Josiah Ware – Diary from 1830-1869 by: Judy C. Ware

Josiah Ware’s Diary dated from 1830-1869

Clarke Co. Va

© Judy C. Ware   January 19, 2003

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In 1987, our family visited Springfield Farm for the first time.  I had been transcribing old letters & files and knew a little of the history of the place, but we had never seen it “in person” before that time.  We met the current owners of the property – descendants of the very family that obtained Springfield from Josiah Ware after the Civil War.  They were very gracious and kind in letting us tour around the place, and I explained my interest in the family history.  Shortly after our visit, I received a phone call from the current owner to let me know that she had just unearthed a real treasure.   In cleaning out a back corner of one of the barns (sheds), someone stumbled upon the original diary of Josiah Ware – buried under years of mulch and leaves and dust.  Although she wished to keep the original copy herself, the owner was kind enough to copy all the pages and mail them to me.  I have since transcribed them and recorded some of the highlights below.

large oval picture of Josiah

Josiah William Ware

Josiah kept incredibly detailed notes during the years of 1830 to 1834 and it is clear that it was during this time that construction for the main house, ice cellar, meat house, etc. was started and completed.  I have not transcribed every detail because much is just repetition of the same entries or brief commentaries on the weather.  For the purposes of the family history, I have attempted to record enough of the entries to give a flavor of the times, a sense of the every-day workings of Springfield, and some particular details that struck me as interesting.

entrance into Springfield farm

Entrance into Springfield

In looking at the whole of the diary, Josiah seemed to take great care to record the jobs and duty assignments of his slaves on every particular day.  He also noted the weather, crops, and stock information – – this is very much a “working man’s business journal.”  There are almost no personal notes of any kind and very few references to the family members.  For that reason, the pages and pages of entries become somewhat boring and tedious to read; hence my decision to give just a brief overview.

After the year 1834, the entries became VERY brief – mainly just lists of stock sales and inventory.  Then there was a dramatic jump after the year 1859, with the very next entry mentioning his imprisonment during the Civil War.  From that point on, there were only a few scattered sentences.

Even though the diary does not contain a lot of personal information about Josiah and his family, there is much to be learned from the day-to day experiences documented there.  For instance, we can clearly see the exact date that construction started on the house – May 24, 1833.   We also can ascertain the types of jobs that were done around Springfield: planting, harvesting, carpentry, shoe making, oiling machinery, caring for stock, making cider, hauling rails & timber, sifting sand, cutting straw, slaughtering animals, tanning hides , making and laying brick, and even making coffins – just to name a few.

original smokehouse

Original smokehouse on Springfield Plantation

Other informative facts that can be gleaned from this journal are the actual names of some of Josiah’s slaves.  I’m sure that the list is not complete in number (we’re talking about a span of about 30 years), but we do know that some of the slaves were: Big Jim, Alfred, Jim Bell, Bob, Henry, Jo, London, Jack, Frederick, Jenny, Millie, Sampson, William, Fanny, Emily, Sally, Winnie, Violet, Sall, Newman, William, and Nancy.  Other names can be found in old family letters as well.

springfield plantation

Springfield Plantation


EXCERPTS FROM DIARY KEPT BY JOSIAH WARE (Found at Springfield in shed under mulch in 1987-original diary in possession of Clagett family; copy held by Jim/Judy Ware)


Nov. 1 – Finished seeding – being put back by rainy weather

2 – Commenced threshing with machine and commenced planting out peach trees in the little orchard. Gave Jim Bell, London, Bob, Henry, Jo, Jack, Alfred, and Frederick their winter shoes – the largest weighing 4 lbs. London’s and Jim Bell’s shoes wooden pegged. Bob, Henry, Alfred, Jo, Jack, and Frederick’s iron tack.

Built and shingled the studs stable early this year and shingled the stable at the southern corner of the yard. Built and shingled the corn house back in 1828.

Built the shed back of the corn house last spring and framed the shed for front of the barn. Bought straw cutter spring of 1829. Planted young orchard in 1828. Burnt brick kiln last spring for building new dwelling house and bargained for timbers.

