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1882/83 Diary of Sadie Parsons of Canton, Schoolteacher
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Diary of Sarah “Sadie” Parsons of Canton, PA
Born 29 April 1864, the daughter of Horatio and Fanny Locke Parsons.
Sadie graduated from Canton High School in 1881.
Transcribed by Don Stanton

Sadie later taught in San Bernardino, California and was a long time librarian at the Canton Library. She never married.

At Home 11:30 A.M. Sunday, Mar. 26, 1882
Friday I sent a note to Mr. Job Crandall of Grover asking him for a school to teach. He replied to it by coming to see me yesterday and engaging me to teach the mountain school in the Voorhis district. He said he thought I would get $14 per month and my board for a two months school to begin the first of May.
I shall attend school here until after the Teacher’s Examination, which is on the 8th of April, and then devote my time to sewing and increasing my scanty wardrobe.

At my School House, South Mountain, Voorhis District, 10:35 A.M., Monday, May 15, 1882 – I have sadly neglected this poor journal of late. Here I have been teaching school for the last two weeks and have not even opened it before. I wish I were at home where I was when I wrote the opposite page there, but, “If wishes were horse then beggars might ride,” and I am certain that I shall appreciate home if ever I get there, but then I am not home sick and I would be angry, if any one should tell me I was. I like my school here very much and this morning I had two new scholars so that there are now thirteen names on my roll, and I am certain of at least one more scholar before long. I boarded at Mr. David Barnes’ the first week and I have my trunk there. I was at Warren Voohis’ last week and this week I go to Mr. Allyn’s. My scholars are all good to mind and I am much attached to them already. At noon I will write in this again.

At my School House, 12:35 P.M. Monday, May 15, 1882 – I never have had occasion before to make two entries in one day but I feel like writing now and so I mean to improve the opportunity.. It rained every day last week and on Saturday and Sunday the rain fell steadily, so I spent a very quiet week. I have tried my best to interest myself and scholars in the work before us and think I have in a measure succeeded. Mr. Barnes is trying to persuade me to teach up here next winter, and says that if I will only say the word I shall have the school. He is building a new house and says he wants to have me come this winter so that he can have a chance to keep me better than he can this summer. I would like to teach here but it is so dreadfully cold up here now that I don’t believe I could live here in the winter time and then my School House is a log one and you could almost see through it any where. Mr. B is particularly interested because he intends to send his two boys, one of whom is about a month younger than I am. My oldest boy now is only 13 yrs old, but if Charley Barnes comes to school to me he will mind me in every thing and there will be no fooling about it either. His father says he thinks I would be just the one to manage him and make him learn. I have not felt very well for the past week and I don’t know how long I shall keep up without going home. I am very much in hopes that I shall get home next Saturday but I may be disappointed in it and if I am I shall really feel like lying down and “whining” as one of my little boys would say. My School House is right in the woods, that is to say there are woods on both sides, and behind it, and the road runs in front of it. It is about half a mile from here to Mr. Barnes’ house and I have to go nearly two miles to get to one of the houses.

At my School House, 12:40 P.M., Wednesday, May 17, 1882 – I am feeling rather “manger” today and find it anything but pleasant to keep good natured, but I have kept up manfully so far. I get up at 5:30 A.M. every morning and this morning I was through my breakfast and had my bed made at 7:00. I started right off for Mr. Barnes’ and got there at 7:30 just as they were eating their breakfast. I changed my dress and got some things out of my trunk and was back at Mr. “Bill” Allen’s at 8:15. Last night Marnie Allen wanted to sleep with me and I could not rest for she was right in the middle of the bed so I was awake every few minutes. Yesterday morning I found about a half dozen big fat bed-bugs in the bed and I kept thinking about them all night. Mr. Barnes is going to Canton today and he said he would go to our house and tell Mother how I was acting around here.

At Mr. Barnes, 8:10 P.M. Sunday, June 18, 1882 – I think I have neglected my journal all together too long, for I might have made many interesting and rather ridiculous entries if only I had had the time. I have been home three times since I made my last entry. The first time was just three weeks after I came up here. Father sent up word that he was coming after me and then he was taken sick and could not come. I felt pretty home-sick when I found that I wasn’t likely to get home and I believe I cried just a wee bit. The end of it all was that Charley Barnes hitched up their horses and took me home. We got there about 9:00 P.M. and Charley stayed at our house about an hour and then started back. On the next day I worked awfully hard. Mother did my three weeks washing and I went down town. After dinner I did my ironing and about 4:00 P.M. Aunt Mary, Uncle Thomas and Cousin John Howard came. Of course I was delighted to see them, especially Uncle Tom and John. I spent a very pleasant evening with them and the next day I expected to come back up here but they would not hear to this and so I had to consent to stay until Monday morning. Then James brought me up and left me all safe at about eight o’clock. I took a long walk with Cousin John on Sunday P.M. and I never enjoyed anything better than I did this walk. He is the most perfect gentleman I ever met and, “so cheerful and yet so sad” that I really loved him. The next Friday night I was very much surprised to see Bob VanSyckel, Belle Dartt and Nono Moody with a nice carriage come after me. I of course went home with them and the next P.M. I came up to Grover on the cars and intended to walk up the mountain but when I got off the train it was raining “awfully” hard and I had no umbrella or rubbers.

