Feb-Mar, 1872, excerpt from diary of Joseph Travis Fincher, which includes a community "house-raising" for Joseph's cotton gin, as well as his account of the birth of a daughter.
[Almost all of the people mentioned by JTF can be located in the 1870 Federal Census, Pike County, Georgia, between pages 180-190. In this transcription I have kept spelling and capitalization as it appears in the original diary; however, I added punctuation, emphases, and underlining to aid the reader. This excerpt begins on Monday, 26 February 1872. Notes in italics are provided to indicate some relationships.]
26 to day a fine day. fare & plesent. I have bin riding to day after hands to help rais gin house. I went to John Marshalls then a cross Graves old field. thir I found a Man lying down a sleepe. next was Joseph Marshal; he was gon to Griffin. the next house Marian Butler; he not at home. I met Robert Hambrick then on to Locket Gibsons ["Larkin" in the 1870 Census]; then Larance Gibsons; then W Martins; next Thomas Beckham; then Henry Legg; then W Langford; then Elec Lifsey. thir I saw Isaac Williams; then on to W D Mangham; then Taley King; then Hamp Neal; then Thomas Slade; then to John Lifseys; by Nats [Slade?]; then home at twelve o clock. Mr Baley got here at ten o clock smartly drinking. he don but little to day. had to change what he had done. he would not go to the house to diner, eat diner with Gibson. Harry preparing wood for the stove; Charley, Tilda, & Manda plowing; Elye and Edmond in thir part of the farm. [Harry Fincher, Eli Moreland, Manda Kindrick, Tilda Kindrick, Charley and Edmond were regular laborers on Joseph's farm.] Mother [Mary Perry Horne Fincher] and Mat [Martha Fincher, Joseph's daughter who always lived with his mother] here to day. Mat here to nite. after super I rode to Benns Adams. hiered him to work on gin house. on my way home I stop at W McDaniels [Joseph's son-in-law]; then home at half after ten o clock.
27 a butiful day, fare and plesent. My gin house rased to day. Mr James Harkes[?], Benjaman Lifsey, Thomas M Carter [Joseph's brother-in-law], Elias Cox, Br William [Joseph's younger brother, William Jonathan], Locket Gibson, William Gibson, Thomas Beckham, Wm Martin, Wm D Mangham, Thomas Slade, Wm Lasiter, Gorge Lankford: them was whites. now the Colored: Sam Swain, Charles Morland, Stephen Rucker, Tona Daniel, Charles Balard, Hamp Neal, Tala King, Nat Slade, Elye Morland, Edmond, William Slade, Dave Mitchel, Madison Adams: Colard. 25 in all [I count 26]. those ar the hands hope [helped] me rais My gin house. those was the womin present taken diner with us to day: Mother, Betta [wife of his son William Thomas], Elzer [Eliza, wife of his brother William Jonathan], two children; Betes two children; Louiser Carter [JTF's sister] and two children; Francis [daughter, Fannie McDaniel] and hir Child and Mat. twelve in all whites; both white and black Caroline Swain. all to gether 39. Charley, Tilda, & Manda plowing; Hary helping a bout the hous. wee have raised the gin house to day. Baley did not return to help to day.
28 Clowdy this morning. Comensed raining about nine o clock then slacked untill about four o clock in the evening. set in then prity heavy untill after eight. I went to griffin to day got home at eight o clock. gibson worked a wile on gin house. Charley, Tilda, & Manda plowed while not raining. Hary picking up. Elye and Edmond in thir own farms.
29 Clowdy in the morning. fared off in the evening. not very cold. I rode down to Benjamans Adams then got home at Eleven, then went to Zebulon after the Doctor. Elye & Tilda, harry, Charley haled [hawled] shingles. Manda cleaning out stables: Butlers & Rocks stables. Charley sick in the evening. Ben Adams Comensed work on gin house in the evening. Mother here to nite. Dr Willson here to nite. Br William & W Gibson working on gin house this evening.
Mar 1 Clowdy in the morning. comenced raining at one o clock and is still raining hard at this time and the wind blowing. it is now half after six oclock. the rain is falling fast and quite cold. I have don but litle today I hurt my back lifting at gin wheeal. I and Edmond haled four loads of rales and one load of poles and lade one side of new grown fence. hald one load of wood. nothing don after diner. Manda & Harry plowed before diner. Charley sick. Tilda washing. Elye helping John Lifsey role logs today. Marthas Baby Born this morning about one oclock [Martha Jane Brooks Fincher was Joseph's 2nd wife; Sarah Lillie was her 8th child and Joseph's 13th] I pade Dr. Willson $5.00 this morning before he left.
[In the margin Joseph wrote:] "Sarah Lilla birth day Born this morning"
2 it Comenced snowing last nite at twelve oclock. it was a heavy snow. quit snowing before day. it was still clowdy this morning, quite cold. the house tops covered with snow. the clowds has passed off and the snow all is melted. this evening is fare and prity cool. I have don but little to day my self. T J Barett had Cort [court] here to day. Edmond went to youg blods Mill to day. Cared 3 bushels corn for me 1½ of wheat. Elye cared Milindas dray home to day. Tilda bin washing. Charley, Manda, Harry cleaning out stables & cow stalls. Elye hope [helped] to clean out stables and cow stables. I hope William McDaniel make a plow stock this evening. Wm Mc taken diner with us to day all so Mat here at diner. Mother here to nite.
Sun 3 hazy clowds in the morning. fared off in the evening. I have bin at home all day; my folk all at home. Tom and Bety and 2 Children & William Mc & Fanna & 1 Child & Bud Beckham [married to JTF's oldest daughter Mary] & Mother here at diner. Joseph Carter & Leula Carter [neice & nephew] spent the evening with us. Luiser Carter call in a fiew minets in passing.