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Journaling, Manliness & History

Journal of Robert M. Williams

I finally got around to finding someone who is able to transcribe my great-grandfather's journal. His handwriting is somewhat challenging. Robert M. Williams was a cotton and tobacco farmer in Southside, Virginia in the late 1800's up until his death in 1968 at the age of 98. His father was a member of the Virginia Senate, as well as a lay preacher in the Methodist Church. We are all direct descendants of Roger Williams, the Founder of the Colony of Rhode Island and of the first Baptist Church in America. The first entry in this journal is dated 7 August 1889. The last date of the 126 pages is 1 October 1889. All of the pages in the journal are filled. Robert would have been 20 years old at this time. I don't know if there were other journals, but this seems to be the only one that has survived. He wrote other things, including poems and Sunday school lessons. Many of the entries in the journal are his conversations with God and his prayers. Some entries refer to the weather, some his health and some to daily farm chores.

Based on what I know so far, I think the journal will offer some interesting insight into the struggle and joys of life during this time period. I'm hoping to publish the journal and include his poems, articles, other writings, family history and some photos. I'll have much more to say about this in the coming days.

Interesting (providential) that I came across another article about keeping journals this morning on the Art of Manliness website. Part of this piece notes the following:

The first step was to think about what kind of man I wanted to be at 50. The list grew to ten attributes around which to focus my intentional growth in the hopes of embodying those things in the future:
1. A Devoted Man of God
2. A Steadfast Husband
3. A Loving Father
4. A Family Builder
5. A Loyal Friend
6. Community Builder
7. Leader and Mentor
8. Healthy Man
9. Lifelong Learner
10. A Virtuous Man

In skimming my great-grandfather's thoughts and prayers written down at the age of 20, many of these same things seem to have consumed his thoughts as well. I recommend the AOM piece to you. Click here.

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