July 7, 1852

Funeral

1852

July 7th Wednesday  Made some muslin bands and 

partialy made a pair of sleeves to wear

with them  This afternoon have attended the 

funeral of H Gilmore  Mr Carver baptized

their child Helen. Mr Sanford made some

remarks and not very good in my opinion.

We returned from the grave to aunt Gilmores

and stopt to tea  Adoniram & wife & Mr & Mrs

Whitwell were there, Mr Carpenter & Jones called

there

Wearing black armbands, Evelina and her family attended the funeral of her cousin, Henry Tisdale Gilmore. Just shy of 36, he had died the day before of the “fits.” We might imagine that Henry was epileptic and died from a sudden seizure. He left behind a 30-year-old widow, Chloe, and a young daughter, Helen.

This branch of the Gilmores lived in Raynham, a town to the south of Easton. Cassander Gilmore, Henry’s older brother, manufactured shoes; Henry had been his partner. Now Cassander’s son, Othniel (one of many with that name), took Henry’s place. Cassander was well-known and well respected in the area, having served as state representative and state senator. He was a first cousin to Evelina on her father’s side, and it was he who summoned the Ames family to the funeral.

Evelina saw various relatives at the funeral, naturally, including her widowed aunt, Sally Gilmore. Reverend William Whitwell and his wife, Eliza, too, attended the funeral, but didn’t participate in the service. The local minister, Robert Carver, baptized the young Helen while another minister, Mr. Sanford, read a eulogy. Ever loyal to her own minister, Evelina found the latter’s remarks were “not very good.”

 

July 6, 1852

500px-Illinoisoldcapitol

Old State Capitol Building, Springfield, Illinois, built 1839

1852

July 6th Tuesday  Was very busy sewing this forenoon

Mary made the sleeves to my purple cambric

calico and sewed the drugget for the sitting

room  This afternoon have been into Olivers

to tea with Mrs Witherell & Mrs Ames &c &c

Mr Jones from Foxboro called.

Received a note from Cassander Gilmore that 

Henry died this morning requesting us to attend the funeral 

 

In the statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, a practicing lawyer and former U. S. Representative named Abraham Lincoln gave a eulogy today for Henry Clay, the Senator from Kentucky who had just passed away. Clay had been Lincoln’s idol, his “beau ideal of a statesman.”* In 1832, Lincoln cast his first presidential vote for Clay; in 1844, he campaigned for Clay and served as an elector from Illinois. Clay’s influence on Lincoln would be life-long.

On the occasion of Clay’s death, Lincoln spoke for some time, quoting at length a laudatory editorial which lamented “that never again that majestic form shall rise again in the council-chambers in his country to beat back the storms of anarchy which may threaten, or pour the oil of peace upon the troubled billows as they rage and menace around…” Lincoln then moved on to his own simpler words. He praised Clay for his wisdom, eloquence, and perseverance, noting that “Mr. Clay’s predominant sentiment, from first to last, was a deep devotion to the cause of liberty – a strong sympathy with the oppressed everywhere, and an ardent wish for their elevation.”*

In the town of Easton, Massachusetts, on this same day, Evelina received a letter asking for her presence at a different funeral. Her cousin Henry Gilmore of Raynham had died this very morning, as his brother Cassander Gilmore wrote to say, and she and her family were pressed to attend the funeral the next day.

 

* henryclay.org

July 17, 1851

imgres

 

1851

July 17  Mother & myself have had a very quiet forenoon

Some expected Cassander Gilmore here but they

have set so many times that Im thinking they will 

not come at all.  About 4 Oclock I went to N. Bridge

water with Mrs Sarah Ames & Mrs Mitchell to carry

Fred to the cars for Cambridge to be examined for

the Sophomore year

Cassander Gilmore, the relative who was mentioned as a “no-show” visitor today, was a prominent shoe manufacturer in Raynham, Massachusetts.  His failed visit was incidental to the bigger news of the day: Frederick Lothrop Ames’s departure for Cambridge.

Barely sixteen years old, Fred Ames visited Harvard College today “to be examined” for acceptance. He had just completed a year (or more) at Phillips Exeter Academy and, despite his young age, was seeking entrance to college.  Harvard was the place for just such a bright fellow.

Fred seemed both prepared and motivated for college, and his parents, Sarah Lothrop Ames and Oliver Ames Jr., supported the idea of higher education for him, perhaps for a variety of reasons. This was an age, according to Henry Adams, when parents “began sending their children to Harvard for the sake of its social advantages.”* Sarah and Oliver Jr. were ambitious for their only son, but the question remains why they – or he – requested entry for the sophomore rather than the freshman year.

With his future riding on the examination ahead of him, Fred must have been at least a little anxious about the trip. His mother and  Aunts Evelina and Harriett may have sensed some apprehension on his part, and tried to bolster his spirits as they rode along to the train station in North Bridgewater. They may also have simply been exercising their right to behave as many fond relatives behave when their young ones leave for school: with overt affection. Fred may have been relieved, actually, to wave goodbye to them at the depot.

* Ronald Story, The Forging of an Aristocracy: Harvard and the Boston Upper Class, 1800-1870, Wesleyan University Press, 1980.