Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Diary of Abba Owen

Newest chapter in an ongoing serialization of the 1888 diary of Abba Owen, daughter of Ypsilanti mineral water baron Tubal Cain Owen and Anna (Stowe Foote) Owen. The Owens lived in a now-vanished house near the current day Roosevelt School building on EMU, where Tubal also had his magical and very profitable well.

Friday Oct. 18th: It rained quite a good deal to-day. Richard went down and took his violin lesson this morning.

Saturday Oct. 20th: To-day has been pleasant. Mama went out this morning soliciting victuals for Cleary's Banquet which is to be next Tuesday evening. Mama went down to the church this afternoon for the Sunday School meet every Saturday and make things for a missionary box for Christmas.

Sunday Oct. 21st: Mama, Grandma, Eber and I went to church this morning and we all like our minister Mr. Woodruff the more we hear him. It has been a pleasant day. Mama, Eber and I went to church in this evening also.

Monday Oct. 22nd: This afternoon Mama and I went down to Cleary's Business College to wash the dishes for tomorrow. There were quite a few ladies of the Parish Aid Society there. We washed 500 dishes and did not get home until seven o'clock. It looks rather dubious there this afternoon. The hardware men were there putting up stoves, the painters painting, the gas-men putting in gas-fixtures, Mr. Samson putting a piano in and the masons hurrying to get the foundation in so that they could lay the floor over which they are going to have canvas covering for the college is not finished yet and all to-gether it is in a state of confusion.

Tuesday Oct. 23rd: At half-past eight Prof. Cleary accompanied by his faculty and students including a goodly number of young ladies together with many citizens and led by the Ypsi Cornet Band marched to the depot.

Upon the arrival of the western train his excellency the Hon. Cyrus G. Luce, Governor of Michigan and the Ann Arbor Light Guard led by the Chequamegon Orchestra of Ann Arbor alighted. The Governor was met by Prof. Cleary and escorted between saluting lines of students and faculty to the carriage, the band playing welcome.

The procession then formed and marched to enlivening strains of music up Cross, Huron, and Congress Street to the Hawkins House. Prof. Cleary and Mayor Bogardus rode in the carriage with the governor and other citizens in carriages followed, with the marching column on the sidewalk.

Mama and I and a good many of the ladies were working at the College and Prof. Cleary came in accompanied by Gov. Luce and Prof. Cleary introduced him to all of us. I went down to the depot to take my violin lesson about ten o'clock and when I got through the procession again formed with the addition of the Ypsilanti Light Guards and came down to the depot.

Upon the train from Detroit came Hon. Thos. W. Parmer, the senior Senator in Congress, from this State, and Hon. Wm. Livingstone of Detroit late Collector of Customs at that Port, and they were received and escorted as the Governor had been. With two bands and two companies of military, the school and citizens and guests, the procession marched up Cross to Washington when a halt was made and three cheers for the High School and three for the Normal were given.

The guests were then conducted to the Hawkins House for rest and dinner. After I saw the parade I went back to the College and stayed until 12 o'clock helping set the tables. Mama, Grandma, and [I] went down again this afternoon. Mama and Grandma did not come home to supper. I came home about three o'clock and went over to the Normal to attend our musical society. I went down to the college about half past six. The students of the College decorated the hall very handsomely. At eight o'clock the guests began to arrive and in a half six hours time the tables were filled and a great many could not sit down. The tables were set for 500.

All the young girls of our church helped wait on the tables. Nora Babbitt, Clara Goodspede and myself waited on the table where the Honorables sat. The Honorables were Senator Parmer, Congressman Allen and wife, Mayor Bogardus, Rev. Vissining, Hon. Chas. Whitman, Hon. Wm. Livingstone. We saw the Senator Parmer was eating his ice cream with a fork so Nora took a spoon to him and asked him if he would like it and he said "Oh no, it is all the style to eat ice cream with a fork," and Nora told him she thought not if the room was hot but he went on with his fork.

Senator Parmer made a speech on "Business Capacity" and "Business in State and National Affairs." When he got up to make this speech Congressman Allen asked him to stand on a chair but he said he weighed 225 lbs and it would not hold him. Regent Whitman made an excellent address on "The Business College and the Relation between Educational Institutions" Prof. R. W. Putman spoke vigorously on "Character in Business."

Captain Allen was given a cordial welcome as he rose to respond to "Success in Business." The Cheguamigan Orchestra played all the fore part of the evening and there was also some singing between the speeches.

Wensday Oct. 24th: This morning Grandma, Mama, and I went down to the Business College to help clear up. Mama and I went also down this afternoon. While Mama was waiting there for some of the ladies to come and get their things I took Mrs. Towner over to the fourth-ward school house and brought her daughter Cassie who was not feeling well home.

Thursday Oct. 26th: To-day has been very pleasant. Mama was chairman of the entertainment committee and so she had charge of the banquet and she and I went around paying bills for different things that they had at the banquet. After the bills were all paid we shared $280.82. We all think that is doing pretty well. Mama and Grandma went over to Mrs. Cady's to the society this afternoon.

Friday Oct. 26th: It has been a rainy day. Richard did not take his violin lesson because he was sick. Sen telephoned from Ann Arbor this afternoon saying he would come down to-morrow and bring one of his room-mates. Prof. Luderer stayed over to-night from the ten o'clock train.

Thanks for reading! Tune in next Tuesday for another week of Abba's diary!

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