November 4, 1851

450px-Caraway_seed_cake

 

Tuesday Nov 4th  Put down the parlour carpet this

forenoon baked some cake &c &c  Mrs Buck &

Mrs Drake (formerly Lucy Reed) called about half

past eleven.  Mrs Hubbell & Ames & Mrs Witherell

Father were here to tea  They all dined

at Olivers.  Mrs Hubbell commenced knitting

me a hood. I have put the trimming on the sleeves

of Susans Delaine dress

 

 

The day was “cloudy […] + cold + chilly,”* according to Old Oliver, meaning that baking “cake &c &c” in the shared brick oven at the Ames compound might have been pleasurable.  At least it was one way to stay warm. It may still have been in the oven when Polly Buck and Lucy Drake, the former Reed sisters, came for a short call.  Local women, Polly was married to Benjamin Buck, who lived in the village; Lucy was the wife of Ebeneezer Drake.

In all likelihood, Evelina baked the cake – seed cake, perhaps – to serve at tea later in the day. She invited Mrs. Hubbell and Almira Ames, visitors from New York, as well as Sarah Witherell and “Father Ames” to join the family in their newly redecorated parlor. How happy Evelina must have been to show off the recent refurbishments.

Mrs. Hubbell and Almira Ames had midday dinner earlier in the day next door, at Sarah Lothrop and Oliver Ames Jr., a gathering to which Evelina and Oakes don’t appear to have been invited. In turn, Oliver Jr and Sarah Lothrop didn’t appear for tea at Evelina and Oakes’s. It may be that Evelina and Sarah Lothrop Ames agreed to split hospitality responsibilities for the day. Almira Ames was a favorite cousin who often came to visit; she had even lived with family for a period after Old Oliver’s wife, Susannah, died.

 

* Oliver Ames, Journal, Courtesy of Stonehill College Archives

 

January 19, 1851

Ride

1851 Jan 19th Sunday.  It was rather earlier than common this morning

when we had our breakfast as Jane was going to

meeting   We have all been to meeting all day

Mr Whitwell gave us two good sermons, though not

as interesting as usual.  After hearing the class in

the Sunday school I called at Mr Whitwells

This evening have been into Mr Bucks to a prayer meeting

Three Ladies spoke & a number of men.  Very pleasant

Before the Ames family left for church, their servant Jane McHanna was on her way to a Catholic service.  Every few weeks, an itinerant priest would ride into town to conduct Sunday mass in the dining room of a boarding house owned by the Ames shovel company.  Although North Easton offered several Protestant options to its church-going citizens, it had no Catholic church for the influx of faithful who had recently immigrated from Ireland.

The number of Roman Catholics in North Easton, as elsewhere in Massachusetts, was rapidly expanding.  In 1849, Reverend William Chaffin tells us, there were 45 Catholics in town.  By 1852, there were 150; when the Civil War began, there were 400.   As the number of Irish immigrants grew, a dedicated facility was clearly needed.  Recognizing this, in 1850 the Ames family donated a piece of land on Pond Street to the Irish to build their own church.  It was under construction as the year 1851 opened.

Evelina’s day was full of religious activity.  Not only did she hear “two good sermons,” she visited the Sunday school and, in the evening, went out to a prayer meeting held by Benjamin and Mary “Polly” Buck, who lived in a house in the near neighborhood that they rented from Old Oliver.