December 27, 1852

Prisoner

Monday Dec 27  Catharine & Ann washed and I have

commenced my dresses early for Julia

Mr & Mrs Swain & his sister came unexpectedly

into the other part of the house this afternoon

and the evening I have been there  Mrs A L

& Mrs S Ames have been to Sharon this afternoon

Mrs Ames says all the reports about Mr Clarke

abusing his wife are true and he has broken her jaw

in three places  He is in the house of correction

 

Almira Ames and Sarah Lothrop Ames rode to neighboring Sharon and back today and returned with a tale of domestic violence. A Mr. Clarke had been put in jail for beating his wife. Evelina listened closely to the news, lingering over the specifics of the injuries he inflicted on poor Mrs. Clarke, whose jaw was broken in three places. That’s a serious injury in any period, but in 1852 the capacity for proper repair of such breakage was limited at best. Orthopedic surgery was in its infancy and wouldn’t improve until doctors learned more about bone breakage during the Civil War.

The “house of correction” which housed the abusive Mr. Clarke was, simply put, the local jail. In Massachusetts the terms “jail” and “house of correction” were and are used interchangeably. Elsewhere the term “house of correction” was more narrowly defined to mean a holding place for people who were awaiting trial, or for vagrants – not a residential prison, in other words. However it may be defined, it meant at least temporary detention behind bars for Mr. Clarke.

Historians differ on society’s treatment of domestic violence in the nineteenth century. Most people believed that the government – even the local government – had no role in domestic concerns. But people also believed strongly in the moral authority of women and were loathe to tolerate physical transgressions against the weaker sex. Thus was Mr. Clarke put behind bars.

Other than this news, life at the Ames compound was trotting along as usual. It was laundry day – the last one that we shall read of – and the Irish servants were busy at their wash tubs, hot water boiling on the stove. Evelina sewed, of course, and got some pieces ready for Julia Mahoney, the dressmaker. Old Oliver noted that “in the evening there was a little snow.”

 

July 25, 1852

 

images

Massapoag Pond

July 25th  Have been to meeting and at intermission

went into Mrs John Howards with Mother

Had a very pleasant call met a number 

of ladies carried Miss Jarvis a boquet

of flowers  After meeting rode to Mashpog 

pond with Mr Ames & Susan.  Came home

through Sharon & went by Col Tisdales

a very pleasant ride but feel much fatigued

 

Evelina had a “very pleasant” time at church today. She carried some flowers from her garden with her and gave them to a friend, Miss Jarvis, at intermission. She was worn out by the end of the day, however, because after church, she, her husband, and daughter drove up to Massapoag Pond in Sharon. The day was sunny and warm and the drive along the woods may have been pleasant, especially as they drew near the water. There were old iron works in the area; perhaps they were what interested Oakes in the outing.

On the way home, the threesome drove by the home of the late Col. Israel Tisdale. Frank Mennino, curator at the Easton Historical Society, tells us that:

“The Tisdale family was well known in the area from colonial days, once operating an inn on Bay Road. Later, the family built two farmhouses and ran a large farm on Mountain Road. One of the houses was the house that Oakes and Blanche [Ames] stayed in while Borderland was being built, and was lived in for many years by the Manning and Kent families. It burned in the early 1980’s after being empty for some time. Mountain Road was ‘party central’ back then.”

Oakes, Evelina and Susie did no partying as they ventured home, but they did have “a very pleasant ride,” nonetheless.

 

October 31, 1851

apple_barrel

*

Friday 31st  Have taken up the bedroom and stair carpets

and Bridget has cleaned the front entry

I have been very busy all day about the house

Mrs Hubbell, Ames, and Mrs S Ames have been

to Sharon  Mrs Witherell called at Mrs Swains

this afternoon but I was so busy that I could 

not accompany her.  Passed the evening in

the other part of the house.  Mr Scott painting

Mr Hawkins lectured at the methodist meeting house

 

Evelina’s autumn version of spring cleaning continued today as she tackled the upstairs carpets. Mr. Scott was still in the house, painting, and servant Bridget O’Neill cleaned the front entry which had also undergone repainting. “Very busy all day about the house,” Evelina evidently didn’t even venture out of doors.

Others did go outside. Sarah Ames Witherell paid a call on new mother Ann Swain, while Sarah Ames, Almira Ames and Mrs. Hubbel rode to nearby Sharon. Old Oliver noted in his journal that “this was a fair day + some cooler wind north west +considerable of it.”

Some miles northward, in Concord, Henry David Thoreau noted in his journal that “The wild apples are now getting palatable. I find a few left on distant trees, that the farmer thinks it not worth his while to gather. He thinks that he has better in his barrels, but he is mistaken, unless he has a walker’s appetite and imagination, neither of which can he have.”**  Two farmers in Evelina’s life, her father-in-law, Old Oliver, and her brother, Alson Gilmore, might take exception to Thoreau’s characterization of them as men without imagination.

In the evening, a Mr. Hawkins gave a lecture at the Methodist meeting house, right in the village.

* Barrel of apples, http://nbarnett2.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/the-importance-of-good-packing/

**Henry David Thoreau, Journal, http://hdt.typepad.com/henrys_blog/2004/10/october_31_1851.ht