August 31, 1851

28041868_121522694550

*

Sunday Aug 31st  Went to meeting and at noon Henrietta & Mrs

Stevens came home with us.  Mrs Stevens came with 

us from church at night and Alson carried Orinthia

home  Mrs Stevens & self called at Mr Torreys

The boys went to Dr Swans & Augustus’ to call on 

Miss Eddy who is stopping there  Oliver & wife & George

and family to Mr Lothrops & Pauline went into to stay

with Helen & talk about Warren

 

Socializing continued today after church, with Evelina welcoming her sister-in-law Henrietta Williams Gilmore and a mutual friend, Mrs Stevens, back to the house. She and the latter went to call on Col John Torrey while the Ames sons rode south to Dr. Caleb Swan’s to call on a Miss Eddy, who must have been special to warrant all three boys coming to visit.

Not forgetting that the Lothrop family had just been through the loss of Sarah Ames’s brother Clinton Lothrop, houseguest Pauline Dean called on young Helen Angier Ames, niece of the deceased.  Evelina was certain that Pauline only went to talk about a new love interest, however. Oliver Jr and Sarah Ames, meanwhile, went with another brother, George Van Ness Lothrop, and his wife Almira to call on their parents and their brother’s widow.

George Van Ness Lothrop, a North Easton son who had moved west a decade earlier, was, in 1851, serving his adopted state of Michigan as State Attorney General. Active in Democratic politics and a general counsel of the Michigan Central Railroad for nearly three decades, he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate. He was a great supporter of Stephen Douglas, which would certainly have put him at odds with his brother-in-law, Oliver Jr., who was a Lincoln man. In 1885, he was appointed by Grover Cleveland to be U.S. Minister to Russia.

He died in 1897, and was honored with a road in his name in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, just outside of Detroit.

* George Van Ness Lothrop (1817-1897)

August 30, 1851

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

*

Sat Aug 30th Have been marking Olivers clothes and fixing

them.  Called to Mr Whitwells Major Seba Howards

Mr Samuel Dunbars and at Alsons with Pauline

Took tea at Alsons brought Orinthia home with us

All of Mr John Pools family were there or rather

Rachel Augusta & Elisabeth.  Mrs Stevens came

there yesterday  Alson & Mr N Hall here to

dinner & tea

Another sociable Saturday was enjoyed by many throughout Easton, as friends and neighbors rode here and there calling on one another. As one modern historian has noted, “formal and informal forms of socializing were the most common amusements throughout the period. Then, as now, folks liked to visit one another, usually after supper and on weekends. The middle class gathered in their parlors, talked, sang, played games, and so on.”**

Evelina certainly did her part. With her friend Pauline Dean, she paid calls on various friends, including the Howards, the Dunbars, and the dependable Reverend Whitwell and his wife Eliza. At her brother Alson’s farm, where they took tea and visited with old Mrs. Gilmore, they chatted with three daughters of the John Pool family, including Rachel, Augusta and Elizabeth.  Rachel and Augusta had visited Evelina earlier in the month and accompanied her to the company store and the shovel shop.  Evelina was a friend to young women – especially to Orinthia Foss, the schoolteacher, whom they scooped up and took back to North Easton.

On their way home, as they likely rode past fields of Queen Anne’s Lace and Goldenrod, did they acknowledge that summer was coming to an end?

 

Photograph by John S. Ames III

** Marc McCutcheon, Everyday Life in the 1800s, Cincinnati, 1993, p. 200.

 

August 29, 1851

WhiteAster

Friday Aug 29th  Alson & Mr Hall came early this

morning and were here to dinner & tea, brought Pauline

with them  Have been mending for Oliver getting his

clothes ready for school  Went with Pauline to Edwins

garden he has not many pretty flowers in blossom has

some fine Dahlias  got 5 lbs of butter at Mr Marshalls

after we came back went into Olivers to hear Pauline

play.  George & wife & Sarah gone to her fathers

The day after Clinton Lothrop’s funeral, Sarah Lothrop Ames, her brother George Van Ness Lothrop and his wife Almira spent the day, at least, at the Lothrop farm with their parents, Howard and Sally Lothrop. They would have had to make long-term plans for the property, now that Clinton wouldn’t be there to tend the family farm.

Alson Gilmore, Evelina’s brother, took his meals at the Ames’s today.  He was working nearby, perhaps with Mr. Hall, helping his son, Edwin Williams Gilmore, build a house. They were putting in the cellar.  Pauline Dean, who must have been staying with or near the Gilmores, returned for a visit. She probably got roped into helping Evelina with the mending.

