October 27, 1852


Wednesday Oct 27  Miss Alger has given the

girls the seventh lesson and Susan

makes hard work of practicing and 

I am sorry that she is so unwilling

Mrs S. Ames, Miss Alger Oakes A and

self have passed the afternoon at Mr

Nahum Williams  Mrs Rollins is at

her fathers  Mrs H & C Lothrop were there


“[T]his was a mild day & little hazy wind southerly.”* Once night fell, a full moon shone down on the rooftops, dooryards and unpaved streets of North Easton, lighting the byways even after curfew. The day itself was unremarkable, although Susan Ames grudgingly endured yet another piano lesson. Evelina bemoaned her daughter’s intransigence.

Evelina did pay a rare visit to Nahum Williams, “a farmer at Easton.”**Accompanying her were the ever-present piano teacher, Miss Alger, as well as Sarah Lothrop Ames and Oakes Angier Ames, the latter an unusual participant in the women’s sociable errand. They visited not only Nahum but his wife Amanda (nee Lothrop) and their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Rollins. Also present were some Lothrop women – possibly Mrs. Henry Lothrop and Mrs. Clinton Lothrop. Sarah Lothrop Ames was probably related to Amanda.

We have met Nahum Williams before in Evelina’s pages; some time back, he lost his father, Seth, and various Ames family members had attended the funeral. Sarah Rollins was his recently married daughter; she and her husband had moved to Vermont and were expecting their first child. By 1860, she would return to her parents homes in Easton, possibly widowed, with three children: Ellen, George and Jennie.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

**Hyde Family Geneaology

May 2, 1852

IMG_0157 (1)

Frontispiece, Breck’s Book of Flowers, 1851

Sunday May 2d

1852 Have been to church and at noon went

into Mrs Howards with Mother & Henrietta

After meeting went with Oakes A & Mrs

S Ames to call on Mrs Perkins at Mr Kimballs

also called at Mr Nahum Williams

Mrs Kimball has her garden laid out quite

prettily but the walls are too narrow I think

Evelina was almost as interested in other people’s gardens as she was in her own. After church, she and her son, Oakes Angier Ames, and sister-in-law,  Sarah Lothrop Ames, made a few calls around the neighborhood. The day “was cloudy + fair by turns,”* and as they visited, Evelina was able to see what others were doing in their yards.

The group stopped at the home of John and Lusannah Kimball, whose garden Evelina judged to be pretty, certainly, but “too narrow.” Perhaps Mrs.Kimball was building a perennial border, as opposed to the central bed configuration that Evelina used. Taste in gardening design was changing, with the latest ideal illustrated in Joseph Breck’s popular new book on flowers. Was this the look that Evelina was aiming to achieve in her yard?

The whole family seemed to be out and about, at least for the ride to and from the meeting house. The usual group, representing all three Ames households, was in attendance.  It would be the last Sunday ever for this particular ensemble.  In only two weeks, the Ameses would be back at church for a funeral for one of their own.

*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection


November 17, 1851


Monday Nov 17th  Jane has not been at all well to day

but she has done the washing and went to

bed early in the evening  I did the housework

to day and was about all this forenoon  This

afternoon have been to Mr Nahum Williams

with Mrs S Ames  Mr Seth Williams died

Friday night and is to be buried tomorrow at

ten Oclock.  We drive the new horse for the first.


The stalwart Jane McHanna, now the only house servant at the Ames’s, did the Monday washing today despite feeling not “at all well.” By evening she was in bed. Evelina picked up the slack and did the rest of the housework herself, something she was fully capable of doing.

Despite the extra choring that she did, Evelina and her sister-in-law, Sarah Lothrop Ames, found time to ride out of the village to call on Nahum and Amanda Williams.  Nahum, who lived in Furnace Village, was most likely the son of the Seth Williams who had just died. As was customary, the Ames wives helped tend the dead, the dying, and their families in their community.

A little more than twenty years later, on September 1, 1873, Nahum Williams himself died, and Sarah Lothrop Ames and her husband, Oliver Ames, Jr. along with her brother, George Van Ness Lothrop and his wife, Almira Strong Lothrop, would attend his funeral. Clearly, Nahum had a long-standing relationship with the Lothrop family, if not the Ameses, too.