Office of Ames Shovels, ca. mid-to-late 1850s
Sunday June 6th Have been to meeting as usual
Mr Whitwell preached Came home alone
with Mr Ames at noon Have read
but very little partly written a letter
to Oliver. Mr Ames said he would go
with me to Augustus’ to make a call but
he did not come from the office in season
Sermons, reading and writing filled Evelina’s day. She began a letter to Oliver (3), off at college.
It may have been the Sabbath, but that didn’t preclude Oakes and Oliver Jr spending time in the office next door to the house. The two men often met there at the end of each workday “to catch up with their correspondence (all letters were written and copied by hand), discuss business together and go over accounts with the head bookkeeper.”* That they met on a Sunday evening seems unusual, but it may not have been. The shovel firm was about to build a new, stone factory, one that would be more fire-resistant than the old one that burned down in March. These plans were being developed even as the business was in swing, making shovels and filling orders. Oakes and Oliver Jr. were extra busy.
As had happened before, Oakes Ames forgot to take Evelina out as promised, or came home too late to go, so she missed a visit to her nephew Augustus Gilmore and his family. Was Oakes’s chronic oversight just absent-mindedness, or was he more consciously choosing to ignore social obligations when they proved inconvenient? And how did he make it up to his wife?
* Winthrop Ames, The Ames Family of Easton, Massachusetts, 1938, p. 129