FEBRUARY 01 MONDAY - Pleasant but cold. No work in the factory on account of the excitement about the great catastrophe, the breaking away of the 2 Kohanza Dams, the destruction of property and loss of life. Eleven persons are missing; five have been found, Fanny Humphrey, old Mrs. Hustead (mother to Charles Andrews' wife), Edward Clark and his wife and child. Bridges are swept away; also buildings. Sunderland's Carpenter Shop near Stevens Street, on the east side of the Barn Plain Bridge was smashed entirely in pieces. Another dwelling at the upper end of Main Street was served in the same manner. Another standing near it (in which was Mrs. Hustead) was carried some distance from its cellar, turned end for end with the lower story entirely torn away. Chase's Carriage Shop was entirely demolished except a small piece of the south end which is alone left standing. In the P.M., Charles Hayes, Henry Hinman and myself went up to see the dams and the destruction caused by the rush of waters in that vicinity. Father Griswold came home on the evening train. FEBRUARY 02 TUESDAY - I have worked in the shop. My work kept me as late as I could see in the shop. It is reported that two more of the children drowned Saturday night were found today between Patch and White Streets. After tea, I wrote to George giving him a brief account of the Kohanza disaster and asking him to name if he could when he can let me have some money. When I returned home, Oscar Serine came in to have me write to William and have me find out about a William A. Wilcox at 32 North Morse Street if such a man really lives there and if he is a responsible man, he having written to Oscar about his western farm. He wants to buy a farm of that description. If he is not a humbug and is genuine, Oscar will go to New York with me on Saturday to see him. Mr. and Mrs. Pond also came in during the evening to hear news if any about bodies being found. FEBRUARY 03 WEDNESDAY - There were about 2 inches of snow on the ground this morning and still snowing. It soon turned to rain, however, which before night partially wasted the snow, the remainder being mixed with water. I have worked in the shop. This P.M., six of the drowned persons who have been found were buried, five of them from the Episcopal Church. The other one, old Mrs. Hemstead, mother to Charles Andrews' wife, was buried from Mr. Andrews' residence. As I came home from work, I took a letter from the Post Office from William, stating that Dan has again been disposing of pictures, etc. without permission. Charles Hayes, our boarder working at the Sewing Machine Factory, was paid off today. When he came home, he paid me $10.00 for board, which with an additional 65 cents he borrowed from me balanced accounts up to last Saturday night. In the evening, Charlie and I went into the street to market, etc. As we came home, it lightninged frequently and distant thunder was soon heard. FEBRUARY 04 THURSDAY - There was no rain last night from the thunder and lightning. I got from Mr. Pond two gallons of kerosene oil for Father Griswold before going to the shop this morning; also I killed a chicken for them. I have worked all day in the shop. I rained some in the morning and during the day it snowed quite hard for a time. Before night it cleared off cold. At noon there was circulated a call for 500 volunteers to assist in looking over the ground between White Street and North Main with pick axes, axes, shovels, ice tongs, etc. in search of the three bodies yet missing from the Sunday night calamity. I went to market in the evening. It grew cold very fast in the evening. FEBRUARY 05 FRIDAY - Cloudy in the morning and cold all day. It finally cleared away so that the afternoon was pleasant with sunshine. I have worked in the shop until about 3 P.M. After coming home, I started out again to George Starr's shop to see Clark Beers about the picture frames I am making for him. From there, I went to the Jeffersonian Office for a paper but they were not yet published, the delay being on account of the Coroner's Jury still in session on the bodies of the drowned at the time of the breaking up of the Kohanza Dam. The editor was waiting for their verdict for publication. After tea, I went to market and to the Jeffersonian Office for a Jeffersonian containing an account of the great disaster. The coroner's verdict was that the persons drowned came to their deaths by the breaking of the Kohanza dam occasioned by the action of the frost. I also went to the barber's and had my hair cut. I received a letter from William at the store relative to a Mr. Wilcox wanting to buy a farm in Iowa of Oscar Serine. Also one from George in Yonkers saying that he is coming home on Saturday evening and that he will meet me at the New Have Railroad depot in New York and that he has $20.00 to pay me on what he owes me. FEBRUARY 06 SATURDAY - Pleasant. Oscar Serine went to New York with me today. I went with him to see parties about buying his Iowa farm. I bought for Mr. Pond 75 singing books, the second book of 'Long Garden' of Mason at 596 Broadway. He sent $45.00, the trade price for them, but I got them for $39.38. He gave me the amount $5.62 for my trouble. I expected to find George this evening coming home from Yonkers in company with Jennie Stewart. He came earlier on the train from New York. Oscar and I went to visit the Velocipede Riding School in 9th Street near Broadway in the same block with Stewart's new store. I was much interested. George came home on the noon train from New York. FEBRUARY 07 SUNDAY - Pleasant. We rose rather late this morning. Charles Hayes and I went down to Sunday School. We started about 11 o'clock. Gussie came down at noon with Georgie. After school, Charles and I went home with Georgie, leaving Gussie to stay in the P.M. Another body of a child was found this morning in Peck's Ditch, making 10 that have been found thus far out of the 10 missing at first. Mrs. Clark and one child yet remain missing. George came down on his way to evening meeting and paid me $20.00 towards what he owes me. He then with Bell went to church with Charlie and Gussie. I stayed at home with Georgie. Later the child was found just below the railroad bridge and not in Peck's Ditch as stated above. FEBRUARY 08 MONDAY - Pleasant this morning, but before night it became cloudy with indications of rain. I have worked in the shop. Not having a full day's work, I got home before dark. The seats in the church were rented this P.M. Not feeling able to take one this year, I did not go to the church. I this morning at the shop paid to Mr. Crofut the $20.00 George gave me yesterday towards the $80.00 I borrowed of him On December 4th. After tea, I went to market and mailed letters for Father Griswold and a Jeffersonian to Alfred Humphry. I brought from the Post Office a letter for Miss Camp which I brought over to Mr. Pond's. William Warren met me on the street this evening and paid me the $2.00 he owed me for the 'Outlines of the U.S. Government'. February 09 TUESDAY - Pleasant this morning and not very cold. It soon however came over cloudy and in the P.M. it snowed a little. I have worked all day in the shop. Jo Kyle brought a dozen brooms to the shop which some of his brother-in-laws make. I bought one of them for 37 cents. Mr. Pond came in just before tea to borrow one of Gussie's old school readers to select from it a piece to read at one of their church socials. He selected 'Goody Blake' and 'Harry Gill' and read it over to us much to our amusement. I went to market in the evening, called at the Post Office, and got Mr. Pond's mail, waited for Oscar Serine to see if he got a letter making it necessary for him to go to New York tomorrow. We then came up West Street together as we came home. Harriet Stevens arrived this evening from New Haven. FEBRUARY 10 WEDNESDAY - Cloudy, warm and muggy. I have worked in the shop. I finished my work about 4 o'clock and came home. I then with a crowbar broke up the ice on my ash heap and with a shovel threw it with considerable ashes into a pile in the garden nearby. After tea, I went to market and bought a ham, weight 12 pounds at 24 cents, also a dozen eggs. I took a letter from the Post Office for Gussie from Harriet Stevens in New Haven, but she arrived here herself by last evening's train, one day ahead of her letter. As I returned from Market while walking up West Street with Theodore McDonald, it snowed quite hard. FEBRUARY 11 THURSDAY - The ground was covered with a light snow this morning. The forenoon was warm and the snow that fell last night was gone at noon. After dinner, it came off pleasant and cooler. I have worked all day in the shop. In the evening, I went to the Post Office and to the news office for the Harper's Weekly which contains the illustrations of our great calamity. 