At Mrs. Bill Allyn’s, 5:15 P.M., Monday June 19, 1882 – Last evening I got so sleepy that I could not finish my entry and so I put up the book and went to bed but I will finish it now and that will do just as well. When I got off the cars at Grover it was raining and I turned around and went into “Johnny Wright’s” Store. There I found Warren Voorhis and I was glad enough to see at least one familiar face in that crowd for did not know anyone in Grover at all. He said that if I would he could get me a chance to ride as far as Merrick Crandall’s on a bark rigging that would be along in about half an hour. Of course I could do no better than accept his offer and so I stood up on that rigging with three men, two of whom were strangers to me, and rode through Grover with the horses running and the rain pouring down in torrents while all the Grover folks looked and probably laughed. I had Mr. V’s umbrella and so managed to keep my hat partially dry but everything I had on in the shape of clothing was wet through and through. Going through Grover we saw Charley Barnes and he said he would stop for me up to Crandall’s. When he came up he had his sister Maggie and a girl by the name of Frank Shank in the buggy. He got out and gave me his seat and he and his father walked up. The next day, Sunday, May 28, Maggie and Frank went to Grover with Mr. B and got wet again. In the afternoon I met for the first time, Katie Ryan and Mary Dwyre. Kate is the same age as Mary Barnes, (13 yrs) and has very red curly hair. She is a pretty, bright girl. The next Friday, (June 2) I had the children speak pieces and there were quite a good many came to hear them. That night Frank Shank, May, Jennie and Charles went over to Ryan’s and I staid at home with Maggie Barnes. Sunday P.M. June 4, I met for the first time Mick Ryan and Julia Dwyre. Mick is a young Irish man about 25 years old and was the first good looking fellow with nice clothes on that I had seen since I came on to the mountain. He was splendid company and I spent a very pleasant afternoon swinging and talking. I managed to get Frank S. so mad at me that she would hardly speak to me at all. I guess she thought that Mick neglected her. Henry House, Burdette Barnes and Perry Barnes staid there Saturday night and were there all day Sunday. About dusk Mick and Julia started for home and we went about a mile with them. Mick walked with me and kept up a lively chat leaving Frank to go with Charley. When we left that night we all went over to Mr. John Elliott’s and there I met him and his brother Bert. When we came home we got along as far as Mr. Allyn’s and Perry B had the imprudence to step up beside of me. I told him that I guessed there was plenty of room in the road and he could go where he pleased. This of course pleased the rest of the party and in less than a week the story was clear to Wheelerville that I had given Perry the mitten. Of course I would never have been so rude but that he never had been introduced to me and I had never spoken a word to him before. The next Friday night after school May B and I went over to Ryan’s and there I met Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and Mike Dwyre. Mike is about 23 and a perfect gawky. Jenny, Charles and Clarence came over in the evening and we staid all night going to bed about one o’clock. The next forenoon Mick came home with us and staid until near night. The next morning, Oh! But wasn’t I glad to see them! Father and Mother came to see me. They staid until about 4:00 P.M. and then May and I took the horses and rode horseback down to Grover with them.  A few minutes after we started Mick came up to see me. He waited about two hours for me to get back and finally went off just before I got there, leaving word that he was going to lick me next time he saw me. This last Friday I met for the first time Louis Page, aged 16 yrs. Last Saturday, June 17, was Charley B’s 18th birthday and after dinner we went to Pine Swamp and got caught in a thunder shower in the middle of the swamp. We came near getting lost but got some beautiful May Apple blossoms and that night after supper Charles borrowed Henry Voorhis’ old wagon and we started for Canton. There were four of us, May and Lou Page going along. We got there all right at about 9 P.M. and had a splendid time until about twelve when we started for home. Before we got to Grover the wagon broke down, or rather one of the wheels did, and we were in a pretty fix. The boys got out and borrowed a lantern and we managed to make the wagon carry us nearly to Myrick Crandall’s before the wheel all came to pieces. Then the boys unhitched the horses and May and I rode horseback the rest of the way home carrying the things on our laps. We got home about 3:00 A.M. Sunday. I nearly forgot to state that it rained from the time we started until we got back again, about as hard as it needed to. I went to bed and slept until 6:30 A.M. when I got up and dressed in time for breakfast. The boys did not get up until after 12:00 o’clock. Before they got up Mick and Katie came and staid until nearly dark. Jennie, May and I went a piece with them up as far as Sam Andrus’ house. We had lots of fun and I was very tired when I got back so that I could not finish writing up my journal. The first week I staid at Barnes’, next at Voorhis’, next at Allyn’s, next at Voorhis’, next at Allyn’s, then two weeks at Voohis’ and this week at Allyn’s again. I am going to have a picnic the last day of school and when that comes off I will write about it in here. May Barnes is going home with me to stay a week when school is out. I had squirrels for supper tonight and they were splendid.

