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Excerpts from the Diary of Ellen Louisa Arms (Sheldon)

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Ellen Louisa Arms was twelve years old and living in Greenfield, Massachusetts, when she began this diary in 1859. The boy visiting her on the first day of her diary, John Sheldon (1848-1908), married Ellen in 1871. They had two sons and a daughter. Ellen's life was typical for a young girl of her time: she went to school, worked on her quilting, and visited and was visited by her parents' friends. In July, her parents traveled to Saratoga Springs in New York, a typical activity for a well-to-do couple. There, they would have enjoyed the height of antebellum luxury. Ellen ignored the problems of the day: as she was writing, in the winter of 1859 and spring of 1860, the country was beginning to fall apart. By December, 1860, South Carolina had seceded from the Union and the Civil War was about to begin.


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