October 24, 1852

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Sarah Josepha Hale 

(1788 – 1879)

Sunday Oct 24th  Mrs Davenport, Miss Alger & self

staid at home in the morning and I cooked

a dinner  Martin Carr came home with

them at noon and was here to dine  We all

went to meeting this afternoon  Mrs D & Miss

Alger played and sang and we have had a pleasant evening

Evelina played hostess on this Sabbath Day, staying home from the morning church service to be with her female guests and to cook a dinner. Between services, the men came home for the meal, bringing Martin Carr with them. Martin, who was Oakes Angier’s age, was the son of Caleb Carr, a long-time employee of the shovel shop. Martin was a jeweler by trade; perhaps he knew Edward Davenport, a jeweler in Attleboro, who was staying with the Ameses.

The socializing continued in the evening with tea and entertainment. Both Celestine Davenport and Miss Alger “played and sang.”  What fun to have music in the parlor. Perhaps Susie Ames was inspired by the pleasure that piano playing produced.

Evelina wouldn’t have known it, or acknowledged it particularly if she had, but today was the birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale. Mrs. Hale was the influential editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most popular periodical of the day for women. Her first editing job, which she took on as a young widow with five children, was for The Ladies Magazine in Boston. After Ladies merged with Lady’s, in 1836 – 1837, Mrs. Hale moved to Philadelphia and became the “editress,” – a term she preferred – of Godey’s for the next forty years. While there, she published the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Sigourney, Caroline Lee Hentz, Washington Irving, Emma Willard and Catharine Beecher – among other authors whose writing has not held up as well through the decades.

Mrs. Hale did more than just read at a desk. While still living in Boston, she established the Seaman’s Aid Society to help the widows and orphans of men lost at sea. She raised a much-needed balance of funds for the completion of the erection of the Bunker Hill Monument, the funding of which had stalled. Though many members of the stymied Monument Association assured Mrs. Hale that she couldn’t succeed, she raised tens of thousands of dollars from individual donors and from a week-long women’s craft fair that she organized at Quincy Market. The latter event alone – the first of its kind – raised more than $30,000 from the sale of domestic goods like homemade preserves, knitted scarves, hand-sewn aprons and caps, and specially donated items. She built the template for that kind of event.

Mrs. Hale also raised money for the maintenance of George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, which had fallen into disrepair. She championed the establishment of Vassar, the country’s first female liberal arts college. She promoted the advancement of education and employment for women, tirelessly. Most famous of all, she was able to persuade President Abraham Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, a pet project of hers that she had put forward to a line of presidents before him. Most disappointing of all, Sarah Hale never got on board the women’s suffrage movement. She believed that giving women the vote would lead them into politics, which was too disreputable and crafty a calling for the high moral stature of the true female mind.

There is much to be said about Sarah Josepha Hale. We must not forget that she was also an author. She wrote many of the articles in Godey’s, she penned novels, children’s books, household guides and poems. It was her pen that wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She was a phenomenal woman for her time.

April 6, 1851

 

800px-Martin_W._Carr_School_-_Somerville,_MA_-_DSC03412

*

1851

April 6 Sunday.  Have been to meeting all day, and 

as usual heard two excellent sermons from

Mr Whitwell.  It rained very hard while

we were going and has rained fast all day.

Edwin called after meeting & Martin Carr &

a Mr Davenport from Attleborough.  Oakes & Oliver

called at Mr Bisbees with them

The Ames family went to both church services today and, as Evelina had come to expect, heard “two excellent sermons” from Rev. Whitwell. Despite the rain, the Ameses had visitors this afternoon. Friends of Oakes Angier and Oliver (3) called: cousin Edwin Williams Gilmore, and friend Martin Carr, who brought a Mr. Davenport with him. The young men all went out together.

Martin W. Carr was the son of “Uncle Caleb” Carr, a long-time employee of the shovel shop, and brother of Lewis Carr, the young man who died back in January from consumption. The family was descended from Robert Carr, an early governor of Rhode Island.

