Diary of Thomas McClelland July-September 1860
Tuesday 3rd-- Dock started for home tonight. He will be in Chicago, for the 4th's celebration. A considerable noise is kept up in town to-night. At midnight some of the boys, got at the College bell, and for a half hour pulled vigorously. When the presence of President Chapin put an end to the exercise. Barlow, I think, was the instigator of the affair. Looked over the subject of Decimal Fractions, preparatory for examination. Purchased enough material for a study gown and have sent it home by Dock for to be made. Weather growing very warm.
Wednesday 4th-- The national Independence day. Nothing of any importance going on in town. Have studied part of the day. Went into the village for the mail this P.M. Firemen out in flying colors. To-night they have a festival in Murry's Hall45. Considerable powder wasted today but no excitement.
Friday 6th-- Recited, I hope, my last regular lesson in the Preparatory Dept. To-morrow our examinations for College commences. Cicero & Caesar, will be the examinations for the day. Dr. Squires delivered is last lecture this evening. The day has been very pleasant. The air is cool and comfortable. I have tried in vain to make a pick lock for my door. Had I succeeded I might have been induced to go into the burglary business, but now all my -------------------------------------------. It must be ten o'clock, I must go to bed.
Saturday 7th-- Examination for College commenced to-day. Cicero & Caesar were the books. We were from 9 to 12 o'clock getting through. I made a very good recitation in Caesar, but never made so poor a recitation in Cicero since I commenced. On Tuesday, we finish. Have reviewed part of my Greek this P.M.
Sunday 8th-- Rev. Mr. Dimond of Brighton, Ill. preached this morning in the Presbyterian church. His theme of discourse was taken from Mathew. He taught that every man has a ruling passion, and that is so paramount that all the other faculties are subordinate to it. President Chapin preached the Baccalaureate sermon to the graduating class at two o'clock. The sermon was very fitting the occasion, but not so good and eloquently delivered as the one he delivered two years ago. The windows were not opened and there being such a crowd, the room was very warm. A lady was carried out in a fainting state and placed in the hall. When the congregation was dismissed and as I passed by her she seemed to be insensible.
Rev. Mr. Corning of Milwaukee delivered an address before the Missionary Society to-night. His subject--Unchronicaled Missionaries, was admirably treated in many points, and, I thought a little puerile in others. He speaks boldly and honestly the truth, without regards to the delicate feelings of some of the would be prominent portions of the church. His thoughts were too witty, as a general thing, or at least he had to many witty thoughts. One would find something to smile at every five minutes and sometimes three or four times in five minutes if, he did not get wearied out with laughing before he had half finished.
Tutor De Forest gave us his last instruction in the bible class this morning. He goes to Yale College next week to attend the commencement, and, I suppose, to take his masters degree. The remembrance of Mr. De Forest will never die in bosoms of his scholars either secular or biblical. May his course always be so upright as it has appeared to be for the last two years.
Monday 9th-- To-day I studied--to-morrow I shall recite.
Tuesday 10th-- The final and much dreaded ordeal is past. The examinations for college closed at 12 o'clock. At half past 12 we received our sentence. I was astonished at the number of conditions imposed on the class. Some on Greek, others on Arithmetic, others on Eng. Gram. others on Algebra, and some on all together. For myself, Arithmetic will be the study for vacation. I have asked for another examination, whether I will get it or not, I do not know. I verily believe I was imposed upon, and if so the faculty will have to yield or I will have to bid farewell to their instruction.
To-day's mail brought me a letter from Dock, together with a dollar bill. He reached home in good time.
Judge Orton46 of Madison, Wis. delivered an address before the Archaen to-night, subject--"Learning Misapplied". His speech was very brief, and very good. After the lecture, The Crowning of Alma Mater by Sophomore Class took place at the college ground. Middle College was illuminated in fine style. The first speech by Pettybone was a capital production. The poem by Barton was good. The Address to class by Brainard was rather poor. The final speech and crowning of the Queen by Osborne was very good.
Commenced a letter to Aunt Liza. The Brass Band is saluting Pres. Chapin's and Prof. Porter's at this hour of eleven. I am weary and must to bed.
