George Hyland’s Diary, July 1919

By Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services

Today, we return to the diary of George Hyland. If this is your first time encountering our 2019 diary series, catch up by reading the January, February, March, April, May, and June 1919 installments first!

Nantasket beach
Image from Tourists Guide to Down the Harbor, Hull and Nantasket, Hingham… (1901).

July 1st, 1919 marked the beginning of Prohibition in the United States. “Last night was celebrated in Boston by drinking plenty of whiskey, rum, and other liquors,” George wrote, going on to describe an episode of domestic violence in Worcester that ended in a murder-suicide. The eighteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which banned the production, transport, and sale of “intoxicating liquors” — would remain in effect until repealed in 1933. George’s labors continue through the heat of July and he spends his days mowing, weeding, pruning, picking fruit to sell, and other tasks.  On the 4th he goes to hear military bands perform at Egypt Beach in Scituate; on the 12th he travels by train and steamer into Boston to pay a visit to the bank. Charmingly, he writes that “last time I was in Boston (May 6) some sparrows were near the Pier Rowe’s Wharf trying to find something to eat — I gave them a few crumbs of bread. Today I bought a loaf at the […] store and when I arr. at the pier I untied the package and cut off some bread and put it where the birds could find it.” He continues to play almost daily on the guitar.

Enjoy another month with George as we continue our journey through 1919.

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PAGE 335 (cont’d)

July 1. Worked 5 hours for Mrs. Caroline Litchfield mowing and trimming grass on her place – 1.25. Walked up there — rode (ret.) 2 miles with Ellery Hyland in auto. Had dinner and supper at E. Jane Litchfield’s. Hot weather tem. About 66-87. W.N.W. The sale or making of whiskey, rum, or any liquor is forbidden in this country beginning to-day. Last night was celebrated in Boston by drinking plenty of whiskey, rum, and other liquors. 412 persons arrested in Boston for drunkenness — 30 of whom were women. Fighting, murders and other crimes. This was the same in other places in this whole country. One man in Worcester, Mass. pounded one of his children — a girl — broke her jaw, knocked out her teeth, also abused his other small children, then killed his wife, then k[illed] himself. Murders in other places.

2d. Mowed in a lane and around his house — 5 hours for Charles Bailey (brother of Mrs. Emma Sargent) — 1.50. Also mowed Mrs. Eudora Bailey’s lawn and trimmed around the house – 1 1/4 hours — […] Also picked about 15 boxes of currants at home (James place) sold one box to Mrs. M. G. Seaverns, and 1 to Mrs. Ethel Torrey. Warm weather, muggy, W.M.W. and N.E. tem. 66-86. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve.

3d. Worked 5 hours for E. Jane Litchfield — 1.25. Had dinner there. Mowed grass, hoed garden, and cleaned out the large closet. Walked up there — ret. rode ¾ mile with Everett Marcus in auto. In eve sold 12 boxes of currants to J. H. Vinal — keeps store and market. Very hot weather tem. 85-102 in shade. Clear. W.N.W.

4th. Staid [sic] at home. Weeded my carrots, parships, and other plants. Also picked 10 boxes of currants — sold 2 boxes to some people in large auto. Very hot weather tem. 85-102 in shade. In eve went to a great celebration at Thomas W. Lawson’s place, Egypt. Had 2 large military bands — from Brockton. Milo Burke’s band divided and enlarged one band (about 35) playing (in a concert) and one band playing in a very large Hall — for dancing (about 35 players) Milo Burke dir. of the band in the hall. Had cel. all day. Welcome to the 162 soldiers and sailors ret. from the Great War. 10 lost in the war. About 10 w[ounded]. Motion pictures in eve. Saw several men whom I knew — were there the same year that I worked there. The first person I saw when I arr. there were T.W. Lawson, his daughter Jean, and Capt. Burgess A. Edwards […] late of Battery B. 302d field artillery — in the Great War (married Miss Jean C. Lawson) and Gov. Samuel W. McCall (War Gov.) They all got into an automobile and rode to Mr. Lawson’s house — 1 mile from the Egypt end of the place. In eve., the 13th Mass. State Guard band played on the lawn — […] Academy, and the 14th Rgmt. M.S.G. played in the dance Hall. B. Milo Burke, Director.

