John T. Bressler Postcard to Grandson

jtb to gec pc 1926 picIn 1926 John Tannehill Bressler sailed on the S. S. Belgenland from the United States to Egypt with a few stops in between.  From Nice France he sent a postcard to his 10 year old grandson, George Claycomb.  I find it an interesting choice of cards – one featuring women in the gymnasium on board the ship.  Young George probably loved it.
jtb to gec pc 1926 message

March 9 – 1926
I have not had a letter from you but will write a card just the same.  Love to you all. 
Grand Pa


Albert Washburn to Erista Osborne

From Camp Douglas near Chicago, Illinois, Albert Washburn wrote a letter to Emma Osborne, who must have been a friend because he addresses her as ‘Em’ – rather casual for the day.  And the letter was written sometime between October 1861 when he joined the 55th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company G, and 15 January 1862 when he died of diphtheria.  He was just shy of his 20th birthday.
washburn p1

I’ve built this story from clues in the letter.  Known:  It was written by A. Washburn to Em and mentions Erista (and kept with other letters to Emma and Erista Osborne).  Known:  he’s in a company with a Capt. J. Clay.  Known:  In the 55th Illinois Infantry, Co. G, there is an Albert Washburn and a Capt. Joseph Clay.
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The Em he’s writing to is Emma Osborne, who in 1866 will marry Thomas C. Duncan of Chicago.  Erista is her younger sister.  I put Erista’s name in the title of this post erroneously – it should have been Emma.

Albert Washburn’s grave can be seen here.


The End: Grandpa’s Diaries

box with diariesThere are two entries in the 1911 diary for January 1912; there is no 1912 diary to my knowledge. 

Tuesday, January 2, 1912
Snow thawed a little today.  Rode up town after the mail this p.m.

January 16, 1912
The snow is partly off the ground now so stock can graze a little.  Covered the ground 28 days.

box label

The label on the metal box that holds Amos Claycomb’s diaries

These are the ledger entries for January through February which includes the sale of the remaining property in Texas.  

Jan 1912 LedgFeb 1912 LedgAmos was moving to Illinois in preparation for his marriage to Ruth Bressler.  They married in Wayne, Nebraska on June 15, 1912.
1912 ATC RB marriage

They set up household on a rented farm in Marengo, Illinois where their first child, John Bressler Claycomb, was born, April 12, 1913.  They later moved to Electric Park Corners in Sycamore, Illinois.  Their son, Frank Erwin Claycomb, was born in his grandfather’s (Frank Erwin Claycomb) house in Sycamore on February 2, 1915.  The family then moved to Ruth’s hometown of Wayne, Nebraska.  George Edward Claycomb was born there December 4, 1916; Barbara Claycomb was born December 12, 1918 and Richard Townsend Claycomb was born October 19, 1922.

Amos Townsend Claycomb died in Wayne, December 29, 1958, age 72.
Ruth Bressler Claycomb died in Wayne also, October 29, 1972, age 86.
Both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Wayne, Nebraska.

Just a thought:  Grandpa Claycomb rarely wrote more than 2 or 3 lines, but he wrote each day about the everyday things.  He rarely told us how he felt or what his goals were, but we still learn a lot about his life.  I’ve had many people tell me how lucky I am to have my Grandfather’s diaries.  And I am lucky.  Wouldn’t most people want to have this glimpse into their grandparent’s life?  And yet, do we record the everyday things in our lives – maybe just 2 or 3 lines a day?  Yet, wouldn’t our grandchildren love to have that record of our lives?  Please consider keeping some form of diary.  It is a wonderful gift – in the keeping and in the sharing.


Lucia Marie Benfield & William G. Sturdivant

Lucia Marie Benfield and William G. Sturdivant announce their marriage on 23 October 1916 in Wilmette, Illinois.

benfield sturdivant announcement 1916 env

This is another example of a family document going down the ‘wrong’ branch of the family tree.  My grandfather’s third wife saved many family heirlooms that had come to her from our Duncan family.  She gave a box of things to my cousin and he generously gave me a box of papers.  Most of them are from the family of my great-grandfather’s brother’s wife (Emma Osborne Duncan) – some of her cousins.  Well, this is too distant a relative for us to keep these papers.  They need to go home.

benfield sturdivant announcement 1916

And I don’t know the connection of the Benfields and Sturdivants – maybe just friends of Emma’s family.  Someone out there must know these folks!  Please contact me.

There will be more posts with these ‘lost’ documents and letters.

Municipal Hospital Sycamore Illinois

sycamore hospital pcOn the back of this postcard Dad wrote “The front part of this hospital was Great Grandma Townsend’s Sycamore home – given to Sycamore for a hospital.  Located on Somonauk St.”
Great Grandma Townsend is Eleanor Pierce Townsend, wife of Amos Townsend.  Eleanor was born in 1839 in Neversink, New York.  All of her five children were born in DeKalb county, Illinois.  She died there 20 December 1904.

Amos Claycomb’s December 1911 Diary

On the 2nd the railroad paid damages for the fire started by a train in October.  Most of the month is busy selling off animals and supplies.

Friday, December 1, 1911
Drove home this p.m.

Saturday, December 2, 1911
Picked up maize heads all day with Norman.
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Sunday, December 3, 1911
Rode pony up after the mail this a.m. and over to Bushland after threshing help this p.m.
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Monday, December 4, 1911
Threshed maize this p.m. and got about 145 bushels.
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Tuesday, December 5, 1911
Finished threshing maize today getting a total of ___ bushels off of about 65 acres. [number not filled in]

Wednesday, December 6, 1911
Hauled some grain to Wil- this a.m. and helped Paine thresh after dinner.

Thursday, December 7, 1911
Helped Yeager thresh this a.m.  Gray started to haul kaffir this p.m.
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Friday, December 8, 1911
Cloudy and misty this p.m.  Helped Baldwin haul and stack feed this p.m. with Norman.

Saturday, December 9, 1911
Misty again this a.m. but helped Baldwin.  Picked up heads after dinner.
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Sunday, December 10, 1911
Rode pony over to Bush-  this a.m. and staid at Harker’s for dinner.

Monday, December 11, 1911
Arthur harrowed the plow plowing till noon and then double disced a small piece we did not get plowed.

Tuesday, December 12, 1911
Arthur harrowed and disced all day.  I went over to Bush- this p.m. and brought back Harker’s drill.
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Wednesday, December 13, 1911
Foggy with light snow today.
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Thursday, December 14, 1911
Worked around the barn all day.
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Friday, December 15, 1911
Arthur started drilling wheat this a.m.
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Saturday, December 16, 1911
Arthur drilled wheat all day.  Sold my mules today for $190.
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Sunday, December 17, 1911
Rode pony over to Bush- this a..m. and drove over to Faddis’ this p.m. after some wheat.
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Monday, December 18, 1911
Drizzling all day.  Too wet to drill.

Tuesday, December 19, 1911
Hard now last night and all day with north wind.

Wednesday, December 20, 1911
Snowed a little and drifted more today.  Sold Ballew all the rest of my cattle this a.m. for $325 – 6 yearling steers, 2 cows, 2 heifers and five calves.
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Thursday, December 21, 1911
Staid home all day.  Cloudy and melted very little.
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Friday, December 22, 1911
Rode up after the mail this a.m. and took three calves over to Ballew’s after dinner.  Sold 25 tons sorghum to Ballew today @ $5.
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Saturday, December 23, 1911
Took train to Am- today from Bush- and staid with Arthur Mc- tonight.
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Sunday, December 24, 1911
In Am- all day.  Came out home tonight.

Monday, December 25, 1911
Rode up after the mail this a.m. and staid home the rest of the day.  Misty all day.

Tuesday, December 26, 1911
Had to pull all the sucker rod of the wind-mill this a.m. and put in new leathers.  The upper joint of the rod was also broken.

Wednesday, December 27, 1911
Rode to Bush- this a.m. to take train to Amarillo but it was so late I came back home.
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Thursday, December 28, 1911
Rode up after the mail this a.m.  Norman killed his hogs today.

Friday, December 29, 1911
Rode after mail this a.m.  Cold norther most of the day.
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Saturday, December 30, 1911
Nothing doing.
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Sunday, December 31, 1911
Rode over to Harker’s this p.m. and staid there a few hours.

Dad’s First Driver’s License 1931

FEC drivers licenseMy brother has as much stuff to sort through as I do.  It is overwhelming sometimes and often a joy.  Here’s his contribution this week.
FEC drivers license revTom  found it difficult to believe it was Dad’s license since no violations were indicated.  Or maybe he’s remembering his own youth.

