June 2, 1851




June 2d Monday  This morning being washing day I had to

work about house and have not sewed much

all day  Miss Linscott returned this morning

(I think her to be a very pleasant girl)

Worked in the flower garden a couple hours

this afternoon  Have carried my bonnet to

S Copeland to have it sewed over.  Spent most

of the afternoon in the other part of the house. Very pleasant


Pleasant skies and a light breeze made for easy drying of the Monday laundry.  Old Oliver reported that “it was cloudy + cool in the fore noon + fair + warm in the afternoon wind southwest + west.” He also noted that “Mr Buck went to Ohio.” Who was Mr. Buck? There were many by that name in Easton at the time.

In nearby Maine, something historic happened today, something that surely pleased Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames Jr..  Maine became the first state to enact a statewide prohibition on the sale or manufacture of alcoholic beverages.  Known as the “Maine Law,” the legislation was spearheaded by Neal Dow, the mayor of Portland, and signed by John Hubbard, governor of the state.  The men became known respectively as the “Napoleon of Temperance” and the “Father of Prohibition.”  Neal Dow, a Temperance Whig, was particularly prominent in his life-long campaign to rid the country of drink.

The vote in Maine was a result of an aggressive effort by temperance advocates across the country to stop the sale of alcohol. No headway had been made on the national level, so activists had organized to effect change at the state and county level, an effort that resulted in some short-term success and much long-term failure.  They had their work cut out for them.  During the 19th century, the average American consumed at least three times more alcohol than the average American in the 21st.**

Dow’s legislation didn’t hold up. Enforcement was inadequate, bootlegging became rampant and the law was repealed in 1858. The sale of alcohol resumed. The battle in Maine had ended, but the national war over alcohol would last well into the 20th century.

* Neal Dow (1804 – 1897), the “Napoleon of Temperance”

** Wikipedia






February 23, 1851

Map of Maine, 1850

Map of Maine, 1850


Feb 23  Sunday  Have not been to church to day on account

of my cough, although it is a great deal better.

Orinthia staid at home too, having a bad cold and 

being a good deal fatigued.  We have had a nice 

quiet time talking over Maine affairs.  She spent

Thursday night at Mr Mowers.  Have written a long

letter to Louise J. Mower to day.  Mr Whitwell exchanged

with Mr Bradford of Bridgewater.  It is a lovely day.

This was the second Sunday in a row that Evelina missed going to meeting.   She stayed behind ostensibly to keep the new boarder company and to nurse the lingering cough that she admitted to herself was much better.  Was she still avoiding certain people at church, or had she gotten past the Sewing Circle incident?  Whatever her reasoning, she had a pleasant visit with young Orinthia Foss, the new schoolteacher.

Orinthia seems to have hailed from the state of Maine, where the Ames family had vital business connections.  The wooden handles of the Ames shovels came from Maine, where good wood like ash was still plentiful. Massachusetts, on the other hand, in 1850, was fairly well devoid of decent stands of hardwood after two centuries of settlement and development.  Wood from Maine was a critical resource for the Ames enterprise and over the years, one or other of the Ames men made a periodic trip north to examine the supply and cultivate the connections. Oliver Jr., for instance, made a trip to Wayne, Maine, near Augusta, in the mid-1860s.

On her journey to North Easton, Orinthia Foss spent a night with the Warren Mower family in Greene, Maine, a town near today’s Lewiston-Auburn area. Quite wooded, and close to the Androscoggin River as well.   Mrs. Warren Mower was the former Louisa Jane Gilmore born in Leeds, Maine, in 1820. Was she a relative, perhaps? Evelina’s eldest brother, John Gilmore, lived in Leeds, having moved there from Easton in the 1840s.  What was the connection? Whether or not they were related, Evelina and Louisa were clearly friends who corresponded regularly.

February 20, 1851



Feb 20th  Thursday  This morning sat down to sewing quite

early with Lavinia.  worked for Susan and she

sewed some with us  Sent George after Mr & Mrs

Whitwell about one Oclock.  Mr Whitwell attended 

the funeral of James Wells child  Commenced 

raining quite hard & this evening is very dark

The boys & Lavinia & Susan have gone to the 

dancing school at Lothrop Hall

The Thursday evening assemblies, or dancing school, continued. On this occasion, Oakes Angier, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton took their cousin, Lavinia Gilmore, and little sister, Susie, with them.  How exciting for Susan to go along to watch the young men and women dance; probably exciting for Lavinia, too.  She was at the marriageable age of nineteen and, in the manner of the day, was probably hoping to marry soon.  Getting off the farm for a week to stay with her aunt Evelina in the village of North Easton was an opportunity to socialize and perhaps meet someone special.  Did anyone ask her to dance?  Did her male cousins watch out for her?  Did she like what she wore?

Elsewhere in Easton life was not so light-hearted.  Reverend Whitwell officiated at a funeral for the infant son of James and Celia Wells.  James and his brother John, for whom the little boy was named, worked at the shovel factory.  They were originally from Maine.

And, being February, the weather took a dive for the worse.  The young people’s ride home from Lothrop Hall must have been disagreeably wet.  Mr. and Mrs. Whitwell, who had evidently stayed for tea after the funeral, were unable to get home and had to spend the night at the Ames’s house. Young George Witherell was spared the challenge of carrying them back to the parsonage in the dark, windy downpour.