A century of Tallahassee girls

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A century of Tallahassee girls

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A century of Tallahassee girls as viewed from the leaves of their diaries
Hayden, Clara R.
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Foote & Davies Co.
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History -- Fiction -- Description and travel -- Tallahassee (Fla.) ( lcsh )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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026314440 ( ALEPH )
F68-00006 ( USFLDC DOI )
f68.6 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida
Florida Studies

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f/75..~ ; J-l32A A Century of Tallahassee Girls 1824-1924 ' i




C e ntury of Tallahassee (]-iris As, V,IEWED FROM THE L EAVES ' OF THEIR DIARIES Colle cted and C ompiled by CLARA R. H AYDEN


\1/JN N.\ II .\I.LA ll The First Tallahassee <;-irl


Wlnnahallab, an India n prince s s, t ells th e f ollowing stol'y to bet' daughter -as the., sit on the shore of a lake in the Apala c h ee country u c fore the coming of the white m e n . Listen, my little daughter, while I tell thee of one of the first prin• cesses of our tribe to live in this land of the Apalachees. : Many, many mo ons ago there were no waters here-only a vast forest of pine. Thy Grandmother's sister, the daughter of the Great Chief, was both good and beautiful. The young braves sought her hand in marriage, but she would have none of them. At last there came wooing her a young chieftain from the lVIiccosukee villages on the lake toward the land of the rising sun. For the first time thy Grandmother's sister loved a man. The Great Chief gave his consent for he liked the brave young chief. But all was not well. The Passa Brewer had a dream in which he had a vision that foretold great disaster to the princess and the young chief if they should wed . Thy Grandmother's sister said the dreams of a Passa Brewer would not separate her from her lover; and the young brave vowed that he would protect the princess from all dangers. At last they made ready to leave the village of the great chief. The proud and mighty tribe gathered where we sit now, my daughter, to witness the departure of the young chief of the lVIiccosukees and his beautiful bride. H e took her from her father and was leading her through the grove , when a doeskin fell upon them from the heavens above . And where they had stoo d a foun tain gushed forth and soon filled the grove, the village, and th e whole valley, with the waters of this great lake. And today, my daughter, if danger threatens our tribe we may catch glimpses of the two-thy Grandmother's sister and the young brave-fleeing across the waters, and hear in the wind, as it blows through the pine trees, the sighing and moaning of the Passa Brewer. Now, my daughter, I have told thee the story of thy Grandmother's sister that thee may pass it on, so those coming after us may know why, in their day, the waters of this beautiful lake flow through this valley.


BET EY-182.i The Pioneer yirl


Tallahasse e Settlemeut, November 30th, 1824 Mother thinks it will be a wise thing for me to keep a journal of our life here in the wilderness. She thinks these days will be something to look back upon in years to come; and then she says it will be practice for me in composition . She is too busy to give me more than a few minutes each day .for my lessons. We are beginning to get used to this wild country. Today a dear little fawn came right up to our cabin door, but when I would bring it in for the little ones to pet it scampered away in great haste. Father and the boys come home laden with birds and wild fowls. Brother has taught me to shoot. I can bring down a turkey as well as any man can . I do not like the Indians; they frighten me. But father says the Tallahassees are a noble tribe and will be friends unless we should do something to make them our enemies. It is the runaway Creeks who call themselves Seminoles that may give us trouble. The men have fortified the Council House as best they can against an attack. Decembe r 1st A new family came in yesterday. I was down by the tavern when they came; there were three little children-a chubby little boy and two shy little girls about eight and ten. Thev seemed so glad to reach the settlement. The mother spoke to me-asked if there was a church here. She says they came from South Carolina. Her husband is going to start a store, and they brought boxes of things for it on their three wagons. I think she is going to be the great lady in the settlement. Mr. Hutchinson's brother (for their name is Hutchinson, the eldest girl told me), a young lawyer, is with them. I like his face. Mrs. Hutchinson seemed real glad when I told her we came from Virginia, and had four little ones the children could play with. People are coming in every day now, but father doesn ' t want me to go down to the tavern to see them. I suspect some


