LIFE AND TIMES OF MATHIAS FITCH (1843-1923)
Throughout most of his life, MATHIAS FITCH, NATHANIEL’S second son, maintained a daily journal of his activities and finances. Thanks to his great grandson, ROBERT E. FITCH, we have access to some of Mathias’s journals. What he recorded on a daily basis gives us an appreciation of what it was like to live among the Fitches near Huntertown, Indiana, about 100 years ago. His journal tells us about the weather, about managing his farms and mills and about family and neighbors.
Tuesday, Jan. 3 Clear, moderate
Ground some feed. Fixed up shaft (of sawmill turbine). DAVID (Fitch) here to get log boat. He got it to draw some logs. SCHUYLER (Mathias’s son) helped at putting up shaft.
Wednesday, Jan. 4 Thawing
Worked at putting up shaft. Ground some. AMOS FITCH and JO PEPPLE drawed some logs. HONEK here. KEARKEY here, got some of his grist. Went to schoolhouse to teach bookkeeping in the evening.
Thursday, Jan. 5 Cloudy, Thaw
Worked at shop. Made stand for grinder. Ground some. BOGER here to see if I could shoe his horses. Going to bring them tomorrow. Working at shaft some.
Friday, Jan. 6 Rain most of the day
Worked in shop. Shod BOGER’S horses. J. J. RUNDLES here to get pipe tongs. PERRY GUMP here to get his grist. Was not done. MIKE BEBER here to get some lumber. Got a few pieces.
Saturday, Jan. 7 Cloudy, Warm
Worked at putting up shaft and mill. Got it going. Ground some. KEARKEY got his grist. Paid for it. Gave money to SCHUYLER 50 cents. Went to depot at FIVE POINTS. Schuyler went along.
Sunday, Jan. 8 Mild
Drove down to Mother’s. (SARAH ELIZABETH (DELONG) FITCH) Took SCHUYLER and ALTHEA to the GRIFFINS. Came home. Read papers. Wrote some letters. Schuyler came home in P. M. WALTER (Mathias’s son), BESSIE and ALTHEA 9 (daughters) at Griffins.
Monday, Jan. 9 Some colder
Went to Fort Wayne on the 10 o’clock train. Got dinner 25 cents, bridles $6.50, shirts & overalls for John (son) $1.70. Sent to Western Rural $3.40, leather pegs and ants $1.45, rivets 40 cents, board $1.25, pens & chalk 60 cents, RR fare 10 cents.
Tuesday, Jan. 10 Colder
Staid all night in town at LANGS. Attended annual meeting. Came home in the evening. Schuyler came to the train for me with team. He went to GEORGE WILCOCK’S to social.
Wednesday, Jan. 11 A little warm
Helped to grind some. JOE WHELSET came and got his grist and bought some lumber 25 cents. Went to schoolhouse in the evening. Had class in bookkeeping.
Thursday, Jan. 12 Thawed some
FRED SMITH here with grist, is to get it one week from today. Ground some for ourselves.
Friday, Jan. 13 Cold
Worked in mill some and in barn. Cut partitions on stalls shorter. Something wrong at mill dam. Could not grind much.
Saturday, Jan. 14 Some warmer
Went and put some boards on dam in A. M. LIDY BEBER and children came at noon. Schuyler, Walter and I went to Huntertown in P. M. Took some butter. Got 15 cents per lb. Got 2 spools of thread, oil lamp chimney, paper, all 82 cents. Got of A. STERLING $28.75.
Sunday, Jan. 15 Cold
At home all day. WILLIE GILES here all night. Schuyler and Walter went with sled to Perry’s (Mathias’s brother). Came back in P. M. Read papers, cracked walnuts. Wrote some.
Monday, Jan. 16 Clear, cold
Took sawdust to dam to make it tight. Got back at noon. Brought load of fodder from the field and took more sawdust in the P. M. Brought some wood home. HENRY BOGER here. Gave him 2 dollars for his father to get coal at Ft. Wayne. DUNTON here to look at sheep.
Tuesday, Jan. 17 Clear
David brought the coal I sent BOGER for. Fixed some chains for David. He paid me 20 cents for fixing them. LAM BRICKER here to buy sheep. Did not sell to him.
Wednesday, Jan. 18 Clear
DUNTON, HOLBROOK, and PERRY here to see sheep. Did not sell them. DAVID GUMP and family here, had grist. Could not grind, so took it other mill. They went to RINHOLTS. Went to schoolhouse in evening. Taught bookkeeping.
