George Hyland’s Diary, December 1919

By Anna Clutterbuck-Cook, Reader Services

Today, we return for the last time 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, June, July, August, September, October, and November 1919 installments first! Then join me in following George day-by-day through the final month of 1919.

Christmas Tree
The Hills of Hingham by Dallas Lore Sharp (1916), p. 216.

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PAGE 353 (cont’d)

Dec 1. In forenoon sawed and split wood 2 hours for Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — 60. In aft. worked 3 hours for Mr. James — mowing with lawn mower and raking grass and leaves and other work –Clear. cold. W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve.

2d. Worked 5 hours for Mrs. Bertie Barnes — diging [sic] parsnips, cleaning out part of barn, and harvesting turnips — 1.50. Had dinner there. Bought a pint of milk there — 7 cts. Milk is 17 cts. per qt. At N. Scituate. tem. To-day 28-50; W.S.W. fair. Eve. par. Clou., W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve. The parsnips I dug to-day were the largest I ever saw — some of them were 16 inches long.

3d. Clear. cold. tem. 14-34. W.N.W. did some work at home in forenoon. In aft. Went up to my home. Staid 1 1/2 hours — got some more of my cloths. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. Ellen gave me a quart of milk and some apples. Walked up and back. Called at Mrs. Bailey’s this forenoon to see about some work Edith C. Sargent wants me to do. Eve. cold. 11:15 P.M. tem. 18.

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Dec 4. Sawed, split and housed the last of my wood — heavy timber boards and etc. Clear. Cold. W.N.W. tem. 13-34. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. Eve. cold. tem. 18.

5th. In forenoon wkred 1 1/2 hours for Mrs. James — about 7 hours in all — 1.00. Also got some wood and and put it in my wood house late in aft. Went into woods S. of Conihasset […] to pick some pr. [sic] pine. Did not find much. Very light snow storm. Tem. to-day about 18-40; W.S. and N.W. aft. Clear. W.N.W. Cold. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve.

6th. Clear. W.N. in forenoon, S.E. in aft. tem. About 27-45. In aft. Worked 3 3/4 hours for Miss Edith C. Sargent taking off window screens and putting on storm windows and carrying coal ashes out of cellar and wheeling it out to the swamp — 1.05. She gave me 18 good apples (R.I. Greening). Eve. clou. W.S.E. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve. Snow storm late in eve. Turned to rain later.

7th. (Sun.) Light rain and fog. Eve. clear.

8th. Cloudy. Damp. W.N., S.E. Went to Scituate Cen. and Greenbush to pick some evergreen — got a bag full. Rode to Beaverdam Road with Willie Stockbridge and Lottie in automobile (they called here in morning) then walked to S. Cen. and Greenbush. Had lunch in the woods. Ret. came back on 4:12 tr. from Greenbush. Began to rain at 5 P.M. Light rain all eve. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve.

9th. Light rain all day — W.N.E. wind light, did some work at home late in aft. Worked 1 hour for J.H. Vinal getting good from a freight car and putting them in the store — 30. Very light rain in eve. Foggy. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. Galen Watson called here in aft.

10th. Cloudy and warm in morning. Windy and dark — w. Changed to N.W. and began to clear about 9 A.M. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s — had dinner there. In aft. Went to Mr. Hope hill and picked a bag full of evergreens, pr. pine, and etc. […] got some wood, cloths, bedding, and other things in my house and Ellery B. Hyland brought them here in his auto. Cold and very windy after 9:30 A.M. Tem. to-day — 60-30. Clear soon after 10 A.M. Eve. windy and cold — tem. 25. Played on the guitar 1h. 25m. in eve.

11th. Clear. Cold. W.W.; tem. 16-30. Worked 3/4 hour for J.H. Vinal in forenoon — in the store — 25.In aft. picked some pr. pine. Went nearly to Mungoe’s Corner — came out on a road in the woods near a farm where a family of Finns live. Their place is a mile from any public street. I met a young lady (a Finn) about dark 1/2 mile from the main road (about 13 or 14) She asked me if I had been to her house — I said I just came into the road that leads to their farm. I showed her some of the pine I had in a bag. Eve. clear. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve. 11:30 P.M., tem. 28; hazy.

