This blog is mainly taken from my Great Grandfather's diary. In 2012 we are in the year 1915, after completing 1916 in 2010 and 1927 in 2011. 1915 is the year that my Great Uncle Norman was born. 1927 is the year that my Great Uncle Roger, was born. 1916 was the year that my grandmother, Annah Lee was born.

My Great-Grandfather's name was Bonnie Elmore and he worked as a clerk or secretary for the old Norfolk & Western Railroad, based in Roanoke, VA. Mary is his wife. Norman is their first born son. The Raines are Mary's parents. Skin is Bonnie's brother along with Jake.

Bonnie's work associates and friends are also mentioned quite a bit. Bonnie does a great job of blending everyday life in 1915 with the mention of some world and USA history as well. I do know from a quick glance ahead that 1915 is going to be quite different as Bonnie did not write quite as much.

After Bonnie's diary entry, I will occasionally make comments, maybe tell a little about life in 2012, possibly some current events, and some musing about the Christian faith.

Monday, November 30, 2009


On Thursday November 30, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm, Sultry. THANKSGIVING DAY Arose at 8 a.m. Oysters for our breakfast. Papa came over at 10 a.m. and he and I went to see Mrs. Mullins. I carried Norman up to Mrs. Raines. Papa and I went to the office wrote a letter to Blaine. Went to see Capt. Rowan. Met Miss Fox, Proffit, Neville. Ate Dinner with Loam at Mama's. Ate supper at Raines'. V.P.I beat V.M.I in football. Really not much has changed it seems like when it come to Thanksgiving. Now I didn't have oysters for breakfast the other day, but if I had it would have been fine. Mostly it seems like Bonnie did lots of eating and visiting with family and friends. He does mention the V.P.I. vs. V.M.I. football game. Today we know VPI as Virginia Tech and this game vs. VMI in the early 1900's was quite the tradition as I understand it. It was held in Roanoke as a kind of neutral site and it was a day full of parades and pageantry and oh yeah a football game. It was THE event in Roanoke on Thanksgiving Day. Another sign of changing times, my daughter needs the computer to finish homework, so this will conclude today's post. We'll start Bonnie's December diary tomorrow. By the way, pictures of some of those mentioned in this blog from 1916 will be coming shortly!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


On Wednesday, November 29, 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm, Cloudy. Arose at 7:20 a.m. Mary made fire. Got to work at 8:40. Very cloudy today. Read paper. Got our checks. I ate supper over home. Jake and I walked over together. I carried Capt. Rowan's check. Mama showed me letter from Blaine about about Ronk's bill. I shaved at night. Read the paper. We retired at 11 p.m. Payday right before Thanksgiving, that's how it worked at the county in 2009 too. Again nothing real remarkable. I still need to find out who some of these people are like Capt. Rowan and Jake. We got a lot done today around the house with Christmas decorating. Small crowd at church today, 1st Sunday of Advent. Remember not to overload electrical outlets with too many Christmas lights or run extension cords under rugs etc.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


On Tuesday, November 28, 1916, Bonnie wrote: Frost, Foggy. Arose at 7:20. Made a fire. Walked up street with Minnie Sullivan and Lilly Bishop. Got to work at 8:40. Busy all day. Mrs. R and Aunt Annah went up to Louis'. Austin is sick. I got papers at Mrs. Raines. Wrote on book for Mr. W. P. Wiltsee, read some in afternoon. I indexed and filed mail in morning. Read after supper. Retired at 10:30. Nothing real remarkable today. Same in 2009. Running errands, some more decorating to come. Sermon tomorrow is "God's Christmas Preparations"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bushman and Bayne

