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, May 31, 2010

Decoration Day

On Tuesday, May 30, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Sunshine. "Decoration Day". Arose 8 a.m. Shaved. Aunt Annah's goods came to house. Papa came down. Ate lunch at Mrs. Raines. Went up street to get things for Mary. Met Papa, Everett, Skin, Mr. Thompson and Capt. Rowan. Col. Jno. S. Mosby died in Washington. Ate supper over home. Mrs. R came down. Dr. J.C. Burks called me on phone. On Wednesday, May 31, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Cool-Pleasant. Arose 7:15 a.m. Got to work at 8:30. Wrote up 2 deeds (cys.) Mary began "treatment" today. Paid off. Talked to Howard Fisher, Carter Thompson, Jack Bowdell, Mr. Steffey. Worked until 5:30. Paid some bills. Got ice cream. Mary feeling "blue". Ate supper 7 p.m. Mrs. R. down. End of month note: This has been a beautiful month. A few severely hot days. We had one holiday, "Memorial Day" in May. I was ill for a week this month. Laid off at home 2 days. Two or three electrical storms. Interesting that Bonnie wrote about Memorial Day as "Decoration Day". If I have my stuff straight, Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day and was a day for remembering all those who have gone before us, not just our military and the custom was to go and decorate their graves, thus, Decoration Day. It was also apparently on May 30 and not the last Monday in May. Still apparently it was a day off for Bonnie and a time to get together with family and friends. I wonder what kind of treatment Mary was receiving? We have had some strong storms here in May 2010 as well. We had a great Memorial Day, as my family surprised me with an early Father's Day present and we traveled to Charlotte, NC after church on Sunday to go to the new NASCAR Hall of Fame. It was great and Caleb and I really enjoyed ourselves while the ladies shopped. Incidentally, I looked up Col. John S. Mosby and discovered that he was also known as the "Gray Ghost". Col. Mosby was a Confederate calvary batallion commander during the Civil War. His men, "Mosby's Raiders", were known for their lightning quick raids and their ability to elude their Union pursuers, by blending in with local farmers and towns people. Mosby was born in Powhatan, VA and graduated from Hampden-Sydney College. I love the history that is Bonnie's diary as well as the history that he notes IN the diary. Fitting that this note was on Memorial Day. Ironic that Col. Mosby died on Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spring Storms

On Sunday, May 28, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very Sultry hot. Arose at 8 a.m. Harry Raines came down. I took a picture of him and Norman. Ate strawberries. Rolled children to Mrs. Raines. Big Thunderstorm. Very hot. We stayed for supper. Read N.Y. Journal. Didn't go over home. Children very hard to manage today. Mrs. Raines came home with us at 9 o'clock p.m. On Monday, May 29, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very hot. Arose 7:20. Got to work at 8:35. Indexed and filed mail. Wrote Dr. Burks and went down St. at 11 a.m. to mail same. Mrs. Raines was sick and called us on phone. Went to freight depot to inquire about goods. Rain and Thunder in p.m. Went to see Pitzer. Cut grass at night. Norman ill. We have had some of those spring storms here in 2010 as well. Hail last night as we went to get pizza and then go play poker at Mom's house. What a blast, we had a great time. Caleb and I cut grass late this evening. Attempted to watch NASCAR Nationwide race this afternoon, but mostly napped. Worked on sermon and Sunday School lesson today. Not expecting a big crowd at church tomorrow. We also grilled steaks on the grill tonight and they were delicious.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Very Hot

