February 25, 1852

Cart

1852 Feb 25 Wednesday Was at work about the house untill

about ten and had just got seated at my sewing

when Mother & Alson came  They were here to 

dinner and this afternoon mother & self spent

at Willards. The young folks had company

Oakes & Frank are there this evening and were

having a lively time when we came away  Elizabeth

Williams was here this forenoon.  She & Susan went to

Emeline Haleys party this afternoon & evening

 

“[T]his was a warm day and thawd so much that it made the carting bad,” grumbled Old Oliver in his daily journal.  Despite the soft road bed, however, Evelina’s brother Alson Gilmore traveled by wagon or carriage to bring their mother into town from the family farm. The two came to midday dinner at the Ames’, after which Alson presumably went on his way. Mother and daughter went on to visit Willard Lothrop – Evelina had been seeking his company quite a bit lately. Under his influence, was she becoming a Spiritualist?

While the notion of communicating with the dead intrigued her, Evelina’s interest in Willard Lothrop may have been more sociable than religious.  She comments on the “young folks,” – her sons Oakes Angier and Frank Morton Ames among them – “having a lively time.” All ages seemed to be moving around today attending various gatherings that must have helped dispel some mid-winter gloom. Never mind the mud; the hint of warmth in the air must have been preferable to more snow.

December 6, 1851

 

Picking apples 1880

Farm hands fill an oxen cart with apples in the late fall

Dec 6th Saturday  Mr Scott & Holbrook have finished

the first coat of paint in the storeroom &

stairway and porch.  They commenced yesterday P.M.

Have been mending stocking pants &c &c

all day and waiting upon the painters   they have

varnished the graining in the dining room

and painted the inside windows for the sitting room

Yesterday Evelina had sought Mr. Scott to do some painting for her.  He and another workman, Randall Holbrook, had responded quickly, arriving at the Ames’s house by the afternoon.  They continued their work today, painting and varnishing various areas inside the house. The day being “fair”  if “cold,”*  the men were also able to paint a porch outside. One might have thought that Evelina had already gotten everything painted; this kind of work had been going on for months.

Old Oliver noted in his journal that “the ground is frozen hard + carting is good”  The unpaved roads in the village and beyond had hardened, enabling carriages, carts and wagons to move steadily around. There was no sinking into half-thawed, muddy ruts. As modern historian Jack Larkin has noted, “[W]henever it was cold enough to freeze hard, ‘winter was the time…for making journeys.’ The hazards of cold and storm were outweighed by leisure from farm work and greater speed.” **Pulled by teams of oxen, carts full of finished shovels could get moved to market to be shipped out, and raw material for the factory could be shipped in.

 

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

** Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life,” New York, 1988, p. 221.