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Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 12

A boy at 14 is a mystery. He is not old enough to have judgement of any value; at least his superiors in age look at it in that way as very liable to err in that respect.

In the saw-mill yard at Quaker Village stood a large butternut tree, and in the fall there was a great many nuts on it. This kind of nuts hang on the tree generally until frost comes. This year the frost was late, I had been looking to get our share one half. I noticed young men would come there, and knock them off and crack and eat them until satisfied. I told father how they were being used up in that way; father said, at last. “We will have tomorrow to see if we cannot have some.” The next morning I went up there early, and how it was possible for anyone even if it was a moonlight night? Had gathered every one, scarcely one left!

I went into the house and told father about it. He made no remark at all. As I look at it now, what was the use? It might have been ten days afterwards a young girl was sent to our house with a two quart measure full of butternut meats, very nicely taken from the nuts. Mother made a cake with them in it; also pies that were extremely rich, but as I remember proved to be of healthy living.

Somewhat later father started out with his span of horses lumber box wagon with two double chairs for seats. They were like the kitchen chairs of those days, bottoms of oak prepared and wove very substantial. Two grown people or three children could sit in one of them. Father drove down about three miles where on the bank of the Otter creek there were butternut and walnut trees and we spent the whole day in gathering those nuts; we had for company on this trip my Uncle Robbins and aunt also their daughter Loeazer. It was a fine day. Such perfect happiness comes only a few times in one life. That is: According to Herbert Spencer, who says, “No one can be perfectly happy, until all are happy. At the time such experience comes to the young we neglect to appreciate them, we are anticipating something beyond that will outweigh the present, sometimes we get there, and find more or less reality, but sometimes we find disappointment.”

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 11

This year came to me as learning to work, to find an honorable way to get a living, or even a few shillings possible for a boy to possess. There was not much opening. I drove a cow to and from pasture quite faithful for one man a neighbor, and was to have the current ninepence “Spannish Coin” for the job, really it was twelve and a half cents counted out in the coin of the realm.

I probably bought in imagination more toys and useful to me things than one could store in a good sized room. When the cash was earned I just went for it but never once cent could I get; finally I was so persistent that the neighbor told me; if I ever asked for it again he would slap me! I then gave up, and if I could found the Emperor of China. I could in great humbleness told my tale. I watched him after years, for I was sure he would take things that did not belong to him if the opportunity [full line of text missing] he broke in and took what he please and never made any report of his pilfering.

I never but once lifted any thing that did not belong to me. That time I was going to school about seven years of age, and I wished a piece of white chalk to mark with. At my father’s sawmill there was a mill wright at work in the yard. He had laid a small piece down not larger than a small walnut or chesnut. I carefully edged to it and pocketed it, and went on to school. But of all the fears, that afternoon were the worst I ever knew. I could not mark with it for others would see it and the constant expectation to be called for was terrible. But after school closed I made my way back to the same identical square stick of timber to replace that ill gotten trouble.

I recollect in September my father in regard to my industry said I could go with him a 17 mile ride to Goshen, this was a great treat, never been so far from home and the weather was beautiful. We passed the Leicester Pond. Father related what happened at one end. There was an iron ore mine found, what is called “Bog ore”. The miners had been digging it for a number of years. One day they went to dinner and on their return the mine was full of water, and no one drowned. This Leicester pond or lake had burst in and the iron ore was irrecoverably lost. The twenty five wheel barrows and all other tools lay there, and no one can ever recover them.

My father was a preacher of the Christian Denomination and this was his appointment in Goshen. We stayed at a member of the church by the name of Justus Dart. Some way that evening I burned my hand, Mrs. Dart took me quietly and exorcised the fire out of it, by saying over a form, that must not be repeated in a loud voice, and the previous form is only learned by a man repeating to a woman one at a time and the believer a woman, may repeat to a man. I was told this mystery, and the burn was easier, whether the success was owing to the flour paste it was covered with or the exorcise; I have never been able to determine. I have given this away to the opposite sex sometimes with great caution, only such as I supposed could reverence the form.

