August 29, 1852

300px-1852_Atlantic_hurricane_season_summary_map

Map of 1852 Hurricane Season, 21st century imagery*

Sunday Aug 29

1852  Has rained powerfully all day  Not one

of the family been to meeting  Mr Ames &

self laid down about twelve and when

we went downstairs found Edwin & wife

among the missing  Made them come back

to tea and spend the night  I have

felt tired & lazy and have read but

very little

The unofficial hurricane season of 1852 opened about ten days before today’s diary entry with a storm now classified as the Great Mobile Hurricane of 1852. According to modern meteorologist Christopher Landsea (great name for a weatherman!)*, the unnamed storm hit the Florida Keys, made landfall near Pascagoula, Mississippi and broke back out into the Atlantic in South Carolina, destroying lighthouses, homes, trees, bridges and crops in its way. It surged northward toward Cape Cod, where it still had enough energy to be felt in New England. Thus could Old Oliver report today that “the wind changed to northeast last night and there was an inch + a half of rain fell and it is a raining this morning and it raind all day + the wind blew hard”**

While this weather event of hemispheric proportions pounded its way across the eastern United States, a quite different vignette unfolded inside the Ames’s home. Eveline writes that the family skipped going to church, naturally, given the weather. She and her husband, from whom she had been absent for ten days or so, went upstairs to their bedroom and lay down – and closed the door, presumably. We can’t know the details, nor should we. But we can be grateful for this rare and tiny glimpse of intimacy between Evelina and Oakes, and smile at the Victorian discretion exercised by Evelina as she recorded the event.

*Information courtesy of Wikipedia, “1852 Atlantic hurricane season,” accessed 8.26.2015

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

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