12th. Worked 2 1/4 hours for J. H. Vinal unloading a load of flour and packing it in piles in store — also cleaned and washed a large meat grinder — 61. Got 1/4 lb. of meat in it — fried it for my dinner. Light rain all day. Warm. tem. 30-60. Eve. cloudy. W.N.W. cooler. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve.

13th. Cloudy. Warm. Damp. tem. 58-60. Did some work at home — got the last of the wood from the spot where the laundry was torn down — wood very dirty and wet, prob. I have picked out 1/2 cord there in all. Bought 65 pounds of very nice straw (rye) at the Story Grain store house — 91 cts. The manager sent 70 pounds (sent 5 lbs. gratis) […] Cook brought it here. In aft. Worked 1/3 hour (in the Store) for J.H. Vinal — 10. Eve. clou. W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1h. 25m. In eve.

14th. (Sun.) Cold rain storm until noon; then snow storm until 2 P.M. Then clou. Eve. clear. Cold. tem. 26 W.N.W. Took the old hay out my bed and filled with new rye straw; also took the wool out of my mattress and filled it with straw — 70 pounds of straw in both — too much in both of them 30 pounds is enough to fill a bed. Prob. I put over 40 pounds in my largest one.

15th. Clear. Cold. Windy. N.W. In aft. Went up to my place to get a piece of stove pipe and a few

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other things. Called at Uncle Samuel’s. Ellen gave ma a piece of winter squash to boil and several apples. Walked up and back. Stopped at Mrs. Merritt’s and bought a quart of milk. Ethel got 2 pairs of scissors for me to sharpen. She met with an accident about 3 weeks ago — ran into a telephone pole while riding in her automobile and her back is still lame. Eve. clear. cold. tem. 20. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. 11:45 P.M. tem. 18.

16th. Cold weather — tem. 11-22; W.N.W.; Clear, made some wreaths in aft. Also got some […] vines to wind them on. Eve. cold. clear. Tem. 18. Played on the guitar 1 ½ hours in eve.

Sold some junk to Samuel Benson this A.M.

30 pounds of cotton — 30.

3 pds. rags — 3.

10 1/7 pds. of zinc — 25.

2 pds. of brass — 10.

2 pds. of rubber — 10.

30 pds. of iron — 10.

60 pds. of papers — 15. (total 1.03)

17th. Cold weather. Snows storm until about 10 A.M. aft. Clear. Windy. N.W. Snow blowing about. A water pipe in the bath room froze last [sic] in night and it burst about noon. I had to keep the the [sic] water from the floor because it began to leak down into the store. Kept a pail under the place where it leaked and emptied it often — this was all I could do to-day. I got all the water out of the toilet and box last night — worked on it until 1:30 (after mid). Scott Gannett here this eve. And turned off the water. Also took the water out of the copper boiler — connected with the stove. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve. Cold night. 11:45 P.M. tem. 2 below zero. […]

18th. Made wreaths (in my front room — opp. the R.R. station) Very cold weather — tem 7 below zero to 12 above. W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve. Eve. cold. — tem 2.

19th. Worked on wreaths — also piled up wood in the woodhouse and carried wood into the house — 2 hours for Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — 60.Cold. par. Clou.; W.N.W. temp. 5-26. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. Eve. cloudy. 12 (mid) clear. Tem 24.

20th. Clear. Cold. W.N.W. tem. 10-26. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s had dinner there. Picked 3 bags of hemlock twigs […] went to my home and got my sled and brought it here only a little […] ground. Stopped at Wm. Clapp’s. Martha A. Clapp there. She engaged 3 wreaths (pr. pine) walked up and back. Sold 1 wreath to Mrs. Ethel Torrey — 25. Called at Mrs. Merritt’s to get some milk — had none. Eve. clear. Cold. tem 19. Made 5 wreaths in eve. Then played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours.

21st (Sun.) Cloudy A.M. Clear after 11 A.M. W.N.W. tem. 16-32. Worked on my wreaths early in aft. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s. Irene there — she brought a loaf of bread there — Ellen gave me 1/2 of it also a large apple. Carried 3 pr. Pine wreaths to W.O. Clapp’s — for Martha — 75. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Rode 1 mile with a man in auto truck — some one who lives in Beechwoods — could not see who he was — too dark. Walked back in eve. Martha C. showed me a large grove filled with dif. kinds of green (wild) plants and red berries. Mrs. Clapp gave me 4 apples. Eve. clear. cold. tem. 15.

