Draft transcription of Sever’s 1864 diary

Sever Severson kept a diary in 1864, writing in it every day from January 1 until September 26, four days before he succumbed to dysentery. He remarks almost daily on the weather and the productivity of his wagonmaking business, and also comments on his travels, local elections, visits to friends and family, his sales, his purchases, and the amount of cash he had on hand.

Sever’s spelling is variable and phonetic, as was common through the middle of the 19th century in the U.S. For instance, instead of “stayed”, he will sometimes write “Stad” while at other times writing “Stayd”, “Staed” or “sted”. Sever also only infrequently used punctuation, leading to confusion in a few cases. To help better understand his diary, I have provided edited versions of his entries.

Although Sever wrote his diary entries in English, his Norwegian education is evidenced in a couple of ways. He commonly slips into the Germanic convention of capitalizing nouns, common in Norwegian orthography until the 1907 reform of the language. He also occasionally slips into Norwegian; for example, on July 10 he writes “at Meeting in John Fjelds Kirke Church” (“kirke” is Norwegian for “church”). In other ways, however, he seems to be pushing himself to break with Norwegian; for example, rather than using the word “begin” (the cognate of the Norwegian “begynne”), he opts to use the word “commence.”

There are many entries along the lines of “L 1 day H 1 day A ½ day”. Sever employed several men to work for him in his shops and on other projects, and it appears these notations were his way of recording the time each man worked on that day for purposes of payroll.

What follows is a first draft of a full transcription. Please let me know of any mistakes you find, or if you can interpret words that I have not been able to understand. Red type face indicates words and names I have not yet been able to decipher. Green type face indicates transcribed words or names for which I do not have full confidence.

Jan 1–3

Date Diary entry edited
January 1, 1864
intencely Cold
38 Dge below Ziro
home all day
Intensely cold
38° below zero.
At home all day.
January 2, 1864
still Cold
worked in the
Still cold today.
Worked in the shop.
January 3, 1864
home all day At home all day.

Jan 4–9

Date Diary entry edited
January 4, 1864
Election in B. Earth
to rais Money for
to get Volunture
+ got them at
An election was held in
Black Earth to raise
money to pay volunteer
soldiers, which we hired
that night.
January 5, 1864
went to Madison on
noon train with the
Quota of Volunteers of
Went to Madison on the
noon train with Black
Earth’s quota of
volunteer soldiers.
January 6, 1864
Com home from
Madison to day
I came home from
Madison today.
January 7, 1864
Worked in the
Shop on Cutter
+ Slaight
Worked in the shop
on a cutter and a sleigh.
January 8, 1864
Worked all
day in the Shop
Worked all day in the shop.
January 9, 1864
in the Shop
Worked in the shop.

Jan 10–15

Date Diary entry edited
January 10, 1864
home all day At home all day.
January 11, 1864
Kari Oarler
knows a Girl
to Sew Pants Vest
+ Coat
Karl Oarler knows a girl
I can hire to sew pants, a
vest and a coat.
January 12, 1864
sold Coal + Iron
for over 20 dollar
I sold coal and iron for
over $20.00
January 13, 1864
sold Sleigh Shoes
to Andew Thomson
on Cr.
I sold sleigh shoes to
Andrew Thomson on credit.
January 14, 1864
working on Cutter Worked on the cutter.
January 15, 1864
Election in Vermont
to rais Money +
I at home [finicea]
to Cutter from B.Smith
Shop + broaght to Paintshop
An election was held in
Vermont, WI, to raise
money and volunteer
soldiers. I was at home
and fetched the cutter
from the blacksmith
shop and brought it
to the paintshop.

Jan 16–21

Date Diary entry edited
January 16, 1864
Painted Cutter
wether Mild
Received the first number
[No day Luis dit]
Painted the cutter today. The weather was mild.
Færelandet [newspaper]
received the first issue
[No day Luis dit]
January 17, 1864
I + wife + Mary Amos
was at Meeting in Vermont
+ to Daakken on visit
good Sleigh rid up &
Wether Faire
on hand 95
My wife and I and Mary Amos were at a meeting in Vermont, WI, and then went to Daakken (Gulbrand Olsen Docken) for a visit. We had a good sleigh ride there and back. The weather was fair today.
$95.00 cash on hand.
January 18, 1864
L ¾ day H ½ day A l½ day
Painting on Cutter
Salled much Ihon Guter
+ Nuub Rustebakke.
& Cow Caffed
first heard that Knud
Monson was enlisted
Luis worked ¾ of a
day. Halsten and Andrew each worked a half day. Continued painting the cutter. Sold much iron gutter and William A. Nuub Rustebakke. Our cow calved. Today I learned that Knud Monson had enlisted as a volunteer soldier.
January 19, 1864
Settled with
in full
A.3 hours + paid him 500
rced for work 500
Luis 1 day. H 1 day
Andrw went to Madison
Streping Cutter
to see K. Monson
Money on hand 100,75
I settled my accounts with Isaacson in full. Andrew worked 3 hours and I paid him $5.00 for his work. Luis and Halsten each worked a full day. Andrew went to Madison to see Knud Monson. Stripped a cutter today.
$100.75 cash on hand.
January 20, 1864
Luis 1 Day H 1 day
on hand $95
Whether Cloudy
worked in Shop at Cutter
Letter from John Adams
aboght thad
Luis and Halsten both worked a full day. Halsten worked a full day. It was cloudy today. I worked in the shop on the cutter. I received a letter from John Adams about trade.
$95.00 cash on hand.
January 21, 1864
L 1 day H 1 day A 4½ hour
Cold Wind + Cloudy
Money on hand
Luis and Halsten both worked a full day, and Andrew worked 4 ½ hours. It was cloudy today with a cold wind.
$100.50 cash on hand

Jan 22–27

Date Diary entry edited
January 22, 1864
paid Johnson 75 Dollars
borrowed money Cash Cris mass
paid wood Sawyer $4.05
bought Flour for 250
on hand $21 dollar
L 1 day H½ An ¾
K. Monson at B.E.
I repaid Johnson $75 for money I borrowed for Christmas. I paid the wood sawyer $4.05 and bought flour for $2.50. Luis worked a full day, Halsten worked a half day, and Andrew worked ¾ day. K. Monson was at Black Earth today.
$21.00 cash on hand.
January 23, 1864
sold one Cutter to Batz
+ one to Lord
L 1 day H 1 A 8½ ours
Sold one Cutter to
on hand $22.19
I sold a cutter to Batz
and another to Lord.
Luis and Halsten each
worked a full day,
and Andrew worked
8 ½ hours.
$22.19 cash on hand.
January 24, 1864
riding out with
Kaaeson in a New Cutter
I rode out with Karlson in a new cutter.
January 25, 1864
paid my Tax $28.32
Sent Letter to Buresse + to my Sister
Strong Thaw
on hand $46ºº
sold one Wagon to
Lady not delivered
L 1 day H 1 day A 1 day
I paid my tax of $28.32. I sent a letter to Buresse and another to my sister Anne. Strong thaw today. Sold a wagon to Lady, not yet delivered. LuisHalsten, and Andrew each worked a full day.
$46.00 cash on hand.
January 26, 1864
Great Thaw snow
melting fast
L.1.d. H.1. A.1.
received Letter from Knud
on hand $49.75
A great thawing today, and the snow is melting fast. Luis, Halsten, and Andrew each worked a full day. I received a letter from Knud Brusveen.
$49.75 cash on hand.
January 27, 1864
A 1. H. 1 day
Wather warm
snow melts
on hand $50.ºº
Andrew and Halsten each worked a full day. The weather is warm and the snow continues to melt.
$50.00 cash on hand.