On Thursday, May 25, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm-clear. Arose at 7:15. Got to work at 8:35. Mr. Schick in the office. Went by Mrs. Raines at 6 p.m. and shaved. Rolled Norman to Elmwood Park. Talked to Mr. Raines. Mr. Toombs has gall stones and cancer of intestines. Mrs. Raines went to Jeff. Hospital at 7 o'clock and came down home at 8:30. Thunderstorm between 8 and 9 o'clock. On Friday, May 26, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm Day. Arose at 7:20. Got to work at 8:35 a.m. Worked steadily all day. At eventide, cut grass in front and back yard. Mary and I rolled children up to Mrs. Raines and went to Elmwood Park. Mrs Hurst at Mrs. Raines. Mary and came home alone. Very hot night. Talked to Jeff. Steele. Retired at 10:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 27, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Very Hot. Arose at 7:20. Got to work at 8:35. (Warm day). Worked steadily. Mr. R.F. Boxley in. Mary and I finished screening porch. I shaved and all went up to Mrs. Raines after supper. I took a bath there. Very hot day, with thunder. Talked to Jones Gardner. Mrs. R came home with us at 9:15 and put Norman to bed.

Monday, May 24, 2010


On Wednesday, May 24, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Sunshine-Clear. Arose at 7:15. Got to work at 8:30. Work dull. Mr. Schick away. Wrote letter for Capt. Anderson. Read "Life". Ate supper at Mrs. Raines. Rolled Norman around square. Got 1/2 doz. oranges at Hurst. Mrs. Raines went home with us. I made lemon-ade. Mrs. Raines went home at 9:30 p.m. We retired at 10:30. Warm night. I just think it's funny that they bought oranges and then made lemon-ade.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I Found It

Well, with a little persistence, I found information on the St. Charles Hospital of Roanoke, VA. I first found it mentioned in a history of "Old Southwest" that was written by a Frank Gusler, for the City of Roanoke in 2009. It really was just a mention, but gave the date of its opening as 1913. Searching on that information, I came across another one of Nelson Harris' historical postcards books this one entitled "Salem and Roanoke County in Vintage Postcards" published in 2005. I may need to get this book too. I may have seen it at another time but did not realize that it had a section on the city of Roanoke. In that book, on page 120 is a picture of St. Charles Hospital and this information: "The St. Charles Hospital was located at 533 Mountain Ave. It opened in March 1913 under the direction of Dr. J.C. Burke (Bonnie mentions him numerous times). The hospital closed in 1934, and the building was converted into apartments." Bingo. That is just what I was looking for. It really did exist. I may now need to go find this building and lay eyes on it. Also, the info by Frank Gusler in the history of "Old Southwest" looked very interesting too, I just haven't read all of it yet.

St. Chas. Hospital

On Sunday, May 21, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm-Sunny. Arose 8:30 a.m. Went to office 10 o'clock. Took letter to Post Office. Walked to St. Chas. Hospital and back home. Tried to cut Norman's hair. Ruth Doyle died on 14th-City Paint. Went to Raines' in afternoon. Rolled Norman over to Elmwood Park and ate supper at Mrs. Raines. Came home at 8 o'clock and retired 10 p.m. On Monday, May 22, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Cool-Raining. Arose 7:10 a.m. Read "Ladies Home Journal". Mrs. Raines came down home after dinner. Got candy and cigars. Copied agreement. Mary feeling ill. Went to hospital at 5:45 Dr. Burks wrote prescription at 7 o'clock. Came by J&J & met Jake. Mrs. Raines down home and stayed until 9:30 p.m. Mary feeling badly. I retired at 10:30. On Tuesday, May 23, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Raining. Arose at 7:20 a.m. Got to work 8:40. John Dillard came in the office. Work very dull. Wrote to Mrs. John Doyle. Shaved at noon. Work dull in p.m. Mrs. Raines came down after supper and stayed until 9:30. I called Dr. Burks up on phone and inquired about medicine. Rain all night. Read newspaper. Mailed letter to Jake. Retired 10:30. So Bonnie went to the office on Sunday? And the post office was open on Sunday? I am still stumped by this St. Chas. Hospital in Roanoke. I know it is not still around and I have not been able to find out anything else about it. I would love to know more like where it was. Elmwood park is still around and I know right where that is. Hope Mary is feeling better soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


