Monday Nov 24 Mary the new girl came last night and
she has done the washing very well it has
been very pleasant and they are all dry and brought
into the house Another town meeting to day and
the Los & free soilers joined and elected Mr. Silvester
for representative. The whigs are not a little agrieved
Mended Oakes Angiers coat Frank Heath has
been getting the boards ready for the porch
More bad news for the disintegrating Whigs. In Easton,“there was a Town meeting for the chois of representative and the freesoil + Democratic parties united + chose a locofoco Galon Silvester”. The new representative from Bristol County for the General Court of Massachusetts was Galen Sylvester, a carpenter and former selectman.
Originally from Vermont, Sylvester was a member of the Locofoco faction of the Democrats, which had developed in the 1840s in protest against Tammany Hall in New York City. Their hero was Andrew Jackson. Their name came from some friction matches they once used to light candles to illuminate an evening meeting that had been interrupted when Tammany men turned off the gas lights on them. By 1851, the label had become somewhat derogatory. Ralph Waldo Emerson said of them, ” “The new race is stiff, heady, and rebellious; they are fanatics in freedom; they hate tolls, taxes, turnpikes, banks, hierarchies, governors, yea, almost laws.”** By the middle of the 1850s, the “Los” were no longer a viable political group.
Having gotten past last night’s quarrel with Oakes, Evelina seemed to sympathize with her husband and the other Whigs over their loss. But she was again focused on her domestic responsibilities, keeping her eye on a new servant, Mary, who had done a good job with the laundry. Evelina was also minding the work of a carpenter named Frank Heath, who was building or repairing a porch.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Tofias Collection
**Bill Kaufman, The Republic Strikes Back, The American Conservative
3 thoughts on “November 24, 1851”
And Oakes, being a smart guy, is going to soon realize which way the wind is blowing here.
Also from today’s Mass Moments, this Elizabeth Porter Phelps is a version of Evelina a couple generations earlier, except that Elizabeth already WAS an Ames, so to speak, instead of marrying-in, not that there is anything wrong with either! 😉 On this Day …in 1747, Elizabeth Porter was born in the Connecticut River Valley village of Hadley. Five years later, her father built the first house outside the town center. He called it “Forty Acres.” It would be Elizabeth’s home for the rest of her long life. Her father died in 1755. Her 36-year-old mother never remarried. With help from kinfolk, slaves, and hired help, the widow Porter ran a 600-acre farm on what was then the Massachusetts frontier. After her daughter married Charles Phelps in 1770, the younger woman became mistress of the estate. Elizabeth Porter Phelps’s descendants would occupy it for the next 200 years, but she would be one of the last female members of the family to shoulder the burdens of a hard-working farm wife.
Elizabeth Porter was born into a family of “River Gods, ” as the group that settled and grew wealthy in the fertile Connecticut River Valley was known. With their elegant mansions, filled with fashionable furnishings, the “River Gods” formed a cohesive and exclusive kinship network that exercised nearly total cultural domination in the valley. As the only child, Elizabeth was sole heir to her father’s estate. While her wealth brought her a measure of privilege, it did not free her from a daily life of unrelenting domestic labor.
We know more about Elizabeth than about most of her contemporaries because she enjoyed “the pleasures of the pen,” as she called it. She kept a diary for 54 years and corresponded regularly with absent friends and family. Although Elizabeth Porter Phelps wrote about the historic events of her day, including the Revolution, Shays’ Rebellion and the War of 1812, she was primarily concerned with her family, her faith, and her community. (and more at link below.)
Love the phrase, “pleasures of the pen.” Thanks, Dwight.