Monday, November 12, 2012

The Wheel

Pearl Campbell, 17 Jan. 1893

A sweet journal found from young Pearl’s early years…

My husband’s great aunt—someone we never met—she died long before our time…

Never married, no children to share her life with others…the privilege falls to me to share her delightful view of the world…

Pearl Campbell, young girl

And at this particular time, in the beginning of her journal of 1893-1894, the most important thing in this Wisconsin farm girl’s world was her “wheel”—her new bicycle.

“March 23.  Dear Little Book, I am so happy!  We got a letter from Dr. Beebe.  He said the owner of the wheel kicked on $35 but would sell it for $40.  He will send the wheel early in the week!”

“March 27.  I went to school…My wheel came today!  Papa brought it home with me.  Oh, it is a beauty!  It shall be called ‘Gypsy Rambler’.  Leo held it while I rode a little way across the floor…”

“March 30.  I had such fun on my wheel this morning.  I got my work done at half past 7; then Eva and I took it out and I practiced getting on on the run.  Pretty little Gypsy!” 

“April 2—Easter Sunday.  What did I do?  Well, this morning I rode on my wheel a little.  Then I went to church and smiled and smirked and tried to feel devout, which I didn’t.  After dinner I rode: got on myself and went alone.  Oh, it is so pleasant!  I love it.”

"April 9.  I went to school on my wheel.  Tonight coming home I met a woman and boy up by Hopkin’s.  They didn’t get out of the road and they both began to yell, ‘Look out!  You’ll scare our horse!’

“I didn’t scare the horse but I had to get off my wheel.  I told her that it was hard to get out of the road when it was so rough and she said: ‘I had no business in the road with such a thing.’  Darn fool, I was so mad!  It beats all what fools some folks are.”

Just a little glimpse into the life of a sweet 13-year-old girl and her beloved “wheel.”

Upon doing a bit of reading, I found that bicycling became quite the rage in the 1890s—and became acceptable for women after Queen Victoria herself bought some tricycles for her granddaughters!

Wishing you some “free wheeling” of your own…


{family photographs of Pearl Campbell; all vintage bicycle pictures found online}


  1. How wonderful that you have her journal! Lovely post!

  2. Oooh Julie, how blessed you are to have sweet little Pearls journal!... I love that little girl and her spunk!... and how precious her "wheel" was to her... as a little girl, my own "wheel" (bike) was a part of every single day in my life... and I treasure each and every memory of being on it... I so love hearing your family stories... and I just know Pearl is happy you are relaying them as well... xoxo Julie Marie

  3. I don't comment often enough on your posts. I love that you willingly {and so eloquently} share treasured tidbits of this or that relative. It is blessed, especially in this day and age, to pause and consider those that have gone before. Thank you for so beautifully reminding us.

  4. Julie, you have the most amazing stories. Thanks for sharing another one - somehow she sounds an awful lot like an 11 year old I know. How things change and yet they really don't.

  5. Oh my goodness, what adorable stories those were.

  6. wonderful Julie! I wonder in a hundred years if our blogs will still exist and what people will think of us! lol! as usual, i love your blog!
    have a great week!!

  7. What a delightful post. Miss Pearl was a spunky little gal and a bit of a trend setter with her sparkling new "wheel". It was a pleasure reading all about life...from the eyes of a 13 years old girl.
    Thanks for sharing, Julie.
    Carolynn xo

  8. I never knew they referred to it as a wheel!!
    What a wonderful post Julie. You really need to write a book! Seriously!!!
    hugs Lynn

  9. What a fantastic post. I love reading about your Family History really marvellous Love Dawn xx

  10. Now I have learned something... I never knew that the bicycle was called the wheel. Love your family posts.