Wednesday 11th-- Commencement day. Rev. Wolcott of Chicago delivered the commencement oration. The oration was highly appreciated. This afternoon was spent in the exercise of the graduating class. In the middle of Clark's speech Davis got me to go into the village with him, and consequently I missed Fitch's speech and Hobart's47 Poem. To-night I make preparations for an early start
to-morrow morning into the country. For the next two months, I must work, work, work. Paid Mrs. Peck fifty cents of the bill of seventy-five cents for making three coarse shirts.
Received a letter from Mother this eve. Weather good. Tutor examined me in Arithmetic this eve. P.S. Sept 6 1860, I was admitted on the above examination.
Thursday 12th-- The following I copy from a pocket notebook.-------Left Beloit this morning at 5 o'clock, walked ten miles to Rev. Joseph Partridge's and engaged to help him harvest. Worked 3/4 of a day. Hands stand the work better than I anticipated.
Wednesday 25th-- To-day I close my harvesting with Partridge & Co. Binding oats for Hezekiah Atwood has been the work of the day. A fellow by the name of Henry Cunningham has engaged me to go to his farm twenty miles N.W. of Beloit to harvest. Have made $17.62 1/2 with father Partridge, Time 11 3/4 days. Price---$1.50 per diem. To-night I will sleep with Cunningham.
Thursday 26th-- Rose this morning about three o'clock, and commenced preparing to go to my new job of work. We started at 5 1/2 o'clock. Roads good and hot as the sun can make it. Arriving at Beloit I hastened to the Post Office and found a letter from Dock and five papers. I read the news from Beloit to my journeys end. We reached Horace Cunningham's at 12 pm. After dinner I bound oats for Horace. To-morrow we go at Henry Cunningham's wheat.
Friday 27th-- Bound all day in Henry's wheat. He has a very heavy crop, and the prospects of a long harvest is favorable.
Saturday 28th-- Commenced this morning in good season to do a good day's work, but a rain coming up at 9 o'clock compelled us to adjourn.
After dinner, I went to shocking wheat, no other hand appearing in the fields. About 5 o'clock another shower came up so I came home. The general appearance of things I don't like. Playing cards, drinking whiskey, using tobacco, swearing, and blackguarding they seem to consider virtues. The "Center" is the great rendezvous for all the loafers in the neighborhood- Cunningham's included. Henry went home to his father's to-night for more hands.
Re-read my letter & papers to-day. Cunningham's library consists of the Life of Marion by Sims, ----The Old Homestead, by Mrs. Ann Stevens[actually it is Stephens, Thomas has it wrong.], Claud Duval, and two or three copies of the Milwaukee News, a Douglas sheet. I have read every thing, but "Claud" this "celebrated" work I will omit.
Sunday 29th-- Am resting to-day being the only one in the establishment. Horace and his crew are all at work harvesting. Henry returned this evening with two new hands Conklin being one, the other a man from Roscoe, Ill. by name Skilliger. A brother of Henry's also came from Janesville to help harvest.
Monday 30th-- This has been my hardest day's work. From all appearances Cunningham has his brother from Janesville for the express purposes of running the hands. Conklin, Skilliger, and I have agreed to work together to-morrow, and work at a moderate rate, letting Freeman run as hard as he pleases.
Tuesday 31st-- This morning Freeman started off at a big rate, supposing we were fools enough to follow him, but he was sadly disappointed. We bound just as we pleased without regard to anyone.
[Thomas writes August 1861, but it has to be August 1860.]
Thursday 2nd-- Rain to-day. All the boys have gone to the Center to drink whiskey and play cards. This afternoon was fine for work, but the hands were too drunk to go into the field so the whole day was lost.
Friday 3rd-- Conklin and Skilliger went home to-day. Skilliger excused himself by saying he was sick, and Conklin a sore finger. I am of the opinion that both could have worked if they had liked the place. I don't blame them much for leaving---this is a rough place. At noon a fellow from near Rockford, made his appearance. He goes by the appellation of "Big Dick." He has a mean, ruffianly appearance. I fear he will not make a very pleasant harvest companion. Time will tell.
Saturday 4th-- Freme, Big Dick & Marsh, started off at a great rate this morning. Within the first hour they gained nearly a half round on me, then wonderful to tell! they lost their power and did not gain anymore during the whole day. Horace took Marsh this afternoon and put him to work in John Albright's wheat.
