The diary begins on January 1, 1861, while Eugene Goodwin was a schoolteacher at Pond Run School in Ohio. Pond Run was a settlement on the Ohio River southwest of Portsmouth, Ohio. A brother, Thomas Goodwin, lived across the river in Kentucky. This may have been the reason he took a contract to teach in this region. The war had not started at this time although South Carolina had seceded and there were ominous signs of potential conflict.

January, 1861

1 Very cold last night but the sun shines out very warm and brightly today. Considerable ice running in the river. A very small school today. Some are sick and some are taking a New York holiday. I have never before been so unsettled about the future as I am at the commencement of this New Year.

2 Not quite so cold last night as the night before. Very nice and pleasant in the forenoon. Cloudy in the afternoon. Toward night it rained also in the evening with some hail. Whether to remain here or to return to New Jersey I cannot as yet tell. I hope that the Lord will direct my footsteps.

3 Quite moderate last night. This morning cloudy till about ten o'clock: then the sun shone out warm and bright. I am determined by God's help to be more humble, less proud, and more prudent. My prayer is that I may become much better. Lord help me! Saw a great lot of pigeons yesterday. I should think that there were 2 or 3000. Wrote a letter to Rev. H. A. Buttz.

4 Cloudy in the morning but from ten till two o'clock quite pleasant and warm. Cloudy the rest of the day. The President appointed this day one of public fasting, humiliation and prayer for the country. I abstained from my dinner although I had school.

5 Attended a fast day prayer meeting last night. Quite cool and cloudy till about 11 o'clock. Then the sun shone out bright and warm. Attended a Magistrate election at Leatherwood School house. I went there to get names to a petition for a post office at Pond Run. Got 47 names, legal voters. 45 householders. Gave it to Bro. Steele to send on.

6 Quite cloudy: rained a little toward night and in the eve. Attended class and prayer meeting in the morning. In the afternoon went with J. B. Moore to see a sick scholar. He was very sick. Went to a prayer meeting in the eve.

7 Quite moderate indeed but cloudy. Samuel Finley Lewis, one of my pupils, died today, aged 13 years. His father is a very wicked man. The boy was a good boy but had never been taught to pray. Yet before he died he said he knew how to pray and did so. I trust that he is better off.

8 Very moderate today. Cloudy. Last Saturday the river raised a few feet. Today it is falling. The boy, F. Lewis, was buried today. I talked to my scholars this morning about the uncertainty of life. That they should take heed of this warning.

9 It rained considerable last night and some during the day. Had a very small school. Very bad traveling. Went out to the church but there was no meeting. The river commenced to raise again a little today.

10 Quite cloudy today. A few scattering snow flakes fell. It grew a little colder toward night. Nothing unusual occurred today. I heard the other day that Georgia and Alabama had seceded as well as South Carolina.

11 Quite cloudy today. Toward night it snowed. The river raised considerable yesterday and today. Helped Mr. Moore pick up a skiff that was afloat. A skiff is a rowboat.

12 Cloudy all the forenoon. Quite pleasant after dinner. It froze quite hard last night. Mr. Moore set me across the river to Scaffold Lick Creek, nearly opposite his house. Found my brother's wife quite unwell when I got there at 10 ½ o'clock.

13 A warm, bright and lovely day. Quite cold last night. My sister-in-law had been confined about Christmas and delivered of a fine boy, after about 20 hours labor. The baby died when 10 days old. At ten o'clock started for Mr. Moore's. Got to the mouth of Scaffold lick at one o'clock.

14 Began to rain some time in the night and rained the most part of the day. Very small school. Yesterday afternoon I attended a class and prayer meeting. The preacher was not there for some cause not known.

15 Foggy, moderate, muddy and rainy. The river had been falling since Saturday. On last Saturday, I heard that Maj. Anderson had fired bombshell into the city of Charleston, S. C., and burnt it. The people of that city had fired shot into a vessel which had been sent to collect the revenue. (January 15, 1861, was on a Tuesday.) On January 9 a ship had arrived at Charleston to deliver men and supplies for Fort Sumter. However, a shore battery fired on the ship and it was forced to return to New York.

16 I saw about a million pigeons flying on Saturday. I also saw bluebirds. It rained quite hard a good part of last night. The creek is up very high. Very cloudy and windy today and little rain and snow. The river began to rise again last night.

17 Quite moderate today but cloudy. Since Tuesday night the river has risen about 7 feet. The report about Charleston S. C. being burnt is all a hoax, so I have heard, but that a ship of war collected the revenue.

18 It rained quite hard toward morning till about 11 o'clock. Cloudy and a little foggy. Then the sun came out warm and pleasantly. The river raise three feet last night and 8 inches this forenoon.

