Monday Nov 29 I was intending to go to Boston to day
but as the weather was rather unfavorable
early this morning did not but it has been
a beautiful day. Father has six hogs killed
and we have one. Rode down to Mr Whitwells
to see her cloak and get the pattern. Malvina
has come to spend the night with Susan
Mr Ames has presented me with a pr of Silver butter
knives it is 25 years to day since we were married
Evelina and Oakes Ames celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on this date. They had been married on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1827. During the first part of the 19th century, Thanksgiving was a common time for couples to marry, as family members were already gathered for the annual feast, and a qualified leisure prevailed since most agrarian obligations were set aside for the winter. There was time to celebrate.
Oakes and Evelina’s wedding would have been a simple one, at home, not unlike one described by an English couple who happened to attend a nuptial ceremony in western Massachusetts in 1827:
“They found a company of kin and neighbors crowded into a farmhouse parlor, some perched on benches, others sitting on chairs ‘as if they were pinned to the wall.’ The bride and groom, with their bridesmaid and groomsman, sat facing the minister, who pulled up ‘a chair before him, on the back of which he leant.’ He then motioned for the company to rise, joined the couple’s hands together and led them through a brief exchange of vows. Most American couples were wed by a clergyman at the home of the bride, in such informal ceremonies of republican simplicity.”*
Oakes was the first of his brothers, and Evelina the last of her sisters, to marry. The couple moved right into the Ames family home, one-half of which had been remodeled to accommodate the newlyweds. Twenty-five years later, they were still in that homestead, as well as four-children-and-many-dollars richer, richer enough for the old groom to buy the old bride a pair of silver butter knives.
Evelina had intended to go into Boston, but couldn’t. Instead, she had to content herself with riding down to see the minister’s wife, Eliza Whitwell, to borrow a pattern for a cloak. Earlier, she had seen a cloak that her sister-in-law, Sarah Lothrop Ames, had bought and she wanted one, too. She would make her own, however, rather than order something bespoke from Boston.
Evelina also notes that her father-in-law has butchered some hogs, yet Old Oliver himself mentions nothing about it – at least on this date in his journal. He does say that he killed six hogs three days later, December 2. It’s possible that Evelina was writing some of these entries several days after the fact, and may have been confused as to dates. Or she may have been anticipating the slaughter.
*Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, New York, 1988, p. 63