Caught Betweeen Two Worlds
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     The Diary of a Lowell Mill Girl,
Susan Brown of Epsom, New Hampshire

Mary H. Blewett

Lowell Museum
Lowell, Massachusetts

Funded through donations made in memory
of John Rogers Flather.

Cover illustration courtesy of New York
Public Library.


Copyright  1984 Lowell Museum 
All Rights Reserved 
ISBN 0 942472 08 X 
Printed in the United States of America 

Regulations of the Middlesex Company, 
1846, p.22. New York

Middlesex Company, 1850, p.35. 

Regulations for the Boarding Houses of
the Middlesex Company, 1846, p.44.

View of Merrimac Street, Lowell, Mass.,
1856, p.52.

Power Loom, One Girl Attends Four,
ca.1840, p.57.


The diary of Susan Brown is reproduced in
its original spelling and punctuation.
Material within the brackets has been 
added by the editor. The small size of
the diary and Susan Brown's use of a
soft, blunt pencil rendered some of the
words illegible. Many of the events and
names in the diary were identified in the
1844 Lowell City Directory, the federal
manuscript census of population for 1840
and in the January to September 1843
issues of the Lowell Courier.

The editor thanks the American Antiquari-
an Society, Worcester, Massachusetts for
giving its permission to publish the
diary. Thanks also for assistance,
support and encouragement from Lewis T.
Karabatsos, Robert W. McLeod, Jr., Arthur
L. Eno, Jr., Martha Mayo and Ann
Robinson, University of Lowell, Helena
Wright, the Smithsonian Institution,
Maude Salinger, National Park Service,
and David Dearborn, New England Genea-
logical and Historical Society. Thanks
to Mary Donovan and Pat Moore of the
University of Lowell and Colette Lyons of
the Lowell Museum for typing the
manuscript and to Walter V. Hickey,


Pollard Memorial Library for his gener-
osity. I delivered a public lecture
based on the Susan Brown diary to the
Lowell Historical Society on March 4,

The publication of this diary is dedi-
cated to Tom Dublin.



     In the early 1820s the Boston
Associates built the Lowell mills, had
the power canals dug and the great water
wheels set in place, and put together the
system of machinery which produced cotton 
cloth under one factory roof. They had,
however, an immediate human problem: who
was to work the machines which turned out 
the textiles? Most New England men were 
farmers and would not leave the land to
work all day in factories. To tempt the
skilled Yankee artisans and freehold
farmers with wages high enough to
persuade them to leave their customary
work would have cost the Lowell mill
owners far too much money. In order to
realize the profits they expected from 
the large capital investment in land,
buildings and machinery, the Lowell
capitalists recruited an untapped source
of labor to industrial work: the New
England farm girl.



Young, unmarried women could be paid much
less in wages than young men, but as
textile operatives they earned higher
wages than in any other women's occu 
pation. Work for them was intended to be
a brief experience prior to marriage. An
operative's job at the loom or the
spinning frame was easily learned, and
after several years, each mill girl would
return home with savings in her pocket to
become a bride. Healthy, hard working
farm girls with thrifty habits and
unquestioned morality were encouraged to
spend a year or two or more as Lowell
mill girls. Their parents were assured
that the virtues of their Yankee
daughters would be preserved by a system
of careful supervision both at work and
in the corporation boarding houses where
they would eat and sleep. The steady
work habits and disciplined characters of
the girlhood of New England would be
adapted to the factory system. A high
rate of turnover in the work force  as
young women came to work in the Lowell
mills and returned to their families --
protected the health and morality of the
operatives, released them from industrial
work to marry and kept the wage rate
down. The experience of the factory
system, furthermore, did not undermine
the habits and behavior of these
daughters of New England villages nor
turn them into a degraded proletariat.



Neither the time schedules of the board-
ing houses nor the rhythms of industrial 
work overwhelmed the culture of rural 
life from which they came nor made them
forget that they were their fathers' 
daughters: the daughters of Yankee 
     Thousands and thousands of girls 
from the towns and villages of New 
England came to work in the Lowell tex-
tile mills in the four decades before the
Civil War. Historians know about their
lives from many sources. Corporation
work rules and boarding house regulations
show the plan and pattern of their lives
as industrial workers. Payroll records 
indicate how much money they earned in 
wages, where they worked and which jobs
they performed. The federal census, the
vital records of New England towns and
the early directories of Lowell yield
information on their ages and families,
their places of residence and the circum 
stances of their marriages. The Lowell
Offering, published in the early 1840s by 
factory operatives, reveals the literary 
interests and abilities of some of them 
in essays, poetry and short stories which 
occasionally express their yearnings for 
home and reveal the reasons why they came
to work in the mills. The Voice of
Industry in the mid 1840s provides evi-
dence of early labor protest by women



operatives. There are two published
memoirs of mill girls who became dis-
tinguished women of Massachusetts in the
nineteenth century.1 Recently, letters
and diaries of Lowell mill girls have
been discovered on the shelves of
archives and libraries or among family
papers stored away in trunks in New
England attics.  Renewed interest in the
lives of Lowell mill girls has resulted
in the publication of some of these

     Diaries are more rare. One is the
diary of Mary Hall of Concord, New Hamp-
shire, transcribed in 1967 and located in
the New Hampshire Historical Society in
Concord. Hall's diary, which was kept
for five years between 1831 and 1836, was
concise and terse, and its pages were
often filled with disappointing entries
of "not anything interesting" or "nothing
particular." Many of the dates were
blank, leaving the historian with no clue
to Mary Hall's thoughts or activities.
1. Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood.
    (1889) and Harriet Hanson Robinson, Loom
    & Spindle (1898).
2. Thomas Dublin, Farm to Factory:
    Women’s Letters, 1830-1860, Columbia
    University Press, 1981.



In 1979 I came across the diaries of 
Susan Brown Forbes at the American
Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massa-
chusetts. Among the many annual records
which she kept between 1841 and 1907 was
a "Lowell Almanac, Business Key and 
Pocket Memorandum" published by Powers &
Bagley of Lowell in 1843. In this pocket 
diary Susan Brown recorded her experi 
ences as a mill girl.3

     Diarists often recorded what 
appeared important to them, not what 
historians would like to know. In the 
case of Susan Brown, her diary leaves an 
incomplete picture of the experience of 
industrial work for a New England girl
from the countryside. From her diary, we 
can learn something about her work but
more about her social life: whom she saw 
and what she did. Her diary from 1843 is 
filled with her activities, records of 
her wages, her expenses and expendi 
tures,and the people with whom she 
associated. Susan Brown remained very 
much a New England village girl while she 
worked as a weaver in the Middlesex 
Mills. In the evocative words of Thomas 
Dublin, she was "caught between two 
worlds:" the world of the New England 
3. The diary is about the size of a 3 x 5
index card and was written with a blunt,
soft pencil, rendering some words illegi- 



village and the industrial world of the
textile city.4

     Susan Elizabeth Parsons Brown was
born on a farm in Epsom, a small town
located in the hilly upcountry land of
Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Her
father was William Brown, a farmer whose
ownership of $2,000 in real estate in
1850 placed him among the average proper-
ty owners in the town. Her mother was
Lucretia Billings Gray of Epsom, the
daughter of James Gray and Suzanna
Parsons. She had one sister, Mary Lucy.
In 1841 when her diaries begin, she was
enrolled as a student at the nearby
Pittsfield Academy, a private high
school. In May of that year at the age
of seventeen, she began teaching school
in Epsom, a situation which she viewed
with decidedly mixed feelings. On May
13, she wrote: "Spent the day at my
school room   feeling very unlike the
task before me   that of instructing
about a dozen urchins in their
A.B.C.s…" She persevered, however, and
in 1842 she taught forty seven children
at a school in Pittsfield. Apparently
dissatisfied with teaching, she decided
to become a Lowell mill girl, and on
4. Thomas Dublin, Women at Work: The
Transformation, Work and Community in
Lowell, Massachusetts. 1826 - 1860,
Columbia University Press, 1979, p.56.



