About 42 ~

42 is the address of a house I grew up in.

My father grew up in this house, too. “42” is how we refer to the house, in a variety of emotions. Three generations of my family lived there over time. We are the second family to inhabit 42.

The house, a sturdy Victorian, was built in the late 1800s in Taunton, Massachusetts by a family who left behind a treasure of written documents, photographs, and personal belongings in the attic. Through this collection we have learned, and continue to learn, a little bit about them.

42 binds our two families.

On its 150th anniversary, beginning 1 January 2016, the pocket diary of Hattie E.F. D. from 1866 will be posted day-by-day on this blog, victorianjournalsof42.wordpress.com. The diary is from the collection found at 42. Hattie was twenty years old when she wrote it. She was a member of the family who built 42.

I have used initials for her middle and last names to preserve a measure of privacy. (How would you like it if someone published or broadcast your diary for all to see, even 150 years from now?)

I have read only a handful of pages from this diary and therefore am taking this journey with you. Will it be juicy or dramatic? Not sure about that. Boring and tedious? Possibly, at times.

It is what it is.

It is meant, in this blog, to be a meditation on an earlier time – a reflection on passing the days by a 20yr old woman in southeastern Massachusetts in 1866. Hattie E.F. D.

It is meant as some contrast to the noise.

– Amy E. McManus, December 2015
This is 42 General Cobb St. Taunton, MA. This photo is not dated; my guess would be that it was taken in the late 1800s. The man posing by the urn may be Hattie’s husband, John C. Chace.
The same urn in 2014, when my father sold the house.


Original horse-hitching posts still out front.


Original stained-glass window at 42.
© 2016 Amy E. McManus