March 30 Sunday Have not been to meeting at all to day. My
cold is very troublesome have a very bad head ache.
could not read much. Mr Cyrus Lothrop 3d called this
evening & Frederick, Oakes Angier & Orinthia rode
down to Mr E Howards this evening. Mrs Howard
has gone to Nashua to make a visit. Mother returned
home from meeting A very fine day
I commenced making fire in the furnace
Evelina continued feeling poorly today. After yesterday’s helping of the commercial elixir, Wistar’s Balsam of Wild Cherry, one can’t help but wonder if her headache was, in fact, a symptom of hangover from the alcohol she unknowingly ingested.
The consumption of alcohol was absolutely forbidden at the Ames’s house. Both Oakes and his brother Oliver Jr took a temperance pledge early on, and kept it. They hoped their workmen would follow their example. In this they differed from their father who, in his heyday of running the shovel works, had allowed his workers a ration of rum as part of their regular routine. Old Oliver’s habits had been learned in the 18th century, which had a more lenient attitude about liquor. In the 19th century, however, tolerance of alcohol disappeared. Temperance became the banner of the day, its support increasing yearly and culminating, ultimately, in the Prohibition amendment in the 20th.
In the Ames dining room, even something as mild as cider was frowned upon. Cider was considered by some at a “gateway” beverage to liquor and hard spirits; others found it innocuous. Evelina kept some in the pantry to put in her mince pies but never served it at table. Once, however, she offered a tumbler of cider to her future son-in-law, Henry French when he turned down a cup of coffee. Oakes admonished them both by stating flatly that, “No cider shall be drunk at my table.”
Alcohol was a controversial issue. If Evelina had known that the medicine she was taking was laced with alcohol, she might not have indulged. If Oakes had known, he wouldn’t have allowed her.
*Advertisement from ca. 1900.