Evelina had a lot of mending to do, as Oliver (3) was preparing to go off to school.  Like his cousin Fred Ames, he was going to attend an Ivy League college, but in Providence, not Cambridge.  Oliver (3) would be going to Brown, and his mother had to get his clothes ready. Shirt fronts, collars and hose weren’t her only business today, however.  She and Pauline took a break from domesticity and went to Edwin Manley’s to see his garden. There they saw “some fine dahlias.”

Dahlias, which had been introduced in the United States early in the 1800s, had quickly became popular, although not yet listed in Joseph Breck’s Book of Flowers. So successful were they that over the course of the century more than 10,000 varieties were developed or identified and sold. Today, dahlias are still much admired by flower gardeners, yet less than a dozen of those 19th century heirloom examples still exist in cultivation.* The earliest known, White Aster (above) dates from 1879.

*oldhousegardens.com

August 28, 1851

17 Alexander Jackson Davis (American architect, 1803-1892),  Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. 1850

*

Thursday Aug 28th  Have done but very little sewing to day.

Mrs Fullerton Abby & Malvina here to tea.  Mr & Mrs

Whitwell called.  Mr Whitwell walked up and sent

Mr Tilden with a carriage for his wife.  Mrs Hyde

Mrs James Mitchell & Mrs Watson came from E Bridgewater

& Mrs Watson & Peckham to the other part of the house

to tea. Alson here to dinner & tea

Frederick left for Cambridge this morning

There was much socializing in North Easton today, but it paled in importance when compared to the departure of Frederick Lothrop Ames for college. Though only 16 years old, Fred  was entering Harvard College as a sophomore, making him a member of the class of 1854.

A notable nineteenth-century commentator would arrive at Harvard just after Fred had graduated.  Henry Adams, Class of 1858, would have this to say about the college in Cambridge before the Civil War:

“Harvard College, as far as it educated at all, was a mild and liberal school, which sent young men into the world with all they needed to make respectable citizens, and something of what they wanted to make useful ones. Leaders of men it never tried to make. Its ideals were altogether different. The Unitarian clergy had given to the College a character of moderation, balance, judgment, restraint, what the French call mesure, excellent traits, which the College attained with singular success, so that its graduates could commonly be recognised by the stamp, but such a type of character rarely lent itself to autobiography. In effect, the school created a type, but not a will. Four years of Harvard College, if successful, resulted in an autobiographical blank, a mind on which only a water-mark had been stamped.”**

Was Fred Ames stamped by his time at Harvard? He certainly appreciated his years there, and became “warmly interested in everything that pertained to the welfare of Harvard, as evinced by his well-known liberal gifts to several of its departments.”***

 

* Alexander Jackson Davis, “Harvard University,” Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1850

** Henry Adams, Education of Henry Adams

*** Harvard “Report for Class of 1854,” 1894

August 27, 1851

2004-D03-395

Wedns Aug 27th  This morning filled the vases with flowers and worked

some about the house and about nine went to Mr

Lothrops with Mrs S Ames to put on the shrouds

Got home about twelve.  Went to the funeral

and to the cemetery  He is the second one that 

has been laid there.  Mrs Fullerton and Abb[y] Torrey

called this evening & Malvina with her bloomer

hat that I gave her

“[A] fair, cool day,” Old Oliver noted in his journal. “Clinton Lothrop buried.” Brother of Sarah Lothrop Ames, a young husband, father, and farmer, Clinton had died of typhus fever. Evelina helped Sarah, Clinton’s only sister, place a shroud on the corpse. In the afternoon, with her husband and family, Evelina attended the funeral service, which would have been at the Lothrop home, and the burial.  Clinton was buried in the new cemetery.

Despite the somber events of the day, Evelina managed to brighten her home with flowers from her garden.  In the evening, her nieces Abby and Malvina Torrey made a call with their relative, Mrs. Fullerton. Malvina wore a “bloomer hat” that Evelina had given her.

The bloomer costume – seen above in the Currier print –  was a fashion phenomenon in 1851. Originally developed by readers of a health publication called The Water-Cure Journal, “Turkish pants” were touted as a healthful alternative to the heavy-skirted dresses and constrictive bodices that women typically wore. They became known as “bloomers” when Amelia Bloomer of Seneca Falls, New York, told the readership of her temperance periodical, The Lily, that she had adopted the style to wear.  She published instructions for making the outfit, and the curious style became a craze.