of the men are a little rough; I just pretend that I do not hear them when they address me. Mother says that is all a lady can do. D ecembe r 2nd \Ve had our first real scare from the Indians yesterday. A man came riding wildly into the settlement, calling that the Indians were on the warpath and were coming in this direc tion. The men hustled all of us women and children into the Council House, and left old Uncle Willis Hobbs and the two McClendon boys to look after us. The two boys almost cried, they wanted so much to go with the men. I liked the way John Hutchinson, the young lawyer, went about helping to get off. He smiled at me as he passed the Council House, and called that they would all be back in a short while. I am sure he is very brave. It was lonesome after the men left, even with all the women and children, and Uncle Willis, and the two boys. They would not let us peep out of the windows or the door. The children cried a little-they were that frightened. Old Mrs. Hobbs talked a great deal about this being nothing compared , to the days she and Uncle Willis followed the trail of Daniel Boone through the wilderness of Kentucky. Mother and Mrs. Hutchinson seem to like each other very well. They talked together about their old homes in Virginia and South Carolina; and they have learned that they both know of a family in Tennessee who have cousins in Virginia and South Ca{olina. They say it makes them feel as if they have known each other always . The men came back about dark. Maybe we were not glad to see them. Mrs. Davis, who had fretted all day about her husband, fainted when she saw him. But most of the women, who had lived in the wilderness all their lives, and had sat around smoking pipes and talking about other days and places that were rougher than the settlement here-just got up as cool as could be and went out with their men, laughing and talk ing. Mother and Mrs. Hutchinson looked pale and tired; but mother said it would never do to l et the backwoods women


appear braver than she, or see how frightened she gets. She is a brave little woman, for never once has she given herself away, and the women of the settlement look up to her. one of the men were hurt-just a few slight wounds from Indian arrows. There had been a little ambush fighting. Father says they were a band of Creeks on their way to join some of their tribe further south. John Hutchinson insisted upon carrying Rob, who was fast asleep. I think it was very kind of him, and told him so when he said good-night. I hope he didn't think me bold. Deceniber 3rd. Everything is quiet again; no more scares from the Indians. Mother says it is time to begin to think about Christmas. I cannot think of Christmas being so near. In Virginia they have had frost and maybe a little snow by this time. I am going to make father and brother gifts of little bags out of rab bit skins for their shot, but I do not know what to make mother. I saw an old Indian squaw down on the Council House square yesterday with a dear little pine needle basket that she was trying to trade for a red kerchief around a man's neck. Be lieve I will make one for mother. Will gather the needles this afternoon. But it will not be a surprise like father's. We can't hide anything from mother. ( Can we, mother dear?) December 10th Almost a week has gone by since I wrote in my journal, but I have been so busy getting ready for Christmas that I have not had time to write . Mother says we must make Christmas just as much like the Christmas in Virginia as we can. The Hutchinsons are going to take Christmas dinner with us, and we are to have a party and tree at their house that night. It is all very exciting. I can hardly wait. Mother is making me a pretty dress out of one of hers that she brought out with us in Grandmother's old hair-cloth trunk. I believe I am going to like Florida very much after all. John Hutchinson walked home with me from the store yes-


terday; he thinks it is not safe for me to walk out here alonejust a quarter of a mile from the Council House-by myself. I wonder if all nice young gentlemen are as particular as he is? December 20th I shall never forget yesterday if I live to be a hundred. Mother and father decided to go over to see old Mrs. Hobbs, who is sick. Mother did not like the idea of leaving us alone, but father said we would be safe; anyhow, could not Betsey ( that's me) shoot anything that might come prowling around. Mother waved to us as she rode away in front of father on the old grey mare, and called to us: "Do not leave the house for anything until we return." I was glad for mother to have the day free, though poor old Mrs. Hobbs was sick. I went about my housework quickly, so I could get to work on my Christmas gifts . It was a beautiful day, balmy and warm-warmer outside than in, and the children cried to go out to their playhouse under the Chinaberry tree, but I would not let them out of the door. When dinner was on, I decided to run across the clearing to the pine grove to replenish my supply of needles, which had run pretty low. Baby was asleep and I had Rob and Molly and Kate stand in the doorway and watch me; to count to measure the time it would take me to go and come. Snatching up a small basket, I ran swiftly out, down the path, across the road to the grove. The ground was car peted with a thick layer of pine needles. I gathered them with all speed possible, carrying them in my basket . I kept my face turned toward the house; there is no undergrowth at this point, so I could see distinctly the little figures in the doorway. When I had gathered the last handful I arose to signal the children that I was ready to start back, when I froze in my tracks with horror. It is queer, is it not, that one little object thrown into a tranquil scene, can so change it? At the side of the house, farthest away, and approaching from the thicket behind, came an Indian, gliding stealthily toward the house. I knew instantly that he had not seen me, and my first


