October 10, 1852

Daniel_Pierce_Thompson

Daniel Pierce Thompson

(1795 – 1868)

Sunday Oct 10th  It is quite unpleasant to day and

as mother & Mrs Mower was not going to meeting

I staid with them  Mrs Ames Oakes A & Frank

went this forenoon, and Mr Ames returned alone

this afternoon  I have been reading some in

the Rangers Torys Daughter and writing

Helen came in and played on the piano

this evening  Mrs Witherell & Ames came in a while

Evelina skipped church to stay home with her mother and houseguest, not minding too much because of poor weather, which Old Oliver described as  “cloud[y] damp + verry warm wind.”

The women did not sew, but they probably chatted a bit and read a lot. Evelina was reading The Rangers: Or, The Tory’s Daughter: A Tale Illustrative of the Revolutionary History of Vermont and the Northern Campaign of 1777, by Daniel Pierce Thompson. Mr. Thompson was a famous writer in the period before the Civil War, especially in New England. His novels were as well-known as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, but his turgid prose, popular in its day, has caused him to fall far out of fashion. He was also a political figure in Vermont and an active abolitionist, but his novels are not much remembered.

The first two sentences of the book that Evelina was reading illustrate his dated style:

Towards night, on the twelfth of March, 1775, a richly equipped double sleigh, filled with a goodly company of well dressed persons of the different sexes, was seen descending from the eastern side of the Green Mountains, along what may now be considered the principal thoroughfare leading from the upper navigable portions of the Hudson to those of the Connecticut River. The progress of the travellers was not only slow, but extremely toilsome, as was plainly evinced by the appearance of the reeking and jaded horses, as they laboured and floundered along the sloppy and slumping snow paths of the winter road, which was obviously now fast resolving itself into the element of which it was composed.

In the evening Evelina put down the book – which must have been slow going – and whatever letters she was writing, and the whole family listened as Helen Angier Ames played the new piano.

 

October 3, 1852

Play

Oct 3d Sunday  We have all been to meeting to day

Mrs Norris Mr Ames & self came home at noon but did not

have a dinner cooked  After meeting Frank carried Miss Linscott

& Orinthia to Bridgewater & Melinda & self went to Mothers and

called on Miss M J Alger while Frank went to carry them home

Mrs A[l]ger had her piano & played Horatio Jr is here came last night

More comings and goings today. Everyone went to church, of course, but afterwards dispersed in different directions. Frank Morton Ames obliged the young, single ladies in the group by driving them home to Bridgewater. While he headed east, Evelina and her friend Melinda Norris rode south to the family farm to visit the elderly Mrs. Gilmore. They also stopped to visit Miss M J Alger, the woman who would be giving piano lessons to Susie Ames and Emily Witherell. She, or her mother, played a piano for them.

Old Oliver reported that “this was a fair pleasant day for season Oakes came home from N. York las[t] night.” Oakes Angier stayed behind, on business or pleasure we don’t know. Evelina reported, as her father-in-law did not, that Horatio Ames Jr. was back for a visit. He was the son of Horatio Ames, a brother of Oakes and Oliver Jr. It’s unclear if Horatio Jr. was living in Boston at this point or was still in Connecticut at the family home there.

 

 

September 26, 1852

IMG_1175_ParkPhaeton

A Phaeton owned by a Boston family, ca. 1850

 

Sunday Sept 26th  Stormy to day and only one carriage

has been to church  I was not well and staid

at home  Susan Went  It has cleared off pleasant

Frank Susan & self have been to mothers and

called to see Miss Alger about giving lessons

Have written a letter this evening to

Mrs Mower  Have not read at all to day

 

Old Oliver reported that “there was a little sprinklin[g] of rain to day.”* Evelina said it was “stormy.” The weather was in the eye of the beholder, it would appear. But Evelina wasn’t feeling well, so perhaps her condition affected her view out the window as she watched the lone carriage head south to the meeting house. She was feeling so poorly that she didn’t even read.

