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In her first entry in her journal on Monday, January 1, 1877, Gertrude “Gertie” Peck writes:

New Years day finds me at Mr. Cross’s enjoying fun of the best kind with Sellie (sister Nellie), Yarvis, Hattie (Aunt), Dell & Horace, we all went to Kewannee — there most all day – home eat oysters, went to church and after went to Gates for a party. Received a nice picture for holding papers for New Years gift. think it was nice, had so nice a time, fun and jolly. home from Gates at half past one.

Gertie was born in New London, Ohio in 1857 to William Peck, a carpenter, and Caroline Hess. In 1877, at the age of 20, she is living in Clover Township, Illinois with her parents and siblings.

A sampling of other entries include:

March 2nd, 1877
Cold and pleasant, lots of snow. Went to the debate with Jay Mosher. Ellie, Susi, and Fremont also. Jay Barnes, ? Hayden here in evening. Viola (sister) went with them and went home with Katie. A pleasant time and lots of fun. Question for debate resolved that the sword is done more toward the advancement of civilization than the pen — decided in favor of the negative.

June 19th, 1877
Still raining hard — did not go to school through the rains. Josie went home about noon. Dell and his wife came. Steve and Polly came also. Dell stayed all night. Went out with my sunbonnet, swing some on it. Wrote to Horace in evening, sleepy and tired. Letter from Sellie, she is coming Friday if no preventing providence.

This journal was printed for the year 1868, but somehow Gertie acquired it for her 1877 entries. She fills the book to capacity with notes about her daily life including sewing and cleaning, writing and receiving letters, going to school, going to debates, and dates of visits from family and friends — it even includes her account entries for purchases.

Gertie would marry Warren William Forgy in 1879 and have four children; Roy, Ernie, Mina, and Newton. Also enclosed in the journal is a folded up check from the Farmers Bank of Woodhull, Illinois made out to her husband, W.W. Forgy, in the amount of three hundred dollars and dated March 14th, 1881.