At service the next day there was a full house and awakening interest influence was felt; at the close of the preaching the house seemed to be in tears, and when the invitation was given out for to rise, if they wished a change of heart. I made a move, as if I was forced to do it, appeared to me. Now was the time. I had been a Sunday School scholar a number of years and this training probably has ben the reason of starting out in the new life. Age thirteen and three months. I immediately commenced to do right in my estimation. It seemed no trouble to getting to the right path, but it was a watchful effort to keep there. I came back with father the Monday following pondering a portion of the journey on what Mrs. Dart told me the last thing. “That I was made for a preacher!” I wanted to ask father about that prophecy – but concluded to wait until I could understand the duties of such a calling.

When we came home Grandmother Hurlburt was informed that I had a change of heart. She was quite positive it was a wrong thing in one so young. This grandmother was in every evening. One of my chores were to milk two cows; a job I had always protested more or less. But after this experience the disagreeable tax seemed to have disappeared, and one evening as I came in with the milk, grandmother made the remark. “I think Hiram is converted for he makes no fuss about milking.” Then I discovered myself the irksomeness of the job had disappeared; even now when writing at the age of seventy four this has a strong argumentative force to convince me of God’s word and the forgiveness of sin.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 10

I think I was eleven years old when my father allowed me to take his smooth-bore rifle gun to hunt with. It was made for him by a gunsmith named Ira Call at Woodstock, VT. Ira Call a brother of Joe Call the strong man, who could take a crowbar across his knee and break it. Said to have taken two ordinary sized men that were quarreling one with each hand raise them from the ground, and rap their heads together. I had his son to work for me in putting up a frame barn, but he broke and bent so my crowbars that after two weeks I dismissed him.

When my father went to get the finished article, Call took it out to try its quality of bringing down the game – and he took the swallows flying to do it, which he accomplished twice in succession. That fixed the credit of that piece of work. It was used for training having a bayonet fitted for that purpose, with cartridge hot, canteen all the requirements of militia training.

There was a boy about my age, Clark Stowe, his father David Stow permitted him to come to my house, and then each of us with loaded arms went to find game. We were generally successful in finding a partridge or pigeons in the summer time but when we made a successful shot we generally returned to show our skill. How careful we were of our ammunition – so very careful not to throw away a shot.

About this time there was great amusement and real live excitement that came to us boys. It was the general muster of militia. One company from Cornwall had uniforms, red coats and white pants, they were to represent the British another company from Bridport with blue coats, they represented the Americans. Then a company called the Floodwood company, there were several companies. Also a tribe of Indians were represented. Orange Brittell was the chief. Some of the companies followed the Indians down by our house to the creek where the road ended to take the Indians, but they were prepared to escape, as they had their canoes ready under the bushes, in which they jumped in and paddled away. The skulking along behind the houses, as the troops followed down the road was wonderfully exciting, and the way Brittell got away with his tribe was not to be beat. It made quite a talk for a time when the people were together at the store or mill. Brittell was dressed like an Indian chief, and Col. Sardis Dodge, said to my father he did his best to capture him; and the Col. got so excited talking about this sham fight. That he said to father, “He wished the whole thing has been real.”

These June trainings and musters of sixty five years ago were great days for us boys. They were anticipated before occurring with great anxiety and their memory afterwards were treasured for a long time.

I recollect father came home from a muster in Cornwall, VT and reported of two captains come into collision about electing officers, and they went at each other with swords, and they fought very skillfully, both excellent swordsman, and the quarrel was ended by one cutting the others sword in two, and no blood spilt. Still each did their best to make serious work.

It was a little later that we Weybridge boys walked quite a ways toward Vergennes in 1840 to meet the Convention for Tippacanoe on its route to Middlebury. It had a long procession with a log cabin on wheels with hard cider. There was a great excitement at Quaker Village. A family closed in with them in the procession by the name of Hardy Walker with his wife and two daughters, Josephine and Seraphine, the youngest Seraphine was entrancing in her beauty at quite a distance, on nearer view the spell was broken. Their carriage was covered, of ancient make, like the drawings of long ago and on each side in large letters was the name “New York”. After all my boyish inquiries I could never ascertain the facts; only it was supposed Walker purchased in New Your City and the name had never been changed.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 9

