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). Apparently on the day before that, Tuesday May 18, Frank was so sick that he fainted twice and on the 19th he still looked sick. On May 19, already married she and Frank drove to the property they planned to buy, 5 acres in Huron on the west side Hahn Road. They eventually lived there in the house that Elinor’s father (or possibly Elbert) built. Also on May 19, Elinor threw her hip out, partially helped by seeing a chiropractor the next day on May 20. Frank came to the 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. She lost 25 lb. during this period, got nearly all of her teeth removed, and got false teeth/bridges. Elbert cared for her, supplemented by her sister Audrey who came and cared for her nights.
There is a gap in the diary through the summer 1920. The next entries are in 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. In general this part of the document is divided into the 1920s and the 1930s in pictures and commentary. There are intermittent stories of her siblings or relatives that include pictures of/with those relatives for the 20s and 30s again, separately. Many of the labels done by John Malcolm Harnish, Nellie Harnish and rarely Marcella Harnish, are guesses. These labels are generally followed as such, but are ignored if like pictures obviously suggest a different date range. Although this is centered on Elinor’s diary, we have to endure times with no entries and make do. And in this section we start with a series of images from Frank Babcock’s life. Elinor’s life in the first year of their marriage and the pictures taken after she marries are still centered around the Georgia Ave homestead, her childhood home.]
[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.”
[We only have a few pictures of Frank’s life before meeting and marrying Elinor. We know his parents’ names but that has not helped us find out more information. Even though he had a very adventurous career on Lake Erie, he was born in Wellington, Ohio. and died close by in Huron Ohio in his home with Elinor. Below the pictures have been labeled as his childhood home in Bayfield Wisconsin. His brother Leslie mentions a wife Mary and child. He also mentions what sounds like a sister married and in Philadelphia with a husband who gets into trouble frequently. Frank’s mother is on a postcard possibly with his sister and the label suggests Native ancestry. This postcard was sent addressed to Frank in San Francisco where he was stationed in the military. Bayfield is far north on a peninsula into the lake but there are some hints in ancestry that his mother bought land from the federal government (signed by Lincoln) in Camden Wisconsin which is a ways south. Apparently in 1909 he was in the military as a musician. He looks miserable in the group picture. After he dies in 1933 Elinor signs up for a headstone and pension for him and those documents are saved. She talked about a pension but it sounds like there was not anything substantial available except the eligibility for Soldiers and Sailors Relief fund. The group pictures below are not labeled but we assume the one with the car might include his mother. The timing suggests maybe a visit having to do with the marriage. But we have no concrete information.]
[Frank was on Lake Erie much of the time on steamer ships hauling ore and coal. Elinor 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; see Conneaut Lighthouse image below ). At one point he came home from Fairport (on Fairport Harbor southwest of Conneaut). On Nov. 18, 1920 she says that his boat (James E. Davidson) passed Detroit and then passed the 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.”]
[ 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 sent to his brother or possibly to Elinor, but probably from this general time period. He does not look as miserable as he did in the 1909 military picture.]
[Frank Babcock was appointed Second Assistant Engineer March 5, 1920, 2 months before asking for Elinor’s hand in marriage.]
[The company letterhead for his Steamer, is “G.A. Tomlinson; Lake Transportation” in Cleveland. The ship itself has had a couple “lifetimes.” The history of that name includes a ship “G.A. Tomlinson” built in 1907 by 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 E. 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. According to that record, the ship was “sold for scrap in 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.”]
Mon. May. 17. 1920 Frank W. Babcock came to Cleveland on his boat James E. Davidson working second assistant engineer, & the Chief 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  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. 1920Thurs 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,
[Excerpt from Brenda Beckner, “Remembering Shivarees” [article posted by the Wayne County Historical Society].