Thursday, Jan. 19 Clear
FRED SMITH came after his grist. Was not done. He took it to the other mill. Schuyler went to Huntertown. Got some oysters and crackers. Amount to $1.29. I owe him 9 cents yet. PARKER here. Bought or bargained for sheep. Rec’d $5 dollars.
Friday, Jan. 20 Clear, cold
Went to dam. Drawed some fodder. Got some wood. HENRY RUNTOY (?) here to get grist ground. Could not grind. Went to mill and to GUMPS.
Saturday, Jan. 21 Clear, cold
Went to dam. Fixed it some. JIM MALCOME here. Got $1.75 worth of lumber of AMOS (brother). Rode to Huntertown with him. Sugar, coffee, cough drops 82 cents. SURFACE, A. KELL, GEORGE V, HATCH B. here to get some money for M. E. Church parsonage.
Sunday, Jan. 22 Clear, warmer
At home. Read papers. DAN PEPPLE here. BESSIE went to Grandma’s to get papers. Did not get any. NATE BEBER here to get wedge. Paid 10 cents. He got chop feed.
Monday, Jan. 23 Clear
Took wheelbarrow. Went to dam & fixed it. Schuyler drawed wood and fodder. Fixed transom. Worked in house. HENRY BOGER here to get man to help saw wood. Gave wife $1.50 to pay to John for overshoes.
Tuesday, Jan. 24 Clear
Schuyler went to help BOGER saw wood. I tended stock. Read some. Was in house most of day.
Wednesday, Jan. 25 Stormy, snow
Schuyler went to help BOGER. I tended stock. Worked in shop. Commenced to make crowbar. Schuyler got done at noon. John and I went to schoolhouse in evening to writing and bookkeeping. WILLIE FITCH came home with us. Got some honey for baby.
Thursday, Jan. 26 Clear
Worked in shop a while. Went with SAYLOR PRESTON and PARKER fox hunting in A.M. Schuyler and I went to Huntertown in P.M. Sent to Youth’s Companion $1.75. For boots for myself $2.50, for stove pipe and sundries $1.32. MRS. MARSHALL rode home with us.
Friday, Jan. 27 Clear, warmer
Took gun, went across creek to see about foxes. A man here with grist. WM. BURL here to get beech log. He went to BALLY. Schuyler, Walter and I went down creek where there was mad dog. Schuyler shot it. We hunted for rabbits a while & came home.
Saturday, Jan. 28 Clear
Took sheep to Huntertown. Schuyler & Walter went along. Got $112.30. Coffee 26 cents. Paid Walter $14.75, settled with him. Paid John $5.95. GEORGE WOLFORD rode to town with us. The sheep weighed 2850 lbs. Buck weighed 175 lbs.
Sunday, Jan. 29 Cloudy, thawed
Went down to Mother’s. HARTZELL and wife, IDA FITCH, WARREN HARTZELL & MRS. ANDREW there. AMOS FITCH & family. HARTZELL came. Got home. THOMAS VANDOLAH and EMMA GUMP came in sled. Stayed all day.
Monday, Jan. 30 Clear, thawed
Worked in shop & fixed crowbar. JOHN BALLY here to get rope and pulley. Got pulley. Sent sledge home. Went to dam & fixed it some. HORTON and TIMMONS there getting ice. Schuyler drawed fodder and cleaned sheep stables. HONDIN & son drawed logs for WEST. DAVID FITCH drawed logs. John and Walter went to school.
Tuesday, Jan. 31 Cloudy, not cold
Went with Schuyler and took some stone to the dam. Put on some boards. Some fishermen came and went fishing. GUS PICK came. Schuyler and him went hunting. They hacked and dug out a skunk. Gus stayed all night. John was at Huntertown and got papers and letter for Bessie.
Wednesday, June 13 Rained some
The boys got done replanting corn and hoed some potatoes. I made a beehive, changed some into them. AMOS (brother) here after lumber.
Thursday, June 14 Cloudy
The boys fixed race. I worked at hives. Peddler here. Got socks and tablecloth $2.25. Machine agent here. Went to Huntertown in evening and got of FRED PRESTON crate of honey boxes $2.80, letter and lemons 20 cents. JOHN GRIFFIN here with grist. David paid the money he borrowed $10.
