Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday Face From the Past, 2016 August 26: An Orphan Photo of an Unknown Baby in Corvallis, Oregon

This charming baby photograph is sadly unknown.  I love everything about this photo;  the eyes which must have been blue; the well brushed blonde hair; the very nice looking outfit (wish that I knew the color);  the little shoes; the bit of lace showing below the outfit; and even the blanket or shawl on which the babe is "sitting."  Even the photographer's name, D. G. Graham, and the city where he worked,  intrigue me.  However, none of these things bring me any closer to knowing more about this sweet babe.  The only Keyes kin that might have had a baby in Corvallis would be Margaret Keyes Newton and her husband Abiathar Barrett Newton.  Or it could be a visiting relative's child, or a child of a friend.

If any one recognizes this baby from Corvallis, please contact me via the email address in the CONTACT button at the upper right of this blog.   

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Amanuensis Monday (Addendum) 2016 August 22: J.P.McPherson's Diary, January 1 through March 31, 1855


In 1855, the family of James P. McPherson and family increased by one, with the birth on 27 January, of Mary Jane McPherson. The family was still living in the small log cabin he built in 1850. James P. McPherson was 38 years of age and would turned 39 late in the year, on 14 November. Mary turned 33 just three days after the birth of baby Mary Jane. The new baby then made a family of eight; the parents, and six children, William, age 12; James, age 10; Jabez, age 8; Anne, age 5; and Elizabeth, age 3, and newborn Mary Jane. 

As you may remember, the boys all had their mother's maiden name of Burns as their middle name.  Anne's middle name was Adamson, the last name of her aunt and uncle, Anne and Thomas Adamson.  Elizabeth Spink McPherson was named after her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Spink of Arbroath, Scotland.  Her maternal grandmother's first name was also Elizabeth (Elizabeth Horrock Burns).  Baby Mary Jane carried the name of her mother as well as of her great grandmother Mary Burn(s), who had lived in Lancashire, England.

Winter in Wisconsin is cold and snowy, so it is not surprising that much of James P.'s time around the farm was devoted to chopping wood and hauling wood, which included fire wood and rails for fencing. As we have seen in the past year, McPherson's income had increased well past the barter only stage. He also paid Weise and William Morich $11.75 for finishing a 1000 rails. Then he used, at least, some of the rails to fix a fence around the hay.

He also fixed his sled. It would seem that this would be an ox-drawn sled by which he could haul wood in the snow. In addition to hauling wood and rails, he also hauled ice for himself and Mr. Morrison.

His livestock increased, as Cow Bass had a heifer calf, and the first lamb was born of his sheep that he brought home from the Poor Farm. At the first of February, he also killed, butchered, and salted a 120 lb. hog. As we have seen before, he was helped in this endeavor by his neighbor, Thomas Miles.

His wife Mary was ill on 11 January. In fact she was so ill that James P. went to Dr. Rowley, but he was not home. A few days later, on 14 January, Mrs. Morrison and Mrs. Miles visited. Two days later, James P. again went to see Dr. Rowley. Then on 27 January, “about 7 o'clock in the evening,” Mary had a daughter.

Our diary writer, tacked on the news of a daughter's birth after noting that he had haul wood with Mr. Morrison, and before he wrote that he had Qualified Wheeler and Flick as appraisers of R. Menzies's land. He also paid Salamanson's daughter in the amount of $1.34. Although, he did not say why he paid her, it would seem likely, with Mary being ill and pregnant, they hired Salamanson's daughter help Mary with the household chores and children, especially the two younger girls, Anne and Elizabeth.

On 19 February, James P. noted that he was at home, and they had the “first” visit from Dr. Rowley. James P. tended to be spare with his words, so when he wrote first visit, he was drawing attention to the incident. He might have been impressed that Dr. Rowley visited, but I think it more likely that he was indicating that Dr. Rowley did not follow up with his patients like James P. thought he should. Putting feelings into a diary entry is not something that I usually do, but here the first visit sounded odd.

On the 31st, McPherson wrote that “Mrs. Wallace delivered of a baby.” An odd notation, in that there had been no mention of Mrs. Wallace, or a Mr. Wallace. Perhaps Mary assisted in the delivery, or perhaps there was some other reason this birth was mentioned.

