1852 Winona Settlement Recollections

The Winona Daily News has printed the recollections of preacher Edward Ely on events in 1852 in the very early settlement of Winona, Minnesota:

“Week after week passes without anything occurring worthy of note. We were occasionally visited by some traveler who would remain a day or two and go and fish for trout. Sometimes a man looking for a place to settle would stop a few days and take look at the country, but not one that I know of went as far out as beyond the bluffs. Some would go away saying that they would not take the whole prairie as a gift. It was nothing but a bed of sand thrown up by the rush of the river. Others would look upon it more favorably and say there might be a “right smart” town here some day.”

The full article discusses the basic efforts and challenges of the people, and can be read here:  http://www.winonadailynews.com/special-section/pieces-of-the-past/throwback-thursday-the-diaries-of-elder-ely/article_c714305b-c2c9-54c4-98df-12bd64315ae6.html


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Yesteryear Books: Mr. Wycherly’s Wards

Mr. Wycherly's Wards (Classic Reprint)Mr. Wycherly’s Wards by Lizzie Allen Harker
1912, Fiction
Settings:  Rural Scotland, Oxford home life
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(I read the Project Gutenberg edition of this book.)

This was a charming book, chiefly due to many caring characters and the author’s light-handed attitude of pragmatic understanding. A pleasant read, that yet, in the daily conundrums and choices of its characters, subtly challenges the reader to think over what might be right things to concern our life’s attention.

The story launches with Mr. Wycherly’s relocation from rural Scotland to Oxford with his two adopted boys. They find themselves underequipped to deal with housekeeping necessities in this new place, but approach the difficulties with fortitude and good humor. Eventually a kind wife of an old friend comes to their rescue. The orphaned niece of a new housekeeper also makes her way into Mr. Wycherley’s heart–much to the chagrin of the good-hearted housekeeper who feels that her niece should behave according to her station as a household servant.

While the young Jane-Anne has a heart devoted to God and Mr. Wycherly and wishes, in the main, to serve them both, she has an active mind and temperament that distracts her from finding fulfillment in housekeeping necessities. The driving concern of the story becomes Mr. Wycherly’s conundrum of how direct his new ward in her path of life.

Throughout the book are subtle struggles of well-intentioned characters with the appropriate appreciation of poetry, the possible eternal state of Lord Byron (Could he be in heaven?), what to do with well-meaning but rather narrow Sunday School teachers, and questions of duty versus art, social customs of class and station.

This book is the sequel to Miss Esperance and Mr. Wycherly, but I felt I missed nothing from reading this one first. In fact, I believe I enjoyed it more getting to know and love Mr. Wycherly along with Jane-Anne, not being encumbered by perspectives from his past history. Now I am going back to read the first, and enjoying it all the more.

This book also appears to have a sequel, Allegra, which is available from Google Books and Internet Archive.

View all my Goodreads.com reviews

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Free Historical Newspaper Archives

The availability of searchable historic newspapers has exploded in the last several years–and has opened up our knowledge of the personal stories of our ancestors and their families in profound ways.   Some of the things we have learned about our ancestors:

  • Residency and business in a town not previously known.
  • Obituary information, including details of life history and then-current locations of children and married daughter’s names.
  • A wedding announcement helped us find where grandparents were married.
  • Identification of the girls’ college attended by a great-grandmother.
  • Notes on illnesses, work and business ventures, and community involvement.
  • Notes on church participation.
  • Trips taken.
  • Visits made by family members recorded in the small town papers.
  • A poem by a great grandmother.

We provide here a  list of some of our favorite free newspaper searches (with a few added in that we hope will be useful for additional geographic needs).

Continue reading

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Historical Baseball Books (free as eBooks)

Baseball books (non-fiction) from around 100 years ago, available as free eBooks (collected for my nephew)Continue reading

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2013 Yesteryear Museum Antique Steam Engine & Tractor Show, Salina, Kansas, October 12

Link here for the official flyer and website for the 2013 Yesteryear Museum Antique Steam Engine & Tractor Show, Salina, Kansas.

This year’s show features Ford and Caterpillar.

We have been informed that the tractor pull will be at 1 p.m. Other events are “fluid” throughout the day: Continue reading

Posted in Historical Equipment and Technologies, Midwest History, Rural Community, The Family Farm, Yesteryear Museum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment