In the spring of 1864, 24-year-old Sarah Jane Norton, her 28-year-old husband Austin, and the couple's infant son Charlie emigrated from Sharon Springs, New York, to Ypsilanti. Sarah kept a diary over the next 43 years until her death in November of 1906.
Her 1864 diary will be serialized here during 2012. To see all entries to date, see the "Sarah Jane Norton" tag at bottom.
At left she is pictured in 1888 at age 49. Introduction to the Norton family.
In January of 1864, Sarah's first diary begins with her life in Sharon Springs. In just two months she will leave home for Ypsilanti, where her mother already resides. Sarah's diary is reproduced as faithfully as possible, with no changes to spelling, grammar, or the like.
1/1/1864: Quite cold. at home all day. we expected uncle Jo [after] us but he did not come. Mary is maried and they were to have kind of a party. Thon Like called and Aut* went to [Sprongs] and got some oysters. he got home at nine. there is plenty of reding there is a dance on the hill
*Sarah's nickname for her husband Austin
1/2/1864: I received a letter from Ma [in Ypsilanti] New Years eve. they are very anxious to have us come out there to live Aut talks of enlisting they get thirteen hundred dollars bounty. quite and inducement Lib Smith and Anna Wills called to day
1/3/1864: Aut keeps talking about enlisting I dont want him to go. but I tell him if he really wants to go he can
1/4/1864: Washed. Aut went of this morning he did not tell me where he was going [hid] did not come home till night. he was hoping for [Add] Parmby then he went on the hill and did not come back till nine then he said he had enlisted it of no use to discribe any feelings we did no sleep much
1/5/1864: Aut got up early. we had breakfast before daylight I felt as though it might be last meal I would have to get for him he had to go at nine. so soon before he could settle up his business it was a trying time when he kissed [his son] Charly and me as it seemed for the last time I stayed to John Moaks all night
1/6/1864: Kate came to Johs this morning I was agoing to Lad's but I thought I would wait till till tomorrow I would give all of thirteen hundred if I had it to get Aut back agan. this is trouble that I never had before. I was so disappointed I thought he would get a furlough and be home to night but he did not. I went home with kate and stayed all night
1/7/1864: Was going to Lad's and Eve sent for one to go to Albany with she was agoing to see her father we were afrid they would not get home again we went with th[e] mail it was very cold I bundled up Charlie so that he did not take any cold. while we were waiting at the depot, the eastern train came and the sharon boys got off the cars
These diaries were written by Sarah Jane Norton and are the property of the Norton Family. They may be used and reproduced for genealogical and historical purposes only. No commercial use is allowed without the express, written permission of Dennis Norton and no charge may be made for, nor income derived from their use.