George Hyland’s Diary, April 1919

By Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services

If this is your first time encountering our George Hyland diary series, catch up by reading the January 1919,  February 1919 , and March 2019 installments first!

Uncle Samuel’s health, much remarked upon in the George’s diary entries for March, continues to be poorly for much of April. This means that George spends additional time and effort not only doing his own chores but attending to Uncle Samuel’s household as well. “Had dinner and supper there,” is the refrain for the month as George tends to his Uncle’s property. Only toward the end of the month does he remark that Samuel is well enough to do the chores himself. It is a chilly April, with temperatures only occasionally reaching above the 50s according to Hyland’s records. On the 25th it was so cold and windy that George decided not to make the journey into Boston to attend the return of the 26th Division (a.k.a. the “Yankee Division”) from France, though he had a ticketed seat in the reviewing stands along Commonwealth Avenue. Perhaps, if he had gone, he would have been given or purchased one of these welcome home placards produced for the event (the example below is from the MHS collections).

Welcome Home 26th Division shield
Welcome home 26th Division

One of the quirks of George’s record keeping that I find particularly charming is that he specifies “S. time” following some of his time-of-day weather notations — meaning “summer time,” a relatively new observance for the United States which had begun during the war as an effort to conserve on energy.

Without further ado, join George on his daily rounds during April 1919.


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April 1. Clou. to par. clou. Cold. W.N.W. tem. 24-42. Did some chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there. Went to H. Brown’s store lat in aft. Job L. Ellins called at Uncle Samuel’s early in eve. Came from Campello. Cold night. Clear.

2d. Cold weather. Tem. 18-40. W.N.W. Snowstorm at times in forenoon. Aft. clear. did some chores at Uncle Samuel’s — Had dinner there. Late in aft. went down to Charlie’s. Had supper there and spent part of the eve. there. Walked down — ret. rode 2 miles with Geo. Ellins and Mrs. E. in auto. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. did some chores. eve. Clear. Carried 1 coat and 3 vests and gave them to Charlie this aft.

3d. Clear. W.N.W.; tem. About 29-53. Did some chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there. Late in aft. went to N. Scituate. Walked down – ret. rode 2 miles with Fred Litchfield in auto truck. Eve. clear. Frogs peeping again — first time for days. Has been same as […] 10 P.M. (S time) cloudy.

4th. Par. cloud. W.S. to S.E. Did the chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there. Eve. par. clou., 10:30 cloudy.

5th. Light rain and fog. W.N.E. In aft. (late) went to N. Scituate to Charlie’s — had supper there. Bought some meat at Job H. Vinal’s store for Ellen. […] rode 1 3/4 miles with Prescott […] in farm wagon. I walked home. Had dinner at Uncle Samuel’s did some chores there today. Eve. very foggy, W.N.E.

6th (Sun). Misty; W.N.E. tem. About 38-44. Did chores of Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there, eve. Misty. W.E. fog.

7th. Fair. Par. to clear. tem about 44-70. W.S.W. Did chores at Uncle Samuel’s – had dinner and supper there. Clou. late in aft. Began to rain about 6:30 P.M. Rain at times heavy, thunder, tempest. S.W. of here (near). 9:40 P.M. (S. time) until 10:40 P.M. Rain here.

8th. Clear, W.N.W., N.E., S.E., S.W.; tem. About 40-60. Sawed, chopped, and housed wood 3 1/4 hours for Uncle Samuel. I also did chores there. Had dinner and supper there, eve. Cloudy.

9th. Sawed, chopped, and housed wood 5 hours for Uncle Samuel — also did chores there. Had dinner and supper there. fair. tem. 40-50. W.N.E., S.E. eve. par. Cloudy.

10th. Sawed, chopped, and housed wood three hours for Uncle Samuel. Clou. very […]. Rain in aft. Light rain. Cold. W.S.S.E. tem. About 40-46. Did chores. Had dinner and supper at Uncle Samuel’s. Light rain in eve. (late).

11th. Sawed, chopped, and housed wood 3 hours for Uncle Samuel. fin. 1 cord of wood. Did chores there. Had dinner and supper there. Cloudy. Tem. 45-66, W.S to S.S.W. Windy. Eve. cloudy. Very windy (S.) Began to rain at 10 P.M. (Ad. time.)

12th. Fair, W.S.W., W.N.W., tem. about 45-66. Did chores at Uncle Samuel’s — had dinner there. In aft. to Charlie’s. Had supper there. Rode 1 1/2 miles with John Selvine and […] in auto. Walked home in eve. Eve clou.

13th (Sun). Fair to cloudy. W.N.W., S.E., N.E., tem. About 40-62. Did chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there.

14th. Fair to par. Clou. W. N. Did chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there. He is better now, can do the chores himself. Eve. nearly clear. Large circle around the moon for a few minutes late in eve.

15th. Par. clou. W.N.W., N.E. Did some chores at Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner and supper there. Eve. cloudy. W.N. E. to E. Cold wind, tem. Today about 40-56.

