September 12, 1851

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of John Gellatly

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

  1. 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.

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