Thursday, December 1, 2016

Amanuensis Monday 2016 December 5: J.P.McPherson's Diary, October 1 through December 31, 1856

Diary entries for October 1 through December 31, 1856

1st Wed. DO
2nd Thurs. At Madison at Agriculltural Society's Fair.
3rd Fri. Plowing
4th Sat. Finished plowing the breaking..
5th Sun. At home. Writing up Poor Farm books
6th Mon. Selling John L. Fosters Cattle at T. Thorson's
7th Tues. Plowing. Broke my own plough & MeGregors.
8th Wed. Fixing Sled. Boys digging potatoes. Brot home plows. Recd. letters from James Ross, J. N. Cook & Evening Post. At Poor House.
9th Thurs. Plowing forenoon. Trial between E. Spears and I. G. .Brader, afternoon. Examining School House.
10th Fri. At Waddel's negotiationg loan for C. Morich. Posted letters to Mineral Point with Moores and W. Henderson duplicates, to Commissioner of General Land Office in relation to Cairncross Patent, and to Geo. Dow.
11th Sat. At Madison with Cairncross on his loan business.
12th Sun. At home. Visited by Mrs. Cairncross, Housel, Stevens, Forsyth, Connor, McGaughey & C. Morich.
13th Mon. At Walter Waddells borrowing $300, for Christian Morich, and there delayed so that I could not attend the Senatorial Convention at Baers Taavern, Cross Plains.
14th Tues. Cleaned up 40 bushels of oats.
15th Wed. At Madison with Wm Carincross. Sold 40 bushels of Oats for 35 Cents per bushel. Recd. Geo. Moore's & Bathia Wallace Patents.
16th Thurs. Plowing. At P. Nash’s in the evening.
17th Fri. Plowing.
18th Sat. Putting up guide boards on highways.
19th Sun. At Housels, Lamonts, Cairncross’ & McGregors
20th Mon. Ploughing forenoon. – At Squire Shumways with Wm Menzies. Recd. note from Truman Shurman against H. Allen for Collection. Plowing after return from Village.
21st Tues. At Poor House at quarterly Meeting of Supts. Boys hauling wood.
22nd Wed. At Madison at Democratic Mass Meeting.
23rd Thurs. Plowed a little afternoon.
24th Fr. Very Stormy day – at Cairncross P.M.
25th Sat. (“At” lined out) Viewing road from corner of Sec. 16 westward.
26th Sun. At Mass store with Wm Cairncross
27th Mon. Measured the land which Mr. McGregor wishes to buy from me on the north side of the road and the land he wished to sell me on the south side of the road. Cleaning up oats. At Housels and Mitchells in the evening.
28th Tues. Working on the road forenoon – cleaning oats and wheat afternoon.
29th Wed. At Madison. Sold 59 bushels of oats at 33 cents and 30 bushels wheat at 63 cents. Paid note due to W. B. Jarvis, $87.44. Received letters from Lyman C. Draper, James Ross, & T. L. Hendricks, Commissioner of General Land office, in referance to the Patent for Wm Cairncross’ land. H. Barnes & D. K. Butler called at my place.
30th Thurs. Helped Cairncross to kill a cow forenoon. Fixing stable afternoon. At Lamonts and Mitchells in the evening. Snowing in the evening.
31st Fri. Fixing Stable. At Housels with Mr. Cook for two hogs for Poor House. Dan K. Butler called afternoon, went with him to Shanghae meeting in the evening at Mount Vernon.

1st Sat. Altering Badger Mill road. At Mr. ONeils forenoon. Fixing Stable afternoon. Bull with “Nan”.
2nd Sun. At Lamonts and Mitchells.
3rd Mon. At P. Nashs and Samuel Miles with C. Morich
4th Tues. At Presidential Election – 69 votes cast for Buchanan, 57 votes cast for Freemont.
5th Wed. At Lamonts forenoon: fixing cellar afternoon.
6th Thurs. Fixing cellar.
7th Fri. At Poor House for 10 bushels corn.
8th Sat. Altering road from Section 10 to Sec. 4.
9th Sun. Visited b y H. Crite and Sam. Whalley. Put up guide boards at Beards and Kelleys.
10th Mon. At John Beats and Poor House
11th Tues. At Madison attending Session of County Board of Supervisors till
(McPherson may have been in Madison until November 22)

