November 14, 1852

4933088565_0c6a9c0578_z

Sunday Nov 14  Went to church all day

Mother Augustus wife & self went

to Mr Whitwells at noon  she gave

us a cup of tea cake &c &c  Oakes A

Orinthia & Lavinia rode to see Ellen Howard

John & Rachel spent the day at Edwins

I called there with Orinthia and at Mr

Torreys

 

Evelina and her family were very sociable this Sunday at intermission and after church. But today’s entry is most notable because it’s the last one in which Evelina mentions Orinthia Foss (at least for the diaries we have.) Orinthia was a twenty-year-old schoolteacher from Maine who boarded with the Ames family for a time in 1851. She and Evelina got to be great  – and sometimes mischievous – friends despite their age difference. After Orinthia moved to Bridgewater to teach, the friendship faded. Yet the two women remained companionable on those occasions like today when their paths crossed.

Orinthia would not remain in Massachusetts much longer, although we don’t know for certain when she returned to Maine. We do know that by the end of the decade, she had married a widower named Dana Goff, a railroad conductor living in Farmington, Maine. With that marriage, she gained a teenage stepdaughter, Julia, and soon became a mother of her own two boys, Herbert Dana and Ralph. Like other mothers before her, she had the sorrow of losing Herbert Dana at an early age, but was able to raise Ralph. Around 1880, the Goffs moved to Auburn where Mr. Goff became a real estate agent.

By 1910, Orinthia was a widow living with her younger sister, Florida (or Flora) Foss Hill in Auburn. She died in Newcastle, Maine, of heart disease, when she was 84. She is buried in the Goff family plot in Auburn, Maine.

October 3, 1852

Play

Oct 3d Sunday  We have all been to meeting to day

Mrs Norris Mr Ames & self came home at noon but did not

have a dinner cooked  After meeting Frank carried Miss Linscott

& Orinthia to Bridgewater & Melinda & self went to Mothers and

called on Miss M J Alger while Frank went to carry them home

Mrs A[l]ger had her piano & played Horatio Jr is here came last night

More comings and goings today. Everyone went to church, of course, but afterwards dispersed in different directions. Frank Morton Ames obliged the young, single ladies in the group by driving them home to Bridgewater. While he headed east, Evelina and her friend Melinda Norris rode south to the family farm to visit the elderly Mrs. Gilmore. They also stopped to visit Miss M J Alger, the woman who would be giving piano lessons to Susie Ames and Emily Witherell. She, or her mother, played a piano for them.

Old Oliver reported that “this was a fair pleasant day for season Oakes came home from N. York las[t] night.” Oakes Angier stayed behind, on business or pleasure we don’t know. Evelina reported, as her father-in-law did not, that Horatio Ames Jr. was back for a visit. He was the son of Horatio Ames, a brother of Oakes and Oliver Jr. It’s unclear if Horatio Jr. was living in Boston at this point or was still in Connecticut at the family home there.

 

 

October 2, 1852

doc-2-dakotapaul

Oct 2d Saturday  Have had quite a party this after 

noon  Mrs Norris, Mrs Mower, Miss Foss, Linscott

& Lavinia here to dine & Hannah Augusta Abby

& Malvina here to tea  Carried Augusta out to

ride the first that she has been out for a long time

We have been to the shops and making calls

and I have done no sewing to day  Mrs Mower

went home with Lavinia  Made my peach preserves

Mr Ames came home from New York

 

 

Friends of Evelina descended on the house today, some for dinner and some for tea. Carriages full of females trotted along Main Street, coming or going to the Ames residence. Evelina’s friend, Orinthia Foss and her fellow school teacher, Frances Linscott, came from Bridgewater and spent the night. Niece Lavinia Gilmore arrived to help with house guests Melinda Norris and Louisa Mower, the latter from Maine. At tea time, Evelina’s sister-in-law Hannah Lincoln Gilmore and two nieces, Abby and Melvina Torrey, joined the group. For the second time this week, many women filled the parlor. We might imagine that Evelina was really enjoying herself.

What did the men of the family do to cope with all the socializing? Join the crowd or disappear into the office next door? What must Oakes Ames have thought when he walked in, home from his business trip?

Augusta Pool Gilmore, who had been ailing for many weeks now, was on the mend. She, too, came for tea and later was taken out for a drive. Like yesterday, the weather was mild and sunny and Augusta must have felt reborn to finally get out of her sick room and back with the living.

Even with a big midday meal and many for tea, the servants – and perhaps Evelina herself – still managed to put up some peach preserves. What a busy kitchen!

 

September 11, 1852

DSCF1590small

Sat Sept 11th  Mother had a sick night and is very unwell

to day not able to sit up but very little.

Orinthia Miss E Burrell Alice Ames came

about ten and spent the day.  Abby Torrey

passed the afternoon and Emily & Mrs Shepherd

Hannah went to bed sick about two and

I had to get tea for them to go home early

 

Evelina invited several female friends to spend the day, but her plans were thrown into disarray by her mother’s indisposition during the night and her servant, Hannah Murphy, falling ill after the midday meal. Orinthia Foss and others had gathered and instead of sitting in the parlor with them while Hannah made and served the tea, Evelina had to be in the kitchen herself preparing the meal. Not what she had planned. She must have been reminded of times past when her previous servant, Jane McHanna, was often ill and unable to cook or serve.

