May 21, 1851



May 21

Wednesday  This day have been to Boston and had a hard days

work but accomplished very little  Had a green silk

bonnet made for me which fitted […] no better than the

other that I sent back. Mr Remick paid back the four

dollars and I was glad to get off so well after all my 

trouble.  Spent most of the time with Sarah [and] Oliver in

looking for her things.  Bought me a pair of cuff pins

Called at Martin Halls store about some sugar

The search for the perfect bonnet continued today. It was back to Boston, to Alfred Remick & Co. to pick up a bonnet that Evelina had ordered – green silk this time instead of blue plaid – and it still didn’t fit. She had left the instructions up to her husband, Oakes.  Had he gotten it wrong or was the milliner once again at fault? So much for “all my trouble.”

Like yesterday’s diary entry, the tone of this one is self-deprecatory, even grumpy. Gone is the light-hearted pleasure she had expressed earlier in the month when gadding about buying plants for the garden in the company of Orinthia Foss or her nieces. Evelina couldn’t seem to get things to go her way. Her inability to find a bonnet was proving irksome, and the best she could manage was to tag along with her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames, and brother-in-law, Oliver Ames Jr., while they did some shopping. She did buy a pair of cuff pins, however, which was consolation of a sort.

While they were at Faneuil Hall, Evelina purchased or ordered or, at the very least, inquired about some sugar from a grocer there. Faneuil Hall was – and is – a prominent, historic building in Boston. In the middle of the 19th century, it featured a spreading marketplace, called Market Square, where merchants such as Martin Hall sold their wares.  Upstairs there was a large hall for civic gatherings. The illustration above, by Winslow Homer, shows Faneuil Hall in 1861, at the very start of the Civil War, ten years after Evelina bought sugar there. The image of a regiment of Massachusetts volunteers famously marching off to Washington was published in Harper’s Weekly, a periodical to which Evelina and Oakes subscribed.


2 thoughts on “May 21, 1851

  1. Isn’t the Ames Plow (now a pub) at Faneuil Hall? When we last visited I thought I remembered it there. Did the Ames company have a store there? And if so, when?

    • I have seen that pub in Faneuil Hall, but I don’t know much about the Ames Plow Company, although I do have this excerpt from the diary of Oliver Ames, Jr. (1807-1877):

      MONDAY February 22, 1864
      Organized the
      Ames Plow Co
      Chose Directors and
      Elected officers
      Bro Oakes returned
      to Washington to day

      One on-line source suggests the company was in Worcester. Other thoughts, anyone?

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