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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Raitt Absent

On Thursday, January 28, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Fair-weather, cold. Verna Andrews married. Mr. Morrell's body shipped to Proffittstown, Ill. on #3. Mr. Schick and R.G. Lester acting pall bearers. Talked to Mr. Leckie on street. Ate dinner at Mrs. Raines. Mr. Raitt absent. Went with Harry Crumpacker to Laundry. Mr. Schick went to Williamson, W.Va.

On Friday, January 29, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Fine weather, sunshine. Mr. Raitt absent. Minnie washed windows. Mary and I cleaned up pictures etc. Went to Mrs Raines for eggs. Read "Leslie's Weekly".

Considering that most of Bonnie's entries so far this year have been rather brief, the 28th's entry was an explosion.  Bonnie actually filled up the page of his little diary. I think I have mentioned it some time ago, but that Crumpacker name intrigues me.  There used to be a Crumpacker's Orchard here in Roanoke. In fact, where it used to be, is where our house now stands and lots of others too. So, I wonder if there is a connection.  I am guessing that there probably is some sort of connection. The Morrell body being shipped to Ill. was quite the event it sounds like.  I guess Schick and Lester didn't actually go to Ill. with the body as later on Bonnie mentions that Schick went to West Virginia.  I wonder where Mr. Raitt is?  Absent from work for 2 days now with no mention as to a reason.  Mr. Raitt was one of Bonnie's bosses at the railroad, along with Mr. Schick. I would like to know what kind of publication was Leslie's Weekly? We had a good day at church today.  We went to the store for Mom today. Also we washed the car and Caleb got a haircut.  Bobbie and Peggy and Kay are down from Staunton to visit with Mom.  Caleb has another indoor soccer game tonight. Last week he scored 4 goals!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Collars Cleaned

On Sunday, January 24, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Went up home in p.m. Sleeting. Ate supper at Mamma's. Stayed until 8:40 p.m. Came by Mrs. Raines for Mary.

On Monday, January 25, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Heavy sleet, very slippery. Washed my hair. Shaved. Didin't go to Lodge; feeling tired.

On Tuesday, January 26, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: drizzling rain; Mr. Raitt absent. Tracy came in the office. Sent groceries up home. Mr. Geo. Merrell, Asst. to Gen'l. Mgr., N. & W. Ry. Co. died this night. Mary phoned to Hester. Started correcting errors in Index book at office.

On Wednesday, January 27, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Rained. Shaved. Put collars in Laundry. Talked to Emmitt St. Clair.

Bonnie didn't have a lot to say but the weather seemed to be wet either rain or sleet.  Here in 2012, I am off today.  I ran some errands, visited with Mom, made a hospital visit and bought some cowboy boots!  The family is all headed to a country music concert tonight in Charlottesville as part of my birthday present.  Then on Saturday headed to Fredericksburg to visit University of Mary Washington for Rachel.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Saturday, January 23, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Drizzling rain. Clarence Spillan's baby born in night. Bill, Skin and I went to "Comet" together. Worked all day.

Hey, that could be a new theater that Bonnie mentioned.  When I say new of course, I mean new to me.  I don't recall hearing of that one before.  I'll have to do a little research on that one. Raining here today in 2012 too.  Headed down to Mom's tonight to eat supper with her.  Rachel is at work. Slow day at work today. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

124 Pounds

On Wednesday, January 20, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Wrote up short story for "Photoplay". Shaved. Snow blizzard in afternoon.

On Thursday, January 21, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Finished up "Penslar"; Cold today. Wrote C.T. Jennings. Cut some wood at noon hour. Weighed 124 lbs. today. Changed from black pin-striped suit to blue-grey.

On Friday, January 22, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Rec'd letter from Clay Burton Vance. Made up pay rolls and Ex. Bills and Expense accounts. Cold and blowing snow. Took Bath and shaved. Mrs. Raines was up home.

Some pretty short entries from Bonnie, but interesting all the same.  I like that Bonnie wrote things to be published in magazines and such.  I sure would like to have some of that snow around here. And, oh, what I would give to weigh 124 pounds!  He apparently finished his medicine called Penslar that we discussed in an earlier post. Here in 2012, good day at church today.  Lazy afternoon and then Caleb has a soccer game tonight.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


On Tuesday, January 19, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Mr. Schick went out on the line. Mr. Raitt absent. I went down to Mrs. Raines for eggs. Got wash stand from Giles Bros.

This is kind of the way I have been feeling lately.  Not a lot going on. Oh yeah, I am still busy schedule wise just not a whole lot going on. Maybe it's the winter blahs.  Lots of (kind of) warm weather here in 2012 and I almost think that makes matters worse.  I want some snow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthdays and Spilled Milk

On Sunday, January 17, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Arose at 11:30 a.m. Took a bath; Mary and I went down to Mrs. Raines. Mrs. Magann's baby was born. Rained p.m.

