Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 1918

Nov. 28

Thanksgiving! Made candy for Azel and his room-mates, cleaned up, went after the mail. Edgar and Gerald came for dinner. the boys washed the dishes, went out riding. got Catherine and went to Faulkton to a show “Joan of Arc”. Had supper at the “Tanner”. show started about 8:30. 19 of the Cresbard kids were down there. Gerald drove the car, Edgar slept and us girls sang on the way home, got here at 12.

Nov. 29

Went to school, up town and to choir practice. got home about 10:30.

Nov. 30

Done the Sat. work, finished my cap, crocheted, sewed bluebirds on a scarf. My head started to ache about 5 and went to bed early prepared for having the flu.

Dec. 1

Sure sweat some last night. Dr. came and said the folks better get me down stairs. Mama and Papa carried me and I thot I’d fall on my head sure. temp 100 ½ . Edgar came a little while this aft.

Dec. 2

Temp 102 and some sick. Edgar came during his supper hour and brot a bottle of grape juice.

Dec. 3

Temp about the same and sick to my stomach. Edgar sent me some beautiful flowers.

Dec. 4

Temp a little lower but awful weak.

Dec. 5

Temp somewhere around 100. Dorothy and Rose came to see me. Mother got sick today.

Dec. 6

Still awful weak, Rose and Dot dropped in again. Edgar brought some roses from Aberdeen.

Dec. 7

Dorothy came

December 8

Just weak and mean, Edgar came and he and Floss made ice-cream. He gave me a box of cherry chocolates, tried to sit up but couldn’t.

Dec. 9

Sat up to eat breakfast, read.

Dec. 10

Got up and felt so foolish and awful weak. Tried to translate Virgil.

Dec. 11

A little stronger today. Edgar came up a little while.

Dec. 12

Washed dishes but got awful tired. Started knitting my sweater sleeves over.

And then November 28this Thanksgiving. Clearly Thanksgiving has changed quite a bit since then. First, Clara had school the next day. Today, schools are closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Plus, mail was delivered on Thanksgiving. She certainly is busy that day, but she doesn’t appear to be spending the day with family partaking in a turkey feast. She is out with friends most of the day. 

In the evening, the group heads to Faulkton, which is the county seat and about 20 miles away. They had supper at the Tanner, which is dining room of the Tanner Hotel on Main Street. The hotel was built in 1910 by Albert Tanner when he moved from Michigan to South Dakota with his wife and kids. In the 1920 census, he and his family may have been living in the hotel with six others, who were perhaps borders. But by 1930, he had become successful enough to move into his own place on the outside of town. But in the intervening years, the kids went to work at the hotel, with the two sons, Chauncey and Glenn listed as clerks.

Article about purchase of Tanner Hotel

An interesting note about one of Albert’s daughters, Iva. She and her husband, Robert Byrne, bought the hotel from Albert in 1938. They closed the dining room that Clara references and sold the liquor store on the premises to its manager. On the 1930 census, under the question “Homemaker?” the response is “yes.” And then later questions reveal that she worked as an assistant in a doctor’s office. The 1940 census does not have identical questions. For example, there is no question about being a Homemaker. she is listed as having no job and no income. However, when asked how many weeks she worked in 1939, her response was 52 weeks. Her husband is listed as a hotel proprietor, but he also lists his income as 0 despite having worked 52 weeks in 1939.

The couple lived in Faulk Country until around 1960, when they moved to Sun City in Arzionato retire.

The hotel still exists, 60 years after the Byrnes moved. It is now called the Tanner 212 Lodge, and it is run by a Tanner and his wife! I haven’t been able to figure out what part of the family they descend from, but suffice it to say that there were a LOT of Tanners in Faulkton in the early and mid 1900s.

Joan of Arc was a popular icon during World War I

After supper, the teenagers all went to a play in Faulkton, Joan of Arc. It seems Joan of Arc won a renewed popularity during World War I. Thomas Wood Stevens wrote the play, “a pageant play in prologue and nine scenes,” to entertain troops in the French town where Joan was born, and it was performed there in September of 1918. 

But it was performed elsewhere as well. The Pittsburgh Daily Postannounced performances on May 31stand June 1st, 1918, directed by the author himself. He tells the reporter, “An image which arouses such patriotic fervor as hers does, should be raised higher and the truth be known about it.” The article goes on to say that “The play will be episodic, not written in acts but in scenes. Between each scene, a figure representing “Mother France” will appear and translate into simple poetic lines the sentiment of the prose which is to follow.”


Clara doesn’t let us know what she thought of the performance, but with 19 others from Cresbard and the singing in the car on the way home, she must have had a great Thanksgiving. 

So the next day, school is in session. I didn’t get a chance to discuss school in Cresbard last installment, so I am going to take that opportunity now.

The first graduating class of Cresbard High School was 1911, and Clara’s brother Clarence would have been in that class. In 1918, Clara was a senior.

Florence McComb, a friend Clara had written to in a previous installment who had moved to New York attended a one-room school house with Clara. And I happen to have found Florence’s report card from sixth grade!


