September 26, 1851



Friday 26th  Mrs S Ames & Mrs Mitchell went into Boston & Cambridge

Wednesday & returned last night  Julia is to work

for Helen to day  they talk of sending her to Boston

to school  I have been to work on my dresses some

to day and have varnished my desk & beaureau

& some other things, taken up some plants 

from the garden  It is very cold and we had 

some frost last night

It had been a week ago today that Evelina, Oakes, and other Ameses had stood in Boston for hours watching a grand parade celebrating the railroad.  Since that time, Evelina had returned home, rearranged furniture and nursed her daughter through an uncomfortable spell of sickness.  She must have finally felt that her life was getting back to normal.

Evelina sewed a bit today, of course, and continued to redecorate, varnishing two pieces of furniture. Even more pressing, however, was her garden. She brought some plants into the house in hopes that they would winter over and, most likely, pulled out other annuals that she had planted months earlier.  She was feeling the cold and noted the frost, although her father-in-law, Old Oliver, contradicted her in his assessment of today’s weather as “cloudy most of the day but not cold.”

Old Oliver also noted that “Horatio was here to day, ” something that Evelina neglected to mention. Horatio and Oakes Ames didn’t get along, so the men would have avoided one another if possible. Perhaps Evelina didn’t see Horatio, although, given his great size and odd voice, he would have been hard to miss. As described by Winthrop Ames, Horatio “was an enormous man, so large that when he walked beside his father he made the latter appear of almost ordinary stature; but with a piping voice which seemed especially incongruous with his great frame.”**

Evelina did quickly see sisters-in-law Sarah Lothrop Ames and Harriett Ames Mitchell who returned from an overnight in the city. Sarah may have been scouting boarding schools for her daughter, Helen.


* Courtesy of

** Winthrop Ames, The Ames Family of Easton, Massachusetts, 1937, p.107

2 thoughts on “September 26, 1851

  1. I did have to click on Horatiio, to find out who he was and found the tree, and clarifications of which children belonged to whom. Great, thank you.

    However, I find the image of the “plants taken up from the garden” being a horehound. Here in NM these are considered weeds. I have a similar image of one with its first frost being dated Oct. 19 (2006). Would this have been a “plant” to be “taken up” because it was still being used medicinally, do you think?

  2. Caroline, thank you for the question. Horehound is, in fact, something that Evelina used medicinally. If you can pull up the post for February 16, 1851, you’ll see that she had a sore throat and made herself a brew that included horehound. I don’t know if she grew it in her garden or found it wild, but I suspect the former. And was it one of the plants that she brought indoors? Your guess is as good as mine. Frankly, I selected the image mostly because it showed the frost so well. Yet I remain curious about exactly which plants were brought indoors. And once indoors, where were they placed?
    Glad you found Horatio – he and William Leonard are the Ames brothers who, in some respects, were “cast out” of Easton. They got some monetary support from the family, but Oakes and Oliver Jr got the attention. A tale of four brothers (five, actually, if you count the youngest son, John, who died in his late twenties). To be continued!

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s