22nd Sat. When I returned home with W. Cairncross.
23rd Sun. At home
24th Mon. At Hugh Stevens with Assessment Roll.
25th Tues. Attending to law suit for Peter Brennan before Squire Shumway.
26th Wed. Killed five hogs, assisted by J. Mitchell, W. Cairncross & J. McGregor. Sold one hog – 104 lbs to J. Mitchell for $4 per cwt and one – 90 lbs to Thos Adamson, same price.
27th Thurs. Attending to law suit for I. G. Brader vs Peter Bell, before Squire Shumway.
28th Fri. Raising Stable for Morrison. Visited by John Wagner. Engaged John Mitchell to keep School.
29th Sat. At Poor House.
30th Sun. Went into Madison. Recd. $200, from J. H. McAvoy, Dep. Co. Treasurer.

1st Mon. Left Madison by railroad at 7 o'clock morning for Chicago, where we arrived by Fond du Lac road a little after noon. At Norths Circus in the evening. Saw Robert Brand in Janesville. Left Chicago for Springfield by Alton and St. Louis R.R. at 11.15 P.M. arrived.
2nd Tues. At 9 o'clock A.M. Left for Jacksonville at 10 A.M. arrived at 1 P.M. Drove to Insane Hospital, got out Misses Seymour and Kelly and returned to the Hotel. Left for Springfield at 6.30 P.M. srrived 9 P.M. Left for Chicago at 10.45 P.M cold Stormy nights – arrived
3rd Wed. at 9 A.M. Found that the Milwaukie and Fond du Lac railroads were blocked up by the Storm. Called on John Philips Chairmaker. Stopt at Jervis House all night.
4th Thurs. Left for Milwaaukie at 10 A.M. arrived about 2 P.M. Left for Madison 4 P.M. srrived 10.30 P.M. Stopt at City Hotel.
5th Fri. Miss Seymours sister took charge of her. Hired James Cummings to take Winifred Kelly to Poor House where I stopt all night.
6th Sat. Writing at the Poor House till 4 P.M. Boot. Some goods at Mass's store.
7th Sun. At Home
8th Mon. At School House forenoon. Bot. lbs of Pork from Lars Stinson for Poor House.
9th Tues. Making clothes for Boys. (“At School House A.M.” lined out)
10th Wed. DO DO At School House A.M. At Mt. Vernon, with Laurence Smith in the evening.
11th Thurs. Making clothes for Boys. Drew papers for Andrew Paton.
12th Fri. Posted letter to John Cherry, Dayton. Making clothes for Boys.
13th Sat. At Mass' store taking acknowledgement of Mortgage from Mr. & Mrs. Patton. At Poor House for 5 bushels corn.
14th Sun. At John Mitchells
15th Mon. Working at home at clothing
16th Tues. DO DO Mary at Madison. Drew quit claim deed from Wm E. Thomson to A. Patton.
17th Wed. Working at clothing.
18th Thurs. DO DO
19th Fri. DO DO Posted letters to Harper Brothers and Luther Tucker & Son
20th Sat. DO DO
21st Sun. At Mass' Store
22nd Mon. Working at my coat.
23rd Tues. DO DO
24th Wed. At Town Treasurers. Recd. letters from Judge Dow and N. B. Van Slyke.
25th Thurs. Being tired after yesterdays walk did nothing but write a letter. At Spelling School with the Boys in the evening. Returned John Cherrys note to Wm Menzie.
26th Fri. Posted a letter to Judge Dow. Isssued 3 School District orders.
27th Sat. Working about the house. Chopping.
28th Sun. At Housels, John Edi's and Joseph Henderson. Brot. Home my buck Sheep from latters. Went to Poor House in the evening.
29th Mon. Went to Madison. Met with Messers Colladay and Huntington and commenced examination of County Treasurers books.
30th Tues. Examining County Treasurers books
31st Wed. DO DO day & night.

End of diary entries for October 1 through  
December 31, 1856

~ ~ ~

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

Monday, November 28, 2016

Amanuensis Monday (Addendum to 2016 November 7): A Review of J.P.McPherson's Diary, July through September,1856


In 1856,  James P. McPherson turned 40 on 14 November, and Mary, 34 on 30 January. The family included six children, William, age 13; James, age 11; Jabez, age 9; Anne, age 6; and Elizabeth, age 4; and Mary Jane, age 1.  The family still lived in the log cabin that James P. built in 1850, which now, six years later, was bulging with kids, and stuff, as well as an array of visitors.  
The first diary entry of July 1856 was the terse, “Mother sick.” As there is no indication of a letter which might refer to Mary's mother, Elizabeth Herrick (Horrock) Burns, then we can presume that this refers to, James' wife, Mary Burn McPherson. However, James P. has always refered to his wife as “Mary.” Nonetheless, times were changing; James and Mary were getting older and they had a household of children; So perhaps, James P. sometimes referred to Mary as “Mother”.

