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The diary was found by my father, Guy E. Leach around 1994 when he was helping a friend renovate a house somewhere in Michigan. My father lived in the Lake Township area near the Village of Baldwin in Lake County, Mi. I seem to remember dad mentioning that the house they were working on was in Baldwin. He discovered it when they were ripping out a closet to enlarge a room. It was found inside sitting on a 2x4 stud. How and when the diary was placed there is anyone's guess.
1875 Diary of a Unknown Girl
In the Kent County, Michigan Area
Transcribed by Larry Leach (firstname.lastname@example.org) & Leeda Davis
NOTE: Unknown Girl possibly solved. See below.
The diary is 3" wide, 5" in length and about 1/2" deep. It has a black cover that folds over on itself with the word "Diary" in gold. When you open the front cover, it has a calendar for 1875 on the front inside cover. The next page is titled "The Perpetual Diary". The next couple of pages have interest tables for six, seven, ten & twelve percent. The next page has a list of Principle Cities (in the US) with the population and their distance from New York. No Michigan cities are mentioned. There is no name of the individual who is writing in the diary. A lot of names are mentioned which may allow someone to identify some of the people mentioned. I'm hoping that somehow, someway I can identify who this girl was and return the diary to her rightful family. Please email me if you have any clues as to her identity.
The transcription is copied verbatim with all original
errors and spelling left in place. I have bolded names and places to make
them stand out better. The diary is written in cursive entirely in pencil.
At times I had a hard time deciphering the writing and and to make a guess
which is shown between brackets [ ].
Very cold today no snow but splended good wheeling. Went down to Lowell and to Maryyett had a good time. Went on the pond and had a good skate. Came home and sew the most of the evening. Received a letter from Ida.
To day it snowed all day and was vary cold. I intended to go to Debating School but on account of the storm did not go. I have been doing a little of everything and not much of anything today. this evening there has some Boys here playing Parlor Croquet.
Our Text To day was the tenth Chapter of Corinthians and fifth verse. It has been snowing most all day. went to Church this morning. wrote a letter to Ida this afternoon and have been reading most all the evening.
To Day I have done the usual Monday work wich consists of washing, Moping & [this line is too pale to read] I have Sewed Some and read some to day. The weather is quite cold it has snowed Some but is not yet sleighing.
This morning ma went up to Mrs Bailey to have Netty cut her polonaire. I went down to Mrs Maxon staid a little while and Lida came home with me and spent the afternoon. In the evening Ella & Surman were hear ane played Billyards on the Croquet board had a good time. Mr & Mrs Ward staid here all night.
This morning Pa took Mr & Mrs Ward to Ada. then he took Ma and I up to Mrs Baileys to the Missionary Society. had a vary plesant time. spent the evening at home.
Vary cold but not much snow. I have sewed all day on Ma's Polonaire. This evening I have done the most of the ironing. John Maxon was here this evening and also Willie Ford. it is now late and I must go to bed.
To Day it is milder and to night it is snowing vary fast am in hopes we will have Sleiging now. I have sewed most all day today. and in the evening went up to Mr Fullars had a good visit with Hat and a good sing.
A fearful day it has blowed and blustered all day. we did not dare to look out for fear of freezing. our plants all froze stiff it is the coldest day we have had this Season.
It is Still vary cold. Pa went up to Church a foot. So of course the rest of us Staid at home. the text was Isaiah 9 chapter & 6 verse. and his name Shall be called Wonderful Counsellor. The mighty God the everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace. - - - - - - - -
It has been a long lone-some day. We have been all alone the most of the day. Hathie [Hattie?] Wathers was here a little while.
The weather is Some milder today. Pa went to Lowell. I sewed most all day. Ma cut out some shirts for Edgar. We recieved a letter from Ida. This evening Hat Wathers was here and Don came down with his Horse & cutterand took us a Sleigh riding, we had lots of fun, went up and called on John Cole a few minits, came back and played a game of parlor Croquet.
