June 5, 1851




June 5th Thursday  To day I have been to Mothers, stoped at Orinthias

school and staid about an hour, left Susan there

and got to Mothers about noon.  Met A Augustus & wife

and her sister Elizabeth, John Pool & wife.  On my way

home stoped to Miss Louisa Howards & got some Asters

and at the meeting house to hear Elizabeth Clark play

Met Oliver & wife & Harriet, Mr Clark and

two daughters  A beautiful pleasant day


Several Ameses gathered this afternoon with others for a concert at the meeting house. Presumably, the new organ was featured again, played this time by a more proficient organist than Mr. Rotch from a few Sundays ago. Miss Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Daniel and Elvira Clark and barely 19 years old, treated the listeners to a recital. The Clarks were Unitarians, and Daniel was a capable carpenter who did occasional work for the Ames family. Elizabeth was evidently a fine pianist.

The new organ was possibly made by E. G. and G. Hook of Boston, whose factory was later in Weston, Massachusetts. Known by 1885 as Hook and Hastings, their firm was prominent in the 19th century in the production of church organs. Their first concert hall organ, no longer extant, was installed in the Tremont Temple across from the Boston Common. Their largest was placed in Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  More common were smaller organs such as the one in the illustration that were installed in more modest meeting houses, like the Easton one used by the Unitarians in 1851.

The occasion for this particular recital is unknown, and how it came to be held on a weekday afternoon is also a puzzle.  It made sense to the townspeople, however, who turned out in full for the occasion.

*E. G. and G. Hook organ, Boston, Mass., circa 1848.  Athol Historical Society

3 thoughts on “June 5, 1851

  1. Thank you for this on going chronicle of my neighborhood in 1851.

    I’m interested in your photo of the organ. Do you have a date and location for that instrument?

    Checking my “Hook Book,” I find several one manual organs built between 1829 and 1851. The organ in the North Easton meeting house may have been a pipe organ or possibly a reed organ. The organ which I’ve played for 37 years at Unity Church was installed in August of 1875. It is still going strong.

    THank you again for this charming diary.

    Richard Hill

    • Dear Richard,
      The organ in the photograph belonged to a church in Athol, Massachusetts. See the following article on the particulars of the organ:
      My belief that the organ in the Easton meeting house in 1851 was a Hook organ is entirely circumstantial; among many considerations, I don’t see the Oliver Ameses venturing out to listen to any instrument that wasn’t top drawer. How wonderful that the organ at Unity Church has been in place since 1875.
      Thanks for your continuing interest,
      Sarah Ames

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