19 A very lovely day. The river raised a little this forenoon but began to fall this afternoon. Mr. F. Moore started for Portsmouth but could not get over as the water was over the tow path. The back water was nearly up to the lane that goes to J. B. Moore's.

20 Another lovely day. (Sunday) Went to prayer and class meeting in the forenoon and prayer meeting this evening. Got a blank statement from Washington D. C. to be filled out in relation to the proposed Post Office at Pond Run. Froze a little last night.

21 Another lovely day. It froze quite hard last night with a white frost. A large school in comparison to what I have been having-22. The young folks of the district met at the school house this evening to make arrangements about an exhibition.

22 Another lovely day. It froze quite hard last night. 25 scholars today. Sent my watch to Portsmonth by Furman Moore to get a crystal in it.

23 Quite cold last night. It froze a little. It is cloudy and toward night it began to rain. Too rainy to go to prayer meeting.

24 Quite cloudy all day with a little rain. Nothing particular occurred today. It cleared off about sunset quite pleasantly. Sent a letter to G. W. Banghart, Belvidere, N. J. B. F. Royse took it to Portsmouth to mail it.

25 Cloudy and rather cold. I don't know of anything very particular that has occurred today. Senator Crittenden of N. J. offered a resolution in the senate to have the Missouri compromise annexed to the Constitution as an amendment. But it was rejected. I am sorry. I would like to have most any concession made rather than to have civil war. This was an unsuccessful plan to prohibit slavery north of the old Missouri Compromise line while not interfering with existing slavery south of this line.

26 It began to snow quite early this morning and snowed all the forenoon-a little in the afternoon. Took Mr. J. B. Moore's skiff and went down to my brothers. The sun shone out quite pleasant and warm a part of the afternoon. The skiff was a rowboat.

27 Very cold last night. After the sun got up it was warm till about three o'clock. Then I started to row the skiff back to J. B. Moore's . It blowed very hard and for half of the way the river was very rough, but after I got above Quincy, behind the point, it was smooth. I came up in 2 hours.

28 Very clear and cold last night. Quite pleasant today. A very little cloudy part of the day. Felt very stiff and sore from rowing the skiff yesterday. I expected to be 3 hours but came up in 2.

29 Not very cold last night: it did not freeze. Very pleasant today like a spring day: quite warm. It grew a little cloudy toward night. A man shot off the foot of a 3 pronged buck last Sunday morning. Today (Tuesday) some men and dogs chased it into J. B. Moore's land and Mr. Moore killed it. Yet as he was not well he let the men take it away, and they were so mean not to send him a bit.

30 It blowed hard last night and was quite cold. Quite pleasant today, the air a little sharp. The young folks met last night and recited their pieces. They did well. Also last Friday night. Went to prayer meeting.

31 Quite cold last night and froze hard. Very pleasant today. The sun shines pleasantly but the air quite keen. Quite cloudy at night. When a man gets married, the young folks make a scare-crow which they call a paddy. They make it look as bad as possible and put it along the road where the company must pass.

February, 1861

1 It snowed a very little last night. It rained a part of the forenoon and a part of the afternoon. A very small school. ----------Sometimes they put it in the door yard. One was put in a man's yard and he got terrible mad and burnt it up. Then another one was put there that had powder in it. That was put on a fire; it exploded and frightened the old man.

2 A little rainy this forenoon and cloudy all day. About three o'clock took a skiff and went to Quincy with Furman Moore and his wife. Took tea at Mr. McKinney's. I staid all night at Rev. Mr. Sashbrook's with Mr. Merrill and the P. Elder. He preached in the eve, Text 2nd Cor. Chap. 4, 3 and 4th verses. Quincy was across the river in Kentucky.

3 Quite cloudy all day. It spit a little snow. Attended lovefeast at the Quincy school house. A good time. Bro. L. M. Merrill preached Text St. Mark, chap. 9, vers. 4, 5, and 8. The sermons last night and this morning (Sunday) were deep and splendid. Took dinner at N. Morses'. It took about two hours to come home. A dictionary definition of a love feast is a meal taken together by Christians as a symbol of affection and brotherhood. He also mentions attending a love feast on February 24.

4 A splendid spring like day. Bro. Merril said that the word hell was derived from 4 Greek words which were not similar. But three-Shaok, Heades, and Tartarus might be made to signify one thing: the tomb or prison house of the spirits. But Gehnnon (the valley of Hinnon south of Jerusalem) was the word used to represent the hell in the text. That valley was where the sons of Hinnon worshipped Muloch by offering their children in his arms. King Josiah Polluted it. The hell of the text will not be established till the day of resurrection.

