Daniel Tatum Merritt (1795-1866) lived most of his life in Halifax County, Virginia, and was the first Merritt to own land in Person County, North Carolina. He left a valuable diary dating from 1820 to 1866, which was in the possession of Dr. Dan Merritt of Virginia (later given to his son, Daniel Tatum Merritt, Jr. of Florida). It is a daily chronicle, carefully written in ink, giving a clear picture of life in those times. The diary now is housed at the Virginia Historical Society. Francis Page Loftis, the last owner of the diary, died a short while ago and apparently donated the diary to the Society.
Merritt, Daniel Tatum (1795–1866), diary, 1820–1866.  p. Mss5:1M5534:1. Concerns agricultural operations, slavery, and weather conditions. Kept by Daniel Merritt in Caswell and Person counties, N. C., and Halifax County, Va.
Included here is a selection of excerpts from this diary provided by Susan Pass Livingston:
1820 May - Went to Muster. Made table for self.
1820 July 6 - Job's Coffin 2 hours high, at dark in East. Went to Nancy Burton's (wife's half-sister) and James Shank's marriage, stayed all night.
1820 Jul 12- J. Shanks and wife here.
1821 Jan. - I went to Judge Williams - Monroe sick yet.
1821 Aug 29 - Nancy Merritt is sick.
1821 Oct - Shanks and wife here.
1821 - I went to John Pass' to Frolic with wife and Shanks.
1821 - I went to John Pass' to shooting match.
1821 - McGhee won race $1000.00 at Red House.
1822 - Looked at my hogs and went to Milton - Got letter from Shanks and one for Shanks from England.
1822 Dec 17 - Kitty Merritt and John Crider married - Lucy Merritt had a girl child.
1822 - I was authorized to arrest a man for debt.
1822 May - Shanks went home moved old widow Burton.
1823 - I bought Fanny pair of shoes $1.50.
1823 Apr - Jupiter, Grest A, Ellin Yard all go down at the same time.
1823 Jul 26 - I went to muster at Red House and returned.
1823 Aug 14 - Went to Milton election and back.
1824 Nov 15 - I went to Shanks' place in Virginia 12 miles from Milton.
1825 Jan 25 - The 7 stars and 7 pointers are at the same place at same time every year - Jupiter works to the south of 7 stars. Job's Coffin 1 hour high at dark in west.
1825 Oct 17 - I went to Sneed's to Batallion Muster and back - 10 miles.
1825 Oct 23 - Frances (wife) went to Providence to preaching and baptizing - 10 Negroes baptized.
1826 Aug 23 - Baby girl born.
1827 - Perryman shot my dog, I had a lawsuit - arbitrators allowed me only $5 for my dog.
1827 Feb 24 - Frances and Daniel went to their Aunt Sally Moore's and back.
1827 May 27 - I, Daniel and Monroe went to Providence Sunday School - my wife came at preaching time.
1827 Nov 24 - William John Giles preached at our house on funeral occasion over our baby we lost.
1828 - Paid John Stanfield for land - $98.00.
1828 - I started my two oldest boys to school to William Robertson.
1828 - I bought 24 peach trees and planted and went to G. Taylor's for 25 apple trees.
1828 - Raising big house.
1828 Dec 9 - Went to preaching and had all the children baptized.
1830 Dec 14 - Went to John Chappell's and bought of him 100 acres of land for $400.00, 1/2 cash and balance due Dec. 25.
1831 Jan. 8 - Nancy Shanks and John Burton came to see us.
1831 Aug 22 - Baby girl born. (Emily)
1831 - Negroes have risen in a number of places & killed many people - alarm here.
1832 Aug 25 - Went to temperance meeting.
1832 Oct 9 - People are dying to north of us in towns by the thousands with cholera. It has been prevailing about 15 years and has destroyed 1/16 of the world but lately reached America and is spreading mightily over it.
1833 Oct 12 - I went to Post Office - James came home been gone 18 months or nearly.
1833 - Some whitsuntide clouds and some sunshine.
1833 - Dr. Sneed pulled teeth ( 4 for wife).
