July 3, 1851



July 3d Thursday  About 5 Oclock this morning Oakes A

& Frank started for their ride to Middleboro

& I fixed their boquets with Oilcloth & Ribbon

They might have had the politeness to give

their ladies some boquet holders.

I worked in the garden sometime this forenoon

my finger being to sore to work  About four

went to carry Oliver to North B to take the

cars for Boston  Mrs Peckham & Mrs Swain called.

As the crow flies, Middleboro, Massachusetts is about 14.5 miles from Easton.  By the navigable roads that crossed the countryside, however, the traveling distance was actually about 18 miles, maybe more.  Oakes Angier Ames and Frank Morton Ames borrowed a chaise to make the trip; how long might it have taken the boys to get where they were going?  A horse at a walk goes about three to four miles per hour; the same horse at a trot can manage eight to ten; and a canter or gallop – unlikely in someone else’s chaise – can cover ten to seventeen miles per hour.  We might imagine that a sensible trot was the gait they urged their horse to, but then, they were eager young men.

What was the occasion?  Was it related to a Fourth of July celebration? Who were the “ladies” whose company promised such pleasure that the brothers were on the road at dawn?  How did those bouquets hold up during the trip?  No doubt the oilcloth and ribbon was carefully and skillfully applied to the flowers, but the lack of bouquet holders was, evidently, a serious faux pas. Evelina bemoaned her sons’ lapse of manners.

Evelina took a carriage ride of her own today, escorting Oliver (her other son, most likely, as opposed to her brother-in-law) to North Bridgewater to catch the train to Boston.  Where was he going?  Why wasn’t he traveling with Oakes Angier and Frank? For the three boys, the social scene was beginning to spread further afield than familiar old Easton.


6 thoughts on “July 3, 1851

  1. That seems like a lot of travel in one day. Especially since it only started at 4.

    • Yes, everyone was on the road, not unlike today when so many people are driving to be somewhere for the Fourth. Oakes Angier and Frank Morton covered the most distance, just to see some young ladies.

  2. Lots of questions today. One thing seems apparent: Evelina is spending much time in her garden these days.

  3. As always, Sarah, your research amazes me. Quite impressed that you know the speeds of horses at different gaits. Quite right, “unlikely at a canter or gallop,” definitely not at a gallop. Films and TV to the contrary, horses cannot canter or lope for more than twenty minutes max, before their wind fails. A full-out gallop, as you see in the cowboy movies, or in a horserace, lasts twenty seconds!! That would be for the Quarter Horse speeds of 55 mph over a quarter of a mile. Thoroughbreds will do the long Belmont of a mile and a half in (Secretariat’s record) 2 mins 24 seconds. It is interesting to me that, true, a horse walks about 4 mph, same as a man. But you put that same man and horse up a good-climb mountain trail of a couple of miles (two hours), at a walk, and the horse will beat the man by as much as an hour.

    • Wonderful, Caroline. I should have gone to you right away for information about gaits. Next time!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s