Return to Finding Aid for the Henry Smals Diaries




FALL, 2002



Box 1

Vol. 1

April 22, 1872:  “Poor Peter Swisher, black, in town from the Poor House.”

May 31, 1872:  “Negro riot at Mrs. Woodleys.”


Vol. 2

July 13, 1872:  “Black Peter and Black Tond (sp?) came here from the Poor House for a Quarterly meeting.”

July 14, 1872:  “A great many Black persons at their meeting at the orchard of Mrs. Brown’s.”

Aug. 17, 1872:  “2 droves of Fat Cattle went through our town today . . . Another drove of cattle and a drove of sheep.  Another drove of cattle.”

Aug. 28, 1872:  “A company of Gipseys went through our town.”

Sept. 2, 1872:  “Two droves of cattle went through our town.”

Sept. 7, 1872:  “Negro picnic at Mt. Solon today at 11 o’clock.” (5 black heads drawn)

Sept. 14, 1872:  “A drove of cattle very fat came through our town today.”

Sept. 21, 1872:  “A drove of sheep from Hiland came through our town  . . . A drove of cattle went through our town.”

Sept. 24, 1872:  “Joseph Byrd and Squire Whitsearver gone to try a Negro.  He is a lunatick.”

Sept. 28, 1872:  “Negro picnic in the woods near the town.”

Oct. 4, 1872:  “A blind Negro playing on harp for a living . . . A Negro show in our town this evening at 8 o’clock.”

Oct. 11, 1872:  “2 beaves killed this evening in our town.”

Oct. 15, 1872:  “A drove of sheep, a drove of cattle went through our town today.”

Nov. 8, 1872:  “1 drove of cattle went through our town to Faquire County.”

Nov. 14, 1872:  “Horse disease (Epizooty) made its appearance in our midst.  No fatal cases reported as yet.  Chicken cholera also prevailing.  The Devil has been at loose among the stock, poultry, etc.”

Nov. 25, 1872:  “A large drove of cattle went through our town today.”

Dec. 11, 1872:  Writes in German.

Dec. 25, 1872:  “Black people had a fair for the benefit of their preacher.  Raised $13.”

Dec. 30, 1872:  “Sinclair Lewis came to town this evening.”

Dec. 31, 1872:  “Mr. Mason, Superintendent of Poor House, in town today.”


Vol. 3

Feb. 7, 1873:  “Black people all gone to the railroad from Bridgewater.”

Mar. 8, 1873:  “2 droves of cattle and 2 droves of sheep went through our town this evening. . .  The black presiding elder’s name is Harst.”

Mar. 10, 1873:  “All the black boys from Bridgewater went to the railroad.”

Mar. 26, 1873:  “A drove of cattle and hogs went through out town today-up the country.”

Mar. 27, 1873:  “All the colored people gone to the railroad.”

May 12, 1873:  “A drove of cattle went through our town to the mountains.”

May 15, 1873:  “A drove of cattle gone through our town to the mountains.”

May 28, 1873:  Shifflet killed a black man dead in his tracks on the railroad between Sangersville and Harrisonburg.”

June-Aug.:  A lot of talk about many people being in town looking for work on the railroad and how much work was being done; a lot of railroad business.


Vol. 4

Sept. 6, 1873:  “Negroes have a Sabbath school picnic this evening.”

Sept. 20, 1873:  “1 Drove of fat cattle gone through our town.”

Oct. 1, 1873:  “Wages on the NGR Road is cut down to $1.25 per day and board themselves.  Negroes would not work for that price.”

Oct. 2, 1873:  “A great stampede with the Negroes striking for higher wages or work on the whole line on the Narrow Gauge RR.  A great many Negroes gone to Staunton.”

Oct. 3, 1873:  “A great many Negroes in town today looking for work.”

Nov. 1, 1873:  “A large drove of cattle came through our town.”

Nov. 15, 1873:  “Negro Fair today at their schoolhouse on the bank of the river.”

Nov. 24, 1873:  “Joseph Williams shot a negroman a convict from the penitentiary but did not kill him.”

Dec. 16, 1873:  “Finished work on the Broad Gauge RR this evening.”

Dec. 29, 1873:  “A Negro frolick in our town tonight in the Odfellows Hall lower room.”

