Turning Over New Leaves

Lucy's Diary

by Judy Sander Cockrell

I cannot do justice in explaining the substance of this next site that I wanted to introduce you to. So I will let myself off the hook this week and allow the owner of not only this honorable page, but also this one of a kind book, called "Lucy's Diary," take over.


My wife Linda and I purchased the diary over 20 years ago in antique shop in Cottonwood, CA, where we live, mostly out of curiosity. We read the diary several times, always amazed at detail Lucy put into documenting her day to day activities.

At the time we had no idea where the town of Lindenville,OH was even located, and had even less of a clue as to some of Lucy's actions, such as her and her husband Dar spending long nights in the woods "sugaring off". Who were intrigued by the mention of such people as Em, Aunt Harriet, Orator Miner, and Rev. Dresser.

Answers to these questions began to unfold slowly when I first went online in 1998 and decided to find out just who Lucy was, along with the many others. The answers came slowly at first, but I was getting results, and the hunt was on!

After several months of searching I became aquainted with Paul E. Phillips of Baton Rouge, LA. Paul had some family in the area that he had been researching and agreed to use his knowledge and resources to assist me in my search. Before long Paul had become as "addicted" as I in the search for Lucy's roots.

We communicated by email and snail mail for the next year, putting together the pieces of the diary puzzle and finding some of the answers to the diary's mysteries.Through Census records, birth and marriage records, local histories, and genealogies it seems Paul and I were sharing treasured new finds several days of every week.

After over a year of this Linda and I finally flew to Ohio to meet Paul in Lindenville (now Wayne). We spent several days visiting the local cemeteries, placing flowers at Lucy's grave, meeting with the local historical and genealogy societies, and bonding a friendship that had begun over a 138 year old diary written by someone we were not even related to.

I felt somewhat obligated to share the volumes of information we had compiled on the people and events of 1862, and the web page was born.

It turns out Lucy Parker Ward was a well respected member of her community, first secretary of the Congregational Church, and the local necrologist. Her family had their roots in CT, and like many others migrated "out west" to a land of better opportunity in the early 1800's.

Lucy and her husband Erasmus Darwin Ward had only one child, Willie C. Ward, who married twice but never had any children. This leads me to my current search, just how did this little diary make it's journey from rural Ohio to rural Northern CA?

I have some interesting leads, and may one day find the answer to this question, but maybe not.

The most rewarding part of my research project was not in finding answers to my questions, but in forming relationships with others who are searching the same families in that area of OH. As this was my first venture into genealogy, I was amazed at just how caring and willing to share, members of the genealogy community really are. I could never have imagined such a generous bunch of people ever existed.

And now, perhaps it is time to get started on my own genealogy. I even found a few "stray" members of my wife's family while researching in OH and nearby PA.

- Jim Flaherty

Visit Lucy's Diary today!

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