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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 13

The spring I was fifteen years old my father moved to Ripton, on the Green Mountains. He built a sawmill, it was thirty by forty feet. He finished off the part intended for a shingle mill and lived in it. The damn was built in range with the upper end of the mill; so the pond of water was near a slide or rather an inclined plane was from the floor of the mill into the water, and the logs were drawn from the water as wen by the mill power of a sash sawmill. The lumber from the saw, made from the logs that came out of the water were excessively heavy. I remember to carry them away took my whole strength. When winter came the logs were brought to the mill in front on the logway.

As I attended to the mill a good deal, I kept a level (Handspike) made from a small spruce tree about two and a half inches think, neatly shaved and convenient to handle the logs. A neighbor by the name of Martin Powers took this lever and used it in place of a skid to pile logs up on the pile front of the mill, and when he had used it I would find it broken. I made another and told Powers I did not wish him to use it for a skid. But Powers was a wrestler and won at times at elections and raising of buildings. He was a married man, probably twenty three years old. The next day he came with a load of logs, came in the mill and grasped my lever. I took it away from him, father being present cautioned Powers to let me alone, for one of us would get hurt. But Powers clinching me side hold and I flung him to the floor as quick as thought! He was badly hurt. Anyway he kept running down. He sent for me one day and told the wrestling would end his life, and he told me I was not to blame, that he had wrestled with many and never one so quick as I was. I was a good deal affected to think he was going to die, and I went to father with the fact. Father said, “I was not to blame. Powers begun by clinching first.” But there was always a feeling, like, I wish it had not happened. I noticed father and mother made a quite a number of donations to the widow after his death.

The next winter I went to school to a lady teacher “Ann Maria Leavette.” My senior by one year, she was an excellent teacher, and I went on in my studies of grammar and arithmetic to the end of the text books. The evening spelling schools were of great importance to us, there would be a houseful coming from other districts.

In my seat at school a young man two years older than myself sat with me. He became desperately in love with the teacher, and he studied the dictionary to find words he considered appropriate to compose a note to the teacher for her company to her boarding house. His name was Reuben A. Damon. He finally with much effort made the following: “To Miss Leavette. May I have the superiority of going home with you from spelling school?” Signed, “Reuben A. Damon.” This he showed me, and I supposed it was all proper. Reuben studied on it quite a while when he exerted himself again to improve it. This was the result. “Miss A. M. Leavette may I have the exquisite felicity of going home with you from spelling school” signed ‘R. A. Damon.” I was completely astonished at this; for I was very bashful; still I just worshiped the beautiful Miss Leavette well knowing she was unreachable but very careful not to let it be known. So Reuben had the whole field. Sometime in the calm of the recess at spelling school Miss Leavette came to me and whispered “If I would kindly walk with her to Mr. Cook’s where she boarded after spelling school.” But how I must have looked? How my ears did burn for I was in a surprised state of earthly bliss! But I was punctual to be on hand at the moment wanted.

I never knew whether Miss Leavette was given the note, but I noticed that Reuben changed his love in a few weeks, as he came to me for advice. “He wished to know and tell him which I thought would be the best girl for him of three?” naming Miss Joan Fletcher, Miss Jane Downer or Miss Sorelle Smith?

In my youthful wisdom I surmised that Miss Fletcher being the first name would be the one, I named her, Damon visited her a number of times, wioth no result as known, perhaps he called on the others, but was never known to me. Damon several years after married Eunice Lovett, she died in a few years, when he married her sister Dolly Lovett, that account ends the history of R. A. Ramon in this narration.

Note: This is an excerpt from the memoirs of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr (1827-1910). He was my mother’s mother’s father’s father. The full diary is available here, with chapters transcribed from the scanned PDF of the manuscript into more easily read text as I have time.

@abulsme tweets from 2015-06-15 (UTC)