1833 Nov 14 - About one hour before day yesterday there were comets or stars or something like stars shooting all through the air - some as large as a torch of lightwood and some smaller and they left some streaks behind them like unto rainbows. Some say they began about midnight and continued until daylight caused them to disappear. Some say there were thousands at once, sone not so many, but it appeared as if the air was almost full and in every direction at the same time. I never saw nor heard the like before.
1834 - Hired negro boy for $60.00.
1834 - I, wife and Nancy went to Boldspring to preaching.
1834 - Wife and children went to Mrs. Shanks.
1834 Mar 30 - Clear and cool I went to Black Walnut Church 3 day meeting, brothers Benjamin and Sidney came here.
1834 Mar 31 - Benjamin and Sidney went home.
1835 Feb 24 - Sold my land for $400.00 cash.
1835 Mar 18 - I went to Mr. Shanks and back - to his sale.
1835 Mar 21 - I and wife went to John Chappell's and Easley's - Made a right to land we sold.
1835 - Sells table etc. - etc.
1835 Apr 9 - Nancy died - Shanks and family all came.
1835 Apr 11 - Nancy buried.
1835 Apr 14 - We started for Indiana - went about 12 miles - bought a horse for $80.00.
1835 May 4 - We crossed Powell River and Cumberland Mountain - went 14 miles.
1835 May 9 - turned over carr all - bad road indeed.
1835 May 15 - Passed New Castle went 18 miles - Daniel is sick - all complaining.
1835 May 16 - Passed Bedford went 22 miles stayed on bank of Ohio River - bad roads - we are tired.
1835 May 19 - Shanks broke wagon axle - we made another.
1835 May 21 - Provisions very scarce.
1835 May 22 - We landed at William A. Robertson's in Johnston County our destined place - but we don't like.
1835 May 23 - I am very sick all of us at Robertson looking and thinking.
1835 May 24 - Sunday Shanks family started back for Virginia - left us all distressed but they came back to us at night.
1835 May 25 - Looked for a house to rest in - found none - all dissatisfied - we agree to move soewhere else.
1835 May 27 - Passed Indianapolis - Went about 12 or 15 miles.
1835 May 30 - Passed Lewisville - went 10 or 12 miles - all tired down.
1835 Jun 1 - We stopped again Shanks got a house and went in, we looked one.
1835 Jun 2 - We got a house and went in it (near Lewisville) near Henry County, Indiana.
1835 Jun 3 - All displeased.
1835 Jun 7 - Wife, I and 5 smallest children went to Shanks and back, children complaining.
1835 Jun 13 - John T. Burton here, little Fanny is sick.
1835 Jun 14 - I went to class meeting, wife sick.
1835 Jun 27 - Monroe is sick.
1835 Jun 28 - Hard times here. All dissatisfied.
1835 Jul 4 - I went to see John T. Burton he is very sick with fever. (John T. Burton was Daniel T. Merritt's wife's half brother. Fannie Ellis Gann was half sister to John T. Burton and Nancy Burton, Nancy Burton married James Shanks. Daniel T. Merritt's wife's mother was twice married - Gann 1st and Buton 2nd - 3 children in all. L.T.W.).