Even through the snowy winter, Springdale folks found time to visit one another. During this quarter, more couples visited the McPhersons than in the past; these included, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Lamount, Mr. and Mrs. John Beat, Mr. and Mrs. James Beard, Mr. and Mrs. Furman Housel. Other visitors included Mrs. McGregor, Mrs. Morrison, and David Bright. James P. McPherson often visited these same folks, and after the birth of baby Mary Jane, Mary McPherson visited the Miles family.

As for his sewing endeavors, McPherson also made a vest for himself, cut a coat for Billy, made a jacket for Jabez, and cut a jacket for James. In addition, he sewed for a number of his neighbors and friends; vests for Thomas Miles, William Beats (which he had to alter), and pants & vest for R. Lamount.


On a personal level, he received and posted a several letters to Alexander and William Cairncross, and Anne Adamson. He also received a letter late in March from Alexander Cairncross, Jr.

He also wrote and received several letters relating to County and Poor Farm business; to and from J. P. Walker, Ben C. Eastman, W. R. Taylor, Mr. Dow, and Senator Giles. He also sent letters to Layton, Mallette, D. Williams, E. Richardson, J. Beath and C. Watkins. At this time, there is no indication of the intent of these letters. James P. also wrote to “Cronkite, NY” on Ivor Thoreson's request to inquire about of land.


During this quarter, McPherson still wore several “community hats;” Town Clerk, Justice of the Peace, Superintendent for the County Poor Farm, and Assistance Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors.

He started out the year, 2 January, by stopping over night at the Poor house on his way to Madison. When in Madison, he spent the next four days, “attending to Poor house business” and acting as assistant Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors. He left Madison on 7 January, a Sunday, and “stopt” at the Poor house at noon, while on his way home.

The next week, 16 January, he met Mr. W.R. Taylor and Mr. Dow at the Poor house. He left the next day around 10 AM and went to Mass's store. He also “paid Samuel Lamount $24 on account of Pork for Poor house.”

The diary also reflects that James P. was busy with Poor house business during the second and third weeks of February. He was in Madison and stopped at the Poor house on the way to and or from. He met twice with W. R. Taylor and Mr. Dow. The diary reflected that on 17 February “bound out children.In that era “bound out” meant that orphan children or children whose parents were unable to care for them, were apprenticed or “bound out” for a trade or as a “servant.” The person taking on the children as an apprentice or servant were to provide for their shelter, food and clothing. The children were to obey the person until the age of 21, which was the end of the apprenticeship or job as servant.
On 3 March, McPherson “bot” a yoke of oxen from I. Thorenson for the Poor Farm. Later that month, on 19 March, he stopped at the Poor house when he went on to Madison. He also took in the theatre on that night in Madison. He was also at the Poor house and Madison on 19 March when it was very snowy and then again on 23 March.

James P.'s position as assistant County Clerk also consumed a significant portion of his time. He was in Madison from 2 January through 6 January, during which time he was acting in his position as assistant Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors.

Between 14 March and 25 March, a great amount of McPherson's time was spent on an issue of trespass upon county lands. It is not clear whether this activity was related to his position as Superintendent of the Poor or his position as assistant Clerk of the County Board of Supervisors, or both. However, based on the folks involved, it appears that the trespass may have been on the County's Poor Farm lands. The situation came to the fore on 14 March when he went to Madison and “called upon Mr. Brill and Mr. Taylor, in reference to Tresspassers on County land.” The next day he tried to meet with Mr. Brill, who was away, but did meet with Mr. Brill on 16 March. He then consulted with W. H. Orton, District Attorney on prosecution.

Mr. Orton drew up a complaint “to which I made affidavit before Squire Braley.” McPherson then took the warrant to the Sheriff. Then on 20 March he was at the county land with Mr. Brill, C. Ulmars, and Kanouses. They found a “German hauling wood off of the land.” It appears that the “German” thought the land was his because on 21 March, James P. “engaged Mr. Drake to survey county land, and Mr. Brill and German to assist on Saturday first.” He then took out a warrant against Abram Wolfe (the “German”???). He later met with Mr. Menzies and German who had been trespassing (possibly using his friend Menzies as a translator????).

