This week’s entry is from the diary of Nancie Hackett Thompson in spring 1869. Nancie was the third wife of Nathaniel Lord Thompson, who owned a large shipbuilding yard in Kennebunk. The loss of his previous two wives left Nathaniel with four young children prior to his marriage to Nancie in 1859. At the time of her diary in 1869, she was 44 and raising her four teenaged step-children plus five children of her own, all under the age of seven.

Friday, April 23, 1869

After working in the kitchen this forenoon I dressed myself and went over to Mrs. Hardy’s to get Nattie’s clothes tried on. Called in to C. Hatch’s and found her covering an easy chair. Capt. Thompson took us into the waggon [sic] on our way home and also two lobsters from a fish cart which were very nice for tea.

Gracie and Mamie went out to play this morning, for the first time this spring.

May 8, 1869

Have been very busy today sweeping and cleaning up the house, as well as cooking. I have enjoyed being without a chamber girl. But I have got very tired. Have omitted the children’s bath tonight, not feeling able to give it to them alone.


May 9, 1869

Have not been very well today. Have remained at home from church all day – not having any one to take the care of the children. Expected a new chamber girl tonight, and am disappointed that she has not come.

May 10, 1869

After dressing the children and giving them their breakfast I put the chambers in order and then washed out a tub of the children’s’ clothes which had been left in water by Evie. I think it was the largest wash I ever did. My day’s work tired me very much. I was almost sick at night.

May 11, 1869

There was a family party at Susan’s this afternoon. We were invited from the oldest to the youngest. And we all went but Lizzie – the little children enjoyed it very much.

The Brick Store Museum holds over 30,000 pieces of archival material written by historic Kennebunkers. A Voice from the Past shares from the museum’s collection. Cynthia Walker is the executive director of the Brick Store Museum. She can be reached at [email protected] or 207-985-4802. 


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