October 4, 1852

searchsearch                                             weal_03_img0569

                       Roger B. Taney                                                                   Benjamin Robbins Curtis                

(1777 – 1864)                                                                       (1809 – 1874)

Oct 4th Monday  Catharine Middleton & C Murphy washed

Mrs Norris and all of us dined with Mrs Witherell

and staid there untill about four and then

Mrs Norris and self went to Augustus’ to tea and

passed the evening  Mrs Lincoln is there

intends spending the winter  I do but very

little sewing have made a pr of plain cambric sleeves to day

 

 

It was the first Monday in October which in North Easton meant another washday. At the Ames compound, the Irish servant girls, Catharine Middleton and Catharine Murphy, tied their aprons on, filled the wash tubs and went to work. The slight rain did not interfere.

In Washington D.C., on this first Monday in October, nine white male justices put on their black robes and also went to work. A new session of the U.S. Supreme Court got underway. Led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of Maryland, the 1852-1853 term would deal with, among others, the case of Cooley vs. Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia. That decision would confirm the right of states to regulate commerce within their own boundaries. We might imagine that this decision had an impact on businesses such as the shovel works that shipped merchandise.

Taney and three other members of the court – John McLean of Ohio (the longest-serving), James Moor Wayne of Georgia, and John Catron of Tennessee – had been appointed by Andrew Jackson in the 1830’s. Two other justices, John McKinley of Alabama and Peter Vivian Daniel of Virginia, had been appointed by Martin Van Buren and had served almost as long. Newer to the bench were Samuel Nelson of New York, appointed by John Tyler in 1845, and Benjamin Robbins Curtis of Massachusetts, appointed by Millard Fillmore the previous year, 1851.

Associate Justice Curtis was the first and only Whig ever to serve on the Supreme Court. A graduate of Harvard, he was also the first justice to have a formal law degree. The justices up until that time had either “read law” as apprentices or attended law school without getting their degree.  Curtis would further distinguish himself in 1857 when the Taney Court handed down the infamous Dred Scott decision that determined that a black man had no rights of citizenship. Curtis and John McLean dissented from that majority decision, with Curtis so upset that he resigned from the court. He is the only justice to date to resign from the Supreme Court on a matter of principle.

 

 

September 2, 1852

Bowl

1852

Thursday Sept 2d  I was intending to sit down early

this morning to sew but while we were at

breakfast Edwin came in & said his wife was

sick and wanted me to go in there  I found

her sick with the Cholera Morbus.  Came

home & made her some gruel washed her 

dishes & came home and made some pies

& sent Susan in there to stay with her

Just at night called at Augustus

Fred has gone back to Cambridge  Emily went to Boston

Despite its frightening name, Cholera morbus was not the cholera we might recognize as the dreaded disease of epidemic capability, the bacterial scourge that swept through whole cities, but rather a Victorian name for a gastrointestinal disorder that was “characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, [and] elevated temperature.”* It may also have been used to describe appendicitis. Poor Augusta Gilmore had been felled by this miserable sickness, which was alarming enough to send her husband Edwin to the neighbors for help. Augusta must have been a little frightened that her sickness might be related to her pregnancy; she was almost four months along at this date.

Thank goodness for Evelina, ever dependable in a crisis of this nature. Evelina visited Augusta right away, tidied up for her, made her a bowl of gruel – a thin porridge – and sent Susie Ames over to sit with her. No doubt Susie was instructed to report on any change for the worse.

Back in her own home, Evelina baked pies and kept watch on all the neighborhood goings-on. The younger generation was moving around: Emily Witherell went to Boston, and Fred Ames returned to Harvard for another year. His departure may have caused Oliver (3), who had so wanted to return to Brown, some anguish. Fred got to finish college, and Oliver didn’t.

* Sylvan Cazalet, “Old Disease Names,” http://www.homeoint.org

August 14, 1852

440px-Henry_Jacob_Bigelow_c1854

 

Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow

(1818 – 1890)

Aug 14th

1852 Saturday  Oakes A went to see Dr Bigelow

He agrees with Dr Swan that the blood

comes from the lungs and that he must leave the

shop and be very quiet.  Returned from

Boston to night.  Mrs Stevens came here in

the Cars  Mrs Witherell A L Ames & Mrs

S Ames called

Oakes Angier saw a doctor in Boston today about his bad cough and bloody sputum.  He went to a Dr. Bigelow, who could have been either of two well-regarded medical men: Jacob Bigelow or his son, Henry Jacob Bigelow. The son, only a decade older than Oakes Angier himself, was a Harvard grad who was becoming famous for his role in introducing ether into the operating room. Without the modern diagnostic equipment to which we 21st century readers have become accustomed, Dr. Bigelow was nonetheless able to give an informed opinion about Oakes Angier’s pulmonary condition. If the doctor used the word “consumption,” Evelina didn’t write it down.

