Elinor’s 1915 Diary
[There is little talk of WWI yet in the family. Older family did fight in the Cival War. Nellie is now working regularly. The parents and Gertie and Fred are still in Cuba. She gets more money from 71 year old Mr. O’Neil, and family think he might be not in his right mind.
Entertainment includes skating (200-300 per day) on the river, sleighing & coasting. But then things switch to rain and there are worries of the river flooding. Frank is continuing to paper and paint the little house he built on part of the homestead property for his young family of 4 and they actually move in. She makes it sound like Frank is doing all their housework as well.
The family structure changes quite a bit with the parents and older brother going out of the country. Ma’s sister Edith Wheeler (married Breckenridge)has been a matriarch that saved the family from divorce after abuse, and from a house fire. She had shared her resources, given up properties, helped with transportation back to Ohio, and more importantly had influence and power over the men in the family. As of 1915, the primary members of the Harvey Deville Bonney family (parents Cordin (Bonney) and Amelia (Masten) have 3 offspring, include Pa, Aunt Jennie (Easle), and Aunt Lotte/Laura (Bilkey). There are offspring of the Mastins, and the Valoris/Pomeroy siblings (cousins) that visit at times. The primary members of the Martha Wheeler family (parents Valoris P and Charity Pomeroy) have 5 offspring including Ma, Aunt Edith (Breckinridge), Charity, William, & Porter. This is the year Martha Jane Wheeler “Ma” will die, in June. The Bonney name is only carried by Harvey Deville Bonney, Elinor’s father, Pa. Elinor, Gertie and Elbert have no offspring, but her brothers Frank and Fred do, carrying on the Bonney name (Frank has Evelyn and Harvey Limen, Fred has Laura Ann though he dies before she is born). Also, by reversing names when Nellie has offspring she names them Bonney Bell, and Bonita and her son names his daughter (me) Bonney Bell. Gifts keep coming in the mail including a birthday night dress with an image stamped on it for embroidry from Georgia Rosecrans, daughter of Aunt Edith.
There is still talk of the “boys” working for the broader family as opposed to separate nuclear families, but sometimes they still seem to be unified workers, “The boys have been getting coal up to the car dump hard job but they have several tons.”
It seems someone in the family is always sick, and diseases/infections spread constantly. Elinor has begun to complain of headaches, others have colds. Different members seem to go to Sunday school and church. Interestingly this month Audrey takes her daughter Martha to Sunday school following a period when Elinor fears Audrey is not living a proper life although Elinor does not seem to disapprove of Audrey’s divorce. In fact, her divorce happens this month and Audrey and Elinor go to the courtroom in Elyria to be witnesses along with the family doctor (Smith) and the family lawyer (Strunick). Audrey’s lawyer for the divorce was Mr. Thompson, and George’s lawyer was Mr. Glitch. Audrey was awarded 500/year in 20/mo installments, with balance at the years end. George did not show up for the divorce proceedings.
The river is melting now making skating impossible but fishing is still also impossible. Someone from a boat called Shenago brings young Martha Carlisle a bag of candy canes when he comes to introduce himself to the homestead. .
[Sun. Jan. 3. 1915] Jan.Sun.3. Well of all the skaters, there has been two or three Hundred on the river to day Elbert has gone to church. Frank wasn’t here Sat. & not today. It was nice out doors today
[Mon. Jan. 4. 1915] Mon.4. Well Frank has everything to move the shed all papered & seiling painted & they are coming tomorrow. Oh.my. Well I’ll be blessed
[Tue. Jan. 5. 1915] Tue. 5. F.& R. & children all moved in & such a mix up but Audrey & Frank got the carpets down & Elbert & F. set up stove & they were puting things up & making it look like home & R. is all tired out & Hasn’t done anything ha,ha,ha, I’d like a good husband but would-n’t want him to cook my meals do the dishes washing & sweeping. Oh! no. Oh, no, ho, ho.
[Wed. Jan. 6. 1915] Wed.6. Well F. is still workiing getting things put to rights. Ive been trying to get cought up with my work.
[Thrs. Jan. 7. 1915] Page 171 Thurs.7. I washed to-day & of all things if I didn’t have one big wash & A. not feeling very good & I’ve worked untill I’m stiff to night & A has gone to bed & the supper dishes, I’ll have to wash in the morn, so I’m going to take my bath & roll in.
[Fri. Jan. 8. 1915] Fri.8. Well, I baked loaves of bread and done my house work, seems to me as though I would never get my mending cought up again. The boys have been getting coal up to the car dump hard job but they have several tons.
[Sat. Jan. 9. 1915] Sat.9. Scrubbed the dinning room & kitchen today and did my house work & some mending.
[Sun. Jan. 10. 1915] Sun.10. A very pretty day out side & Lucia Fletcher, Elsie & Edith Wheeler were here a while today, I’ve been on the jump allday and am ever so tired tonight. Oh. Dee. Audrey & Martha went to Sunday School this morn.
[Mon. Jan. 11. 1915] Mon.11. Well I think the skating is over for a while, ice is so soft, Nice & warm out door.
