Feb 6th Thursday This forenoon was working about house & did
a little mending Prepared some mince pie meat for baking
Have been into school this afternoon There were but
about 50 schollars. Mr Jackson appears to lack energy
Miss Lothrop appeared the best of the two.
There is a ball at Lothrop Hall to night for the first
time. Oakes Angier & Frank have gone & Helen
Sarah A & Sarah W spent the evening here. Pleasant but cold.
Thursday night seemed to be the night for dancing in southeastern Massachusetts. The Ames sons had already attended at least two Thursday evening assemblies in Canton during January and now in February they’re attending a gathering at Lothrop Hall (the location of which is uncertain: Eastondale, perhaps? Does any reader of this blog know?) Tonight Oakes Angier and Frank Morton went. (Where was Oliver ?) Evelina’s diary is unclear on whether their cousin Helen went with them or, more likely, stayed home with her mother and aunts – the latter option being more typical for shy Helen.
Earlier in the day, Evelina was evidently still involved with looking into local schooling, getting the lay of the land, perhaps, for the incoming Orinthia Foss. By mid-century in Easton, there were four school districts, or “ricks” as they were known, in four different geographic areas of town. Paid for by the occasionally reluctant Easton taxpayers, the schools taught local girls and boys up to grade eight or so. Massachusetts, and New England as a whole, led the nation in its emphasis on education and, in Evelina’s time, Massachusetts had boasted a 96% literacy rate.
Susie was the only Ames child still attending school. Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton as boys had each attended school locally before being sent away to nearby private schools such as Leicester Academy. On this night, however, dancing, not schooling, was foremost on their minds.