• Lisa Rivero
  • Found Writers: How My Great Aunt Celebrated July 4th
Found Writers: How My Great Aunt Celebrated July 4th
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
Harriet One of my current projects that is giving me greater joy and satisfaction than I ever could have imagined is transcribing my great aunt’s diaries, which she kept daily from January 1, 1920 through the middle of 1957, the year before she died. For this holiday weekend, I thought you might enjoy these posts from July 4 from various years. All of them were written from her farm and ranch in Hidden Timber, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Harriet “Hattie” Whitcher was a writer, although I’m not sure she thought of herself as one. Many of her entries are written in the kind of shorthand one uses when writing only for oneself, but she never failed to notice and record details that most people miss. One of the touching aspects of the following entries is that they show how the active and wide community that she loved in the first years of her marriage slowly changed as she and her husband, Will, aged (they did not raise any children of their own), so that, by the end of Hattie’s life, she often missed the companionship of traveling with neighbors to races and ball games, horse shows and picnics. However, through it all, she never stopped writing.
July 4, 1933: Barbecue, Program, Clowns, Music by Orchestra, Indian dances, ball game, O’Kreek vs. Wood and O’Kreek won, races, Kitten-ball, dance in evening with orchestra (The Four Aces or Bailey’s) and a wonderful crowd. I saw Mrs. Charles Sinclair (Edith Brownfield) and boys of Winner as they were at the Celebration with Carl Anderson’s. We ate only sandwiches from the stand and ice cream and pop in the evening. Carving Barbecue Beef

July 4, 1939: Bright, hot, and south wind real strong, clouded in S.W. and a regular dust storm for awhile in afternoon. Le Moyne chored and went home horseback on Gold Dust, and came back at 3 p.m., and he said there was a real dust storm here, and Will and I went to Abbotts at 11 a.m. They got ready and filled our car with gas from their barrel, so we all went to White River, via O’Kreek and Mission, and was a real dust storm there, could scarcely see horse racing, calf roping, and no ball game until as we were leaving grounds, Murdo and Wood started to play. We got home at 6:30 p.m. and all clouds were gone to the east, no rain here, but a beautiful evening. A large crowd of people at White River to a Free Celebration of the 4th of July. [Hattie's Caption for the photo: Carving Barbecue Beef, July 4, 1933] Read the rest of the July 4th entries at Hattie's Blog. Please share your thoughts on Hattie or your own "found writers."

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