Five Dollar Gold Piece, 1850
April 7th Mother is 80 years old this day and notwithstanding
the snow banks have been down to see her and made
her a present of a five dollar gold piece. She is
not very smart to day but is generaly very well and
capable for one of her years. Orinthia Abby & Augusta
went with me and we have had a very pleasant visit
Augustus stoped the evening here Helen came
home this afternoon with her father.
Evelina’s mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, turned 80 years old. She was the grandmother of Oakes Angier, Oliver (3), Frank Morton and Susan Eveline Ames – among other grandchildren – and first cousin-once-removed of Sarah Lothrop Ames. She was born in Bridgewater in 1772, the fifth child and only daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Howard) Lothrop. Her mother died soon after she was born and her father remarried two times more and had six additional children.
In 1789, at age 17, Hannah married Joshua Gilmore of Easton. They had a large family, too, producing eight children, of whom Evelina was seventh. By this 80th birthday in 1852, Hannah was a widow with only three offspring still alive. As we have seen, she lived on a farm with a son, Alson Gilmore, but often visited her daughter, Evelina.
Beyond these genealogical facts, little is known of the life of Hannah Lothrop Gilmore. When she was barely twenty, however, and already a mother of her first baby, John, she walked on a trail one day with her husband in an area of Easton known at the Great Cedar Swamp. Town historian William Chaffin recorded the tale:
“There was then no road through Cedar Swamp. Trees were however felled, and on these by hard work pedestrians at certain seasons could pick their way through from Easton to Raynham, or return.
“In 1792 […] Raynham had petitioned the Court of General Sessions for Bristol County to require Easton to build a road through the swamp to connect the two towns. The advantages of such a road were obvious. But Easton stood aghast at the prospect of incurring the expense of building a causeway such a distance and in such depths of mire. The difficulty is illustrated by the fact that as Joshua Gilmore was going on the footpath through the swamp one day with his wife, carrying a little child in his arms, Mrs. Gilmore was speaking of the difficulty of the passage, and her husband replied that some day the child would ride through the swamp in a carriage; and the idea struck her as so essentially preposterous that she had a hearty laugh over it. However, the Court of Sessions did not, it would seem, share her skepticism, for it ordered Easton to construct the road.”*
The road, known then as the Turnpike Road or Street, was built, and Hannah Gilmore lived to ride it in a carriage.
*William L. Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1886, pp. 454-455