Jan 28–Feb 2

Date Diary entry edited
January 28, 1864
A.1 day H. 1 day
in the Evening Lightning
+ raining
home all day + worked
in the Shop.
on hand $60ºº
Andrew and Halsten each worked a full day. It is raining and there was lightning this evening. I was home all day and worked in the shop.
$60.00 cash on hand.
January 29, 1864
Raining + hailing
all day
L 1 day A 1 day H 1 day
painting Cutter + wagon
on hand $59.35
Raining and hailing all
day. Luis, Andrew and Halsten each worked a full day. I painted a cutter and a wagon bed.
$59.35 cash on hand.
January 30, 1864
Mild + Cloudy Raining +
Snowing all day
L 1 day A 1 day H 1 day
finiched Striping Catter
on hand $56.23
It was mild and cloudy today, raining and snowing all day. Luis, Andrew, and Halsten worked all day. Finished stripping the cutter.
$56.23 cash on hand.
January 31, 1864
To day Ice all over on the top
of the Snow + Skateable all
over the Ground
in the Evning Snowing
+ Drifting hard
hard Snow Storm in
the night
Today the snow was covered with ice and the ground was skateable. This evening it was snowing and drifting hard. We had a snow storm overnight.
February 1, 1864
Monday went to
on hand $125,90
I went to Madison today. Luis worked today.
$125.90 cash on hand.
February 2, 1864
to Black Earth
Knud Brusveen com
to Black Earth
in Madison Tueday
to Forclosher sel of
Land + Lots
+ K Bot it for $650.
on hand $72,37
Knud Brusveen came to Black Earth. In Madison tending to foreclosure sale of land and lots. K. bought one for $650.00. Returned to Black Earth today.
$72.37 cash on hand.

Feb 3-8

Date Diary entry edited
February 3, 1864
today Knud commenced
to work + worked
1 Day L 1 day A 1 day
H. 1 day
all working on Bob Slaigh
+ long Sliegh
on hand 73.44
Knud began working for me today. Knud, Luis, Andrew, and Halsten all worked a full day. We were all working on a bobsleigh and a long sleigh.
$73.44 cash on hand.
February 4, 1864
Snow thawing
working on Sleighs
L 1 day K. 1 day A 1 day
H 1 day
on hand $77.62
The snow was thawing today. Continued working on sleighs. Luis, Knud, Andrew, and Halsten all worked a full day.
$77.62 cash on hand.
February 5, 1864
Windy + Thawing
L 1 day Knud 1 day
H 1 day A ½ day
Recieved Land Money
of Lydia Sherman
on hand $381.06
It was windy today and the snow continues to that. Luis, Knud, and Halsten all worked a full day today, and Andrew worked a half day. Received money for land from Lydia Sherman.
$381.06 cash on hand.
February 6, 1864
Clear + Pleasint not
Cold we have finish
fenicht Goong Wight
Bobb Slaiegs
L.1.K.1. A 1. Halsten
1 day
The weather was clear and pleasant today, and not cold. We have finished George Wright’s bobsleighs. LuisKnudAndrew, and Halsten all worked a full day today.
February 7, 1864
Visited Lars Sylfestson
windy + Snowing
We visited Lars Sylfestson today. It was windy and snowing.
February 8, 1864
Windy + Colder
S 1 day Knud 1 day
H ½ day
It was windy and colder today. Luis, and Knud worked a full day today, and Halsten worked a half day.

Feb 9-14

Date Diary entry edited
February 9, 1864
growing Colder
at hom
L 1 day. K 1. H. ½
on hand 460.50
Weather growing still colder. I was at home today. Luis, and Knud worked a full day today, and Halsten worked a half day.
February 10, 1864
went to Madison
received 40 Dollar of
Knud Monson
sted over night ther
I went to Madison and received $40 from Knud Monson. I stayed overnight there.
February 11, 1864
went to Milwaukee
Wather Mild + windy
I went to Milwaukee today. The weather was mild and windy.
February 12, 1864
left Milwaukee by R.R. at
10 ½ o clock + arived
at Black Earth at
5 o clock
on hand $154.19
I left Milwaukee by railroad at 10:30 and arrived in Black Earth at 5:00.
$154.19 cash on hand.
February 13, 1864
went to Sauck Prarey
Mill for a Load of
Wagon Stoff
I went to Sauck Prairie Mill today for a load of wagon fabric [“stoff” is Norwegian for fabric or cloth].
February 14, 1864
Stayd at home all
Wather fine &
Snow thawing off
I stayed at home all day today. The weather was fine and the snow is thawing.

Feb 15-20

Date Diary entry edited
February 15, 1864
at home all day
received Freight from
Milwaukee 2800 of
Iron + 4 Tons of Coal
Wather turning Coal
I was at home all day. I received freight from Milwaukee: 2,800 [pounds] of iron and 4 tons of coal. The weather is turning cold.
February 16, 1864
at home all day
part in the Shops
+ part in the hous
manding Shoes
veary Coald
Wather turning Cloudy
I was at home all day today, working part of the day in the workshops and part of the day in the house mending shoes. It was very cold today, and the weather is turning cloudy.
February 17, 1864
At home all day
verry Cold 18 degrees
below zerow
sent to Waterhouse
the Monthelu return
of December Last
I was at home all day today. It was very cold—18° below zero. I sent Waterhouse the monthly return from last December.
February 18, 1864
at house all day
Wether Ceeps on pretty
At Halvorson an
in Town to day
I was at home all day. The weather continues to be pretty cold. I was at Halvorson’s place and in town today.
February 19, 1864
at home Painting over
10 tire Wagonyers
Wather growing Mild
At home painting over ten tires [Wagonyers]. Weather growing mild.
February 20, 1864
went in a Cattar to
Dodgeville an then
way to Clobrange
to viset me Sister
Anne stad over
in Dodgeville and
I went in a cutter to Dodgeville on the way to Crow Branch [creek or mine?] to visit my sister Anne. I stayed over in Dodgeville and…

Feb 21-26

Date Diary entry edited
February 21, 1864
went fro Dodgeville
an ther to Clobrangr
+ got theare about
Dark, put up the
horse at Mr. Daleg
+ Stad at my Sisters
house over Night
I went from Dodgeville to Crow Branch [creek or mine?] and got there as it was getting dark. I left the horse with Mr. Daleg and stayed at my sister’s house overnight.
February 22, 1864
stad over to my Sister
at Clobrache
I stayed over with my sister at Crow Branch [creek or mine?].
February 23, 1864
went from Clobranch
through Minneral Point
+ through Dodgeville
+ to Rugels + stoped
ther over Night
I went from Crow Branch [creek or mine?] through Mineral Point and through Dodgeville and then on to Ruggels [stage stop], where I stopped overnight.
February 24, 1864
went from Rugels after
Bracfast + got to
Black Earth at 12 o clock
Knud arived at
at 4 o clock
I left Ruggels after breakfast and got to Black Earth at 12:00. Knud arrived at 4:00.
February 25, 1864
home all day +
Knud commencen
to work again
Wather fine +
Snow melding off
I was at home all day and Knud started to work again. The weather is fine and the snow is melting.
February 26, 1864
Sat Platows Wagon
Teirs to day
all Wouse
I set Plato’s wagon tires today.
all wouse.

Feb 27-Mar 3

Date Diary entry edited
February 27, 1864
home all dai
wather mild Sneow
malding away fast
rec Letter from
Knud Thompson
I was at home all day today. The weather was mild and the snow is melting away fast. I received a letter from Knud Thompson.
February 28, 1864
home all day Watter
windy + Cold
taken Likeness I +
Knudt Brosveen
I was at home all day today. The weather was windy and cold. Knudt Brosveen and I had our photograph taken.
February 29, 1864
hom all day
after noon making
Drag teeth in
night going to
Mazomanie for
doctor Tools
I was at home all day today. In the afternoon I made drag teeth, and at night I went to Mazomonie to get doctor’s tools.
March 1, 1864
Finiched up 275@
of Drag teeths delivered
to Erecson 51 @
+ Isaacson 75 @
received Letter from
Arne Fjeld
Finished up 275 drag teeth. Delivered 51 to Erikson and 75 to Isaacson. Received letter from Arne Fjeld.
March 2, 1864
Priming Woodworks
of Wagons + whaffeltrees
an working in the
Priming the wooden works of wagons and whiffletrees and working in the shops.
March 3, 1864
home in the Shop
finiching Finlayson
Boggy for B. Shop
making Staps on
Platows Wagon
Bott groseries of Lord
for $2.20
At home, working in the shop, finishing Finlayson’s buggy for B. shop. Making steps on D. Plato’s wagon. Bought groceries from Lord for $2.20.