On 24 March, McPherson is again at County land with Mr. Drake and “Messers Gallagher and C. Ulmars.” When he was in Madison on the 25 and 26 of March, he attended the trial of Wallbridge. He left Madison at 8 pm. and said that he walked all the way back to Springdale, which was at least twenty miles.

Also during this first quarter of 1855, McPherson performed the following tasks;
    Drew up Chattel Mortgage for John Bartell;
    Drew up road Petition and notices for J. Connor;
    Qualified S. Wheeler and J. Flick as appraisers of R. Menzies  property;
    Made out remonstrance from Mr. Lyle against Alteration of ridge road;
    Writing for Axium Malone; and
    Writing to Cronkite about land for Ivor Thoreson.
    In addition, he wrote notes about the history of Springdale for Mr.Teeney.

McPherson's community and political activities for this first quarter of 1855 ended when he returned from from Madison and on 27 March, attended the town meeting at M. L. Curtis. His diary had this cryptic notation, “Whigs and pretended Democrats made nominations of town officers.” The next day he was “writing the minutes of the Town Meeting, etc.”


Anne Adamson
John Bartwell
James P. Beard
Salome (Newell)Beard
David Beat
James Beat
William Beat
Henry Boland
J. Beath
Anthony Bright
David Bright
Richard Blackburn
Alexander Cairncross
Alexander Cairncross, Jr.
William Cairncross & wife
Hall Chase Chandler
J. Connor
M. L. Curtis
Mr. Dow
J. Flick
James Lyle
Senator Giles
Furman Housel & wife
Samuel Lamount
R. Lamount
D. McDonald
Mrs. McGregor
Billy McPherson
Jabez McPherson
James McPherson
Christian Morich
Axium Malone

William Menzies
Thomas B. Miles
Miles (wife)
Morrison & wife
William Morich
W. A Orton (Dane Co. Dist. Atty)
D. Pickett
E. Richardson
Dr. Rowley
J. Salamanson & daughter
S. Shumway
W. R. Taylor
H. A. Teeney
Ivor Thoreson
C. Ulmars
J. P. Walker
Mrs. Wallace
C. Watkins
D. Williams
Abram Wolfe

~ ~ ~

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, August 22, 2016

Amanuensis Monday, 2016 August 22: J.P.McPherson's Diary, January 1 through March 31, 1855

Diary entries for January 1 through March 31, 1855

Diary of James P. McPherson,
January 1 through March 31, 1855

Courtesy of the Margaret Burns McPherson Burmeister
Family Archives

1st Mon. At Mount Vernon forenoon. At Mr. Miles, P.M. & evening.
2nd Tues. Hauling wood. Started for Madison. Stopt at Poor house all night.
3rd to 6th At Madison, acting as assistant Clerk of County Board of Supervisors, and attending to Poor house business.
7th Sun. Left Madison. Stopt at Poor house at noon. Rode home with Dd Bright.
8th Mon. At Hendersons for waggon – hauling wood.
9th Tues. Hauling wood for Morrison forenoon. At Mount Vernon, afternoon, with Mr. & Mrs. Miles.
10th Wed. Chopping and Splitting rails.
11th Thurs. DO DO Mary sick all night
12th Fri. At Dr. Rowleys forenoon – did not find him.
13th Sat. Making vest for Self.
14th Sun. At home. Visited by Mrs Morrison & Miles.
15th Mon. Splitting rails and hauling wood till noon when it began to snow.
16th Tues. At Poor house with Messers Dow & Taylor. Called upon Dr. Rowley in the evening.
17th Wed. Left Poor house at 10 o'clock A.M. At Mass's Store. Paid S. Lamont $29, on acct. – of Pork for Poor house. Recd letter from Cairncross.
18th Thurs. Cut coat for Billy.
19th Fri. Sewing. Hauling wood. Posted letters to Layton and Cairncross.
20th Sat. Chopping. Hauling wood & rails. Drew Chattel Mortgage for John Bartell. Wiese & Wm. Morich finished 1000 rails for me for which I paid them $11.25.
21st Sun. Very Stormy – Snowing with high winds and cold.
22nd Mon. Hauling rails.
23rd Tues. DO DO Paid $1.34 to J. Salamanson Daughter.
24th Wed. Drew road Petition and notices for J. Connor. Iver Thoreson requested me to write to New York about land.
25th Thurs. Hauling rails, fixing fence round hay
26th Fri. Made Jacket for Jabez. Posted letter to Cronkite, N.Y.
27th Sat. Hauling wood for Self and Morrison. Mary had a daughter about 7 o'clock evening.
27th Sat. Qualified S. Wheeler and J. Flick, as appraisers of R. Menzies property.
28th Sun. At home. Visited by Mrs. McGregor & Mr. & Mrs. Beard.
29th Mon. At C. Morich's, Marquarett's (“&” lined out //JGH) H. Bolands and Chandlers. Made out remonstrance for Mr Lyle against Alteration of ridge road.
30th Tues. Hauled rails and ice.
31st Wed. DO DO and wood for Self and Morrison.

