Smalley, still single, works and plays


“We were re-planting today. A miserable old lousy scalawag crawled into one of our stables to stay overnight but papa routed him and made him come to the house. Stayed all night and left about 10 a.m. He ground scissors and such things for a living. He isn’t making much of a living if truth be told.”

— Alexander Smalley, June 6, 1872

Work is always tempered with fun for the 27-year-old bachelor. He writes, after two days of clipping 129 sheep, on June 22, “four couples of us” with Miss Libbe Smith as Alexander’s date, “went out to Mansfield to see Barnum’s big show. It was a big one, too. 12,000 people were present. We took our rations, traveling the nearly 30 miles, and had a capital time.”

Alexander celebrated Independence Day with another day of fun. “The glorious old fourth has again caused the hearts to thrill with patriotism. We also had a glorious rain this forenoon. Twelve of us hived swarms of bees this afternoon for William Glenn. He is not always the most appreciative sort of chap, but we made the work of it a fun time. Had a magnificent display of fireworks in Hayesville. Visited ice cream saloon. Saw a fellow kissing my old Jennie G. An embarrassing public display, the fool.”

The next day, not quite so much fun was to be had. “Finished working our road tax this forenoon on south end of new road between bridges.”

The summer’s heat is intense in 1872. On July 28, “Mother and I went up to Hayesville to meeting. The collection cards were distributed. Was awful hot this evening. No desire to be in meeting house.”

Upset on August 7, he writes, “Learned this morning that Smith, Eddy, Harper and Co. have assumed the responsibility of setting the school house to suit themselves. Louse Smith. How infinitely mean they must be. They ought to be treated with the most profound contempt by all their friends and neighbors, if they have any.”

Visits from uncles and aunts are noted as the summer winds down, and on Sept. 30, “Arose early and lit out for Ashland. Sister Jen took me in the buggy. Took train to Mansfield and then to Upper Sandusky, a trip of 60 miles from home. Went to Uncle Doc’s. Found him quite unwell, but better at bed time.”

On Oct. 3 of this vacation, “Arose at a late hour, feeling like a bit of a lazy bum. Took 6 hogs of uncle’s to market and sold at 4 cents a pound. Gathered grapes. After supper we went to a little German barber and got shaved.”

On Oct. 5, after noting that he attended a society meeting with another aunt and uncle, he adds, “Twas high-toned literature, sure enough. Do not like the country up through here, though. Feel a long way from home. Think the land is awful thin. Will be most grateful to see good soil of home.”

The next day he writes from, “the very high bank of the Tymochtee River in the midst of an Indian burying ground, at the place where Col. Crawford was buried. Returned and took dinner at Nannie’s. A violent rain storm visited the village of Crawfordsville at 3 p.m.”

On Oct. 8, with Uncle Doc feeling much better, “took the 7:35 train to Crestline…arrived in Ashland at 2:20 and got to Hayesville just in time to vote.”

It is not until November 6 that he writes, “Grant re-elected by a big majority. Heavy firing in Ashland.”


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