The heart of this book is a candid memoir of a girl growing up a century ago in a series of small northeastern cities. Jessie Davenport was the fifth of nine children of a dedicated Irish American mother and a father who was a steam locomotive engineer. She wrote honestly and humorously of her family life and friendships, her antics and romances, and how she remembered them all several decades later near the end of her life. Two decades after her death, one of Jessie's grandchildren discovered a rough first draft of Jessie's story and soon found himself editing and annotating it and attempting to put her complex life into context. The book includes a detailed look at Jessie's family history, a story of diverse ethnic backgrounds, of life as coal miners, farm hands, politicians, entrepreneurs, and Civil War veterans in Pennsylvania's anthracite region. An account is also given of what happened in the lives of Jessie and her family in the years after she ended her chronicle in 1929. Historical context is added throughout to relate Jessie's story to local events and the world at large.