Gravestone of George Oliver Witherell
Tuesday Oct 12th Mother & Louisa dined at Mr Torreys
and I went there to tea I was ready to go
when Mrs Roland & Miss Louisa Howard & Mrs
Dunham from N. Bedford called and stopt
some time Mrs Witherell & Ames were gone
to Norton to see about Georges grave stone
Augustus & wife & her mother were at Mr Torreys
It could be that excitement over the new steam engine that was installed yesterday in the Long Shop continued, but Evelina tells us nothing about it. As usual, she maintains a disinterested distance from business matters. Not that she didn’t care, perhaps, but the business was up to her husband, his brother and her father-in-law. Commerce was in their sphere, the running of the household was in hers, and neither she nor her husband crossed the line between the two. So it was in most households in the middle of the 19th century.
“[I]t was foggy this morning but cleard of[f] warm before noon wind south west,”* reported Old Oliver. Sarah Ames Witherell and Sarah Lothrop Ames rode together to Norton to select a gravestone for Mrs. Witherell’s son, George, who had died at age fourteen the previous spring of rheumatic fever. The task could not have been pleasant, but perhaps Sarah Witherell found solace in marking her son’s passing in such a permanent way. The gravestone – if it is the one that she picked out, as the grave site was eventually moved – can be seen in the Village Cemetery behind the Unitarian Church in North Easton.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection