December 22, 1852



Wednesday Dec 22d  Miss Alge[r] came again to day

to give another lesson which makes the 

18th  She stopt to dinner we had fish

chowder & I had to attend to it while she

was giving Susan her lesson and did not hear

it  The families all took tea at Olivers

I have done but very little on Susans sack

Susan scratched Emilys Pianno


Readers might wonder how Oakes Angier Ames was faring on his voyage to Cuba. We’ll learn later that by this date, he had reached Charleston, South Carolina and was to depart this day for Havana.

So much attention had been focused lately on Oakes Angier Ames that we also might wonder what the other two Ames sons were up to. Local historian William Chaffin obligingly tells us. They were helping form a local militia:

A charter for an infantry company, signed by Governor Boutwell, was secured December 3, 1852, and the company was organized on the 22d. The following officers were chosen: William E. Bump, captain; Francis Tilden, first lieutenant; Oliver Ames, 3d, second lieutenant; John Carr, third lieutenant; Rufus Willis, fourth lieutenant. This company and one then recently formed at Canton were organized as the second battalion of light infantry, second brigade, and first division, the Easton company being known as Company B.

Of this battalion Oliver Ames, 3d, was chosen adjutant. He was afterward promoted to be major, and the lieutenant-colonel; and Frank M. Ames was made quartermaster and then major. The State furnished this company with fifty guns, bayonets, and other accoutrements, besides swords for the officers.  The record book states that the State also forwarded “1 Brass Kittle drum in good order, and 1 Fife, crooked and unfit for use.”*

A militia, typically, is a group of civilian volunteers who band together, with some kind of government blessing and support, to supplement a regular military army. Such militias had formed before in Easton and elsewhere and, according to Chaffin, a “military spirit began to revive again in 1852.”* What was motivating this activity? Were the young men responding to the increased agitation between the North and the South, or were they simply feeling their oats?

Susan Ames was feeling something today, too.  By accident or design, she scratched her cousin Emily’s piano. Not good. Evelina may not have witnessed the incident, as she was busy in the kitchen making fish chowder for dinner. The chowder was partaken of by the family and by the piano teacher, who often timed her lessons around the midday meal. Perhaps a regular meal was part of her pay.


*William L. Chaffin, History of Easton, 1866,  pp. 512 – 513

April 3, 1852



March [sic] 3rd Saturday  Have made a ribbon head

dress for sister Amelia  Orinthia & self went into

Edwins this noon for some fish chowder.  She gave us

some platters and a great iron spoon to eat with and we

had to wait upon ourselves. We excused her knowing

she was a young housekeeper and knew no better.  She

ought to come here and learn politeness  Called on Mrs

Brett.  her babe is nearly two weeks old. she is not very

comfortable  Called on Abby  Hannah & Mrs J. C. Williams

Young neighbor Augusta Pool Gilmore invited Evelina and Orinthia Foss to midday dinner. This was a sweet gesture, perhaps intended to thank Evelina for her many kindnesses in welcoming Augusta to the village. The young bride may have been excited to debut her skills as a hostess.

However well-meant the invitation was, Augusta still had a lot to learn about entertaining. Evelina, a matron who had welcomed many guests to her dinner table over the years, saw much to judge wrong and in her diary took a snide swipe at the young woman. She criticized Augusta’s faux pas in laying out the wrong cutlery and failing to serve them properly.

While Evelina forgave Augusta her missteps, because the young bride “knew no better,” she also condescendingly noted that Augusta needed to spend time with the Ameses to “learn politeness.” Such scorn was perhaps exacerbated by the presence of Orinthia, who was always looking for ways to laugh. Innocent, inept Augusta was an easy target.

Evelina’s natural empathy returned in the afternoon. She visited other friends and called on another young woman in the neighborhood, Eveline Brett, who was doing poorly after having given birth.