1st Thurs. DO DO
2nd Fri. Killed hog weighing 120 lbs, assisted by Mr. Miles. Writing for Malone.
3rd Sat. Salted hog, etc.
4th Sun. At home. Visited by Mr. & Mrs. Lamont & Malone.
5th Mon. Fixing Sled. Very cold.
6th Tues. DO DO Left for Madison afternoon. Stopt at Poor house all night.
7th Wed. Rode into Madison with D. Picket. Met with Messers Taylor and Dow on Poor house business. At Theatre in the evening. Posted letter to Cairncross.
8th Thurs. At Madison with Messers Dow & Taylor.
9th Fri; DO DO
10th Sat. DO Mr. DO Posted letters to Mallette, D. Williams and E. Richardson. Sent letters to J. Beath, and C. Watkins. Returned home.
11th Sun. At home. At Miles in the evening.
12th Mon. Cut vest for Mr. Miles.
13th Tues. Cut vest for Wm. Beat. Hauled wood.
14th Wed. Working about the house – no mail.
15th Thurs. Hauled wood. Visited by S. Lamont. Mail came today.
16th Fri. At Madison & Poor house. Posted letter to J. P. Walker & B. C. Eastman.
17th Sat. DO DO Bound out Children. Returned home in the evening.
18th Sun. At home. Visited by J. Beat, Beards, and Mr. & Mrs. Housel.
19th Mon. At home. First visit from Dr. Rowley.
20th Tues. At Mr. Housels for (bottom of page not shown in photocopy //JGH)
21st Wed. Recd letters from A., W. & Mrs. Cairncross. Visited by J. Connor. Cleaning wheat.
22nd Thurs. Started for Wheeler & Galts Mill with Mr. Beard.
23rd Fri. Returned home form Mill. Cow Bass had a heifer calf. Posted letters to Taylor, Dow, and Senator Giles.
24th Sat. At Poor Farm for my sheep, 9 in number.
25th Sun. At home. These last 4 days very cold.
26th Mon. Hauled wood – Sewing.
27th Tues. Sewing at W. Beats Vest.
28th Wed. DO DO Recd. letters from Taylor, Dow, Giles and W. Cairncross.

