November 14, 1852


Sunday Nov 14  Went to church all day

Mother Augustus wife & self went

to Mr Whitwells at noon  she gave

us a cup of tea cake &c &c  Oakes A

Orinthia & Lavinia rode to see Ellen Howard

John & Rachel spent the day at Edwins

I called there with Orinthia and at Mr



Evelina and her family were very sociable this Sunday at intermission and after church. But today’s entry is most notable because it’s the last one in which Evelina mentions Orinthia Foss (at least for the diaries we have.) Orinthia was a twenty-year-old schoolteacher from Maine who boarded with the Ames family for a time in 1851. She and Evelina got to be great  – and sometimes mischievous – friends despite their age difference. After Orinthia moved to Bridgewater to teach, the friendship faded. Yet the two women remained companionable on those occasions like today when their paths crossed.

Orinthia would not remain in Massachusetts much longer, although we don’t know for certain when she returned to Maine. We do know that by the end of the decade, she had married a widower named Dana Goff, a railroad conductor living in Farmington, Maine. With that marriage, she gained a teenage stepdaughter, Julia, and soon became a mother of her own two boys, Herbert Dana and Ralph. Like other mothers before her, she had the sorrow of losing Herbert Dana at an early age, but was able to raise Ralph. Around 1880, the Goffs moved to Auburn where Mr. Goff became a real estate agent.

By 1910, Orinthia was a widow living with her younger sister, Florida (or Flora) Foss Hill in Auburn. She died in Newcastle, Maine, of heart disease, when she was 84. She is buried in the Goff family plot in Auburn, Maine.

February 18, 1852




Wednesday 18 Feb  Augusta Emily Susan & self have

spent the day at Rachels.  Mother Henrietta & Lavinia

were there  Had a pleasant visit.  Went to

carry mother home with Charley had some trouble

with him about starting it was so cold.  Mrs Solomon

Lothrop & son Willard came to Alsons this afternoon 

Made two dickeys for Mr Ames and cut out two more


Just like the day before,”this was a fair day wind north west + cold”* as Old Oliver, family patriarch, noted in his daily journal. It was so cold that one of the family horses, Charley, didn’t want to leave the premises. But Evelina needed to take her elderly mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, back to the family farm, so Charley was harnessed up and made to trot out. Evelina and her mother probably didn’t enjoy the frigid temperatures, either, but at least they could cover themselves with blankets or robes.

Evelina spent most of the day in the company of female relatives at the home of her niece, Rachel Gilmore Pool, who lived near the Gilmore farm.  Her daughter, Susan, and niece, Emily Witherell, were with her, as was new bride Augusta Pool Gilmore.**  Rachel’s unmarried sister, Lavinia, was there, along with their mother, Henrietta.  It was a multi-generational gathering of women from ages 9 to 79.

The women must have spent some time sewing as they all sat together, for Evelina managed to complete two dickeys, or shirt fronts, for her husband. The companionship would have made the handiwork fun to do.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

**Rachel Gilmore Pool was married to Augusta’s brother, John Pool, while Augusta Pool Gilmore was married to Rachel’s brother, Edwin Gilmore. One family’s sister and brother married a neighboring family’s brother and sister.

January 10, 1852


 Portrait of Oakes Ames by Matthew Brady 


Jan 10th Saturday  Mr Whitwell & Ames have not met again

to day  Mr W called just as Augusta Helen Susan

& self were in the sleigh to take a ride  We have

called at mothers  Mr Horace & John Pool, Edwin

& wife here to tea  Swept the parlor this morning

and put the house in order partially frosted a loaf of cake

for Augusta having made one of hers carried the frosting

over and made her a call while heating it

The boys presented their Father a gold pen & pencil

Oakes Ames turned 48 years old today, as did the local Unitarian minister, William Whitwell.  Last year and again this year, Evelina was unsuccessful in getting the two men together to celebrate. Oakes Angier and Frank Morton gave their father a gold pen and pencil to mark the occasion, a fine gesture.

As Oakes closed in on the half-century mark, he presumably began to look beyond the confines of the work he and his brother Oliver Jr. did for the shovel company. The next generation, in fact, was being groomed to run O. Ames & Sons; Oakes Angier, as eldest son of the eldest son, was on deck to superintend the company whenever Oakes and Oliver Jr. decided to step down. He was learning every aspect of the manufacturing process. Oliver (3) and Fred Ames were at college, Oliver presumably honing the skills he would need to take over his father’s role in managing sales, while Fred was on a path to being the financial clerk or CFO we might say today. Frank Morton Ames was learning a variety of skills, too, although he was seen more as a spare man waiting to step in should his cousin or either older brother fail somehow.

What could Oakes do with his tremendous talent and energy? Clearly, the roiling politics of the day interested him. By 1860, his gregarious nature, quick comprehension and thirsty ambition led him to accept the nomination and election to Massachusetts Governor Andrew’s Council as representative from Bristol County. Two years later, by “a large popular vote,”* Oakes Ames was then elected to the Thirty-Eighth U. S. Congress, where he would serve for four terms.

In 1872, according to circumspect historian, Reverend William L. Chaffin, Oakes “declined a renomination.”* He died in May, 1873, shortly after the conclusion of Credit Mobilier, a national political scandal for which many held Oakes culpable. At the time, his natural candor and fearlessness worked against him and he was unable to dodge the political manuevering that placed most of the blame on him. That same brave honesty, coupled today with calmer, historical perspective, has since served to cast Oakes Ames in a better light.

William L. Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1886, p. 654



January 6, 1852



Augusta Pool                                       Lavinia Gilmore


Tues Jan 6 th

A heavy snow storm commenced about

10 Oclock  Mrs Witherell & her children have been

to the funeral in a waggon had a hard time getting

home.  Augusta and Lavinia have been at Edwins

house getting it in order for housekeeping.  This

evening have helped me stone raisons for cake  Edwin

came with them to tea

The bad weather continued, bringing snow that Sarah Witherell and her children, George and Emily, had to fight their way through as they returned from a funeral in a wagon. As Sarah Witherell’s father, Old Oliver, noted, it “snowd all day and in the evening. it was a damp snow and fell level.

Evelina was safe inside, out of the weather. With her were her 19-year-old niece, Lavinia Gilmore, and Augusta Pool, a 22-year-old who was about to marry Lavinia’s brother, Edwin. The two young women had been at Edwin’s house for much of the day, “getting it in order.” How exciting, and perhaps a little scary, for Augusta to be getting married and moving into a new house in the village of North Easton.  She had always lived out in the country, not far from the Gilmore farm, which is how she got to know Edwin.  In fact, Augusta’s older brother, John Pool, was married to Rachael Gilmore, Lavinia and Edwin’s older sister. They would be double-siblings-in-law. (There must be a more official word for the relationship when a brother and sister from one family marry a sister and brother, respectively, from another family.)

When they finished today’s work at Augusta’s new home, the two girls walked over to Evelina’s to help her stone raisins for the wedding cake.  Evelina may have put the raisins in a little warm water to plump them up before popping the seeds out.  Edwin, groom-to-be, joined the women and the rest of the family for tea once the men all arrived home from work.


* Photographs courtesy of The Easton Historical Society, with thanks to Frank Mennino, curator