Some called them “bellings”, others referred to them as “horning bees”. But no matter what you called these memorable gatherings, shivarees were downright noisy! A shivaree was a loud, mock serenade, often held in tribute to a newly wedded couple. It usually happened after dark, when the honored couple was in bed. A group would gather outside their home, then,when the signal was given, those outside would do anything to make a racket! They would beat kitchen utensils against pots and pans, ring bells, blow car horns or even set off fireworks. When the “lucky” couple was finally roused, the gathered group held a small party in their honor. Sometimes, as part of the honor they would even parade the couple down the street in their nightclothes! The word “shivaree” is derived from the French word Charivari, which, loosely translated, means “headache”. According to “We Had Everything But Money, Priceless Memories of the Great Depression, a Reminisce Book,” published in 1992, the tradition of shivaree has all but died out in the past forty years. Ask anyone under the age of forty what a shivaree was, and you may be greeted with a blank stare, but talk to people in their 60’s and older, and you will bring forth a flood of memories and stories. If a couple was lucky, their shivaree was a friendly harmless affair. During hard times such as The Depression, guests brought gifts of food or household goods such as embroidered tea towels, much like a wedding shower, but often the couple was subjected to various forms of what we would today refer to as “hazing”. The groom might be kidnapped and driven away from the home, dumped out, and made to walk back home, sometimes in various stages of undress. Many times the couple’s house was set in disarray. Labels were removed from canned goods in the cupboard, rice and crackers were put in short-sheeted bed, undergarments were taken and hidden around the property, sheets were tied in tight knots, and bed springs might end up on the roof of the house. In one account, a pig was placed in the couple’s bed! One wife reports that she and her groom were taken from their home, tied to the flag pole on the town square, and syrup and flour were poured on their heads. Another couple relates finding tiny bits of paper confetti from computer punch cards a full year after their shivaree when bags of the stuff were dumped on them in their home. Sometimes a couple would try to trick the group of revelers in order to escape a shivaree. One local couple was staying at the home of the bride’s parents before they departed for their home in another state. When their group of friends showed up to shivaree, they were told the couple was at another location. After searching for the couple and finding they had been duped, the pack returned to the parents’ home and the shivaree commenced. Traditionally, the bride and groom handed out candy bars to the women and cigars to the men, and they were expected to take the hazing in a good-natured manner. Usually, the couple had participated in previous shivaree activities, and their shivaree was “pay back time”. The next time you visit a senior citizen, bring up the topic of shivarees, sit back, and enjoy the stories!]
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.
[Rhubarb Pie was also referred to as plant pie because it was the plant emblematic with pie.]
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.
[She describes being quite ill and bed bound, needing personal care from both Audrey and Frank, losing 25 pounds, and contemplating her own death.]
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
[5 month Diary Gap from May to October]
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 & 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.
[The image below is excerpted from the website https://metro.co.uk/2017/05/30/horrifying-pictures-show-what-going-to-the-dentist-used-to-be-like-6672546/]
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. 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 (see picture above of Glen, Ella Jane, and Martha) 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.
[Below is a map of wrecks on Lake Erie from GreaterCleveland Aquarium.com/Lake-Erie-Under-the-Waves website. Her worries about his well-being were well-founded, although Frank got home safe time after time until this season ended.]
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.  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, [Nellie’s baby referenced here may be either Ella Jane who was born in 1919 or possibly Harvey, who was born and died in 2020.] 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 love, 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.
[At the homestead on Georgia Ave. Harvey Bonney, Gertrude, Elinor, and Elbert were living in the house. Audrey now a single mother, often brings Martha to the Georgia Ave homestead so Audrey can go to work. Later it sounds as if Gertrude lives reclusively in an out building rather than the main house.][Nearby on F Street in Lorain live Elinor’s sister, Nellie Bonney Harnish and John McKinley Harnish (John was born in Tennessee) with their infant Ella Jane and John’s younger brother James (18 y.o., also born in Tennessee). Next door to Nellie and John live the Bakers. William Baker is a sibling of Ella Ione Baker, the mother of the Harnishes (John McKinley). The head of the Baker household is William C. Baker, 37 y.o., born in Wisconsin, and his wife Emma, 33 y.o. They have 2 young children, Inez Marie, who is a newborn (later Wetzel by marriage), Melvin, 5 y.o., and Louvierre who is 7 years old. William and Emma soon will have another girl, Dorothy. We have pictures of William C Baker’s father.]
[This photo of Charles Carleton (“Pa”) Baker was taken at the home of Amanda McAlister Myers at McCutchenville, Ohio. It incorrectly says that Amanda’s mother was Mahala Spitler Baker; Amanda’s mother was Mahala’s sister, Maria.]
[Ella Iona Baker Harnish (John McKinley Harnish’s mother) is the sister of William Cody Baker. She is also the mother of an out-of-wedlock child, Arizona Baker, who eventually marries Guy Lockridge and has a baby, Margaret. So Arizona is a half-sister to John McKinley Harnish.]
[By 1920, Nellie, Elinor’s little sister, is now married to John McKinley Harnish. Audrey is working at yet another place, “the National Tube Mill Restaurant, 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 are living next to Bakers on F Street near the river.]
