transcribed and annotated by Christopher Martin

138 days in a life.

I purchased a large box of ephemera, including this diary, at an estate sale in late 2013. Following are the transcribed contents of the diary, and most of what I've found out about the woman who wrote it.

Eileen's 1915 Excelsior diary, with a quarter for scale.

The diary is a pocket Excelsior measuring about 4 by 2 3/8th inches. The cover is black leather, and the pages are gilt-edged. At the front are pages that include a full calendar for the year 1915, Postage (listing of rates), Church Calendar (a listing of Christian holy days), Eclipses (and other astronomical info), Foretelling the Weather, Combinations of Colors (eg: "Carmine and Straw makes Flesh."), Foreign Coins (exchange rates), The Metric System, Poisons and Antidotes, Help in Case of Accidents, Weights and Measures, To Tell Time of Tide, Principal Cities (of the United States, with populations as of 1910), Business Law, Weekly Table of Wages, Rate of Income on Stocks, and Rules for Computing Interest.

Then there is a page of Things Easily Forgotten, with spaces for the diarist to jot down a few useful facts: No. of Watch Case, No. of Works, No. of Bank Book, No. of Bicycle, My Weight, Height, Size of My Hat, Gloves, Hosiery, Collar, Cuffs, Shoes, Drawers, Shirt, This book belongs to, and In case of accident notify. Only a few of these have been filled in: Gloves: 5 1/2 or 3/4. Hosiery: 8 1/2. Shoes: 2 1/2. This book belongs to Eileen Harris, Centredale, R.I.

Eileen Harris was born in September 1895, the last child of Edwin and Harriet.

The 1910 census lists her as living with her father (62, a farmer), mother (60), brother Jonathan (34, a farm hand) and sister Lula (22). In addition, two boarders are listed: John H. Quigley (62) and Charles Whatnough (31), both farm hands. No street address was recorded, but they probably all lived on the family farm at or near present-day 175 Harris Road. The family cemetery is still there, close by a modern house.

Another brother, David (27), lived nearby with his wife Eva (28), and their children, Elsie (7), Alton (5), Ralph (3), and Dorothy (1 1/2). Another son, Lester D., came along in 1911.

All ages above are from the 1910 census—add five years to bring them up to the time of the diary.

The bulk of the diary is given over to lined pages, one for each day of the year. The diarist is prompted, at the top of each page, to record the weather ("Wea.") and temperature ("Ther."). Eileen wrote faithfully in her diary every day for the first quarter of the year, but began missing days at the beginning of May. By the end of July she abandoned the effort altogether.

Editorial notes are in brackets. A question mark in brackets [?] indicates an iffy transcription of a barely legible or illegible passage.

Diary Begins

Jan. 1, 1915
Wouldn't write on Fri. so I am writing today (Sun.). Didn't get a letter from Jack. I wish he would wake up and write.

Jan. 2, 1915
Morning pleasant and snowed in the afternoon enough to spoil skating. I went up to Beatrice's. Beatrice said she saw Jack yesterday everybody sees him but me. No letter today. Received a postal from Dan B. and Aunt Adelia.

[Beatrice Thurber, age 10, is listed on the same page as the Harrises on the 1910 census.]

Jan. 3, 1915
Fair. cold.
I went to S.S. [Sunday School]
Eddie killed a fox but did not carry any gun. Expected Jack but he didn't come.
Rode home with Arnie and he was very pleasant. Didn't say much about Jack. Heard that Arnie's girl might be stringing him.

[Arnie might be Arnold Brown, aged 15 on the 1910 census.]

Jan. 4, 1915

Jan. 5, 1915
I went to Prov. today. Saw Dutchie when I went down.
Called Jack up twice but didn't get him either time. O. says he hasn't seen him since Christmas Eve.
Johnnie and I went to the Emery.
No letter yet.
Electric lights lighted last night for first time.
I don't see where Jack is.

[The Emery Theatre in Providence was located at 79 Matthewson Street. It was renamed the Carlton around 1927, and demolished in 1954.]

Jan. 6, 1915
Cloudy. warm.
Sent Jack another letter.

Jan. 7, 1915
Fair. warm.
Lula and I went up to Anna's yesterday. She has got two of the sweetest little children. Very muddy to-day and yesterday.
I wish that I could hear from Jack.
Cleaned the parlor today.
Johnnie got a pickerel that weighted about two lbs.
Sidney Mowry was down this afternoon. He brought some moose meat down, some that he killed.

[Anna: possibly Anna Brown, sister of Arnold, aged 17 in the 1910 census.]

[From Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island by J.H. Beers and Co, 1908:

Sidney H. Mowry, only son of Lamech C. Mowry, was born July 12, 1848, in the house he now occupies, and received his education in the district schools. He was reared to farm work, and remained at home assisting his father until his marriage, after which he removed to the "Yellow Tavern" house, where he resided for a time. He later removed to the Col. Sessions Mowry farm, now occupied by Benjamin Burlingame, and resided there for one year, and then returned to the "Yellow Tavern" property, until after the death of his father, when he went back to the home place, which he acquired by purchasing the interests of the other heirs. He has a good farm of eighty-five acres, and in addition to carrying on a very successful farming and dairying business gets out considerable firewood.