Both the weather and her spirits seemed to improve in the afternoon. With son Frank and daughter Susan, Evelina rode south to see her mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, at the family farm.  While in the vicinity, she “called to see Miss Alger about giving lessons.’ Piano lessons, she meant; Susie was going to play an instrument. The new piano had been bought primarily for Susan’s benefit, just as the one bought by Sarah Witherell – and Old Oliver, presumably – was primarily for the benefit of Emily Witherell. Under the paid guidance of Miss Alger (probably the M J Alger who had visited the house earlier in the month), the young cousins would learn to play.

Evelina and Sarah Witherell must have been delighted to see their daughters getting music lessons, something that neither of them had likely access to when they were growing up.

 

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

 

September 19, 1852

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of John Gellatly

 

Sunday 19th Sept  Have been to meeting as usual, rode

home at noon alone with Alson  Rode in

our new carriage for the first time & like it

very well  Mr Dawes & Miss M J Alger called

since meeting  Augusta is more unwell again

and is in great pain and sick to her stomach

Edwin came in after me and I have been there

since Mr Dawes went away

The new carriage took various Ameses to church this morning, and the ride went “very well.” Was it Oakes’s horse Kate who pulled the reins? Evelina herself came home at noon with her brother; perhaps they had something about their mother to attend to. Perhaps Evelina was preparing for company later in the day, or was tending to serious matters in the village.

Hannah Savage, a neighbor, died today after months of illness. Surely, those who knew her were grateful that she was finally out of her misery. Her slow decline from tuberculosis had taxed not only her body and soul, but the goodwill and resources of her family and friends. Consumption was truly a wasting disease.

There was more illness nearby. Augusta Pool Gilmore still hadn’t gotten the best of a gastrointestinal disorder that had kept her in bed for almost three weeks, and today she had a serious relapse. She was in her second trimester of pregnancy, too, which had to have everyone worried. As soon as Evelina said goodbye to her guests, she hurried over to tend to poor Augusta.

September 12, 1852

Peach

Sunday Sept 12th  A very stormy day and none of the 

family have been to church.  Frank  C Hobart

& Helen went to the meeting house but there

was no meeting  Mr Ames & self laid down

and read “Poor rich man and Rich poor man”

Mother is better  Hannah has been to

[illegible] in the rain but is not able to work.

Cate Hobart, William & Olivers family came in this evening to eat peaches

Bad weather kept most folks indoors on this Sabbath day. Old Oliver reported a more than adequate rainfall: “it raind last night and nearly all day to day wind sotherly and warm   in that has fell yesterday + to day there is one inch + nine tenths of an inch.”* Despite the rain, Frank Morton Ames carried his cousin Helen and her classmate Catherine Hobart to church, but the service was cancelled. They must have had a wet ride down and back, but perhaps enjoyed the journey anyway.

Inside the Ames homestead, things were pretty quiet. Old Hannah Gilmore was feeling better, but servant Hannah Murphy was not. Evelina and Oakes spent some time upstairs and together read a story, probably from one of Evelina’s periodicals. Son Oliver (3) was likely to be reading, too. Perhaps Oakes Angier was reading or resting, in the interest of maintaining the good health he appeared to have regained. Certainly all three sons appeared late in the day, when family from around the compound gathered for tea.  William Leonard Ames and his young son, Angier Ames, who were staying with Old Oliver, popped in from the other part of the house. Oliver Ames Jr., his wife Sarah Lothrop Ames, daughter Helen and friend Catherine, on the other hand, had to cross the wet yard to attend. The big draw appears to have been peaches, a fresh, local and strictly seasonal treat.

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

September 5, 1852

books

Illustration from Godey’s Lady’s Book*

Sunday Sept 5th  1852 Went to meeting and came home

at noon with Mr Ames & Mrs Stevens.

