January 16, 1851

Muff & Tippet B & W


Jan 16 Thursday  Went to Boston with S Ames.  Oakes A carried 

us over to the stage.  We found it very bad walking 

could scarcely cross the street without going over

shoe in snow & water but otherwise a delightful day

We bought some druggett & Sarah a muff & tippet

for herself & cuff & tippet for Helen.  We got us some

oysters at Vintons.  Called at Mr Orrs about four thirty

that we should have time to reach the cars but we were left.

Boys went to an assembly at Canton

Alson & Augustus dined here.

O, joy, a trip to Boston, an event that Evelina typically finds “delightful” no matter what the weather.  After two days of sadness about the death of Lewis Carr, Evelina and Sarah Lothrop Ames headed into the city via stage coach on a shopping excursion.  The railroad, which they called “the cars,” did not yet reach North Easton, but did stop in Stoughton.  The women intended to return by train at nightfall, and be carried home from Stoughton by one son or other, but missed the train and had to stay overnight.  They may not have been disappointed to have to stay in town.

Sloppy weather didn’t prevent the successful acquisition of goods.  Evelina bought some drugget, or carpeting, while Sarah found accessories for herself and her daughter.  Muffs and tippets, naturally, were very much in fashion for winter wear.  Dining on oysters was another highlight, as was a visit to an old family connection, Mr. Orr.

The homefront in Easton was busy, too.  Evelina’s brother, Alson, and his oldest son, Augustus, took midday dinner with Oakes and his children.  Little Susie would have been the only girl at the table.  In the evening, Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton headed to Canton to a dance.  Everyone’s spirits seemed brighter today.

Photo of muff and tippet, ca. 1840,  from Minnesota Historical Society

January 15, 1851



Jan 15 Wednesday  This morning after doing my usual

morning work went to Mr Carrs  to put the robe on the

corpse.  in the afternoon attended the funeral.  Mr

Whitwell spoke very well to the mourners & made a good

prayer  Mr Whitwell and Mr Reed were over to tea.  After

they went away I passed the evening at Olivers with Mr

& Mrs Peckham  Made a hair cloth cover for one of the

rocking chairs cushions and sewed in the evening on a


Today Evelina attended the first of several funerals she will go to over the course of her diary.  The death of young Lewis Carr won’t be the only case of consumption, either.  In this case, she helped the Carr family by sewing a robe for the body and dressing the corpse.  Death was familiar to women like Evelina; tending to its aftermath was one of their responsibilities.

And then life went on.  After the service, Evelina (with Jane McHanna’s help, certainly) served tea to Rev. Whitwell and Mr. Reed, another man from Easton.  There were several Reed families in town, so we can’t know for sure which Mr. Reed came to tea.  In her diary, Evelina mentions Daniel Reed most frequently.  Daniel was a carpenter, according to the census; today we might call him a builder.  In any case, he was well known to the Ameses.  His wife, Mary Reed, was a member of a sewing circle to which the Ames sisters-in-law belonged and the family attended the Unitarian church.

After dark, Evelina walked next door to Oliver Jr. and Sarah Lothrop Ames’s house to visit with Joseph and Susan Peckham.  She may have taken her work box with her to sew while they visited.  No doubt, they discussed the death of Lewis Carr.

January 14, 1851

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of John Gellatly

Abbott H. Thayer, Angel, 1887, oil
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of John Gellatly


Jan 14  Tuesday.  This morning after taking care of my room went

to the store and into Mr Carrs to offer my assistance there.

Lewis Carr died last night very suddenly bleeding at the 

lungs.  Has been in a decline since last July but was about

the house as usual yesterday and conversed with O A and 

his friends in the evening & told what he was going to do when

he got well.  about ten or eleven Oclock called to his mother

to come quick which was the last word & died almost instantly

This afternoon carried Mr & Mrs Whitwell to A A Gilmores.

The “white plague,” consumption, was a killer; today we know it as tuberculosis and, in parts of the world, it’s still killing.  In 19th century America, it was a leading cause of death, the scourge of young lives, particularly.  Its contagious properties were unknown, which helped it spread.  Although different treatments, such as prolonged rest in warm climates, were tried (when possible), no cure for the disease would be found until the middle of the 20th century.  Some people did recover from TB; most did not.

Lewis Carr, a friend of Oakes Angier Ames, was barely 20 years old. He was the son of Caleb and Chloe Carr of North Easton where the family had lived for generations.  His father, known as “Uncle Caleb” in his later years, was a life-long employee of the shovel works and close to the Ames family.  So close, in fact, that two decades later, Caleb would serve as a pall-bearer at Oakes Ames’s funeral.

It is typical that Evelina would help the Carr family at this time.  She and her sisters-in-law were often called upon to sew the shrouds that corpses were wrapped in, which is what she did on this day for the family.