In this edition of The Diaries of Carrie, it is clear that my great-grandmother Carrie Alice Williams (1883-1967) and my great-grandfather John William Scott (1881-1936, called either Bill or John in the diaries) were struggling. It seems they fought and there was a bit of drama. I’m not surprised by this because within 2-3 years of this diary, John and Carrie divorced, almost unheard of in the 1920s.
To give you a bit of background, my Great-Grandpa suffered from a mental illness, most likely bipolar disorder based on descriptions of his behavior. In fact, he committed suicide in 1936, at least his third and, ultimately, final attempt. It is also quite likely that Great-Grandma Carrie Williams was mentally ill. Conversations with my Grandma Scott and other anecdotal details give me this impression about both of them. Of course, nothing can be confirmed in this regard because mental illness was not readily treated during their lifetimes, much less acknowledged.
Tues. Feb 1, 1921
At Haindels about 2 hours. Haindel payed rent.
[According to the 1920 census, the Haindel family consisted of Chancy (b. ca 1852 in Indiana), Ella (b. ca 1866 in Michigan), and Ester (b. ca 1905 in Iowa). This family features prominently in this diary.]
Wed. Feb 2, 1921
Washed and mopped. Kids came home for dinner.
Thurs. Feb 3, 1921
Lonesome. Nothing important. Got some writing to do. Started to Bashie’s. Didn’t go. Something said not to. I’ll have to write for Hurst.
Fri. Feb 4, 1921
Dirty lowdown devil. Threw me out the door. Bruised my knee and made my leg and arm sore. Oh, the bruit. How I hate him. Bonnie sick. Took her to the Dr.
Sat. Feb 5, 1921
This is my birth day, 38 years young. Bruised by the devil in human form. This is a great birthday. Bonnie is 6 today and sick. [My Grand-Aunt Bonnie was actually born on Feb. 4. I find it interesting that she mentions it as if they shared the same birthday. They did not.]
Sun. Feb. 6, 1921
Mrs. Surett made her first short call. Haindel was here too.
Mon. Feb 7, 1921
Haindels was here. It was cloudy but a very nice day. Nothing good or bad. Bill pouted. How hateful he is. It rained and froze. So did he, pout.
Tues. Feb 8, 1921
He had his clothes out in the barn. While I was at Hursts, I found them today. He said he wished I was dead. That he wouldn’t help me if I was dying. Intended to desert kids. Still mad. Pouts and kurses. Such a life.
Wed. Feb 9, 1921
Bill still pouting. Said he wouldn’t support me, He hated me. Cursed me. Said oh such bitter things. Said he wished I would drop dead. Talked about gro. Said to get groceries at Toms. Kissed niogro. [This makes little sense to me. I’m guessing this means Negro and the “gro” reference is to this same person.]
Thurs. Feb 10, 1921
Bill left this morn while I played and sang piano. Don’t know whether he is gone for good or not. Ines cried, ran after him. Balled the Ohio gro man out yesterday. Oh how mean he is. Didn’t tell where he was going. God pity. My poor children. Heaven help. [Gro man probably refers to a black man, since they were often referred to as Negro in the 1920s.]
Fri. Feb 11, 1928
Irond and cleaned house. Worked hard all day. Mrs. Hurst called. I wrote her a letter, played hide and seek, at night had a nice time. Histeric and heart ache. Oh Heavens. This is awful.
Sat. Feb 12, 1921
I went to town at 3 o’clock. Mailed 6 of my music copies to Warfield Music Service. Borrowed $4 of Mrs. Trent. I was great-ful to her. Met John as went to town, coming home. He is a pretty thing. I had a spell of nerves. [Warfield was another music publisher that Carrie would submit her music to for publication. It is possible that Mrs. Trent is Iva Trent who lived in Mounds, Oklahoma at the time of the 1920 census.]
Sun. Feb 13, 1921
Went to Bashie’s today about 2 o’clock. Spent the morning playing piano. To Haindels at night. Hurst went to. Bill prowled in my drawers, Wesley said.
Mon. Feb 14, 1921
Went out to Hurst. Work. Didn’t find any. Stayed home in morning. Had dinner ready for kids, Oh I was so tired. Went to bed about 7:30. Kids annoid me.
Tues. Feb 15, 1921
Over at Hursts. Played organ. At Hursts again at 8 o’clock at night. Came home at 8. Told fortunes at cards.
Wed. Feb 16, 1921
Beautiful day. Just a little cool. Birds peeping fourth. I am afraid they will get killed. Bill raised the rent. Yimmy’s moved. Warm day.
Thurs. Feb 17, 1921
Washed. Pressed. Wesley fell and broke both bones in the same arm that was broke before. Armstead called to look at Haindel House. Warm day.
Fri. Feb 18, 1921
Snow fell thick and fast. Commenced at 9 o’clock. I took Wesley to Dr. S, Didn’t need anything done. He went to school.
Sat. Feb 19, 1921
Mrs. Haindell baked pies on my stove. A letter from Pa. John mortgaged this place for $150. That was both disagreeable and disgusting. I signed the hateful thing. What will become of us. God help.
[Pa was Napoleon Preston Williams (1846-1922). He lived in Osage, Camden, Missouri at the time of the 1920 census.]
Sun. Feb 20, 1921
While getting breakfast, I went to the pantry. Bumped my head on the door, went to correct Wesley. He threw his hand up and stuck a knife in my wrist. Cloudy most all day.
Mon. Feb 21, 1921
A letter from Dora today. Was so glad to get it. The cards said I would get it at once. Bill quarreled about the gass. Oh he is hell alive. [Dora was Dora Williams (1888-?), Carrie’s younger sister.]
Tues. Feb 22, 1921
Went to Bashies. Found all well. Wrote letter to Dora and Pa.
Wed. Feb 23, 1921
Washed, mopped, and done my pressing. To Haindels. In eve back home. Hurst and Haindel here at night after Hurst and I came back from post office. Hurst got letter.
Thurs. Feb 24, 1921
Cleaned rugs in fore room. Very busy. Visited school in afternoon. Had a good time.
Fri., Feb 25, 1921
Went to town with Mrs. Hurst. Met Mrs. Trent.
Sat. Feb 26, 1921
Foold around all day. Cleaned house in fore room.
Sun. Feb 27, 1921
Bashie came in the afternoon. Got a letter from Pa. Ines was sick al day Sun. Al night too. Up all day to day, didn’t go to school. My nose stopped up.
Mon. Feb 28, 1921
Beautiful day. Birds are singing merily. Would to God that children and [I] could be happy. With out hearing curses and injoy life like the birds, God help us.
- Carrie Alice Williams (1883-1967) (tracesofmypast.wordpress.com)
- The Diaries of Carrie: 1/1/1921 – 1/10/1921
- The Diaries of Carrie: 1/11/1921 – 1/31/1921