July 18, 1852


July 18th Sunday  Have been to meeting as usual

Mr Whitwell preached well.  Went to Mr

Whitwells with Mother & Henrietta at noon

When we came from church Mr Ames

& self rode up to the ponds, found Oliver &

Fred there  Called this evening with Mr

Ames at Augustus found him threatened

with a fever & quite unwell.  Called on Lavinia

Williams a moment and Mrs Savage who is quite ill.

The good news today was that Evelina was comfortably back in her own pew at her own church, listening to her favorite minister preach. During the intermission between sermons, she even took her mother and sister-in-law, Henrietta Williams Gilmore, to the parsonage for tea. After church she and Oakes “rode up to the ponds,” meaning that they may have ridden not just to Shovel Shop Pond, but also beyond to Flyaway or Great Pond. There they ran into Oliver (either their son or Oakes’s brother-in-law) and Fred Ames.*

The not-so-good news was a run of illness among family and friends. Evelina’s nephew, Alson “Augustus” Gilmore, was suffering from some kind of fever. This was not an uncommon ailment during the hottest weeks of summer; many infants, especially, were prone to dehydration when the thermometer went up. Evelina had to be concerned that Augustus was so ill so suddenly. Hannah Savage (her near neighbor for whom her old servant, Jane McHanna, was now working) had been ill for some time. Hannah was thought to be dying; a watch would soon begin for her.

*It seems likely that it was Oliver (3) and not Oliver Jr with  Fred “up to the ponds.”  If it had been Oliver Jr., it’s probable that Sarah Lothrop Ames would have been with them.  She wasn’t. And it’s equally likely that the two young college men would be enjoying their familiar camaraderie, now that each was home from school.

October 30, 1851



Thursday Oct 30th  Mr Scott finished papering the 

parlour this morning and has painted some drawers

to be grained, and has drawn some of the windows

in the parlour  I have been doing a little of every

thing but cannot tell what.  Have got the carpet

down in the sitting room and the dishes into the

closet and we begin to look more comfortable


The redecorating of the downstairs began to wind down and the house became “more comfortable.” Getting the sitting room back in order was a big deal, for that was Evelina’s main domain for her daily sewing. It was her office, so to speak, more so than the kitchen.  She surely had missed her sewing routine while the house was disordered.

Putting the dishes back into the sitting room closet was also an accomplishment.  Jane Nylander, modern historian of 19th century domestic life, has written of the role of that closet:

“In most substantial households, parlors, sitting rooms, and dining rooms were furnished with a closet in which were stored cups and saucers, decanters of wines, glassware, and loaves of rich fruitcake, which was prized for its lasting quality as well as its flavor.  The shelves of these closets were grooved so that the small serving plates called ‘twifflers’ could be stood against the back wall and make a handsome show when the door was opened. ”  Twifflers – great name! – were about 9 1/2″ in diameter.

While Evelina set her house to rights, her father-in-law was busy about the factory. “began to work on the Flyaway Dam to day I went to Bridgewater + caried Clark + Keith to help Mr Phillips about fixing th bellows”** What had happened to the bellows? They were key to the manufacturing process.


*Jane Nylander, Our Own Snug Fireside, New York, 1993,  pp. 236 – 237.

**Oliver Ames Journal, Courtesy of Stonehill College Archives


May 15, 1851


Ames Long Pond

May 15

Thursday  I was intending to go to Boston with Mrs S Ames

this morning but she has the ague in her face

which prevented and lucky for me that I did

not go for about twelve Oclock Lavinia, Ann Pool,

and Francis, came and this afternoon Abby.  We all

rode to Edwins and Mr Clapps garden and to the ponds

Jane cleaned the […] buttery, and I was working

in the chambers when they came


Sarah Ames was sick once again, this time with what was probably a head cold, so a planned outing to Boston was called off. Sarah had been quite ill for much of the spring; perhaps she hadn’t given herself enough time to recover and was now suffering a relapse.

Normally, Evelina would have been disappointed to miss a trip to Boston, especially as she still needed to buy a bonnet, but a visit from a set of young relatives made for a happy alternative.  Her nieces Lavinia Gilmore and Abby Torrey, nephew Francis Gilmore, and a young friend of theirs, Ann Pool, arrived and rescued her from choring. With Francis holding the reins, presumably, the group rode north toward Stoughton, where they stopped at two farms to look at garden plants, one farm belonging to Edwin Manley, the other to Lucius Clapp.

They also rode by the ponds, including Ames Long Pond, which sits on the boundary between Easton and Stoughton. Most likely they also rode by Flyaway Pond which had been created only six years earlier, in 1845, to supply more water power from the Queset River to the shovel factory. Queset, according to historian Ed Hands, was “the most heavily used of all the drainage systems” in the watersheds of Easton.*  The shovel business would never have started in Easton had it not been for the Queset (Brook) River; O. Ames & Sons absolutely relied on it for decades.

Flyaway Pond is no longer configured the way Evelina and her companions would have seen it during their pleasant afternoon ride. It collapsed during a huge flood in March, 1968, wreaking havoc and causing considerable property damage.   As Hands points out, that 20th century flood washed away an important symbol of the Ames period in Easton, that of the control of the Queset River for commercial purposes.  Evelina couldn’t imagine that future for Flyaway Pond, of course; she could only enjoy riding past it and Ames Long Pond – and others, perhaps? –  in the spring air.

*Edmund C. Hands, Easton’s Neighborhoods, 1995