The Diary of Claudia-Mildred Vaughan
of Elizabeth City, N.C.
Transcribed and annotated by Emily Randall
My great-grandmother began her diary at the age of 14
May 12, 1882 -- I got down this morning just in time for breakfast, fed my chickens as usual, practiced my music and went to school, went through my regular lessons. After school went to Mr. Fowler's with Mamma to get three pairs of shoes. Brother left for Norfolk on the three o'clock train, I only wish he had gone for Bertie, I miss her so much. It has been cloudy all day and raining at times. My fourth hen this Spring has just commenced to hatch, and besides her I have three others setting. I hope to raise a great many chickens this summer. Papa pays me for them and I am saving up my money to get me some bracelets. I have now thirty-four little ones. Helen is having a little party out in the yard this evening.
Mr. Fowler: Samuel Fowler, merchant, father of 'Bird' and Mae Fowler-- Eva and Maggie
Mamma: Annie Mae Cluff Scott Vaughan
Brother: Frank Ellegood Vaughan, eldest brother
Bertie: Bertha Hamilton Vaughan, eldest sister, attending Norfolk College for Women
Papa: Francis William Sharpe Vaughan, attorney and inventor
Helen: Youngest daughter of the Martin family next door.
May 13 Saturday -- All of Aunt Mamie's family, Miss Eliza and Minnie, spent the day here today, there was a great deal about fixing the house and other little things to me today before they came, about half-past eleven and left sometime after dinner, and I think all spent a very pleasant day. My hen hatched ten chickens, but another hen killed them. I reckon I will take her off tomorrow. Some of Mr. Sheep's scholars have had a May picnic at the Armory today, they were to have it outdoors, but it rained and they were determined to have it, and so they had it in the Armory. Buddy returned from Norfolk today, he says Bertie is very homesick. I know I should not stay away from home as long as she has done, although I know it is for the best. We have had some beautiful roses this Spring, but they have stopped blooming now. Miss Bessie Martin is to be married to Mr. John Wood the first of next month, she is my Sunday school teacher and I love her dearly, I believe everybody does that knows her, she is so sweet.
Aunt Mamie: Mary Jane Pool Scott Wood, youngest sister of Annie Mae Vaughan and wife of Dr. Julian Wood
Miss Eliza and Minnie: Eliza Cook was a daughter of jeweler William Gregory Cook. Her niece Minnie (Camilla Cook Vaughan) was the daughter of Maurice Hamilton Vaughan, youngest brother of the elder Frank Vaughan.
Mr. Sheep: Samuel L. Sheep of Pennsylvania was the boys' schoolteacher. He boarded with a neighbor family.
Buddy: Nickname for Frank, her eldest brother
Miss Bessie Martin: Elizabeth Martin, next-door neighbor. Her mother, Elizabeth McMorine Martin was slightly related to the Vaughans. Hal calls her 'cousin' in later life.
Mr. John Wood: of Edenton. He does not appear to be related to Dr. Julian Wood. Yet.
May 15 Monday -- I didn't write in my diary yesterday because it was Sunday, although I don't reckon there is any harm in it. I thought I would do it today instead. After breakfast I went to Sunday school, Mr. Kiernan was gone to Convention, and so we had no church all day, it was very rainy anyhow and I stayed at home and read a book that Miss Bessie lent me, called "Home Influence," it is very pretty. Cousin Willie has been and stayed to dinner. This morning I got up and went down and took another hen off with eight (that makes forty-two). After that I went to school. Miss Blanche, Miss Ellen and Miss Bessie went over to judge whom out of both classes could do calisthenics well enough to do it at commencement. I came home at twelve o'clock to have Kent's and Annie's pictures taken. Sarah came here after dinner to get me to go with her to get a black hat, but could not get one like mine, and so she is going to wait until they come, after that we went to Mrs. Albertson's and played croquet with Miss Maggie, Ellen and Mr. Charles Johnson. After supper I commenced to write in my diary, and now I must stop and study my lessons.
Sarah: Sarah Morris, daughter of cousin Harriet Butler Morris, of whom we will learn more soon. Mildred and Sarah were close in age.
Mr. Kiernan: John Kiernan was the rector of Christ Church, Elizabeth City, from Feb. 1, 1875 to June 10, 1885.
Cousin Willie: William Bedell Murphy, whose mother was Sarah Mary Mathews Vaughan, sister of the elder Frank Vaughan.
Miss Maggie, Miss Bessie, Miss Blanche, Miss Ellen: The school's older girls, who helped to teach the younger children
Kent, Annie: William Kent Vaughan, Annie Almira Vaughan, Mildred's younger brother and sister
Mrs. Albertson: Margaret Albertson, a widow, mother of Maggie and Ellen..
May 16 -- I went to school as usual that morning and said my usual lessons. After school several of us larger girls went up to Mr. Cook's jewelry store to see if we saw anything suitable for to give Miss Bessie for a bridal present. There are two things and we are undecided which we will get. One is an ice pitcher, and the other is a pair of cake baskets. All of us like the ice pitcher best and it is just a dollar more than the cake baskets. After that I went to Aunt Jennie's to get Mamma some trimmings for Annie's dress, then I came home and studied my lessons so that I wouldn't have to study tonight. I want to put in here that I got my shoes on the fifth of May, so that I can see how long I keep them.
Mr. Cook: William G. Cook, watchmaker of Maryland, was linked by marriage to the Vaughan family in a dozen ways.
Aunt Jennie: Aunt Jennie Laboyteaux Scott, a milliner, was the wife of George John Musgrave Scott, youngest brother of Annie Mae Cluff Scott Vaughan.
May 17th -- We had a long letter from Bertie today. Miss Emmie Goodrich is very anxious for her to pay a visit when school closes. I do not think she will, as she has not been home since Christmas. As this is Wednesday, I went to prayers this afternoon and then to the water with Sarah.
May 18th -- I went with Mamma this morning to have Kent's and Annie's pictures taken again, as the others were not too good. I commenced a little society this afternoon, to teach the little girls to work on cardboard. The only ones present were Helen, Bessie, Kate and Mae Wood.
Mae Wood: Annie Mae Wood, young cousin, daughter of Aunt Mamie and Uncle Julian
May 20th -- I did not write in my diary last night, as I stayed all night at Aunt Mamie's. Yesterday evening the little children had a sort of little party over at the school house, as asked me to stay and play for them to dance, and so I did. I did not do anything particular today, and as Hal is waiting for this pen to copy his composition, I think I will stop for tonight.
Hal: Harold Cowper Vaughan, her younger brother and lifelong friend.
May 22nd -- Yesterday I went to Sunday School and afterwards to church. I went to Mrs. Charles' funeral at the Methodist church. This morning I went to school and when I came home Buddie had brought the badges he had printed for our school. They were red ribbon with "Laurel Creek Seminary" printed on them in gilt letters, and are very pretty. After dinner Ned, Perch, and Hal took Sarah and myself out to cousin Pattie Morgan's, and we stayed for over an hour, racing about in the cotton fields, climbing the hay stack, looking at the chickens, etc. We had a splendid time, and got home sometime before night. She invited Sarah and myself to come there next Friday a week and stay until Saturday afternoon. Sue is going to stay at Mr. Elliot Whitehurst's, which is not far from there, and I think we will have a nice time if we go. I have two hens hatching now, one has ten chickens and one six, that makes fifty-eight.
Ned: Edward Martin, next-door neighbor, brother of Miss Bessie.
