February 28, 1852


Thomas Nast’s first rendition of the Republican party’s symbol, early 1870s


Feb 28th Saturday  It has been a stormy uncomfortable 

day  Mother is quite unwell & rather homesick

Mrs Witherell spent two hours here this

forenoon  I have finished the flannel

skirt that I commenced Jan 30th and put

a cape top to an old one  Mr Ames has

been to Boston as usual says the slab will be here Monday

Evelina stayed indoors today, sewing, of course, but also tending to her elderly mother, who seemed fretful and “unwell.” The whole town was subjected to what modern weather forecasters would call ” a wintry mix.”  According to Old Oliver, the day began “a snowing this morning wind south east but the snow is dry – it snowd + haild untill about 4 O clock + than began to rain + raind pritty fast untill some time in the night when it cleard of[f] with the wind north west and + cold and the wind blew verry hard”*

In another section of the country also known for its harsh winters, this date in history (plus two years) marks the genesis of our country’s Republican party. According to political historian Robert Remini, “[o]n February 28, 1854, a number of Free-Soilers, northern Whigs and antislavery Democrats met in Ripon, Wisconsin, and recommended the formation of a new party to be called “Republican.”**  Several months later, on July 6, after Congress passed the controversial Kansas-Nebraska act, the nascent group met again in Jackson, Michigan, where they “formally adopted the new name and demanded the repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska and Fugitive Slave Acts and the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.”

It wouldn’t take long for the Ames men, former Whigs, to join the new political party.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

Robert Remini, The House: The History of the House of Representatives, 2006, p. 150  

(NB: A source cited in Wikipedia in February, 2015, says that the date for this meeting in Ripon was March 20)

2 thoughts on “February 28, 1852

  1. Don’t know – yet – when Oakes and Oliver Jr made the switch. But Oliver Third’s diaries from the late 1850s may hold the answer.

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