Thursday Nov 13th Have been cleaning the draws in
the beaureaus and have papered the closet beside
the fire place and painted some boxes &c
Ellen Meader […] has been making Susan a visit
this afternoon The Stoughton band have been
in the neighborhood this evening. They marched
and played up as far as the house and back to the
school house. Went to Mr Swains and had coffee &c &c
Mr Ames has been to Boston
Stoughton, Massachusetts, has a wonderful musical legacy, most famously the Old Stoughton Musical Society, a choral group that has been active since 1786. Known in its first hundred-twenty years simply as the Stoughton Musical Society, some of its members referred to it as the “Grand Club”*. When it celebrated its centennial in 1886, Lt. Governor Oliver Ames and Governor George D. Robinson were two notable attendees at a celebratory concert. Oliver (3) was very fond of music; he even took singing lessons in his youth. He must have enjoyed the musical evening.
The long and revered history of the Old Stoughton Musical Society sheds no light on the existence of a Stoughton marching band, however. Evelina’s entry may be the only known mention – at least to date – of such a band. On this day in 1851 it marched and played instruments through the village of North Easton, presumably after the factory had closed for the day. Why did it stop at the Ames’s house? What was the occasion? Surely the music it played was a welcome change from the usual clanging and hammering that emanated from the shovel shop.
Other than this pleasant interlude, Evelina’s day was ordinary. While her daughter Susie had a friend over, Evelina cleaned, papered and painted. Later in the day – perhaps as she accompanied little Ellen Meader home – she had “coffee &c &c” at the home of Ann and John H. Swain. Oakes Ames spent the day in Boston.
* Mary Swan Jones, The One Hundredth Anniversary Celebration, 1886