January 16, 1843 she arrived in the city
on the Concord stage coach. She was 
eighteen years of age.

     On the day before she left for 
Lowell, Susan Brown, like many of the
young women operatives, knew exactly 
where she was going to work and where she
was going to board. A private network of 
family connections and information had
preceded her to Lowell. She noted on 
January 15 that she would reside with a
family known to her parents, the William
Stickneys on Lawrence Street, and work 
with the Stickney daughters in the
Middlesex Mills. The Middlesex was
located on the Concord River, somewhat 
east and down stream from the other major
textile corporations of Lowell which drew
their water power from the canal system 
fed by the Merrimack River.

     The Middlesex Mills were owned by 
the Lawrence family of Boston, and the 
factories turned out woolen textiles
rather than the calicos, jeans and broad- 
cloths produced by the eight cotton
mills of Lowell. In December 
1842 with the introduction of the 
Crompton loom at the Middlesex, the mill
Agent decided to cut piece rates for
weaving on the grounds that the new looms
would speed up the weaving process and
result in higher wages to the workers.
The weavers at the Middlesex objected and



called a strike, one of the leaders of
which probably was weaver Eliza M.
Hemenway, later of the Lowell Female
Labor Reform Association5 Making contact
with new girls like Susan Brown and
preventing them from working during a
"turnout" was a difficult problem for the
strikers, and their efforts failed. After
resting at the Stickney's house for one
day after her journey, Susan Brown began
to work as a sparehand weaver, learning
how to operate a loom in one of the
buildings owned by the Middlesex Corpo-
ration. When she took her place on
January 18, 1843, she did not mention
strikes or wage cuts in her diary and
seemed unconscious that she was a strike-
breaker. On January 24, her sister Lucy
arrived by stage coach from Epsom to join
her, boarding with the Stickneys and
working at the Middlesex.

     Family ties and a network of friends
and the and kin had accompanied Susan and Lucy
Brown to Lowell and were maintained
5. This organization, formed in 1845 and
led by early labor activist Sarah Bagley,
criticized the way the mill managers
treated the operatives, opposed wage cuts
and helped publish a labor paper, The
Voice of Industry, beginning in October
1845 which expressed the interests of New
England textile workers.



throughout their stay in the city. On 
February 9 a family friend, Ben Bickford,
stopped by and spent the evening at the
Stickneys. Upon his return to Epsom, he
no doubt told the Browns that their 
daughters were safe and at work. This
visit was followed by a succession of 
other visitors from Epsom including Brown
family members. Family ties were also
maintained by letters, by baskets of 
home made treats sent to Susan by stage
coach and by a two week visit in July
from her mother. During her mother's
stay in Lowell, Susan spent some time
away from her work as a weaver and 
enjoyed social gatherings at the
Stickneys among other families with whom
she had become acquainted. She and her 
mother watched together at the sick bed
of a family friend, and before her mother 
returned to Epsom, she did up Susan's
laundry for her. Her mother's visit was
especially important to Susan, because 
her sister Lucy had quit work in the
Middlesex in May and returned to Epsom in
early June.

     Boarding with a private family in 
Lowell was not typical of the experience 
of textile operatives. Most of the mill
managers made sure that the mill girl's
boarded in the corporation boarding 
houses run by respectable older women,
many of them widows, who maintained
decorum and enforced the rules and 
regulations. For Susan, boarding with



the Stickneys and working with the
Stickney daughters had special ad-
vantages. One cold, snowy evening in
mid February, Mr. Stickney "came with a
sleigh after us." Being part of the
Stickney family also brought Susan into
contact with their family friends, the
Fosses, the Hodgmans, the Hams, the
Whipples and the Dabneys, some of whom
apparently also knew the Browns of Epsom.
In early March after a spell of sickness,
Susan left the Stickney house to board
with the Fosses who also lived on
Lawrence Street, but she continued to
make social calls at the Stickneys and
went to parties with their daughters. In
many ways, Susan was still part of the
village life of New England even in
Lowell. Also boarding with the Fosses
was the Ham family, whose son George, a
carpenter became Susan's friend and
companion as she explored the city and
its cultural opportunities.

     The new vista of social experience
which working as a mill girl opened to
the New England farmer's daughter was
certainly one compelling reason for her
to step into the stage coach to Lowell.
During the first weeks of her stay in the
city, Susan Brown attended public
lectures, and on Sundays she investigated
the various churches, one by one, observ-
ing the differences in doctrine and
service. She greatly disapproved of



both the Roman Catholic and the Free Will
Baptist churches and much preferred the
Unitarian Church of the Reverend Henry A. 
Miles or the Second Congregational Church 
of Uzziah Burnap.

     On her evenings after work, she took
the opportunity to sample the cultural
activities of the new city, including
lectures by anti slavery advocates and on 
temperance and magnetism. She attended a 
performance of the "Reformed Drunkard's 
Comedy" and heard a lecture by Asa Gray 
of Harvard College on the new geology.6
She listened to concerts at Mechanics'
Hall and heard the famous Hutchinson
family singers. She was attracted to
curiosities: lectures by a "Portuguese"
preacher, by a "Jew" and by a "Jewess."
She saw a staged reconstruction of the 
burning of Moscow in 1812. She ate 
quantities of ice cream at French's ice
cream parlor on Central Street. Fre-
quently during the summer months, she and
her companions strolled through the 
woodsy grounds of the new Lowell 
Cemetery, which, like many Victorian 
cemeteries such as Mount Auburn in 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, was designed as
an urban park to be used and admired by
6. Fossil discoveries led to a new perio- 
dization of the evolution of the earth
which contradicted Biblical creation. 



the living. In June she took the train
to Boston with George Ham to attend the
services dedicating the Bunker Hill
monument, heard Daniel Webster speak at
the occasion which she noted as "grand
indeed," and toured the city, its
churches and parks.

     Susan Brown's new cultural experi-
ences were balanced by an intensive
routine of social visiting with family
friends, almost as though she had never
left Epsom. During these visits, she
maintained many social practices common
to New England village life. She watched
along with others at the bedsides of the
sick and the dying, attended funerals and
cared for the children of family friends.
She took tea and spent evenings in the
homes of various families. She called on
the minister's wife, Mrs. Miles. She ran
errands for Mrs. Ham. When, as Lucy
prepared to return to Epsom, Susan moved
into a Middlesex boarding house on Hurd
Street, she felt cut off from this social
activity and wrote on June 1: "Spent the
night at my own boarding house among
entire strangers."

     In her Hurd Street boarding house,
Susan Brown quickly made friends among
her fellow boarders: New England girls
from home and families much like her own.
Thomas Dublin has described these friend-
ships as a community of peers which



created a collective sense of common
background and experience which was
important to the formation of groups of
mill girls who wrote for the Lowell
Offering and organized the Female Labor
Reform Association. Susan Brown's diary
indicates that while she did form some
friendships among girls in her boarding
house and in the Middlesex Mills, her
closest companions lived in other board-
ing houses and worked for other corpo-
rations. At the end of her pocket diary,
there was a business key to Lowell which
listed the addresses of all the corpo- 
ration boarding houses. Susan placed
cross marks beside boarding houses
operated for the Appleton, Boott,
Lawrence and Suffolk and Tremont mills as
well as two private boarding houses. Her
network of friends who lived at the
addresses so marked seemed to have been
formed from village and family con-
nections, rather than by common residence
and work in Lowell. Susan and her mill 
girl friends attended church together, 
called on acquaintances and shopped the
many retail stores on Merrimack and 
Central Streets. More importantly, Susan
integrated her friends into her intensive
social life among the people she had come
to know on Lawrence Street. Together
they attended funerals, took tea and ran
helpful errands, thereby balancing their
experiences as mill operatives by main- 
taining the social patterns of village



Life. When Susan returned home in
September 1843, beside her in the stage
coach rode a friend from Epsom, the
sister of Ben Bickford who had first
called on the Brown sisters at the
Stickney house in February.

    Susan Brown's diary contains fewer
references to work than to her social
activities. She wrote down nothing about
her experience learning to weave nor her
reactions to factory work except some
infrequent outbursts of homesick longing
to return to Epsom.

May 8:     Sixteen weeks today! But it
                will not be sixteen weeks
                longer here.

May 10:  Still immured within the massey
               brick walls of a hateful

August 18: Seven months since I first
                 entered the Middlesex -
                 Since I saw home! Alone, &
                 among strangers! Oh, when
                 shall I return?

     According to the regulations of the
Middlesex Corporation and of all the
mills in Lowell, operatives in good
standing were required to work for at
least one year, give two weeks notice
before leaving, board in a corporation



boarding house and have their work
closely supervised. Susan Brown's
experience as a textile worker conformed
to none of these stipulations, although
her experience at the Middlesex may not
have been typical of other operatives and
the management of the Middlesex often
came under public criticism for incompe 
tence. Susan worked for nine months,
left apparently without giving two weeks
notice and did not live in a corporation
boarding house until she had worked as a
weaver for four and a half months.
Perhaps she did not care ever to return
to Lowell as a mill girl when she left in
September. Her diary for 1844 was lost,
and in 1845 she returned to school

     For the first five weeks of her work 
at the Middlesex, Susan worked regularly
and steadily for 12 to 14 hours a day. 
She made no complaints in her diary and
recorded the payment of her first wages
on February 9 as $4.32. The average 
earnings of most mill girls were $2.00 to
$2.50 a week after paying board of $1.25
to $1.50. Susan had worked 20 days on
piece work weaving, earning about 22
cents a day or $1.30 a week, a reflection
of her inexperience and her position as a
sparehand. On March 10 she received
$8.95 for 19 days work, averaging 47 
cents a day and more than doubling her
earnings. She was able to pay the



Stickneys $6.25 which she owed them in
board for about two months and kept the
balance of $2.70. In early March she at
last felt some money jingling in her
pocket. By the end of her nine months of
work at the Middlesex, she had earned
$78.07 for 171 days of weaving and had
paid out at least twenty dollars in
board, an expense which she did not
faithfully record. As a weaver at the
Middlesex, she averaged 46 cents a day or
$2.76 a week before she paid her board,
less than the typical earnings of other
operatives. Perhaps she became dis-
couraged by her relatively low earnings
and decided to return to Epsom. Her work
patterns at the Middlesex after the first
five weeks became irregular and unsteady,
one result of which was the below average
wages she earned.

     Some of the irregularity of her work
habits seemed a matter of Susan's choice;
occasionally she "came out of the mill
for the day" as on February 16. The next
day she made social calls on friends with
Almira Stickney. In March and April she
was sick for a few days and came out of
the mill early on two more days. Between
April 8 and 12, she recorded herself as
sick, but went shopping in the afternoon
of April 11. Perhaps the management of
the Middlesex did not enforce the factory
discipline for which the other textile
mills were famous. There were other 



factors beyond the control of either the 
mill agents or the operatives which 
stopped the water wheels and the looms. 
As the waters of the Merrimack River rose 
in the spring swollen with the melting 
snow from the White Mountains in New 
Hampshire, the water backed up in the 
power canals and swamped the water 
wheels, preventing them from turning 
properly. No power was transmitted to 
the machines; this was called "back-
water." In mid April the Middlesex mills 
along with some of the others temporarily 
suspended work because of back-water 
produced by the spring thaw. Susan and 
her friends explored the city and enjoyed 
the warm weather. The work stoppage, the 
lost time and wages and another bout of 
sickness prompted Susan to consider for 
the first time going home to Epsom. With 
spring in full bloom around her, she 
wrote on May 1: "Did not go to the mill. 
I thought of going away." Sister Lucy had 
already decided. She quit work on May 12 
and left Lowell within a month.

     Susan worked steadily for two weeks 
in early May and then, on May 22, she 
wrote: "Sick, did not work. Mrs. Hodgman 
and I called at Mrs. Osgoods." That 
afternoon and with no apparent twinge of 
a Puritan conscience, she bought herself 
a new bonnet at a milliner's shop on 
Central Street. She worked steadily



again for another month, then treated 
herself to a trip to Boston to observe 
the Bunker Hill dedication ceremonies. 
After her return, she continued a pattern 
of irregular work until she left Lowell 
in September. Sometimes Susan spent 
hours waiting for a "beam", an essential 
part of the weaving process. The beam 
already wound with warp threads fit into 
the back of the loom. The yarn which was 
wound on bobbins and carried in the
shuttles of the loom was woven through 
the warp threads from the beam into 
cloth. Because Susan earned her wages by 
piece work, these delays reduced her pay. 
After her mother's visit in July, she 
worked steadily for four weeks, 
interrupted only by having to wait for a 
beam or by teach- ing a new sparehand 

     If Susan's work experience was
recorded as irregular and reported to her 
diary with a minimum of interest, she
habitually wrote down the receipt of her
wages and noted with care the purchases
she made with her earnings. Her wages
were not sent to her family. Her
decision to come to Lowell seemed to have
been a choice of new employment for her,
rather than as a supplement to her
family's income. Susan had the pleasure
of spending much of her earnings on
whatever she chose, which gave her a real
measure of economic independence from her
family, as a consumer at least. During



her nine months in Lowell, she bought a 
Bible, one other book and a trunk. Most 
of her expenditures were made on personal 
apparel: a pair of rubbers, a bonnet, a 
pair of gaiters or cloth coverings for 
her shoes, a pair of mitts or fingerless 
gloves and a dress of calico cloth. She 
had a brooch mended by a local jeweler. 
She had two dresses made at Mrs. 
Pollard's on Merrimack Street and another 
expertly cut out to be made. She bought 
a $5.00 shawl, a major purchase. In a 
flurry of shopping in August and Sep-
tember just before leaving for Epsom, she 
purchased an album, a $2.00 Highland 
shawl, needles and linen for "wristers" 
or ornamental cuffs, a pair of elastic 
mitts and $8.00 of yard goods for 
dresses. As she and her friend climbed 
into the Concord stage coach on September 
21, Susan Brown had had the satisfaction 
of thoroughly outfitting herself by her
 own labor.