It is quite plesant today. I went up to Mr Fullers and spent the afternoon and in the evening went Sleigh riding with John Cole. There was a sleigh load of us we went to Lowell. had lots of fun. the Boys bought a lot of candies & Don treated the crowd to cookies just for fun. when we came home we all stoped at Uncle Nelsons and got warm. Staid a bout an hour when I came home I found that [Mattie?] Crakes & Mr Phillips had been here to spend the evening. I reqreted not being at home vary much. also another young man called for me while I was gone. I expect to go Sleigh rideing.
To day it has snowed most all day. Pa went to Grand Rappids to sell some Apples and other things. had rather a stormy time, I have run the Machine most all day we are making Edgar some shirts. I believe I took a short nap, felt rather sleepy after my Sleigh rides.
It has been dreadful cold to day but has not stormed. I have not done much of anything. Stitched a little & Knit a little. Wrote a letter to Ida. Mr Mrs Clenon & Mr Wathers were here.
Cold but quite plesant. This forenoon we cleaned up the house. Mr. Johnson was here, this afternoon. Hat Fuller was here, staid to supper, in the evening Ma Pa & I went up to Mr Fuller. Lida came and then we went down to Mr Dennice and got Ella, when we come back, made a call on Mr Hoag Barn Yard fixer [fixed?] the Rober [rubber?] all nice. us four girls made arrangements for a debate of our own. When we got home Mr Maxons boys were here and George Fullar, they had been haveing lots of fun playing games with Willie.
Wrather cold today we went to Church this afternoon it being quarterly meeting. the text was Psalms 17th chap & 15th verse. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness I shall be sastisfied when I awake with thy likeness, Mr Burll Preached he and Mr. Roberts staid all night here. We had a genral good visit.
This morning went to Love feast at half past nine oclock, then public services commenced, our text was St John 18th chap & 32 Verse. And I [???] he lifted up the earth, will draw all men unto me. We had preaching again this evening and our text was first Timothy 24 Chap & 4th verse. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the Knowledge of the thuth [truth?].
Washed & Moped as usual. Ma went down to Mr. Wathers this afternoon and Hat came up here. Mr & Mrs Johnson stoped here a little while on there way to Fallasburg to get warm. Vern Price was here. We played games all the evening. he staid all night with Willie. I am quite tired and must go to bed as it is now late.
To day is vary plesant. Pa & Ma went up to Mr Wells and made a visit. Ella staid with me and about dark Hat came down and we all went down to Mr Maxon to stay all night and such a time as we had, I never expect to have agone, Boy the way we went out sleigh riding and calling, had a gay time. Went to sleep about one oclock in the morning,
This morning I came home from Mrs Maxon about nine oclock. this afternoon Ma & I went over to the Missionary Society at Mrs. S. Collan [Collar?] had a vary plesent time. Spent the evening at home. went to bed early for I was tired.
To day has been vary plesent. We have had lots of company. Maryett was up Thedore Collar & a young Fellow with him. Mr & Mrs Post was here. We had a vary plesent time. Hat Fullar & Hat Wathers were both here twice. John Cole was here and spent the evening. he invited me to go to a party tomorrow night but I declined it being a dancing party. I went up to Mr Fullars just at night a little while and while I was there Don came down with his horse and Cutter and gave me a sleigh ride. So I have spent quite a plesent day take it all around.
It has been quite cold today. Pa and I went to Lowell did not stay but a little while. Willie came down with the mumps today and is quite sick. I have been getting my things reddy to go to Coral expect to go in the morning. Denelo [Develo?] Wathers will stay here and help do the chors while Pa is gone. He is here to night. Hat Fullar was here a little today.
This morning Pa & I started for Coral at six oclock. We had
a very cold ride it was splended Sleighing. we got there about three oclock
in the afternoon. all was well, feel pretty tired must go to bed.
This morning went to church at Coral the text was Romans 14th chapter. in the evening went to church with Fred had a good meeting. the text was Isiah 55th chapt. Pa was not well at ough to go he feels quite bad tonight has a pain in his side.
Did not wash to day. Pa started for home this morning. Ida and I went to a Funral this afternoon a little child. This evening Ida went to church I staid at home and took care of the Baby. She was vary cross when it was bed time but I finley got her to sleep for the night.
This morning Ida washed and I done the house work. Sewed a little. This evening went to church alone sit with Mrs Barry and Bob Owen came home with me. asked me to a surprise party but don't think I shall go with him.
