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Ninteenth Century Jounal of Thomas W. Russell, A Transcription
Includes 6 images
Copyright, March 1999, by Robert C. Kramp

CONTENTS:

I. Preface - Introductory notes by transcriber

II. Transcription of journal-  text is all on one page; the following links are targets within the page. Use your browser's BACK key to return to this Contents:
    Outside and inside front covers
    Begin year 1875 (1 entry)
    Begin year 1877  (33 entries)
    Begin year 1878  (47 entries)
    Begin year 1879  (31 entries
    Begin year 1880  (18 entries)
    Begin year 1881  (8 entries)
    Begin years in Houtzdale, Clearfield Co, Pennsylvania  (21 entries)

III.  Index to every name mentioned in Thomas Russell's journal (3 web pages):
    Index, page 1: A to F
    Index, page 2: G to P
    Index, page 3: R to W

IV. Updates- contributions from readers - further interpretions of  Thomas Russell's journal

I. PREFACE:
 
 


Cover of journal of Thomas W. Russell Fig. J-1:  Front cover of the journal of Thomas W. Russell, the younger, which he kept between the years 1877 and 1881, while living at Wheatley Hill, Durham Co, England, and which he brought with him to America. The hand-written title, barely readible through the grime vers, "Wheatley Hill, September 1877, Thomas Russell".  The journal is about the size of a composition book, 7 1/2 x 9 inches, and contains 127 hand-numbered pages. The binding is stitched.
T Russell's journal, open pages Fig. J-2. Journal open to page nos. 6 and 7. Entries are dated 19 Jan 1879, 4 Apr 1879, and 17 Nov 1877. Fortunately, the stains on these pages which spanned several other pages did not hamper transcription. 0n left page (no. 6), one can see "Northumberland District Lodge" written in large script.

The following is a trascription of a journal which was kept by my great grandfather, Thomas W. Russell, the younger, primarily between 1877 and 1881. In August of 1881, Thomas and several of his siblings and their families emigrated from Durham Co, England, to Houtzdale in Clearfield Co, Pennsylvania. Several journal entries were made after Thomas arrived in America.

Thomas wrote his entries phonetically and in the vernacular of his day and without punctuation. In general, the entries are transcribed just as Thomas originally wrote them; however, I added a few puntuation marks to enhance readibility.  If a word or phrase was vague, I made an interpretaton and placed these in italics immediately after the original wording. Also in italics, are comments I made regarding the context of the entries which are based on my knowledge of the genealogy and history of the Russell family.  Each page of Thomas Russell's journal had a number written at the top, right- or left-hand corner. These original page numbers are given in parentheses after each dated entry. As a rule, each entry consisted of a date, a location (most often Wheatley Hill), followed by the text of the entry, and then finally, the author’s name, “Thomas Russell”.  Unlike in the original journal, entries are presented here in chronological order. An every name index is attached.  Six images are included which I think enhance the interpretation of the journal; most images are photos that I took on a trip to Brittish Isles in 1996.

I would like to thank the Sherwin family- Matthew, Doris and others- who found the journal in the attic of the late Ralph Sherwin and who realized the importance of this historical document. I thank them for allowing me to transcribe the original journal.

BIBLIOGRAPHY (Helpful sources used in transcription)

1. Coal Mining in County Durham. By the Durham County Environmental Education
Curriculum Study Group in cooperation with the Northern Echo. 1993; 211 pages. (ISBN
0-9515-288-9-0)

2. A Century of Struggle. Britain’s Miners in Pictures 1889-1989. Published by the National
Union of Mine Workers. June, 1989; 128 pp (ISBN 0-901959-06-5)

WANTED:  I am looking for two books on the village of Wingate in Durham County:
Wingate, by W. A. Moyes, published 1962, by Wingate Community Centre; and Mostly
Mining, by Frank Graham, 1969.

II. The Transcription

Outside and inside front cover

On the outside front cover:
“Wheatley Hill, September 1877, Thomas Russell”

On overleaf of front cover (page not numbered):
  Love love Butteful
 Out in the cole field
 Out in the cole field
 Houtzdale Sept 9, 1982

(Some financial calculations were scribbled on the page)

First page facing the front cover (page not numbered):
Wheatley Hill Colliery, November the 23, 1877.
Was I as half as Rich than Poor, or grasp the ocen with a spang (sponge)
I must be misured by the Soul of the Mind
The Standard of the Man
W Amarica

Also a man’s name is written twice: “William Armstrong”

Begin 1875

September the 8, 1875. Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 1):
We had some grate strangers at our house. We had our Ellion Mother and granmother and
hir aunt. Thay never ben in our house be fore this time and she was about 86 years of age
and she died verry son after that at Spennymoor.

Comment:  The date of this entry is out of line with the rest of the jounal entries and the
only entry for 1875.  I believe Thomas meant this to be an historical comment on the first
page of his journal. Note that Thomas Russell spelled his wife's name as "Ellion" which
was probably a phonetic spelling for Ellen, or perhaps Helen.  Apparently, soon after
September, 1875, Ellen's grandmother, whose given name is not mentioned in this entry,
died at age 86 at Spennymoor. The year of birth for the grandmother calculates to be
about 1789.

Begin 1877
 


Wheatley Hill, panarama Fig. J-3. Road sign at right states "Wheatley Hill", in Durham County, England- residence of Thomas W. Russell and his family shortly before they emigrated to America in Aug, 1881. Most of the entries in Thomas Russell's journal were prefixed with the locality of Wheatley Hill. Photo by Robert Kramp, 1996.
Feburar 15, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 41)
On this date I rote (worked) my last shift and we ware idel 8 months and that was a sorryful
year to me. We lost our daughter Jane Ann. Bliss hir. She was a fine daughter to us and
loving one but we hope to met hir again, God bing willing. Thomas Russell

Comment: The first child of Thomas and Ellen, a daughter named Jane Ann, died on 27
May 1877 (see journal entry estimated to be written Late, 1878).  Though this journal
entry is dated Feb 15, 1877, and was apparently the date that Thomas was laid off at the
mines, the entry must have been written towards the end of 1877, because Thomas
mentioned that he had already been idle for 8 months. Also he mentions the death of his
daughter Jane Ann who died 3 months AFTER this dated entry.

April the 19, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 19)
Singular suicide near Kirkintilloch. On Thursday morning the policeman stationed at
torrance of Campsie while walking on the north side of the canal about 100 yards east of
Hungrysid Bridge found a man lying on the ground who on being in interrogated said he
had shot himself.  He was conveyed to a neighbouring house and Dr Steward of
Kirkintilloch was sent for, but he died befor Dr Stewarad arrived and on examination
showed a gunshot wound in the stomach.  His name is unknown. From his apprearance he
seemes about sixtey years of age. On his person was found a postol, canister of powder and
a letter dated from a colliery in England commencing my dear brother and ending Thomas
Russell.

The 8 day of Augst 1877.  (page no. 46)
At Wheatley Hill, Easington union, town ship of Wingate, Thomas Russell Paid Poor Rates.
 