On Oct. 15, 1868, Mr. Mowry was married, in his present house, to Bertha Deborah Pratt, born Feb. 20, 1847, a native of South Branch, Nova Scotia, daughter of James and Susannah (Andrews) Pratt. The following named children have been born to the union: Edna Earl, born Jan. 11, 1870, married David P. Sherman, and resides in Providence; she has five children, Howard Burlingame, Chester Mowry, Mildred Louise, Everett Willis and Evelyn Frances. Mable Steere, born March 3, 1872, attended for two years the State Normal School, and previous to her marriage taught school in Glocester and Smithfield; she married Daniel M. Mowry, a resident of Primrose, in the town of North Smithfield, and they have six children, Sigsbee Dewey, Wilmor Morton, Myrtle Elizabeth, Erla Madalene, Lora Leslie and Opal Arnold. Leland Burton was born July 13, 1875. Eva, born Feb. 16, 1877, died Feb. 6, 1879. Sara Adelaide, born Oct. 13, 1882, graduated from the English high school in 1900, and from Bryant ' Stratton's Business College, taking a course in bookkeeping and stenography; she is now clerk in the People's Savings Bank, Providence.

Mr. Mowry is a Republican, and has served as a member of the town council, and as a member of the board of tax assessors. For a number of years past he has served as postmaster at Smithfield. He is a director in the National Exchange Bank at Greenville. He is a good business man, of sound judgment, and is esteemed by all. Mr. Mowry's vacation recreation for a number of years has been taken in the Maine and Nova Scotia woods, during the big."]

Jan. 8, 1915

Jan. 9, 1915
fair. cold.
Went skating for about half hour.
Eddie papered [?] Papa's room
I went to Alfred's dance. Didn't have such a very good time. Dutchie must have lied and Arnie and Herbert too. Jack hasn't gone away at all. He must have told the boys to say it. I can't understand why he is doing like this for.
Beatrice went to the dance with us.

Jan. 10, 1915
fair. cold.
I went to Sunday School as usual.
Hoped Jack would come tonight.
Was going skating this afternoon but was too tired.
We got home about quarter past one this morning.
Rob Niles' automobile was stolen last night while he was at the dance. He left it right outside near the barn.

Jan. 11, 1915
Cloudy. quite cold.
I went skating with Bet. Papa came down for a little while.
Finished a book named "Peg o' My Heart" last Sat. It was fine.
Reading "Greater Love hath no Man." Very interesting.
I guess Jack must have blown away.
Chester Hunter and all his friends were up skating yesterday.

Jan. 12, 1915
rained hard. cold.
No school today as teacher and some of the children had to go to court. Lula had to go. Elsie is very much better expects to be dressed tomorrow.
Rains hard tonight. Finished the book I referred to yesterday tonight. It ended fine. It was written by Frank L. Packard.

Jan. 13, 1915
snowed. quite cold.
Mailman didn't come to-day.
Started to snow this morning and snowed almost all day.
Wind and snow blew down electric light poles and wires.
Reading another book entitled "The Long Portage."

Jan. 14, 1915
fair. not very cold.
Eva went to Prov. and got a coat.
No letter from Jack. I went to the box.
I got a book out of the new library at school.
Some sleighing.

Jan. 15, 1915
rained and fog. not very cold.
I can hardly believe my senses but really I got a letter from Jack. I'm much relieved to hear from him. I guess he woke up for a time.
I didn't go to the mailbox to-day. I guess he only went as far as ours to-day. Dave went for me.
Lula had to go to court again to-day. She came up here for a few minutes. No school this afternoon.

Jan. 16, 1915
fair some cloudy at night

Jan. 17, 1915
Cloudy rained.
I went to the dance in Graniteville and had the best time I've had in a long while.
Dutchie was there he danced with me quite a lot too. He took me out walking, intermission.
Didn't go to Sunday School to-day. Didn't get up until half past eleven.
Dutchie introduced me to his chum. Nice boy.
I answered Jack's letter Fri. night. Bet mailed it for me Sat.

Jan. 18, 1915
poured. warm.
Snow almost all gone. Went over to Eva's a little while.
Expect to go to Prov. tomorrow if it doesn't rain.
Wrote Jack to come to me to-night but it pours don't suppose he would have come anyway. Got lots of advice Sat. night about a certain someone full of charm. But I guess the charm isn't for me.
Dutchie said to call him up this week about the dance Sat. night in Greenville. I might.

Jan. 19, 1915

Jan. 20, 1915
Went to Prov.
Called Dutchie up. Told him about going to Greenville.
Got a letter from Jack. Ans. it at once.

Jan. 21, 1915
fair. quite cold.
Saw Rich and told him to get Dutchie to go to Greenville. Rich Came to get the pigs.

Jan. 22, 1915
fair. cold.
Went up skating. Went down to Niles' at night. Jimmie Gallagher came to see Mable while I was there.

Jan. 23, 1915
rained. warm.
Expected a letter from Jack but didn't get any.

Jan. 24, 1915
cloudy. cold,
Went to the dance in Greenville. Rob Niles had a truck. Dutchie was there. Rained most of the time. It was a farmer dance. Rob got the prize. He got a live chicken.
Went to Sunday school to-day. Florence will graduate Tuesday night.
Thought maybe Jack might come to-night.
Went riding throu [sic] Stillwater with Paulie Petserl [?]. Don't care much for him.