1835 Jul 9 - We are doing noting -waiting to start back to Virginia.
1835 Jul 17 - John T. Burton is better - a little.
1835 Jul 21 - I went to James Shanks - John T. Burton is very poorly yet.
1835 Jul 29 - We started back for Virginia, very sickly times here.
1835 Jul 30 - We passed Dublin on National Road going east.
1835 Aug 3 - bought a horse for $40.00 in place of one hurt.
1835 Aug - Shanks and family stopped - all sick - we went on by ourselves.
1835 Aug 14 - Stopped to see doctor - Fanny and Adeline sick.
1835 Aug 22 - Adeline sick wife can't sit up to ride.
1835 Aug 23 - Stopped to rest wife.
1835 Aug 26 - Passed Halifax Courthouse and Dan River - got to Daniel W. Faulkner and stopped.
1835 Aug. 30 - I am at home.
1835 Aug 31 - Sold 2 of our horses for $115.00.
1835 Sep 1 - Wife and Adeline under Dr. Singleton.
1835 Sep 2 - I wnet to Isaac Palmer's to get back land but failed.
1835 Sept 4 - I bought Samuel Crawford's land, 370 1/2 acres for $1100.00.
1835 Sep 5 - Got a letter from Shanks Mrs. Burton is dead.
1835 Sep 13 - Clear and warm - John T. Burton is here. Mr. Shanks got back last friday (Sept. 11th).
1835 Sep 29 - We all moved to our place wife very poorly indeed.
1835 Oct 2 - Wife had boy child - sent for Dr. Singleton.
1835 Dec 10 - I went to Easley's Store meeting for a division of county.
1835 Dec 25 - I cut out road through plantation.
1836 Mar 24 - Moved into the big house. (Mr. Crawley moved away March 21st).
1836 May 7 - I went to South Boston to General Muster.
1836 July 29 - Cloudy & warm, wife, small children & I went to Walnut to preaching. A man born blind preached & a right good historian.
1836 Aug 11 - I made a cupboard.
1836 Nov 7 - Went to Dr. Sneed's to Presidential Election.
1837 Mar 16 - John T. Burton married to Elizabeth Newman.
1837 May 7 - Went to Mrs. Link's sale bought 2 cows and calves for $34.05.
1837 Oct 24 - Wife had a girl child.
1838 Jan 1 - My wife has got up 3 mornings before me in one week past.
1838 Jan 6 - Wife got up first this morning too.
1838 Jan 24 - Repaired old fence around factory field.
1838 Feb 8 - I went to Owens Store, bought 72 yards of cloth for $23.50.
1838 Feb 9 - I went to tailor & got a coat cut out.
1838 Mar 3 - Clear and warmer - snow melted - we hunted and killed 6 rabbits.
1838 Aug 18 - I and William started for Richmond - got about 20 miles.
1838 Aug 23 - We crossed Appomatox one horse sick.
1838 Aug 30 - We got home from Richmond with 466 lbs. sugar, 221 lbs. of coffee, barrel of oil, & a barrel of molasses.
1838 Sep 22 - Brother Benjamin came to see us.
1838 Sep 25 - Benjamin went home.
1838 Sep 30 - I went to class meeting - 6 persons white, 1 black.
1838 Oct 20 - James M. Chappell surveyed my land.
1838 Nov 20 - I killed 20 hogs.
1838 Nov 21 - Killed 5 hogs and salted all up.
1838 Nov. 28 - Surveyed off 250 acres of land to Robert Faulkner for which he gave me $1000.00 in cash.
1838 Dec 18 - I was out collecting debts.
1838 Dec 30 - Went to class meeting - only one person.
1839 Jan 19 - I was out with Mr. Nelson trying to make up a school in neighborhood.
1839 Jan 28 - Started 3 children to school to Mr. Nelson.
1839 Feb 9 - I finished line fence and put up a gate at the west end of plantation.
1839 Mar 14 - I hauled up a stack of fodder 1 got for rent of R. Faulkner.
1839 Aug 20 - I and Monroe started to Richmond.
1839 Sep 1 - Got home- horses tired.
1839 Sep 9 - Sold 21 sheep for $15.00; they are on the decline.
1829 Sept 10 - Loaded wagon for Richmond.
1839 Sept 21 - Got home with 6 sacks salt and 2 barrels oil.
1839 Nov 1 - Sold 6 yearlings to Mr. Bass for $30.00 - bought a clock for $27.50
1840 Jan 14 - Clear and very cold - I worked on a dressing table.
1840 Jan 25 - I finished a little chest of 3 drawers.
1840 Jan 26 - I stayed all night with Mr. Chambers - he is extremely ill.
1840 - Worked on folding table and big bureau of 4 drawers.
