April 21, 1851




Monday April 21st  I have ripped my blue & orange

Delaine dress & washed & ironed it ready to make over

It was quite pleasant this morning & Jane got her

clothes all dried but this afternoon & evening it storms

again. Frank has been unwell for a few days

with his throat & headache.  Dr Swan called & I paid

him 50 cts.  Mrs S Ames sick and had the Doctor

Frank helped me set out some rhubarb roots

A sunny morning sent Evelina out of doors and into her garden, which must have been muddy after all the recent rain. With the help of son Frank Morton, she put in some rhubarb.  Nearby, Jane McHanna hung the Monday wash and managed to get it dry before more wet weather arrived in the afternoon.

Frank had been unwell, as had Sarah Lothrop Ames next door and each had a call from a doctor. In those days, doctors would typically call on patients in their homes. Physicians kept offices, of course (usually in their own homes,) but generally treated people by traveling to them rather than the other way around. This practice was commonplace well into the 20th century.

Dr. Caleb Swan was Evelina’s physician of choice.  Besides being generally considered quite competent, Swan was “suave, genial and agreeable.”*  His bedside manner must have been calm and attentive. He had studied at Harvard and then apprenticed under a practicing physician, apprenticeships being standard training regimen at that time. A popular man in town, he was involved occasionally with local and state politics.  “Intensely opposed to the Know Nothing” party, he was a “pronounced anti-slavery man.”* He had a large family, and four of his sons became physicians like him.

Elsewhere in the world of shovels, Old Oliver oversaw work on a shop they kept in Bridgewater, where men were “sleighting the roof.”  Slate was the preferred roof material for owners who were concerned with the possibility of fire.

*William Chaffin, History of Easton, 1886



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