Perch: Percy Scott Vaughan, younger brother
Pattie Morgan, Elliot Whitehurst: Harold Cowper Vaughan wasn't sure in 1925, and your scribe is still trying to figure it out in 2006. Hal referred to Pattie and Elliott as his "half second cousins." Hal believed his great-grandmother, Sarah Chamberlin married a Mr. Whitehurst after the death of John Scott. The name is common in Camden County, with several occurences in Pasquotank. Hal thought Elliott Whitehurst and Pattie Morgan -- a close friend of his mother's -- were the children of this second marriage, but I think grandchildren is more likely. In the 1850 census Elliott and Martha are listed among the children of C.L. [Caleb Luton?] Whitehurst. In the 1880 census, Martha, called Pattie, is married to Robert Nixon Morgan and Elliott lives with them. Because these people are "in the country," "Mr. Whitehurst" could refer to Benjamin F. Whitehurst of the hamlet of Providence, in Pasquotank County, whose family in 1880 included sons Frederick and Caleb and daughters Julia and Martha (Lula and Mattie?). Benjamin Whitehurst was married to Lavinia, oldest daughter of C.L. Whitehurst.
May 23 -- Nothing particular happened today, and so I will not have much to write about tonight. We got the other badges this morning. This afternoon was the one for the little society to meet. No one was here but Annie and Mae Wood, but they did right much. Ned carried Sue and Lydia to ride this afternoon. I heard that the death of Lieutenant Walton was in the "Falcon" today. Today "The Daily Falcon" was issued for the first time in the morning. It came out after breakfast.
The Daily Falcon -- a newspaper produced by brother Frank Vaughan and his school chum Mac Griffin. The Falcon presages young Frank's career in journalism with the New York Star and the New York Herald.
May 24th -- This morning Miss Sophie brought the badges over, they were all fixed and look very pretty. After school I went over to the Albertson's and played croquet. In the middle of the first game the church bell rang, and so I went to church. I played croquet with Mary, Mattie, Allie, Annie Gaskins and Miss Mannie Forbes, who is staying at the Harney's on a visit. And then I went up to Aunt Jennie's to select a hat. I selected a leghorn, but I don't know whether I will take it yet or not.
The Harney's: The family of T. Selby Harney, who will marry Mildred's second cousin Harriet Mathews. Harriet's mother was a sister of the wife of William G. Cook.
May 25th -- I did my piece in the eloqution (sic) class today that I am to say at the commencement. It is a comic piece called "The Ship of Faith." I commenced to teach Tommie Wise to work on perforated board this afternoon. We had a hard shower of rain this afternoon, but it dried off very prettily.
Tommie Wise: probably 8-year-old Harriet T. Wise, a neighbor
May 26th Friday --This afternoon I went up to cousin Harriet's and found Sarah and Dick both sick. Sarah is having chills and I don't know what is the matter with Dick, but he is real sick; and then I went home and went to church. Mr. Ben Brothers' little girl died this morning with the diphtheria. Young Miss Sophie was sick today, and did not go over to school.
Cousin Harriet: Harriet Butler Morris, wife of David Morris, was the daughter of Mary Mathews Butler and a granddaughter of Samuel Mathews, who was the brother of of Sarah Gacey Mathews, grandmother of the elder Frank Vaughan. Sarah and Dick were her children.
Young Miss Sophie: Sophie Martin, sister of Ned and Bruce Martin. Not to be confused with her aunt Miss Sophie Martin, born 1798, headmistress of the academy.
May 29th Monday -- I did not write in here Saturday night, as I was very tired. Henrietta went to a picnic Saturday, and we had no house girl all day, and Sunday, neither her nor the cook was here, and of course Mamma had a great deal to do. I got my new hat Saturday, it is leghorn with a wide brim and pointed crown, it has a long white feather, and a large bow of white ribbon. Annie also got hers, it is trimmed in cream lace and daisies. Mamma got Bertie a brown linen dress today, and is going to make it and send it to her.
Henrietta: Henrietta Russell, the younger children's nurse.
May 30th -- Miss Sophie is going to have our session for the rest of this year. She commenced today, sets school at eight. Chills have commenced. Yesterday Annie and Hal had a chill and today, Percy and Archie had one. Today Kent had one and was right sick. Dick Morris is very sick and I believe Sarah is still having chills. I did not go anywhere this afternoon, but stayed home and read.
Archie: Archie Musgrave Vaughan, Mildred's youngest brother, 2 years old
May 31st Wednesday -- Today is Mamma's birthday. Bertie sent her a very pretty lace collar. This morning we went over to the opera house with Miss Sophie and went through calisthenics, and Jessie Lou and myself said our pieces that we are going to say at the commencement. After school I went to the water to get some shoes for Kent, and then I went up to Mrs. Cobb's for a geranium she had promised Mamma, and she also gave me a very nice book for my advertisement cards. I then went to cousin Harriet's to see how Dick was, and he was a little better. Then I came home and went to church, after church I went with Mary and Annie to collect some money for the Dime Society, and now I am very tired and must study my lessons.
Mama's birthday: Annie Scott Vaughan turned 44.
June 1st Thurs. -- Today is Bertie's birthday. She is seventeen. Today has been a very peculiar day, one minute the sun was shining and the next it was pouring down raining. We went to the Opera House today, and went through calisthenics, and I reckon we will continue to do so until the commencement. Kent has had his curls cut off this afternoon. They were real long and I hated to see them cut off, but I believe he looks better. If it is a pretty day tomorrow I expect to go in the country, and so will not write in here until Saturday anyway.
Kent was a few days short of his fifth birthday when he got his first haircut.
June 3 Saturday -- I went to the country yesterday evening. I went directly to Mr. Whitehurst's and stayed until about 9 o'clock, and then went to cousin Pattie's with Lula and Fred, and stayed until after breakfast this morning, then Fred carried Lula and myself about two miles and a half with the horse and buggy to get a croquet set, then we went to Mr. Whitehurst's and played part of a game of croquet, but it was so hot that we didn't finish. That was the first time I ever met Mrs. Whitehurst, and I liked her very much. After dinner we started back to Cousin Pattie's, and we met Percy, Hal and Ned, when we got some cherries and talked a while, and then went back to Mr. Whitehurst's and played a game of croquet and I came home with the boys and left Sue to come back tomorrow afternoon. Dick Morris died today very suddenly. He was much better and Cousin Harriet left him with the servant and went down to get her breakfast. Presently the servant called her and she went up there and he had fainted, and he scarcely came to again. I went up there this evening and saw him, he looked very unnatural. He will be buried tomorrow at half-past four o'clock.
Mr. Whitehurst: Benjamin Whitehurst? See note above.
June 6 Tues. -- I haven't written in here since Saturday. Dick Morris was buried Sunday at 12 o'clock. Cousin Harriet is very sad. Sarah wrote and asked me to come up there yesterday afternoon. I went and she helped to take the cards out of my old book, and cousin Harriet gave me the twenty-five that had belonged to Dick. This morning Mrs. Pool practiced with us the chorus that we are going to sing at the commencement. This afternoon I got seven different kinds of advertisement cards, and then I went to Ellen Albertson's and played croquet.
Sarah: Sarah Mathews Morris was 13 in 1882; her brother Dick was 11 when he died. Their mother Harriet was a widow.
Mrs. Pool: Probably Matilda Pool, whose son Cecil was organist for the church
Ellen Albertson: Ten-year-old daughter of Margaret Albertson.
June 9 Fri. -- I do not write in here as often as I did, because I do not find time. Mr. Forbs came Wednesday to marry Miss Bessie next Tuesday, he stayed to tea here last night. Mamma, Pappa and Buddy are at Aunt Mamie's to tea tonight, she expected Mr. Forbs but he couldn't go. I expect Mattie and Lula tomorrow, as they didn't come today.
Mr. Forbs: the Rev. Edward M. Forbes, formerly of Elizabeth City and later of Beaufort, N.C., is still remembered for his valiant action during the Civil War, when he met the commander of the Union Navy at the waterfront and asked that Elizabeth City be spared from destruction. His request was granted.
