20 November 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 3

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.

Sunday, Oct. 3d. [1897]

I didn't feel well enough to go to church today. Indeed, I spent most of the day in bed.
About three o'clock "the old bachelors began to roll in" as Forest said, so I had to bestir myself, arise from my repose and make myself presentable.
The first was Mr. Frazee.  He is about forty.  He talks very well, and I enjoyed his call very much.
Before he left, I heard a knock and lo and behold another bachelor in company with his niece.  It was then about six. Mr. Frazee soon left, promising to come again.
The name of the second was Mr. Emmet Scott.  His niece's name is Pattie Scott.  They stayed until 9:30.  I hadn't laughed so much since I left home.  Mr. Scott is so funny.  We made friends very soon and he promised to take me skating in such a funny way.  I expect to have a good deal of fun with him.  He has nice horses and buggies too.  He was referring to "those same" during the evening.  I think I will have to be very nice to him.  He is very fond of pretty girls.  I don't know what he will do in my case as beauty is a minus quantity here.  I almost starved before they left as I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast.

Monday, Oct. 4th

I felt much better today.  My school work was hard though, and it was five o'clock before I left the schoolhouse.  There was a carpenter fixing the house today.
To my surprise and delight, I got two letters today -- one from Mamma, and the other from Herman.  I mailed one to him Sat. which he must have received today.  I was so glad to hear from him.  He is always the same dear old Herman.
Aunt Florence ironed my duck skirt for me today. I thought it was so nice of her.  I didn't know when I would get time to do it.

Tues. Oct. 5th

I was very tired when I got home from school, but after changing my dress, I felt much better.
Francis asked me to go to the percimmon [sic] tree with him, so I got on old George behind him, and away we went, Frances asking me every few minutes if I was "on", and I clutching him franticly [sic] around the waist as we went up hill and down.  We passed some beautiful little glens.  Our path was through a wooded pasture where the quiet was broken only by the snapping of the twigs under the horse's feet.  Once a squirrel crossed our path and ran up a tree a little distance away, peering at us first from one side of the tree and then from the other.
We reached the tree, and found a great many percimmons on the ground.
Having forgotten to bring a basket, we had to be content with eating enough for ourselves and those at home too.  When we were ready to come home, I tried to persuade Francis to carry a handful home in his hip pocket, but he very ungallantly declined.
We came home a different way from the one we had taken on our way out.  It was through the fields.  Francis got down to let down a rail fence; after grazing quietly for a while, George began to turn round.  I pulled on the rein, and he began to turn all the faster.  I was behind the saddle, and so did not have full control of my fiery steed.  To make a long story short, I slid off.  George -- blind in one eye -- became frightened at the display of girl and skirts coming down beside him, reared and if Francis had not caught the bridle just in time, would have stepped on me.  As it was, he backed off dragging Francis by the bridle.  Strange to say, I was neither hurt nor frightened.  Francis finished letting down the fence, and we went on our way rejoicing.  The next fence we had to go through, I slid forward into the saddle when Francis got down.  
It was dusk when we reached home.


OK, so she keeps mentioning her "duck skirt", right?  After much Googling and checking my OED, it seems that she means a rather plain, sturdy skirt, perhaps like this one

made out of "duck", which the OED defines as "a strong untwilled linen (or later, cotton) fabric, lighter and finer than canvas; used for small sails and men's (esp. sailors') outer clothing."


GrandmaToots said...

"...had to bestir myself..." that's the way Gramps would turn a phrase :-)

schupack said...

she's funny. "beauty is a minus quantity." and then it seems like she likes getting attention from men, while in the meantime is writing letters to the man she'll marry. i wonder if she knows she wants to marry him (have you read ahead?)

Jessie said...

I haven't read ahead, and I can't tell if she knows she will/wants to marry Herman yet. I have seen the one photo of her, and I must say, she is not ugly, but in the photo she was very... librarian. LOL. Very prim and with tiny eyeglasses.

I'm also now very curious about the bachelor and visiting culture of the time. It seems kind of like it's the duty of all the bachelors in town to make the rounds and keep the ladies entertained, whether they plan to court them or not! Maybe I'll do some research on this topic...

Kelly said...

Fascinating to read, Jessie! I was curious about the visiting culture too. The fact that she went out riding with a bachelor by herself seemed so odd compared to my idea of how things were back then.

Let us know what you find in your research!

Jessie said...

I think Francis might be a relative of hers -- perhaps a cousin. She mentions an "Aunt", but I don't know if that's technical or just a familiar form of address. I don't know anything about her family that isn't in my great-grandfather's direct line.