I could not have been more than seven years old when I went up to the four corners to school and there lost my heart for the time being to a lovely ??ce. What put me in the greatest agony was, my fear somebody would discover the predicament I was in. In the spelling class I was proficient at that age and a girl whose name was Minerva Ayres was a match to me in spelling; but I just worshiped her. I had my aunt who went to the same school for my caretaker and I suffered intensely for fear she would discover it. I think Minerva might have been at my age. She was small, slim, lady like very gentle and studious, and when she missed a word in spelling, if it had not been for my horror of telling lies I should have purposely misspelled so as not to pass above her; I had just committed the act when I noticed I was trembling with excitement. Then I noticed Minerva was trembling too. This surprised me, and when I reached home my aunt told my mother about the excitement in my spelling class; That Hiram and Minerva Ayres were all in a tremble when the class was through spelling. I can remember now the hot blood sprang to my cheeks when my mother said, We will have Hiram spell his lesson this evening in preparation for tomorrow. I worshiped this Minerva all through the season, or until a girl about the same age, only more tiny in appearance and a bird like voice, name of Brittell. She had come for a bit to her father’s old home in Weybridge and she took to me at once, coming and taking my hand leading me a little separate by ourselves, while she told me of her folks out West, of finding a raccoon nest of a number of little ones, and her father brought them home for his daughters as pets. She made this description very fascinating to me, so much so that my heart began to enlarge, and I felt more at ease when near Miss Minerva. And I recollect that the trembling some how cease, and I could begin to look at this love episode as something that could be endured, but the pleasurable feeling was there – and if I kept patiently waiting I would find the one designed for me at last.

As Dante says: “Wherefore we see children desire exceedingly an apple and then proceeding further desire a bird; and further still a beautiful dress; and then a horse, and then a woman, and then riches not great, and then greater and then great as can be. And this happens because in none of them does she find that which she is seeking, and she trusts to find further on.”

About three years more of living made me 10 years, then I could go to spelling schools in the evening, and then go home with a girl! This brought happiness to a high pitch, rather doubtful if so much could be endured.

There was a little girl came out to her grandfather’s nearest neighbor to stay awhile. Her grandfather was a wheelwright, and he made his grandchild a set of

[full line of text missing]

cake, she invited me to come through the fence – the boards of which were placed far enough apart for me to crawl through. It was a case of love again, and under her directions of which she seemed perfectly aware, and used her authority accordingly. I must sit in such a place, and must answer all questions, and particularly to leave when she gave timely notice, as my behavior was such, that I recollect my short visits at first grew to be longer ones, and when she went back to her home, the pleasantness of the summer days ceased to exist for me. All these heart troubles I had bury in my own bosom, no one that I could say one word to.

There were two dark eyed girls just across the street that now took my attention, and we had a play house in which I did my best to make it pleasant, but some the feeling was not broken I had for the girl that came so seldom to her grandfather “Silas Herendeen”‘s.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 8

I am thinking now as I have reached seventy four years (March 5th 1901.) that it is an unhappy talent to have eyes whose perceptions are continually looking at things in hopes to find them orderly, that is, that when one sits down in a room to look a little. To find the doors cased awry. The casing at the top would in one instance a half inch out of square, would show that much if tried in the corner with a steel square, main part 24 inches arm 18 inches. Every time I went to grandmother Bullard’s her room door to the dining room door was in this condition, the work was well done, good close joints, so I wondered how it came about, for if the house were racked by wind or foundation giving out those joints would have showed it. So I asked, how the door happened so? grandmother said. “It was done by Knight Sprague a blind man, it was all done by feeling, that was his trade to do of rooms in houses and when ??? I never saw him work. The greatest puzzle to me was, how he could drive a nail and not have them come out in sight at the point to disfigure the work, but his work was free from such faults, more so than a new house I painted inside at Butte Montana in the year 1900.

Another mechanic lived across the road from my fathers that made spinning wheels, reels for yarn, chairs and bedsteads. He, James Sawyer had a lathe made in such a way as this: There was a spring pole of springy timber stretched across through his shop over head, the large end made rigid, then a rope fastened on the smaller end, then came down to the piece of timber to be turned, wound around twice then down to the treadle for ??? foot to press down, when the chisel would tackle the object, then the spring would turn the stick the other way, then another pressure with the foot, when the chisel would renew the cutting, so half the time he was turning out the article, the other half to renew the power. This was called a spring lathe.

