April 30, 1852

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1852

Friday April 30th  Worked in the garden awhile this

morning  Mr Scott has grained the cook

room  Rachel dined here & was intending to 

spend the day but Mrs Packard came to Edwins

and she went back there  Mrs Lincoln

passed the afternoon & Augustus to tea  Abby

spent the day, was away awhile with Mrs

Clapp after some flowers.  Hannah gone to Boston

 

The last day of the month was “a fair day + the warmest we have had this spring …,”* according to Old Oliver Ames, who also noted that he “killed 4 shoats to day.”

A shoat is a newly weaned pig that typically  weighs in at about thirty pounds. It wasn’t unusual to find a farmer thinning a litter of pigs (also known as a drift of pigs) at this time of year, for different reasons. Many farmers bought shoats at this time of year to fatten up over the summer and slaughter in the fall. For reasons known only to himself, Old Oliver chose to slaughter four of his young pigs rather than sell them. Perhaps the shoats in question were unpromising specimens, or perhaps the Ames family was ready for a little fresh pork.

In the first part of the 19th century, the word “shoat” was also used as a pejorative slang term, intended to describe someone as fairly useless. To call someone a shoat was to say that he or she was dispensable and unimportant.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

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