Research: Diary Excerpts

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Written By: P1umtree
Date: 2002



Here are some direct quotes from diaries written by famous people. They come from The Book of American Diaries edited by Randall M. Miller and Linda Patterson Miller and published by Avon Books.


February 13, 1844

The meat train did not arrive this evening, and I gave Godel leave to kill our little dog, (Tlamath,) which he prepared in Indian fashion; scorching off the hair, and washing the skin with soap and snow. Shortly afterwards, the sleigh arrived with a supply of horse meat; and we had tonight an extraordinary dinner–pea soup, mule, and dog.

John C. Fremont


February 19, 1836

We are all in high spirits, though we are rather short of provisions, for men who have appetites that could digest anything but oppression; but no matter, we have a prospect of soon getting our bellies full of fighting, and that is victuals and drink to a patriot any day. We had a little sort of convivial party last evening: just about a dozen of us set to work, most patriotically, to see whether we could not get rid of that curse of the land, whisky, and we made considerable progress; but my poor friend, Thimblerig, got sewed up just about as tight as the eyelet-hole in a lady’s corset, and a little tighter too, I reckon; for when he went to bed he called for a bootjack, which was brought to him, and he bent down on his hands and knees, and very gravely pulled off his hat with it, for the darned critter was so thoroughly swiped that he didn’t know his head from his heels. But this wasn’t all the folly he committed; he pulled off his coat and laid it on the bed, and then hung himself over the back of a chair. . . .Seeing the poor fellow completely used up, I carried him to bed.

Davy Crockett

June 15, 1854 Went with Miss Dora Howells to the court house to hear Mrs. Gage lecture on womens rights. She is a woman of a good deal of talent–an easy fluent, & rather impressive speaker, but a little too ornate. She uttered some truths upon the subject of female education, but her leading idea, a change of places & pursuits between men & women is an absurdity. . . . I couldn’t help asking myself, & shrinking from the question, how I would like to see mother, sister or wife make such an exhibition. It is too great a violation of my instincts of female decorum & delicacy to admit of any enjoyment. . . . If women must lecture I prefer to patronize good curtain lectures, & think them far less offensive and injurious than these public displays. Orville Browning

June 16, 1849 When the train started Brewster and I went back to the hunting ground to search for the lost pistol and blanket. Hunted for more than 3 hours in vain, then set out to overtake the train. . . . The sun was hot, the road dusty and the wind blew almost a tornado. It was impossible to keep my hat on. I had to walk bent against the wind to keep from being blown off the trail. It was hard walking, and as it was over a dreary sand waste without water, we suffered such thirst that we had to drink out of a muddy stagnant pool. We overtook the train at 1:15 p.m., encamped on a high table land above the river bottom . . . . Once at home, as the camp really seemed to be, we prepared a good drink of lemonade to quench our thirst, and regaled ourselves on a dish of pinola mush and molasses, hard bread, cold coffee and buffalo steak. The train had traveled 12 miles. Bernard J. Reid

June 20, 1849 Just before leaving the hollow and entering the valley of the North Fork, I was behind the train reading some names on trees, when a very fine looking Indian came across the hollow towards me on a dun pony. He was naked down to the waist and his long black hair was plaited in a queue behind. He was armed with bow and arrows and spear. Could talk no English. We shook hands and made signs, but to little purpose. He rode and moved with dignity and agility. Soon Francisco came up and tried to talk to him but could not except by signs. Soon leaving us he started up the precipitous bluffs, which his pony climbed like a mountain goat. Bernard J. Reid

June 22, 1842 Proceeding up the valley, objects were seen on the opposite hills, which disappeared before a glass could be brought to bear upon them. A man, who was a short distance in the rear, came spurring up in great haste, shouting Indians! Indians! He had been near enough to see and count them, according to his report, and had made out twenty-seven. I immediately halted; arms were examined and put in order; the usual preparations made; and Kit Carson, springing upon one of the hunting horses, crossed the river, and galloped off into the opposite prairies, to obtain some certain intelligence of their movements. Mounted on a fine horse, without a saddle, and scouring bareheaded over the prairies, Kit was one of the finest pictures of a horseman I have ever seen. A short time enabled him to discover that the Indian war party of twenty-seven consisted of six elk, who had been grazing curiously at our caravan as it passed by and were now scampering off at full speed. This was our first alarm, and its excitement broke agreeably on the monotony of the day. John C. Fremont

Lori Soard started Word Museum in 1997. She’s a published author and has written thousands of articles over the years for newspapers, magazines and online. She has a PhD in Journalism and lives in Southern Indiana with her husband. They have two grown daughters, both animal lovers their house is always filled with pets.

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