But the next trouble about my eyes was, to find out the color of other peoples eyes. There were two men than gave me a long study. I guess thirty years before I could accomplish the feat. One was Lauren Drake. When he spoke to you he just gave one quick as a flash look, then looked right around the other way. And when he asked another question the same fashion. Finally after my fathers death in California he asked me a question about it, and I was quite sensitive about it; and in trying to answer I came near breaking up. When he just gazed at me. So I found the color to be dark blue.

Another man gave me a hunt for a long time, it was Shubal Wales, he was cross-eyed and very quick motion. He always asked questions in a way that you was sure he was looking somewhere else. I caught at the color one day when he was hewing a stick of timber that was crooked. He had struck a white chalk line to hew by, and then when he got at the job, he said, He was not going to “Debbie” around after the line! The expression amused me so much, and I laughed so heartily, that he stopped apparently astonished looking at me steadily as if to find out what I could laugh at. Then I caught the color of his eyes as dark grey.

In mentioning of this trait of recognizing people by the color of their eyes I will relate. There was a man I knew all my younger days in the Town of Ripton, VT., Timothy Winter, one of his eyes were blue, and the other about one third brown and the other two thirds blueish green. As I did not in those days say anything about my peculiar method of recognition, it was several years before I heard any one mention this peculiarity. The division in Mr. Winters were from the pupil out toward the white of the eye.

As I advanced in years this peculiar quality of observing made me considerable embarrassment. I would see a stranger and before thinking would be anxious to ascertain the color of their eyes; I would find myself so intruding before I realized that I was impertinent, before I considered that my forwardness be taken as such.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 7

… was allowed to go off alone to walk down to grandmother Bullard’s I was directed on the road in particular. I should say it was June. When I had gone about three fourths of a mile, there were some young cattle forward of me grazing side of the way, and as soon as I come up to them they would start and run ahead as if I was driving them. I tried my best to get by them, but no use they kept advance. We came to a log house, the door was open, and the floor of the houses to be the same height of the street; so in the door went two or three of these young cattle, probably yearlings, instantly an elderly lady came driving them out with a good deal of energy. Spying me she came up and wanted to know “Whose boy I was?” Then she piled the words on to me, she would send word to my father, on driving cattle into her house. I kept moving along carefully expecting every moment she would pounce onto me, and whether she would give me the most extreme of punishment I had seen or read of or of a milder type – anyhow my happiness was getting to a very low ebb as I trudged along to my destination. Finally I succeeded in getting to the gate of the yard leading to the house, then I saw my Uncle Marcus one and a half years older than myself, as soon as I got to him I put my arm around him and the flood of tears, that had been kept in waiting broke loose, and when Mark inquired, “What was the matter?” I was perfectly unintelligible in my report.

Mark took me into his mother’s room, my grandmother took me close to her to find out what had happened, after I knew I was safe I told all, then she espoused my cause very strongly, she would see about old Mrs. Halsey, she would send Cullen up there and he would carry me home. Of course I had found friends, and the terrors of the future punishment faded away. Mark and I went fishing down a brook that had quantities of horn dase and shiners, which grandmother served up for our dinner in fine style. So my visit came to joyful end being carried to my home by my kind Uncle the Doctor.

At another time cannot remember exact date but it was warm weather I had been up at the clothing works where my uncle finished cloth, when I looked out the window saw an old lady passing along knitting as she walked. It was mostly descending in the grade, after a bit I went toward home, pretty quick I saw some yarn on the ground moving slightly; and as far as I could see either direction was this yarn. Then I thought of the woman knitting, and as I knew what way she was passing, I ran to find her. She had passed through both bridges and was going up a hill and had just discovered that she had dropped her ball of yarn, as the rise of the ground made more exertion to carry the thread she was working at. Then Aunt Hitty turned around and retraced her steps to recover her goods. As the two bridges were three hundred feet in length and the rocky island one hundred feet she must have unwound nearly four hundred feet!

