Exerpts from the Diary of Martha Alsina (Cass) Beardsley

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 28 Sep 1891 to 21 Sep 1914
Location: Defiance, Defiance, Ohio, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Cass Beardsley
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Martha Alsina (Cass) Beardsley kept a diary in two volumes on and off from 28 Sep 1891-21 Sep 1914.[1]

Martha Alsina (Cass) Beardsley as a young woman.
Diaries of Martha Alsina (Cass) Beardsley, photo taken May 2022
Title page written in Martha's hand for the diary that she began using on 28 Sep 1891.

Although much of the diary is fairly mundane descriptions of what she did that day (household chores, attended meetings, visited friends and family, shopping purchases, births/marriages/deaths), here are some more interesting anecdotes:

  • 20 Nov 1891: "[I]n the evening Liv[2] and I went to the Opera House to a concert. It was given by Alba Heywood and was the best entertainment I ever attended."
  • 21 Mar 1892: "Angy Grant[3] came over with a note from Cassie asking me to come stay with her tonight. Her baby is so cross she has had to wean it and her breast is going to gather. I feel sorry for Cassie to think she don’t get along better. Her baby is just four weeks old today."
    • 31 Mar 1892: "Cassie is feeling so badly and her baby is so fretful that she is completely discouraged and thinks her baby is going to die and wrote a note to Aunt Jennie saying that she wished I had the baby for a while so I went over today and got it and brought it over to my house. I kept the baby until the next Friday making eight days. It improved quite a good deal and gained half a pound."
  • 27 May 1893: "I have rented my best bedroom upstairs to Miss Grisie Hobart of Oakland, Cal. for $2.50 per week. I do the Chamber work myself I think she will want the room all summer. I like her very much so far. She is taking Elocutionary lessons of Mrs. Henry Martin."
  • Sep 1894: "I received a lovely souvenir spoon from my old friend Mrs. Carrie Babcock. She had been visiting her old home at Maumee and while there the old schoolgirls that lived near held a reunion and the spoons were given as a souvenir of the occasion."
  • 13 Mar 1895: "Wilbur and myself went out to [[Beardsley-5315|Myrties] today and staid to dinner. We started home about 2 o’clock, was intending to bring Mildred home with us. We had only gone a short distance when the horse (Kit) got frightened at a little patch of snow whirled around and nearly tipped us over when the buggy righted again it threw Wilbur out carrying the lines with him and before he could gather himself up and get hold of the lines, the horse gave a jump and started on a run. The lines were hanging by her side and out of my reach so that Mildred and myself were at the mercy of the horse. I cannot describe my feelings as I sat there in the buggy with the horse going with all its might and apparently no way of stopping her. But I began talking to horse and saying Whoa! Whoa! Kit until she gradually slowed up and finally stopped entirely. Wilbur was not hurt when he fell out so he started after us as fast as he could run and after the horse stopped I sat in the buggy until Wilbur came up and got hold of the lines. We then took Mildred home. We were all so badly frightened that we thought it best not to bring her home with us this time."
  • 23 Mar 1895: "Mrs. Leever and myself are going out this morning to solicit votes for our woman candidate Miss Dr. Kate Hoover on the schoolboard. This is our first privilege of voting and we are very anxious to elect our candidate. -Later- Our candidate was not elected." 1895 was the first time women in Ohio were permitted to vote or run for office, although only for school board elections.
  • 22 Dec 1904: "Clifford and Russell Chapman were skating on the Maumee river using sails when the ice broke and Clifford went in near the B & O Depot but not under the ice. After a hard struggle he succeeded in getting on firm ice again with Russell’s assistance but nearly exhausted. They ran to the nearest house which was some distance away. Forutnately it was Mr. Mains house. They gave Clifford dry clothing and something warm to drink and Dr. Chapman brought them home in the buggy."
  • 12 Mar 1914: "Ruth [almost certainly Alsina's granddaughter Ruth (Beardsley) Coffman stopped in on her way home from school she thinks her bloomers are too long. She took them off and I shortened them for her.
  • 30 Apr 1914: "I went to SS and in the afternoon about 4 o’clock we started out for a ride in the auto. It was awful cold and windy riding, we took Ruth with us. Got home just at six. The first thing we heard was that Charley Nelson [brother of Alsina's daughter-in-law Florence (Nelson) Beardsley, Leroy's wife] got injured on his motorcycle. Roy & Clifford started out to find him and see how badly he was hurt. They found him in a little bedroom over the Volcanizing Works. The Dr. said no bones were broken but could not tell yet if he was injured internally or not. Clifford took him over to the Hospital in the auto. The Dr. Thinks he will come out all right. He was speeding and lost control of his machine. He fell off and rolled over and over about 60 feet. He is very much improved and expects to leave the Hospital tomorrow."


  1. Martha Alsina (Cass) Beardsley diary. In possession of Christy Melick's maternal grandfather. Christy has a typed transcription and has scanned the original.
  2. Her husband Livingston.
  3. Donald Angus Grant, husband of Alsina's niece Cassie (Williams) Grant. Cassie's mother Philena Jane (Cass) Williams had died in 1886. The baby referred to here would be Cassie's son Donald Chester Grant.

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