Jan. 25, 1915
snowed and rained cold.
Eva finished the work on the pigs.
Didn't get any letter from Jack to-day.
Two girls in the truck Sat. night lives next door to Jack. Their name is Smith. Said quite a little to Mable about Jack.
Gertie didn't go to the [illegible] to-day because it stormed. Mrs. Coleburn is going to take her there.
Awfully lonesome tonight. I wish Jack was here.
Sorry to hear such stories about him. Hope he will do better in the future.

Jan. 26, 1915
fair cloudy in the afternoon
I went up to Beatrice's and carried the paper up to Harrell's and stopped in to see Anna. Slid down Thurber's Lane on Irving [?] Walling's Flexible Flyer. I was awfully scared. Didn't get any letter from Jack. I don't see why he doesn't write.

Jan. 27, 1915
snowed some in the morning cloudy all day.
Gertie went to the Home to-day.
No letter from Jack to-day.
Called Dutchie up this afternoon to tell him I couldn't get to Greenville. He said he would see about taking me. Said to call him up again this week. I don't know whether to go or not. I'm afraid Jack wouldn't like me to. But I love Jack just the same.

Jan. 28, 1915
cloudy, snowed in the night about three or four inches.
I wrote Jack a letter. No letter from him.
Went to Georgiaville with Dave. Florence was going to a class supper in the Narragansett Hotel. Just the graduating class was going.

Jan. 29, 1915
fair and cold.
Mailed Jack's letter.
Call Dutchie up to see what he had done about going to Greenville. He said he would come after me in a machine.
I do hope Jack won't care.
No letter from Jack to-day.

Jan. 30, 1915
fair full moon.
2 above zero in the morning.

Jan. 31, 1915
Cloudy and snow cold.
I didn't go the dance in Greenville last night. I called Dutchie up at Beauchman's when I went to Sunday School and he said the auto wouldn't go when they got as far as Greystone. He thinks the radiator was frozen up. I was awfully disappointed. He didn't go though. Said he would make up for it when we meet again. I wonder if he was disappointed too? Jack didn't come to-day. Rode home with Arnie. Told me I would have to scrub floors if I married Jack. But he needn't believe himself.

Feb. 1, 1915
rained and snowed and quite cold.
No letter from Jack.

Feb. 2, 1915
hailed and snowed and very cold to-night it must be almost zero. good sleighing. I got a letter from Jack. answered it to-night.
Made two aprons to-day.
I must call Dutchie up and tell him to be sure to come to Stillwater instead of Greenville. No Masquerade [illegible] week [illegible] Sat. night. I don't know whether he will go or not. I hope so.

Feb. 3, 1915
Snowed some very cold.
Evan Lula and I went down to Niles'. We found out there was to be no dance in Stillwater Sat. night. The Masquerade is going to be in Greenville a week from Sat. night. I called Charlie Laramee [?] up and Dutchie too, but Dutchie wasn't working.

Feb. 4, 1915
Cloudy in the morning fair in the afternoon. cold.
Called Dutchie up but Jack answered. some shock! believe me.
I hope he does as he says. Spoke to Dutchie. I hope he isn't angry with me. There is a [illegible] party tomorrow at Stillwater.
I would like to go sleighing. It is fine.

Feb. 5, 1915
fair in the morning cloudy rest of the day.
I got a letter from Jack, he said he had answered it when I was talking to him Thur. I called Dutchie up to ask him to come to the dance and [illegible] party in Stillwater but he didn't think he would get through work in time.
I was glad to get Jack's letter.

Feb. 6, 1915
rained in the morning fair in the afternoon.
I went to the dance last night and had an awful time. only about sixteen there. Had a nice sleigh ride though. Dutchie didn't get there. I was awfully tired to-day. It is very warm. Snow is all going. Thought we would have a slight [sic] party to-night but can't because it is all slushy.

Feb. 7, 1915
fair and cloudy warm.
Snow almost all gone. Jack said Thurs. that he would come sure to-night. But he didn't. I'd like to know what he thinks I am.
I rode home with Arnie to-day he said that Jack was not working but I don't believe it. He spoke quite badly of Jack. I hope it wasn't true. I waited for Jack a long while to-night.
Feeling pretty blue now.
Frank Gilbert was here to-night a little while to see the men.
Awful walking to-day.

Feb. 8, 1915
cloudy in the morning fair in the afternoon not very cold.
No letter from Jack.

Feb. 9, 1915
cloudy and fair cold.
Mama, Lula and I went to Prov. Lula got Eva's and her own Masquerade dresses. Lula tried a white wig. Such a sight. Called Dutchie up but he was too busy to talk at the time so called him up later but he wasn't there.
I called Jack up to the place where he said but they said he didn't work there.
Wrote Jack a letter at night in answer to his of last evening.

Feb. 10, 1915
Fair and cold.
Went to the mail box.
Went over to Niles' and called Dutchie up.
He said that if there wasn't any way for me to go Sat. night he would see about it.
No letter from Jack.
Was over to Eva's to-day.
Mr. Topan [sic] threw himself in front of the six o'clock train yesterday morning and was hurt so badly that he died at four in the afternoon. He was taken to the hospital in the morning.

[From the Providence Journal, February 10, 1915:

Dies at Hospital after being Struck by Train
John A. Toupin of Georgiaville Victim of Accident

John A. Toupin of Georgiaville died at the Rhode Island Hospital at 4:10 yesterday afternoon, as the result of injuries sustained when he was struck by a New Haven Railroad train at about 6 o'clock yesterday morning. The accident occurred at a crossing between Georgiaville and Esmond.

