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Leave the blood feuds at home

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Archie Lee Garrison, my great grandfather, was born in 1882. He was the son of Miles & Mary Francis Garrison and born in Logan County, Illinois. Miles and Mary had little money, and were not able to provide Arch with any sort of start in life as many farm parents were. They did not own land themselves, so Arch had to leave home to find work from time to time.

As a young, single man he worked on threshing crews across the midwest and grew onions for people in his home town. He kept track of the work he did in a diary I found amongst his son's and my Papaw's things.

Follow me past the orange cloud and I'll tell you about the diary and Arch's work in the fall of 1907.

arch_garrison_diaryHere is the cover of Arch's diary. I scanned it this summer when I was in Illinois, visiting my parents. The diary is thin and light, with a red, embossed leather cover. The gold leafing or ink on the cover still shines in the light. I tried looking up the "Leachman's Diary" to find out more about them. I had hoped to learn what kinds of people bought them, how expensive they were, how common they were, etc. I only got 2 hits (when using quotes), one of which was a mention of something in the holdings of a historical society or a library. It was from 1913, so I know at least they were around another 8 years.

When you open the diary, Arch's name is scrawled inside the cover at least twice. Then there is a page where one writes his personal information. As a source for genealogical information is can be used to place Arch and Miles in Logan County Illinois. I am not surprised to see that he has no bank number listed. He likely carried what little he had. Here is that personal information page.

Here's one of the pages where Arch leaves home for work.

And, a transcription...

sun 26: Left Latham and went to Peoria left Peoria at 10:30 o'clock pm
Mon 27: Eat dinner in Oskaloosa left Oskaloosa 2 o'clock pm
Tues 28 Eat breakfast in Albert Lea and dinner on Hopins left Hopkins at 6 pm and went to to Stewart
Wed 29 worked 1/2 day for Nick Klinkhamer at Stewart Minn
Thur 30 Worked 3/4 day for Nick Klinkhamer at Stewart Minn
Fri 31. Worked all day for the same man for $1.75 per day total $4.00
Sat 1: Left Stewart at 6 pm and arrived in Montevideo at 11 pm
Sun 2: Slept S night in Monte left at 10 am Arrived in Aberdeen at 10 am went 20 miles SW to thrash
Mon 3: Thrashed 1/2 day for ? Murdy. Walked 6 miles N to ? got to Aberdeen at 5 pm Eat and S?
Tues 4: Worked for H. Tracy unloaded stoves recc'd $2.00 Slept in Abberdeen
Wed 5: Stayed in Aberdeen all day and slept in slept in Aberdeen
Thur 6: Left Aberdeen and went Groton left Groton and went to thrash for O.T. Fea & miles NE
Fri 7: Commenced work for OT Fea at $2.40 for day. worked all day
Sat. 8 Thrashed all day
A picture of a crew from my family's photo collection. Not sure where and when this was taken.
He continued working, according to the diary. Traveling town to town and picking up work. As I read the diary, there were more questions to be answered. How much did Arch have to spend to get around? How did he find work? How do his wages compare?

I wondered how he had traveled the distances in 1906--I assumed that it was by train. Some of these towns were on the Iowa Central line, which at some point was called the Hook and Eye, so perhaps he traveled like that? (here's a map I found of the railroad--it's a cool map). I'd like to read more about train travel in the midwest in the 19-aughts. Here is another picture from my family's collection. (I don't recognize the men, and really want to know about this engine--No. 214)

One of the things I've enjoyed most about researching my family history is all of the extra social history that I've picked up along the way. I never thought my family history would lead to train research, but I'm excited to see what I can learn. What surprising directions has your family research taken you?

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