Waterbury, Estella
Manuscript Diary of Estella Waterbury, of Lenox Town, Madison County, New York, 1930-31

12mo, 196 manuscript pp., bound in black cloth, measuring 3" x 6". The diary is in a two day per page entry format, entries are written in ink, in a legible hand, and dated 1 January 1930- 16 January 1931. Of the possible 381 days of entries, only 34 are left blank. Tucked in the diary are two small black and white snapshots, not identified, but presumably of the Waterbury family.

The front flyleaf bears the penciled signature of: "Bertha Waterbury, Canastota, NY." However, in the diary entry for 13 May 1930 it is written "No work out doors today Bertha's birthday and I made a cake for her this morning..." This would seem to indicate that the diary was not written by Bertha Waterbury, but rather by someone else in the family.

 

In the diary entry for 5 January 1930 it states "My birthday," meaning the diary writer was born on January 5th. The 1900 Census shows the month and year of those enumerated. Of the members of the Waterbury household, only two people were born in January, those two being Estella Waterbury (b. Jan 1881) and her sister Esther Waterbury (b. Jan 1885), children of Charles and Anna Waterbury, and sisters to Bertha Waterbury.  In the diary for the very next day, 6 January 1930, it states "Mother, Ella, Jean & Annie went to Esther's today, Esther's birthday." This would seem to eliminate Esther as being the diary writer, thus leaving only Estella Waterbury as the possible diary writer.

 

In the diary entry for 5 January 1931, it states ""Fifty years of life and what have I done with mine?" This would indicate that the diary writer was fifty years old and born in 1881. Estella Waterbury is shown in the 1900 Census as being born in January of 1881.

 

Estella Waterbury (1881- aft 1944)

 

The 1900 Census shows Estella Waterbury enumerated at Lenox Town, Madison County, New York Estella was born  5 January 1881, the eldest child of Charles B. Waterbury (1849-1924) and Anna E. Northrup (1859-1948), both natives of New York state. Charles Waterbury was born in July 1849 and owned a farm that he had a mortgage on. His wife kept house and cared for the couple's eight children who were born between 1881 and 1898.  The couple married on 17 March 1880. Mrs. Waterbury had a ninth child who was already dead by the time the 1900 Census was taken. Both Charles B. Waterbury and his wife were descendants of Revolutionary War veterans. Charles was descended from Lieut. Daniel Waterbury (1742-1798) who served in the Revolutionary War, first as a minute man, and later as a member of the Third Regiment of Westchester County Militia under Col. Pierre Van Cortlandt. Annie Northrup was descended from Pvt. Stephen Northrup (1758-1841) who served in the Westchester County Militia's 4th Regiment under Col. Thaddeus Crane.

 

The 1910 Census shows Estella living at home with her parents and six of her siblings. The family farm is listed as a dairy farm. Estella has no occupation listed, but her sister Bertha is listed as working in a silk mill. Her brother Newell is helping the father with the farm and Jean (22), Joel (18), Herbert (15) and Howard (11) are not working. In 1910, Estella is found sitting on the Executive Board of the Four Town Sunday School Association (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, p. 8, 20 Jul 1910).  The 1915 New York State Census has Estella listed as an unregistered nurse.

 

In 1920, Estella is living at home with her parents and several of her siblings (Newell, Jean, Herbert, and Howard). The boys are all working with the father on their family farm. The 1925 New York State Census does not show Estella's father enumerated with the family. When the 1930 Census was taken (the year this diary was written), Estella is found living at Lenox Town, New York, with her now widowed mother, brother Howard, and sister Jean. She is listed at 49 years of age and she apparently never married. Her brother Howard runs a dairy farm, no one else is listed with an occupation.

 

By the time the 1940 Census was taken, Estella was still living with her now 80 year old mother. She is 58 years old, and rnot married. Her brother Howard and sister Jean are also living at home; they never married as well. No one in the household is listed with an occupation, although another brother of Estella, Newell Waterbury is enumerated next door as a farmer. He is widowed.

 

Estella was still living in 1944. Her mother Anna died in 1948, her sister Bertha in 1975. They are both buried at Whitelaw Cemetery in Lenox, New York. Estella died sometime before her sister Bertha and after 1944.

 

Estella recounts her daily activities around the house and farm, cleaning, washing, cooking, visiting with friends, church activities, family gossip and visits, who is sick and who has died, and what the weather was like. Overall a nice picture of social history and domestic life for upstate New York.