Elinor’s  1920 Feb. 20. letter & sporadic entries May. 17. -Dec. 1920 Diary Pages  

[Elinor and Frank married May 17, 1920 at dinnertime and Frank left at 4 am;   Elinor went home and was in pain for the next couple days though she resumed her work at home.  Two days later, on May 19, Frank came home (to Elinor) but  apparently on Tuesday May 18 Frank was so sick that he fainted twice and on the 19th he still looked sick.  After May 19, Elinor cooked Rabbit stew but during the time, threw her hip out, partially helped by seeing a Chiropractor the next day on May 20. He came home, or she went to see him, several times during the next weeks in spite of her sciatic pain.  Then she ended up in bed 2 weeks with the pain.   Also, she lost 25 lb. during this period and got almost all her teeth removed and got false teeth/bridges. Elbert cared for her, supplemented by her sister Audrey who came and cared for her nights along with Elbert. On May 19, already married  she and Frank Babcock drove to the property they planned to buy, 5 acres in Huron on Hahn Road.  They eventually lived there in the house that Elinor’s father (or possibly Elbert) built. But there is a gap in the diary through the summer 1920. The next entries are from October 1920 and she is still suffering with dental issues. Frank came home in the winter of 1920/spring 1921.  Elinor declared bankruptcy twice between 1921-1940 and was in a car accident.  Frank died in 1933.During the early marriage months Elinor owned a camera and took many pictures (see below) which help us visualize early married life even though there were gaps in her diary]

Frank Babcock

Frank Bancock and Bill, 1924.

[Feb. 20. 1920]   [There is a letter in February 20,  1920 to Frank W Babcock (Buffalo, N.Y.)  from his brother Leslie McCarthy (2.R.#6) Hillyard Washington c/o Minis Hotel. :  Hillyard Wash. Feb, 20, 1920, Dear Bro:-  I  think it is about time I am answering your letter’s as I owe you two but the reason why I didn’t write sooner is because we were chasing around again and I thought I would wait until I got an address again   I congratulate you on your good luck in receiving such a good issue of license. I am now out on a ranch with my father-in-law to spend a couple of months before we go to Montana.  Well Wiley  I wish you have good luck in getting a boat.   I haven’t heard from home for quite awhile so I don’t know how the folks are getting along.   Mary got a letter from Anna a short while ago and they are in Philie. again and she said in her letter that Walter is caring on again worse than ever, he-made all kinds of bad threats to her, but she said she was trying to get along the best she can as he figured on going to Texas in a short while.   I suppose Dan has gone out on the salt water by this time  I hope he get along alright, I would like to hear from Dan once in awhile   I havent heard from for about eight year’e.   If I don’t do well with the mine’s I am going to try farming   I have a pretty good chance    Well Wiley I dont know of much to write about so I guess I’ll have to chop off.    Mary and the baby are both enjoying good health   There has been a lot of flu out in this country lately,   From     Your Bro.   Leslie McCarthy  Add.  Hillyard Wash R.R.# 6 c/o Joe Glomb.”

[There was apparently an event for newlyweds called “horning bee” wherein (she says over 100 people) folks serenade “beat old buckets, wash tubs, boilers, pans & cans horned & belled & sang to us”  Frank paid them to get them to leave. 

Elinor threw out a hip on their wedding night, and had to take a taxi to the chiropractor the next day. Also, she had had all her teeth removed and her mouth was too sore to get impressions made for dentures.  “he sheered my upper & lower jaw bones terrible” 

Frank was on the water much of the time hauling ore and coal. She says he doesn’t look healthy. It sounds like she tracked (calling the Cleveland office) his Steamer on Lake Erie  and that when he was close, he was able to get a launch to bring him from the steamer to the shore to see Elinor, at the Black River home. She also frequently took train or bus to meet his boat if it docked along the Lake Erie Shore. One of the places she gets a letter from is Toledo  at the mouth of the Maumee River.   In the Spring 1920 she goes to Conneaut Ohio twice to see Frank.   ( at the mouth of Conneaut Creek on Lake Erie 60 miles northeast of Cleveland Ohio) At one point he came home from Fairport. (on Fairport Harbor southwest of Conneaut)  On Nov. 18, 1920 she says that his boat (Davidson) passed Detroit and passed another boat (Soo).  She apparently was able to find that detail by calling. She claims to not be able to “forget Frank for a minute, Bless his heart, hope he is O.K. God Bless him” (see below Conneaut Lighthouse image) 

Conneaut Lighthouse
(Contemporary Photo)

 One of the errands, or stops in town was the Jewelry Store, where she had left Frank’s watch (but “it stoped before I got home.”)   

