Posts from the ‘The 1880s Journal’ Category

Alice’s Resting Place

Alice Marshall Finch Sewall is buried in the Old Waverly (Texas) cemetery, at the back corner, set apart from her husband’s family.

Her final entry

New Waverly, December 1, 1890

Two weeks in our new home and a pretty little spot it is. When we can add a few more rooms to it for the children I think I shall be delighted with it and best of all my husband finds remuneration here for his work which he has never been able to do before. Nor do I think my health has been affected by the change. I feel quite as well as I did at Old Waverly. My dear husband has repeatedly offered to hire me a cook but as we have a good washer woman and have trained George and Frank to do the cooking, think I try and make out with one for awhile as an efficient one is so hard to get and a poor one worse than none at all.

“Can this Feeble Frame Endure…”

November 1, 1890

So far the past has been a rather uneventful year to us, but now something is going to happen which I fear will tax my every nerve and power of endurance. Another Move! Oh can I stand it? Can this feeble frame endure what is included in that word? But duty says go and I will try. Yes, I will try.

“To rest under the shade of a massive old oak…”

June 4, 1889

I am following the advice of a “Home and Farm correspondent,” who it seems was never an invalid like myself and taking exercise in the open air twice a day. I have taken my 3 youngest children and strolled off up here near the church and have sit down to rest under the shade of a massive old oak while they are playing in the sand. Happy little darlings! It is one of my greatest pleasures to be with them and watch them in their innocent sports and joys. It takes so little to make them happy so that we “children of larger growth” might learn a lesson from them. Would that they could always remain care-free. For while I sit here thoughts of my numerous duties crowd upon me and prevent me from enjoying the beauty of Nature around me. Still I feel that I ought to use every possible means to restore my ___________ for the sake of these dear little ones entrusted to my care. So by giving them food and ______ clothes I ________ to find a little time for recreation. But my time is out! And we must go back to the house now and see what is to be done there; for I never want to shirk my duty as long as I am able to perform it.

“…the ‘Heavenly home’ for which we should be preparing…”

May 13, 1889

One month in our new house and all things considered, I must admit we are far more comfortable and pleasantly situated than I had ever dared hope we’d be again. We are surrounded by kind friends and neighbors. Have the privilege of attending church and Sunday School besides having a very desirable location for a home. If only we can say with David, “The lines have fallen unto us in pleasant places” and how very thankful we should feel that after so many hard struggles with poverty. Our Heavenly Father has led and guided us here. However we must not expect all good and no evil in this life, else we might become unmindful of the “Heavenly home” for which we should be preparing, aiming our earthly pilgrimage. So prepare us dear Savior for the trials that may await us and help us to possess our souls with patience. Yes, give us what we so much need in the government of our family, patience with our children, and forbearance towards each other.

Waverly, Texas, 1889

Waverly, Texas, May 4, 1889

Nearly eight months again since I made a record here, but when I think of the many events which have occurred. The particular event of my precious mother’s last sickness and death (November 1888). Of Dr.’s sister coming fromAla.and my consenting to let Rob go back with them. Then of our packing up in ________ and moving to this place. The wonder to me is that so much could have been crowded in to such a short space of time. Just a month ago we left our Bellville home and by resting on the way with different relatives we reached our new home without much fatigue to my afflicted body. The move was quite an undertaking for me in my weak state of health but for the sake of my husband and children I set self aside and decided to come and if I can only get better as they all encourage me to hope I shall not regret the sacrifice.

“…he thinks I could go to Texas and be happy if I would.”

8 o’clock, Thursday, night, September 27 (1888)

When the Spirit moves me “to write” in my journal I would like to stop till I’ve had my “say out” but this morning I really couldn’t spare the time from my sewing. The boys’ shirts must be finished this week if possible.

Tonight Dr. is absent. I used to be foolish enough to say “Frank” to myself, never to him, when we were first engaged. Now I don’t think it sounds dignified or respectful enough to my liege lord. Besides he has a name, sake in the family and one might get their names confounded if I made no distinction, in addressing them or rather in speaking of them, so I’m very glad I didn’t fall in the habit of calling my husband by his name, as so many ladies do.

But now I am digressing. I out, to say I was all alone. The Dr. being away, and the children all asleep so I can divest myself for the next hour by finishing up what I left unrecorded this morning. One thing I’ve done today that I am very glad to mention I discharged a debt that has been trouble me in mind for some time, by writing to the Dr.’s sister. Now I love her, very dearly, and would like to write to her oftener but I do have so little time for such pleasures now. I wrote her of the Dr.’s trip to Texas this summer. I think he started 17th July and of my visit to E (Evergreen) both of which facts I thought worthy of notice here as they were real events in our every day lives. He was anxious that I should share his trip with him, but if I can make it convenient to go to see my dear parents and Brother occasionally that is as much pleasure as I ever expect to take travelling around.