Although the bloomer costume was admired at first as being healthful, it soon became politicized as women’s reform became prominent in the headlines. To many, the free-flowing bloomers became symbolic of the suffrage movement. Publications that initially praised bloomers recanted as the outfit became more controversial. The fashion held its own through the decade, however, but disappeared after the Civil War, only to revive in the 1890s.

Evelina, sewing maven that she was, had been following the fashion news, but hadn’t opted to make a bloomer costume for herself. With a nod to the trend, however, she acquired a bloomer hat, probably like the one in the Currier print, to give to her ten-year old niece, Malvina.

*Nathaniel Currier, The Bloomer Costume, 1851

August 26, 1851

 

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of John Gellatly

 

Tues Aug 26th  Clinton Lothrop died about ten Oclock

last night  Has been sick a long time with

the Typhus fever  Mrs Witherell & I made the

shroud for him  Mrs Mitchell went to Taunton

to get Bonnets &c for Mrs Lothrop

Rebecca White came after Pauline this morning

Alson here to Dinner and tea is drawing stones for

Edwins cellar.  Oakes A and Frank returned this evening

 

Dewitt Clinton Lothrop finally died.  He had been suffering from typhus, “an acute infectious disease caused by the parasite Rickettsia prowazekii, transmitted by lice and fleas [,and] marked by high fever, stupor alternating with delirium, intense headache and dark red rash.”* It’s not the same disease as typhoid fever, although the two conditions have some similarities. Clinton, as he was known, had probably been bitten by a flea.

One of nine sons of Howard and Sally Lothrop, Clinton was a brother of Sarah Lothrop Ames. While most of his surviving brothers had moved away from Easton in pursuit of their own lives, Clinton was the duty son who had stayed home with his parents. Only 26 years old and married with two small sons, he had tended the family farm.

Evelina and Sarah Witherell quickly prepared a shroud for the body, while Harriett Mitchell rode off to Taunton to find mourning clothes for the young widow, Elizabeth Howard Lothrop (or for the mother, Sally Williams Lothrop.) That no one had purchased the mourning clothes before now suggests that, despite the probability of death, everyone had hoped that Clinton would recover.

It was a busy day for Evelina.  Besides helping sew the shroud, she saw her friend Pauline Dean depart to visit elsewhere in Easton and welcomed her brother Alson to midday dinner. Alson was working nearby, helping his son, Edwin Williams Gilmore, build a house.  Jane McHanna washed clothes, and she and Evelina probably continued to set the house to rights after a weekend of guests. Oakes Angier and Frank Morton returned home from their fishing trip.

* Craig Thornber, Glossary of Medical Terms Used in the 18th and 19th Centuries, http://www.thornber.net

August 25, 1851

il_570xN.69597337

*

Monday Aug 25  Did not wash this morning on account 

of having so much company  Warren left in the stage

cousin Jerry went to Mr Thesis with Oakes Angier

and Frank on their way fishing.  Alson dined here.

We Ladies all called at Mr Torreys & on Elisha

at the Boot shop.  Mr & Mrs & Miss Kinsley & Miss

Billings from Canton were here to tea – came

about 6 Oclock went to the shop with them

Another Monday and for the second time that summer, washing day got deferred.  Tidying up from “having so much company” took precedence over routine. The young relatives, Jerry and Warren Lothrop, left in the morning.  Another visitor, Pauline Dean, remained.

Oakes Angier and Frank Morton Ames left to go fishing, a trip they had deferred from last week. They had waited then for the imminent death of Dewitt “Clinton” Lothrop, which hadn’t happened.  Clinton, though deathly ill with typhus, was hanging on. The boys decided to wait no further, and departed.

Evelina and “We Ladies” – which could only mean Pauline and probably niece Lavinia – went to see Col. John Torrey in the village and called on Elisha Andrews at the boot factory. Elisha, who was 27 years old and single, had started up the factory with Augustus Gilmore and Oakes Angier Ames. In recounting the visit to the boot shop in her diary, Evelina underlined Elisha’s name. Why? The visit was significant in some way; perhaps one of the women – Lavinia? – was romantically interested in Elisha.

More socializing continued late in the day when the Kinsley family visited.  Lyman Kinsley, his wife Louisa, daughter Lucy Adelaide and a Miss Billings (a niece of Louisa, most likely) came for tea. Mr. Kinsley ran an iron and machine shop in Canton, an enterprise that the Ameses would eventually own. After tea, they all walked over to the factory.

* Currier and Ives, “Starting Out,” print, ca. 1852