The illness was serious and Oakes Angier was ordered to ” leave the shop and be very quiet.” Rest and fresh air, in other words, were the treatment. If diagnostic ability was limited, treatments were even more so. Oakes Angier would have to go away and rest and hope for the best.

Back in Easton, the women of the family gathered in the sitting room or parlor to hear what the Boston physician had said, and perhaps to take a look at Evelina’s new bonnet. We can imagine that each member had a notion of what should happen next: where Oakes Angier should go, how he might travel, and what needed to be done to get him ready. In all likelihood, however, the decision on what to do would be decided by Oakes Angier’s father.

 

August 3, 1852

Hpr HaravrdTraining-s

Harvard Crew Training on the Charles River, ca. 1869*

August 3d 1852

Tuesday  Cut out a linen & moire skirt for Catharine

to make and Susan a night gown  I have

at last got my travelling dress done  I believe

cape and all.  How provoking it is to have

to alter so much  Julia Mahoney has been

to work for Mrs Witherell making a Borage Delaine

Augusta & Mrs McHanna were here this afternoon

For Evelina, this was a fairly ordinary day of sewing and socializing. Her big news was that she “at last” completed her new traveling outfit.

In the annals of American sports, however, this was no ordinary day.  In a two-mile regatta on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire, under a bright blue sky, Harvard beat Yale in the very first intercollegiate athletic competition ever held in the U.S.A. Harvard’s  Oneida beat both of Yale’s boats, Shawmut and Undine. The first prize, a pair of black walnut oars, was presented to the Crimson team by one of the six judges, soon-to-be-president Franklin Pierce. Today, those oars are the oldest intercollegiate athletic prize in North America**. The contest itself has since moved to New London, Connecticut. It recently celebrated its 150th anniversary (not having been held in consecutive years in its earliest iteration.)

The contest was initiated by Yale, who “issued a challenge to Harvard ‘to test the superiority of the oarsmen of the two colleges.'”* According to the written recollection of James Morris Whiton, Yale Class of 1853 and bow oar of Undine, “[t]he race was supposed to be a frolic, and no idea was entertained of establishing a precedent.”*** The enthusiasm of the participants and the entertainment of the spectators, however, insured that a tradition had been born. Anticipation for the event had been high, so much so that the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad footed the bill for the event, believing it would attract visitors to the area. The excursion trains it set up arrived loaded with visitors.

The oarsmen themselves were so enthused about the occasion that they tried to arrange a dance at the inn where they were staying. According to Whiton, “Many of the College boys stayed at the Pemigewasset House, Plymouth, and it occurred to them it would be pleasant to give a ‘hop’, and invite the rural beauties of the town to the festivities. With this end in view, they applied to the landlord of the hostelry and received this reply: ‘Ye can hav the hall, young men, if ye want a gander dance, but ye won’t get no gal timber there, I tell ye.'”

No doubt the failure to dance with some of the “rural beauties” was a disappointment, but otherwise the race and its aftermath were entirely successful. By 1875, thirteen eastern colleges offered crew.

 

Image from Harper’s Weekly, 1869

**Harvard Athletic Association, Courtesy of http://www.gocrimson.com

*** Wikipedia, accessed July 30, 2015

****James Morris Whiton, “The Story of the First Harvard-Yale Regatta by a Bow Oar,” published in The Outlook, June 1, 1901 and privately printed with photographs of Lake Winnipesaukee and of the course of the race.

 

 

 

January 17, 1852

IMG_2480

John Ames Mitchell

1852

Jan 17 Saturday  Finished Susans morino hood and mended

stockings & some other things  Finished Susans Delaine

dress that Julia Mahoney cut Dec 23  Mr Ames brought

Sarah W some fitch cuffs from Boston  Frederick

came home to night  Ruth Swan that was and

her husband came home to night  Heard of Mrs

Colin Harlowes death

Some months back Evelina’s sister-in-law, Harriett Ames Mitchell, had departed Easton with her three children to join her husband, Asa, in Erie, Pennsylvania  One of those children was John Ames Mitchell, who turned seven years old on this date.

John Ames Mitchell would lead an irregular childhood, moving around western Pennsylvania but eventually landing back in Massachusetts, in Bridgewater. His father, a coal trader who had worked for the Ames family, would succumb to mental illness or dementia and spend out his days in the Taunton Hospital for the Insane, his residence there supported by his brother-in-law, Oliver Ames Jr..  John’s mother, Harriett, and older brother, Frank Ames Mitchell, a Civil War veteran, would also live lives greatly indebted to the financial support of family; John, too, looked to his uncle for support on occasion.