June 12, Mon. -- I went to church and Sunday School yesterday as usual. After school today Mamma and myself went over to Mrs. Martin's to see Miss Bessie's clothes and presents. She has splendid clothes and beautiful presents. Our school gave her a silver syrup pitcher and a silver plate. It cost eight dollars, and she has written a real sweet note of thanks. Sarah came down here this afternoon and helped me fix my cards in my book.
June 15, Thurs. -- Miss Bessie was married Tuesday at half-past twelve o'clock. She left on the three o'clock train for Canada. She will not be back until August, if then. I forgot to say all the bridal party were dressed in white dresses and white hats. Miss Sophie Martin and Miss Annie Wood were the only waiters that she had. I had a chill Monday and one Tuesday, and was sick all day yesterday. Miss Molly Shannon and Mr. Dobson were married last night. Miss Celia Grandy married Mr. Baxter secretly today, and then left for Newberne. Mr. Sheep's commencement comes off tomorrow night, I know it will be nice.
June 20, Tues. -- Mr. Sheep had his commencement Friday night, it was very nice, the calisthenics especially. We had no nurse Saturday nor Sunday. Lula and Mattie came Saturday and went back Sunday evening. Yesterday was the first time we have practiced regularly for our commencement, we went by the programme. I didn't go to school at all today, I went on a great many messages for Mamma. Mamma and Annie left on the three o'clock train this afternoon, and will not be back until Saturday, and will bring Bertie with her. Miss Blanche made her two beautiful bouquets to carry, one was pure white. I went to see Kate Albertson this afternoon, and like her very much.
Mamma and Annie: Annie Almira Vaughan, 7, was Mildred's youngest sister. Annie never married, but until her death in California in 1961, she traveled the world, often as a teacher, but also as a secretary, bookkeeper and volunteer.
Kate Albertson: Catherine Albertson, 14, was the daughter of former attorney general, now Judge John W. Albertson. The family had recently moved to Elizabeth City from Raleigh. Kate's brother John W. Albertson Jr. will marry Bertha Hamilton Vaughan in 1887.
June 21, Wed. -- I got up this morning and dressed Kent, and when the baby awoke, carried him to my room until Henrietta came. I had no trouble at all house keeping so far; the baby slept by Papa last night and didn't wake up at all. I took Archie and carried Kent to Aunt Mamie's this morning to spend the day. I brought Archie home and put him in a clean dress, and Henrietta carried him around then for a while. Brother left on the three o'clock train for Norfolk this afternoon. He went to the commencement, I do not know when he will be back. I carried Kent and Archie up to Cousin Harriet's this evening, and stopped a little while. I am now sitting by Archie's crib waiting for him to go to sleep, and I don't know how long I will have to wait.
June 22 Thurs. -- I couldn't go to school at all today as I was busy. Archie was not very well this afternoon, so I stayed home with him. Kent cut his finger and cried all the evening from it. Helen, Bessie, Kate and Mae Wood were here this evening, and I gave them lemonade and cake, and had a little party for them. The girls met me over at the school house this afternoon, and carried the poles for calisthenics. They were covered with bright pink calico and were right pretty.
Helen, Bessie, Kate and Mae Wood: All younger girls of the school. Annie Mae Wood was the daughter of Dr. Julian Wood and Mary Jane Pool Scott.
July 8 Sat. -- Bertie, Mamma and Annie came home the day that we expected them. Gus came out to the laying of the cornerstone the following Thursday and stayed until Saturday, and we also expect him again today. Papa put a prayer book in the cornerstone with Buddie's name in it. Our commencement passed off very nicely, there was not a single word of prompting. Aubrey and Mr. Emmerson came out Tuesday, the former stayed until Wednesday and the latter went back the same day. I haven't been well since school broke, I have had three chills this week.
Gus: Samuel Augustus Mathews Vaughan, an elder brother of Frank Vaughan, was former postmaster of Norfolk.
Laying of the cornerstone: for the new Pasquotank County court house
Aubrey: James Aubrey Nimmo Jr. was a grandson of Rebecca Ellegood, whose sister was Frank Vaughan's mother. His mother, Emily Dallam, was also related to the Vaughans by marriage.
Mr. Emmerson: John C. Emmerson, of Portsmouth, Va., friend of James Aubrey Nimmo Jr.
July 11, Mon. -- I had a chill last Monday and was right sick for two or three days. The Martins have all gone to Nags Head. Miss Bessie came home from her bridal tour Saturday on the train, and went right off to Nags Head. I expect to go to Portsmouth the first of next week and stay a month. Sarah Morris is going to stay two weeks. It has been very rainy and disagreeable all today, and as usual there was a very small congregation.
Feb. 7 -- It was been several months since I have written in here, and a great deal has happened since then, but I will try to put most of it in here by degrees. Sarah and I went to Portsmouth when I expected to and stayed four weeks. we both had a splendid time, and a very gay one, five or six boys would come around the house every night. I commenced school the first of October, Miss Sophie has now thirty-eight scholars, and the school room is almost full. We had a great many marriages here last fall, among them was cousin Hattie Mathews and Mr. Selby Harney, Minnie Vaughan and Mr. Willie Griffin, Mary McCabe and Mr. Henry Grice, Miss Eliza Albertson and Mr. Chandelor. Emmie writes me one week and I write her the next. Bertie goes to the college this year also, but this is her last year. I went to Portsmouth on the sixteenth of June and came back the twenty-third. I went down to Bertie's commencement. Bertie and Kate and Emmie came home with me and stayed four weeks. We all had a splendid time. We spent three days when they were here with the Ben Skinners, and on the eighteenth of July we went on an excursion to Nags Head on the "Shenandoah" and had a grand time, we left here a little bit after eight and got back at twelve. Emmie Vaughan has been staying here for a month attending the Normal School. Katie and Emmie left Saturday and we miss them dreadfully. Miss Sophie Martin died on the sixth of July after being in her bed for nine weeks, they carried her to Nags Head and there she died. Miss Sophie is almost crazy with grief, and all of the family are very much grieved. Mrs. Culpepper committed suicide this spring, she threw herself down the well after making two previous attempts, one of taking [illegible] and the other of trying to cut her throat. Miss Bessie Wood has a lovely baby named Sophie. Miss Mary Wood is visiting Aunt Mamie. Kent and Archie have just gotten well of the whooping cough, Kent had it dreadfully. Buddie has just returned from Press Convention, he has been to the springs and all about, he also stayed a few days in Hillsboro. Cousin Will is there now, he was sent for on account of his mother's bad health. Joe McCabe and Bob Simmons were here last night. Bird Fowler came for me to go to singing school yesterday evening, after singing we went to walk. Ben White joined me and Mort Commander joined Bird. This morning Emmie and myself went down to Uncle Jim's and haven't been home long.
Sarah: Sarah Morris.
Miss Sophie Martin, the younger, born 1833. The elder Miss Sophie, born in 1798, was the younger Miss Sophie's aunt.
Hattie Mathews: Mildred's second cousin, daughter of John McMorrine Mathews, Mildred's father's cousin and best friend as a youth; and Catherine Dallam Cook.
Minnie Vaughan: Camilla Cook Vaughan was a granddaughter of Maurice Hamilton Vaughan, Frank Vaughan's brother, and granddaughter of William Gregory Cook, the jeweler. She married William Joseph Griffin in Christ Church on October 25, 1882.
Miss Eliza Albertson: older sister of the croquet-playing Ellen. Daughters of Margaret Albertson.
Emmie Vaughan: Emily Mathews Vaughan was a daughter of Judge William Ellegood Vaughan, brother of the elder Frank Vaughan.