Martin would find his own claim to fame.  A jeweler by profession, he went on to found M. W. Carr and Company, maker of knick-knacks and souvenirs, including “gold and silver jewelry, hairpins, belt and shoe buckles, button hooks and garter belts […] matchbooks, cigarette cases, ashtrays, hatpin holders, letter openers, souvenir spoons, ink stands, magnifying glasses, lamp shades, bud vases, napkin rings and trays with imprints of the homes of American authors such as Emerson, Longfellow and Hawthorne.”**  The factory was a mainstay of Davis Square in the City of Somerville, and Carr himself a prominent citizen involved in many civic activities.  The city honored him in 1898 by naming an elementary school after him. The Easton boy made good.

* Martin W. Carr School, 1898, Somerville, Massachusetts, National Register of Historic Places, now condos.

**Somerville Journal, 1894/Coldwell Banker

January 15, 1851

Corpse

1851

Jan 15 Wednesday  This morning after doing my usual

morning work went to Mr Carrs  to put the robe on the

corpse.  in the afternoon attended the funeral.  Mr

Whitwell spoke very well to the mourners & made a good

prayer  Mr Whitwell and Mr Reed were over to tea.  After

they went away I passed the evening at Olivers with Mr

& Mrs Peckham  Made a hair cloth cover for one of the

rocking chairs cushions and sewed in the evening on a

shirt

Today Evelina attended the first of several funerals she will go to over the course of her diary.  The death of young Lewis Carr won’t be the only case of consumption, either.  In this case, she helped the Carr family by sewing a robe for the body and dressing the corpse.  Death was familiar to women like Evelina; tending to its aftermath was one of their responsibilities.

And then life went on.  After the service, Evelina (with Jane McHanna’s help, certainly) served tea to Rev. Whitwell and Mr. Reed, another man from Easton.  There were several Reed families in town, so we can’t know for sure which Mr. Reed came to tea.  In her diary, Evelina mentions Daniel Reed most frequently.  Daniel was a carpenter, according to the census; today we might call him a builder.  In any case, he was well known to the Ameses.  His wife, Mary Reed, was a member of a sewing circle to which the Ames sisters-in-law belonged and the family attended the Unitarian church.

After dark, Evelina walked next door to Oliver Jr. and Sarah Lothrop Ames’s house to visit with Joseph and Susan Peckham.  She may have taken her work box with her to sew while they visited.  No doubt, they discussed the death of Lewis Carr.

January 14, 1851

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of John Gellatly

/51

Jan 14  Tuesday.  This morning after taking care of my room went

to the store and into Mr Carrs to offer my assistance there.

Lewis Carr died last night very suddenly bleeding at the 

lungs.  Has been in a decline since last July but was about

the house as usual yesterday and conversed with O A and 

his friends in the evening & told what he was going to do when

he got well.  about ten or eleven Oclock called to his mother

to come quick which was the last word & died almost instantly

This afternoon carried Mr & Mrs Whitwell to A A Gilmores.

The “white plague,” consumption, was a killer; today we know it as tuberculosis and, in parts of the world, it’s still killing.  In 19th century America, it was a leading cause of death, the scourge of young lives, particularly.  Its contagious properties were unknown, which helped it spread.  Although different treatments, such as prolonged rest in warm climates, were tried (when possible), no cure for the disease would be found until the middle of the 20th century.  Some people did recover from TB; most did not.

Lewis Carr, a friend of Oakes Angier Ames, was barely 20 years old. He was the son of Caleb and Chloe Carr of North Easton where the family had lived for generations.  His father, known as “Uncle Caleb” in his later years, was a life-long employee of the shovel works and close to the Ames family.  So close, in fact, that two decades later, Caleb would serve as a pall-bearer at Oakes Ames’s funeral.

It is typical that Evelina would help the Carr family at this time.  She and her sisters-in-law were often called upon to sew the shrouds that corpses were wrapped in, which is what she did on this day for the family.