After repeatedly trying, my dad (Charles Lewis Clock) finally persuaded me to transcribe his grandfather’s (JWC’s) diaries into readable, type written form. In spite of my background in history, I was not looking forward to reading and transcribing those diaries …not in the least! When I started, I saw it as an obligation. That’s all.
As I recall, there were 2 or 3 JWC diaries, total. It took hundreds and hundreds of hours to transcribe and research related topics, over I’ve forgotten now how many months, in 1986 and 1987. Besides, I hate typing. Just look at my high school grades in typing class! Often I worked on the diaries very late on week nights, frequently until 2 or 3 AM. Then I got up in a few hours and went in to work.
But the funny thing is, when I finally reached the last page of the last diary book, I could hardly force myself to stop. It was the darndest thing! It had snuck up and became a part of me. I felt like I knew my great grandpa. Afterwards, Dad had the results printed and bound into 50 red hard bound books. He then mailed a copy of the book to all branches of the Clock family across the USA. I have book #1 out of 50 (Dad numbered them all himself), the one he gave me, with his comments inside the cover.
I have no exact idea how the JWC Diaries came into my Dad’s possession. I do know that my great grandfather (Jacob Wilkie Clock) said in his autobiography …”I am writing that my little boy, Wilkie Clyde, now in his fifth year, should he live, have a sort of transcript of his father. Would that I had something similar of my father (Abraham Clock).” Now that is FAMILY!! Here is Jacob, tying the past, present and future of all of us Clock’s together. I love those sentences. Love that man, too.) So that explains why the diaries went to my grandfather (Wilkie) instead of to one of JWC’s other children.
The original diaries, as far as I know, are still in a box upstairs at my Dad’s business, Clock Associates, Portland, OR. They have somehow survived for nearly 180 years now. Now that’s remarkable isn’t it? The diaries have entries for some of the 35 years (1835-1873), but many years are missing. The diaries began when Jacob was in his mid-20s and continued until he was in his 70’s, living in Kansas. He died when he was 75 years old. It must represent hundreds and hundreds of hours of Jacob writing and thinking in front of the fireplace or under a lamp. In the semi darkness. Probably with a family ruckus going on all around him. And perhaps with his kids and wife sometimes giving him little jabs for wasting so much time on his writing. (Hannah, “Come on, Jacob, nobody’s ever going to read that thing anyway. I swear, you love that old diary book more than you love me.” And years later…. Margaret, “Jacob, what ever are you doing? Oh that. Again! Your dinner is getting cold. Again!! Come on, aren’t you going to eat with us?”) Ha, or maybe thats not the way it was. But I’ll bet you it was something like that. I oughta know. ha
All of the diary entries were written with a fountain pen. (dip, drain, scribble, blot …repeat). Note the back and forth angle of his writing …almost as if two or three different people wrote it. But as you read it, you know only Jacob could have written all of it, by the style and content. Was he just trying to be fancy? Anyway, I got to where I could read his writing as easily as my own. Included here are just a sampling of diary pages …they actually continue for 88 more typewritten pages. He was 24 years old when he started these diaries.
-LIVING IN ALBION, NY and MONTVILLE, OH-