June 8, 1851

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June 8th  Have been to meeting all day  Heard Mr Dogget

of Ashby did not like him near as well as Mr.

Whitwell.  Came home at noon with Alson & wife.

Oakes Angier & Orinthia went to night to call on

Miss Perkins at Mr J Kimballs.  Mr Ames & self

called at Mr Peckhams.  It has been a cold cloudy

day for the season and to night rains some.

 

Today was a normal Sunday in Easton, which the Ames family spent at church listening to Mr. Dogget, a visiting preacher who probably had no chance of being as good as Reverend Whitwell, at least in Evelina’s eyes. After church Evelina and Oakes called on John Peckham, a clerk at the shovel works, and his wife Susan.

Things may have been more lively next door at the home of Sarah Lothrop and Oliver Ames, Jr. Their oldest child and only son, Frederick Lothrop Ames, turned 16 years old today. He may have been at home to celebrate, or he may still have been away at school.  Fred was just finishing a year of college preparatory study at Phillips Exeter Academy. Prior to that, he had studied at Concord Academy.  Young as he was, he and his parents expected his next year to be spent at college.

A brilliant business career lay ahead for Fred Ames. By all accounts, but best described by his personal friend Leverett Saltonstall, Frederick Lothrop Ames, “distinguished by his high character, was well known as one of the largest capitalists in the country.”* Not only was Fred a capable member of the management team of O. Ames & Sons, he was, like his father, an active investor and eventual director of the Union Pacific Railroad. He became a strong, competitive railroad man. At the time of his death in 1893, he was “officially connected to some seventy-five railroads,” and held oversight or investment positions in many other enterprises: banks, coal mines, elevators, and an innovative young company called General Electric.

Clearly capable in the world of business, Fred Ames was also a likeable fellow. “No one ever met him without being impressed by his uprightness, intelligence, and good judgment.” “A most kind and generous man,” he donated to and oversaw various charities and hospitals. He reportedly led a happy family life in North Easton and Boston, and created a lasting legacy through his support of the architecture of H. H. Richardson. “A devoted lover of horticulture,” also, he had a famous collection of orchids.

A star among the grandchildren of Old Oliver and Susannah Angier Ames, Frederick Lothrop Ames died too early, dropping of apoplexy – what we would now call a stroke – on the overnight train to New York. He was 58 years old. His legacy would live on.

 

* Leverett Saltonstall, Memoir of the Hon. Frederick Lothrop Ames, A.B.,  The Colonial Society of Massachusetts

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