May 16, 1851

330px-Carpet_beater

1851

May Friday 16th  We have been working in the chambers again

to day  I have put a straw carpet down in the 

dark bedroom chamber and moved the bed from

the sitting room chamber into it.  Have taken

the carpet from the sitting room chamber and

cleaned the room.  Orinthia & I have been working

in the garden awhile this afternoon Susan past

the afternoon at Mr Torreys

The tail end of spring cleaning was going on as carpets were laid back down and furniture rearranged. Imagine the energy it took for Evelina, Jane McHanna and, maybe, Orinthia Foss to move furniture, take up carpet, beat carpet, clean floors, put carpet back down and move furniture back into place.  The men didn’t help them with this, as the men all had their own work.  The women did this housework themselves.

Many will recognize the household “appliance” pictured in the illustration.  It’s a rug beater, used to thwack the dust out of carpet as it hung out-of-doors being aired.  Until Bissell’s carpet sweeper appeared in the 1880’s, and the electric vacuum cleaner came around the turn of the century, this is how rugs were cleaned.

The garden probably looked pretty good to Evelina and Orinthia after the dust and dirt of the morning. A different kind of soil. The women must have planted some things that Evelina picked up yesterday on her trip to Mr. Manley and Mr. Clapp in Stoughton.  Her garden was taking shape.

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