Mar 4-9

Date Diary entry edited
March 4, 1864
at hom all day
working in the
Letter from
Ole Halvorson
At home all day, working in the shop. I received a letter from Ole Halvorsen.
March 5, 1864
at home working
in the Shops
repr Catter for
D D Carpenter
At home working in the shops today, repairing a cutter for D. D. Carpenter.
March 6, 1864
to Day Painting
Wagon fo Plato
+ Boggy for Finlason
+ making a Plow
I painted a wagon today for D. Plato and a buggy for Finlayson. I also made plow beams.
March 7, 1864
at home
Weather Plaesent
+ Dry
At home today. The weather was pleasant and dry.
March 8, 1864
at home
repr Waggons
+ Boggy
Weather Pleasent
At home today, repairing wagons and buggy. The weather was pleasant and dry.
March 9, 1864
Painting + Satting
Boxes an
in Black
to rais
800. Dollar
to fill here
Quota by
of March Draft
Painting and setting wagon boxes and wheels. An election was held in Black Earth today to raise $800 to fill Black Earth’s quota of volunteer soldiers for the March draft.

Mar 10-15

Date Diary entry edited
March 10, 1864
at home
working in the
at home in the
Shop working all
Letter from
Ole Halvoreson
At home, working in the shop all day. I received a letter from Ole Halvorsen.
March 11, 1864
in Shop
at home
worked in the Shop repr
Cutter for
I was at home today, working in the shop, repairing a cutter for D. D. Carpenter.
March 12, 1864
to day Painting
Wagon for Plato
Making 2 Plow beams
Knud went home today. I was painting the wagon for D. Plato.
I made two plow beams.
March 13, 1864
at home all
Wather Pleasent
+ Dry
I was at home all day today. The weather was pleasant and dry.
March 14, 1864
after Noon
walding Tiers
at the Shop Busy
at Painting + repr
Wagons + Boggys
Wather Pleasent
+ Dry
I welded tires in the afternoon, and was busy at the shop painting and repairing wagons and buggies. The weather was pleasant and dry today.
March 15, 1864
walding + Satting
+ salling Boxes
Welding and setting tires today, and selling wagon boxes.

Mar 16-21

Date Diary entry edited
March 16, 1864
satting Boxes + got
12 Wheels to Paint Shop
+ making Box of
Carpenters Wagon to
go to Idahoe with
Setting wagon boxes today. I got 12 wheels to the paint shop and was making the box for D. D. Carpenter’s wagon that he’s taking to Idaho.
March 17, 1864
Mrs Walker Burial
to day Funerrel Sermon
of Mr. Tod at
Congragation Church
at the Shop making Box for
Carpenter + Painting Wagon
weather windy
Mrs. Walker’s burial was today. Heard the sermon at the funeral of Mr. Tod in the Congregation Church. Worked in the shop making the box for D. D. Carpenter’s wagon, and painting [another] wagon. It was windy today.
March 18, 1864
very Coald wind
Ironing Wagon Boxes
+ Painting Wheels
Very cold wind today. Worked on putting the iron on the wagon boxes and painting wheels.
March 19, 1864
working a Drag at
Black Smith Shop
painding at the
Wagon Shop
very Cold + windy
I worked on a drag at the blacksmith shop and was also painting in the wagon shop. It was very cold and windy today.
March 20, 1864
To Meeting up Vermont
Church + Coald
+ windy in the
Evning at Tamrance
Lacture with
Methodist Church
We went to a meeting up in the Vermont, WI, church today. It was cold and windy in the evening. At the temperance
lecture in the Methodist Church.
March 21, 1864
weather very Cold
3 digrees below Ziro
Knud Commenced to work
to day (2d time) Painting Wagons
+ selling one Wheel
for 4.25
It was very cold today—3° below zero. Knud began working today (for second time) on painting the wagons and selling one wheel for $4.25.

Mar 22-27

Date Diary entry edited
March 22, 1864
received Letter from
Sister Anne

weather growing Milder
at the Shop Painting
The weather is growing milder. Worked in the shop painting wagons.
March 23, 1864
received Letter from
Sister Anne
Weather Clear + growing
still Milder
at the Shop Painting
I received a letter from my sister Anne today. The weather is clear and is growing still milder. Worked at the shop painting wagons.
March 24, 1864
to day bought Isaacsons
Candy Store on Stock
weather Mild &
I bought Isaacson’s candy store on stock today. The weather is mild and clear.
March 25, 1864
to day the 1st day of
Candy trade + sold
for $9.14 cent
Auction at Carp
+ Logen + Pack
Today was my first day in the candy trade, and I sold $9.14 worth of goods. There was an auction at Carpenter, Logan, and Peck today.
March 26, 1864
Streping Wagons
weather Mild + godd
Halson ¾ day
Stripping wagons today. Halssen worked ¾ day. The weather is mild and good.
March 27, 1864
at home all day
went to Hetter with one
haffer to Bull.
Cow toak Bull
I was at home all day today. I went to Mr. Hetter with a heifer to breed with his bull. The cow took the bull.

Mar 28-Apr 2

Date Diary entry edited
March 28, 1864
went to Mazomanea
to see Mr. Houworth
about the old Store
after noon Streping
Wagon Boxes
I went to Mazomonie to see Mr. [Henry?] Howarth about the old store. In the afternoon I was stripping wagon boxes.
March 29, 1864
Setling up the Town
account +
finiched Strping
4 Wagons
Weather wet + rainy
+ muddy
I settled up the town account and finished stripping four wagons. The weather is wet, rainy and muddy.
March 30, 1864
putting Shafts in
3 Idaho Wagon Boxes
Weather Cloudy
Putting shafts in three Idaho wagon boxes. The weather was cloudy today.
March 31, 1864
Working on Drags +
drag Irons satting
Drag teeth
Weather Still Cloudy
Working on drags and drag irons and setting drag teeth. The weather is still cloudy.
April 1, 1864
Election to day
to rais Money for ald
Soldiers to get them
Creditted to our
Town Cloudy
There was a special election today to raise money for old soldiers to get them credited to our town. It was cloudy today.
April 2, 1864
Feniching to day
2 Drags
nomenation for
Town officers
Weather Cloudy + rain
Finishing two drags today. Nominations today for the town officers. The weather is cloudy with rain.

Apr 3-8

Date Diary entry edited
April 3, 1864
To Meeting up to
Vermont John
Fjelds Church
weather Cloudy
Went up to Vermont, WI, to a meeting in Rev. John Fjeld’s church. It was cloudy today.
April 4, 1864
Weather very wet
Coald + Rainy all day
1 Proster [præster] no us com to
John Fjeld home all
day + working in
Powers Shop
Weather was very wet, cold, and rainy all day. A minister came to Rev. John Fjeld’s home and was there all day. I was working in Power’s shop.
April 5, 1864
Town Election to
day Mr Haselton
Charman Wabb &
K Erickson Supervisor
The town election was held today. Mr. Haseltine was chosen as chairman [mayor?], and Mr. Webb and K. Erickson as supervisors.
April 6, 1864
Warniching 3 Wagons
worked Aloned in
the Shop
Prist Coniference with
Varnishing 3 wagons today. I worked alone in the shop. A priest conference [was held] with Rev. John Fjeld.
April 7, 1864
working in the
Shop after noon
Halsen worked
receaved Briagh for Candy
Cloudy + wete
Worked in the shop in the afternoon. Halsten worked today. Received Briagh for candy shop. It was cloudy and wet today.
April 8, 1864
Cloudy + raney
+ windy
worked in the
Shop + traded
at the Candy Shop
It was cloudy, raining and windy today. I worked in the shop and traded at the candy shop.

Apr 9-14

Date Diary entry edited
April 9, 1864
sold one Wagon
to John. W. Fancher
for 87 Dollar 20 D Cash
+ a 65 note on few
Months at 7 per cent
weather Cloudy + rainy
I sold one wagon to John W. Fancher for $87: $20 cash and a $65 note for a few months at 7% interest. It was cloudy and rainy today.
April 10, 1864
at home
all day
weather Cleared
I was at home all day today. The weather cleared off.
April 11, 1864
Putting on Bowes
on Idaho Wagons for
Thom Logen + Carpenter
Weather veeriable
Cloudy + Showry +
Putting the bows on the Idaho wagons for Thom Logan, and D. D. Carpenter. The weather was variable today—cloudy, showering, and sunshine.
April 12, 1864
to day finiched
Topping of 5 Wagons
+ I put one Axlander
on Packs Wagon
traded Wagons
with Carpenter
Today I finished topping off five wagons, and I put one axle under on Peck’s wagon. Traded wagons with D. D. Carpenter.
April 13, 1864
at home all day
Wheels for Plato
weather yet onsetled
At home all day today. Began wheels for D. Plato. The weather is still unsettled.
April 14, 1864
Snowing heavy
to day
at home in
the Shop to work
It was snowing heavily today. I was at home in the shop to work.

