [Apparently a rivalry between Fred and Ed had begun].
Sept. 26: ---picked hops in the forenoon and finished. I picked nine boxes and Dora seven but did not get any pay. In the afternoon Jen Jones, Nell James and I took our horse and buggy, went to Hamilton had our pictures taken had four tin tipes [tin-types] for $.50 cents.
Oct.12: -----I got two dollars of grandpa but did not pay my tuition. Today 2 new scholars. Oct. 16: ----Jen brought $2.25 for picking hops.
Oct. 17: -----it was so late I would not go by Niger Dick’s alone after he said he caught Fred, Jim D., Lafayette Lewis, Jen S., Jen J., and I in the ______? shed. Oh it makes me so mad I’d like to knock his two eyes into one.
Oct. 26: -----in physiology class they killed a cat. -----Oh dear! I wish Pa had lots of money so I could pay Mrs. Morgan. Oct.28: --- I got another letter for Pa today. [Pa was away for a few days] They are from Buchanan & Root, and Kelly. He owes each about fifty dollars.
Dec. 15: Uncle Austin [Benson] got hurt by a log rolling over him. He is no better they thought he was dying tonight. Dec.16: -----Uncle Austin died about six o’clock this morning.
Dec. 19: -------Dora washed the dishes and I made four pies, swept, and washed the lamps. Then peeled the potatoes for supper. I knit some on my mittens and washed the supper dishes.
Thursday, Dec. 31: Well old Journal your time and mine is not the same any more for the year is gone. Tomorrow is the first day of 1886.
I have taken a lot of comfort reading and looking over these books so far, although it has taken lots of time especially when I have neglected writing two or three days. Closing will say good night and goodby.
Some Names Mentioned in the 1885 Journal
Minnie Lloyd’s special friends were Jennie Jones, Jennie Wratten, Jennie Shelton, Edith Head, Kate Fuess, Edith Isbell, and Nell James. Among other people mentioned were: Ed Bensted, Albion Hunt, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, Mr. Holmes, Ida Clark, Ina Mereues[?], Cora Weeks, Fred Stone, Fred Sturdavant, Fred Spooner, Roland Baker, Dustin Barber, Jim Dunster, Jim Cole, Ada Michels, Bert Johnson, Jay White, John Phelps, Gertrude Jones, Lafayette Lewis, Wm. Rice, Uncle Ed Lloyd, Morris Fuess, George Marshall, Daisy Peckham, Jay Neff, DeAlton Taylor, Ella and Clarence Head, Mart Richmond, Emma Taylor, Henry Edwards, Jim Fisher, Nelly McCartney, Herb Stowell, Will Jones, Emma Wentworth, Eva Johnson, Wallace Chubbuck, Walter Weeks, Stephen Weeks, Evelyn Phelps, D. and Will Rice, Mr. DeWitt, Maurice Spooner, Ethel Morgan, Min and Lib Jones, Aunt Mary Austin, Sid Curtis, Nelly McCartney, Mrs. George Avards, Lucy Woodcock, Timothy Jones, Hiram Wells, Lill Curtis, Miss Flint, Mrs. Salisbury, Billy Mosier, Charles Terry, Billy Bollock, Henry Roth, Charles Mott, Fred and Mary Haley, Pearl and Elmira Abbott, May bailey, Libbie Cramer, Jane and Mary Evans, Carlotta Howard, Ada and Jack Davis, Will Bassett, Mary Neff, Tom and will terry, Alta Holmes, Eva Skinner, Maude Benjamin, Mr. Saunders, Mrs. David Brockett, Lou Rhodes, Mrs. White, Mrs. Talcott, Lou Wilber, Mrs. Cooledge, Job Henderson, Gene LaMunion.
Notes about the schools
I can find no trace of the Durfee schoolhouse where the old maps show it to have been.  A present resident of the area said there was an old gentleman years ago who told him it was located a little way south of the place shown on the maps, on another road, or the same road which was relocated. However, I think this is questionable. The Howe’s Hill school at the corner of Stone Rd. and Tinker Hollow R. is one of the few old "Hill Country" common schools still standing. It, as well as the Durfee School, was in the Durfee school district. It is on property now owned by Jim and Carl Stone. Originally Madison Co was divided into two large districts. The Town of Madison had 13 districts; 12 common and the one Union school, which was in the Village of Madison.
A few notes about the Lloyd farms on Quarterline road:
Peter Lloyd bought his farm from Clark Nash in April 1870 deed bk.123 p.471. Son, Robert, bought the farm adjoining on the south, from Clark Nash November 1870.bk. 123 p. 369. Curiously, a deed, bk.121 p.548 Nov. 1, 1870, shows Robert buying a farm on the Tinker Hollow road from T. Hunt and selling it the same day for the same price to Ed Mason [bk.120 p.388, $3250.
In 1899 after the death of Peter and Margaret, [his wife] Peter’s farm was sold by the court to Cornelia Perry at public auction for $2000, to satisfy a mortgage. Robert’s farm was deeded to John W. Rowlands bk.244 p.120] by Robert and all his heirs in 1914. This was after he had married Martha Thompson and lived in New Hartford. N.Y.
C.E.P. Dec. 1999