'The Breaking Away of the Kohanza Dam'. I got my package of Sunday School papers and came home. Before retiring, I marked off the Sunday School papers. FEBRUARY 12 FRIDAY - Pleasant. I have worked in the shop. I bought a Harper's Weekly and sent it to Eliza in California. After tea, I went to market. I ordered oysters for tomorrow at Raymond's. FEBRUARY 13 SATURDAY - A beautiful day. I have been to New York. Mr. Pond went down with me. His wife went with him as far as Port Chester where she spent the day and returned home with him by the evening train. As I went to the store in the morning, I stopped at 838 Broadway at Walter Bartram's and got 6 pictures for circle frames. They were imitations of statuary of the four seasons and night and morning. I put them in 18 inch Sperry's pattern polished walnut. They were $6.00 frames, but I did the lot for $30.00 which he paid me when I took the pictures. I brought them with me home. He was with me on the train. When we arrived, I went to his house with him to help carry them on Balmforth Avenue. The freight train due here at 1 o'clock fell through the bridge near Bate's Crossing this P.M. Three cars were run into the river. The engine ran across to the north end of the bridge where it rests on the timbers but off the tracks. One man, a brakeman, was badly hurt. To get home this evening, we had to leave the train cross the stream on a plank and take a train on this side. As the New York and New Haven car was run on the Danbury and Norwalk track at Norwalk this evening, the chain to the brake broke which made the brake useless and the two New York cars were run into the rear of the Danbury and Norwalk train, crushing the platforms of two cars, tearing up seats, breaking glass and running one of the New York cars off the track. Passengers were thrown violently from their seats, but none, I believe, were seriously hurt. The two accidents at Norwalk and up here at the bridge made it about 9 o'clock when the train arrived. FEBRUARY 14 SUNDAY - St. Valentine's Day. I heard blue birds this morning for the first time. I got ready about 11 o'clock to go down to Sunday School and went over to Mrs. Wilcox's on Stevens Street to carry a letter and paper to Mrs. Hiram Benjamin which Mr. Benjamin yesterday afternoon in New York gave me to take to her and on account of the lateness of the train did not deliver as I intended last evening. After Sunday School, I came home with Georgie. After dinner which was about 4 o'clock, Charlie and I went down to the lower railroad bridge to see the horror made there yesterday by the breaking of the bridge and precipitating the cars therein. The engine was extracted from its position about noon and drawn up to the depot leaving its tender still in a bad position. This however, was got out about 5 o'clock while we were there and we rode up to the depot as they drew it up. This morning was pleasant, but this P.M. it has been cold, cloudy and damp and about evening time, it commenced raining a little. I stayed home in the evening. Charlie attended church with Gussie for the first time. FEBRUARY 15 MONDAY - It snowed a little during last night but rained hard this morning. It remained cloudy all day but in the evening cleared off so that a few stars and the moon were seen. I have worked in the shop. I went down to the church in the evening to attend the Sunday School teachers' Meeting, but there was none on account of the bad walking which prevented the teachers from attending. I came up home with Elijah Morris to give him the bundle I brought for his wife on Saturday from her folks. I then returned with him to the Post Office. I bought 2 dozen eggs of Randall & Bradley for 32 cents per dozen and two small pieces of cheese and came home. FEBRUARY 16 TUESDAY - A little frozen this morning; pleasant but very muddy during the day. I have worked in the shop but finished my work before dinner. I spent some time after dinner arranging for a new hat for Walker Bartram. I went from the shop to J. W. Ives to see if I could get a job for Dick Coburn but did not. From there, I went to John Cosier's office where I spent the rest of the afternoon. After tea, Robert Cocking came in to inquire about Mark Bouton who has been applying for his upper rooms to rent out for next year. I went over to see if Mr. McDonald would let me take his horse to attend the funeral of John Bouton's baby but he intends to go himself and use the horse. I then walked down town with Robert and applied to A. Hickok for his horse, but that also is to be in use. I then did some marketing and came home. FEBRUARY 17 WEDNESDAY - Pleasant in the morning. Cloudy with some appearance of storm at noon. Pleasant again just at night and in the evening. I worked in the shop until noon and then came home to attend