Fargo, Walter Denton
Manuscript Diary and Accounts of Walter Denton Fargo, school teacher, of Ashley, Delaware County, Ohio, 1907-1913

Two volumes, quarto, 56 and 136 manuscript pp., both bound in buckram, leather corners, wear to edges, corners, tips, entries written in ink and pencil, in a legible hand. Diary 1: 44 manuscript pages of diary entries, dated 22 January 1907 to 5 January 1908; 6 June 1909 to 10 September 1909, and 24 December 1911 to 2 January 1912. There is an additional 12 manuscript pages at the rear that are filled with various accounts such as "Books which I have read," "Grades of 1908 and 1909 (Freshman)," "The Fargo Record" (genealogy), "Those present at my party were," "Deaths," and "Wages of 1907." Diary 2: 112 manuscript pages of diary entries, dated 24 December 1911 to 31 March 1912 and 21 November 1912 to 30 June 1913. There is an additional 24 manuscript pages at the rear that are filled with various account entries such as "Purchases," "Things given me," "Money My Folks Gave Me," "Receipts for Work," and "Bills Paid," dated 2 January 1912 to 28 December 1912. Also included, laid in to the volume are 52 manuscript pages of school related papers, such as a couple of essays, a list of those that attend an alumni banquet at Cardington High School in 1912, a couple of copies of a commencement speech for high school (probably Cardington), two plans for a quilt, a page of verse, and some genealogy notes for the Fargo and allied families.

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Walter Denton Fargo (1893-1966)

     Walter Denton Fargo was born on 2 June 1893, at Westfield Township, Morrow County, Ohio. He was the son of John L. Fargo (1867-1939), a farmer, and his wife Minnie Lydia Denton (1871-1941), both were natives of Ohio. His father appears to have been one of the directors of the Westfield Board of Education. Walter had two sisters, Grace B. Fargo (1890-1974) and Edna C. Maudell Fargo (1901-?). Walter's mother was the daughter of James Benjamin Denton (1841-1923) of England and his wife Belinda Rosetta Benson (1847-1921).

     Walter continued to live at Westfield through at least the 1910 Census, when he was a sixteen year old living with his parents and siblings. From information contained in this collection, it would appear that Walter attended Cardington High School, which was located in the next town over from Westfield. An entry in his expense account for August of 1912 shows him going to the Teacher's Institute at Mt. Gilead, where he appears to have registered. An entry in his diary of November 1912 shows him to be teaching at the "Renz School."

     On Walter's WWI draft registration card, listed his residence as Ashley, Ohio. His occupation at the time of the draft (1918) was listed as a school teacher for the Ashley Board of Education. However the 1918 City Directory for Akron, Ohio, shows him living in that city, working as a clerk for the Erie Railroad and married to a woman by the name of Bessie (the woman from the diary). During the 1920s he is living in the Akron area, working various jobs. During the time of WWII his draft card registration (1942) listed him as living at Barberton, Summit Co., Ohio. The directory for this town in 1941 lists him working as a painter and decorator. He appears to have divorced Bessie and had remarried a woman named Helen.

    Walter died on 17 April 1966 at Akron, Summit Co., Ohio, after spending time at a long term care facility in that city. At the time of his death he was already a widower and was still residing in Barberton, Ohio. He was buried at Glendale Cemetery in Cardington, Ohio.

   Walter was 14 years old in 1907 when the first diary begins. He is helping out on the family farm, doing some butchering, and attending "writing school" at night. He gives an account of the activities of his father, his mother, sisters, and himself and shows how it took the work of the whole family to help run the farm. Other individuals in the area are mentioned, friends, relatives, business associates, etc.

For the section of the diary dealing with the year 1909, Walter, now 16 years old, has developed an interest in girls. A number of entries record him and his friends going to dances, meetings, or to other places, accompanied by girls, dancing with girls, asking girls out, etc.  By 1911, our diary writer appears to have a steady girlfriend, Bessie, who he spends a great deal of time with. He is in high school in 1912, a senior, and the class president of Cardington High School. He graduates and takes a job as a teacher at the Renz School in September of 1912 and is still dating Bessie, who he marries in June of 1912. Leading up to his marriage the diary has very long entries about his relationship with Bessie, how they interact, the things they fight about, and how they get the "blues" over it. Walter and Bessie would eventually divorce. Walter later married another woman.