Volume 1, 1827-1828

View the full diary.


Below are highlights of the fully digitized and transcribed first diary volume (August 1827–September 1828) of the diary of John Peyre Thomas (1796–1859).

John Peyre Thomas describes his current living and planting arrangement on land owned by J. Gailliard and 140 acres that came into his possession through marriage. Here, Thomas also describes the construction of houses for enslaved persons at his plantation.

August 10th The weather warm & cloudy, although the night had been cool. After 12 oclock there was a good shower of rain. It however was soon over & became measurably clear. Still warm. The cases of Fever in the Pine land have ceased. The raising of the negro Houses at Mount Desert (my plantation) were commenced yesterday. Henry commenced working there on the 11th of June. I am really unfortunate in respect to settling; I have already been at the trouble & expense of settling my present place of abode, which is on land belonging to J. Gaillard, & which he has loaned me for 10 years, & I am now engaged in settling a plantation on land which I got by my wife, but which consists of only 140 acres, & without there being the least probability of adding to it. The settlement of course must be considered as temporary. To have acted otherwise however was impossible; therefore regret is useless. The Thermometer was at 80° this morning. 11th Clear, & rather warm.

In addition to economic issues, the diary also provides glimpses into the private, everyday lives of John Peyre Thomas and his family. Here, we can see a description of the weather, which Thomas describes daily, as well as details about his wife’s birthday and his young daughter.

Page 9August 26th This has been, I think, one of the most boisterous days I ever witnessed. The wind & rain continued with little or no interruption throughout the day. After 12 Oclock the wind was almost tempestuous & the rain at times very hard. The T. at Sunrise was at 72° & at 4 Oclock this afternoon 69° I fear that the crops have been seriously injured. This is Harriet’s birthday; she is now seventeen years old. She was married on the 17th of May 1826; & confined with our beloved Anne, on the 15th July 1827. Anne will be six weeks old tomorrow, she grows remarkably fast, but not more so, than our love. It is singular, & yet natural, how much my feelings, have changed with regard to her, at first I viewed her only as a pet but now I have some foretaste, of all a Parents love; She goes by the name of Tom with me; The cold weather, at first, appeared to astonish her feelings somewhat; but she now gets along very well, with the additional coverings. She takes a great deal of notice & was even pleased with the sight & cry of a cat, held to her. But the Trees particularly delight her. Wrote a long letter to Anna today. Wind & rain continues. 10 Oclock

Description of the recent horse races and subsequent ball at Pine Ville.

Page 21… 17th Morning clear & cool. Mr. Kird & myself made an early start on horse back & arrived in time to witness the races. The match race for the Silver Cup, on Monday 15th was won by Dr. Couturier’s horse Buzzard. The Purse on Tuesday, was won by W. Sinkler’s, Filly, no contention. The Purse, on Wednesday, was won by Mr. Spann’s Filly, Mr. Palmers Filly & Dr. Couturier’s horse Buzzard contending; There were some well contested sweepstake, races. The races were this day concluded by a Ball at the Academy in the evening. It was remarked that out of Twenty Six Ladies who were present, twenty four were in black. It was kept up until after 2 Oclock P.M. with much satisfaction & pleasure. I did not dance myself, & wished myself at home.

18th Morning clear & cold, much more so than usual. I returned & dined at the Old Field, & in afternoon went on to Mrs. Marion’s in the Pine land where I met with my family, partook of Coffee & then to my great satisfaction returned to my home.

19th Clear & cool. T. in the Piazza at Sunrise, 47°.