      After her experience as a mill girl, 
Susan Brown returned to school teaching 
in various New Hampshire towns, but she 
did not stay, She, like many of the New 
England girls who had worked in Lowell, 
had been changed by her experience. In 
1856 she became a clerk in a Boston 
department store and met Alexander B. 
Forbes at the boarding house where she 
was living. They married in 1859 when 
she was thirty five years old and to-
gether ran a boarding house until 1866



when Forbes took his wife to Springfield,
Massachusetts, where he opened the
department store, Forbes and Wallace.
Susan Brown Forbes lived in Springfield,
kept her diaries until 1907 and died
there in 1910. Her nine months as a
Lowell operative represented only a tiny
portion of her life which was less
typical of the experience of most mill
girls who worked on the average three or
four years. No one experience recorded
in a single diary is representative of'
the majority, but Susan Brown, like many
New England girls, responded to the
attractions of the new opportunities
offered in the Lowell mills. Drawn by
the prospects of good wages and a chance
to see and enjoy the cultural advantages
of city life, she joined the stream of
Yankee women prior to the Civil War who,
before the arrival of immigrants from
Ireland, worked the looms and spindles
and made the Lowell textile factories



January 1843

January, 15: Am to leave home tomorrow
        for Lowell   to board at [William]
        Stickney's and work in the Middlesex
        Mills with his daughters
1. In 1843 the Middlesex Manufacturing
Company operated two mills with dye-
houses, ran 4,620 spindles for woolen
yarn and 129 looms which produced
cassimere and broadcloth woolen goods.
The mill employed 400 female and 220 male
operatives. The company had been incorp-
orated in 1828 with capital assets of
$600,000. The treasurer was Samuel
Lawrence and the mill agent was James
Cook. The management of the Middlesex
came under increasing public criticism in
the 1840s for incompetence. By 1848
Samuel Lawrence, the black sheep of the
Lawrence family of Boston in comparision
with his brothers Amos and Abbott who
founded the city of Lawrence in 1845, had
run the company down, lost its capital
and went bankrupt. The Middlesex was
bought in 1850 by Benjamin F. Butler of
Lowell, a political rival of the textile
interests and a friend of the operatives,
who immediately cut the work day to ten

     William Stickney was a carpenter
employed at the O.M. Whipple Powder Mill
which made gunpowder and was located on
the Concord River.




January 1843

16 - Took stage for Lowell this AM and 
        arrived at Mrs. Stickneys before 
        night  Father took me to Jenness 
        Corner for the stage1 a terribly 

17 - Wrote home.

18 - Began work in Lawrence Woolen Mill 
       on the Middlesex Corporation. Board 
       at Mrs. Stickney's, Lawrence Street.

19 - Wert to the Bethel Association.

20 - 
21 - 
22 - Morning, Attended Mr. Burknap's
        Church. A.M. Afternoon, Mr. McCoy's
        Episcopal Church.2
1. The stage coach service ran once a day 
 between Concord, New Hampshire and Lowell 
 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 
 from Lowell to Concord on Tuesdays, 
 Thursdays and Saturdays. 
2. Uzziah C. Burnap, Second Congregation-
al Church, Appleton Street and A.D. 
McCoy, Second Episcopal Church, Merrimack 


January 1843

23 - 
24 - Sister Lucy came to Lowell to work
        in the mill with me. Board at Mr.
        Stickneys. Lucy came down.1

25 - Bickford came down. Went to the
26 - 
27 -
28 -
29 - Attended Mr. Burknap's Church AM.
       Wrote home.
30 -

Feb 1 - 
2 -
3 -
4 -  Joseph Robinson spent the eve at Mr.

5      Attended the Roman Catholic Church 
        A.M.3 Mr. Burknap's Church in the 
1. Lucy Brown was twenty one years old in 
2. The Lowell Institute was an associ-
ation of local gentlemen who sponsored 
lectures and musical concerts often held 
in the City Hall on Merrimack Street. 
3. St. Patrick's Church on Suffolk Street 
or St. Peter's on Central Street.



February 1843

6 - 
7 - 
8 - Went to the Institute and heard Mr.

9 - Mr. Ben Bickford came down from

10 - Received 4.32 cts [in wages] from
       Peter Anderson2

11 - Received a paper from C. E. Rand.
        Bought a bible of Hayes.

12 - Attended G.W. Beard's Temperance
        lecture in the City Hall Snowy.

13 - Fine Sleighing.

14 - Snowy. Mr. Stickney came with a 
        sleigh after us. Paid Mr. 
        Stickney 1.43 cts. [in board]

15 - Spent the eve at Mrs. Hams.3
1. Reverend Henry A. Miles, rector of the 
South Congregational Unitarian Church on 
Merrimack Street and the author in 1845
of Lowell As It Is. and As ItWas. The 
topic of his lecture at the Institute is 
not known.
2. Paymaster, Middlesex Company.
3. Isaac L. Ham and his wife lived on
Lawrence Street near the Stickneys.



February 1843

16 - Came out of the mill for the day

17 - Almira and I made calls and dined at
        Wm Foss's 

18 - Went to work again

19 - Attended Mr. Burknap's church.
        Called at Eben Foss1
20 - 

21 - Went to Almira's party. At a walnut
        [cake] with Mr. Frank J. Nourse.2
22 - 
23 -
24 -
25 -

26 - Went to the Unitarian Church. Heard
        Mr. Wellington of Manchester.
27 - 
28 - 
March 1 - 
         Went to the Institute. Pro. James
          C. Smith lectured on Geology.
1. Eben Foss also lived on Lawrence 
Street where he shared a house with the 
Hams. He worked as a teamster. 
2. Frank H. Nourse was identified in the 
1844 Lowell City Directory as a clerk for 
a local auctioneer who boarded in Lowell.



March 1843

2 - Came out sick at noon. Spent the
      night at Mr. Foss.1

3 - Did not go into the mills.
4 -
5 - Afternoon attended Mr. Miles
      meeting. Liked very much.
6 -
7 -
8 - Removed to Eben Foss to Board - near
      by the Dabneys and in house with
      Isaac Ham and family - one son

9 - George has returned from Gilmanton
      [New Hampshire]

10 - Received 8.95 cts from Mr. Anderson
        Paid Mr. Stickney 6.25 cts [in
        board] leaving myself 2.70.
1. Susan's recurrent bouts of "sickness" 
may have been the result of the close air 
and fumes from the lamps which lit the 
area where the weavers worked. In 1846
Eliza Hemenway testified to a high
incidence of sickness among the Middlesex
weavers, see Hannah Josephson, The Golden
Threads New England's Mill Girls and
Magnates. 1949, p. 257.
2. George Ham was a carpenter who became
a friend and companion of Susan Brown's.



March 1843

11 - [Met] Mr. Nourse on Market St. Came
       out of the mill at 4 o'clock.

12 - Morning. Attending Mr. Woodman's
        church on Merrimac St. Was less
        pleased with the service than any
        other save the Catholic that I have
        attended. Heard Dr. Robinson's
        experience at the City Hall1
13 - 
14 - 
15 - Institute closed.

