Lord, Mary Ann Ette “Nettie” Converse
Diaries of Mary Ann Ette “Nettie” Converse Lord, of Parker, South Dakota and Long Beach, California, wife of banker Louis Kossuth Lord, 1897-1931

22 volumes, small quartos. comprising approximately 7,947 manuscript pp. of diary entries plus approximately 341 manuscript pp. of memoranda, notes, cash accounts and bills payable; dated 1897- 1900, 1903-1905, 1907-1908, 1913, 1917, 1919-1920, 1922-1924, 1926-1931; one day entry per page format; most volumes are bound in either ½ or ¼ red, or black leather, with mainly pebbled cloth covered boards; two volumes lack spines, 1 volume has spine almost detached; another volume has spine badly chipped; the entries in all volumes written in ink, in a legible hand; most volumes stuffed with various ephemeral items, such as newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, thank you notes, some letters, printed programs and circulars, invitations, calling cards, even a couple of swatches of fabric, etc.

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The collection is notable for the length of time that the diarist recorded the events of her life; the collection comprises nearly a daily record of twenty-two years of her life’s experience. Lord wrote nearly every day, except for a brief period in 1929 when she had an eye operation. The diaries recount the everyday domestic life and activities of the Lord family, friends, church friends, etc., life in the town of Parker, South Dakota, and later in Long Beach, California,  the entries record and document  her various activities: including involvement in a local orchestra, various church organizations (Ladies Aid Society, Missionary Society, etc.).

       Mary Ann Ette “Nettie” Converse Lord (1853-1933)

    Mary Ann Ette “Nettie” Converse was born 5 August 1853 in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. She died in 1933 and was buried in Stafford Springs Cemetery, Stafford Springs, Tolland Co., Connecticut. She was the daughter of woolen manufacturer Orrin Converse (1822-1915), of Stafford Springs and his wife Maryetta Smith (1823-1876). Both of her parents were Connecticut natives. Converse, upon the death of his wife, married again, to Ellen Forbes (1835-1906). Converse had two other children with his first wife: Reuben Solva Converse (1845-1920) and Anner Frances Converse Clisby (1856-1936). Anne attended Wesleyan Academy at Stafford Springs; Nettie presumably also attended this school. Nettie’s father Orrin was the son of Capt. Solva Converse (1790-1877) and Esther Blodgett (1790-1880).

    Nettie married banker Louis Kossuth Lord (1851-1930) on 29 October 1872 in Norwich, Connecticut. Lord was born on 31 December 1851 in Connecticut. His father John Knight Lord (1809-1891) was from Maine and had moved down to Stafford Springs; his mother Sarah Spellman (1811-1896) was from Connecticut. Louis predeceased Nettie, dying in 1930. He was also buried in Stafford Springs Cemetery.

    Louis K. Lord, worked as a printer (1870) when a young man, and later as a clothing merchant (1880), when he first married Nettie. He later went into banking, becoming the president of the First National Bank of Parker, South Dakota. There is a newspaper (Mitchell Dailey Republican – 18 Sept. 1886) article showing that Lord may have moved out to Parker by at least 1886, as he is shown as an officer in a local Parker, South Dakota, fraternal lodge. By 1890 another newspaper (The Daily Plainsman, Huron, South Dakota – 2 April 1890) shows him already involved in banking, and by 1891 he was the president of the First National Bank.

     The 1900 Census finds Nettie enumerated at Parker Township, Turner County, South Dakota. In 1900 her husband was listed as president of a bank and they owned their home. Nettie was listed as having had two children but both were s dead by 1900.

    Lord is listed in a business directory for 1906-1907 for “Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Montana,” listed as “Lord & Clisby, dealers in First Mortgage Loans, Insurance, Abstractors to all Lands in Turner County, Parker, S. Dakota.” The Clisby half of the “Lord & Clisby,” partnership is Frederick L. Clisby (1863-1942), he was Lord’s brother-in-law.

