1851 March 26 This morning Orinthia & myself gave a thorough
sweeping & dusting to sitting room entry & then I
went to mending stockings Mother & myself passed
the afternoon at Olivers with Mr & Mrs Whitwell.
Mrs S Ames & Mrs Witherell spent the evening
here I finished the shirt that I commenced
for Oliver on Monday. It has been a delightful day
Mud season, as they call it in New England, had arrived and thus a daily sweeping of the floor and carpet was essential. Dust and mud entered the house on the bottoms of boots and shoes when anyone came in the door. Once this messy passage from winter to spring had safely passed, it would be time for spring cleaning.
Meanwhile, the ladies in the Ames compound on Main Street were socializing among themselves. Evelina took her mother next door to Sarah Lothrop Ames’s house in the afternoon and visited with William and Eliza Whitwell, who were calling. In the evening, both sisters-in-law came over to visit with her. The ladies sewed – Evelina still working on shirts, this one for her middle son – and chatted.
The men were not present for this girls’ night in. Oliver Jr. was in New Jersey on business and, if Oakes were in town, he would have been over in the office, as was his wont. Years later, Winthrop Ames, grandson to Oakes and Evelina, would note in his description of family life in Easton in 1861:
“Usually […] Oakes, Oliver junior and their sons went to the office in the evening to catch up with their correspondence (all letters were written and copied by hand), discuss business together and go over accounts with the head bookkeeper.”
Whether working or playing, the Ames family members spent this quiet evening en famille.