June 14, 1852

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June 14th

1852 Monday  Am 43 this day quite an old woman

Julia Mahoney came to work on my dresses

Hannah Murphy commenced working for me

this day & Mrs Patterson is here and it

has been about as much as I can attend to

to wait upon the rest  If I had two or 

three more it would be all I could attend to

 

Hannah Murphy, replacing the departed Jane McHanna, donned an apron this morning and “commenced working.”  Mrs. Patterson was still on the premises and the three women proceeded with the Monday chores, laundry included. Evelina was very busy tending to it all.

Yet today was Evelina’s birthday and she felt old.  We in the U.S. might scoff at the notion that 43 feels old; our current life expectancy for females is 81.  In Massachusetts in 1850, however, it was no more than 45. Who knew how long Evelina would live?  While she had the hopeful example of her hardy, octogenarian mother to emulate, she also would have remembered her two older sisters, both dead in their thirties. She may have considered the possibility that, like her mother, she could live to an advanced age. In fact, she would live to be 73; on this birthday, she had thirty more years in front of her.

At the shovel factory, Oliver Ames took his mind off his concern for the crops and focused instead on the arrival of Clark S. Manchester, who “came here to day from Fall River to build our stone shop.”* Mr. Manchester, 37 years old, was a native of Little Compton, Rhode Island, who had only recently moved to Fall River with his wife and two children. His expertise with stone work had led him to the Ameses, or they to him.

So the new building began, on the west side of Shovel Shop Pond. This location was different from the original and recently rebuilt factory, which sat at a lower edge of the pond in order to maximize the drop in water level. Water still powered the factory machines, and the new location to the west would still rely on water power from “just above where the Queset entered Shovel Shop Pond.”** But different from the old factory, this new Long Shop would accommodate a modern steam engine, a huge advance in technology. A new era in production was waiting to begin, and the stone buildings would reflect the change.

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

** Gregory Galer, Forging Ahead, 2002, p. 250