Saturday May 8th Mrs Witherell has finished working
my Delaine sleeves and I have put them in
and have finished the dress which I think
is about time. I sit with George for Mrs Witherell
to lay down this afternoon He is very sick and
suffers very much. Mr Manly brought me some
more plants & I paid him 1,58 cts. Oliver &
Brown returned this morning
George Witherell, fourteen years old, was ill with rheumatic fever. In the age before antibiotics, the “rheumatics,” as Evelina called it, was a serious illness. It was a complication of strep throat, which George must have had three or four weeks earlier. Its symptoms, many of which George manifested, were fever; a flat rash; involuntary twitching in the hands, feet and face; painful, tender and swollen joints; chest pain; palpitations and fatigue. As Evelina noted, George suffered a great deal, for rheumatic fever was extremely uncomfortable and unsettling. It was also often fatal.
Sarah Ames Witherell had been nursing her son for several days now. She took a rest in the afternoon and let Evelina sit with George. All the family was helping, although George wasn’t the only sick child. Helen Angier Ames next door was down, too, with a somewhat mysterious ailment in her face. Family members were worried about both young people.
Despite the concern everyone must have been feeling, normal routines in this season of planting had to be adhered to. Old Oliver reported that “we began to plow the hill back of the shovel shop pond to day.”