Sgt. John E. Anderson was a resident of Oakdale in West Boylston born in 1838. He served in the army as a sergeant and, in his spare time, worked at local boot shop. In 1860, John kept a diary of his thoughts and day-to-day activities which was donated to the library by his family. His entries offer us a look at daily life in West Boylston in the mid-19th century.
Many of John’s entries begin: “Worked in the shop.” One such entry reads: “Worked in the shop making me a pair of boots. Have not felt well. Should feel better if I could take a chew of Tobacco.”
On Monday, July 23, 1860, John wrote: “Loafed to-day.” We can all relate to this. We all need days to loaf from time to time. John’s other entries focused on his weekly trips to church or to the Division, and he wrote several Bible passages in the “Memoranda” (things to be remembered) section at the back of his diary.
The Civil War began in 1861, and Sgt. Anderson served bravely alongside other West Boylston residents. Unfortunately, his diary stops in December 1860, so we do not get to hear his thoughts during the War. But, thanks to his diary from 1860, we remember him, his service to our country, his tireless work at the boot shop, and his life in West Boylston.