This is the period (November 1920) when the family friend Mrs. Haught was dying and Elinor went to Cleveland to help. She died November 13, 1920 on the day Elinor returned to Lorain.  Elbert and Elinor went back to Cleveland for the funeral November 16.

Audrey is working but at yet another place, “the National Tube Mill Restruant, as cashier, nights” National Tube Mill was the conglomerate combined from US Steel and presumably there was a restaurant on site for the employees.  Nellie’s husband John is working nights.  Audrey is still taking Martha to Sunday School and Church during late fall 1921 & Elinor goes to church with her sister Nellie, John and “the baby” (probably Ella Jane), who apparently are living on their own as well.   It sounds as if Audrey is living on her own with the baby because Elinor talks of “Martha came up to spend the day & sleep with me tonight.” 

They have a phone at the homestead and it is a party line of some sort.  She said “Mrs. G. left word for me to call her when I got home & I did just for fun, called her out of bed, ha.ha.” 

There was an incident described where police assembled a posse of men to chase after “a couple of coons who had robbed a home on broadway” and they were successful.  But Elbert comes back home sick, “from too much running.”

 There is a picture postcard, presumably of Frank Babcock at the wheel/helm of a large boat.  It reads: |”What do you think of my position    how would you like to hold this wheel   you will think me kind of lazy for not answering your letter but I wont forget    With best wishes,  Frank A Babcock”   It is possible this card was to his brother or possibly to Elinor, but probably from this time period.]

Frank Babcock was appointed Second Assistant Engineer March 5, 1920, 2 months before asking for Elinor’s hand in marriage.


Frank Babcock with home-grown produce for sale.
The dog Bill is at the wheel.















The company letterhead for his Steamer, is “G.A. Tomlinson; Lake Transportation” in Cleveland. But the history of that name includes a ship “G.A. Tomlinson” built in 1907by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan originally named “The D. O. Mills”  There are archives at Bowling Green University of records kept by the engineers, including of that boat.  History online suggests that the James Davidson was built from surplus materials from WWI shipbuilding (600’ LOA, 580’ LBP, 60’ beam, 32’ depth 1 deck, arch cargo hold construction, hatches @ 12’, coal-fired boilers, triple expansion engine, 2300 IHP).  Different accounts suggest there was a person, G.A. Tomlinson, Mgr.   The ship was “sold for scrap 1974 to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne ON.  Resold to Spanish shipbreakers.  Cleared Quebec QC June 30, 1974 with str. Kinsman Independent towed by Polish tug Jantar.  Tow arrived Santander Spain July 21, 1974.”

When the diary gets to December Elinor starts using the format she continues till 1960.  She doesn’t include page numbers and entries are grouped or summarized.  The content sounds as if living together, married life, didn’t really start until December 1920.  


Mon. May.17.1920  Frank W Babcock came to Cleveland on his boat James E. Davidson working second assistant engineer, & the Cheif told him to come to Lorain & see his girl & so he did & he took me to Elyria to the Court House & then to Rev. Winters where we were married about supper time, We ate Supper up town, Frank took me to Elyria in a big car & then we came back to Lorain & stayed to the Elm Hotel all night  Frank left at 4-a.m. for Cleveland.  May God Bless Him and make us both strong in body & Spirit.  I couldn’t lace my own shoes, the rheumatism is so bad in my back & hips, Well I went home & found lots of work to do as usual & so changed my clothes & went to work, its ever so hard to work.  Well,

[Wed. May. 19. 1920]  Wed.19.  Frank come back & stayed all night he was sick & had two fainting spells Tue.  was feeling better again today all though he looks sick yet.  I know his work is going to be hard this [1920] Summer, and I hope we can both keep well, to save him any extra worry.  I was so glad to see him tonight. 

