17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, September 23, 1912: Walked the muddy way to school this morning. Don’t have much to write these days.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
With all the mud, it’s a good thing that Grandma got new rubber overshoes the previous Saturday. September, 1912 must have been a rainy month. On September 18 Grandma also wrote about the muddy walk to school.
1912 was the last year that Grandma had to walk the entire way on dirt roads. She lived between McEwensville and Watsontown, and a brick road was apparently under construction that would replace the old dirt road.
According to George Wesner in History in McEwensville (1976):
The brick road leading from McEwensville to Watsontown was one of the first of its kind to be built in Pennsylvania. Construction was begun at McEwsville in 1912 and completed the following year. . .
It was built by the construction firm Fiss and Christiana of Shamokin, Pennsylvania. In grading, the ground was moved by horse-drawn dump wagons which were loaded by manual labor. While some local people were employed most of the laborers were Italian immigrants. Very few could speak English. They were quartered in a labor camp which was located in a ravine on the farm of Isiah Elliot, now owned by Samuel Raup. All the materials, sand, gravel, brick and cement were hauled by teams and horses. The only mechanical equipment used was a steam roller. . .
On an occasion when a period of bad weather had caused the operation to run behind schedule, the contractors, in an effort to catch up, requested that they work on Sunday. . . .
I wonder if the wet days that Grandma wrote about during September 1912 were when the road-building crews got behind schedule.
Grandma would have walked this road to school every day while it was being transformed from a muddy dirt road to fancy brick one. It sounds like a major activity to me, yet she never thought it worth mentioning in the diary. Sigh. . .