1840 Mar - Made 20 to 30 benches for Boldsprings Church.
1840 Mar 23 - I went to courthouse - on grand jury.
1840 Apr 7 - I went to Thomas Torains's across the river - collecting.
1840 Apr 20 - Clear and warm - Easter.
1840 Aug 4 - Mother 14 years afflicted - nearly 78 years old - lives 32 miles off.
1840 Nov 3 - bought 2 horses of a drover for $105.00.
1840 Nov 26 - I killed 12 hogs - weighed 1407 pounds.
1841 Feb 25 - I went to William Brandon's bought 7 chairs.
1841 Apr 14 - Negro woman, Milly, began to plant sweet potatoes.
1841 Apr 28 -Rainy day; wife had boy.
1842 Jan 24 - Went to court house - left my watch to be repaired.
1842 Jun - I went to taylor got 2 coats cut to make.
1842 Jul 4 - Went to Temperance meeting at Black Walnut.
1843 Nov 18 - My mother died - aged 81 years and 20 days.
1843 Nov. 27 - I went to court - dull times except prices of negroes are better.
1843 Dec 15 - I went to Sidney Merritt's (near Milton, N.C.)
1843 Dec 16 - I went to Milton and Leasburg - stayed at Mr. Shanks all night.
1843 Dec 17 - I went to Ruben Morgan had not seen his wife - my sister - in nearly 20 years.
1843 Dec 18 - I went to Person Courthouse 27 miles.
1843 Dec 19 - I went to Black Walnut had a coat cut.
1844 May 21 - Daniel died.
1844 June - I went to Roxboro to hear candidate for governor speak.
1844 Jun Dr. Carter, preacher, came here stayed all night.
1844 Sep 22 - Mr. Shanks here, came home with Jefferson Monroe last night from Concord meeting.
1844 Oct - I went to Dr. Pointer's sale - stayed all night at Sidney Merritt's. I bought Milton Tanyard for $500.00 and a house and lot for $400.00 and came home.
1844 Dec - (Moved to Milton for a while) Monroe came home with carriages.
1844 Dec 25 - All family got safe to Milton our home; hired negro man for $50.00.
1845 Jan - Hired another for $42.00.
1845 Jan 15 - Sent Adeline to school - stayed all night at Jefferson Monroe Merritt's.
1845 Jan 16 - Started John and James to school.
1845 - Jefferson Monroe Merritt went home.
1845 Jan 20 - Hired another negro for $42.50.
1845 Jan 26 - Went to Presbyterian church - all about - but not well.
1845 Jan 27 - Cold- started Fanny to school.
1845 Feb 17 - Planted some cedar and cherry trees and planted 20 apple trees.
1845 Feb 20 - Went to Virginia and bought a horse for $21.50 and a cow and calf for $8.00.
1845 Mar 8 - Nancy and Martha sick.
1845 Mar 19 - Mr. Jamieson (preacher) here all night.
1845 Apr 10 - bought 2 gums of bees $3.00.
1845 Jun 22 - Dr. Carter here preached in Presbyterian Church.
1845 Jul 4 - I went to John Pass to get a coat made.
1845 Jul 12 - I went to John Pass after my coat.
1845 Aug 13 - (Free woman) sick supposed to have fever - it prevails much.
1845 Sept 28 - I went to Baptist church.
1845 Oct 5 - Cloudy - I went to see George Merritt sick with fever and to Connally Church.
1845 Dec 21 - I went to church 3 times Mr. Bingham preached.
1846 Jul 23 - I went to Connally's and back by Kitty Merritt's.
1846 Jul 25 - Clear and hot I came home from Shanks brought Fanny (daughter ) - she has been gone 7 months.
1846 Jul 27 - John is sick - chills and fever.
1846 Jul 28 - had Doctors Walker and Brooks to John.
1847 Jan 8 - Volunteers meet in militia.
1847 Jan 22 - I went to old place sold J. H. Brady's interest in land for $205.00 to pay myself.
1847 Jan 26 - Moved back to Black Walnut.
1847 Feb 15 - Warm. I went to Milton & stayed all night at Dr. Brooks' house.
1847 Mar 16 - Very cold. I went to Mr. Laws after two spinning wheels.
1847 Mar 17 - Hauled home a loom.
1847 May 23 - Whitsuntide.
1847 Jun 26 - John came home from school.
1847 Jun 28 - John went to school to Milton.
1847 Jul 27 - John came home from Milton.
1847 July 28 - Clear & cool, all the family attended Daniel's funeral at Boldspring - preached by Rev. James Jamieson from 16th Chapter of Proverbs the 20th verse.