Apr 15-20

Date Diary entry edited
April 15, 1864
Salling Tiers
+ making
Wheels for Plato
Selling tires and making wheels for D. Plato.
April 16, 1864
working +
Wheels + Painting
Wagon for Thom
Working on wheels and painting wagon for Thom Logan.
April 17, 1864
at home
all day
At home all day today.
April 18, 1864
went op to Mrs
McDonnel + bought
a Cow for $22.ºº Dollars
+ paid $5.ºº Dollars on
I went up to Mrs. McDonnell and bought a cow for $22. I paid $5 towards the cow.
April 19, 1864
fixed Boggy Springs
for D Plato
Fixed buggy springs for D. Plato.
April 20, 1864
also working at
a Bogg Spring for
Still working on a buggy spring for D. Plato.

Apr 21-26

Date Diary entry edited
April 21, 1864
Ironing off Wagon
Boxes + I
Bought a House
of Houworth +
Mrs Soet
Ironing off wagon boxes. I bought a house from [Henry?] Howarth +
Mrs. Loedt
April 22, 1864
the Soldiers of the
11 Wis Regt went to
the Seat of War again
after 30 days fourlogh
sold + contracted off
2 Wagon
The soldiers of the 11th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment went back to the frontlines of the war again after 30 days of furlough. I sold and contracted off 2 wagons.
April 23, 1864
to day Streping
I was stripping wagons today.
April 24, 1864
home all day
D. Plato hath a
big fite with Thom
At home all day. D. Plato had a big fight with Thom Haney today.
April 25, 1864
Striping Wagon
Stripping wagon boxes today.
April 26, 1864
satting Skins on
Platos Wagon &
Makings Wagon box
Setting skeins on D. Plato’s wagon, and making the bottoms of wagon boxes.

Apr 27-May 2

Date Diary entry edited
April 27, 1864
at home working
in the Shop
Cold wind
Nels pae Drag start
stad over honite
At home working in the shop. There was a cold wind today. Nels paid for the drag start. Stayed over [in the shop?] tonight.
April 28, 1864
at home
all day
At home all day today.
April 29, 1864
putting runers
under a House
Putting runners under a house.
April 30, 1864
went to Madison
to borrow a Kable
Chane to move a
House with
+ Bot a bill of Paint
Went to Madison to borrow a cable chain for moving a house. Also bought a bill of paint.
May 1, 1864
to Meating at
the Sckool hous in
Went to a meeting at the schoolhouse in Vermont, WI.
May 2, 1864
Closing up my
Candy Shop
+ Boxed up
the goods
Closing up my candy shop and boxed up the goods.

May 3-8

Date Diary entry edited
May 3, 1864
gathered 20 yoke
of Cattle to move
Houses moved
one 2 rods + got stuck
half way with the other
I gathered 20 yoke of cattle to move houses. I moved one house two rods [33 feet] and I got stuck halfway with the other house.
May 4, 1864
working in Shop
+ went out in the
grove + Brought out
20 Plumtrees to
plant in garden
Working in the shop today. I went out in the grove and brought out 20 plum trees to plant in our garden.
May 5, 1864
attended Meeting
at Vermont Church
+ went to R. Bell
for Spruce + pine
I attended a meeting at the church in Vermont, WI. I also went to Robert Bell to get spruce and pine trees.
May 6, 1864
got the Seller Dugged
priming Wheels
+ recd my Frieght
from Milwaukee
Got the cellar excavated today. Priming wheels and received my freight from Milwaukee.
May 7, 1864
heavy rain last
knight + raining
all day
Heavy rain last night and raining all day today.
May 8, 1864
at home all day
weather Cleared up
after noon to day
At home all day. The weather cleared up in the afternoon today.

May 9-14

Date Diary entry edited
May 9, 1864
Moving Luises
House to day with
20 yoke of Cattle +
25 or 30 mane
Moving Luis’ house today with 20 yoke of cattle and 25 or 30 men.
May 10, 1864
Bilding Pig penn
+ commenc fensing
the lots
Building Store
Building a pigpen and began fencing the lots today. Began building the store cellar.
May 11, 1864
heavy frost last night
finsing all day
arond Lot 5 & 8
There was a heavy frost last night. I was fencing all day around Lots 5 and 8.
May 12, 1864
Taring down the old Stable
to day Moving
Stables + fencing
a Cow yard
Tearing down the old stable today and moving stables. Also fencing in a cow pasture.
May 13, 1864
Working on the
Lots + round the
Working on the lots today and around the house.
May 14, 1864
Brought home a
Cow from bought from
Messr McDonnell
+ paid for here
I brought a cow home from Mr. McDonnell. I paid $22.50 for her.

May 15-20

Date Diary entry edited
May 15, 1864
in Rev John
Fjelds Church
Confirmation today in Rev. John Fjeld’s church.
May 16, 1864
Working in the
Meting in Vermonts
+ gathered the Promiss
of Oxen of 20 yoke
In a meeting in the Vermont, WI, church. I gathered the promise of 20 yoke of oxen.
May 17, 1864
to day the 20 yoke of
Oxen com + with
them hauled my
Store down Town
Today the 20 yoke of oxen came, and with them I hauled my store downtown.
May 18, 1864
heard that Arneson
Wilson was dead
+ died at O.W. Williams
Hotel at Chicago Iill
Kinzie Street 59.& 61
Baking the Lot
I heard today that Arneson Wilson had died at O.W. Williams’ hotel in Chicago (59–61 Kinzie Street). Baking the lot.
May 19, 1864
tiered out of hard work + not
doing much
I’m tired due to hard work, and I’m not doing much today.
May 20, 1864
One to Planting
garden with Corn
+ Potatoes
I worked in the
Planted the garden with corn and potatoes. I worked in the shop.

May 21-26

Date Diary entry edited
May 21, 1864
Commencing roling
the Store on to
weather hot
Began rolling the store onto the cellar. It was hot today.
May 22, 1864
at home + over
to Andrew Lee
for dinner
At home today, and then over to Andrew Lee’s house for dinner.
May 23, 1864
Moving the Store
on to the Saller
Moving the store
onto the cellar
May 24, 1864
working in +
around the Shop
weather growing
Working in and around the shop today. The weather is growing colder.
May 25, 1864
Levling up the Store
+ after that worked
in the Shop
dry wet
I leveled up the store and after that I worked in the shop.
May 26, 1864
Making Wheels +
Salling Tiers
Making wheels and
selling tires

May 27-Jun 1

Date Diary entry edited
May 27, 1864
Making Wheels
+ Salling Tiers
Making wheels
and selling tires
May 28, 1864
Satting 18 Tiers
+ reparing Wheels
Setting 18 tires
and repairing wheels
May 29, 1864
at home in the
Evning going to Madison
Wheather hot
At home today. In the evening I’m going to Madison. It’s hot today.
May 30, 1864
in the Morning come
in my Cake from
Madison got to
fellows to dig a well
at the Shop + to Carpenter
A Lee + J Padrson to move
a house from Lot 5 on to Lot 4
to join my old House
In the morning my coke came from Madison. I got two fellows to dig a well at the shop. I got Mr. Carpenter, A. Lee, and J. Peterson to move a house from Lot 5 onto Lot 4 to join my old house.
May 31, 1864
Levling up the House
moved yesterday +
commencing moving
up the addission to
the Store
Leveling up the house that I moved yesterday, and began moving the addition to the store.
June 1, 1864
to day got the addss
sion up + conniched
it to the Store +
satting Tiers
today got the addition
up and connected it
to the store and
setting tires

Jun 2-7

Date Diary entry edited
June 2, 1864
recieved the Front
shash door for the Store
+ Presnece them over
+ after noon sat 12
Tiers. Letter to Knud
Brasven $183.65
Received the front sash door for the store today and presnece them over. In the afternoon I set 12 tires. Wrote a letter to Knud Brasven.
$183.65 cash on hand.
June 3, 1864
Salling Boxes +
Salling Tiers satten 4 sats of
Tiers after noon
putting the Frunt
on the Store
Selling boxes and selling tires. Set four sets of tires. This afternoon I’m putting the front on the store.
June 4, 1864
Painting the Front of
the Store salling 4 Boggy
Ole Engenorg Marit
Engen visited us
com to our Hous
Painting the front of the store and selling four buggy tires. Ole Engenorg and Marit Engen came to our house.
June 5, 1864
Ole + Marit Engen
went hom to day
was over to A Lees
Hous for Dinner
Ole and Marit Engen went home today. We went over to Andrew Lee’s house for dinner.
June 6, 1864
Cold wind in the Morning
working in the
satting 7 Tiers
weather Cold & Dry
There was a cold wind in the morning. Working in the shop today, setting seven tires. The weather is cold and dry.
June 7, 1864
weather sill dry + Cold
nights to day all the
Norwegain Ministers
Come to Black Earth
to Meet at Brodal for
the purpos of forming a
The weather is still dry and cold. Today all the Norwegian ministers are coming to Black Earth to meet at Brodal for the purpose of forming a senate.