[Elinor changes her diary to a new format and paper – single page front and back with no page numbers covering Dec 23, 1920-May 22, 1921; So this suggests a possible shift to a more conventional married life after he is “home” in 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.
[This starts a period during which Elinor does not write narrative but she does take pictures, mostly of her new husband and the property where they living now that Frank is no longer a merchant marine on a steamer on Lake Erie.]
[Frank has a typical pose with his hands low on his hips and he rarely smiles. It is clear they intend not only to “homestead” the property but intend to try different things to make money. Frank has a car and they use it to peddle produce and eggs.]
[They buy and begin raising chickens to sell eggs as soon as the chicken coops are built. They build a log barn garage because Frank’s car needs a roof over it. The chickens and roosters are also sold for a while and they advertise the type and price. Within the first year or two they have a huge trellis of roses on the south end of the house and there are more on the hen houses. ]
[Over the decade a woods develops from the west side of the house down to Crane Creek that flows toward Lake Erie but sometimes runs dry at that level. Elinor’s father, Harvey Bonney, either builds or helps Frank and Elbert build the house and buildings and dig the well. One of the hardest part is digging the well. They have a cystern and a well, one potable and one not.][Another important part of the Babcock farm is the mailbox. It is situated just inside the ditch that runs along the road near the driveway. That is a big improvement from their having to go to the end of the road to get mail. In the first years at the farm, her father helps out with chores.]
[Elinor takes many pictures; of the orchard grove they plant, the chickens out running in the “park”, the produce from what must be a huge garden, and soon there are pictures of their first visitors, including her brother Fred and his wife Ethel Norderer who apparently camp out on the property. And there are many pictures of Martha (Audrey’s daughter) who in this series is posing with her boyfriend and his car. She does not end up marrying this person, George Daniels. There are pictures of Martha and the chickens as well, made into advertising posters.]
[In the 1930 U.S. census only Anna Schneider (age 64) is living as a widow in a house valued at $1,500, probably across the street from Elinor and Frank. Her father is listed as being born in Germany. By the 1940 census the Schneiders, (William (38) and Georgia (35)) lived in a house that may have burned down in later years. They lived with Son Bill (14), son Robert (11), daughter Joan (9), and daughter Georgia Mae (7). There always seems to be some animosity with the Schneiders. Their home was valued $22,000 in 1940, whereas another neighbor down the road, the Brod’s house was vaulted at $14,000 and Elinor (now a widow) and (her brother) Elbert’s house was valued only at $3,500. It is possible Elinor’s frustration about her own relative poverty may have influenced the relationship.]
[The biological families tended to stick together. But in the case of the Bonney’s and Wheeler’s there seemed to be a broader partnership. Somehow both William Wheeler (Martha Jane’s brother) and Harvey D. Bonney moved to the wilderness in Cherry Grove Michigan. We do not know where the land ownership originated. But Harvey brought his new wife there while he started to set up a homestead. Nearby William was more established it seems, at having a homestead. Martha tolerated this situation through 2 babies being born and abuse from her husband (according to Elinor). But then she decided to leave and took the children and returned to Lorain, Ohio, moving in with of her sister Edith Breckinridge who was married and established in Lorain. Edith took them in. Edith later found a place for Elinor to stay during the week, with a professor and wife (the Wards) in Berea Ohio. She was generously homeschooled there enough to pass out of 8th grade. At some point Edith convinced her brother-in-law, Harvey D. to give up the Michigan project and return to Lorain. She arranged for property and a small building/house and the family began to knit itself back together. But when Harvey returned to Ohio, William did as well, bringing his wife Sarah, and family. In just 2 moves they find themselves across the street from each other on Georgia Ave. There are teen pictures of Sarah and William’s daughters, Lilly, Pearl, Elsie and Tessie. The one of Elsie in Native American garb is a costumed image.]
[The next photo sequence is of Nellie Bonney Harnish’s young children Bonita, Bonney, and Johnny in the 1920s]
[Ella Jane, Johnny (Malcolm), Bonney, Bonita Harnish behind Frank Babcock’s car or farm machinery at Babcock’s farm]
[Elinor’s gardens are shown in images below. Her garden of flowers from bulbs is also enormous and she talks of the joy and pride she takes in them in almost every entry throughout the diary. She always takes flowers as gifts to the church or just as gifts to people. She always takes bread or canned goods as well, to give to people who need food.]
