July 4 Sunday Have been to meeting Orinthia & Lavinia
came home with us at noon Orinthia had a
toothache and did not return in the afternoon
Since meeting Alson & wife came up and brought Lavinia
for her to go to Boston tomorrow Mr Ames called with Orinthia
and self to see the rock they are splitting for the shop and we all
walked down to see the new shop Mr Clark of Norton preached two
excellent sermons Oakes A & Helen went to E. Bridgewater
Oakes Ames “came home from N. York”* today, having been there on shovel business; he was the company salesman. After church was over he, Evelina, and her friend, Orinthia Foss, walked down to the shovel shop to see the progress on the new stone building, the Long Shop. They checked out rock that was being split.
“[T]his was a fair cool day wind south west and a drying day…” according to Old Oliver. It was probably perfect for haying, but it was Sunday, so no one went out to the fields. It was also the Fourth of July, but again, being Sunday, the celebration was postponed. Fireworks would be held the next day.
Modern historian Jack Larkin describes the importance of the Fourth of July in the American calendar:
“Despite its notably awkward timing for a nation so agricultural – it came in the midst of haying in the North, corn and cotton cultivation elsewhere – Americans made the Fourth their most universal holiday. In ‘fifty thousand cities, towns, villages and hamlets, spread over the surface of America’ citizens observed rituals that varied little, firing cannons, watching parades of prominent citizens and listening to endless orations in town commons and courthouse squares. Americans probably seized their national day with particular relish because it was the only sanctioned way of taking a break from the intensive labor of midsummer…”**
And just as we read yesterday of the beginning of a courtship between Frank Ames and Catharine Copeland, so today we readers may be privy to the genesis of yet another courtship.Evelina writes that Oakes Angier Ames drove his cousin Helen Angier Ames to E. Bridgewater, but doesn’t say why. Perhaps Helen was visiting a friend from school who lived there: Catherine Hobart. This Catherine, too, was destined to become part of the family as Oakes Angier’s wife. Was this their first meeting?
* Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
**Jack Larkin,The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1988, p. 275