impulse was to hide. Then I remembered the children-the door unbarred-wide open-no gun. There was only one thing to do, draw his attention to me-then run. He would be between me and the house. I could not possibly reach it, but I could run like a deer and he would follow. It could not have taken more than a second to have thought this out, but it seemed hours that I stood there watching him silently and swiftly approaching the house. At last, breaking the spell, I yelled as loud as I could and ran toward the road leading into the settlement. I looked back once-he was fol lowing. Fear gave wings to my feet. I seemed to bound over the ground. But I knew only too well my limitations. I saw, like swift moving pictures, all the terrible acts of Indian massacre I had heard of during the year just passed. I kept saying over and over, "God, save me; please, please save me." My chest began to ache. Then I actually stopped breathing, for I heard the light crunching sound of moccasined feet be hind me. I had been, in a way, conscious all the time of defeat, but when I realized absolute l y my helplessness I became numb all over. My feet dragged. I stumbled and fell. When I raised my head I saw John Hutchinson running toward me. His face was pale and his eyes filled with horror. "Betsey," he called, "are you hurt?" I tried to raise myself, but I was too spent, so I just shook my head and turned it so I could see what had become of. the Indian. He was nowhere in sight, but running down the road cam'e the children, their little faces as wild as John's. They had seen the whole thing, and Rob, pointing with his chubby little finger, cried: "He's gone that way, Betsey; we had just counted to two hundred!" We hurried back to the house and barred the door, for we didn't know how many Indians might be lurking about. But none disturbed us. John said he had heard that a band of Creeks had passed within a few miles of us two days ago, and suggested that our visitor was probably a stray from them. After the children had become less excited John told us how, when father and mother had passed their house, and told them we had been left alone, and he had seen mother's anxiety, he had walked over to stay with us until their return. As he came in sight of the house he saw me running, closely pursued


by the Indian. John shouted just as I fell, and the Indian seeing him darted off to the left like a rocket. He tried to scold me for leaving the house, but he could not; he could only thank God he had reached us in time. Then I remembered the pine needles and spoke of them. John smiled and started toward the door; with his hand on the latch he turned to me and said softly, looking straight down into my eyes: "I am going after your pine needles, Betsey; be sure to bar the door until I get back. I will not be gone long, for I think you need some one to look after you." He was gone like a flash, and my face was still burning when he returned with the basket filled to the brim with fragrant brown needles. After that John seemed to take everything for granted. I wonder if all gentlemen propose in that manner. I had not said a word, but it seems not to have been necessary. D ecembe r 2211d Mother thinks I am improving in my compos1t1on. She says my entry of yesterday shows more feeling. She laugh ingly suggests that I show it to John when he comes to speak to father tonight. I wonder if I dare? :...--~--.::. .,-• :. ---~-


• )


JENNIE LEE-J840 u1" (}irl of the Forties A LEAF F R OM THE DIA R Y O F JEN NIE LEE ALLEN


May 28th, 1843 This is the first time I have thought of my diary since vVed nesday. Jo wonder-we have been visited by a most terrible disaster. I was going down Monroe street Thursday evening about five o'clock, on my way to Emma's, when I saw several gentlemen running for dear life, calling "Fire." I never could resist a fire, so I hurried after them as fast as my feet would carry me. When I reached the Capitol Square I saw flames shooting out from the old Washington Hall. They had evidently gained great headway before the alarm had gone out. By the time I reached Mr. Cutter's house the Presbyterian and Episcopal church bells were ringing like mad, and every body was flying down the street. At first everything was in confusion; the ladies cried and wrung their hands, and the gentlemen ran about, calling to each other wildly. Then I saw Johnnie Hutchinson run into the crowd, and heard him tell the men to get all the buckets they could find nearby. Soon they had two lines of men, stretching down to the well behind the carriage-maker's shop and back, passing buckets of water. Full buckets going up and empty ones going back. Mrs. Hutchinson, Johnnie's mother, came up and stood by me. I could see by her face how proud she was of Johnnie. Once, when he was standing on top of Mr. Watson's house, his foot slipped, and I cried out. I am sure Mrs. Hutchinson knew then what Johnnie meant to me, for she took my hand and held it for a long time. But in spite of everything they did the flames spread. The bucket lines moved back and back, until they reached Adams street beyond Jefferson street. Only the big oak trees on Adams street kept the flames from crossing over to the western part of the town. Oh, but we grew frantic when we saw it spreading north and east. Is there anything as terrible as a fire from under control? It licks up everything in its path. The men saved Dr. Randolph's home by covering the roof with wet blankets, and pulling down some old sheds between it and the Court House. Once the Court House caught and