Emmie Nimmo: Daughter of the elder James Aubrey Nimmo and his wife Emily Dallam, whose mother's sister was the wife of William G. Cook. James Aubrey Nimmo was a cousin both to his own wife and to the elder Frank Vaughan.
Mrs. Culpepper: this unfortunate woman does not appear to be a relative.
Miss Mary Wood: Youngest sister of Dr. Julian Wood, visiting from Norfolk.
Cousin Will: William Bedell Murphy, son of the Rev. Joseph W. Murphy and Sarah Mary Mathews Vaughan, sister of the elder Frank Vaughan
Uncle Jim: James Nimmo Vaughan, brother of the elder Frank Vaughan
July 25 Weds -- I ravelled my lambrequin yesterday morning but did not finish it. Mattie Saunders came down yesterday to tell us goodbye, she is going to meet Miss Blanche in Raleigh and from there they are going to Hillsboro to meet Miss Carrie and from there they are going to Hickory to spend a month. After they come home I believe Mattie is going to the Baltimore Oriole, she seems to go wherever she pleases, and gets whatever she wants. Yesterday afternoon I went after Bird Fowler, she gave me some flowers, and went with me to the cemetery to put them on Miss Sophie's grave. We then walked along Road and Main streets, and then I came home. After supper we had a right big blow and a little rain.
Lambrequin: a valance for a window or shelf, typical ladies' fancy-work
Mattie Saunders and Minnie Vaughan (Camilla Cook Vaughan) are enumerated as nieces of Eliza P. Cook in the 1880 census. Mattie was the daughter of Mary Cook and L.K. "Link" Saunders; Minnie Cook Vaughan was the daughter of Camilla Cook and Maurice Hamilton Vaughan. Eliza, Mary and Camilla were all daughters of William Gregory Cook. It looks like the girls are boarding with their aunt while attending school.
July 26 -- Yesterday I finished ravelling my lambrequin, but when I put it up to the mantel it was about two inches short, so I had to piece it this morning. Percy and Charlie Pool carried Emmie Vaughan and myself out rowing. After supper Dr. White and Joe McCabe came and stayed until seven. I got a nice long letter from Emmie [Nimmo] today, telling me everything she had done since she left. Uncle George has a son, born yesterday.
Uncle George: George John Musgrave Scott, physician, was a brother of Annie Mae Scott Vaughan. His wife is Aunt Jennie, the milliner. The new son is George Musgrave Scott; Frank Vaughan Scott will arrive in 1887.
July 30, Mon. -- I went to a dance with Willie Underwood at Judge Albertson's Friday night. Mattie and Johnnie Leigh and Helen Smith are staying there, and it was given for them. Bird Fowler and myself went to call on them. Saturday Aunt Mamie's family and Miss Mary Wood took tea here, Mac Griffin was here Friday night. I finished putting my lambrequin up Saturday, and everybody thinks it is lovely. Buddie went to Nags Head Saturday and came back today. I went to walk yesterday evening. I went down to see Aunt Jennie's baby this morning. I think it is the largest baby I have ever seen. Miss Mary Wood went home Saturday very unexpectedly, she heard that her sister and mother were sick.
Mac Griffin: Younger brother of William Joseph Griffin, husband of Minnie Vaughan
August 10, Fri -- Buddie carried Emmie, Bertie and myself on an excursion to Nags Head day before yesterday. When we got nearly to the pier, the boat got on ground and could not be gotten off, so we had to go ashore in little sail boats. When we got to the hotel I met Mrs. Fowler and Bird and they asked me up to their room to fix a little. When I came down we all went over to the beach. As soon as we got over there we went to Mrs. Martin's and stayed about half an hour, they were all very sad there; when I came from there I met the Albertson family and ours, and we walked a little way down the beach, and then went back to the hotel, as we thought the boat was going to leave at six o'clock, but when we got there they said the boat wouldn't leave until the tide came in and that would probably be the next morning. They were dancing in the ball room and I danced one set with Enoch Shannon, then we all went back to the boat to get our supper. After supper we all went back and danced until twelve o'clock. I danced with Ben Weisel, Eddie Underwood and Frank Cook, and waltzed with Johnnie Leigh. After the ball room closed we went on the boat and by the merest chance got a state room. I slept all night except when I head the boat blow at four o'clock, I woke up. I dressed a little after six and went on deck, but it was so cold I could not stay, and I stayed in the saloon most of the time. It seemed a dreadfully long trip, but the only thing that marred my pleasure was that I know Mama was home by herself, and I knew she would be anxious. We got home about nine o'clock and everybody was glad to see us.
Ben Weisel: youngest son of Samuel Weisel, an immigrant from Bohemia, and merchant in Elizabeth City. Enoch Shannon was also the son of a merchant. The other two boys appear to be from elsewhere.
Frank Cook: a son of William Gregory Cook, therefore another cousin-by-marriage.
August 21 Tuesday -- Mrs. Ophelia Commander died last week, she left several little children. Mr. William Whidbee fell from his brother's upper porch last Monday and seriously if not fatally injured himself. Cousin Willie came back Saturday after spending a month with his Hillsboro relations.
Mrs. Ophelia Commander was the wife of physician Joseph Commander
Cousin Willie: William Ellegood Vaughan, brother of Emily Mathews Vaughan
August 30 -- William Whidbee died last week from wounds received. Mr. Walter Pool died Saturday, he died at the hotel, he would not be taken home during the whole of his illness. Mrs. Wadworth had a son born Friday, it is named after Mr. Wadsworth. Uncle Maurice is going to bring his family from Leonardtown [Md.] to Granville [County] to visit Aunt Sallie's father and mother, reckon he will come here either going or coming. I wrote to Emmie Nimmo yesterday and went shopping with Emmie [Vaughan] Tuesday. We also went to Mrs. Griffin's and Aunt Mamie's. Mrs. Martin came up Saturday, the young men brought her up I suppose. Mr. Willie Martin has been doing badly here lately. Brother went to Nags Head Monday a week ago and came back Saturday. Kent has had fever for a week, he has been real sick, he couldn't eat anything and couldn't sit up at all. I have been pasting advertisements in my book this morning and yesterday, I have about six hundred and fifty.
Aunt Sallie: Sarah Angelina Hamme, second wife of Maurice Hamilton Vaughan, brother of Frank Vaughan. He was rector of the Episcopal church in Leonardstown, Md. after his tenure in Elizabeth City.
Willie Martin: William Martin was an older son in the Martin family next door.
Sept. 11 Tuesday -- It is very rainy today. I wouldn't be surprised if we had a big storm. Emmie [Vaughan] left very unexpectedly Monday, she did not seem to want to go a bit. Hal went to Nags Head last Thursday. He went down with Mrs. Martin to stay with her. He had a very pressing invitation. They went down on a schooner, I know Hal is enjoying the stormy weather. I am very much afraid I will not be able to carry flowers to the cemetery this evening. I have not missed a Tuesday yet and I don't want to, for Miss Sophie was so kind to me at school, and I loved her so, that I thought I would try and keep flowers on her grave. Kent has been sick three weeks tomorrow and hasn't set up yet, but he is getting well rapidly. Cousin Dick Butler left some time ago to fill a situation in Halifax, he has not written to cousin Harriet but once, which was just after he got there and has not sent her any money. She is very uneasy. Bird Fowler has gone home after having a splendid time.
Dick Butler: Brother of Harriet Butler Morris, uncle of Sarah.
Oct. 6, Sat. -- It has been a long time since I have written in here, but I haven't had time. Hal stayed at Nags Head two weeks and had a splendid time, all the families on the beach from here came up then. Miss Sophie opened school on the twenty-fifth of September, she has twenty-two scholars. Minnie Griffin has a little boy, born Monday, October the first. He is a very pretty baby but very large. Miss Blanche and Mattie came home last Saturday, also Uncle Maurice, he left Wednesday. Helen Martin has been right sick two or three days. Mrs. Bessie Wood has been down here for a couple of weeks, her baby is a little beauty. It was reported here not long ago that it was dead.
