Jan 24th Saturday Worked all the forenoon mending
Olivers overcoat & pants. Have finished my worsted
hood in Olivers this afternoon. Julia Pool
Augusta & Edwin were there to tea. Mr Ames
has been to Boston & has brought home Oliver a
gold watch Fred & Oliver have fine time and
are wide awake They sleep together. Fred came
in here tonight.
Evelina must have written this entry at night, perhaps in her bedroom where she could hear her son Oliver (3) and nephew Fred Ames conversing and laughing elsewhere in the house. The first cousins, college men both, enjoyed one another’s company and were spending the night together. Up to now, they were the only family members in recent memory to go to university and must have had some stories to compare.
The fond regard that Oliver (3) and Fred held for one another would last throughout their lives, although it would be sorely tested on occasion. As grown men caught up in the high stakes of the railroad business, they found themselves holding opposing views more than once. And after the sudden death of Oakes Ames and the attendant financial woes that followed, Oliver (3) defended his father’s legacy, while Fred supported his own father’s efforts to recoup funds that Oliver, Jr. believed were his. In other words, Oliver (3) and Fred faced off over money. Yet they moved in similar circles, invested in similar capitalist ventures and, in 1893, when Fred himself died quite suddenly, Oliver (3) grieved, “completely broken down by [the] sad news.”*
Those difficult times lay ahead, but on this day, Oliver (3) had something to celebrate. His father, Oakes, had given him a gold watch, perhaps in honor of his 21st birthday, which was right around the corner. Perhaps, too, Oakes was honoring his middle son for his successful studies at Brown University, studies that Oakes had initially resisted. The watch was certainly a sign that Oakes was proud.
*Oliver Ames Third, Diary, September 13, 1893, Collection of Stonehill College Archives