Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The 1890 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.

Saturday Jan. 25th: This has been a beautiful day and above freezing and the ice is melting; no hope of cutting ice. Eber rode to A.A. this morning started at half past seven, took his ex. and arrived home about 1 p.m. I am feeling better but yet in bed. Grandma was up all day.

Sunday Jan. 26th: This has been a very disagreeable day and rainy. I got up this morning but felt very weak. Mr. Post was here this afternoon.

Monday Jan. 27th: Eber went to Ann Arbor this morning. Rick and I changed places to-day, he went to bed and I took to the lounge.

Tuesday Jan. 28th: It has been a very pleasant day. Richard is feeling better but is not up yet. Grandma was up and spent the day.

Wensday Jan. 24th: To-day has been cloudy. It is warm and not any snow. Eber came home this evening. Richard is up to-day. The men are getting lights ready to go over on the river and cut ice to put in the ice house over here although it is so thin for papa is afraiad we may not draw any more. Mr. Henderson died last night; he has been sick for a long time.

Thursday Jan. 30th: It has been a damp cloudy day. 125 tons of ice put up last night. Mama and Grandpa + Grandma went to Mr. Henderson's funeral this afternoon. I took a ride this morning but it was too damp to stay out long. Mr. Suderer came this evening but Rick and I were too weak to take our lessons.

Friday Jan. 31st: This has been like a spring day, the thermometer was up to 50'. Mama and I went downtown all the afternoon. Drew more ice last night.

Saturday Feb. 1st: It has been colder to-day. Thermometer at 4 below freezing. Mama and I spent the morning at Grandma's, she is not feeling well to-day. Eber has driven to A.A. to-night to hear Geo [blank space] lecture on {Convict?] life in Siberia.

Thanks for reading; next Tuesday is the next chapter.


Russ said...

Hi Laura,

As I was reading the Diary excerpt tonight, I noticed the diary date was from 1888. I remember you saying at some point there was a lapse in continuity in the diary entries.

Anyway, we have a bad winter storm coming tonight. I was telling my kids the other day about 2 bad storms in my lifetime in 1974 and 1978. 19" + of snow both those times. I happen to look up the all time list on the internet to check my dates and I saw that the worst winter storm in recorded history for Detroit (S.E. Michigan) was April 6, 1886. They got 24.5 inches of snow in one storm!

Obviously, the dates are so close, I thought I'd ask the question if there was an earlier diary of Abba's, and if so, did it mention this storm? It must have paralyzed everything for a few days. No snow plows or salt trucks then.

So, there you go. . .the most off the wall telegram to an article that you could expect to receive. Right? LOL

I've said it before, I Love your work here!



Dusty D said...

Hi Russ,

By coincidence I wrote a story about the 1886 storm for the Courier, but they bumped it to next week. You can read it in next Thursday's Courier, complete with reports of eight-foot drifts in Depot Town and "Dakota blizzard lies" for sale. :)

The Archives only has the one diary for Abby. Yep, apparently she put it down for a few years and then picked it up again in 1890. I did see the storm mentioned in William Lambie's diary: that's in the Courier article, too.

Thanks for your kind compliments. :)