July 6, 1852

500px-Illinoisoldcapitol

Old State Capitol Building, Springfield, Illinois, built 1839

1852

July 6th Tuesday  Was very busy sewing this forenoon

Mary made the sleeves to my purple cambric

calico and sewed the drugget for the sitting

room  This afternoon have been into Olivers

to tea with Mrs Witherell & Mrs Ames &c &c

Mr Jones from Foxboro called.

Received a note from Cassander Gilmore that 

Henry died this morning requesting us to attend the funeral 

 

In the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, a practicing lawyer and former U. S. Representative named Abraham Lincoln gave a eulogy today for Henry Clay, the Senator from Kentucky who had just passed away. Clay had been Lincoln’s idol, his “beau ideal of a statesman.”* In 1832, Lincoln cast his first presidential vote for Clay; in 1844, he campaigned for Clay and served as an elector from Illinois. Clay’s influence on Lincoln would be life-long.

On the occasion of Clay’s death, Lincoln spoke for some time, quoting at length a laudatory editorial which lamented “that never again that majestic form shall rise again in the council-chambers in his country to beat back the storms of anarchy which may threaten, or pour the oil of peace upon the troubled billows as they rage and menace around…” Lincoln then moved on to his own simpler words. He praised Clay for his wisdom, eloquence, and perseverance, noting that “Mr. Clay’s predominant sentiment, from first to last, was a deep devotion to the cause of liberty – a strong sympathy with the oppressed everywhere, and an ardent wish for their elevation.”*

In the town of Easton, Massachusetts, on this same day, Evelina received a letter asking for her presence at a different funeral. Her cousin Henry Gilmore of Raynham had died this very morning, as his brother Cassander Gilmore wrote to say, and she and her family were pressed to attend the funeral the next day.

 

* henryclay.org

December 30, 1851

SwedishRunnersC

*

Tuesday Dec 30th  This forenoon worked about the house

again. Have put the drugget down in the 

parlour and dusted the room thoroughly.

Made Susan the second pair of sleeves to her blue

cotton & wool Delaine  Finished the letter to Lucy Norris

Commenced knitting the border to the bottom of my hood

It is a beautiful warm sunny day like the spring of the year

 

Nor surprisingly, the carpet that Evelina used in the house was inexpensive. Drugget, as it was known, was “a sort of cheap stuff, very thin and narrow, usually made of wool.”**  Drugget is an English term for “a coarse fabric having a cotton warp and a wool filling,” ** the kind of quick carpeting one might have found in a first class railway carriage. It probably had a design or a border printed on it.

Evelina has written here and elsewhere of putting carpeting down, taking it up and outside to clean, and putting it down again. She has written of stitching the carpeting together, which suggests that she may have used drugget runners side by side to make an over-all covering for her parlor floor. She may have been more conventional, though, and placed the drugget as runners on top of an area rug, or on top of a bare floor. Whatever she did, the work was repetitive and dusty.

It’s a shame that Evelina spent so much time indoors today when the weather was “fair warm + pleasant,” as Old Oliver reported. She herself made note of its similarity to spring; she should have known it wasn’t going to last.

 

** Wikipedia, “Drugget”, as of December 26, 2014

 

 

Scandinavian Room with drugget runners “Bibliotekarien Segersteen i sitt hem,” 1886, by Johan Fredrik Krouthen, Courtesy of http://www.burrows.com

 

January 28, 1851

Pray

1851

Jan 29th Tuesday  This morning sit down quite early to 

making a carpet bag of pieces that were left of the parlour

carpet.  This afternoon cut a place in the drugget for

the parlour register  Abby & Malvina passed the afternoon

here and this evening.  Mother Abby & myself have been

to a prayer meeting at Mr Bucks.  Mr Buck, wife &

their children all spoke & prayed  Charley best of all.

Abby made a few remarks & a number of others.  Cloudy.

It appears that the recent domestic mishap of spilled varnish on the parlor carpet was solved by the installation of new “drugget” or carpeting. The change of carpeting must have been in the works before Evelina’s purchase of drugget in Boston two weeks back.  After the rug was installed (by whom?,) Evelina scavenged enough scraps from the cutting to begin to assemble a carpetbag for herself.  Waste not, want not.

The mention of cutting the rug to fit around a register helps confirm the existence of a central furnace in the old house.  In fact, Old Oliver had installed coal furnaces only recently on his property, in the counting house or office as well as in the residence.  Coal as fuel was a marked change from earlier days when the family had relied on wood-burning fireplaces for heat.  Oakes Angier must have been pleased with the change.  According to his grandson Winthrop, Oakes Angier detested the old fireplaces, remembering that they  “broiled you on one side while you froze on the other.” *

Tonight Evelina took her mother and niece Abby Torrey to a prayer meeting at the Bucks’ house where they heard all the Buck family members pray.  Evelina’s take on young Charley Buck was prescient, for he would grow up to be the Reverend Dr. Charles Henry Buck, well-respected Methodist minister in a succession of churches in Connecticut, New York and, eventually, Easton.

*Winthrop Ames, The Ames Family, 1937, p. 125.