FANTASTIC, ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN DIARY KEPT BY BRAYTON W. SMITH OF JANESVILLE, WISCONSIN. HE WORKED WITH HIS FATHER WHO OWNED A MID WESTERN EARLY IRON FOUNDRY, 1866.
Item condition: Used
Fantastic original handwritten diary kept by Brayton W. Smith, (1850-1933) who was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, where his father owned an iron foundry, and where Brayton worked before and after school, and any free time that he had. He would pick up pig iron at the depot with the horse and buggy and drag it to the foundry where he would watch it be melted down and turned into whatever farm machinery parts that were needed. We are talking about tons of pig iron and bar iron. At one point they were selling reapers like there was no tomorrow and this was a family that was incredibly close which gave Brayton his great start in life. In this diary he is 16 years old and getting ready to go away to school at the Milton Academy in Milton Wisconsin. Brayton has a great life where he fishes, hunts (shoots squirrels, ducks, quails, rabbits), reads and studies which it seems he loves to do. Uncle Stanley (his father’s brother) comes in from Union, WI, and they have a great time together. In the summer Brayton works for his father on the farm and in the foundry, however his parents let him do his own thing, and he is a very independent and capable young man, who makes up his own mind and carries it out in a self reliant and self sufficient manner. He is not even sure that he wants to stay at Milton Academy and decides to go to Beloit, Wisconsin instead. He aspires to go to Ann Arbor, to the University of Michigan, however his father thinks he should got to a commercial college, and upon graduation work in the foundry. However Brayton has other ideas.
“January 1, 1866; Mailed 3 letters today, one to G. Nutter, J. Butler, C. Page. Studied and wrote letters three hours this A.M. Took a walk down town and bought this diary this P.M. 8 A.M. Temp. 4 degrees; 8 P.M. Temp. 6 degrees. He writes the morning and evening temperature every day of the year in this historically important diary. Jan. 3, A terrible accident occurred a little way from our house by the ground caving in on a man who was at work bricking up an old mill. Jan. 4, They do not seem to be working very hard to excavate that man and will not probably get to him before tomorrow. Jan. 5, They are not even down to 1/2 way where the man is buried. Jan. 7, That man whose name was Heffrin was found this morning at four o’clock. His back was broken. Jan. 10, Mr. Hutchins, the principal has offered to hear Fred Pullan and myself in Greek. Jan. 12, Father does not like the idea of my going to college, he would rather have me go through commercial school. Jan. 25, Mother, Stanley and Flora (his sister), went out to Mrs. Rockefellows this forenoon, and expect to get back tomorrow. It is rather lonely here tonight as pa had gone downtown. Jan. 29, Father bought some tickets this forenoon for the lecture Wednesday evening. Mr. Gough, the great Temperance lecturer is to lecture then.”
October 1, Brayton goes away to school at Milton Academy in Milton Wisconsin. He feels that the teachers are very lax, and that the principal W.C. Whitford is sick too much of the time. The school rooms are freezing and it is hard to even think sometimes. On Friday he goes to the depot and takes the freight train home for the weekend when he works in the foundry. Mr. Hutchins is also one of his teachers to whom he recites his Greek. Brayton is an excellent student and tries to attend church at least twice a week. His friend Clarance Backman has diptheria, and family and friends are very concerned about cholera which is in the area at the time. Joe Guild works in the foundry for his father but Joe does not show up for work one day and when they go to find him, he has run away, he could not take working in the foundry another day. “Feb. 13, I went down to the foundry and saw them try the engine. Feb. 14, Yesterday father was afraid the engine would not work well as they could not get the steam up to only about 40″ but today they got it up to about 75. Feb. 15, Today father got a new pump and had the old one removed. Feb. 16, I did not go to school today instead I went down to work in father’s factory. Feb. 17, They had quite a lively time down at father’s factory this morning. Pa and Mr. Guild were tending to the engine, and through some mistake father hit on the cold water pump, which steam meeting with very hot steam caused a little fracture in one of the tubes.”
“April 6, This afternoon I commenced drawing iron again from the depot The river is very high now; so much higher than usual. They are afraid it will overflow. April 7, I have been drawing iron all day, and am getting rather tired of the job, it being rough going. And besides the iron is very heavy to handle, some bars weigh over 100 pounds. I have got it all carried except about four tons pig iron. There was at first about 14 tons of pig and 3 tons of bar iron. April 8, The river continues to rise, and they have to work very fast to keep along with the rising water and keep it from flowing from the race into the river. April 22, I attended Charley Allen’s funereal this afternoon. He has been sick ever since he returned from the Civil War some three years. April 23, The cholera has arrived in New York and is coming swiftly west-ward. We must all endevour to be prepared for it when it does. Father took off after a forger who forged a note for $150.00. June 14, This afternoon I went down to the court house and heard Mr. Mat Carpenter speak in defense of Captain Perry who killed Shay about one year ago at Elkhorn. June 19, After supper mother wished to go for a ride which ended in mother, Mrs. Roberts, and the hired hand getting hurt quite seriously. I escaped almost uninjured. April 20, Both mother and Mrs. Roberts are confined to their beds today and have 2 doctors attending them. They are both injured in about the same place. Mother is very weak from loss of blood and can’t eat anything. I cannot sleep as every-time i try to roll over my neck hurts and wakes me up. June 23, I slept over to Mrs. Morse’s with Frank last night and this morning all three of us got started about half past four and rowed the boat up the river to the Rock River source and went fishing. July 11, This morning father and I went after some hay up to the farm. Father sold five reapers to day Have a good many visitors.”
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|March 1, 2019 12:00 am||Auction started|