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Drusilla’s Diary

Published on October 22, 2015 under The Diary of Drusilla
Drusilla’s Diary

Below are Drusilla’s first entries starting March 3, 1867. At this time the Heslins lived in Portland, Oregon. As you can read, she was rather regular the first month but had limited activity entries thereafter. Some-times her entries were out of order.


Mar 3, 1867: Portland Oregon: I have been trying to think of the most appropriate way of commencing my Journal, but it is not as easy a matter as I supposed, so I will leave it for the present until I can think of something to write about.

Mar 6: Today is a beautiful day, the sun is shining birds are singing all nature seems to say Spring has come. My Sister has moved up close to our home. I helped her arrange her furniture for housekeeping today.

Mar 11: My sister’s Husband started for San Francisco today. He expects to be gone two weeks. My sister is going to stay with us tonight.

Mar 13: I am at my Sister’s today. My husband has taken his horses to the Country will not be back tomorrow.

Mar 14: My husband has got back from the country bring-ing with him my youngest sister. She is going to live with my oldest sister and go to school. My brother’s wife has come also to make us a visit. She is going home Tues. I expect to go with her and spend a week with my Parents and brothers.

Mar 17: I went to Church today the first time in Portland for over a year.

Mar 19: I am at my old home today. We arrived here about 1:00 found all well.

Mar 22: I was at a burying today one of our neighbors Mrs. Douglas was buried. She leaves a husband and two sons to mourn her loss.

Mar 25: I am at home again it rained a little on us before we arrived at home.

Mar 27: I went to Church to hear the new Evangelist Rev. Earl. He came on the last steamer and has been preaching twice a day ever since.

Mar 28: My Brother in law Mr. Ballard has returned bringing his Brother with him, Andy Ballard.

Sept 30: Today My husband started for Astoria to be gone a month. I am going to make a visit up in Polk Co. to see my Aunts, uncles and Cousins.

Nov 20: My husband has returned from Astoria we are going to spend the winter in the country. We will board at my brother Dan’s.

Mar 23, 1868: Today there was a little girl born to us. I am staying with my mother now. We will move back to Portland next month.

June 18: My husband has the measles. My Sisters family has them also.

July 4: We are at my Sisters now. Our two children and my-self have just recovered from the measles. My husband was well enough to help take care of us when we took them. We are going to see the fireworks tonight.

Aug 25: I was at another funeral today. My oldest Bro. little girl of only nine months old was buried by the side of our little Tulu hers was a sudden death. She died while sleeping on the bed. Her father and mother knowing nothing about it till they found her dead. Tis a warning to us to be ready to meet death at any time, for we know not what moment the fell destroyer death may lay his cold hand upon us.

Sept 15: Today my husband and Mr. Ballard commence work for Mr. Coffin on the railroad. They have bought two lots a piece and are working to pay for them.

Sept 28: My Sister went out home today. Mother is not well. She has the pleurisy. My youngest Sister is at the State fair at Salem.

Mar 11, 1869: My sister’s family has been living in part of our house for several months. Today they moved away we are alone again. They live a few blocks farther down town.

Aug 24: My youngest Sister died today of consumption. She has been sick since Feb. She died very happy shouting and praising the Lord with her last breath. Oh may we all die the death of a Christian and may our last end be like hers.

December 1869: We have moved in the country on our farm. I do not think we will move to town again.



At this time, Daniel Dunbar and his family lived in Golden-dale, WA. He ran a mercantile business which he sold in 1898 and moved to Fairview, Oregon.

March 23rd entry was the birth of Tulu. Most often people of this era would wait a few days before naming a child due to the high rate of infant mortality.

John and Drusilla moved to Fairview, or as she called it, “in the country on our farm”. This is where they would live the remainder of their lives.

The two illnesses, Pleurisy (inflammation of the thorax) and Consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis), were common of early pioneers and often fatal.