Friday, October 17, 2014

Hat Tip to Those Relatives Who Wrote Their Stories Down, Part 3

If you are lucky, you have a genealogist or two lurking in your family tree who has already done much of the heavy genealogical lifting for you.  I have three relatives whose written work helped me tremendously, each in their own way:

May (Tibbetts) Jarvis,
Esther (Moreland) Leithold, and
James Milo Nosler.

Today I'll cover James Milo Nosler.

[James Milo Nosler and his wife Sally Snyder, courtesy of Irving Blabon]

James Milo Nosler (1843-1886) is my 2nd great granduncle and the brother of my 2nd great grandfather, William "Will" Henry Nosler.  He is the author of the "J.M. Nosler Diary, 1861-1885."  James and William were the sons of John Nosler (1800-1864) and Nancy Hibbs (1800-1854).

Nosler descendants still own the original diary/diaries, but a typewritten copy is available at the Special Collections division of the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.  There is also a microfilm copy at the JFK Library at the Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Spokane, Washington.

You can order a copy of the entire diary for $143.22 (that includes fees and shipping, as of 2014) by contacting the University of Washington in Seattle at this email,  and include the following information:
Accession Name: Nosler, James Milo
Accession Number: No. 0068-001
Box Number: v.f. 43
Folder Number: Diary, 1861-1886
It took them a week or so to get all the copies done.  You order first and then when they are done they send you the bill.

If you would be satisfied just seeing a sample of the diary for free you can visit the digital version at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The digital version description includes this summary in its notes:

Joe[?sic] Nosler was born in Indiana in 1843. He married Sally Snyder in 1864 and settled in Kansas where he was engaged in farming. Due to the reoccurrence of fever and ague, they decided to move west of the Mississippi Valley. Traveling on the Union Pacific Railroad, they left for Oregon in September 1870. The Oregon country had its drawbacks, and as Nosler phrased it "There were too many trees and too few relations". They had come to Oregon in October 1871, and by July 1871 they were on their way northward to the Willamette Valley. Deciding not to stop, they crossed the Cascades and continued through the dry central area to the Columbia River and arrived in Walla Walla on September 3, 1871. They pushed on to the Snake River, crossing at Angel's Ferry, and took a land claim not far from the present day Colfax. In July, he decided to sell his land claim and move to Colfax where he built a boarding house. He became the first sheriff of Whitman County in 1872. He was also a captain of a militia company, active in church affairs, and a deputy road supervisor. However, the settlers had little money and consequently, we find Nosler turning all his boarders out one at a time because times were so bad that they were unable to pay their board bills. Still, we find him Marshall of the Day, July 4, 1873, Deputy County treasurer and Postmaster in 1874. Times got better in 1874, and he sold the hotel and for a short time ran a drug and stationary store. He then sold his store and was agent for Philip Ritz, selling fruit trees. On account of the cold weather he made up his mind in the spring of 1875 to leave the Palouse and go back to southwestern Oregon where the difficulties that they had encountered when they first lived there were still in evidence. After many difficulties and the death of his daughter, Flora, he returned to his former home in the Palouse Country in October 10, 1877 where he remained one year. In October 1878, he settled in Spokane Falls and here the financial troubles that had beset him in the past largely disappeared. He entered the real estate business, bought tracts of land in and outside the growing city and became fairly well to do. He was able to pay up all his debts and when he died in 1886 he left a considerable amount of landed estate to his heirs. Nosler was unfortunate in his financial adventures until he came to Spokane Falls, but he was beset by a still greater trouble - ill health, which was with his most of his life. He would recover and after a few days complain again of various forms of sickness. The disease which finally caused his death in early middle age (43) was consumption.
The diary begins with some background information and his service in the Civil War (he was a private in Company D, 2nd Cavalry Regiment Iowa), as well his courtship with his wife Sarah Snyder.   It seems this was where his health problems really began, and he never fully recovered.  Much of the diary consists of short, daily entries, punctuated by the occasional longer passages.  This was the diary of an extremely busy man who faced many hardships while trying to make something of himself out in Washington.

It is very interesting to compare the three different works I've covered in this Hat Tip series.  While May Tibbetts Jarvis dispassionately covered many generations of Tibbetts (and told her own story in the 3rd person), and Esther Leithold told the story of her maternal grandparents (and almost nothing about herself), James Milo Nosler gave a first-person view into pioneer life in the mid-1800's with only a passing mention here and there about his ancestry.

I had worked on my Nosler line for a few years before I read through this diary.  It was a real treat when James would mention "Will" (my ancestor), or Rube Rittgers (a cousin of mine through Will's future wife), or numerous other relations, and I would think, "ooh, I know who that is!  Was that person really like that?  So these were actual people, then, and not just names on a census?"

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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