July 24, 1852

 

woman-holding-dead-baby-1850-us

Unknown woman holding dead child*

July 24 Sat  have been to work to day on

a number of things setting a stich here 

& there  Julia has been here to fix my

skirt and I believe my dress is done at

last  I have made a robe for Mrs

Shepherds child who died this morning

Abby Savage came after me to watch but

I am not well and did not go.  Rachel came 

to Edwins after Julia & called here and I went

in there an hour or two

 

Dressmaker Julia Mahoney was at Evelina’s finishing up the barege dress that had taken so long to make. The traveling dress was put to one side, as Evelina was called upon to sew a shroud for a two-year old boy who had died just a few hours earlier. John T. Shepherd was the only child of a young shoemaker named John and his even younger wife, Elvira. The toddler was the first youngster that we hear of to die during the hot summer. Unfortunately, there would be others.

Hannah Savage, right in the neighborhood, was ill with consumption and would never get better. Her daughter Abby Savage “came after” Evelina to help keep vigil in the night, but Evelina didn’t feel up to the task. She felt well enough, however, to receive a call from her niece Rachel Gilmore Pool and to visit Edwin and Augusta Pool Gilmore across the street.

Old Oliver sounded another concern about the lack of rain: “it is extreemly dry now.”**

 

*Daguerrotype, 1850

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

June 12, 1852

 3124164293_b3d771db50Lace bonnet

June 12th Sat  Jane has left and gone to Mr Savages

Mrs Patterson is here yet  Cousin Susan Orr

and Harriet Mitchell came to the other part

of the house this morning  I have spent the

afternoon there and Augusta stoped there awhile

Have finished my bonnet & lined & trimmed

Susans last summer bonnet

Jane McHanna, the Irish servant whom Evelina had fired the previous day, found immediate employment in the village at the home of William and Hannah Savage. Mr. Savage worked at the shovel factory; Mrs. Savage was a homemaker with a teenage daughter, Abby.  Mrs. Savage, unfortunately, was ailing, and needed help around the house.

That Jane found another position so quickly speaks not just to the circumstances of the Savage family, but also to her own capabilities.  She may have been more adept than Evelina had lately given her credit for, and others knew it. By 1855, Jane would be working for Oliver Ames Jr. and his wife Sarah Lothrop Ames, a couple with high standards. How would that play out for the two sisters-in-law?

But meanwhile, Evelina had Mrs. Patterson to depend on, and a whole afternoon in which to finish her – and Susan’s – latest bonnets.  She also got to sit and visit in the other part of the house with Sarah Witherell, where both were visited by Susan Orr, Harriett Mitchell and the young bride, Augusta Pool Gilmore.  Did Augusta share the information that she was now in her first trimester of pregnancy? Probably not, and impossible to know, but fun to imagine the conversation if she did.