Feb 28 Friday After doing my usual chores about house I
carried my work into the other part of the house
and staid until dinner time Worked on shirt
bosoms & carried two in for Mrs Witherell to stich
This afternoon wrote a long letter to Cousin
Harriet Ames which took me most of the
afternoon to write Orinthia & myself spent
the evening in the other part of the house Cloudy
Augustus not here
Cousin Harriet Ames was a spinster who lived in Burlington, Vermont with her widowed mother. She was the daughter of Old Oliver’s older brother, John Ames. Thus she was a niece of Old Oliver and first cousin to Oakes, Oliver Jr., Sarah Witherell and the rest of that generation of siblings. Moving down one more generation, she was a first cousin once-removed to Oakes Angier, Oliver (3), Frank Morton and Susan.
It’s likely that Evelina wasn’t the only Ames to correspond with Cousin Harriet; her sisters-in-law Sarah Ames and Sarah Witherell probably wrote and received letters from Burlington as well. All three ladies would have corresponded by mail with distant friends and relatives. It was the way. Writing letters was how people kept up with one another. There was no telephone, and there certainly was nothing that resembled today’s digital and instantaneous communication. Telegraphs were only just coming on the scene; telegraph offices and wires would soon dot the countryside and lead the way west. Big wooden poles would be dug into the ground by men wielding – what else – shovels. In a decade or so hence, Oakes and Oliver Jr. would maintain an active communication by telegraph once Oakes went to Congress and both men became involved with the building of the Union Pacific.
But they would all still write letters. Evelina wrote certain people regularly: Cousin Harriet in Vermont, Louisa Mower in Maine, and another friend named Pauline Dean. She must have been pleased when the mail coach came in, bringing letters to the little post office in North Easton, and taking them out to friends far away.