Was very sleepy this forenoon and did

not hear much of the sermon but thought

it good what I did hear. Had an excellent

sermon this afternoon  Mr Whitwell preached

After meeting Mr Ames & Mrs Stevens & self

walked to the new shops called at Edwins.

Finished a letter to Harriet Ames

Reverend William Whitwell delivered two good sermons today, even if Evelina slept through parts of the first one. Were she and Oakes both nodding off in the Ames pew? Hopefully their sons, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton, and their guest, Mrs. Stevens, stayed upright as Mr. Whitwell spoke.

A walk “to the new shops” was the exercise they took after church. Construction work on the factory building must have been well along, if not finished on the exterior. Stopping in to see Edwin and Augusta Gilmore afterwards would have been easy, as the young couple lived right across the street from the new Long Shop and its grounds .

Letter writing, and probably a little reading, filled the remaining quiet hours of Evelina’s Sunday, As a subscriber, she would have had this month’s Godey’s Lady’s Book to look at. The September issue included fiction in the form of stories and poems, as well as prose articles on the Crusades, the printing of calico, a history of boots and shoes, archery, the employment of women in cities (in this issue focusing on the Philadelphia School of Design), and “Lingerie: Caps for the Chamber and Sick-Room.” * Evelina had been in various sick rooms enough lately to make this article of particular interest to her – although we cannot know whether she read it or not, or whether any of the women she helped nurse had adorned themselves with such headgear. We can know, however, that this particular article took credit for introducing the word “lingerie” to America, whose readers who were “doubtless […] unfamiliar” with it.

*Godey’s Lady’s Book, September, 1852, p. 287

August 22, 1852

1835sketch

Unitarian Church, Burlington, Vermont, circa 1835*

Sunday Aug 22  We went with Mrs Stetson to the

Unitarian church & heard Mr Rich in the morning

dined at Mrs Mills and all went to the

Episcopal church this afternoon  This is a

beautiful church but I did not think much

of the preaching or singing.  Returned

to Mrs Stetsons to tea and had a quiet evening

 

Naturally, Evelina attended church on Sunday, just as she would have done had she been at home. In this case, she went to Burlington’s Unitarian Church with her hostess, Mrs. Stetson,and “heard Mr Rich” preach. But for the afternoon service, she went to an Episcopalian church with a group of women with whom she had dined.

She liked the looks of the Episcopal Church but, as she often did when attending any church but her own, she didn’t approve of the service, sniffing at the poor “preaching and singing.”  Evelina invariably preferred her own church in Easton – and her own preacher. No one could ever equal Mr. Whitwell.

The family (still minus Sarah Lothrop Ames and her two children, who had stopped at a town further south) kept a pretty low profile in the evening. Keeping quiet, after all, was the point of this vacation for Oakes Angier Ames. It was hoped that his staying in Vermont would improve his health.

 

*Courtesy of the First Unitarian Universalist Church, Burlington, http://www.uusociety.org

 

 

August 15, 1852

Bed

August 15th Sunday  Did not sleep much last night

My handbag with bonnet visite & c were missing

found them this morning at Olivers  Helen

carried them home.  Have been to meeting

came home at noon  Mrs Stevens Orinthia &

Lavinia with us.  Called to see Willie

Gilmore found him more comfortable

Evelina often felt poorly right after returning from her shopping forays into Boston; on this occasion, she was unable to sleep. Surely, the seriousness of her son’s pulmonary illness was the larger culprit in her wakefulness than the usual exhaustion from her trip to the city. She was still rattled in the morning, unable to find her handbag, bonnet and
visite which, it turned out, had been mistakenly taken next door by Helen Angier Ames. It would seem that all the women were a little rattled.

