July 12, 1852


July 12th Monday  Mary & Hannah both washed and I

was about house most of the forenoon 

Have cut the sleeves & skirt to my borage

dress and cut a waist for Susan

Carried my work into Olivers and stopt

some time  Edwin & Augusta rode to the

furnace & carried my pot to Mr Harveys to

get some butter but it was not ready for me

When Edwin and Augusta Gilmore “rode to the furnace,” they probably went south to an area of Easton known as Furnace Village or Easton Furnace. This was one of the oldest areas in town, its early homes today recognized as a National Historic District. First settled around 1715, it was a site for industry in a landscape that was otherwise quite agrarian. Using Mulberry Brook to turn its wheel, a sawmill was established there well before the American Revolution. Later industries included a tannery and a blast furnace for ironmaking, the latter giving the area its name. Historian Edmund Hands notes, “Once Easton Furnace possessed the highest degree of industrialization in town, but that industry never grew large enough to transform Furnace Village the way the Shovel Shop created the urbanized landscape of North Easton.”*

Back in the urbanized landscape to the north of Furnace Village, Evelina’s servants, Hannah Murphy and a woman named Mary, were doing the weekly laundry. Evelina was choring, sewing and waiting for Edwin and Augusta to return with some butter, which they were unable to do.  In the fields around North Easton, Old Oliver and his men were cutting hay. The agrarian life still held sway despite mills, foundries and factories.

*Edmund C. Hands, Easton’s Neighborhoods, 1995, p. 105

March 24, 1851



March 24 Monday  It was so unpleasant this morning

that Jane could not put her clothes out but

about noon it cleared up and she has got

them all dry  I have cut out a shirt for Oliver 

of fine unbleached cloth and have sewed

some of it & mended Mr Ames coat & vest

He went to Canton this afternoon.  Mr Whitwell

called.  Mrs Witherell passed an [illegible] this evening

Perhaps wearing one of his new shirts, or at least wearing a mended one, Oakes Ames traveled to neighboring Canton today.  Named for Canton, China, because some imaginative citizen believed the Chinese city to be its geographical twin on the opposite side of the world, the Massachusetts city had manufacturing interests much like Easton. Since before the American Revolution, the Kinsley family had operated an ironworks there. Like the shovel works, the Kinsley business had started small and grown well. Initially, it produced farm implements and was entirely family-run. It had a forge, a large rolling mill and the capability of producing steel.

In 1851, Lyman Kinsley was its sole operator; by 1858, the company would be owned by the Ameses. Oliver Ames Jr. would become its first Ames president, with others to follow (Frederick Lothrop Ames would be next, and after him, his son Oliver.) Frank Morton Ames would be its General Manager. Perhaps Oakes’s visit to Canton today, although certainly having something to do with getting steel for shovels, was also quietly prompted by some foreknowledge that the Ameses were interested in acquiring this complementary business.

Once the Ames owned it, the Kinsley Iron and Machine Company would eventually develop to produce wheels and axles for railroad cars, another product that would fit nicely with Ames business interests.