[Tue. Jan. 12. 1915] Tue.12. Sewed and done my house work today and aired all the beding & sweeped the house Mon.11. and sweapt & dusted today haven’t been feeling very well for several days. so nervous as though something was going to happen. got a letter from Mr. O’Neil today & one from Franci.
[Wed. Jan. 3. 1915] Wed.3. Little Harvey Liman Bonney is 2 mo old today. I washed untill 2 oclock this afternoon & finnished my waist which took untill mid night, was in bed a little be fore one a.m. & went two sleep before 2 a.m. slept until the clock struck 4
[Thrs. Jan. 4. 1915] Thur 4. Got up at five dressed, cooked breakfast & dressed for my trip to Elyria Elbert Audrey Martha & I hired a taxi to take us to the waiting room, We had to go
[Thrs. Jan. 4. 1915]Page 172. as wittnesses for A. on her diverse case. Dr. Smith & Lawer Strunick were also wittnesses & Mr. Thompson was A’s Lawer, Glitch was for Geo. Well A. was granted a divorse & the of Martha & 500. dollars a yr. in payment of $20.00 a mo. & bal. at end of yr. Wel it’s a dreadful thing & my head aches so. Oh. Dee. Geo. wasn’t there to fight they case. thank God
[Gap from jan 5-Jan 14. 1915][Fri. Jan. 15, 1915] Fri.15. Well I have had a sick nervous head ach every since yesterday, was most cray last night feel a little better today, but it’s all I can do to work. hope I fell better tomorrow.
[Sat. Jan. 16. 1915] Sat.16. Well. A. was tired but after a good hot dinner Thurs. & a rest she was alright. but if I feel this miserable as her wittness I don’t know how I should have felt had I been in her place. Well. the postman brought me a package from Georgia Rosecrans. Oberlin. O. [This would be Elinor’s Aunt Edith (her mother’s sister) who has a daughter Georgia married to Rosecrans and living in Oberlin] which proved to be a night dress stamped, to be embroidered & floss & embroider it with, as a rememberance of my birthday today I’m 30 yrs. old. and old old maid. Oh. Audrey done the scrubbing today & I the sweeping & the house work & odds & ends a hard day.
[Sun. Jan. 17. 1915] Sun.17. A beautiful day & I’ve worked all day Audrey, Martha & Evelyn to Sunday School this morn. I’ve had another hard day today.
[Mon. Jan. 18. 1915] Mon.18. Made myself a waist & did my work. Ice most all gone only aloong shore Oh.Dee
[Tue. Jan. 19. 1915] Tue.19. Did my house work & helped Ruby make herself a waist today & am tired & so nervous.
[Wed. Jan. 20. 1915] Page 173. Wed.20. Well I wash-ed to day was through at noon Elbert turned out most of them. then I mended while guess it will take all the rest of this week to finnish up the mending
[Thrs. Jan. 21. 1915] Thurs.21. Got up at 6 a.m. cooked breakfast for Elbert & Nellie straightened up dinning room feed & watered the chickens swept & dusted & mended 9 1/2 pairs of socks 1/2 suit of Elberts under wear, ate supper washed dishes sprinkeled Nellie’s & my clothes set my bread & straighten up house for night & now must try & write a letter or two while Nellie is doing her studying. The man on the Shenago brought Martha a bag of candy canes today. This is the first of our acquaintance.
[Fri. Jan. 22. 1915] Fri.22. Ironed today & done house work.
[Sat. Jan. 23. 1915.] Sat.23. Audrey did the scrubbing & I the housework
[Sun. Jan. 24. 1915] Sun.24. We haven’t had a letter from the folk this week
[Mon. Jan. 25. 1915] Mon.25. Well it’s the same old story sewing & housework.
[Tue. Jan. 26. 1915] Tue. 26. I washed, Elbert turned the tub, All through at Noon, then I helped get dinner & scrubbed the to floors, and am so tired I can hardly set up, going to take my bath and go to bed. Oh dee dee dee
[Wed. Jan. 27. 1915] Wed.27. Nellie & I have sewed to day, she has to day, Thurs off & Fri. morn. so we must sew she & Elbert went to commencement to night.
[Thrs. Jan. 28. 1915] Thurs.28. Pa’s birthday he is 54 yrs. old. today & we have sewed & done house work.
[Fri. Jan. 29. 1915] Page 174. Fri.29. I have ironed all Nellies & my pieces & sewed & done house work and am some weary.
[Sat. Jan. 30. 1915] Sat.30. Swept & cleaned & done my work & got another letter from Mr. O’Neil with 2 cent[?-?]HIUE DOIIARS in it., well I don’t know what to think or do & no one else seemes to know I don’t know wheather he is in his right mind or not he is 71 yrs. of age. his sister died & left him all her money. We have a lot of snow good Sleighing & coasting.
[Sun. Jan. 31. 1915] Sun.31.Today is Wyn’s birthday she is 39 yrs old and it has rained more or less since midnight all day & is still raining, boy’s are looking for high water tomorrow. a dreary day and tiresome one.