[Madison, New York]
By Charles E. Page, her grandson, written in 1999 from his memories and from the diaries she kept from 1906 to 1941. She died Dec. 8, 1941
These diaries are, as of December 2009, being donated to Hamilton College Library in Clinton, New York for preservation. They can be viewed and read if carefully handled by responsible people at that location. I hold the copyrights and have kept copies. Charles E. Page
Minnie Jane Lloyd Jones was five-feet three inches tall, a thin, nice looking woman, who all her life helped with the farm work, took care of house and family, canned and preserved meat and garden "sass". She fed and housed hop- pickers and other hired men. She kept a diary for about thirty- five years until her death on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after "Pearl Harbor". The diaries are written in clearly legible, well-formed handwriting in school composition notebooks. Her sense of humor shows when on the backs of the books, in the place where students should enter grade, class name of school, etc. she filled it in. For instance, on the 1917 book she wrote "Minnie , grade 1. School: home. Class: #1. On the 1915 book it was: School: Hill. Grade: 10.
Minnie was born in 1869. Her mother, Jane, died when Minnie was 10 years old. She took care of her younger sister,Dora, and did all the house work.Her father, Robert, about three years later, married for a second time [Louisa Bennett] when Minnie was 13. We don't know whether or not that was a happy situation, but the family story was that she had to work very hard all her young life. [See the story "Minnie Jane Lloyd"] .Minnie married Grandpa [Edward Evan Jones] in 1889 at age 20. At the time of these diaries they had moved to the Howe's Hill farm, where his father, Matthew Jones, had raised his family and lived out his life. Likewise, Minnie and Edward spent the rest of their lives there. They had 4 children: Erma [Charles's mother] b.1889; Seward [often referred to in the diaries as Sew but at home always called by full name, Seward] b. 1891; Dora Beryle, [called, Beryle ] b.1899; LLoyd b. Aug. 9, 1907. LLoyd died on Aug.1, 1923 at the age of 15 of TB.
Keep in mind, when all these diaries were written, their transportation was by horse or on foot until Seward bought a Ford touring car with side-curtains, etc. on July 5, 1917.So when he was home he would sometimes take the others places. It wasn’t until 1926 that Grandpa Jones bought a car, a 1926 Ford four door sedan. He never seemed to get the hang of running the contraption, so unless Beryle or Seward was there to drive him, he still went by horse. They had neither electricity nor running water until after Minnie's death in 1941. The power line was put in under the REA 1940’s.
They did have a phone, operated with a dry-cell battery. It was on the wall and you turned a crank on the side to call someone else on your line or to call "central" for other calls. Each person on a line had an assigned "ring", such as, one long and two short rings. When you heard someone's ring on your line, you often took down the receiver and "rubbered" [listened in] to get the "news".
Routine daily morning chores for the woman of the house also included filling the kerosene lamps, and "emptying the slops" , meaning emptying the chamber pots from under each bed.
There were usually quite a few lamps, [especially when they had company]. The lamps had to be filled with kerosene, the wicks trimmed, and the lamp chimneys washed. Each person carried a lamp with him, when they went to bed. Of course, each person extinguished their lamp when they got into bed, except for one lamp, which was turned down low and set on the floor in the hallway, near the six bedrooms.
In doing the laundry the water had to be carried from the well outside, or pumped from the cistern and heated on the kitchen stove. The clothes were usually "put to soak" in a tub over night and next morning hand scrubbed on a wash board, rung out by hand, and then hung out on the line. Later they were ironed, with flatirons which were also heated on the stove.
Incidentally, the kitchen, pantry, and woodshed floors were of the bare wood, no paint or any type of floor covering. These floors were always kept spotlessly clean and smooth as glass. They were mopped with "sand soap". One diary entree mentions –cleaned pantry floor today with sand. I think this was homemade. I recall one time I picked up a crumbly stone when we were on a picnic on Johnnycake Hill, and my mother told me to take it home to Grandma to clean her woodshed floor. The stone was similar to pumice, I think.
