[Bentonsport, IA]: 1879-83. 360pp. Oblong duodecimo [10.5 cm x 16.5 cm] Burgundy calf with gilt rules on the backstrip. Item #2414
Detailed journal of Frederick Hancock (1814-1903) who was originally from Pennsylvania before moving to Iowa in 1838, finally settling in Van Buren County, near Bentonsport on the Des Moines River. Hancock was first a farmer and later a merchant, he was also a member of the Iowa Territorial legislature in 1844-45 and later served in the Civil War, attaining the rank of Captain in the Quarter Master Corps.
At the time of this diary Hancock appears to be retired from active business, although he is still much aware of what is going on in Bentonsport, then a thriving small town. He writes for example, of a bridge being built over the river, the repair of a dam and the sale of a flour mill. He observes the lives of friends and their deaths. Hancock also frequently writes of the weather (He is an avid gardener and notes plantings and harvests), he also mentions the Great Comet of 1882. Throughout he writes of current events including the assassination of President Garfield and Republican election results. Some pages preceding and following the diary are from a different time (1828-1864) and were used by the Hancock family for bookkeeping.
This journal offers a nice window into the life of a retired merchant in the Midwest in the late 19th century.