 


Receipt for Poor Rates Fig. J-4. Receipt for Poor Rates for Township of Wingate in amount of 6 shillings, 1 pence, paid by Thomas Russell. Ralph Harrison, Asst Overseer. This loose paper was found with the journal.
September the 26, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 17)
Was the day that the explosion of fire damp tooke place at Wheatley Hill Colliery when
Gorge Dobeson the back over man was lost and James Attick Klley and quen and William
Edward Jones aberam. Those was the four lives that was lost at the explosion and it
happened in the main Coll Seam. I was in forst at the time working depety work at the time
and our William was working his notice at the time and happened to be his last shift. He
was stopping dubel shift on that day. Comment: The “our William” in this entry refers to to Thomas Russell’s older brother, William Russell.

October the 27, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 1)
This Book I Bought it at John Wilson.  He had to leve his House and Take a house at the
Farm and I hope he will do Good in it in spite of his foes.

October the 29, 1877. Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 1)
I was at the forst comete meton in connection with the Parlimant Relife Fon and it wass not
plesent on the acount of  L 3  1s  7d  being ammusing and it is betwent Gorge Smith and
John lister. Thomas Russell.

Heseltyne (a name written on page no. 1)
Comment: This is the surname of the family into which the sister of Thomas Russell’s wife
married. In other words, Ellen Hartley Russell's sister, Mary Ann Hartley, married William Thomas Heseltine. Later in the journal (see entry of Dec 11, 1877, page no. 5), Thomas records the names and dates of birth for the Heseltine family. Thus, Thomas Russell was actually the first genealogist of our family.

October the 30th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 3)
I had ben to the commete metting and when I came to my mothers I sead hir face tied up.
She had falling down the stairs and cut it verry badley close to the eye and it is verry bad
pyemans stret. Thomas Russell.  Comment: I am seeking an interpretation for “pyemans stret”

November the 2, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 2)
All yesterday, exploring parties were actively engaged in searching the Nothern Division of
No 3 pit. But only tou bodies were discovered and these were at once sent to the surface.
One was identified but the other is almost past recognition.  In the course of the afternoon
the workman had so far succeeded as to get their way through the Extension Fall wich took
place on Wednesday afternoon from the roof of No 3 pit and the return air course having
thus been cleared the current of air proceeded uninterruptedly thoughout the mine. At night
explorers were sent down No 2 shaft to search for bodies of which it was expected thay
would come upon a large number since it is belived that all corpses with the exception of
about twenty which lie under water at the foot of the shaft have now been removed from
No 3 pit.  The number of men in the mine when the explosion occurred was 233. Of these,
27 escaped, 25 dead bodies have been taken out of No 2 Pit, 80 from No 3 pit, and 4 have
died after being removed to the infirmary leaving 97 still to be recovered.

November the 3, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 3)
Me and our Robert we have ben to Thornley to se our William but he was at work and we
met our Mary at Thornley and we stayed a little and then we came home a gain. Thomas
Russell. (Note: the persons mentioned in this entry, Robert, William, and Mary, are
siblings of Thomas Russell)

Oh is she gone whom we so dearly loved.  Whose tender kindness we so often proved. oh
yes she’s gone her happy spirits fled and now she’s numbered with the silent dead.

November, the 9th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 4)
We enterd Thornley stor and we pade one shillon for entern and thre pence for the Rules.
Thomas Russell

November 13, 1877.  (page no. 4)
Tusday this bieing our night for the commitee to met in conection with the Colliey Bisnes.
John Wilson segested that we might see some of Thornley and Ludworth men to try and
arainges mattery for it and another thing plesed me that we tried to get Peter Dickson to
make the nu tokines for the Colliery of Men. Thomas Russell.

November the 15, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 5)
In Affectionate Remembrance of
The late John Powell of Morley
Who Died October the 7, 1872
Aged 30 years

Can pen describe the mornful sigh to hear the widows children cry. O come dear Father
come to me but no hes in Eternity

November 17, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery. (page no. 7 and  8)
We plough and sow were so verry verry low
that we delve in the dirty clay till we bless the plan
with the golden gran and the vale with fragrant hay.
Our place we know
Were so verry low tis down at the landlords feet
Were not to low the grain to grow but too low the bred to eet

Down down we go Were so verry verry low to the
Hell of the Deep sunk mines but we gather
the proudest gems that glow when the crown
of a despot shines and whene-er he  packs upon
Our back fresh loads he deigns to lay
Were far too low to vote the tax but not to low to tax

We are low We are low Were rubble we know
but at our plastic power the mould at the
lordlings feet will grow into palace and
church and tower then protrate fall in
the rich mans hall and cringe at the rich
mans door Were not too low to build the
wall but too low to tread the floor.

Were low Were low Were very very low yet
from our fingers glide the silken flow
and the robes that glow round the limbs
of the sons of pride and what we get
and what we give we know and we know
our share Were not too low the cloth to weve
but too low the cloth to wear

Were low Were low Were very very low and yet
when the trumpets ring the thrust of a poor
mans arm will go thro the heart of the
proudest king. Were low Were low our place
we know Were only the Rank and File were
not to low to kill the foe but too low
to touch the spoil.
Thomas Russell

November the 23, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 9)
David prayeth for favour to gods children. 16
A little that a rigteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. 25
I have been young and now am old yet have I not seen the Rigteous forsaken nor his seed
begging bread

November the 29, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 9)
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodley nor standeth in the way
of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2

But his delight is in the law of the lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit.

November 24, 1877, Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 8)
I went to Wingate Station with our Ellion and Mary Ann. Thay were goen to see their
father and mother and when I came back I had to cut Thomas Grenwall pig up and I am
tired but I think I will go to my bed and I hope I will get a god night rest and trust to the
lord.

Comment:  The parents of Mrs. Ellen Russell, nee. Ellen Hartley, were William Hartley
and an unknown female. I have preliminary evidence that Ellen’s mother might be named
Ann. Ellen’s parents and her sister, Mary Ann, lived at Station Town, next to Wingate, at
least between Nov 1877 and Jan 1879. Mary Ann Heseltine, nee. Hartley, had 3 sons by
Jan, 1879.  However, Thomas Russell’s older brother, William Russell, was married to a
woman who also was named Mary Ann, nee. Laverick, and they also had three sons by
1879.

November the 27th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 4)
Was the day that I toke the forst payment for killing a pig and Thomas Grenwell was the
man I charged him 1s 2d but Sarah gave me 1s 6d for it. So I toke it. Thomas Russell

November the 30, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 5)
Was the day that we gave in for Shotton (next word smudged) a enging (engine) house in
the main coal seam and our price was L 85. Thomas Grenwell. John Grenwell, William
Grenwell. Thos Russell.

December 7th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 11)
Was the day that I made my sones littel horse and we were eidel too day. But were are goen
to work tomorrow and that is pay Friday. Thinges dis loken verry dul (Note: I believe this is a comment about the weather, in other words, it was looking dull and dreary).

Dec the 7, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 18)
It died not say the date when this was rote but I think it would be rote on the 18 of April:

“Dear Wife and famley I am sorry that I can give no account for this action but a depressed
state of mind. Hopping God will show more kindeness the ther Earthly Earthaly Father and
by you get this I am no more your husband and father. My loving all. John Howie.”

December the 8, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 11)
This being on pay Fridday night, me and our Ellion has ben to Thornley and it was a fine
night and I went to see Gorge Tonsdal but he was not in. So we went to the stor and got
some thinges and came down home again and had our supper and went to bed. So I will bid
you good night pen and ink and book.

December 8th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 12)
My engine now is cold and still
No water does my boiler fill
My coke affords its flame no more
My days of usefulness are ore
My Wheels deny their noted speed
No more my guiding hand thay heed
My whistle it has lost its tone
Its shrill and thrilling sound is gone
My valves are now thrown open wide
My flanges all refuse to glide
My Clackes alas though once as stronge
Refuse their bid in busy throng
No more I feel each urging breath
My steam is now condensed in death
Lifes railway are each station past
In death I’m stopped and rest at last

Those fine lines was taken from the Wekley Chronikle in Dec the 2 and thay were wrot by a
Yanke in amaracke (Yankee in America). He was a brakman and wrote them on his death
bead- Thomas Russell

Dec 10th 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 10)
A ladys reply to a borrower
This is the best world we live in to lend and to spend and to give in to beg or to borrow or
to get a mans own it is the worst world that ever was known.

A young widow applied to a person for a few lines to put on her mourning card. He was a
bit of a wag and wrote the following as appropriate.

I have had the misfortune to lose my old man. But will get another as soon as I can. Oh why
for the dead should the living regret. To those who would wed I am a widow to let.

Dec 10, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 11)
Well Ellion I think you have done well. You have got the stockin a long way on.  You are
goen to finish them sone if you do not mind Excues me Ellion.

Hesseltine  Nicholson. Wm. Tennent

Dec 10, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 17)
Dear Reader. You may think it strange of me for making a mamerand (memorandum) of
this but it toke me about ten years to complet it.  I was married at Brancepeth Colliery in
sixtei seven and I finished in sevenety seven paying for fornutey and I have paid a good
amount to Spark of Heswell lain. Thomas Russell

Comment: According to parish and civil records, Thomas Russell was married to Ellen Hartley on 23 Dec 1867, at St. Stephen Anglican Church, parish of Willington (near Brancepeth), Durham County.  The paying of "fornutey" to Spark of Haswell Lane is beyond by ability to interpret at this point.

Dec the 11, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 5)
William Thomas Heseltine born in Juen 17, 1842.  Nickelson Heseltine Dec the 21, 1867.
Wm Tennet Heseltine May 5, 1870.  Robert Heseltine born March the 31, 1872.  John
Thomas Heseltine June 15- 1874.  Thomas Heseltine born (sentence abruptly ends)

Dec the 11, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery (page no. 10)
My self and William Stoker was hewen at the Clippers flat but we started for William Burt
in the main Coll seam and we like it verry well and we started on this date.

Dec 11 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 13)
My name is Ed F. I came from Wheatley Hill and all the crime that err I did I will tell you
with good will to avacate the rights of Man.  I always thought no crime, but for it, I have to
wander hear both through wear and tyme

December the 11, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 13)
Mary Ann and Ellion and my self were talking about shifting to Monkwarmoth Colliery but
thay do not know that thay can get ther yet but tyme will try it. Thomas R.

Comment: Thomas was probably referring to Monkwearmouth colliery at the mouth of the
Wear River in northeastern corner of Durham County.

Dec 11 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 13)
Mans inhumanity to man makes countleys thosands mourn. Robert Burns. Thomas Russell.
Ellion Russell do good with what thou have or it will do thou no good.

Dec the 17, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 16)
Was the day that Mary Ann got word from South Wingate Byto Roys and thay called them
Butter Field.  William was away on that day and thay said he had to go to see the master.

Comment: The couple in this entry could be Thomas’ brother, William Russell and his
wife, Mary Ann, or it could be Thomas’ sister-in-law, Mary Ann, and her husband, William
Heseltine. However, I believe it is the latter couple since it is known that they resided in
South Wingate (Station Town) which is also mentioned in this entry.  I can not interpret the
meaning of “Byto Roys” or “Butterfield” at this time.

Dec the 26, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 16)
I though I would make a note of the day that Mary Ann shiftd to Hard Bushes and it was on
this date and two days after Christmas Day.

Comment: Hartbushes was a colliery located at South Wingate. Also known as Seymour
and Company’s Rodridge. From Coal Mining in County Durham, p 61.

Dec 28, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 20)
I was at a temperance on this date. But it stayed in rather long.  I though thir was a little
reding and little singen but not much of either but I hope it will get better soon the night is
clartey (cloudy) and dark and cold so I will have supper and go to bed.

Begin 1878

January the 10, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 22)
This bening about half past eight at night I thought I would sit down and emuse myself a
little. Well I have to go to my work at nine o’clock and thought I would read a little of
Robert Burns. But I am stif with shifting  I can do nothing. William shiftied from Thornley.

Comment: The William in this entry refers to Thomas Russell’s brother, William Russell. I
interpret the word, “Shifting” or “shiftied”, to mean: to move or to relocate. Thus,
William may have moved from Thornley.

Janury 11, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 18)
Ive had Mr Jonson from Gatesed (Gateshead, Durham Co) and he went away on the
Hurten. Mr Thomas Russell M P Perlment.

Comment: This is the first of several entries in which Thomas suffixed his name with
“MP” or “Perliment” (Parliment). I am not aware that Thomas was ever elected as a
member of the English Parliment. The use of this title by Thomas may have been fanciful.

Janury the 14, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 22)
The day ben rathur dul and rather clartey (cloudy) but he can not help G (God) We must not
grumbel about that.  We must take hir as she comes to us.

Janury 17 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 21)
On Janury the seventeenth i went to worke and that on pay saturday and i wrote (worked) at
the shaft and it was a six hours shift.  We were filling sotones of the cip (stones off the
chip?).  The mens names were William Hegegton, William Brown, and my self.

Janury the 25 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 16)
Was the day that Mis Cliperton went home and I went to the Station and the day was cold.
But Mis Grame is coming on Monday if all well to stay with us and thay both live at West
hartlpool. Thomas Russell

February 2 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.   (page no. 21)
This bene the day that I bought the pig from John Henderson and gave L 1 14 shillings for
it.  Tomas Russell Plantion St.

Comment: Thomas Russell’s sister, Mary Russell, was first married to John Robert
Clement. John died in a mining accident on 20 Jan 1879 (see journal entry for Late Jan
1879, page no. 98). I speculate that a census enumeration in 1881 (LDS microfiche
4970-116-25, page 08606), might be that of Mary (Russell) Clement and her childen. If my
speculation proves accurate, then Mary had remarried a John Henderson after the death
of her first husband. Could the John Henderson mentioned in this entry, and who obviously resides in the area, be the future second husband of Thomas Russell’s sister?

February the 16, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,   (page no. 20)
Me and John Burn went to a coffe supper and it was verry good.  The ham was verry good
and the bred and ther was plenty of it and the tea was verry and cost was nine pence.
Thomas Russell

March the 1, 1878, Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 25)
France and War.
The following statistics culled from an Irish Newspaper of 1872 may prove both new and
interesting to many of your Readers.  France during the five centureies preceding the past,
that is from 1300 to the years 1800, was engaged in 326 years of war of which 80 years
were spent in civil war and 246. (passage abruptly ends)

April 19th, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 24)
Was the day that my watch spring broke and I toke it to that man at Thornley and he is
goen to charge me 4 shillinges for mending it. Thomas Russell M.P.

May 6th, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 44)
Amount of Shiftes wrote (worked) by Thomas Russell.  (The number following “shift” is
probably the number of hours worked per shift).

