Friday Sept 12th Mrs Stevens Susan & self have been to
Foxboro and a sad visit we have had. Mr Edson
Carpenter buried this afternoon his only daughter
and we attended the funeral at the meeting
house. Called there this morning & then
went to Mr Jones found Mrs Jones very unwell
and no help & Mr Jones away but about twelve
he returned & put up our horse. Very hot
In 1851, an eight-mile road, give or take, ran north and west from North Easton to Foxborough by way of Mansfield. It was on that road that Evelina, her daughter Susan and guest Mrs Stevens traveled on this date to attend the funeral of a child, the only daughter of Edson and Mrs. Carpenter. After the hot journey, their horse – was it the speedy mare Kate? – needed to be stabled, and watered, presumably, while they attended the service.
Why they went and what the Ames’s attachment to Edson Carpenter was we don’t know. Mr. Carpenter was a store-keeper in Foxborough, where he had built his own commercial block only four years earlier. Like other merchants in the town, he was affiliated with the straw industry, straw being a popular commodity for summer bonnets and the like. In fact, beginning in the 1840s, his store was “where straw braid and bonnets were received in payment for goods.”*
But as Evelina noted, he buried a child today, and it was “a sad visit” for all. The continuing hot weather wouldn’t have helped anyone’s spirits. The women must have had a solemn, hot drive back to Easton.
* Foxborough’s Centennial Records, 1878, p. 75
2 thoughts on “September 12, 1851”
Can’t recall if I have mentioned this earlier or not, but the Hodges Tavern on Bay Road was accepting “Dunstable cloth,” which I eventually learned was straw braid, for payment on items in 1811 and 1812. Captain Samuel Hodges also bought a water privilege in North Easton, which he soon thereafter sold to Old Oliver. By 1840, straw weaving is probably becoming more of a shop industry than a home industry. Somewhere I have a picture of a house in Foxborough, near Gillette Stadium, where a woman recalled that as a girl, she would weave a narrow ribbon of straw braid from a second floor window and when the braid reached the ground, she knew that she had done her share for the day.
Nice details, Dwight. Thank you.