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May Dewey’s Diary, Part IX, April & May 1889

Thousand Islands Life presents Part IX of Kristen Pinkney's research Thousand Islands Summers - Manhattan Winters: May Dewey's Diary, beginning July 1888 and culminating in August 1889. 

PLEASE NOTE:  Part X will appear in December 2009.

Part I December 2008       Part II January 2009    Part III February 2009  Part IV March 2009 

 Part V April 2009      Part VI May 2009      Part VII September 2009     Part VIII October 2009

Description of how the diary was discovered and researched Contributors in December 2008 article of Thousand Islands Life.

Kris' work goes beyond the text by providing hundreds of footnotes for readers to learn more about the life and times in the Thousand Islands.  There are more than forty footnotes distributed throughout the diary in Part II.  Simply move the cursor over the highlighted text and the footnote will appear.  Click "close" and the footnote will disappear.  Also note that clicking on an image will enlarge it.

No spelling, punctuation or editorial changes have been made to the diary.


Part IX:  The April 2 – May 10, 1889 part of the  Diary is written at the Buckingham Hotel, New York City.

Tuesday April 2  We did not have the club meeting as Ella is ill. Also Therese Dimick’s brother. This evening Barclay McCarty called when I went down no one was in the parlor so I went on the office floor then came up and he came from behind the curtain. I was so surprised it was his first call. He is a charming fellow very different from what one would think at first.


Wednesday 3  Will Gilson called this evening but I said I had to be excused. He is so stupid I was glad of any excuse.

Friday 5  Gave up a German at the Murray Hill1 on account of Ella having the scarlet feaver. Dr. Fowler said today that I could have gone just as well as not.

Saturday 6  Did not go to Edith Vail’s this evening on Ella’s account. She gave a card party. Pansy and I got a box after lots of trouble for “Mephislophieles” given by Co. “I” of the Seventh Regiment at the Metropolitan2 May 7. We were very fortunate to get it.

Sunday 7  This afternoon took a walk with Pansy got home and found J. Baldwin. He wanted us to take a walk but I didn’t care to. Ella is up today.

Tuesday 9  Have been working hard all day for the Bazaar3. It was held down stairs. I had a very good time. It was from 3 until 10. Who should walk in but Arthur Page. He had sent his cards up to us and was told I was in there so he came. I asked him to go with our party to Mephislophieles he was going with Arthur Taylor so didn’t think he could get off. He was very pleasant. I do hope he can come but I doubt it. Charlie Hastings and Alfred Howard staid and helped us pick up the things. Will Grey was here also I saw quite a little of him. It was funny how Arthur Page happened to come for Flora didn’t send him a card and I wouldn’t. So I was so surprised to see him walk in. We took in at the candy table over sixty dollars which was dooing very well.

Thursday 11  Saw Pansy this morning. Went to Dr. Cady’s4  to have my teeth fixed. Went down town again this afternoon with Pansy and got my spring coat. Walked up together from 25th St. This evening Louis Brown called. Had a charming call. He has been engaged and it is broken off so he has very set ideas about an engagement and expressed this evening. He said he had a confession to make and said he went to see Miss Brush but intended ending the evening with us but I rather like his speaking of it for it is different from most fellows.

Saturday 13 This afternoon Pansy and I didn’t have anything to do so went down and got tickets for the Lyceum Theatre for this afternoon. The play is “The Marquise” and it is very good. We then walked up and went to church, quite a combination.

Sunday 14  This afternoon Jared Baldwin came to have me go for a walk. I went and enjoyed it. He asked me to go to church this evening but I said I couldn’t as I didn’t like to leave Ella alone.

Monday 15  Flora came in this morning had a very pleasant chat. This evening we all sat around the fire. Ella with her banjo and we were both singing. Mr. Fogg came up.

Tuesday 16  Saw Pansy this morning. Flora came in this afternoon. This evening Alfred Howard called. Had a delightful call. He is so pleasant.

Wednesday 17  Arthur Page can’t go to the Metropolitan with us as he has to join Arthur Taylor’s party and even then he may not be sure so I have written Joe Taylor. I hope he can go for then our party is made up. For Walter Edsall is going with Ella and Harry Nichols with Pansy.

Thursday 18  Harry Nichols called this evening. Very pleasant call.

Friday 19  Saw Pansy and Flora this afternoon and when I was gone Harry Nichols came and brought us some books on photography. Ella saw him. It was very kind of him to give them.

Sunday 21 Today is Easter Sunday and a beautiful day after going to the Mission and Church. Ella, Pansy, and I walked down. Arthur Page joined me but I did not have as nice a time as usual with him. We did not get along very well together. He was lovely it must have been me for I felt awfully cross. Still I enjoyed it very much.

Monday 22 Papa and Mamma have left for the island. They went this eve. We had an entertainment at the mission quite pleasant. Flora was there with Octave Herbert.

Tuesday 23 Flora spent the night with us. Mr. Fogg5 came up. He is such a funny old man.