Another routine chore for the woman of the house was to "work" and pack the butter into various size crocks [jars], ranging in size from 2 lbs. to 5 lbs. depending on the orders of the retail customers. The cream was churned by one of the men about every other day. In later years it was hard for Minnie to "work" the butter due to painful arthritis in her hands and wrists. [Working the butter meant working it back and forth with a wooden paddle in a big wooden butter bowl to remove water and buttermilk and mix in the salt].
The milk, fresh from the cow was put into shallow pans, and when the cream had risen it was skimmed off with a ladle and churned by hand in a wooden barrel churn. In later years [1920’s and on] the milk was run through a hand turned separator. The milk was poured into the holding tank at the top of the machine. One man would turn the hand- crank at just a certain number of revolutions per minute [there was a bell on the handle, which would stop ringing when if it were turned too fast.] It operated on the principle of centrifugal force, the heavier part of the milk being thrown farther and so the skim milk and the cream were thereby separated, to run out of different spouts. A second person had to keep the separator supplied with milk, and replace the pails for the skim milk as they filled.
The skim milk was then carried to the barn for the calves and what was left taken to the pig pen and dumped into the swill barrel, where it would be added to swill left over from the day before. All table scraps, etc. were also added to the sour mixture. [It had a very intriguing smell!] A little ground grain was added, and the pigs loved it. Each slurped it up noisily, pushing and shoving the other pigs and standing with both front feet in the trough.
Every day the women had to wash the milk pails, strainer pail, take the separator apart, for thorough washing, and put it back together. Often the kids had the job of putting it together. But each of the cone- shaped discs had to be assembled exactly right, matching the notches in the right order.
Before churning, the cream was left to sour slightly, since Grandpa always made sour cream butter. This made very flavor-some butter, which was always in high demand. Some of his steady customers would go without any rather than buy "creamery" butter. This happened at certain times of year when butter production was low.
Minnie writes in 1926 - Ed delivered 50 or 60 lbs. per week [in 1931 she noted he delivered 95 pounds one week] of butter packed in the jars for people on his butter route in Oriskany Falls. In 1926 he received 55 cents a pound. The butter was "worked" and packed into either 2 pound or 5 pound crocks , covered with wax paper, and then newspaper was put over the top of the jar and tied around the top with small white string. Minnie always saved the string which came off items bought at the stores and added it to her roll string used to tie up the jars. [Most things bought at stores then were wrapped in paper and tied with string instead of using bags as is done now.
Minnie mentions one customer who ordered a large 25 pound crock of "winter butter". When Grandpa had a surplus of butter in the spring and early summer. He would pack the extra in this crock. When it was full, it was covered with an inch thick layer of salt to "keep" it, and the buyer would have it during the snowy winter months. Sometimes in seasons of high milk production, Minnie would pack themselves a big jar of "winter butter" to use in times of short supply, leaving the fresher butter for the customers.
[Diary entry] --Jan. 19, 1932 – I carried 21 jars of butter up from cellar and tied them up ready for O.Falls [Oriskany Falls]
The process of churning sour cream also yielded very high quality buttermilk. Customers came to the farm and bought all they had and were greatly disappointed if it was sold out. Sometimes Ed [Grandpa] delivered it along on his butter route.
All the farm work was done with horse or manpower. No tractors or gasoline engines. The exception was the threshing of grain. One farmer owned the threshing machine and after he finished his own grain, he would travel around to the neighbors and do theirs for a per bushel fee. All the farmers would help each other as the machine traveled from farm to farm.
Ed [Grandpa Jones] owned several farm tools that neighbors and relatives would borrow One was a fanning mill turned with a hand crank and used to clean dirt, chaff and weed seeds out of grain to get it ready for planting. Another was a "side hill plow". It was a walking plow but the mouldboard was hinged, so that on one trip across the side of a hill it would turn the soil to the left, and then the mouldboard could swing to the other side to throw the soil to the right. This made it possible to back and forth across the slope without trying to throw the furrow uphill. Most of the farmers needed the side hill plow only occasionally so it wouldn’t pay for everyone to own one.
