September 17, 1852

Brig

*

Friday Sept 17  Mrs Stevens has done some ironing to

day and I have been busy about house ironing

and one thing and another & have seen but very

little of her since she came  It has been hurry

burly all the time  We were at tea at Olivers

Abby came here but as we were there she

stopt & in the evening Mr Torrey came

Mrs S Ames has gone to watch with Mrs Savage

With the help of Mrs. Stevens, a houseguest, ironing continued, along with Evelina’s usual choring and “one thing and another.” According to Evelina’s misspelled expression, the household was all hurly-burly, full of commotion and tumult.  Later in the day, the two women – and other family members, presumably – enjoyed tea next door with Sarah Lothrop and Oliver Ames Jr. And even later, Col. Torrey stopped in for another visit.

In a California newspaper, there was an article about a missing ship, the Schooner Penelope. The vessel bore no direct relation to the Ames family (although an Ames relative, Cyrus Lothrop, would eventually own ships, including one named for Helen Angier Ames), but the article’s conclusion that the ship had been lost at sea was very much indicative of the perils of travel at the time. The Penelope had last been seen the year before by a sister ship as both headed into a bad storm.

Newspapers in coastal cities like San Francisco or Boston often carried such reports of ships that set sail and were never heard of again, much as our modern television and internet news sources carry coverage of airline disasters like the Malaysian flight that went missing over the Pacific. We may have our own disasters in the air and at sea, but the latter hazards were naturally more common in the 19th century, and the means of discovering, much less communicating, the fates of the vessels that disappeared were limited. After a certain amount of time had passed with no word of a particular ship, people had to assume the worst, and know that their sailor sons or husbands, or passengers for whom they waited, had drowned. The following from the Daly Alta California in San Francisco conveys the demise of the Penelope:

The American schooner Penelope, Capt. Austin K. Dodge, cleared from this port on the 14th of October, 1851, for San Juan del Sud, with 40 passengers. It is believed that she sailed the next day. Capt. Mann, of the brig Lowell, which sailed from this port on the same day, reports having seen the Penelope about the 5th of November, off Cape St. Lucas, just previous to a terrific hurricane, which lasted but a quarter of an hour. After the driving mist which accompanied the gale had lighted up, the Penelope was not visible. Capt Mann felt confident at the time that the vessel had foundered.

After arriving at San Juan he remained there some weeks, but received no tidings as to her fate. As nothing has yet been heard of her there is every reason to apprehend that she was lost at that time, and every soul on board perished. […]

Both the Penelope and Lowell were fitted out and sailed from Pacitic Wharf. Captain A. K. Dodge, of Beverly, Mass.; 1st mate, F. H. Choate; 2d mate, Thomas J. Fisher; the first mate from Salem, Mass., and the second from Boston. W. H. Nicolsen’ cook, from New York, aud James Brickley, John Smith, Manuel Silva, Joseph Frank and George Covell, seamen.**

The relatives of anyone who went to sea always had to worry.

 

*A brigantine is a type of schooner, distinguished by its sail configuration.

 

**http://www.maritimeheritage.org/ships/Schooner-Penelope-1852

 

September 15, 1852

Cake

Wednesday Sept 15th  Mr & Mrs Oliver Ames Helen & Miss Hobart

here to tea  Made cake & baked it in the stove

Mr Torrey made a long call here just after

dinner  He is quite neighbourly about this

time  Mrs Stevens need not take the credit of it

Augusta is not quite as well  sent for me to

come there & has had the Dr again

Oliver went to Providence this morning to the fair

 

Evelina baked a cake in her new cast-iron stove, something she was proud to note.  That was a real change for her, as before this she had used the family’s old, built-in brick oven for her baking. New technology in the kitchen was changing her ways.