Mary's illness must not have been too serious, as a few days later,  the McPherson family attended the 4th of July celebration at Thomas Miles's home. Anne and Thomas Adamson, along with Mrs. Stephenson, were “out from Madison” for the celebration. James P. noted that there was a disturbance at the celebration caused by “disorderly conduct of Cummin and others.” It would appear that he too was disturbed by this type of conduct. He was a teatotaler and a long time member of the Sons of Temperance. So if there was alcohol consumption involved with the “disturbance,” he would have found that in poor taste and inappropriate. However, more than his abstinence stance, James P. was a firm advocate of the proper celebration of America's Independence. Remember, at the end of June, he had just made the flag which was to be used at this 4 July celebration. Independence Day  celebrations had come a long way since his first Springdale 4 July 1850, when he was so appalled at the absence of any note of the day and his vow to have “a proper celebration” in the future was realized in 1856.

During these summer months, much of James P.'s work revolved around the farm. Hoeing corn and sowing a few late ruta bagas were done before he commenced getting ready to cut hay and grain. Cutting hay and grain is hard on the men as well as their scythes. So, in mid July, he bought a new cradle scythe, rake fingers and a whetstone, before he began cutting hay on the “south marsh.” Earlier he must have cut the hay on the north marsh, because he after the cutting on the south marsh, he was “turning hay on north mash.” McPherson cut and put up hay for a good portion of July, and even had Mr. Housel finish cutting a piece of hay for $5.
After cutting the first of his hay, he and Springdale folks cut hay, wheat and oats for one another throughout the community. They also had to bind the wheat and oats, then haul the bundles out of the fields to where they then thrashed the wheat and oats. They also continued subsequent cuttings of hay and stored it for the winter.

As the harvest began to wind down, James P. and his sons began fall plowing and he “back set his breaking.” “Breaking” had to do with opening up new land for crops, but it's not clear what “backset” was about (Google was no help). Also, an interesting change in the diary word useage for farming was that James P. began to use the word “plowing” rather than the older English version which was “ploughing.”

As usual with farm animals, there was a bit of hunting for the sheep, which, in June, were found at Marquarde's. In August he brought his sheep back from Harker's where they had strayed. When James P. brought his sheep home, Harker's buck came along with the sheep, so Harker had to retrieve his buck the next day. James P. also thatched the stable and cleared a place for the grain crib. By the end of September, he was husking corn, harvesting pumpkins and digging potatoes.

McPherson's friends and neighbors visited back and forth, as well as helping one another with plowing, planting and harvesting. Friends and neighbors mentioned during the summer of 1856 included: William and Katy Cairncross; Mother Cairncross, who was Helen Cairncross, the mother of William, Alexander and Stewart Cairncross; Anne and Thomas Adamson; Mrs. Stephenson; John and David Beat; M. L. Curtis; Furmin Housel; Hugh Stephens and wife; Robert and Bathia Craig; Thomas McGregor; E. Ridley; J. Campbell; John Morrison; and John and James Edi.

A couple of special occurrences came about during this summer of 1856. On 16 August, James P. went to Madison to attend the County Convention. He also took four of his children with him; Billy (13), Jabez (9), Anne (6) and Elizabeth (4). Previously, Billy had accompanied his father to Madison, but this is the first time the diary reflected that Jabez, Anne and Elizabeth had gone to Madison with their father. It is likely that the children, at least the girls, stayed with their Aunt Anne Adamson, while their father was at the County Convention.

The next special occurrence was when John Mitchell and his family, who had left Springdale on 5 May 1851 for New York, returned to Wisconsin four years later, on 8 September 1856. The Mitchells came out to Springdale from Madison the very next day. On 10 September, McPherson and Mitchell went to John Edi's to retrieve Mitchell's box and baskets. It appeared that the Mitchell family stayed with the McPhersons until 18 September, when they went on to stay with William Henderson family.

