Jacob Yoder's Diaries, entries of December 8-24, 1868.

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Jacob Yoder's Diaries, entries of December 8-24, 1868.


African Americans, education, race relations


Jacob Eschbach Yoder (1838-1905), a Pennsylvania native, came to Lynchburg in 1866 to help educate freedpeople. He left after a few months, but returned in 1868 and continued to teach and serve as an administrator for the African American schools in Lynchburg until his death. Despite his idealistic intentions, he confided to his diary his deep ambivalence about his job, the abilities of his colleagues, and the prospects for African American education. Yoder kept a diary between 1866 and 1870, some of which has been published as The Fire of Liberty in Their Hearts, ed., Samuel L. Horst (1996). These entries are from a volume that remains unpublished.


Jacob Yoder


Jacob E. Yoder. Diaries, 1861-1870. Accession 27680, 51148. Personal papers collection. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 23219.


December 8-24, 1868




Out of the Box blog entry on Jacob Yoder.






14_1165_024, 14_1165_025, 14_1165_027, 14_1165_028, 14_1165_029, 14_1165_030, 14_1165_031


Lynchburg, Virginia

Text Item Type Metadata


Tuesday Dec. 8th 1868
Rose early to meet Mr. Corson and wife. This has been an eventful day with me. Started each school session. The ladies as well as myself liked very much. They seemed to be very pleased with our work. Mr. Brooks spoke to good acceptance to the people on Education. Returned home late.

Wednesday Dec. 9th 1868
Rose early to see off the company. School worked well. Had a great misfortune by going [to the] theatre.
Had four letters.

Thursday Dec. 10th 1868
Wrote Maria. Observed more keenly the great inconquerable jolity of the Colored People. Attended an exhibition at our School house wholly given by the colored People. The character of the pieces was love and Patriotism. The whole affair was given for the benefit of the church. Had no school this afternoon. Spent time in making calls.

Friday Dec. 11th 1868
Weather cold. Did not come to school before ten. Had boots mended before school. At night read an old Atlantic Monthly. Got a pencil plate.
Our schools have done but little good to the colored People. So many of them look at the matter. Read the President’s late message to Congress. Was out shopping. Snow began to fall at dusk. Wrote Sec. Corson. Phila Penna.

Dec. 12th 1868 Saturday
Weather very cold. Cast up my accounts. Read the History of Sithconia. Went shopping. Fixed my clothes. Met a few disappointed Republicans. It appears the Virginia Eletion is post poned till next may. So long they must stay out of office. That’s what is the matter.
Was to post Office. Made a call at Gen Wilcox’s at night. Found very pleasant folks. I did not expect to find them half as sociable. They [served] us an oyster supper. Playing cards and chess was the work of a large part of the work. They are very agreeable folks. They showed us lots of drawings. Then they have such a splendid kittie. The sweetest children they do have.

Sunday Dec. 13th 1868
Could not sleep well on account of the cold. Rose at 8 ½. Took breakfast. Attended Sabbath School at the Baptist church. Taught a class. Attended preaching at Eleven O’clock at Dr Mitchell’s. His text was “Whatsoever ye would that men should unto you do ye even so to them.” The discourse was good. He made, however, many exceptions. First, Master and servant; 2nd, Ruler and subject; 3rd, Parent and child. They took a collection for the poor.
Read a short account of Frederick Douglass’ life and that of Gen O. O. Howard.
Afternoon attended service at Colored Methodist Church. The sermon was poor. Came home at sundown. The ladies can not understand each other. The smallest missaying jars.

Monday Dec. 14th 1868.
Wrote J. W. Shoemaker. The ladies are having a great spree about carpet.

Tuesday Dec. 15th 1868.

Was not in school today. Went to Campbell Court House in company with Mr. Work. This was a very great mistake. I did what is wrong all day. Rode home in a part of the way when it was night.
Attended a Baptist Church meeting at night. Reviewed that church for school. The church held an election. How they did carry on!
Miss Spencer and Miss Whitacer moved today. Is it possible that old maids should pester me yet in addition to my burdensome labors.

Wednesday Dec. 16th 1868
Weather very disagreeable. A rebel walked with me to school. Said he “we were the happiest people under the sun before the war” if I thought it was prudent to tell him my thoughts, I would have have told him that he might make fools believe such nonsense but not sensible men.
School gave poor satisfaction.
The women involved me again in trouble. Went three times down town this eve.”

Thursday Dec. 17th 1868
“I had expected to be excused today from school. But to my great displeasure was asked an excuse by another teacher so I had to do two hands’ work. This was too much. When the day was done I was perfectly discouraged. No wonder. My estimate is very low of the colored people today. Met Mr. Burton teacher at Fincastl Pattonsburg. Attended Educational society at night till Eleven O’clock. Then wrote a note to Squire Tallaiferro. Mr. Straddling came here.

Friday Dec 18th 1868.
“Suspended a boy from [school]. He apoplogized and was taken in again. Called at Mrs. Ellis with a view to see her school. School was not in. Labor in my school was more pleasant today. Walked home for dinner. Had sides spelling this evening. Read the independent. Had the first experience at playing cards. The play was muggings. Wrote Maria and John Bairman. Saw Straddling to the Depot. Met R. W. Perkins and Wm W. Foreman. Had expected letters from Corson and Maria Gerhart.
Saw again how contemptible flattery is.”

Saturday Dec 19th 1868.
Rose at 8 1/2. Wrote all day at a speech for Educational Society. Went [to the] post office. Played Cassino with Helen. This is the second game I have learned. It took me a couple of hours to learn it. Told a little positive lie this evening.
What family pride! Fannie Harvey says: “I can not see why Miss Fannie Adams should be incouraged in preference to me. My mother was every bit as respectable as her mother.” Who would as what your mother was in Penna? The question would as it should be. what are you.

Sunday Dec. 20th 1868.
Wrote four letters. Attended Colored Methodist Church. Read The Peoples Magazine.

Monday Dec. 21st 1868.
Taught for Miss Phelps At night. I wanted to study my speech when I was prevented by Col. W. Wood. He stayed till after twelve O’clock.

Tuesday Dec 22nd 1868
Had expected to be excused from school school to prepare for school Educational meeting. But instead of this I had to take Miss Phelps and Miss Harveys classes in addition to mine. At night Spoke to Educational meeting. Returned at Eleven and a half O’clock.

Wednesday Dec 23rd 1868
Taught till two O’clock. Went [to] Liberty. Schools were closed till after New Years day. Stayed the night with Forrest in His one house bed. Did not rest well.

Thursday Dec. 24th 1868.

Rose a little before seven. Came too late to train. Waited from seven in the morning till seven at night to go home. This was a long day. I was nearly frozen to death. I had the home sick. I was expecting very important letters from Phila. and home. Capt. Wilcox entertained me very kindly. Arrived home at 9 ½ O’clock P. M. Had three letters very welcome ones. Had informed of Christmas presents at Express Office from Phila. for school children.

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