Monday, March 06, 2017

Grandma's notes fell out of a book--Monday Memories

Barnstormers stop at the farm about 1915--my mother in the white dress holding her father's hand

For their time, my maternal grandparents were well off.  After the death of my grandmother's father in 1912, they inherited a third of his estate.  Grandma's mother had died in 1895, and she was his only surviving heir because her three siblings had died. Willy died of diphtheria as a teen-ager.  Ira died in a farm incident in 1908 and had children who inherited their father's one-third share. Her one sister Martha died after childbirth of infection, but had two sons who inherited her one-third share. So my grandparents, thanks to grandma's inheritance, had a lovely home between Ashton and Franklin Grove, IL (remodeled around 1914) with 2 bathrooms, indoor plumbing, electricity from a generator, and easy access to train travel to Chicago for shopping and medical care. The home was recently sold out of the family in 2016.  They had a loyal carriage horse, but also automobiles, radios, and household help when many still used outhouses and "woman-power."  Things would change during the Depression, of course, but until then life was good.  But grandma was always frugal--a balance for her spouse.  So I found a note in one of Uncle Leslie's childhood books, "The Gospel Primer," 47th ed., Southern Publishing Association, Nashville. c. 1895.  The first 37 pages are learning letters and phrases, but after that it's full blown Bible stories I would guess to be about third or fourth grade reading level.  The note appears to be from a lecture, but I only have one page, and it seems to be grandma's handwriting. She wrote on the back of expenses (owed?) of the Farmers Co-operative Association, Nov. 16, 1909, for August 13 to Sept. 9. It is quite detailed, even noting the clerk who did the sale.

Grandma's handwritten in pencil note:
Grandma's handwritten notes about Peter Vieau
 "One who cannot see his own errors even when they are pointed out will not make much improvement.  Until we discover and deplore our defects we will not take pains to remedy them.  Frankness in confessing a fault is a grace.  When one becomes so perfect in his own estimation that he has no occasion to confess his faults to his neighbors, he is well nigh beyond the reach of hope.

An event of much interest to Milwaukee pioneers took place yesterday at Muskego when Peter Vieau celebrated his seventieth birthday.  He is supposed to be the oldest man . . .'. Ends there. Perhaps there was another page, and this scrap was simply having a third life as a bookmark.

I don't see how the two paragraphs are linked, but she may have been copying something of interest--from an 1890(!) newspaper.  I looked up Peter Vieau, and because he was born in 1820 and the oldest pioneer resident of Muskego, he had a lot of interviews and they've been copied and digitized for the Wisconsin Historical Society.  He died in 1905 at age 86 after a brief illness.

I can't determine the source of the first paragraph, but the content is in dozens of "how to improve" essays from Luther to Calvin to Finney and 21st century gurus. It's also the basic principle of confession  (Frankness in confessing a fault is a grace) in the Catholic church. Probably just notes taken during a quiet Sunday afternoon looking through stacks of old newspapers and magazines, sometimes with her scissors; something I saw her do many times.

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