Samuel Preston's 1863 Farm Diary

Transcribed and presented by Alice Horner





This 1863 farm diary is 6 inches x 4 inches and has a leather cover. The diary pages are edged in gold. The diary is prefaced with an 18-page Counting House Almanac. There is a Memoranda and Cash Account section at the end. There is a place for paper money in the back cover.

Thursday, January 1, 1863 Wind and warm
Own 272 sheep, 2 horses, 6 cows, 5 hogs
Friday, January 2, 1863 Rain from south east
Saturday, January 3, 1863 Very warm, bees out in abundance
Sunday, January 4, 1863 Warm
Monday, January 5, 1863 Snow fell 3 inches , No frost on ground , Visited school
Wednesday, January 7, 1863 1865 A Nase Dr , Jury to a load of dry wood 4.50
Note: This entry is hard to decipher. A. Nase probably refers to Adam Nase, who was born in 1825 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and was a carpenter in Mt. Carroll and sheriff. But he was also a Major in the Company K of the 15th Illinois Infantry during the Civil War, and would have been serving and not in Carroll County in 1863. It is possible that Samuel Preston may have used this diary for entries made in years other than 1863. Perhaps he sold this load of wood to Adam Nase in 1865.
Thursday, January 15, 1863 Hauled 3 loads of manure on winter wheat.
Friday, January 16, 1863 Hauled 2 loads of manure on wheat
Saturday, January 17, 1863 James Preston, a fugitive from slavery, comes to live as a help.
Note: Iíve never known before that Samuel Preston had a fugitive slave working for him during the Civil War. He and his ancestors were from South Hadley, Massachusetts and did not have family in the South, so it is unlikely he and James Preston could have been related or known each other or each otherís families previously. Technically, James Preston wasnít a fugitive slave, since the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered September 22, 1862. Samuel Prestonís terminology indicates that James Preston had only recently escaped from being a slave. I have no idea where he came from. Betty Obendorf, an expert on fugitive slaves in neighboring Ogle County, Illinois, told me those in Ogle County were mostly from Missouri and they came up the Mississippi River. I donít know whether the same is true for this man, and how many others like him there were in Carroll County. He was not still living in Carroll County when the 1870 US Federal Census was taken.
Wednesday, January 21, 1863 Hauled 2 loads of manure on wheat
Thursday, January 22, 1863 Hauled 3 loads of manure on wheat
Hauled 3 loads of manure on grots
Note: The last line is hard to read. He might mean groats, which the dictionary defines as hulled or crushed grain, especially oats. I donít know if that word was in common usage in 1863. I doubt if Samuel Preston grew enough grapes to warrant 3 loads of manure, and I canít imagine fertilizing grapes in even a warm winter.
Saturday, January 24, 1863 6 loads of manure on grots.
Note: Refer to my note for January 22, 1863.
Sunday, January 25, 1863 Muddy but little frost in ground. Warm, bees out.
Monday, January 26, 1863 2 loads manure on garden
2 loads manure on grots.
Note: Refer to my note for January 22, 1863.
Tuesday, January 27, 1863 2 loads of manure on wheat
Wednesday, January 28, 1863 5 loads of manure of wheat
Thursday, January 29, 1863 5 loads manure on wheat
Friday, January 30, 1863 Hauled Ĺ cord of wood
Saturday, January 31, 1863 Hauled 2 loads of wood, 1 Ĺ cord
Thursday, February 5, 1863 Hauled to market 39 12/32 bushels oats at 42 Ę
Saturday, February 7, 1863 Cash on hand 69.30
Thursday, February 12, 1863 Hauled 2 loads of wood, 1 cord
Tuesday, February 17, 1863 Hauled 3 loads of wood
Friday, February 20, 1863 Hauled 5 loads of manure on wheat
Arthur Little came back from the war.