Minnie Griffin: the former Camilla Cook Vaughan. William White Griffin was born October 1, 1883.
Nags Head Trip Brother took Bessie and myself down to Nags Head on the second of August, we stayed two weeks and had a splendid time. I went in the ball room every night, but did not dance the German the whole time I was there because I was not asked. There was a great deal of style and several pretty, as well as fast young ladies. The first week I was there I went with Kate and May Bell Berry [a girl from Baltimore] more than anyone else. I went bathing in the surf three times while I was down there, and enjoyed it ever so much. I spent one day over at the beach with Mrs. Martin and went bathing with Charlie, Mr. Willie Martin and the children. Lydia Partin, Annie Commander, Gracie Nichols and myself all went down to the "Fresh Ponds" in a horse cart, and enjoyed it ever so much. We came home on the steamer "Shenandoah" on the sixteenth of August. We got here at ten o'clock and Minnie Stumph arrived here on the twelve o'clock train, she has been with us ever since. Mattie Gaskins and Camilla Cook left today to go to boarding school at Hagarstown Md. Miss Sophie is going to be lady principal at the new Academy. I am very sorry to give up our old school.
Minnie Stumph is Mary G. Stumph, about 20, whose brother Walter will marry their second cousin Claudia Murphy in 1898. Claudia Lewis married Thomas G. Stumph of Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Malachi Lewis and Molly Mathews Ellegood, sister of Claudia Hamilton Ellegood, mother of the elder Frank Vaughan.
[There are no entries in 1884]
July 17, 1885 -- Emmie Nimmo has been out here a week or two. Tuesday last the Old Dominion Guards of Portsmouth and the Norfolk City Guards, which had been invited by the Pasquotank Rifles, of Elizabeth City, arrived here; they were met at the depot by the brass band and the company and escorted to the armory by the PR's in great state. After all the speeches had been made, the three companies adjourned to the Albemarle house, where dinner was served in grand style. The "Academy Clean Sweepers" (of which broom drill company I was the captain) waited on the tables. The next day the Pasquotank Rifles carried the two visiting companies to Nags Head for a big excursion on the "Shenandoah." Bertie, Emmie and myself all went with Uncle Jule. We had a splendid time and were introduced to several of the Portsmouth soldiers. Mr. Ashton was among them, and he stayed with us so much that Emmie gave him the nickname of "The Sticker." We spent the day with Aunt Mamie, who was keeping house on the beach; after dinner Emmie went to ride with Mac Griffin and was with him nearly all the rest of the evening until we got home.
Uncle Jule: Julian Wood, husband of Aunt Mamie, was captain of the Pasquotank Rifles
March 1 -- I haven't written in here for so long that I will have to go back a great many months, even before the last date. Two or three days after Christmas 1884, Bertie left for Baltimore to make Mary Mathews a visit. She stayed there about a month and then went to Washington, where she stayed three weeks; after having a splendid time in both places, she arrived here the last of February. On the last of February, 1885, Brother left Elizabeth City, as we thought, for a short visit to New York, but he studied stenography at the Packard Business College, and after he finished that he got a position as editor of "Gaskill's Penman's Gazette," where he has been ever since. Last June was my last commencement, the first day, besides calisthenics, dialogs and songs, we had the broom drill, of which I was captain. Herbert Murphy was here at the time, and he took me the second night, they had a drama called "Heroes of '76." We were all dressed in costumes to suit the age; Minnie Saunders dressed me. Two or three days after school closed, Emmie [Nimmo] came and we had a splendid time all the time she was here. We got several moonlight rows, we went mostly with Cam Melick and Will Underwood. Emmie was called home unexpectedly. Her brother [James Aubrey Nimmo Jr.] who had been in bad health for a long time, was worse and they were going to take him to the mountains, but it did him no good. He came home so much worse, and died the first week in December. They were all so grieved, for they were devoted to him, and although they knew it was best, they hated to give him up. I started school the middle of September and went until the first week in December. No one knows how I hated to stop, neither can I express it, but when I came out of the academy for the last time as a scholar, and walked home with Miss Sophie, as I nearly always did, I felt as if I was losing an old friend; but I have now by degrees gotten used to it, and don't mind it now. I have spent a very gay winter. On the twenty-third of September the Amateurs produced "Hidden Hand" on the stage for the benefit of the cemetery. Mae Fowler had the character of Capitola. On the twenty-fourth there was a Calico Ball, given at the Albemarle House, to which I went with Eddie Underwood. I wore a cherry-colored dress with black trimmings. Mary Mathews spent the next week with us. On Monday night I went to a little dance at Camilla Cook's, and on Saturday to one at the hotel with Joe McCabe. Wednesday of the same week several of "us girls" had a little sugar stew at the Albertson's. We told Tom Albertson to bring us some of the boys to get some candy. He did so and we had a very pleasant time. On the next Monday night I went to a big dance at the Albemarle House. I went with Cammie Melick and had a splendid time. On Wednesday of the same week, I went to a little dance at Mattie Guirkin's with Joe McCabe. A week or two afterwards, the Amateurs played "Among the Breakers." I acted as prompter. A week or so after this, there was a big dance at the hotel. I went with Cousin Will [Murphy] Soon after this the young folks took "Among the Breakers" to Edenton, and played it for the benefit of the church, we had a splendid time. I walked from the train to the hotel with Cammie Melick, and after a while we walked all over the place together. When we came back I went with Aunt Mamie to see Mrs. Carson (now Mrs. Ned Wood) After eating supper at the Bay View Hotel, we went to the Court House to prepare for the performance, which passed off splendidly. Coming home we ate lunch and had a nice time generally, Cammie walked home with me. There was a dance on the "Shenandoah" about two weeks ago, but I was not invited. Fanny Cook was married to Mr. Ferebee on the twenty-fourth of last month. She was married in a light brown cloth tailor-made suit, she looked very pretty, they left on the train for their home in Norfolk. Mary Mathews was married to Mr. Wisong of Baltimore on the twenty-seventh of the same month. She was married in her traveling suit of brown silk, white hat and gloves to match. She looked lovely, we all hated to see her go. After this marriage I went to the depot with Minnie Stumph, who had come out on the morning train to see Mary married. Mr. Reese from Portsmouth performed the ceremony. Cousin Claud Murphy is here, she is staying with Minnie Griffin now.
Mary Mathews: Daughter of Catherine Dallam Cook and John McMorine Mathews, and granddaughter of William G. Cook, who was originally from Maryland. She married William Wysong.
Brother: Frank Vaughan worked in journalism in New York state until his untimely death in 1915. Frank's example inspired his younger brother Harold to leave Elizabeth City to pursue a career in legal stenography in New York a few years later. Percy followed also, briefly, but returned to Elizabeth City, and later moved to Hampton, Va.
Herbert Murphy: George Herbert Murphy, son of the Rev. Joseph W. Murphy and his wife Sarah Mary Mathews Vaughan, sister of the elder Frank Vaughan, was a favorite cousin. Linguist and world traveler, he soon began a career in the U.S. Consular service. William Bedell Murphy, who also joined the consular service, was his older brother and Claud Murphy Stumph their sister.
Camden Melick: a neighbor and lifelong friend of Mildred's.
