March 21, 1864
Today came Father to lay again the foundation of his Flume. Inauspicious weather for it commenced snowing briskly after breakfast & continued all day. He proposed to me to go with him to call upon Mr & Mrs Urquehart of Va now on a visit to their relatives here. So with the soft fleecy flakes of snow falling around us we started but at the Mill met Mr U & Mr Hill who told us that the ladies were out, so we returned home. Father & Mr Urquehart are secret ditchers con armore, & it was most amusing to see their recounter. Each opened his budget and “Sir, did you ever try this?” & “Yes sir, I dug a drain.” “My pipes.” “I have a low flat marshey peice of land, and sir, I have a secret drain 1500 yds long.” Sometimes they talked both together, Mr U standing at the carriage door powdered with snow flakes, illustrating his “crooked pipes” with father’s cane — altogether as pleasant a sight as one often sees, two white headed venerable men “rejoicing in what they put their hands to”!
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html