March 7, 1851

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1851

March 7th  Have been giving my rooms a thorough sweeping

& dusting which took me all the forenoon

This afternoon worked on an old shirt of Franks

Am putting new wristbands & bosom into it.

This evening Oliver, Frank & Orinthia have gone to

Alsons to a party.  Orinthia would not go to the dancing

school last night on account of something Frank said & had to be urged

to go to Alsons to night  Augustus not here   Pleasant

Some entertainment today for the young people: a party at Alson and Henrietta Gilmore’s house out in the country.  What was the occasion?  Was it a casual get-together, a spur-of-the-moment gathering, perhaps extending from the assembly of the night before?  Had Lavinia Gilmore or her brother Francis asked for the party, or had it been planned by their parents?  Were they hoping to promote their daughter’s eligibility for marriage?  Was there method to the gathering, or was it just for fun?

Orinthia Foss, the young schoolteacher boarding with the Ameses, was included in the festivities, although she apparently went with some reluctance.  It seems that Frank Morton Ames had teased her in some fashion, hurting her feelings or insulting her the day before. Frank could be a handful, according to William Chaffin, who wrote that Frank “needed more discipline than Oakes [Angier] or Oliver [3].”   Frank was a seventeen year old youth, after all, with more energy than wisdom, probably competing with his older brothers for respect and attention, and letting his mouth do his thinking.

Another younger sibling came to North Easton today.  William Leonard Ames, fourth son of Old Oliver, “came this morning from New Jersey,” according to Old Oliver’s daily record.  In New Jersey, William Leonard ran an ironworks operation, a related family business that had recently failed. According to extensive research by industrial scholar Greg Galer, William Leonard and his eldest brother, Oakes Ames, were at odds over the handling of the demise of the business.  Oakes had “engineered the bankruptcies of these operations for his financial gain,”* while William had barely managed to walk away.  As a result, the two brothers were not on good terms.  Evelina doesn’t mention William’s arrival.  She sticks to her sewing, new wristbands for Frank.

* Greg Galer, Forging Ahead, p. 6.

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