There is a sharp curve at the scene of the accident, and the engineer of the train, A.E. Bernard of Bristol, declares that the man stepped directly in front of the locomotive. The engineer made a quick stop, and Mr. Toupin was thrown clear of the wheels. Dr. Irving S. Cook of Georgiaville ordered the injured man's immediate removal to the hospital.

It was found at the hospital that Mr. Toupin had a compound fracture of the right leg, a broken nose, painful lacerations of the head and face. He had been employed at the general merchandise store of Elmer W. Loomis, in Georgiaville, for a number of years. He leaves a wife and two married daughters, and was 55 years old.

Mr. Toupin had not been at work for several weeks on account of illness. It is thought that he might have been in a dazed condition when he stepped in front of the train. No gates are in use at the crossing, but a bell rings on the approach of a train. The train was due in Providence at 6:30 o'clock, and was in charge of engineer Bernard and Conductor E.O. Woodward.]

Feb. 11, 1915
No letter from Jack. I asked him in my letter to come to-night but he didn't. Same as ever.

Feb. 12, 1915
Called Dutchie up in the afternoon. He was busy though so couldn't talk but a few mins.
Says he would see me in Greenville.

Feb. 13, 1915
fair. cold.
some skating.

Feb. 14, 1915
I didn't go to Sunday School. I went skating but it wasn't much good.
I went to the dance last night. Had a good time. Dutchie was there.
Jack didn't come to-night.

Feb. 15, 1915
cloudy and rained to-night.
No letter.
Didn't even get a valentine.
Very blue to-day.
I want Jack to come so much.
I'm almost afraid to look into the future.
Lula got her lights last week.

Feb. 16, 1915
rained warm
Expected to go to Prov. but rain prevented. Wasn't feeling well anyway.
Received a valentine from Jack with a short letter written on it. I'm very glad to hear from him.
I answered him to-night. Dave got the mail.

Feb. 17, 1915
Called Dutchie up. Said he would come Sunday night.

Feb. 18, 1915
fair cold.
Went to Prov. with Johnnie. Went to the Colonial.
Called Dutchie up, And saw him when I went down.
I didn't see Jack.
Papa had them get the ice. About 10 or 12 in. thick.
Met Beatrice and I spoke but she did not ans. She can go to the dickens for all me.

Feb. 19, 1915
fair cold.
Went to Greenville with Dave.
No letter from Jack. Lula said she saw him down by Bourne's. He and another.
Phil said he saw him at Waters'.
I wish I could see him.
Went skating at night with Phil and Frankie and Eva.
Herbert came down a while.

Feb. 20, 1915
fair quite cold.
I got a letter from Jack and I'm awfully glad.
I went skating this afternoon but most of the ice was soft.
Beatrice was down but I didn't go near her.
I went to-night with Phil and Eva.
Had lots of fun.
Sadie, Willie and the children came to-day.
Oh! but I'm glad I got a letter.

Feb. 21, 1915
fair not very cold.
I went to Sunday School.
When I got home Arnie stopped and told me that Dutchie couldn't come to-night because he had a bad toothache. His face was swollen badly he said. I'm awfully disappointed. I thought he was kidding.
Willie and family went home.
Went over to Eva's to go skating late but I didn't go away [?] up.

Feb. 22, 1915
fair warm.
Lula called me up and I went down to Niles' about eleven o'clock. She said I could go with her on the truck. But Eva wanted me to go with her and Rick. I called Dutchie up and asked him to meet me but he couldn't he had to work and his face was bad. I asked Phil to go with me but he didn't after all. We hired Clarke to bring us from Centredale. I saw Dutchie when I got out there. He really did have an awful face.
We went on the six car.

Feb. 23, 1915
fair but a little cloudy. rained a little to-night and warm.
Jack asked me in his letter to meet him at the mail box and I have looked forward to seeing him since Sat. but I waited an hour or more. He said about three but he didn't come. I thought sure he would. He said he wasn't fooling me about it. I rode back with Arnie.
I didn't say where I went last night it was to mail the pictures that were taken in Stillwater last summer.

Feb. 24, 1915
cloudy warm.
I went and waited for Jack to-day but he never came. I went over and called Dutchie up but he wasn't there.

Feb. 25, 1915
I went down to see if Jack would come but he didn't. Phil said he saw him at Esmond on a team they said he was peddling oranges. That was last Wed. I can't see why he acts so towards me.
I went over to call Dutchie up but he wasn't there.
I called Eddie up to-day. He was there.

Feb. 26, 1915
No word from Jack. I should think he would send me some word of him.

Feb. 27, 1915
fair cold.
Went to Niles' and called Dutchie up. He said he couldn't come up because his face is bad yet. He thinks he will have to get it lanced [?]. Said he saw Jack last week.

Feb. 28, 1915
fair cold.
I went to Sunday school.
Eddie and Little Eddie came up to-day.
Wish somebody would come.

March 1, 1915
fair cold.
No letter from Jack. I want to hear from him so badly. I cried Sat. night a long while for him but I suppose it is useless to do anything.
I'm so awfully lonesome. It seems as if I shall go wild. If someone would only come.

March 2, 1915
fair and quite cold, very windy.
No letter from Jack. I called Dutchie up and he said he would come up Wed. night.
Mrs. Niles has the Grippe.

March 3, 1915
fair and very cold and windy.
Mama went to Prov. I staid [sic] home.
No letter from Jack.

