Friday Oct 10th This forenoon made the skirt to my
cashmere dress and sewed some for Harriet. This
afternoon Mrs H Mitchell and children left with
William for Erie. They are to stop a few days in
Goshen with William and then go on to meet Asa at
Erie Hannah called with Eddy a few moments when
she returned I went as far as the store & got some
Linings for my sleeves & Susans dress
Back on April 19, Harriett Ames Mitchell and her three children, Frank, John and Anna, had arrived in North Easton from Pittsburgh. Harriett’s husband, Asa Mitchell, had not arrived with them, although he visited North Easton briefly later in the summer. Harriett and the children had spent six months in North Easton, mostly without Asa, staying off and on with Harriett’s father, Old Oliver, and her sister Sarah Witherell. They had also stayed in Bridgewater, where the Mitchell family lived. Now, the family was traveling back to Pennsylvania, this time to Erie, where they would meet up with Asa. Harriett’s next oldest brother, William Leonard Ames, who had been visiting Old Oliver, too, “went from here with them.”*
Erie, Pennsylvania had just that year been chartered as a city, and was becoming a thriving manufacturing spot. As one modern historian has noted, “Erie was, of course, aided greatly by its proximity to the coal fields of Pennsylvania.”** It was that proximity to coal that must have drawn Asa Mitchell to the town; he was a dealer in the coal market. Evelina speaks very little about Asa and from that it’s tempting to infer that Asa didn’t have a strong roll in the Ames family life. He may have played a part in the business dynamics of the various Ames enterprises, however, but if Evelina knew about that, she didn’t mention it.
What did Evelina think about her sister-in-law moving away again? Evelina had a brother, John, who also had moved away from the area, but most of her family was nearby. Did she ever think about life beyond eastern Massachusetts? Did she ever want to board a train to see where it might take her? She doesn’t seem to have suffered from wanderlust.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, courtesy of Stonehill College Archives
** http://www.theeriebook.com, published by Matthew D. Walker Publishing Company, 2014