Friday, December 05, 2008

THE BOOK! 1876 Westbrook Diaries

This was an exciting project for me. Last spring a diary of a teenage boy was discovered written in 1876 in the back of a ledger from a store in Dingman’s Ferry, PA.
The ledger itself dates to the 1830’s and records accounts of local people buying sugar, fabric, sundries, coffee and spirits. His brother’s much shorter diary was in a little booklet with the ledger.

It was so interesting to see what life was like for teenage boys (13 and 16) in the Poconos of Northeast Pennsylvania - - in their own words. Two brothers start off the new year writing diaries - - probably their mother’s idea for improving their spelling and writing skills. One boy fades out after a few months, but the other keeps at it for most of a year. Seasonal work - - logging, plowing, harvesting, removing rocks from the farm’s fields, hunting and fishing keep them busy as the year progresses. They work with teams of oxen, horses and mules.

The boys’ father runs an inn, a lumber operation and sawmill as well as the family farm.
Important people - - historic names in the history of Pike and Wayne County - - and names of the oldest families here pass through the pages of the boys’ diaries.

The boys lived about three miles from where we live today and were often sent here to fetch my husband’s relative to preach on Sunday. It took me months to get it all transcribed and then to find illustrations for it. Some of the illustrations come from book for children from 1847.

106 pages. 6” x 9” illustrated paperback. 2008 $14 free shipping
Available here or by contacting us directly hatton at ptd dot net


Blogger ~ Phyllis ~ said...

Sounds like a really interesting diary.

11:45 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I didn't get to see that yesterday but I want a copy. Can I pick it up on the 19th while there? My mom's father was adopted. His adopted mother was a DeWitt that lived over that way so it would be interesting to see if there is anything about them. We have my g-ma's ledger's from when they owned a store in town. It is interesting watching a families purchases change over time...and the prices!

10:32 AM  
Blogger cyndy said...

I loved reading this book, and it will make a fine gift for my mother (she loves history).

Amazing to read the difference in what life was like for a teenage boy (then and now)--so interesting to see what they spent their time doing.

Thanks for transcribing it and making it available!

8:17 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

What a great find!!! I will be buying this book and can't wait to order! I am a descendent of Westbrooks from what I have found so far along with a few other Pike Co. Families that have settled over many years. I'm hoping to see some other surnames that weren't mentioned. Thanks for taking out the time to transcribe and share with the rest of us.


1:37 PM  

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