December 30, 1852


Thursday Dec 30th  Mrs A A & Mrs Edwin Gilmore & Abby

& self have passed the day at mothers.  We

got there at 1/4 past 10 Oclock very early I 

call that.  Abby has a very bad boil on her

shoulder  After I got home this evening

went into Olivers & Mrs A L Ames came

in and we stopt untill nearly ten Oclock

Miss Alger has given her 20th lesson

dined in the other part of the house


Evelina spent the day with her mother, eighty-year-old Hannah Lothrop Gilmore. Other Gilmore women were present, too: Hannah Lincoln Gilmore, Augusta Pool Gilmore, and Abigail Williams Torrey (a Gilmore niece). They assembled at the family farm for what appears to have been simply a sociable gathering. We might imagine, however, that at least one of the women held a piece of sewing or mending in her lap as they sat and talked. Back at the house in North Easton, meanwhile, Sarah Witherell had the responsibility of overseeing the girls’ piano lesson and hosting the piano teacher for dinner.

The year was drawing to a close, and this entry is the next-to-last one that Evelina will make in her diary. A sad closure – not for Evelina, but for us readers. Over the two years of posting Evelina’s diary, a virtual community has gathered in its own sociable way to watch life pass in North Easton in a time long gone. In addition to hundreds of readers from across the U.S., readers from around the globe – most notably Australia, Brazil, Germany, South Korea, the UK, Italy and Canada – have stopped in regularly to see how Evelina was faring. Not a few of you are direct descendants of Evelina and Oakes, or Old Oliver and Susannah. In the course of writing this blog, it has been clear that you and others, whatever your address, feel a strong bond with the early “Shovel Ameses” of North Easton, and with the town itself.

As she made her daily entries, Evelina could have had no way of knowing that hundreds of us – strangers to her – would one day read her diary. She couldn’t have imagined it, which is a good thing, for then she might have written for an audience instead of for herself. We would find more craft and less honesty in the daily dispatches. As it has happened, we’ve been allowed to interpret and imagine – but not invent – her life. We hope we’ve done it right. Perhaps in the future, the missing diaries will come to light and we’ll be able to learn more about the family. We might be able to clarify or enhance or even contradict the inferences we might have made. History is a fluid thing.

Thank you, readers, for following along and contributing to our understanding of Evelina and her time. Please join Evelina one more time tomorrow as we take a look at how the rest of her life unfolded.


5 thoughts on “December 30, 1852

  1. Dear Everybody:
    For the last 2 years, I’ve watched Sarah write her Evelina Ames blog every single day for 730 consecutive posts! She didn’t miss a one. Although she did come very close once when a winter storm left us without electricity and we had to drive to another town for an internet connection. Furthermore, before her blog writing even started, she had already transcribed the lady’s diary and started to write a book about her. After she had written half a dozen chapters or so, a friend told Sarah she thought it would suit her subject matter better if she found another way to tell Evelina’s story. That’s how this blog came to be. All in all Evelina Ames has been front and center in Sarah’s creative life for between 2 1/2 and 3 years. A long time indeed!

    As her husband I naturally confess to being prejudiced but, the facts above are true. It’s been inspiring to watch her labor-of-love take shape and I know Sarah will miss Evelina terribly. However, I have little doubt that her passion for 19th century history will take her in another direction and probably pretty soon. I for one can’t wait to see where she heads next and we’ll no doubt need to build more bookshelves here at home because nothing this lady writes about is started without a ton of advance research and preparation.

    I know I speak for all of Sarah’s fans when I say we’ll miss our daily Evelina fix.

    Thank you My Lady for a job very well done!

  2. Yes, well said, John. I had a heavy pang of coming emptiness upon the realization that I would no longer have an Evelina’s Diary to click on, marvel at, repeat, and file after one more post. What a heroic challenge you mastered, Sarah. Deeply impressed and in awe of your ability to make an otherwise sewing circle, completely fascinating. Thank you, thank you. Invaluable contribution to a direct descendant such as I. I was truly looking forward to my great grandfather’s return from Cuba, in your writings, the progress of Queset House, and even the birth of my grandfather. My imagination is fired, thanks to you. Best of the New Year. You will be on to other great accomplishments.

  3. I will miss this daily glimpse into the past. Sorry to see it end. Thank you for all your work and sharing the diary with us!

  4. I, too, will greatly miss this daily sharing. I transcribed some of the Evelina’s diary ten years ago, but also knew that I was not the person to put it out there. Sarah, you clearly have been the right person!! Old Oliver’s terse diary still chugs along, and we await the person who will pick up that burden/inspiration. One of the many problems with doing his diary is that Evelina was still in her prime, while Old Oliver’s day had somewhat passed. Nevertheless, there is a lot of his earlier life out there to be discussed.

    I have tried to lure you, Sarah into taking up with Susan Clapp Bradley, a memorable woman from Stoughton, whose diary over a three-year period, written just a few years after this one, we have transcribed, but, alas, you did not bite. We probably need a relative… or a very religious person. 😉

    We have had old diaries turn up in all sorts of strange places, but one would think that an Evelina Diary, if it still exists, would be in Ames/inlaws hands. As you know, I have often imagined it being somewhere in the recesses of the library at Borderland. In any case, I hope that it does turn up, and that before too much time passes, I will be able to read your blog on it.
    Thank you for doing this,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s