Harvey Williamson was born on June 9, 1862. During his lifetime he kept
a daily journal, but no one knew that the journals still existed, until the year 2001.
Shortly after the death of his daughter Mary Elizabeth (Busy), they were located in a box
in the cellar of her home. Her family had been given orders ĎDo Not Touchí the box,
and no one knew what was in it until her daughter Jean opened it after her motherís death.
Apparently when Georgiana went to live with Busy, the box of journals was stored away,
but despite many years of being kept in a cellar, they are in remarkably good condition.
How fortunate that this daily account of his life has been found. These diaries were begun in 1874
when he was 11 years old and continued until his death in 1927,
after which his wife Georgiana took up the daily writings. No diaries prior
to that year have been found.
His fatherís name was James, and his motherís name was Jane (Black). There is no mention
of his mother, as she died in 1870, four years before the first diary was written. Harvey
was only 8 years old, his sisters Emma, Orrie, and Annie were 7, 5, and 2 respectively,
and his baby sister Jenny was just 2 months old when their mother died.
(Jennie died in 1874, just a few days prior to her 4th birthday. Harvey also had one brother,
but he only lived one week.) As the only surviving son, Harvey eventually took over the family farm.
This is the same place where he and Georgiana raised their 12 children, and in later years where
their son James and his family lived. The name Eliza is mentioned often and she apparently was
the live-in housekeeper who cared for the children. It is not known if she was a relative.
In a later journal she is referred to as Eliza McMillan.
The grandparents he mentions would be his maternal grandparents. Information gathered
by his granddaughter Lois Kilmer show that his fatherís parents, William John Williamson died in 1860,
and Elizabeth (White) Williamson died 1872, several years before these diaries were started.
The following pages contain word-for-word entries from Harveyís journals and have been copied, exactly as written, by his granddaughters Diane Mercure and Ruby Komarony. Harvey seldom used capital letters or punctuation marks in the earliest diaries; each dayís entry was usually one continual sentence. The copies will be kept with the family historianís material, while the actual diaries are being held for safe- keeping by Diane.
There is very little reference made of holidays or birthdays in the earliest diaries. Keep in mind when reading these pages that there was no car, or modern machinery to do the farm work. It was all hand labor, six days a week from morning until night. The same applied to womenís work, but house-hold duties are seldom mentioned. No work, except for the most necessary chores, was done on Sundays. They traveled to church in a horse-drawn buggy or sleigh, no matter how bad the weather was, and school was not closed when it snowed. These journals were probably written at night by light from a kerosene lantern.
In the year when the first diary begins, Harvey was 11 years old, Emma 10, Orrie 8, and Annie 6. (Ruby Komarony)
February 11, 2004. A note from Diane Mercure.....
"This is the end of the diaries that were found.
It has been a much bigger job than I ever imagined!
Now that they are done, it is a great relief. I hope these diaries have opened a window to show the way things were back then. Some of the handwriting was very difficult to read & I'm sure there are a few missed words, but things are written as accurately as possible. I'm glad to have been a part of this. I thank Carolyn Agenjo for making it possible for so many of us to have the opportunity to view these on the web site that she has prepared and provided for us. Thank you so much Carolyn !!!!!!"