I saw two ladies faint. Even the day we spent locked up in the Presbyterian church, with nothing to eat but crackers and water, and we children knocked over the stone tablet with the ten commandments on it, and the men with guns marched up and down outside, to keep the Indians away, was nothing compared to this. Emma's mother made us go home at eight o'clock, but it was all over by then. Early this morning I walked down to see how it looked by daylight. Oh, such desolation as met my eye. Old Mrs. Patrick was there, crying over the ashes of her home. She has lost everything. Mrs. Thompson was poking around in the ashes of her houses to see if she could find any of her silver. Mrs. Watson and all the little Watsons sat in what was once Judge Gibson's front yard, looking for all the world as if they had lost their last friend-they did lose all their earthly possessions. While I was holding the baby for Mrs. Watson, Johnnie Hutchinson came up. He had never been to bed; his face was pale except where it was streaked with soot, and his clothes were wet and torn. He came right up to me, and without as much as a good-morning he spoke right out: "Jennie, everything father and I have in the world to make a living with is gone-books, office, building. I ought to wait to tell you what I have to tell you, but last night showed me how uncertain life is. You must have felt it, too, Jennie, for I .caught your eye once in the crowd, and-and it's just this, J ennie-1 need you terribly bad-May I come down this evening to talk it over?" I couldn't say a word for I couldn't move my tongue. I just nodded my head. I guess that satis:fied him for he smiled and went on down the street.






Spri11g Hill Pla1ltation, December 24th, 1860 While the gentlemen have gone for the evergreens we girls are supposed to take a nap so we will be fresh for the party tonight. The others are sound asleep, but I simply can't sleep in the daytime, so I'll post my diary instead. Grandmother is always so sweet to save the decorations for us to hang. It's such fun to see the gentlemen try to make wreaths with their big, clumsy hands. Harry has to be helped constantly; he seems to think two can tie a knot better than one. I wonder if they will insist upon hanging the mis tletoe from the parlor doorway like they did last year? Well, I guess I can stand it if the others can-only I do hope Harry will be the only one to think of it when I go under. I have such a lovely new dress for the party tonight-a shimmering green tarlatan, cut low in the bodice, and yards and yards of ruffies on the yards and yards of skirt. Amanda has a white tarlatan made just like mine; Nancy has a blue one and even little Bettie has a brand new yellow one . The young peo ple from Oakland Plantation and from town are coming to the party; and tomorrow night we are going to Oakland to supper and a dance afterwards. I think I hear the gentlemen coming-I'll get dressed real quickly and go down and watch them unload. Probably I'd better call the girls so we can get to work as soon as the ever greens are on the porch. December 27th Just think! Three days have passed and I haven ' t had time to write one word in my diary. I never saw the old place look so lovely . The whole downstairs is a bower of ever greens with now and then sprays of holly thick with bright red berries. The mistletoe is there, too-the gentlemen saw to that. We were awakened early on Christmas morning by Uncle Chad's voice, when he came to build our fire, calling, "Christmas gif'," to each of us. We had scarcely gotten dressed before the plantation gong sounded for us to gather in the hall downstairs, for prayers on the holy Christmas morning.


The house servants stood in the hall, and as many of the field hands as could crowded in; the rest stood outside on the porch. Grandfather stood in the open doorway where all could hear him. Grandmother with her children, and grandchildren, and guests, gathered on the stairway. I never sat down to such a dinner as Aunt Chloe prepared for us-deliciously baked fowls, roasted pig, plum puddings, cakes and everything good imaginable. After dinner the gen tlemen rode about the plantation with grandfather, and later talked politics on the front porch. One old gentleman had known grandmother's father, General John Hutchinson. It was interesting to hear him tell about the times when the Indians annoyed the early settlers. In the evening we went over to Oakland. I love to dance the Virginia reel, and Nancy taught us some new figures for the lancers that she had learned at boarding school. It was coming home in Grandfather's old barouche that Harry told me something I already knew, and slipped this dear little ring on my finger. But it will be a long time before we can be married. He has two years more of college before he can begin the practice of law. He says he just wants to be sure of me. Decembe r 28th It seems that mine and Harry's romance isn't the only one to culminate in an engagement this holiday. Yesterday when the gentlemen returned from the fox hunt, we ladies were on the front porch to receive them. Brother Robert came proudly up the steps and presented to Nancy the bushy tail of the fox. Nancy fainted dead away at the sight of it, and Robert thought he had killed her. He picked her up and carried her to the couch in the hall , calling to us to go after a doctor. But Aunt Emily, as usual, knew what to do. She came bustling in with a bowl of water and a big bottle of homemade camphor, and drov e all the men out so she could loosen Nancy's bodice. Robert went no further than the dining-room; we could hear him pacing up and down the floor like a caged lion. And when he heard her speak, he stepped right in-just like im-


pulsive old Robert, and going straight up to the couch where Nancy lay covered with Grandmother's cashmere shawl, look ing pale, but prettier than ever, knelt beside her, and taking her limp little hand in his, said: "Nancy, dearest, will you forgive me? I thought I had killed you I" At a look from Aunt Emily we withdrew, but not quickly enough to escape Nancy's tremulous reply: "Don't feel bad about it, Robert. I'm a silly little goose, I know, but I can't stand the-the sight of-of blood." And do you know, Robert-Robert, who has always scorned me if I hesitated to touch a green slimy frog, or to shoot a dear little dove-took her in his arms, before I had time to close the door, and vowed he'd never kill another fox. I can't believe even Harry would be that silly.


