|Joseph Price (1752-1828), was the fourth generation of that Quaker family to live in Lower Merion. He was one of the Township's important citizens ... a Renaissance man. A plaque outside of the house he built in 1803 on Montgomery Avenue (near Meetinghouse Lane) attests: "Quaker Farmer, Innkeeper, Undertaker, Militiaman, Diarist, Saw Mill Operator, Milestone Installer, Carpenter, Turnpike Supervisor, Patriot, Concerned Citizen." |
Price began his diary when he was 35 and the last entry was made three days before his death at age 75. His daily entries were made on odd scraps of paper (over 3,000) [see Sample] that he carried around with him, loosely fastened together with string. This extraordinary 40-year document offers a treasure trove of details of Lower Merion life in that era and a testament to the varied skills and interests of an extraordinary ordinary man.
Grateful aknowledgement is made to Mary Keim, who spent three years painstakingly transcribing Price's diary onto computer. The convoluted script, the phonetic spelling and archaic phrasing was a test of her tenacity and skills.
Joseph Price starts every day with a weather report ... where the wind was, whether it was cold, hot, wet or dry. He only mentions the thermometer once in 40 years so he apparently had no access to one. It was quiet. It was dark. He mentioned the Northern Lights many times; how they would wait after evenings meetings until the moon came up.
Jump to selected topics in the Joseph Price diary.