16 - Orrin and Jonathan Sanderson [of 
       Epsom] arrived in Lowell. Called at 
       Mr. Stickney's. Went [walking] on 
       the Street.
1. Jonathan Woodman, First Free Will 
Baptist Church on Merrimack Street. Dr. 
Robinson was a temperance lecturer who 
also ran a small company of actors which 
performed temperance dramas, such as "The 
Reformed Drunkard's Comedy," in many New 
England towns in 1843. The temperance 
cause was strong in Lowell in the early 
1840s. The Lowell Courier and its editor 
William Schouler supported it. The Lowell 
Washington Total Abstinence Society ran a 
hotel on Central Street which featured a 
temperance oyster bar. Its ladies' 
auxiliary, the Martha Washingtons, ran 
fund raising activities in Lowell.



March 1843

17 -
18 - Had a social party at E. Foss.
        Wells spent the night here.

19 - Attended Mr. Burknap's meeting all
        day. Spent the eve at Wm Foss:
20 - 
21 - Went to the Museum1

22 - Paid board up to this day. Went to 
        the reformed drunkard's comedy.2

23 - Called at Mr. Stickney's 
24 -
25 -
1. The Lowell Museum on April 21, 1843 
featured: "The original, well-known, and 
justly celebrated Ventriloquist, and 
Prof'r of Ledgerdemain,..." Mr. 
Harrington of Boston. The advertisement 
in the Lowell Courier promised: "Laugha-
ble, Comical, Quisical, Mysterious, 
Magical, Wonderful, Astonishing Experi-
ments of Ventriloquism, Imitations, &c, 
&c, &c." Tickets admitting two persons 
were 25 cents and the performance began 
at 8 PM. 
2. Later, Susan crossed out the first
item in the entry. The Robinson company
of temperance players performed the
comedy at City Hall.



March 1843

26 - Heard Mr. Taylor at Mr. Burknap's
        church AM. Mr. Burknap pm. Went to
        Mr. Fitts Gibbon Temperance lecture.
27 -
28 -
29 -
30 -
31 -

April 1  -

2 - Went to Mr. Burknap's church AM. 
      Heard Mr. Kimball's Temperance 
      lecture at the City Hall.

3 - Attended Mr. Grey's Geological 
      lecture at the John St. vestry.1
1. Asa Gray of Andover, Massachusetts, a 
geologist at Harvard College, had lectur-
ed previously at Mechanics' Hall operated 
by the Middlesex Mechanics' Association 
on May 29, 1843 on "Age and End of the 
World!" His lectures were illustrated by 
pictures of plant and animal fossils 
recently discovered by paleontologists 
which raised questions about the dating 
of the earth's formation from the cre-
ation story in the Bible. On April 3 and 
4 Gray lectured at the John Street 
Congregational church.



April 1843

4 - Went to Mr. Grey's lecture on

5 - Lucy came out sick. Came home from 
      the mill at three o'clock. Called at 
      Mr. Stickney's. Rainy. Paid board 
      up to the day.

6 - Fast Day.1 Wrote home. Very much
      snow for the Season.

7 - Lucy bought her shawl. Received 
     7.95 cts. from Anderson. Paid Eben 
     5 dolls [dollars for board].

8 - [Illegible word] Dr. Landers Called. 
      Gave everyone emetic and pills. Did 
      not work.

9 - Lucy went to Mr. Burknap's church 
      all day. I did not go out. 

10 - Lucy went to Middlesex at 7 o'clock.
       Did not go to work myself. Called
       at Mr. Foss. Dr. Landers called.
1. A traditional New England religious
observance of fasting and prayer, still
observed as a holiday in New Hampshire.




April 1843

11 - George Ham went to Boston. Did not 
        go to the mill. Received a letter 
        from Mr. E. Proctor. Bought my 
        rubbers. Went to the Conflagration 
        of Moscow.1

12 - Did not go to work. Miss Nancy
        Mason visited here.

13 - Entered Middlesex again.
14 -
1. Susan might have bought her rubbers
at a shoe store which she later patron-
ized for gaiters, Andrew C. Wright, Boot,
Shoe and Leather Store on Merrimack
Street which advertised "Ladies Thick and
Thin Shoes, Gaiters and Rubbers of all
kinds." "The Conflagration of Moscow"
was staged at the Lowell Museum as a
sound and light show depicting with
cannon fire and military music the
burning of the city by Napoleon in 1812.
It was billed as "Great an Unprece-
dented Attraction!" The Lowell Museum
burned down later in the 1840s.




April 1843

15 - Back water   came out at noon.1

16 - Went to Gorham St.   heard Mr.
        [illegible] from Worcester AM. Mr.
        Minor at 2nd Universalist PM.2 Very
1. The spring of 1843 was uncommonly
snowy and rainy. By mid April both the
Concord and Merrimack Rivers, swollen by
quickly melting snow and rain, had risen
15 feet. According to the Lowell Courier
of April 18,1843, the winter ice in the
Merrimack had broken loose and was
plunging over the Pawtucket Falls. The
view was magnificent. As a result of all
of the water, the canals on the lower
level of the Locks and Canals system had
risen and swamped the water wheels at the
Middlesex, the Massachusetts, the Boot
and the Lawrence. The rest of the mills
on the upper level of the canal system
continued to operate. By April 20, the
rivers had subsided five feet.
2. The Second Universalist Church on
Market Street was led by Alonzo B. Minor.




April 1843

17 - Called at Middlesex - back water -
        did not work. Rainy. Great, long, 
        dull day. Visited Mrs. Hodgman.1
        Went down to see the water --- to 
         the vestry. Called on Mrs. Miles.

18 - M.E. and I went up to the vestry. 
        Worked on Mariana's tunic. Mary E. 
        spent the eve with us at Mrs. Ham's. 
        Called on Mrs. Stuart and Mrs. Win.

19 - At Mrs. Ham's. Went to the Appleton
        St. Picnic. A fire on Central St.2
1. Wife of Benjamin Hodgman. They lived 
on Lawrence Street near the Stickneys and 
the Fosses. Hodgman was a carpenter at 
the Whipple Powder Mill. 
2. Mr. Burnap's church on Appleton Street 
held a picnic or vestry tea party where 
hymns were sung and refreshments were 
enjoyed. A large fire broke out in a 
building used for manufacturing carriages 
on Central Street.





April 1843

20 - Pleasant. Philipend, Richmond, 
        George, Mary, Lucy and I went over 
        to the Cemetery.1 My birthday.
        Lewis went to Boston

21 - Beautiful day. Went back to
        Middlesex again at noon.

22 - Eben moved Abel Brown. Pleasant.

23 - Rainy. Went with G.H, [George Ham]
        to Mr. Burknap's P.M.

24 - Rainy. Received a letter from
        Jeffrey - paper from Barnstead.

25 - Rainy. Came out of the Mill at noon 
        to wait. Had my breast pin mended. 
        Called at Mrs. Richardsons.
1. The Lowell Cemetery was laid out over 
44 acres of ground on the east bank of 
the Concord River near the street where 
Susan and Lucy boarded with the Fosses 
and near the Whipple Powder Mill. The
Cemetery, modeled after the Mount Auburn 
Street Cemetery in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, was designed as a park 
with trees and flowering shrubs to be a 
"garden of graves." The cemetery was 
consecrated in 1841. Oliver Whipple was 
a member of the Board of Trustees, which 
maintains the cemetery today much as it was 
designed in the 1840s.



April 1843

26 - Almira and I passed the bleachery.1
        Called at Mrs. Robinsons. Went up
        to the Pawtucket Falls2 - locomotive
        house - canal bridge and everywhere
        else. Went to the anti slavery

27 - Rainy. Went to Methuen PM.3 -Took 
        tea with K. Ham.

