Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)
Photograph by Matthew Brady
Tuesday June 1st Have been to Boston with
Mrs Witherell Mrs S Ames Helen & Emily
Called at Mr Orrs the first place met
the other ladies at half past nine at Mr
Daniells & Co. Was trying to get a bonnet
most all day at last got materials for a lace
one Went to Doe & Hasletons about my consol
Mrs Norris met us at half past two
Most of the Ames females decamped North Easton today and went into the city. Even Sarah Witherell, dressed in black, rode into Boston to go shopping. Were her sisters-in-law hoping to cheer her up with an outing?
While Evelina and “the other ladies” went about Boston “most all day” in earnest pursuit of bonnets, furniture and more, a group of politicians was gathered in Baltimore some 400 miles south. The Democrats were holding their national convention for the nomination of their next presidential candidate. Among the ten to twelve gentlemen in the running were Senators Lewis Cass of Michigan, Daniel S. Dickinson of New York, Henry Dodge of Wisconsin, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Sam Houston of Texas, Governor Philip Allen of Rhode Island, former Secretary of State James Buchanan, and former Senator Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire. The latter, a dark horse candidate, was chosen.
Franklin Pierce would win the next election and serve as President from 1853 through 1857. Known as “Handsome Frank,” a sociable fellow with a difficult personal life and a probable addiction to alcohol, Pierce was an accomplished politician and fierce opponent of abolition. Once in office, he signed the inflammatory Kansas-Nebraska Act, then failed to be renominated for a second term. His purported response was “There’s nothing left to do but get drunk.”
After the Democrats’ gathering, another presidential convention would shortly be held in the same Baltimore hall, the Maryland Institute for the Mechanical Arts. This time, the Whig Party would meet and nominate Gen.Winfield Scott, hero of the Mexican-American War. Scott was the candidate that the Ames men would support. The Ames women couldn’t vote, of course.