View Full Version : 1870s diary

January 25, 2011, 09:53 PM
In keeping with the spirit of Hardcare's historical posts, here's another.
I acquired a diary/journal of a Civil War veteran who actually lived on my street in northeast Massachusetts. It was written in the mid to late 1870s. The handwriting is perfect, the ink hasn't faded, the pages are in great shape.
He sold carriages over the road, mostly in New York. He loved to hunt with a shotgun (apparently he had a problem with caps not igniting). This entry from 1877 is interesting:

"Saturday, April 28th, 1877
At Lovells gun store in Boston I met a gentleman who was evidently not only a thorough sportsman but also a man of culture and ability. During a conversation with him I acquired several new ideas that will be of value. One idea is that the reason why those caps miss fire sometimes is this – my method of setting the caps is by repeated blows of the cap setter. This method sometimes loosens the fulminating powder in the caps, and the caps in which the powder is thus loosened are liable to miss fire. He also informs me that an appliance is being manufactured by which the caps are set by pressure, thus obviating this objection."

This is an ad for the gun store he mentions in Boston:

January 25, 2011, 09:57 PM

January 25, 2011, 10:26 PM
It's interesting to see that some problems never change.

January 25, 2011, 11:16 PM
The priming compound loosened by repeated blows by the cap setter?

It sounds like those caps were too small and didn't fit the nipple very well.
He should have been squeezing larger caps to keep them secured on the nipple or adjusted the size of his nipple. :)

January 25, 2011, 11:26 PM
Hardcase, I had asked you if they talked about the actual mining in the letters you have because there was a silver mine on the property of the diary's owner (yep, in MA) during the time he wrote it. I'm trying to find info on mining claims and methods back in the 1870s.

January 26, 2011, 10:17 AM
I'd definitely be interested in hearing about it. The other side of my grandfather's family did the mining, but I don't have any letters from them. I'm going to visit one of my cousins next month - he has a bit of the mining stuff that's been passed down and perhaps he's got some letters as well.