May 8 -- What will Emmie [Nimmo] and I be doing five years from today? Three weeks ago today, I arrived at this city of Portsmouth, and have been having a splendid time ever since. When I landed on the Portsmouth side, I found no one to meet me, but I knew the way up to Aunt Sarah's well, and so I had no trouble. The girls had gone over to Berkley to meet me, and got there a little too late. When I was coming from the boat I met John Emmerson, but I was not sure it was he, and he was not sure it was me, and so we walked all the way to Aunt Sarah's in that way, he a few steps behind me; and when we got to Aunt Sarah's steps and I saw that he was coming in, I stopped and we shook hands. That night, Alex Butt, Mr. Emmerson and Nash Bilisoly came around. The next day (Sunday) I walked to church with Emmerson Smith, and walked down on the point with him after church. In the afternoon I went to walk over to the Hospital with Emmie and Alex, at night there were several young gentlemen here. The next day, Katie [Nimmo], Amelia Buff and I went to Norfolk. We went up to Uncle Gus's and found none of the family but Uncle Gus at home. He is in dreadful health and is looking very badly. We then went to Cousin Nina's but found no one at all at home; that night and every night since we have been here we have had company, and last Sunday night there were nine here. Charlie Vaughan came over after me last Friday to go over and take lunch with Cousin Nina. I went and had a very pleasant day.
John Emmerson, Nash Bilisoly and Oscar Emmerson Smith were cousins, all grandsons of Capt. John Emmerson of Portsmouth, a colorful leading citizen of that town and one of its naval heroes during the War of 1812.
Aunt Sarah Sarah Nimmo Mathews was the widow of William Plume Mathews, a son of Samuel Mathews and grandson of Gen. Thomas Mathews. As the sister of Emmie's mother, she is Emmie's true aunt, and a cousin of Mildred's.
Alexander Butt and Emmie Nimmo will marry. Katie Nimmo is Emmie's younger sister; Amelia Buff is Aunt Sarah's next- door neighbor.
Uncle Gus: Samuel Augustus Mathews Vaughan, elder brother of the elder Frank Vaughan. He will die in August 1887.
Cousin Nina: Cornelia Hamilton Vaughan was a daughter of Uncle Gus and the wife of Robert S. Perkins. Charlie Vaughan was Nina's youngest brother.
June 15 -- I returned home from Portsmouth after a delightful visit on the twenty-ninth of May, bringing Katie [Nimmo] with me. While I was there, Charlie Vaughan took me over to Norfolk to see "The Lady of Lyons." After this play we went up to Uncle Gus's, and I spent the night with Cousin Claud. the next morning Charlie and I took a long walk, and then he walked down to the ferry wharf with me. On the eleventh of May I spent the night in Berkley with Annie Wood, I went to a festival for the church. Vernon Crump came over that night and brought me a postal from Cam Melick with, "What do you say?" on it. I suppose he wanted to know why I didn't answer his letter. The next morning I went back to Portsmouth in the pouring rain, and when I got there I found a postal from Cousin Nina asking me to go to the matinee with her to see the Stereoptican Views, but it rained so hard I couldn't go. On the twelfth of May I went with Charlie Warner to hear "The Chimes of Normandy;" the thirteenth, I went with Mr. Cutherell to hear "The Mikado," and the next night with John Emmerson to hear "Pinafore." I was very much pleased with them all, especially "The Mikado." Annie and I spent one day with Amelia. Amelia amused us in the afternoon by letting us read some of her love letters. At night I went to the Baptist church with Vernon Crump, and Amelia with David Watts, while Emmie stayed at home and entertained Alex. Vernon begged me to walk down to the point with him, but I thought I would go and finish the day at Amelia's. When we got there we found Mr. Norfleet, Mr. Reynolds, Alex Butt and Nash Bilisoly there. We all spent a very pleasant evening. The thirteenth of May was Memorial Day in Portsmouth. We had the most beautiful flowers and shapes, especially for Aubrey's grave, all the flowers on it were pure white. In the morning we went out to the farthest cemetery and dressed the graves, and in the evening we went out to the first one, to see the procession and hear the address. I went with Preston Denby and Emmie with Alex (of course). When I reached home I found a letter from Bird Fowler awaiting me. Kate was visiting Minnie Stumph in Washington while I was in Portsmouth. I went to a casino hop with Alex on the thirteenth of April. I danced everything that was played and had a splendid time. Coming home, Alex and I had a little confidential talk concerning Emmie, our sentiments correspond so well there. On the twenty-sixth of May I was invited to Mr. Reynold's twenty-first birthday party, but I didn't go. Vernon came around before he went to see if I hadn't changed my mind. I went to walk with Mr. Emmerson over to the Aggravator. The Sunday before I left I went to walk with John Emmerson in the afternoon, to church with him at night, and after church we walked down to the point and sat there some time. The Tuesday before I left in my last week, we got up early, and Emmie, Amelia, Alex and I went over to the Washington boat to meet Katie [Nimmo]; Alex went and got us some bananas, and we had quite a feast.
Cousin Claud: Claudia Martha Murphy, daughter of the Rev. Joseph W. Murphy and Sarah Mary Mathews Vaughan, a sister of Frank Vaughan. The Rev. Murphy was serving a church in Washington at the time.
Annie Wood: Youngest sister of Dr. Julian Wood and Mary Wood. Their father, Dr. William E. Wood, had moved the family from Currituck County, North Carolina to the Deep Creek area of Norfolk.
Aubrey: James Aubrey Nimmo, the brother of Emmie Nimmo who had died in June the previous year.
The Aggravator: Mildred's son Cloyd noted years later that The Aggravator was an ice cream saloon.
Aug 24, 1886 -- The Thursday before I returned home, Katie [Nimmo] and I went over to Norfolk to pay some visits. We went over to see Nannie Ferebee, besides my relations, and then went over to Berkley to see Mrs. Wood. We found that Annie was at Virginia Beach and that the others were going after dinner. They begged me to go with them and so we hurried home, ate our dinner, and got back to Norfolk in time to join them, we had a very pleasant trip down. I met Bruce Martin, who is conductor on the train, and he was very nice to us. When we arrived at Virginia Beach, after seeing the "Flag Drill," we took a walk down the beach, I with Annie, Miss Mary and Bruce Martin, and Katie with Mr. Wood. It rained very hard when we were coming home at night, but it cleared up by the time we reached Norfolk. When I got home, I found Nash, Alex, John and Joe Hatton there, and also a letter for me from home. The next day, my last day in Portsmouth, I shall never forget. In the morning I was finishing a tidy I was making for Mama. Miss Sue and Mrs. Russell came over to pay a right long visit, and Mr. Cutherell also came to tell me goodbye, as he was going in the country that afternoon, and wouldn't see me again. After he left Emmie and I went over to Norfolk to do some shopping, we were both in excellent spirits and had a gay time. In the afternoon Belle Brown and Ethel came to see me. Emmie and I excused ourselves and went to see Sallie Neville and Sallie Crump, and then went over to the hospital to join the rifle shooting, but it was so late that they had stopped, and so we all came home together. That night ... [half a page is torn away] ... started home, they begged me to stay, but as it was my last night I went home. The next morning Charlie Warner, Nash, Alex, John and Vernon were around to see me off. Sumner Butt sent me some lovely water lilies. Vernon, Alex and Mr. Nimmo went over to Berkley with Emmie and Amelia to see us off ... [other side of tear] ... I was sitting by a window when it commenced to rattle so, that I was sure that someone was shaking it. I sprang across