By Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services
Today, we follow George through a March that brought signs of spring. George moves from cutting firewood to trimming fruit trees (carefully noting how many hours he spends on each job and how much he is owed, striking out the amount when he is paid). The temperatures he faithfully records grow warmer, on average — though snow and rain fall regularly — and he notes that robins and bluebirds have returned. So, too, the frogs begin peeping. Illness has taken its toll on George’s social network — winter colds, bronchitis, and rheumatism bring lingering pain and fatigue. In the midst of seasonal chores and local networks of sociality, George also takes time to occasionally take note of world political events. On March 5th he notes that President Wilson has returned to Europe for the Peace Conference in Paris. A few days later, between recording his purchase of milk and a note about spring peepers he writes, “Women go to the polls and vote now. Mrs. Mable [sic] Newcomb voted at same time I did — in next booth.” Thus winter gives way to spring.
Without further ado, join George on his daily rounds during March 1919.
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PAGE 324 (cont’d)
March 1. rain until about 2 P.M. W.S. to S.W. steady rain. Windy. Clear late in aft. tem. to-day about 42-55. Early in eve. went to N. Scituate. Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store — also some choc. candy for Elizabeth. Walked down and nearly back — rode 1/4 mile with Robert J. Litchfield in his automobile. Met Marion Hammond and Norma Morris — near N. Scituate. Eve. clear; W.N.W., colder.
2d. Fine weather, clear; tem. About 27-40. Wind, variable N.W., S.E. Eve. clear. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. Elizabeth gave me 3 nice apples.
3d. Par. clou. In forenoon, aft. And eve. Clear. Tem. 30-46; W.N.E. Late in forenoon — 11:05 A.M. started for Hingham. Walked to Hin. Cen. via Mt. Blue St. arr. At Henrietta’s at 1 P.M. Streets very wet and muddy. Had dinner at Henrietta’s. Spent aft. There. Ret. walked to H. Sta. tr. to N. Scituate, then walked home. Bought some bread in H. — H […] Supply Co. — also bought some choc. candy for Elizabeth — 3cts. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Stopped there on my way from N.S. Henrietta is learning to play on the violin. Walked 8 1/2 miles.
4th. Went to Henrietta’s. Walked through Hingham woods (Mt. Blue St.) roads very muddy. Had dinner there and Spent aft. there. ret. — walked to Hingham Sta. tr. to N.S. then walked nearly home — rode 1/2 mile with Charles Fish in auto. Walked 8 miles. Bought some cho. candy for Elizabeth – 3cts. Gave it to [her] when I stopped there — on way home — she and Ellen and Uncle Samuel have a cold. Fine weather. W.S.S.W. tem. 32-55. Clear. Eve. clear.
5th. Clear to par. Clou. W.S.W. and S. tem. about 48-60. In aft. trimmed apple trees and other fruit trees 3 hours Hyman Coyne — He lives on the place that my Great-Grandfather owned and occupied — Cornelius Bates — was a soldier in the Continental (Regular) Army in the Rev. War. –1775-1782. Mar. a French girl — in Vermont or Can. So I am partly of Fr. origin. […]
Nationality. The place is only 1/2 mile N. of here. Mr. Coyne is a Russian. Pres. Wilson sailed for France about 8:18 this A.M. on the Stm. “George Washington,” from N.Y. Hoboken Pier, N.J. returned to Fr. to take (continue) part in the Peace Conference in Paris. He has been in U.S. only 8 or 9 days — he arr. In Boston, Mon. A.M., Feb. 24, made a speech in Mechanic’s Hall in aft. and in eve. Left Boston for Washington, D.C. He came back from Fr. to attend to important business, then started back to-day. I heard the guns of the battleship “North Carolina” firing Pres. salute of 21 guns, when the Pres. arr. in Boston […] Pres. Wilson arr. in France (2d time) Mar.
5th continued. Clou. after 3 P.M. began to rain about 4:50 P.M. went to H. Brown’s store after I fin. work bought a daily paper. Also bought a large orange for Elizabeth – 7cts. Then went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk — also got some for Ellen. Elizabeth has a bad cold — prob. Has bronchitis. Light rain all eve. Very windy to-day. 11:50 P.M. wind light.