In her diaries Minnie usually indicated for each day the weather, work done, any other events or visitors, how many eggs she got that day, crops sold, births and deaths, how many cans of beef, pork, or vegetables they put up, etc. Sometimes of an evening she would look back in her notes and ask the others to guess what they were doing at that time a year ago, or five years ago. And sometimes someone would wonder what date they started plowing last year, etc. One entry says, Mar.1, 1937 –"killed the Lame Prince and cooked him for dinner". [She was referring to a rooster who had been lame all his life] They named many of their animals and they treated them kindly, but they were still farm animals and were there for a purpose.
The farm had cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys. They raised hops, potatoes, corn, wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, apples, plums, raspberries, as well as a variety of garden vegetables. They picked wild black long berries, strawberries, butternuts, and horseradish, and made maple syrup, boiling it down in a big round kettle in the woods. If the sap started to boil over from the kettle, a hemlock branch was thrust into it to break up the rolling bubbles. When it appeared to be thick enough it was brought to the house for cleansing and the final boiling.
Sometimes, in years when there was a good apple crop, they would take apples to the cider mill and have a barrel of cider in the cellar to sip while eating popcorn in the long winter evenings. Of course it got "hard". [I always thought it tasted somewhat like champagne.] Also , they sold apples to the cider mill [probably Mott’s] in Bouckville. Diary entree of Nov. 3, 1909 - - Took 45 bushels of apples to Bouckville, got 30cents per hundred weight.
For cash crops, besides hops, they raised several acres of peas and potatoes. They raised more potatoes after the hop business dropped. The diaries contained little mention of hop growing after 1920. But it was mentioned once in June 1922, when they "tied up hops". There was a skip in the diary write-ups for the last part of that year. Probably that was about the end of the hop business for them.
Some years they had between four and five hundred bushels of potatoes. In earlier years they hauled them in bulk to the railroad station in Hubbardsville, Bouckville, or Solsville for shipping. Diary entree of Oct. 7, 1909 --- Hauled potatoes to the car [railroad car] in Hubbardsville , got 45 cents per bushel. In later years they were sold locally, a bushel here and ten bushels there, etc. In good years they received $1.50 per bushel. Some years, as during the depression, they might get 40 cents, or less. Diary entrees show that sometimes they would take 10 bushels to town and would bring them all back, unable to sell them.
When peas were ready for picking, They would call a few neighbors and relatives ,[the word would be picked up by others via the party line] and the next day often eight or ten people , usually women and children would show up ready to make some extra money. A fast picker could make good wages picking peas on a per bushel rate.
I [CP] remember my mother, along with us kids, taking the "third rail" from Oneida to Solsville. We then walked the mile to Madison, where we picked up a horse [named Topsy] and buggy that Grandpa had left for us in my other grandmother’s barn [Lewis] . My mother then drove us to Uncle Mat Jones’s farm to help pick peas. There was a boy there about maybe 7 or 8 years old who had over 100 dollars in the bank, which he had saved by picking peas. That was a large sum for those days, especially for a kid.
At the end of the day [sometimes four or five people would have picked 40 or 50 bushels] the peas would be taken to the train station in Solsville and shipped to a buyer in the cities, maybe Utica, Syracuse, or New York.
In later years an agreed upon acreage was grown on contract with a pea broker. The broker kept track of the ripeness of the peas and when he gave the word, the farmer would cut them with a mowing machine, load the heavy vines on a wagon and haul them to the nearest vinery where they were mechanically shelled and canned or shipped fresh to market. [ We kids always [with a smirk] referred to a vinery as a "pee-ery".
Minnie raised the chickens by placing fertile eggs under " setting hens" and after they hatched, seeing to the care and feeding of the chicks and hens. About as soon as the chicks were dry, they and the mother hen were placed in small, individual wooden coops, three sided A frames about 2 feet wide, 1 foot deep, and about 18 inches high at the peak. The front of the coops were slatted so that the chicks were able to run outside at will, while the mother hen would stay inside and call them back in if any danger appeared. Usually about once a day the hen was let out also, so she could walk around, with her brood following behind. If something like a hawk flew over, she would make a characteristic "quirting" noise and the chicks would run and get under her wings and feathers for protection. A hawk would seldom tackle a full-grown hen but sometimes they did.