A couple of my observations from this 1913 report card:

  • I absolutely love the note “TO THE PUPIL” on the first page. I’ll transcribe it here so it’s easier to read.
  • Be clean in person, dress, habits, thought and speech.
  • Be dutiful, polite and respectful to parents, teachers and all whom you may meet.
  • Strive to build up a good character, and your reputation will take care of itself.
  • Be earnest in play in the time for play, and equally earnest in work in the time for work.
  • Cultivate promptness, energy and patient industry. They are worth more to you than money or influence in securing success in life.
  • Finally, be courteous, obedient, thoughtful, earnest, attentive, studious and industrious. If you would win the highest esteem of your teachers, schoolmates, parents and the general public.

How about that??

  • So many exams and so many subjects. Although the front says this is sixth grade, inside with the grades says it’s fifth grade. Either way, this looks like a lot of work with pretty high expectations. Here’s a list of subjects Florence was tested in:
  • Reading
  • Orthography – spelling
  • Language
  • Arithmetic
  • Geography
  • Physiology *see below (anatomy, health, physical education)
  • History
  • Civil Government
  • Writing
  • Drawing – love that drawing is a subject
  • Deportment – This refers to how someone behaves and presents him or herself. That would include how one dresses, carries him or herself, speaks, interact with others

Regarding Physiology:

Throughout the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the temperance movement also had an influence on school health programs, stressing that children should learn about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics on the human system. As a result of this effort, a majority of states passed legislation mandating such instruction, which was often incorporated into the physiology and hygiene curricula. Physical training—commonly called “gymnastics”—also began to be introduced into schools during this period. The early leaders in the physical education movement had medical degrees, and there was much discussion about the new profession of physical education being a blend of the medical and educational fields. Physical training was often associated with instruction in temperance and hygiene; other topics of focus in the early years of physical education included anthropometrical measurement, gymnastic systems, athletics, folk dancing, and military drill.

And on the last page, her father signed each time she brought it home.

One room schoolhouse in Lafoon, SD, about 10 miles from Cresbard.

On Saturday, Clara completes her Saturday chores and spends time crocheting and ???but as evening approaches, she starts feeling ill. And oh god. She goes to bed fully prepared to have the flu. You have to remember that people all around her are dying. She has been listing them over the weeks. So certainly, she must have felt she would be facing a sure death sentence.

And sure enough. She sweat all night and has a fever. Is was bad enough to summon the doctor to make a house call. 

The doctor recommended Clara be brought downstairs. I’m not sure why, but she was sick enough that her parents carried her down the stairs. She does reveal a bit of a sense of humor, however, when she claims she thought they would drop her on her head. But she must have been very sick as not only does her temperature get to at least 102 degrees, but a week after the doctor visits, she still is too sick to sit up.

Interestingly enough, she still manages to make diary entries throughout this time. Edgar is concerned. He visits. He brings her grape juice. He sent her flowers. I love that. The romantic gesture as well as the get well wishes, even 100 years ago. A few days later, he also brought her roses. The roses came from Aberdeen, which is a town about 40 miles away and where four railroads intersected. 

I can only assume that Clara’s mother, Florence Leary Horen, was caring for Clara while she was sick, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that her mother ends up getting sick too. But it is surprising that some others are coming to visit her, meaning Dorothy, Rose, and also Edgar. After all, scientists may not have known as much about influenza as we do today, but scientists and doctors were advising everyone in 1918 to keep their distance from each other, especially if someone was showing symptoms. That is why large gatherings were cancelled across the country.

Rose was mentioned in a previous post, and I indicated that she was the sister of Joe Daley, who died on October 25that 19 years old. But upon further research, I’m honestly not sure if she is his sister after all. So I’m still looking into it and will make edits as necessary.

And I haven’t been able to figure out who Dorothy is.  The only mention of her in the entire journal is during this time when Clara is sick, so I really don’t have enough information to narrow down who this Dorothy is – it seems Dorothy was a very popular name in the early 1900s. I’ll keep searching and will make edits if I find any more information.

Floss, you may remember, is Clara’s younger sister, and she had the flu back on November 12.

But Edgar continues to stop by and one time brought a box of cherry chocolates. A few installments ago, I mentioned that a popular candy at the time was the Cherry Mash. I am not sure if this was the cherries Edgar brought a sick Clara or if was a box filled with chocolate covered cherries. 

I bring it up only because the most important Christmas present under the tree from Santa for the family, but actually for my dad, was a box of chocolate covered cherries. It was the only time we had them in the house, so they were a very special treat. So that made me wonder if that was a tradition that began on the plains of South Dakota. Although people had been eating cherry cordials for years, they weren’t mass produced until the 1920s, so it’s hard to say what exactly Edgar brought Clara. But we do know from previous entries, she does love her candy.

The brand Santa always brought us.

Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to make her feel better, as she felt “just weak and mean.” Yeah, we’ve all been there.

A couple days later, she actually attempts translating some Virgil. It’s a slow recovery, but she seems past the worst of it, which must have been a relief for everyone. She would survive the deadliest pandemic the country had ever seen.

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