Feb 22nd Saturday This morning sat down to sewing
quite early to work on Susans apron. Mr Torrey called
to see about Augustus having his tenement. Augustus
has engaged Mr Wrightmans house for the present.
Lavinia & myself passed this afternoon at Mr Torreys.
Called at the store, met Mrs. Peckham & Miss
Georgianna Wheaton there Miss Foss came to night. Mr
Ames has been to Boston brought Susan Rubbers.
Cleared off pleasant to night
In his journal today, Old Oliver noted that “It’s pretty muddy now,” which explains why Oakes Ames returned from Boston with overshoes, known as rubbers, for his daughter. Probably everyone in the household donned rubbers during this late winter wetness.
Evelina negotiated the streets just fine, it seems, as she and her niece traveled the short distance to the center of town to call at the company store and at her brother-in-law’s house. Their mutual nephew, Augustus Gilmore, had decided not to rent from Col. Torrey and would be settling his family instead at a Mr. Wrightman’s house. And at the end of the day, a new person entered the domestic scene. Miss Orinthia Foss, the new schoolteacher, arrived from Maine.
February 22 is a date that people acknowledged in 1851 in a manner similar to the way people do in 2014, because it’s George Washington’s birthday. In this year of Evelina’s diary, President Washington had only been dead for a little over fifty years. People were alive who could still remember him; Old Oliver was one of them. Old Oliver was born in 1779, while the Revolutionary War was being fought. He was two years old when the British surrendered at Yorktown, and eight years old when representatives of the new states assembled in Philadelphia to write a constitution. George Washington was elected to head that convention and became the country’s first president in 1789, when Old Oliver turned ten. When Washington died in 1799, beloved and mourned, Old Oliver was a twenty-year old bachelor just making his way in the world. Much about that world would change over Old Oliver’s lifetime, but the reverence that citizens of the United States felt for their first leader would hold strong.