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July 5th. Worked 1 hour for J. H. Vinal getting good from freight car and piling them in store — 25. Picked 3 boxes of currants. Sold J. H. Merritt 8 boxes, 96, J. H. Vinal 2, Mrs. Torrey 1 — total 132. Also worked in my garden. Very hot weather — tem. 87-103 in shade. I never saw the mercury in the glass at 103 (102 highest I ever saw it until this aft. W.W. tem. 100 to 102 nearly all aft. 103 for about 20 min).

6th. Sun. Thunderstorm N. of […] between 4 and 5 A.M. W.N.E. with rain. Another one (short) about 11 A.M. and for a few min about 8 P.M. rain in eve. tem. To-day about 72. This place is close to the State Road and automobiles are passing here all the time. 7 or 8 a min. 40 passed here in 5 min this forenoon.

7th. Dusted rugs 3 hours for Mrs. […] Ellis Bullard — 90. Mowed grass 2 hours for Mrs. Ethel Torrey — 60. Picked 1 box of currants (sold to Mrs. Torrey) worked in my garden 3/4 hour in eve. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours. Clear. Cool W.N.E., par. clou. late in eve. tem. To-day about 62-77.

8th. In forenoon mowed the grass in field — in aft. weeded and […] strawberry plants — 6 1/2 hours in all — for Peter W. Sharpe — 1.50. Had dinner there. Fine weather — W.N.E. Very cool. eve. cold. tem. 52. Played on the guitar 2 hours in eve. hoed in my garden 1 hour. late in aft.

9th. Weeded strawberry plants 6 1/2 hours for P.W. Sharpe — 1.50. Had dinner there with Franklin. Warm weather tem. about 60-82. W.S.W. Early in eve. Mrs. Sarah Brown X called here (15 min.) to see if I had any currants to sell. I showed her all my flower gardens. Charles Bailey called here a few min. in eve. eve. par. clou. Played on the guitar 1 1/4  hours in eve. X nee Sarah Bailey.

10th. In forenoon mowed lawn 2 hours for Mason Litchfield — 60. Very damp. W.S.W. Windy. Thunderstorm N. of here — rain here about 10:15 to 11 A.M. Rain at times all aft. Cold. Very damp wind in eve. Eve. cloudy.

11th. In forenoon picked 5 boxes of currants and 1/2 box of raspberries — sold them to Mrs. Albert (Burt) Wilder — 15cts a box for the currants, 10cts for the raspberries. Mrs. (nee Minnie Bates of N. Abington) there — have not seen her before for about 38 years. In aft. Transplanted some tobacco plants — also mowed the grass — with lawn mower, and dug out the walk. Mrs. Agnew stopped here a few min. early in eve. Fine weather to-day. Received a letter this eve. From Spokane, Wash. eve. very cool. Clear.

12th. Went to Boston (9:12 tr. A.M.) tr. to Nantasket Junc., than tr. to Pemberton, the Steamer (Nantasket) to Boston, ret. steamer (“Old Colony”) to Nantasket  Beach via Pemberton and […] Point. then Elec. car to Hingham, then tr. (5 P.M.) to N. Scituate. Went to State St. Trust […] Bank (33 State St.) and paid $15.00 on the Victory Bond (5th) I bought May 6. Stopped at Nantasket Beach, 1 hour. Band concert at the Hotel Nantasket, by Carter’s Band of Boston.

Cornet soloist. He had just played a fine cornet solo, and then the band an intermission — I was on the way to R.R. Sta. when I saw Mrs. (nee Mrs. Eva M. Thayer — in an automobile. He came there and she introduced me to her husband — the cornet soloist.

Shortly after leaving Boston on the Stm. we saw a seaplane very near — it rose from the water and flew away towards the East. The last time I was in Boston (May 6) some sparrows were near the Pier Rowe’s Wharf trying to find something to eat — I gave them a few crumbs of bread. Today I bought a loaf at the […] store and when I arr.

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at the pier I untied the package and cut off some bread and put it where the birds could find it. One sparrow was there. par. clou. Today. W.S.W. very warm in aft. eve. par. clou. 5:20 P.M. to 6:20 P.M. worked (1 hour) for Mrs. M.G. Seavern — 35. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve.

