June 13 Friday. Miss Eaton left this morning. Mr
Ames attended Mr Thayers auction bought the place
While he was gone I mended his coat
I have finished Susans green borage Delaine
Harriet & Lucia Mitchell & Mrs Reed came
to the other part of the house about ten &
stoped till about two Oclock – I have spent
most of the afternoon there. Bridget here to work
Went in the evening to hear Willard preach
Oakes Ames bought a “place” today at auction, an event that must have been somewhat informal given that Oakes didn’t wear his coat. The property he bought may have belonged to a shoemaker named Charles Thayer who died around this time. There were many Thayers in Easton, however, and had been for generations. Where was this property? And what did Oakes do with it?
Although the date was Friday the 13th, Evelina would have had no concern about bad luck as our modern superstition that the date is unfavorable was not yet established. In the 19th century and before, some cultures did consider 13 to be an unlucky number, coming as it does after the number 12, which tends to be auspicious. Others thought that Friday was an unpromising day of the week, not a good day to start a trip, for instance. But it wasn’t until the late 1860s that the two bad omens merged and became an ominous symbol unto itself.
Interesting that Willard Lothrop, Easton resident, shovel worker and Spiritualist, spoke this evening to a group – and that Evelina went to listen. Spiritualism (which, Chaffin* reminds us, is “not, strictly speaking, a religious denomination,”) had a foothold in Easton and would for years to come. In a curious juxtaposition, a later officer of the “First Spiritual Society of Easton,” would be Fred Thayer, son of the very Charles Thayer whose property we think was sold today.
* William Chaffin, History of Easton, 1886
6 thoughts on “June 13, 1851”
I look forward to ” Evelina ” every morning… About today, Friday the 13th. I always thought that that number was unlucky because there were 13 present at Christ’s ” Last Supper”. To add to the problem of the 13th, tonight is also a Full Moon!
So Oakes had only ONE coat?
Two, max, as best I can tell. Based on the phrasing of her sentence, I inferred that Evelina mended the one he would have worn that day. But you may be right, that he wore the other one. Certainly the gentlemen in the little illustration had their coats on – and their stovepipe hats!
Aha! Good point about 13 at the Last Supper, including the very embodiment of bad luck, Judas Iscariot. Thank you, Heidi.
Had she lived today, I wonder if Evelina would spend time each morning reading her favorite blogs.
Yes, Linda, instead of turning to Godey’s Lady’s Book, or writing letters, she might have gone online to check her email and visit your blog!