Jun 8-13

Date Diary entry edited
June 8, 1864
reaming 2 wheels
weather hot +
Reaming two wheels today. The weather is hot and sultry.
June 9, 1864
weather dry + Farmers
ar afraid of Crop Drying
satting 7 Tiers + repr
The weather is dry and the farmers are afraid of their crops drying up. Setting seven tires and repairing wheels.
June 10, 1864
reamming 2 wheels
one Spok + satting 5 Tiers
weather still dry
but Colder
Reaming two wheels and one spoke, and setting five tires. The weather is still dry but is getting colder.
June 11, 1864
reaming Buggy wheels
+ satting 7 Tiers
weather Still Dry +
satting on one new Skine
on a Wagon
Reaming buggy wheels and setting seven tires. The weather is still dry and hot. Setting on one new skein on a wagon.
June 12, 1864
Tainded Meeting at Vermont
Church Communion
tow Ducth Childran
war Baptised in
our Church to day –
Attended a meeting in Vermont, WI. At our church communion, two Dutch children were baptized in our church today.
June 13, 1864
satting 4 Tiers +
commencing Painting
on a new Wagon
fixing a Sawmill
Carvig hook
putting lights in the
Setting four tires and beginning the painting of a new wagon. Fixing a sawmill. Carving a hook. Putting lights in the store.

Jun 14-19

Date Diary entry edited
June 14, 1864
taken to Paint Shop
Platos Wagon mixed
Paint + painting part
of one Wagon
weather Still Dry &
growing warmer
Took D. Plato’s wagon to the paint shop. I mixed paint and painted part of one wagon. The weather is still dry and is growing warmer.
June 15, 1864
Painting Wagon over
befor Brakfast making
in 6 fiths + satting
10 Tiers
90 degr warm + Dry no
I finished painting the wagon before breakfast, [making in 6 fifths] and setting 10 tires. 90° today; warm and dry and no rain.
June 16, 1864
Striping a Wagon
Black Smith worked
an rep + new
Stripping a wagon.
Blacksmith worked on
repairs and new work.
June 17, 1864
Letter to A Henry
+ C 60 Dollars
walding Spring + Axel
for Plato
Varniching Wagon
90 Degrees warm + no rain
no rain
I wrote a letter to A. Henry, and C paid me $60. Welded a spring and axle for Plato. Varnished the wagon. It was warm today—90°—with no rain.
June 18, 1864
salling our one hors
Wagon for 70 Dollars
satting 12 Tiers after
noon + wheel repr
96 degrees hot in shade
Selling our one-horse wagon for $70. Setting 12 tires in the afternoon and repairing a wheel. 96° today in the shade.
June 19, 1864
Terrible wind + Dust
flying like Clouds
but a few drops
of rain
at home all day
hot Weather
Terrible wind and the dust is flying like clouds, but only a few drops of rain. At home all day. The weather is still hot.

Jun 20-25

Date Diary entry edited
June 20, 1864
to day little Clouds
a flying but no rain
satting 4 Tiers +
painted Wagon over
Commenced painting
Fence. 97 degrees
in shade
Today little clouds were flying but no rain. Setting four tires and painted wagon over. Began painting fence. 97° in shade.
June 21, 1864
Striping Wagon hauling
8 tons of Coal from
the Cars, weather still
hot + dry not much
show for rain
in shade 94 degrees
Stripping wagon today, and hauling eight tons of coal from the railroad cars. The weather is still hot and dry; not much hope for rain. 94° in the shade.
June 22, 1864
reparing Wheels + salling
4 Tiers weather dry
+ hot 100 degrees in
paint shop in Shade
Repairing wheels and selling four tires. The weather is dry and hot today—100° in the paint shop in the shade.
June 23, 1864
warnishing Wagon for
Handbrege Painting
Wagon for D. Plato
satting 4 Skines
Varnishing wagon for Handbrege, painting a wagon for D. Plato, setting four skeins.
June 24, 1864
satting 4 Skines filled
one Wheel + satting 16 Tiers
weather hot + still
dry no sign for rain
Setting four skeins, filled one wheel, and setting 16 tires. The weather is hot and still dry and there’s no sign of rain.
June 25, 1864
Painting Platows
Wagon over on Coat
Taken Potraits of our
4 girls in one Case
Painting Plato’s wagon over one coat. Took portraits of our four girls and had them mounted in one case.

Jun 26-Jul 1

Date Diary entry edited
June 26, 1864
at home all day
weather warm +
Windy in the Evining
Clouds raises in the
North East + rain is
antisipated + aire Smoky
as te was fire some way
North East
At home all day. The weather was warm and windy in the evening. Clouds were forming in the northeast. Rain is anticipated and the air is smoky as there was a fire somewhere to the northeast.
June 27, 1864
filling 2 Wheels for
Ole Böle + satting 3 Tiers
making on rick to
for Amann flaten
+ fixing up Black Smith
fire place
Filling two wheels for Ole Böle and setting three tires.
June 28, 1864
making Sandbord Righ
+ today it commenced
fixing B. Smith
Fire place
fineshed finiced
Striping Platows Wagon
weather Cloudy + some rain
Making a sandboard [righ]. Today it began raining a little. Fixing the blacksmith’s fireplace. Finished stripping D. Plato’s wagon. The weather was cloudy with some rain.
June 29, 1864
getting a Sore hand
rained little but dryd off
working on differnt things
in the Shop
Thermometer 97 degrees
Getting a sore hand. It rained a little but dried off again. Working on different things int he shop. The thermometer reads 97° in the shade.
June 30, 1864
rained little last Night
+ again this Morning
Cleared of +
Warniching Currige Wagon
hot + Suttry
hiere man
after noon
It rained a little last night and again this morning and then cleared off. Varnishing a carriage wagon. Hot and sultry today. The hired man began to work in the afternoon.
July 1, 1864
rained good last night
+ keeps on throug till
put new rain on
old B/ Wheels + repairing
other wheels
It rained good last night, and it kept raining until noon. I put new iron on old buggy wheels and repaired other wheels.

Jul 2-7

Date Diary entry edited
July 2, 1864
went to Sauck Prairy
Mill to get Wagon
Axes for Chasley + my
weather Clear
+ Cool
my Black Smith + Casper sat
17 Tiers
I went to Sauck Prairie Mill to get wagon axles for Charley and myself. The weather is clear and cool. My blacksmith and Casper set 17 tires.
July 3, 1864
Staed over at Sauck Prare
Mill last night went
from there 4 oclock
in the Morning + got
home at noon weather
Clear & Cool nights
Stayed over at Sauck Prairie Mill last night. Left there at 4:00 in the morning and got home at noon. The weather is clear with cool nights.
July 4, 1864
sore hand
No Calebration in Black Earth. went to
Crossplain with A Lee +
A Windre + wifes come
bak 5 oclock
sold one of the Wagon to Plato
Sore hand today. No July 4th celebration in Black Earth. Went to Cross Plains with Andrew Lee and A Windre and their wives, and came back at 5:00. I sold one of the wagons to Plato for $125.
July 5, 1864
got a sore hand cant
do much rained good
to day
I’ve got a sore hand and can’t do much. It rained good today.
July 6, 1864
rained little last
night. hot + sultry this
I Cut my hand open this
Morning + feel better now
I hav put on Draing Plaster
It rained a little last night and was hot and sultry this morning. I cut my hand open this morning and I feel better now. I put on a draining plaster.
July 7, 1864
rained goal last
Entered some act + right
Painting Wagons
Ironing Wagon Boxes &
Clear again this
It rained good last night.  I [entered some act + right]. Painting wagons and putting iron on wagon boxes. It was clear again this evening.