In My Room, At Warren Voohis’, South Mountain 9:30 P.M. Tuesday, June 27, 1882 – I have not very much to say tonight but I wish to make a small entry. I nearly starved to death last Saturday and Sunday, because I did not feel very well and had nothing but dry bread and butter for nine meals in a row, but I made up for it all last night up to Allyn’s for they had sweet corn and anything else nice to eat.  Yesterday, the 26th day of June, was May and Clarence Barnes’ 14th birthday. We are to have a picnic for the last day of school, day after tomorrow, and I am drilling the children for it. May Barnes is going home with me, and I guess Sammy Voorhis is going too. I shall be very thankful to get home again for I really do not feel free to eat what I want when I am here and when at Barnes’ I can’t get what I want to eat. I wish I could have a picture of this room just as it looks now with me lying in my nightgown on the bed writing this by the light of a lantern. My room’s door is made of rough boards and there are as many cracks as there are boards, and nearly as wide ones. I think it all forms a picture I shall not soon forget.

At Mr. Barnes’, 5:10 P.M., Sunday, Dec. 31, 1882 – Over six months since I have written a record in the dear old journal! How many things have happened since then! I was teaching school then as now but several months of happy vacation have intervened since then and I have just finished a month of my winter school. I finished my summer school on the 29th day of June and had a picnic to commemorate the day. There were about fifty persons present and Father was among the number. When I went home May Barnes and Sammy Voorhis went with me. They stayed over a week and seemed to enjoy themselves. I studied with Minnie Smith for about 10 weeks and then from the 13th to the 18th day of Nov. I went up to Alba every morning and back every night to attend a Teacher’s drill. On Friday I am rewarded by receiving an excellent certificate averaging less that 1½ and one of the best ones that were given out that day. On the 20th of Nov. I began my school again and taught for three weeks when I was so nearly used up with a cold that I concluded to lay off for a week and so went home.  Of course our folks were glad to see me but sorry I was sick. James [Dr. James Parsons, her brother] came up to see me and gave me some medicine. On the 18th of Dec. at about 6:00 o’clock in the morning a hack load of six of us beside the driver and another man were started for Towanda. The load consisted of Curt Harding, Hollie Dann, Lizzie Manley, Carrie Jennings, Mina Ayres and me. We had a jolly time going down. We got there about eleven o’clock and went to Perry Van Fleets to board. Monday at supper Prof. Burritt was there. He stayed two days with us and we had any amount of fun with him. On Monday evening we listened to the best lecture I ever heard. It was by Prof. Copeland of Indiana, subject “Snobs and Snobbery.” He kept the audience in a roar of laughter from 8 o’clock until after ten. School opened at 9:00 every morning and lasted till 12:00, then from 1:30 until about 5:00. We had a lecture every evening at 8:00 o’clock.
Friday afternoon we went to the jail. Mr. Van Fleet went with us and we went to the top of the tower. We paid $4.00 for our board and $1.50 for our ride down and back. The Teachers bought an elegant gold watch and chain for Prof. Ryan as a Christmas present. We started for home about 2:00 P.M. Saturday and got into Canton at about 8:00 in the evening. I came back up here on Tuesday and began school again. I am at present feeling quite well. I have 25 names on my rolls and an average attendance of about eighteen so that I have my hands full. Sarah Porter is here visiting with Mr. Barnes’ folks and of course the girls are having a grand good time. We all went down to Mr. Smith’s this evening to see Bettie Smith but she was not at home. I am not to teach tomorrow as it is N. Years day, and I am invited to Job Crandall’s to dinner. I don’t know whether I shall go or not.
Here is an entry that I intended to have made long ago. It was written on a slip of paper with a lead pencil and I have never yet copied it. Here it is. [See the June 27, 1882 entry – I have placed it chronologically so that the diary reads in the correct order - DFS]