Friday, June 15 Clear
The boys plowed potato garden. John and I went down home and got plow. ________ calf we brought it home. Candidate here. ED DRAKE and ED PARKER. Got PERRY FITCH’S shingles sawed.
Saturday, June 16 Clear
Sawed some. Worked with bees. Went to MIKE KISTLER’S in P.M. Looked at his bees and stopped at SAM SURFACE’S. Went to Huntertown in evening. John went along. Attended Selective Meeting. Got bananas 10 cents. Got home about midnight. The shingles on one house of ESTHER’S amount to $3.32.
Sunday, June 17 Clear
Read papers. LULU SURFACE, WILLIE FITCH and other boys here. Schuyler took horse and buggy. Bessie, Althea and I went to CEDAR CHURCH in the evening to Children’s Day. Got home about 11 o’clock. To collection 25 cents.
Monday, June 18 Cloudy
Schuyler plowed potatoes. John hoed cane. Walter choring. I went to dam and worked at bee hives. Changed on swarm of bees. CURTIS WEST here. Got sawdust and fixed leaks.
Tuesday, June 19 Clear
Worked at beehives and at dam. Wheeled some gravel to make it tight. Schuyler, John and Walter worked at hoeing cane and potatoes. Went to commencement at CEDAR CHURCH in evening. Bessie went along.
Wednesday, June 20 Clear
Sawed some hives and worked with bees. Had swarm of bees. SIL SIMON here, paid interest on his note, amount $16. Went to Huntertown in the evening. Stayed at meeting. For matches 10 cents.
Thursday, June 21 Clear
Went to Fort Wayne and got check $13.20. For suit and overalls and suspenders $9.10, bedspreads gingham $3.71. For fixtures $1.35. Railroad and dinner $1.58. Banans and lemons 20 cents, soda 10 cents. Walter went along to town. Sold bees wax for $3.60. R. CONE here in morning, got some lumber, amount $1.00. Did not pay for it.
Friday, June 22 Clear
Worked making some bee fixtures. The boys worked in corn and potatoes. I went to Huntertown in P.M. and attended caucus. Rode home with DAVID FITCH. Paid GUS PICK for shearing sheep and sold him shears. Owed him 90 cents.
Saturday, June 23 Cloudy
Worked at sawing some. In evening Schuyler went to picnic at CEDAR CHURCH.
Sunday, June 24 Clear
At home all day. Wife and some of the children went to BOGER’S. Bessie and Schuyler to Sunday School and Church. Quite a number of boys here.
Monday, June 25 Rain
Cleaned shop. Fixed and sorted iron. Fixed workbench. Sawed some and commenced to fix in barn. PEPPLE here to get wire stretcher. Did not get. A. THRUSH here to get log wagon. Got it and drawed some logs. J. J. RUNDLE here to get load of wood 35 cents.
Tuesday, June 26 Clear
The boys worked in barn. Sawed some plank for GUMP. BOGER here, got load of wood. HARVEY FITCH (brother) got some lumber. BOGGS here to buy sheep. HOUSTON brought hoes home and got brace and bits - brought them home in the evening.
Wednesday, June 27 Cloudy
Schuyler and I sawed on of THRUSH’S logs. John and Walter plowed corn. Schuyler worked at potatoes in P.M. Worked in barn some. Sawed another log for THRUSH after supper.
Thursday, June 28 Rain
Schuyler and I sawed pickets for THRUSH. Built car track and sawed logs. John hunted for cows. DAN PEPPLE here. HARV SAYLO here, got hay rack, stuff of Amos’.
Friday, June 29 Clear
Sawed lumber. Schuyler and John helped. Fixed cant hook. THRUSH came in the evening. Got some of his pickets. His man was with him.
Saturday, June 30 Clear
Sawed lumber. THRUSH got lumber and pickets he had left. HOUSTON and sons here to grind mower knife. Quit sawing in the middle of afternoon. Schuyler and I went to Gap well. JACOB MILLER came home with me to supper. John and I went to Huntertown in the evening. Got home at 12 o’clock. Spent for sugar 50 cents.
Sunday, July 1 Clear
WILLIE FITCH came home with Schuyler. I read papers. Bessie and Attie went to David Fitch’s. NAN, GLADYS, and ROLAND (Amos Fitch’s family) here in P.M. Two of Perry’s boys here for dinner.
Monday, July 2 Clear
The boys plowed and worked at potatoes. I sawed one log.
Tuesday, July 3 Clear
Worked in mill some. The boys worked at corn and potatoes. I went down home in the evening. Mother came home from Perry’s.
