August 5th Tuesday Have been sewing part of the day
This afternoon took my work and went to Mr
Torreys with the intention of stopping an hour or two
Abby left this morning for Pembroke & I had a
long chat with Mr Torrey heard all the news.
On my return called on Mrs Lake found her
about house & quite smart. Heard that Mrs Holmes
Haying continued, as Old Oliver noted yesterday in his journal:
“in the morning the wind was south west + there was a verry little sun shine untill about 10 – O – clock when the wind shifted to the north east. + it raind in the afternoon but not butt little we mowd the thin part of the Flyaway and brought it home well. + put it out in small heaps”
Evelina worked on her sewing, as usual, and even carried it with her in the afternoon into the village where she visited Col. John Torrey for “a long chat.” John Torrey was a widower twice over. He had been married first to an Abigail Williams who died quite young. They had no children. In 1828, Torrey married Evelina’s older sister, Hannah Howard Gilmore, and they had three children, of whom two survived infancy: Abigail “Abby” Williams Torrey, named for the first wife, and Mary Malvina Torrey. Both girls were close to their Aunt Evelina who seems to have served as a maternal figure after Hannah died sometime in the 1840s.
Col. Torrey was a controversial figure in Easton of whom we know only enough to be curious, and not enough to have that curiosity satisfied. (He should not be confused with another John Torrey who was a prominent botanist in New York in the same era.) Listed as a “Trader” in the census, he earned the title of Colonel by years of service in the local militia. Somewhere along the way Torrey invoked the enmity of a local character and lampoonist named James Adams who wrote a derogatory poem about him. Historian William Chaffin recorded this information without including the piece in question. Chaffin only said that “Our Hero: A Descriptive Poem,” was published in a sixteen-page pamphlet and was “not merely satirical, but derisive and scathing.”*
* William Chaffin, History of Easton, 1886, pp. 764-765