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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project


Emma, at the age of 21, wrote in her diary each day for the entire year of 1873. She primarily wrote about every day happenings like her tooth ache that troubled her often, how terribly cold it was, the many pies that she baked, butchering, making of sausage, continual quilting, sewing, knitting, and having fun with many relatives. A very interesting, but low key, part of the diary revolves around her sparking with Ben and their marriage in November.

Emma was the sixth of twelve children, born 20 May 1852 in Johnson County, Iowa, which is near Iowa City. She married Benjamin Franklin Beadle 27 November 1873 in Johnson County, moved to Ringgold County, Iowa in 1879, and passed away at their farm located on Beadle Hill east of Clearfield on 17 September 1899 at the age of 47.

She was the mother of Bailey Owen (1874-1937), Edith May (1876-1953), William Edward (1883-?), and Lester R. (1884-1933). She was the step mother of Stephen S. Beadle (Abt 1873-1952).

For me, Ramon (Ray) L. Bear a great grandson, the diary shows that my grandmother Edith May was born in Johnson County, Iowa rather than the believed Ringgold County, Iowa. After the death of her mother Emma, Edith May managed her father’s house for over a year before she married 12 December 1900 to Homer R. Stevens. Edith continued until after her first child, Vera Coral, was born 26 August 1901.

Only a few diary entries each month are shown for brevity. Those were chosen to give as complete a picture as possible of this hard working, intelligent, and sensitive woman. The words and spelling are those of Emma.

Saturday, 4 January 1873
Baked 15 pies – scrubbed – in the evening Ben (fiancι) come to take me a sleigh ride, it snowed and I could not go, I am not as hoarse as I was yesterday, good.

Sunday, 5 January 1873
Staid at home till noon – went to Aunt Pollys – went to the Methodist church at two o’clock preaching, no fire when we got there, we had to sit in the sleigh – pretty cold night – John (older brother) hasn’t come home yet, bad.

Saturday, 1 February 1873
Little colder – baked 11 pies, baked bread, scrubbed, churned, curled my hair, done a little of everything, aught to darn my stockings – Ben went home this afternoon – time to go to bed – played on the dulcimer.

Thursday, 27 February 1873
Cold, snowed, and blowed all day – ironed, that is about all – Ben and John was not ready for breakfast in time, they ought to be ashamed of them selves, I would if it was me – Ben and I went down to Anns (older sister) in the afternoon, Ann wanted us to stay for supper, she was going to have biscuit, but I could not stay, went to meeting at night, pretty near froze, nothing new for me to freeze.

Thursday, 13 March 1873
Nice and warm – school is out to day – Cousin Lib was hear, we went down to school, come home for dinner, I went back after dinner and played ball, spelling school at night, Mary Ford (cousin) spelled down both times, good for her.

Monday, 31 March 1873
Warm, rained – This evening picked the geese and ducks, sewed carpet rags, knit edging, put the dahlia to sprout, got the leg ache, head ache, tooth ache and I don’t know how many more kinds of aches – singing school this evening at the school house – got over my pipe smoking yesterday yet my head feels kind of dizzy but no wonder, did not get enough sleep last night but I will to night.

Tuesday, 1 April 1873
Freezing cold, rained, snowed and blowed all day, snowed two inches deep where it did not melt – baked bread, churned, peaced at my quilt, knit edging, got it done – Teens (17 year old brother Milton Z.) birth day and he has pestered me about to peaces – knee ache and tooth ache again to night, how much longer.

Friday, 25 April 1873
Nice day – went down to help Alice (sister in law) paper their house, did not have enough paper, they will have to get some more, then I will have another job of papering that I don’t like – O.B. was here for dinner – my tooth aches like sixty, what will I do, do as I always done, grin and bear it.

Saturday, 3 May 1873
Nice day- baked 10 pies, bread and cake – Ben (fiancι) brought the saddle home – Alice (sister in law), Cora (sister), Josy (brother), Nellie (sister) and myself went a fishing, got a bite but did not catch any, Alice caught two, John (brother) and Asa (brother) went and caught six or seven.

Saturday, 10 May 1873
Nice all day till to night, now it is a raining – baked 11 pies, tried to bake bread and had to throw it to the pigs – made some more flower beds and planted some seeds – curled my hair – I am tired and sleepy so I must go to bed.

Monday, 9 June 1873
Nice day – baked pies, churned, went to Uncle Fords to take their bird home, knit edging, howed in the garden – had the tooth ache awful bad.

Thursday, 12 June 1873
Nice day – peaced at my quilt – Pa and Ma went to town, I was hear by myself and I was awful lonesome, I bet I will never get married if it is this lonesome staying by my self – Pa got him a new suit – I got the tooth ache yet.

Friday, 4 July 1873
Nice day, sprinkled in the evening – staid at home all day – all the rest of the folks went to Richmond – finished setting my quilt together – Ben came at four o’clock, then I wasn’t so lonesome, at eight Teen come to take me to Skinners dance, Ben was hear and I could not go and he got mad and would not go because I would not go but I guess he is all rite now.

Friday, 18 July 1873
Nice day – put up two jars of gooseberrys – went down to Johns to help Alice quilt – Pa and Ma went to town, got me a comb and apron, good for me.