McPherson's correspondence appeared, with the exception of the letters to and from John Mitchell and William Davidson, to be related to his work within the community and through political appointments. A list of the correspondence is as follows:
9 July Received letter from Dexter H. Hawks, Honeoye, Ontario County, New York

11 July Posted letter to John Mitchell
6 August Received letter from John Mitchell

11 July Posted letter to William Davidson
12 August Received letter from William Davidson
19 September Posted letter to William Davidson

11 July Posted letter to W. R. Taylor,Chairman of Berry, Blue Mounds, and Black Earth

16 July Received letter from Alderman Mayers
18 July Posted letter to Alderman Mayers

18 July Posted letter to J. W. Cook

23 July Received Letter from Agricultural Society

23 July Received letter from A. B. Parmenter
1 August Posted letter to A. B. Parmenter

1 August Posted letters to several Chairman of Town Boards
 8 August Posted letters to 10 Chairmen of Towns

6 August Received letter from G. B. Smith

8 August Posted letter to Land Office, Mineral Point, enclosing duplicate of Marquarde's land

27 August Received letter from T. Heeran
29 August Posted letter from T. Heeran

3 September Received letter from McAvery

Although it appeared that the Poor House was not very busy nor were there apparent emergencies, James P. continued his Poor House responsibilities as he visited the Poor House at least montly during the summer. He also posted a letter to J. W. Cook, which was likely related to the Poor House. In August he also attended meetings in Mt. Vernon and Verona Corners, which might have been, in part, related to Poor House business.

McPherson was also involved in the political scene of Dane County, as on 16 August, he was in Madison attending the County Convention. He also wrote notices for the local village Democratic Meeting at Curtis's, then proceeded to order 50 handbills for the meeting.  He attended the meeting at Curtis's on 30 August. Then on 26 September, he again went to Madison to attend the "Republican Mass Meeting," which he reported as “a failure.” The next day he, as an avid democrat, attended the County Democratic Convention and was a candidate for the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, but he noted that he failed to get the nomination.

As Chairman of the Town Board, he was with the Town Assessor, Hugh Stephens on 7 July. He also was in communication with the Agricultural Society, of which he was a strong advocate. James P. was also very interested in history of Wisconsin, so he sent Col. Kelley the Session Laws of 1852 and Vol. #1 of the History of Wisconsin. Several years later, James P. would, himself, write a chapter on Springdale, in a History of Wisconsin.

During this summer quarter, McPherson was still involved as the Commissioner on the estate of George Harkers. In early July, he visited Charles Harker in regard to his father's estate,  George Harker. Then in early August, he was in Madison "making return of Appraisement of George Harker's property."

During this quarter, he also drew up a deed from John F. Bartell to J. Beat; took an affidavit from William Menzie and issued a warrant to James Edi, Magnus Leslie and Zink to appraise damage to crops done by Mr. Housel's hogs; did business in Primrose for Mr. Jospeh L. Dourance; and wrote Notices of J. L. Foster's cattle sale.

Two additional issues arose, probably in regard to McPherson's position as Justice of the Peace. On 23 August, Thomas Thornson made a complaint against J. Folley. No indication as to the nature of the complaint, but three days later, J. Folley called upon McPherson and took back the bill he had paid to Thomas Thornson. It seemed as though there might have been some significant actions in between these two actions noted in James P.'s diary. Had the two parties agreed on a monetary settlement? Did J. Folley end the settlement and open the complaint up to a judicial settlement? Will we find out later” Perhaps ... .

The second issue was related to Evor Thornson, who had often been the subject of legal actions in which James P. acted on his behalf. On 4 September, McPherson was “at Argyle attending ot lawsuit for Evor Thorson" and on 5 September he headed home after breakfast. Although there was no indication as to the outcome of the suit, McPherson was at Evor Thorson's on the afternoon of 7 September. Evor was not at home, so it would appear that the diary readers might find out more about Evor and his suit in future diary entries.

This brings to an end of the actions and activities of James P. McPherson during this period of July through September, 1856.