22d. Made wreaths (15) par. Clou. tem. About 15-42. W.N.W. eve. Clear. Tem. 28. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve.

23d. Made wreaths until late in aft., then walked to Cohasset and carried 23 large hemlock wreaths. Sold none there, went to Hingham on 4:30 P.M. tr. from Cohasset. In eve. sold 12 wreaths there. Sold 4 to Mrs. Soule — 1.00. Sold 2 to a man opp. H.T.P. — 50. 2 to another man same place — 50. 2 to another man same place — 50. 2 to others — 50. Cloudy, wet, foggy to-day, W.N.W. Tem. about 30-42. Came back on 6:17 P.M. tr. Eve. very foggy, cold. Played on the guitar 1 1/4 hours in eve. I brought back 11 wreaths — the Conductor came and sat in a seat next to mine and took one and examined it, he said they were very handsome wreaths. I told him I got the hemlock in W. part of Scituate — where my place is — he belongs in Plymouth or Kingston.

24th. Made wreaths in forenoon. In aft. went to Hingham to sell wreaths — sold 4 to Prop. of Italian fruit store — 1.00. 2 to Thom. R. Studley — 50. 3 to man near R.R. Sta.– 75. 2 to a man near same place — 50. 1 to a man near same place — 25. Cloudy; W.N.W. tem. About 36-46. Wet and damp. Chilly. Began to rain over

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2:30 P.M. Light rain all. Cold. Met Henrietta, Ethel, and Frank on St. H. and E. are going to New London, Conn. to visit Lettie for 2 weeks — Frank was taking them to the R.R. Sta. in his auto: he bought 2 of my wreaths. Eve. dark. cold. Light rain. Played on the guitar 1 3/4 hours in eve.

Snow storm and mod. Gale late in night. Cold storm. Max. W. 35m. W.N.E.

Christmas Day diary entry
diary snippet 2 – December 25th (Christmas Day)

25th. Christmas Day. Snowstorm until about 8 A.M. Par. clou. Until noon. Aft. clear. cold. Sold 2 of my wreaths to J. H. Vinal — 50. Late in aft. went up to Uncle Samuel’s — Had supper there and spent part of the eve. There. Carried all my wreaths (23) and put one on father’s and one on mother’s graves. One on the other end of the lot where Charlie’s little boy Edward, and little girl, Olive, are. One on each of Emeline’s little girls (Esther and Marion) graves, one on Aunt Emeline’s, the three are in Uncle Samuel’s lot. I put one on grandfather Hyland’s and grandmother Hyland’s — and on one my step-grandmother’s graves, and one on my great-grand-mother’s grave (Mrs. Lois Ellins). 10 in all. Left the rest at Uncle Samuel’s. Carried some rare kind of running evergreen to W.O. Clapp’s and gave it to Martha A.C. (also some pretty moss evergreen which I picked up near the North River. Called at Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Walked home in eve. Played (on the guitar) 1 h. 20 m. in eve. Eve. clear. cold. — tem. 21.

26th. Par. clou. W.S.W. tem. About 20-36. Late in aft. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s to get one of my wreaths — to put on Charlie’s new lot in Graveland Cem. — to put with a flag that was put there in honor of Fred. Fred did not come back with the 101st Machine Gun Battalion after the Great War ended. Eve. cloudy. W.N.W. Cold. Played on the guitar 1 1/2 hours in eve.

27th. Par. clou. W.W. tem. About 34-39. Mr. W.D. Gannett came here in forenoon and took the water pipes from the back of the stove (disconnected them from the copper boiler) and put a new grate in the stove — and cleaned out the stove. After he left here I took the stove out and cleaned it. Late in aft. went up to Uncle Samuel’s. Had supper there. Bought some milk at Mrs. Merritt’s. Ethel got it for me. She is nearly well again — got injured in automobile accident about a month ago. Rode 3/4 mile with Everett Marsh, and 1 mile with Robert Litchfield — in their autos. Walked back in eve. I went up to get some milk, but as I had a chance to ride to Uncle Samuel’s I did so. Received a Christ card in an envelope with a dollar bill from Henrietta — from New London, Conn. — she also sent me 2 […] chicks from Hingham — before she left there. Also rec. A Christmas card from Lottie several days ago. Eve. clou. Began to clear soon after I left Mrs. Merritt’s. Clear when I arr. back. Played on the guitar 1 h. 10 m. in eve. 11:30 P.M. tem. 32.