28 - Pleasant. Mrs. Hodgman sick - (very 
        warm) Staid a few hours with her 
        [infant son] George. Lucy and I
        went over the farm by Nesmith - on
        to Fort Hill by the cemetery home.4
        Went to the Hutchinson concert at
        the Mechanics' Hall.
1. The Lowell Bleachery whitened the
cotton textiles produced by the Lowell
mills in preparation for the process of
printing. Lowell calicos were famous in
the nineteenth century.
2. The Pawtucket Falls provided the over
thirty foot drop in the Merrimack River
which was the source of the waterpower
for the Lowell mills. The locomotive
used by the Locks and Canals Company was
located in its own engine house.
3. Methuen is a neighboring town, east of
4. Their excursion circled the area of
Belvidere, the eastern part of the city
of Lowell.



May 1843

29 - Fine day. Mrs. Hodgman sick yet. 
        George Ham, Lucy and I went to the 
        bleachery. Elias' wife spent the 
        day on the Boott [Mills].

30 - Rainy. Did not attend meeting Mrs. 
        Stickney taken sick.

May 1 – 
         Very rainy Sick. Did not go to the 
         mill. I thought of going away.

2 - We went to the Middlesex in the morn 
      did not work any. G. [George] Lucy 
      and I went to the Irish Burying 
      ground. G and I went to Mr. 
      Russell's concert at Mechanic's

3 - Went with Almira to Mr. [illegible] 
      office. Called at Mr. E. Burknap's, 
      Mr. Clough's and [illegible] Spent
      the am at Stickney's. Jenness came
1. The Catholic Cemetery, St. Patrick's,
is located on Gorham Street. Mr. Russell
was a concert singer. Mechanics' Hall,
the City Hall and the Lowell Museum were
the principal locations where lectures,
concerts and exhibits were staged.




May 1843

4 - Went to work at 7 o'clock Jenness
      and Orrin left for Epsom Mr. Bowers
      left Mrs. Hams

5 - Pleasant. At work. Payday. Took 
      9'36 Clara Brown called. Eben and 
      wife went to Acton.1

6 - Eben and wife returned with news of
      the rail car accident.

7 - Pleasant. Rainy. Did not attend 
      church. Went to Mr. McCoy's 
      Temperance lecture at St. Luke's
      Church.2 Wells came over.

8 - Sixteen weeks today! But it will 
      not be sixteen weeks longer here. 
      Called at the offiee.3 George Ham 
       began work at Belvidere.

9 - Called at Mrs. Hodgman's  found her
      better. Mrs. Stickney very sick.
      Morrison called at Mr. Foss.
1. A town south of Lowell, near Concord. 
2. The Second Episcopal Church on 
Merrimack Street. 
3. On May 8 the post office was opened 
for the first time until 8:30 PM each
night except Sunday "to better accomodate
the citizens," according to the Lowell




May 1843

10 - Pleasant.

11 - In the mill as usual. Wish I was at 
        Epsom or [illegible] or Pembroke.1

12 - Lucy left the mill   watched with 
        Mrs. Whipple.2

13 - Mr. Jenness called on his return 
        from Boston. Wrote a few lines home 
        by him. Lucy called at Middlesex. 
        Received my ring. Eben started for 
        Hopkinton [New Hampshire].

14 - Went to Mr. Porter's. C. Baptist AM 
        Mr. Edson's St. Ann's Church PM3
        Lucy to Mr. Ballard's AM Mr. Hose PM4
        Very hot day. Lucy went to a 
        funeral. Called at Abel Brown's.
1. New Hampshire towns well known to
2. Mrs. Whipple, the wife of Oliver
Whipple, had a fatal illness and died in
3. Lemuel Porter, Worthen Street Baptist
Church and Theodore Edson, First
Episcopal Church on Merrimack Street.
4. Joseph Ballard, First Baptist Church
on Church Street and Schuyler Hoes,
Methodist Episcopal Church, Hurd Street.




May 1843

15 - Very hot day. Lucy went to Mr.
        Whipple's Played chequers with
        Lewis at eve. Eben returned from 

16 - Very warm. Orrin returned [from 
        Epsom]  Mrs. Ham papered and 
        painted. I called at the paper store
        for her. Harriet had her party.
        George went to the Mesmerism lecture
        by Mr. Cobb.1

17 - Warm. Called at the Stage office 
        George called for me, found no
        basket. Mrs. Morrison and Miss Jones
        called and went over to Mr.

18 - Warm. George went to the stage 
        office for me. Gave me my ring. 
        Brought my ring home.2 Mrs. Foss 
        spent the day on the Boott [Mill]. 
1. Mr. Cobb of Boston spoke at City Hall
on the science of "Living Magnetism" I
explaining "the philosophy of seeing in
the magnetic state without the eyes, and
hearing silent thoughts."
2. The ring was apparently sent to her
from Epsom by her family.



May 1843

20 - Still immured within the massy brick 
        walls of a hateful factory. A. 
        Brown brought me a few lines from 
        Uncle. They were indeed a luxury.

21 - Mary E [Stickney] Ellen Grummett & I 
        went over to the Cemetery and called 
        at Mr. Whipples. Wrote home. Went 
        to the temperance lecturer from Lynn. 
        Lucy and Wells called on us.

22 - Sick - did not work. Mrs. Hodgman 
        and I called at Mrs. Osgoods.
        [illegible] chosed my bonnet of Mrs. 
        Darrah, Central Street.1

23 - Pleasant. In the mill as usual.

24 - 
25 - Called at Mrs. Whitney's Hurd St.
        Eben's and Whit's wives called at
        the mi1l.2

26 - Pleasant. Lewis removed from Mrs.
        Ham's Bowers came and took his
        things also.
1. A milliner at 12 Central Street.
2. For friends of a mill operative to
call for her at the counting house of her
employer was not unknown, but not
encouraged by the mill management.



May 1843

27 - Rainy.

28 - Did not attend church. G W, Mary
        Foss and I went over to the cemetery

29 - Mary E and I went to Stage Office.

30 - Received the basket from home.

31 - Came out at 3 o'clock. Went to 
        Whipple's. Lucy left there. M. Foss 
        and I went to [illegible]

June 1 - Took breakfast at Mrs.
        [illegible] on Hurd St. Spent the
        night at my own boarding house among
        entire strangers.1 Called up to
        Eben's. Lucy gone to Whipples.

2 -  A letter from E.S. and Jeffrey.
       Lucy called at the mill. L Harriman
       and I spent the eve at Mrs. Hams.

3 -  Spent the night at Mr. Foss' with 
       Lucy. Rainy.
1. Mrs. Whitney's which was probably a 
Middlesex boarding house.





June 1843

4 - Wrote home by Lucy AM Went to Mr.
      Thayer's Church, Central St. PM.1
      Returned to my boarding place at

5 - Rainy. Lucy called at the mill. I 
      went on the street with her and
      staid at Mr. Foss'.

6 - Rainy. Lucy started for home.

7 - Called at Mrs. Pollard's and had my 
      dress fitted.   purchased my gaiters 
       at Wrights on Mer St.2

8 - Rainy. Called at Stone's and got
      some gin.3
1. Thomas B. Thayer, Universalist Church. 
2. A.C. Wright, 59 Merrimack Street. 
3. Susan's attendance at temperance 
lectures suggests that her purchase of 
gin at George U. Stone's store, West 
India Goods and Medicines in Central 
Village, was an errand run for a family 
friend. On August 12 she and a friend 
would buy liquor at Stone's as medicine 
for Mrs. Whipple who died that night. 
Despite the advocacy of total abstinence 
by the Washingtonians, many New 
Englanders still believed in the 
medicinal and revivifying power of 
spirits. George U. Stone was later 
listed in the 1845 Lowell City Directory 
as a physician.