BETTIE-1865 ( These e x tracts from Bettie's diary were found by h f'r g reat-granrldaughter , Elizabeth Ann. Tilf' diary lay wrapped In a small handmade Confederate flag, dPep ln an old hair-cloth trunk.) Septe11iber I 5th, I 8 64 Oh, dearie me, dearie me, I did want a blue taffeta gom1 for the party last night, and instead I had to wear the old home-spun one mother made last fall. But I really didn't feel bad for none of the girls had on new gowns. Mother says I ought to be ashamed to fret over clothes at a time lik e this. G uess she wasn't young once! September 16th Do you know, little diary, I tried to buy a few yards of black ca lico today to make me a riding skirt, and they wanted $10.00 a yard for it, and $2.oo for a spool of cotton thread? Oh, dearie me l But mother's right, and I'm not going to fret any more about clothes. I am really beginning to feel a little frightened, and all this time I thought we were safe away off here in Tallahassee.


September 17th Oh, little diary, I'm truly frightened. I wonder what is going to happen next? Cousin Harry came home yesterday, all pale and sick, and he says there's even grave danger here. Sister Amanda says she can't sleep at night for thinking about it, and mother is beginning to look worried again. We haven't heard from father for a long time. September 18th Mother had a little dinner party for Cousin Harry last night, to try to cheer him up. She had a hard time getting things to cook. They are asking $40.00 a pound for coffee, so we used parched sweet potatoes and parched rye ground together instead. Nobody liked it, but Cousin Harry said it tasted like nectar to him. Mother says it may get worse than this. Queer I haven't thought of all these things until 1 lately. Mother says it was because I was too young, but old Vina says it was because mother has sheltered us children. I suspect they're both right. Oh, dearie me, I wish it were all over and father could come home! September 19th Cousin Harry 1s getting restless. He says he doesn't like the looks of things. Cousin Molly was crying yesterday when she sat with him in the rose arbor. I wonder how I'd feel if Sam had to go away to war, with the chances he'd never come back. But there's no use borrowing trouble . Sam is too young and besides he is still in school. Colonel Montgomery was here yesterday. He looked mighty grave while he talked to mother and Cousin Harry. I heard him say the men at Marianna would fight to the last ditch. Dearie me, I never dreamed it could get that close. I wish father were l}tre . I don't care now if I never have a blue taffeta dress.


September 30th Oh, dearie me, we're almost in the hands of the enemy. There was a ter-1:ible fight at Marianna day before yesterday. We haven't been able to learn much about it. I'm trying to be brave, but I really want to hide under grandma's feather bed. Cousin Harry has gone to join his regiment; he left in the middle of the night. If mother and Cousin Molly know where the regiment is, they won't tell. He and Cousin Molly were married at noon yesterday at the church. We all went just as we were, without dressing up a bit, except the bride wore an old white lace dress of her mother's and her mother's wedding veil. She looked beautiful, but very, very sad. December 25th Christmas Day. No news from father or Cousin Harry. Everybody is trying to fool everybody else into believing everybody is brave and full of hope . No Christmas party tonight. The negroes have all run away except Vina and George. Poor mother! February 14th, 1865 St. Valentine's day, and I didn't even think of it until I saw a little white piece of something under the front door. It was a dear little heart cut out of white wrapping paper-just that and nothing more-except in the corner, in tiny, tiny letters, was written, "Sam." I hope no one saw him slip it under. March 5th Oh, the most terrible thing in the world has happened! We are in the midst of war! Sam has gone-all the able bodied men have gone l They went marching away and maybe they'll never come back! All the stores are closed! All the gentlemen on the plantations came into town and went, toomarching away l Oh, I wish I were a man! Why was I born a helpless little girl! Mother is the bravest thing I ever saw. She has set us all to making bandages. Oh, dearie me, I couldn't see what I was doing for the tears; anyhow the cloth got all rumpled up and wet and mother told me to run out