Big Dick & Freme got drunk at about 5 o'clock they went home and got in bed. Profitable harvesters!!!
Sunday 5th-- To-day I worked, being the first Sunday I ever worked. Cunningham has a great deal of wheat in a bad condition if there should be rain, and from appearances there will be rain soon.
Tuesday 7th-- Last night a little rain fell so as to prevent us from going to work this morning. Shocked wheat this P.M.
Wednesday 8th-- Wheat got so dry we were obliged to quit an hour before sundown.
Thursday 9th-- Commenced to stack to-day.
Wednesday 15th-- Finished stacking to-day. Worked hard and am very tired. Big Dick stacked. Henry being absent. Dick is a mean dig. He goes away to-morrow hated by all.
Thursday 16th-- Threshing to-day for Horace. I get only one dollar a day and have harder work than I had binding and stacking at one dollar and fifty cents a day.
Saturday 18th-- Helped Highland Morse thresh. Settled with the people in this part. On Monday will go to Beloit.
Monday 20th-- Rose this morning at about 11 o'clock received my money from Henry for harvesting and was just going to start for Beloit when Horace called me and wished me to wait for breakfast. I accepted his invitation on condition that he would get up and help clean up some wheat. Having cleaned the remainder of his wheat, some fifty bushels, I started on my trip it being six o'clock. At Shopier I came on to G.H. Cooper. George has not worked any this harvest. He has been engaged in canvassing for R. Sears' Pictorial Bible. At one o'clock I reached Beloit tired and hungry. I found Taylor busy cleaning Middle College. My next move was to go to the Post Office and get my mail, when lo! to my disappointment all my letters had been forwarded to Pontiac, except one registered from Barton. The consequence is, I must wait until they are returned before I can send for my books.
Tuesday 21st-- Got a job to-day in the cellar of M.C. I will work around here until I send for my books. I also worked some for Prof. Blaisdell.
Thursday 23rd-- Received two letters by this evening's mail. One from D.D. Hill48, and one from G. R. Hayden, one of those forwarded to Pontiac.
Sunday 26th-- Went to the 2nd Congregational church this morning being the first time I have been inside of a church since Commencement day. At half past four I attended a Temperance Lecture in Hanchet's Hall. The lecturer was Rev. Mr. Graves of 2nd Con. Church. He delivered a very good address. In the evening Taylor came along and we went over the river and heard some D.D. preach. The sermon was excellent.
Monday 27th-- To-day I sent for forty-eight dollars and fifty cents worth of books. My publishers are Harper + Bros. and D. Appleton & Co. N.Y. The company consists of Taylor, Dales, Hill, Barber, Cooper, M.A. McClelland, and myself. We will make about ten dollars by sending East, over purchasing at the bookstores in Beloit.
Wednesday 29th-- Went down the river and stayed with Tom Liman all night. The Limans are the same good-natured people that they were a year ago.
Thursday 30th-- This morning I left Liman's, and started for Rev. Partridges. I crossed the river at Mr. Owen's. When I arrived at Mr. Partridge's he was busily engaged making horse-shoe nails. The old gentleman has had a very severe sick spell since I was there harvesting. Mrs. P had also been very weak. They are making preparation for threshing to-morrow. Partridge paid me ten dollars for my work. He will be in Beloit next Wednesday. After calling in the house and seeing Mrs. P I started for Beloit. Called on Mr. Atwood and then made for Roscoe, which place I reached at half past ten o'clock. Two miles northeast of Roscoe I hired to work for a Mr. Sweet at the rate of fifty cents for the afternoon. The days work being over I ate a belly full of watermelons.
Mrs. Sweet seems to be a very proud, ostentatious woman.
Friday 31st-- The last day of summer, and my last days work this vacation. Mr. Fitch, a neighbor of Mr. Sweet, and I made a bargain to work at threshing to-day. I had an easier job than I had yesterday. Yesterday I pitched straw in the dust; to-day I pitched bundles where there was no dust. After sundown I received my regular dollar and started for Beloit, which place I reached at eight o'clock.
