Flashback Friday.

Here’s today’s Flashback Friday

Sara Jane Godfrey Evans Holmes – 1900

Today I’m going to share more about my Great Great Aunt Sarah Jane.  You can read the first two Flashbacks about Sarah Jane and her sewing here and hereLast week I told you about how she was widowed with two small children, and mentioned that until she got married again 7 or 8 years later, she supported her children by sewing.  Here are some of her words:

“I washed for the Rex family a whole year for seventy-five cents a day and my dinner. I decided I was away from home too much so thought I’d do more sewing. Thinking I’d learn the trade, I had a friend take me to Ogden, to the best instructor, a Mrs. Tollman. She advised me to get a machine, do plain sewing for a while and work up a trade since I had done a lot of sewing while a girl at home. I did just that, and I soon had more than I could handle so I hired a girl to help in the busiest times. I began to get sewing to do in quantity. A good dress brought one dollar fifty to three dollars. Sometimes it took a long time to get my pay—often had to ask for it.

Sarah Jane – 1923
I also did a lot of sewing free for the dead. Elinor Berrett and Mrs. Emma Dean often went with me to those sad homes to make burial clothes. It seemed we were out quite often and sometimes we dressed the body. A neighbor’s son, 18 years old, died with diphtheria. The next week a little girl about six was very sick. When her parents sent for me I sent Joseph and Ethel to Mother’s. In a few days the child died while I had gone home to rest. The Bishop came for me and I found the family very much distressed.
An older sister also died that night. She was a girl of twenty-seven who was to have been married in about a week. Instead of making her wedding dress, I now went with her intended husband, Dick Smith, to Ogden to buy material, and next day made the dress for her to be buried in. These two girls’ funerals were held on the home lawn the same day.”

Tonight I was thinking about how lucky I am that sewing is a hobby for me, not a means to feed my family like it was for Sarah Jane.  She must have really loved sewing, because even after all the years she spent sewing as a need, she continued to sew and knit by choice until she died at age 88.  Here is a picture of Sarah Jane in 1949, shortly before she passed away:

Although I would hope to, I don’t know if I would do the same if I were in her shoes!  I also find it amazing how she used her talent of sewing to serve others, when she herself was in need.  I guess that’s something that I can learn from and hopefully improve at myself :).

Have a great weekend!

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  1. What an extraordinary woman. She had a wonderful face that shows a positive expression in her later years despite all her hardships.

    You are lucky to have this personal history and to see the strands knitting together the women in your family. Those connections are so important in today’s world.

  2. Thanks for a sharing a personal piece of your history. Looking back at out ancestors (hell, even back at our grandparents) it’s hard to feel anything but grateful for the hardships they endured so we wouldn’t have to. It’s so fascinating to look back at history and see how much things have changed and how far things have come.

  3. You are so lucky to have such rich history! I love how they kept a journal and now you get a piece of that. Makes you think how important writing is. Thanks Abby

  4. Hi, just found your blog and will follow from now on – have to say that I love your flashback posts! Interesting for me as a swede ro read! :-)

  5. What a lovely story. You are quite lucky to have the inspiration of that wonderful woman.

    Thank you so much for sharing that ‘feel good’ story.

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