MARCH, 1855
1st Thurs. Hauled wood. At Ivor Thorsons & Blackburns.
2nd Fri. Posted letter to W. R. Taylor. Hauled wood. Barnet, Brink commenced suit against D. Bright.
3rd Sat. Finished and took home Wm. Beats vest. .Bot. Yoke of oxen from I. Thorson for Poor Farm.
4th Sun. At home. Mary at Miles. First lamb came. Made out notes of Town History for H. A. Tenney.
5th Mon. Hauled wood forenoon. Started for Madison afternoon – water very high – got wet between Lamonts and Menzies and returned home.
6th Tues. Doing very little all day.
7th Wed. Issued warrant for Dd & Anthony Bright on complaint of Barnet, Brink. Suit between the above parties removed from before me to Squire Shumway, and decided against Brink on defective process.
8th Thurs. Working about the house
9th Fri. At Poor Farm & Madison – road heavy.
10th Sat. At Madison. Stopt all night with G. Bjornson.
11th Sun. Returned home. Called at D. Beats.
12th Mon. Hauling wood.
13th Tues. Altered Wm. Beats vest and cut Jacket for James.
14th Wed. Went to Madison with D. & J. Beat, and J. Morrison. Called upon Mr. Brill, with Mr. Taylor, in referance to Tresspassers on County land. Stopt with Mr. Taylor all night.
15th Thurs. Called upon Mr. Brill who was from home. Made arrangements to meet with him tomorrow morning.
16th Fri. At County land with Mr. Brill. Consulted W. H. Orton, Dist. Atty on prosecution.
17th Sat. Mr. Orton drew complaint, to which I made affidavit before Squire Braley. Took out warrant which I placed in hands of Sheriff.
18th Sun. At home.
19th Mon. At Poor house and Madison. Very stormy day. At Theatre in the evening.
20th Tues. At County land, Ulmars, Kanouses & with Mr. Brill. Found a German hauling wood off the land.
21st Wed. Engage Mr. Drake to Survey Co. land, and Mr. Brill & German to assist on Saturday first. Took out warrant against Abram Wolfe. Met with Mr. Menzies and German who had been trespassing. Returned home in the evening with D. McDonald. Recd. letters from A. Adamson & A. Cairncross, junior.
22nd Thurs. At Mt. Vernon with D. Beat and J. Morison.
23rd Fri. At Poor house and Madison.
24th Sat. At Co. Land with Mr. Drake and at Mr. Gallaghers & C. Ulmars.
25th Sun. In Madison
26th Mon. In Madison at trial of Wallbridge. Left Madison for home at 8 P.M. Walked all the way.
27th Tues. At meeting of Town Board at M. L. Curtis'. Whigs and pretended Democracts made nominations of town officers.
28th Wed. Writing Minutes of Town Board, etc. Recd letter from A. Adamson.
29th Thurs. Cut Pants and vest for R. Lamont. Writing.
30th Fri. Hauling rails assisted by S. Lamont. Posted letter to W. R. Taylor.
31st Sat. Hauling rails assisted by S. Lamont. Mrs. Wallace delivered of a daughter.

End of diary entries for January 1 through  
March 31, 1855

~ ~ ~

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sepia Saturday 342, 2016 August 27:Love and Marriage - A Keyes Wedding, "Honey, I am not ...

 The photograph shown below does not represent the swirling panache of the prompt photo, but for eastern Oregon in the 1890s this Keyes wedding must have been an event.    The only persons that I recognize are my great grandfather James E.L.Keyes, on the far left, and standing next to him is his second wife, Sarah Ellen Brown Keyes.  Sarah Ellen was a sister to my great grandmother Agnes Aurelia Brown Keyes, who died shortly after the birth of my grandmother.  The young woman on the far right looks like Olga, a daughter of James E. L. Keyes and Sarah Ellen Brown Keyes.  However, the bride, groom, groomsman, and bridesmaid are mysteries to me.  I am thinking that the bride is one of the Keyes daughters, Elizabeth, Echo, or Ingaba, but certainly not possitive.I am hoping that my Keyes kin will enlighten me via the CONTACT button at the upper right of this blog.

I believe this was May, or possibly an early June, wedding.  In that area, the grass and trees tend to be green and lush from mid-May through the early part of June.  Then according to my grandmother, the Mitchell area was hot, dry hillsides covered with dead grass.  This photo looks lush to me.

However, one of the details zings into my brain.  The wedding party is standing in front of a piano.  From that point on, I had this movie going on in my head.  

"Now James we must have the piano outside for the wedding. "

"No, El, it's too heavy --- and we'd  just have to haul it back in."

"Oh, you are going to spoil the wedding.  Our little darling won't have the wedding march played at her wedding."

"Daddy, pleeeease, I do want the piano outside for the wedding."

"You could be married in the front room and have the wedding march played on the piano."

"Ohh, Daddy, how could you."

"Now, James."

I am sure that great granddad gave in fairly quickly.  Sarah Ellen and her daughter knew what they wanted and a mere man should not stand in the way of a woman and her wedding, or her daughter's wedding.  I don't know if this is how this wedding played out.  I do know that once the piano hit the focus of my eye, the piano has become the central figure of this wedding.

So my Keyes kin, if you know more about this wedding, please contact me so the wedding can again in my mind be about my Keyes kin and not the piano.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday's Faces From the Past: 2016 August 19: Orphan Photos, Possible Photograph of a Nephew of Susan Ward Keyes.