There were several noticed this incident, and the quotation was often uttered “Aunt Hitty Sanford spinning street yarn.” As I reflect am pretty sure from that circumstance which was noticed by several before the yarn was finally rewound came the always as not pleasant reminder. She was spinning street yarn.

On the Rocky Island when I was a boy were the ruins of several industries. For some reason when I was a small boy two old people told me some early history. My finding some s???s of timber imbeded in the ground below the clothing works. So I inquired of Enoch Sprague? To satisfy my curiosity he went with me to show where such and such buildings stood. Afterwards Isreal Marsh confirmed the fact.

Just below the clothing works was a forge for hammering cut nails, as far as I can find outthe first ever cut by a machine. They were cut out of the plate which were wide enough for the length of the nail; and the head of the nail was all on one side or rather the edge. In the old plank houses in Quaker Village these nails were used and in later years about 1869, I found the same pattern of nail in the Van Schai? house in Lansingburg, N.Y., as the roof from which I removed in the shingles to replace with slate, the roof then showed that of the several roofs that had been placed. First the hand made nail, then the pattern from the Weybridge Mill.

Down the stream a little farther was the distillery. Where cider brandy was made, that would make the drinker forget their trouble, but when they recovered their senses; their woes would look more unsurmountable.

This distillery was carried by William Sanford and his wife Mahittable and I was told by an old resident in my youththat he had seen both husband and wife to far gone in the exhilerating influences of its products that no business could be done with them. This business of distilling was abandoned after a few years and Wm. Sanford made pearlash, “salaratus”, from the ashes he gathered in the neighborhood. I can recollect the price per. lb. when he brought the article to our house, fifteen cents, but its strength was such that a pound lasted quite a while.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 6

In the autumn before I was nine, I was sent to some lady tailoresses about one and a half miles to have a coat cut from cloth finished at my fathers and uncle’s clothing works. These ladies names were Charity Bryant and Sylvia Drake. After I had obtained an entrance with my package to their apartment, Miss Bryant asked me, “Whose boy are you?” I answered Hiram Hurlburt’s boy. Then I was going to say something, but Miss Bryant pointing her finger at me, said “You will wait.” Then she said, “Your mother was a Bullard, she came from Athol, Mass. Now what did you wish to say?” Then I held my tongue, Mother wished me to ask you, if I might dig some sweet flag root on your ground? Miss Bryant said yes. But bring me a piece, measuring on her hand five or six inches long. I dug the root, which was milder in taste than usually found, not so pungent. When I gave the long piece to Miss Bryant she remarked, “That I was the first boy that had ever asked permission to dig roots there, they come and dug as they had a mind to”.

Miss Bryant was a short woman, her counter to cut on was quite high for her, but she had a foot stove to put charcoal in for comfort to her feet, and the article was double length so she could step off from over the coal division. The handles to her shears were wound with some dark material, which made me suppose, she used them a great deal. I was ordered there two or three times, and noticed Miss Bryant was ???e man, this I thought was perfectly proper, as Miss Bryant had all the advisory art of all business. Afterwards I heard it mentioned as if Miss Bryant and Miss Drake were married to each other. I always heard they got along pleasantly together. But after Miss Bryants death, Miss Drake went to live in her fathers house, near Beldens Falls, a brother-in-law carried on the place, and it was reported she made it very hard for that brother-in-law. “Fortes Shaw”.

I now understand this Miss Charity Bryant was a liberal contributer to the Congregationalist Church, at the Silas Wright monument in Weybridge, and was Aunt to Wm Cullen Bryant the poet, who came twice to visit her.

Above the falls on Otter Creek in Quaker Village was a pond raised by two dams as there is a rocky island that divides the stream, causes the east section to fill up with the waste that comes down the creek. This winter I was nine years old. But first let me say that the spring before I had given me a fishing rig, and fished over the bank by a butternut tree for pickerel; and after much anxiety lost my hook and bait, of course, the bait were small fish I caught at the “Beave Brook” a mile away from home. Then a man “Otis Bean” that worked for my father gave me a stronger one with a chain attached. I was now sure of getting the fish, for father had said, the way I lost my hook was, that it got caught on a root or some flood wood lying on the bottom; But I was sure of having a bite. While patiently waiting the outcome of this new rigging the bite came, and I like to lost my pole, first one way, then the other the large fish capered around, but finally when I thought he would pull the pole from my hands the line parted near the chain, upon looking I was wholly ruined for fishing, I did not wish to say much about it, for I remembered fathers reason for looing my hook.

