November 14, 1852

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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.

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.

 

July 24, 1852

 

woman-holding-dead-baby-1850-us

Unknown woman holding dead child*

July 24 Sat  have been to work to day on

a number of things setting a stich here 

& there  Julia has been here to fix my

skirt and I believe my dress is done at

last  I have made a robe for Mrs

Shepherds child who died this morning

Abby Savage came after me to watch but

I am not well and did not go.  Rachel came 

to Edwins after Julia & called here and I went

in there an hour or two

 

Dressmaker Julia Mahoney was at Evelina’s finishing up the barege dress that had taken so long to make. The traveling dress was put to one side, as Evelina was called upon to sew a shroud for a two-year old boy who had died just a few hours earlier. John T. Shepherd was the only child of a young shoemaker named John and his even younger wife, Elvira. The toddler was the first youngster that we hear of to die during the hot summer. Unfortunately, there would be others.

Hannah Savage, right in the neighborhood, was ill with consumption and would never get better. Her daughter Abby Savage “came after” Evelina to help keep vigil in the night, but Evelina didn’t feel up to the task. She felt well enough, however, to receive a call from her niece Rachel Gilmore Pool and to visit Edwin and Augusta Pool Gilmore across the street.

Old Oliver sounded another concern about the lack of rain: “it is extreemly dry now.”**

 

*Daguerrotype, 1850

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

April 29, 1852

images-1

Peter Mark Roget

(1779 – 1869)

1852

Thurs April 29 Baked twice in the brick oven.

Mince pies, cake bread &c   Mr & Mrs 

Kinsley with their family made quite a long

call  They are very pleasant.  After they left went

to Mr Torreys  Augustus, wife & her sister  Augusta

& Rachel there, brought home some rose slips

The aroma of baking filled the Ames house today as Evelina produced pies, cakes, bread and more. Or should we say that the smell, or the scent, or the fragrance, or the odor of baking bread was apparent to anyone who stepped into the house? Roget’s Thesaurus would offer us any one of those synonyms for the word aroma.

The first edition of Roget’s Thesaurus was published on this date in 1852. Peter Mark Roget, a British physician, inventor and theologian, began to compile synonyms as a young man as one way of combatting the depression that plagued him for much of his life.  Beginning the work in 1805, not long after he had completed his medical studies, he spent nearly fifty years bringing the publication to fruition.  The first edition had approximately 15,000 words; it has been continually expanded, updated regularly ever since.

The Kinsleys of Canton came to visit in the afternoon and, no doubt, they could smell the fresh baked bread. Lyman Kinsley was an iron trader who had many dealings with the Ames family; within the decade, his business would be owned by the Ameses and overseen by Frank Morton Ames. That was in the future, however. On this day, he, his wife, Louisa, daughter Lucy and younger sons, perhaps, all came for “quite a long call.”  Evelina enjoyed their company, but after they left she bounced right out of the house to go into the village to visit relatives and bring home rose slips. The garden!

 

April 28, 1852

Unitarian Church, Bridgewater, Mass

1852

Wednesday April 28  Have been to the ordination of

Mr Ballou of W Bridgewater with Oakes A & 

Sister Sarah, Mr H Ballou, Briggs of Plymouth

Brigham [illegible] Ballou of Stoughton &c

Mrs Witherell dined at old Mrs Ames, the

rest of us at Mr Thomas Ames.  On my return 

stoped at Augustus’.  Oakes A came to tea

Miss S Lincoln Rachel Augusta & Abby here

It was the middle of a work week, but the Unitarian ministry was busy. In Bridgewater, (or West Bridgewater) a Mr. Ballou was ordained as minister. The name Ballou was associated with many late 18th and 19th century men of the cloth, particularly with Hosea Ballou, an early leader of the Universalist Church. Today’s Mr. Ballou wasn’t he, but may have been a relative.

Why were the Ameses invited to this ordination? Why did they attend? What was the connection? Were they related to the Ballous? They were distantly related to various Ameses in the area, including Thomas Ames, a 52 years-old farmer, who kindly had them to dine.

