Aug 6th Wednesday Immediately after breakfast Mr Holmes
came in and said his wife was very sick and
wished me to go in there I found her in a high
fever with frequent chills staid all the forenoon
Was expecting to go to the sewing Circle this
afternoon at Mrs Roland Howards but could
not have a horse untill it was too late to go
Made Mrs Holmes bed in the evening
Harriet Holmes, a neighbor in the village, took ill and Evelina, summoned by the husband, Bradford Holmes, went to their house to help. In an era when trained nurses were not widely available, and physicians an expensive service, many families relied on caring friends and relatives to look after the sick. Evelina and her sisters-in-law often helped nurse the ill in the village.
Harriet Holmes was the same woman who herself had looked after two invalids the previous winter: her own mother and a Miss Eaton, both of whom died. Harriet was in her mid-thirties and had three young children to look after. Her husband was a teamster, probably for the shovel company. He would have looked after the oxen and, more than likely, was one of the men called into service to bring in the hay.
Evelina tried to juggle her nursing of Mrs. Holmes with the monthly meeting of the Sewing Circle, but couldn’t bring it off. She couldn’t get a horse until it was too late, so she gave up. Horses, too, may have been pressed into service for the haying which was, according to Old Oliver today, “a fair good hay day. wind south west most of the time.”