January 15, 1851



Jan 15 Wednesday  This morning after doing my usual

morning work went to Mr Carrs  to put the robe on the

corpse.  in the afternoon attended the funeral.  Mr

Whitwell spoke very well to the mourners & made a good

prayer  Mr Whitwell and Mr Reed were over to tea.  After

they went away I passed the evening at Olivers with Mr

& Mrs Peckham  Made a hair cloth cover for one of the

rocking chairs cushions and sewed in the evening on a


Today Evelina attended the first of several funerals she will go to over the course of her diary.  The death of young Lewis Carr won’t be the only case of consumption, either.  In this case, she helped the Carr family by sewing a robe for the body and dressing the corpse.  Death was familiar to women like Evelina; tending to its aftermath was one of their responsibilities.

And then life went on.  After the service, Evelina (with Jane McHanna’s help, certainly) served tea to Rev. Whitwell and Mr. Reed, another man from Easton.  There were several Reed families in town, so we can’t know for sure which Mr. Reed came to tea.  In her diary, Evelina mentions Daniel Reed most frequently.  Daniel was a carpenter, according to the census; today we might call him a builder.  In any case, he was well known to the Ameses.  His wife, Mary Reed, was a member of a sewing circle to which the Ames sisters-in-law belonged and the family attended the Unitarian church.

After dark, Evelina walked next door to Oliver Jr. and Sarah Lothrop Ames’s house to visit with Joseph and Susan Peckham.  She may have taken her work box with her to sew while they visited.  No doubt, they discussed the death of Lewis Carr.

January 12, 1851


/51 Jan 12 Sunday  Have been to church all day and heard two

excellent sermons from Mr Whitwell.  The afternoon text was

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old

he will not depart from it”  Passed this evening at Mr Willard

Lothrop with Mr Ames & met with Minister Norris & Mr Torrey

This noon I stopped to hear Mr Whitwells class in the Sabbath

School afterwards went into Mr Daniel Reeds with Mother

Very warm + pleasant for the time of the year

The Ames family, Unitarians all, attended meeting today and stayed for both services, which encompassed a morning program, an intermission, and an afternoon program.  In their family pew, Evelina, Oakes, Oakes Angier, Oliver (3), Frank Morton and Susan sat with or near Old Oliver, Sarah Witherell and her children, George and Emily.  Also nearby, if not in the same pew, sat Oliver Jr, Sarah Lothrop Ames and their children, Fred and Helen, faces upturned to hear Reverend Whitwell deliver the day’s two sermons.  Eight-year old Susie may have squirmed in her seat; she wasn’t inclined to sit still for the second service.  And Oakes Ames was known to fall asleep, however inspiring Mr. Whitwell’s words were to Evelina.

In 1851, the Unitarians congregated at a church in Easton Centre, a few miles south of the village of North Easton (but still within the boundaries of the Town of Easton, Massachusetts.)  Like many families, the Ameses had to travel by carriage or sleigh to attend Sunday service.  The adults would have ridden, or “been carried,” as the expression went,  but the children may have had to walk the distance.  Children walking to church, regardless of distance, was common.  If this was true for the Ames family, we might imagine that cousins Oliver (3) and Fred walked together, as they were close friends.

At intermission, children went into Sunday School and the adults socialized.  Winthrop Ames, a grandson-to-be, described the scene in his family history (from 1937):

“They tethered their horses in a long, open shed and stayed through both morning and afternoon services, eating the luncheons they had brought and gossiping with the townsfolk during the intermission.”

On this winter Sunday Evelina and her mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore visited at the nearby home of Daniel and Mary Reed.  Socializing continued in the evening as Evelina and Oakes called on Willard Lothrop.