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JBK Diary – June 15th – June 28th, 1912

I’m trying to keep up with the events of my grandfather’s life when he was 21 years old and home from school for the summer. His birthday is June 23, 1890 so at the time of these entries he turned 22. In keeping with his typical modesty – no mention of his own birthday in his diary entry on June 23.

One mystery is finally solved. I’ve been confused by earlier entries about people going somewhere with Bill, or “mother and father met me at the station with Bill.” I can’t think of anyone in the family with that name so I was wondering how I would figure out the connection and who was this Bill that got so much mention.

With his entry on June 15th —

“Harnessed Bill and drove to the Clipper with Aunt Clara . . .”   — I now know that Bill is the family horse! 1912 was definitely at the age of transition from horses to automobiles as a mode of transportation and also explains why so many of his entries mention when he travelled by car and what kind of car it was.

Saturday June  15 – Fine Warm and Bright

Got up at 6. Harnessed Bill and drove to Clipper with Aunt Clara for Elsie and boys. Elsie’s sister came. Drove around, up town, to Aunt Grace’s etc. Elsie, Guyon & Donald, Miss Lewis and Aunt Clara up to dinner. Dean rode bike to 2.38 & found Frank, Anna and baby coming up on freight. Surprised to see them. Arthur C and I went up town to hear band. Talked with Lee Hill. Got suit cases with horse.

Sunday June 16 –

All Kingsbury children sat together in church. Met lots of people. Mr. Sawyer’s Sunday School class. Big reunion at East Hall. 40 relatives. Grandma Bush, Gardners, Aunts Abbie, Clara, Grace, Uncle Bert, Elsie, Guyon, Donald, Burtchs, Kingsburys, Williams, Caves & McCashs from Greene in 3 cars. Dinner, picture, automobile rides.

Comment: “PICTURE!!!” I sure would love to find it.

Monday June 17 – Fine

Worked at Press office off and on all week.

Remarkably – there is no entry for Tuesday June 18th and only very brief entries for the next 5 days.

Wednesday June 19th –

Stayed at Press office til 10:30. Paper not out.

Thursday June 20th –

Didn’t work. Aunt Grace Gardner’s for dinner.

Choir at Millie Waynes. Surprise party.

Friday June 21st – Summer

Fine day. Didn’t work much. Ate supper with Aunt Clara and Elsie and also at home. Grace, Carey and “us kids” went to Lyrics. Vaudeville stunts. Stayed with Clinton Hill. Mr. Schoonaver sick.

Saturday June 22nd – Warm

Got up at 4:15. Walked down Great Western track and shot at suckers. Picnic.

Sunday June 23rd – Warm (his birthday – turned 22)

Sang in choir. Laura Carter came at noon. Dinner at Bergers and music. BYPU (?) Civil Service people ___ firm exams. (Can’t make out the meaning of his reference to civil service exams.)

Monday June 24th –

Frank went back to WU (West Union). Looked up trains for Miss Lewis. Hot day. Dean, Ella Otarr, Carey and Laura, Ruth Barker and I walked down GW track, thru Spring Park and back by road. Played anti over.

Tuesday June 25th – Hot

Picnic at Spring Park – Forrest & Cornelia, Anna, Laura Carter, Grace & Ruth B., Carey, Rob Pattingale, Flora, Fern, Clyde, Clark, Uncle C and Aunt G, Elsie C, Guyon & Donald and Miss Lewis. Dean and I fished & rowed boat. Home at 8:30. Des Moines College Quartet at Baptist Church.

Wednesday June 26th – Hot

Woke up at 9 am. Letter from Smith. Report 28th. Bought ticket and saw all relatives. Packed in 1/2 hour. Dinner at Grandfather Walker’s. Train at 2.38 with Forrest, Cornelia, Clark and Dean. Waterloo at 5 pm. Tried to find John Clyde. Got shower, bath & swim at YMCA. REad until train time. Motor boat races. Left 8 pm for Chicago. Lower berth. Good sleep – 9 to 6.

Thursday June 27th –

Transferred to Pa Station. Walked over to loop and took L to Lexington Avenue & 63rd. Found Snell Hall – University of Chicago but Phil Kearney not in. Took I. C. uptown. Breakfast. Left at 10:30 for Washington. Found Dad Riley on train. Talked, read, slept and wrote. Dinner at 5:30. Good sleep in upper.

Friday June 28th –

Woke up at Baltimore. Washington on time 8:45. Took suitcases to YM and went to work at 9:30. Easy day. Worked till 6:00 getting stuff out for Central accounting system. Went out to camp. Met Miss Crane on train. Supper, talked with Hill. Fair sleep.

