August 9, 1852


Map of Bristol County, Massachusetts, 1852*


Aug 9th Monday  Part of the forenoon was working

about the house & cut out some work.

This afternoon started to go to Taunton

and got as far as brother Alsons when it rained

poringly and we were obliged to ride into

the barn untill it slacked a little so that we

could get into the house  Spent the afternoon 

there.  It was quite pleasant when we came 

home.  Mrs Witherell A L Ames & S Ames were with me


On the 1852 map of Bristol County, illustrated above, the town of Easton sits at the very top. Its eastern border abuts Plymouth County, which was the home of Bridgewater (today’s Brockton), West Bridgewater, and more. On Easton’s northern line sits Stoughton in Norfolk County. To its immediate south lies Raynham, home of many Gilmore cousins. We often read of Evelina traveling to these three vicinities – Bridgewater, Stoughton and Raynham –  to see family, friends, and vendors.

To the west of Easton lies Mansfield – where Oakes and Oliver (3) caught the stagecoach for Providence – and Norton. Further south, on a NNW/SSE axis, is the somewhat bow-tie-shaped town of Taunton. Taunton in the 19th century was known locally as “Silver City,” for its silver manufacturing, being the home of Reed & Barton, F. B. Rogers and others. We seldom hear of Evelina heading there, but for some reason, she and her sisters-in-law were traveling there this afternoon.

The ladies never got to Taunton, however, as an abrupt rain shower came down “poringly” while they were en route. “Good showers,”**too, according to Old Oliver, the kind of showers he’d been looking for most of the summer. When the rain commenced, the women drove their vehicle into Alson Gilmore’s barn and waited, then hurried into the house when “it slacked a little.” And there they sat, visiting with the Gilmores.

With the notable exception of Boston, to which Evelina traveled several times a year, this map pretty well represents the geographic scope of Evelina’s life to date. The northern portion of Bristol County and its abutting towns constituted her largest neighborhood, her network of friends and family, her travel pattern, her home. That was her world. It would soon get larger.


*Courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public LIbrary

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

4 thoughts on “August 9, 1852

  1. Unfortunately, the map loses resolution on my screen when I zoom, but I am a sucker for maps. If we got Easton alone on this Walling map (and I’m sure that I have seen such a map, maybe at the Easton HS; Frank?.,) we would have a fine base to see Evelina’s world. I have puttered a lot with the Walling map of Canton because the Canton Hist Soc. has a version of it, on which several historians have penciled in their own annotations. Don’t get me going on historical maps. 😉
    In any case, it is pleasant to think of Evelina heading to Taunton, (via Bay Road or the Turnpike?) and then having to take refuge in a close relative’s barn from a cloudburst. We, for better or for worse, don’t get to do things like that any more.

  2. And before the railroad came, it seems to me that Old Oliver did more importing and exporting via Taunton.

  3. I’m sure that there is more info in this entry in my Ames timeline for 1806 than anyone cares to deal with, but it does give some sense of the Taunton connections and Old Oliver’s wheeling and dealing, back when he was younger than Oakes is in the Evelina diary:
    “1806 Feb 10 1806 rec & signed OA deeds his Easton land including 6 other parcels of about 40 more acres over to David Ames for $1600, probably David’s security.This is the same date that OA that the 1803 deed of OA buying the land from Abiezer Alger and the 1804 signings of the purchase from Isaac and Ruth Leonard, and the same years purchase from Abiezer Alger of 7a of land adjacent to David Manley are RECORDED. The 1600 now “purchases”the $150 and $220 purchases as well. Oliver pays off Sewall Salisbury and Co with 37? Doz shovels in Feb, Mar, May, Dec. Beazer Ames has an acct with Capt. Benjamin Cooper, which ends up in OA’s records AND is paid off in shovels. Cooper may be a Taunton merchant who has “one Doz & half shovels in my store who is charging for 6 bushels corn, 7 chaldons of sea cole freight and commission on 3 1/2 doz shovels, to cash paid you at my house freight and commission on 2 doz shovels (both of which appear to be the ones “sold at York” on the contra side. Oliver is getting $35 cedit for 3 1/2 doz shovels and paying 1.58 for freight and commission. The second batch is a 9 1/2 per doz and he pays a .89 f & c charge. At the end, it seems that Oliver-Beazer is paid 14.55 cash to balance in Jan of 1807
    From the Abel Fisher (Canton) ledger “May 4, 1806. charges for boarding Mr Ames & prentice two weeks each 8.00 (Is this Oliver Ames, who has just come to Easton a few years earlier? OA eventually has a go in the cotton business during or just after the War of 1812. Since Beaumont is being charged, either Ames and Prentice are working for Beaumont or…?)

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