Donation Letter and Introduction.
April 17, 1988
Maureen K. Kelly
Genealogical Society of DeKalb County
P. O. Box 295
Sycamore, IL 60178
Dear Ms. Kelly:
I am a member of the Sacramento Genealogical Society and I read the CORNSILK in our library. On of my family lines, MOON, lived in the Winnebago and DeKalb County area from the 1830s to 1863.
My great grandmother Mary Moon kept diaries. Parts of these diaries have survived. One part covers a 2+ month period from January 1 to March 5, 1863, when the family was living in DeKalb County in Franklin Township. Their post office was Hicks Mills.
Enclosed is a transcribed copy of this diary which may be of interest to your members. You are welcome to use it as you see fit.
Some information on the diary. The pages are loose sheets of paper. While the entries do not show a year, the year was determined from entries in the diary. Reference is made to Mary's brother Curtis in the Army and to Hiram Pritchard (a cousin) who joins his regiment (the 105th Illinois Infantry Volunteers, the same as Curtis'). Curtis enrolled in the Regiment in August 1862. Mary and her family left Illinois for California in the spring of 1863.
Some information on Mary. At the time this diary was written, she was 25 and living in the home of her father and mother. Her husband, Wesley Blackmer, was in California working at the Sugar Loaf Mine in Nevada City. Mary was the eldest daughter of Wesley Moon and Roxsena Blackmer Moon. She had two older brothers, Orren, who was married and living in South Grove Township, DeKalb County and Alfred, who was mining in Siskiyou County, California. She had four younger brothers, Curtis, Hunting, Richard and George, who were all living at home.
What is not mentioned in this diary is any preparation the family was making for its overland trip to California. They left DeKalb County on April 29, 1863 and arrived at the Jonson Ranch near Susanville, California, September 1.
There are a number of people mentioned in the diary. An index of the names follows the diary. From the 1860 Census, immediate neighbors of the Moons appear to be the Parker, Becker, Graves, Drake, McMullen and Woods families.
6450 Perrin Way
Carmichael, CA 95608
Mary J. Blackmer Diary.
Jan 1 New Years Day. It is very cold and windy. I have been at home all day and the rest except for the boys they have been off over the creek to have a dinner. They had a cold time. Mrs. Chandler and two boys was here also Mrs. Baker to inquire about the boys in the Army. I hope I shall not see many such lonely New Years days.
Jan 2nd. It has been raining almost all day but was warmer than yesterday. The roads are very bad. Alma did not go to school today on account of the rain and mud. Mother and Alma made Wesley Parker a coat today.
Jan 3rd. Today has been pleasanter than yesterday. Alma and I have been alone most of the day. Mother went down to Mrs. Parker's in the morning. Pa followed in the afternoon. The boys are at school.
Sunday Jan 4th. Today has been a long lonesome day. There was no meeting so I have been at home all day. The boys have been to see the Georges. Found them well. Alma and George have been down to Mrs. Parker's. I have been reading a great deal in the paper to kill time and for the want of something better to do.
Monday Jan 5th. Alma and I washed today. It has been very warm and pleasant. This afternoon we had quite a snow storm. I went to Mrs. Parker's first at night. Father and Hunting thrashed for Mr. Becker half a day.
Jan 6. It has been as cold as Greenland today. It turned cold in the night. Mrs. Parker and children have been most all day. Orren came after Mother to go over to Henry Turners. (He) has a young daughter.
Jan 7. I have been alone today and have been trying to write to Wesley but didn't finish it. Will try to this evening. I received one from him last night. It's warmer than yesterday.
Jan 8. I have been alone again today. The children was at school. Pa helped Mr. Becker thrash. Ma, boys and Alma have gone to spelling school. After to Pattens. It has been a pleasant day.
Jan 9 Friday. I have been alone again today. Father helped Becker thrash. The children over at school. Mother is still at Lauras. I received a letter from Eunice Smith tonight.
Jan 10 Saturday. I was alone again today. Father went to Cherry Valley with a load. Hiram Pritchard came here tonight. He brought Orrissa home.
Jan 11 Sunday. Elder Cross preached. Richard went home with Hiram. John Woods came home with George. He is going to stay all night.
Monday 12. For today Alma and I washed. It was very pleasant so we got along nicely.
Jan 13 Tuesday. Today is one of the most disagreeable days that one can imagine. It commenced raining in the night and rained all the forenoon. Richard came home in the rain. Mother came home from Henrys in the afternoon with Hiram. He will stay all night. Alma did not go to school.
Jan 14 Wednesday. Today is very cold and lonely to me. The children are at spelling school.
