Feb 1st Saturday Sit down to mending again this morning
Mended a pr of kid gloves and a number of other things
Went into the other part of the house with mother
to tea worked on panteletts finished two prs. Mrs Packard
and Mrs Rhoda Fuller called there Mr Ames has been
to Boston & brought home Ladys Books Grahams & Harpers
& International Magazines & 1/4 lb Angola yarn. Have been
reading in the magazines this evening. Cloudy & warmer
Evelina often mentions going into “the other part of the house,” which was a section of the house on the southern side in which Old Oliver, a widower, lived with his widowed daughter Sarah Witherell and her children. This section was created when Old Oliver turned the original (ca. 1812) dwelling into a duplex in 1827 on the occasion of the marriage of Oakes and Evelina.
In 18th century New England, family custom often dictated that the eldest son inherit the family homestead and, in order to effect that, houses were sometimes renovated to allow two families to live side by side until the transfer of property came to pass. That this practice was becoming less prevalent in the 19th century meant nothing to Old Oliver who, independent and conservative, still had his feet in the 18th century in certain ways. His home would go to his eldest son, and he would eventually provide homes for his other children as well.
In the above photograph of the Ames House on Main Street, we can see the original home in the center, a building that is divided in two on the inside, with Old Oliver’s doorway facing toward the camera (behind the middle tree). The entryway for Oakes and Evelina faces the street. To the left of the house is the attached office, where Oakes and Oliver Jr and others kept track of business matters. It was known as the Counting House.
In the background to the right is the house Old Oliver built for Oliver Jr and wife Sarah Lothrop Ames on the occasion of their marriage in 1833. In 1863, they would tear this down and rebuild a more modern and formal abode, one that still stands today. The old homestead, which housed generations of Ameses in its time, was torn down in 1951, approximately 100 years after this photograph was taken.