Today I have not done much of any thing. Sewed some and commenced a quilt. it has snowed most all day. Ida went down town this afternoon I did not go, and did not go to the meeting. Fred would not go with me and Ida could not go on the account of the children. I did not want to go a lone so staid at home of course.
This morning we got up vary early. I went down town for Ida in the forenoon. and this afternoon went down to Mrs Althoure [Althouse?] & Mrs Hocomes had a vary good visit. Mrs Styles was there and I had an invatation to go sleigh riding to morrow afternoon but don't think I shall go, Ida & I went to meeting this evening together. came home before meeting was out think someone was disapointed.
This morning helped Ida do up her work. then sewed the rest of the forenoon. went down town this afternoon with Mrs. Jones. then about four oclock went out sleigh riding with Bob Owen, he asked me to go to church with him but I did not go. Staid at home all the evening. we recieved a letter from Maryett to night.
quite plesent to day. helped Ida with her work some. Ida finished her Navy Blue Cloak it looks vary good. in the afternoon Bob came up to take me a sleigh riding agane, but I would not go. In the evening went to church with Fred and came home with him. had a vary good meeting.
Vary plesent to day. Ida went to class meeting this morning I staid with Mand. John Hocome came home with her to dinner. went to sabbath school at three oclock in the afternoon. commenced a letter to ma did not finish it before Church time. went to church an had a vary good meeting. the text was the 1st chapt of John & the 46 verse.
Quite plesant today. Ida washed and I done the house work, wrote a letter to Ma. went to Church in the evening with Mrs Freemans folk. we had a splendid good meeting.
wrather stormy today. helped Ida with her morning work. She went down town after dinner. I took care of the children. then I went down to see Marcella Hocome had a good time, staid untill church time then went with them to church.
A dreadful stormy Blustering day, I did not go out of the house all day. I feel wrather bad have got a vary bad cold. I think there will be no meeting to night on the account of the storm.
Vary stormy and cold to day, could not go any where on the account of the weather. Fred did not work. the snow is vary deep and roads are drifted bad. I was sick a bed most all day with my cold.
Quite Snowy To day. Ida & I done up the morning work togather, after dinner we went up to see Allie Martin had lots of fun. I got real well acquainted with Miss Switzer. went down town with her we had a gay time. went and called on Marcella then went back staid to Allies untill after Supper. Ida went to church. Fred and I staid with the Children. Mat [Nat?] took care of little Mand & Fred went to bed. went to see the [boys] [Y???] & May stink...
Plesant to day went to the Funrel of old Mr Parmer. the text was John 11th chapt and the 25 &26 verses. my cold feels worse tonight.
Vary plesant but dreadful cold. went to class meeting in the morning with Ida. and in the afternoon Ida went to Sabbath School. I took care of Mand. in the evening went to church with Mr Trumans folks. the text was Genesis 17th chapt and from the 1st to the 8th verses. Charley Gooding came home with me we had a plesent chat after we returned.
Plesant but vary cold. went down town vary early in the morning for Ida. I done the house work & She washed in the forenoon in the afternoon we went to Pray meeting. had a Splendid good meeting. Went from there and called on the Mrs Barrys then went down town and done some trading. had lots of fun in the store. went to church in the evening, a small attendance.
Plesant but still vary cold. I helped Ida make Fred a shirt. to day in the afternoon went down town, called on Mrs Styles had a vary plesant time. Went to church in the evening a large attendance. Bob Owen asked to come home with me but I would not let him come.
Quite plesant today snowed some. went down to Marcella in the morning and Billy went over to the Station to see about the trains for me. found I could not go home today. went down to Charleys to get some crackers had lots of fun. wrote a letter to our folks.
A cold blustering day. have been at home all day. I ironed for Ida in the morning have sewed some. Ida has been sick with her teeth all day. I have made up my mind to go home on the cars, feel a little home sick to night
did not go to church
Quite plesant today but the roads are drifted very bad. cars have not run for two days. had intended to go home tomorrow but can not on account of bad roads. helped Ida do her work in the morning. late in the afternoon I went down town had lots of fun, went to Charleys, he said I must get supper for him and Mr. Sager so I did and then had to wash the dishes.