Friday, 8 August 1873
Nice day – churned, commenced me a white skirt – Alice and I went after blackberrys, got pretty near a gallon - Nellie and I beat Cora and Alice playing croquet, bully for us.

Monday, 25 August 1873
Nice day – went down to help Alice cook for the threshers – Elen Emmons was hear – Ann come home and took Olla – rained this evening, the first time for six weeks – Ben and Bill is a going to grubbing today – how warm to night.

Tuesday, 9 September 1873
Nice day – baked 19 pies, baked bread and cakes, fried cakes – to night is Teens dance, had a good time, not very many girls but plenty of boys, Torm fiddled, Toot was hear, the dance broke up at two o’clock, that is all of the dance.

Wednesday, 10 September 1873
Nice day – went to Tylers to Nets birth day quilting and party at night, I went a horse back, Mary Schlichte rode on behind me as far as Shaws then she got her own horse, it was eight o’clock when I got home and they had all gone to bed and I had to put Ned away, I was a little scared but not much.

Saturday, 25 October 1873
Nice day – baked 12 pies, helped John kill a hog in the afternoon - went to cousin Leibs - went to church at night, when we come home it rained and we went in the schoolhouse, staid till after the shower.

Monday, 27 October 1873
Cold, snowy day – went to Billy Fords quilting dance at night, did not stay, Bill and Teen went, I got the head ache and bad cold.

Friday, 7 November 1873
Rained a little – made me a skirt out of my old flannel dress, fixed both of my flannel dresses - Ma went to town and got my wedding clothes – Toot went down to Johns and I kept Arnold.

Saturday, 8 November 1873
Nice day – baked 13 pies, scrubbed, killed a hog, went to singing school to the Methodist Church – Ben came home with me and staid all night and went home be fore any of us got up – he went to town and got his wedding hat.

Monday, 10 November 1873
Nice day – commenced to making my wedding dress …

Sunday, 23 November 1873
… Ben will come, this will be my last sparking night …

Tuesday, 25 November 1873
… Got the knee ache and tooth ache …Ben left this afternoon and hant a coming back till he comes to take me as his old woman and that won’t be long …

Wednesday, 26 November 1873
Nice day – baked 23 pies, bread and tarts, worked all day … I dread to think of tomorrow, to night is the last of Emma Bailey, I will change my name to Mrs. …I have had the tooth ache all day, if I have it tomorrow what will I do, grin and bear it, …

Thursday, 27 November 1873
Nice day – did not do much of any thing only changed my name to Mrs. Beadle – I come pretty near not changing it – Though we was to be married at eleven, I got ready and waited till after twelve and we was a thinking about going some other place when Uncle Ford come, he thought it was at two, we was married at half past twelve … they come and we had a little dance, all the little boys got all of the cow bells and old pans and gave us a big shivaree – well I must quit, had the tooth ache all day.

Wednesday, 3 December 1873
Rained – baked 11 pies, bread, fried cakes, made sausage, finished up with the butchering for the year.

Tuesday, 16 December 1873
Nice day – peaced at Lises quilt, knit – Ben split fifteen posts, how lazy – Pa went to town.

Saturday, 20 December 1873
Nice day, but cold – baked 12 pies, scrubbed, curled my hair, knit, peaced one block – Ben hant back yet, what will I do to night, I pretty near froze last night, I will have sleep with Cora or Nell.


After we were married the 27 of November 1873, we staid at home till the 24 of April 1874. Then we moved in an old cabin that Grandpa Kepler lived in. Ben bought it for ten dollars and moved it on Josh Emmons forty. We moved on Friday and not a very warm day. Had to build a chimney before we could set up our stove. The house was not ceiled over head and you could look and see out of the roof most anyplace. One side was not boarded up and none of the cracks stopped between the logs. You know it is pretty cold. We have to keep a quilt hung up at one side of the wall to keep out the wind. To day is the 13 of May and Sunday. What have we done since we moved? Ceiled the house, stopped up some of the cracks, papered some with ledgers, plowed our farm, made our garden, planted our potatoes, Ben made a stable and a lounge and a place to put my quilts, grubbed out some trees for wood, went home three times, got our chickens but they don’t lay, hant any cow and dog, we eat meat and potatoes.

Well this is how we lived for a while. I must quit and make supper. Ben is laying on his nice lounge a sleep. Cold as ever. Only had one nice day since we moved hear.


We moved from the old log cabin the first day of March 1875 on North house place. … Ben grubbed for Pa by the acre and worked by the day. We had a good garden and good truck of all kinds. … The house is good. It has two rooms in it and one upstairs. The floor is pretty bad and there is only one door, three windows down stairs and two upstairs. Little better than we lived in last year.


We lived in the same place but only got half of the ground we got last year and had to buy our wood. Had the best garden in the county. …


We moved on John Slichters farm in February.


We lived on the same farm and had a law suit with Uncle John.


We started for Kansas, got as far as Ringold County and our horse got so lame we could not travel. We stopped and rented some land in Ringold County, Iowa.

Ramon L. Bear notes, "It is interesting that Emeline's horse pulled up lame allowing me to be born."

Photograph courtesy of Deloris (GRAVETT) and Ramon L. Bear

Courtesy of Deloris (GRAVETT) and Ramon L. Bear, November of 2009

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