1847 Aug 18 - John went back to school.
1847 Sept 26 - I went to see the sick, visited four families, bad off- we are all up.
1847 Oct 10 - All went to preaching but two little ones. Sacrement - stayed all day.
1847 Nov 13 - Got a letter from B. F. Merritt from Mo.
1847 Dec 8 - I went to Milton.
1847 Dec 9 - I came home and John with me from school. He has been gone nearly 4 months.
1847 Dec 30 - John started back to school, William went with him to Milton and brought horse back.
1848 Feb 2 - 3 children commenced going to school last monday.
1848 Jun 4 - John came home from school - I went to Boldspring to singing.
1848 Jun 22 - Meeting closed- between 50 and 60 professed religion - 31 joined church.
1848 Jul 5 - John went back to school.
1848 Aug 31 - Our oldest daughter, Fanny Merritt, married to James Robertson.
1848 Nov 7 - I went to Presidential Election.
1848 Nov 11 - George Merritt here.
1848 Dec 15 - I killed 13 hogs weighted 1690 pounds.
1849 Jan 5 - John went back to school.
1849 Aug 3 - Cool morning - National fast and prayer day on account of cholera.
1849 Aug 18 - I bought a piece of land of Washington A. Owen 209 acres for $600.00.
1849 Oct 2 - William went away.
1850 July 5 - William came home from the University of Virginia - a medical graduate - been gone nine months.
1850 Aug 10 - I went to Black Walnut to hear the convention candidates speak.
1850 Sept 5 - Hot day - went to Reuben Morgan's.
1850 Sept 6 - Clear fine day - at Reuben Morgan's - his son Washington Married Miss Mary Dillard - all of Caswell, N.C.
1850 Sept 9 - I came home from John T. Burton's after dinner - 25 miles - all well.
1850 Nov 30 - I sold my Crawley land for $950.00.
1851 Jan 16 - I sold my W.A. Owen land (158 acres of it) to John R. Adams for $800.00.
1851 Nov 19 - I am 56 years old today.
1851 - I went to Dr. Easley's - speaking candidates - railroad men and anniversary of odd fellows.
1852 Sep 7 - Rainy day - John Merritt left home for Floyd Court house, Virginia to practice law.
1852 Sept 27 - Cooler - All went to preaching at Boldspring - a precious time.
1852 Oct 3 - All went to meeting - it broke up - 57 converts - 44 joined church.
1853 Feb 8 - Joe is very sick - James went after William.
1853 Mar 21 - I made a box for Sunday school books.
1853 Apr 14 - Rained a little in the morning. I went to Joseph Faulkner's sale - bought a young woman & two children for $1012.00.
1853 Apr 20 - Made a cradle for negro baby.
1853 Apr 27 - John Powell's daughter died - lent horse and carry all to haul coffin and corpse to grave.
1853 May 6 - Clear and cool - I went to Joseph Pointer and bought horse for $90.00.
1853 Jun 24 - Children very sick with measles - Monroe, Cate and their baby Emil's nurse, Harrat, and 3 of our children - 7 in all.
1853 Jun 25 - I went after William the children are very sick.
1853 July 7 - Quite hot. I went to Milton & back. They say the thermometer has been up to 110 degrees & 130 degrees in Boston, Massachusetts.
1853 Sep 4 - Cloudy and rained a little, I am at home, all as usual, there was a comet in the west about an hour high at dark, appeared about the 18th of August and by the 1st of September went down to west like the rest of the stars tails directly up from the sun.
1853 Sep 24 - Bought a buggy for $40.00.
1853 Sep 28 - I went to Black Walnut - Mary, servant, very sick. Sent for William.
1853 Dec 16 - Got a letter from Iowa from Rufus S. Merritt, my brother, Benjamin Merritt, is dead - he died on the 14th of November, 1853 of fever. He professed religion 36 hours before he died - left wife and three children all grown.
1853 Dec 27 - I, Adeline and Nancy went to Mr. Shanks.
1853 Dec 29 - We went to Reben Morgan's and John T. Burton's.
1853 Dec 30 - At Morgan's and Burton's.
1853 Dec 31 - We came to Mr. Shank's, snowed all night.
1854 Jan 2 - We came 25 miles all well had a pleasant visit.
1854 May 11 - Wife and Patty went to Fanny Robertson's, She has a baby. Her 3rd child and a son.
1854 July 4 - I, and boys, went to the Springs. Speech by Mr. Bruce for free schools.
1854 Aug 14 - A negro man of William Howerton's found dead supposed killed by overseer's whip.
1854 Sep 22 - I went to James Robertson's sale he is going to Georgia.
1854 Sep 28 - Mary is sick. Sent for William to see Mary.
1854 Dec 28 - I bought a carry all for $41.50. Carried old one to be mended.
1855 Jan 3 - I went to Dr. Easley's sale. Bought 2 bedsteads for $62.75.
1855 - I went to Black Walnut negro hiring. Men brought from $115.00 - $180.00.
