October 13, 1851


Oct 13th  Susan washed the […] dishes this morning and 

went to sewing quite early made the sleeves

to my cashmere dress and pocket made and

have got all ready for Julia to cut the waist in 

the morning.  Spent most of the afternoon in the

other part of the house  Mrs Willis died about

one or two Oclock this afternoon


“[V]erry warm and sultry like dog days” was Old Oliver’s assessment of today’s unseasonal weather. Evelina didn’t complain about it, nor did she mention any discomfort from the nettlerash that had plagued her for the last ten days.  Perhaps the burning and itching was finally subsiding.

Mrs J. Willis died today. There were a few women in North Easton who might have been this person; a possible candidate was a 44-year-old woman named Hannah Willis who lived in the Pauper’s House with her probable father-in-law, James Willis, and a child named James W. Willis. She had done some sewing for Jane McHanna back in March.

Evelina herself spent the morning with a needle and thread, making the sleeves and pocket for a cashmere dress.  She planned to use the services of Julia Mahoney to sew the waist. In the afternoon she went to the other part of the house, presumably to visit with her sister-in-law Sarah Witherell and a guest, Susan Orr. Given the heat and her slow recovery, Evelina moved around surprisingly well.

4 thoughts on “October 13, 1851

  1. There were a lot of Willises in the area. I found the following in an old file I have which has Jesse and Jason Willis at the bottom:

    Hammermen-shop foremen, ’28-34
    Figure out their pay rates. It is itemized for Adams
    James Adams
    John Bisbee
    Ira Bailey
    Caleb Carr
    Obed Harlow
    George Lothrop
    Nathan Pratt the friendly blacksmith who went to Plymouth with Oliver
    Alfred Randall
    Benjamin Robinson same as Capt BR- Kezia’s second husband?
    Abner Randall whose death Oliver mentions in his journal in…?
    William Sanders
    Fairfield Severance
    Nathaniel Smith
    Mr Seaver
    Avery Stone
    The Wates
    Jesse Willis
    Jason Willis

    Also Warren Keith plated 1478 dozen bs shovels in 1827

    • Great names, all of them. Fairfield Severance! I don’t doubt that Mrs. J. Willis was somehow connected to the shovel shop; otherwise why would all three Ames women sew her burial robe? My guess – and it is only that, a guess – is that she was a widow of a shovel shop employee living with an uncle or father-in-law and someone’s child – hers?

  2. Julia Mahoney, rang a bell for me. Have you mentioned her before? It seems to me that a Julia Mahoney was the “downstairs” maid at my grandfather’s (Queset House, Winthrop Ames) in 1953 area. That Julia might have been related to the Julia Mahoney you mentioned?

  3. Julia Mahoney first appeared in Evelina’s diary in April, 1851 and was mentioned for several days running as she did some sewing for Evelina and her sisters-in-law. Evelina’s first appraisal of her was “she has done very well for Irish she appears to be a pleasant girl. Thereafter, Julia popped into the Ames complex once or twice every month sewing for one of the Ames women, including young Helen Angier Ames.
    Julia was born in Ireland ca. 1826 and, evidently, she and a younger sister, Catherine, emigrated and found their way to North Easton. She was born too early to be the downstairs maid at Queset in the 1950’s , but perhaps a male relative also emigrated later and created a family. That, or another Mahoney entirely worked for Winthrop Ames. Mahoney is not an uncommon name.

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