Friday Feb 20th Oliver returned to Brown University this
morning Have given the sitting room a thourough
sweeping & have made the front chamber bed
and put the room in order. Also the entry.
After dinner called into Olivers to see her mother
Mrs Solomon & Willard Lothrop spent the afternoon
Willard said he wanted to come to tea but the spirits
would not let him. Orinthia came this evening
The house was quieter this morning than it had been for some time. Evelina’s middle son, Oliver (3), had returned to college. She tidied up, putting away at least some of the sewing things that had been pulled out for mending Oliver’s clothes. She swept and put various rooms “in order.” She must have felt a sense of accomplishment and, perhaps, that contradictory combination of relief, satisfaction and sadness that follows the departure of a child for school.
After midday dinner, Evelina walked next door to greet Sally Williams Lothrop, mother of Sarah Lothrop Ames. A different Lothrop came to call (whether at Evelina’s or Sarah’s is unclear): Mrs. Solomon Lothrop and her son Willard. Willard was invited to stay for tea but declined. As a medium and a follower of Spiritualism, he felt that “the spirits would not let him.”
Willard Lothrop was not alone in his belief that the possibility of communication exists between the living and the dead.* William Chaffin makes note of the existence of Spiritualism in Easton, where “interest in this subject first appeared on the Bay road. In 1850 Asahel Smith, Amos Hewett, Willard Lothrop, and others became much interested in the matter. Several Easton people soon displayed mediumistic powers.” Evelina was clearly intrigued by the premise.
* See also June 13, 1851.
*William L. Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1866, p. 370.