The egg money was Minnie’s to buy groceries. She traded the eggs for items, such sugar and other staples at Bicknell’s general store in Madison and probably other places. In the early years they had their own wheat ground for their flour.
The men usually took care of the pig growing, but often a sow would have a large litter, such as 15 piglets, and if the weather was very cold, the little ones would be brought into the kitchen and kept warm for a couple days. Minnie tells in one entree of having 15 little pigs brought in. Someone had to be up most of the first night taking care of them. The first day they had to be bottle fed 4 times a day and after they were returned to the pen, if there were too many for the mother pig to feed, they still had to be hand fed for a while. They were each caught, taken out of the pen, fed, and put down again. Her entry of May 8, 1932 says "Fed pigs 3 times. [ Apparently the mother pig had been ailing, hadn’t eaten well, and didn’t have enough milk for them] "The mother pig eats some this PM. She don’t like to have her children taken out of the pen. She stepped on one and hurt it’s foot."
Notes taken at random from Minnie’s diaries: [with CP’s parenthetic notes for clarification.]
1906-- Martin Abbert buried today.--- Em and Will Kemp, Ed and I went to A. Lovejoy’’s party.---Erma and Seward took a regents exam today.---Mat helped Ed cut wood today.---I washed, Ed and Seward split wood in woods.
Poor sleighing.---10 eggs—drawed manure. ---I went to Madison a-horse- back. --- 11 eggs.---We went to dance to Kemp’s last night and danced until five o’clock in morning. Edward and Jay went home at half past eight.—30 dozen eggs this month. Pa went to Hubbardsville with barley to have ground.—Uncle Milo and Glenn came today.---Pa split and I drawed wood out.—3 year-old had calf, hard milker.---Pa set hop poles.---Uncle Milo and Glenn came with trough and kettle [ for butchering].---Walter Hitchcock came after potatoes.---Drilled in wheat [spring wheat], men grubbed [hops] in PM and I dragged [harrowed a field].---24 eggs, hired man sharpened posts, Pa drilled oats, plowed new hops, went to Madison with calf at night, warm and pleasant [May 1906].---My birthday.[July 12]
---Aug 27-made 20 loaves of bread.—pickers came today.—28th—12 loaves, 29th -6 loaves, 30th-6 loaves, 31st 12 loaves. and 6 each day through Sept 15.
Of course, many pies , cakes, cookies, etc. were also made, besides the meat, potatoes and vegetables that were prepared each day.
No more entries for 1906. Notes begin again Feb. 1907.
Aug. 9, 1907 –Hot—2 loads of hay –A little boy born this morning at half past four. [ Lloyd]. Papa went after Aunt Florence , Mrs. Taylor and the doctor in the night . Satie was here to supper. [ someone ??] went after Mrs. Robinson.
Aug. 10, 1907 –3 loads of hay –Doctor came—Seward went to Lake at night with Howard Kemp. Aug. 12, Dr. came. Mrs. Robinson washed. Erma had bad spell when he was here. [In next several days various friends and relatives came and helped out. Hop picking season was just starting.]
Three or four weeks during August/September the hop season was in full swing. The hops had to be picked, dried in the kiln, and pressed into bales. The women of the household helped when they had time, but were kept busy with the feeding and housing of the pickers, who stayed right there for the whole season. Usually about twenty-some boxes were picked in a day.
[Oct ---Threshing time –and helped neighbors etc.]
Random sample of diary entries –
Jan. 4, 1908—snowed—Seymour Lloyd, DeAlton and DeArchie Jones came here. Clayt [Lloyd] was married today.
Jan 11,--children and teacher went to Kemp’s at night. [Ed and Minnie boarded the teacher who taught in the little one room schoolhouse at the foot of their hill opposite the road to Tinker Hollow . An entry in 1916 says they bought a piano and Minnie used her "teacher’s board money" to pay for piano lessons for Beryle] – men drawed hay. Seward cut wood in shed.
Jan 13,--pleasant –Ed took children to Madison –Jim Richmond killed cow –Carl McBain came after butter – our telephone doesn’t work
Feb 2, --blizzard—men carried water to cows –bear sees shadow about noon—about zero
April--- They set hop poles—grubbed hops , [meaning , dug out old hop roots that would be like suckers to the new plants]—boiled sap—papered living room –began plowing hops—cleaned wheat and barley [ put through fanning mill to ready it for planting.]