On Monday, January 18, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Bought books for Christine. "Skin" took them home. Ethel spilled milk on me. Wrote up some "D.A.R." stuff for Mrs. Schick. Shaved. Ate supper at Mrs. Raines.

Both of these entries are rather short, but I still find some interesting things in both of them.  January 17 (1970) is my birthday and so it was neat to read that Mrs. Magann also had a baby on my birthday.  Also, pretty amazing to me to think that I am here in 2012 writing from my Great-grandfather's diary from 1915, when my parents were not born and not even my grandmother was born yet!  I also find it humorous that Bonnie made a point of writing down that someone spilled milk on him.  Lastly, I have an interest in the Revolutionary War because I have discovered that descendants from the Clingenpeel and Meyerhoeffer lines in my family were both "Hessian" soldiers during the American Revolution.  And now, here is Bonnie (from the Elmore side) writing up stuff for the DAR, which stands for Daughters of the American Revolution.  I shaved today too.  Cut my lip.  Ouch!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rib Roast

On Friday, January 15, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Beautiful weather. Mr. Schick came in. Shaved. Stayed at home this night and finished carrying wood into the cellar. Mr. Brown assisted me. Read until 10:30. Retired at 10:45.

On Saturday, January 16, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Pretty Day. Pretty cold in a.m. Indexed and filed. Worked all day. Had Rib-roast for dinner. Went up home at night. Bought "Photoplay" magazine.

Very busy day yesterday here in 2012.  Lots of "special" things at church yesterday: deacon ordination, 50th wedding anniversary for Kuykendalls, etc.  Mom came home from The Glebe yesterday.  Caleb had a soccer game last night.  Today the kids are off from school and I am off for the first part of the day, but I have to go in and teach a class tonight.  Furnace guy here working on the furnace today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Snow and a Roman Earthquake

On Monday, January 11, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Bought Red Tie. Mr. Wm. Leckie Pres't. Leckie Collieries Co., Welch, W.Va. was in the office. Mr. J. Schnurmann phoned Retail Merchants Association regarding me. Snow and sleet fell. I went to Lodge. Came home at 10:10 p.m.

On Tuesday, January 12, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Brought "Dimp" Salmon home to dinner. Finished estimates and extra bills. Mr. Schick went to Welch, W.Va. High wind blew this night. Shaved. Wrote to Jake.

On Wednesday, January 13, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Mrs. Hayden was down at the home of Mrs. Raines. At night we went down again and Mrs. Dakin came in. Wrote a letter to Carter Thompson. Earthquake in Rome, Italy. 

On Thursday, January 14, 1927 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Good weather. Rose at 7:30. Hair-cut. Ate supper at Mrs. Raines. Went to Presbyterian church. Hence to "Bijou Theatre" witnessed play entitled "She was his Mother".

I sure wish we had some snow and sleet around here in 2012. I wonder of the call to the Retail Merchant's Association had anything to do with the piano business from the other day?  I have read in other entries where Bonnie went to the Lodge, I just don't know what kind of Lodge.  Bonnie went to the Bijou again but to see a play, not a movie.  We have worked hard today around the house cleaning our bathroom and taking down more Christmas decorations.  Also, went to Mom's house and did a few things.  She comes home from the Glebe tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Theatres Return

On Friday, January 8, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Dined with Mary, Harry, Mrs. Raines and Mrs. Austin at Mrs. Raines' at dinner time. Wrote a revised description of R/W from Poca Coal and Coke Co. Tracy called by long distance from Bluefield regarding wire to Holt Duncan and Holt. Huntington, W.Va. deposition in case of Parlee Riddle vs. Williamson and Pond Creek R.R. Co.

On Saturday, January 9, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: First Saturday we worked all day. Wrote up estimates and extra bills. TN & KY RR and Alma Branch.  Went to "American" and "Bijou" Theatres. Mr. Schick and Raitt absent from the office. Talked to Skin and Bill Fisher in front of American at 6:00 p.m. Mr. S.H. Staples came to the office.

On Sunday, January 10, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Slept until 11:30 a.m. Went up home 3:30. Went down to Mary's home after supper. Stayed until 10:10 p.m. Shaved. Got books from Hester; Talked to Mr. and Mrs. Long. Jess was down home.