Shift hours and pay

May 21, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.   (page no. 26)
The Northumberland was built in 1866 from designs by Sir Spencer Robinson. She is an
armour plated screw steamship of  1,350 horse power with a ram bow. She carries 28 guns
and hir plating is 5 1/2 inch iron. She is 400 feet in length and her tonnage is 6,621. While
her speed is somewhat over 14 knots an hour the Northumberland which was built at a cost
of  L 440,967 carries a complement of 705 men.

May 23, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 24)
This ben the date that i killed the pig and it cleared it self verry well. Thomas Russell MP

May the 31, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 21)
On this date I bought three piges out of a cart from a man named Canney (or Paddy
Connery- see next entry) and he lived at Hard Bushes but too of them died and on the 5 of
June I went too Stockton and bought another and gave Fourteen shillinges for it and it died
likewise.  So I was left with one and it is not doen well at all but baddly.  Thomas Rusell In
Parment.

Comment: The entry above seems to cover the same subject as the entry below, but the
entries were recorded on different pages of Thomas Russell’s journal. Both entries are
presented here as they were written.

May the 31, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 24)
This ben the date that I bought 3 piges from Paddey Conney from Hard Bushesh and I gave
him 2 pounds, 4/6 for them.  Wensday bening the day that I went Stockton and bought
another and made me four of them and it was on the 5 of June and gave 14 shillings for it .
Thomas Russell MP

June the 9, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 18)
Was the day that we had our anneversey and was verry well thaking all thinges to
consedrison. the day was rather changebul. Thomas Russell

June 13th, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 24)
Was the day that one of my piges died that I got from Paddy Connery South Wingate.

June 18, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 22)
Was the day that my wife set the henn with thirtenn eges but I dow not know how she will
go on with thim. It is the second tim that she has ben set.  The first time that she was set she
set 2 days and then left the eges but she may do better this time. Thomas Russell

June the 24, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 15)
A little boys wish
i wish i could join the band of hope.  Said a little boy about six years old. Who stood
shivering in the doorway of a ginshop by his mothers side. You are not old enough” replied
his mother. You cant understand it” I guess i am old enugh to know better than to drink gin
was the reply.

A little girls anser to hir father
Dr Doddrdge one day asked his little daughter how it was that everybody loved her. “I dont
know said she unless it be that i love everybody. Thos Russell

July the 15, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 33)
When toiling hard to earn my bread
With weary limbs I homeward tread
Who’s watching there to see me fed
My Wife
And when I have arrived here
Who bid adieu to cares below
What makes me love to be there so
My wife
When sickness steal upon my frame
And fever burns with rigid flame
Who loves me even then the same
My Wife
And fearful lest I should awake
Who steps so lightly for my sake
And not a bit of noise does make
My Wife
Then I will love her day by day
Her love for me I will repay
I’ll cherish yes in every way
My Wife

June the 24, 1878, Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 20):
I though that I would make the date when William Hartley went-  remove his thinges to the
thrisel nest D and it was on this date. Thomas Russell MP Wheatley Hill

Comment:  William Hartley was Thomas Russell’s father-in-law. The next 4 entries were
all on page no. 124, and and are grouped below. They seem to refer to one subject-  the
rent and lodging for William Hartley:

August 19, 1878, Thrselnest.
This has been the date that William Hartley pade Henry Haswell 10 s for rent

Sept 16, 1878
Rent paid on this date to Henry Haswell. William Hartley amount 10 s

October 5, 1878
Rent paid on this date to Henry Haswell by William Hartley and amount 5 s

November 27 (year not given in diary; but probably 1878)
Was the day that William Hartley tuke the house at Wingate Station

October 11, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 65)
The Temeraire is built for sea going purposes. She has on her upper deck to (two) low fixed
turret or barbettery battery much used in the french Navy. Her length is 285 feet breath 62
feet. Her armour plates ar 11 inches thick She has an armament of eight guns tow on the
upper deck one on the stern of 18 tons one on the bow 23 tons. Each gun is mounted “en
barbett” to sweep the horizen and give all round fire. The other guns are on the main deck
adjusted for broadside fire. The estimated cost of this vessel exceeded L 374,000.

June the 29, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 15)
Thirty day hath September
April June and November
All the rest have thirty one
February twenty eight alone
But in leap year tweny nine. Thos Russell M P

July 30 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 27)
Tusday been the day that my father and William Stoker went to Shurben Hospitle (Sherburn
Hospital) and it is the fors time that he ever was at that place and mister Boidel gave him
the note to go thir and at the thime he is working for William Burt in the Main Coal with
John Russell. Thomas Russell

Comment: John Russell is a younger brother of Thomas Russell.

August the 3, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 27)
Was the day that thay intended holding thir annual Demonstrations metting in a field kindley
lent of the occaison by Mister Copper Esq. but I think it will be a failure. It has been raining
verry much this day and it fell rather hard and it would hinder pepel of going to it. But thay
would have it in the Chappel and thay were goin to have Dr. E. A. Rodway of Southside in
the County of Durham England.

Comment: This entry probably refers to the early phases of a demonstration that
eventually became organized and known as The Miner’s Gala. On a day in July, the rank
and file of dozens of Lodges in the coal miner’s union march to the Durham Cathedral.
The Miner’s Gala has continued to present-day. Bands play and banners are carried. The
day ends with a memorial service at the Cathedral.
 
 
Miner's Gala Fig. J-5. Miner's Gala at Durham City. Political speeches, assembly of banners, and marches start at the football (soccer) field. Each Union Lodge has its own distinctive banner. Photo by Robert Kramp, 1996.
Flea Market at Miner's Gala Fig. J-6. At the Miner's Gala, one can find mining paraphernalia such as miner's lamps and tokens. Photo by Robert Kramp, 1996.

Augst the 11, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 28)
On this day it been pay Friday it came on raining and I got rather wet with it. I was thinking
of goin to see Ellion father marwing (mowing) a little field but I think I will not go on the
count the rain comining on of wet you met exep me for my past time.

Augst the 25, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.   (page no. 28)
On this day we had our camp metting and John Richards from Castle Eden Colliery, Mr
Garnet from Coxey and Winter from Castel Eden Colliery and the day was verry hot.
Thomas Russell

Agust 26, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 31)
Well now I am sitting at the table and it is about 3 o’clock in the morning and if I must
speek the truth I must say my mind is desturbed. Ellion is likley for taking her bead so we
have got hir mother and my mother hear but throu preswading them we got them to go and
have a hours rest, so thay went. So Ellion lay down and she fell aslep and all. So hear I am
sitting watching my darling son Nicklson and the baleau is calling just now in the foreshift
Men. So I think have me pipe. Thomas Russell

Comment: No date was associated with the following two entries regarding Thomas Booth,
but both entries appear on page no. 32 and are presented here:

Thomas Booth, Houtzdale, Clearfield County, Pensilvennia, America.

Thomas Booth, Houtzdale, Clearfield County, Pensilvennia, America.  Recorded a second
time in the journal.

August the 31, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 32)
A was the (day) that John Wilson made a aplackion (application) for mor money and we
have gave him one pound a weak and think it is planty for is work. Thomas Russell.

Sept the 5, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 35)
On this day, me and my wife ware sitting in the fore House and we ware talking about our
one aferes (own affaires) and she in not oair well in helth just now but I hope she will get
better just now. Thomas Russell

Deal with another as youd have another deal with you
What you’re unwilling to receive be sure you never do

Late Fall, 1878 (page no. 35)
Well dear uncle I must inform you that I have ben married 10 years on December last and I
can loke back and say that I never spent my time in a ronge way. We have had 3 children
but we lost tow of them. We berried one child a leven month old and she died in December
13th, 1873 and we call hir after my aunt Mary Richardsons daughter and that was Alma
Emma.  But my last daughter that we lost, who died in May the 27, 1877, she was aged 8
years and four month old.