Thursday 15. Today was very cold. The children started for school. The teacher had the tooth ache so there was none. Father delivered a load of wood for Mrs. Parker.
Friday 16. Today has been very cold. The children went to school. The teacher was not there. Eliza Mc kept school. Mother has been spinning and Father filing knives so we have had plenty of music such as it was.
Saturday 17. Has been cold. Father went to the valley. Mrs. Parker went with him. Her children stayed here.
Sunday 18. There was no meeting at our school house today. Father, Mother, Mr. and Mrs. Becker went up to the Patten School house to meeting. Alma went down home. Orren came over here. A frost today.
Monday 19. Today we washed. Father and the boys went to the woods with Orren and got two loads of wood. O went home with one team.
Tuesday 20. Today I have been all alone. Father and mother went over to Uncle George's. It snowed some last night so they went with the sleigh. I commenced a letter to Wesley. I had cleaning and baking to do so I could not write much.
Wednesday 21. Today I finished writing to Wesley. Hiram Pritchard came over here with Pa's team. He is going to stay all the week. Henry's folks have named their baby Inez Mary. It is pleasant weather and beautiful roads.
Thursday 22. Margret Moore and Mrs. Gorden has been here visiting. They came in the forenoon and stayed the evening. Bill G was here to supper. Over to writing school. Hiram Pritchard to school with the children.
Friday 23. Today I have been alone. Our folks went to Stuards Mills. Hiram and Richard went with them. It has rained almost all day. Orren came over and will stay all night. The children have come home from school wet and muddy. Hunting brought Alfred likeness. He looks different than used to but I know him. I sent Wesley a letter today.
Saturday 24. It was cold and windy today. Our folks got home from Stuards Mills about 11o'clock. H and R stayed at school tonight. They are up to Mr. McMullens to an evening party. They all went but Geo. All the young folks on the road are going.
Sunday 25. Today is very pleasant. Hunting and Hiram have gone over on the prairie with Kate Drake and Hannah Graves. Our folks went to meeting this afternoon. I stayed at home. Mr. and Mrs. Jones came home with them to stay until the morning.
Monday 26. We did not wash today on account of company. Mr. Jones and wife stayed here all day. Mrs. Wood came here this morning. The Jones went home with her. Harvey and William was here for supper. I commenced a story last night and finished it today. The title was, Ella Adams a Southern Young ___.
Tuesday 27. Today Mother and I washed. Hunting and Hiram got home last night. Hiram went to Mich and Georges today. He is round making his last visit before going to his Regiment.
Wednesday 28. Today our folks bushed in the forenoon. Father went after a load of wood for Mrs. Parker.
Thursday 29. Mother went over to Mr. McMullens visiting this afternoon. Hunting and Alma came home from school at recess to go over on the prairie to a surprise party at Mr. Watsons. We had a little snow storm just at night. Pa has gone after Ma, he is going to spend the evening.
Friday 30. The children got home from the party just after day light. Alma went to school at noon and stayed until after spelling school. Also Hunting, George and Richard came home and went back.
Saturday 31. It has been a beautiful day as most of the weather has been this winter. Father drove two loads of wood. Mother went down to Harringtons this afternoon to see Hiram's wife. She found the whole family there.
Sunday Feb 1. Today has been very cold. Father, Mother, and Mr. and Mrs. Becker went over to the mission church this morning and stayed 'til after evening meeting. Hanity and myself went this evening with Bill and Charley Becker and Mernerva and her man. We like to froze coming home. As for myself I had not been out of the yard for three weeks before.
Monday 2. Today has been as cold as any one we have had this winter. Dick had got home from the prairie just at night. He had been over to see Hiram Pritchard and carry him some things for Curtis. He starts today for his Reg.
Tuesday 3. Today has been warmer than yesterday but is still cold. The children, or boys I should say, have gone skating tonight.
Wednesday 4. Today Mother and I washed. It has been pretty cold.
Feb Thursday 5. Today I came to Thomas Moore with Bill Becker and found the old lady alone. Tho and Metsy had gone to Rockford.
Friday 6. Thomas and Metsy started for Sasell this morning. Mrs. Hillman is going to stay with the old lady. I expect to go down to Eunice's today. Bill says he will take me down there. He has gone to Rockford now. We had some snow yesterday morning so we came here with ___ cutter.
Saturday 7. I am at Eunice Smith's today. I came here last night. Albon went to Mr. Moores after me. I found them all well.
Sunday 8. I am still at Mr. Smiths. Eunice and I started for meeting but there was no preaching so we did not go. We are having beautiful weather and roads for this time of year.