Jul 8-13

Date Diary entry edited
July 8, 1864
weather Clear + pleasent
been Painting Wagons
all day
satting Skines
The weather is clear and pleasant. I’ve been painting wagons all day and setting skeins.
July 9, 1864
I Striped 2 Wagons
Box + all alone
weather warm + Cloudy
+ rainy
I stripped two wagon boxes and all by myself. The weather is warm, cloudy, and rainy.
July 10, 1864
at Meeting in John
Fjelds Kirke Church
S So + wife
At a meeting in Rev. John Fjeld’s church.  [S So] and wife.
July 11, 1864
Varniching over
2 Wagons
hiere man working
on wheels
Maret Orsstallen stoled
one Dollar out of my Book
+ we reetook it again
Varnishing over two wagons. The hired man is working on wheels. Maret Orsstallen stole a dollar out of my book and we took it back.
July 12, 1864
made hinches +
hanged my gate
hier man working
on Wheels +
Black Smith Ironing
I made hinges and hung my gate. The hired man is working on wheels and the blacksmith is ironing wagons.
July 13, 1864
satting op 2 Wagon
weather Dry &
Setting up two wagons. The weather today is dry and hot.

Jul 14-19

Date Diary entry edited
July 14, 1864
repairing the
Hay Baron
weather hot 90 degrees
Repairing the Hay Baron today. The weather is hot: 90°.
July 15, 1864
hier man
satting Skines +
Boxes I doing
not much
sold one Wagon till Peter
for $85.
weather Dry &
94 degrees
Hired man is setting skeins and boxes. I’m not doing much. I sold one wagon to Peter Pantoon for $85. The weather is dry and 94°.
July 16, 1864
Jobbing at defferet things
weather hot and
Jobbing at different things. The weather is hot and oppressive.
July 17, 1864
rained all last night
+ thundering + raining this
Morning stad at home
all day
weather very hot
It rained all last night and was thundering and raining this morning. I stayed at home all day. The weather is very hot.
July 18, 1864
satten Boxes + doing
sunderies of repairing
salling 2 Tier
Nels Odenssen arived
to Black Earth from Norway
+ stops with me
Setting boxes and doing sundry repairs. Selling two tires. Nels Odenssen arrived in Black Earth from Norway, WI, and stops at my house.
July 19, 1864
Making Vadges + salty
weather very hot 88
writing Letter to Knud Monson
Making vadges and salty boxes. The weather is very hot—88°. Writing letter to Knud Monson in Georgia.

Jul 20-25

Date Diary entry edited
July 20, 1864
satting Boxes
+ doing other jobs
weather Cooler
Setting wagon boxes and doing other jobs. The weather is cooler.
July 21, 1864
repairing Brakes
for Sommensed +
+ putting Platform
on the Shop wall
Repaired brakes
for Sommensed and Fetters
today, and mounted the platform on the shop wall.
July 22, 1864
satting 12 new Tiers
+ other repairs
Setting 12 new tires and did other repairs.
July 23, 1864
went to Sauck
City for 100 Axeltrees
+ Brought them in 2 loads
I had Platos Team
+ Mr Chasleys Team
+ I
Went to Sauck City for 100 axle trees. I brought them back in two loads. I had D. Plato’s team, Mr. Chasley’s team, and myself.
July 24, 1864
staed at home all
weather warm
+ heavy looks
like rain
Stayed at home all day. The weather is warm and heavy and it looks like rain.
July 25, 1864
Satting Skines +
wadging in Boxes
weather Dry + 91
degrees hot
Setting skeins and wedging in boxes. The weather is dry and hot—91°.

Jul 26-31

Date Diary entry edited
July 26, 1864
satting Skines +
Thumble Riws
satting in Sckool
½ day
weather 95 degree
Setting skeins and [thumble riws]. Sitting in school for a half day. It was 95° today.
July 27, 1864
fitting up Spoks +
driving Spokes
weather 93 degree
Fitting up spokes and driving spokes. It was 93° today.
July 28, 1864
Making reaming two Wheels
+ making a Reale Axle
for Reaper
weather 96 degrees
Making and reaming two wheels and making a real axle for a reaper. It was 96° today.
July 29, 1864
Reaming 2 Wheels
+ driving Spokes into
one other
weather dry + 98 degrees
Reaming two wheels and driving spokes into one other. It was dry and hot today—98°.
July 30, 1864
Driving Spokes + reaming
one Wheel
weather dry + 98 degrees
Driving spokes and reaming a wheel. The weather is dry and 98°.
July 31, 1864
home all day
weather warm with
thunder Showers
At home all day today. The weather was warm with thundershowers.

Aug 1-6

Date Diary entry edited
August 1, 1864
Reamed 3 wheels
weather Cloudy +
not quit as warm as
Reamed three wheels. The weather is cloudy and not quite as warm as before.
August 2, 1864
Primed over 8
weather Cool 85
I primed over eight wheels. The weather is 85°.
August 3, 1864
driving Spokes
fixing Reaper fro Thom
Park reenid good all
a havy Shower
Driving spokes and fixing reaper for Thomas K. Park. Rained good; a heavy shower.
August 4, 1864
Apointed by A Lincoln
Prasidant of U.S. of A
this day to fasting +
Prayers + humiliation
of the Nation
I went to John Fjelds
Appointed by Abraham Lincoln, President of the USA, this day to fasting and prayers and humiliation of the Nation. I went to Rev. John Fjeld’s church.
August 5, 1864
Cut in Boxes in
6 wheels + driving
Spokes in 2 wheels
Cut in wagon boxes and six wheels and driving spokes in two wheels.
August 6, 1864
making Wagon Box
+ Seat
Making wagon box and seat.

Aug 7-12

Date Diary entry edited
August 7, 1864
at Meeting in
John Fjelds Church
At meeting in Vermont, WI, in Rev. John Fjeld’s church.
August 8, 1864
went to Mazomani
afor one Tier su
satting walding Tiers after
noon + walded 8 Tiers
Went to Mazomonie for one tire. Began welding tires in the afternoon and welded eight tires.
August 9, 1864
Ironing Wagon Box
+ fitted skins
weather hot 96 degree
Ironed a wagon box and fitted skeins. It was hot today—96°.
August 10, 1864
Painted a Wagon over
one Coat
weather hot 96 degrees
went to Jensville at
Painted a coat over a wagon. It was hot today—96°. Went to Jensville at night.
August 11, 1864
stad a Jensville last
Started for Madison
at 2 + arived at 4
vent op to Madison
Stayed at Jensville last night. Started for Madison at 2:00 and arrived at 4:00. Went up to Madison.
August 12, 1864
stad over ther Last
night + got home
Moring Train 6 oclock
Painted Wagon Box
+ made Wagon tongai
Stayed over in Madison last night and came home on the morning train at 6:00. Painted wagon box and made a wagon tongue.

Aug 13-18

Date Diary entry edited
August 13, 1864
Streping Wagon
mad up My Mind
to go sout
Stripping wagon today. Made up my mind to go South to the War.
August 14, 1864
at home all
At home all day today.
August 15, 1864
taking Inventory
of Stock + setling
up acounts
Taking inventory of stock and settling up accounts.
August 16, 1864
at Noon
started for
Chikago &
St. . Luis
At noon I started for Chicago and St. Louis.
August 17, 1864
Arived at St. Louis
at 10 oclock +
swore in for 6 months
servis in the Quarter
master department
at said place
I arrived in St. Louis at 10:00 and swore in for six months’ service in the Quartermaster department at said place.
August 18, 1864
Slept on bord on dak
the Victorys last night
started from St. Louis
for Nashvill at 5.30
a.m. sliding along down
the River fine
Slept on deck aboard the “Victorys” last night. Started from St. Louis to Nashville at 5:30 a.m., sliding smoothly down the Mississippi river.