John attended Harvard, but didn’t graduate, and studied abroad. Endowed with artistic and literary talent, he became an architect.  Under the guiding patronage of his Uncle Oliver Jr., John designed the Unitarian Church on Main Street in Easton in 1875, and worked on other projects in the Boston area before returning to Europe again, this time to study at the Beaux Arts. When he finally returned to the States, he used his ample talent to write novels, draw illustrations and, most lasting of all, create Life magazine.

With a racehorse owner named Andrew Miller, John started publishing Life in 1883. John and his staff, which included the Harvard grad and founder of Harvard Lampoon, Edward Sandford Martin,  saw Life as a publication that would “have something to say about religion, about politics, fashion, society, literature, the state, the stock exchange, and the police station.” He vowed “to speak out what is in our mind as fairly, as truthfully, and as decently as we know how.”* He also worked to bring wonderful illustrators on board, most famously Charles Dana Gibson, whose Gibson Girl would come to life in Life.

John also was a co-founder with Horace Greeley of the Fresh Air Fund.  He married but never had children of his own. His 75% ownership of Life lasted until his death in 1917.

January 15, 1852

330px-Charles_Wentworth_Upham

Charles Wentworth Upham

(1802 -1875)

1852

Jan 15 Thursday  Spent some time this forenoon in reading

the papers and fixing Susans work & pasted some pictures on

a mahogany box.  Called on Mr Whitwell, Reed & 

Howard with Mrs S Ames.  Evening to a lecture on

education by Mr Upham of Salem at the meetinghouse

hall. a very good lecture and a goodly number

present for a snowy evening.  Had two tripes from father.

The guest lecturer at the meetinghouse was, presumably, Charles Wentworth Upham. A minister and politician from Salem, on the north shore of Boston, Upham had traveled no small distance to deliver a “lecture on education.”  Well spoken and well read, he had written, some years before, a history of the witch trials in Salem. Lately, however, Upham had been speaking on the progress of normal schools, which were schools that taught teachers. Education was on his mind.

Also on Upham’s mind was politics. He was a Whig, which may have been his connection to the Ames family and Unitarian congregation in Easton. Previously Upham had been a member of the Massachusetts State Senate, and within the year would become Mayor of Salem. From 1853 to 1855, he would be a representative to the U.S. Congress, but would fail to be reelected.

Upham was married to Ann Holmes, a sister of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. He had been at Harvard with Ralph Waldo Emerson with whom he corresponded later in life.  Their friendship faltered, however, over Transcendentalism, which Upham disliked. Upham also famously acted against Nathaniel Hawthorne, leading the local fray in getting Hawthorne, a Democrat, fired from his politically-appointed job at the Salem Custom House.

Some disliked Upham; Charles Sumner called him “that smooth, smiling oily man of God.”* What did the Ameses think?

 

*Carlos Baker, Emerson Among the Eccentrics, New York, 1996.

September 19, 1851

5209548721_5943a65d99_z

Friday Sept 19  Mr Ames went into Boston also Frank

We went to Mr Daniels store to see the procession

They were an hour and a quarter passing and we

were very much fatigued we were in the store about

four hours  We returned to Mr Orrs and dined

In the evening Mr Ames & self Mr Norris Emily & Helen

Mr Wm Harris & sister walked to see the illuminations

Oliver & wife returned home & Frank

The Railroad and Steamship Jubilee concluded today in Boston with a huge parade around the city that moved from School Street through Haymarket Square, down Merchants Row, State and Washington Streets toward Tremont, Park, and the Boston Common. There the procession traveled between a line of schoolchildren, then went along Beacon Street and turned toward Boylston, where they finished. The “civic procession” featured not just the requisite brass bands, waving pennants, dignitaries on horseback, carriages of officials, and marching men. It also offered something new: one whole marching division of selected representatives of industry, intended to showcase the thriving manufacturing of the greater Boston area. Were the Ames shovels included?

Evelina and various family members saw the parade from a shop on Washington Street. They stood for hours, first waiting, then watching as the parade rumbled by. The store owner, Mr. Daniels, was certainly kind to let the group stay for four hours. Perhaps he sold Ames shovels?

An afternoon banquet followed on the Boston Common under a special pavilion. This the Ameses did not attend (nor were they likely to have been invited – their railroad days were yet ahead of them.) The featured after-dinner speaker was Edward Everett, a minister, past president of Harvard, former U. S. Representative and one-time Governor of Massachusetts.  With all those qualifications, he was nonetheless best known for his oratory. In 1863, he would be the featured speaker at the dedication of the Gettysburg Battlefield. On this occasion in Boston, Everett spoke about ” The Beneficial Influence of Railroads.” His fitting summation to the three day celebration of the modern railroad was topped only by the evening display of illuminated buildings around the city and fireworks over Boston Harbor.

Evelina, Oakes, and a group of relatives and friends saw those “illuminations.” How memorable the whole day must have been, and how “fatigued” Evelina must have felt by the time her head hit the pillow.