Note: Arthur Little was a born about 1836 in New York and worked as a farm laborer in 1860 with the Joseph Ferrin family in Mt. Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois. He does not appear on the 1870 US Federal Census for Carroll County, and I donít know what happened to him.
Monday, February 23, 1863 Hauled 6 loads of manure on wheat
Friday, February 27, 1863 Hauled to market 49 12/32 bushels of oats and sold at 48Ę per bushel
Thursday, March 5, 1863 Hauled to Savanna 49 20/32 bushels of oats
Friday, March 6, 1863 Bought this day of D. T. Holmes a bolt of calico containing 40 Ĺ yards and a bolt of sheeting containing 43 Ĺ yards to pay for each what such goods are worth on the first day of July next
Monday, March 9, 1863 Hauled 5 loads of manure on wheat
Tuesday, March 10, 1863 Hauled 2 loads of manure on wheat
Thursday, March 12, 1863 Gave my note to Blake and Storace for $135 payable in 4 months for a horse thrasher & cleaner.
Note: This item would be a horse drawn thrashing machine and grain cleaner..
Hauled 4 loads of manure on wheat
Friday, March 13, 1863 Lap horse dropped her colt
Note: This entry is very hard to read.
Monday, March 16, 1863 Hauled 1300 lbs of hay to Chapman, price 3.95
Hauled 1000 lbs of hay to Hunter, price 3.00
Tuesday, March 17, 1863 Hauled 1380 lbs of hay to Dr. Meachem, paid 3.35
Saturday, March 21, 1863 Hauled 1 load of manure on wheat
Hauled 2 loads of manure on grots.
Note: Refer to my note for January 22, 1863.
Wednesday, March 25, 1863 Hauled 52 bushels of oats to market paid 50 cents per bushel
Wednesday, April 8, 1863 _______ dropped her calf.
Note: This entry is hard to read; the word in the blank may have been the name of this cow.
Thursday, April 9, 1863 Tilled in 47 acres of oats, amount of seed 16 bushels
Friday April 10, 1863 One sheep drowned, whole number 268
Monday, April 13, 1863 Arthur Little commenced work.
Note: Refer to the note for February 20, 1863. Whole number sheep 267
Tuesday, April 14, 1863 One sheep drowned
Planted peas and Mountain June potatoes
Sunday, April 19, 1863 One sheep drown, total number of sheep 266
Tuesday, April 21, 1863 Hauled hay to Mr. Lull, price $1.00
Thursday, April 23, 1863 One sheep died, whole number 265
Wednesday, April 29, 1863 Planted atuheritan impre in 15 rows on the south side
Note: This entry is difficult to read. He did have a grove of butternut trees on the south side of his house. Maybe thatís what he is referring to.
Tuesday, May 5, 1863: My horse Frank drowned, value $150.
Saturday, May 9, 1863: Have this day 58 new lambs.
Sunday, May 10, 1863: Have this day 63 new lambs.
Monday, May 18, 1863: Commenced herding sheep.
Tuesday, June 2, 1863: Washed sheep.
Wednesday, June 3, 1863: Number of lambs 109
Friday, June 5, 1863: Washed sheep
Saturday, June 6, 1863: Bought of Asa Stearns one stallion 3 years old for $120, including halter
Note: Asa Stearns was born December 25, 1903 in Worcester, Massachusetts and lived in Mt. Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois between 1853-1865. He then moved to LaPorte, LaPorte County, Indiana and lived until he died on October 7, 1889. In 1833 he married Catherine Brickett, who was born November 22, 1809 in Bradford, Vermont and died March 2, 1889 in LaPorte. Both are buried in Springville Cemetery, LaPorte. Refer to my Rootsweb.com family tree, ďThe Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, IllinoisĒ for more information on this family.
Sunday, June 7, 1863: My mare Jenny took lame.
Friday, June 19, 1863: Gave my note to Asa Stearns for a loan payable the first day of Oct amount $120.
Saturday, June 20, 1863: Sent Jenny to E. Bailey house.
Monday, June 22, 1863: Commenced again herding sheep. No. taken out 369.


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