Monday 9. Today has been very disagreeable wind stormy. Eunice and Cornelia went to the Good Templers Lodge tonight. Ab and I took care of the baby. They did not get home to most 11 o'clock.
Tuesday 10. Today Eunice and I went to Rockford with Jim Jarvis. E had her likeness taken for me. I should had mine taken if my eye had not been cross. I am now at Mr. Wheelers. I came here last night.
Wednesday 11. I have been at Mr. W all day. Mrs. W and I have been ___. Had a good visit.
Thursday 12. Mrs. W and I spent this afternoon at Mr. Smiths. Mr. and Mrs. McConnell was here. This evening it seems very lonesome to me although I am visiting.
Friday 13. I am at Eunices again. I came here tonight. E was down to her fathers today and I came home with her.
Saturday 14. Today it rained nearly all the forenoon and the wind blew like a hurricane all the rest of the day.
Sunday 15. Al, Eunice and myself went to Millford to see Mr. Lincoln folks and this evening went down to the stone school house to meeting.
Monday 16. Eunice and I washed this forenoon and went up to Mr. Clothers visiting this afternoon. Nancy Pardy was there.
Tuesday 17. Today Mrs. Wheeler has been here. Freddy came in just at night complaining of his throat and had a high fever. We expect he is coming down with the measles.
Wednesday 18. Today has been rather dull and lonely. Fred has been fretful and acts as if he had a bad cold. Ab, Eunice and I have been playing checkers some of the time to pass away time.
Thursday 19. Today has been a stormy one. It rained most of the day and tonight it is snowing. Fred is about as yesterday.
Friday 20. Today has been somewhat pleasant and thawed so much I am afraid the ground is going to break up. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler have been here. Ab, Jim, Cornelia and myself went to the Good Templers lecture this evening. Nancy Pardy went with us. Eunice stayed home with Fred. He has the measles.
Saturday 21. Today has been cold and windy. Dr. Butterfield was here most all day. He filled two teeth for Eunice and tried hard to have me let him pull four and fill two for me. Fred is very sick. He is broke out very thick with the measles.
Sunday 22. It has been very pleasant today. I wrote a letter to Wesley. Fred is still pretty sick.
Monday 23. I carried my letter to the office this morning. Eunice washed. I helped what I could. Fred is better.
Tuesday 24. I started for Mrs. Wheelers this morning. Met her going to E. I went back with her and came home with her at night. We rode on a load of straw home.
Wednesday 25. Today Mrs. Wheeler and I went visiting to Mr. McConnels. We had just got home when who should come but Father and Mother after me. We expect to go home tomorrow if it does not rain.
Thursday 26. It rained some this morning. We started for home about 11 o'clock. We were told to go around a different way than our folks came. They said it would be a better road and nearer for us. We had to go through a big slough. Pa thought the ice would hold the horses up but it did not. Old John got his foot over the neck yoke. The 2 fell in hole he made. Pa had to get out of the wagon, the water over his knees, unhitch the horses the best he could and leave Mother and I sitting in the wagon. Pa took one horse and went a mile and got a man and team to help us out. We went to his house and got supper. Mr. Hill was the mans name. His father-in-laws name was Measse. They all live in one house. We stayed at Mr. Hills all night.
Friday 27. We started about noon from Mr. Hills for home intending to cross the hillbuck at Obeester Mills. We met a man coming from there. Said we could not cross so we had to go around by Tinville 6 or 7 miles out of our way. We called at Mr. Bensells. Mrs. B was sick. Martha was there. We got home about 4 o'clock. Rosa Drake stayed here all night.
Saturday 28. Mother and I found a great deal to do today. Vista came here this afternoon with Ida. Orrens folks came here about 8 o'clock from Stuards Mill. The roads are dreadful bad. It acts like breaking up.
March Sunday 1. Orrens folks started for home at 2 o'clock. Vet went with them. I received a letter from Lydia Brown Friday. I commenced a letter to her today. Elder Cross stays here tonight.
Monday 2. We washed today and I finished Lydias letter. It is still very muddy.
Tuesday 3. Mother and I have been to work hard cleaning up the house. Mother is making ___ of some kind.
Wednesday 4. The ground was froze hard this morning but thawed out by noon. Eliza McMullen came home with Alma from school. They have gone down to Abe Graves to an evening party. E will stay here all night.
Thursday 5. Today has been cold and windy and snow some. Our folks went down to Mrs. Woods this afternoon to a ____ party made for the Mr. Morasy the United Brethern minister.