1883

At Mr. David Barnes’ 2:00 P.M., Sunday, Feb. 4, 1883 – My last entry here was made on N. Years Eve and since that many things, of no slight importance to me, have happened.
My school was half out last Wednesday and I now have to teach 42 days longer to complete the school, when I shall have taught on this mountain six months. Of course things are not always as pleasant as I could wish them to be but on the whole I think I may say that for the most part I have enjoyed myself, and what is of much more importance I have helped to earn my own living, if it is not as good a one as I have heretofore been used to. I think I am certain of one good lesson I have learned, and that is that if my home is not the grandest one in the world, at least it is not the poorest. One week ago yesterday I was home for the first time since I returned from Towanda. I went down to Mr. Wm Ryan’s Friday night after school and on Saturday Nick took me home. Katie R. went with me and we had a splendid time. Got home at about 2:00 P.M. and stayed till after dark taking supper at our houses. The next Monday morning I walked up to school and made my own fire as usual. Last Friday night I had a spelling school and Ella Parker and many of her scholars were over from the Irish School. Edward Voorhis spelled down the school. Ella is to have one on the 23d of this month. I have not yet rec’d any pay for my teaching but am going home next Saturday if nothing prevents. Mick Ryan has promised to take me. The young folks here are all gone off for a sleigh ride over to Elias Savacool’s. I refused to go with them, because I don’t like to be in company with Charley B any more than I can help. He is about the lowest boy I ever knew.

At the School House Feb. 28, 1883, 11 A.M. Wednesday – I have to teach 26 days after today before this winter’s work will be completed, and oh, how glad I shall be when it is done! I went home with Mick on the 10th of this month.  Friday night, the 16th of this month Miron Wright came up with a horse and carriage and took me home. He came after me again Sunday P.M. Last Friday night I went to Ryan’s and Mick and Katie walked over to the Irish spelling school. We had a very pleasant time, but left at about 11 P.M. as the spelling was over and they were dancing and we neither of us cared to stay. Mr. Wright offered to take me home with his horse and carriage but I promptly mittened him and expected that would be the last of him, but no, yesterday at noon he came up here all dressed up. He stayed all the P.M. and after I dismissed school he stayed and asked the privilege of helping me sweep. Then he walked home with me and wanted to know if I would go home with him next Friday. I told him I had another engagement for Friday evening and could not go with him etc., etc. He went out to the barn as soon as we got to the house and went home before supper. I had lots of fun last Saturday and Sunday. Sat. forenoon I cut out a dress for Katie Ryan and in the afternoon I went home with Mick Ryan. Minnie Smith came up to see me in the evening and about 8 o’clock we started for home.  It stormed very hard all the way home but we had lots of fun. Mick bought oranges and candy for me and Sunday forenoon we went up to hear “Paddy Ryan” sing. After dinner Mick took Katie and I over to Mr. Keavin’s. We found Minnie at home and had a very pleasant time. We got home before 9 o’clock in the evening.

Same day, at Noon – I have a very small school today but I really feel glad to have a little rest. There were only ten scholars here this forenoon. I drew fifty dollars of my pay when I was home two weeks ago. I spent a few dollars and gave Father $10.00, Mother about $3.00 and laid aside $30.00 to pay for my board and washing this winter. From one of the West windows of this school room I can just see the outline of Mr. Voorhis’ house and looking through the bushes and trees when the air is a little hazy, that looks just like our Canton School House in the distance. It affords me no small amt of pleasure to look out of that window. I shall not teach up here again for any amt of money. I think some of teaching the Beech Flats School next summer. Katie Ryan will go down there to school. Mr. and Mrs. Ryan are very anxious to have me take the school and I think it will be a pleasant place to teach.

At My School House 12:30 P.M. Tuesday, Apr. 3, 1883 – What a long time it is between the entries in this book!  When I made the last one I was wailing because I only had 10 scholars. Now I have only four, for the Voorhis, Flemming and Williams families have all moved away and some of the others are not here every day. Day, after tomorrow is the last day of my school and I shall be so glad to see the last of it. Tonight is the last night I will have to spend at Mr. Barnes’ house for tomorrow night I am going home with Katie Ryan to spend my last night on the mountain and have a good time. I have spent 3 days of the week at their house for over two months and have been home nearly every Saturday, in that time. Last Saturday we got home before dinner and did not start back until after 8 o’clock in the eve.
Ella Parker came home with us and stayed until Sunday afternoon, when she went over to her school. She closed her school on the 23d of March and now she has to open it again and teach three days more because she taught on Washington’s Birthday, Good Friday and one Saturday. I taught on Good Friday and have to make it up. [Was this some kind of punishment? – these sections are transcribed correctly] Monday morning when I got up here and tried to make a fire I could not get it to burn and the smoke poured out in volumes from the stove and pipe so that we could not stay in the house. We soon discovered that there was no smoke rising from the chimney and so we were forced to believe that something was wrong with the pipe. There was no one with me but Katie and we went down to Mr. Voorhis’ and got Delia to come up and help us take down the pipe. We found it stuffed full of stuff so that it was impossible for a fire to burn. I suppose of course that Charley Barnes and Al Mahood did it but I have not said anything about it nor do I intend to.
 

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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 28 October 2010
By Joyce M. Tice
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