March 4, 1915
fair and quite cold. Very cold in the morning.
Dutchie came last night. I thought he had given up coming because it was almost eight. I was glad he came though. I wish I knew what to say. I'm afraid it would be rather dull for him.
I didn't get any letter today.
Dutchie said he had seen Jack once or twice this week, Monday night I think he was out to the lunch room.
It was hard to keep warm last night. Dutchie was most frozen when he came.
Shampooed my hair today.

March 5, 1915
No letter from Jack.
Saw Charlie Adams.

March 6, 1915
Heard that Jack was going to run a dance in Stillwater hall.
Called Dutchie up at Niles' went early in the afternoon but no-one home, so went down about five. He said I could go to Prov. to a dance with him but I couldn't go. Got quite a bad cold.

March 7, 1915
Heard a bad report of the time in Stillwater. Team arrested in Centredale. Jack and some others got away. I hope he doesn't get caught.
I wish I could have seen him before he went away.
Florence and Marie Becher and Alice came hence aways with me Florence took our pictures several times.

[From the Providence Journal, March 7, 1915:

Celebrators Fight Centredale Police
Both Factions Use Revolvers During the Melee
Five Men Under Arrest

Wagon Load of Young People Returning from Dance at Stillwater Refuses to Obey Commands of Officers, and Trouble Follows. Patrolman Carried Away.

A party of 26 people, who were on their way to this city from a dance in Stillwater, had a clash with the police of Centredale early this morning. Both sides fired several shots and there was a general mix-up, in which several received minor injuries.

Herbert R. Mott, Thomas L. McAuley, and William F. Owen, all of this city, who were in the wagon, were arrested by the Centredale police. McAuley and Owen were the drivers, and were taken by the officers because they failed to halt when requested. Two other members of the party, William Coleman and James Bennett, were later arrested in this city by Sergt. Kelly of the Sixth station.

The members of the party were in a moving van, in which there were 24 racks which are said to have contained beer.

Beat Pedestrians

The men had been at a dance in Stillwater, where, it is said, they had made much trouble. On their way to Centredale, the police claim, the party had been boisterous; had damaged property by throwing bottles and other things through windows; and had stopped men on the road and given them beatings.

Word was sent to Centredale to have the men arrested there. As the wagon drove into Centredale the drivers were ordered to go to Town Hall, but instead of complying with the command whipped up the horses. The police say two shots were fired at them from the wagon and they then drew their revolvers, about 12 shots being fired by police to cause the drivers to halt.

When the wagon was finally halted near Broley's Tavern there was a run-in between the police and the members of the party. In the mixup the police wielded their clubs with effect, several of the men receiving cuts about the head and face. McAuley received a number of bad scalp wounds that bled profusely.

Patrolman Peter Carderelli jumped into the wagon when it stopped and was left in charge while the other officers took Mott, Owen and McAuley to the station. One of the party, however, mounted the driver's seat and started the horses and Carderelli was kept in the wagon for awhile, but was finally pitched out into the road as the wagon continued on its way.

Wagon Top Ripped Off

Word was sent to the police of this city to be on the watch for the wagon. When the outfit had reached a point in front of Engine 20 on Manton Avenue the top, which had been ripped off by a limb, fell into the street. A lantern was hung on the wreckage by the firemen to warn other traffic.

At the corner of Chalkstone and Manton avenues the party broke up, some of the men continuing along Manton avenue with the outfit. Sergt. Kelly of the Sixth precinct arrested William Coleman and James Bennett on Manton avenue and turned them over to the Centredale police.

The wagon, which was owned by H.P. Oatley, was almost a complete wreck.]

[Clarence Broley owned a couple of buildings at 2044-2048 Smith Street in Centredale. One, Broley Hall, which had the village's first movie theater on the second floor, still stands. The Broley Hotel, which included a cafe and bar, is now a parking lot.

There are only two main routes between Centredale and the corner of Chalkstone and Manton avenues. One is via George Waterman Road and Greenville Avenue in Johnston, the other via Woonasquatucket Avenue and Fruithill Avenue in North Providence/Providence.]

March 8, 1915
fair cold.
Dutchie came last night on a bicycle. Tried to dance some. Lula played.
No letters.

March 9, 1915
fair cold.
Nothing much to do. Kind of lonesome.

March 10, 1915
fair cold.
Called Dutchie up. Went early but all asleep. So went down later with a bundle for Eva.

March 11, 1915
fair windy.
Dutchie came last night.
Glad he did.
Haven't heard from Jack only that he has skipped.
Eva, Dorothy, Lester, Lula, and I all went up to Anna's today to see the new baby. A week old today a girl.
Florence and the minister came while I was away.
My cold is bad to-night.
Wish Dutchie was here.

March 12, 1915
fair cold.
Florence came up to-day.
I felt bad at night.

March 13, 1915
fair warm.
Sick to-day. Didn't get up until about one o'clock. Went down to Niles' and called Dutchie up, Then wait for the mail.

March 14, 1915
fair quite cold.
Dutchie came up last night staid [sic] away from his dance too.
I went to Sunday School to-day. Thought of going to Lula's with Dutchie to-night but called him up at Beauchman's and told him to come up here. Rode home with Arnie.
Saw the pictures Florence took last Sunday.
Paul came home Friday night.
Lula didn't come up to-day. Or Frank.