6th. Trimmed a large apple tree for Hyman Coyne — 2 1/2 hours — 63. Late in aft. Trimmed a large apple tree for Aaron Bates — 1 1/2 hours — 40. Clear; W.N.W., N.E., S.E.; tem. 28-40. Early in eve. bought some bread at H. Litchfield’s then went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Eve. clear.
7th. Split and housed 1 cord of heavy hardwood (maple, ash, w. birch, yellow birch, black birch, w. oak, black oak, Elm (2 kinds), and some pieces of pine) for E. Jane Litchfield — 6 3/4 hours — 175. Had dinner there. Cold; damp wind, N.E. to S.E.; tem. about 33-37. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve — also got some for Ellen. Little Elizabeth gave me 2 apples. She is a little better — has a bron. cough. She is only 4 yrs old.
8th. A.M. cold, par. clou. W.N.E. Sold 25 lbs of papers and mag. 10 to Hyman Coyne. In aft. went to Cohasset. Walked with Geo. and Mrs. Ellery out; walked 9 miles. Bought some groceries at the […] store — bought 2 cakes of maple sugar for Elizabeth – 5 cts. Bought (in eve.) some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s and some bread at H. Litchfield’s. Par. clou. W.S.E. cold. tem. to-day 32-38. Eve. par. clou. Cold. W.S.E. 11:55 P.M. clear. calm. pruning […] shears at McGrand’s Hardware Store (C) paid 2.00 — for pruning fruit trees. Has long wood handles. Rain and very windy late in night. W.S.
9th (Sun.) rain all day, W.S. to S.W. tem. About 40-60. Eve. cloudy.
10th. Went to Town Meeting in the town hall, Scituate Cen. rode down and back with Aaron Bates in auto. Hired by Archie Mitchell […] for road surveyer [sic]. Clear. cold. wind blowing a heavy gale — 42m. W.N.W. tem. 34-48. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s early in eve. Eve. clear. wind light. Women go to the polls and vote now. Mrs. Mable [sic] Newcomb voted at same time I did — in next booth. I heard a frog peeping last eve.
11th.Clou. A.M. light rain 10 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. W.S.W. cold, chilly wind. Sawed split wood in the cellar in forenoon. In aft. trimmed young apple (17) trees 1 1/4 hours for Anthony E. Litchfield also 1 nut tree — in his field in Norwell — 30. Aft par. clou. to clou. 5 P.M. cloudy. W.N.E. Went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk early in eve. Also bought some bread at H. Litchfield’s. 8 P.M. clear. Colder. Robins are around here now. Several in the orchard where I worked in aft.
12th. Clear. windy. Chilly. W.W.S.W. tem. 32-48. In aft. trimmed apple trees 3 hours for William F. Carter, N. Scituate. Down with […] Pratt in Mrs. Seavern’s grocery wagon, walked back. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Eve. clear.
13th. Forenoon fair to par. clou. Aft. par. clou. to clou. W. N.N. W. In aft. Trimmed fruit trees 2 3/4 hours for W.H. Carter. Walked down and back. Cold in aft. Windy. tem. To-day 50-32. Bought some milk —
— at Mrs. Merritt’s early in eve. Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store — also some choc. candy for Elizabeth – 3cts. Called at Charlie’s late in aft. He has had the rheumatism for 2 weeks — better now. Eve. cold. W.N.E. tem 25. 11:40 P.M. W.W. par. clou. Cold night.
14th. Cold weather — tem. 14-30. Wind N.W., N.E., S.E. did some work at home. Eve. cold — 26.
15th. Clear. Cold. W.N.E., S.E., tem. 16-34. In aft. dug around trees 2 hours for A.E. Litchfield in Norwell — 50. Early in eve. Went to H. Brown’s store also H. F. L’s to buy some bread then to Mrs. Merritt’s to buy some milk. Eve. par. clou. Cold — tem. 27; W.S.E.
16th. Cold, stormy. W.S.E. Light rain and snow all day and eve. tem. 36-34.
17th. Light rain, W.S.E. Very wet in streets — snow, water, mud. Tem. 34-36. Eve. clou. Very foggy.
18th. Light rain all day and eve. W.S. tem. About 54. Called at Uncle Samuels’ in early eve. Did a few chores — Uncle S. has a bad cold — has had it 3 or 4 weeks.
