March 14th Sunday Amelia & self went to hear
Willard Lothrop preach as he calls it
at this methodist meeting house but he
was not able to make out much We called
at Mr Torreys & Augustus’ at noon
Edwin & wife were here to supper but
went home before dark. Have read the
white Rover in Gleasons pictorial
With the factory shut or, in this case, with the carpenters away, Sunday was a quiet day in North Easton. This particular Sunday “was cloudy all day + in the evening + night there was considerable rain – wind north east.”* The Ames family usually went to church at a meeting house in Easton Center, but on this Sunday Evelina did something different.
Her family may have gone to the usual Unitarian service with Reverend Whitwell, but Evelina and her sister-in-law, Amelia Gilmore, stayed in the village and attended a service at the Methodist meeting house. This tiny church, since moved to another location, sat in an intersection of North Easton now known at The Rockery. So small was it that one visiting preacher declared he could “spit into the gallery from the pulpit.** Its intimate dimensions were just right for another session of Spiritualism with Willard Lothrop, who preached in his own personal way.
Evelina and Amelia may have been motivated to try to communicate with departed family members, but they came away disappointed. Lothrop failed “to make out much.” Although Lothrop and others in Easton continued to advocate for their belief, Evelina pulled away from it. This is her final entry on the topic of Spiritualism.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
**William L. Chaffin, Oakes Ames, Easton, early 20th c., p.3
3 thoughts on “March 14, 1852”
I get confused about what Methodist churches were where. There was Old Squaretop out on Washington Street, but I don’t know when that was built. Then there was a smaller one right in the village of North Easton, but I also thought that the Ameses usually went to a church there as well, which also had small dimensions. I didn’t realize that the Ameses went out to the meeting house down what is now Central St., where the Civil War statue now stands. Chaffin certainly gives a lot of detail about the churches, so much so that I obviously can’t quite grasp it.
Placing exact dates on where the Ames family attended church IS confusing, I agree. After reading not only Chaffin, but Winthrop Ames’ family history and Oliver Third’s own diaries from the late 1850s, I came to the conclusion that the Ames family attended the meeting house on Centre (Evelina’s spelling for it) Street for most of the 1850s, at least until Rev. Whitwell departed in 1857. (For reasons unexplained, Whitwell was not invited to continue in Easton, and went to Chestnut Hill to preach.) The pulpit was then filled by various temporary parsons until George Withington arrived and became a regular (I think). About this time, however, Old Oliver and other Unitarians decided to move their worship to the village, more specifically to the then-vacant little Methodist church there. (Winthrop Ames discusses this.) William Chaffin arrived in the early to mid 1860s, preaching first at the little church and then at the new Unity Church in 1875.
Evelina, therefore, was traveling to the church in Easton Center by carriage in 1851 and 1852. (Ed Hands has a good picture of that Unitarian Church in his book.) By the mid-1860s, however, Evelina was attending the little church in the village (when she wasn’t in Washington with Oakes.) Does that make any sense?
Yes, it does, and it also explains why that little church was eventually attended by the whole family regularly. In one of those sources, it is also mentioned that occasionally some of them would go out to Old Squaretop for a change of pace, a sing, or a special event.