Story: Farm families

Kate Squires' diary

Kate Squires was a farmer’s wife living on the land at Woodend in Southland. She wrote a daily diary which shows how important her immediate family was to her. On 7 August 1871 she notes the arrival of Horace, her husband John’s younger brother and husband of her sister Mary. The next day she tells how her sister Emily who was staying with her was ‘taken ill’. She went into labour and on the ninth gave birth to her second daughter.

The text runs:

7 M(onday). Fi(ne). Up at six. Tim went to mill for flour, pig and hen food. We cut grass, looked at cows and helped Tim with wire at little gate. Tim cut grass and began to move wire fence in front. Jeannie washing. Horace came.

8 T(uesday). Fi(ne). Up at six. Looked at cows. Made cakes and pasties. Swept and cleaned Em’s room. Jeannie ironed. Tim took up fence at ditch. Em helping me and knitting. Horace went to town. Em taken ill at eleven. Tim went for Dr Hodgkinson. Up all night.

9 W(ednesday). Fi(ne). Down at ½ past six. Milked. Up with Em all day, straightening, mending etc. Tim at big posts ditching. Jeannie baking (yeast making) and housework cleaning. Em had her 2nd daughter at ten minutes to eleven pm.

Using this item

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum
Reference: M69

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How to cite this page:

Emma Dewson and Jock Phillips, 'Farm families - The colonial family – new conditions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/zoomify/19821/kate-squires-diary (accessed 23 September 2019)

Story by Emma Dewson and Jock Phillips, published 24 Nov 2008