I went to church in the evening.
Charley came home with me. came in. and staid only untill one Oclock.
Cold but plesant. I have done some house work today. Sewed on my Calico Apron. Went to Prey meeting in the evening. and called on the Mrs. Barrys.
Plesant today but vary cold. went to Class meeting in the morning and to Sabbath School at three in the afternoon. Ida and I went to church in the evening togather. had a great time with Mr Snider had to sit by him.
I dod not remember the text. Snider and Charley were whispering to us.
Quite Plesant today we did not work. Ida & Fred went to Mr Smiths in the morning to get some Furnihture. I staid with the children
Went to church in the evening Charley came home with me
We had lots of fun Fred & Ida had not gone to bed when we got home.
wrather plesant today went down town twice for Ida. in the afternoon Ida went to prey meeting I staid with the children.
did not go to church in the evening. Ida went and I took care of Maud alone
Mr Smiths folks staid all night here.
had intended to go home today but Fred could not go today
we had prey meeting here this afternoon, a good attendence.
I intend to start for home tomorrow morning.
went to church with Charley he came up about eight Oclock in the evening he came home with me and staid untill the Wee hours of morn, then took his departure.
Cold but quite plesant I did not do much of any thing. had intended to go home today but could not Fred had to go to Maple Hills with Mr.Smith. I am in hopes to go tomorrow.
Ida went down town in the afternoon.
we did not any of us go to church
Charley & John came up and spent the evening we had lots fun
Snow this morning a little but Fred & I started for home about nine Oclock in the morning, we found the road pretty bad the most of the way. we arrived at home all safe and sound about four Oclock in the afternoon. all was well and glad to see us come. and I glad to get home.
Quite plesant but cold. glad to be at home. helped Ma do the morning work. Sewed the most of the day. Hat was down in the afternoon to see me.
Hatti W- was up in the evening.
Vary plesant today went to church in th e morning Mr Snider Preached. his text was 1st Corinthians XVth chap and the 58 Verse (Be ye steadfast)
Mr Snider gave a lecture on Temperance this evening it was vary good.
It was not vary plesant today. Fred started for home this morning
Ma and I did not work we sewed the most of the day.
Lida was up here and spent the afternoon & staid to tea
I was at home all the evening
Quite plesant today
Pa & Ma went up to Maryett & up to Aunt Lucinday thay staid all night
I done the morning work and some Baking
Sewed the rest of the time. Lita and John staid all night with us.
So we did not get lonesome
Wrather Stormy today
Lida staid with me untill afternoon then went home. our folks came home about four Oclock. all was well Spent the evening at home.
Quite stormy and Windy today. we Baked in the morning. in the afternoon Mr & Mrs Hiler were here and made a visit.
Hat Watters was here in the evening. I went up to Mr. Vanduesons to a party we all went in one sleigh load, there was sixteen of us, we had a vary nice time.
Id one the work in the morning. Ma sewed she made Pa a pare of pants in the evening Mr & Mrs Fullar came down here and Lida, John & Charley came up here and we all went up to Hats and spent the evening
Plesant in the morning but quite Stormy in the afternoon. Pa & Willie went to Lowell
Ma & I done the usual Saturday work, we melted snow to washing with Monday
Martie and Edgar are here tonight Staying with Willie .
I intended to go tonight and join the lodge but could not on account of the storm.
Quite plesant in the morning but vary cold, Stormy in the evening.
went to church in the morning do not remember the text. Maryett & James came up to church came down here about five Oclock then went home. I wrote a letter to Ida in the evening.
Vary cold, but quite plesant
Ma & I done a vary large washing. did not do much of anything else. George Fullar came down just at night and brought us the sad news of Ellas death and her oldest child Freddy
She died Feb 21th and Freddy Feb 22th.
I was at home all the evening
Quite plesant and mild. we did not do much house work. Ma & Pa went up to Uncle Nelsons in the forenoon and staid untill about four Oclock. Hat was down in the afternoon for a change. in the evening I went to Mr Schunck to a social, had quite a plesant time.