The cake must have been a success; she served it at tea. Her husband and sons, minus Oliver (3), were present. Sarah Lothrop Ames and Oliver Ames Jr. came over from next door, too, bringing their daughter Helen Angier Ames and her friend, Catherine Hobart, with them. This was the last night of Catherine’s visit and it was sweet that her host and hostess took her next door for tea. Was there a conscious design behind the invitation and acceptance? Had the elders noticed a spark between Catherine and Oakes Angier Ames? Had Evelina contrived to make this happen? Were the young folks self-conscious on the occasion? Or was it just an average family gathering that inadvertently portended something more?

Catherine wasn’t the only guest. Mrs. Stevens was still visiting the Ameses and, inadvertently or otherwise, had made Evelina a little jealous. Col. Torrey, Evelina’s former brother-in-law – now a widower – had been calling more often than usual, and Mrs. Stevens had evidently volunteered the possibility that his attention was directed at her. Evelina, however, as we read from her rather ungracious entry, is reluctant to let her guest get any “credit.” Generous as she could sometimes be, Evelina was not inclined to share her friendship.

Across the street, meanwhile, young Augusta Pool Gilmore had had a relapse of her intestinal disorder, known in that day as “Cholera Morbus.” Certainly, her family and friends were worried about her.

 

September 14, 1852

Grapes

Tuesday Sept 14th  Alson came this forenoon and carried

mother home  I have ironed 13 fine shirts made

grape jelly and have been hard at work all

day  Mr Torrey came and staid a long while

talking over the news of the neighborhood

Mrs Stevens & self called on Augustus & wife and

went over [to] Mr Carrs where they have commenced

mowing  Mr Torrey & Abby were away, door fastened

New carriage & Buggy chaise came to night

 

Evelina didn’t stop moving today. She saw her mother depart for home, ironed a baker’s dozen of shirts, made grape jelly, did her usual picking up around the house, entertained guests, and paid a call on her nephew and others. It’s hard to imagine that her kitchen could accommodate the ironing of white shirts and the boiling of purple jelly at the same time, yet we read that this was so.

We readers should also note that for once, it’s Evelina, and not her father-in-law, who tells us that there is mowing going on in the neighborhood. The men were working quickly, one imagines, as “there was Some frost last night.”* Officially, it was still summer, but winter was on the far horizon, and preparations were underway.

And there was new equipage! A carriage and a buggy or chaise arrived. Who had just bought them?  Old Oliver?  Oakes or Oliver, Jr., or one of the sons, or all of the above? How, exactly, might the ownership of the vehicles have worked?

 

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

 

September 10, 1852

Conductor

Friday Sept 10th  Mother Mrs Stevens Susan & self rode to

the shops this morning.  Mother seemed as delighted

as a child  we called on Mrs Shepherd also invited 

her to come here Saturday  Have passed the

afternoon at Mr Torreys Augustus & wife were

there  Mr Torrey very sociable & clever

Oakes A returned home from Burlington yesterday

and is looking much better

Oakes Angier Ames returned to Easton today, looking healthier than when he had left three weeks earlier. Family members would have hoped that the 23-year-old had recovered from his lung ailment in the fresh air of Vermont, that his indisposition hadn’t proved to be consumption. No doubt, he hoped that, too.

Another male relative also arrived in town; although not traveling together, both men must have arrived by train at Boston, then Stoughton or Taunton, and then traveled by carriage to North Easton. William Leonard Ames “came here from Minesota the 10th,”* bringing with him his five-year old son, Angier Ames. He had left his wife back in St. Paul with their older son, William Leonard Ames Jr., and their youngest child, Oliver Ames. William visited Easton periodically and always stayed with his father. He and Oakes Ames did not get on well, as we have seen before, and we can perhaps infer from Evelina’s failure to mention his arrival that she wasn’t keen on William, either.

With her friend Mrs. Stevens in tow, Evelina took her mother and daughter out on a number of calls. Her mother enjoyed the ride around the new shop, and all seemed to enjoy an afternoon visiting Col. John Torrey in the village. He was a widower of Evelina’s late older sister, Hannah. Evelina seemed to be planning a special tea for the following day, perhaps in honor of Mrs. Stevens.

