Wednesday May 12th Helped Mrs Witherell make Georges robe
Planted some seeds that Mrs Howard gave me
and African rose sent from Andover. Have ripped
the skirt from Susans borage delaine to lengthen
it Swept & dusted my chamber &c &c Jane had
finished the ironing Have not felt very well
have not got over being broken of my rest. It has
rained since nine Oclock quite fast
A new gardener commenced work today
What sad sewing went on today. Sarah Ames Witherell, a thoughtful, dutiful woman who had sewn so many things for friends and family, now sat and made a shroud for her first-born child, George. Only fourteen years-old, he had died the day before after a painful bout of rheumatic fever. Of the three children Sarah had borne, only her middle child, Emily, was still alive.
The steady rain must have enhanced the gloom. Old Oliver wrote that “it began to rain before noon wind north east and it grew cold and raind all the afternoon.”* Evelina must have done her planting first thing in the morning, after which she helped Sarah with the robe for George. She also worked on a skirt for Susan, and swept and dusted while Jane McHanna ironed. She was probably not the only family member who was recovering from “being broken of my rest.” Everyone was trying to return to a normal routine after the disruption and sorrow of George’s illness, although next door, Helen Angier Ames was still suffering from a case of blisters and facial swelling.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection