Introducing “Aunt Ella” Sargent

Ella Sargent (1855-1940) lived most of her life in the same Norford Lake home until she moved in with a niece the last 9 years of her life. Her farm, which is no longer standing, was in the New Boston area of Norwich. Her father Daniel was a farmer, and after he died in 1894 Ella and her mother Lodisa carried on working the farm until Lodisa’s death in 1904. From then on Ella, known around Norwich as “Aunt Ella”, was on her own managing the farm property.


In her late teens Ella started keeping a daily diary, which she continued into her sixties. Fortunately, most of her diaries were given to the Norwich Historical Society. Over this past year, our volunteers have been transcribing many of the diaries as a pandemic project.

In 2020 we presented bi-monthly tidbits from Ella’s diaries, using her authentic voice. It should be noted that Ella seldom used periods, capitalized randomly, misused grammar and seldom doubled consonants. She moped the floor, stired the cream, or commented on the mugy weather. We hope you will enjoy these glimpses of a woman’s life on a Norwich farm over a hundred years ago.

Written by Heidi Webster. Transcriptions by Judy Brown, Bambi Chapman, MJ Clark, Becky Cook, Elizabeth Nelson, Nancy Osgood, and Heidi Webster.

Aunt Ella’s Diary: Family (#8)

Who were the important people in Ella Sargent's life? We see some names repeated frequently in Ella's diaries. Who were they? 1938 photograph of Ella Sargent, two years before she died. Unfortunately we have [...]

Aunt Ella’s Diary: Summer Fun (#7)

Where did Ella and her family go for entertainment? Ella writes about summer outings. Ella's diary entries had a sameness to them most days. "A pleasant morn" was a usual comment, along with [...]

Aunt Ella’s Diary: Haying (#3)

This week’s diary excerpts include Ella’s observations about haying. Ella didn’t participate, but was a keen observer of the weather. Her entries mention a number of neighbors and relatives – there [...]