of Melvin Byron Misener -- Page 1 of 5
Donated by: Richard L.R. Hirst, UE, St. Catharines, Ontario
The following information is quoted from diaries of Melvin Byron Misener of Crowland (May 18, 1847 - May 28, 1936), who was known by many readers of the Welland Tribune as "the Crowland Poet". His personal writings span the period from 1869 to 1935. Among the daily accounts of social events, weather conditions and farm chores there are numerous obituaries for friends, family and others living in Welland County, particularly Crowland, Thorold and Port Robinson. I have extracted these references as part of the long process of indexing the diaries. Hopefully, someone will find them of use. They are organized chronologically as they appeared in the diaries but I have added notes where they were required
Note: The diary for 1897 is missing from the
set. It was
kept separate by Hazel Misener, Melvin's daughter-in-law, and the last owner of the diaries. I presume that it was auctioned separately the same day that I bought the others to an unknown person. If anyone knows of its' whereabouts please contact me, Richard Hirst, through the genealogicalsociety. Thank you.
Besides faithfully keeping a daily journal for sixty six years, Melvin also kept a record of his money in the back of these books. The items he bought and the prices he paid for them were all diligently noted, leaving us with an interesting snapshot of his lifestyle. Also noted in his accounts were his earnings both as a school teacher for SS #6 in Crowland Township, and money earned through farming. So we find in his accounts for the year 1872 that he has received from the secretary treasurer of SS #6 a total of $210.89 during the year paid out at irregular intervals in May, September, October and December. With these earnings he could not have managed a home of his own or the support of a family. He lived with his parents and helped on the farm in his free time until he married Jennet Robertson in 1875. His entertainment at this time consisted largely of social visits between friends and relatives but occasionally he would splurge on a trip to the fair (12 cents) or a Social (16 cents). On one evening in July of 1872 he paid the grand sum of $1.25 to see a menagerie (zoo) being exhibited in Welland. In modern terms this is the rough equivalent of spending $100 dollars to go to the zoo. Hopefully that was the admission for the whole family! In 1875 he had dinner at Luther Boardman's Tavern for one quarter of a dollar and it cost him 35 cents for a picnic the same year. These items however are the exceptions to an otherwise frugal life. Like many farmers today, he had to track ever penny he spent in order to make ends meet. Most of the entertainment was free with the exceptions of the fair, socials, lodge meetings and the occasional circus. Other purchases consisted largely of food, clothing, medicine,farm tools and supplies. The prices, of course all seem low by modern standards but are generally high by comparison to his income.