August 9, 1851




Aug 9th Sat  Was mending most of the forenoon after doing

my chamber work  This afternoon Helen & I have

been to Mothers found her quite sick with a cold

so that she could not speak aloud.  Called for

Orinthia to carry her with us but she did not go

Brought her home with us at night  Just as we 

got to Mr Howards there came up a tempest &

we stoped untill it was over

Helen Angier Ames, aged 14, accompanied her Aunt Evelina this afternoon to the Gilmore farm, perhaps to see Evelina’s niece, Lavinia Gilmore, aged 19. The two young women were friends. The schoolteacher, Orinthia Foss, was invited to go along as well but declined. Instead, she joined Evelina and Helen on their return trip.

As she often did, Evelina went to visit her mother and family at the farm where she grew up. Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, aged 79, lived most of the time with her son Alson. She was usually in good health, but today she was “quite sick” with a summer cold and laryngitis.  Illness seemed to be all around Evelina in these dog days of summer.

On their ride home, the women encountered a storm violent enough to make them stop off at the Howards’ house. The outburst was, in fact, part of a squall line that produced a tornado in Hartford, Connecticut.  A “tempest,” Evelina called it, using a word that nowadays isn’t often heard in American English.  Modern usage might describe the storm less poetically as a “weather event.”

*U.S. Tornado Early History,  

One thought on “August 9, 1851

  1. On the other hand, television is very dramatic about “weather events” these days. In their attempts to grab our attention, they often present these “events” as unique, apocalyptic, and mostly likely caused by global warming. Reading old diaries gives me the impression that it was both hotter and colder in these parts in the days of Old Oliver, Evelina, and Thoreau, and that was before the dust bowl era, and definitely before almost any statement about dramatic weather could become a potentially political one. 😉

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s