Among the Fleming family papers is a diary that Roy F. Fleming, son of Charles and Lyda Warren, kept in 1891 when he was a boy of twelve living on a farm near Kilsyth in Derby Township. It was a sad and tumultuous year for him and the Fleming family. The greatest tragedy was that his mother died in March while receiving treatment at the Kellogg Sanatorium in Battle Creek, Michigan. Roy with his two older brothers, Howard and Stuart, and two younger sisters, Ruth and Annie, carried on working with their father on the farm and in his general store, going to school and to church. Charles’ sister “Aunt Jennie” stepped in to help raise the young children.
Roy recorded his diary in a journal printed by C.A. Fleming, Roy’s cousin, for the Northern Business College, Owen Sound. The entries are short but revealing of his life and interests: the deep Fleming family connections that supported them during their loss, the events and practices at primary and secondary schools, his graduation to high school, day-to-day chores on the farm, the importance of the Church of the Disciples of Christ in their lives, and their attention to politics and especially the federal election of that year. Hard work filled their days, but there were also many social and pleasurable times.
The complete transcription of the diary with accompanying explanatory notes and abbreviated family tree is available here.
The diary miraculously survived decades in a barn at the family farm and was donated to the Grey Roots Museum and Archives in 2016.