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Martha Farnsworth

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A Farnsworth Thanksgiving

Posted by Jocelyn Wehr (Digital Archivist) on Nov 18, 2013

Here is another glimpse into the life of Martha Farnsworth, through her diary entries.  Her Halloween entry for 1918 indicated that her “boys” were serving in armed forces during World War I.  Martha and her husband had taught a class of boys at their church and they advanced with the boys each year until they were teaching young men.  Martha always refers to these young men as “our boys.”

Thurs. 31 Cold today. Writing letters all day- I wish I could write with both hands at once. Nancy Boone and Lillian Larson called early in evening and Luther Davis. Helen Campbell, Millard Stowell and Miss Bush came in for the evening. I have always had a Halloween Party for the Boys, but they are all away to War now.

However, her emotions had changed drastically by Thanksgiving because the war had ended.  The armistice ending hostilities with Germany was signed on November 11, 1918.  Thanksgiving Day in 1918 was November 28.  Martha’s entry for that day starts out with a description of the snow and then Martha shares her gratitude that peace has arrived.

November 1918

“Thanksgiving Day”

Thurs. 28  Snowing when we awakened this morning, but by noon the sun was shining bright and warm and beautiful and took all the exquisite beauty from the trees, fences and shrubs—everything was covered deep with soft, feathery snow, this morning and so wonderfully beautiful, I hated to see the sun come out and spoil it.

Thanksgiving Day and what a Day--While it is wholly an American day, yet today the whole wide world should celebrate it with us, for the most brutally fiendish, of all the Wars of the Ages, has come to an end, and we have Peace--great glorious, Peace, for which we thank God with all our very, being.  Some way, I am dumb with thankfulness.  I am so thankful, I cannot find words, to express myself.  This evening, Edwin Jones, John Keating and their friend Kenneth Corbett, Robt. Sympson-Helen Leeper, John Carlson-Dorothy Leeper, Shelley Monroe and Sallie Slaughter came in for short calls.

I roasted a fine young goose, ($2.80) and made pumpkin pies.

Martha’s eloquent thankfulness for peace reminds us that war is always traumatic on both the battlefield and the home front.

[Post written by Pat Michaelis (Research Collections Division Director)] 


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