Friday, July 10, 2009

The 1874 Diary of Ypsilanti Teen Allie McCullough

Part of a year-long weekly series of excerpts from Ypsilanti teenager Allie McCullough's 1874 diary, from the last year of her life.

You may remember that last week Allie was enjoying her summer vacation. She went berrying, worked on her quilt, and had some conundrums told her by Carrie that "were too killing for anything."

July 11 Sat. Went up to Carrie's this afternoon and stayed all of the afternoon. Joe went with me and called. I had an elegant time. Selinda Curtis called while I was there and said that she had been to see me. I had a perfect tussle with Durbin and he made a most ridiculous mistake. "Work".

July 12 Sun. We went to Church and stayed to S. S. Joe was there. Carrie was not. "Someone was." [hmm! --ed.] Went and took a long ride in the afternoon, went way out in the country. Went to Church in the evening with Joe W. and the girls.

July 13 Mon. Went to pick raspberries today. Stayed until about four o'clock. Went home and washed up. After supper Carrie N. came. We had a good talk. Joe was down and made arrangements to go out to Gill's for a few days. Expect to go tomorrow.

July 14 Tues. Alex took us down to Gill's. Joe W. went as far as her grandmother's with us. We got down there about ten o'clock. Had a very nice time all day. Played croquet in the evening. Slept in the parlor bedroom. After we were undressed and the lights out, we opened the parlor outside door and sat down and talked for a while.

July 15 Wed. Did not braid my hair all day, only did it up in a knot on he top of my head. Went out in the woods in the morning. Had a nice time. Killed a snake and saw some more. When we came back we sat up in one of the trees in the orchard about an hour and talked.

July 16 Thurs. Packed out clothes this morning so that we would be all ready to go tonight dressed for a visit. Went to the school house and then to Mrs. Betts. Intended to leave about three, but she would not have it so stayed. When Mr. Betts and his brother came, we went over to one of the neighbors with whom Joe was acquainted. (My property) (Mine). Have had an elegant time all day. I think that Mr. B. and Bro., are O.K. Coming home I sat on the front seat.

July 17 Fri. Mrs. B. brought us over to the depot. They all want us to stay very much, but Joe would not. Had ever so much fun. Got in Dentonville [now known as Denton] half an hour early and had to wait when we got in the cars and were seated. Mr. Clark came and talked to us. Got home at nine. Went up town in the afternoon and got a new dress and then went up to Carrie's. Told Durbin I hated him. Carrie came in evening to see about her dress.

July 18 Sat. Made a hat, black. Sewed on my dress this afternoon and pitted cherries until my hands are so stained I cannot get it off. Joe W. and Selinda Curtis came down and I took a walk with them. Had so much fun and Joe and I made up our minds to go to B.'s (Betts) when they thrash. They want us to.

July 19 Sun. Did not go to Church. Stayed home and sewed. Mary B. was here for dinner. Looks very much like rain. Hope it will. Fearful warm. It has rained. Did not go to Church tonight. Came upstairs real early and sat by the window. Wonder what C. N. is thinking about.

Thanks for reading; tune in next Friday for another chapter!.


Ingrid said...

Allie has a lot more freedom than I would have thought a teenage girl would have in her era. She seems to travel everywhere unchaperoned. Maybe it was safer then, and young people did have fewer restrictions?

Dusty D said...

Hi Ingrid! Nice to see you! It's so funny you mention that, because when I was transcribing this excerpt this morning, I had the exact same thought!

In this excerpt, she and her friend are taking the interurban or train to parts unknown...she went to the woods...she recently took the horses up to school by herself...I too thought that she had an incredible amount of freedom.

But Ypsi was SMALL back then--with a population of only about 5,000 in 1874. That's just about twice as big as my old high school. Could it be that social connections with this small a group were so tight as a whole, with everybody knowing everybody, that it fostered a sense of security?

Or might there be another reason for the extraordinary unchaperoned freedom that Allie apparently enjoyed?