May 18—Seward took Erma to Mat’s with colt.—drilled oats—strung hops—Mat came after drill at night. May 30—tied hops –finished papering kitchen
July 29, 1908 I raked [hay] in pm—drew 5 loads—Erma and I and baby (Lloyd)went to Lake with butter in evening. [Aug hop picking]—Sept 4, --finished picking about 8:30 am. Ed took them [ the hop pickers] to Morrisville in PM. Had 305 boxes [hops]
Sept 13 1915 Monday : Had terrible shower last night. Ed took Beryle to Hamilton this morning and Mat came over after dinner they pressed 6 bales of hops. I fussed around all day but didn't get much done. Went over back of hill and let down the bars so cows could get into pasture for water, dug a few potatoes, etc. Mat stayed here to supper. Lloyd went to school.
Sept 14, 1915 Tuesday: Pleasant and hot. I helped Ed press the other two bales of hops in A.M. after dinner Ed mowed lawn [CP's note: probably with scythe] and I raked grass off. thought I should roast. Had terrible shower again last night. Killed [ lightning] cow in Fred Kemps lot struck Mrs Kate Welch hop house and struck a number of places around here but didn't set anything on fire.
Sept 15- Ed churned in AM and it came the softest of anything this summer. [In churning butter, the temperature of the cream greatly affects the texture of the butter and how quick it "comes". If the temperature is too high it comes soft and savvy. When the temp is just right , the butter forms in small grains.] Burhyte [ a buyer]came to see hops.
Sept 17, 1915: Pleasant. Ed tied up berry bushes. Seward stacked hop poles. I canned 8 cans of plums in the new boiler and made three glasses of jelly .Beryle phoned about five pm to see why we didn't come after her so LLoyd and I started. [ of course this is with horse and buggy] Met her by Mr. Fullers and it was quite dark but moon was up when we came home. Sew. washed supper dishes.
Sept 18, 1915 -- Saturday. Beryle was sick and vomited all AM, but sat up some in PM. Ed churned and had another soft batch. I baked, washed [laundry] some, canned some crab apples, etc. So tired I could hardly take a bath. [Saturday night was always bath night, and of course this meant carrying water, heating it on the kitchen stove, and carrying it to the tub.] Sew gone to Madison and Lake [Madison Lake], I suppose. [Madison Lake was a very popular picnic and social place in the early 1900’s with two hotels, dance hall, boat rentals, and more.]
Sept 19, 1915 Sunday-- Jen Blair and Marcella came here and spent the day. Walter Race and another man were here in an auto in PM and there were two or three rigs went past, [probably meaning on the Henderson road] lots doing. Sew took Beryle to Hamilton after chores. [Beryle was staying with Erma and Clayton in Hamilton during the week and going to school. It was common practice for many of the hill kids to board in town for the winter when high school was in session because of the difficulty of traveling the unplowed roads every day.] Joe Isengner's above Solsville had his house, hop house, and horse barn burn about chore time tonight. There was only one fellow there. The people were away.
In 1916 there was great concern over what was then called infantile paralysis. The village of Madison was "quarantined" in that they tried to keep any case from coming in to the village. A few times during the summer months, Erma brought Dora up to the farm for a week or so , and stayed a while to avoid the disease. The diary mentions at least one case in Hamilton.
[ From here on, just short excerpts taken at random ]
Sept 20, 1915 -- Pleasant. I washed. Men drew dirt in barnyard and fussed around getting ready for threshers. Mr. Olin is threshing on Mason farm today.
Sept 21--Sew helped thresh at Will Kemps this AM and machine started for Lee Stone’s but got stuck and had terrible time. Finally got turned towards home but it was about five PM when they went by the Mason farm. Fisher’s folks and us are left with out threshing done and will be left until silos are filled now I guess. Mat took sample of hops to Hamilton this PM.
Sept 22, 1915 --Leland at Hamilton phoned and would take hops at 25cents and 23cents for Mat's. Ed sold his but Mat didn't.