November 27, 1916, a Monday, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Frosty cold. Hot in afternoon. Arose at 7:30 a.m. Mary made a fire. I ate stewed oysters for breakfast. Mr. Schick came back to the office. Francis X. Bushman and Beverley Bayne here today in person showing "Romeo and Juliet". Dr. Lawson examined Mary this morning at Jefferson Hospital. I gave Jake my gray trousers. Wrote Effie. I shaved after supper and played with Norman. Bushman and Bayne left. Bushman and Bayne were pretty big silent movie stars in 1916 and apparently in 1918 it was revealed that they were having a longtime affair. They were traveling together in 1916 in Roanoke, VA. They later had a child together. Bushman was married 4 times. We got up a little after 4 this morning, "Black Friday" and went and did a little shopping, ate breakfast at Famous Anthony's and are home now decorating for Christmas. Along the fire safety line: the Wal-Mart I was in today supposedly locked doors with customers inside which is a fire code violation and the Toys-R-Us in Roanoke was rumored to have been shut down by the city fire marshal due to over crowding.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kids, kids, kids

On Sunday, November 26, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold, Clear. Arose at 8 a.m. Mrs. Raines came down. Also Ethel Wade. Dr. Burks came down to see Mary at 1 p.m. I went by the office. Saw Jess. Got prescription filled and went over home for supper. I rolled Norman up to Mrs. Raines. Papa ate supper at Doris's and went to church. Jake gave me striped tie. Mrs. Raines came down at night. Mama gave me bottle of "bitters". Ok, after visiting with my mother today I have figured out a few other things. Bonnie is about 25 when he is writing this. His oldest son is Norman who is 21 months, his next oldest child is my grandmother, Annah Lee, who is 11 months old at this writing and Mary is pregnant again with "Baby Jane" who is born in February of 1917. It is hard for me to picture Gran-daddy as a 25 year old, as when I knew him he was already rather old. Apparently, Mary may not feel well, or is just getting a check up from the Doctor (tomorrow she also makes a visit to the hospital) and also I think Bonnie is still not feeling well, hence the bottle of "bitters". Today, in 2009 it is Thanksgiving. In 1916, Thanksgiving did not happen until November 30. Apparently in 1916 Thanksgiving was on the last Thursday instead of the 4th Thursday as today. We will just have to wait to see what Bonnie, Mary, Norman, and Annah Lee did on Thanksgiving in 1916. We have enjoyed a wonderful meal today of Roasted Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green beans, carrots, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. We are getting ready to take a walk. We are awaiting Amy, Paul, Autumn and Drew's arrival for left overs and then we will get down from the attic Mom's Christmas decorations before we leave.

Books and Movies

I didn't post yesterday as I just ran out of time, so I will try and post 2 diary entries today to stay on schedule with Bonnie. On November 25, 1916 a Saturday, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cold, Clear. Arose at 7:30. Made a fire. Got to office at 8:50. After puzzling and worrying about "When a Man's a Man", Mr. Raitt brought it down. I loaned the same book to Mr. Eiffert in Valuation Dept. Made up payrolls. Cut wood after dinner. Mrs. Miure came down at 2:30. I went to St. Chas. Hospital. Also Mr. Raitts went to "American". Alright, there were a couple of puzzling things about today's entry and after some research I have figured one out and one is still a mystery. Interesting that Grand-daddy went to the office on Saturday. The first mystery really had to do with his handwriting. I had a hard time making out the title of the book that he was worried about, but again with Google help I was able to figure that out. Apparently the men of the area had quite the book exchange going. Again, no TV so entertainment after work was reading, movies, visiting, etc. I have noted that the 2 books Bonnie mentions both have had to do with being out west. The western part of the US must have still been somewhat of a mystery and a dream and something to fantasize and write about. Now for the second mystery that remains unsolved. Bonnie says he went to St. Chas. Hospital. I am not aware of any hospital in Roanoke by that name and while he did travel by train a good bit, tomorrow's entry has him back in Roanoke. So, I don't think he would have gone to Missouri and back in the same day. He could have been referring to a movie because in the next line hem mentions that "Also Mr. Raitts went to the 'American'", which was a grand old theater here in Roanoke that has long since been demolished. I may seek some help on these kind of mysteries from either Roger, who is Bonnie's son or from Nelson Harris, a Baptist minister and noted Roanoke historian. Today is Thanksgiving. We are at Mom's house today. Very thankful that she was able to get her heart artery cleared up with a stent! Another post maybe later today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