3 – William received his shoes with iron tacks.

5 – Planting peach trees again.

6 – Sampson received his shoes with pegs and tacks.

8 – Commenced threshing wheat with the machine. Fanny got her shoes.

10 – Mended Sampson’s old shoes.

12 – Millie got her shoes.

13 – Attended regimental court of inquiry

14 – Returned from Winchester

23 – Killed a mutton

24 – Jenny got her shoes

27 – Jack and Alfred working at Mr. Neills

29 – Emily got her shoes

Dec. 4 – Alfred and Jack working with Mr. Neill again – bought a curry comb for the work horses

8 – The cow killed yesterday had not been bullying and nor had she a calf for some years, but has been fat and healthy the whole time. Upon opening her and cleaning her womb, found she had been with calf and the calf had perished there probably some years since – plainly showing, in a large mass of decayed stuff without any form, a number of bones of all sizes and shapes in the formation of a calf’s ribs.

10 – Sally got her shoes

11- Bob & London brought home from free George’s in the mountain 100 bushels of coal.

14 – Joe sick. Winnie got her shoes.

24 – Henry and Bob mending carriage. Violet got her shoes.



Jan. 3, 1831 – Jack making girths and mending Jim’s shoes – the rest covering the brick kiln with straw

4 – Joe making brooms. Jack finished mending Big Jim’s shoes. Henry & Jim Bell at the cowbuck, Bob in the shop, Alfred grinding, Frederick cutting oats, the rest shelling corn.

8 – London and Frederick pulling plant away and filling long stable with dirt

11 – Jack shoe making. Ann Stribling got a pair of shoes of horse hide leather

12 – Henry making cow troughs, Jim Bell sick, Joe helping to dig John McCoy’s grave. Alfred & Frederick in Mr. Smith’s woods [working], & London hauled 2 loads of wood

14 – London hauling slabs from brick kiln to stable hands in barn and corn house in the evening

18 – Jim Bell mending poultry houses, Alfred and Henry weather boarding

20 – Frederick commenced coming with Mr. Rhodes the stonemason & plastering trade who is to clothe him, pay his taxes, and return him. On the 1st of Jan, 1834 – master of his trade

21 – London hauling ice for Captain Taylor

24 – All crop roads completely stopped again; carriages and nearly so horseback (cold snow drifting). Such weather and such a snow has not occurred to the memory of our oldest inhabitants – road so stopped up as to render firewood so scarce and so high in Winchester as to induce many to pull down old houses and stables for fuel and one old woman to burn her table and tray.

29 – London sick, Jim Bell at Mr. Lewis’, Jo and Alfred haul wood. Jack, Bob, Jo, Alfred, and Frederick receive new wool hats

31 – Some dog killed a sheep last night

Feb. 8 – Jack finished Mrs. Stribling’s shoes of horse leather. Dr. Taylor brought Dr. McCormick with him and opened Sall’s hip. In the evening (Dr. Taylor, being injured by a fall from his horse) Dr. McCormick visited her.

9 – Henry making new door to new stable. Bob took Byron and went to Battletown and bought from the store sets of iron. London still unwell

10 – Dr. Taylor and McCormick visited Sall who is extremely low in the evening. Jack went to Winchester after Betsy (Sall’s daughter)

11 – Visited Sall – very low. Set the wheat machine in the evening. Big Jim, Jim Bell, Henry, Jo, Alfred, Samson, Violet, and myself worked it. Bob and Jack with their mother (Sall), London went to mill with the cart.

12 – Bob & Jack with Sall who is still expected to die every hour-died during the night.

13 – Henry making Sall’s coffin. Jim Bell, Jo, and London digging her grave.

14 – Buried Sall. Jack took Betsy back to Winchester.

17 – Hauled in one load of hickory wood from my woods for house use

19 – Henry weather boarding new stables. Bob went to his wife’s.

21 – Bob returned from his wife. Henry making Jack’s cot.

Mar. 4 – All the other hands hauling rails from division fence over the road -making fence around orchard grass lot. Dr. Taylor visited Louisa Glassell.