[Thrs. May. 20. 1920]Thurs.[may] 20.  Frank left early & I went out & picked up the relicks, of the young peoples horning bee, which took place last night, over one hundred young men & women & boys & girls and they surely did give us a great serenade, they beat old buckets, wash tubs, boilers, pans & cans horned & belled & sang to us  Frank gave them some money & they left sat-isfied , they took most of their outfit with them, but what they didn’t take I cleaned up and carried away,  I cooked rabbit for supper & thought I’d make pie plant pie, but I threw my right hip out of joint, couldn’t get a Dr so went up town in a taxie & they helped me up to Dr. Eastons & he put my joint back after trying three, some time  we’re having   Well Franks up the Lakes & I wonder if he will be able to come home when he gets back  I have a terrible sore hip.  Frank came home from Fairport, I love to have him come & dread to see him go.  Well I have neglected to write every day, but I have been feel worse every day,  I went to Conneant to see Frank twice the last time, I had Elbert go with me, I was almost afraid I couldnt get home a gain my hip was so bad, I nerved up & got there & back but, had to stay in bed two weeks with syatic rheumatism, Frank poor man was some worried I know, but I was to ill for once to worry.  Frank calls me up each time he gets in port & he write me often & those are things that count, much.  Elbert is such a good boy he hardly left me a minute day or night until Audrey came home then he took care of my days, and Audrey nights, I got up just a soon as I could, I surely was some weak & lost 25 lbs.  was sure sick, but I want fr  Frank & could-nt die, and I want to look after Martha & Audrey, Elbert will miss me to, but then maybe he will have life easier, in the future.  Well, Frank’s boat came here to load quite a number of times, two or three, then  I have got strong enough to go meet him again, had all most all my teeth out so its kept me weakened for I can only eat soft food.  got my upper ones bridges in again

Thurs.Oct.14.1920.  Got to have a plate for lower jaw, and jaws to sore to have the empress-ion taken yet.  he sheered my upper & lower jaw bones terrible.  Franks boat came to Conneant Wed.Oct.13. & Mrs. G & I went Wed. morn & got there at noon & the boat got there at 4.p.m.  Frank was with me about 3 hrs & came back to the hotel at midnight 7  stayed.with me untill after breakfast & he see me on the car for home, came all the way on the St. carr. got to Lorain at 1-30 or some thing like that went to Nellie’s for dinner & Audrey & I went back to town, got to the Dentist at 3.p.m. & was in the chair untill 455.p.m.

Sat  Oct.23.  Franks boat came to Huron & he came home Sun.24th after noon & stayed all night I’ll be so glad when he is done for the winter, and I can be with him

Nov.3rd.[1920]  Franks boat is going to Conneant & I’m going to meet him.  They have had a lot of stormy weather & a snow storm up north and I feel so anxious each trip & hope they wont make many more trips.  I Pray God Will Watch over him for me, & that he will be with all the sailors, & help them to remember to do the Master’s Will. 

Nov.4.  I went to conneant, (left here at 8-a-m& got there at 12 oclock noon.) & sent a message to Frank, then went to Cleveland Hotel & Registered & went to my room & rested until Frank knocked on the door, I was so glad to see him, we had a good visit from 1-p.m. un-till 5.p.m. then he took me part way to the depot & went back to go to the boat, & I went to the depot got on the train at 6.p.m. & got off 9-55.p.m. got off on east side.  Gertie had a fire, so I fixed a lunch & some hot tea & then went to bed tired. 

Nov.5.  Well I lay and rested this morning, for I didn’t sleep until after 2.a.m.  I was going to town & got ready to go before dinner, then, Clyde Haught called me from Cleveland and ,wished me to come as soon as I could to help take care of Mrs. Haught   she’s failing fast & the Dr. said she could not live more than four days at best.  Well, I’m already to go in the morning  am going to the Bank, the jewelers, Hursts dry goods store for some floss, Miss Baumgarts for a lunch & get my car at 10-55.a.m.  Glen is going to meet me.  its a hard Job I’ve got to do & I Pray from the depth of my heart, that God will give me the needed strength to go through this ordeal  I do Pray all so that He will be with Frank and Bless him with strength health and keep him safe from harm & evil, and bring him back to me, a good strong, true man.  Oh God this it would be like wandering in the wilderness, now, with out Frank, I do thank You for sending him to me, I feel as if I had more to live for, some one to love me & care for me.  (Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart, be exceptabley in Thy sight, Oh Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer. 