On November 24 (a Friday), 1916, Bonnie Elmore wrote: Arose at 7:20. Mary made fire. I got to work at 8:35. Corrected specifications for Mr. Wiltsee. Wrote a letter for Mr. Turner. Read "American" Magazine. Talked to Mr. C.M. Steffey on Nelson St. at 5:30. Bought second suit of underwear. Mary and I ate at her Mother's. Came home at 8:30 p.m. I won't elaborate much today as I am tired from Mom's hospital stay, but interesting that Mary made the fire today, I think we will see that they often take turns, maybe a week at a time. Also, that Grand-daddy felt the need to record his underwear purchase! Did he really only have one "suit" before that? Like I said before, times were different and maybe he means something different than what we call underwear today. Maybe it was long-johns. No real world events recorded today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wilson wins

Going ahead and posting tomorrow's post a little early, as Mom is having a heart test tomorrow and I will be with her all day. On Thursday, November 23, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Rain -Foggy. Arose at 7:30. Got to work 8:50. Wrote Descriptions on Lewis Creek Branch. Mr. Schick left for Philadelphia to attend an Alumni dinner. Mr. Hughes sent congratulations to President Wilson on his re-election. I bought a jar of cold (satin) cream. First Application. Mrs. Wingfield was buried today. Rained all day. We all laughed at jokes in book. I am guessing the Lewis Creek Branch has something to do with the railroad and Mr. Schick is one of Bonnie's bosses as he is mentioned quite often in the diary. Here again we have mention of some big world events at the time. I think Grand-daddy is referring to the Mr. Hughes who lost the election to President Wilson, or else it was a Mr. Hughes at the railroad. The election of 1916 is the one where it was VERY close and the newspapers had given the election to Hughes, only to find out in the morning that Wilson had won. If you were to read in Bonnie's diary earlier, you would also read that Bonnie thought Mr. Hughes had won the election too. As a side note, President Woodrow Wilson's birthplace is in Staunton, VA, only about an hour north of Roanoke. And Staunton, is also the home of my mother. I am a little stumped by the cold cream, unsure what that was for. I also don't know who Mrs. Wingfield was or what jokes were laughed at in what book. Random thoughts that will keep me in line with the title of this blog: Family: my interest in my genealogy has led me to discover that my father's line of Clingenpeel's and my mother's line of Meyerhoeffers were both descendant of Hessian soldiers, German soldiers who fought in the American Revolution on the side of the British. I know, wrong side, but apparently they both liked it here, deserted the Hessian army and stayed here in the grand ole USA to raise families. Families which, later in 1967 came together as a Clingenpeel and a Meyerhoeffer and got married. This has produced a great interest on my part in the American Revolution and I have been doing some reading on that history and may write about that at some point. Faith: Great crowd at church today. God is at work in Springwood Baptist Church and I am excited to see where this goes. Springwood sure seems to be a place where people with some very real problems come and meet Jesus and then it is our hope that if we are obedient to God's plan that they will leave from Springwood and spread God's love. Today, there were some new faces, brought by people who have recently met Jesus. That's good stuff. Also, there has been lots of discussion at work recently on matters of faith that I have been able to contribute to and God has made me aware of several others who may be spiritually searching. Fire Safety: The holiday season is upon us and unfortunately it is also prime time for house fires. Please...if you are cooking this week... pay attention and don't leave cooking unattended on the stove! Cooking is the number one cause of house fires in America!

