July 30, 1852


July 30th  Friday  Came home from Dr Wales at half

past four and slept untill half past

eight left her quite comfortable

Have cut out another sack night dress

and Susan a waist  Alson & Lavinia Edwin

and wife were here to tea  Mr & Mrs Kinsley

called just at night for a few moments.  We

all went into the other part of the house for

ice cream this evening   Horatio here to dine

When Evelina came home at 4:30 in the morning, was the moon still up? Did she realize that this night would offer the second full moon of the month, familiarly known as a blue moon? She would be able to see it, too, as the skies were clear.

We use the term blue moon to identify a second full moon within a calendar month.  An earlier definition – one that may have been in effect when Evelina could gaze at the night sky – was that of being the third full moon within a season that has four full moons. So say various almanacs. Tracking the lunar cycle to define the passage of time has gone on as far back as human history can record. The Christian ecclesiastical calendar, for one, is built around moon phases. According to one modern source,

Some years have an extra full moon—13 instead of 12. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a 13th moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the extra, 13th moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.”*

The terrestrial events of Evelina’s day included sewing (of course), her nephew Horatio Jr as a guest at lunch, company for tea and, as a special treat at the end of the day, ice cream. Despite her lack of sleep, a pleasant day overall.

*Courtesy of http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bluemoon (accessed July 26, 2015)




July 29, 1852


Thursday July 29th  Julia has been here again

to day worked for me untill about

three and cut Mary a dress  Mrs G

Ames Mrs S Ames Helen Emily & self

have passed the afternoon at Mr B

Algers coming home  Dr Wales stoped

the carriage & asked me to go there and watch with his wife

Evelina and her dressmaker sewed for hours today, presumably working on Evelina’s new traveling outfit but also cutting out a dress for the maid, Mary. In the late afternoon, Evelina joined the visiting Almira Ames, sister-in-law Sarah Lothrop Ames and two nieces, Helen Angier Ames and Sarah Emily Witherell at the home of the Algers in Easton.

Ephraim Wales, a young doctor in town, evidently crossed paths with Evelina as she, and probably some of the other ladies, traveled home after their call on the Algers. Dr. Wales wanted Evelina to watch with his wife, Maria. Maria must have been ill or possibly even in labor.  Subsequent records don’t reveal why a doctor wanted Evelina to tend to his wife. But it does seem that Evelina was becoming the go-to care-giver in various homes. She was clearly generous with her time, and her bedside skills must have been excellent.

November 21, 1851


Friday Nov 21st  Jane has not been able to do any thing

to day has had Dr Wales.  I have heat the

brick oven twice made Apple & mince pies

& brown bread  Mr Clarke has taken the 

box & sink from the little porch.

Mrs Witherell has been baking and she

made my bed & Susans for which I feel

quite mortified  And assisted about the dishes.

Jane McHanna, the Ames’s servant, really was ill. Dr. Ephraim Wales called at the house to examine her. A young doctor, he was the son and grandson of doctors, also named Ephraim. Beyond that, we don’t know much about him. He and his wife, Maria, were listed in both the 1850 and the 1855 census, yet he drew no mention in the detailed chapter on physicians in William Chaffin’s History of Easton, Massachusetts. Perhaps they moved away before 1886, when Chaffin published his tome.

In 1851, Ephraim and Maria may have lived in the village; by 1855, they appear to have moved out to the country and settled near the Gilmore farm.  Regardless of his home address, on this particular day Dr. Wales braved some wet weather to visit Jane. Old Oliver described the day as ” a verry rainy day wind North east – East + south East the wind blew quite hard there was about 3 inches of rain fell. it raisd the two resevors 13 inches each.”

Evelina and her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames Witherell, stayed indoors and baked. With Jane sidelined, Evelina was once again doing the cooking and the housework, too busy to sew. Sarah must have felt sorry for Evelina, for she slipped away from the baking and made the beds for Evelina while the latter was coping in the kitchen, then came downstairs and helped with the dishes. Sarah, a widow who kept house for her father, was always looking after others.

June 18, 1851

Black ticking-stripe-15

June 18th Wednesday  Worked again untill nine in the 

garden and then made the tick for the 

mattress.  This afternoon put the cotton in 

and tied it  Bridget was here a couple

of hours & picked over the curled hair

Towards evening called at Mr E Carrs, Dr Wales

and on Mrs J C Williams at Mr Torreys, Mrs S. Ames

called with me  Augustus gone to Boston

Mr Bartlett spent

last night here

Evelina was making progress on the mattress for her new lounge.  She “made the tick” for the cover and stuffed it with old cotton.  The final cover, to be made of horsehair, was still being worked on. Bridget O’Neil, a servant who usually worked next door, came over to help Evelina with the project.

The long-lasting light of day, as the calendar approached summer solstice, allowed for late socializing. Evelina and her sister-in-law, Sarah Lothrop Ames, went out calling.  They visited Esek Carr and, presumably, his wife, Ann; called on young Dr. Ephraim Wales and, again presumably, his wife Maria; and stopped at John Torrey’s to see Mrs. Joshua C. Williams.  Mrs. Williams, we might infer, was a boarder or renter at Col. Torrey’s apartment building, which Evelina called a tenement. Was Mrs. Williams possibly a widow?

A Mr. Bartlett had spent the night with the family.  He was from Maine, so likely had some connection to the shovel works and their ongoing need of wooden handles.