    Frederick L. Clisby married Nettie Converse Lord’s sister Anner Frances Converse. Clisby’s parents were originally from Massachusetts. His father, L. Clisby, was a miller, who moved to Macomb, Illinois, where Frederick was born, he then moved to Waupun, Wisconsin and by the year 1881, he founded the Parker Flouring Mill in Parker, South Dakota. The 1885 South Dakota State Census finds Frederick working as a bank clerk. This would have been Gale & Stone's Bank, which was founded in 1880 and appears to have been the only bank in the town in 1885. The Gale & Stone bank was a private bank and eventually it evolved into the First National Bank of Parker. Clisby was assistant cashier for two years, and then became the cashier, and eventually he and Lord took control of the bank.

   The town of Parker was only established in 1879 as the county seat for Turner County; it was incorporated as a city in 1883, thus the Clisbys were Parker pioneers. The C. M. & St. P. Railroad was completed to Parker in July 1879, and was a factor leading to the organization of the town.

    In Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities,” published in 1906, we find Louis K. Lord listed as president of the First National Bank in Parker, South Dakota; N. Cornish the vice president; J.W. Watson, cashier; with the directors being: N.M. Lord; A.C. Clisby; N. Cornish; F.L. Clisby; and  Louis K. Lord; all of Parker, South Dakota. This listing would seem to indicate that both Nettie and her sister Anner and their husbands, were all directors of this bank. Entries in the diary appear to show that the women were not active in making decisions for the bank, but were likely on the board for their votes, as Nettie mentions “This evening went to Bank meeting…took my book and read Lorna Doone.”

     In 1901 Lord & Clisby purchased the Exchange Bank at Menno, South Dakota from Jacob Schnaidt & Son.

    About the year 1915, the Lord and Clisby families sold the First National Bank, as the bank is found having been taken over by Princeton graduate Fred S. Hill and his brother Rodney. The Hill brothers also bought the Lord & Clisby Abstract Co. of Parker, South Dakota.

    Louis K. Lord was active in the South Dakota State Historical Society. Mrs. Lord and her sister Anner, and Anner’s husband Fred, were members of the Parker orchestra, in which Mrs. Lord played violin, her sister Anner cornet, and her brother-in-law also played cornet. Fred Clisby also served as an alderman of Parker at one time. Mrs. Lord also appears to have been active in the local Parker, South Dakota chapter of the Woman’s Missionary Society, Southern Dakota Presbytery, the organization  not only did missionary work in South Dakota, but also at Sitka, Alaska, Anadarko, Oklahoma, and Synen Chyen, Korea and Puerto Rico (as per a program laid into the diary of 1908).

    The 1920 Census shows Nettie and her husband living in Long Beach, California, they apparently moved to California upon Lord’s retirement. The city directories list them in Long Beach till at least 1927. Louis K. Lord died at Stafford, Connecticut on 5 August 1930 and was buried there. Nettie died three years later in Stafford and was buried in the family plot.

       Sample Quotes from Diaries:

“Tuesday January 12, 1897 Cloudy. Col. Commenced snowing at 4 o’clock. Anner came for milk this morning. Prof. Stevens called for 2nd violin music belonging to orchestra. Music loaned to Methodist. We had a long discussion as to music, religion, heaven and earth. Commenced to practice some after dinner but was interrupted by Mr. Wright’s coming and soon followed by Linlo Kirby’s, commenced practicing and Mrs. Cornish came, then changed my dress and practiced until it was time to get supper. This evening spent an hour at the bank with Mr. Cornish, Fred and Koss, it being the annual bank meeting. Came home at eight o’clock and read Ardath until Koss came, when I wasn’t talking with Nellie McGlumphy through the telephone.”


“Sunday, January 24, 1897 Windy and cold. We were up late this morning. I did not attend church for the reason it took me all the morning to get my house in order. Koss was printing and fussing with pictures all day. I attended Sunday school, 86 were present. Nellie McG came home to dinner and is to remain all night. Orchestra met here this afternoon. We had a fine rehearsal. Mr. Stevens was with us and directed us in all new music. After they went, we made candy and mounted pictures. Just before dinner Koss took our pictures in different attitudes.”