Jan. 3, 1874:  “A drove of cattle went through our town today.  2 droves more cattle went through our town.”

Jan. 17, 1874:  “A drove of very fat cattle went through our town today.”

Feb. 13, 1874:  “A drove of cattle came through our town.  1 drove of hogs went through our town today.”

Feb. 17, 1874:  “A large drove of cattle went through our town today.”

Apr. 6, 1874:  “A large drove of cattle went through our town today.”

Apr. 11, 1874:  “A drove of cattle gone through our town to the mountains.”

May 15, 1874:  “A long drove of cattle gone through our town to the mountains.”

May 18, 1874:  “Charley Hottle and Jack Higgins were arrested for stealing a large iron pot of Davie Danner and put in the calaboose for 3 hours and there whipped on the bare back, Charley 8 lashes and Jack 4.”  (Doesn’t say if these two were black or white.)

June 4, 1874:  “This is Pention Day for the soldiers of the war.”

June 9, 1874:  “A great many persons in our town today for flowers for the soldiers graves.”

June 10, 1874:  “This is Memorial Day in Harrisonburg of Confederate Soldiers graves.”

June 16, 1874:  “A Negro strike on the Railroad today.”

June 18, 1874:  “President of NGRR and chief engineer in town today.”

July 25, 1874:  “Quarterly meeting commenced today by the Colored People in Bridgewater.”

Oct. 2, 1874:  “Colonel Osburn gone home and I suppose that is the end of the Broad Gauge RR.”

Dec. 4, 1874:  “This is Pention Day of the Soldiers of the War.”

Dec. 28, 1874:  “Negro frolick in our town tonight.”


Vol. 5

March 1, 1875: “The Sivil Rights Bill passed both houses.  Nigger can look to have his head broke.”

June 9, 1875:  “A Negro hung near Harrisonburg for insulting a white woman today without judge or jury.”

Sept. 24, 1875:  “A parsel of Negroes were blowed up on the Railroad in a cut near the Darah Coal mines.”

Sept. 25, 1875:  Severell droves of cattle, hogs and  sheep went through our town today to market.”


Vol. 6

Mar. 6, 1876:  “Great Disaster happened at the Narrow pass. Bridge broken, cars went down and killed 11 and wounded all of the crew and killed 96 cattle and tore everything to pieces.”

Mar. 11, 1876:  “A Sons of Purity had a procession and fair today in Town Hall. A great many black folks present. They realized about $45 for their society.”

Mar. 20, 1876:  “Black Amos gone to Montrey with his wagon with provisions for convicts.”   (Many entries about people taking provisions to convicts.)

Apr. 20, 1876:  “Black Peter died at the Poor House.”

May 3, 1876:  “Black Charley Teter got drunk and Mr. Simpson struck him in the mouth and Charley was put in the calaboose.”

June 10, 1876:  “Black folks have Picnick at Mt. Sidney today.  The band is gone up to Sidney.”

Aug. 31, 1876:  “Convicts came off the road and gone near Rawley Springs to get out Railroad ties.”  (Convicts now working on the RR, not blacks)

Oct. 24, 1876:  “4 droves of cattle came through our town.”

Nov. 7, 1876:  Declares Tilden and Hendricks as elected President and VP of the country

Feb. 5 1877:  “A black man the name of R. Coffman went to John Hatfields and choked John’s wife and hurt her face and arm, and went in pursuit of him and caught him at James Davis and brought him to Mr. Byrds and Mr. Byrd sent him to jail for further trial.”

Feb. 16, 1877:  “Negroes have a dance in the lower room in Odfellow Hall tonight.”

Mar. 5, 1877:  Notes inauguration day but doesn’t mention names.  Perhaps he’s disappointed his candidates didn’t win after all.

Mar. 19, 1877:  “The trial of the black man comes off today for an attempt of rape, was condemned to the penitentiary for 10 years.”


Vol. 7

Apr. 23, 1877:  “Mr. Shifflett condemned to be hung by the neck till he is dead dead dead

Apr. 25, 1877:  Shiffletts hanging to be done June 29.

June 29, 1877:  Hanging put off for further trial.

