March 9, 1852


19th century oil lantern


March 9th  Tuesday  This morning finished putting

the sitting room chamber in order

Mrs Witherell came in with her work

for an hour or two. I sent for Hannah

Augusta & Abby this afternoon.  Abby

came in this evening  Augustus called  his

wife has the canker and was not able to come


Today “was a fair good day + pritty warm,” * accommodating weather for the carpenters working on the shovel shops. According to modern town historian, Ed Hands, the repair would be rapid enough to allow a resumption of manufacturing “in less than three weeks.” But what happened to the shovel makers during the hiatus? Were they kept on payroll? Or were they given unpaid furlough?

What happened to Patric Quinn? An Irish immigrant with a young wife and two small children, he was the watchman who had dropped his lantern into the varnish on the night of March 2d. He started the fire. Was he injured? Was he held accountable?  Did he stay on payroll? He and his wife Elisa, who sometimes did sewing for Evelina, remained in North Easton. They lived on Elm Street in one of the workers’s houses.

At the Ames compound, Evelina put the sitting room and parlor back in order. She and her sister-in-law, Amelia Gilmore sat and sewed.  They were joined for a time by Sarah Ames Witherell who was followed by young Abbey Torry and Augusta Pool Gilmore. Hannah Lincoln Gilmore was too sick to attend.


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

**Edmund C. Hands, Easton’s Neighborhoods, 1995, p. 163

4 thoughts on “March 9, 1852

  1. Old Oliver always tended to find other work for his hands when business was slow, so I would guess that the Ames had the workers help out the carpenters, reassemble machinery etc.

  2. Dwight – That’s helpful, thanks! It would make sense that most people would be kept busy. There was a great deal to do in the rebuilding.

    • I believe that Dwight is correct. I have always understood that “anyone who could swing a hammer” was utilized to rebuild as quickly as possible. This may have included shipwrights, who often came inland during the winter looking for carpentry work when the shipyards were basically closed. The homes on Oliver Street, temporary shops which were later split into housing, are excellent examples of the replacement buildings and the skillfulness of the carpenters.

  3. Thanks, Frank. Input from people like you “on the ground” in Easton is essential to telling Evelina’s story correctly. I’m going to look around for a photograph of those homes on Oliver Street to post on the blog, so other readers can see for themselves “the skillfulness of the carpenters.” Hope the snow is beginning to melt, by the way!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s