Anne Adamson
Thomas Adamson
John Bartell
James P. Beard
David Beat
John Beat
William Cairncross, son of Alexander
Catherine (Katy) McLean, wife of William

Mrs. Jean (Thompson-Brown) Cairncross, mother of William & Stewart and wife of William(Dundee)
John W. Cook 
Robert Craig
Bathia (Wallace) Craig
James Cummings
M. L. Curtis
William Davidson
Joseph L. Dourance, Primrose
James Edi
John Edi
J. Folley
J. L. Foster
Charles Harker
wife of Charles Harker
G. Harker, deceased 1855
Dexter Hawks, Richmond, NY(Re:Stacy,pauper PH)
William Henderson
T. Heeran
Furman Housel
Margaret Housel, wife of Furman
Col. Kelley
Magnus Leslie
J. H. McAvery
Thomas McGregor
Anne Adamson McPherson
Elizabeth Spink McPherson
Mary Burns McPherson
William B. McPherson (Billy)
James B. McPherson(Jim)
Jabez McPherson(Jabe)
Alderman Mayers
Wilhelm Menzie
Thomas B. Miles
Rosetta, wife of Thomas
John Mitchell
Family of John Mitchell
James Morrison & wife
Christian Morich
William Morich
E. Riley
G.B. Smith
Hugh Stevens, Town Clerk and Assesor, 1856
wife of Hugh Stevens
W. R. Taylor
T. Thornson
Evor Thorson
John Weise

~ ~ ~

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Face From the Past, 2016 November 18: A 1904 Keyes graduation in Mitchell, Oregon

Courtesy of the Archives of  Roots'n'Leaves and J. G. Hill.
The above photo isn't exactly an orphan photograph, as I am fairly sure that there is at least one, if not more,  Keyes relative shown in the photograph.  The middle girl looks like Echo Keyes, but I am not 100% sure. There were several Keyes daughters, plus an array of cousins.  They were always very close to one another  -- of course, in Mitchell area in the early 1900s, or even earlier or later, there were not a lot of folks in the area.  Those folks that lived in those rolling hills, lived on farms some distance apart.   So social events were taken seriously.  Photographs. New clothes. Family get-togethers.  If anyone is familiar with this photograph and knows the names of these bright young faces, please contact me at the email address in the upper right  of this blog.

Top Row: Echo Keyes, Pansey(last name unown) , Olga Keyes, and Floy Johnson
Bottom Row: Phil Keyes, Ray Keyes, and Sam Butler
Courtesy of the Archives of  Roots'n'Leaves and J. G. Hill.
According to Jessie Butler, above photograph is also a graduation photograph and she identified the young people.  Echo and Olga were sisters and daughters of James E. L. Keyes and Sarah Ellen (Butler) Keyes.  Pansy and Floy were cousins of the Keyes sisters.

As long as the photographer was in the locale and new dresses were made, the girls wanted even more photographs, as seen below.  According to Jessie Butler Sharp, the girls are sisters, Echo and Olga Keyes, and cousin Floy Johnson.

Courtesy of the Archives of  Roots'n'Leaves and J. G. Hill

These faces from the past seem so familiar and yet so distant.  If anyone has more information on any of this photographs, please contact me at the email address in the upper right of this blog.

~ ~ ~

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

2016 November 13: William Cook, Centennial History of Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin

For Jessica

The Centennial History of the Township of Springdale,
Dane County, Wisconsin  1848-1948
Pages 159-160

William Cook: Taken from History of 1880

A prosperous farmer of the town of Springdale, was born on the farm near where he now resides, July 20, 1852.  He is the son and only surviving child of John and Margaret (Ingles) Cook, an older sister Margaret having died when sixteen years of age.  The parents were both natives of Scotland, the father having been born in the Highlands of that country and the mother in  the city of Edinburgh.  They were married in their native country and came to America in 1850.  The father gave his attention to farming, followed that occupation in Scotland, and upon coming to Dane county took up eighty acres of government land in the town of Springdale, which has been the place of residence of the family during all the succeeding years.  The father died on July 30, 1865, at the age of thirty-seven, the result of being kicked by a horse, and the mother passed away in 1892, aged eighty years.  The subject of this review was reared in Springdale and received his education in the public schools of that town.  After the death of his father, his mother rented the farm out for three years, and then the son, although but sixteen years old, purchased a team and took upon himself the responsibility of cultivating and managing the place.  Success attended his efforts from the first, and he has never regretted the fate that mast his lines with the basic industry of agriculture.  He now owns a finely improved farm, comprising two hundred and eighty acres, and aside from the general farming of the same he gave a great deal of attention to stock-raising and dairying.  In the latter industry he has his own separator and ships the cream.  He is also engaged in the business of buying and shipping grain at Riley's Station, and in this as in all of his other ventures he has won pronounced success.  Mr. Cook was married August 18, 1871, to Miss Nancy Jane McCaughey, who was born on the place where she and her husband now reside.  Her parents were James and Maria McCaughey, both of whom were natives of Ireland.  The migrated the America and located in the town of Springdale, Dane county, at an earely age, and there spent the remainder of their lives, the father dying in 1852 and the mother in 1886.  Mr. and Mrs. Cook are the parents of eight children, the names and more particular mention of whom follow: Sarah J., married Martin F. Krueger and resides in the city of Madison; John remains at home with his parents; Maggie married William Salmon of the town of Springdale, and is deceased; James is in the grain-buying business with his father at Riley's Station; and William, Agnes Marie and Marjorie are at home.  Mr. Cook is a Republican in his political affiliations and has served as a member of thge school board.  Fraternally he has a membership in the lodge of the Modern Woodmen of America of Verona.  William Cook is on this homestead that his grandfather homesteaded.  It has always been in the family.