Aug 19-24

Date Diary entry edited
August 19, 1864
laid over last night
started again this Morning
+ slid lizzely along the
River at 3 P.m. got stuck
on Sandbar did not get
of to night the weather
thick + havy with little rain
Laid over last night, and started again this morning, and slid lazily along the river. At 3:00 p.m. we got stuck on a sandbar. We did not get off the sandbar tonight. The weather is thick and heavy with little rain.
August 20, 1864
we lyes on the same
Sandbar this Morning the
krew worked all last night
+ this for noon. not off yet
at 2 P.M. we got off the bar
Sandbar 20 minuts after 6 oclock
with Cries of hurra
We’re stuck on the same sandbar this morning. The crew worked all last night and this forenoon. As of 2:00 p.m., we’re not off yet. We got of the sandbar at 6:20 p.m. with cries of “hurrah!”
August 21, 1864
laid over last night + wooded this
morning arived at Cairo 8 oclock
a.m. Cairo is a smart Mirdy
Place as we started about 9 oClock
a.m. we saw broken guns +
Iron Plates + a floting Battery on
the Ohio River at said place
as we passed Mound City there was gun Bots
No 51 sto 51 & 59 + many more Steamboats
Laid over last night and [wooded.] This morning arrived at Cairo, IL, at 8:00 a.m. Cairo is a smart, muddy place. As we started about 9:00 a.m., we saw brocken guns and iron plates and a floating battery on the Ohio River at said place. As we passed Mound City, there were gunboats Nos. 51 and 59 and many more steamboats.
August 22, 1864
got into Tennesee River last Night at
11 p.M. Ankered over + started
again this Morning at 5½ a.m.
slid slowly up the River
passed manny Gunboats
+ passed Fort Hanry at
8 oclock last night
+ Ankered over abov Fort
Got onto the Tennessee River last night at 11:00 p.m. We anchored overnight and started again this morning at 5:30 a.m. We slid slowly up the River, passing many gunboats and we passed Fort Henry at 8:00 last night and anchored over above Fort Henry.
August 23, 1864
started again this Morning
+ passed the ruins of the
Memphis + Louisville R.R.
Brige at 5½ p.m. 10 miles
from destination on Tenn. River
passing 4 Boats The Mucury
Duke. Charly Miller + Gipsey. arived
at 10 oclock
at Johnsonville. that is a stinky windy Place
Started again this morning and passed the ruins of the Memphis & Louisville Railroad bridge at 5:30 p.m. Ten miles from our destination on the Tennessee River we passed four boats: the Mercury, the Duke, the Charley Miller, and the Gypsy. We arrived at Johnsonville; it’s a stinky, windy place.
August 24, 1864
Johnsonville is 3 Months old +
over 3000 Work man of different
work all Goverment Busines
started from Johnsonville at 3½ p.m.
+ arived at Nashville at 11 p.m.
lying on the Depot Flor at
Johnsonville is three months old and there are over 3000 workmen of different trades all working on government business. We started from Johnsonville at 3:30 p.m. and arrived in Nashville, TN, at 11:00 p.m. I’m now lying on the depot floor in Nashville.

Aug 25-30

Date Diary entry edited
August 25, 1864
at Nashville last night
got our Dinner at head quarter
Mass room + sent to the
Frankline Shops there we
was called + put on record
had our Supper + was sent
to quarters near to the magasine
Arrived in Nashville last night. We got our dinner at headquarters mess room and we were sent to the Franklin Shops area. There we were called and put on record. We had our supper and were sent to quarters near the magazine.
August 26, 1864
head our Brakfast + was
called + we went [lafing]
op Town
doing nothing all day
after noon sta writing
Letter home
We had our breakfast and were called. We went [lafing] up town. Doing nothing all day. In the afternoon, I wrote a letter home.
August 27, 1864
went to work at Franklin
Shops at Bonding Tiers
after noon
went to the River
Called Cumberland to bath
in Co. with Lars Sylaester
& Knud Knudson Sorflaten
at 5 oclock Mustered in front
of the Shops
This forenoon I went to work at the Franklin Shops bonding tires. In the afternoon I went to the Cumberland River to bathe in the company of Lars Sylaester and Knud Knudson Sorflaten. At 5:00 p.m. we mustered in front of the shops.
August 28, 1864
went op to Post Office + down
again to get our dinner
went up to the Fort after
noon + Staing around
the Shops
We went up to the Post Office and down again to get our dinner. We went up to the Fort in the afternoon and stayed around the shops.
August 29, 1864
got to work at Fire No
8 to day worked heard
all day
We got to work at Fire No. 8 today. I worked hard all day.
August 30, 1864
Commenced fixing
op a new Forge or Fire
place in the new Shop
worked at that
all day till 4½ oclock
p.M. then drilled till 600
I began fixing up a new forge or fireplace in the new shop. I worked at that all day until 4:30 p.m. and then we drilled until 6:00 p.m.

Aug 31-Sep 5

Date Diary entry edited
August 31, 1864
again working on
the Forge got 10 anvil
+ Bellow. Cavelrere +
Infantery going out of
Town to meat the Rebels
after 4 oclock we Drilled we
we feared an atackt by Rable Gen
We’re again working on the forge. We’ve got ten anvils and a bellows made. The calvary and infantry are going out of town to meet the rebels. After 4:00 p.m. we drilled. We feared an attack by the rebel General Wheeler.
September 1, 1864
hangd the bellowses
got ready to work
made three pair of
Tongs two ponches +
one hardy.
drilled again from 4
till 7
We hung the bellows and got ready to work. I made three pairs of tongs, two punches and one hardy. We drilled again from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m.
September 2, 1864
Commencing to make
Chainhook today
Drilled again
Began making chain hooks today. Drilled again.
September 3, 1864
Making Chainhooks
+ some more
Making chain hooks and some more tools.
September 4, 1864
writing Letter home
John Peterson come
over to our shops +
went over to Town + home
for Supper
Writing a letter home. John Peterson came over to our shops. We went over to town and then home for supper.
September 5, 1864
making Punches one
Cold chissle one pair of Tongs
+ making some more hooks
Making punches, one cold chisel, one pair of tongs, and making some more hooks.

Sep 6-11

Date Diary entry edited
September 6, 1864
making more
Tools + making
more hooks
Making more tools and making more hooks.
September 7, 1864
this Morning
we was put off
on the night List
+ have to work nights
after this day only from
7 till 10.
This morning we were put on the night list and we have to work nights henceforth, but only from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m.
September 8, 1864
took Sick last night
of Diery + head ache
laying in the Tant +
Stragling rough not able
to do anything
I got sick last night of diarrhea and headache. I am lying in the tent and struggling. It’s rough not being able to do anything.
September 9, 1864
got Letter from hoome to day
sick of the Dierey got
some Medesine of the
Doctor in after noon
got little better +
worked my 3 hours
from 7 till 10
I received a letter from home today. I’m sick of the diarrhea and got some medicine from the doctor in the afternoon. I got a little better and worked my three hours from 7:00 until 10:00 p.m.
September 10, 1864
this Morning feel a little
better getting wors again
was put on the sick List
went up Town + hardly able
to wlak walk back
Diery Stopped + took 3 pills to
get passage again
This morning I feel a little better, but I’m getting worse again. I was put on the sick list. I went up toen and was hardly able to walk back. Diarrhea stopped and I took three pills to get passage again.
September 11, 1864
Diery this Morning
had a good bath at the
new bath house got some
soup for Dinner got wors
of that + Diery again
Diarrhea this morning. I had a good bath at the new bathhouse. I got some soup for dinner, but got worse as a result and now have diarrhea again.