Meet Bonnie

On this day in 1916 in Roanoke, VA B.W. Elmore wrote: Chilly and cloudy. Arose at 7:20 a.m. Made a fire. Got to office at 8:45. Have severe headache today. Emperor Franz Josef of Austria died at age of 86 years today. Went over home at 5:30 and ate supper. Papa returned $4.00 of the $6.00 that I loaned him. I left Mama's house at 8:35. Took box of candy home. Loaned Harry Raines "winning of B.W" Several things I should point out here. I am going to try and write exactly the same way Bonnie did, so some expressions etc. may sound odd and I am working from his hand written diary, which is in a small book and so the handwriting is much different than today's, so I may occasionally mess something up, if so please feel free to point it out to me. Bonnie was a secretary for the old Norfolk and Western and Railroad which was headquartered here in Roanoke. I have been told that it was not uncommon to have male secretaries during those days. He was a very meticulous kind of guy as you can tell by his posting of times and attention to detail, which made him a very good secretary. We will see more about this in coming days. I find his diary to be such a treasure because he writes of simple things like who made the fire today and yet also tells about things going on in Roanoke and the world. In today's post we read about the death of Franz Josef of Austria. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia (my how times have changed since 1916), I was able to tell that Franz Josef played an important part in World History and his death came during World War 1. So, when reading Bonnie's entries, we must keep in the back of our mind that a world war is going on. I also was curious about what was loaned to Harry Raines, who were Bonnie's in laws. Bonnie's initials were B.W. but surely there was not a book about him. Again, after a little research I found that there was a popular book about that time called "The Winning of Barbara Worth" thus the B.W. The book was published in 1911 and a movie was made from the book in the 1920's. So, grand-daddy was a reader and as we shall see he also enjoyed going to the movies. I am guessing that in the 20's he later went to see the movie by the same title as the book. Also, another little tidbit. Bonnie didn't always go straight home after work. Not that I think he was doing anything that he shouldn't have. He usually tells us what he did right here in the diary, like stop by the news stand, see a movie, etc. Times were different then, no TV, and apparently Mary (Bonnie's wife, we called her Nanny) took care of most of the care of the children. Remember Annah Lee is 11 months old and Norman her older brother is still at home too. I just thought it was interesting that on this night, Bonnie went to eat at his parent's house, stayed for 3 hours, and then took a box of candy home. Ooops, stayed too long maybe? Think he knew Mary was going to be a little upset? Also, it just dawned on me that Grand-daddy had a bad headache today and ate cheese last night. My dad, Andy, used to get really bad headaches and the doctor once told him they were cluster headaches and could be caused by eating too much cheese and/or chocolate. Andy loved cheese too. I didn't have any cheese last night, but I did have some chocolate, no headache today though.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Tuesday, November 21, 1916 in Roanoke, VA according to Bonnie Elmore (My great grandfather): Warm and clear; Arose at 7:30, made a fire, got to work at 8:30. Read "American" magazine. Also wrote a letter to Denny Lawlor. Got my haircut. Mrs. R and Aunt Annah and I went down the street at 8 p.m. to Democratic parade. Pretty bum affair, but a very large crowd on the street. I stopped by Joe Milan's and read awhile came home at 9:20, ate cheese. Mrs. R is Mrs. Raines and was Bonnie's mother in law. Aunt Annah is who my grandmother is named after and Annah Lee (my grandmother) was now about 11 months old. Joe Milan's is I think a news stand and tobacco shop that used to be in Roanoke. I like to eat cheese too. I am guessing there are many things that get handed down from generation to generation. So far today, I have been to church and prayer walked the church with the deacons, got gas in the car, started a load of laundry and now we are off to pick up Caleb from basketball practice and help my mother with some chores at her house. Gospel sing later tonight at church as a fund raiser for a church member who has cancer. Possibly more about that later.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Faith, Family, and Fire Safety

This is my very first blog post, so we will see how this goes. Some posts may seem to be random, but I hope to focus on matters of faith, family, and fire safety and some history discussions too. I have my great grand-father's daily diary from the year that my grandmother was born. I hope to share some of his thoughts. And, it is his journal and the realization that lots of my ancestors kept a daily diary that have led to me to start this blog. Stay tuned