Sept 23--Mat told Ed to phone Leland that he could have his hops at 23 cents. Sept 24--men began cutting fodder corn. Erma and girl [ Dora, born in May 1915] were coming home with Beryle but baby has cold so they didn’t come.
Sept 25--I washed and baked. Men cut corn. Ed churned.
" 26--Terrible rain and cold west wind. Blew all the winter apples off. I picked a chicken for Beryle to take down tomorrow. [Whenever chickens were dressed, the feathers were dried in the oven and saved until there were enough to make a pillow or feather bed].
Sew took Beryle to Hamilton in AM. Ed churned. In PM they cut fodder corn. We got tomatoes and picked all the cucumbers.
Sept 28--Frost this morning and cold wind. Men cut fodder corn. Ed churned. Vernon Fair begins today. Mrs. Welch drove up here this morning to see if Grace could have a day off from school tomorrow to go to fair. [Grampa Ed Jones was on the school board] Grace was the teacher]
Sept 29--Men finished cutting corn and began to bind it. Lloyd was pretty tickled to have a day out of school. He helped cut corn. [Apparently ED ok'd the teacher closing school for the day] Leland came in AM and weighed hops.
Sept 30--Mat led his horse over. Ed hitched it up with Dick and drew the hops to Hamilton. Ted [Ted, Dick, and Topsy, were horses] has caught cold and is stiff and lame all over. Sew bound corn.
October 1915--Men began digging potatoes--7 bushels, but so small they could hardly keep them in the crate.
Men fixed wagon in am and in pm cut down a bee tree. got about 18 lbs of honey but it is as black as your hat, most of it.
A Mister Roberts drove up in PM and got a little registered pig. Men cut some state corn. Phones are all off, can't get central.
Ed churned. Men finished cutting state corn [state corn was husking corn, sometimes called flint corn]. They dug 6 bushels of potatoes.
Ed took butter to Falls [Oriskany Falls].Lloyd and I rode down with him and Beryle came up from Hamilton and went with us to Utica. Beryle got coat, hat, cloth for dress and dress skirt. We walked up on state road to Jordan and Sew met us there. I had such a headache but managed not to vomit. Dick slipped and fell down in the Falls and broke his harness. Lloyd had crying spell after he went to bed. Don't know whether he had tooth ache or was tired and nervous.
Oct 11, 1915 --Men went to Mat's to help thresh. Beryle did housework. I hung her skirt, made a dress for Dora and put a piece of velvet in Erma's skirt. Sent little pig to Palisade NY. When men came home they said Pearl Abbut was coming from Mat's to here to thresh in the morning, so I guess we will have some hustling to do. I washed a few things and picked two hens for tomorrow.
Oct 12--I made pies, cake, and cookies. Made Dutch cheese.
" 14-- We had 40 bushels of wheat,153 bushels of barley, and 393 bushels of oats. Mr Saterlee stayed all night.
Oct 23--butchered pig. weather getting colder. Picked the last of nasturtians as they are freezing fast. Ed helped me finish laying carpet in sitting room and they set up the coal stove after I cleaned it.
Other days --dug potatoes and carried down cellar. Sew began plowing. Ed picked apples. I washed and picked nearly half bushel of grapes. Jim Pilbeam came and got three of Bessie's little pigs. I cut up and salted the rest of the pig they butchered Saturday. One of Peggie's pigs died today.
Oct 31---Busy digging potatoes on Fred Kemp's farm today. Got letter from Beryle. She is out of cash as usual.
Nov 28-- I took Beryle to Hamilton. The autos were flying.[meaning "whizzing around"] met three by Harvey Jarrett's [autos were not a common sight at that time]
Dec. 22--Pleasant day. Sew got Xmas tree. Ed churned.
" 23--Pleasant until about 4 PM when it began to snow and blow a gale. We had an early dinner and Ed took two horses and started after Beryle, Erma, and Dora. Had horses teeth filed. It was after dark when they got here. I made bread and friedcakes.
Dec 24--I baked pies, butternut cake, whipped cream cake and sugar cake. Sew went to Solsville after Clayton and the train was late so it was about eight when they had supper.
