Let’s Talk About: Grandma Ethel’s Diary

The year was 1909. Mary Ethel Leverich lived in Danville, Illinois, and was 22 years old, when she and her maiden aunt took a trip “out west” and to Yellowstone National Park.  We are blessed to have her diary of that trip:As you read this, imagine the amount of clothes Ethel was wearing and the likely dressy shoes. Riding in an open coach, no doubt. 

26 Jul 1909  —  Left at 8AM in stage for Norris (Geyser Basin). Rode 20 miles in the rain before lunch. Saw many beautiful things. Passed from God’s Country into the other fellow’s land. After lunch, guide took us to see the geysers and Devil’s Washbowl. The formations were beautiful. This PM rode 20 miles to Fountain Hotel. Failed to see bears. Here is the Firehole Geyser. Whole trip 195 miles.

27 Jul 1909  —  Still raining. Rode to O.F. (Old Faithful) Inn. Very rustic. Passed Morning Glory Pool, Crystal Lake, Three Sisters, Emerald Pool, Paint Pots, Devil’s Punch Bowl. After lunch will go with the guide. Gov. of New York is here. Walked about 6 miles after lunch. Stumbled and was caught by a doctor from Wis(consin). Saw the Castle Play. Morning Glory Pool was beautiful. Dr. was not in favor of my going out tonight. Saw the geysers by search light.

28 Jul 1909  —  Clear day, ready to start for Lake Yellowstone! 9325 feet altitude, 7 miles from the hotel. Saw Lake, Natural Bridge, Knotted Forest, Sleeping Giant, Kepplar Cascades, Continental Divide, Blue Ribbon Spring……place where 18 coaches were held up last year and got $1800 and jewels. Shoshone (?) Lake. 

30 Jul 1909 —  After lunch drove 21 miles to the M.H.S. (Mammoth Hot Springs) Hotel. Left for Seattle at 6:30 from the hotel. Mike bade us goodbye. Mr. Gehender, Miss Galley and Mrs. Newmeyer left for the east.

31 Jul 1909  —  Day is hot and dusty (**trains had open windows, no AC). Had hard time to get into the diner. Reached Spokane about 5 o’clock. Many people went there to register for homestead lands. Will receive a card from Mr.Oswald.

Now the wonderful family story is that Mary Ethel married John Peter Oswald in 1911! Aren’t we lucky to have this diary? Might one be lurking in a box of your family stuff somewhere?

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