May 24, 1851

Calf

 

May 24th Saturday.  Have been about the house at work

most of day.  After dinner carried my old sitting

room carpet out on the grass to wash the spots

and worked awhile in the garden  About two

Oclock Orinthia came.  She walked to Mr Elijah

Howards before breakfast and he brought her up 

She stoped to dine with Abby.  We called at the

store and at Mr Holmes.  Cow calved.

Housework and gardening informed most of Evelina’s day until a visit from Orinthia in the afternoon, at which point Evelina put down the stained carpet pieces or sat up from weeding to welcome back her young friend. The two women went shopping in the village at the Ames company store, and called on Harriet Holmes.  They must have been glad to be back together, even though Orinthia had only left a week earlier. Perhaps Abby Torrey joined them on their errands and calls.

Evelina’s work on the old carpet took place out of doors, somewhere in the yard of the house on Main Street. It only made sense to wash a large piece of rug outside in good light with a place for the water to run off.  The job was messy by definition, but needed to be done and to Evelina, how the project might have looked to passersby was perhaps less important than how effectively the spots were removed. Front yards were becoming more formal, so perhaps Evelina worked on the carpet in the back of the house where the laundry, presumably, was hung, out of sight of the street. We might imagine that Sarah Lothrop Ames, next door, would certainly be discreet in her management of a similar task, a task, in fact, she would most likely delegate to others.

Old Oliver had to have been pleased today. One of his cows calved, adding to his herd. It’s curious that Evelina, who rarely mentions the agricultural side of their lives, made mention of what must have been a predictable springtime event. She wasn’t often engaged by the external activities of either the farm or the factory.  She stayed focused on her house and her yard, but today something about the new calf drew her attention.

3 thoughts on “May 24, 1851

  1. How far from Evelina’s house was the barn/corrals? In other words, did she see the blessed event of the calf, or was she told? Did the herd all belong to Old O, or did possibly this particular cow belong to Evelina and Oaks, or maybe one of their children. It is the case here in the west that grandfathers give young calves to grandchildren so they can start a herd/savings account as it were.

    • There was a barn built right across the street from the Oakes Ames residence around 1849, as Old Oliver writes of the barn roof being “slaighted” in June of that year. Evelina certainly might have seen the birth of the calf or she may have heard it, even over the clanging from the shovel factory.
      (That said, there may have been another barn elsewhere in town for livestock; Old Oliver owned land all over North Easton, farming it here and there in crazy quilt fashion.)
      What a wonderful notion that the new calf might have been designated for a grandson; Old Oliver certainly looked after his family, so such generosity is not beyond possibility. But which grandson? The older boys (Oakes Angier, Oliver 3 and Frank Morton) were already at work in the shovel factory and Fred was away at school. That leaves 13-yr. old, fatherless George Witherell, who lived in the same house and sat the same dinner table as his grandfather, as a possible candidate. Old Oliver loved his oxen and you may well be right that he hoped that one of his grandsons would take to them, too.
      Thank you!

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