March 15, 1915
fair cold.
Dutchie came up last night.
There's a dance in Greenville Wed. night would like to go.
I think my cat has her kittens.
Heard last week that Flora St. Onge was married. Been married since last Sept. near the time when Blanche [illegible] got married. Lots of excitement round lately.

March 16, 1915
Went to Prov.
Called Dutchie up from there. Said he would take me to Greenville to the dance Wed. night.
Went up to the Colonial [?]. I got a bunch of violets.

March 17, 1915
Arnie told me that Mr. Gallagher told him to tell me that Dutchie had to work to-night. So I called him up from Niles'.

March 18, 1915
Started to make an enelope shimese [sic].

March 19, 1915
Dutchie came up last night.

March 20, 1915
Called Dutchie up.

March 21, 1915
Dutchie came up last night. I saw Dan Brown to-day. Rode home with Arnie. Dan has just got back from the west.
Staid [sic] to Florence's to dinner. Minister's niece was there a Miss Taylor. saw the Minister and he asked me to join the church. But I told him I would think it over.

March 22, 1915
fair in the Morning but cloudy and it rained a little in the afternoon.
John has been off over a week home Sat.
Dutchie came up last night.
Eva was over to-night.
Dutchie is awfully nice.

March 23, 1915
fair warm.
Went over to Eva's at night.
Dave played on the violin.

March 24, 1915
Called Dutchie up.
Lula and I went over to the Packard's.

March 25, 1915
fair warm.
Dutchie came up last night. I went down to Lula's and we staid [sic] a while and then came home.
We, Lula, Eva and I went to a Mothers' meeting down to the school to-day. There was a lot there. They had refreshments. Dutchie thinks Lula has a nice frame. Lula has almost finished my black skirt except the fastening. She has started my waist.

March 26, 1915
fair cold and very windy.
Started down to Niles' to telephone Dutchie and saw Florence so she went with me. Got Dutchie on the phone.

March 27, 1915
fair very cold and very windy.
Dutchie came up last night.
Wish he was here to-night.
Made over a hat for myself this afternoon just finished it.

March 28, 1915
fair quite cold.
I went to church had to hurry to get there. Sat in the choir with Florence. Saw Ernest Taylor and a friend of his and was talking to them quite a while.

March 29, 1915
Dutchie came up last night. We went over to Eva's for a little while. Jim Lester and Etta Niles and Chef [?] James were over there we thought they had gone home.
Started my girdle of black creme de chine, quite a lot of work.

March 30, 1915
Snowed some in the morning cleared later.
Were going to the city Mama and I but did not because of the snow. Went over to Eva's. Finished my girdle.

March 31, 1915
Mama and I went to Prov. Saw Dutchie when I went down He was in the lunch room door. Called him up when I got to Prov. and saw him again when I got home.
I got some more cloth for the waist.

April 1, 1915
Dutchie came up last night. Went over to Eva's to-day.

April 2, 1915
Went to the mail box and met Lula and went over to Niles' to call Dutchie up. He said he couldn't come up to-night because he had to work.
He said he would come Sat. night.

April 3, 1915
Big snow storm.
I guess Dutchie won't come to-night. It is snowing and drifting so much and so cold. Lonesome to-day. I'm afraid I can't even go to church to-morrow. I'm so sorry Dutchie can't come.

April 4, 1915
cold. fair. Snow drifted very much. Windy. Browns had to come through our fields. Made popcorn balls. Not a very nice day for Easter.

April 5, 1915
Dutchie couldn't come up. I called him up to-day. Glad I could even do that.
Heard a big story about Beatrice the other day. But heard the truth to-day. They have caught her out with Herbert at last. I guess they were going to run away but came back.

April 6, 1915
Snow going some. Lonesome for Dutchie.

April 7, 1915
Called Dutchie up. Said he could come to-night a he [?] expected because Jim Gallagher had lame back.
Had a good long talk.
Snow almost all gone.

April 8, 1915
Cowell's barn burned this morning.

April 9, 1915
Dutchie came last night. It seemed six months since I saw him last.
He came on his bicycle. Have been teaching the school children a new song this week. He is going to take me to Greenville Sat. night.

April 10, 1915
Called Dutchie up.

April 11, 1915
Rained early this morning.
We went to the dance. Dutchie brought me in an auto. We had a great time. I went down on the seven train and met Dutchie. Eva went. Arnie came and made me feel Sad. I wish he would keep still if he can't say anything nice. Seemed as though I never could wait for Dutchie.

April 12, 1915
Rained in the night. Started when Dutchie went home. He came up and I was sure glad. We came up to see Mama.
Eva was over to-day. I wish Dutchie was here to-night.

April 13, 1915
Went down and called Dutchie up this afternoon. He got wet Sunday night going home. Eva and I went down to Niles' to-night. She had to phone to the nurse. So I called Dutchie up again.

April 14, 1915
fair a little colder.
I have been feeling badly all day. Moved the piano over the other side of the room. I wish Dutchie was here to-night. Lula said she was going to call him up in the morning.

April 15, 1915
Cloudy and cold. Swept the Parlor.

April 16, 1915
Dutchie was up last night.

April 17, 1915
Cloudy and warm.
Called Dutchie up.
The Anderson girls came up.

April 18, 1915
fair but very windy.
Dutchie came last night.
I went to Sunday school. Went over to Mary W. to call Dutchie up but he wasn't working. I wanted him to go to the Baptising.
They said he was coming up early.
Rode home with Arnie.
Eddie and family came to-day.
They are going to move.
I went to meet Dutchie last night.

