06 November 2011

May I Introduce You to My Great-Great Grandmother?

I was sorting through some things on my desk last night, and I realized that while I am in possession of my great-great grandmother's diaries, I have never read them.  What??  This is craziness.  As I started reading them, I thought about how interesting, and strange, and personal, and impersonal having something from an ancestor is.  I never knew her, but she is part of my story, and I was named after her.  I thought I'd share this strangeness with all of you, if that's okay.  I decided to transcribe the diaries as I read them and share them with you here, in installments.  [Edit: You can view the rest of the posts under the label Jessie Lyman's diary.But first, an introduction:


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.

[We have a portrait photo of Jessie Lyman, but it's tucked away in my parents' storage somewhere. Photos of her journals will have to suffice.]

Jessie Lyman
Sept. 26th, 1897

I have been in Columbia a month.  The time has passed very quickly, and, on the whole, very pleasantly.  In the week before my school began, I took several little pleasure-trips about the country.  On Monday morning Sept. 6th, at 8:30, I opened my first school.

Every thing passed off very pleasantly, but at four o'clock I was very glad to find that the boys had brought the road-wagon for me.

On Friday, Sept. 10th, I had to punish a little girl for disobedience.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.  Thus ended the first week.

In my second week I got the pupils quieted down to some extent.  I adopted a new remedy for subduing whispering.  I got some cotton bandages to tie up their mouths.  Three victims suffered from this punishment.  I have been afraid to try it much since, however, because it looks so funny I'm afraid to test my self-control.

We had a good rain that week and the weather was much pleasanter afterward.

The week beginning Sept. 20th was rather warm and the roads are becoming very dusty again.

I am getting affairs a little better arranged in my school.  It isn't a play-spell, however.

I had my first caller this week.  I was getting anxious to see a girl again.  This one was Imogene Scott.  I hope we will find each other congenial, as girls are few and far between, here.

I went to church this morning, and heard a very good sermon.  The day has been very warm and the roads are dusty.  A four-mile drive is rather tiresome.

I wish some of the bachelors who are said to abound in this country would call, and break the monotany [sic] this evening.  They are mostly of the species owning two-horse buggies.  

Monday, Sept. 27th, 1897.

It was a little cooler this morning and I got along with my room work very well, but for some reason I got started to school late.  I met Uncle Wallie and he took me over to the gravel in his buggy, so I got to the school house in plenty of time.

The day passed very pleasantly.  In the evening I began hem stitching a school handkerchief.  I am doing it more for practice than anything else.  I want to know how well by Christmas.

Tues. Sept. 28th

I had a rather hard day today.  It was 4:45 before I left the school house.

I overtook Forest at Uncle Wallie's and rode over behind him on his horse.  It was lots of fun.

I received a nice letter from Herman -- the first I have had for two weeks.

More to come...

In preparation to write this blog post, I finally got around to reading the short family history that my great-grandfather Conrad Eckert put together in 1978.  Some information attached to the back of that document (hopefully reliable), indicates that I have in my direct family lineage a knight from 1066, two kings of Scotland, and two ladies named Dorcas Plumb and Mindwell Pomeroy.  I'm not sure which of those things I'm most excited about.


schupack said...

i hope you post more of those! really interesting. she likes the word "pleasantly." so is it jessica, or just jessie?

Jessie said...

My given name is Jessica, but hers was Jessie. I'm not sure exactly how much I'm named after her and how much my parents just liked the name, ya know?

chasingmyhat said...

Awesome. I'm going to enjoy reading these posts!

Kelly said...

This is great! Keep posting!

Living Arete said...

This is absolutely wonderful! Posts from your great great grandmother’s diary are undoubtedly far more interesting than any other I have accidently found. Thanks for sharing.