     Another photograph from the Keyes albums to which  I fell heir.  I believe that this handsome young man may be Zachary Taylor Keyes, a cousin to my great grandfather James E. L. Keyes.  I don't have any photographs of young Zachary for comparison, but  the back of this photo had the notation "Aunt Susie."   

     Zachary was a nephew of Susan Ward Keyes and her husband David Lowry Keyes.  Zachary and James E. L. Keyes, the son of Susan and David, drove 600 head of ewes to eastern Oregon in the mid 1870s. Their uncle John Keyes staked them with money for the purchase and getting the sheep to eastern Oregon.

     I believe this picture dates to either just before Zachary and James E. L. Keyes went to eastern Oregon, or when they returned for the Margaret's wedding.  She was the youngest sister of James E. L. Keyes.  Margaret Delilah Keyes married Abiathar Barrett Newton on 23 May 1877.

     The matte for this photograph is inscribed ABELL.  Frank G. Abell was a noted Oregon photographer in the 1870s and 1880s.  He plied his craft in the Portland and Salem area.  In later years, his studio was located in Portland.  Several of the photographs in these "rescued" albums have the Abell label.

     If anyone has additional information about this photo, or other photos of Zachary, I would like to hear from you. My email address is in the CONTACT button at the upper right of this blog page.

~ ~ ~

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sepia Saturday 342, 2016 August 20: Love and Marriage - "Going Away" Photos

Wow!  Do I ever love the swirl of the brides white dress and veil.  The groom, too, is worthy of  satorial elegance with his well cut tuxedo and elegant top hat.  But this wasn't the tone of our wedding.

When Doc and I were married some sixty-three years ago, friends and family across the valley and state were on hand to wish us well.  And well we did, for nearly sixty years.  Doc left this world of his and mine a few months before we would have celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary, but the memories remains strong and good.


Of all of our wedding photographs, this is my favorite.  We were very young and thought ourselves quite mature as we headed out the door to our new life together.  Over the years, I have labelled this photograph, "My Man,"  although there are a number of photographs which mirror this look.  It was a good day, and a good sixty years.

  And of course, I can't let my beloved, hot (fast),  little Oldsmobile go unnoticed.  I am not sure that speedy black car loved the "tricking out", but my hot little car left the followers in the dust as we headed over the mountain to a weekend on the beach. My Aunt Gail is surveying the artwork -- with approval.

As I said, it was a good day and a good sixty years.  Now dance on over to see what other Sepians have to say.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Amanuensis Monday (Addendum) 2016 August 15: J.P.McPherson's Diary, October 15 through December 31, 1854


The original log cabin that J. P. McPherson
built in 1850. Year by year, the house is more
crowded as the number of children increase
and grow older.  A good reminder for the reader.
Courtesty of the Margaret Burns McPherson Burmeister Family Archives

In 1854, James P. McPherson and family were still living in the log cabin he made in 1850. It must have been getting crowded with the 38 years old James P. and his wife, Mary, who was 31.  They also had five children, William, age 11; James, age 9; Jabez, age 7; Anne, age 4; and Elizabeth, age 2.  As you may remember, the boys all had their mother's maiden name of Burns as their middle name.  Anne's middle name was Adamson, the last name of her aunt and uncle, Anne and Thomas Adamson.  Elizabeth Spink McPherson was named after her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Spink of Arbroath, Scotland.  Her maternal grandmother's first name was also Elizabeth (Elizabeth Horrock Burns). 

The last half of October saw a flurry of harvesting in Springdale. James P. McPherson thrashed for Furman Housel, John McGregor, and Thomas Miles. He was also busy hauling corn and wood. Stevenson's had a hauling bee which McPherson attended. McPherson also had a raising of his cattle shed. He later did work on the cattle yard. In December, he was at S. Lamount's stable raising.

In December, McPherson also found time to work at his tailoring trade. He made coats for John McGregor, Mr. Lyle, Mr. Reoch, and Wm. Raes. He also mad a vest for J. Connor.