Comment: The entry above was not dated, but from its content, I date entry about Fall,
1878. Thomas and Ellen were married on 23 Dec 1867.  The three children of which
Thomas speaks are Jane Ann, born Jan, 1869; Alma Emma, born Jan, 1873; and
Nicholson, born Mar 1876. Two more children were born to Thomas and Emma before
they emigrated to America. They were: Jane Ann (“Jenny”), born 7 Sep 1879; and Emily,
born 6 Jun 1880.  Emily Russell was my grandmother.

September 9th- 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 31)
This bening Sunday I have not ben out of the house to day. I was tired with runing about
and getting no slep. I was tired so went my bead. I have to go to my work at twelve o’clock
tonight.

September the 17, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 28)
Was the day that Gorge Featenby got killed in Haswell Pit by a fall of stone and he was
barried on the 21 and we will have to murn for him and that is all we can do now he is go
the way of all flesh but we hope he is better dun of for.

Sept 21 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page 34)
I am thinking about the changes that takes pace in such a short time.  We are hear to day
and we are go to morrow and it is just like a tail that is told. The face that we have and
voice that hard (heard) is lost in time.  It is gon and time will take us away to our long
home. Life is like Spang and verry uncerting to all.

Sept the 21, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 36)
This bening the day that my cusing (cousin) Mary Jane came from Trimdon Grange Colliery
to Stay a wek with us and she will be staying to sow a little. Thomas Russell.

Sept 26th 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 32)
Me and Thomas Farrow had a fine walk to Castle Eden village and the day was fine and we
got a ride from Wingate Colliery.

Sept 26, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery   (page no. 43)
Was the date that we tuke a bareu and in taking up the splent in the baerer but we did not
start hit till October 7th and think it not be so bad a one. Thomas Russell and Thomas
Bradley.

Sept 30 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page 34)
I am idel today and the reson that I am idel is that we slept the calir (caller) but I do not
care much.  For it is the Sunday night shift so I do not fret.

Sept the 30, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 39)
Blessed is he that considereth the poor. The lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

At Sinnington near Pickering in Yorkshire you will find a man that cannot help but be most
generous and kind. As soon as begger approaches his door his hend finds his pocket. there
is nothing more sure. He has served so many so freely he gives.  The blind find the way to
the place where he lives. The solders and sailers who constantly roam are so glad to see him
when they find him at home.

October 9, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 43)
On this date I set. Ellion went to Station town and set to the furloness (?) the child is about
5 wekes old.  on this date having nothing to do I though I would write a little.

November the 12, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 26)
On this date it verry rugh wether the wind blue verry wild and its verry cold and about
twelve o’clock it came on a snow and it snow six hours verry hard and I was in the night
shift on that night.

Thomas, the number of my tiked is No 107

November 26, 1878.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page 58)
The expenses of building a house were as follows: (Note: the cost of constructing this house suggests it certainly is not the cottage of a coal miner)

cost of building

December 6, 1878. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no 27)
On this date we bought the pig at Thornley from a man with a cart and I gave him L1 4s 0d
for it.

Begin 1879

Janury (sic) 1, 1879, Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 55)
On this day it benin the nue years day and it was a fine day. It was rather frosty and we had
our Ellion mother and sister from Station town and Mary Ann had hir three boyes with hir
and gave Nickleson a present of a book.

Janury 19, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery  (page no. 6)

NORTHUMERLAND DISTRICT LODGE (title written at top of page no. 6)

On this date thinges is verry plesent to all and whar are thinking of getting our super.
Ellions mother and sister is over from Station Town.

Mr William Forster-
Agent General for New South Wales
__ 3 Westminster Chambers
Victoria Street, London SW

Late January, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery, Shilton near Feryhill station. (page 98)
John Clemand living at this place and on January 20th, 1879, he went to his work at Den
bridge but he was not in the pit over one our and half befor he happened his misfortune.
Ther was aston fell out of the side and hit him and he was brought home and he died on the
22 of the same month.

Comment: John Clement was the first husband of Mary Russell, a younger sister of
Thomas Russell.

Note: From the context of the following entry, the date of the entry was probably Feb of
1879 rather that Feb of 1877.
Feb 19th, 1877.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page 23)
On this date my mother got the lens of  Ellion watch and on May 10th 1879 we got it home
again and I have five watches gen to might 4 of our own and one beloing to Thomas
Farrow. He has gon to America. Him and his son henery and Mrs Farrow and hir daughter
went to Henton? to see hir brother and she left the watch and a purs of gold with us to
[until] she come back. Thomas Russell

Febuary 19th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 97)
Dear Ant we have often though about you and how you ware getting on. We hope those
fue lines will find you and your family all as it leves us in joying the same grate blessing
Thank God for it. We have often lokied back and thought about the time that you ware in
Shotton and how you have comed on since that.

February 22, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,   (page no. 37)
I have but a fue wordes more to say. I am going to my cold and silent grave. My lamp of
life is nearly extinquished. I have parted with eveythings that was dear to me in this life for
my country cause with the idol (idle- in other words, a miner’s strike)

Feb 27th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 40)
On this date I thinking about Chrles Pece.  he requsted a drinke of cold water but he could
not get it.  time would not admit him to have it. His request could not have it this

April 4th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 6)
On this day I thinking about my brother William. He is goin to set off  for Amarica on the 8
of this month.

Tompson Teasdal
Founton County Snodon
Mill Indianna
North Amarica

Comment: There is a Fountain County, Indiana, located west of Indianapolis on the Ohio
border. The Wabash River flows through the County. However, I have not been able to find
a locality named Snodon Mill.

April 8th 1879. Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 36)
Dear Father Mother Brothers and Sisters we landed in Liverpool about 5 oclock last night
we went to the Inman office.  But it was no go we could not be on.  Ther seams to be a
understanding with all companys so we will be bord a oclock today with stem ship City of
New York. It cost us L8 16s 9d to a place thay call Attice in the state of Indinna. But if any
should come, book with Humpery or some of the agents.  It saved us nothinges coming to
Liverpool.  I can say I am prity well at present. Hoping this will find you all at present.  You
can let Brother Robert no. I hope he is keeping his canch up and I hope it will not be long
before we meet again. Excuse this writin so I remain your loving son and brother  W.R.
Russell

Hears is last night note.  Make what you can of it. This is the end of the forst letter. Thos.
Russell.

Comment: Attice, Indiana, probably refers to Attica, Indiana, on the banks of the Wabash
River in Fountain County. Judging from the last two entries, it appears that the Russell
family, lead by the reconnaissance of the family’s oldest son, William Russell, was seeking
immigration to Fountain County, Indiana. However, the Russell family eventually chose to
immigrate to the coal fields of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

April 30, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 99)
On the 29th of apr 1879 was the day that Thomas Farrow and his son Henry went to
Amarica he went to Pittington and from ther to Renton and he went off to Liverpool next
morning and he went with James Wood from Big Hetton Colliery. Thomas Russell

May the 3, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 40)
On this date my wife went to Ferry Hill to see my sister Mary and thay ware goin to Spenny
Moor on Saturday. She has benn verry poorley but on she is a grate deel better now. Ellion
went on Friday.  I am goin on Saturday if all be well. I goen in forst tomorrow we are
working in the forst north at a bottom canch (see below) and we think we will finich it and
then we will have a chanch to get another one in the same way. It is not a bad one that we
have just now.  We have the god air and plenty of rume and a god fot and earn tow shillings
a yard for it.  I must conclude hopping all is well with all. Thomas Russell

Comment: “Canch” is defined as the stone removed from the roof and floor of the
underground mining tunnels to make them the height of a tub. Tubs were used to haul coal
to the main header.

