|Title||Mary White, Diary|
|Type||Primary Sources: Diary|
Mary White was a mother, a grandmother, and the wife of Aaron White, a prosperous storekeeper and farmer in Boylston, Massachusetts. She was one of the most active and important women in town, deeply involved in social visiting, the work of her church, and in charitable activities. Mary White was also an enthusiastic supporter of social reform, particularly the highly controversial cause of antislavery. She found time in her busy life to make entries in her diary almost every day between 1836 and 1849.
Excerpts from the diary of Mary White
Boylston January 1838
Mon. 1 Cloudy, moderate weather. As we have been spared to see a new year may we be enabled to devote the remainder of my days to the service of my heavenly father…
Wed 3 Very pleasant weather. Mr. White went with me to Worcester. Found Mr. Conants family in good health. Mr. White purchased some oil for Lamps & returned home in the after noon & left me to make a visit.
Thu 11 Fair weather & very cold. Thermometer ten degrees above zero. I cut out a pair of satinett* pantaloons* for William presented him by Susan. I attended a meeting in the Vestry* in the evening…
Fri 19 Quite a rainy day. A Mr. Burton delivered a lecture on political freedom. May our nation be led to feel their responsibilities to their country & their God, & be delivered from political bondage.
Sat 20 Fair weather, trees & shrubs laden with Ice. I finished making a black velvet waistcoat* for William. I called to see Mrs. Sanford & her new little Son. Found her quite comfortable. William & the girls attend a concert at the Vestry.
Mon 22 Fair weather & frosty. William went with Avery to Worcester to take the cars* for Boston…William got three teeth pulled by Dr. Blood…
Fri 26 …I called at [Rev.] Mr. Sanfords in the afternoon. Mr. Brown, our school master, took tea with us this afternoon. Mary & Caroline attended a singing meeting at the Vestry. Mr. Whitney carting posts for fence.
Sat 10 Fair weather & cold. Francis went with Rufus Eager to Sewals pond & caught 1/2 a dozen pickerel. Mr. Whitney went to the Post Office for papers. I finished knitting a pair of mittens for Francis. I attended meeting at the Vestry.
Sat 21 Fair weather, a little warmer. Mr. White had some wheat sowed*. My cold a little better…A child of Able Hastings died, aged 3 years.
Sab* 22 Fair weather, very pleasant & mild. I tarried* at home with Mr. White. The first time for nearly 8 or ten years [that I have missed church services] on account of bad colds.
Tues 24 Fair weather. Mary went to Miss Sophia Cotton to cut & fit her brown silk gown. I attended a meeting at the Vestry…
Tues 1 Fair weather…Heard of an awful Steam boat explosion at Cincinnati, 125 hurried into eternity in a moment…
Thu 3 Rainy forenoon, fair towards night. I cut out two shirts for William & two for Francis. Finished making 4 shirts for myself…
Mon 7 Fair principal part of the day, one or two squall Showers. Mr. Thaxter Whitney at work here assisting in planting potatoes. Town meeting & Parish meeting. Mr. Sanford called in here. Mrs. Daniel Bannister died this morning aged 63 years.
Tues 8 Cloudy morning…Mrs. Bannister funeral attended at the meetinghouse. I went to Worcester with Francis & Myron Conant. Francis returned after dinner.
Mon 14 Warm & pleasant. Mr. White sowed the garden. Louisa Brigham called here…
Tues 15 Very warm & pleasant. I attended maternal meeting* at Mr. Sanfords…
Mon 21 Fair weather, very warm. A Mr. Heckworth lecturing on Astronomy at the town Hall this evening. Mrs. Stratton called here this afternoon.
Tues 5 Rainy forenoon some showers in the afternoon. A Female prayer meeting here. I attended a prayer meeting at the Vestry…
Thu 7 Cloudy morning. Mr. Whitney at work at the highways. Mr. Tilton came here for oats. Finished making a shirt for Charles…
Tues 19 Fair weather & cool. I churned* 32 1/2 lbs. butter. I attended a maternal association & a meeting in the evening at the Vestry…
Wed 20 …Mr. White & Mary went to Worcester…Mrs. Sanford called in here. I went with her to the Antislavery meeting. I called to see Mrs. Abbot a few minutes. Mr. Longley called here. Mr. White purchased two pitchforks & three milk pans.
