Ames Plantation, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, ca. 1880’s
Jan 26/51 (sic)
Monday commenced making Susan a flannel skirt
Mother & self went into Edwins with our work and staid
about 3 hours came home to tea. Evening Augustus
Hannah and Mrs Witherell were here Oliver Jr
and Oakes A went to Mr Whitwells expecting to meet
Willard L there. It has been a beautiful day. Mrs Buck
and Sarah called at Edwins while we were there and
were very polite
It was Monday, which meant that Evelina probably did a little housework this morning before picking up her sewing. As usual, Jane McHanna managed the Monday washing and Evelina didn’t need to paint or fix or oversee anything but the flannel skirt she was making for her daughter. After midday dinner, she and her elderly mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, walked to the home of Edwin Gilmore and sat with his bride, Augusta Pool Gilmore, each of them tending to their sewing. It seemed quiet on the home front.
In another decade, it would be anything but quiet – at least across most of the country. The United States would be in the first upheavals of an impending civil war. “The Great Rebellion,” they would call it. On this particular day in January, 1861, Louisiana would secede from the Union, the sixth of eleven states to do so. When the war ended in 1865, the Confederacy defeated, Louisiana and her sister states would ultimately be accepted back into the Union through the arduous and hotly political process known as Reconstruction.
In another two decades, the economies of the southern states would still be struggling, enabling many northerners to acquire cheap land and cast-off businesses. In 1873, the three Ames brothers – Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton – would purchase two old plantations, Estelle and South Side in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, right across the Mississippi from New Orleans. On 13,000 acres, they would grow and refine sugar. The business ran until the start of the 20th century, overseen eventually by one of Frank’s sons. The property, which”stretched for more than one mile on the river and ran about eight miles deep”* was eventually sold. Today that land comprises much of the city of Marrero, Louisiana. Little is left of the Ames influence except an eponymous boulevard running through the city’s center.
* Betsy Swanson, Historic Jefferson Parish: From Shore to Shore, p. 97.