May 5th 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 38)
New York 20th on this date my brother William landed in Amarica and they stayed at
Simnious Miner Arms No 2 Front St New York but thay could not get a tram to the day
after to Indanna.

May 7th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 43)
Was the day that the men of Wheatley Hill Colliery brought ther gear out. David Thomas
Bradley and me were working in the forst north at a bottom canch and he ware in forst and
we brought our gear out.

May 9th 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 51)
On this date I was at Thornley and it was pay Friday night and I met William Davison and
we got on to talk about William and Robert how thay ware comming on in Amarica and he
told me that William was not so sharp as he toke him to bee. Thomas Russell.

May 10th. 1879.  (page no. 51)
St. Peterburg Thursday. A telegram form the governor of Oremburg states that the fire on
April 25th is attributed to carelessness. 949 houses were destroyed and 292 shops besides
tow churches and a mosque. Thomas R

Cheap Emigration to America and Australia
Steam ship fares

Apply to Wm Gray, 5 North Road Durham agent for the Albon In man union and Orient
Royal Mail Steamers

May, 1879, estimated.  (page no. 45)
Note: No date was given for this entry. The other entry on this journal page was from May,
1879. So, I will date the entry for May, 1879.
Note: The following are obviously terms used by coal miners.  I welcome any help with
interpretation.

Wheatley
date 14 Bof Stterday taking splent up
date 15 Munday night taking the top down
date 16 Tusday at the hich barrow
date 17 Wensday Heswell flat nue gennon bord
date 18 Thursday sarving the mass
date 19 Friday lowrn the old landow
date 21 Saterday Hewed corve lowern bottom
totle of the week  16

date 23 right hand flat taking up bottom
date 24 stright on taking up  the bottom at the kick
date 24 barrow stright on tat the canch
date 25 Wensday Thamas Bradley
date 26 Thrusday making a siding

May 20th 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page 52)
On this date Wheatley Hill Colliery went to Pittington Hill and it is about 6 miles from
Wheatley Hill. (Pittington is northeast of Wheatley Hill)

May 25, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 44)
On this date Ellion is complen of pain in newes and shoulders and the mele of shodey and I
with her was better of pain again but time will now it. Ther is all ways something in this
world,  if you have not one thing you have another so thus it goes on to the end.

May 25th 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 45)
On this date my son Nicklson and my self had a little walk dow towards the Cabers and it
was the forst time that I had my sut of close (suit of clothes) on that Richson made at
Wingate Grange. Thomas Russell

May 26th 1879 (page no. 54)
Monday morning on this date the sad nues came to our place from our William relating the
death of Robert Davison his mate how (who) was killied by his side on the 8th of May in a
America.

May 29th 1879. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 54)
On this date my brother William returned from america.  I was in back shift that day. If
Robert Davison had been sperried (spared) to come back all would benn well but the lord
thought fit to call him hench and may the lord rest his soul.

June 27, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 72)
On this date I got a nue Shout (suit) from Richardson and is a blue one and it cost 3
pounds.

July the 21, 1879.  Wheatley Hill In the Co. of Durham.  (page no. 72)
On this date the pit is idle on the count of the water breaking it away in the numer 2 pit and
the furnse is out and the er is a vest of  water goen dow the shaft and it is stoping the
sueing. Thomas Russell

August 11 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 55)
This been the date that Gorge Butright and his family left Wingate Colliery for America

August 22, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 99)
On this date Mr. Farrow set off for Amarica. Thomas Armstrong tuke his things to Durham
and Mirs Wood meetes him at Durham.

Sept 6th, 1879.  Ludworth Colliery  (page no. 20)
On this date Andrew Pattinson died leving a wife and three children the oldest about five
years of age.  Hir father is staying with her.

September 26th 1879  (page no. 54)
On this date I got the sad nues about Thomas Farrow shutting (shooting) himself  but on
one noes where it sprung from. I hope it is not true. I think it stink. It is not true

Sept 29th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery, (page no. 55)
Was the day that Thomas Grenwell Sister Marget daied in Fordes Stret in the County of
Durham England

Oct 14 1879. Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 44)
Was the date that Mrs. Burts daughter landed at Thornley Brench Endes. She came from
Amarica in the hopes of seeing hir mother but hir mother died on the sixth of the same
month and I wo fell for hir poor woman.  She has a fine boy about 9 years old and one six
teen monthes and the worst of all she is a widow but I hope the lord will be the widows
frend. Thomas Russell

November 4th 187_?.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page 50)
Board School will be re-opened on Monday first the 4th inst under new mastership
Standards I and II   3d per week
Standared III          4d per week
Standard IV to VI   6d per week

N.B. Any number of children from the same family may attend. For one shilling per week
The school fees are payabel in advance either weekly or fortnightly. Parents are earnestly
requested to sen their children regularly by order -- R. Forster
R. Clark to the Board

December 8th, 1879.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 57)
Munday thay Fell Away
About 11 oclock at night Oliver Thompson and Thomas Watson ware working in the
number 2 pit and it is the up cast shaft and they ware taking the brades out and they had the
half cradle in the shaft at the time and the poor fellows fell to the bottom of the pit a
distence of 75 fadems. And how thay fell off the cradle we do not know. Thay had the torch
in the time it happened and Tompson was ling on his back rather out of the pit and Watson
was lying in the pit and Tompson was not as much manglend as Watson.

I went in at ten that night and Gorge Smith the back over came in and John Patterson and G
Bradley, William Short and my selfe and we ware 4 in number that went and brought them
out and got them home.

Begin 1880

March 6th, 1880.  Wheatley Hill Colliery,  (page no. 49)
The largest tree in the world there is at present on exhibition in New York a section of tree
which has been brought form California. The New York Herald says this Wonderful
specimen of natures handiwork was discovered in 1874. it was growing in a grove near tule
river, tulare county, California.

March 13th 1880. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 53)
On this date Ellion and myself we wet to Thornley to by our Nickleson a shout of close (suit
of clothes) but when we got to the store thay had not many in at his sise on.  We had to put
off to another time.

March 13th 1880. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 53)
Tay Bridge in Scotland dreadful losse of many lives by the destruction on the night of
December 25, 1879

Comment:  This is at least one instance in which Thomas Russell’s journal corroborates  an historical event of the day.  The Tay Railway Bridge near Perth, Scotland, was designed
by Sir Thomas Bouch.  However, the bridge’s design and Bouch’s engineering calculations
did not take into consideration certain stormy winds. These facts combined with poor
quality steel in the bridge’s construction resulted in the bridge collapsing on the night of
28 Dec 1879.  A steam train crossing the bridge plunged into the icey River Tay, and 75
passengers and crew were drowned.  A poem by William McGonagall entitled “Railway
Bridge of the Silvery Tay” immortalizes the event.

