Sat Dec 11th It has been a very stormy day
and O A has been in the house and
we have packed all his clothes Catharine
has made two night shirts for him
and they are all washed & ready It has
been a trying day to me Mr Torrey called
and had quite a chat with mother but
I was busy at the time
“[T]he 11th it began to rain in the night + this morning there is a north east storm + rather cold + windy it raind about all day and fell 1 ½ deep,”* wrote Old Oliver Ames in his daily record. The weather was miserable and seemed to match Evelina’s mood as she packed Oakes Angier’s trunk with the help of her servants and, perhaps, Sarah Witherell. Evelina herself said it was a “trying day.” She couldn’t even attend to a visit from a favorite, her brother-in-law, Col. John Torrey, and seemed grateful that her mother was available to do the honors of receiving his call.
On this exact date in Lexington, Virginia, a young professor at the Virginia Military Institute wrote to his sister Laura Ann, with whom he was very close, offering her advice about getting the better of a recent illness: “I hope that though ill health is your present lot, that notwithstanding you will continue a buoyancy of spirits, and not give way to surrounding troubles. I too am a man of trouble, yet let the oppressing load be ever so great, it never sinks me beneath its weight.” It’s too bad that Evelina couldn’t read his advice – she might have been able to bear her sad thoughts better. Although she had never met the professor, she would one day know his name: Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
**Thomas Jackson, Letter to his sister Laura Ann, Courtesy of Virginia Military Institute Archives