Sep 12-17

Date Diary entry edited
September 12, 1864
this Morning went with
A Anderson to a Doctor
so called the Indian Docta
got Medesin of him for
This morning I went with A. Anderson to a doctor who is called the “Indian Docta.” I got medicine from him for $5.00.
September 13, 1864
feel a little better went
up Town + baught some
Crakers + in the Evning
went to work after 7 till
10 oclock got sick again
I feel a little better. I went up town and bought some crackers and in the evening I went to work after 7:00 until 10:00 and got sick again.
September 14, 1864
this Morning bought
some Milk + made som
Tee + we Drank Tee
Milk + eat Crackers
+ Bread
got Orders to go to Atlanta
This morning I bought some milk and made some tea. We drank tea milk and ate crackers and bread. We got orders to go to Atlanta.
September 15, 1864
Started from Franklin
Shops for Atlanta at 3 ocl
went up to Urwins Office
+ dow again to Chattanooga
Depot Train not ready +
we made Supper + went to
Sleep on the Depo platform
In Nashville. We started from the Franklin Shops area at 3:00 p.m., headed for Atlanta. We went up to Erwin’s office and down again to the Chattanooga depot. The train wasn’t ready so we made supper and went to sleep on the depot platform.
September 16, 1864
2 oclock ths a.m. we
climed up on the top of
a Fraight Train + Started
that way night very
Cold we was shiviring
of the Cold. arived at
Murfreesborro at sun rais
At 2:00 a.m. we climbed up on top of a freight train and started towards Atlanta. The night was very cold; we were shivering because it was so cold. We arrived at Murfreesboro at sunrise.
September 17, 1864
arived at Chatanooga last
Night made Fire on the
ground made Caffe this
Morning for Brakfast
started from again
for Atlanta at 6½ o clock
p.m. on Top of the Cars
arived at Alton + Stopped
We arrived at Chattanooga last night and made a fire on the ground. Made coffee this morning for breakfast. Started again for Atlanta at 6:30 on top of the freight cars. Arrived at Alton and stopped.

Sep 18-23

Date Diary entry edited
September 18, 1864
Started again the same
way as befor on hard Tack +
Sour belly on the Top of the Cars
shaking our sick guts most out
in addission to this it Rained
more or less all day. arived
at Atlanta at Dark & walked
up Town to Sleep in a
diserted Store
I was quit sick
Started again today the same way as before on hard tack and sour belly. We rode on top of the freight cars, shaking our sick guts out. In addition to this, it rained more or less all day. Arrived in Atlanta at dark and walked up town to sleep in a deserted store. I was quite sick.
September 19, 1864
Sleped on th Floor
+ it was to us a good bed
feel little better this Morning
but cant Eat + cant work
We slept on the floor and it was to us a good bed. I feel a little better this morning, but can’t eat and can’t work.
September 20, 1864
Stayd in the same hous
last night
Orders was given to pik
up our things + moove
down to the Shops + we
mooved + got in to a good
hous near the Shops
Stayed in the same house last night. Orders were given to pick up our things and move down to the shops. We moved and got into a good house near the shops.
September 21, 1864
this Morning I found out
where Knud Thompson was
I started out + found him
in Camp about one Mile
from the Shops Spant most
of the after noon with him
This morning I found out where Knud Thompson was. I started out and found him in camp about a mile from the shops. I spent most of the afternoon with him.
September 22, 1864
sicker at the Stomack
again + the thin Stoff is
runing frely
lying on my bed most
all day
the Doctor com + got
some Medisin
I’m sicker in my stomach again and the thin stuff is running freely. Lying on my bed most of the day. The doctor came and I got some medicine.
September 23, 1864
Doctor with us today
feel a little better this
Morning + Diery Chocked
a little
but feel wery week
writing a Letter to Lars to
Nashvill commensed one for
The doctor was with us today. I feel better this morning; the diarrhea checked a little, but I feel very week. Writing a letter to Lars in Nashville. I also started a letter for home.

Sep 24-29

Date Diary entry edited
September 24, 1864
Doctor to day
the Diery is runing again
took 2 Strossy Pills this
Morning + drank little Caff
+ at one small Craker
at Dinner I drink a Cop of bean
soup + got sick of it sent a
Letter home to wife
The doctor came today. The diarrhea is running again. I took two Strossy pills this morning. I drank a little coffee and ate one small cracker. For dinner I drank a cup of bean soup and got sick from it. I sent a letter home to my wife.
September 25, 1864
went out with Wm Dixen
+ gathered some blackberry root
got the roots washed them + went
home to quarters to lai down. after
noon Knud Thompson + Hans com
over to see me had no Doctor
to day
I went out with William Dixen and gathered some blackberry roots. We got the roots, washed them, and went home to quarters to lie down. In the afternoon Knud Thompson and Hans came over to see me. I didn’t see the doctor today.
September 26, 1864
feel sick + uncomfortable
evry way Drink little Caffe for
Bracfast had Doctor here + sent me back 3 powders
I feel sick and uncomfortable in every way. I drank little coffee for breakfast. The doctor was here and he sent me back three powders.

6 thoughts on “Draft transcription of Sever’s 1864 diary

  1. No it can’t end here! What a read. It gets to me and I can’t stop, I want to know what happens next!!!! What is Black Earth? Is it a city? He stopped mentioning about the money after awhile but he sounded like a businessman as well as a hard worker. I’ll wait for the next chapter to appear…Thanks

    • Unfortunately, his story does end shortly after his last diary entry on September 26th. Just a few days later, on September 30, 1864, Sever died of dysentery and was buried in a small section of the Atlanta, GA, city cemetery that was set aside for Union soldiers.

      Almost 75 years later, his remains were disinterred and moved to the Marietta National Cemetery, where he rests to this day. His fifth daughter, Celia, was born six weeks after her father’s death. Thanks to her late husband’s work in creating a sustainable, secure home for his family, and owing in no small measure to her own character and fortitude, Sever’s wife Martha was able to raise all five of their daughters to adulthood on her own. She remained a widow until her death in 1930 at age 93.

      More posts on the Seversons will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead.

    To the Sever Severson Diary

    January 16: Færelandet. Received the first number. Fædrelandet was a newspaper published at Lacrosse WI.

    January 17: ….to meeting in Vermont + to Daakken on visit. Google Gulbrand Olsen Dokken.

    January 18: Nubb Rustebakke is Nuub Rustebakke

    January 22: K. Monson at B. E.

    January 26: letter from Knud Brusveen

    Feb. 2: Knud Brusveen came to Black Earth. In Madison tending to foreclosure sale of land + lots in Black Earth. + K. bought et (norwegian for one) for $650. com=kom in Norw.= came (past tense)

    Feb 6, Feb 6: Halsten

    Feb 7: Lars Sylfestson =Lars Sylfestson

    Feb 18: at Halvorson

    Feb 20: went in a cutter to Dodgeville on the way to Clobrange to visit my sister. Clobrange = Crow Branch, in Grant County WI. There is a Crow Branch creek out that way, and Crow Branch mine. I think it is around Linden. Will check. In the Valdris dialect the l sound is like an r sound to us aliens, if that explains anything.

    Feb 23: went from clobranch (= Crow Branch) through Mineral Point + through Dodgeville + to Ruggles and stopped over night. Ruggles was a stage stop. It is near Hyde in Iowa County. Which Google.

    Feb 28: taken likeness I + Knudt Brosveen (this name gets spelled Brosveen, Brosven, Brusven, Brusveen…) and Knudt gets spelled Knudt …. in manuscripts and literature It’s a farm in Etnedal.

    March 2: priming wood works (instead of pressing)

    March 3: finishing Finlayson buggy ….. making steps on D. Plato’s wagon

    March 6: buggy for Finlayson. Which google.

    March 11: cutter for Carpenter

    March 17: Mrs. Walker burial today

    March 20: meeting up [to] Vermont church . . . . . In the evening at temperance lecture in the Methodist church.

    March 21: Knud commenced to work (2nd time) today painting wagons and selling one wheel for 4.25
    (in earlier entry Knud left work)

    March 28: went to Mazomanie to see Mr. Howarth (probably Henry Howarth– which google)

    March 30: putting shafts (?) on wagons

    March 31 working on drags + drag irons…setting drag teeth

    April 1, 1864: to raise money for old soldiers to get them credited to our town

    April 4: …… 1 præster com (=kom) to John Fjeld. . . . . . around here Priest is catholic. better to translate præster with ministers

    April 5: Mr. Haseltein chairman. Webb + K. Erickson supervisors google: Haseltein Black Earth

    April 7: Halsten worked

    April 11: for Thom Logan

    May 5: wet to R. Bell for spruce + pine trees. . . . . = Robert Bell

    To be continued

    • Thank you so much for your help! I’ll incorporate your edits and improvements as soon as possible. I’m impressed. May I ask how you came to learn so much about the 1864 world of a Norwegian immigrant to Black Earth?

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