1852 Monday Mrs Patterson went to Bridgewater
to see about her things that she left
there and returned this afternoon Jane has
done the washing and I have been very busy
about house all day. Mr Scott Holbrook
and another painter have been here painting
the back entry chamber & Franks chamber
Scott has grained the stairway & painted the stairs
Dry weather continued, which was bad for the crops but good for the laundry. The white sheets and shirts must have dried quickly in the “midling warm”* sunshine and light southern breeze. Today would prove to be Jane McHanna’s last turn at washing the Ames family’s clothes.
Old Oliver, meanwhile, spent part of his day, at least, observing someone’s construction project, as “Capt Monk began to move the hous[e] where Tilden lived to day.”* We don’t know who Capt. Monk was, but we do know that a team of oxen had to be assembled for that task. Were any of Oliver’s oxen used? Did he lend a hand? It’s doubtful that he would have observed in silence, his instinctive leadership and irrefutable expertise too compelling not to use, or be asked for.
The Tilden whose house was being moved was probably Francis Tilden, a teamster who worked for the Ameses. He looked after the oxen. When an Old Colony Railroad line was extended to North Easton a few years later, in 1855, Mr. Tilden would become the expressman. He would trade in his oxen for a rail car and spend the rest of his life conducting the train back and forth between Boston and North Easton. Oliver Ames Jr. often rode it, calling it “Tilden’s train.”
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection