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May Dewey’s Diary, Part X, June 1889

Thousand Islands Life presents Part X 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 XI will appear in January 2010.

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

Part V April 2009Part VI May 2009Part VII September 2009,  Part VIII October 2009,    Part IX November 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 100  footnotes distributed throughout the diary, and 10 in Part X.  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.


June 1889  - Friendly Island, Alexandria Bay NY

Saturday 1 This evening we all rowed up to Mrs. Spencer’s and brought her and Walter Edsall back to spend Sunday when Mamma turned to him and said Mrs. Spencer was going he jumped up to get ready. She said why Walter we are not going, but they came. Spent such a delightful evening. Mr. Edsall talked splendidly. He is a great talker.

Sunday 2 They left this afternoon about 3:00. Walter Edsall and I went to church. Had a good sermon. He is such a pleasant companion.

Monday 3 Papa left this pm. Took the “Minnie” to Clayton. Mrs. Oliphant went with us. Mrs. Spencer and Walter Edsall spent the night here. Their house is so damp. He was so pleasant to me tho’ in he has loveliest eyes. He is a very handsome fellow. I like him so much. He is not the least bit affected.

Monday 10 This afternoon Walter Edsall called. We had such a pleasant call. He spent the afternoon with us.

Wednesday 12 Mrs. Spencer and Walter Edsall called this evening but we were all out rowing. I was sorry to miss them.

Friday 14 Papa came this afternoon. Mrs. Whedon1 came with him. I do so dislike that whole family. So I was glad to see Papa. He does love to come here so he hates to go away. I saw Walter Edsall out sailing. He passed the Island and waved.

This afternoon it has rained so hard but cleared up this evening so we got the “Sirus”2 and took a sail. Mrs. Spencer and Walter Edsall went with us. It made it much pleasanter for us to have them.

Monday 17 We took a yacht this am and called at Mrs. Anthony’s, saw Dick. This afternoon we went to Clayton and Mrs. Spencer and Walter Edsall went with us. I had a delightful time. Walter was so pleasant. We had great fun sketching each other. While we were at Clayton, Dick Anthony came up. He had to leave for the city for Mrs. Anthony received a Telegram while we were there that her brother was dead. He had to go on.


Tuesday 18 Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Browning came this morning. They have rented “Comfort”3 Mr. Clark’s Island for the summer. We rowed over this eve. Harry4 was there, also a friend of his, Harry Gildersleeve5, a very cute fellow. He seems rather young. Mrs. Spencer called this eve.


Wednesday 19 Part of our wall6 sank last night about 7 ft., not much harm done. This afternoon Walter Edsall spent with us. He is so pleasant and handsome.

Thursday 20 This morning Mrs. Oliphant called and took us for a sail on her yacht the “Ella”7.  We had a delightful sail. This evening Mr. Browning, Harry and Harry Gildersleeve called. Not a very pleasant call.

Friday 21 This am Miss May and her cousin, Miss Moody called.

Saturday 22 This morning I got up at 5:30 and went out fishing with Mrs. Whedon. We did not catch anything which was hard luck. This afternoon all the Brownings called to take us out for a sail. We had a delightful time. Harry Browning I like so much. He is a very handsome fellow, such beautiful eyes. We got home just in time to get ready to dine at Mrs. Spencer’s. We got there although rather late. Spent a delightful eve. I asked Walter Edsall to show me his sketches. (He is a sophomore in the school of Art at Columbia Collidge8 and has to prepare a 100 sketches this summer) He draws beautifully. I wish I could do as well.

We all went to church this am. Saw Walter Edsall for a short chat after services. He goes to our church now.


Friday 28 This morning I was looking my worst with Ella when Mrs. Spencer and a friend and Walter E. came up the walk. We couldn’t run so had to stop and speak. They only stayed a short time. This afternoon Papa and Mr. Judd9 came. I am so glad that they are here. I wish Papa could stay all the time. Mamma is feeling better. Her breast does not grow any as I can see. I do wish I could have more faith to believe that she will be healed for her sake. She must not die. I couldn’t spare her. She must live for our sakes. I can’t think of the hours if she should go.

Saturday 29 Last night we had a delightful serenade. I wonder who it was. He passed the Island five times singing such sweet songs it was simply lovely. I do wish I knew who it was. Mr. Woodruff came this morning. Will Browning10 also came. Mr. Browning took us all out sailing this aft. We went up to the “Gut” for Harry Browning and Mr. Gildersleeve. We had a delightful time. Will had his banjo and we sang all the way home.

Researched and compiled by Kristen Pinkney

© Copyright Kristen Pinkney 2008, All Rights Reserved


Mary D. Whedon, wife of Charles A. Whedon. Julia Whedon, their daughter, was in the Mission Society with May & Ella Dewey. The Whedons resided at 324 West 57th Street.



Sirius, another steam yacht for hire. Haddock, page 83.



Alson E. Clark family went abroad for the summer, so Comfort Island was rented by W.C. Browning.



Henry King Browning, born November 19, 1869, named after his father’s business partner. He married Mary Sophia Simmons, daughter of Dr. Charles E. Simmons & Ruby Steward Gould, Dec. 4, 1890. Genealogy of the Brownings in America From 1621 to 1908. Edward Franklin Browning 1908. p. 143.



Harry Gildersleeve was a halfback at Columbia University, New York Times October 6, 1889.



The wall that goes around Friendly Island.



The “Ella” was later purchased by the Jacksons of Keewaydin. A Floating World Paul Malo 2004. p. 59.



Research indicated that Walter Edsall never graduated from Columbia, so he must have dropped out. New York Times archives.



Edward J. Judd, son of late Norman Buel Judd and Adeline Rossiter Judd.



William Hull Browning, son of W.C. Browning & Adelaide Scott. Will married Therese Dimick, a friend of May & Ella Dewey’s on January 5, 1891.

Sunday 23

Posted in: History, People
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Brian Johnson
Comment by: Brian Johnson ( )
Left at: 11:58 AM Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Hi Kristen
Thank you for bringing to life the past history of the Islands!!
for years I 'scooted through them' piloting the various tour boats without taking the time to 'read betwen the lines' so to speak!
Thank You!
And Merry Christmas to You and Yours
Brian Johnson