Sat.6.  Well Glen met me & took me home & I went to work taking care of Mrs. Haught she looks terrible, but know what she is doing most of the time, poor soul. 

Sun.7.  Well I sure am tired, Children get scart and wont let me sleep days & tonight has been a long night.

Mon.8.  Well I sleep one hour a day & to night I am wondering where Frank is, I know the lakes are terrible this time of the year and I’ll be all in at the end of this week, worried, tired out & sleepy.  

Tue.9.  Mrs. Haught has a bad spell every other day, she has a strong constituton & a strong will power, she’s so poor she look like a living skeleton all over it’s terrible. 

Wed.10.  We have been having nice warm weather on shore, but not so nice up North.

Thurs.11.  Well I saw several flock of wild geese going South yesterday & today & tonight at 8 oclock it began to snow & at midnight it was a foot deep on the door step & it’s getting colder to___  I called the Cleveland office & Frank is nearing Detroit & I’m glad & he will be in Lorain tomorrow, I thank God.

Fri.13.  I slept one hour this morn & then came home  got here at noon bought some eats to bring home & got home at one p.m., had dinner & cleaned my room & took a bath, & Franks boat was passing the house at 2.p.m.  Reagan’s grocier launch took him off his boat & put him on our dock & Oh how glad I was to see him, but he could only stay to super & went back at 8.p.m. to the Plant Str James E. to the Davidson  they came in with ore & went out light to Toledo for coal, and my heart aches for Frank for he doesn’t look a bit well & he said he felt sick, I’ll be so anxious. 

Sat.13.  Glen phoned & said Mrs. Haught died at 10.a.m. this morning and I did-n’t need to come Back untill Tue. Nov. 16.

Sun.Nov.14.1920.  so I had Elbert go back to Nellie’s before we went to bed & Nellie was better and sleeping, Audrey’s working nights, at the National Tube Mill Restruant, as cashier, nights from 11-p.m. untill 7-a.m.  I’m anxious to hear from Frank.

Mon.Nov.15. [1920] Month’s half gone.  I washed today & feel so sick tonight, dried my clothes in the house, it snowed by spells all day & soft wet snow to-night, Nellie went to dentist this after noon & came up home with the babies to night, John’s  working this week nights, Audrey has tonight off, so she & Martha went to the movies & came back here & went home with Nellie & the babys.  I received a letter from Frank from Toledo today, he said he would be leaving Sun. night or this morning.  Oh God, please do take care of him for Thee & for me & take care all the men on the water, land & sea, for, Thy Sake.   Be with every living thing, and help it to remember Thee,  Dear Heavenly Father.  We ask and trust in the Name of the Father the Son & the Holy Ghost. 

[Tue. Nov. 16. 1920]  Tue.Nov.16.  Well Elbert & I went to Cleveland  we took a spray of fern leaves & white carnations, about 3 ft. long,  it was pretty, cost $3.00  I paid half on it.  We got into C. at noon, Glen & his cousin, a Mr. Haught. met us, they waited untill we went in & had our dinner, then we all went out to the house, waited a half, hr.  or more then had the funeral  Mrs. Haught looked quite well, she had turned a bluish hue, but they shaded her face so she didn’t show it bad, she had lots of flowers, but not half as many as ma

[Tue. Nov. 16. 1920]  had, & she had a very small funeral gathering & ma had one of the largest ever held in Lorain, now isn’t that queer?  This is surely a qureer World & I can’t under stand; Both ere the best of True mothers, but not alike  Frank Bonney received a letter from pa today & Martha a card.  Well I was going to say, we went but to the burying ground, it snowed the night before & all this morning & after noon & when we readched the cemetery the snow had turned to rain & so we the relatives & friends gathered around the grave & bowed in silence while the pastor Methodist prayed, then we went back to the cars & back to the house, the snow had turned to sluch ankle deep, we went in the house, got warm, bid them all good day & left for home, went & got some hot drink, coffee & tea & had to miss two cars  they were so packed, met Mrs. Paul Neilson of Lorain, & Mrs. George Doaner of Cleveland, Mrs. D. was also coming to Lorain to meet Mr. D. Who is first mate of the Atr. General Garrettson, We had a nice visite to Lorain getting here a quarter to 8.00-pm.  Mr. D. met  Mrs. D. at the car little Mrs. N. ask me to call on her & biding me goodnight fled away in the rain  Elbert & Mr. & Mrs. D. & I visited ten minutes on the st. & they went to get there supper & go to the plant to their boat, asking us to be sure to come call on them, and spend a few days with them when ever we could ; Elbert called up home & Gertie said she’d have supper ready when we got home, so we caught our car & arrived here at 8-30.p.m.  cold, wet, & such splitting head aches, Elbert was hungrey but I was not, I drank some hot tea & they coaxed me to eat and I did & felt a little better went to bed at 11.p.m. & went to sleep at 2.a.m. but was to tired to rest felt all in & it rained most all night. 

