August 14, 1851


Thursday 14th  Worked about house awhile and then went

to sewing & fixing some work for Ellen cut a 

chimise for self &c. Charles Mitchell brought

Sister Harriet and Johnny from Bridgewater

Harriet has gone back to attend a party 

at Robbins pond tomorrow.  We all have an

invitation but I think I had best not go though

it would give me pleasure

Evelina put out some fabric today for the new girl, Ellen, to cut into pattern pieces. She noted that her sister-in-law, Harriett Ames Mitchell, came over briefly from Bridgewater with her middle child, John Ames Mitchell, but soon went back to prepare for a party.

Although his birthday went unmentioned in the diary, Frank Morton Ames, the third child of Evelina and Oakes Ames, turned 18 today. Taking his place in a patriarchal society behind two bright older brothers, Frank had to vie for recognition almost from the beginning. Like Oakes Angier and Oliver (3), Frank attended local and boarding school, in the latter case Andover, and had just completed his schooling the year before Evelina took up her diary.

Unlike Oakes Angier and Oliver (3), Frank was a troublemaker “who needed more discipline.”  According to historian William Chaffin, Frank and a friend once sneaked out of their respective homes, took a horse and buggy to a dance in Canton, and returned “very late.” When Oakes Ames learned about it, he and the other father, William S. Andrews, took their sons down to the shop where they “were horsewhipped in the presence of the workmen.”  As Chaffin notes, “Discipline was apt to be severe in those days.”*

One of the pleasures of Frank’s life was his participation in the local militia, a company of which was formed in 1852.  Again he had to stand behind a brother, in this case Oliver (3), who was made captain while he was appointed quartermaster, but eventually Frank made major. He resigned that position in 1860, by which time he was married and living in Canton.  Neither he nor his brothers served in the Civil War.

Frank would go on to have checkered success in several fields away from the shovel factory. With his brothers, he worked to rebuild his father’s reputation.  Despite the severity of treatment he had experienced from his father, he remained devoted to Oakes’s memory.

* William Chaffin, “Oakes Ames 1804-1873”, private publication


2 thoughts on “August 14, 1851

  1. Interesting info about Frank. His father, undoubtedly, learned about the use of the horsewhip in the wrestling lessons he and his brothers got from old Oliver, where a horsewhip was present. If Frank was intoxicated when he returned, I’m sure that he got some extra lashes.

  2. Dwight – You’re correct that Oakes Ames had been subjected to the horse whip himself as a boy. Chaffin says that Oakes was whipped when he wouldn’t study, which was often. Oakes evidently preferred fishing to books.

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