October 24, 1852

search

Sarah Josepha Hale 

(1788 – 1879)

Sunday Oct 24th  Mrs Davenport, Miss Alger & self

staid at home in the morning and I cooked

a dinner  Martin Carr came home with

them at noon and was here to dine  We all

went to meeting this afternoon  Mrs D & Miss

Alger played and sang and we have had a pleasant evening

Evelina played hostess on this Sabbath Day, staying home from the morning church service to be with her female guests and to cook a dinner. Between services, the men came home for the meal, bringing Martin Carr with them. Martin, who was Oakes Angier’s age, was the son of Caleb Carr, a long-time employee of the shovel shop. Martin was a jeweler by trade; perhaps he knew Edward Davenport, a jeweler in Attleboro, who was staying with the Ameses.

The socializing continued in the evening with tea and entertainment. Both Celestine Davenport and Miss Alger “played and sang.”  What fun to have music in the parlor. Perhaps Susie Ames was inspired by the pleasure that piano playing produced.

Evelina wouldn’t have known it, or acknowledged it particularly if she had, but today was the birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale. Mrs. Hale was the influential editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most popular periodical of the day for women. Her first editing job, which she took on as a young widow with five children, was for The Ladies Magazine in Boston. After Ladies merged with Lady’s, in 1836 – 1837, Mrs. Hale moved to Philadelphia and became the “editress,” – a term she preferred – of Godey’s for the next forty years. While there, she published the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Sigourney, Caroline Lee Hentz, Washington Irving, Emma Willard and Catharine Beecher – among other authors whose writing has not held up as well through the decades.

Mrs. Hale did more than just read at a desk. While still living in Boston, she established the Seaman’s Aid Society to help the widows and orphans of men lost at sea. She raised a much-needed balance of funds for the completion of the erection of the Bunker Hill Monument, the funding of which had stalled. Though many members of the stymied Monument Association assured Mrs. Hale that she couldn’t succeed, she raised tens of thousands of dollars from individual donors and from a week-long women’s craft fair that she organized at Quincy Market. The latter event alone – the first of its kind – raised more than $30,000 from the sale of domestic goods like homemade preserves, knitted scarves, hand-sewn aprons and caps, and specially donated items. She built the template for that kind of event.

Mrs. Hale also raised money for the maintenance of George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, which had fallen into disrepair. She championed the establishment of Vassar, the country’s first female liberal arts college. She promoted the advancement of education and employment for women, tirelessly. Most famous of all, she was able to persuade President Abraham Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, a pet project of hers that she had put forward to a line of presidents before him. Most disappointing of all, Sarah Hale never got on board the women’s suffrage movement. She believed that giving women the vote would lead them into politics, which was too disreputable and crafty a calling for the high moral stature of the true female mind.

There is much to be said about Sarah Josepha Hale. We must not forget that she was also an author. She wrote many of the articles in Godey’s, she penned novels, children’s books, household guides and poems. It was her pen that wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She was a phenomenal woman for her time.

June 8, 1852

capture31200573857_pm

 

Patent drawing for Nancy Johnson’s Hand-cranked Ice Cream Machine, 1843

 

June 8th Tuesday  Baked in the brick oven pies

cake & brown bread and have been to work

about the house all day untill the stage

came and brought Mr & Mrs Orr  It rains

quite hard and I did not expect them

Mrs S Ames & Mrs Witherell called this

evening  Had some ice cream frozen in 

the new freezer

Evelina baked and did indoor chores all day, but as active as she was she must have been attentive to the arrival of much-needed rain.  Old Oliver certainly was, recording that “towards night there was considerable rain, wind south west.”* It was so rainy, in fact, that Evelina imagined that her expected houseguests wouldn’t come.  But Robert and Melinda Orr braved the elements and arrived from Boston via stagecoach.

The Orrs were the couple with whom Evelina often stayed when she went into the city.  She and Melinda were good friends, but the connection between the two families ran even deeper, all the way back to Bridgewater and the days of ironwork there when Robert Orr’s ancestor, also named Robert, was a maker of scythes and other tools. The Ameses and the Orrs had often crossed paths.

Evelina was ready to welcome Robert and Melinda to her home and had prepared ice cream for the occasion. The ice cream would have been made in a hand-cranked freezer and probably kept cold in the new ice closet. Although it was a specialty that took time and elbow-grease to prepare, it was not quite the novelty that we might imagine.

Ice cream had been around since Colonial days, brought in by the Quakers and quickly adopted by the likes of Ben Franklin and George Washington.  By 1813, it was served at the inauguration of James Madison. In 1836, an African-American and former White House chef named Augustus Jackson – also known as the Father of Ice Cream – created a variety of ingredients and improved the over-all techniques. Less than ten years later, in 1843, a Philadelphian named Nancy Johnson received the first patent for a hand-cranked ice cream freezer. Americans took to it in droves, and the frozen dessert only got better as time went by.

When did someone think to serve ice cream with pie? Did Evelina?

 

February 22, 1852

georgewashington

1852

Feb 22nd Sunday Quite a snow storm this morning but

most all went to church.  I came home at noon on

account of a violent tooth ache and did not return.  Mrs

S Lothrop & son spent this afternoon, Frank carried

Orinthia home after meeting. Read in Grahams

Magazine  Mr Ames & self passed the evening at Edwins

It has cleared off very pleasant this evening

“It was a snowing this morning + all the forenoon and fell 2 or 3 inches deep wind southerly + thawd some  was clear at night,” according to Ames patriarch, Old Oliver. Yet the family rode through the snow to get to church. Poor Evelina got “a violent tooth ache” and had to go home after the first service. She must have felt better as the day progressed, for in the evening she and her husband, Oakes, went across the way to visit newlyweds Edwin and Augusta Gilmore.

Today was George Washington’s birthday. Born in 1732, he died in 1799, when Old Oliver was twenty years old. After Washington’s death, the young Congress of the day, whose partisanship between Federalists and the Jeffersonian Democrat-Republicans rivaled the divide we see in our modern Congress, came together to pass a resolution honoring the first president’s birthday. February 22, 1800 was dedicated to him and by 1832, the centennial of Washington’s birth, some type of observance of the holiday was customary.  The holiday did not become federal law until the 1879, and at the time was qualified as a “bank holiday.”

Old Oliver would have remembered the hero of the American Revolution and probably revered him, as most Americans did. Old Oliver was a child when the Constitution was written and ratified, and lived to see 16 presidents take office. For his generation, no American leader would be more heroic than General Washington.