“Saturday, April 3, 1897 Rained all day though not hard. Annie and I finished house cleaning except pantry and kitchen. I did my two hours practicing besides some mending. Mr. Stevens called to borrow song book.Orchestra met this evening all present except Mr. White and the Clisbys.”


“Sunday, April 4, 1897 Some rainy as usual. Rained hard all night.I did not attend church this morning but went to Sunday school. Mrs. Cornish come in on her way to church for our bowl to put red geraniums in. The white badges were given and diplomas for the yearly attendance. We had an interesting S.S. Orchestra met this afternoon from 3 till 5, most of them were here. We had a good rehearsal. This evening I have finished the vain imaginative visionary book Ardath. I consider was time foolishly spent. Received a letter from Nellie McG & wrote Miss McG this evening.”


“Wednesday, April 28, 1897 Cold and windy though not dirty.Nell was over here this morning before going to school. Trouble is ended. I have spent the forenoon in practice and since dinner finished reading a book, A Window in Thrums. I think time is thrown away reading such books. I fail to find any thing in the story good, bad, or indifferent. Returned Bell Waterbury’s book, but found neither she or Mrs. Danforth at home. Sylvia came again and spent the afternoon. We walked up and met Koss when coming for supper. I attended prayer meeting this eve. There was an attendance of over twenty. The subject was the promises of God.”


“Tuesday, January 11, 1898 Pleasant day. Heavy white frost on trees this morning. Practiced about two hours in all. Made an example of neckties for Koss. Florence came this afternoon and remained while her Mama made calls. Then I made two calls on Miss Hammerstrom and Miss Kember. This evening went to bank meeting with Mr. Cornish, Koss, Fred, and Anner. Took my book and read Lorna Doone. Mrs. Howard remained with Sylvia and Florence. Mr. Steninger came this eve to retrieve music and visited with Koss and I until ten o’clock.”



“Tuesday, January 10, 1899 Windy but not very cold. Practiced two hours this afternoon besides doing mending. This eve went to bank at 7 o’clock and listened to a bank meeting. Sylvia went with me and busied herself with cutting stamps. I embroidered an L on a linen kerchief.”


“Monday, October 29, 1900 Fine day. Was busy this morning with house work and went up town for ribbon, blue, to tie a pair of bath towels to represent bacon and a roll of pastry. All for Alice Goddard who was entertained this afternoon at Mrs. Branch with the Sunday school officers and teachers. We had a jolly time as soon as we arrived. There we were given a piece of linen and told to make something. All did so and at its close Anner and I made some poetry;


Fishy fishy in the brook

Grandpa catch him with a hook

Alice fry him in the spider

Eddie eat him like a tiger.


Linen doilies made in a whirl

Some were straight and some in a curl

All were busy as busy could be

And many good wishes were said for thee.


The ladies present were: Mrs. Conklin, Mrs. Irving and sister, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. H. Gamble, Miss Conklin, Mrs. Harmon, Miss Wilson, Miss Quigley, Mrs. Clisby, Miss Howard, Mrs. Cornish, Miss Warner, Mrs. Oastler, Miss Chase.”


“Friday, May 18, 1900 Beautiful Day This afternoon went to church to see about the drawing. Attended the Physical Culture Club, the last one of the season. We did not have quite as nice a time as formerly too many strangers were in. This eve I spent at Dr. Robinson’s with the other players of the stringed instruments to practice for the commencement music. We were nicely entertained with cake and chocolate. Winds had a nice practice until after nine o’clock.”


“Friday, September 28, 1900 Warm. Attended missionary meeting this afternoon at Mrs. Conklin’s, eight ladies were present. I sang a Japanese lullaby. After coming from there I went to Mrs. Branch’s and asked her to take the piano in the orchestra. This eve I went to walk with Miss Warner to inform C. Fletcher of orchestra practice. Then went home with her to see her new cape.”