19th. Rain all day and eve, W.N.E., tem. About 38. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in aft. Elizabeth gave me a piece of candy (Ellen made it) and an apple. 11 P.M. Cloudy. W.E.
20th. Cloudy. W.N.E. tem. About 42. Late in aft. Went to N. Scituate walked down and back. Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store. Also some choc. candy for Elizabeth – 2 cts. Eve. clou. windy. — N.E. 11 P.M., par. Cloudy.
21st. Cloudy. W.N.E. tem. About 36-48. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon — did some chores there. Hard dinner there. Called again early in eve. did a few chores. Elizabeth gave me an apple. Frogs are peeping. Spring birds are around here. Robins and Bluebirds. Misty rain for 1/2 hour to-day — in forenoon. Eve. cloudy.
22nd. Clou. W.N.E. cold. tem. About 34-38. Sarah came to Uncle Samuel’s last night and late in aft. (to-day) went back to Campello on 4:16 tr. (P.M.) from N. Scituate. I walked to N.S. and waited until Sarah and Elizabeth got aboard the tr., then went to Charlie’s — staid [sic] there about 2 hours, had supper there and walked home in eve. Daisy Graves still boards at Charlie’s. Charles has the rheumatism — in face, neck, and back of head. Has had it 3 or 4 weeks. A little better now. Bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Eve. clou., very windy — N.E.
23rd. (Sun.) Rain all day (light rain) and eve. W.N.E. cold storm. tem. About 34-38. Called at Uncles Samuel’s late in aft. Did a few chores.
24th. Clear; W.N.E.; tem. About 36-42. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon — did some chores there. Had dinner there (ate part of the food I intended to carry to N. Scituate for my dinner there — also some that Ellen had cooked). In aft. went to N. Scituate and trimmed fruit trees for 3 1/4 hours for Wm. Carter. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s in eve.
25th. Clear; W.N.W; tem. about 34-55. In aft. trimmed fruit trees 3 1/2 hours for Wm. Carter — 12 1/2 hours in all — 3.17. Carried my dinner to-day. Walked down and back. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. Did some chores. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s.
26th. Fine weather, W.S.W. to S.; tem. 46-66. Clear. In aft. (late) trimmed a large apple tree for Mrs. Ethel Torrey (nee Speare), N. Scituate — 2 1/4 hours — 60. Stopped at Uncle Samuel’s and did some chores. Met Ella Vinal late in aft. — first time for 4 1/2 years. One of my pupils on the guitar — passed by when I was up in the big apple tree. Nearly dark then. Later met near the R.R. Sta.
27th. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon. Did some chores there had dinner there. Late in aft.trimmed fruit trees (two tall, old apple trees, and 5 or 6 small apples and pear trees) 2 hours — 50. Par. clou.; W.S. to S.S.W. tem. about 46-54. Eve. clou.; W.S.E. rain late in night. W.S.E. to S. Very windy — 35m. […]
28th. Rain all forenoon. W.S. tem. 45. Snow (light) in aft. for 1/2 hour. W.S.W. cold. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon. Had dinner there. Did some chores early in the eve. Went to Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Stopped at Uncle Samuel’s and did some chores. Eve. cold. Cloudy. W.W. Windy — tem. 26. 11 P.M. Snow storm. Light snow S. all night.
29th. Snowstorm all day and eve. W.N.W.; tem. 26-32. Went down
to Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon did some chores — had dinner there, also did some chores late in aft. Had supper there cold and very windy late in aft. Snowstorm. Snow drifting. 12 (mid!) still snowing.
30th. (Sun.) Snowstorm at times all day and eve. W.N.W. tem. about 28-38; did some chores at Uncle Samuel’s to-day in aft. Also early in eve. Had stopped there. Light S.S. all eve. All the clocks in U.S. set 1 hour ahead to-day same as last year.
31st. Cloudy. damp. W.N.W.; tem. About 30-47. Late in forenoon went to Uncle Samuel’s — did some chores. Had dinner there. Late in aft. went went [sic] down to Charlie’s. He is much better. Called at Mrs. Seavern’s store. Bought some tea and other things. Bought 2 oranges for Uncle Samuel. Did some chores and had supper there. Eve. cloudy.
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*Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the George Hyland’s diary may be found here. Hyland’s diary came to us as part of a collection of records related to Hingham, Massachusetts, the catalog record for this larger collection may be found here.