Thur 21 Pleasant weather & rather warmer. My brother White brought my Mother here. Very happy to have an opportunity of seeing her again…
Sab 24 Fair weather. I attended meeting all day. My Mother went in the afternoon…
Tues 26 Very pleasant weather, a fine growing season…Mrs. Bramin assisted me in washing. Mary attended a meeting at the Vestry.
Mon 2 Rainy morning very warm. Fair afternoon. Mr. Woodhouse here with a barrel of flour & a new grindstone* & settled* for some butter…
Wed 4 Fair weather, very warm. Thermometer up to 98. Mary & Francis & Myron sat out for Worcester this morning. Mr. Stratton assisting in getting hay. Got in four Loads into the Barn.
Mon 9 Fair weather very warm. Mrs. Bramins assisted me in washing. Mr. Stratton & Sanford M. Kendal came to assist in haying…
Sat 14 Fair weather very pleasant. Mr. Kendal came to work. Mrs. White went with Davis to Westboro to take the cars from Boston & returned at night…
Tues 24 Fair weather in the day, rainy evening. I churned 40 lbs. butter.
Wed 3 Cloudy & wet forepart of the day, very pleasant latter part. Miss Wheeler came here at noon & finished my black silk gown. Singing school began tonight.
Fri 5 Pleasant weather quite warm. Mr. White went to Mr. Longleys to get some cheese. Myron went with him. Mrs. Sawtel drank tea here. Mr. White husking corn this evening.
Wed 10 Cloudy weather & cold some rain in the evening. Abel & Francis went to the Cattle show…Louisa Brigham spent the day here. Mr. Cottons Daughter & Miss Olive How met here this afternoon to work for the antislavery society. Caroline & Mary attended the singing school in the evening.
Sab 14 Cloudy weather. My family went to meeting in the forenoon, left my Mother & Myron at home. Mary staid [stayed] at home in the afternoon. Sabbath School Concert.
Mon 15 A very rainy day. Mr. White finished husking corn & sold 18 barrels of winter Apples for 15 dollars. Mr. Sanford dined here.
Wed 17 Fair weather & cool. Mr. Ball went to Westboro for my Mothers furniture & returned at night…
Thu 18 Fair weather. Put my Mothers furniture into the East room…
Sat 3 Very pleasant weather. Mr. White digging beets, carrots, & parsnips & went to Mr. Longleys & got 240 lbs. Cheese. Mary went to meeting in the Vestry.
Mon 5 A Very rainy day. I omitted washing on account of rain. Churned 15 lbs. butter.
Sat 10 Fair & cold. Mr. White had pumpkins & squashes brought in the house & cellar…Mr. White sold 50 bushels of oats to Mr. Joel Flagg of Shrewsbury for 50 cts per bushel.
Tues 20 Fair & cold. Thermometer 14 degrees above zero. Mr. Miller began his school again. Abel chopping wood in the woods.
Wed 21 Fair weather & cold. Mr. White went to Worcester with Myron & brought Francis home & purchased 4 gallons & 3 pints Molasses, 30 lbs. sugar, 12 lbs. raisins, 3 lbs. currants. Miss Sophia Cotton called in here in the evening. Went with Caroline to the singing school.
Glossary*cars - railroad train
*churned - stirred or agitated cream to make into butter
*grindstone - a stone used for sharpening tools
*maternal meeting or association - group of mothers who attend meetings to consider their children's moral and spiritual development
*pantaloons - long pants, trousers worn by boys and men
*Sab - abbreviation for Sabbath; Sunday
*satinett - a strong fabric made of cotton and wool
*settled - balanced the account by trading goods
*sowed - planted seeds
*tarried - stayed
*vestry - a meeting room for church affairs, either attached to the meetinghouse or in a separate building
*waistcoat - a vest
SourceDiary of Mary White, Boylston, Mass., 1836-1844, Vol. l. Old Sturbridge Village Research Library. Selected entries from 1838. Edited by Old Sturbridge Village.