the funeral of John Bouton's baby about 5 months old at 2 o'clock. After the services at the house I came home, changed my clothes and returned to the shop and finished my work. In the evening John came over to see me about having the wreath and cross which was on the coffin preserved. Later, he sent it over by Henry Hinman. I went into the street in the evening and called to see Charles Carpenter at Scofield's Store about taking for him a letter containing money to his brother John at Manny's Carpet Store, 14 4th Avenue, New York. He gave me the letter which I will deliver tomorrow. FEBRUARY 18 THURSDAY - It was snowing hard this morning. About 9 o'clock, it cleared off and was pleasant and warm the remainder of the day. I have been to New York. The snow all melted away before night in the city, though there is considerable left here in Danbury yet. I went down today to take a funeral wreath to preserve for John Bouton. I took a letter with money to John Carpenter for Mr. Carpenter. I got 2 dozen passe-partouts at J. Handler's for O. H. Swift and brought them up with me. I also brought the pictures I have been framing for Clark Beers ' 'The Great Eastern' and 'Washington Crossing the Delaware'. After supper, a little after 9 o'clock, I went over and delivered them. The bill was $6.00. He paid me $5.00 leaving $1.00 due me. The railroad bridge which broke down last Saturday has been repaired and the trains ran over it tonight for the first time. FEBRUARY 19 FRIDAY - The weather has been squally. Sunshine a part of the time and then snow squalls. I have worked in the shop. I had velvet surfaced hats given me this P.M., the first I have ever done. As I came from work, I bought $2.00 worth of sugar. I went to market in the evening and got at D. P. Nichols & Co. store, John Gray's soldiers testimonial and brought it home and put it in a frame I brought home from New York for E. Gilbert. John, per agreement, left it at Nichols' store for me. FEBRUARY 20 SATURDAY - Pleasant and warmer. I have been at home today, something unusual for me on a Saturday. I took with me to the shop John Gray's soldier's testimonial which I frame for him. He paid me for the frame, but still owes me 16 cents for two yard of cord. I took a new hat (velvet surface) up to Walker Bartram as I came from work. He thought it was rather small, so I refused pay for it until next week after he has tried it over Sunday. I brought home a letter for Charles Hayes from William at my store. Feeling an unusual desire for a glass of cider, I went before tea up to Mother Griswold's and begged a little. After tea, I went to market. While in Randall & Bradley's, Clark Beers paid me $1.00 balance due on picture frames. I walked up from the street with Mr. Pond. I am very tired tonight from working on velvet surface hats. FEBRUARY 21 SUNDAY - A beautiful morning. I went down to Sunday School at noon. After school, I came home with Georgie. In the afternoon, it showed signs of storm. At 6 o'clock there was fine rain and mist. Between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening, I went over to John Bouton's to call on them, it being the first Sabbath since the death of their baby. I stayed until about 8 o'clock and then came home. We all stayed at home in the evening on account of the storm and bad walking. FEBRUARY 22 MONDAY - Washington's Birthday. Muddy, cloudy and rain in the evening. Gussie received by mail the Danbury Times from Harriet in New Haven. It belonged to Henry Hinman. She, by mistake, took it away with her last Saturday. After supper, Charles Hayes and I went into the street. I did some marketing and then we came home. The new military company has a ball tonight at their armory. Louise came down and spent the evening with us. I wrote to William this evening and mailed it ordering 2 frames for testimonials. FEBRUARY 23 TUESDAY - I have worked in the shop. Rain in the morning and more or less during the day. A heavy fog after dinner. About 5 o'clock P.M. it cleared off with a high wind and cold. Old Mrs. Eames, sister to Mrs. Hurd, was buried this P.M. at 2 o'clock from Mr. Hurd's residence. She died in New Haven last Friday night and was brought here today and buried. I wrote to William this evening and mailed it countermanding the order for one of the two frames I ordered by letter last evening. This evening, I called at the shirt factory to see Walter Bartram about the hat I sold him on Saturday. He wants it stretched a little, it being too small. From there, I called at Swift's store and walked