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Diary of Theodore I Dickson of 1870 found in Botetourt Co, VA


Correspondence to Joyce at Delaware Website and to cousin Allan Davidson from Alfred, May 2002

We borrowed a diary found in an outbuilding on the Simmons place (farm) in Botetourt Co, VA from our son-in-law hoping to further our family tree, but it was not to be connected to our family of Virginia environs. This diary does not mention the owner, but lists several places of "Del County" including Delhi, Bovina, Colchester, et al and mentioned a namesake, Theodore. He mentions an uncle, Wm Miller; sister Janet, brother Oliver, a fellow worker Frank Gowanlock; Cledston nee Rutherford, etc, etc., attending U P Church at New Kingston & who preached what. He begins each page with a French? quotation, mentions his daily work -scythe, wall-building, activity-of the day, etc. and mentions associates and uses the remainder of the page for a poem, Del Co. town list, election returns by region, whatever. One page-bottom usage was the Lord's Prayer in Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, English. - Alfred

Correspondence to Alfred from Allan Davidson, May 2002
Dear Alfred,
. . . . . . . From what you sent, I would bet that Theo was living in Andes at the time and made frequent trips to Bovina and Delhi to visit friends and relatives. Delhi is about 14 miles west of Andes and Bovina is half way between the two. It would be interesting to know just how he and/or the diary got to VA. I noted many familiar names in he diary. For instance, there is a Francis Gowenlock, a Civil War Veteran buried in Bovina. As I said Theo and I are related mainly by marriage. Theo's Uncle Wm. Miller was a brother of my g-g-grandfather, David Miller, and father of Gilbert Dickson Miller who is mentioned many times in the diary.

See Gilbert Dickson Miller


Re the 12 Jan entry " I seen Ava Myers and other of my aquentance in Delhi , old Cademy class mates." Obviously Delaware Academy from which I graduated in 1943.

Re the 21 Feb entry "Cousen Tomas Miller's wife funeral ...Tom Scott's wife buried today also." Cousin Thomas Miller was also a son of the Uncle William Miller, and his wife (1st of 3) was Eliz. Thompson (d. 18 Feb 1870) and Tom Scott's wife (1st) was Eliz. Forrest (d. 18 Feb 1870). Tom Scotts 2nd wife was Nancy Ormiston, sister of my grandfather, Tom Ormiston.


Sincerely, Cousin Al




Diary of Theodore I Dickson of 1870 found in Botetourt Co, VA [excerpted]
Loaned by Bruce L. Harlow of Botetourt Co, VA who found same in an outbuilding of the Simmons Farmstead of said County. Letter G is a C except with the heavier ink at its lower end. Letter t resembles a lower-case "i" without the dot or the usual crossbar. In short, this is the best transcription I could do sans proofreader. ATTomerlin.
(First page in its entirety and typical of ALL pages.)
January Saturday 1 1870


Bien priety beau jour et seir bien choudtous. (two lines)


Hapy New Year To Alle (two lines)


I went to Andes with W.J.Coulier he got three teeth drew by Dr Crawford seen Sophia Sagram. Wm Gowanlock Jr took the wagon to Andes we road with him boath ways I seen F Gowanlock girl Maggy Elliott Gilbert came up and staid all night spent his New Year They are happy that lives happy.


The New Year.


Another year have swiftly sped, With all its weals and woe: Another comes with its silent tread, Its aarid scenes to show. [???nd]
(excerpted for names, places - often omitting repetitious . . .)
January 2 I was at home all day Oliver was at Couliers
3 Oliver went to Jas Douglas ... Jas Dutch Yapel ... Frank went to work at Bowlegs
Jenet went down to New Kingston Mare denied all the stories . . . .
4 I was at home all day and night chopt gags for Oliver to store our Mikel came to Dick Tomsons to fraime ... barn ... S. Fredensburd came and staid all night
5 Elle bien fraid tous jour et seir pretty mall.
I was at home all day hewed timber for a Hog house Oliver went to jas Douglas got his boots Bought of S Fredensburd Jenet 1 hoop scire $4.00 Oliver 1 shirt $2.00 ...
Oliver went to a party at W.W. Whites . . .
By learning to obey we will know how to command.
Jan. 9 Wm VenBenshelaten set with me (at church)
10 ...John Forest W.J.G & lady & Bart McGuen
11 ... Letter from Gilbert that Father was coming home on the 12 inst he would be in Delhi...Oliver Mother & Jenet went to Archibald Elliotts on a visit
12 I went to Delhi took the Sleigh to Brushland...then the wagon My expences was vice hay and oats for the horse 50 cents
Tole to Delhi and back 25 cents ... Bill Archibald road up ... I seen Ava Myers and others of my aquentance in Delhi old Cademy class mates.
13 I got a letter from Mary G.Taylor .. also from Mary McMurry
17 Elliott Grame Y Janie Turnbull is spliced also Wm Liddell Eslusheyj to a Lockhart girle of Virginia formly of Andes
18 Jas Henry Deen is marrid to a Miss Siter and also his sister is spliced
Scott was dead he died with disease commenced in the Rebel pens . . .
21 Jas Douglas called he was to hire Ann Gledstone. She asked too big a wage ...
22 Gilbert came staid all night. John VenBensheloten ...suicide note... (?ren)
Sunday 23 McGobon read his sermon. Sam Gowanlock and Bell went home,...
24 Gilbert went home Father went and seen Uncel Wm Miller he was very low
Thursday 27 Bien chaud tous jour et soir preny.
I was at home all day. John Miller was here. F. Boyd came I went to a party at Boyds Munroe & Prof H H Bolt was there ...
Monday Jan. 31 ...told us Wm Miller was to be buried tomorrow he died Saturday night.