Wow, so glad to see that Bonnie went to some movies.  It was a favorite activity in 1916 and I figured it would be in 1915 as well, and apparently it was.  He even went to 2 theatres in the same night.  However, it doesn't say he saw any movies, he may have just talked to friends outside the theatres. Busy day here in 2012.  I had 2 smoke alarm installs and one was on Bent Mountain.  I assisted with one inspection and met with reps. from an insurance company and worked out. We went to see Mom tonight at The Glebe and she should get to come home on Sunday.  I will be glad that she is home and I know she will be too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Piano Businees

On Thursday, January 7, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Talked with J.O. Ronk at First National Bank at 6 p.m. Talked with Howard Fisher about going into Piano Business. Wrote Records of Messrs. H.D. Cook and W.E. Hawkins in "Record of Employees" and filed mail.

The piano business? That's different.  I guess that never happened as surely I would have heard something about that.  Did Bonnie even play the piano?  In 2012, a pretty good day.  We got the Christmas trees taken down and the furniture moved back to where it belongs.  Also got sermon done and went to visit Mom at The Glebe.

Friday, January 6, 2012


On Wednesday, January 6, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Tracy called from Bluefield on phone for Mr. Raitt. Went to see Dr. Huff. Commenced using "Penslar". Sallie Wright's baby buried. Indexed mail.

The obvious question here is: What is Penslar?  I did a small search on the internet and came up with this blog about antique bottles: Penslar Bottles On this site there is a picture of an old advertisement for Penslar products.  They apparently sold a variety of drugs and toiletries.  The company was around from 1907 to 1965 and the bottles today are apparently collector's items. The time frame for the company fits with the date of Bonnie's diary. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shoe Shine

On Monday, January 4, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Order received from Genl. Manager to work all day Saturday- up to April 1st. Half day from April 1st up until Nov. 1st. Office hours changed from - dinner hour 1 to 2:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Papa and Christine came to the office.

On Tuesday, January 5, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Sallie Wright's baby died. I went up home ate dinner. Wrote Uncle Ira Smith a letter. Mrs. Raines was up to see us this night. Mr. Schick went out on the line. Turned in expense accounts of Mr. Schick. Got a shoe shine. Filled out Labor Commissioner's report for Papa.

There are still lots of changes at the railroad for Bonnie.  I wonder if this was some sort of transitional year for Norfolk and Western? I was glad to read more about family matters in the post from January 5. We went to see Mom tonight at The Glebe.  She seems to be doing a lot better. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mary and her Mother

On Sunday, January 3, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote: Mary ate supper with her mother. I went over to passenger station.

Yep, folks that's all we got for this date in 1915.  Like I said, this is going to be a different year as far as Bonnie's writing goes. I don't know if Bonnie was picking somebody up at the station or dropping something off to go out on a train, or maybe just walking and looking for something to do.  Here in 2011, very cold weather and slick roads over night and this morning.  Schools were 2 hours late. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

George Jett

On Saturday, January 2, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  Capt. Rowan returned to work in our office. Walter Dunlap left. Jim Davis left. Geo. W. Jett appointed Telegraph Censor of Western Union Telegrams leaving N & W Genl. offices.

More work changes. Some welcome snow flurries here in 2012, but other than a nice visit with Uncle Roger and Leah and a visit with Mom, I have the blahs.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


On Friday, January 1, 1915 Bonnie Elmore wrote:  (same salary) Reduced from position of Chief Clerk to that of Stenographer, Office of Engineer Branch Lines, N&W Ry. Co. Cut off Emmett St. Clair.  Finished payments on gas stove. Appointed to position of Chief Clerk Engr. Br. Lines N&W Ry. Co. Nov. 1, 1914.

Wow!  Ok, so we start a new year in the blog.  I am using 1915's diary in 2012 mainly because that it was I have access to.  1915 is the year that Norman was born and his wife Lucille has given me his diary to use for this year.  I know it may be a little disjointed to go back to 1915 from 1927, but again, that's just how it worked out.  In glancing ahead, I have noticed that Bonnie's writing in 1915 is quite different.  His style is a lot shorter and a lot choppier, but he does still continue to write about many of the same things.  This may mean a little more time and space for more about life in 2012 and I am sure there will still be some gems from Bonnie too.

In fact, in today's entry we start right off with quite the bombshell.  Apparently Bonnie found out on New Year's in 1915 that he was getting demoted at work from Chief Clerk to Stenographer.  He does add at the end of the entry that he had the position of Chief Clerk since November 1914, so really not all that long.  I am not sure if something happened or maybe this was more of a re-organization.  I don't know what Bonnie meant by "cut off Emmett St. Clair".  Did Emmett lose his job altogether?  The other good thing is that Bonnie at least has the same salary and was able to pay off the gas stove! 

New Year's 2012 here has been rather uneventful.  It's a Sunday.  Had a good day at church.  Then we went to see Mom at The Glebe where she is recovering from knee replacement surgery.  I will get to visit with Uncle Roger tomorrow for the purpose of returning his diary from 1927.  Thanks again Roger!