“Thursday, April 16, 1903 Beautiful day. This morning Koss dressed and left the room at 6:40 then I get up at 7:10. We went down to breakfast at 7:30. After breakfast I went out to walk to get warm. Walked past the Corn Palace which is a very handsome structure. Soon Mrs. Silsby appeared and we walked up to her house, then she took me to the houses of two of her friends, which are new and very pretty. It gave me some pretty ideas. I came home at 11 o’clock. Miss McCauley, Mrs. Hetrick and Mrs. Wadle came down to Bridgewater. They were very much surprised to see me. Fred met me at the depot and walked home with me. This afternoon I rested. Walked over to Anner’s this eve. Sylvia come to remain all-night. Mrs. Kibbe and Mrs. Smith are the names of the new houses I visited in Mitchell with Mrs. Silsby.”


“Friday, August 11, 1905 Very warm. Went over to Anner’s before breakfast. Mrs. Cornish was with me. We watered plants and shipped geraniums. Practiced a long time on violin and took a nap before dinner. After dinner I went to the church and sewed on the new carpet. Mrs. Oastler and Mrs. Cass came. Mrs. Cornish and I went after supper and sewed. City is quarantined for diphtheria.”


“Wednesday, April 15, 1908 Pleasant day, rather cold.Carrie remained with me all night. We practiced after we got home from choir practice. We did not go to bed until nearly eleven o’clock. This morning I took the train for Sioux Falls & wrote a letter going over to Mrs. Shoemaker. Koss, Mrs. Danforth, Arthur, and Mr. Gates met me at the depot. We had a fine ride up to the Presb church in Mr. Gates auto, a Buick. I remained at the church and met several ladies. Mrs. Falgatter and Mrs. Cotton were present. Dinner was served in the church basement. It was a delicious dinner. Mr. McCawley acted as toastmaster. The responses were given by men in their native tongue. Bohemian, German, Dutch, Scotch and English. After the afternoon’s programs, my part, and Mrs. Gotthelf’s, I went home with her and helped her get supper for the crowd. Mrs. Falgatter, Mrs. Cotton, Florence Falgatter, Sylvia and Mary Hirst. I picked our strawberries and made cabbage salad. M had a lovely time all around. Max brought me to the train with his baby in his carriage. I visited all the way home with Miss Wilhelmsen, a teacher in the school in Bridgewater. She is a native of Norway, though born in Madagascar, and is going to China as a missionary.”


“Friday, March 22, 1929 High fog until afternoon. At 1:30 P.M. Koss & Will took me to the doctor’s office. Dr. McKellan & Thompson both say an operation tomorrow on my eyes at Pasadena. Mrs. Crocker went down with us, and returned. She went down on street car for me to Buffum’s for me underwear. Rec’d letter from Carl of Lucin’s severe illness at Esther’s.”


[After this entry the diary is blank from March 23rd to May 14th, at which time the Nettie begins the diary again, however, her handwriting became increasing shaky, perhaps due to her eye operations. It remains like this until the day her husband died (5 Aug 1930), when the handwriting becomes rather normal again.]


“Tuesday, August 5, 1930 L.K. Lord, died at 1:30 P.M. Koss Will, Mrs. B. Crocker, and I drove to the harbor district. We sat there for some time watching them unload lumber and working in the harbor. Koss enjoyed watching them. As the Japs bought fruit and vegetables, Koss and Jap woman bid each other good bye. After we came home, Koss wrote a letter to little junior, sent five dollars for him, and his brothers, also little cousins Priscilla and Louis. I laid on the couch and listened. After dinner Koss sat on the porch. I laid down. In a little while he came in the house sick, sat on the couch, and in ten minutes expired. The neighbors were all in helping. Doctor Atwood was called, but Koss was gone before the doctor arrived. Will and Cora in Pomona couldn’t reach them. Bern Webster went over later in the evening and told them…”