September 1, 1851



Sept 1st Monday  Jane & Ellen washed and have done most

of the housework and I have been to work on Olivers

clothes have sewed pretty steady to day.  Pauline has

been sewing on a pr of Muslin undersleeves that

I gave her but has not finished them.  Mrs Stevens

covered some button and sewed them with Olivers vest

& mended the buttonholes


Sewing was “pretty steady” today as the date of her son Oliver (3)’s departure for college loomed nearer. Evelina was mending everything and making new items like collars and dickeys. She tried to mark Oliver’s clothes so that they wouldn’t get lost – a time-honored effort by many a mother when a child leaves for college. How did she mark the clothes, though, in those days before indelible ink markers?  There were certainly no “iron-ons” and probably no manufactured name-tags that would have been sewn in by hand, either.  Her most likely solution would have been to embroider Oliver’s initials or name on the inside or underside of each piece of apparel. That sounds like a lot of work.

Houseguest Pauline Dean accompanied Evelina and sewed some on a pair of new undersleeves while another guest, Mrs. Stevens, helped cover the buttons of a vest belonging to Oliver. Clothes must have been everywhere, as laundry was being washed while all this sewing went on. It was Monday, and Jane McHanna and another servant named Ellen had the stove going and the tubs full. The “fair day” and north east wind that Old Oliver noted in his journal would have helped dry the clothes.

Old Oliver also noted that he “went to Canton to day with Mr Clark + others to put in the stone bridges below the shop.” Can any of our local historians identify these bridges?  Are they still in place? The shop, which was originally built in 1847 to supplement the factory in North Easton, is no longer standing. The image above was taken circa 1965.

* Ames Shovel Shop on Bolivar Street, Canton, Canton Historical Society, from Arthur Krim’s Historical Buildings of Canton, Vol. II.

2 thoughts on “September 1, 1851

  1. I have emailed your question to three Canton historians to see if the bridge mentioned might be the actual site of the current Bolivar St. The East Neponset River/Steep Brook/Massapoag Brook and respective junctions take such twists and turns through Canton, that I am often confused on what is upstream and what is downstream over there.

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