1855 - We went to Boldsprings again - sacarement meeting.
1855 Feb 17 - I, and wife went to Black Walnut to make a right to land sold to Ben Sneed.
1855 Mar 10 - Boys went to Boston to see the cars. 1855 July 17 - James & Jo went to show at Dr. Easley's - animals.
1855 Apr 14 - Marcus Morgan came here.
1855 Jul 17 - James and Joe went to a show of Dr. Easley's animals.
1855 Aug - I went in evening to hear a Thomas preach. He is a dissenter from Campbell believes in the gathering of the Jews & Christ's reign of 1000 years is soon to commence.
1855 Sep 26 - William here again to see his mother. John came home been gone 2 years lacking 7 days.
1855 Oct 26 - Fanny and family here - on way to Georgia.
1855 Oct 27 - Fanny and her husband and 3 little children started to Georgia. I left them on top of Coleman's hill at 35 after 9:00 o'clock in the morning to meet no more till the last day I fear. May God bless and guide, and save them. Oh, how sad!
1856 Dec 18 - James Robertson came here today from Georgia left wife and children - came after negro girl his father gave him.
1856 Dec 31 - Negro John is sick.
1857 - I went to Dr. Easley's - a public meeting of the people on subject of negro rising. There have been attempts in almost all the slave states. Vigilance committees appointed, many negroes arrested, many whipped and many even hanged.
1857 - I went to Bailey and Walker's, got 404 lbs. of bacon, 224 lbs of rice, 20lbs of coffee; 1 lb. pepper.
1857 Jan 18-19 - Snowed all day & wind blew awfully. Snow from 12 to 15 inches deep in houses - blew under shingles almost as bad as outdoors. From one to three feet outdoors. We got beds downstairs and fixed beds so they could be slept in last night. We all had to sleep downstairs - some under beds on steads, some on beds the best we could & I assure you it was the worst snow storm I ever saw. It is blowing about now as bad as if it were snowing and in many places 5 feet deep.
1857 Apr 21 - Bought 236 1/2 pounds of sugar @ 13 cents a pound.
1857 Dec 4 - Sister Polly Morgan and her son, Marcus, came to see us first time in forty years. (should be fourteen years, spl)
1858 Jan 18 - Joe went to school.
1858 Jan 30 - James left to teach school in N.C.
1858 Aug 19 - I went in Person County looking land.
1858 Oct 17 - William Merritt and wife, Eglantine Long, here.
1859 Jan 5 - Went to Mr. Crawley's sale. Negroes sold from $300.00 to $1505.00.
1859 Jan 18 - I went with Monroe to look land. He bought 200 acres of James Easley for $1700.00 cash.
1859 Apr 16 - I went to Black Walnut - bought goods to amount to $168.03 and a cow & calf & heifer for $30.00.
1859 Jul 10 - Clear and hot we all went to preaching. Dr. Holland from Tennessee.
1859 Jul 13 - My wife went to William Merritt's - his wife is sick - has a baby - Susan Frances.
1859 Jul 17 - Went to William's brought home my wife in a buggy.
1860 Apr 20 - Bought a rockaway for $200.00.
1860 Apr 23 - Went to court - bought a mare for $175.00.
1860 May 5 - Went to General Muster.
1861 Jan 5 - I went to Black Walnut - public meeting on the times - great fear of civil war.
1861 Jan 6 - Cold - I am home - all up as usual - great fear of civil war.
1861 Jan 17 - Cloudy morning - I, Adeline & Patty to Spring Hill to help make and fix up tents for Black Walnut horse company at York town.
1861 Apr 22 - Warmer I went to court - exciting times - war between the north and south.
1861 Apr 25 - I went to General Muster at Springs.
1861 May 12 - Alarming times - the north threatens to annihilate the south.
1861 May 23 - I went to election - all as usual.
1861 May 24 - Light Dragoons, volunteers of south of Dan left for Richmond.
1861 Jun 15 - I went to Milton and back. Joe to Muster, war times.
1861 Jun 17 - Cloudy morning- I, Adeline, and Patty went to Spring Hill to help make and fix up tents for Black Walnut Horse Company at Yorktown.
