Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America

We are excited today because we are going to have a new little girl come here to live.  Father and Mother are going to be the guardians for a distant relative of Mother’s.  Sarah lived with her family near Boston. Father told us the storm was much worse there than it was here. On the day of the storm, it got cold very quickly.  We ran inside for our winter shawls. This is not the season for snow.  At the beginning of the storm, it rained and then it snowed. There was thunder and lightening and very strong wind.  The wind seemed to blow between any space in our house.  It was never still.   I knew there would not be a rainbow this day.

Father and the boys sat up most of the night.  He feared the roads would be blocked by fallen trees.  There were even parts of fences across the road the next morning and many tree limbs.   A portion of our barn roof blew off.  At least in morning Father was pleased that none of our chimneys had blown down.  We have a very strong house. But we had never seen the likes of this.  The fruit trees were cracking from the weight of the snow and the gusts of wind. You could hear the crack, crack, CRACK from inside the house.  The fruit even blew off the trees.  It was very scary and sad.  I remember all the bees and blossoms of summer when Mother said we would have a lot of apples this year.

Mother’s relatives live near Boston.  The steeple of the Old North Church in Boston fell down.  Father met a man in the store and he told Father that some farms there lost all their fowl and livestock. In the harbor, the big vessels were damaged by the wind blowing them against the wharves. I hope the new ribbons for Father’s store were not on those ships. That is when Mother and Father decided to have Sarah come and live with us.  Her parents have so many children and have lost much of their farm and crops.  I know Sarah will be lonely.  Perhaps I shall introduce her to Josh and Brent and they can be with her too. I will pick out my prettiest ribbon and give to her.  I hope she brings her dolly.  Your own rag dolly is such a comfort.

*Storm of 1804

by Mary Beekman

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Robin, Father tells us that prayers are the language of all people. I thank you for

yours. I asked Josh and Brent how hearts can be soooooo big. Josh said they

stretch according to the need and Brent told me the heart is a strong muscle that

grows stronger with use. I hope I grow VERY old so my heart becomes very strong

and as big as the sky.


Dar Sue, I always say my prayers for things and for people that I do not understand.

The things and people that I do understand I try and help. Families do that, Mother

tells me. Josh and Brent are always helpful whether or not they understand. I need to

be wiser.


Cathy, Father also ties a rope from the house to the barn so my brothers, in the winter,

do not become lost in the stinging snow fall. I hope someone reads my words

in the years that past. Some days I do not feel like writing but Mother says I must

so nothing is missed.


Marcia, It is nice to have Sarah here with us. I know there are times she misses

all those she remembers. Time passes slowly and Mother hugs her many times

a day. Josh and Brent are with her although she cannot see them………yet.


Dear Mary, Thank you for telling us your story of the big storm from the ocean in the Northeast. The storms we experience here in the midwest are different from your stormes in the northeast — but also the same. We experience differences in the way the winds and rain come down, but we both have the same kind of trouble afterward with our houses and barns and livestock (and sometimes, our neighbors, too.) I am so glad your house,your people and your barn survived the storm—but I am sorry that your neighbors lost some of their livestock and buildings. We work together in the midwest to take care of our neighbors, just as you do in the northeast. We will be glad to share some of our good fortune with your neighbors, because you all are our neighbors too – just as the farmers across the county are our neighbors. Many hugs and good fortune to you all — our neighbors and friends in the northeast. Our hearts and prayers are with you all! Your friend,Robin from Illinois.

sue tolbert

Hello Mary, It was so interesting to hear all about the storm that your family and friends had to go through. It seems that as the years have passed many of us have been through storms that are very frightening. We gather as family with everyone that needs comfort and help. We pray for those who need the most comfort and help and give thanks for those who are able to lend a helping hand. Although Sarah will miss her family, I know you will offer her love and help her feel better until she can return to her parents. You have such a loving heart my friend. Take care and write soon. sue t.

Cathy Turner


I have a small leather-bound journal that belonged to my great great grandfather, Carl. He lived in Maine on a farm. I love to read of his adventures and about his life. He wrote that in the winter, his father had to keep a rope tied from the barn to the side of the house, so he could find his way to feed the animals and milk the cows.



It's nice that your family are welcoming Sarah into your home. I'm sure you two will have a lot of good times and be sure to tell her about Brent and Josh.

Enjoy your new friend