April 15, 1852

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April 15 Thursday.  Oakes Angier 23 years old to day.

This day 23 years ago not a cloud to be seen to day

a heavy rain storm  Julia Mahoney here making

my Delaine and altering my black silk having

a new waist and sleeves.  She has both waists fitted

but did not get much ready for me to work upon

till just at night  I have made the button holes

in the delaine

In both years of her diary Evelina takes note of Oakes Angier’s birthday. She also mentions him by name approximately 117 times as he comes and goes, works, reads, rides, eats or ails. By comparison, her other sons, Oliver [3] and Frank Morton, are each cited with similar purpose only 74 times, or one third less often, and neither of their birthdays draws any mention at all. This numerical disparity, coupled with the soft tone of Evelina’s rare reminiscence about her first child’s birth, when “not a cloud” could be seen, hints at maternal favoritism for the eldest son.

Not only was Oakes Angier the firstborn child of Oakes and Evelina, he was, on his father’s side, the eldest of 24 grandchildren of Old Oliver and Susannah. On his mother’s side of the family, he placed in the middle of a pack of a dozen grandchildren of Joshua and Hannah Gilmore, many of whom, like cousin Edwin W. Gilmore, lived in the vicinity.

Oakes Angier Ames would have known all four of his grandparents, although he was only seven years old when his grandfather Gilmore died. He was just turning 18 when his grandmother Ames passed away and in his thirties, with children of his own, when his grandfather Ames and his grandmother Gilmore (who lived to be nearly 92) died. Throughout his life, Oakes Angier was surrounded by multiple generations of relatives; he grew up amid a swirl of siblings and first cousins, among most of whom he held primogenitary status. He was the standard bearer. His siblings and cousins called him simply “Oakes,” leaving it to Evelina (and his descendants and historians) to append his middle name when spoken of.

 

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