Springdale Platt Map
John Cook's homestead is in Section 12
McGaughey lands are in Sections 13 and 14

 Wm. McCaughey, a pioneer of Riley, was born in Scotland in 1826.  He moved to Ireland with his parents at the age of 6 years.  In 1844 he came to America and settled in Philadelphia where he lived for several years.  He married Rebecca Capper in 1852 and they came to Wisconsin and settled on a farm in Springdale where they experienced the usual hardships known to pioneer life.  In 1890 they moved to Riley where Mr. McCaughey died in 1911.  There were nine children born to this union. 

~ ~ ~

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Amanuensis Monday (Addendum) 2016 October 31 A Review of J.P.McPherson's Diary, April throught June,1856


In 1856,  James P. McPherson turned 40 on 14 November, and Mary, 34 on 30 January. The family included six children, William, age 13; James, age 11; Jabez, age 9; Anne, age 6; and Elizabeth, age 4; and Mary Jane, age 1.  The family still lived in the log cabin that James P. built in 1850, which by now was bulging with kids, and stuff, as well as an array of visitors. 


Spring time on the farm is a crazy mixture of balancing nature's spring storms with getting ready to plant, planting crops and, the constant fencing to keep the animals out of crops, one's own crops as well as the neighbors. James P. paid Weise $5.00 for making 400 rails. Then the rails had to be hauled and layed up in the fence line. This was work that could be, and was done when it was too early and cold – or raining – to plough or plant.

In addition to fencing, McPherson's early spring activity was ploughing and dragging the garden. He also planted trees and bushes that he had brought from the Poor House. By the last week in April, he and William Cairncross began ploughing the wheat fields, then sowing and dragging the wheat into the ground. They planted wheat in the ravine and in the hollow. Sons, Billy, James and Jabez, helped by dragging over the planted wheat. James P. and Cairncross ploughed, as well as planted. After the wheat was planted, they proceeded by planting oats, and corn. 
By the end of May, the corn had been planted, and now it was time to sow the garden crops, such as potatoes, carrots and beans. Because of the rain, either too much, but more likely, not enough rain, and possibly a few frosty nights, they had to replant some of the corn. James P. noted on 21 June, that it had been “very dry and warm for the last six weeks. Crops suffering by the drought.” The very next day, a few thunderstorms came, and the subsequent rain relieved the situation. Wheat, corn, oats, potatoes, and garden crops had been planted by the end of June, and hoeing started.

Near the end of May, while his sons planted corn, McPherson was assisted by D. and Thomas McGregor, Samuel Lamont, J. Cummins, John Edi, and J. Morrison in digging a ditch on the line between his and  Housel's property. He and his sons also started helping William Cairncross hauling brush from his land. In mid June, Henry Oleg began breaking for McPherson, while James P. and his sons began clearing timber from the land. He also worked on he road and hauled stone for the road culverts.

As usual, Sundays were the day when the McPherson family received visitors and went to see their friends and neighbors. Many times these visits appeared to be semi-work related, in that contacts would be made with folks with whom they would be working in the following week. Visitors, coming and going, included; Furman Housel; Alexander, William and Stewart Cairncross; William Henderson; the Alex Browns with Mrs. Cairncross; Mr. and Mrs. Craig; John Oleg; J. Morrison; David Beat; Samuel Lamont; Blake; and Derrick.

