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By Wayne Franklin

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Additional info for A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township (American Land and Life Series)

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Inside, he installed flooring and put up partitions, helped Holmes case the windows and doors, and on one occasion (for Holmes's house in August) mixed mortar for the plasterers. But Herdman also played the part of a fill-in laborer, and his work extended well beyond mere construction. On his first day he helped Holmes move hay to a rented storage barn, draw two loads of firewood to Holmes's house, and clean away one load of manure. That afternoon, and for part of the next day, the two sawed firewood.

Commemorative plaque, Cemetery Association crypt, 1871, Westford Page 35 10. Cemetery Association crypt, 1871, Westford Page 36 are not as full as that for his own new house, we ought to assume that some of the same people performed in those cases some of the same tasks. Holmes must have served his major clients not as contractor but merely as builder. That is, he must have performed just the woodworking part of any job. Had he been responsible for seeing to the mason work or to the initial excavation, he certainly would have entered details about those tasks in his diary since he would have had to settle with the men who did them.

James Holmes and Mary Shelland were married at the Baptist parsonage in Westford in May of 1855 and later that year were baptized and joined the congregation. This congre- Page 20 gation dated from 1825, when it had been founded as an offshoot of one in nearby Middlefield. Through much of its life, the Westford Baptist church had a tenuous existence. Often-as in 1869-it was without a minister, and when it had one it had difficulty paying him. Often, too, its membership declined to dangerously low levels, or when it remained high enough in numbers was low in spirit.

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A Rural Carpenter's World: The Craft in a Nineteenth-Century New York Township (American Land and Life Series) by Wayne Franklin


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