To continue a fish story; The dams in the falls was at the height so the water in the section that filled up with dirt in the freshets, would be about two to three feet in depth. It was the first of cold weather and the ice was about two inches thick, I was on skates that I made by taking a bit of three fourths of an inch birch board that would not split easily, sawing on one side a channel 3/8 of an inch deep, then taking an old barrel hoop of iron, and fitting by filing and grinding, then inserting in this groove, then by putting holes so to use strings, like wooden skates used, I could make considerable headway. As I was crossing the ice I looked through the clear body of water and saw as I supposed him, a round stick of wood, like flood wood, as there was more or less of these chunks lying on the bed of the pond. To make the boys come out to where I was; I hollered to come and see this big fish, and while they were coming I looked again when I saw the fins move. The I skated with all my strength to get an axe we had that morning to break the ice for the cow to drink, then struck on the ice just over the fish’s head. Away he went, but was easily followed. The water was perhaps from 18 to 30 inches deep; and wherever the fish went in this three fourths of an acre, there was a streak of roil, to track him by. Finally, after several strokes over his head he turned head down and tail up to the ice. A few blows with the axe, and he was taken out gasping on the ice. As he lay there opening and closing his mouth, one youngster (Sam May mentioned din another chapter) stuck his boot into the fish’s mouth. The fish seemed to think there was something to live for, and so closed his jaws upon the boot, the teeth going through the upper leather and stocking to the bare foot. We at once got his foot out leaving stocking and boot in the pickerel’s mouth. The bare foot looked as if the cat has scratched the top of it. We discovered my fish hook and chain of the season before in the outer cartilage. This hooks and chain had kept along with him in his travels in the pond without any apperant detriment to good living, as he appeared in perfect health weighing on the home steely yards ten pounds and eleven ounces.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 5

The winter before I was seven years of age I attended district school with my aunt now in her eighty seventh year (present date March 1st 1901.) at that time 19 years old. It was the old fashioned school about seventy scholars, and only one man to teach, and he seemed to know how to run the job. My class use to be called to take their places on the floor, and to toe a certain crack in the floor. The rule in this spelling class was for the one who left off at the head at last lesson for the day and woe to the one who missed and let some one go above him, but if he kept the head of the class through the day, he with much pride placed himself at the foot at the next mornings lesson. This was a great inducement to me. I remember the excitement I labored under, I know I would tremble when a missed word came to me.

Once at the word from the teacher, “The boys may go out.” I had taken a doughnut from my dinner pail to eat when out, another boy knocked it out of my hand, others with their feet kept it hustling on the floor, but when they were called in by rapping, the master called up those large boys – men g? they appeared to me, there was quite a row of them. Then the master commenced the punishment with a ruler of hard wood on the inside of the outstretched hand. It was a quiet house, except some sobbing of the larger girls. I looked the performance in great surprise, comparing it in my own mind to the Emperor of China’s punishment, this school masters punishment seemed large for so small an offense. Immediately after this happening on opening school there was not a ruler to be had all were broken up or were lost; the affair passed quietly until close of school when the master stated. That it was to be the duty of the scholars to bring rulers, as all writing was did on white paper the teacher ruling the lines at such distances apart with a lead plummet as his judgement suggested. The next day brought rulers; they seem to have been made in quantities, with a hole in one end, then strung on a cord, to my eyes there were hundreds of them, the teacher took notice of the generous quantity.

When the day was bright the scholars made a ring and then was wrestled according to size and one must be found to take the place of the one throwed. after several throws I was hustled in to throw Sam May, this I had not looked for, and I endeavored to escape. But that was not the rule. So Sam chinched me, and I was mad and did not work at any known rules of wrestling. But Sam pulled my hair some to get a good clinch, upon that I was entirely beside myself and knocked him over clinching my hands in his hair. There was a big yell from both sides to each favorite. Finally I was taken off from Sam with both hands full of Sam’s flaxen hair. We were both in tears. I do not think I was ever so mad in my life. But they could not get Sam to tackle me again.

