January 23, 1852




Currier & Ives, Winter in the Country: Getting the Ice1864


Jan 23d Friday  Have had a hard days work.  Heat the

brick oven 4 times.  Baked mince & dried apple

pies brown bread cup cake & ginger snaps.

Had quite a fright about Oliver & Fred being

away at tea time was affraid they had got into the

pond where they had been cutting ice for the ice house

found them at Edwins.  Mrs S Ames went with me

about 8 Oclock into Edwins


There are few things scarier for a parent than having a child – whatever the age – not come home when expected. Evelina and her sister-in-law Sarah Lothrop Ames had “quite a fright” when their sons, Oliver (3) and Fred Ames, respectively, didn’t return home from a day spent outside, harvesting ice at a family pond. The pond was some distance from the family compound, out of earshot. At tea time, no one was able to report on their whereabouts. The boys might have fallen in.

The worried mothers went out after dark to search for their sons and found them practically next door. They were fine. Oliver and Fred had stopped to call on Oliver’s cousin, Edwin Gilmore, and were presumably unaware that their absence had alarmed anyone. How relieved Evelina and Sarah must have been.

For the young men, the day spent working outdoors in the cold sunshine must have been an invigorating change from their college studies, and for their grandfather, Old Oliver, their participation in the important annual harvest of ice must have been gratifying.

7 thoughts on “January 23, 1852

  1. It would be interesting to know which pond they were cutting ice on. I know that some years later than this, they were cutting ice up at the Great Pond/Ames-Long Pond, but don’t know when that began. Certainly Shovel Shop and even Flyaway Ponds are closer to the center of North Easton. I don’t recall our patriarchal harvester, old Oliver recording anything about ice-cutting, but you seem to have current access to his diary, so maybe you can do a brief scan for any references to ice-cutting. FYI: On January 23, 2015, Ames-Long Pond has a 7-10 inch ice covering.

  2. I’m not sure it was active at this time, but I believe “Monty’s Pond” on West Elm Street (other side of Rt. 138) had an ice house and was very active with ice harvesting.

    Imagine how shocked they would all be to walk into a kitchen of today, and at the push of a button have ice delivered into their hands!
    (certainly labor saving; definitely not as invigorating!)

    • James and Dwight: John Ames agrees with James that the name of the pond might be Monty’s. He believes it was in the extreme northeastern corner of Easton, on the eastern side of Rte 138, and thinks the ice house or, at least, AN ice house is still there. We’re traveling or we’d head there to confirm.

  3. The Easton Historical Society has a nice video on the ice-cutting at Monte’s, into the middle of the Twentieth Century. It is just north of Elm Street on the eastern side of 138. It is called Monte Pond on the map. I gave seen pictures of the ice house on the video, but have never gone in to the site, so don’t know if the ice house is still standing. By the way, this link will take you to a wonderful mapping system, which has helped me a lot in looking at old lot lines, ponds, streams, and boundaries. http://maps.massgis.state.ma.us/map_ol/oliver.php Think of Old Oliver! 😉

  4. I to have seen the ice cutting video, and driven by the location many times but have not ventured out on foot to see if there is still an ice house, or remnants of one there. Maybe this week…
    Thanks too, for the map link, Dwight.

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