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One hundred thirty-six years ago, 18-year-old Flora Manier and 21-year-old Will Geiger were college sweethearts. Will was an avid diarist and Flora had aspirations of becoming one.  He was from Lowden, Iowa  and she was from Carthage, Illinois.

The his and hers diaries they kept in 1878 while attending Carthage College were written when temperance was the talk of the town and Edison’s light bulb had not been invented, when slide projectors were called magic lanterns and women did not vote, when horses pulled buggies and the Greenbacks were still a viable party.

Flora and Will did marry after college and then moved to Tipton, Iowa to live in a home he had built specially for her.  That home still stands today. Together, they had five children—a boy first and then four girls.  Flora and Will both endured tragedies of lives lost too soon, but to the end of their days (as unbalanced as those scales were) they both remained “ever true”–Will’s own words.

Near the end of 2004, Flora and Will’s diaries were sold at an estate auction.  They were sold again in 2006, but this time they found a home and a heart in me.  There are signs the two diaries were once glued together—perhaps by one of them long ago. His had sealed hers in a protective, leathery embrace.  And although that seal was broken sometime before coming to me, the residue of what kept them together remains and the page ends are still gilt in gold.

If not for the written records of these two, I question how much longer history would have remembered them.  They deserve to be remembered.  They have so much to teach.  I am working on transcribing, researching, and publishing Flora and Will’s diaries.  Until then, this website will introduce their fated lives in 1878,…and, after publication, it will be a companion index to all the riches the diaries contain.

In 1878, there was Flora and there was Will, and they have a story to tell,…and so do I.

– Susan Bennehoff

Top Purple is Flora's / Bottom Black is Will's

The Journals

For specific questions, private comments, or to provide additional information, I can be reached by email at susanbennehoff@floraandwill.com .

Copyright © Susan Bennehoff and http://www.floraandwill.com 2014 · All Rights Reserved Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts. photos, and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Bennehoff, http://www.florandwill.com, and/or to others specifically credited on this site with original content and with appropriate and specific direction to that original content.

2 thoughts on “Home

  1. Susan, you might want to join the Hancock Country IL message board at Facebook. There is lots of chatter about Carthage College in the late 1800s. I have referred there to your blog. The administrator is a chap named Michael John Neill who you can find on Facebook.

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