[Note Photograph on left is courtesy of Kristen Pinkney ©]

Wednesday 24 Ella and I took our first riding lesson this am at Durlands6. I did enjoy it so much. We then went up to Kings Bridge to get Helen Reed to spend the night with us but she wasn’t at home. She is coming tommorrow night. Flora dropped in this afternoon so we made her stay all night with us. Mr. Fogg came up and brought us some pineapple which was really delicious. He made it as an excuse to spend the evening with us. We all got into gails of laughter over him and his ideas of fellows of the present day.

Thursday 25  Helen Reed came and spent the evening with us. Saw Pansy for a few moments. We all walked up from 8th St. and were dead tired.

Friday 26 Took our riding lesson this am. Helen thinks we do splendidly and I hope I do. Flora, Pansy, and Miss Jeremiah were there. Pansy spent the night with us and Mr. Holbrook spent the evening. We have had nothing but widowers and bachelors for an age.

Saturday 27  Flora spent the night with us. Ed Gould came in and spent the evening.

Monday 29  Mr. Fogg asked Flora, Ella and I to watch the “Naval Parade”7 from the Field Building with him but Flora had an invitation from Miss Van Tassel so we did not go down. I was glad for I did not want to go. Pansy spent the night with us and again Mr. Holbrook spent the evening. We thought he would never go he was going to the “Ball” so we told him he would miss the opening quadrill as it commenced at 9:30. It was then 10 so he started for he wanted to see it as it was the feature of the evening.

Tuesday 30  Pansy has asked us over to the Windsor to watch the “Militia” Parade so we started out at ten o’clock. I never saw such a crowd in my life. People were jammed together like so many animals. We had splendid seats. The first row on the front balcony. We sat there from 11 until 6:15. Flora was in Miss Van Tassel’s room. Arthur Page was also there. They stuck out their heads and waved to us. It was a lovely sight especially the Seventh Reg. They march so well. The First Cavalry had their “Maiden March” and did splendidly. I only recognized Ed Gould and Will Browning who looked up and smiled. After staying to dinner at the Windsor and sitting in the Octagon Room listening to the music we took a couple up to Flora’s to see the fire works. When we arrived they were all over. Miss Van Tassel, Arthur Page, Mr. Parish, Mr. Cobb, Clarence Hebert and Clinton Marsh came in a little later. I did not expect that I would see anything of Arthur Page if Miss Van Tassel was there but I saw a good deal of him. Talked to him and Mr. Parish all the eve. They were both very pleasant. I feel sorry for Miss Van Tassel if she loves A. Page for she is much older about 30 and he is about 24. Flora thinks he will marry for money but I don’t. Miss Van T. is very rich and O so homely. I pity her. He makes quite a good deal of fun of her and I think that is horridly mean. I did not see any thing of Mr. Cobb. Mr. Page has told us so much about him and said he wanted me to meet him very much. It did no good however. They are very much alike. I love to watch Mr. Page, he is so funny, conceated, but who isn’t? He acts as if he could make Miss Van T. do everything he asked her to and she tells him about everything so Flora told me poor girl.

Thursday May 2 Mamma and Papa have returned from the Island. They had a lovely time. Saw Pansy and Flora today and Walter Edsall called.

Sunday 5  This afternoon Connie Johnson and her mother called. Connie did look so sweet. I never saw her look better. Soon after they came Jared Baldwin called and wanted us to go to church this evening. I said that I had an engagement for Ed and Will were coming around. I had refused his invitation so many times and thought that he would think I didn’t want to go so I told him what the engagement was so we couldn’t go. Ed and Will also Mr. & Mrs. Delanoy came around this evening. It was my fate as it always is to have Will. He was horribly disagreeable. I fairly detest him tonight. I don’t see why he can’t always be pleasant for he can be if he wants to.

Monday 6  We took our riding lesson this am. Had a delightful ride. “Joey” was there. He looks horrid in his riding suit.

Tuesday 7  Pansy came in from Larchmont today. Little Denton is very ill so she can’t go tonight. She is very disappointed so am I. She staid to luncheon. Then Ella and I had to hurry around to get someone to go with us this evening. We went down for Therese Dimick but she was at Lakewood8. Then for Emily Jeremiah but her mother didn’t want her to go for we had a box and Emily is in mourning so we went over for Flora and she could go. We started for the hotel about 7:45. Walter Edsall and Joe Taylor came. Harry Nichols met us at the Metropolitan. I took Harry Nichols as I knew he did not like Flora. The play was splendid. It was “Mephistophilies” given by “Company I” of the Seventh Regiment for refurbishing their rooms at the armory. The scenery Hades was splendid. I know lots of the devils. They danced beautifully. The Hodgmans and Stouts had the two boxes next to us. The Three Fisherman were splendid. I knew two, Clarence Hebert and Clinton Martin. Will and Ed Delanoy came up in our box, also Charlie Hastings, Alfred Howard, Mr. Bloomfield, Arthur Taylor, Will McCormack and some others which I can’t remember. I saw Arthur Page in a box directly opposite us with a party of people and only a young lady. Flora pointed him out to me about the 3rd act. I pretended not to have seen him but I did. I did not let him see that I saw him thought I don’t think it would have hurt him to have come up in our box but he didn’t. It would have been more polight if he had and I always thought him so polight. After the performance was over I saw him looking up at our box. He stood in the front of their box while I was at the back of ours. I don’t think he thought we saw him. Probably that will be the last glimpse I will have of him. He said at Flora’s the other night that he was deeply indebted to me. I laughed at the idea. He evidently did not feel his indebtedness or he would have acted differently. We had supper at the Buckingham and altogether it was a very pleasant night. I had a perfectly lovely time. Our box was full of men all the time between the acts. Papa chaperoned us.