the room and stood there nearly frightened to death, while every window in the house began to shake. I think a hundred things came into my head at once, but from the noise I thought it was a riot, and that they were breaking into our house; when the house began to rock so that I couldn't stand, Papa came down as he was, and everybody began to scream "Earth-quake!" I ran out of the house so much frightened that I had no idea what I was doing, but I stopped on the porch as the others did; Dr. Griggs was just going in home and didn't feel the shock at all. Joe McCabe and Charlie Martin, who were at Mrs. Martin's felt it as much as we did, and they came running out very much frightened and excited, and we all had quite a conversation about it. There were three shocks, the first was worse, it did no damage in the town. Bertie, who is in Portsmouth, was coming from the ice cream saloon with Minnie and John Emmerson, and didn't feel it at all. It was felt more in Raleigh than anywhere else in the state, a few chimneys were knocked down. Charlestown S.C. has been almost destroyed, houses knocked down, about sixty people killed, a great many wounded; no business can be carried on, the railroads and telegraph were shattered, and the people mostly homeless. For several nights people slept under tents made from bedclothing and anything they could find. Katie Nimmo stayed with us a month this summer and seemed to have a very nice time. The boys were very nice to her, Charlie Martin was expecially attentive. We were very much surprised one morning while Katie was here, to see Herbert Murphy march in. He stayed only a few hours, he came to tell us goodbye before he went to Germany. He is at Chemnitz, in Saxony, and has the position of consul's clerk. After Katie left, Eddie Stumph paid us a visit of two or three days. Uncle Jim [Vaughan] took me to Portsmouth on an excursion the first part of August; Katie, Preston Denby, Amelia and John Emmerson met me at the train, and I went over to Portsmouth with them. Emmie couldn't go to the train, but was on the look-out for me; everybody seemed very glad to see me. Mary Black was at Aunt Sarah's, and Mary Poindexter was at Amelia's. I went over to Nannie's to see little Belle, who was sick, and stopped in to speak to Mrs. Buff when I was going down to the train in the evening. I had a long talk with Katie about Charlie, and one with Emmie about herself and Alex, she told me they were really engaged, he gave her a beautiful watch on her birthday. Charlie Warner, Joe Hatton, John Emmerson, Nash Bilisoly and Vernon Crump came up to see me, and I saw Mr. Cutherell in Crump & Anderson's. Vernon, Mary B., Emmie and Katie went down to the train with me. I told them good-bye after I got on the car, and when I went to shake hands with Vernon, he took my ring off, and I haven't heard from him or the ring since. I went on the military excursion to Nags Head in July. Katie A[lbertson] and I went with Aunt Mamie and Mrs. Wadsworth, and enjoyed the trip ever so much, but it was a very unpleasant day at Nags Head. Coming home at night Katie was with John Mathews and I with Cam Melick all the time. Bertie has been in Portsmouth since the middle of August. She was looking very bad when she went, has gained five pounds. Mattie Saunders, Maud and Robert Walker took tea here last Thursday. After tea, Will and Eddie Underwood came to see me, and we had a very pleasant time. Friday, Maude and I went rowing with Willie and Eddie, Sunday night I went with Paul and Charlie to see Maude. Joe came to see me, but I wasn't at home.
Herbert Murphy: Consul George Herbert Murphy married Gertrude Schmidt of Chemnitz.
John Mathews: John McMorrine Mathews, born in 1868, was a brother of Katie and Harriet Mathews, children of John McMorine Mathews and Emily Dallam Cook.
Eddie Stumph: Edward G. Stumph, brother of Minnie and Walter
Mr. Wood: probably Charles Wood, older brother of Annie and Mary.
Nov. 11, 1886 -- Two weeks ago "The Ogdens" played three or four farces at the Opera House. I went one night with Eddie Underwood and enjoyed it very much. Minnie Griffin had a little girl born near the first of October, but it was born dead. Mrs. Bessie Wood had a son born last month, and it died, too. Mrs. Robinson has a lovely little girl, and Mrs. Blanche Temple has another little girl, I haven't seen it yet. Convention met here two weeks ago, only two ministers came, Mr. Elbon and Mr. Hilton. The Agricultural Fair began on the third of this month. I didn't go the first day, but went to the Opera House at night to hear "The Mikado," it was very good but not as good as the one I saw in Norfolk. After "The Mikado" we had an oyster supper in the Guild House for the benefit of the church, but only cleared five dollars. The next day Katie Nimmo, Amelia Buff and John Emmerson came out from Portsmouth on an excursion. We all went out to the Fair together. Charlie Martin joined Katie, and was with her the whole day. We went and sat in the grandstand and watch two or three races, and then waited for the much-talked-of Marriage, but we were very much disappointed when we did see it, for the couple were from the country, and none of us knew them. After the marriage we walked home and talked until dinner time, after dinner we talked until John had to go, as he was obliged to leave on the evening train. That evening Amelia went with Charlie Martin and I went with Joe McCabe to hear "The Chimes of Normandy," after the opera we went home and Katie and Paul Creecy joined us and we went up to the hotel to get some oysters. Friday morning Aunt Mamie lent the horse and buggy to us, and the girls took it by turns to ride. Paul Creecy sent around two boxes of candy and fruit; in the afternoon we went to walk and at night I went with Eddie Underwood and Amelia went with Joe to hear "Pinafore," and Charlie stayed home with Katie. Friday morning we expected Vernon Crump, and thought maybe Nannie Watts might come. We went to the train to meet them, but were disappointed. Saturday we went to ride in the morning and visited in the afternoon, at night Charlie came; Sunday we went to church in the morning, and in the afternoon Amelia and I went with Cousin Will to the Methodist church for a Temperance meeting, which we did not enjoy very much. At night, Charlie, Eddie, and Cam took me to our church; after church we went home and talked, and Joe, Mr. Albertson and Paul were there besides. Monday morning we had some visits, and in the afternoon, Bertie, Mattie, Kate and I went to the train with the girls. We hated to see them leave, but they could not stay longer. Monday night Percy and I went over to Maude Walker's. Tuesday I stayed at home all day. Yesterday walked over to the cottage with Uncle Jim. We climbed a fence to get some persimmons while Uncle Jim had gone to a house on business, but we couldn't get many. Today I went up to Dr. White's with Kate to have her teeth fixed and spent the whole morning there. This evening, Kate, Maud and I took a little walk, and tonight before I began to write I finished what I was reading, "Romola" by George Eliot. About three weeks ago Papa and Mamma received a letter from Brother, saying that he was engaged to Miss Adele Fisher. He sent us her picture some time ago. She is very pretty and I have no doubt very swell and nice, that is the second in the family. I often think how many changes have taken place in the past five years. Jane Reid has been very ill with haemorrhagic fever, she is not yet out of danger. Mrs. Bessie Wood has been very ill. They didn't think she would ever get well, but she is improving. Mattie Leigh was married to Mr. Cook Winslow in September.
Minnie Griffin: the former Camilla Cook Vaughan
Cousin Will: could be William Bedell Murphy, or more likely, William Vaughan
Uncle Jim: James Nimmo Vaughan, brother of the elder Frank Vaughan
the second in the family: Engagement. Her eldest sister Bertie is engaged to marry John W. Albertson. The wedding will take place December 28, 1887.
