Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Woman's Work - February, 1859 Diary of Sarah Young Bovard, 31-year-old mother of 8 in Scott County, Indiana

About the writer: Sarah Waldsmith Young was born on February 21, 1828 in Hamilton County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Abner Young, born 1799 in Maine, and Jane Waldsmith, born 1806 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Her husband James W. Bovard had been born in Steubenville, Ohio in 1828. They married February 29, 1844 in the small crossroads town of Alpha in Scott County, Indiana, which was nestled in southern Indiana.

By the time she began her diary in 1859 at age 31, she had eight children: Oliver William, February 9, 1845
Marion McKinley, January 11, 1847
Maria Jane, February 4, 1849
Freeman Daily, January 9, 1851
Melville Young; December 6, 1852
Abner Sinclair, October 13, 1854
George Finley, August 8, 1856
James Carvossa, July 20, 1858.

One of her children had died before she began writing her diary. Oliver William Bovard died Nov. 11, 1857 at 12 years, 8 months and 6 days old. By 1866, Sarah would have four more children, two would go on to become college presidents.

Diary of February, 1859

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1859 Not very cold, looks like for snow. Catherine (sister, 27) comes to help me sew on Marions (son, 12) coat. The reformers have their meeting to night--at Mr. Redmans. Three joins are to be baptised tomorrow at the Mayfield Mill at three o’clock. James did not go to their meeting-he has such a cold and does not feel well. I read and knit some, then go to bed with the head ache.

The reformers, Disciples of Christ, believed in baptism by full immersion, which must have been chilly on the 1st of February.

Charles Tilden Redman, 65, and his wife Susan Hoover, 52, who lived nearby in Jennings Township of Scott County

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1859 I do not feel very ’well, my throat is sore--my neck and head aches. The clock strikes 10 and I am writing. The children are gone to school. James is hunting his sheep. The baby is asleep. The clouds are dark, now it rains. We feel thankful that we have a shelter from the storm and more thankful that God is our refuge and in time of trouble and shelter from all storms. James goes to the baptism, gets home late in the day. Baby is so sick-he does not go to the meeting. I wrote Nancy Petro a letter to-day.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1859 Cool and cloudy, looks like for snow. I sew all day, don’t feel very well. Aby is better, the rest of the family is well. James, Marion and K. (brother Abner Knight Young, 15,)goes to meeting to the school house. Three more joined, all to be emersed tomorrow. I cut Freeman (son 8) a coat at night. Sewed some then cold and tired went to bed for that night.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1859 Snowing and blowing-very cold. I am thinking of going to the baptism but sewed all day and went to meeting at night. James and Maria Jane (daughter, 10) went to baptism and Marion (son, 12)too. The evening was quite cool, there was quite a stir. Some seemed well pleased. Ten confessed the Savior then they are ready for emersion on the morrow at the mills.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1859 Cold--very cold. James and I goes to the reformers meeting at 11 o’clock then go with the company to the baptism, had a cold rough walk, got home late in the evening,-tired and hungry. Supper over--James and Marion (son, 12) goes to Gilead to the Methodist meeting. I set up late.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1859 Clear and cool. Commence washing. James cleans wheat. I hear of Elizabeth Watson’s baptism. She is sick. I quit washing and go to see her. Brother Miller baptized her. It was a solemn time to some. Then I come home, quite tired. Supper over then James, Marion and John went to meeting to Gilead to hear Brother Miller preach. I went to bed.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 1859 James starts for town. Sells his wheat to Mr. Landon then he comes home in the evening. The rain falling fast. I finished my washing that was commenced--then supper over. I knit some then, the baby is very cross. The children are noisy. Mother comes awhile in the morning. Says pap is sick. He looks feeble and he works too hard.

Mr. Landon was probably well to-do-farmer William Landon, 52, who lived in Graham Township, Jefferson County, Indiana, with his wife Salinda, 54, and son.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1859 Cool and cloudy, ground frozen. Mother comes and I go with her to see Elizabeth Watson. James goes to meeting-comes and helps me home in the evening, then goes back to meeting. I stay at home and bake blackberry pies. Marion is at Catherines. Maria J. (daughter, 10) has gone to the meeting to night. We are all in tolerable good health. We took dinner with sister Maria Young. They are all well. Christian was not at home. He was gone to Frankfort.

Sarah's older brother Christian Young (born 1824) married Mariah Byfield (born 1828.) Mariah would have 11 children between 1847 and 1870, six would die before they were even 4 years old. At the time of this entry in Sarah's diary, Christian had only 2 children living, Lewis (born 1848) and Deborah (born 1858.)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1859 James and I went to meeting to Gilead, cold and cloudy. We took dinner at David Thompson’s, then went to night meeting. Snowed some in the evening. Left the children at home. We came home and found them all asleep and we was glad.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1859 Quite cool-still looks like snow. I try to clean the house and bake some more blackberry pies. James hauls wood, Marion (son, 12), Maria J. (daughter, 10), and Freeman (son 8) goes to meeting, then at night. Mother and I goes to meeting. Come home quite late. Tired--we are all.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1859 A beautiful morning. The sun shines bright. It makes me feel happy to see and feel the Goodness of God to such ungrateful people as we are. His love warms my soul as the sun does the earth. James, Marion, and Maria Jane went to Gilead to meeting. I stayed with the children.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1859 Warm and looks like for rain. James goes to Ira Day’s. Marion goes to help K. (brother Abner Knight Young, 15,) and George (Sarah's brother, 12) cut stocks. Commences raining. I sew some and knit and nurse the baby. We are tolerable well. James gets to Jonathan Everharts in the evening.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1859 Still warm and raining. We are all tolerable well. James makes halters. I patch and mend clothes and work at my carpet rags. Very cloudy.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1859 Very rainy. I make some hominy. James is right sick with bad cold. Still works at his bridles. I am patching and mending. We are thankful for the blessings we receive, this world has troubles.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1859 Still cloudy and rainy and warm. I wash all day--am quite tired this evening. Marion goes with George and K. to the school house to meeting. James is better. I knit some and dry and starch some clothes by the fire.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1859 A beautiful morning. I am 31 years old to day. We have roasted goose and blackberry pies for dinner. Mother is here. James comes in time for dinner. Isaac raised his stable to day. The sun shines bright.

Sarah's sister, Catherine Young (born 1832), married Scott County farmer Isaac Sampson (born 1827) in 1851.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1859 Another beautiful morning. I go to mother's with the children to take dinner on goose. George's (brother, 12) birthday. James stays at home and husks corn. We are all well. The sun shines bright. The Methodists and Reformers are holding meetings at Frankfort. John goes to Lexington. When anyone looks at my writing and it does not please them please pass it on without remarks as I expect to tell the truth always and reader, you will find some course writing on this page for my pen is bad, the paper thin. When you find mistakes, please correct them if you can.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1859 A beautiful day. Mrs. Thompson comes and we had roasted chicken for dinner. James finishes hauling. I sewed some at night. We had a house full of little folks at night.

David Thompson, 41, and his wife Mary A., 38, lived nearby

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1859 Cloudy, looks like rain. James finishes cleaning his wheat. Our "Julia" mare is very sick, comes nigh dying. Mother comes by. Mr. Everhart stops awhile. I sew and knit some.

You might enjoy reading Sarah Bovard's Diary from its beginning in January of 1859. Free websites containing all diary entries include: .