June 1843

9 -  Rainy - Payday - receive 15.79 cts. 
       called at Mr. Hams & Foss'

10 - Rainy PM at my boarding place.

11 - Rainy S Hemingway sick. Went with 
        Perdis to Mr. Burknaps, took tea at 
        Mrs. Hams. Called on Orrin, sick at
        Mrs. Stickneys & returned to Hurd 

12 - Called at Mrs. Pollards & took my 
        dress. George Ham called

13 - Harriet W & I went a shopping. 
        Sarah Bray came here [Mrs. 
        Whitney's] to board.

14 - Morton Hemenway called.

15 - Mr. Mack & sister arrived. G.H. 
        called. R. Haven called - called at 
        Mr. Watson's, saw Mrs. Dowley.

16 - Worked till 7.1 Went up to Mrs. Hams 
        and spent the day. Rainy. Staid at 
1. Working hours during the summer months
with maximum daylight began as early at 5



June 1843

17 - Called at Hurd St. Took 7 o'clock
        cars for Boston. Landed at no. 4 G
        Court St Went to B Hill through the
        market and the [illegible] ship.
        [Susan Brown noted later in ink:]
        Attended the exercises at Bunker
        Hill - at finishing of monument -
        address by Daniel Webster - grand
        indeed, arr. Boston wit Geo Ham.1

18 - Went to the Tabernacle Howard St. to 
        church, Green Park. Walked around 
        the common with Mr. N's wife. I 
        then went to Park St. church.

19 - Went all over Boston. Took 
        Charlestown Branch cars to M - Fresh 
        pond & [illegible] square the city. 
        Took L (Lowell) cars again   couch 
        to [illegible], took tea, returned 
        to Hurd St. tried change.

20 - Went to work after breakfast. S.
        Bray and I called on the Lawrence 29
        & 18 Suffolk.2
1. Daniel Webster's oration at the
dedication of the Bunker Hill monument
was expected to attract thousands of New
2. The two young women were calling on
friends at other corporation boarding



June 1843

21 - came out sick at 7 wrote home by 
        Mrs L George called.

22 - very hot, Did not go in.

23 - Went to work at 7 o'clock

24 - G. Ham called M E Stickney left

25 - Went to Mr. Burknaps Morn. Mr. 
        Ballard's heard his [illegible] PM 
        Called at Stickney's Saw Mr. 

26 - Called at Mr. Hams & Stickneys Row 
        boat arrived from Charlestown.1

27 - Evening. Called at Mrs. Hams
        Betsey and I were out sick.
1. To celebrate the Bunker Hill
dedication at Charlestown, a ten man crew
rowed a 36 foot barge, the Bunker Hill,
up the Middlesex Canal from Medford to
Lowell, passing through many sets of
locks and towns on the way. They
anchored the barge near the hotel, the
American House, where they celebrated
some more.



June 1843

28 - James Poor called at the mill 
        evening. He called with Mr. 
        [illegible] We went to see the boat 
        and took ice cream at French.1

29 - Harriet W. sick - called Dr. Graves 
        [on Hurd Street] in the night. I 
        went up with him. Called at 
        French's with S. Bray.

30 -

July 1 - Jonas Sanders came down [from
            Epsom] called at Mrs. Hams.

2 -  Did not attend church. Spent the 
       afternoon on Lawrence St. Wrote 
       home by Orrin. Conflagration at 
       Fall River.2

3 -  Sick Did not work. Orrin went
       home. I bought my shawl paid 5.00
       A letter from L. [illegible] & Aunt
       Catherine for Lucy.
1. Amos French, Confectioner, 21 Central
Street. In late June, French's was
advertising strawberries and cream in
2. Two hundred and fifty buildings burned
at Fall River on a windy June 2 in a
raging fire which killed four people.



July 1843

4 - Holiday. Spent the day at Mrs. Hams 
      Old Mrs. Foss very sick. ; Gave N 
      Johnson her letter. Went to Museum 
      to see Kip Darling perform.1

5 - Rainy went to work at 7 Called at 
      Fosses & Hams

6 - In the mill as usual

7 - Received 15'10 Paid 4.64 [in board] 
      but Mr. Stickney 2'1. bought braid 
      chain 2'5. Letter from Lucy.

8 -  In the mill as usual

9 - Morn Sarah, Persis & I went over to 
     the new burying ground. Persis and 
     I went to Mr. Miles church. Susan 
     and I to Mr. Hanks PM2 Went to Mrs. 
     Hams & cemetery at eve.
1. There was no advertisement in the 
Lowell Courier for this performance. 
2. Stedman Hanks, John Street 
Congregational Church.



July 1843

10 - Persis and I went a shopping – 
        bought mits & calico dress. Misses 
        Lums came here to board. Mrs.
        Stickney sick

11 - Called at Mr Foss's & Hams. Watched
        with the Vance family.

12 - At home

13 - Attended Adams school1

14 - 

15 - Persis W went to Mrs. Wentworthy to

16 - Six months since I left home Went 
        the Burknap PM Heard Mr. Alder of 
        Andover at the vestry Eve took tea 
        at Mrs. Hams

17 -
18 -
19 -
1. The "Adams School" may have been the 
#15 primary school kept by Miss Louisa 
Adams who might have been an acquaintance 
of Susan's. She paid another visit on 
July 31. 
2. A Middlesex boarding house on Warren 





July 1843

20 - Mother arrived in Lowell. I took 
        tea at Mrs Hams & staid over night.

21 - Came out before 7. Took tea at 

22 - Did not work. Took tea at Mr. 

23 - We went to Miles AM Mother to
        Burnaps PM I staid at Mrs. Hams -
        Mother came home with me at night.
        Went to cemetery.

24 - Mother went to Boston I returned
        to Hurd St. GH called is polited as
        home [?] I returned to Whitneys.

25 - Called at Mrs. Hams and Mrs Foss'

26 - Mother called I at Whipples. we
        watched there.1

27 - Mother washed for me at Stickneys
        called here at eve.
1. It was customary in New England towns
for neighbors and friends to relieve
families by sitting at the bedside of the
sick and the dying, comforting them as
much as possible.



July 1843

28 - Mother spent the day at Mrs. 
        Whipple's night at Hams I called 
        there at eve.

29 - Mother left Mrs. Hams & spent the 
        day with Mrs. W GH called, we 
        called there and Mother staid all night.

30 - Rainy. Spent day at Hams Called at 
       39 Lawrence.

31 - Rainy. Mother went home. Went to 
        work at 8 Called at Adams School. 
        Bought my trunk of McLanathan.1

August 1 -

2 -  Eve. Took a letter by mistake. 
       Paid 30 cts for "Humphrey Clock."

3 -  Eve purchased by album 100 at Powers
       and Bagley2 Mercy started for
1. S. McLanathan, 47 Merrimack Street,
Trunk manufacturer.
2. Later Susan crossed out the first item
in this entry. She apparently returned
the first album she purchased and bought 
a more expensive one the next day. 
3. Manchester, New Hampshire was another 
textile manufacturing center about thirty 
miles north of Lowell.