March 17th 1880.  Wheatley Hill.  (page 52)
An Honest Man here lies at rest as e’er God with his image blest, The friend of Man. The
friend of truth, the friend of ages and guide of youth,
Few hearts like his with virtue warm
Few Hearts with knowledge so informs
if ther is another world, he lives in Bliss
if ther is none, he made the best of this
Thomas Russell

March 28th 1880. Wheatley Hill Colliery. (page no. 53)
Easter Sunday was the day that we briched our son Nickleson (clothed him in britches).
His mother bought the cloth and made him one suit and she made him out of my pilot shout
(suit).  He is just turned 4 years old but he is a man and a lovley boy. Thomas Russell.

April 2, 1880. Wheatley Hill.  (page no. 48)
Station town on this date and at this place Mary Ann gave birth to a daughter.

Comment: Mary Ann Heseltine, nee. Hartley, the sister-in-law of Thomas Russell gave
birth to Jane Ann “Jenny” Heseltine on 2 Apr 1880.

April 9, 1880. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 56)
On this date I bought a little pig from a man belogen to Shotton and it was 8 weeks old and
I gave him 23 shllings for it.

May 22th, 1880.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 60)
Thomas Armstrong the landlord of Nimous hotel ale died on this date and he was 48 years
of age.

Comment: From Coal Mining in Durham County, p 105, there was another Thomas
Armstrong who resided in the Easington District of Durham County. He was a pitman and
poet and composed “The Trimdon Grange Explosion”. The poem, written in 1892,
memorialized the mining disaster that occurred at Trimdon Colliery on 16 Feb 1882, in
which 93 men and boys were killed.

May 27th, 1880. Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 60)
On this date I got my back money that I wright for in 1877 in May the 15 about thre years
after.

September 29, 1880.  Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 46)
Seam Colliery explosing in Sept 8

Nov 3th, 1880.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 61)
On this date my father died. He died about 4 in the morning and I got to know about 9
oclock and I am living at Castle Eden Colliery working depety work at the time.

Note: Thomas Russell’s father, who was also named Thomas Russell, died 3 Nov 1880 at
Thornley and was buried at St Bartholomew Anglican Church.

November 16th, 1880. Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 56)
On this date I am working depetey work and I am Folling four men at the old shaft. And on
this date I had to go to my work about one oclock that day on acound of gass at the poldey
stapple and about nine oclock I had to loud my men out. Robert Bell lost life by a fall of
stone in the tlegrepeth. M. Hickles maneger. Thomas Stocdh Depetey

Comment: From this point in November of 1880, Thomas and his family apparently moved to Castle Eden Colliery which was located south and within walking distance of Wheatley Hill. According to the (April) 1881 census of England and Wales, Thomas resided at No. 90, Monk Hesleden (LDS microfiche 4971-24-39 page 08645). This village is just soutwest of Castle Eden.

Post Office savings bank
Thornley No 435 Nov 14/75
L15 5s 1d

1880, estimated. (page no. 48)
Wheatley Hill Colliery the count of twelve month work starting from Jauary to December
Sept 26th pay L2 19s 11d

December 9, 1880.  Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 94)
Tonight I am rather low in spirites wat with one thing and another this life is full of truble
and every day bringes its own gref to one ore another and I am like the rest. I have got
mine.  I am working depety work on this colliery and I am stopping one shift and a half just
now and I have got a marrow the name of him John Taylor and thay are just opening
Wilkenson Roilety and we have 3 men to follow Castle Eden,

December 11, 1880. Castle Eden (page no. 94)
Tonight I am sitting thinking about my father and I wish I had him to go and see but I have
not him now.  He has paid his detes (depts) now and I hope he is better off now then he was
when he was with us.

Jan 19, 1881.  Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 94)
Four men sitting in a large hottle all discussing who should pay for the diner so it was
agread to follow in rowtation in time. The Englishman started off with on the first of July
there was a greate slaughter. The Scotchman following with on the second of July King
Billie came over the water. The Welshmen said on the third of July the queen had a
daughter and paddy came on by saying and the fourth of July was just the day after

December 14, 1880.  Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 72)
On this date I kiled the pig that I brote from Wheatley Hill and I sold the other one for L2
16s 6d to master Mason and I am goen to worke at a clock in the morning and I will not be
out to 4 in the after noune so I will not see it kiled but I hope all will go on right at home. I
am working depety work just now in Castle Eden Way and John Taylor is my marrow gut
mow. Thomas Russell

Begin 1881

Janury 16th 1881. (page no. 16)
Fruit Salt:  2 lbs loaf sugar, 2 oz car. soda, 2 oz cream tartar, 2 oz tartar acid, 2 oz of
refined epsom salts. Mix and beat together.

Janury 25, 1881, Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 30)
Was the day that Mary Ann came to let me know that hir mother was verry bad and I am in
the twelve oclock shaft so I did not go that day. I went to see hir and the day is verry cold it
is a white frost. I dont think she will not get better again and Ellion is ther since Saterday
and thay are stopping at Murton Colliery.

Comment:  Mrs. Hartley, the mother of Mary Ann and Ellen, was very sick on Jan 25,
1881, and she may have died shortly thereafter. However, she was enumerated in the 1881
census of British and Wales. There is no evidence that Mrs. Hartley emigrated to America
in August of 1881.

Feb 3, 1881. Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 125)
Messrs. S. W. Partridge and Co,  9 Paternoster Row, London

Febuary 11, 1881. Castle Eden Colliery,  (page no. 56)
Friday morning on this date John Tate lost his life in the Allmaway. He was putting a back
piller on. Thomas Pringal, the Charge man

Feb 15, 1881. Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 93)
On this date we had apre metting at your house and it was fule of pepel and Mershal led it.

Feb 16, 1881. Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 64)
James Simmons Manufacturing
Jeweller and Mechant
Edgbaston St. Birmingham

March the 8, 1881.  Castle Eden Colliery.  (page no. 60)
A was the day a poor man was caught by the run in back and thay brought him home but he
died about 2 oclock the same day he lives in the Main stret. I do not know his name but I
am sorey.

July 27, 1881.  Wheatley Hill Colliery.  (page no. 82)
Note: Here is an accounting of a sale of personal property in which 28 pounds (L), 4
shillings (s), and 0 pence (d) was received. This was the last entry before Thomas Russell
and his family emigrated to America.  I believe the items in the chart below refer to a
moving sale in which Thomas sold his house hold belongings.
 
 
ITEM TRANSCRIBER'S INTERPRETATION L s d
Kaltle kettle 0 3 0
Steele sharpening steel 0 1 0
dishes dishes 0 2 0
Ch tabele table 0 8 0
one arm char chair 0 6 0
3 bh Chares chairs 0 7 6
one Small Tabel table 0 4 0
one furn ? 0 1 0
Bleser ? 0 1 0
pan pan 0 3 1
Fender fire grate for coal? 0 3 0
hingengs door hinges or wall hangings? 0 3 1
Rocken horse toy rocking horse 0 8 0
Eiren Bead some kind of bed 0 12 0
One set of trease dinnerware? 0 5 0
Rening Meshen pig feed? 0 8 0
fealter Water a water filter 0 6 0
Barrow wheel barrow 0 6 0
Rain tube catch container for rain water 0 6 0
Possing tule a tool used to agitate clothes in a wash tub 0 3 0
F. room Fender front room, fire grate for coal? 0 5 0
Cradel baby cradle 0 3 0
Draws bureau of drawers 4 0 0
press fruit juice press? 4   0
Desk, Bead, and Book desk, bed, and book 4 0 0
Sofey sofa 3 15 0
loken glass mirror 2 5 0
frunt Room tabel front room table 1 0 0
Chen tabel table 0 14 0
Frunt room Chares front room chairs 3 10 0
Sow Meashen pig feed? 3 10 0
Frunt Room Bead front room bed 1 10 0
Total   28 4 0

Begin entries from Houtzdale, Clearfield Co, Pennsylvania, USA (after
Aug 1881)
Note: According to their naturalization papers on file at the court house of
Clearfield Co, PA, Thomas Russell and his brother Robert Russell, arrived at port, Boston,
MA, on 18 Aug 1881.