Amos Claycomb’s November 1911 Diary

On the 17th Amos sells 100 tons of grain – doesn’t that seem like a lot?  I’ve double-checked his entry and that’s what it says.  But I don’t find an entry in the ledger for the $400 that he should have gotten.  Maybe there was some trading going on here.

Wednesday, November 1, 1911
Started to shock feed this morning but a norther with rain came up and stopped us.  It rained, sleeted and snowed all day.

Thursday, November 2, 1911
Snowed last night and most of the time today and has turned off cold tonight with 3-4 inches of snow on the level.  Rode pony up after the mail this p.m.

Friday, November 3, 1911
Cloudy all day and drizzled part of the time but warm enough to melt part of the snow.  Drove over to Bushland and stayed at Harker’s all day.

Saturday, November 4, 1911
Clear most of the day and most of the snow has melted.  Mended grain sacks with Norman for a while this p.m. and then rode pony up after the mail.

Sunday, November 5, 1911
Rained a little last night but cleared off this forenoon.  Rode pony over to Yeager’s this morning and brought back a calf I bought of him.
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Monday, November 6, 1911
Arthur and I picked up heads for a while this a.m. and then started to shock the maize which has been on the ground through the three snow storms and is beginning to mold on the under side of the bundles.
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Tuesday, November 7, 1911
Finished the maize this p.m. and shocked kaffir for a while just before night.

Wednesday, November 8, 1911
Shocked kaffir all day.

Thursday, November 9, 1911
Shocked kaffir till noon.  I finished cutting the 2+ acres of kaffir left standing this afternoon and Arthur picked up maize heads.

Friday, November 10, 1911
Hauled a couple of loads of feed up to the barn this a.m. and picked up maize heads this p.m.
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Saturday, November 11, 1911
Took train to Amarillo this noon and came back tonight.  Brought back my riding boots which I had made by McLaughlin.  A strong south-west wind blew till nearly noon and its then switched to the north and got so cold that it is freezing hard tonight.
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Sunday, November 12, 1911
Staid around the house most of the day.  Clear and cold this morning but it warmed up a little during the day.

Monday, November 13, 1911
Picked up maize heads today.

Tuesday, November 14, 1911
Arthur picked up heads all day.  I rode pony over to the Gray ranch this a.m. and picked up heads after dinner.

Wednesday, November 15, 1911
Started to haul sorghum and stack it in the stack yard this morning.

Thursday, November 16, 1911
Stacked sorghum this a.m. but picked up heads this p.m. on account of the wind.

Friday, November 17, 1911
Stacked sorghum all  day.  Sold 100 tons of  kaffir and maize to Mr. Gray this p.m. at $4 a ton in the field.

Saturday, November 18, 1911
Stacked sorghum all day.  Drove up town just before supper to send a telegram concerning a land trade.
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Sunday, November 19, 1911
Rode pony over to Bushland this a.m. to engage help for threshing.
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Monday, November 20, 1911
Hauled and stacked maize all day.  Finished out sorghum stack this a.m. making total of about 35 tons.

Tuesday, November 21, 1911
Hauled and stacked maize all day.

Wednesday, November 22, 1911
Hauled and stacked maize this a.m.  Arthur picked up heads this a.m. while I rode around the country getting help to thresh.

Thursday, November 23, 1911
Hauled and stacked maize most of the day.

Friday, November 24, 1911
Men came this morning ready to help thresh but the machine did not show up and the men helped me finish stacking my maize and they hauled up three loads of kaffir which I stacked.

Saturday, November 25, 1911
Started to thresh my kaffir this a.m. but the machine gave trouble all day and we only threshed about75 bushels off of about 10 acres.

Sunday, November 26, 1911
Sold the rest of my kaffir in the field to Ballew today at $3.50 and $4 a ton and then rode down to the Gray ranch and sold some more maize @ $4.  Then rode pony over to Bush- after some help.

Monday, November 27, 1911
Norther with drifting snow started last night.  Snow lasted till about noon and the wind all day.  Drove pony up town this p.m.
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Tuesday, November 28, 1911
Hard norther all day and staid home.

Wednesday, November 29, 1911
Drove team to Wildorado this a.m. and brought back a load of coal.  Drove pony to Amarillo this p.m. and staid at the Amarillo hotel tonight.

Thursday, November 30, 1911
Ate dinner at the McKnight’s.  Went to the Elk’s formal dance tonight with Bess Wheatly.  Cabbed with Bill Monning and Miss Gallagher.
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