The men may have been rattled, too, by Oakes Angier’s illness, but Old Oliver, at least, wasn’t showing it. He kept up his usual weather-related journal entries. Accordingly, today “was a fair warm day with the exception of two slight showers, perhaps 1/8 of an inch in both of them.”*

Somewhere in the course of the day, perhaps after church, Evelina and her husband, Oakes, and Oakes Angier himself, in all likelihood, determined on a course of action for the latter. Oakes Angier would go off to rest in fresher air and, for the journey itself, be accompanied by various family members.  The decision must have offered relief and hope to all. Evelina got outside of her own head enough to call on her nephew, Alson Augustus Gilmore, whose infant son had been so sick with dysentery. Little Willie seemed better. While there, no doubt, Evelina shared the plans to send Oakes Angier away.

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

 

August 8, 1852

51m0N6OXmoL

St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River, Massachusetts

Sunday

Aug 8th  Have been to meeting came home with

Mr Ames at noon, and returned again

Lavinia Williams came home to Joshuas with us […]

Lavinia returned home  Mr Whitwell preached

Since meeting have written a letter to Mrs

Louisa J Mower & Mrs S Stevens

 

As shovel-making led the industry of Easton in 1852, so textile manufacturing led the commerce of nearby Fall River. Surely, some of the cloth that Evelina cut and sewed came from the busy textile center that lay about 25 miles to her south.

Fall River is situated at the mouth of the Taunton River, the head of Mount Hope Bay, and (before the construction of the modern interstate put it underground) alongside the swiftly flowing Quequechan River, whose steep drop gave Fall River its name as well as the power to run the mills that lined its banks. Considered “the best tidewater privilege in southern New England,”* Fall River was an important industrial entity for much of the 1800’s. Bustling with bales of cotton and bolts of printed cloth, the city was accessed at mid-century by the Old Colony Railroad line and the Fall River Steamship Line, two entities that would soon merge.

The work force employed to support this industry consisted mostly of immigrants, initially Irish and, after the Civil War, Portuguese. They needed a place to live and a place to worship. The former was supplied by triple-decker tenements, the latter by a succession of churches. The Catholics quickly outgrew the first church built for them in 1840 and thus on this date in 1852, a cornerstone was laid for a new, major church for the congregation. By December, 1855, The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption was duly consecrated and opened for worship. In 1983, St Mary’s was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

We might wonder if any Catholics or others from Easton ever visited St. Mary’s. We can be pretty sure that Evelina and her family never darkened its threshold. On this day, of course, they attended their own Unitarian Church and listened to their beloved Reverend Whitwell.

 

* “Fall River,” Wikipedia, accessed August 5, 2015

August 1, 1852

SerffLedger1

 

Example of anonymous, old cash ledger

1852

Sunday Aug 1st  Went to meeting this forenoon

but was very sleepy and had a head

ache came home at noon & did not

return, was writing and looking over my

accounts untill the rest returned from 

meeting, good business for the Sabbath

I think. Mr Ames & self went to see Augustus

since meeting.  Alson & wife came after Mary

Evelina was plagued by a headache, so didn’t return to the afternoon service at the Unitarian church. As she had done before on a Sunday afternoon, she went over her household accounts. Like many a competent householder, she kept a ledger of cash transactions that detailed the weekly or monthly expenses of running the house. It’s highly unlikely that she had any money of her own; everything would have been paid for by her husband, Oakes, who either saw that she had a regular allowance or gave her funds as needed. She would have been careful with every penny, probably more careful than he was.

On this Sunday, she describes the review of her accounts as “good business for the Sabbath,” but in an earlier entry she had hesitated to do it, fearing that it was inappropriate. Accounting was quiet work, certainly, but it was still work, and that was forbidden on Sunday. By defending the activity in her own diary, she shows us that she was still feeling a little guilty for doing it.

Socializing wasn’t forbidden, however, and when her husband, Oakes, came home from church, the two went out to see Evelina’s nephew, Alson Augustus Gilmore, who had been quite sick with fever. Her brother, Alson, and his wife, Henrietta, meanwhile, “came after” the maid, Mary, and, evidently, took her home with them.