July 4, 1877:  “This is Independence Day, great parade in Harrisonburg about 5,000 persons present.  Fine day for a celebration in Harrisonburg.  Several speeches made in the courtyard.”

July 11, 1877:  “Verdict brought in for Shifflett for murder in the first degree.”

Aug. 24, 1877:  “A picnic at Harrisonburg by the Negroes”

Aug. 25, 1877:  A white picnic at Mt. Crawford.

Sept. 1, 1877:  “The [traveling] Centennial closed tonight for the White People.”

Sept. 3, 1877:  “Today Centennial opened for the Colored People.  A good crowd present.”

Sept. 5, 1877:  “Several drove of cattle came through our town.”

Sept. 25, 1877:  “Mr. Shiflett was hung in Harrisonburg today about 1 o’clock.”  (Sketch of a hangman’s noose and gallows drawn)

Jan. 2, 1875:  “S. Coffman was arrested for assault and battery.” (a black man).

Vol. 8

Oct. 3, 1877:  “Some fine stock went through our town today.”

Nov. 11, 1877:  “Boat was built to cross the river; big rope extended to both sides.” (draws picture of rope and boat crossing the river.)

Dec. 14, 1877:  “Commenced the bridge.” (drew a picture of a stone bridge).

Dec. 25, 1877:  “Colored band has gone to Harrisonburg.”

Dec. 26, 1877:  White band invited to play at a party.

Jan.:  Work continues on the bridge.

Feb. 13, 1878:   Smals took sick for 2 weeks; no entries.

Mar. 7, 1878:  “Black woman linched and hung for burning a barn.” (drew picture of gallows)

Mar. 22, 1878:  “Henry Smals fell in the river today.”

Mar. 28, 1878:  Trussels finished on the bridge.”  (Children and ladies crossed first)

Apr. 9, 1878:  Bridgewater Enterprise, first paper printed in Bridgewater; J.H. Smals bought the first paper off the press.

Apr. 12, 1878:  “Bridge finished; first wagon and cart driven over.”

Apr. 30, 1878:  Notes Dr. doing “obstetricks;  316 cases; lost only 1 mother.


Vol. 9

May 18, 1878:  “Colored People have their first Quarterly meeting in this town.”

May 20, 1878:  “Commenced putting on shingles on Bridge roof today.”

May 21, 1878:  “Black Jack Higgins and Black Sam Williams had a fight on the road.”

June 5, 1878:  “Commenced painting the bridge. . . . Bridge finished today.” (Sketch of the finished bridge)

June 14, 1878:  “Great decoration of soldier’s graves; amount of persons present about 12,000; a good many went from Bridgewater.”

June 22, 1878:  “2 Beef Wagons in town today.”

June 23, 1878:  “Some of the Negroes had a fuss in their church.”

June 28, 1878:  “2 hundred pounds of butter came to town today.”

June 29, 1878:  “A great deal of butter came to town today.”

July 4, 1878:  “This is Independence Day.  A fourth of July Celebration held at Edinburg today.  A good many persons gone to the celebration at Edinburg from this town.”

July 6, 1878:  “A big trial with the niggers for misdemeanor at their church.  Jane Bookers, Nels Lee and Addel Johnston were fined 50 cents each and cast and bound over the peace for 12 months.”

July 19, 1878:  “Picnic by the colored people at their schoolhouse tonight also tomorrow night.”

Aug. 1, 1878:  “A picnic of the Colored people at Coonrods Store today.  Our Colored Band went to play for them.”

Aug. 30, 1878:  “Colored People’s Camp Meeting commenced tonight near George Kerekoff’s, on his land.”

Sept. 6, 1878:  “A Colored man preached tonight at camp meeting near our town.”  (The meeting closed on the 8th.)

Sept. 20, 1878:  “Great parade with the Negroes in Harrisonburg celebrating their freedom.” (drew 4 black heads)

Dec. 25, 1878:  “Colored had a fair in Town Hall.  Realized $8.”

Jan. 16, 1879:  “Black Nels Lee got married to Black Allard.  Rev. Mauzy married them.”

Jan. 23, 1878:  Nels Lee moved into the house at the end of the Plank Walk.  Colored people working on their church.”


Vol. 10

Mar. 6, 1879:  “Commenced work again on the African church in rear of our church.”

