Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1890 Diary of Mary Isabell Pettit, Part 15

1 December – Monday
Have both washed and ironed and mended today. Have just got through. It is eight oclock. I shall soon go to bed I am so tired.

2 December – Tuesday
Today I have not been so ambitious as yesterday. Night came and I could not see anything I had done. Went to Conjoint meeting. [In 1890 a Conjoint meeting was likely a meeting held jointly by the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Association and Young Men's Mutual Improvement Associations. See here.] We had a very good and instructive time. Went with Ma up to Mrs. Leakers and spent the afternoon.

3 December – Wednesday
Have been helping Ma cut carpet rags most all day. Harry came and spent the evening. It was late when he left. We were so interested in our conversation we didn’t notice the time pass.

4 December – Thursday
Have been sewing and mending. Went up town for the afternoon. In the evening done some little fancy work. Retired rather early.

5 December – Friday
This morning was rather cold and chilly. I got up about six oclock and had breakfast ready after seven. After the morning work was done I sewed the rest of the day.

6 December – Saturday
I have been busying myself baking, scrubbing, sweeping, etc. I went with Minnie Hawking and got my dress from there I went up town with Daisy. It was late when we got home.

7 December – Sunday
I felt so tired this morning I didn’t rise untill eight. I went to school at ten. Harry walked home with me. We went to the Tabernacle. Met Mr. and Mrs. [Arnold and Annie Caroline Parratt] Shanks. Went down with them to see the newly married people Mr. & Mrs. [Edward and Evaline Maria Parratt] Swenson [married 20 November 1890]. We stayed untill about nine oclock. Spent a very pleasant evening. We spent the remainder of the evening in talking over affairs that concerned ourselves alone.

8 December – Monday
Wash day.

9 December – Tuesday
I have been ironing all morning. H came down and stayed one minute at noon. I have not felt at all well today. In the evening I went to the gate. H came while there. We only stayed a few moments. H went home and I came in.

10 December – Wednesday
The weather is beautiful. I have had a very sleepless night but I feel better today. Mrs. Leaker, Nettie and her two children have been down and spent the day. Supper over and work done the children in bed and quietness reigns. Harry came but twas late. The rest of the family retired one by one and we were left alone. A little later I was left alone.

11 December – Thursday
I have finished my table scarf been up town went to meeting but there was none. We went for a walk it being early and such a lovely night. I came in at half past nine and went to bed. And laid thinking of what I had been saying during my walk untill I was lost in sleep.

12 December – Friday
I have been helping ma sew and mend and doing some baking. Wrote a letter to Uncle Alfred [Pettit].

13 December – Saturday
Helping with the housework which took all day.

14 December – Sunday
I went to Sunday School came home got dinner and went to practice. May Easterbrook came but didn’t stay long. Harry came we stayed in the parlor singing, talking, etc. Had supper and then went to meeting.

15 December – Monday
I spent all day washing and ironing and was completely worn out when night came went to bed at about eight oclock but was too tired to sleep but very little all night.

To be continued...

Picture of the rag scraps used for carpets (see December 3) from www.flickr.com/photos/playingwithpsp/241604700/. Used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. I've been reading bits and parts of this. Diaries are so interesting.

  2. Thank you for posting the days of this diligent, faithful, hardworking woman. Wrapped up in those colorful balls of fabric and work are visions of my own grandmother. Her daughter said she remembers her mother sitting night after night at her sewing machine, sewing scraps to be used in her rugs.

  3. My sisters in law have made some rag rugs. It's an interesting process. And it's so interesting to read about the household chores as mentioned by Mary in her journal.

    If you like that sort of thing, an interesting read is the book Never Done: A History of American Housework (Strasser).

    And thanks for commenting, Lucy and Bessie!