Monday, May 18, 2009

My Great-Grandfather and His Journal


Since retirement, I have had a little more time in my life (I still seem to stay VERY busy, especially now that I'm blogging so much) to do the things which I didn't have time to do earlier. One of these interests has been putting together some albums of Family History. As you know by now, I love to write. I guess I get this interest from my great grandfather, Daniel Hoge Bruce (pictured above). Great Grandfather was born in 1846 and died in 1915. He married Martha Matilda Karr in 1873. They had a total of nine children (with two of the nine, twins, dying at birth). My grandmother, Ida Elizabeth Bruce (whom I am named after), was the oldest child. I will show a picture of the entire family below.

Great Grandfather and his large family lived in the 'Gap' (Big Stone Gap, VA--my home town). They were one of the early settlers in that area. They were devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South where he was clerk of the Church Board. He was also Deputy Treasurer of the Richmond District and took a great interest in the affairs of the town.

He kept a journal (he called it a diary)--of which I have bits and pieces. (I don't know where the original is, but I'd love to have it!) Great Grandfather was a man of many interests. A writer for the local newspaper, talked about Mr. Bruce in the paper. She wrote, that in the diary were simple things, such as "We had green beans today out of the garden." (Remember that no beans from California or Florida reached their table in those days.) That statement was followed by "Queen Victoria of England died." AND-- "On March 2, 1897, Bob Fitzsimmons knocked out Jim Corbett in the 14th round."

Some of the other interesting tidbits in Great Grandfather's diary (with additions from me either in parenthesis or caps) were:
-Sept. 28, 1895-- A big fire destroys several downtown stores in Big Stone Gap including THREE saloons.. (Imagine: three saloons in my hometown of Big Stone Gap?? HA HA)
-April 24, 1897-- Rosa had 58 perfect marks for good behavior (Rosa was one of his 6 daughters. He kept up with their school work!)
-May 22, 1897-- Flora (another daughter) passed without examination to 9th grade. Rosa passed to 8th and was on the Golden Honor Roll, and Hattie (the youngest) passed to 6th.
---April 1, 1899-- The town council passed a stock ordinance prohibiting more than 3 cows and 2 hogs for each family running large ---and no horses; (Up until that time, the cows, hogs and horses roamed at will.) ---HOW FUNNY IS THIS!!!
--July 4, 1897---Big Stone Gap celebrated the 4th of July. Had a balloon ascension--a large one. Had a baseball game. Had horse racing and tournament riding. Crowd estimated at from 3000 to 6000.
--March 8, 1898--Lee County (west of Big Stone Gap) quarantined against Small Pox. Cannot get on or off rail train. Wagon roads are guarded.
--September 9, 1898-- Daniel Hoge Bruce took sick and unable to work.
--October 15, 1898--A little better only. Lived three weeks on milk... (YIPES!)
--Jan. 1, 1899-- Measles hit the Bruce family.
--Feb.14, 1899--- Thermometer registered 22 BELOW; Coldest for years...

Well---I could go on and on ---and am so blessed to have this family history. I hope that someday, my kids and grands and great-grands will enjoy reading all of this, just like I do. Thank God for family---and for history and tradition.




This is my great-grandfather's (Daniel Hoge Bruce) family. My grandmother (Ida Elizabeth Bruce) is seated 2nd from the left on the front row. AND --my mother (Edith Marguerite Ballard) is the little child standing beside her mother. Isn't that a sweet picture????



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My Bluebird family (four of them) were taking an afternoon nap when we visited them this afternoon. BUT---if you click on the picture and make it larger, you can see the little beaks and there is actually some feathers on the babies now. I think they are about 5 days old now. Aren't they cute?????

Hope you had a great weekend. Today, it's 'back to the grind'.....
Hugs,

44 comments:

ROSIDAH said...

I find it very impressive that your family history goes into the 18th century. Very good archives! I believe that you will do a wonderful job continuing this great legacy. I also love to see the little birdies grow everyday. Have a great week, Betsy :)

fishing guy said...