5 – All hands planting early potatoes

7 – Jack went to Winchester to return a horse Robert E. Lee borrowed.

13 – Bob and myself went to Leesburg to exhibit Byron at court tomorrow.

14 – Exhibited Byron; very much admired

Painting of Byron - Josiah's horse

Painting of Josiah’s horse named Byron

15 – Henry making cradle. Bob, Jim Bell, and Alfred putting on new wheel. Sampson sick.

16 – Jim Bell and Bob making Byron’s stand. Newman, Jack, William, and Violet planted the roasting ear patch.

17 – Nancy had a fine son.

19 – Henry making small yard gate. Sampson sick.

21 – Exhibited Byron in Charleston; very much admired. Returned in the evening.

25 – Jack and Bob washing Byron in the evening.

27 – Went to Fauquier to exhibit Byron at Warrenton Monday.

28 – Exhibited Byron in a moderate rain; very much admired and returned to Dr. Payton’s in the evening.

Apr. 4 – Exhibited Byron in Winchester; very much admired although in bad spirits from previous travels in bad roads and weather.

5 – Henry making door frame for the graveyard.

10 – Bob went with Byron to Martinsburg for exhibition at court tomorrow. I went too.

11 – Exhibited Byron in Martinsburg; very much admired

17 – Bob went to Charleston to exhibit Byron tomorrow.

18 – Byron much admired in Charleston

May 7 – Planted the fall potatoes. Seed from Baltimore, raised in Maine – very fine. The few lower rows fine, white potatoes; the upper rows blue potatoes divided by a row of brown corn.

20 – Alfred, Jo, London, Jim, Jim Bell, Jack, and Bill washed the sheep in the river.

30 – Sampson drove my white back heifer down and exchanged her for a beautiful brindle cow with horns. Jim Bell, after breakfast, cleaned and oiled the shears and put them away.

Jun 14 – Jack soling shoes for Frances and the children.

24 – Henry making shelter over the road for harvest hands

30 – Finished rye field in the evening

Jul 14 – Bob and Henry mending the long ladders

20 – Setting machine, cutting straw, fixed wagon, long ladders, shoeing horses and cattle. Drove beehive (too late).

Aug 15 – Threshed five loads of wheat – weather so distressing as to compel us to stop to relieve the horses several times.

22 – Strong south wind and pleasant passing clouds and showers in Battletown

Sep. 19 – London plowing in Henry’s place. Henry with Bob working in the shop. Sampson set off Saturday to York for cattle purchased before.

29 – London and Jim Bell finished making two barrels of cider.

Oct. 12 – Bill carried skin to tan yard and took the last of the old corn to the mill.

19 – Frances and James set off for Fauquier.

24 – I left here for Baltimore.

30 – Returned from Baltimore.

Nov. 1 – Sister and myself set off for Culpepper.

6 – Returned from Culpepper

Dec. 13 – (Aunt)Millie, Jim Bell, and Emily raised each a hog.

20 – Bob and Jack cleaning Byron’s stable. Newman, Jim Bell, and Alfred cutting and salting up the hogs.

24 – Snow at night

25 – Cloudy evening with snow

26 – 28 Holiday


Jan. 1832

14 – London went to his wife’s.

19 – London gone to Shepherdstown, Henry and Jim Bell sawing logs.

21 – Alfred sick

30 – Snow 11 inches deep

Feb. 13 – Henry still laid up. London to Shepherdstown for coal. Jack to Charleston for leather.

28 – Jack, Alfred, and Jo with Mr. Barr working in the ice house.

Mar. 5 – Jo, Alfred, and Jack at the ice house. London and Jim filling the rock.

8 – Jim Bell, Jim, and London counting the brick

9 – Bob went to Leesburg to exhibit Byron next Monday. Jim Bell, and Jim counting brick after breakfast with Sampson planting potatoes. Jack went to Winchester. Jo and Alfred with Mr. Barr in the ice house. London hauling for Mr. Moore with six horses. Henry at his trade.

12 – Bob returned from Leesburg. Hail storm in the evening.