They had parakeets (rather, Elinor had them). Frank had the pitbull Bill.
Annabell Barnes is a life long friend of Elinors and she is mentioned periodically throughout the diary. This photo shows a scene very frequently repeated as Elinor fills the arms of any visitors at the homestead with flowers or plants.
Martha Carlisle grows up spending much of her time with her mother and Elinor or just Elinor. She spends a lot of time at the Babcock farm after Elinor moves there. She goes through one boyfriend, George Daniels that we know of and then ends up marrying Merlin Monogan and having twins and one other child with him. There is quite a series of pictures of this family in different grouped arrangements. The twins are Jean and Jim. The other daughter is Joan. Much later in life, John Malcolm Harnish, a Methodist minister, performs each of these daughter’s weddings.
1930sAunt Elinor Babcock and Elbert Bonney homestead Hahn Rd, 1930s, family cars in front of house, here for a family picnic. Also see flower garden in front lawn.
[Elinor’s brother Fred got married during this same time frame (5/21/1918) but for Elinor that was probably overshadowed by her own marriage. Fred had gone through training at the Moody Bible Institute but its not clear that he finished there. He married Ethyl Norderer who would go on to re-marry (Prichard) after Fred dies. For much of their marriage, especially after their daughter Laura is born, and by the 1930 census they live with Ethyl’s parents George and Laura M. on Starky Rd. George’s father was from Germany and her father is from Pennsylvania and Laura M.’s mother was from England. They also lived with Bart Garmen, George’s brother-in-law 43 years old. Fred dies just under 2 years after the birth of their daughter Laura Ann. His death is likely part of the time period of losses Elinor experiences with Frank Babcock’s death in 1933, and Fred’s in 1936. There are several scenes of (at least) Fred camping on the Babcock property (with the outhouse in the background). There is another woman there, probably either Audrey or Martha which would account for the familiarity conveyed in the picture.
[Frank Bonney was born in 1890, 5 years after Elinor. He was born at a special time that caused an obligation to register for the draft for both WWI and WWII. He was married prior to the 1920 census and moved out of his childhood home, to another house at 723 Georgia Ave. when he was 29 and his new wife Ruby was 24 and they had had 3 children, Evelyn 7 yr. old, Harvey 5 yr. old, and Francis C. 1 yr. old. By 1930 census they had another child Armond 5 yr. old. They also had a lodger Nelson McGinnis 23 years old (b. W.Va.). Frank’s oldest daughter marries this person (or a relative of his) who used to be a neighbor of the family. Frank is a carpenter by trade and by 1940 they move even closer to and on the shoreline of the Black River at 153 Lakeside Ave. Only Harvey and Armond are still at home. The girls, Evelyn and Francis C. have moved out. Frank frequently brings one of the boys with him to go hunting on his sister’s property on Hahn Rd. He often shares what he bags with Elinor. While alive, Frank Babcock participates in some of the hunts.
[Nellie Harnish, Elinor’s youngest sister, during this period of the later 20s is living with a young family including Ella Jane (b. 1919) Bonita (b. 9/19/21), Bonney (b. 11/24/1923) Harvey who died in his first year (not to be confused with Frank Bonney’s Harvey), and Johnny (b. 1925). Ella Jane was just an older teen in these years. By the later 30s Ella Jane has essentially moved out of the house, joined the military in 1939 and travels back and forth from California. She stayed with Elinor on many of her trips home. Nellie was teaching kindergarten. Her husband John was working as a pipe fitter, furnace repair man, and plumber.]
[This break is between the 1920s and 1930s, remembering that Elinor’s husband dies in 1936, that her brother dies in 1933, she files for bankrupcy twice and gets in a car accident during this period. We have no diary but we do have pictures of the family as they show up at the Babcock property. Elinor will re-start the diary in 1940.]
[John McKinley Harnish has a sister named Hazel who marries James and they move to Louisville Ky. She attends big family gatherings of the Harnishes. The Harnishes get pulled to Tennessee, partly because Bea and Vivian, John’s other sisters live there, in Nashville. See below, a picture of Vivian Davis’s children, Sheryl and Bobby, listed as both boys. Also that is where the matriarch, Ella Iona Baker is buried There are pictures of the significant family that gathers in Tennessee for Ella Iona’s funeral. There is also a picture labled “trips to Tennessee” that suggests that maybe it was common for the family to make trips there.]