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16th. Split wood 1 1/2 hours in forenoon for Jane Litchfield. 35. Had dinner there. (J. had no breakfast. Nothing in the house to eat.) Very cold, chilly wind. E., cloudy. Windy. Rain all aft. Windy and cold. Light rain in eve. W.S.E. Heavy showers at times in night.

17th. Light rain most of the time. W.N.E. and S.E. Called at Uncle Samuel’s late in the forenoon. Did a few chores. Had dinner there. He is nearly well now. Will do chores himself. Eve. cloudy. W.S.E.

18th. Par. cloudy; W.N.W., N.E., tem. About 40-60. In aft. Carried a large box of toy furniture to a place just beyond the Bap. church — for Henry — A […] lady buys them. Called at Irene’s — no one there. Bought some groceries at J. H. Vinal’s, N. Scituate. Walked down and back 7 miles. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. Peter W. Sharpe, Mrs. Ella Sharpe, and Miss Olive Beull my third cousins there. She is the Great-Granddaughter of my Uncle Henry — Henry Hyland (father’s brother) — have recently moved from Eastford Coun. to Putterham, Mass. Eve. clear. W.W. Rode 1 1/4 miles with a man in auto down. Lives N. […] place.

19th. Clear; W.N.W.; tem. about 44-62. In aft. dug up and transplanted currant bushes 3 hours for Peter W. Sharpe. Called at Charlie’s late in aft. Had supper there. Walked nearly down — rode 1/2 mile with P.W.S. in auto. Walked home in eve.

20th (Sun.) Forenoon fair. aft. par. Clou. Very windy — S.W. chilly wind. Eve. clou. Light rain late in eve. Called at E. Jane Litchfield’s in eve. […] late in night.

21st. Split and housed 1 cord of dry hardwood for E. Jane Litchfield — 6 1/2 hours 162. Wind N.W. in forenoon. par. clou. Aft. clear; W.N.E. fine weather. Had dinner at E.J.L’s. tem. Today about 45-63.

22nd. Clear; cold; windy — W.N.E.; tem. 37-54. In aft. Went down to Charlie’s. Called at Peter W. Sharpe’s. Norma […] there. Walked down and nearly back — rode 1/4 mile with Merton Burbank. Had supper at Uncle Samuel’s. Fine eve. Clear; W.S.E.

23rd. Worked in flower gardens 4 hours for P. W. Sharpe. Walked down and back. Bought a lunch (doughnut and cheese) at J. H. Vinal’s store. Fine weather, clear; cool; W.N.E. fine eve.

24th. Worked on flower gardens 3 1/2 hours for P.W.Sharpe. Par. clou. to clou.; W.S.E. began to rain about 3 P.M. Went to Charlie’s — staid [sic] until 5 P.M., then went back to Mr. Sharpe — Had supper there. Rode home with P.W. and Mrs. S. — they [took] a young goat to L. H. Hyland’s. Bought some bread — also a Boston Daily Transcript. B. M. saved it for me. Walked down late in forenoon. Called at E. Jane Litchfield’s in eve. Lot Bates and Irma came there. I rode home with them. Light rain all eve. W.N.W. at 11 P.M.

25th. Cold and very windy (30 m.) W.N.W.; tem. 28-38. Ice in meadow this A.M. Eve. cold. — & P.M. tem. 30 — colder later in eve. The 26th Div. 1st Corps. — in the late war — marched through Boston this aft. With their guns, art., and band. Lately arr. from France. I had a ticket for a seat on the reviewing stand — on Commonwealth Av. Boston, but did not go there as it was so cold and windy.

26th. Cold and windy. W.W. tem. 28-41. Late in aft. Whent to No. Scituate — bought some groceries at Mrs. Seavern’s store. Called upon P.W. Sharpe and got a loaf of bread I left there Ap. 24. They were at supper. Walked down, rode back with Albert Litchfield. (2m.) Par. clou. To-day a few flakes of snow at times. Eve. fair. 3 men last from [..].

28th. Par. clou.; W.N.W.; tem. About 40-62. In aft worked in flower gardens 3 1/4 hours for P.W. Sharpe. 15. 13 3/4 hours in all, 275. Straightened edges of all the flower gardens and weeded them. Carried a lunch — at it in the house — also Mrs. S. gave me a piece of squash pie and some tea. Walked down — rode back with Albert Litchfield. Mrs. Emma P. Sargent came out to engage me to do some work on their place.

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[28th cont’d] Mrs. Ethel Torrey (nee Speare) also engaged me to work on flower gardens. Met Marron Hammond in Mrs. Seavern’s store. Norma M. with her.

29th. Mowed bushes, briers, and etc. in field 3 1/2 hours for Uncle Samuel. 75. Had dinner there. Par. clou. W.N.E., N.E., E. Eve. clear. cool. Spent eve. at Uncle Samuel’s.

30th. Worked 6 hours for Arthur E. Litchfield. Par cloudy to clear; W.N.E., S.E., very cool. Eve. clear. W.W. at 11: P.M.

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If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

*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.