Sarah Trask’s Diary, 1849

Sarah Trask sewed shoe uppers as a way to earn a little money. She was not especially happy about doing so. On one occasion she counted the number of stitches required – it seems a daunting amount!

Jan 25, Thursday, cloudy, rain before nine o’clock, wind south
Stay down to C. all night for her to show me about my shoes, but did not do much, but I try will try and see what I can do, for I not cannot afford to make a coat for 38 Cts1 for to C. Hale, if I can get any thing else to do.

Jan 26, Friday, Pleasant, but bad walking
Stitched on three pairs of shoes, have not done bravely, hope I shall do more than that tomorrow, or I shall have to go to California, to seek my fortune, oh to California for that all I hear, most every one is going there and I fear many who go that way will never come back to their friends again. I am glad that I have not any friends gone there.

Feb 20…
Just for fun I counted the stitches in a shoe, the size was fives, 719 in the whole, 250 on the top, 170 in the filling, 120 on the side seams, 69 in the closing, or 23 on a seam, 58 in the lining, or 27 on a side, 91 in the surging.

1 Cts = cents


Sarah Trask’s Diary (January 25-26, 1849 and February 20, 1849). Beverly Historical Society, Beverly, MA. *

*now Historic Beverly