1861 Jun 20 - I went to Shanks - 25 miles.
1821 Jun 21 - Clear and very hot - I came home brought Nan (been gone 8 months).
1861 Jun 22 - Very hot and dry - went to Black Walnut to muster.
1861 Jun 24 - I went to court house and back - no news but war times.
1861 Jul 13 - There is a large comet that moves around the north star - nearer than the 7 pointers and is above the horizon all the time; it falls back about 20 minutes every 24 hours. It is west in evening and eat in morning.
1861 Jul 17 - Clear - I went to Spring barbecue and speaking. Great many people and great excitement.
1861 Jul 18 - Battle of Manassa - 1000 northerners killed and 100 southerners.
1861 July 19 - There is said to be about 300,000 men on the north side and 150,000 on the south. The north has called for 500,000 more and the south for all that they can get. They have been skirmishing for 2 or 3 months and some battles.
1861 Jul 21 - There was a battle today at Manassa's Junction about 75,000 north and 35,000 south. North lost about 5,000 to 10,000 - south about 2,500 - awful slaughter indeed and suffering.
1861 July 29 - 1000 of our volunteers are sick at Norfolk, Virginia.
1861 Aug 2 - Hot - William Merritt came to see us and Dr. Harris. James very low. It is supposed that 8,000 north were killed and only 400 south. Many of the wounded have died since and thousands of north in battle dead and wounded.
1861 Aug 10 - James and Pattie and Mary (servant) very low.
1861 Aug 14 - Very sick - two doctors coming daily.
1861 Sep 14 - I went to Milton and back - all up - not well - 30,000 soldiers sick.
1861 Sept 24 - War is all the talk.
1861 Nov 10 - Northern Army landed at Port Royall, S.C.
1861 - Mr. Loyd and Nan here.
1861 Dec 13 - Hired negro man, Jacob, for $75.00.
1862 Feb 11 - The south has been whipped in the two last battles.
1862 Feb 28 - I went to Cherry Hill - National Fast Day.
1862 Mar 14 - All the militia called out.
1862 Mar 31 - Almost every able bodied man gone to war.
1862 Apr 21 - Salt is scarce & worth $37.50 to $40.00 per sack; bacon 30 cents per lb. - hard times.
1862 June 4 - Rainy day. There was a hard & bloody battle last Saturday & Sunday near Richmond - 1000 southerners killed & wounded - awful times. The Federals are trying to take Richmond.
1862 June 5 - Foggy clouds rained last night. We carried a load of food to Boston for the sick and wounded in Richmond. There is dreadful suffering all over the land.
1862 Jun 17 - Jacob, Mary, and Sall working.
1862 Jul 24 - Phil and Mary ploughed.
1862 Sep 13 - Jacob ran away yesterday evening.
1862 Oct 19 - I went to Cherry Hill - Monroe came here - his negro and mine ran away.
1862 Oct 30 - Salt brings 75 cents a lb.
1862 Dec 19 - Pork brings from 25 to 30 cents per pound.
1863 Jan 12 - Corn brings from $10 to $15.00 per barrel.
1863 Jan 19 - War rages with great fury.
1863 Jan 26 - I went to court and back. Negroes sell as high as $2100.00
1863 Jan 30 - Clear - I went to Milton and back after my watch but did not get it.
1863 Feb 7 - Cool wind - I went to Milton - got my watch corn brings $15.00 per barrel - bacon brings $1.oo per pound, sugar $1.00 per pound.
1863 Feb 25 - I went home with son Monroe and to P. Robertson's. Monroe bought a negro man & his wife & 5 children for $6000.00.
1863 Mar - Sugar brings from $1.00 to $1.50 per lb., corn brings $25.00 per barrel, bacon $1.40 per lb., cows bring from $100.00 to $150.00.