up West Street with him as I came home. FEBRUARY 24 WEDNESDAY - Pleasant but colder. I have worked in the shop. After tea, I went down to the Post Office and to Randall's store for a little chees and then came home. Georgie went to bed feeling poorly from a severe cold he has. We fear he will be sick. George Foot, who has this winter had trouble with his wife (formerly Eleanor Wildman) known by many before her marriage as 'Long Ellen', and declared that he would never live with her again and called her every name he could think of that was abusive, did on last Saturday go with her to Norwalk returning home in the evening (or on Monday) and he does not now deny living with her again. This afternoon, he came the shop with his left foot tied up in cloth, hobbling with a cane having last night badly scalded it with hot tea. The 'old woman' he says dropped the tea drawer on it as she was carrying it from the stove to the table. He will not say who he means by 'old woman'. It is doubtless his wife but he is ashamed to own that he has taken her back again after abusing her as he has. FEBRUARY 25 THURSDAY - Pleasant. I have worked in the shop. As I came from Work, I borrowed at Joseph Ives a pump for pumping off kerosene oil from the barrel for Father Griswold. Gussie went to the doctor's today and consulted him for Georgie and got some medicine. He has not sat up during the day, though the high fever which he had last night is broken and this evening, he appeared better. I held him after he sat well bundled up awhile at the table and ate a little toast. I stayed at home in the evening and let Gussie go to market. She went to Dr. Bulkely's again for another medicine. He told her that he wanted some money from me as soon as possible. Mrs. Bradley called here as she came from evening meeting. FEBRUARY 26 FRIDAY - It commenced snowing this morning about 8 o'clock and continued all day until evening when it cleared off. It snowed very fast. There is 10 inches of snow on a level. I have worked in the shop. William Carlton cashed my account before leaving the shop - $24.00- as I am intending to go to New York tomorrow. I sent up to the shirt factory for Mr. Bartram's hat which he agreed to leave there for me today to stretch for him but he had not done so. As I came from the shop, I bought 3 dozen eggs of Randall & Bradley at 28 cents per dozen. Before tea, Henry Hinman and I shoveled out the paths in the yard and the walk in front. I went to the Post Office in the evening and to Mr. Swift's for the amount of Handler's bill for the last passe-partouts he bought of him. He gave it to me to pay for him as I am to be there tomorrow. Mr. Pond came in this evening to have me do some errand for him tomorrow in the city. FEBRUARY 27 SATURDAY - Pleasant. I have been to New York. I did some errand for Mr. Pond, got for him some small bills at 112 Bowery, exchanged shoes at 29 Spruce Street, bought 1/3 dozen boxes of white chalk at Barnes', corner of John and William Streets. My landlord, Mr. Galen Terry, came to the store to see me about the lease of the store for another year. I deferred an answer until next Saturday. I paid Tibbel's $5.00 on account. The children from Howard Mission, who are to sing here tomorrow, were on the train this evening. They gave us some excellent singing on the train. Gussie's cousin Arthur Griswold from Elyria, Ohio came this evening from Hartford. Edgar Bouton from Georgetown was on the train also. He went to John Bouton's where his wife is and has been for two or three days past. FEBRUARY 28 SUNDAY - A pleasant day, but cold last night and this morning. I went down to the church a little before noon. After the Sunday School session, I came home and Cousin Arthur Griswold went back with me to the church to hear the children from Howard Mission sing who have been this P.M. at our church. All the Sunday Schools in town were there and the church was crowded. Gussie came down at noon with Georgie. He stayed, but Gussie was obliged during the exercises to leave and come home on account of a sick headache. She was not able to get dinner, so I got it myself for Charles Hayes and me. Father came down to have me cut his hair, which I did before dinner. Gussie retired early. I spent the forepart of the evening up to Father Griswold visiting with Arthur Griswold.
Purdy, Horace, 1835-1909. “Horace Purdy Journal February 1869 Entry.” Horace Purdy Journals, MS 044. WCSU Archives, 9 July 2019. Accessed on the Web: 22 July 2019.
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