According to Old Oliver, “the 11th was rainy part of the day and cloudy all day wind south east + warm there was half an inch of rain”* Perhaps the women were grateful to be in the parlor and not out in the weather, however welcome the rain might have been.  The Alice Ames who came to visit may have been married to a George Copeland in Plymouth, although her name would have been Copeland, not Ames. Are any readers out there versed in the wider reaches of the Ames (or Eames) name in Massachusetts?

 

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

August 31, 1852

1876-PlimptonEnvelope-white-1cent

Postal Stationery Envelope, circa 1876

Tuesday Aug 31st  Have not done any sewing to day Was

looking about house most of the forenoon and

fixing work for Catharine  Mr French and 

son were here to dine & Alson & Arden Hall.

Augusta & I have been to North Bridgewater

and home by West B and brought Susan

home  She has been at Mr Burrells

a week  We called at Rachels  Alson

& wife Arden Hall & wife there

 

There was sunshine today after several days of rain. “[I]t cleared of[f] to day pritty warm there was five inches of water fell in this storm + it raisd the water verry much”* was the upbeat report. The ponds were full.

The clear weather meant that Evelina could fetch her daughter, Susan, who had been staying in Bridgewater with the Burrell family, under the care of Orinthia Foss. With Augusta Pool Gilmore in tow, Evelina rode out in the afternoon. Ten-year-old Susie had been gone a whole week; one imagines she was ready to return home. The women also stopped to see Rachel Gilmore Pool en route.  Rachel was Evelina’s niece, and Augusta’s sister-in-law.

In Washington, D. C. on this date, Congress approved the very first pre-stamped envelopes, also known as postal stationery envelopes (PSE’s). The Postmaster General was authorized to provide “suitable letter envelopes with such watermarks or other guards against counterfeits… with the addition of the value or denomination of the postage stamps so printed or impressed thereon…”** The following year, the first set of stamped envelopes became available. They were known as the 1853 Nesbitt issues, after the contractor who produced them. This was high technology at the time.

 

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

** Wikipedia, “Postal Stationery,” accessed August 27, 2015.

 

August 18, 1852

Trunk

Aug 18th Wednesday. This day has been a busy one

Have fired Susan off to stay at Alsons and

with Orinthia while I am gone. Mrs Stevens

has gone to Alsons just after they left Mr

Jones wife & daughter came in the midst 

of my packing and I had to leave all but

have got all ready this evening

The push was on to finish preparations for the trip Evelina, Oakes Angier and others would be taking the next day. Ten-year-old Susie Ames was “fired off” to stay first with her Uncle Alson Gilmore and later with her teacher, Orinthia Foss. What did she think of all this? Her older brothers, Oliver (3) and Frank Morton, got to stay at home with their father. She may have wondered why she didn’t get to stay home, or she may have been excited to spend a few nights away.

While she was packing her trunk, Evelina was interrupted by the Jones family, but after they left “got all ready this evening.” The Joneses were a family from Foxboro; their purpose in visiting was presumably social, but their timing was awkward. Evelina wasn’t prepared to spend her time with company; she just wanted to get ready for departure. We should remember that not only did she have to pack for herself, she had to get Oakes Angier’s clothes ready, too. A sliver of consolation in all this was that she would have a reason to wear her new traveling dress, the one she worked so hard on earlier in the summer.

August 15, 1852

Bed

August 15th Sunday  Did not sleep much last night

My handbag with bonnet visite & c were missing

found them this morning at Olivers  Helen

carried them home.  Have been to meeting

came home at noon  Mrs Stevens Orinthia &

Lavinia with us.  Called to see Willie

Gilmore found him more comfortable

Evelina often felt poorly right after returning from her shopping forays into Boston; on this occasion, she was unable to sleep. Surely, the seriousness of her son’s pulmonary illness was the larger culprit in her wakefulness than the usual exhaustion from her trip to the city. She was still rattled in the morning, unable to find her handbag, bonnet and
visite which, it turned out, had been mistakenly taken next door by Helen Angier Ames. It would seem that all the women were a little rattled.

The men may have been rattled, too, by Oakes Angier’s illness, but Old Oliver, at least, wasn’t showing it. He kept up his usual weather-related journal entries. Accordingly, today “was a fair warm day with the exception of two slight showers, perhaps 1/8 of an inch in both of them.”*

Somewhere in the course of the day, perhaps after church, Evelina and her husband, Oakes, and Oakes Angier himself, in all likelihood, determined on a course of action for the latter. Oakes Angier would go off to rest in fresher air and, for the journey itself, be accompanied by various family members.  The decision must have offered relief and hope to all. Evelina got outside of her own head enough to call on her nephew, Alson Augustus Gilmore, whose infant son had been so sick with dysentery. Little Willie seemed better. While there, no doubt, Evelina shared the plans to send Oakes Angier away.

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