[Wed. Nov. 17. 1920]  3)   Wed. Nov.17.  To down & out to do any work today. 

[Thrs. Nov. 18. 1920] Thurs.18.  Davidson passed Detroit Mon. night 9.p.m. passed the Soo. yesterday morn.  I hope they wont have to go back, after this trip is done, God Bless Them.  Well I sewed all the seams up in my tow house dresses & blue skirt.  Elbert joined a posse of men police & deputys in a chase after a couble of coons Who had robbed a home on broadway & then try to get away, they had a good chase & caught them near the Root road.  Elbert’s sick tonight, has abad cold & did to much running, he got up from dinner & got back just before supper

[Fri. Nov. 19. 1920]  Fri.19.  Well I went to town at noon, with Nellie we went to the bank & to the dentists, then she went home & I went to the Jewelery store, left Franks ring & got his watch & it stoped before I got home.  I called on Miss Baumgart & then went to call on Mrs. Hunter & stayed to supper, went to Mrs Wm Todds and spent the evening, walked to drug store to get the car  Bob & his wife & baby came along, she threw her arms around me & looked to see who it was & then, I wouldn’t have known if, I had not seen Bob.  Well We walked out Colorado Ave to their home & then they walked on with me to my St. corner, they have a nice baby.   got home at 9-p-m. but can’t forget Frank for a minute, Bless his heart, hope he is O.K. God Bless him. 

[Sat. Nov. 20. 1920]  Sat.20. Martha came up to spend the day & sleep with me tonight. I ironed most all day & mended a while & am tired tonight took a bath & got to bed 10.p.m.

Sun. Nov. 21. 1920]  4)  Sun.21.   Phone rang.  Audrey calling  Martha to get up & get ready for Sun. school.  she went home to get ready.  Well I got dinner & then I went to Church with Nellie & John & the baby, had a fine sermon, every one seemed to be glad to see us & we shook hands un-till my arm ached,  Mrs Lucas ask us over to visit awhile, so we went, she’s so lonesome with out Rev. Lucas. poor girl, but she has her mother to work for & to lo9ve, she’s going to teach school after New Years. it was a quarter to 11-p.m. or 11.p.m.  When I reached home. Oh. Dee.  Mrs. G. left word for me to call her when I got home & I did just for fun, called her out of bed, ha,ha.

[Mon. Nov. 22. 1920]  Mon.22.  Frank ought to be back to the Soo to day or tonight.  didn’t get to the dentist’s tomorrow.  I made an apron for my self today & put the bands on my collar & cuffs & hemed the front piece, cut the bottoms off my two old ginham skirts & hemed them, cut the bottom edge of, my, founce. & ruffle of my Old white skirt and  rehemed them & crocheted a medallion & it’s after 12.p.m. & I’m going to my lonesome bed, and I am ever so sorry for Mrs. Lucas. for Frank will come by & by & Mr. Lucas has gone to help God in the Better World  Dear Heavenly Father We thank thee for our many Blessings & we pray thou will for give us & Bless us to Thee, for Jesus Sake.

[new format and paper – single page front and back with no page numbers covering Dec 23, 1920-May 22, 1921; So this suggests that married life, living together did not really start until December]

[Dec . .1920]   Frank’s not very well & neither am I. Feb.  had all my teeth out & we don’t feel very well, either of us.  Mar. & April  I think I feel a little stronger in some ways, but I miss my teeth; May  Haven’t been a bit well & Frank hasn’t either  Nellie’s baby took sick & died

[Tue. Dec.23.1920]  Tue.23.  S.W. wind this morning, S.Wind all after & evening, Sunshiny all day & not very cold. hazy moon tonight, John & Nellie & baby’s, Audrey & Martha ate dinner with Elbert, Frank & I. today.