I am thankful to say I travelled just enough to be satisfied to stay at home now, before I was married. Found as another and that home is the best place after all provided the right Spirit dwells there. Oh how truly, how sincerely do I wish that I could make my home more attractive to my husband and children. Why oh why is it not what I want it to be? Do I weary too soon in well doing? Is my patience soon exhausted? Oh! my Savior help me. I do feel my responsibility. I do want to do my duty, but my flesh is so weak.

Help me to convince my husband of this fact before it is too late, for of all bitter things in life the bitterest is that he thinks I could go to Texas and be happy if I would. There is something else I wish to record in my journal. We are making an effort to build a Presbyterian church in this community and now I hope and pray that we may succeed on our children’s account as well as our own.

I must mention too the big boys are at school again. Commenced going to Miss R. Salter 6th of August. Poor Bob went 1 month and a week and had to stop on account of his eyes and the whooping cough too which they all have very badly, but George. He had it when he was a little more than a year old. I do hope the children are learning better than they did at the Academy. At least I feel much better satisfied about them for all they did learn there was badness. Oh the terrible temptation to which they were exposed. Profanity, whiskey, drinking, and the like. Oh! My God how thankful I am that they were unable to withstand it and to know that if they did not come necessarily leaves dark spots upon the soul, which the blood Christ alone can wash away. And I do not think my boys are converted yet, though I have strong hopes of their conversion. I am encouraged to feel that the home teaching they had received restrained them in a measure! Oh! my precious sons how I quake and tremble for you at times. Still I rely on God’s promise and I know He will not fail to perform if I am faithful to my trust, my daily prayer is to give me strength for my work! Oh Lord.

“…one of his brothers offered him a home in Texas.”

September 27, 1888

Eight months since I’ve opened this book. How busy I’ve been in all that time! Kept a record of my work elsewhere, but really have had no time for “journalizing.” Have been sick a great deal of the time and been forced to work when I did not feel able, but these bright beautiful autumnal days have had an exhilarating effect on me. I feel better in mind and body than I have done in many months. Oh! If I could be well again! For the sakes of my husband and children how happy I would be. Not my will. Let Thine, Oh Lord, be done!

Many things have happened that I would like to record here. 1st several months ago one of my dear husband’s friends and one of his brothers offered him a home in Texas. At one time I was almost persuaded that it was my duty to go, but I kept feeling so sick and weak, I knew the undertaking would be too much for me and I did not feel that God required me to leave my sick mother even if my husband did think he could make more money faster by going. He has told me many times that my happiness was his chief desire, but I do not desire riches. All I want is peace and quiet and just enough of this world’s good to keep me above want and from committing sin. _______ prayer has long since been adopted and incorporated in my petitions, and if my husband would only make up his mind to be contented in Ala. with me.  How much it would add to my happiness. I am willing to do anything, yes everything in my power to make him happy, but move around and it seems that God Himself has raised an immovable barrier to that my continued ill health against it (?), but feel it, rather our united duty to submit and make the very best of our circumstances and surroundings.

 I am afraid it will take several pages and consume lots of precious moments to write down all I wished to say to my old journal. So as my work is waiting I’ll cut short my narration for a more “convenient season.”

“…how hard I’ve tried to keep at my post of duty.”

January 27, 1888

Oh! How I have suffered since I last opened these pages and how hard I’ve tried to keep at my post of duty. For two mornings past I’ve been unable to go to breakfast which I regretted ever so much. But some kind woman’s friend says it is not selfish in a mother to care for her own health at all time, for who can ever fill her place to her children. I am trying to teach my children to help themselves and each other and to be thoughtful of my comfort too. Believing they will respect me more than if I allow them to grow up unthoughtful and neglectful of me. My own dear mother is coming today and though I am sick and feeble I must try to do all I can for her comfort while she is with us.

“How my work crowds me.”

January 11, 1888

Oh how my work crowds me. How my cares ________ in me! I’ve been trying all day, yes I might say every day for 2 weeks to get a line. How and when it is past 10 o’clock Saturday night and I’m so weary, so worn, so sleepy. I can scarcely sit up. With all this burden though I must say our prospects financially are some better. Friends have been kind beyond our expectation and Dr.’s collections have been better too. My same cook came back which is a great relief. But my health is very poor and it grieves me so that I am able to do so little.