March 12, 1852



March 12th Friday.  Spent most of the forenoon about

the house gave the sitting room a thorough

sweeping  This afternoon & evening have

spent at Mr Torreys  Amelia came home

with me.  Called to see Hannah in bed

almost sick with the canker & has weaned her babe.


Poor Hannah Lincoln Gilmore, wife of Alson Augustus Gilmore and mother of two little boys, 3-year old Eddie and 7-month old Willie, had been feeling poorly for more than a week.  Her complaint was canker sores, a common enough ailment but one that struck her unusually hard. As Evelina points out, Hannah was “in bed almost sick.”

As most of us know, a canker sore is a benign but painful sore located inside the mouth and lips or at the base of the gums. Known medically as aphthous stomatitis, a canker is not contagious and has no cure. It is often caused by stress; perhaps Hannah’s recent efforts to wean Willie had set them off. A canker sore can last from seven to ten days, and can be painful enough to make talking and eating difficult. Hannah must really have felt crummy.

Meanwhile, at the shovel shop, reconstruction was continuing.  Old Oliver noted that “the 12th + 13th were both good fair days for our work.”*

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collction


March 9, 1852


19th century oil lantern


March 9th  Tuesday  This morning finished putting

the sitting room chamber in order

Mrs Witherell came in with her work

for an hour or two. I sent for Hannah

Augusta & Abby this afternoon.  Abby

came in this evening  Augustus called  his

wife has the canker and was not able to come


Today “was a fair good day + pritty warm,” * accommodating weather for the carpenters working on the shovel shops. According to modern town historian, Ed Hands, the repair would be rapid enough to allow a resumption of manufacturing “in less than three weeks.” But what happened to the shovel makers during the hiatus? Were they kept on payroll? Or were they given unpaid furlough?

What happened to Patric Quinn? An Irish immigrant with a young wife and two small children, he was the watchman who had dropped his lantern into the varnish on the night of March 2d. He started the fire. Was he injured? Was he held accountable?  Did he stay on payroll? He and his wife Elisa, who sometimes did sewing for Evelina, remained in North Easton. They lived on Elm Street in one of the workers’s houses.

At the Ames compound, Evelina put the sitting room and parlor back in order. She and her sister-in-law, Amelia Gilmore sat and sewed.  They were joined for a time by Sarah Ames Witherell who was followed by young Abbey Torry and Augusta Pool Gilmore. Hannah Lincoln Gilmore was too sick to attend.


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

**Edmund C. Hands, Easton’s Neighborhoods, 1995, p. 163