September 21, 1851



Sunday Sept 21st  Have been to meeting  Mr Ames & self came

home at noon and Horace Pool came with us

and they rode up to the great pond where they are

building a new floom.  Brought Abby Torrey from

meeting & carried her back  She & Malvina are spending 

a week at Alsons  Miss Latham & her brother Edward

came to our meeting this morning and to the other 

part of the house after  I called into see them

The new flume going in at Great Pond was attracting local attention. After church, Oakes Ames and Horace Pool rode up to see it. Oakes had been in Boston when his father, Old Oliver, had begun the work, and no doubt he was curious to see the progress.  No one would have been working on it today, as it was Sunday.

The flume was intended to harness water power for the shovel factory. It was basically an inclined ditch lined with stones and boulders to shunt the water along. Some flumes – such as those used in lumbering – are lined with wood, but that wasn’t likely to be the case here, given the scarcity of wood, the availability of stones, and the expectation of longevity. Old Oliver’s oxen must have been used to haul the many stones, and man-power used to put each one in place.  The channel itself would have been dug with Ames shovels, naturally.

Evelina, perhaps moving about slowly on sore feet, went to church and caught up with various friends and family members, including nieces Abby and Malvina Torrey. She popped into the other part of the house – the section lived in by Old Oliver and his daughter Sarah Witherell – to greet some visitors there.  She was settling back into her routine after the Boston holiday.

Photograph of an old flume,, courtesy of Hadrian



4 thoughts on “September 21, 1851

  1. This brings to mind the digging of the first Ames’ works/hammer shop up at the Great Pond around 1825, when, as I recall, Old Oliver gave Oakes some kind of acknowledgment for doing good work, or maybe he just mentioned him as a worker. It may have been a later incident when Oakes went up to repair a sudden large leak/failure when Oliver doled out the compliment. In any case, the original was built back at a time when Ames workers and probably Old Oliver too, were consuming rum. By 1851 the workers are getting by on swizzle. The house at this spot, now has some portion of this flume or some equivalent structure, which permits the water to run directly beneath the house. I have also seen pictures of the restored mill wheel, which they have down there too. At the moment, I can’t recall the current owner’s name….but it will come to me. 😉

  2. At the southernmost end of Ames-Long Pond. The flood control causeway just east of it got extensive repairs and rebuilding from the Town of Easton several years ago. On the other side of the house Quesset Brook begins and flows generally south across Canton St. to where it enters Picker Pond, which also receives water from Flyaway Pond and the water flows past the Hoe Shop site and into the center of North Easton where the other shovel shop was. Picker Pond has a very distinctive shape with two “horns” on the north side, one of which receives the Ames-Long Pond water and the other, which gets the Flyaway water. We have had a drought this summer and water is very low, which would have had Old Oliver muttering and might well have stopped shovel production.

  3. Thank you, Dwight. There must be a 19th c. birds-eye view of Easton out there that would show just the water you describe. I’m looking for a birds-eye view, if anyone knows of one for sale.

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