James P. also did some sewing during this spring quarter of 1856. He cut pants for James P. Beard in early April. In May, he cut pants for himself and sewed pants for his sons. Spring work kept him busy until late June, when he made a hat for son, Billy, and a vest for “T. Miles.” Evidently the hard feelings of earlier in the year had begun to soften – though James P. still does not visit or mention Miles as he had in the past; McPherson was much more “restrained and formal” in his mentioning of Thomas Miles during the spring of 1856. However, he also made a flag which was to be taken to the 4th of July Celebration at Miles' place.

Also, on 16 May, the diary noted “uncle here,” which apparently meant that Thomas Adamson came to Springdale from Madison. He is not mentioned again, so perhaps he walked back to Madison that night or the next day.

Even though McPherson was very busy with spring farm work and his community and political duties, he also had a busy time with correspondence. As listed below, the correspondence is split between private correspondence and correspondence related to his work with the Poor Farm, Justice of the Peace, and County responsibilities.

2 April Received letter from William Davidson.
4 April Posted Letter to William Davidson.
30 April Received Letter from William Davidson.
16 May Posted letter to William Davidson
11 June Received letter from William Davidson.

4 April Posted Letter to William C. Bryan & Co, enclosing $1 for Weekly Evening Post

4 April Posted Letter to William A. Wheeled, County Treasurer

11 April Posted letter to Hon. Chas. Durkee.
7 May Received pamphlet from C. Durkee.

18 April Posted letter to Railroad Contractors, Richland.

23 April Received Letter from Judge Dow.
25 April Posted letter to Judge Dow.

25 April Posted letter to M. S. Barnes (teacher).
30 April Received letter from M. S. Barnes.
14 May Received letter from M. S. Barnes.
16 May Posted letter to M. S. Barnes.

30 April Received letter from John Mitchell
14 May Posted letter to John Mitchell.
11 June Received letter from John Mitchell.

2 May Posted letter to Jebid Andrews.

2 May Posted letter to Dr. E. H. Osborne.

2 May Posted letter to Land Office at Mineral Point.
30 May Posted 2nd letter to Register of Land Office in regard to Cairncross Patent.
11 June Received letter from Land Office

16 May Posted letter to J. H. McAvery
21 May Received letter from J. H. McAvery.

16 May Posted letter to E. W. Dwight & Argus & Democrat

21 May Received letter from W.G.B.(Mary's father, William Gibson Burns).

21 May Received letter from H. E. Frink.

20 June Posted letter to Dexter Hawks, Richmond, Ontairo Co., NY, making inquiry as to property of Mrs. Stacy, a pauper.

James P. McPherson began his political and community work for the spring quarter of 1856, when he attended the town meeting in Springdale and was elected Chairman of the Town Board and Justice of the Peace. The next day he was visited by Mr. Cook, who seemed to have worked at the Poor House. He also qualified Mr. Miles on that same day. Although there is nothing in the diary to indicate the reason for the qualification, we do know that Mr. Miles was the first Postmaster for Springdale, so perhaps it had to do with the job of Postmaster. On 3 April, he also “approved bond and qualified R. Blackburn, T. L. and George Wright, treasurer and J.P." (Justice of the Peace). On 8 April, he qualified Hugh Stephens as Town Clerk and Assessor.

On 14 April, McPherson was “laying out roads in North part of town. Then four days later, he was at the meeting of the town board on the road tax. He also attended town committee meetings regarding the plans for the 4th of July celebration to be held at the Thomas Miles farm.

McPherson was also in Madison “on county business” on the 15th, 16th, and 17th of April. On the 25th of April, he was again in Madison at the meeting of the Agricultural Society, of which he was an early proponent for the services and information provided by the society to Dane county farmers. You may remember that he had previously written to the Society and received information from the Society. He returned to Madison on 28 June, for a general committee of the Agricultural Society – and on county business.

James P. continued to visit the Poor House. Early in April he was at the Poor House with Jacob Herrick and Anthony Dresbuck. The reason for meeting at the Poor House with these two gentlemen was not specified. He also got some bushes and trees from the Poor House to plant on his farm. He also met Judge Dow and W. R. Taylor at the Poor House on 12 May in order to “measure off the ground for building.” Previously, he had gotten approval for the building of a new Poor House, and indeed, had let the contract to W. and J. Vrormen. Later that evening he went to Patrick Davidson's, in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Dow. They stayed the night with Davidson. 
Later that month, he wrote to Dexter Hawks, Richmond, New York, regarding property of Mrs. Stacy, who evidently was at the Poor House. Then on  27 June, McPherson was visited by Mr. Cook, and then visited the Poor House, where he stayed all night. I wonder if Mr. Cook needed to take time from the Poor House, and so that McPherson had to fill in for him, hmmm?