A year later when eight years there was a commotion in the school district, there were so many scholars for the one school that finally a division of the district occurred, and we on our side of the Otter Creek had a new building and it was called the Red School House. A woman teacher was provided and our school was more quiet. I recollect one teacher her name was Lucinda Lawrence; she had some faculty to punish without ferrule or beech rods. My next brother younger could not be kept in exact behavior, so Miss Lucinda found in her dress pocket a string or a ? cord, my brother Henry when he saw the cord. Wished to know if she was going to p? a horse? Yes, she said, and proceeded to tie him up to a convenient post in the room, this proved effective to maintain authority.

In the summer following a boy was admitted to the school one year my senior, he came from the larger district, brought the rough manners with him he considered it was his duty to run things at all recesses. After a day or two he went pushing and smashing the scholars generally, throwing a light weight boy of the name of Sylvester Harris against a writing desk knocking him senseless. I immediately grabbed Richard Wadleigh which was his name crowded him to the front door and pushed him down the nine steps. He went off home limping, at an examination by the committee I was exonerated from all blame, and the boys father was notified the boy could not attend that school.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 4

I am not college educated, but I was once the cause of a sensation in President Bates classroom in Middlebury College. It was at the time of my Uncle Ward Bullard’s scholarship there. He had promised me repeatedly, if I came to Middlebury to call on him and he would show me around. I was past my sixth year.

It happened one day I was out to call with my grandmother Hurlburt on my father’s uncle Nathaniel Harvey. When I came there I was in great quest to see Middlebury College. My opinion of the institution were doubtless very extravagant. To my youth it was the position required. I had studied faithfully on the front page of Websters Spelling Book a wood cut that gave to you a Greek Temple, also a man with a boy by the hand, this boy was looking up to the man, who was pointing to the temple, the lower sign to the sight was “know thyself.” Then above this was the word. “Knowledge.” Then on a dome the highest elevation, the word “Fame.”

I had arranged in my own mind that this College was the ultimate end to aspire to. Uncle Nathaniel’s oldest son “Lafayette” was told to take me down there to see Uncle Ward. Lafayette understood all about the rooms and times of lessons, he was some three years older than myself, and had always lived in close acquaintance to the buildings and grounds. Lafayette took me first to Uncle Ward’s room not finding him there, he went with me to the recitation room of the Senior Class whose teaching was presided over by the President. Lafayette pointed to the door and I opened and went in and to my surprize he did not follow.

The President was sitting there in black gown. And he inquired! “Who I wished to see?” Uncle Ward Bullard I replied. There was a general shaking of laughter in the class, which occupied one side of the room! The President then said, “Mr Bullard, You may see what the young gentleman wishes.” My Uncle showed me over the Museum and it was a wonderful hour of sightseeing, and, as I look at it now it was a break in the quietness of that recitation room when I made the abrupt call.

This Lafayette had peculiar qualities. Sometime after he came out to Quaker Village and stopped at John Robbins my uncle, where my grandmother Hurlburt lived. Then he came down to our house giving me an invitation to go in the creek and bathe, at the end of the street there, was the usual bathing ground for the village. We both went in the water, and I found that I was much more use to swimming ??? there. Grandmother was sure my parents knew nothing about my being in the water, so she questioned me, “When I learned to swim?” This I could not answer as it seemed to me I had known how for a long time, and there was no time I could name when the art was learned.

There was considerable talk to father from grandmother and mother. I will explain: As many had comparatively been drowned in Otter Creek children and grown up persons – it was complained that the water had peculiar strangling qualities; but I have ascertained, since that the water is fairly average for purity to other streams in this State.

This winter a man came to our house and stayed several days, his business was to make all the shoes and boots for the coming year, as father has the leather from the tannery. The custom was to take the skins there, and they tanned for one half. This shoemaker’s name was Nathanial Boyington. He went home Saturday nights, then came back Monday, as he commenced to drive the wooden pegs in the soles he broke them off on which he made a great “how-to-go”. That we boys had been cracking butternuts with his hammer, Now nothing of the kind had happened so I concluded that he could tell things that were not so.

