April 18, 1852

 

paul-revere-1

1852

April 18 Sunday.  Another unpleasant sabbath but we have

all been to meeting.  Oliver & wife staid at home

this afternoon.  Mr Whitwell gave us two short but

good sermons of about 20 minutes  At intermission

went into Mrs J Howards with Mrs E Howard

Mrs L Howard & Mrs Dr. Deans    called a few moments

on Mrs Whitwell.  Have finished Night & Morning

As was their custom, the Ameses attended church today en masse, at least in the morning. They drove separate carriages to the meeting house through the “cloudy, cold + misty”* morning. Oliver Jr. and his wife Sarah Lothrop Ames rode home at noon, but Evelina and her family, presumably, busied themselves at intermission with various opportunities to socialize.

Oakes Ames most likely slept through the sermons, even though they were “short.” Evelina, however, liked Reverend Whitwell’s sermons today, as she often did. Would he have made any allusion to the historic date?  April 18 was the anniversary of the 1775 ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn “every Middlesex village and farm” of the approach of British forces.  It was a date that American schoolchildren once had to memorize.

Less than a decade later, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would immortalize the historic date in Paul Revere’s Ride:

Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-Five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year…

Longfellow, one of the most popular American poets of the 19th century, wrote Paul Revere’s Ride some eighty-five years after the dramatic events in Concord and Lexington that opened the Revolutionary War. It was published in The Atlantic Monthly in January, 1861, on the eve of the Civil War.  Many believe that the poet, an adamant abolitionist, wrote the piece to remind American citizens of the historic principles and great bravery that shaped the formation of the United States.

 

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

 

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