James P. also had a very busy spring dockett of cases as Justice of the Peace. On 23 May, “Knud Svenson brot. before me on warrant, charged with busting.” The next day he decided the case, although the diary did not reflect whether the case was decided for or against Svenson. On that same day, he also took an affidavit from Halsizer, which might have been regarding the Svensen case.

1 May, McPherson was in Primrose, where he “sold Mr. Wm. G. Dudley.s stock, etc.” On that same day, he also “signed note with Wm. Cairncross for $35.40 payable nine months after date.” The diary is not clear as to whether McPherson or Cairncross was the lender.

He also delivered Deeds and Patents to Bernard Brink; made out Indenture for G. Gulbrandson to Levi Jacket; received probate papers for Charles Harker; paid Wm. Brown $4.50 from S. Wooley; and at Shumways and C. Harkers appraising estate of G. Harker.

He was again engaged by Evor Thornson to attend to the "suit on Wednesday, first at Argyle, Lafayette Co."  McPherson arrived in Argyle on the 4 June, only to fined that he was two days early as the summons date was 6 June, not 4 June. On 5 June, he took an affidavit from Evor Thornson and examined books in reference to his case. McPherson and Col. Kelley, were in attendance to Thornson's case on 6 June. McPherson rode all night to return home on the morning of Saturday, 7 June. Three days later he was again visited by Evor Thornson, and a day later Col. Kelley visited McPherson. There is no information in the diary as to why Thornson and Col. Kelley were meeting with McPherson, but on 12 June, McPherson again started out for Argyle. He attended the suit for Evor Thornson on 13 June, and then rode all night on his return home.  No indication as to the result of the case.

20 June, McPherson was at Squire Shumway’s “attending to Law Suit for C. S. Wright.” On that same day, he also issued a warrant in case of Mallo against Steadman. The next day, he was again at Squire Shumway's attending to Suit against C. S. Wright. The Judgment went against Wright. Then on 23 June, he settled the case of Mallo vs. Stedman. (Both spellings are in diary; Steadman and Stedman.)

At eleven o'clock on the night of 23 June, he was awakened to “issue a warrant against Charles C. Skinner for Seduction, on relation of E. K. McCord.” He was occupied all the next day with case of McCord vs. Skinner, which was settled towards evening by Skinner giving notes for $500. (I would not be surprised if this case comes back to the fore in the future – and hopefully, it will as there are so many unanswered questions surrounding the case.)
Thomas Adamson
Jebid Andrews
M. S. Barnes, teacher
James P. Beard
David Beat
R. Blackburn
Bernard Brinks
Alex Brown & wife
William Gibson Burns
Alexander Cairncross & wife
William Cairncross & wife
Mrs. Cairncross, mother
Stewart Cairncross
J. W. Cook 
Robert Craig
Bathia (Wallace) Craig
J. Cummins
William Davidson
George Dow, Judge
Anthony Dresbuck
William G. Dudley, Primrose
Hon. Charles Durkee
E. W. Dwight
John Edi
Mr. Flick
H. E. Frink
G. Gannon
G. Gulbandonson, Indenture
Charles Harker
G. Harker, deceased
Dexter Hawks, Richmond, NY(Re:Stacy,pauper)
William Henderson
Jacob Herrick
Furman Housel & wife
Levi Jackett
Col. Kelley
Samuel Lamont & wife
J. H. McAvery
E. K. McCord
Thomas McGregor
D. McGregor
William B. McPherson (Billy)
James B. McPherson(Jim)
Jabez McPherson(Jabe)
Thomas B. Miles & wife
John Mitchell
James Morrison & wife
Henry Oleg
John Oleg
Dr. E. H. Osborne
Dr. Rawley
Luther Robbins
Squire Shumway
Charles C. Skinner
Knud Sveverson
G.B. Smith
Hugh Stevens, Town Clerk and Assessor, 1856
W. R. Taylor
Evor Thorson
J. Vrormen
W. Vrormen
William A. Wheeler, Dane County Treasurer, 1856
S. Wooley
C. S. Wright, Cross Plains 
George Wright, Justice of the Peace, 1856

~ ~ ~

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