Memorial Day, 1913

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, May 30, 1913:  Went up to McEwensville this morning as I planned to do some time ago. There wasn’t any band and not so many people. Wanted to go to Watsontown this afternoon to see the cemetery, but didn’t have anyone to go with. After thinking it over I decided to go as I believed I would feel miserable if I staid at home. The slippers I had on made me awful tired and began to wonder how I would get myself home. The problem was solved when I got a chance to ride where-upon I considered myself quite fortunate.

Was the McEwensville event held at the cemetery or at the Community Center?

The brick building in the background once houses McEwensville School.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

A hundred years ago Memorial Day was always on May 30. In the 1910s it was an important holiday with lots of parades and celebrations honoring aging Civil War veterans.

It sounds like the day got off to a rocky start, but ended nicely. Did Grandma wear the new dress that her mother made? Who brought her home from Watsontown? . .. . anyone interesting?

At the Watsontown Cemetery, did Grandma put the wreath she made the previous day on the grave of her paternal grandparents?  Her grandfather, S.K. Muffly, died when she was very young; but her grandmother, Charlotte Muffly, died in 1905 when Grandma was 10. What were Grandma’s memories of her grandmother? . . . Did she miss her?




Or maybe Grandma put the wreath on the grave of her aunt, Mary (Muffly) Fienour, who died the previous summer. (In the obituary Mary’s last name is spelled Feinour.) Mary is buried next to her mother (Charlotte).


Mary Feinour Obituary. Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 19, 1912). Click to enlarge for easier reading.
Mary Feinour Obituary. Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 19, 1912). Click to enlarge for easier reading.

(The fourth gravestone in the group, is the stone of Grandma’s uncle, Samuel Muffly. That stone won’t have been there in 1913–he didn’t die until 1930.)

17 thoughts on “Memorial Day, 1913

  1. Sometimes, it’s almost as if Grandma KNEW that someone would be reading (and sharing!) her diary at some point…..she’s being very evasive about who gave her that ride home! Fun!

  2. I like that she mentioned there was no band. I wonder if she thought it was boring with no music.

    1. It sounds to me like she was hoping for music. I can’t quite figure out was type of music a band might have played on Memorial Day (if they’d showed up). If Grandma attended an event at the cemetery, it seems like a band might have played taps or the Battle Hymn of the Republic. If the event was held at the community center, maybe a band would have played some other type of fun music.

  3. That cemetery is really well kept, thank goodness for diligent guardian’s. Wow, the birth years on the headstones are almost 2 centuries ago…..that’s amazing really. Too know so much from so far back.

  4. This must have been quite a day since it’s one of your grandma’s longer entries. And I love it that she is so evasive about the “mystery pick up.” Today we would call it hitch hiking. 🙂

  5. I lost my paternal grandparents when I was the same ages as your grandmother. Families were even more close-knit at that time, so I’m sure she missed her grandmother.

  6. At least the day ended well. Too bad her friend had to cancel and she had to go by herself. Nice note about her shoes hurting her feet — some things don’t change I suppose!

  7. Anything more about Aunt Mary?
    Also, was Memorial Day such a big deal back then? Seems today we only talk about WWI and WWII on Memorial Day, maybe the Vietnam War too and of course today’s fallen soldiers…for some reason I found it surprising that Helena had so many places she could’ve gone. Don’t know if that made any sense to anyone else LOL.

    1. Memorial Day celebrations were a lot bigger back then. This is about the time that a lot of the statues were built in parks honoring Civil war Veterans, and people were really into Memorial Day events.

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