July 1, 1852

 

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Thursday July 1st  Transplanted some in the garden

this morning but there came up a shower

and put a stop to it  I then went to

mending on some of Susans clothes  Susan

was quite sick last night and not well

enough to go to school to day.  This afternoon 

Mrs Witherell S Ames A Ames rode to make calls

found all the ladies that we were to call on at Mr E Howards

 

In Washington, D. C., Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky became the first person ever to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda.  A giant in his day, he had served in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and as Secretary of State. He was the man who had created the Whig Party and aspired to the presidency, who always spoke passionately for the Union and was willing to compromise to preserve it. As he himself noted in a speech in 1844, “It has been my invariable role to do all for the Union. If any man wants the key of my heart, let him take the key of the Union, and that is the key to my heart…”* He had dedicated his life to public service and the country thanked him.

The next such person to lie in state in the rotunda would be Abraham Lincoln.

Less august (but no less meaningful to Evelina) events transpired in North Easton today. Evelina, Almira Ames, Sarah Ames and Sarah Witherell “rode to make calls.” This activity marks the first time that Sarah Witherell had ventured out socially since the death of her son, George, six weeks earlier.

Old Oliver made note of the rain that had interrupted Evelina’s early morning work in the garden: “It raind a little last night + there was a little rain this forenoon it was a warm day + cloudy most of the time.”**

*Henry Clay, from 1844 speech, as quoted in “Henry Clay,” by Robert V. Rimini, New York, 1991

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

March 31, 1852

Thread

1852

March 31st Wednesday  Have been to the sewing circle

at Mr Harrison Pools.  Mrs S Ames & Augusta

went and we took Orinthia with us from Mrs Howard

Mother Henrietta Lavinia Rachel Mrs Nahum & Horace Pool

& Ann Pool were there   It rained very fast as we were

coming home  I left two shirts to be made that I

put in the circle last fall

The Sewing Circle was back.  Female parishioners from the Unitarian Church had begun once again to meet on a monthly basis to sew. Like other sewing circles around the country, they met for fellowship, guidance from the local clergy, and the sewing of clothes and linens for one another or others. They hadn’t met – officially, anyway – since December.

On this weekday the group met at the home of Mary and Harrison Pool in southeastern Easton. From North Easton came Evelina, Sarah Lothrop Ames, and Augusta Pool Gilmore, the young bride who was returning to the area of town where she had grown up. The women stopped en route at Nancy and Elijah Howard’s to pick up Orinthia Foss. Hostess Mary Pool, who had three young children underfoot, welcomed them. Others who attended included Evelina’s mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore; Henrietta Williams Gilmore, Lavinia Gilmore, Rachel Gilmore Pool, Lidia Pool, Abby Pool and Ann Pool. It was a veritable family reunion.  Except for Orinthia Foss, every women present was related by blood or marriage to at least one other woman there.

Such a gathering must have been good amusement, with less formality than the social calls that some of the women had paid the day before. But spirits may have been dampened by the “very fast” rain that pummeled the carriages when the meeting ended and the women returned home.

March 8, 1852

Carpenter

March 8th

1852 Monday  To day is town meeting.  George brought

sister Amelia here this afternoon  Have got

the carpet down in the front entry and 

the chamber carpet partly down

S Ames sent for the entry lamp for fear

I suppose that I should keep it but

she […] might not been alarmed

Carpenters have come to rebuild the shops

A new week signaled a fresh start. It had only been six days since the fire at the shovel factory, but the clean-up had gone quickly. The ruins were “dismal,” as Evelina noted yesterday, but the debris was mostly gone, hacked down, shoveled up and carted away. Carpenters had arrived to begin rebuilding, as Old Oliver, too, noted in his diary:  “some of the carpenters came on to day to build up our shops + Mr Phillips + his son came.”*

Life in the village was returning to normal.  Housewives, some with servants, tended to washing day. Children went to school and men went to town meeting.  As at church, the fire must have been part of the conversation as the men gathered to decide on town affairs and expenditures for the coming year. People must have wondered how soon the shovel shop would be up and running.

At the meeting, a new moderator, Alson Augustus Gilmore, presided. Not yet thirty years old, it was his first time holding the gavel; he would repeat the performance twenty-four times over the coming decades.  According to William Chaffin, Gilmore and his predecessor, Elijah Howard, Jr., “served with signal ability.”**

Evelina and her sister-in-law, Sarah Lothrop Ames, had a minor set-to over “the entry lamp,” which appears to have been a luminary that was shared by both houses. Sarah was evidently skittish about not having it, and Evelina was annoyed to have it commanded away.  No cause for alarm, she might have said. She wouldn’t have been annoyed for long, however, as a favorite family member, Amelia Gilmore, arrived for a visit. Amelia was the young widow of Evelina’s younger brother, Joshua Gilmore, Jr. She had lately been working as a private nurse.

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

**William Chaffin, History of Easton, 1886, p. 637

August 9, 1851

Early-Tornado-Drawing_GrazulisBook

 

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Aug 9th Sat  Was mending most of the forenoon after doing

my chamber work  This afternoon Helen & I have

been to Mothers found her quite sick with a cold

so that she could not speak aloud.  Called for

Orinthia to carry her with us but she did not go

Brought her home with us at night  Just as we 

got to Mr Howards there came up a tempest &

we stoped untill it was over

Helen Angier Ames, aged 14, accompanied her Aunt Evelina this afternoon to the Gilmore farm, perhaps to see Evelina’s niece, Lavinia Gilmore, aged 19. The two young women were friends. The schoolteacher, Orinthia Foss, was invited to go along as well but declined. Instead, she joined Evelina and Helen on their return trip.

As she often did, Evelina went to visit her mother and family at the farm where she grew up. Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, aged 79, lived most of the time with her son Alson. She was usually in good health, but today she was “quite sick” with a summer cold and laryngitis.  Illness seemed to be all around Evelina in these dog days of summer.

On their ride home, the women encountered a storm violent enough to make them stop off at the Howards’ house. The outburst was, in fact, part of a squall line that produced a tornado in Hartford, Connecticut.  A “tempest,” Evelina called it, using a word that nowadays isn’t often heard in American English.  Modern usage might describe the storm less poetically as a “weather event.”

*U.S. Tornado Early History, http://www.ustornadoes.com