in the garden for a while . But I came up here instead, t o y ou, my dear little diary. Oh, I can ' t forget Sam's face as he marched away. He and all the other boys wore their cadet suits . They did look wonderful, and so proud as the y marched past us. I had the little Confederate flag I had made to send father in my hand. I don't know how it got there, but all of a sudden I wanted to give it to Sam more than any thing else in the world. So as he came by me I ran out, and running along by his side, I thrust the little flag into his hand. I didn't say a word-I couldn't-and he didn't either. H e just took it and put it in his coat over his heart, and I knew a part of me was going into the battle. J\1 ar c h 8th Oh dear! Oh dear I I am so filled with excitement. M y hand fairly trembles. They' re back, they're back I Safe and sound-only bruised up a bit and a wound or two, but what's that-we have them safe, and we're safe. The way we re ceived them was the most wonderful thing one can imagine . It was sister Amanda's idea. We drove out as far as Belleair to meet them. We had made crowns of wild olive leaves, and pra cticed a song Cousin Molly had taught us about the returning heroes; and when they came in sight we ran to meet them singing, and placed the crowns on their heads . I can't imagine how I got Sam to crown, but somehow I did; and as we stood there he put his hand into his coat. I could see his fingers wiggle up by his heart, and he said just like Cousin Harry says things to Cousin Molly: "Bettie, I've worn it right here all the time. May I keep it forever?" Just think of S T Sam who used to pull my braids and tease me, when we to Miss Aggie's school-talking like that! Oh, dearie I'm so excited I can't write another word.




August 8th, 19 I 4 Daddy says from the newspaper reports things look mighty bad in Europe. Last night we drove up to the drug store to see if there was any late news in the window. Daddy got out and left mother and me in the carriage. I think it's lots of fun to watch a crowd congregated before a bulletin, and hear their remarks. Bob and John, and all our crowd of boys were there. I heard Bob say, "Old Europe's going to try a little fox-trotting herself, it 'pears to me." And Ted said, "Yes, and I bet it will be some fox-trot, too. They tell me they've been getting ready for it since Heck was a pup, but I should worry." And he walked off with such a blase air that mother and I laughed. "What's de news, Mistah Bob?" asked Aunt Lyda's black Jim. "Why, it's war in Europe, Jim, probably will end in the biggest scrap this little old world has ever seen." "War! For de Lord sakes, Mistah Bob, is it gwine to come to Tallahassee?" This caused a laugh, and another negro boy, evidently better versed in geography than Jim, spoke up in a pompous manner: "Don't show dat you don't know nothin', niggah, why dar's a great ocean 'tween us an'

FROM TUE SAi\lE DIARY THREE YEARS LATER. dpril 5th, 1917, F. S. W. C. We seem to be passing through a calm before a stormevery one is wa1tmg-wa1tmg. The girls, when not in class, just stand around in small groups talking earnestly-no longer debating. The suspense is getting painful-why doe511' t Con gress act? April 7th-6 o'clock A. M. Vv ell, it has come-the message came flashing over the wires yesterday. Congress declared war, followed by the President's message. The effect was electrical, I felt it in the quivering of my nerves, and I saw it in the faces around me. Each face told its own story, some were shining as if a great spiritual revelation had taken place, others showed suppressed excitement, mingled with a little fear; but the majority went about their work with an expression of grim determinationthe die had been cast, their country was at war, they were ready for the next move. At sundown, when the flag was lowered, we stood around it, every figure drawn up stiff and straight, at attention-every face, pale with intense feeling, turned up to the stars and stripes waving above us . Nell stood beside me, her hands, hanging by her side, were clenched; she was not conscious of it, but tears rolled down her cheeks, and I heard her whisper softly, as if she were saying a prayer: "Oh my country, take me-use me-we must not-we cannot fail!" I added, "Amen," and then we joined in the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner." Today I am going to look around to see where I am needed most. Then down to business. dpril 9th. I've found my place . It doesn't sound very romantic after hearing the girls plan to go as nurses, ambulance drivers and canteen workers. My decision came in this way: When we


reported at the dietetics class this morning, Miss Simms, chairman of the State Home Demonstration work, met us. After we were all seated she stepped around in front of the desk so she could look into our faces, and spoke slowly and deliber ately, but with intense earnestness. I will try to write what she said as well as I can remember it: "Young ladies, I can read in your faces that you are very much awake to the present situation. We do not know as yet what part our Government shall be called upon to perform, but last week while I was in Washington, I heard things that were not mere rumor; for one, our allies are suffering more and more from the want of food, and we shall be called upon more and more to relieve this condition. Then," and there was a little break in her voice, "if we are to send a great army to Europe, you can readily see that the food question will be even more acute . Now, out of this arises two things to be considered; food production, and food conservation. The food will be produced-the Government will see to that if it has to exonerate men from enlistment to till the soil, but listen, young ladies, the food-stuff which shall be raised in greater quantity than ever before in our country, must be preserved, every grain of it. That is the work up to you and me, girls, and every class in the study of food in the United States." Margaret Collins was on her feet instantly, asking ques tions that burned in each of us: When would the work begin? How long would it last? Would it carry through the summer vacation? Should we sign up right then? Miss Simms said it would not be necessary to sign up, but she would like to have an idea of how many of the class thought they would like to go into this work seriously, at once, and to stick to it until the war was over. The whole class arose as one. And that's the way I found my place. J\1 ay 7th. I didn't realize time was flying so-I've neglected my diary entirely, and if there ever was a time I should record things, it's now. Well, I don't know whether I'm canned, or dried, or just plain pickled, but I'm sure it's one of the three. We


