October 29, 1851



Wednesday Oct 29.  I have been what I call puttering

about house most all day and have accomplished

but very little.  papered the fireboard and pasted

the loose places in Franks chamber  Mr Scott

has painted the sitting room & closet

Mrs Hubbel & Ames came from New York this morning

H O A Orr came for Susan this afternoon  Mr

Walton is there. Mrs Holmes and Abby called

Mr Ames came home from Boston to night

Many comings and goings in North Easton today, under a cloudy sky.  Almira Ames, widow of George, an Ames cousin, arrived from New York with a Mrs. Hubbel in tow. They came for a visit with the obliging Sarah Witherell and Old Oliver Ames in the other part of the house.

Susan Orr, meanwhile, who had been staying with Sarah Witherell and her father for almost a month, was picked up this afternoon by her brother, Hector Oakes Orr. Susan, age 53, and Hector, age 51, were first cousins of Sarah Witherell and her siblings on the Angier side of the family.  Susan and Hector were two of five children of Susanna Angier Ames’s sister, Mary and her husband, Dr. Hector Orr, of Bridgewater. Their shared grandparents were Oakes and Susanna (Howard) Angier.

Evelina’s niece on the Gilmore side, Abigail Williams Torrey, paid a call with Harriet Holmes (the neighbor who had been so ill back in August). A Mr. Walton floated somewhere in the picture; Evelina’s inclusion of his name is a bit vague. And chugging along in the background of the various calls was Mr. Scott painting the woodwork in the sitting room. Evelina concentrated on papering a fireboard when she wasn’t attending to the influx of visitors. For readers who don’t have fireplaces, a fireboard was a piece of wood, textile or ironwork fitted to the opening of a fireplace for periods when the fireplace wasn’t being used.  Fireboards made from wood, most common in the countryside, were often decorated with wallpaper or painting.


* 19th century papered fireboard, Pennsylvania, courtesy of 1stdibs.com.


September 29, 1851


Monday Sept 29  Cut out three prs of cotton Drawers

for self for Ellen to make & have done some

sewing  Augustus came with his family about

4 Oclock are going to move into a part of Mr

Torreys house  Hector & Susan Orr came to

the other part of the house this afternoon.  Susan

will stop awhile  Not very pleasant has rained some

Rain arrived but the day, according to Old Oliver, was “pritty warm.” The wet weather and her cold must have kept Evelina indoors.  She may not have felt well, but as long as she could sit up, she would have found something useful to do.  Sewing some underwear for herself was the mundane chore waiting in her workbasket. Meanwhile, Jane McHanna, the family servant, washed the weekly laundry, perhaps doing her trick of letting the rain do the rinsing. She would have been challenged to figure out how to dry it, though.

Visitors arrived in the other part of the house; the Orrs, a family with whom the Ameses had been connected since early days in Bridgewater, came to visit. Susan Orr, a spinster, had known Oakes Ames when he was a baby. Today she and Hector – her brother, perhaps? – came to see Old Oliver and Sarah Ames Witherell.

On Evelina’s side of the family, nephew Alson “Augustus” Gilmore, his wife Hannah and their two sons, toddler Eddie and infant Willie, began to move into temporary quarters at Col. John Torrey’s building in the village.  Eventually, they would build a home, but for now they were going to rent.