Betsy: What really neat history. Does the linage go back to scotland and the Earl of Bruce?

T said...

How cool!

I've dabbled in tracing mine - but right now it just seems SO time consuming Maybe this summer, you've peaked my interest again!

Mildred said...

Wonderful history and what a lovely Victorian photograph - those clothes are spectacular! The birds are changing quickly. Enjoy your day.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Fascinating when we find our family history...
Even more, when we are akin in nature to a certain relative.
A lovely and intersting post Betsy, and oooh those little bluebirds are so sweet.
I had another family of robin's leave the nest yesterday, I hope they stay safe.
hugs,
Jo

TheWritersPorch said...

Betsy...wonderful! I love history!

~ Carol ~

Shellmo said...

I love family history and interesting to hear tidbits from your great grandfather's diary and getting a glimpse of life back then. Laughed about the limits on cows and hogs!!

Sandy said...

Betsy, I found your blog and wanted to follow it, not just for your fantastic photos, but my hubby was born and raised in Knoxville. All his family still lives there, including his 92-year-old granny! So we go back quite often, and I think Tennessee is a beautiful state. You blog is great!

Neal said...

I love to read stuff like that. It gives you a lot of insight into how life was back then.

Beth said...

Hi, Betsy. What a treasure it is to have bits and pieces of your Great-Grandfather's diary! I love the entries from his diary--how they detail events both large and small. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Those baby bluebirds are so sweet.

Bird Girl said...

I was so touched by your great-grandfather's attention to the school work of his children! We sometimes think that people in those days were harsh with children and 'they were to be seen and not heard'-but how sweet it was to see those entries. He must have been a very good father!

Arkansas Patti said...

I just LOVE family history and his journal is a wonderful glimpse into life in those times. He was a handsome man.
Had to laugh at the three bars burning. Think some wife was sick and tired of hubby coming home snockered???
Keep those stories coming.

Susie said...

Interesting family history Betsy. Love the photos too.

Hope you get to see the little birds when they leave their home.

Darla said...

The way you research your family history amazes me! Love the birdies.

Harriet said...

What a wonderful story about your family. I love finding out about my family it's so much fun.

Cedar ... said...

you know how much i enjoy family history,... thanks for such a great post!

Day4plus said...

How fortunate you are to have that journal and to be born and raised in the same area as your early family. AND to have the photos too!!
The little birdies are just so fuzzy looking. So Sweet! MB

NCmountainwoman said...

What a treasure you have. No one in my family kept any kind of journal or diary. You are so lucky.

Dorothy said...

I just love old family records like that! I have a diary that my G-G-Grandfather kept during the time he served in the Civil War. Bet they would have written more if they could have known that their decendants would have treasured them so much!

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a smart man Your Great Grandfather was to write things down!!! You are so blessed to have them in your posession.
Suz

yes, the babies are getting cuter.

Smilingsal said...

You're getting such marvelous pictures!

Diane C. said...

How wonderful that your great-grandfather kept a journal. It's fascinating to read about events and also to have a look at what everyday life was like.

mountain.mama said...

The old family history is interesting, but I hate to admit it--what really caught my attention was the cute baby birds. They are really growing!

I figured you spend a lot of time on the computer because you are so diligent about making nice comments on everyone's blog!

Becky said...

How interesting. We bought and old house one time and found an old book in the attic. It is a book of everything from curing meat to manners. I think it's from 1800's or early 1900's.

karin said...

It's so interesting to think that someone down the family line may actually treasure some of the things we write today just like you treasure your grandfather's journal! Love your new header photo! It's gorgeous.

The birds are adorable! Shhhh, I'll let them sleep!

Dirt Princess said...

That is just amazing!!! A peek into the past.

The Incredible Woody said...

I love family history too. Someday there will be someone that will appreciate all your hard work - at least, that's what I keep telling myself;)

Becca's Dirt said...

