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Burt, Beldin
Pair of Manuscript Diaries of Beldin Burt, of Roulette and Port Allegany, Potter County, Pennsylvania, 1867 and 1868

two volumes, 12mo and 16mo, 106 and 100 pages, several inlaid ephemeral items, both diaries bound in contemporary leather wallet style binding, entries written in ink and pencil, in generally good clean and legible condition.

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Beldin Burt, merchant, was a member of a prominent family of and early settlers in Potter County, Pennsylvania. Burt son of J. K. and Orrilla (Lyman) Burt, was born in Burtville, Potter County, Pennsylvania in 1841. His grandfather, Benjamin Burt, was born in Chemung County, New York, and there married Mercy Rickey. He came in 1808 to what would later become Burtville, at the time a wilderness, he engaged in farming, the lumber trade, and erected the first mill at that point. He rafted lumber downriver to Pittsburgh. Beldin's father J. K. Burt was the first white male child born in Potter County, in Roulette in 1811, at the time there were no schools or educational advantages the country being entirely wild. He married Orrilla, daughter of Burrel Lyman, of Roulette, in 1837, he settled in Burtville where he engaged in farming. He and his wife had thirteen children. Beldin Burt engaged in the general mercantile business and also dealt extensively in lumber. In 1871 he married Annis, daughter of George Taggart, late of Emporium, the couple had three children.

The present diaries date from the period directly before Burt's marriage, in addition to his mercantile activities Burt was an amateur photographer, was active in attempting to establish a pharmacy in Port Allegany. He also appears to have been an amateur dentist. In 1868 he took a two month hunting trip to Hubbard Lake in Michigan, a remote area, the diary chronicles the trip encounters with Native Americans, and travel through their villages, etc.

Sample Quotations:

      1867 Diary      

February 16, "16th, A.M. rainy, wind in the south. Shelled some corn. John Dehn was at our house. P.M. went to Port Allegany with Sam Card with the buggy. Went to singing school up to the red school house. House quite full. Went home with Ames. Stayed all night &c."

February 23, "A.M. wind in the South went Card Creek after a lode of dry Pine. P.M. Drew hemlock with Bill & Perry at night Singing School did not go. Galtry was at our house talk of going in as a partner in a drug store lent Lyman $ 10.00."

February 24th "A.M. Cloudy P.M. the Same. Shaved. Grandpa, myself went up to Dutch town on the colt took Dinner with Dick at G.P. R. went up to Laroy Lymans took a ride with the young people ... had a sing to Minerva Lyman all the young people."

March 20th "Pleasant but cold wind. I and Benjamin drawed 2 lodes of hay from over to Bill's. Lyman and Phi  cut wood at the sugar bush I set up with the sick to Wallace Read got the fever Loeta McDowell sat up with me. Louisa crazy as a bed bug - Lula sick so is Lucresia Card with the typhoid fever. Han Snyder stayed at our house."

March 30th "Pleasant wind in the west. Blew quite hard Staying at Nig Shanty went to Prayr meeting did not take eny pictures went to singing school in the Evening had a sore throat &c - Stayed all night  to S.H. R. went up to Wm. Boyington had some warm sugar to eat."

April 5th "Stormy wind in the South in the morning changed in the west. I  L & Sam rafted rode down on a raft down to McDowell run wild as fury Snowed like fun by spells Went up to Barrs for Rubin Card on the colt a nice flood &c"

April 17th "Wind in the north. Pleasant & a large flood I cut Pa hair went to the funeral at 2 o'c p.m. was one of the Bearers. Rev. Maltby preached larg congregation Lyman traded his oxen with Moses for his plas up Sartwell Creek helped berry the corps got home at sun down." [sic]

April 19th "Pleasant wind west, went to up to the corners took Pictures took Learoy Lymans family three times a group of the young people for Carl Barrett. In the evening went over to F. D. W. with Etta came back went to Church. Rev. Parker preached went up home with Violet. Stayed all night took dinner & supper to S P R."

