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   Aaron Frame's Diary
   Mary Smith Davis

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 The Journals/Diaries of Aaron Frame - Covering 1850-1896



Aaron Frame wrote fifteen journals (diaries) covering events of his lifetime. Two of the journals (diaries) are lost. Following is the contents of the second journal, which has been transcribed by Martha Giffen. Other diaries will be added as they are transcribed.

For the genealogy of Aaron Frame, please see: Descendants of Thomas Frame.

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Background and Technical Notes on the Journals

by Martha Giffen

The unpublished Diary of Aaron Frame was mailed from California to Olney Friends School in the 1970s to be kept under the care of Ohio Yearly Meeting Society of Friends. For many years it has been stored in the Olney vault. The late, William P. Taber, author of Be Gentle Be Plain: A History of Olney, used Aaron Frame’s diaries as a resource in Chapter 3 of his book. Richard Stouffer, husband of Shirley (Morlan) Stouffer, a great, great, great-grand daughter of Aaron Frame, has used the diaries for presentations to historical and genealogical groups.

This rich, primary source history of Aaron Frame’s life, as he wrote it, may serve as a resource to many others interested in this period of time, 1815-1896 His diaries are very fragile, and so, to make them available to a =wider audience, we have felt it appropriate to type them from the handwritten text and place them on the internet.

Aaron Frame kept a pocket diary, writing in "phonographic notes." At some point in his life he began to transcribe his “short hand” into a very legible cursive or long hand writing filling 15 volumes, about six by seven and one half (6 x 7 ½) inches, consisting of 160 to 240 pages each We cannot say what is in the missing Volume 1, however we can surmise =that it covers stories of where he was born and a summary of his life to his early 30s. Nor can we speculate what is contained in the missing volume 14. However, we have hope that Volume 14 and Volume 1 someday will turn up to complete the set of Aaron Frame’s Diary.

Aaron Frame kept with the usage of ordinal numeral names for the months of the year, First Month - January, Second Month - February, and so on through Twelfth Month - December.

Twenty-one pages handwritten on both sides by Aaron’s daughter T. F. [Tacy ?] are loose with the other volumes explaining, “At the time of his death my dear father had shortly before finished the fifteenth volume of his diary, which it had been his practice for many years to keep in the form of phonographic notes” She presents the pages of his w riting from Third to Fifth =Month 1896 as a supplement to volume 15. Two loose pages with examples of the phonographic notes are also present with the volumes.

There exists an additional volume with the title page Memoirs, Essays, and Epistolary Correspondence of Increase Woodward late of Crosswicks, New Jersey. Taken from Friends Miscellany, No. 1, Vol. 12 - First month, 1839. Copied for Florence Mason Frame by her daughter L.L.F. Begun Third month, 1899; finished Third month 26th, 1900.

Aaron Frame was a carpenter by trade and he built a wooden, footstool-like box in which to keep his completed journals. It measures 11 inches by 9 inches by 7 ¾ inches with ½ inch lip on the long sides for easy carrying. The ¼ inch thick wooden top is secured by four screws, totally encasing the journals.

Aaron Frame did not use periods! He separated thoughts with squiggly lines (~~). In transcribing his writing I have placed a period where his next thought begins with a capital letter. Where his next thought begins with a small case letter I have placed a hyphen (-). There are times where some phonographic symbols are used or I cannot decipher his handwriting so I have placed a question mark (?). As much as possible I have kept his spelling.

To all who read this initial attempt to make Aaron Frame’s diaries accessible, we invite your annotations, corrections, and/or comments. Please direct your communications to Martha Giffen at

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Table of Contents

VOLUME ONE [not available/missing]

VOLUME SECOND [Fourth month 12th 1850-1854]

Contents -- pages (in the hand-written journal)
1850 Fourth month 12th -
Letter to wife and conversations with a stranger on divine revelation -- 1-14
Account of travels homeward and arrival -- 14-18
Zachary Taylor’s death--President of the U. S. – 18
Allusion to Yearly Meeting --our school and temper – 20
Discouragement expressed in close of the year 1850 -- 21-22
Discouragement on account of dullness in meetings -- 23-24
Endeavoring to turn inward on retiring - & remarkable dream -- 25-27
Hopes, fears, and earnest desires -- 27-30
Drove over 4000 lap shingles in a day -- 31
The fate of a disobedient boy -- 31-32
Wife’s sickness and exercise & death of a child -- 33-46
Robert P. Ladd’s death & remarks connected -- 47-50
Sickness of twins-Melissa’s death and exercises connected -- 51-61
Brother William’s poor health--Trouble with apprentices-- mourning for last annex? -- 61-68
Account of visit to Salem & thereabouts -- 68-70
Various exercises, and close of the year 1851 -- 70-76
Various exercises and trouble in school -- 77-80
Samuel Barber’s death -- 81
Disciplines of origin and progress, and fallacy of spiritual rappings -- 81-84
Openings in a silent meeting -- 85-86
Thoughts of selling & removing, and grounds of it -- 89-92
Started for Iowa to look for a home -- 92-93
Letters written home and descriptions of travels, and actions -- 94-122
Brother James started with his family to Iowa – 122
Son William’s birth – 124
An exercising meeting -- 124-125
Commencement of the Free soil, or Republican Party, and some remarks on the “Underground Rail Road” to Canada -- 126-129
E. B. Crew killed by Watson, and circumstances -- 1 129-132
Parties, and the evil of them -- 132-134
Joseph Brantingham’s death on his way to Minesota – 135
Did not vote for Scott & the reasons for it – 136
Remarks on the close of the year 1852 -- 138-140
Give out going to Iowa-give way to a speculative Spirit-trouble -- 140-152
Appointment as overseer & remarks thereon -- 153-154
Blank poetry on the close of the year 1853 – 155
Commencement of Crimean war – 157
Remarkable dream -- 159-162
Tempted to stay from meeting again -- 162-163
Remarks on declining to go west in ’51 -- 164-165
Oliver’s birth – 166
Went to Wheeling on my way to Iowa – 167
Account of a trip to Iowa -- 167-174
Account of Yearly Meeting, and separation -- 175 to the end of second journal

VOLUME THIRD [1854 continued to 1859 Twelfth Month]

VOLUME FOURTH [1860 - 1861 Third Month] VOLUME FIFTH [1861 Third Month to 1863 Fifth Month]

VOLUME SIXTH [1863 Fifth Month to 1867 Seventh Month]

VOLUME SEVENTH [1867 Eighth Month to 1870 Eighth Month]

VOLUME EIGHTH [1870 Eighth Month to 1873 Seventh Month]

VOLUME NINETH [1873 Seventh Month to 1878 Second Month]

VOLUME TENTH [1878 Second Month to 1881 Seventh Month]

VOLUME ELEVENTH [1881 Seventh Month to 1883 Sixth Month]

VOLUME TWELFTH [1883 Sixth Month to 1887 Second Month]

VOLUME THIRTEENTH [1887 Second Month to 1889 Twelfth Month]

VOLUME FOURTEENTH [1890 to 1893 -- missing]

VOLUME FIFTEENTH [1893 First Month to 1896 Third Month]

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