1863 May 7 - I went to the store. General Paxton killed, Jackson wounded, and Hill.
1863 May 8 - Gloomy prospects, tallow brings $2.60 per lb., flour $30.00 per barrel.
1863 May 13 - General Jackson is dead.
1863 May 14 - I carried Col. Watkins to depot. General Verdom killed in duel.
1863 Jun 16 - Fighting at Vicksburg - Yankees taking the south awful times.
1863 July 10 - Yankees took Vicksburg. Yankees taking the South - awful times.
1863 July 16 - Yankees took Port Hudson - starved them out.
1863 Jul 17 - Heard from son John - he was shot in the left arm near the shoulder - light wound.
1863 Jul 30 - I went to Nannie Lloyd's - 22 miles in N.C.
1863 Aug 20 - I went to Post Office - No news.
1863 Aug. 22 - Hot and Dry - Went to Boldspring to organize for war.
1863 Aug 25 - Four soldiers stayed here last night from south.
1863 Aug 26 - Yankees in 9 miles of Richmond.
1863 Oct - Corn brings $25 to $75 per barrel - wheat from $8 to $10.00 bushel - sheep $30 to $40.00 - cows $100 to $200.00 a head - sugar brings $3.00 per pound.
1865 May 14 - I am at home, all as usual. Negroes are all free; some stay some go.
1865 May 16 - Yankees parole & swear the people.
1865 May 17 - Mary - former slave - ploughed. Yankees rule us with a rod of iron.
1865 May 24 - No News, no mail in South, all dark.
1865 May 30 - Yankees are regulating matters.
1865 June 6 - No news, no paper, no mail.
1865 Jun 17 - James sick.
1865 Jun 21 - Joe came home - first time since Yankees conquered south.
1865 Jun 23 - Mr. Lloyd started after James at Point Lookout.
1865 Jun 28 - Warmer - Mr. Lloyd came back, James is at the point of death, they would not let Mr. Lloyd see him - he was so low.
1865 Jun 29 - Clear - Sall (Slave) had a child - the saddest day of all my life about poor James. May god save him and support me. Mr. Lloyd and his wife went to William to see if he would go to see James.
1865 Jul 2 - William Merritt started to see James.
1865 Jul 6 - William came home, James is dead. Died 28th or 29th of June, 1865 of mumps and buried. William saw his grave.
1865 Aug 4 - Nannie Loyd and her husband started to Stokes County, N.C. to live. He has land there. I never expect to see her anymore in this world- my troubles and afflictions are so great I feel as though I should die.
1865 Sep 7 - Gloomy times in south.
1865 Oct 26 - Mary moved away- a free negro.
1865 Nov 19 - Dark foggy day I am 70 years old this morning, all up.
1866 Jan 1 - cold, hired man Scott for one year for $50.00.
1866 Jan 25 - Went to Dr. Lewis's about negro John ran away.
1866 Feb 15 - Very cold & windy - gloomy times and ruined people.
1866 Apr 11 - I am worse again - Mr. Shanks came to see us, all up.
1866 May 20 - We brought Jame's remains home and buried. (He died shortly after this)
Daniel Tatum Merritt made a small walnut one drawer table in which he kept his diary. The table was given to Louise Taurman Watkins by one of the descendants of Daniel Tatum. At the present it is owned by Georgia Watkins Isaacs and has a place of honor in his living room. Information submitted by Inez Watkins
Isaacs, DAR #199533, P.O. Box 685 Newport, Tennessee 37821.
Marriage in N.C. by Hunting for Bears Inc. shows Daniel's and Frances marriage date as 28 May 1820. Virginia Powell has 11 Sept 1816...needs to be looked into. She also has him born on the 11th...this also needs to be looked into.
Excerpts from Joseph Merritt's composition book says that Daniel Tatum Merritt was born in Roxboro, North Carolina. It also says that he writes of himself "Friday Oct. 12th 1827 I embraced the face of the Lord through Jesus Christ and found peace in believing & obtained pardon for my sins & the promise of his grace on which I have relied ever since." (they were members of the methodist church).
Bible records from Gravitts' Bible at Jessie Gravett Newmans' home state; Sept. 11th, 1816 both members of M.E. Church. .... Daniel T. Merritt writes of himself Friday Oct. 12, 1827, "Embrace the face of the Lord through Jesus Christ and found peace in Believing and Obtained Pardon for my Sins and Promise of His Grace on which I have relied ever since." Note: This information has been typed up by another person and several dates contradict other records I . . . .