Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jay C., James A., Jelly and Jam

Jay C. Smith was my great-grand uncle. Born in Ira, Caynga County, New York, April 28, 1838 to Aretus Gregory and Keturah (Davis) Smith. Jay was the fifth of ten children.
I became interested in Jay as I am in possession of his diary. I have posted the last entries made to his diary which you can find below. He did not die on the battle field in a grueling battle...but he died in an Army Hospital of disease. His words are few but in reading his last words I can feel the cold and see the bleakness that surrounded him. Feel the warmth of the fire that he took refuge in when his own hospital bed was frozen.
Company B of the 41st OVI Regiment was formed in Geauga County, Ohio. Henry W. Johnson and L. T. Patchin went from village to village, neighborhood to neighborhood, with the flag flying, to the step of a fife and drum....this was grass roots recruitment. Jay C. Smith at the age of 23 entered the service for the Battle of the Rebellion, August 20, 1861.
Can you see these men walking with the flag?...Can you hear the fife and drum?
Can you see the anxious faces of young farm boys ready and able to fight for their country?
I am sure Jay started recording his Army days on August 20,1861. I don't have any proof that an earlier diary existed but I think it did. Even when Jay was very sick he made entries everyday without fail.
What else can I learn from Jay's diary? Tucked in the back slot is a teaching certificate dated 1858.... so he was a teacher...maybe. A few newspaper clippings one for "Cottage Pudding and Sauce" and "Buttermilk Pudding with Maple Syrup" and "Apple Jelly"... Many hand written recipes are in the last 8 pages of the little book. The writing appears to be that of my great grandmother Lodiska, sister to Jay.
Interesting recipes.... maybe I will post some of these. Tomato Pickles, Ginger Snaps, Sponge Cake, Mince Pie, Fruit Cake, Lemon Pie, Spiced Peaches, ( Note: My Mom made these are they were the best). I can get lost in "olde time" recipes.
The Smith family is buried in South Newbury Cemetery. This was a bustling farm community at one time. James Abram Garfield (later our 20th president) spoke at the Union Chapel at South Newbury. This is a great bit of history....Garfield was barred from speaking at the Congregational Church...the parishioners did not think it was proper to speak of politics in the house of the Lord.
In 1856, the people of South Newbury built the Union Chapel,dedicated to free speech...... across the road from the Church. The walls of this small yet mighty building heard the voices of James A. Garfield, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Louisa M. Alcott, Theodore Parker, the advocate of the 8 hour working day, and John B. Gough, three time candidate for president on the Prohibition ticket. Wow! Wow! and Wow!
Field Trip....7 miles from our front door! Here is what we found:


  1. Carol, what a fascinating story! How wonderful to be in posession of your great uncle's diary and to experience some of his life through his words. As I read the passages I really could feel the cold bed and the warmth of the fire, hear the fife and drum and see the men marching with the flag...
    You hold a special part of your family history to treasure, a legacy. Thank you for sharing this with us! ~ Nancy

  2. Oh, just me again! :) I would love to see some of the recipes that you have if you would like to share them here...I love recipes and the older the better! Thanks again, Carol.