August 10, 1851




Aug 10th Sunday  As usual have been to church to day

Mr Whitwell preached.  Went to the

methodist meeting house to a sing at 5 Oclock

got sick of it and went home at recess.

Oakes A Oliver & Helen Ames went with Orinthia to the

sing and carried her home.  Frank went from 

the sing and carried Ellen H & Louisa Swan to 


Her sons clearly enjoyed music, but Evelina’s appreciation was perhaps not up to theirs, if her reaction to today’s musical gathering is any indication. That, or the singing wasn’t very good.  She “got sick of” the sing at the meeting house and left when she could. Perhaps she was just ready to be at home at the end of a long, hot Sunday and already anticipated the choring and sewing ahead of her tomorrow. She may have had a good book waiting for her.

Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton were regular attendees at the sings; they enjoyed the music.  They also enjoyed the company of a circle of friends who attended the sessions, including Ellen Howard and Louisa Swan. Frank Morton was the son who drove Ellen and Louisa home, while Oakes Angier and Oliver (3), along with their cousin Helen Angier Ames, drove Orinthia back to the Howard house.

Ellen Howard was the tenth of Elijah Howard’s twelve children (by three wives.) Small wonder that the Howards were willing to board Orinthia Foss for a time; Nancy Howard was quite used to setting many places at what must have been a capacious dining room table. Ellen Howard ended up marrying George Withington, a Unitarian minister who came to town about this time. He ultimately left the ministry and served for many years as Easton’s town clerk.

Louisa Swan was the daughter of Dr. Caleb Swan, who had eleven children by his three wives. Louisa never married; she eventually left Easton for Vermont, where she lived with her sister Ruth who was married to U. S. Senator Justin S. Morrill.

* Currier & Ives,The Morning Ride,”  1859

March 6, 1851


March 6th  Thursday.  This morning Orinthia cleaned the sitting room

and I sat down to work quite Early on Mr Ames shirt

and finished it about ten Oclock  I then went to

mending some old shirts & colars &c  Sarah Witherell

brought me the fourth bosom that she has stiched for

me.  Jane went to Mrs Willis to get her dress  Miss Foss

and myself called to see Mr Guild about the school & on

Ellen Howard  A[u]gustus here to dine  Morning pleasant  storm at night

More men’s shirts.  If we’re getting tired of reading about them, imagine how tired Evelina must have been sewing them – and she had many more to go. She evidently had a method to her sewing, in that she worked on the same kind of clothing in succession until she had finished.  She didn’t make just one shirt for her boys or husband, she made several in a row.  She didn’t just make one apron for her daughter, she made three or four in a row.  Perhaps the cutting of the fabric and the arrangement of the pattern components were made easier when addressed as multiples.  The economy of cloth-cutting trumped the tedium of repetition.

Leaving the shirt bosoms and collars behind, Evelina went out with Orinthia Foss in the afternoon.  They paid a call on a Mr. Guild on a school-related matter, showing that Evelina continued to be involved with some aspect of the private school.  It was unusual for a married woman to be so active in this way.

Their second call was on Ellen Howard, daughter of Nancy (Johnson) Howard and Elijah Howard.  Mr. Howard was a sometime business partner of the Ames men and a prominent citizen of Easton.  Mrs. Howard was his third wife, he having buried his first two.  He had twelve children, of whom seven were with Nancy; Ellen was in the latter group.  In 1851, Ellen was seventeen, the same age as Frank Morton Ames, and she often socialized with the Ames sons.  In introducing Orinthia to Ellen, Evelina was perhaps hoping the two young women might become friends.  In the future, Orinthia would board with the Howards.  In Ellen’s future, in 1860, she would marry George Withington, a young minister who came to town to replace the departed William Whitwell.

The fine weather that allowed Evelina and Orinthia to travel around town disappeared by evening and ushered in a storm.  Such variability was to be expected this time of year.  It was March, after all.