My father's mother, Alice L. (Wagg) Jones, was born July 20, 1891. She lived with my parents from before my birth in 1940 until after my father's death in 1977. For several years after that she lived with her niece, Doris Morrison, until Gram required professional care and moved to the d'Youville nursing home in Lewiston, ME. She died February 26, 1992 in the one-hundred and first year of her life. On December 25, 1909 she married Benjamin F. Jones and from then up until sometime in the 1970s she frequently kept a daily journal.
As a child I was aware of Gram Jones' diary but it was not until I became an elderly fellow that I got curious about what ever happened the books in which I used to see her writing. Sharon got into a conversation with Doris one day and asked about them. Doris remembered that Gram had given the books to another niece, June Wheeler, who had been close to Gram when June was young. I called June and asked about the books and she gave me seven volumes that she had. There are gaps among the seven volumes and it is not clear to me which gaps are due to lapses in Gram's writing and which resulted from some volumes becoming lost over the century that had passed between earliest entry and the time I got the books from June. In any event, I have been transcribing the diary into Word documents and web pages, starting with the years around the time that I first knew Gram. It is taking me somewhat less time to type each year than it took Gram to write it so I have several year's worth of entries ready to share. As additional years become available I will add them to this section of my web site. The years with grey background indicate those for which I have not found any entries. Years with the default background color but not containing links are those in which there are entries not yet typed up.
One of the things that struck me as I read Gram's entries was the lack of detail. She recorded mostly facts; weather, births, deaths, and a few words about activities folks were involved in. There is essentially nothing about what events meant to her or what she thought or felt about events. Still, the pages linked below offer a glimpse of what rural life was like in the early to mid twentieth century. For example the annual seasons were five in number summer, winter, spring and fall with mud season running pretty much concurrent with spring. Also there was a great deal of visiting and sharing of labor, equipment and produce among neighbors. Gram knew many more people at every stage of her life than I, following along 50 years behind her.
I have organized the entries in two ways. You might go to the cast of characters to find folks you recognize and from there follow the links to all the pages where a character appears. The other way to go is to select a year of interest and follow the links from that page to find out more about the characters. I would be surprised if anyone, other than I and my sisters, ends up reading the whole epic.
You may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would care to question or comment.
Characters and Diary Pages by Year
Cast of Characters