Isn’t it amazing that he could get word on June 26th that he was to report for work in Washington DC on June 28th and he not only got there in time but he went straight to work after being on the train all night for the past two nights! That’s what you call a good work ethic.





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JBK Diary – June 7 – 14, 1912

Friday June 7, 1912 – Fine day

Rose 6:30. Breakfast. Talked with Uncle Martin and Aunt Mary. (Wayland Kingsbury’s oldest sister Mary was married to Martin Fussell and lived in Fayette, Iowa.) Drove out to Roy’s looked around the farm. (Roy Fussell is the oldest child born to Mary and Martin Fussell in 1875 – JBK’s oldest cousin.) Alma (Roy’s youngest sister, born in 1887) drove to train with us. Miss Julia Crissey came down to depot. Charles City at 12:40. Went up town, saw Clarence Crimer & Sanders. Dinner. YMCA. Waited all pm for freight. Talked with Mr. Lapham & Morris Penney. Home at 6:10. Walked home. Met Father, Mother & Clark coming to train with Bill. (I haven’t been able to figure out who Bill is.) Washed up a little & went to Girls’ Glee Club Concert. Met lots of people. Home with Aunt Clara and Aunt Abbie. (Aunt Clara and Aunt Abbie are JBK’s aunts on the Bush side of the family – both would have been close to 60 years old in 1912.)

Saturday June 8, 1912 – Fine

Rose 8:30. Loafed. Went to store, talked with Arthur Cl. and Uncle Bert. Baseball practice with Sem boys all pm. Mowed East lawn before supper. Took bath. Senior class day exercises in the chapel 8 to 9. Band concert on Main Street. Met lots more fellows.

Sunday June 9, 1912 – Fine Baccalaureate Sermon CVS

Rose 7:30 or 8:00. Father and I drove Bill. Took washing and went to west bridge. Helped Harold Dickinson with broken axle. Church full at 10:30. Mr. Potter preached great sermon. Grandmas K & B, Aunt Clara, Aunt Abbie, Gardners & Uncle Bert to dinner. Rode down to Floyd with Clydes in Conley auto. Took Arthur to work. By Ph (?) sacred concert at church. Carey sang. Sat with Uncle Bert, Aunts Abbie and Clara.

Monday June 10, 1912 – Cloudy & Fair

Went to chapel. Carey and I called on Mr. Spaches (?). Looked through new high school with “Mac” and Mr. Boynton. Dinner at Grandma K’s. Played ball after dinner. Took Clark to alumni Ball game CVS won 5 to 1. Daily contest in the Press won by Fen Olson & Clarence Allanson. (I was going to check this against the news in the paper but unfortunately all of the papers from 1912 are missing from the online digitized version of the Mitchell County Press and Osage Advantage.)

Tuesday June 11, 1912 – Cloudy but no rain.

Farewell chapel at 9:30. Sang in quartet. Miss Morrison led ’09 class meeting. Wrote up ball game for Press. Dinner at Burtch’s with Gardners & aunts. May Pole drill & band  on campus. Fine exercises. Saw lots of people. Aunt Clara and I went early to arrange seating at banquet. 190 present. Henry A., Sigurd and I sat together. Letters read speeches. Had to speak as grandson of Grandfather Bush. Meeting in Cong church. Sermon by A W Call of Vinton. Reminisces by alumni. Fine program.

Wednesday June 12, 1912 – Cloudy but no rain.

Rose at 6 o’clock. Went to clipper with Henry Allanson. Rode with father and Billy. Planned picnic. Wrote to Frank. Aunt Grace G’s for dinner. Rode up in Charles Williams Oakland car. ’09 picnic, also ’11s at Mark’s south of town. Misses Morrison, Bacon & Fullerton, Anna Sesch, Bernice & Lucia Merrick, Lou Champion, Lewis Schulte, Ruth Moe, Ada  Weaverling, Vera Tomey, Lee Lernon, Carey B & I rode down in hack. Played three deep, stillpond, baseball and skipped stones. Fine time. Lots to eat. Returned at 6:30. Milked cow. Last commencement program, thirteen orations. Fine class. Milked cow.

Thursday June 13, 1912 – Cloudy

Loafed around home. Moved into Dean’s room, town at noon. Went to depot at noon to see Sem people off. Went up to library with Clark. Read Jack Hazard to him. Joe Naden came up. Played ball with Clark. Supper at 8. Called on Miss Bacon at East hall. Bed at 11:30.

Friday June 14, 1912 – Cloudy cool

Got up at 8 o’clock. Mowed lawn all forenoon – Dean worked at store. Drove Billy after dinner and helped Aunt Clara move to hall. Mother drove out in country to Mrs. B Coles. Loafed, read, sewed up baseballs. Played ball with Dean and Clark. Dean got supper. Read til 10:30. Rain storm.