February 3 Seen Lib McGowanlock. Mr. Lamb got to Andes 3 O'clock
11 Prof HH Bolt is to give a consert
19 Cousen Tomas Millers wife is dead died yesterday ... I seen Dr, Fresby and Lady.
... Rev. I Disard and Bride Miss Rawling of Kortright...
Mr. Jas Ceou (or Geott) and Bride Miss Nancey Goulier formly
21 cousen Tomas Miller's wife's funeral...Tom Scott's wife was buried today also...
March 3 Jas Archibald and And. Chisholm had a quarl.
4 R. Winter wanted to have a spat with Chisholm in the store but Rachel would not let him
6 ...Sanfort's Wagon House...
9 Isabell Winter and Nancy Miller was there...
10 Oliver went to Jas Douglas to tell him of the funeral of Adam Cowans boy.. Jim and Ann came here on a visit...
11 ...her but tey might get the Oliver disease it is a rough diseaseto have none of the Doctors can cure it it is not known as yet what is the matter of bowlegs...
12 Wm Gowanlock, Jr came over got the chisels I had of theirs for to cut a stone ... he said Frank was sick all broke out in big bumps all over his face. He must over het his blood. :+: ereht si emes guiht guer hitw tht skeel.
stove wood in the woods all day cut it at the stump the snow is all of 4 1/2 feed (sic) deep in the woods where I am choping. Frazer Dickson was with me all day on Thursday I made Frazer a ball and covered it with Red Lether from an old boot leg Father went to Bovina to see if the road was broke through. Joy.
30 Mother to Blacks. Margret is sick very. Mr. Wm Baley is buried to day. Also Belerds child at Brushland today. Mrs. Henry P. Reynolds was Buried on yesterday at New Kingston. Some say Mare Gowanlock's beau was in Sing Sing...for chrime.
April 15 John Hewett was buried today. Nos Demond died they are the 2 oldest in Platicil.
17 Col Demond was buried today. Wm Gowanlock stopt to tea as he went to F. Couliers.


Owner requested diary be returned. Besides, I wearied, sad to say, & this is all I transcribed. However, this encompasses most of the 1870 Diary resource info.
Cuz Alfred
Six siblings from Tenn. met & departed for the Civil War. One went north & joined the Indiana Federal Troops. He was the only one killed & my ggrandpa with his four remaining brothers had a photo made in 1903 with an empty chair. Bygones & all that.


1870 Diary of ?Theodore Dickson ? continued:
April 15 John Hewett was buried today. Nos Demond died they are the 2 oldest in Platicil.
17 Col Demond was buried today. Wm Gowanlock stopt to tea as he went to F. Couliers.


Owner Bruce L. Harlow requested diary be returned. Will respond soon.


April 20, Wednesday 1870
I drew some stones into the seller after we got all the sticks out of the way and laid about the half of the ?bench? of the lower side. (lower page has a puzel (sic) technique.)
21 I cleaned out the troughs Oliver went to Brushland with the Black horse. I drew stones into the seller of the hog house and h----- at night R. McCuen. came and staid... 25 ...Wm Gowanlock...dinner ...Frank & Will... [sons, evidently]
26 I dug stones Jas Douglas came up with his team and drew in the stones we could not draw yesterday and [ faded illegible phrase ] one above the same size one was put on the South corner and the other on the senter East South side.
30 Wm Gowanlock, Jr and Frank came over A.M. was spent soonto the end. P.M. 2 oclock we commenced to raise finished at about 4 oclock it went all right I never seen a place fo on as sasy as the North west one. The rafters went all right the old braces were to short or to long they were some trubel. It was the first frame I ever laid out and framed
R.R. Scott, Dick Tomsen held the feet of the posts.
May 2 Monday Frazer went home. Bowleg and Satern had a spat in church McGibon [pastor of UP Church] stept in Jas Archibald Jr. was on satern Satern said Jack & Jenn could not sing.
3 [Satern visited with rehash with he said, they said, but I...]
4 Iplowed staled manure sowed all Bushel of oatson the piece Westof thehouse.
The sircus and managery were at Delhi... Janet went to Mrs. Black to see her she is very poorly also Jane Henderson
5 ... Father went to Brushland with a Tub of Butter: sold it to John Hasty at 30 cents
...heard that Ander Tomson of the Hollow Head. is dead he have been very low some time he is an old man.
6 ...
The Lord's Prayer - - - Greek 7 Latin - - - 8 Spanish - - -
9 Jas Douglas told a lie about T Winter saying Satern & concabine could not be in the quire
10 French - - - 11 German - - -
12 ...heard that Johny Coulier W. I?J? C? G? and Net Kolber was buried today in Brushland Dutch - - -
Friday 13 English - - -
14 I was at home all day and night Mare Gowanlock cane and staid all night she was down on Bowleg 'H? &? Satern & Co down on Fanny Yapels, Birdsells and all that society McGibon, Jok Bemont & slut Closes Happies and all that crae (sic?) all right
nothing but the low gang of the hollow lying roudy vulgar talkers. . .
15 ...church..could not go had to hunt for a lost sheep... Adam I Scott...staid...
16 Mother went to David Blacks to see Margret Spring [poem, part I of II ]
May 17 Tuesday 1870 ... party at Whites...Bart Fooler, Net Rotherford went last night! I seen the school Mam she was washing pans she would whistle then sing a word then hum and so on change every half minute. [poem continued] Finis.
18 ...Father was at Gowanlocks [they] Mare was in Delhi. Pleasant.
20 ...over by Abram Demonds. My Sabbath Day Comentries [omitted here]
21 Frazur came staid to dinner Oliver and him went to New Kingston gone till night We butchered a veel. It rained very hard... Frazer staid all night.
22 ...Frank seen Mare and Bell. No preaching at New Kingdom "Mac's of on the dew rock." Whare he ought to be always and all would be well"
... he that is without sin cast the first stone . . . .
24 ...Mare, Bell and Will....
25 [entirety] I plowed all the forenoon on the hill father went to Gowanlock's to sow oats. P.M. I went to Dick Tomsons. to the raisin. I & Frank Colter [Colier?] held one post Douglas & Jas Coulier the other post first bent, second bent W White & I one post F Coulier the other. It took till dark to get the Rafters on finished the galis work. They intended to go to Whites but staid on Tomsons to late I staid all night at Coulier's had a big time at the raisin got along fine with Bob Tomson he was very ramsious (sic) with the teckel if it had not been the teckel would not have got it up.
23 ...Jas Miller called Father was at John Starleys took the pig home....
29 ...I seen Mr. Decker and Nancy Boyde go up in a wagon off on a ride gay and lovely birds. They had came round on turnpike home.
30 ... seen A.J. Scott F Gowanlock Mare, & Elliott & "all quiet on the Potomac."
June 9 ...Shaw's wife in Glenbunrey is dead.
11 ... Andes... I bought a pare of books $5.00 at Richard Morses. Had a good time seen Sally Ann and others Oliver wrought on the road yesterday and to day ....
12 Iwent to church Oliver o'er the hill John L. Scott preached Tex Titus 3 and * he done well MadGibon was at me to trim the banner for Sabbath School also John Elliott I did not agree to anything. . . .
16 ... John Archabald asked us to a raisen tomorrow. P.M. it rained... Isabelle have the measles Frazer & Ellen is going home.
17 ...I went to the raisen it was a large one plenty of hands Jas Buckley hit Rob Carns on the head with the bar.
18 ... he has not done anything on the farm this week nor very much for the last month. He will go any where to put time away, lay in the barn. en under a bush. He followed R. Bigers. Wagon of to day.
21 ... Father went to Archabald Elliotts to a raisin. gone all day and night it was a machine shop or house.
22 ... Boigs was o'er...Miney Ghrame is not expected to live very sick
26 ...Mrs. Telfort [widow] dies last night of the canser ....
30 ...my banner was the nisest trimed. Mare Gowanlock and McGibon Domeny trimed the S.S. banner: I and Amos Demond carried the B.C. Banner same was pouty about being beaten with the banner....
July 5 I mowed a little A.M. father went to New Kingdom Elizabeth Gowanlock went with him ..... Littlejohn spoke. Had a good time Bell Rotherford is marred to one Huftale of Denenport, G



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