13th. (Sun.) In aft. went up to Uncle Samuel’s — little Sarah there — have not seen her since Nov. 2, 1918. I gave her some choc. candy (3cts). Picked some cherries for Sarah and Hester Tich, Irene and Ellen. Sarah and I went to my place and stayed a few min. We got some plants in my garden. Walked to Uncle Samuel’s — ret. rode 1 1/4 miles with Albert E. Brown and Mrs. B. fine weather. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s and carried it to my home at N. Scituate.

14th. Worked 5 hours for  177. George […] — digging out the well — making it deeper. Had dinner at Uncle Samuel’s. Warm weather — tem. About 60-88. W.N.N.E. walked up there ret. rode 2 miles with Aaron Bates. Worked in my garden 2 hours late in aft. Sold some brass, iron, and rope to Mrs. Benson this […] A.M. 12. Andrew Bates bought the grass on my place — 1.00. Paid the rent for July — for James place late in aft. 8.00 Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve.

15th. Worked 6 1/2 hours for George Crosby helping to dig an old well deeper. 2.30. Walked up there — ret. — rode 2 miles with Galen Watson. He came here in his automobile — I showed him around the place and in the house — I gave him some lettuce — from my garden. Worked in my garden 1 hour late in aft. Carried my dinner to-day ate it at Uncle Samuel’s. Sarah gave me some peas. I gave her a bannana [sic] and nearly a pint of raspberries. Picked them in my garden this A.M. fair to par. cloudy to-day W.SW. muggy. Began to rain about 8 P.M. Very light rain. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve. Rain at times dur. night.

16th. Light rain all day W.S. muggy. Worked between showers in my gardens (flower and vegetable garden) eve cloudy. warm. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve.

17th. Mowed, raked and piled up grass 5 hours for E. Jane Litchfield — 1.25. Had dinner and supper there. Walked up and back. Carried a bannana for Sarah. Cloudy. Warm. Waldo Litchfield gave me 21 cabbage plants and turnip seeds. Transplanted them early in eve. Also got an Oxide [sic] Daisy plant from my garden and transplanted it here. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s — Ethel got it for me. Played on the guitar 1 h. 10 min in eve.

18th. Worked 7 hours for George Crosby– 2.50. George Jenkins also worked there. Carried my dinner — ate it at Uncle Samuel’s — carried a bannana for Sarah. Walked up and back. Warm and muggy. clear to par. clou. W.S.W. Met Norma M. — she asked me when I am coming to hoe their garden. Worked in my garden 1 hour early in eve. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve. Rain about 8 P.M. rain all night. Warm. Muggy.

19th. Warm and muggy. Rain until 9 A.M. mended some of my clothes in the morning. 10:37 A.M. Started for Mr. Crosby’s. Cloudy, but clearing went to Uncle Samuel’s. Had dinner there — carried it — also had some of their dinner. Carried nearly a pint of raspberries and a bannana for Sarah. In aft. Worked (5 hours) for Mr. Crosby on flower gardens and hedge. 1.75. Warm and muggy W.S.W. tem. 70-86. Walked up there — ret. rode 1 1/4 miles with Ellen A. Briggs and Olive and family in auto. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve. Mrs. Eudora Bailey gave me 3 magazines to-night.

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July 20. (Sun.) Cloudy to par. Clou. Muggy, damp. 10 P.M. clear. Automobiles are passing here nearly all the time day and night. I counted the number that passed here dur. 5 min. Several times to-day — 6:05 P.M. to 6:06 (P.M.) 1 min. — 20 autos passed here — in 5 min — 6:05 to 10:05 P.M. 52 passed here. David Whitier sent me a N.Y. Sun “Times” of July 6, and a N.Y. Sun “Herald” of July 13. dur. past week — he lives in Groton ([…] New London, Conn).

21st. Worked 6 1/2 hours for Geo. Crosby. 2.29. Rode up there with him — walked back. Geo. Jenkins also worked there. Laurence Litchfield worked there in aft. Hot weather — tem. 73-88. W.S.W. par. clou. muggy. Put a charge of dynamite in a hole in bottom of well about 5.20 P.M. carried my dinner — at it at Uncle Samuel’s gave Sarah a bannana and some cheese. Played on the guitar 1 hour late in eve.

