150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson Wrote (February 8 – 14, 1861)

Posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Amanda Wilson saw President Lincoln on Feb. 12, 1861.

150 Years Ago Amanda Wilson wrote — Queen City Lady

Amanda Wilson kept a daily journal for the year 1861. Here are some of her entries:

February 8 (Fri.): One of the coldest days of the winter.[1] Sewed with Christiana nearly all morning. In the afternoon called on Mrs. Kelly and took a short walk. Had a little shopping to do.[2] On reaching the store I found I had left the ‘where with all’ at home. Happened to know the store keeper and was ok. Little Fannie and Cora went down and paid the bill for me. Sallie and Caroline called in the evening.

February 9 (Sat.): Fingers well, resumed my music. I often feel it a waste of time commencing with music at my age, but received much encouragement from my teacher and am so fond of music and desirous to learn I continue to waster the time, if it be waste. Up early, sewed, etc. in the morning. Two calls: went to market after dinner. A very mild dy. Company in the evening and music.

February 12 (Tue.): Quite a March day. As usual, spent a portion of the forenoon in attending to household duties—music and sewing. Afternoon, went with our friends to see ‘our’ President elect, ‘Honest Old Abe’![3] Oh may peace be restored and the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ ever wave over our Union undivided. Evening, had company. Retired about 11 o’clock.

February 13 (Wed.): Up early. Husband read the President’s speech aloud and other items from the paper. Pres. Lincoln leaves this morning.[4] Beautiful weather for his trip. May his administration be as sunshining. I shall never forget the crowd assembled to greet him yesterday. By far the largest crowd I ever witnessed. I fear he will be completely worn out before reaching the ‘White House’. Evening with Sallie. Took music lesson in the morning.

[1] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 9 Feb. 1861, p. 2. The temperatures were recorded as follows: 7 AM- 13°; 12 noon- 27°; 6 PM- 33°.

[2] Ford, Henry, and Kate Ford. History of Cincinnati, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Cincinnati: L.A. Williams and Co., 1881), p. 105. The Ford’s described the various activities along Cincinnati’s downtown streets; “The wholesale business was chiefly on Main, Walnut, Vine, Second, and Pearl Streets; the retail trade on Fourth, Fifth, and central Avenue. The great staples of the Cincinnati markets—iron, cotton, tobacco, sugar, etc. – were mainly on Front, water, and Second Streets. Pearl Street was largely occupied by dry goods, notions, clothing, and boot and shoe stores. Third was then, as now, the Wall Street of Cincinnati, containing many of the banks, insurance, and law officers.”

[3] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 13 Feb 1861, p. 3. The daily newspaper followed Lincoln’s visit to Cincinnati: “Shortly after one o’clock crowds were seen hurrying to and fro through the streets … The mass of people who gathered around the depot to welcome the President elect, was enormous. Not only were the streets impassable but every elevation, cars, house tops, trees, lumber piles and coal heaps, were alike covered with human beings.” The article continued: “The President’s carriage [was] a splendid establishment, drawn by six white horses … At the corner of Vine and Mercer streets a platform was erected, upon which sat thirty-four young ladies, representing the states of the Union. Over their heads was an arch of evergreens, entwined with flowers and surmounted by the American flag … When the President’s carriage arrived opposite this platform, a young miss stepped forward and presented him with an elegant bouquet of natural flowers, which he carried throughout the remainder of the route.” The article also recorded the presence of Mrs. Lincoln, writing, “The President elect and his amiable and vivacious lady.”

[4] Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 14 Feb 1861, p. 2. The paper recorded President Lincoln’s exit: “The departure of the President elect was quiet and unostentatious. He arose early, consulted with personal and political friends, breakfasted and quietly took a carriage for the depot. Several hundred persons gave him hearty, farewell cheers, both at the Burnet [Hotel] and the depot.”

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