January 10, 1851



Jan 10th Friday.  Have been baking most all day  Heat

the oven three times.  It rained very hard last night

and carried off most all the snow and it is very wet

and sloppy.  Margaret Keighan here to see Jane.

This is Mr Ames & Mr Whitwells birth day  both

of the same age 47 years.  Have been expecting Mr & Mrs

Whitwell here this afternoon and as they did not come

would have rode there this evening but Mr Ames is engaged

If Evelina and Oakes had been able to visit the Whitwells tonight, they would have had to take the carriage rather than the sleigh because of recent heavy rain.  According to Old Oliver, the sudden wet and warm weather has “took the snow of[f] so much that it spoilt the slaying.”  Evelina, meanwhile, was so tied to the brick oven all day, baking mince meat pies and such , that she had a right to be a little disappointed not to go out this evening.

The Ames family, Puritan stock that they are, don’t overly celebrate anyone’s birthday.  Yet Evelina notes the shared birthday of her husband and the minister.  Oakes Ames was born in North Easton on this day in 1804.  He was the first child of an eventual eight to be born to Oliver Ames and Susannah Angier Ames.  The others to follow would be Horatio, Oliver Jr., Angier (d. in infancy) William Leonard, Sarah, John and Harriett.

Besides Oakes, Oliver Jr. and Sarah are the only siblings who still live in North Easton in 1851.  Except for a stint away at school, Oliver Jr. never moved away.  He and his wife live next door.  Sarah, on the other hand, left for New York in 1836 when she married Nathaniel Witherell, Jr.  Now a widow, she returned to North Easton in the late 1840s and moved back into the old homestead to care for her father after the death of her mother in 1847.

The absentee siblings are away but never forgotten; among the brothers, especially, business deals are ongoing.  Horatio, the black sheep of the clan, lives in Connecticut and runs a forge.  William Leonard had been in New York City and Albany, working as a merchant who sold, among other items, Ames shovels.  When those enterprises failed, he switched to managing a blast furnace, in keeping with the family talent for manufacturing.  But this proved unprofitable, too. By 1851, William Leonard was making his way as a cattleman on the Minnesota frontier.  John, who had also moved to New York City, died in 1844 of a chronic lung ailment.  Harriett is married to a man from Bridgewater named Asa Mitchell, and at this time lives in western Pennsylvania.

As a boy, Oakes moved with his parents to Plymouth while his father worked at various manufacturing efforts, although shovel making predominated.  The family moved back to North Easton in 1813, after the conclusion of the War of 1812, whereupon Old Oliver threw himself into the manufacture of shovels. After that, the family stayed put.

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