 

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

July 23, 1852

il_570xN.416155936_i0fm

19th century tailor’s shears*

July 23d  Friday  Have cut the skirt & sleeves

& cape to my traveling dress and 

have set Mary to work on the skirt

and I have taken the sleeves

Mrs Stevens has sent me the lining

but not the trimming  Julia Mahoney

is at work at Olivers  Mr Torrey

and Abby called this morning

Evelina was back in good humor today. The thermometer was going down and she had a new project to work on. Shears in hand, she cut out the pieces for her new traveling dress, and probably the lining, too. Designed with a cape to fit over the shoulders, it would be a very fashionable outfit. She didn’t yet have the trimming she needed, and the dress would take longer to sew than she wished, but it would be finished in time for a trip she didn’t even know she would have to make.

Col. John Torrey, the widower of Evelina’s late sister Hannah, came to call.  As we have noted in earlier posts, Mr. Torrey lived in the village of North Easton in a building – a boarding house of sorts – whose spare rooms he rented out. Through Rev. William Chaffin’s history of the town, we learn that Mr. Torrey was a controversial character. Listed as a trader in the town census, and a one-time colonel of the local militia, he was considered laughable by some. Another local character, an erudite shovel-worker named James Adams, wrote a mock-heroic poem about him, the “derisive and scathing”* verses of which are lost. Yet Evelina appeared to enjoy her brother-in-law’s company and brand of humor, and she was devoted to his daughters Abby and Melvina.

*William Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1886, pp. 764-765

 

 

*Image courtesy of etsy.com

June 17, 1852

image004

June 17th Thursday  Have cut Susan a mantilla this

morning and basted it ready to make and 

have been mending some.  Mother is at Mr

Torreys to day staid there last night  It

is rather cooler to day and this afternoon

had a fine shower  Catharine Middleton

here but she is not worth much to sew

A new servant, Catharine Middleton, was proving a disappointment to Evelina. Catharine’s sewing skills were “not worth much;” Evelina wanted someone with more ability.  Evelina was hard to satisfy in the sewing arena. She was so very good at it herself that most young women of average ability would have fallen short, unable to survive the scrutiny of a woman famous for her buttonholes.

Outside the busy house, construction ran apace. Men moved stones for the new Long Shop across the street, and even closer to home, “Mr Arnold finishd sleighting the cariage hous to day.”* This new building would soon be ready to house the three or so carriages belonging to Ames family members.

The best news of all was the lowered temperature and arrival of a little rain “towards night when we had a shower of about a quarter of an inch .”* Every drop of water was needed.

April 29, 1852

images-1

Peter Mark Roget

(1779 – 1869)

1852

Thurs April 29 Baked twice in the brick oven.

Mince pies, cake bread &c   Mr & Mrs 

Kinsley with their family made quite a long

call  They are very pleasant.  After they left went

to Mr Torreys  Augustus, wife & her sister  Augusta

& Rachel there, brought home some rose slips

The aroma of baking filled the Ames house today as Evelina produced pies, cakes, bread and more. Or should we say that the smell, or the scent, or the fragrance, or the odor of baking bread was apparent to anyone who stepped into the house? Roget’s Thesaurus would offer us any one of those synonyms for the word aroma.

The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published on this date in 1852. Peter Mark Roget, a British physician, inventor and theologian, began to compile synonyms as a young man as one way of combatting the depression that plagued him for much of his life.  Beginning the work in 1805, not long after he had completed his medical studies, he spent nearly fifty years bringing the publication to fruition.  The first edition had approximately 15,000 words; it has been continually expanded, updated regularly ever since.

The Kinsleys of Canton came to visit in the afternoon and, no doubt, they could smell the fresh baked bread. Lyman Kinsley was an iron trader who had many dealings with the Ames family; within the decade, his business would be owned by the Ameses and overseen by Frank Morton Ames. That was in the future, however. On this day, he, his wife, Louisa, daughter Lucy and younger sons, perhaps, all came for “quite a long call.”  Evelina enjoyed their company, but after they left she bounced right out of the house to go into the village to visit relatives and bring home rose slips. The garden!