Automobile Travel Diary
The Automobile Travel Diary documents three trips by car in 1917 and earlier. The white travelers are based in Manatee, Florida, and recount travel by earlier automobile including staying at auto camps, hotels, and farmhouses. The first undated trip begins in Manatee, Florida, and concludes in Sacramento, California. The second undated trip begins in Handley, Texas, and returns to Manatee, Florida. The final trip recounted in the diary is dated 1917 and begins in Manatee visiting sites in and round Georgia including Andersonville Prison. Some expenses and notes are also kept at the back of the diary.
The diarist is presumed to be a white woman. From third trip: “The men went in while we fixed dinner and us girls afterwards in our teddies and then put on fresh ones and washed those out.” Throughout her travel entries she uses racist terms as well as the archaic “negro” to describe African Americans they encounter on their travels.
A partial transcript was provided by the seller:
"August 15th. Left Manatee. Hitched at Mango. Got off the road between Libby and Brooksville and were delayed about an hour. Spent Wed. night in Brooksville, about 110 miles out. Roads pretty good….." (On to Gainsville)
"Left camp 6 A.M. Sat. 1552. Roads bad from Gainsville to Live Oak. Had to push a good deal. Arrived at Ellaville about 5:30 Sat. P.M. and camped on the Swanee River. Were almost devoured by mosquitoes. 1624. Left at 8:30. Arrived at Greensville about noon and had dinner. Roads fair. Lost the road in the afternoon and went out of our way about 10 or 20 miles and about dark it rained like the mischief and we had no carbide as John went ahead as path finer and Ed steered after and the roads was up and down hill and the wheels skidded but we finally arrived in Tallahassee about 10. Put the car in the garage and got rooms and had good beds and slept well. 1716." (Quincy, Bainbridge, Donaldson, Troy. They stay in a hotel called the Hodge's House and says the "bugs" are plentiful. I believe they mean the bed bugs.)
"Mud, mud, mud. Traveled all day and only made about 25 miles. Were coming down a hill just out of Benton and went partly off the bank. I got about a dozen Negroes and got it out and started and soon had to cross a creek when the magmeter got wet and had to be worked on. Finally got to Mr. Harrison's and stopped for the night. Rested fine and left." (Orville, Demopolis)
"Stopped at a Mr. Simm's and waited until Monday P.M. for the roads to dry. Left Mr. Simm's 1:10 P.M. 2043. Drove to Demopolis arriving about 6:15 and spent the night at a Mrs. Beasley's. She talked a blue streak. Bedbugs by the bushel." (Livingston, Morton, Jackson)
"Left 7:30, 2295, Drove around in the National Cemetery at Vicksburg. Had to wait till 2:10 for the ferry as the garage man told us there was none till 1 and it went at 12:10 so we were left. Got across and ready to start from Delta at 3:30. Spent Fri. night. Left at 8:45, 2367. Drove to Monroe. Roads pretty good and beautiful scenery from Columbia to Monroe. Went 96 miles to get about 35 miles west. Left Monroe Sunday A.M. 9:45, 2457. Had about 5 miles of good roads then sand and rough hills. Stopped for 2 showers and arrived in Ruston about 6 P.M. Spent the night and left Monday 7;30, 2495. Between Monroe and Ruston we heard of the Green Chiffoner. Someone suggested taking up a collection. Stayed at a farmhouse Monday night, just west of Minden. Left 6:50 Tuesday, 2550. Arrived in Shrewsport LA about 10;30. Stopped to have a spring repaired and the speedometer fixed. Stayed in the office till 4:15. Drove to Marshall Texas where we spent the night at the Lake Hotel. Don't stop there again." (I have no idea what the Green Chiffoner is but I'm very curious about it. On to Winona, Big Sandy,)
"Wednesday P.M. We had bad sand for some miles before getting to Big Sandy and there were told to go past Winona if we wanted to get out of the sand. They said the roads was hilly and a little rough. We went. Of all the washed out roads we have seen they were the worst. Finally we came to a house just at dusk and the mistress must have had neuralgia bad so we went on and got in a mud hold then to a bad washout place and there we camped. Next A.M. a [African American man] came along on his mule and was about to come over us when we all popped up our heads and he decided to go the other way. Roads a little better after leaving Winona. Drove to about 4 miles of Grand Saline and spent the night at a farm house."
This last section of the trip is 9 pages long. They talk about arriving in Dallas and Ft. Worth next. Also Trinidad and Colorado Springs where they finally catch a train (not sure what they did with the car) and on to Utah, crossing the Great Divide. They said they rode for hours on tresels crossing the Great Salt Lake When they came to the mountains three trains hitched on and they went through the Grand Canyon and the trip finally ends on July 17th when they arrive home.
Although I don't have time to quote more from these next two trips, here are a few interesting passages…..
"Here we had a good nights rest and breakfast at a restaurant with a dirty cook."
"Arrived at Tuscaloosa about 5:30, got a room in parlor. Had a folding bed with plenty of bugs. Had to leave it they were so thick. Very poor supper and breakfast served all together."
"Stopped for dinner and to dry our bedding. Had dinner and found a river where we all took a bath. The men went in while we fixed dinner and us girls afterwards in our teddies and then put on fresh ones and washed those out. Finally got started at 3:30 and drove to Ft. Valley where we stopped and saw them carrying peaches and then got some. Drove out about 1 ½ miles and camped. Got a bushel of peaches for 50 cents and feasted.”
- circa 1910-1917
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Purchased from ebay seller diaries in 2017.
- Automobile travel -- United States -- 20th century Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
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- travel Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Automobile Travel Diary
- Amy Schindler; Angela Kroeger
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