Dec 29, 1915 -- Blizzard in PM. Lloyd has begun to train Steve, the calf, to lead. Ed went to woods in PM but we didn't know he had gone until dinner time. Lloyd asked him where he had been. In PM he drawed up a load of little wood he had chopped down.
C.P.’s note [One problem that plagued Minnie and other isolated farm women was that of the endless work, the monotony of constantly keeping "nose to the grindstone", and also the dread of having the children leave home. In one entry April 28, 1918, Minnie complains she hadn’t been off the farm in 2 months. [The men would have gone to town several times delivering produce, to the stores and to feed mills etc.]
April 25, 1937 Sunday – Beautiful day. Acts like Spring. In the PM Beryle and I went up in Elmer’s woods and sat on some stumps and watched the cars on the state and county roads. I have been lonesome this pm. Wish we had a car. [Their 1926 model T had just about given out and they didn’t use it much any more.]
May 9, 1937 – Seward and Beryle looked over the new Ford [Ed had just bought it]. After dinner we went down to Seymour Lloyd’s. Ford runs pretty nice. Erma, Clayton, Dora and her friend Laura came. They brought me some carnations for Mother’s Day. Seward brought me some flowers from the woods. It’s been a very happy day for me today.
In the earlier years Minnie and family would fairly often go to dances, picnics, and various entertainments. [See diary note, [above], dated 1906 about one dance]. About once a year they would attend a banquet put on by the Legal Protective Society, which was a sort of vigilante committee to protect against the notorious Loomis gang. The society then existed in name but the Loomises were no longer a threat. Sept. 8, 1938 –"Seward got letter that Harold Bicknell gave him that he is a "rider" for the Legal Protective Society. Haven’t had anything doing in a long time but they are reviving it again."
April 10, 1931 – Ed churned 13 pounds and trimmed the lilacs and rose bush. Seward helped Howard Kemp buzz wood. We cooked first of corn beef and yesterday we cooked up the brine on it. Made 5 loaves of bread and gems for dinner. Erma, Beryle, Dora, Alice, and Charles went over on Mason’s pinnacle in pm. [the pinnacle was quite a distance away, maybe several miles. It was a high point shaped like a western mesa, and may have been the pinnacle mentioned in "Loomis Gang" stories that the gang used as a lookout place to keep track of unexpected visits by lawmen.
In later years they would go places as a family, but about 1909 about 2 years after Lloyd was born, when Minnie was around 45 years old, something happened between Minnie and husband, Ed. It apparently concerned some "hanky-panky" by Ed and a neighbor woman [apparently a Henderson woman]. Minnie moved out of their bedroom to one upstairs, and never returned. Although they each continued to help each other during sickness and with their work, the closeness between them was gone for good. We could always feel the sparks and tension between them but I never found out why [and never asked] until I was an adult. No doubt this contributed to Minnie’s feeling of loneliness during the absence of visitors and of her children. And of course, the death of son Lloyd in 1923 at age 15 didn’t help any. She mention’s Lloyd’s death many times in her diaries, such as, "Lloyd died 10 years ago today", etc. An entry on July 29, 1937 –"Erma’s folks came out and got Charles [grandson] tonight." [ I had been there for several weeks helping with haying] " Lonesome without him. Seems almost as if Lloyd had got back when he was here."
She writes - Sept. 2, 1913 –Pleasant but terrible hot. Ed and Lloyd took Erma to N. Brookfield to take the 8:27 train to Oxford as she got a special delivery letter last night to come and see if they could hire her for eight grade teacher but she didn’t hire out. I have bawled all am for fear Erma would hire out and I am half dead. It seems as if I had rather die than have all this work to do and feel so tired and my feet are so sore I can hardly travel. I am so glad they have got done picking and to think Erma came back. Beryle helped me do the dishes.
