December 10, 1852



Friday Dec 10th  Oakes A brought some stockings &

hdkfs from Boston  I have lined & run the heels

of the stockings & Mrs Witherell hemmed & marked 

the handkerchiefs  Went with mother into 

Edwins awhile this forenoon. Oakes A & Lavinia

went to N Bridgwater  Augusta & Lavinia

spent the afternoon at Augustus’

Evelina had company now as she prepared Oakes Angier’s clothes for his trip. Her sister-in-law, Sarah Ames Witherell, hemmed and monogrammed Oakes Angier’s new handkerchiefs while she strengthened the heels of his new hosiery. Pedestrian tasks, but absolutely necessary for the young man who was venturing into a land where there would be no mother or aunt to mend or improve his clothing. We might imagine that the two women worked quietly together in Evelina’s sitting room, each one’s mind heavy with thought. But perhaps there was conversation between the two. If Evelina was able to speak her fears aloud, she couldn’t have found a more sympathetic listener in the whole family.

Oakes Angier himself was off with his cousin Lavinia Gilmore to North Bridgewater on some errand or other. Evelina did find time to take her mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore, across the way to visit Edwin and Augusta Gilmore. Augusta by now was in her seventh month of pregnancy, showing her condition and moving slowly, one imagines.

Old Oliver, meanwhile, was watching the sky and wondering where the cold weather was: “a cloudy day but mild + warm. the ground has not froze nights for several nights past.”*

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

October 8, 1851



Wednes Oct 8th  Have been sewing pretty steady to day have finished

my dark french print dress and have worn it this

evening  This afternoon called at Mrs Swains with

Mrs S Ames  Her brothers wife is there from Nantucket

with two children & her nurse is there and with her

father & mother made quite a family, nine of them

Mrs Swain said  She appears quite smart

She doesn’t mention her condition in her journal today, but Evelina was still afflicted with nettlerash, and would continue to be for another several days.  Why was her version of this troublesome condition so much more severe than her daughter’s had been?  Did the two, in fact, even have the same illness?

The only way to cope was to keep moving forward.  As least Evelina seemed able to sit and sew, enough to complete a “dark french print dress” she had been working on for some time. (Perhaps the fabric was not unlike the example of a 19th century French print fabric in the above illustration.) She even changed into the new dress for the evening.  Sarah Lothrop Ames may have stopped in from next door for the two sisters-in-law went to call on Ann Swain, wife of John Swain, the new bookkeeper and clerk at the shovel company.

Ann Swain was pregnant, almost at full term and doing well, appearing “quite smart.” She was surrounded by relatives – “nine of them” – who had evidently traveled from Nantucket in order to assist at the birth. The baby would be Mrs. Swain’s first, and her parents as well as others were on hand to help. Neither Sarah nor Evelina would be needed.

Courtesy of


May 26, 1851


Monday May 26  After washing the dishes this morning sit

down to work on the carpet for the sitting

room chamber and had but just got seated

when Augustus & wife & her brother & wife from

east Boston came. Hannah staid here while 

the others went to the shop  They left about 

ten Oclock.  Have put the carpet down and 

room ready for the new bedstead.  School commenced


Housework and laundry, presumably, went on as usual today except for a social interruption in the morning.  Augustus Gilmore and his wife, Hannah, stopped in with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Hannah’s brother and his wife. Evelina described them as coming from East Boston, although Hannah had grown up in Hingham. After some brief socializing with his aunt, Augustus took his in-laws across the street to show them the shovel factory.

Hannah Gilmore didn’t accompany her husband, probably because she was about seven months pregnant. She and Evelina sat together in the parlor or sitting room, perhaps using the opportunity to discuss female matters, perhaps not. Such conversations were not considered polite, but surely two mothers together in a room could share information without being intrusive or indelicate. Given that Hannah was already the mother of a two-year old boy, Eddie, Evelina may have shared some tips on raising sons. Certainly, Evelina was a woman to whom younger women turned for advice and companionship.

The day must have been a fine one; school recommenced, carriages were out and about and, most exciting of all, Old Oliver reported that he “began to plant our corn.”  It was a time to sow.