On this special occasion, as the Unitarians in Bridgewater were honoring ritual and perpetuating their ilk, a forward-looking and entirely new event took place in Boston. The first electric fire alarm in the world “was rung from what is now Box 1212 for a fire on Causeway Street. Created by Dr. William Channing and Moses Farmer, the system consists of forty miles of wire, forty-five signal boxes, and sixteen alarm bells. Police officers and members of the Boston Night Watch are given keys to the locked boxes to enable them to turn in alarms.”* What’s particularly amazing is that “[p]art of the system is still in use today.”*

*Jim Vrabel, When in Boston, 2004, p. 160

March 31, 1852

Thread

1852

March 31st Wednesday  Have been to the sewing circle

at Mr Harrison Pools.  Mrs S Ames & Augusta

went and we took Orinthia with us from Mrs Howard

Mother Henrietta Lavinia Rachel Mrs Nahum & Horace Pool

& Ann Pool were there   It rained very fast as we were

coming home  I left two shirts to be made that I

put in the circle last fall

The Sewing Circle was back.  Female parishioners from the Unitarian Church had begun once again to meet on a monthly basis to sew. Like other sewing circles around the country, they met for fellowship, guidance from the local clergy, and the sewing of clothes and linens for one another or others. They hadn’t met – officially, anyway – since December.

On this weekday the group met at the home of Mary and Harrison Pool in southeastern Easton. From North Easton came Evelina, Sarah Lothrop Ames, and Augusta Pool Gilmore, the young bride who was returning to the area of town where she had grown up. The women stopped en route at Nancy and Elijah Howard’s to pick up Orinthia Foss. Hostess Mary Pool, who had three young children underfoot, welcomed them. Others who attended included Evelina’s mother, Hannah Lothrop Gilmore; Henrietta Williams Gilmore, Lavinia Gilmore, Rachel Gilmore Pool, Lidia Pool, Abby Pool and Ann Pool. It was a veritable family reunion.  Except for Orinthia Foss, every women present was related by blood or marriage to at least one other woman there.

Such a gathering must have been good amusement, with less formality than the social calls that some of the women had paid the day before. But spirits may have been dampened by the “very fast” rain that pummeled the carriages when the meeting ended and the women returned home.

March 17, 1852

 IMG_0085Modern photograph of two private homes on Oliver Street in Easton, originally built in 1852 as part of the temporary structure for the shovel factory.*

March 17

1852  Wednesday.  Passed the day at Mothers with Amelia

and Susan   Carried Augusta to her fathers

and afternoon she and Rachel came down

to see us  Miss Foss closed her school Sat.

Came to Mothers this morning and to

night came home with us.  Carried cloth

and cut out a bleached shirt  Amelia worked

on the sleeves.

Evelina spent a pleasant day with her mother and several relatives. Her friend Orinthia Foss came to stay for a time. Evelina’s father-in-law, Old Oliver Ames, was completely focused on the rebuilding of the shovel shops. He seemed pleased to report:

“this was a cloudy day wind northeast. + in the afternoon it was cold + chilly. the roof is on the stone shop + the windows are in + the down stream end finisht- + the piece from that to the water shop is up + the roof shingled + the walls are boarded – one hundred + eight feet of the handeling shop is up and part of it clapboarded. the polishing shop is up and the roof shingled and the sides boarded + partly clapboarded the hammer shop is up + the sides + ends boarded and the roof and two thirds sleighted”**

This is one of the longest entries that Old Oliver ever wrote in his journal. He was clearly proud of the progress that had been made in the two weeks since the fire that destroyed almost all. The factory would soon be back on its feet, and planning for more permanent stone buildings could move forward. The wooden buildings that went up so fast would have another use after the stone buildings were erected, that of housing for some of the shovel workers. They would be moved from the original site by the pond and become residences. As you can see from the illustration, some of them are still used today.

 

* Image taken by Gregory Galer, Forging Ahead, MIT, 2001, Figure 50

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