Mar. 14, 1879:  “Negro Exhibition at old Town Hall tonight.”

May 10, 1879:  “Quarterly meeting with the colored people today.  Presiding elder present.”

June 9, 1879:  “This is Memorial Day at Staunton to decorate the soldiers graves.  A good many persons gone from Bridgewater.” (June 6-at Winchester-Memorial of the Dead-estimates 25,000 present)

July 4, 1879:  “A celebration in Harrisonburg, 15,000 people present, 6 bands, 6 military companies, a powerful turnout, 1 artillery co., 98-100 degrees.”

July 21, 1879:  “J.H. Smals at court, made 2 indictments on assault and battery, the other a rape on a small Negro child.”

Aug. 15, 1879:  “Rev. Boothe, Colored preacher, in United Brethren Church tonight.”

Aug. 31, 1879:  “Also dedication by the colored people of their church in our town.  Realized $72. Their presiding elder present. Had good order.”

Sept. 4, 1879:  “The first issue of the Bridgewater Journal out.”

Sept. 22, 1879:  “This is Mansipation Day for the Negroes.”  (Writes this in big letters and draws four black heads.)

Oct. 2, 1879:  “A blind black man sung in the African church this evening.”


Vol. 11

Oct. 2, 1879:  “547 cattle passed through town today.” (pictures drawn of cattle with long horns.)

Dec. 30, 1879:  “Lutherans locked the Baptist out of their church this evening.”

Jan. 1, 1880:  “Rev. Grennan preached in the Dunkard Church on the subject of baptism by immersion-3 times face down.”

Nov-Jan.:  Mentions a lot of religious meetings and conversions.

Mar. 4, 1880:  “Mr. Ehrman the Beef man in town today settling with his customers.”

Mar. 6, 1880:  “A man here today measured 6’7” high.  He was a monster.”

Mar. 22, 1880:  “John Hatfield puts a roof on Mrs. Covington’s dairy.  Commenced this morning for $5.  High winds-could hardly stay on the building.”

Mar. 31, 1880:  “The negroes had a fight at Lowman’s stable last night.”

Apr. 2, 1880:  “A great negro trial at our courthouse.  About 90 persons present.  Jos. Higgins and John Bundy paid a fine of $3.90 each for fighting at the corporation (of Bridgewater.)”


Vol. 12

May 17, 1880:  “Old Black Aunt Dasha died this evening about 10:00 at Miss May Areys.”

June 3, 1880:  “Mr. Jacobs wife and others gone to Harrisonburg to see the decorations of the soldiers graves.  A very small crowd present.”

June 5, 1880:  “A great Memorial Day at Winchester.  A great many persons present.”

June 10, 1880:  “A lawn party at Harrisonburg by the Colored People and the Colored Band attended the party.”

June 19, 1880:  “Colored Band went to Newmarket to the Cave.”

July 2, 1880:  “The colored people had a festival tonight at their church. Realized $7.30.”

July 3, 1880:  “Colored people had another festival. Realized $10.18.” (White lawn parties Smals mentions raise anywhere from $40-$70).

July 8, 1880:  “The amount of population of the encorporation of Bridgewater is 400 white and colored.”

July 30, 1880:  “The Sons of Purity (colored) have a great parade today in Harrisonburg.”

July 31, 1880:  “The colored band gone to Pleasant Valley to a picnic.”

Aug. 21, 1880:  “A good many cattle and sheep gone through our town today.”

Sept. 25, 1880:  “The negroes had a picnic at Mt. Solon today.  The Nigger Band played for them.”

Sept. 30, 1880:  “Colored People Village Camp commenced this evening in this place.  A negro show at the River schoolhouse.”


Vol. 13

Feb. 6, 1881:  “Niggers had a fight in African Church tonight.” (Drew 3 black heads)

Feb. 12, 1881:  Sam Williams was fined $10 and bound over the Peace for 12 months. Jos. Williams the same and Oliver Failer was fined $5 and bound over for 12 months for fighting in the African Church last Sunday in Bridgewater, VA.”

Feb. 17, 1881:  Allemony’s Cattle Sale today.  His yearlings sold at $16 per head.”