22nd. Worked 6 1/2 hours for Mr. Crosby — 2.17. Walked up there — ret. rode 1/2 mile with Harry Bates, then 1 1/4 miles with Mrs. Fletcher X in their new automobile. Light rain at times W.S.W. tem. about 75-85. Carried my dinner — ate it at Uncle Samuel’s gave Sarah a bannana and some raspberries. George Jenkins put a heavy charge of dynamite in the bottom of the well about 5:30 P.M. Mrs. Hall there late in aft. Came in her auto. Eve. warm. clou. W.S. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. Rain late in night.

X Mrs. asked me if I played on the guitar now.

23d. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s had dinner there. Spent day there. Played games with Sarah rode 2 miles with George Bailey Jr. very heavy rain early A.M. rain until about 2:30 P.M. nearly clear in late aft. Rode home with Fred J. Bailey — in auto. After 7 P.M. worked 1/2 hour for Mrs. Bullard — moving furniture and dusting a sofa — 25. Mrs. B. gave me a box of […] cake. She came here just as I arr. home. Mr. Bullard helped move the furniture. Very muggy and warm to-day tem. About 72-82. Eve […] W.S. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve.

24th. Worked 7 ½ hours for George Crosby — 2.65. Finished digging out the well and began to wall it up. I also worked about 1 1/2 hours in flower garden. Walked there and back. Carried my dinner — ate it at Uncle Samuel’s. Gave Sarah 2 bananas. Hot weather W.W. tem. 75-90. Early in eve called at Mrs. Torrey’s to see their garden. The heavy rain broke down some of their corn. I fixed it up she gave me 2 cucumbers. Fine eve. Clear W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1 hour late in eve.

25th. Worked 7 hours for Joseph W. Morris — weeding and hoeing garden and mowing large Burdock plants — 2.10. Warm weather — W.W. tem. about 65-80. Clear. Played on the guitar 1 hour in eve.

26th. In forenoon mowed lawn and bank and around the house 2 1/2 hours for Mason Litchfield — 60. In aft. Mowed lawn and bank 2 1/2 hours for Mrs. Eudora Bailey. Par. cloudy to cloudy in aft. Light rain at times in aft. Late in aft. some lightning and rain. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. 10:45 P.M. clear.

27th. (Sun.) Hot weather, W.W. tem. 72-90.

28th. Worked 7 1/4 hours for George Crosby — pumped water out of the well 1 hour then worked on the flower gardens and wheeled stones to wall up the well (30 ft. deep — 10 ft. of water in it this A.M.) — 2.55. George Jenkins is building the wall in the well. Prob. shall not work there any more. Walked up there — ret. rode 1 mile with G. Crosby and family and George Jenkins — to Cohasset […] then walked home. Carried

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my dinner — ate it at Uncle Samuel’s. Had some peas there. Gave Sarah 20cts. She gave me some apples. In eve. got some water at Mr. Speare’s well. He gave me 2 shirts. Mar. Sp. and Norma M. there. In eve played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours. Mason Litchfield and […] Litchfield here 1/2 hour. Hot weather to-day — tem. 78-98; W.W. fine eve.

29th. Worked 6 hours for Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — moving and cutting up boxes and housing the wood — 1.50. Very fine weather, clear; W.N.W. tem. about 66-82. Played on the guitar 1 hour late in eve. Fine eve.

30th. In forenoon worked 3 hours for Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — 90. In aft worked 3 hours for Fred T. Bailey digging a trench at No. Scituate Beach — Surfside Road 1.20. Roan’s close to the ocean — rode down and back in auto. Fine weather. W.S.E.; tem. About 75-88. Played on the guitar 1 hour late in eve. Charles called here a few min. late in eve.

31st. Worked 8 hours for F.T. Bailey — at Mr. Roan’s place (3.20) N. Scituate Beach. (Rode down and back in auto.) Fine weather W.S.E. tem. About 70-86. Carried my dinner. Elmer Ramsdel gave me 2 bananas and a piece of lemon pie — Mrs. […] gave me some coffee. Late in aft. 2 young ladies there gave us some tea and milk and some cake. Late in aft. Mowed part of the lawn here. Mrs. Studley (nee […] called here a few min. Mrs. Ethel Torrey gave me 2 cucumbers. Eve. cloudy. Played on the guitar 1 hour. Shaved in eve. Rain late in night.

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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.

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