Dec. 30 1886 -- On Thanksgiving Day Minnie Stumph, Emmie Nimmo and Alex Butt came out here; that night the St. Catherine's Guild had a Doll Social, a doll was voted off to the prettiest little girl. They made fifty dollars and Ida Flora got the doll. Emmie, Minnie and I got up at six the next morning to see Alex off on the early train. Emmie and Minnie stayed three weeks and seemed to have a very nice time, the young gentlemen here were so nice to them. The Sunday before the girls left, Emmie had an engagement to church with Cam Melick at night, and I was going with Ed. Underwood. When the time for church came, they came not; we waited half an hour for them, and created a great deal of laughter among the choir when we walked in church so late without our beaux. After church was over they were standing in the vestibule waiting to go home with us, but we turned our heads away from them and wouldn't go with them. They were very angry with us, but wrote apologies explaining that they didn't know the hour for service had been changed. The next night the ladies guild had a social here, there were right many out. We had shadow pictures, statuary pictures and music. Emmie and Minnie returned home the following Thursday, I was so lonely without my darling old twin. The week before Christmas we were all very busy getting ready for it, dressing the church, making little presents, etc. Brother came home Christmas Eve, bringing with him a friend, Mr. Schmidt. We were delighted to see him, he stayed until New Year's. Mr. Schmidt returned Monday, we liked him so much. Christmas Eve night we had a very pretty tree in the church for the Sunday School children. Each child got a cornicopia of candy and a little present from the teacher, it was very pretty and they seemed to be very much pleased. Kate stayed to tea with me that night and we all went together. Xmas morning some of us got up at six o'clock and went to early communion, after that we went home, lighted the tree and gave the children their presents. After that we all went around blowing our horns until breakfast, got some more presents. Brother gave me $10, Mamma $1, Aunt Mamie a rhinestone pin, Miss Sophie a pair of kid gloves; Aunt Jennie a red cashmere shawl, Emmie a beautiful slipper-bag, Alex Butt a pair of bronze ornaments; John Emmerson a very handsome vase, Vernon Crump a large card, Sarah Morris a card, Gracie Pratt a red silk handkerchief. I carried Mr. Schmidt to see Bird and Mae Fowler in the afternoon, and at night we went to a surprise party at the Creecy's and had a very pleasant time. The next day (Sunday) dined with me, Brother dined with Mr. Lamb, Mac Griffin took tea here. Mr. S. and I called on Mattie Saunders. The following Wednesday there was a masquerade ball at the hotel. Eddie and Willie Underwood gave the supper. I went with Joe McCabe and had a splendid time. We couldn't tell boys from girls, we all wore black mother-hubbards. Friday night we were invited to the Fowler's to watch the old year out. I went with Willie Underwood, they had a very nice supper and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. New Year's night, Cam Melick, Will Underwood called; Tuesday the 4th Byrd and Willie returned to Swathmore, and Mattie went in to get her trousseau. It commenced to snow Friday evening, and by Saturday morning the snow was nearly a foot deep, deeper than it has been for several years; there has been right much sleighing. Last night Dr. White and Mr. Riddle called, Mary Wisong has a splendid boy, born December 3rd.
Mary Wisong: the former Mary Mathews, daughter of John McMorine Mathews and Catherine Dallam Cook. Her first son was called Kenneth.
Mch. 5 1887 -- Mattie Saunders was married to Dr. Thomas Leary on the 26th of January. She wore an imported dress, it was heliotrope cloth with hat to match, her waiters were Bertie, Misses Fanny Dukeheart, Mattie Shrie, Marcia Albertson, Annie Gaskins, Stella Bash, Agnes Weeks, Mae Fowler and myself. The groom's best man was Captain Tim O'Leary. She left on the three-o'clock train for Washington, where she stayed a week, and after another week in Baltimore she came back here for a few days before she went to Edenton, her future home, Everybody hated to give her up, she was universally liked.
On the second night of February, Kate Albertson left for a visit to Baltimore, the same night there was a masquerade ball here. I went with Charlie Martin, dressed as a butterfly. I wore a black and yellow dress with a great many butterflies on it. Charlie dressed as a character from "The Mikado." Maude Walker represented a Flower Girl. My foot was real sore and I danced on it and made it a great deal worse. For two weeks I couldn't wear a shoe, but had to keep my foot up on a chair even with my body all the time. Mr. Thomas, a friend of Brother's from New York, spent a day or two with us last month. He is an artist and very much of an oddity. Claud Stumph also spent two days with us. We moved into this house Friday the 26th February and left the old home, where we had lived for seventeen years, and the only house I have ever known. This house is very nice and convenient, and I expect we will like it very much after a while.
Mr. Walker has prayers now every day as it is Lent, a short sermon Wednesday and Friday. Kate returned last Tuesday, she stayed from Saturday to Tuesday in Portsmouth, and had a splendid time, as everybody has in Portsmouth. I had a letter from Delia Mattox a few days ago, and has been in the hospital in Baltimore for three months. She is much better now.
Mattie Saunders: The daughter of 'Link' Saunders and Mary Cook, a daughter of William G. Cook and Emily Murphy.
Fanny Dukeheart: A granddaughter of Mary Ann Murphy and Henry Van Arden Dukeheart. Mary Ann was the sister of Catherine Murphy Dallam and Emily Murphy Cook. Mary Ann was the grandmother of Newton D. Baker, secretary of war in the Wilson cabinet.
Marcia Albertson: sister of Bertie's fiance, John W. Albertson
Claud Stumph: sibling of Minnie, Edward and Walter.
March 11, 1887 -- Tuesday. I took tea and spent the night with Kate, and we talked until past one o'clock. Last Sunday, Kate, Maude and I started to walk together. Mr. Riddle joined Kate, Mr. Potter, Maude, and Mr. Vorhees, me; at night Paul Creecy was here. Monday afternoon I went horse back riding with Cam Melick, I rode a lovely little pony and enjoyed it ever so much. Last night was choir practice here. Charlie Martin wouldn't sing, so he and I sat and talked. This morning Maude and I went round to Kate's and we made some delicious chocolate drops for the Dime Society to sell. This afternoon we went to prayers. Mr. Walker had a short sermon on the Litany. After prayers, the Trio, as we three girls are called, took a very long walk. Mr. Albertson and Bertie are in the parlor now, Papa, Cousin Will and Percy playing dominoes in the dining room and the rest of us sitting in the sitting room. I had a letter from John Emmerson Tuesday, and one from Emmie Wednesday.
March 15, 1887 -- Tuesday 9 p.m. I have just finished a letter to John Emmerson. Went to prayers this evening as usual. Mrs. Walker is painting some lovely Easter eggs for the St. Catherine's Guild to sell. I got a letter from Mattie Leary, she seems to be supremely happy, but she says that she wishes so much she and Tom could live in Elizabeth City. Miss Bessie sent me a lovely picture of dear little Sophie a few days ago.
Sophie: First child of John G. Wood and Bessie Martin Wood, born 1883
Mch. 30 Wednesday -- Mattie Leary came down yesterday for a few days. I took a walk with Mr. Riddle Sunday, one always to be remembered by me. Mr. Walker has been real sick. Friday, a week ago, he fainted in church and hurt himself very badly. We had no service last week as it was Court Week and Mr. Griffin nor Judge Albertson could neither of them read [the service]. Old Mrs. Harney was buried yesterday, she was ninety-five years old.
June 14 -- Katie Nimmo came here Easter week and stayed with us a month. She is so bright and lively and we enjoyed her visit so much. Cousin Will left here for Germany about a month ago, we miss him very much. Percy has been in New York about two months. Sarah Morris is coming tomorrow to pay me a visit. the academy commencement is tomorrow night and Tuesday night; Katie and I are helping Miss Sophie for a week or two. Mrs. Speed died last Thursday and was buried Saturday. Minnie Bell and Charlie Pappendick walked down to Mr. Whitley's about two weeks ago, and were married without letting anybody know about it.
[The diary ends here. Mildred married John Emmerson in Christ Church, Elizabeth City, on November 22, 1888. The couple lived in Portsmouth, where John became a prominent businessman and quite wealthy. They brought up six children in a turreted house on High Street; my grandmother was the youngest. One day in 1923, his business failed. In what we might today call a midlife crisis, John left the family for a married woman, and then left her as well. He traveled the country a bit, tried life in the Caribbean, and finally settled down to work a small farm outside of Portsmouth. Mildred made her own way in life, returning to Elizabeth City and supporting herself by sewing. When her youngest children were on their own, she moved to Washington, where she worked as assistant to the director of a home for unwed mothers. She eventually retired to Portsmouth and died there in 1944. She and her former husband are buried together in Oak Grove Cemetery, as if nothing had ever happened.]
Questions, comments or corrections?
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
All letters will be answered
Back to Index