Wednesday 8  This am I went all alone to the riding class. Had a lovely ride. Flora met me there and afterwards we went down town. Therese Dimick came this afternoon and told us that little Denton Morford9 was dead. Poor Mrs. Morford it will nearly break her heart. He must have died last night or afternoon.

Thursday 9 This evening Mr. Baldwin called to say good bye. Had a very pleasant call. In the other room Mr. Pooler was calling on another young lady. Poor girl, he is so stupid.


Friday 10 This am went to Brooklyn and this afternoon we went in Ella and I and had our pictures taken. I went in with my sister and had on not a very beautiful costume but I hope the pictures will be good. We had a frightful mud stain about 53rd. This aft noon Flora came in to bid us good bye. Mr. Fogg also came in this evening. We leave here about 11 o’clock for the train.

Part IX:  May 11 – May 31, 1889 entries are written on Friendly Island, Alexandria Bay, NY.

Saturday 11 Here we are home again. How glad I am to leave the hot city. It is so beautiful here now nice and pleasant just like summer. Aunt Martha met us and is staying here as long as Papa does.


Wednesday 15  This morning Papa and Aunt Martha left. Papa does love it here so I am so sorry he has to leave. He makes the round trip this time.

Thursday 16  Mr. and Mrs. Heath came today. They are going to build10 so want to be here when things are commencing. Mrs. Marsh comes tommorrow.

Monday 27  Aunt Cary11 and Mrs. Pitcher12 came today. We have had a terrible wind storm.

Friday 31 Papa came today to spend Sunday. Such a short stay. Aunt Cary and Mrs. Pitcher left this afternoon.

Researched and compiled by Kristen Pinkney

© Copyright Kristen Pinkney 2008, All Rights Reserved

Note:  Kristen Pinkney compiled her research over several years.  During this time she met descendents of Pansy Brush, May Dewey’s friend, .  They provided Kris with a family photograph album.  Many of these photographs are presented in the Diary articles.



Murray Hill Hotel, located at Park Avenue, 40th & 41st Streets. King p. 210



Metropolitan Opera House, located at Broadway, Seventh Avenue, 39th & 40th Streets. King p. 545



Bazaar benefited the Mission Society that Frances Dewey had started.



Herbert W.F. Cady, dentist, at 121 East 38th Street, NYC Directory 1890,



Mr. Fogg, another resident of the Buckingham Hotel.



The New York Riding Club was located at Durland’s Academy at Central Park West. King p. 529



This public display of the US military by the Naval Parade and the Militia Parade was to commemorate the Inauguration of President George Washington on April 30, 1789. New York Times archive



Lakewood, New Jersey



Denton Morford died at Larchmont Manor, NY May 7, 1889 at the age of 11, son of Alice B. Morford (Pansy Brush’s sister) and Denton Morford. NY Times archive.



Watertown Herald, November 30, 1889, “H.R. Heath of New York City was in town to inspect his new cottage on Nobby Island.”



Caroline Pitcher, possibly a cousin of Frances Dewey.



A relative of Frances Dewey, who May obviously doesn’t want to admit to being related to, attributed to that “New Money” attitude, which was prevalent. These Pitcher relatives did not have an extended visit.

Posted in: History, People
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Sally L`Huillier
Comment by: Sally L`Huillier ( )
Left at: 7:54 AM Sunday, November 15, 2009
I think these diary writings are very interesting. They show life as it was, back then, and its fun to compare that life with today. Its also nice to see what life was like in NYC back in those days, and also very interesting to see how life was in the 1000 Islands at that time. My Grand parents were living in Alex. Bay, back then - so I enjoy seeing how things were back in those days. I always enjoy reading people`s diaries, from ages ago - I think they give you a great insight into life at that time.
Ian Coristine
Comment by: Ian Coristine ( )
Left at: 9:29 PM Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've been re-reading Paul's (Malo) books and getting the 20,000 foot view of the gilded age, but your diary is a treasure that gives the up-close and personal version which adds a lot. I realize a huge effort went into researching all this and want you to know how much I appreciate it.