April 19, 1915
fair and warm.
Dutchie came about six. Leander Emmins [?] brought him in his jitney. We went for a walk up as far as the pond and stopped in Eva's coming home. Very glad he came early.

April 20, 1915
fair and warm.
Went to Prov. with Mama.
Called Dutchie up from there. Saw him when we came home.
Bought my suit I got Belgian blue.

April 21, 1915
fair and cool.
Called Dutchie up again to-day to find out if he could come to-night.
Mama's wedding anniversary to-day. She has been married forty-seven years. Papa bought her a large box of candy.
Georgiaville ice house burned last night.

April 22, 1915
fair but cool and windy.
Dutchie came last night. I went to meet him as far as the school house hill. His bicycle chain broke again. I sent it down by Arnie this morning.
I went to Florence's to-day. I took Johnnie's field glasses to go on Wolf Hill but we only went to the ice house to see where it burned. Saw Mr. Brown. Mrs. B. has got to get to the hospital.

April 23, 1915
cloudy and showers.
Lula and I went down to Niles' to call Dutchie up but he was out to his Aunt's. We were calling up everyone we knew. I called up Mrs. Sweet and asked to the dance in Stillwater. Lula called up Jimmy Gallagher.
Mrs. Niles and Stella went away right after we got there.

April 24, 1915
fair warm.
I went down and called Dutchie up in the forenoon and Mrs. Sweet again. Spoke to Dutchie twice.
Killed Govornor to-day. He was down all last night. We all felt very badly.
Willie and family came this afternoon [illegible] in the auto.
Papa got my suit down to Georgiaville this morning.

April 25, 1915
fair and very warm.
Went to the dance in Stillwater last night, had a fine time. Went in Ernie's auto. Mrs. Sweet and Irma and Joe Rolly came. I guess they had a good time.
I went to Sunday School and almost roasted.
Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Bosworth came for a little visit this afternoon.
Willie went home. I met him.

April 26, 1915
fair and warm.
Dutchie came last night. I was going to meet him but I hadn't started when he got here. I was afraid to start early.
Slept some this afternoon.
Lula got a kiss off Dutchie. She been going to kiss him ever since he came here.

April 27, 1915
fair and very warm.
Going down to Lula's to-night, going to the Doctor's in the morning to get something to give me an aputite [sic] and make me feel better. I got weighed last Thursday with my coat and everything on and only weighed 93 1/2 pounds.

April 28, 1915
fair some showers.
I stayed at Lula's all night and called Dutchie up over to Mary's last night.
Went to the Doctor's this morning. He gave me some tablets and tested my lungs.
I called Dutchie up and then went to the mail box and almost fainted when I looked in and saw a letter from Jack. He is in Hartford. I'm sure I don't know what to do about it.

April 29, 1915
Cloudy and mist a little in the forenoon but cleared in the afternoon.
Dutchie came last night. I went to meet him.
I can't make up my mind whether or not to tell Dutchie about my letter.
Went over to Eva's to-day.
Some of the trees are blooming. It is very nice out.

April 30, 1915
Called Dutchie up. I told him about Jack's letter. Said we would go to Ruth's.

May 1, 1915
Called Dutchie up to-day.

May 2, 1915
cloudy most all day.
Dutchie took me out to Chestnut Grove last night. He couldn't get any tickets. Mrs. Sweet and Vera went too. I had a fine time. Dutchie brought me home in an auto. Met Manseaui [?]. Joe Rolly went too. I went to Sunday school to-day.

May 3, 1915
cloudy. I guess this is the May storm. Cold.
Dutchie came last night. Just got started to meet him and saw him coming. Beatrice told Arnie that I was for sale because I was walking on the outside when she passed us. Lula got a whole lot of kisses last night off Dutchie.
Eva was over to-day. They have got the lights in the church.

May 11, 1915
Answered Jack's letter.
Went to Prov. to-day and posted it.

May 16, 1915
Sick all day.
Florence and Alice came up.

May 25, 1915
I got another letter from Jack.
Dutchie got a letter too.

May 30, 1915
Dutchie's birthday to-day. He is 23 yrs. old. I gave him three silk handkerchiefs. I got Willie to get them up there.

June 10, 1915
Answered Jack's last letter. Posted it to-day.

June 16, 1915
I haven't written in a long while but I think it was to-day that Jack went up by me. He saw me in the yard and merely said Hello.
(I guess it was later that he came.)

June 22, 1915
I think Jack went up to-day. Charlie Thurber said they had hired him. He didn't speak to Dutchie the other night. I was afraid if he came up here to work he would get Dutchie some night. He said he was going to.
It must have been been [sic] today that he came the first time.

June 28, 1915
I think it was to-day that Jack was out instead of last Tuesday.

July 5, 1915
Frank, Lula, Dutchie, Manny and I went to the fireworks but they were postponed.

July 21, 1915
It rains about all the time lately.

July 22, 1915
I have been trying to write up my back pages. I haven't written in about two months.
Jack didn't come to work at Thurber's. I was awfully afraid for Dutchie. Dutchie was up yesterday afternoon.
Willie is here on his vacation. We went to Worcester last Thursday.
Dutchie came at night.
Went to Rocky Point Sunday. I have been out to Chestnut Grove three or four times since I wrote here. And once to Hantonville [?].

[She may be referring to Hanton City.]

