What you will find below is in no way exciting. No Indian raids. No black powder smoke. Not a Ranger in sight.
It’s a one month excerpt from the journal of twelve-year-old Claude Rene Julian, who lived in San Marcos with his father, brother and two sisters. His mother had died when he was six.
It’s just a glimpse of the goings-on in a household on what was the western edge of Texas civilization at that time. The entries are brief. There was certainly more going on, but these were the things the youngster thought significant enough record.
We probably wouldn’t have this if Claude had not been the son of Isaac Julian, publisher of the San Marcos Free Press.
After Claude died in the spring on 1881, aged 14 1/2, his father published the boy’s journal in the paper as a remembrance.
The entries were headlined:
Inklings of Life in a West Texas Village – A Boy’s Journal
February 1 – Had to have a fire. The woman scrubbed. The chickens all got out, but Nellie (sister, age 16) caught all them but the rooster; Victor (brother, age 19) got him. Jessie sent Laura (sister, age 10) a new dress for her doll and some paper ones. Hailed a little.
February 2 – Victor killed the turkey; had it for dinner. Sold Laura my donkey. Papa gave me some apple. Sprinkled some. Was a little cold. Papa went riding.
February 3 – Sallie Horn gave Nellie a yeast cake. 46 degrees. Papa got me some cod-liver oil. Made a retort (a small still); distilled a little. Rained a little. Papa and Victor planted some more trees.
February 4 – Papa bought two chickens. 61 degrees. Papa got some alcohol.
February 5 – Nellie made some yeast. Had to put the new chickens in the coop because the others pecked them. Laura went downtown and came back with Papa.
February 6 – Haw (donkey) got out. Victor got a horse and went after him, but couldn’t catch him. Nellie made some crullers. Papa went to Mr. Killough’s to see about a cow. 38 degrees.
February 7 – A man brought some oats. Mr. Daniel gave us some sausages. I went downtown; got some drops. Got my hair cut. Got the paper up pretty soon.
February 8 – Papa went after a cow, but didn’t get her. Nellie went to Mr. Richardson’s, and scrubbed the dining-room and kitchen. Mrs. Deloney gave me a lemon. 55 degrees.
February 9 – Had some wine. Mr. and Mrs. Grannn were here, and Mrs. Schriver. Papa and Nellie and Laura took a walk. Distilled some wine. Jennie Fry was here.
February 10 – Victor went after the cow and got her here about ten o’clock, we didn’t like her much. Papa gave us an apple apiece. Laura went to Mrs. Harvey’s and got a big cat.
February 11 – Laura gave me a nickel. Went to town and got two boxes. Made a wagon for Laura’s dolls. Papa give me an apple. Nellie got some things to make something. Was pretty warm, about 70 degrees.
February 12 – Finished Laura’s wagon. Victor took back the one we got and got another cow. Papa got a man to dig the post-holes. Mrs. Duncan and Miss Kate Davis were here. The cow kicked Papa. 70 odd degrees.
February 13 – Cam got out, but we got him again. Papa gave me some apple. 70 degrees. Tom (the cat) caught a lizard. The man that digs holes cut off the pig’s tail.
February 14 – Papa and Victor had to go down to the office after supper. Made some soda water. Victor got some citric acid.
February 15 – Victor dug a place to put a China tree. Papa gave me an apple.
February 16 – Had chicken for dinner. Victor took some medicine. Papa gave me an apple. 88 degrees. Victor gave me some orange.
February 17 – Papa got some cod-ﬁsh. Got a little colder. Laura got a wax-doll.
February 18 – Had some cod-fish balls for breakfast. Made some soda-water, Mended Laura’s cupboard.
February 19 – Papa, Victor and a men went after Haw-haw. They didn’t get back till after four o’clock.
February 20 – Victor wrote to Grandma. Made some pictures. Papa planted some trees in front of his office. The man who was digging post-holes blasted some.
February 21 – Went down town. Victor got some flower seeds. Made a little wheel-barrow. Went to Mrs. Deloney’s a while.
February 22 – Papa planted a tree below the ledge. Victor made a hanging basket. Made a wooden man. The buyer took Cam away.
February 23 – Papa gave me two apples. Jennie Fry was here.
February 24 – Made a flower pot. Laura started to school. Me and Nellie went to Mrs. Daniel’s. Nellie took her music-lesson.
February 25 – Planted some pansies in my flower pot. Went to Papa‘e office. Planted some apple seed. Papa gave me an apple; gave Wake (pet bird) some. 80 degrees. Found a nest under the kitchen; got the eggs. Mrs. Delony’s hen had chickens. Our china and peach trees are starting leaves.
February 26 – Made a little garden. Got a wheel-barrow. Was pretty cold. Papa got a kit of mackerel. Papa brought up a soldering-iron and I mended Wake‘s cage and the dipper and made Nellie a biscuit-cutter.
February 27 – Mr. Rogers commenced setting the posts. A man brought us a pig. Made some sausage. Dug some in the yard. Mrs. Rogers sent me some eggs, and radishes, and popcorn.
February 28 – Mr. Rogers commenced making the fence; he got it below the ledge. Miss Mollie Cotten gave Nellie some violets and other ﬂowers. Mr. McMeans gave me an orange. Papa got me some lettuce seed. I planted some.