Oct 11, 1881. Osceola Mills, PA.  (page no. 110)
The bill of fine lumber amount to $101.02

October 26, 1881.  Osceola Mills, PA.  (page no. 110)
The bill of shingles amounted to $24

Oct 29, 1881.  Houtzdale, Clarfield County, PA.  (page 110)
The bill of Rufe lumber from Corker Mill amount to $74.56

Comment: From the previous three entries, it is apparent that Thomas Russell was preparing to build his own house in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania.

August 1882. White Head Pacific Colliery. (page 110)
Tons cut 48- 19
$24.47
store $2.65
balance $21.42

Tons cut October 14  95- 6
$47.62
store $15.53
balance $34.19

tons cut November the 25: 88- 5
$44.12
store $17.22
Shutting Rock $5
balance $31.40

Oct 15, 1881.  Houtzdale, Clarefield county, Pennsylvania.  (page no. 70)
Today our Robert and my self we have rote about four hours on our ground and we have
rote hard to make things strite for the rufe lumber comming in and we had to shift some fine
lumber and ther was a good deale of it. The bank quited at 1 oclock and I think that I will
have to go and seek sum ruf lumber tomorrow out at haggertes mill. Thos Russell.

Thomas phonetically spells Clearfield County as “Clarefield” County.

October 24, 1881. Houtzdale, Clarefield Co., Pennslyvania, USA (page no. 38)
Note: This entry was written in pencil rather than in ink as in the other entries.
Was the day that Richard Nelson and my self went to Oclaho Mill (Osceola Mills) to see
abou the bill and we fell in with Frank Cragow.
Richard Cragow came to Houtzdale Oct 24, 1881.

Oct 29, 1881
Received of Thos Russell twenty five dollars on Hamlick bords (hemlock boards)

Dec 15 1881.  Houtzdale, Clarefield Co., Pennsylvania, USA  (page no. 47)
On this date we rote (worked) about 4 hours on the land and we cleared a good dale so we
must take time and do a little when we can.  We have not got our stove in our house yet.
We have just got in our flu so I think we will not be long now and it will be a good job for
every one of us.  Thinges is not so plesent just now but time will trie all thinges and it will
work out.  This tou Robert Howie is stoping with us just now.  He has been a but one
month hear.  I think I will go to my bead so good night pen and ink. Thomas Russell

Jan 21, 1882
Received of Thos Russell Eight dollers hamlock (hemlock)

August 13, 1882. Houtzdale, Clarefield County, PA Amarica.  (page no. 116)
Now thinges lukes verry dule hear just now on the acount of the strike.  We came out on the 24 of June and we started again about the last of July. We started at our own banks but we had to leve it on the acount of the tales that Danen Booth told the boss. So after that we started at the bank close to Eureka Berwind and White Belng? So we started a White Heades but we are doen nothing as yet. We are filing one case for our man and so on we went to start to make a new railway but the 2 days that we went out the wether made us come home again and on the 3 day Robert and Thos got one days work on it and Henry Farrow got his arm broke on the 12 August by Mathow Love’s Horse.

March 1, 1883,  John B. McGraft- Houtzdale, PA.  (page no. 112)
Amount paid for ocen fare $73.50
Amount paid for inland fare $20.30
total $93.80

one fule fare from New York to Houtzdale $5.80
one half fare $2.90

March the 10, 1883. Houtzdale, Clarefield County, Pennsylvanea.  (page no. 63)
On this date brother Robert and my self we ware shultng stone in Whiteheads slop (see
comment below) and we rote (worked) five shiftes and thay finished it so we had to go back
to the Pacpiea and on this date our niber [neighbor] William Frankes wife died on the 10 of
March. She was put to bed and got a daughter and she got all over but she got cold and
died on this date the 10.

Comment: There are three types of mine shafts, categorized by the way in which the vein of
coal is reached by digging. In a drift mine, the coal vein is followed horizontally into the
side of the mountain. In a slope mine, a tunnel is drilled on an incline, either up or down,
to the coal vien. The third type of shaft, or shaft mine, is drilled vertically down to the
plane of the coal vein- sometimes hundreds of feet below the surface.

March 30, 1884.  Houtzdale (page no. 74)
William Hartley
Payments to Wm Hartley

Saturday 21 April, 1883. (page no. 112)
Paid for passes to Speers $10

May the 2, 1884.  West Houtzdale, Clarefield (Clearfield) County, Pennsylvania,
Amarica.  (page no. 62)
On this date a grate fire broke out all around us and we war worken at Eureka No 2 and we
did not get the nues till 2 oclock and when we came home the worst was over.

May 19, 1883. Saterday. (page no. 112)
Paid to Speres for passes $10

August 29, 1885, Houtzdale.  (page no. 30)
On this date we dote the cow from Ellions father and gave $40 for hir and the forst week
Ellion made 4 pound of butter.

Comment: According to his naturalization papers, Ellen's father, William Hartley, immigrated to Houtzdale, PA, about 1881, and was living there at the time of this journal entry on August 29, 1885, when he sold a cow to Thomas Russell.  In 1900 US census, William Hartley is enumerated as a widowed father-in-law in household of William Heseltine and Mary Ann  (Hartley). William Hartley’s date of birth is given as Mar 1817. (US Census, Clearfield  Co, PA, ED 102, sheet 25, line 62).

May 11, 1915, Tusday.  Barnesboro, Cambria Co, PA. (page no. 86)
(written in pencil)
On this date I got the old book I have not seen for so long and in it makes me think about
the past. Not so much harm I have don but so much I wanted to do and could not do it as I
was no scholler at the time and not much at present so that is the way thinges standes.  So
now it will be about 38 years since I started this book and I find in it some thinges I forgot
and with all my Mistakes I made I still like to see them.

May 15 1921.  Barnesboro, Cambria Co, PA  (page no. 92)
This book tells of things that I have forgot and it is time to think of the past. Time makes a grate change in all thinges all over the world so that is life all the time and it will allway be so as long as we live in this world.
Bright days and dull days comes to us all.

Comment: What a fitting conclusion to this journal of Thomas Russell’s considering the
trials and tribulations of the coal miner as depicted in these pages.

Last page (not numbered)

large lever watch- number is 1998
Number of gold watch- 66486
Number of McClellan Watch 1638
Number of Harris Watch 18081
Mary Clement lever watch No. 60197
Number of case no 197
William Hartley Watch no 9014

at Castle Eden Colliery, Feburary

On inside of back cover (not numbered)

Morton William Hartley watch no 9014
 Heselton watch no 17801
 
 

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