July 23, 1915
Nice day quite cool.
Dutchie was up last night.

July 25, 1915
Nice day.
Dutchie took me to Crescent Park last night. Joe Rolly and Lula went with me. We had a fine time. I ate two frankferts [sic] when we got out to the lunch room.

July 26, 1915
Dutchie came up last night.
Mr. Fiske was out demonstrating a Cadalac [sic] to-day.

[Here's an example of a 1915 Cadillac.]

July 27, 1915
Called Dr. Roye up about my toothache. I expect to go to-morrow.
Called Dutchie up too.
Johnnie Hamel's little boy died Sunday night. Buried to-morrow.
Cloudy to-night.

Diary Ends

At the back of the diary are pages for Notes for 1916, Addresses and Telephone (here Eileen recorded only one—"Gallaghers lunchroom, Centredale 9196"), Visits (recording visits given and received), Cash Account (by month), and Summary (of cash received and paid by month). Lastly, a full calendar for 1916.

Eileen got pregnant in 1919. The father was Ferdinand Augustine, a mill hand who went by the nickname "Dutchie." He was born May 30, 1892, in Austria, and emigrated to the United States in 1904. It's probable that the pregnancy prompted the couple to marry.

(So why would a person from Austria end up with the nickname Dutchie? Probably because, " the English of the 18th and 19th centuries, the word 'Dutch' referred to anyone from a wide range of Germanic regions, places that we now distinguish as the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.")

Muriel Elaine Augustine was born in late 1919. She was their only child.

The 1920 census finds the three living at 603 Woonsquatucket Avenue, Centredale, North Providence (the address now belongs to an auto repair shop). Ferdinand is listed as a shipper in a worsted mill. Daughter Muriel was then two months old.

In the 1930 census, Eileen and 10-year-old Muriel E. are listed as living on Harris Road in Smithfield with Eileen's father (a retired farmer) and mother. Eileen is listed as divorced.

Ferdinand Augustine died in 1934. He is buried in a corner of Smithfield historical cemetery #16, the Abner Harris Lot.

In the 1940 census, Eileen is listed as living with her daughter Muriel Elaine in the Angell District of Smithfield (near the intersection of Douglas Pike and Limerock Road), probably at the family farm. Eileen is listed as widowed, which would have been more respectable than being divorced.

Letters from Eileen's daughter (who preferred her middle name, Elaine), show that Eileen never held a proper job. She was the baby in her family and was neither pretty nor clever, so her father made sure she would be taken care of. She inherited property, a portion of which she rented out, and she occasionally took in sewing. Elaine often sent her money when she could, and advised her mother on financial matters—how much to set the rent at, how much to charge for sewing or babysitting, and a few times, when and for how much to sell a few acres of land.

In some ways Elaine's relationship with her mother was backward, with Elaine taking the parenting role. Never one to pull any punches, she was even more candid with her mother than usual in this letter from Madrid, Spain, in March 1956:

I do wish you would invest your money. All you'll do is fritter it away when you could invest it and get a good yearly return. Dave [Elaine's husband] says by gad if you're not going to enjoy it then the only thing to do if you won't invest it is to quit sending you the 25 a month until yours is gone and then start again. If you'll invest with a good mutual fund you'll get about 130 a year plus what we send, plus the little you have extra from the house—but I know and so do you that if you put it in the bank you'll keep drawing on it and not enjoy one penny for you'll think you shouldn't spend it. You absolutely ignore anything we say and just go ahead and do as you damned well please. I told you to rent the house unfurnished, but no you go ahead and buy furniture, get rid of some and now I don't where you are. As I said before I want to buy things too and then you put in a call for $100 do you want us to send it now or can I get the washing machine if one is still available? [Crossed out: "You never in your life tried to help yourself. During the war everyone worked but you, you always said you were sick."] It's too bad you didn't work during the war, everyone did. You could have got a job filing in an office or selling and would have felt a lot better to get out and meet people and now you would have a little Social Security coming in. Mrs. Y. [Elaine's mother-in-law] gets $60 a month and how wonderful that would have been for you. All you do is sit there and fret and stew—it's a shame you haven't done something with your life. Many of my friends mothers are alone but they all do something and its kept them young and interested. You have an utterly horrible life—no pleasure in anything. You don't even read any more—it just makes me sick every time I think of you sitting and staring at Tv or those 4 walls with no interests at all. Do you ever read over your letters and see just how cheerful they are—my goodness they are all the same—not one do I ever get that there isn't at least one or 7 horrible catastrophes in them—goodness sakes life certainly can't be as horrible as you write it—if you'd eat properly and try to develope an outside interest you wouldn't feel so bad. When you were with me you were ready to tear off at a minutes notice no matter how awful you said you were feeling. Well I'm the same way. I can sit at home feeling half dead or I can go out and meet people and feel better, not think about myself. There are jobs you can get soliciting by telephone that brings in a little money—look in the paper and see if you can't find something to do and not sit around moping. I'd lose my mind if I lived your life.

Now I suppose you'll sit and cry over this letter and I'll get a humdinger back—I maight as well keep my mouth shut for it just goes in one ear and out the other anyway.

Eileen (Harris) Augustine died at the age of 95 in 1990. She never remarried. She is buried in Smithfield historical cemetery #16, the Abner Harris Lot, in the opposite corner from Ferdinand.

Johnston resident Christopher Martin is the curator of the website you are reading now.

This article last edited June 22, 2015

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