5 Quite pleasant today but a little cloudy. It froze a little.

6 Monday night last went to Turkey crk to church. Bro. Foster preached, Psalm 49, ver 8. Very pleasant today but a little windy. The young folks met at the school house and practised their pieces last night.

7 It blowed very hard last night. Went to prayer meeting last evening. It blowed hard all day. In the forenoon it blowed, rained, hailed, sleeted, and snowed. In the afternoon the sun shone out brightly. Very cold last night.

8 A little more moderate last night. Quite pleasant today but a little windy.

9 Very warm and pleasant. Like a spring day. Went to the Post Office at Turkey Crk. The young folks met this evening at the school house to recite their pieces. Had a good time.

10 Very mild today. A little cloudy some of the time. Heard Bro. Foster preach in the afternoon. Text Acts Chap. 9 ver 17. Have had a cold for most a week. Appearance of rain at night.

11 Wind from the south. A few warm showers in the forenoon. The sun shone out a part of the day. Put a pair of half soles on my boots this evening.

12 Very pleasant today only a strong wind from the West. Nothing unusual occurred. The young folks met again at the school house this eve. Several new pieces were performed.

13 A little cloudy, but quite pleasant and moderate. Started to prayer meeting but there was none.

14 Quite mild and nice. A little rain in the forenoon. In the afternoon it rained quite hard: lightened quite sharply and thundered heavily.

15 Cloudy all day. In the forenoon a little rain. In the afternoon it rained a little and snowed. Closed my school at Pond Run (Nile Township, Scioto., Ohio) today. School of 6 months. 22 scholars present.

16 It snowed about all day: wind from the East by North. Last Thursday the river began to raise and now risen 15 or 17 feet. I picked up some drift wood.

17 It snowed a very little today. There was no meeting at the church. (Sunday) The day appeared very long to me.

18 Quite cloudy all day. Got my certificate from the directors and started for Buenna Vista. Called at J. L. Moore's and got an order on the treasurer for my money. Went to Irish bottom and staid all night at Mrs. McCall's.

19 Snowed last night and this morning. A little rain during the day. In the afternoon called at the school of Mr. Burbage. Went to singing school with and staid all night with him at R. L. Murphy's.

20 This morning pleasant but cool. Started for my brother's. Crossed the river at Buenna Vista. Arrived at my brother's at one o'clock. Staid there all night. Last Monday night heard Mr. Adams, the Presbyterian preacher, preach at the M. E. Church at Irish bottom. Text Psalm 119, ver 49. The M. E. Church is Methodist Episcopal - today the United Methodist Church.

21 Another very pleasant day. Left my brother's this morning and crossed the river at Quincy and arrived at J. B. Moore's at one oclock. Did not do much the remainder of the day. Attended the exhibition rehearsal at the schoolhouse.

22 Another lovely day. Did nothing of any account.

23 It rained a part of the day. Went to the office in the forenoon. Got a letter from G. W. Banghart. Sold my order of $133.33 to J. Nolder for $123.33. It made me grin to bear such a discount, but it was the best I could do. I want to get to Washington on the 4th of March. This appears to be the payment for his teaching contract.

24 Quite cold today. Went to Turkey Creek to love feast and preaching. Bro. Foster preached Text 1st John, Chap 3, ver 3. Was about my boarding house the rest of the day.

25 A very warm and lovely day. I started for my brother's. Got a skiff and crossed at Mr. Parr's. Had my picture taken by Jonas Aumiller who had a boat at Quincy. Gave it to my sister-in-law. Got there at two o'clock. Took dinner at Dr. Ellis'.

26 Another lovely day. Bid farewell to my brother and his wife. He sent me up to above Quincy on a horse. Arrived at Mr. Moore's at 12 o'clock. This evening attended a rehearsal of the exhibition at the church. It went very nicely. The church was trimmed very tastefully.

27 Quite pleasant today only a little cool. Went to bed last night at about 11½ o'clock. This morning was up at 6½ o'clock. Took the Steamer Liberty at Furman Moore's Landing at 20 minutes of ten o'clock. Arrived at Portsmonth at 11 o'clock; laid there two hours. Took on 309 hogs, 300 barrels of whiskey. He is beginning his journey to Washington D. C. up the Ohio River on the steamship Liberty.

28 Quite a pleasant day. The boat goes quite slowly. Did not sleep much last night. The hogs made so much noise and my room was very warm. They set a first rate table on the boat. Arrived at Parkersburg at 8 o'clock. But that was to leave at 9 o'clock did not go out. Because a bridge had been broken down at Bridgeport. This is Parkersburg, West Virginia. He changed from the steamship to a train to complete the trip to Washington D. C. to attend the inaugural of President Lincoln.