28th (Sun.) Clear. Tem about 25-38; W.N.W. eve. clear.

29th. Clear. Cold. tem. 15-35. Went up to Uncle Samuel’s late in forenoon. Had dinner there. In aft. cut wood in swamp for Uncle Samuel 3 3/4 hours. Had supper there. Walked back in eve. (also walked up there) Irene is there on a visit. Eve. clear. cold. Tem. at 11 P.M. 14. Fine weather in aft. W.E.S.S., W.N.W. in forenoon. Called at my home to get my saw horse and 4 ft measuring stick. Played on the guitar 1 h. 10 min. In eve.

30th. Light snowstorm all day. W.W.S.W. in forenoon, S.E. to E.N.E. in aft. tem. tem. [sic] 18-30. Cut wood 2 hours for Uncle Samuel — had dinner there, walked up and back. Called at Mrs. Merritt’s and bought some milk. Ethel got it — staid [sic] there 5 min. Eve. clear. cold. windy. W.N.W. Played on the guitar 1 h. 20 min. 11 P.M., tem. 23.

31st. Cut wood in swamp 4 1/2 hours for Uncle Samuel — had dinner there. Walked up and back — worked 20 min for Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — early in eve. Shoveling snow from path to street and clearing it from steps and […] — 15. Fine weather for the season. Clear. tem. 15-32. W.N.W. called at Eugene Brown

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To see if he has any potatoes to sell — Uncle Samuel wants to buy some. Eve. cloudy. tem. 32. Played on the guitar 1 h. 25 min in eve.


[…] 3 cords and 1 ft. of hardwood in […] for Uncle Samuel — 7.50.

7 1/2 cords of hardwood for L.F. Hyland — 16.87. Hauled out 1/2 cord […] — 25.

Working for Uncle Samuel — mowing bushes — 75.

Working for L. F. Hyland — picking beans — 4.95.

Working for E. Jane Litchfield 9.60.

Hyman Coyne — 1.25.

Aaron Bates — 40.

Arthur E. Litchfield 4.30.

Wm. F. Carter — 7.72.

Mrs. Caroline Litchfield — 2.25.

Mason Litchfield — 5.00.

Peter W. Sharpe — 13.38.

Mrs. Emma F. Sargent — 5.85.

Charles Bailey — 1.50.

Mrs. Edna T. Bailey — 6.00

Miss Edith C. Sargent — 1.55

Fred T. Bailey — 5.60

Mrs. Salome Litchfield — 5.77

  1. O. Clapp — 7.00

Mrs. Bertie Barnes — 7.50

Mrs. Vera Wilder — 13.60.

Herbert Bates and Mrs. Mary Wilder — 45.

Mrs. Mary Wilder — 35.

Mrs. Hazel Dimond — 1.65 […]

Joseph W. Morris — 2.10

George Crosby — 17.97

Mrs. Christine Ellis and Mr. Bullard — 8.78

  1. Bruce Fletcher — 2.25

Mrs. Cora Bailey — 20.

Repaired and sharpened 1 pr. of scissors for Mrs. Henrietta Merritt — 15. Sharpened 2 prs. […] for Mrs. M — 12.

Working for S.T. Speare — 16.00

Margaret Speare — 5.70

Mrs. Ethel Torrey — 10.90

  1. Frank Clapp — 26.50

Mrs. M.G. Seaverns — 26.55

  1. H. Vinal — 6.41

Charles James — 2.00

Sold plants (from my garden at home) to Mrs. M. G. Seaverns — 1.00

Sold vegetables from my garden on the James place — 61. 35 boxes of currants 4.32 and 1/2 box of raspberries — 10 cts.

Sold the grass on my place — 1.00

Sold 1 1/2 feet of cedar wood — 1.50 (sawed into firewood)

Sold junk to Samuel Berson — 3.11

Made 54 wreaths (in Dec.) Sold 31 of them — 7.75

Assisting the Auctioneer at the auction at Henrietta’s — 5.00

Housing furniture and taking it out again for Mr. Smith after the auction — 1.00

Working for Henrietta (taking down buildings (in Nov.) — 2.00


Final tally of the year
diary snippet 1 — final tally of the year

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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.

And stay tuned for our serialized diary from 1920; the first post will appear on January 3rd!

*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.