Some young men found he was visiting a house of ill repute; so they were equal to any lark, went there in a dark night, one of them was rigged up to impersonate the great enemy of mankind, fitted out with cloven feet, with a tail coiled up and resting on his left arm. He walked in where Boyington was sitting by the fireplace light. He spoke up “Nathaniel Boyington I have come for you!” Boyington’s reply was “Ready Sar.” It was reported that he was really frightened, and he stayed at his own domicile ever after.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)

Diary of Hiram Harvey Hurlburt Jr: Chapter 3

As I grew older I can hardly tell when I learned to read, (?) about one of the first books, was the Embassy of Lord McCartney to China from England. The book in a dilapidated condition was a volume formerly belonging to Doctor Benjamin Bullard my grandfather who died when I was about seven months old. Now there was probably ever printed a more uninteresting book for a child seven or eight years old but it was combed over at all hours and the old fashioned letter “s” mostly like an italic “f” as I have mentioned in another chapter about a copy of the New Testament, and they were as familiar to me as the fire works that were produced by the Chinese encircling the whole horizon to strike dismay to the courageous embassy who were first in trying to find the capital of the Celestial Empire.

The date of this embassy was 1793. I take one item, August 6th in the Yellow Sea, Ditto weather, (It has been moderate and cloudy) Adam Bradshaw a light dragoon, departed this life, and his body committed to the deep A.M. washed the lower and orlep decks, fumigated the ship with devils, washed the sides and beams with vinegar. No subsequent searching has ??? entry. One other item I had great reverence.

The Emperor of China in a long reign of sixty years, who had never ceased to watch over and increase the happiness and prosperity of his subjects. The following was called an affecting example.

A merchant of the City of Nankin had, with equal industry and integrity acquired a considerable fortune, which awakened the rapacious spirit of the viceroy of that province; on the pretense, therefore, of its being too rapidly accumulated, he gave some intimidations of his designs to make a seizure of it. The merchant, who had a numerous family, hoped to baffle the oppressive avarice that menaced him, by dividing his possessions amoung his children, and depending on them for support.

But the spirit of injustice, when strengthened by power, is not easily thwarted in its designs; the viceroy, sent the children to the army, seized on their property and left the father to beg his bread. His tears and humble petitions were fruitless; the tyrannical officer, this vile vicegerent of a beneficent sovereign, disclaimed to bestow the smallest notice on the man he had reduiced to ruin, so that, exasperated by the opression of the minister, the merchant at length determined to throw himself at the feet of the sovereign, to obtain redress or die in his presence.

With this design he begged his way to Pekin; and having surmounted all the difficulties of a long and painful journey, he at length arrived at the Imperial Residence; and, having prepared a petition that contained a faithful statement of his injuries he waited with patience in an outer court till the Emperor should pass to attend the council. But the poverty of his appearance almost frustrated his hopes; and the attendant mandarins were about to chastise his intrusion, when the Emperor was attracted by the bustle which the poor mans resistance occasioned; at this moment he held forth a paper, which his Imperial Majesty ordered brought to his palanquin; and having perused its contents, commanded the petitioner to follow him. It so happened, that the Viceroy of Nankin was attending his annual duty in the council; the Emperor, therefore, charged him with the crime stated in the poor mans petition, and commanded him to make his defense: but conscious of his guilt, and amazed at the unexpected discovery, his agitation, his looks, and his silence condemned him. The Emperor then addressed the council on the subject on the viceroys crime, and concluded his harangue with ordering the head f his tyrannical officer to be instantly brought to him on the point of a sabre. The command was obeyed: and while the poor old man was wondering on his knees at the extraordinary event of the moment, the emperor addressed him in the following manner: Look, said he, on the awful and bleeding example before you, and i now appoint you his successor, and name you the Viceroy of the Province of Nankin, let his fate instruct you to fulfill the duties of your high and important office with justice and moderation. This method of acting justice seemed to me at the age of seven to be perfect, although I had the impression that the Chinese were not the highest civilization.

(The full diary will be located here when complete.)