Betsy it's always nice to take a stroll down history/memory lane. I love history. Why didn't I love it when I was in school so many years ago. It is neat to see what was going on and what was important enough to write about. Have a nice weekend. Becca

Diane said...

Betsy, I really like your old pictures, it's so nice to have things like that. And your baby bluebirds are so..........sweet.

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

I love reading this. Blessings..m..

mkreider said...

Thanks for sharing your family with us. My geneology is one of my most precious possessions. I'v cooked the recipes that were included in the back. On the recipe for my Great-Great Grandmother's tomato soup there were, seed and fertilizer cost figures for the wheat crop that year 1884!

Joy said...

What a treasure to have his journal entries. I guess he was the original blogger in your family with pen and ink. :)

The birdies are growing.


Joy

bookbabie said...

Oh, they are so sweet!!!!!!!!

This Country Girl said...

Betsy,

How incredible that you have a journal from the late 1800's! Wow! It just gave me goose bumps reading it! I know you treasure it!

Your bluebird family is so sweet! Thanks for sharing them with us! I've got to show Joy!

Have a great week, Betsy!
Tammy

Rose said...

Betsy, I sure enjoyed this look into the past. Any time you get the urge to write stuff like this, I am always delighted to read it.

Jen said...

very neat that you have his writings. somethings remain the same...."quarantined against Small Pox." and today we are talking about swine flu.
Love the pictures!

I'm going to check my BB bos tonight - momma has been in and out of it a lot today.

lola said...

Betsy, how fortunate you are that you have so much history of your family. I have some but I would like to have it all. But it must be accurate. I don't like the false stuff.

Leedra said...

So you ended out with 4. Keep them safe!

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

Queen of Dreamsz said...

Hello Betsy! I'm glad you all had a good trip and GOOD weather!

I love hearing about family and how it all links together..quite interesting.

The bluebirds are adorable..you really have a great spot for getting all of your birding and wildlife pictures.

I'm thrilled to be at the cabin...the first 10 days it rained!! then it stopped for a few days and then it rained some more and now today it was beautiful! I haven't lived with this much peace and quiet in some 20 years..this is probably quieter than that time. I can say for sure this is much more beautiful!!

While I took apart that old quilt today I listened to all the birds and watched many come to the feeder. I need a much better camera and some close range binoculars...my eyes worsening have proved to limit my joy of the birdwatching since I'm not seeing the detail on all of them...I did have an indigo bunting come to the feeder today..I thought that was extraordinary...the ones that visited in north Alabama would never come to the feeder...only would eat from a stump or the ground. The flying squirrels are a scream!! Oh, they are so tiny and so adorable and quite friendly.

So YES, I am loving my new home..It feels like home...the last one did not...funny how you know where you're supposed to be or not supposed to be, right!?

I'm waiting on carpentry estimates, electricians, etc...lots of shelving and closets to build for all of my fabric collection. So I'm just living with the mess for a while instead of putting it all in place only to tear it up for construction with all the dust.

Glad to hear from you..I love having you visit me..always a joy. :0)

Hugs, Stephanie

Wendy said...

Nice that you have his diary. It's fun going back in the past to read about our ancestors. I wonder what people in the future will think about our blogs? If they are able to access them with whatever technology will be around then??

Loved those little baby birds. You sure are lucky to take pics. And we are lucky you share with us!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

That must be a treasure trove of looking into the past to read that diary. Sounds like a fun (and grounding) experience. It's great to be so in touch with your family roots.

Patty said...

I loved reading about your family history. I recently found out that my 6 grand father and grandmother were married in the 1700 in York PA..the church is still standing and I hope to viist it next week while in that area..My grandson and daughter are going with us and we can do a generation photo in front of it..A once in a life time chance

Gena said...

I love the old photos and the stories from olden days.
Thanks for sharing.
I have started work on our Family Tree. Hope it's full of surprises.

Janie said...

This is a wonderful bit of history to have passed down through the family. You may well get your interest in writing from him!
I love seeing the baby bluebirds.