May 3rd "Very pleasant but cool. I went up to Roulette to take pictures did not take eny mixed up some chemicals very pleasant went to meeting at night sung some before meeting the quire did quite well stayed to S. P. Reynolds all night." [sic]

May 19th "Pleasant froze some last night I took L W picture on a horse & SPR dog picture. Went to the sing at 10 oc after the sing took some pictures for the girls ... 2 pictures for W. Dasher ... took dinner dinner to SPR with Aunt & Uncle W Boyington at night went up to Aunts with S.G.W. Had a good visit. Came back to SPR stayed all night"

June 12th "Very pleasant & Warm ... Combs & Bellows putting up a Saloon in Port rather dull times for the merchants in this place this part of the season"

June 19th "Very Pleasant E. B.D. went to Olean to day. A Short brought our wahoo up & a show case &c sales amounted to $ 3 or 4 to day. I & the Dr. made some tinctures & Pills Roxa & Miss Fitch called to see Bot some Perfumery &c"

July 7th "Warm & pleasant I & Ma went up to grandmas had a shower I and A. M. T. and S. G. Weimer went up to Candler's to see the Crazy girl did not see her had a pleasant ride ma went home with Jacob Lehman foalks Lyman & Sam Card came up went out a riding with the girls I stayed with Grandma went up to Uncle Laroys. Took supper. See the Wolves &c Got back home 10 o'clock." [sic]

July 13 "Quite warm & pleasant Business quite Brisk today trade quite lively all over town there is a show to night. Pairings they come with a fore horse team thare was a large crowd our trade was about (14.00) went home at night with Lyman & Sam Card was very cool" [sic]

August 2nd "Warm & Pleasant I took some pictures for Petry Johnson. Printed some for Cal Wilcox and J. Weimer and others. Did not get first rate ones. I washed & toned them out in the evening."

August 10th "Cloudy & rained some in the fore noon I took some pictures in the afternoon for different ones 12 in number. Rode up home with Viollit Lyman had some Calyssia along"

August 23rd "Pleasant thare was a show to Coudersport to day I did not go I printed some pictures toned them out in the Evening Trad rather dull to day tried some pictures did not work well." [sic]

September 18th "Very warm I went up to Roulette on horse back I got the horse shod all around cost $ 1.40 Recd some money of the Meachams boys. I went to town at night with John Davidson I went to the Indian show came back to SPR"

October 8th "Froze hard last night. Election to day. I voted at Port. Voted for license for Sharswood & some Co. officers Trad amt. to about ten dollars Ben and Willis Weimer were down with some cider 140 majority for license in town for Co & State 101 & 102 majority. Some Showman in town tonight."

October 19th "Very warm & pleasant very dry roads good had a celebration in the Eve over the Democratic Victorys Some from Roulette were down I went home about midnight with Lyman & Pulaski Read"

1868 Diary

February 7th "Very cool all day but clear trade was dull to day in the evening had a dance & donation at Dolly Parker got 83.20 had a good dance & some oysters &c very cold all night"

February 27th "Cloudy wind South but changed before night. Snowed some. Reported that Dr. D. Jackson was killed. I pulled a tooth for J. Dillenbeck Trade was rather Dull..."

February 28th "Cloudy & Cool wind blew snow drifted had a meeting at Port to elect Trustees for to make preparations to build a church in this place trade rather dull Dr. wife had some visitors from home D Smith & H. Shirill had a game of Billiards D. Smith was best"

March 4th "Cool but clear wind north. Volney came from Olean today. Had a big fire thare last night. Burned all the buildings between the Olean House & Petrolium Very cold this evening . J. Viner is no better trade very good."

March 13th "Warm & pleasant Lyman was down to Port to day sleighing about played out wheels run the best trad poor I split some wood ... to day is the day that Pres. Johnson is to have his trial of Impeachment &c"

March 14th "Cloudy but pleasant warm I pulled a tooth for Ostrander boy was on the under jaw left side pulled two teeth for Adam & Annis they were down Pa came down after the sleigh  Young Good Templars met tonight played on the violin some ..."

March 28 "Pleasant warm wind west A. Freer had his leg cut of last night with the circle saw Dr. Freeman Hogarth & Galtz were present I saw his leg taken of 3 in. from his ankle joint trad very dull"

April 7 "Snowed wind blew quite cool Snowed 3 inches Dr went up to Isaac Lyman had scarlet fever trade poor Played dominoes with W Wright beet him 5 on a game of 200 . I wrote a letter to A.H. L. ... I failed on pulling a tooth for L. Gallop's wife."