Vary cold today and Stormy snowed all day
Ma & I have sewed most all day
Pa went up to Mr Fuller this evening. Ma read aloud and I sewed most of evening
Plesant today and quite warm Ma & I Baked and done the usual morning work I went to school in the afternoon it being the last day. there was six girls of us and one boy we had lots of fun. Mr and Mrs Moxon were here and Mr & Mrs Bailey they spent the afternoon.
in the evening we had prey meeting here there was quite a good many here
Stormed all day to day. we expected Maryett up but she could not come on account of bad roads Pa went to Lowell with Mr Watters Ma & I staid at home all day and sewed
Plesant all day
we done the usual Saturday work in the morning and Ironed. Then I went down to Mr. Moxons and spent the afternoon
Lida & I presuaded the Boys to go down to Debating School we had a vary nice time.
I came back there and staid all night.
I eat breakfast this morning at Mr Moxons then came up home with John & Lida and got reddy and went to church with them for a change.
the text was the three last verses of the 11th chap- of Mathews.
Edgar & Mr Peas was up here in the afternoon.
I spent the evening reading.
Warm plesant thawy day we did not wash. Sewed all day on my under clows
Pa & Ma went down to Mr Watters.
Spent the evening at home
Snowed some agane today the snow is about four feet deep.
Pa & Ma went up to Mr Roberts and spent the day
I kept house.
Hat & Mr. Oaks were down here, we had a good visit.
he could not stay vary long.
I sewed all the forenoon, in the afternoon Ma & I went to Mrs. [Terkes] to a Missionary Society the first one of another year, Pa went to Lowell, when we got home Aunt Lucinda was here
Hat came down just at night for some Milk.
Spent the evening at home
Snowed all day long vary hard. I sewed all day. Ma & Aunty went up to Mrs. Fullars in the afternoon
I did not care to go for a wonder
Vary plesant today, thawing some. Pa went to mill
I sewed most of the day
Aunty is still here
Maryett and James came up we had a splendid good visit. Lida was here all the afternoon
Vary plesant and thawing. Our folks have been to Lowell to take Aunty home. I staid at home and done the general house work. and Baking.
in the evening went up tp the church with Hat and George to join the Temperance lodge and of course had to ride the goat had a vary good time all things taken in consideration
went to church in the morning, not a vary large attendance. in the afternoon I wrote a letter to Ida & one to Clara.
George was here a little while in the afternoon
Plesant in the morning but vary windy and Stormy in the afternoon.
we done a vary large washing in the morning
Hat was down here a little while in the afternoon
Vary Blustering and stormy today
we had intended to go to Mrs Schanks to a quilting but could not on account of the dreadful storm.
Mr Fullar & George were here and spent the evening
Still Stormy and vary cold indeed.
Staid at home all day and sewed Mas Delane Quilt, Pa went up to the Libary
Mr Johnson staid here all night
Quite plesant today wrather cold
we done up the morning work then sewed in the afternoon went up to Hat, then we went down and see Ella a little while
in the evening a load came from up east and we all went to Mr Fullar and spent the evening. had quite a plesant time.
Plesant but still cold
Ma & I sit down early in the morning to sew and about eleven Oclock we had company come. Mr Silas Collar folks came staid all day.
I spent the evening at home and sewed
Snowy in the morning but vary plesant in the afternoon.
Ma & I done lots of Baking. Hat was here a little while in the evening
a load of sixteen went down to Debating School we had lots of fun but was wrather crowded.
Vary plesant today went to church in the morning, a vary good congregation. in the afternoon went to the funeral of Mr Rose.
went to Mr Fullars a little while just at night
Vary mild and plesant
we did not wash
Pa & Ma went to Grand Rapids to stay all night in the afternoon I went down to Lidas a little while and in the evening the young folks from up the road came down.
we had a gay time
they staid untill about one Oclock. Lida & I took a short sleigh ride
Lida staid all night with me.
Plesant in the morning but Stormy in the afternoon and evening.
Lida went home early in the morning and went to Lowell. Our folks came home from the Rapids about five Oclock.
Hat Fullar & Hat Watters were bouth here in the afternoon.
Cold and vary unplesant
Ma & I done up the morning work.
Mr Rowleys son was here in the morning also Mrs Watters.