Mar.1, 1932 she writes –" Lindberg baby kidnapped this evening between 8 and 10. Mar. 7, 1932 –had fires in both stove pipes. Not as bad as before". In April 1932 she and Beryle were feeding the cows in the barn at noon while the men while the men were away, when Minnie accidentally hit the stanchion latch releasing the bull. Apparently he ran around among the cows and they had a stressful time trying to get him back where he belonged. Finally when the bull was at the other side of the stable, they ran over and opened the door and let him out into the barnyard, and they quickly slammed the door.] Minnie wrote –"I was some scared!" [The men put him back in the barn when they got home. Bulls had a bad reputation in those days for goring people with out warning. For instance, Minnie wrote on May 25, 1938 – Elmer Fisher got hurt by his bull this morning. They took him to the hospital in Oneida. Alice Lloyd just called said his intestines were torn. A bull hooked Dan Williams the same morning I got hurt [the day Minnie fell and broke her pelvis, which was March 13, 1938].
Aug. 8, 1934 – Ed and Seward got pipe [well pipe] fixed but they still couldn’t get water. Finally got a ladder down and by squeezing Seward got down. One stone had dropped down and there were more on some old rotten timbers that might tumble down any time so he came out. Ed went down a ways and they dipped some water out. I was scared half sick. The hole at the top is so much smaller than at the bottom. [During the next few days they hauled tile from Hubbardsville and relined much of the well].
Aug 7, 1934 -- [ CP’s words : Mr. and Mrs. Bowman brought their reaper/binder over and cut ten acres of oats for Ed. and. Minnie . Apparently Mrs. Bowman operated the reaper. First they had to make a three-horse evener since the reaper pulled too hard for a team of two.] Minne says - "It looks funny to see a woman running a reaper with three men in the field". [She charged them $1.50 per acre] "She let $10 go on what they owe us and Ed gave her five."
In these later years they would occasionally go to the movies at Hamilton or Oriskany Falls, especially when some of the grand children were staying there. They got quite a kick out of the westerns, and I remember Grandpa, the next morning at breakfast, still thinking about the movie, and chuckling about certain parts. In about 1934 Erma and Clayton got a new Ford V-8, and took them on trips now and then, such as to Albany to see the Capitol and Educational buildings. Once they took Minnie to Niagara Falls. She wrote Oct. 3, 1934 – "I never expected to see that place."
May 23, 1935 –"Some men were here yesterday to lease land to dig oil well." [There were rumors that exploration for oil had been going on nearby and in Brookfield, but I guess nothing ever came of it on Howe’s Hill. There must have been some wells drilled in Brookfield, for one of her later entrees mentioned going over to North Brookfield to see the oil well.]
In later years, probably in the 1930’s, Beryle, at Clayton’s urging, became a "ham" radio operator. She apparently got her license about 1940. She and Clayton "talked" on a regular schedule almost daily. Before that, they got a battery- operated radio, from which they got a lot of enjoyment, when the batteries were not down. It ran on a car battery and one they referred to as a "B" battery, and an "A" battery.
Minnie’s life on the farm continued the rest of her life in much the same way. They lived and operated the farm as they always did, in spite of the modernization going on "down off the hills " and around them.
She wrote in her diary - April 5, 1941 –"Canned 7 pints of meat [beef]. Cooked the bones and canned the meat that came off them. This makes 18 cans this week and 14 last week."
Through October and November 1941, she was feeling "used up" and had recurring pains in her abdomen. Nov. 24, 1941 she wrote – "Had the most terrible pains in my bowels most of the PM. Am about used up tonight."
Nov. 27, 1941 --[her last entry] –Ed churned 13 pounds of butter. I managed to work it. Stuart Phelps was up to look at his traps. Got pkg. from Montgomery Ward and Sears.
[Chas’s note – Dec. 8, 1941-- We stayed at the hospital in Utica most of the day. Minnie died without recovering from the operation to remove a large tumor from the abdomenal area. At night on the way home we heard on the car radio, Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Tire, sugar, and other rationing was effective immediately.]
Charles E. Page, RD#1, Box 270 Oneida, NY 13421
"Minnie Lloyd Jones"
"Ed. and Minnie Jones Family"
This picture was copied from a post card sent to someone. The note on the back said "We are looking into the sun which made us look all squinty."
"Howes Hill School Jones kids attended"
"Edward E. Jones Farm Madison N.Y. 1910"
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