March 28, 1881:  “Joseph Williams taken to jail by Hopewell for fighting in Methodist Church, Colored.”

April 23, 1881:  Jesse Fry shot Dr. Jones cow in his wheatfield with small shot.”

May 7, 1881:  Colored people’s 1st Quarterly meeting held in this place.”

June 15, 1881:  Mr. Wm. S. Perry sold a calf 10 days old for $5.75 to Frank and Will Ervin.”

July 8, 1881:  “A Colored Festival in Mt. Sidney today and night.  Realized $50.”

July 18, 1881:  GrandMaster Crowder from Staunton will be with us in our lodge tonight as Odfellows.”  (Belongs to Ancient Odfellows of Bridgewater Lodge.  Frequently writes in some kind of “lodge code”)

July 21, 1881:  “The Negro Band gone 4 miles above Staunton today to a lawn party.  They get $10 for the trip.”

July 24, 1881:  “Mr. Looses, Mr. Hartman’s, Mr. Minoss, and Mr. Allemony’s cows died from eating molasses cane today.”

July 26, 1881:  “John Allemony’s other cow is very sick.  A Negro shot himself near Mt. Solon today with a pistol accidental.”

July 29, 1881:  “The Colored People have a Lawn Party in our Odfellow Hall tonight and tomorrow night.”  (Aug. 10 & 11-White lawn party held on school grounds)

Sept. 10, 1881:  “Festival Lawn Party tonight in churchyard.  Colored People have a picknick today at their church.”

Sept. 20, 1881:  Shef Lewis and Wise fought a duel today.  Neither of them hurt.”

Sept. 24, 1881:  “A Lawn Party at Mt. Solon by the colored people.”

Oct. 1, 1881:  “Colored band gone out to play for a picknick near Pleasant Valley in Rockingham County.”

Oct. 6-7, 1881:  “Colored at Allemony’s this evening at 8:00. . . .Colored meeting still going on in this town.”


Box 2

Vol. 15

June 1, 1883:  “Colored boy died of scarlet fever (age 16) and buried in colored graveyard.”

June 25, 1883:  “A great many persons harvesting today-wheat very good.”

June 30, 1883:  “Burn & Elam fought a duel near Wainsborough.  Elam got a flesh wound; the other was not touched.”

July 8, 1883:  “Our choir sung for the colored people today at 11:00.  Rev. B. Smith preached-a colored man.” (Sunday)

July 14, 1883:   Talks about a “wizard man” being in town for the week selling medicine.

Aug. 20, 1883:  “George E. Dunnell killed a Negro.  Shot him in self-defense.”

Sept. 20, 1883:  “Mr. George Murry’s ondley daughter (age 11) got killed at a cane mill.  The shaft caught her clothes and thread her around and beat her head soft.”

Dec. 28, 1883:  “A black man from Rockbridge County came to our town and married Black Maria Huldey yesterday in the African Church.”

Dec. 31, 1883:  “Oyster supper by the colored people in Odfellows Hall.”

Jan. 1, 1884:  “Oyster supper by the Odfellows tonight in Odfellows Hall.  Everybody invited.”

Jan. 1884:  Uncommonly cold; scarlet fever very bad in the area; ice 6” frozen.

Feb. 4, 1884:  “Mrs. Young was laying out a woman who had died and got some gastric juices on a sore on her hand and now suffers very much in consequence of it.” (She was sick for about a week; Smals doesn’t mention her after that.)

May 11, 1884:  “Colored people had their first Quarterly meeting at this place today.”

May 24, 1884:  “William Fishback and a black man had a fight.  Fishback struck the negro in the head with a rock and Fishback had to pay a fine and cost which was $4.45.”

May 31, 1884:  A great “bass ball” game.  Bridgewater 28 Harrisonburg 25 & 2 whitewashes.

June 11, 1884:  “David Hooks whipped his sister with a yardstick this morning and left marks on her boddie.”

June 13, 1884:  “Brady and Wine killed their first beef this evening.  Going to butcher all summer.”

July 19, 1884:  Nute Fry commenced butchering and selling beef in Bridgewater this morning.”

Aug. 1884:  Several mentions of a cigar/tobacco factory.

Aug. 30, 1884:  Cigar boys played and beat Bridgewater boys in baseball.

