20 June Friday. Worked in the garden after breakfast until
half past eight. After getting things in order for
dinner went to work on the hair cloth cover again
untill about two Oclock when Amelia & Samuel
came. Mr Whitwell called and we had quite
a pleasant chat Sent Samuel for Abby and
she came to tea and staid untill nine
The last few days have been very pleasant
As previously noted, Evelina was one of eight children. Five of her siblings were deceased by the time she was writing in this diary, including her younger brother, Joshua Gilmore Jr. He had died about two years earlier at age 35. Today, his widow Amelia and one of their two living sons, Samuel Gilmore, came to visit.
No longer having a home of their own, assuming they had had one before Joshua died, Amelia and Samuel boarded with the Algers, a farming family in the south eastern quadrant of Easton, near the Gilmore farm. They stayed with the Gilmores, too, from time to time while an older son, Charles (all of twelve years old,) may have hired out to another farm. Amelia, presumably left without much income after her husband died, worked occasionally as a nurse, staying with families in households where someone was chronically or terminally ill.
What happened to young widows, or old widows, for that matter, when they found themselves bereft? For many, the former assurance of house or farm was threatened and lost. Some women remarried and regained footing and security with a new husband and his relatives. Those women who didn’t remarry had to rely on their own relatives, their late husband’s relatives, and their own skills. In an age when few women were employed outside the home, survival could become a real challenge.