Saturday 1st-- Mat. H Carpenter49 of Milwaukee the great leader of the unterified Democracy, in Wis. spoke in Hanchett's hall to-night. His friends in Beloit rather came the "grab game" on him. Learning that he would arrive on the 8 o'clock P.M. train, they stuck up posters all over the city, stating that he would speak that evening, all done of course, without consulting Mr. Carpenter. When the train arrived, Mr. C was besieged, and when he was told what had been done, he at first positively refused to speak. Yet after he had gone to the hotel and taken something to eat and drink, he consented to make a speech.
When he commenced some, drunken fellow raised a muss50 at the door, which for a season silenced the speaker. When the disturbance was quelled the speaker went on for an hour and a half, at a good rate. His mode of speaking was good in many respects still his sentiments are apt to lead many astray. If there had been a Republican speaker to reply to Mr. C, I'll venture to say he would expose Mr. C and Democracy also.
Professors Porter, Nason, and the new Professor Mr. Kelsey51, arrived in town to-day. Professor Emerson stopped in Rockford to spend the Sabbath. Rice came in to-day and is busy fixing up his room. Adison T. Davis made his appearance this morning. All are in good spirits.
Monday 3rd-- A day spent exclusively in loafing. The first purchase of the day was a big watermelon. Returning to my room and being about to devour my melon my old friend and class-mate, G.W. Tallmon knocked. We ate our melon, which was very poor, and discussed old times and future with a good deal of pleasure. This afternoon I came across Henry Cunningham in the street, was treated to some apples, had a good chat,
parted company. Called on Mrs. Dales this evening to consult with her in regard to her son's room, at her request. Upon my going away she desired me to call before leaving the street, and get a basket. I made her no promise, and consequently did not stop. I am very thankful to the Lady for making me up a basket of provisions, yet I must modestly refuse charity as long, as I have a cent, and even longer, for when I run ashore for money, I must quit and earn more.
As I was going into the Post Office for my 8 o'clock mail I run across the Ripon boys, May, Short, Ruggles, and Daws. Short will not be here this term. The boys all seem in a good humor.
Wednessday 5th- The long-wished for day has arrived for school to commence. Every train brings in boys, all eager for the work. Dock came up on the three o'clcok train. He reports all well on Rock Creek. My Chum, Dales and I have nearly completed arranging our room.
I will sit up with Justin M. Brainard52, to-night, who is sick with a fever.
Thursday 6th-- Commenced on Livy this afternoon. Of all the Latin I ever heard of the Preface in this book is the hardest. The time of recitations for the Term was announced this morning at prayers. The following is the order: Mathematics, to Prof Kelsey at 8 o'clock A.M. in Mathematics room. Greek at 11 o'clock to Prof. Emerson in Greek room. Latin to Prof. Porter at 4 o'clock P.M. in Latin room. Rhetorical and Chaucer53 lessons to Prof Blaisdell will be at 11 o'clock on Thursdays. To-day we took our first lesson in Chaucer.
Friday 7th-- To-day at an early hour we had an introduction to Prof Kelsey, and also to Loomis's Algebra as far as multiplication. At the hour appointed for reciting Greek, we all hastened to meet our well beloved teacher Prof Emerson. The lesson, the life of Homer, was spoken of with more life and energy than all the lessons of last term put together.
A refreshing shower fell this evening.
Monday 10th-- To-night's mail brought me a letter from Harper + Brothers54 containing an invoice of books. They have filled my order and credited me with four dollars and forty-six cents. This I did not anticipate. Had my remittance been enough to pay for the books I ordered I would have been satisfied. So much for buying books at wholesale.
Sent off a letter to mother to-day also one to Rev Jos. Partridge.
Tuesday 11th-- Commenced reading in Homer to-day. We finished the preface of Livy at this afternoon's recitation. Hayden appeared in his place this morning. To-night I read the sad account of the loss of the lady Elgin55 on Lake Michigan.
Wednesday 12th-- To-day my books for the present college year arrived. They were in good order. Joined the Delian wing of the Archaen Society to-night.
Saturday 15th-- Cleaned out No 6 to-day, and partly moved in. I think we will be benefited in changing our room. Dales is not of much force in helping to fix up a room. Rev Mr. Partridge called on me to-day. He is the same Englishman of yesterday, tells all he knows, and boasts exceedingly. Called on my tailor and had a pair of pants cut, then on my seamstress and ordered them made. The total cost will be five dollars and eighty-five cents. This week's Sentinel contains quite a squib56 from the pen of Rev T.T. Whittmere, School Commissioner, in relation to Sarah A. McClelland's school. Those McClelland's are wonderful pedagogues. I knew one Tom. S.M. who won laurels one winter teaching. Patsy Breckinridge, Bill and John Peterson, and Rev. Gregory especially heaped crowns upon Tom's head.