are going now from six in the morning until six in the evening . The first garden truck has been almost disposed of. But that doesn't mean we are to be idle; it only means more laboratory (kitchen) work, trying out rec i pes from Washington, or any other place that sends them our way . We had such an exciting time last week-I must write it down. Miss Simms called us together and told us we were threatened with a tragedy; the hint she had read to us about a shortage in tin cans, had come to pass . She said she had had a communication from Washington about a week before, say ing she might secure a carload for distribution among the farmers at wholesale price-to answer immediately. She had taken no tirrie to consult any one, but had wired them to send the car on at her own expense. ( I've learned since, from another source, that she bound herself for two thousand dollars at the bank for them.) And this is what she wanted to tell us : the cans had come and were unloaded into an old warehouse near the station. They had to be crated and placed in the hands of the farmers and canning clubs. Miss Simms, through the newspapers and county agents, was notifying as many farmers as possible to call at the warehouse for their portion. The cost of crating, if men had to be hired, would add to the expense-did anyone have anything to suggest ? Kate said she didn't see why we couldn't do it. Miss Simms' face fairly beamed as she said, "My, but I'm proud of you girls. I thought I could depend upon you." Then she arranged for us to go down in groups of ten or twelve, whenever it was convenient for us to get away from classes . The college truck would take us down . Later, Margaret and I were walking across the campus with Miss Simms, when I noticed her looking anxiously at the clouds that were gathering; then she said, "I hope it doesn't rain to-night, that warehouse is rather a leaky affair." It was a fortunate remark, for at twelve o'clock I was wakened by one of the most terrific rains I've ever heard. Margaret came into our room, saying she couldn't sleep for thinking of the tin cans down in the old warehouse . She said she could see them fairly floating around in water-they would rust and be ruined. The Home Demonstration girls began


flocking in with white scared faces (it had gotten around somehow about the danger to the cans), until the room was full . We sat around in kimonos and screamed at each other above the noise of the storm. About two o'clock the rain slowed down a bit and someone suggested if it stopped by daylight, there was just one thing to do, to take cloths down there and dry out the cans. _--\fter Sarah had volunteered to sit up and watch the weather, and, if advisable, call us at four o'clock, the rest went ' to their rooms to gather up old cloths, and snatch a n hour's sleep. At four we were all up and dressed-had a cup of tea and some crackers in our room, and were off, twenty strong, for the warehouse by four thirty. Day was just breaking as " " e swung down the muddy, slippery hill, singing "There's a long, long trail," and "Pack up your troubles in your own kit bag, smile, smile, smile." I tell you singing has carried us all through some mighty tight places. Nell and I sang all day after Bob and Ted left for Camp. Fortunately there was a freight train down at the station when we got there. We had the engineer break down the door of the warehouse, and then we certainly went to work. Our worst fears were confirmed; the old house had leaked up to Miss Simms' wildest expectations-three-fourths of the cans had water in them . .:\.t eight o'clock Miss Simms and some of the girls drove down with a great pot of coffee and some rolls; and at noon she sent us buckets of soup, and cheese sandwiches. Other girls came to help during the day, and we took time about rest ing. By six o'clock every can had been dried. They sent the truck for us, and it was a good thing, for I don't believe a one of us girls could have walked to the college, we were so stiff and sore. We began crating the next day, for we felt it wouldn't do to let the rain catch us again. We did the work in squads, and actually developed great skill, two of us systematically pack ing one carton, which holds a hundred cans, in one half min ute's time. Miss Simms said the noise we made might easily be mistaken for the sound of musketry. Dozens of farmers


