Feb 13th Thursday This morning put the parlour in order
and went down to the store with the intention of calling
on Miss Eaton on my way back, but her Mother & brother
came last night and thought best not to see her but wait
until she was over the excitement of seeing them Went into the
office with account of butter and other things sold. Mr Peckham
gave me 30 dollars 78 cents Augustus is still assisting him with
his books. Very pleasant but ground rather wet.
Moving past yesterday’s humiliation, Evelina put her parlor back together first thing this morning and left the house, all by herself. A walk to the little village on a fair day must have felt good, muddy ground notwithstanding. She went right to the company store.
The Ames family made shovels, obviously, but their overall enterprise was never limited to manufacturing alone – witness their eventual involvement with the Union Pacific. They also made money from the operation of a company store, one that had been owned previously by a former partner of Old Oliver named Colonel David Manley.* The shop was right in the village of North Easton where shovel employees and others could purchase ordinary household items – muffin tins, for instance – dry goods like flour and personal articles. Evelina shopped there from time to time, and on this day she may have picked something up. But she also sold things through the store, which explains why later that day she made her way to the Counting Office to collect $30.78 for “butter and other things sold.” She had a little stream of income for herself, a source of satisfaction for any homemaker, and material consolation for a wounded spirit.
On her walking rounds, Evelina stopped in at the Holmes residence to call on Miss Eaton, a neighbor who is slowly declining. When she learned that Miss Eaton had family visiting, she deferred her call until another day. Evelina and her sister-in-law Sarah Lothrop Ames have been looking after Miss Eaton from time to time and will continue to do so as her health fails. The Ames women were dutiful in looking after the sick among the families of employees of the shovel shop.
* For more information on this store, you might want to read Easton’s Neighborhoods by Edmund C. Hands. Among extensive historical information about the town, he offers some great context about early business days in North Easton.