June 23, 1852

1852 Stove Ad 002

Advertisement for cook stove, June 1852*

 

Wednesday June 23d  Work again weeding the garden

untill nine or ten and then about house

attending to the new stove that was put up

last night  Passed the afternoon at Mr

Howard Lothrops with Mrs Witherell, S Ames

& Helen.  Got 4lbs of butter of Mrs Harvey &

Eggs of Mrs Howard & Pratt

 

Evelina had a new, cast-iron stove, a high-tech appliance in the new, industrial age. Cast iron was “the wonder material of the 19th century and led to a prolific industry in making stoves for cooking as well as heating. Cast iron could take the repeated temperature swings of hot and cold, and it was an ideal medium for casting into complex, prefabricated parts, as well as for decorative surface ornament.”** Coal and iron mines were kept busy providing the raw material as middle-class households bought cook stoves for their transformed kitchens.

The new stoves had various brand names, naturally; one model was even named for everyone’s favorite opera star: the Jenny Lind Double Oven Stove. The dominant design for cookstoves was called “step-top,” which allowed two separate levels for cooking on. The choice of cooking surface facilitated the preparation of several dishes. Evelina could be confident that her kitchen was state-of-the-art, whatever her father-in-law had to say about it.

Evelina may even have talked about her new stove as she was out and about this afternoon, picking up butter and eggs, and visiting with her two sisters-in-law at the elder Lothrops’ home.

 

*Advertisement from Charleston, Illinois newspaper, 

** http://www.oldhouseonline.com/history-of-the-kitchen-stove

December 28, 1851

CEM2250808_135321565571

 

Sunday Dec 28th A very stormy day but all went to meeting

except Oakes A & self, came home at noon so few

there that Mr Whitwell thought best not to have one in the afternoon.

Mr Swains brother went with them  Capt Johnathan Pratts wife

was buried this afternoon  Have written to Miss Foss and

partly written a letter to Lucy Norris

 

The “stormy day” kept most folks home from church; it had snowed overnight and the snow had turned to rain.  According to the family’s indefatigable weather man, Old Oliver, it “raind by spells all day but there was not more than ½ an inch fell.”

It was dreadful weather for a burial, but the frozen ground and cold precipitation didn’t prevent the funeral of Sophia Pratt, who had died the day before of consumption. Fifty-seven years old, she was the mother of four sons and the wife of Capt. Jonathan Pratt, a farmer and former member of the local militia. The Pratt family had been settled in Easton for several generations; their farm was not very far from the Gilmore spread in the southeastern section of town.

In common with any human community, the people of Easton had ceremonies for dealing with death. Protestant or Catholic, a dead person’s body was placed in a coffin and buried as soon as practicable, for reasons of hygiene, convenience and respect. As historian Drew Gilpin Faust explains: “Redemption and resurrection of the body were understood as physical, not just metaphysical realities, and therefore the body, even in death and dissolution, preserved ‘a surviving identity.’ […][T]he body and its place in the universe mandated attention even when life had fled; it required what always seemed to be called ‘decent’ burial, as well as rituals fitting for the dead.”*

As her coffin was lowered into a plot in Pine Grove Cemetery, Sophia Pratt would have received a fitting funeral.

 

*Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering, New York, 2008, p. 62