June 9, 1852




Example of bonnet frame


June 9th  Wednesday  Mr & Mrs Orr  Mr Ames & self dined

in Olivers and Oakes & Frank came to tea

with us.  Mrs Davidson & two daughters there

Mr Ames & Mr Orr rode to Canton

Mrs Orr brought me a frame for a lace

bonnet and I have fitted it to my head ready

for the trimming

With their guests, Robert and Melinda Orr, Evelina and Oakes ate midday dinner next door. It was a rare occasion to be invited to dine at Oliver Jr.’s and Sarah’s, an indication of how important the houseguests were.  At tea time, they were joined by Betsy Davidson, wife of the postmaster, and her little girls Lizzie and Julia. Oakes Angier and Frank Morton Ames joined the group, too, after finishing work at the shovel shops.

Evelina was given a special bonnet frame by Melinda and got right to the pleasant task of creating a new bonnet, “ready for the trimming.” The two friends probably sat and chatted as Evelina worked on it. Perhaps Melinda had brought some lapwork with her, or perhaps Evelina gave her something to sew. Neither woman would have been apt to sit idly while the other worked.

After dinner, Oakes and Robert rode over to Canton, probably to visit the Kinsley iron works. Back at home, Old Oliver Ames was breathing a bit easier after the much-needed rainfall of the previous day and night, reporting that “the plowd land is wett down considerable.” Just what the farmer asked for.



6 thoughts on “June 9, 1852

  1. And they have had their own shovel shop in Canton since the end of 1847.

    • Thank you, Dwight, for that information. Would like to know more about the Orr family and its connection to the Ameses.

  2. I once knew something about a major contribution of one or more of the Orr’s to the progression of the iron/steel business, but that tidbit is now off in the inaccessible recesses of the mind…or some computer file. 😉 In any case, all I know about the interactions between the Orr’s and the Ameses comes from Evelina’s diary.

  3. I recently heard Eric Schultz (co-author of “King Philip’s War”) speak about Oliver Ames, in particular about his early training at the armory in Springfield. I believe that Mr. Schultz mentioned one of the Orrs (Hugh??) in the course of his talk. But then, my memory could be deceiving me.

  4. What did Schultz make of Oliver’s apprenticeship out in Springfield with oldest brother David?

  5. Dwight – I don’t remember the specifics of Oliver’s time in Springfield, except that it prepared him for his life’s work with shovels. In particular, it gave him the skills to recover quickly from the 1852 fire. Eric will be publishing a new book about three different periods of American entrepreneurship, and Oliver Ames will be included in the earliest section. It should be an excellent read!

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