August 1843

4 -  Eve. Purchased by Album with S Bray 
       at Powers - 112 ½  Received 14'82
       Paid 5'54.

5 -  Called at Powers

6 -  AM at home PM went with Bray to 
       Burnaps, & to hear Johnson at City 

7 -  Pamela Kent and I went out. Bought 
       Highland Shawl 197.1 [illegible] 
       Moulton left.

8 -  Rainy. E. Jones left. Sent paper 
       to Boston and home. Harriett and I 
       went a shopping. Letter from Lucy.

9 -  Betsey and R Libby came here to 
       board. GWH called Rainy.

10 - BW called at the door. Rainy.

11 - John Steel & Brasure called to see 
        me. Pamelia Kent & I went a 
        shopping Sent a box home. Rainy. 
        Mercy returned from Manchester.
1. In August, Ward & Thompson's on the
corner of Merrimack and John Streets were
advertising; "Shawls! Shawls! Cashmere,
Silk, Edinboro, Brocha, Mouslin de Laine.
Highland Plaids."



August 1843

12 - Cloudy. M E & Almira [Stickney] 
        called at the Mill Martha and I 
        went to Stone's for liquor. Mrs. 
        Whipple died tonight. S. Bray and I 
        called at Powers & Bs.

13 - Pleasant - called at Stickneys and 
        Hamms & dined at Ebens. Went to St. 
        Pauls church.1 heard Mr [illegible] 
        Went with Bray and M. Syne to City 
        Hall. Johnson, Clark & Brewster 
        spoke called on May Gowell.

14 - Mrs. Whipple was buried. M Gowell &
        S Holmes called at the mill.

15 - called at Ebens & Isaacs. Mr
        [illegible] went to Concord to work.

16 - Seven months today since I left the 
        north road! How swift the wheels of 
        time roll on. S. Tebbetts called at
        Mrs. Hams a moment.

17 - Bought needles & linen of Lord for
        wristers 8 cts

18 - Seven months since I first entered 
        the Middlesex   Since I saw home! 
        Alone & among strangers! Oh, when 
        shall I return?
1. First Methodist Church, Hurd Street,
Schuyler Hoes, Pastor





August 1843

19 - S. Bray went to Manchester. Jane 
        Shute came here to board. Called at 
        office with Mercy.

20 - Rainy wrote to mother. Went with
        M Lund to Mr Hanks church PM
        Commenced reading Humphrey's clock.

21 - Rainy M Lund left us for her 
        sisters Mercy sick. We had a fire 
        in the mill.1

22 -

23 - Called at Mrs. Hams & spent the eve 
        with Mr Wood & Almira Stickney.

24 - I came out at nine, went in to the
       Hamilton with Betsey waited till 
       two for a beam.2

26 - Mary Gowell called to see Snow.
       Went on to the street with Harriett
       & Martha
1. No fire at the Middlesex was reported
in the Lowell  Courier.
2. A beam wound with warp threads fits
into the back of the loom and without it,
no weaving can be done. See illustration,
page  57.



August 1843

27 - Very warm. G Ham left me a note for 
        Lucy by Mrs Teel. Went to Mr 
        Ballard's M. called on M Gowell 
        went over to Dracut to hear a 
        Portguese preach at evening.

28 - Weston left us on a visit.

29 - Went out to Smith's with B. Libby.

30 - Took a new Spare hand.1 Came out at 
        6 to wait for a beam. A letter from 
        Lucy Susan & Persis called to see 
        us. Betsey Libby started [at the 

31 - Went out on the street. Went to
        work at 10 o'clock wrote to GWH.

September 1 -
         Morgan Holt came to board here. 
         Sarah Bray returned. We called on 
         Mrs. Cox. Bought elastic wits 42 
         cts. Called at Mrs. Hams. 
         [illegible] down.
1. Susan had herself started out as a 
sparehand weaver, and now she was 
teaching another newcomer how to operate 
the loom and fix broken threads.



September 1843

2 - Lewis called at the mill. I called 
      at Mrs. Hams. M Heminway left the 

3 - Went with S Bray & M Lund to 
      Blanchards.1 AM with L. Shutt to 
      Wesley Chapel PM. 2 City Hall to hear 
      Johnson of Boston & to the Hamilton 
      Hall to hear a Jew.

4 - The runner brought me a letter from 
      G. Called at Mrs. Hams. G came 
      down with me. Mr. Stickney & Wife 
      started for [illegible]

5 - Called in the Boott. M Gowall had 
      removed. Called & left the Rose of 
      Sharon at Mrs. Hams. G came down 
      with me.
1. Dressmaker, Harriet M. Blanchard's on 
Merrimack Street. 
2. There were two Wesleyan Methodist 
Churches, one on Bartlett Street and the 
other on Lowell Street which had been 
organized in 1843 and might have been the 
3. Possibly a needlework or quilt



September 1843

6 -  came out sick before seven. Wrote
       home. Went with B Whitney to see
       the tables at the City Hall picnic.1
       Harriet W. taken sick.

7 -  left my letter at the office. at 
       home all day.

8 -  At home. H Whitney sick.

9 -  Lucy's birthday. 22 today! Called 
       at M Gowell's in Belvidere Left 
       dress at Pollards.

10 - At home AM Went with J. Shute to 
        St. Ann's PM with Shute, Bray & 
        Libby to the cemetery. Harriet 

11 - S. Bray & I left our Gaiters at 
       Simons to be made. Saw C. Bickford 
       & C Sanborn & M Gowell. Went into 
       the mill again at 5.
1. The Martha Washingtons, the ladies' 
auxiliary of the Washingtonian 
temperance society, were holding a picnic 
at City Hall to raise funds for the
cause. A brass band was promised.



September 1843

12 - Called at Miss Rollout & Mores Saw 
        Frances Magoon.

13 - Pleasant. Took my dress from Miss 
        Pollards. paid 30 cts for cutting.

14 - Went with M. Lund to Simons & Swans.l
        Bought linen insertions for wristers 
        28 cents.

15 - Called at Simons. Janet Shute taken 
        sick. Called at Dr. Butterfields at 

16 - 8 months today. Called at office. 
        Letter from Lucy.

17 - Went with M Whitney to Mr. Ballards' 
        with S. Bray to Mr. Burnaps, a 
        funeral. With Lund to Stickneys & 
        Hams to hear the Jewess.

18 - Left the mill. Went to Sunderland's 
        lecture on Magnetism.2
1. Daniel Swan, Boots and Shoes, located 
on Merrimack Street formed a partnership 
in 1843 with Simons. 
2. A lecture on mesmerism or hypnotism at 
Mechanics' Hall which promised trances 
and somnambolic or sleepwalking 



September 1843

19 - Jane Shute went to work again. Took 
       9'73 cts of Anderson Paid Mrs 
       [Whitney] 345 cts Bought Chuson for 
       dresses paid 816.1  Lining 18 Cutting 
       85 cts. Called at Foss' Nancy 
       staid at Stickneys.

20 - Bickford called at Stickneys. I 
        called on all the friends. Staid at 
        Mrs. Foss.

21 - Started for home with Bickford. 
        brought me from Aunt [Catherine?] 
        staid all night. Found Uncle Berry 
        & Theodore here.
1. Watson & Company was advertising
cashmere and "Chusan" prints at 12 1/2
cents a yard. Could she have bought 68



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