On Friday, May 19, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Sunny. Arose at 7:30. Got to work at 8:40. Mr. Schick and R.S. Kerfoot in. Checked estimate sheets for R.S. Kerfoot. Partly indexed letters. Mrs. Raines had Dr. Robinson puller lower set of teeth. I rolled Norman up to Mrs. Raines at night. She came home with me. Got "tansy" etc. and Mary used it. Retired 10:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 20, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Sunny-Cool. Baby contest today. Arose 7:20 a.m. Got to work at 8:35 walked in with Pat Foy and Cleo Shoffner. Kerfoot here yet. Got letter from Blaine. Shaved in p.m. Walked up town with Harry Raines. Mrs. Raines, Mary and I took kids to baby show. Ate supper at Mrs. R's Watered yd. I went to theater. Saw Jake. Home at 10:00. Apparently "tansy" is a medicinal herb. Most of its medicinal qualities have been discredited since 1916, but back then it was kind of one of those "it cures what ails you" kind of things. Reportedly being used for everything from stopping flatulence to repelling mosquitoes to a face wash to purify the skin to curing joint pain. Have you noticed that apparently Bonnie worked a lot on Saturdays? Was this a common thing in 1916? I am guessing that Norman or Annah Lee did not win the baby contest or that would have been noted in the diary.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bonnie sick

On Tuesday May 16, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very hot a.m. Arose at 7 a.m. Stayed home. Very sick-sore throat & headache. used atomizer. Rolled Norman to Mrs. Raines and Hurst's. Mrs. Raines down. I took salts. Went to creamery for 1 pt. milk. Thunder and rain p.m. Toast and pint sweet milk for lunch Ethel Wade over & Mary phoned E.J.R. I slept on Davenfold 1 1/2 hours before lunch. Mr. and Mrs. Coleman down at night. On Wednesday, May 17, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very Cold. Arose 7 o'clock. Went to Hurst's & rolled Norman to Mrs. Raines. Got to work at 8:25. Mr. Schick talked kindly to me. Advised me to remain home in p.m. He left on #3. Wrote "bunch" of mail in the morning. Stayed home p.m. Went to see Mama. Harry Raines fixed handle of Norman's push cart. Mrs. Raines went thome with us. I retired at 9 o'clock p.m. On Thursday, May 18, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Cold-Windy. Arose 7:20 a.m. Got work 8:40. Feeling ill. Work dull in office. Mr. Raitt away in afternoon, sick. I made requisition for postage stamps. Read "Cosmopolitan". Got pint of milk from creamery. Talked to Mr. Raines. Went home, shaved, ate supper. Ethel Wade over. I rolled Norman up Dale Avenue at 8 o'clock. Very cool. Read paper, took calomel. Retired 10 p.m.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bull Moose Convention

On Thursday, May 11, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very Warm today. Arose at 7 o'clock. Dr. Davis over to see Poff baby. Mr. Schick back. Got to office 8:20. Answered letter from Aunt Annah. Got card today. Ate supper at Mrs. Raines and came home at 8:30 p.m. Beautiful moonlight night. Looked over Cosmopolitan magazine, smoked a cigar and retired at 10:15 p.m. On Friday, May 12, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Warm-Fair. Bull Moose Convention. Arose at 7:20. Walked to work with Harry Crumpacker at 8:30. Got tobacco at Joe Milan's. Rode up Dale Ave. in Pete Guerrant's motorcycle car. Mailed flowers to Aunt Annah. Took 2 pictures of the house. Annah Lee sick. Indexing today. Mr. H.W. Leslie and Mrs. Raines came down after supper. Mary and I mowed the grass. On Saturday, May 13, 1916: Cool-Pleasant. Arose at 7 o'clock. Wore first red rose out of our yard to the office. Mr. Luck in. In afternoon, Mary and I put up screen door, cut grass. I went up to Mrs. Raines with Norman and shaved and took a bath. Harry rolled Norman out. Ate supper 8 p.m. Mrs. Raines came down. I went up town and got a haircut and "Fahrneys"! Thunder & Lightning. On Sunday, May 14, 1916: Warm-Sunny. Arose 8:30. Took flowers to Mama. Mary and I left children with Mrs. Raines and went to the Jefferson Theater to Mother's Day Recital. Fine address by Dr. N. G. Foote. Papa came by Mrs. Raines with us and stayed until 6 o'clock p.m. Went to house for basket. Mrs. Raines came home with us. Retired at 10 p.m. On Monday, May 15, 1916: Quite Warm. Arose at 7:20. Got to work 8:35. R. S. Kerfoot in. Feeling very ill. No work much. Came by Mrs. Raines in evening and got eggs and shears. Mrs Raines came down at 8 o'clock stayed to 9:30 p.m. I shaved. Louise and Ethel Wade came over and took Annah Lee to Mrs. Wade's. I bought a cigar at Mayhew's store. Retired at 10 p.m.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bum Bonnie