We went to Mrs Foxes Funeral in the afternoon a vary large attendance
it was vary sad
Quite plesant todaybut cold went down to Maryetts early in the morning and staid all day had a good visit
Edgar gave me a Neck Hankerchief when we came home
Bell and Don were here just at night to call
I received a letter from Ida
Warm and plesant today wrather sloppy under foot. Ma Pa & Willie went over to Mr Schanck for a visit and I went down to Lidas, road home with George, I had to drive and we came vary near tiping over.
Mr Watters was here in the evening
Vary plesant and still thawing
Ma & I done the usual Sat work, then Ma & Pa went down to Mr Moxons
while they were gone Fred and Ida came with the Children and suprised us we were vary glad to see them.
in the evening I went up to the Lodge with Hat & George there was not a vary large attendance
This page is blank.
Unknown Girl -
Mystery Solved? Evelyn, I believe she is Mattie Collar, born October 1855 in Ada, Kent Co. On the 1870 census I found the family of Hattie Fuller and her brother
George, their parents Sanford and Elizabeth. The Maxon family (John & Oleda and children) is next door to the Fullers on
the 1880 census. She mentions them so much I figured that the girl's family must be in close
vicinity to these two - she sees them often in the winter time by sleigh and I
imagine if they were far off she would not have seen them so frequently. She also mentions her Uncle Nelson - I found Nelson Collar in the 1889-90
Grand Rapids Directory, living in Vergennes/Lowell, he is also on the 1860
census in Vergennes. On the 1870 census page just prior to the Fullers and Smiths is the family
unit of Charles and Elizabeth Collar both born in NY, their daughter Mattie age
14, Ida and Fred Goodnough and their child May - who I think is the child she
helping care for in the diary when she went to stay with Ida and Fred
temporarily the winter of 1875. She may have been staying in Lowell that winter
since Uncle Nelson is mentioned so much, and the only "Maryette and James" on
the 1870 census are Maryette and James Buchanan of Lowell and their two sons
Edgar and Martin. I looked a little further back into the census records to 1860 and found
Charles and Betsy Collar and their children: Maryette, Edgar, Ida (all three of
which are mentioned frequently in the diary)and Martha "Matty". They live in Ada. On the 1880 census she is with her mother Betsy and husband Joseph Banks and
her niece May who is now 9. They are still next door to the Fullers and the
Maxons. According to a Banks family tree Joseph Robert Banks married Martha Collar, 2
Apr, 1879. Searching further census for Mattie and Joseph shows them living in Rolland,
Isabella Co. Michigan from at least 1900 until after 1930. The last available census shows Joseph age 78 and Mattie age 74 and one
daughter who remained single and living with her parents until she was at least
39 years old. Another family tree lists her death date as 6 Aug, 1940, but this same tree
has her marrying Joseph's father in 1834, and her oldest child Robert born 4
years after his "father's" death. I think they have her marrying Joseph's
father. But this death date is reasonable. Joseph and Mattie had six children, all of whom survived childhood. Robert Collar Banks b: 16 NOV 1880 in Michigan My family has roots in Kent and I search the kent co. genweb site
periodically to see what's been added, I've read the diary before and have
always been intrigued by the story. I hope a descendant of hers is able to learn
of the diary and possibly have it returned to them. I would be interested in doing further research on her children to see if
there is a living descendant who would like to have the diary. I love mysteries
like this and really enjoyed taking the clues and coming up with a very
reasonable suspect for the diary's author. I would sure love it if I found out
that my great grandmother left a diary on a 2x4 behind a closet wall over a
hundred years ago! My family interests are MacGregor, Taylor, Rogers, Giblin, Rosevelt and
Pollock. The MacGregors came to GR from Perth Scotland via Troy NY. They owned
the MacGregor Steam and Dye Company which did dyeing and dry cleaning. The
Taylors also came from Perth, my great grandmother Jane Taylor MacGregor's
brothers Alexander and Peter also ended up in GR. My great grandmother Catherine
Agnes Rogers came to GR from Ireland and ended up working as a domestic in the
MacGregor household. she married their son James. Catherine Rogers's mother was
Ann Giblin, and though I believe she stayed in Ireland her brother Michael
Giblin and his family ended up in GR. My great grandfather William Pollock
started Pollock's Store in Cedar Springs in about 1914, his wife was Pearl
Rosevelt. Ann MacGregor and John Rosevelt "Jack" Pollock are my grandparents. Ann Pollock
I took several of the names she mentions in her diary and plugged them into ancestry.com's census records.