Wednesday, July 4 Cloudy
Went to PERRY FITCH’S to see him about cutting wheat. He brought canvas and came along down with me. Ripped slats. Fixed canvas. John went to Huntertown. Took mother. Schuyler took horse to Perry’s to bring machine down tomorrow.
Thursday, July 5 Clear
They brought machine. Got it set up and commenced to cut some in the afternoon. Had a swarm of bees.
Friday, July 6 Clear
The boys worked at cutting wheat. Broke sickle knife. Fixed it for WILLIAM FITCH. Had swarm of bees.
Saturday, July 7 Clear A.M. Rain
Went to LAOTTO from there to KENDLEVILLE. Bought bee fixtures $3.50. Got back to Laotto at noon. Looked around there. Got home at supper time. Went to Huntertown after supper. Got at depot honey boxes sent from Kendleville. John went with me. Stayed to meeting of Regulators.
Sunday, July 8 Clear
Read papers. Took walk with girls. Saw PERRY GUMP and MRS. HONEK. Some small boys here swimming. CURTIS WEST here to see about getting wheat. Had one swarm of bees.
Monday, July 9 Rain
Commenced to rain early in the morning. Rained most of the day. Went to Mother’s and got receipts for money. ALLEN FITCH (brother) paid her. Stopped at mill on the way home to see CURTIS WEST. Worked in shop. DAVID FITCH (brother) here.
Tuesday, July 10 Clear
HOUSTON here to get rakes. Bought 6 bushels corn of him at 50 cents per bushel. CURTIS WEST here. Sold him all the wheat. Took load down. 1055 lbs. Willie cut wheat. The boys shocked. Worked in shop with boys. Wrote some letters. John took them to Huntertown after supper. Got rake 25 cents, letters 4 cents.
Thursday, Jan. 26 Cloudy
Worked in shop, making ice tongs. Got them done by noon. Helped cut ice at dam in P.M. WORMEN helped JOHN and PARKER FITCH draw ice. WORMAN arranged to go to town tomorrow. Gave him $1 to get two sieves. Althea went with some members of her club to LENA WEST’S wedding.
Friday, Jan. 27 Clear
Around home. Looked after stock for WORMAN. He had gone to Ft. Wayne with load of wood. FRED KELL came in A.M. to see me about buying some land and buying my horse at KILLS (Kell’s ??). He went home before noon. The girls went to debate at ST. JOHN’S at night. Went with HARVEY’S and AMOS’S (brothers of Mathias).
Saturday, Jan. 28 Clear
Took cresent saw to where SURFACE boys were cutting wood. Went to FREESE mill from there. Saw FREESE. Went up the race and came home. Stopped at Mother’s on the way home and gave her five dollars. Looked after chores for WORMAN. He had gone to town with wood. The girls went to JOHN FITCH’S in evening. (John was married by this time to ROSA BELLE HOLLOPETER)
JULY 1905, FITCH REUNION
Monday, July 3 Cloudy, rained
Worked in cellar while it rained. Wrote letter and sent $47.56 to MRS. DRAKE, less sending 18 cents. I went to train in the evening. ALLEN FITCH and wife (EMMA) from South St. Paul came on train. Stopped at Mother’s. I stayed a while and came home.
Tuesday, July 4 Cloudy
I went to Mother’s. Wife and the girls came afterwards. Had reunion of Fitch relations. Nearly all of Perry Fitch, wife, sons and daughters were there. Amos Fitch family. My sons and families. Fred & Bessie (Fitch) Kell and family. Harvey Fitch and family. Mason and wife Ida (Fitch). Hartzell and wife Emma (Fitch). Gloyds and family. Strattons. Mr. Parker. David Fitch and family.
JULY 1910, FITCH REUNION
Monday, July 4 Clear
The girls, Althea, Allie and Mrs. all went in rig to HARVEY FITCH’S to Fitch reunion. Walked there until 4 o’clock. Saw most of the folks. Hartzell and wife. Gloyd and family. Mason, Amos, two daughters and son. David Fitch and all except one boy. Bertha Beers (from Colorado). David Young from Ohio (David was a nephew of Sarah (DeLong) Fitch, Nathaniel Fitch’s wife), J. B. Fitch and family and others. Ida Mason sent report from Europe. Allen Fitch sent report of Fitch fund. He had made $42 and some cents out of the $15. I paid 10 cents and 20 cents for expenses.