Sept. 20, 1884:  “The colored people have a local Preachers Convention here-will continue over Sunday.”

Sept. 21, 1884:  “Preaching at colored church by colored preacher.  Fifteen local preachers present at the Convention.  Large crowd of colored people present.  Collected $30.”

Nov. 1, 1884:  “Mrs. Showalter beat a little child to day, black and blue.  She was arrested and had her trial.  Paid $5 and $25 to the county court.”

Dec. 6, 1884:  “A negro shot another negro in Harrisonburg last night.  He was caught and lodged in jail to await trial.”

Mar. 11, 1885:  Nuten Smals came here from Hampshire County.  Brown Smals and Thomas Smals came to my house to day from Berkley County near Williamsport W.Va. to purchase cattle.”

Apr. 21, 1885:  “Burk Sellers cow had twin calves.”

Apr. 26, 1885:  “Two bysicles in our town.  Came from Harrisonburg in 52 minutes.”

Apr. 28, 1885:  “J.W.S. commenced getting new milk of Mrs. Jenkins today at 6 cents per quart.”

May 6, 1885:  Dinkel hired a bisicle in Harrisonburg to learn to ride on.”

June 13, 1885:  “Dr. Johnson’s cow had 2 calves this morning.”

July 1, 1885:  Post Office opened and first day of mail service in Bridgewater area.  Carriers going to Stribling Springs and Harrisonburg.


Vol. 16

July 24, 1885:  “2 Negroes broke open wines at Funkhouser store and stole 2 suit of clothing, coffee and sugar, and other articles. A black woman found under a hay stack with her throat cut from ear to ear in Augusta County, VA.”

Aug. 7, 1885:  “Colored people had a Festival tonight at the Old Town Hall” (3 sketches of black heads).

Aug. 8. 1885:  “Colored people continue their festival tonight.  Colored people have a Quarterly meeting on Crawford’s farm today and tomorrow.”

Mar. 8, 1886:  “The Colored Minstrel Singers came to our town today and sing tonight in the M.E. Church.  Colored in this town a perfect Humbug.”

Apr. 15, 1886:  “The colored Preacher came here on his circuit today.”

May 7, 1886:  Notes marriage of 2 coloreds with a squiggly circle drawing.  “Wm. Branson to Allace Brookins

May 26, 1886:  “Charley Stuart moved in Berlintown in Joseph Nielwanders house.  He is a colored man.” (sketch of black man’s head).

June 1, 1886:  “Mat Barber’s child buried today in the Colored Graveyard in this town today at 11 o’clock.  Colored boy Joseph Riggle came to our town today to work in the factory.”

June 11, 1886:  “John Wine’s wife had twins and two days afterward his cow had twin calves.” (sketch of twin calves)

June 14, 1886:  “The Colored people have a Picknick tonight for the benefit of their Preacher.”

Summer of 1886:  Talks a lot about farmers harvesting their wheat all over and in July “people are thrashing all over.” 

Aug. 1, 1886:  “The Colored People had a Bush meeting near Mt. Crawford.”

Aug. 2, 1886:  “A great show at the African church tonight by the colored folks.”  (Pasted a picture of black musicians surrounded by violins, banjos and other instruments)

Aug. 30, 1886:  “Jackson Doomer’s cow died this morning.”

Sept. 4, 1886:  “Another bucher shop opened near Allemony’s store.”

Sept. 18, 1886:  “Mr. Isaac Marshall weighed his big hog today at 705 pounds.”

Oct. 16, 1886:  “Colored Quarterly meeting commenced today in Bridgewater.”

Oct. 19, 1886:  “Henry Dice and Frank Irvin came home from Pokehunters to bring his cattle home.”

Nov. 22, 1886:  “Sanger Brothers started a Creamery today in Bridgewater.” 

Feb. 15, 1887:  Josie Wise, colored, buried in the Colored Graveyard today at 11 o’clock.  A great many colored persons present.” 


Notes:  On speech:  Smals spells the railroad president’s name “Auther Vandabilt

            On blacks:  Frequently mentions when they are born, married, and died and usually draws head sketches.

            On travel:  In 1877 a trip to Harrisonburg took 4 hours.