17 – Bob gone to Charleston to exhibit Byron next Monday. London sick.

20 – As yesterday, Henry and Bob at their trades. Jim and Jim Bell counting brick. London sifting sand. Jack tending to Mr. Barr’s in making -__to stable yard.

Apr. 3 – Jim Bell sifting sand. Bob and Henry sawing. Jim mending fences. Alfred hauling sand. The other hands sorting, counting, and hauling brick.

6 – Bob gone to Martinsburg to exhibit Byron Monday. Henry at his trade preparing for meat house.

9 – Exhibited Byron in Martinsburg

10 – Mr. Barr working at the meat house.

12 – Mr. Barr at the meat house.

14 – Mr. Barr finished the meat house.

May 8 – All hands as on the 4th finished planting corn.

12 – Bob and Henry at their trades. Jim Bell sick. The other hands washing the sheep.

15 – Henry at the meat house. The other hands hauling dirt from the ice house.

28 – The other hands getting wood and in the evening, digging the cellar.

29 – London brought half a load of plank from Winchester. Other hands replanting corn.

Jun. 29 – Sampson driving stock to Berry’s Ferry.

Jul. 29 – Very pleasant; slight shower last night and this morning enough to lay the dust.

Aug. 7 – Jim, Jo, Lucy, and the girls putting wheat through the fan.

Sep. 6 – Clear and warm. Jim Bell, London, Alfred, and Jack plowing Morgan Springs field.

Nov. 22 – Alfred hauled three loads of wood to the kiln. Yesterday London and Alfred hauled eight loads to kiln.

Dec. 6 – All hands cutting and salting pork. Aunt Millie, Emily, Jim Bell, and Newman had each a hog.

12 – Alfred and London hauling rails from Morgan Springs over the road to make up fences on turnpike road.

25 – Christmas – clean beautiful day, holiday

26-27 – Holiday

28 – Bob gone to take Byron to Albemarle to Col. C. for next season


Jan. 14, 1833 – As on the 10th, all hands getting ice and filling ice house

Feb. 23 – Jim Bell, Jo, Jim, and Jenny making fencing over the road.

Mar. 25 – Henry tending Mr. Rhodes in building entry to ice house.

Apr. 2 – Finished sowing and harvesting oats at Morgan Springs.

9 – Mr. Vojais? came with three carpenters and Mr. Barr.

16 – Bob and Henry with Fanny and Emily digging the cellar.

29 – The other hands with two wagons hauling plank from the river.

May 24 – Commenced laying brick to new dwelling house.

27 – The others tending brick layers and finishing cellar.

29 – Hands finishing the cellar.

Jun. 8 – From 22nd to 26th preparing for harvest.

Jul. 5 – Commenced laying brick – five bricklayers, Bob and Henry mixing mortar.

Aug. 19 – Jim, London, Jim Bell, and Alfred hauling and stacking rye. Sampson hauling brick with the boys. The rest tending the brick layers.

Sep. 20 – All hands finished at Morgan Springs. Finished making cider.

Oct. 9 – Clear fine day, all hands seeding.

15 – Finishing the two fields at Morgan Springs



Jun.1834 – Planted corn over the road in upper field and [other field]. Worms ate nearly all of both up. Replanted by Jun. 1.

20 – Commenced plastering the building. Two workmen – Jo, Frederick, and Jim tending.


1835-59 – Mainly numerical entries of stock and sales. Detailed weights and measures.

NEXT BIG ENTRY 1863 – Fall was a prisoner in Washington. Do not know how much pork was put up. All nearly was stolen by the Yankees. Put in about 20 acres in wheat.

1864 – Was a prisoner until late in the spring. Put in corn, lower corn field-badly cultivated; not half crop made. Yankees came in and stole all my horses (Gen. Stahl having stolen my cattle). The 6th Corps under Gen. Wright came in and stole all my horses, sheep, hogs, poultry- all my garden. Broke open my meat house and stole my meat and honey.

1865-69 – Sparse entries about stock-mainly those being slaughtered & sold.

LAST ENTRY – 1870 – Jan. 5 – Settled up

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