Greek sentence here.
Wednesday 19th-- The first day of Rhetorical exercise of the new year. Allair and Chamberlain represented the Senior Preps on the stage; Bascom and Copp, the Freshman class; Coolidge and Chessborough the Sophomore Class; Burton the Junior Class, and Adams the Senior Class. I spent the greater part of the afternoon in making out a bill and sending for some books. The bill of books amounted to $24.05. I get a draft for $19.60. The balance of the bill is due me for Harper & Bros House, being an overplus of my last bill. The cost of draft was 25 cents. To-night I attended the society, and wrote a letter to Bob. Read the Courtship of Miles Standish57. It is now 12 o'clock and I must go to bed.
Friday 21st-- To-day we had a recitation in Arnold's Latin Prose composition. Friday will be the day throughout the year in which we have this recitation. Tallmon called on me this morning, bearing the sad news for him of his mother's sickness. He started for home to-night. He says that he will not return this fall. Doubtless he will never return to join our class. Tallmon had his peculiarities, but he was the truest friend in the class. There was nothing deceitful about him, every action was manly. I shall long remember him.
Tuesday 25th-- I discover a failure in my Journal that is, a big, strip of time unaccounted for. To-day I got a letter and circulars for G.&C. Merriam, Publishers of Webster's Dic. The wholesale price for Webster is $4.87 1/2, a pretty big price, but a splendid work. I set up with Justin M. Brainard last night, and am a little sleepy this evening. I learn that the Prince of Wales is sojourning near Dwight, Livingston County, Ill. He is engaged in hunting. Commenced to fire this morning in Mr. Fisk's room.
Wednesday 26th-- To-day I worked some, the first of the Term. Rice and I transported a stove from North College, to Mr. Fisk's room in South College. The design is now to burn wood until it becomes very cold. Mack came in town to-day. He says that he will go to Oberlin in the spring. Mack will doubtless get abolitionized if he stays in Oberlin four years. The speaking in the chapel this afternoon was very good.
The Chicago or Eastern mail brought me a letter from Aunt Lize, to-night. It is a real old fashioned letter, such as cannot be got from everyone. I can take some comfort in reading such letters as Aunt writes. The society to-night was very interesting. The question chosen for the next debate reads as follows. Resolved. That the Monastic institutions were beneficial to the cause of learning in their day. The disputants appointed were T.S. McClelland, Daniel Austin, L.A. Kent and F.B. Hunt. Not being able to come to a decision as to which side of the question each would defend, it was resolved to cast lots giving to the lucky one the privilege of choosing his own side, the lot falling to me I chose the "Affirmative." Mr. Hunt is my assistant. My Chum, Ed. has been on a hunting excursion to-day and is rather on the sick order to-night. I have prepared no lessons yet for the morrow.
Friday 28th-- To-day, for the first time, I played truant. The reason is simply this: when the time arrived to recite in Greek I did not have my lesson, and rather than fail I chose to absent myself. Procured a bottle of stuff from Dr.Strong, to doctor my nose with. I fear something bad will result from my continued sore nose. Read aloud the celebrated pro-slavery speech of Charles O'Connor, at the Union Meeting at the Academy of Music, New York City, Dec. 19 1860. Called to see the Philagoreans in their lodge, to-night. Half past twelve, I must go bed.
Saturday 29th-- Took tea with Mrs. Peck this evening. The Sentinel of this week contains an editorial relating to the visit of the Prince of Wales, Lord Renfrew58, to Dwight, Ill. The Prince is on a hunting excursion to the prairies of the west. Have spent a good deal of time to-day copying off my speech for next Thursday's exercise. Read some miscellaneous.
Sunday 30th-- Went to church this morning as usual Prof. Blaisdell preached one of his customary good sermons. Rev. Dr. Emerson occupied the chapel this afternoon. The Doctor is a very learned man, but his preaching does not conform very well with the times in regard to speed. Raining to-day, and appearance of a heavy rain to-night.
on to October-December 1860