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Kankakee River man

Pictured is a man on the Kankakee River.

Diaries are a great source for historical information and provide insight into the thinking of those who came before us.

We have one such treasure written by Kankakee River pioneer Josiah Granger. I have not found Josiah with my Ancestry subscription, but I believe that he most likely was related to the other Grangers that lived along the Lake and Newton County stretch of the Kankakee.

The following are selections from 1852. I am leaving the diary in Josiah's original phonetic spelling.

"Jan 1st—This is the first of the yeare & I start in not very well. Cold prevales & a good dele of snow. I stay mostly in my blankett."

"Feb 21-22-23-24-25—All bad days. G. Washington had a birthday on the 22nd. That was my birthday too. The politicks would make him sick if he could see them now. Thares lots of dead pepil that would not like what is now going on, and we would not like som things they done if we was thare."

"April 24th—Jaybirds & crows ben jawing a good dele round the house & making a rackett & thare is a lot of fox squorls & coons bobbing around the land when the wether is still & a bear com across. Would like to get that cuss. Lots of wolves around. Big spring for ducks & gese but most hav left. Meny staying to bild nests. Must see in the attic what seeds I hav then must plan. Must plant erly stuff."

"July 31st—Too hot to rite in wether book. Still dry. I mostly stay down by the pump."

"Sept. 20fh—I got a cubb bear that was 1/2 in & 1/2 out of a bee tree after honey & got him home well chained with a colar. I got about 60 lbs honey. This was yesterdy & the day befoar. The animil eats well & acts tame but scared. I name him Jim Crow."

"Nov. 6th—Got a buck rite on the iland. They will go poking their heds in the window to get shot if I dont watch out. This was yesterdy. Jim Crow is loose now & spends time mostly on the roof & up the cottonwood. He was in the chickins Tuesday nite & today he was in the house & upsett things. Might as well be a horse loose in the house. Must put him back on chain. If you want to keap busy you want to keap a bear. He is a quere cuss & probly smells the honey. She still blows & tomorro I go for ducks. Wish I had all the lead I spattered around on that marsh in my time. Must have raised the watter som."

"Dec. 31st—This was the last day of the yeare & whatever hapened is now all over. It is awful cold & still outside & once in a while I heare frost cracking in the woods. The yeare is now coming to its end in a few minits. It is prety late for me to be around but I am waiting for the old clock to strike 12. Maybe next yeare at this time I will be asleep. It is awful lonesom heare tonite & I wish I had my folks around or if them 2 litle boys was only heare or sombody. Maybe tomorro sombody will com. I notis by the looking glass that the old man hed is prety white. He has ben frosted som. He now goes into his blankett for the yeare ends as he writes."

The complete 1852 diary can be found at the KVHS website.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion.


Community Coordinator

Annette is Community Coordinator for The Times. She has been with the paper for two decades. A resident of Hobart, she graduated from Purdue University with degrees in English and German.