December 3, 1851




Dec 3d  Wednesday.  Mr Ames started for New York by

way of Boston.  I went to Boston with him dined

at Mr Orrs  Melinda went for Selina and

she passed the night there with me.  I was very

busy shopping all day  In the evening Mr & Mrs

Norris  Selina & self played cards  Past eleven

when we retired.  Mr & Mrs Byram were there


As Old Oliver wrote at one point in his journal, “Oakes went to New York the 3rd of this month to settle up our accounts.”  With his natural bonhomie and sharp talent, Oakes was the best salesman on the Ames team.  On this trip, he would be away for eight days, delivering invoices, collecting payments, checking on inventory and bringing new orders back home.

Evelina accompanied her husband into Boston, where they stopped for midday dinner at the Orrs’ before Oakes boarded his train. He would have traveled to New York by way of Springfield, or else taken the Old Colony line down to Fall River where steamboats picked up passengers to complete the trip to New York City.  Evelina, meanwhile, stayed in Boston to shop and enjoy a bit of socializing with the extended Orr family. She played cards past her bedtime.

Back in Easton, shovel making and farm work went on as usual.  Old Oliver, as always, noted the weather: “this was a fair day wind north west + cold. ”  He added that  “we kild 4 hogs to day everage wate 356 lb sold to the workmen at 7 cents a pound those we sent to boston sold for 7 ¼ cents”.  He sold some of the fresh pork to his workmen, probably through the Ames store, and sent the surplus to Boston to be sold.




April 3, 1851



April 3  This morning went quite early to baking in the brick

oven made mince & dried apple pies two custards brown

bread three large pork pies & ginger snaps. Alson here

to dine.  Henrietta & the two little girls dined at Mr Torreys

& were all here to tea  This Evening we all went to the 

dancing school.  Mr Whitwell called a few minutes

this afternoon & Mrs S Ames  Quite Pleasant

Small wonder that pork pies were on the menu, after Evelina and Jane McHanna spent all of yesterday processing a freshly-“kild” pig. Once again in the kitchen with her apron on, Evelina turned today to baking. As usual, she baked a large quantity of goods in the brick oven that she shared with her sister-in-law, Sarah Witherell. About every ten days or two weeks – or every fortnight, as they might describe it – one or both women would bake up a storm of pies, cakes, bread and cookies, enough to last until the next big baking.

Mince meat pies, brown bread and ginger snaps regularly featured in Evelina’s baking. These are the first pork pies to appear, however.  New, too, are the dried apple pies. Gone by now are the apples in the barrel that was delivered in January from the Gilmore farm, the one that was kept locked in the cellar so that the sons of the house wouldn’t eat up the fruit. Any apples that remained were from a group that must have been dried the previous fall for just this purpose, to provide a little fruit in an otherwise barren season.  By this time of year, housewives had to rely on preserves and dried fruit for variety in the family diet.

The Ames had company for tea: another sister-in-law, Henrietta Gilmore, and her two youngest children, little Henrietta and little Helen, made a rare visit from the Gilmore farm. These two youngest nieces of Evelina are about the same age as little Susie, yet they don’t get much mention in the diary.  They probably lived too far away for regular play time. Mr. Whitwell, the highly-regarded Unitarian minister, paid a call today, too.  Pleasant spring weather was bringing people out of the houses to visit.