This is a wonderful little diary from 1937, Watertown, Jefferson County, New York. The author was relatively easy to identify because he gave such detail on people’s birthdays and ages. This is the diary of 50 year old Henry Gilbert. I have done more research than I normally would on the family history simply because there was so much detail to trace, and it was fun! A really great history of the city of Watertown and local Watertown genealogy.
Henry Gilbert was married to Laura Merkley of Canada. They had three children: Henry Lloyd (who went by Lloyd), Cora Dorothy, and Eleanor M. – from eldest to youngest. Henry was the son of Cora Sessions and Charles T. Gilbert. He had one brother: Claude Sessions Gilbert, whose wife was Nellie. Laura’s parents were William F. Merkley and Eleanor Willard. Many of her siblings appear to have married and settled in Watertown, NY as she did. They are mentioned throughout the diary – particularly Laura’s twin bother Lorne Merkley and her sister Hattie Thompson.
I can also tell you that Henry Gilbert was VERY into religion – he attended church every week at Trinity Church and almost became a priest (according to his WWI draft registration card). He was VERY into local politics – he followed voter registration, what bills passed or didn’t, knew several councilmen, etc. Henry was VERY into stamp collecting! Each week he would read Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News, ordered new stamps the day they came out, spent time making books for and counting his vast collection of over 10,000 stamps!
Download a PDF of the diary: Gilbert Diary 1937