as recorded by
James Madison Hall
Monday Dec. 31st 1860. Still in Galveston [Texas], and in consequence of the cold which still continues, was unable to transact but little business. I took a few oysters however and at night visited the Theatre, and after which I went to my old friend Archy Ruthven's where I partook of a fine supper, and saw a regular scotch gather, with many fine songs. The meeting was conooked? to drink the old year out & the new one in, but in consequence of my temperence pledge I felt out of place and retired early. Thus I close my chronicles of daily events for the year 1860, now past and gone, and God only knows whether I will be permitted to live to keep one for the incoming year. weather very cold but clear. [Liberty County, Texas]
Tuesday December 31st 1861. To day I am busy in the store acting as salesman. The [rail] cars arrived from Beaumont [Texas] bring 7 more of the long looked for cannon, three of the seven being Columbiads and weighing as follows: 13,224. - 13,226. & 13,228. lbs. weather clear and pleasant.
Thus I close the records of daily events for the year 1861, and whether God will permit me to live, to keep the records of another year, is more than poor mortal man can know, but trusting in his mercy I shall enter upon the trials of another year, with hopes of future success & prosperity through his goodness & favor. [Liberty County, Texas]
From Google Books -- Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series I, Volume 17. Gulf Blockading Squadron from 16 December 1861 to 21 February 1862.
Texas. December 31, 1861.— Steamer Mary Hill returned from San Jacinto at 11 a. m., with 115 cords of firewood for the Government. She was ordered by Colonel Nichols to proceed to Virginia Point and there to discharge the wood. At 11:30 steamer Stell arrived with Captain [Charles M. ?] Mason's company on board from Pelican Spit. Returned to the spit at 3 p. m. Steamer Carr left at daylight, having received orders to tow the dredge boat from Velasco to Virginia Point. The two first guns of fourteen destined for Galveston arrived to-day from Liberty on the steamer Ruthven. The guns left New Orleans in September and have been on the way from New Orleans to Galveston three months. . . .
Wednesday December 31st 1862. Today Sam [i.e., Samuel Houston Sharp -- my 2nd great-grandpa] & I cut up and salted down the pork that we killed yesterday. I paid Cheste & Ann 3.50 for their service in helping to kill & salt down the pork. Dr. Murchison & Mother [i.e., Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts -- my 3rd great-grandma] came to see Nellie [i.e., Sam's wife, Mary Alexandrien Sharp nee Lemaire -- my 2nd great-grandma] who is still very sick, but they did not remain long. Mr. Pennington's time as Miller having expired he surrendered the mill keys to me and left for his home. weather clear and cool.
Thus I close my jottings of daily events for the year 1862 now past & gone, and whether God will permit me to live to keep the events around me of the incoming year is more than I can know, but trusting in his mercy I shall enter upon the duty which is pleasing to me and may be profitable to my family and myself hereafter. [Houston County, Texas]
Thursday December 31st 1863. This morning the ground was covered over two inches deep with snow. Father [i.e., J.J. Hall], Mother [Mahala] and Mr. Thomas Sharp [?] all left, the two former for home, and the latter for the wheat region [?]. Sam [Sharp] & I ground 6 bushels of corn & 10 bushels of wheat. In the evening the boys commenced work after their Christmas holliday. Weather clear and bitter cold. the mill pond being frozen entirely over one inch thick, and it continued to freeze all day even in the sunshine. At night it froze all the little woman's [i.e., Margaret Hall Stewart nee Sharp] eggs in my room although I kept a large fire in it throughout the entire night. It is decidedly the coldest spell of weather that I have ever experienced in the State of Texas after a residence of 28 years.
Thus closes my notes for the month of December and also for the year 1863 just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than I know but trusting in Him I shall enter upon the pleasing task, which is useful as a reference and may be profitable to those who have an interest in me. [Houston County, Texas]
Saturday December 31st 1864. To day I paid Dr. Murchison 310 lbs. of flour for 62 lbs. of wool purchased from him last fall. Hick ground 20 bushels of corn and 5 bushels of wheat. Weather clear & cold with a frost & freeze at night.
Thus I close my jottings for the month of December and for the year 1864 which has just passed & gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the Almighty will spare me to chronicle the daily events of the incoming year is more than poor mortal man can foresee or know but trusting in his goodness I shall enter upon the pleasing task which is meaningful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs after I shall have shuffled off this mortal soil and been reaped to the bosom of my ancestors. [Houston County, Texas]
Sunday December 31st 1865. To day I am engaged in making out bills of lading for the Steamer Kate & Sloop Luna, both of said boats are still here. Mrs. Beale [i.e., Nellie's mother, Elizabeth A. Lemaire Beale nee Waring -- my 3rd-great-grandma] came over and spent the day. Jimmy had another chill and fever. Frank is still improving. Weather cloudy with occasional showers of rain.
Thus I close my notes for the month of December and for the year 1865 which has just passed and gone and now numbered with the things that were. Whether the almighty will spare me to record the daily events of things passing around me for the incoming year is more than mortal man can know but trusting his goodness and mercy I shall enter upon the pleasing task which to me is useful as a book of reference and may hereafter be profitable to those who have an interest in my affairs. [Liberty County, Texas]
OMG How I love old diaries --- even when their not in my family lines. Thank you so much for sharing this bit of history with us.
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