On Wednesday, May 10, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Sunshine. Arose at 7 o'clock. Got to work at 8:20 a.m. Work dull in office. Got a letter from Dr. Payne and Aunt Annah. Rolled Norman down home and watered the flowers. Mrs. Raines came home from trip to Lynchburg, VA. I felt bum at night. Retired at 10 p.m. Little Poff boy is sick today. Completed statement for Burke. I just haven't felt too much like commenting here recently. I have not been too inspired I guess, though I do still love reading Grand-daddy's entries and passing them along for others as a glimpse into what life was like in the past. I do like seeing that Bonnie started going back to the theater again. I know he loved to do that and read. I think home ownership has maybe taken away some time from Bonnie as he writes more now about flowers, grass, sidewalks, leaks, etc. I fully understand how home ownership can do that. I also especially like how Bonnie seems to be so involved in his community. He makes notes when he meets new people. He writes about births, deaths, illnesses, parades, travels and of course culture like the movies and books. This leads me to more of a "faith" post today. God has spoken to me recently, through a guy by the name of Reggie McNeal, about the missional church movement. This movement basically says that churches should be doing more for our communities, more for "the least of these", and less programming for ourselves. Churches should be the hands and feet of Christ in the world and should just go about trying to bless others and give them a better life instead of better churches. It's not our responsibility to always try and have a conversation experience with someone every time we encounter them. We should just leave that up to God, but be ready to do that if the Spirit leads. Anyway this has really opened my eyes to the needs that are around us and what might happen if the church started to try and meet those needs. I believe God would bless those efforts and not only would the community needs be blessed, but in the long run we might even see better churches and people won to Christ. I will probably have more to say about this at some point later. Christianity is exploding in other parts of the world and it is basically because the church in other parts of the world is MISSIONAL but the church here in the US is dying because we are not. I have challenged the members at Springwood Baptist to be more missional, to BE the church and not just DO church and the response have been pretty neat, with most talking about how God blessed them in their attempts to bless other people. Now, if we could just get that to catch on...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Miss Shoffner's machine

On Tuesday, May 9, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Clear. Arose 6:50 a.m. Shaved. Got to office 8:20, wrote 2 letters. Mr. Schick left on train No. 1. Mr. Raitt absent. Mr. Crawford away. Wrote statement on Miss Shoffner's machine. Bought straw hat for $2.00 at Bro'hood. Rolled Norman down home and watered flowers. Talked to Frank Lakes. Got a letter from Reva. Retired at 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Back to the American