Glenn William Banks b: 5 MAY 1883 in Michigan
Homer Wesley Banks b: 24 MAY 1885 in Michigan
Bessie Banks b: ABT. JAN 1888 in Michigan
Genevieve Banks b: ABT. FEB 1891 in Michigan
Charles D. Banks b: ABT. APR 1893 in Michigan
I believe she is Mattie Collar, born October 1855 in Ada, Kent Co.
On the 1870 census I found the family of Hattie Fuller and her brother George, their parents Sanford and Elizabeth.
The Maxon family (John & Oleda and children) is next door to the Fullers on the 1880 census.
She mentions them so much I figured that the girl's family must be in close vicinity to these two - she sees them often in the winter time by sleigh and I imagine if they were far off she would not have seen them so frequently.
She also mentions her Uncle Nelson - I found Nelson Collar in the 1889-90 Grand Rapids Directory, living in Vergennes/Lowell, he is also on the 1860 census in Vergennes.
On the 1870 census page just prior to the Fullers and Smiths is the family unit of Charles and Elizabeth Collar both born in NY, their daughter Mattie age 14, Ida and Fred Goodnough and their child May - who I think is the child she helping care for in the diary when she went to stay with Ida and Fred temporarily the winter of 1875. She may have been staying in Lowell that winter since Uncle Nelson is mentioned so much, and the only "Maryette and James" on the 1870 census are Maryette and James Buchanan of Lowell and their two sons Edgar and Martin.
I looked a little further back into the census records to 1860 and found Charles and Betsy Collar and their children: Maryette, Edgar, Ida (all three of which are mentioned frequently in the diary)and Martha "Matty". They live in Ada.
On the 1880 census she is with her mother Betsy and husband Joseph Banks and her niece May who is now 9. They are still next door to the Fullers and the Maxons.
According to a Banks family tree Joseph Robert Banks married Martha Collar, 2 Apr, 1879.
Searching further census for Mattie and Joseph shows them living in Rolland, Isabella Co. Michigan from at least 1900 until after 1930.
The last available census shows Joseph age 78 and Mattie age 74 and one daughter who remained single and living with her parents until she was at least 39 years old.
Another family tree lists her death date as 6 Aug, 1940, but this same tree has her marrying Joseph's father in 1834, and her oldest child Robert born 4 years after his "father's" death. I think they have her marrying Joseph's father. But this death date is reasonable.
Joseph and Mattie had six children, all of whom survived childhood.
Robert Collar Banks b: 16 NOV 1880 in Michigan
My family has roots in Kent and I search the kent co. genweb site periodically to see what's been added, I've read the diary before and have always been intrigued by the story. I hope a descendant of hers is able to learn of the diary and possibly have it returned to them.
I would be interested in doing further research on her children to see if there is a living descendant who would like to have the diary. I love mysteries like this and really enjoyed taking the clues and coming up with a very reasonable suspect for the diary's author. I would sure love it if I found out that my great grandmother left a diary on a 2x4 behind a closet wall over a hundred years ago!
My family interests are MacGregor, Taylor, Rogers, Giblin, Rosevelt and Pollock. The MacGregors came to GR from Perth Scotland via Troy NY. They owned the MacGregor Steam and Dye Company which did dyeing and dry cleaning. The Taylors also came from Perth, my great grandmother Jane Taylor MacGregor's brothers Alexander and Peter also ended up in GR. My great grandmother Catherine Agnes Rogers came to GR from Ireland and ended up working as a domestic in the MacGregor household. she married their son James. Catherine Rogers's mother was Ann Giblin, and though I believe she stayed in Ireland her brother Michael Giblin and his family ended up in GR. My great grandfather William Pollock started Pollock's Store in Cedar Springs in about 1914, his wife was Pearl Rosevelt. Ann MacGregor and John Rosevelt "Jack" Pollock are my grandparents.