Wednesday June 30th Mr Ames left home this morning
for New York and Conn Mrs James Mitchell
her mother & Grace came to father Ames & I
called into see them Mrs Mitchell made
quite a long call in here and at Olivers
Mrs Almira Ames came by the stage
to night from Conn she left New York
about four weeks since
Oakes Ames went to New York and Connecticut today on shovel business, as his father and wife each noted in their diaries. He wasn’t the only Ames on the road, either. Almira Ames, widow of cousin George Ames, arrived in North Easton from Connecticut and New York. Oakes probably went by “the cars,” as they called the railroad, while she definitely traveled in a stagecoach. Their separate modes of travel demonstrate the transformation that was taking place in transportation.
The railroad was moving in and would shortly become the dominant mode for long-distance transportation for the rest of the century and beyond. As Mrs. Penlimmon, a character developed by popular author Fanny Fern, opined only two years later:
‘The days of stage coaches have gone by. Nothing passes for muster now but comets, locomotives and telegraph wires. Our forefathers and foremothers would have to hold the hair on their heads if they should wake up in 1854. They’d be as crazy as a cat in a shower-bath, at all our whizzing and rushing. Nice old snails!”*
How life was changing.
In more local traffic, Harriet Lavinia Angier Mitchell came to call with her mother and daughter on Old Oliver and Sarah Witherell in the other part of the house, on Evelina, and on Sarah Lothrop Ames next door. Mrs. Mitchell was a cousin of Old Oliver’s late wife, Susannah Angier Ames.
* Fanny Fern, Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Port-Folio, ca. 1854, p. 50