December 3, 1852


Friday Dec 3d  Finished taking care of the pork this

forenoon had 60 lbs sausage meat  Weighed

16 lb pork tried it out and it (the lard) weighed 14 lbs

Went to mothers this afternoon with Oakes

Angier as he was going to West Bridgewater

My bonnet came from Boston to night

that I left to be made  Susan practiced

an hour this evening to me & I went into the other 

part of the house

Yesterday Old Oliver “kild six hogs [… and] the everage weight of the whole 12 was 413 pounds the heavyest weighd 489.” Oliver had given each offspring – Oakes, Oliver Jr., and Sarah Witherell – a pig to cut up and preserve. Upset as she was over the news about her eldest son, Oakes Angier, Evelina and her two servants worked to break down their pig into a manageable, edible assortment of pork. Sausage, of course, was a standard way to process and keep pork over time. So yesterday and today, the women cut and grounded meat, ending up with 60 pounds of sausage and 14 pounds of lard.

No doubt Evelina was preoccupied with thoughts of her son, but she may have found some comfort in keeping her hands busy with the necessary chores of the kitchen.  She took the opportunity of riding with Oakes Angier to the family farm, perhaps to share the news with her mother and brother Alson. Oakes Angier rode on to West Bridgewater. Might he have traveled to call on the Hobart family as well? He must have had to tell Catharine Hobart that he was leaving for Cuba and an uncertain future.

Susan Ames, once so rebellious at the piano, “practiced an hour this evening to” her mother. Do we imagine too much to think that she was trying to make her mother happy?


April 12, 1852


Tin Dipper

Monday April 12th  have been making sausages.  Tried

lard salted pork &c &c  Went to the store and bought

large tins mixing pan two small and one larger pan and 

tin dipper.  Susan washed the dishes  She does not like

to work very well, though she improves some

I had 38 lbs sausage meat seasoned them with 3/4 lbs salt

4 1/2 oz sage & savory 3 1/2 oz pepper  Am going to

watch with Mrs Brett tonight.  Not very pleasant

Evelina gave us one of her own recipes today, for sausage seasoned with salt, sage, savory and pepper.  She “tried the lard,” too, meaning that she boiled it down somewhat. And she probably used some of her new cookware in the process, while young Susie Ames helped grudgingly with the dishes.

As usual, Evelina cooked on a grand scale, inviting speculation as to just how much food her family ate. With a husband, three grown sons and a still-growing little girl all at the dinner table, we can imagine that 38 pounds of sausage didn’t last long. A month, maybe?

Old Oliver, meanwhile, was in forward gear.  After noting the “cool” and “chilly” temperature, he seemed please to write that “we were a digging a cellar to day for a cariage hous –“  Perhaps the planning for the new stone shops had inspired him to add another building – a carriage house – to the list of new constructions.

December 15, 1851


Monday Dec 15  The girls have both been washing to 

day but it was so windy they could not put their clothes

out  Jane has sewed this afternoon the bags for the

sausages  I knit on Susans hood this morning

and this afternoon commenced knitting on a little

hood for the fair  Mrs Witherell & Ames have been

in awhile and are to work for it

While her servants Jane and Mary struggled with the Monday laundry, Evelina began to knit. Her nephew, Augustus Gilmore, had fetched some yarn – or worsted, as she called it – for her on Saturday while in Boston, and she was finally able to get to it today.

Evelina “knit on” two hoods, one for her daughter Susan and another for a church fair that was coming up. A hood might take a few different shapes, from a fitted piece that covered the top, sides and back of one’s head to one that covered the top and sides only, as in the period illustration above. The one above – which isn’t knitted, but sewn – is really just a variation of a bonnet.

Jane McHanna, too, worked with a needle today once the washing was done. She sewed some cloth bags for the pounds and pounds of sausage that had been produced on Saturday.  Sausage was usually forced into casings made from pig intestines, and this may have been the case with the pork that Evelina and Sarah Witherell produced.  But it may be that an additional cloth covering was desirable for storage or identification.  Hard to know.  Any thoughts from readers who have made their own sausages?


December 12, 1851


Dec 12 Friday  I am no better than yesterday & my cough

is increasing.  Have been mending most all day

Took a piece out of a comforter that the cat

had been on  Hannah called a few minutes

Mr Talbot brought home the sausage chopper

that he borrowed yesterday and Orville borrowed 

it and has brought it home this evening

Mary has been sick most all day talked of leaving

A cat! Today’s entry is the only mention in Evelina’s diary of the existence of a pet at the Ames house. There may have been some feral cats in the Ames barn, keeping the rodent population down, but the way this entry is written suggests that this cat was more of a household pet. And this pet “had been on” (what might that mean!) an old comforter or quilt, and had done enough damage to warrant the piece being removed. While the cat was no doubt indifferent to the fate of the comforter, Evelina was concerned enough to repair it.

Evelina was “mending most of the day,” which meant she was finally sitting down and holding relatively still. For several days, she had been indoors and out, painting and varnishing, kneeling and bending, and challenging herself to ignore her cold. No wonder her cough was “increasing.”  Her newest servant, Mary, had taken sick, too.

Neighbors were making sausage, and Evelina and Sarah Witherell would be doing that, too, in a day or two. Old Oliver had slaughtered four hogs a little over a week earlier, most of which he sold. But some of the pork made its way into the various Ames kitchens, and now the Ames wives and daughters would be putting it away.