On Friday, May 5, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Clear. Arose 7:20 a.m. Got to work 9 a.m. Filed and indexed. Frank Poff buried today in Fairview. S.H. Staples in office. Went to funeral-Baptist Church. Went to Thurman and Boone's and entered Norman in baby contest. Wrote and sent pictures to Effie, Leva, Bob Elmore and Blaine. Dug up yard for planting flowers. Mrs. Raines came down after Aunt Annah to go away. Saturday, May 6, 1916: Pretty Day. Arose at 7 o'clock. Made a fire. Took fork home. Went to Joe Milan's for tobacco. Capt. W.W. Boxley in. R.D. Lehman brought in records. Mary and I cleaned back yard, planted flower seeds and cut grass. Went to Mrs. Raines after supper. I shaved and took a bath there and went to "American" to see "The Call of the Cumberlands" Sunday, May 7, 1916: Sunny and Rain. Wore new suit 1st time. Arose 8 o'clock. Went to church and came down town with Steffey. Went up Mrs. R's with Norman and then over to Mamma's for supper-Jake came in. Walked down street. Met Carter Thompson. Came home on car. Got candy at Joe Milan's. Saw Abe's baby. Mrs. Raines came home with Mary and stayed until 9 o'clock. Retired at 10:15. Monday, May 8, 1916: Warm-Sunshine. Arose 7:15 a.m. Rode to Jefferson St. in automobile with Hendricks. Mr. Frank Campbell came up to office. Not much work. Wrote a letter to H.M. Greenwood about Jake. Went to American at night to see "The Wall Between". Spent the night at Mrs. Raines. Heat lightning and thunder at night. Retired at 11 o'clock. Very warm night. 4 days of posts to catch up on + working lots of overtime this weekend + NASCAR on TV = no commentary tonight, though lots of things are tempting to write about. You know...those who do read this regularly and even occasionally (Total of maybe 2 people) could even leave your own comments!!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Typewriter Table

On Thursday, May 4, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Cool-Raining. Shaved. Arose 7:30. Got to work at 8:40. Completed Honaker situation. John Dillard came in office. Thunder and Raining. Mr. Raitt spoke to Mr. Schick about typewriter table. Saw Skin in Ford car 5:30. Mr. Schick went to Huntington on No. 3. Mary went up to Mrs. Raines at 5 o'clock p.m. Rain and Thunder at night.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mowing Mary

On Wednesday, May 3, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Very Hot. Arose at 7 a.m. Didn't make fire. Got to work at 8:35. Paid for slippers $1.50 and also water bill .55 cents. Mrs Raines and Mrs. Hughes spent the day with us. Wore slippers first time this summer. Frank Poff died today. Came by Mrs. Raines and got suit case for Aunt Annah. Mary finished mowing grass. Babies crying at night. Wow a 55 cent water bill. So, Bonnie was really getting that mower oiled for Mary. I guess it was so warm on this day that the Elmores did not need the fire today.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Oiled lawn mower

On Monday, May 1, 1916 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Warm Day. Arose 7 a.m. Got to work at 8:40 a.m. Took telegram down street. Paid some bills. Bought screen netting for porch. Went by Mr. Raine's, He gave Annah Lee a crib today. Took lawn mower from Mr. Raine's home. Geo. Walters oiled lawn mower. Ate supper at 7 o'clock. On Tuesday, May 2, 1916 Bonnie wrote: Very hot day. Mr. Raitt away in a.m. Arose at 7:20. Made a fire. Mamma moved today to address 410 4th Ave. N.E. Got letter and $20.00 from Blaine. Acknowledged by card. Walked with Sam Harbour. Got netting and garden fork at Mrs. Raines. Papa came to the office at 5:30 p.m. Gave him $20.00. Met Everett and Carter Thompson. Cut grass &retired at 9:30 very tired. In my last blog post we read that Mr. Raines gave Annah Lee a cradle and today he gave her a crib. Here is the cool part. My mother emailed to remind me that she still has that cradle. At least we are pretty sure it is the same one, as we remember Granny, Annah Lee, talking about how her grandfather had given her that cradle. Now I don't know where the crib went. Sounds like Bonnie was knee deep in yard work and that can make one very tired. Great day at Springwood Baptist today. There was a very good crowd and some people we had not seen in a while. Today's sermon was from Romans 8:5-8 and was about Stinking Thinking vs. Kingdom Thinking. We talked a lot about how the church needs to be more present in the world and be a blessing to others, which was also the them of the deacons retreat that we went to this weekend at Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center near Lynchburg.