Sat Oct 11th Baked in the brick oven brown bread cake & seed
cakes Squash & apple pies Miss S. Orr, Mrs Witherell
and her children here to tea Helen came home last
night and Julia is at Olivers making her silk dress.
Mrs Elizabeth Lothrop is there assisting them. I have
mended Mr Ames a vest and made the skirt
to Susans striped Delaine dress
Today many baked goods came out of the brick oven that Sarah Witherell and Evelina shared. It was getting to be pie season, so Evelina made squash and apple pies, along with more usual fare like brown bread and cake. Special on the menu was seed cake, something that Evelina hasn’t mentioned baking before. She probably used caraway seeds from some roots she “set out” last April.
Next door Helen Angier Ames, briefly home from boarding school, met with the family’s favorite dressmaker, Julia Mahoney. Only fourteen, Helen was having a silk dress made; perhaps it was a party dress she might use in Boston. Helping Helen and her mother, Sarah Lothrop Ames, was Sarah’s young sister-in-law, Elizabeth Howard Lothrop. Only 22-years-old, Elizabeth was the mother of two very young sons and the recent widow of Sarah’s brother Clinton.
Old Oliver had to be pleased with life at this particular time. Only the day before, “Mr Phillips finisht his work at the great pond,” meaning that the new flume at Great Pond was in place. This was a good achievement for the shovel business which relied on water power to run the factory. Old Oliver was still active in the business he had started and passed on to his sons, yet never took his eye off of the family farm, either. Today he “bought 12 pigs that weighd 1330 pound at 6 ½ cents a lb average weight 112 pounds – cost $86:45.” He would raise those pigs, eventually selling some and slaughtering others to feed his large family. The factory and the farm continued to engage Old Oliver as he grew old.
2 thoughts on “October 11, 1851”
One of the many things that impressed me about Oliver, old or otherwise, was his connection to the land. Unlike Thoreau, he knew it as a material resource; the water he could harness, the potatoes and hay he could grow, the oxen he could use to re-shape the land and the pigs he could raise and eventually eat, not that the oxen did not get eaten too, when their time came. Oliver also wanted to show that he was the best man in the counting room, the factory, or the field, which he usually was, but then, what does the double capital A Alpha male do as he ages? Harass his sons about the crummy shovels they are making and “borrow” chewing tobacco from the hired hands. Whatever the idiosyncrasies, clearly a great man.
Fine words about the old man, Dwight.