have dri,en in for their portion; some in farm• wagons, some in automobiles, and quite a few in old-fashioned carts, drawn by teams of oxen. Had a letter from Agnes yesterday . She is back in Paris. after a year at a base hospital. Isn't she wonderful I Didn't know she had it in her two years ago-never can tell what's in a person till they're put to the test. J ell's working day and night with the Red Cross unit here at the College. ::'\o slackers in our family I dug11st 26th, 1918 Nine o' clo cl, P. M., at home. Have just finished with the last of the fruit and vegetables before college begins. We have filled 30,000 cans this sum mer-just think of it-30,000; one-half is going to the Red Cross for our boys; one out of every hundred turned over to the United Charities for the needy this winter. And that's only the beginning, next summer we'll do better if we have to start a factory. O c tob e r 31st (Hallowce11) , F. S. lf/. C . Troops from the southwest came through Tallahassee today. Their officers brought them out to the college this evening while we were eating supper. They brought them right into the dining room, and they marched around the tables while we girls sang and cheered until we were hoarse. J obod y knows where they are going, but every one I talked to said he wanted to get across right away. I wonder what Bob's doing tonight. Just think, it's over a year since they left. Every body's beginning to feel the strain, with our boys in the thick 0 it. Hundreds in town are down with the flu. Everyone who is well has been asked to help nurse-Mother telephoned yesterday that she's been making soup all morning for her sick neighbors. I'm beginning to feel a little panicky. N o'z:embe r I 2 I can hardly believe the war is over. The news of the armistice was received very quietly-we had our celebration


three days ago, when the premature report of the signing of the armistice reached us. We went wild then. The message c a me to us in the hall, about the same time the whistles began to blow and the bells to ring. We marched down College Avenue four hundred strong-in the middle of the streetsinging at the top of our voices. When we reached Monroe Street our cheer leader climbed onto an empty truck that stood in front of the drug store, and led us in one song after another. We sang as we have never sung before-we, and the town's people around us, were delirious with joy. We marched back again-still singing. I saw a few faces in the crowd that night that made me sad-they were unselfishly rejoicing with us, while their hearts lay on the fields of France. But we must not linger over the sad things tonight-we must think of our country soon to be once more at peace, and of the boys to be restored to us . God bless them all, andand one in particular l




Tallahassee, August 20th, 1924 Dear lady, how in the world did you discover that I keep a diary, that unfortunate failing of the women of our family ( I thought I had mine guarded so closely that no one would ever find it out, and some day ]'d leave it in an iron (tin) box to my eldest daughter to pass on down through the centuries, with the other diaries. It may make interesting reading some day, just as the first Betsey said. But I am not going to part with it yet. If a leaf must come forth to link with the others, I guess I'll select the most impersonal one, which, since I come to think of it, is the most personal, because it's all me-not just happenings. One day I waxed eloquent, and the following effusion was the result. If it will help you to _ solve the riddle of the twentieth century girl you are welcome to use it as you see fit . frm e JSt, 1924 Sallie's brother asked me today what I intended to do with my sheepskin now that I had it. Doesn't that sound just like a man? They can't get used to a girl wanting the same things they want. It is too bad for their sakes that we can't appear like our great grandmothers. Now here's a secret, the girls would never forgive me if they knew I even breathed it: We are, ~ t heart, just like those other Betties. Take away their crino lines and give them a ponjola hair cut, and, behold, there stands Elizabeth Ann. We like to think of Bettie as being hedged around with ideas of other people, while we have learned to think for ourselves. T ow here comes another con fession: I don't know which is the worse, to be a dear little polly-parrot and clinging-vine sort, or fool yourself into be lieving you are an independent thinker, while all the time you are steeped up to your neck in Bernard Shaw and J ietzsche philosophy, and Freud psychology . We may not have read any of them-we may not even know their names-but some one else has, and the propaganda was started. Who is the independent thinker now-Bettie or Elizabeth Ann?


If Bettie or Betsey had had a taste of 20th century sauce they'd be right where we are now (I'm not talking about flap pers and such, they're just affectations, but of real girls). They'd be taking out their M.D. and LLD. degrees, and run ning shops, and teaching school, and sitting in judicial chairs, and even looking with some degree of speculation toward the executive seat of a great state, or government. No, it isn't the girl that's changed-it's the age; and we have followedsometimes blindly, sometimes grimly, sometimes rejoicingly, the pace set for us. And if we are less charming than the Betseys and the Betties the men don't often tell' us so to our faces-we only read of it in horrid stories of realism that are not always real. If dear little Bettie had been psycho-analyzed, and her soul turned inside out 3 6 5 days in the year. on the movie screen, she'd become sophisticated, too. Can I hear you say that Bettie wouldn't even know our language? Maybe not, without some coaching, but it's universal enough-Sally's brother would understand-so does father, and I believe I can count on mother. Think I'll talk it over with my date (Sally's brother) tonight. I suspect though he'd rather flirt with Bettie or Betsey in the rose arbor. I have the advantage of a hundred years over my great grandmother, but I would certainly hate to have her for a rival! (




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