Late fall and early winter also seemed to be a time when folks did more visting back and forth. James P. was at Menzies, Lamounts, and Miles. Some of the visits between neighbors might have been to arrange the hauling bee and the raisings of McPhersons cattle shed and Lamount's stable. It would seem that the visits between Springdale neighbors and friends probably had a sociable aspect as well as day to day workings of the farm community.

As usual, James P. kept Sundays as an “at home” day or to visit friends and neighbors. He was visited several times by John McDonald, who was accompanied once by J. Connor. He was also visited by Mr. W. R. Taylor and Mr. Herrick, which probably was in regard to Dane County and/or the Poor Farm.

Although Mary isn't mentioned often in the diary, she was seen to be quilting on 12 December and was at the Morrison's in the afternoon of 21 December.

Holiday visits were apparent at the end of December. On December 25, the McPhersons were visted by Mr. and Mrs. James P. Beard. As this fourth year in Springdale came to a close, Mr. Axium Malone visited the McPhersons during the holiday season on December 30 and 31, 1854.

Correspondence during this fourth quarter of 1854 was rather light. Oon 18 October, the McPherson family did receive a letter from Mary's father, William Gibson Burns. On 13 November, James P. received a letter from William Cairncross with an enclosure of $7. He posted a reply to Cairncross on 15 November.

He also had some County related correspondence with W.R.Taylor, Elijah Isham and Ashion Hanson during late October. On 20 December he posted a letter to Thomas Barber.

On 17 January 1854, James P. McPherson was elected Superintendant of the Poor in Dane County. Since that time much of his time has been devoted to buying the Poor Farm and setting it up. In this last quarter of 1854, he was at the Poor Farm on the 15 October. Then again, two weeks later, on 30 and 31 October he again visited the Poor Farm. During this period of time he was also in Madison and Hanchettville, which might have had relevance to the Poor Farm. On 3 November, he went to the “Poor Farm with Beding”. He also was at Mass's Store, which may have been in Verona. (In the 1860 Census Report, Jacob Mass and family were in Montrose which was about 10 miles or so from Springdale and about twice that from Verona where the Poor Farm was located.) James P. spent all day and night at the Poor Farm on 9 November The last visit to the Poor Farm in 1854 was on 18 December, just two days after a heavy snow storm.

In addition to his work with the Poor Farm, Jame P. McPherson was busy with duties of the Justice of the Peace and with Dane County. In late October, he posted an election notices, and on 1 November he delivered the Execution to Sheriff Main. On 7 November, he attended the election and then “stopt” at R. Blackburn's overnight. He also met with John A. Douglas, Cross Plains, who seems also to be a Justice of the Peace. The last time he met with Douglas was on 27 December when he received claims against the estate of the “late Robert Wright.”

McPherson also “sold R. Menzies stock, hay etc.” This may have been in regard to his position as Justice of the Peace or in regards to Dane County or perhaps at the request of R. Menzie. Our diary writer, James P. McPherson, was just not clear on these sorts of things. He also drew a road pettion for T. Blackburn, a Chattle Mortgage on Shumway stock in favor of Beard and Jones.

James P. McPherson was in Madison from 20 November through 25 November attending to County Business. He was appointed Assistant Clerk of the County Board on 24 November. Before he returned home to Springdale, he had received “orders for balance due & in pay of Services as Assistant Clerk of County Board.”

From 27 November through 11 December (except for Sundays) he “worked at the tax list.” He finished the lists on 11 December and then “received receipt of Town Treasurer's bond and delivered tax list to him.” This work on the tax list would seem to be related to his posisiton as Town Clerk.

At the end of 1854, we can see that James Peter McPherson appeared to have taken his position in the town of Springdale and the County of Dane very seriously. In addition, he was elected and appointed to increasingly important positions.

Thore Thoreson
Furman Housel
William Gibson Burns
John McGregor
W. R.Taylor (Dane C., Poor Farm)
Elijah Isham (Dane C., Poor Farm)
Asbion Hanson (Dane C., Poor Farm)
Thomas B. Miles
William Henderson
Sheriff Main
R. Menzie
Jacob Mass
S. Lamount
John A. Douglas, Cross Plains
R. Blackburn
John Mc Donald
William Cairncross
T. Blackburn
S. Shumway
James P. Beard
J. Connor
J. Jones
David Beat
John Beat
William Raes
Axium Malone 

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 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications