Dancing in Old Lowell

History was always my favorite topic in school and my interest in the subject has only grown stronger as the years have passed. One reason I find it so fascinating is that everything has a history. I’m interested in the history of Lowell but I’m also interested in the history of technology. This weekend I met someone interested in the history of dance; the history of dance in old Lowell, to be more precise.

Ruth Evans is a writer, researcher, seamstress, designer and most importantly for our purposes, a dancer. She has researched the history of dance in Lowell and has a website that contains some fascinating stories and images. Here’s a sample taken from the journal of Squire John Varnum (1704-1785) from a time before Lowell even existed:

15 Jan [1778]. About 2 of ye Clock the company viz: Hezekiah Coburn and wife, Parker Varnum and wife, Roger Ray and Hannah Brown, Henry Coburn and Samuel Rechardson, Samuel Coburn and Rhoda, Jonas Varnum and Polly Parker, John Parkhurst, Isaac Parker, Abijah Hall and Bradstreet Coburn set off in three double shays to go to Billerica, went as far as Capt. Miniers. Took a drink of Flip and toddy and returned throught the town. Git here about Sun setting. The Company set off for Joseph Varnum’s to sup there with fife and fiddle and returned home at about 2 a.m.

Imagine, the Varnums and the Coburns out drinking and dancing until 2 in the morning. Not exactly how I had pictured life along the Merrimack during the American Revolution.

So please check out Dancing in Old Lowell.

One Response to Dancing in Old Lowell

  1. Marie says:

    Thanks for the link – an interesting site. Ruth Evans goes beyond dancing to cover other “social” activities as well – like kissing. This kissing game sounds interesting – “Kiss Nun-fashion. (A lady and gentleman kiss through the back of a chair.)” Conjurs up all sorts of questions! I’ll be back to her site for more about Old Lowell!