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JBK Diary – June 3 – 6, 1912

Joseph B Kingsbury is home in Osage Iowa after completing the spring semester in Washington DC. In addition to attending school, he is working as a clerk in the Department of Agriculture.

Monday June 3, 1912 – Independence – Primary Day in Iowa – Warmer

Rose 7:30 Breakfast in bakery. Found Emma Moore and Ray  & Will Berger. Left for W.U. (West Union) at 9:30. Arrived at 11:30. Saw D. Clapp at Depot. Walked in on Frank at the bank. Surprised everybody. Went over and visited Aunt Ella. Looked in at church on my way home to supper. Frank voted. Planted garden after supper. Sat in hammock till 10:30. Fine sleep. Cool night.

Tuesday June 4, 1912 – Cloudy & cool.

Started at 9:15 for Soward’s Cave. Went back 130 feet with candle. Walked back in 55 minutes. Dinner at Aunt Ella’s. Talked and read till 4:00. Helped balance up at bank. Supper at Clapps. Carlotta stayed with baby. Sang. Went over to Kings room above garage and played piano player till 11:15. Went home with Charlotte C.

Wednesday June 5 – Fine -cool.

Rose at 8:00. Went downtown, found Ray Jacobs took us out in the country in his Metz car to see Ed. Loafed in bank till noon. Played catch with tennis balls before dinner. Washed dishes and feet. All up to Carter’s for supper. Went to Methodist Church lecture by Armenian. Laura, Carey, Carl and I walked through graveyard at 11:00 pm. Home at 12. Carey and Laura getting pretty thick.

Thursday June 6 – Fine cool.

Rose 7:30. Started to leave on 9:23 train but stayed. Watched Roy J tune piano. Went up to Carters and shot with rifle & revolver. Loafed till 4:30. Talked with Uncle F. Y. working on new house. Played with baby. Best baby going. Started for Fayette 5 pm. Roy J took Carey and I in Metz car. Kings took Laura, Annie, Frank and Helen Clapp. Some speed on way to Fayette. Got Alma and went to woods for picnic. Pretty place. Went up over stone cut and watched sunset. Shot rifle. Carey and Laura went through cemetery. L. fell over barbed wire fence and cut her arm. Visited with Alma.

A few observations:

  1. Here a link to the Metz car. It was essentially a “build it yourself” car for people with enough mechanical ability to put the car together. Parts were sold in 14 sets, which essentially allowed someone to buy the car on time. The buyer would construct the first set of parts, order the next one and over time had a completed car advertised as being worth $600 for the cost of the parts, which was about $350.
  2. It is fun to picture my grandfather as a 22 year old home for summer vacation. Visiting with extended family (West Union is about 70 miles east and a little south of Osage.) Frank, Joe’s older brother was working in Uncle Frank Whitmore’s bank and I believe Joe worked there for at least a summer before he went to Washington DC for school. “The best baby going” – refers to Josephine Kingsbury, Frank’s oldest daughter who was born in 1911. JBK’s affection for her lasted his whole life and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t meet her when we both lived in California (1985 – 1997 for me).
  3. Aunt Ella was Wayland’s older sister who lived in West Union, Iowa until she moved to Monrovia, California in 1912 (according to her obituary which appears below.) She married later in life (age 36) and her husband Frank Y. Whitmore had two sons and a daughter from his previous marriage. Together they adopted a daughter Lillian, who was born in New York to Norwegian parents. Lillian attended Cedar Valley Seminary memoriam.1948. 1909-1910 and later attended Redlands University in Redlands, California (about 63 miles due east of Los Angeles.)
    In the “small world” category, when Joe’s oldest brother Forrest Kingsbury retired from the University of Chicago where he taught psychology for a number of years, he retired to Redlands University and taught there for awhile. In one of JBK’s family letters he describes the trip he made with his younger brother Clark to Forrest’s memorial service in Redlands in 1972.

4. I’m fascinated that JBK explored caves, since that was something my father, his oldest son, also like to do while growing up in Indiana. Almost as adventurous as walking through the graveyard late at night, another favorite activity of JBK. I like to visit graveyards but I tend to go during daylight hours in search of my ancestors. Whenever I make it to the grave yard in West Union, Iowa I’ll have a great image of my grandfather and his friends walking through it late at night.

5. Alma is JBK’s cousin, Alma Fussell, Mary Kingsbury Fussell’s daughter. Mary Kingsbury married Martin Fussell and they had at least three children. Roy and Mary were older, but Alma was only three years older than JBK. Need to research a few more names.