April 18th "Cloudy & Cool Dr. Hogarth had some talk of Buying me out thinks of practicing medicine in this place trade very good. The boys run logs in the Portage George Weimers people were down I helped Bill clean bar room"

May 24th "Cloudy. Wind north quite cool. I & the boys went up on Benton's Hill got some wintergreen berries, Came back to the Mill saw some boys from Port come up drank some cider, went off feeling very well. Thos & A McD come up I went down home with them"

June 16th "Warm & Pleasant I Pa Lyman & L. H. Babcock went to Coudersport with the hoses & buggys took dinner at kelleys, run around town some. The board of the election of Roulette were arrested by Crow Robbins. Illeagal election." [sic]

July 3rd "Very warm I went up to Roulette store quite a crowd around Rode back with Tailors boy took dinner then went to Port with him helped Fred some eat supper to Palmers eat again danced a few times rode home with Dave Hall & wife drove the mare & colt"

September 19th "Poll raising at Port Hamlin & Backus spoke. I took some pictures tended bar for Palmer a large gathering present some quite drunk danced a little while I was down to C. Barrett in the eve. I got quite tired before I went to bed 2 oc."

October 13th "Cloudy. I set some traps helped Palmer at the bar. I voted at Port E. B. D. had 202 majority in Port was about 75 or so Dollars taken in at the bar."

October 18th "Clear & pleasant froze hard last night. The hardest last night ever known for this time of year. Wm Right died at 10 o'clock. I helped lay him out. Medbery and Stone helped me. I came up home on foot."

October 28th "Cloudy quite cool. I packed my Kemicals Bought some traps. Rode up with Cole as far as Coleman came on a foot got a Revolver of W Wright"

November 8th "Started for the west Went as far as Larabees stayed all night stayed all night L  Lyman J Coleman & My self"

November 9th "Got up at 3 o'clock in the morning  took Breakfast at George Caldwell went with us got to Olean at 10 started 10:45 to Dunkirk then to Cleveland thence to Toledo arrived at 12 oc ..."

November 10th "Started for Bay City via Detroit Saginaw Bay to Bay Citty reach Bay Citty at 2 pm run around town took supper at the frasier house Bill $ 1 stayed to Huron House bill 50 ¢ took breakfast at a saloon 15 ¢ took the boat at 8 oc am"

November 13th "Pleasant all pack up their nap sacks started for Hubbard Lake, traveled 12 miles. Stayed all night to a shanty by Beaver Meadows. Passed two lakes. Pine a plenty. Did not kill eny thing. Eat hard tack." [sic]

November 15th "Sunday all started for Hubbard Lake got in a Cedar Swamp, Tamerack swamp, then on Burnt Plains. See one deer. Arrived at the lake at 4 p.m. Built a cabbin. Beautiful Sight logs up for a fire."

November 18th "Snowed some started for the shanty Eat our breakfast on the way reached the road about 10 am . I, L.L. & G Colwell went to the shanty the rest of the boys went for Harrisville we stayed & set some traps had a good time made some coffee &c"

November 23, "Pleasant. We went for the thief. Found to be John Butterfield got out a warrant for him tried before Justice Wilson was fined $ 10 & cost returned up the beach very pleasant trip"

November 25th "Pleasant I George & Laroy we stayed on the boat over night next morning went up to Saginaw Citty arrived a 10 ock put up at the Bancroft House, lot of little nigs, Fair $ 4 a day rained some enjoyed my self wrote a letter home"

November 30th "Cloudy. We started for New London, distance about 65 miles on the Wolf River. Arrived at dusk. Stayed at New London House took dinner on the boat Bill 2.00 on the boat 2 miles of ice we had to pass through"

December 2nd "Cloudy and clear. Ed & us all went out on a hunt. Found a link in a trap. George killed the link saw a good many deers track See some Indians with their Indian ponys with deer strapped on their back."

December 3rd "Clear thawed a little we all started for the Oconto lost the way went down the Wolf. Came back stayed to Sempleses bill for 4 $ 3 - was awful tired Saw some Indians camp"

December 9th "Clear & very cold. L. Young Laroy Lyman & myself went out started up 4 did not kill any. Came in at 1 pm Eat dinner at Carters tied up our trunks & Hired Carter to take us to Stephen's Point for 3 Dollars ... went to bed early."

December 14th "Cloudy & cool run around town found John Maynard Gallery pry r 1700 Saw Gen Sherman shook hands with him see Gen Grant & about 20 of other Generals. Bought our tickets for Erie $ 16 - started at 9 ock on the train."  

See: History of the Counties of McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania, (Chicago: 1890)