January 22, 1852




Jan 22  Thursday  Have been cutting some apples & chopping

meat for mince pies, have it ready for baking

was about it all the forenoon, boiled tripe

This afternoon have been quilting the lining

for my hood. Julia Pool & Augusta spent the

afternoon. Augusta went home to get tea for Edwin &

in the evening they both came in and staid until

nearly ten Oclock. Mrs S Ames was here about an hour

Evelina was the recipient of the tripe from the two oxen that Old Oliver had butchered a few days earlier. Tripe is the stomach.

Lydia Maria Child offered advice on its preparation: “Tripe should be kept in cold water, or it will become too dry for cooking. The water in which it is kept should be changed more or less frequently, according to the warmth of the weather. Broiled like a steak, buttered, peppered, &c., some people like it prepared like souse.”*

Souse, also known as head-cheese, is a terrine made with meat from the head of a cow, calf or pig, often pickled, and set in a meat jelly or aspic. Mrs. Child was suggesting that the tripe be served in aspic, which Evelina might have done once she boiled it.  It’s not a dish one sees anymore on the American dinner table.

Out of the kitchen, Evelina welcomed visitors from the Pool family. The bride, Augusta Pool Gilmore, and her sister, Julia Pool, spent the afternoon at the Ames house and in the evening, the newlyweds themselves visited until ten o’clock.


Lydia Maria Child, The American Frugal Housewife, p. 38

January 15, 1852


Charles Wentworth Upham

(1802 -1875)


Jan 15 Thursday  Spent some time this forenoon in reading

the papers and fixing Susans work & pasted some pictures on

a mahogany box.  Called on Mr Whitwell, Reed & 

Howard with Mrs S Ames.  Evening to a lecture on

education by Mr Upham of Salem at the meetinghouse

hall. a very good lecture and a goodly number

present for a snowy evening.  Had two tripes from father.

The guest lecturer at the meetinghouse was, presumably, Charles Wentworth Upham. A minister and politician from Salem, on the north shore of Boston, Upham had traveled no small distance to deliver a “lecture on education.”  Well spoken and well read, he had written, some years before, a history of the witch trials in Salem. Lately, however, Upham had been speaking on the progress of normal schools, which were schools that taught teachers. Education was on his mind.

Also on Upham’s mind was politics. He was a Whig, which may have been his connection to the Ames family and Unitarian congregation in Easton. Previously Upham had been a member of the Massachusetts State Senate, and within the year would become Mayor of Salem. From 1853 to 1855, he would be a representative to the U.S. Congress, but would fail to be reelected.

Upham was married to Ann Holmes, a sister of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. He had been at Harvard with Ralph Waldo Emerson with whom he corresponded later in life.  Their friendship faltered, however, over Transcendentalism, which Upham disliked. Upham also famously acted against Nathaniel Hawthorne, leading the local fray in getting Hawthorne, a Democrat, fired from his politically-appointed job at the Salem Custom House.

Some disliked Upham; Charles Sumner called him “that smooth, smiling oily man of God.”* What did the Ameses think?


*Carlos Baker, Emerson Among the Eccentrics, New York, 1996.

January 14, 1852


Jan 14th Wednesday  Have been to work some on a 

morino hood for Susan to wear to school  Augusta called 

this forenoon and I went home with her to assist her in

cutting her cake to send to her friends  This afternoon

have been to N. Bridgewater and called on Miss Foss

with Mrs S Ames Emily & Susan  bought Edwin a clock

Called at Edwins and staid till about eight Oclock this

evening spent the rest of it at Olivers

Orinthia Foss is back.  “Miss Foss,” as Evelina calls her, more formally than usual, had taught school in Easton the previous year, living part of that time with the Ames family.  Although twenty years younger than Evelina, the two women had become close friends, often sewing, gardening and socializing together. When Orinthia left to go back to her family in Maine, Evelina had missed her. Now, Orinthia had returned and was teaching in North Bridgewater (today’s Brockton).

Evelina, Sarah Lothrop Ames, and the girls Susie and Emily rode to Bridgewater to call on Orinthia, a reunion that was presumably happy and animated.  The women also did some shopping.  Evelina, feeling pleased, bought a gift for her nephew Edwin Gilmore, despite having made a table for him and his bride, Augusta.  She had been over at the newlyweds’ home earlier in the day, in fact, showing Augusta how to cut up the wedding cake that she herself had made.  Pieces of the cake would be sent out to friends and relatives as a keepsake.  Wedding cakes were meant to bring luck to the new couple.

Back in Easton, Old Oliver noted that “we kild a yoke of oxen I bought at randolph for 125$ one of them weighd 1359 + the other 1277 one of their hyde weighd 116 lb and the other 104 pounds”.  There would be beef and tripe headed for Evelina’s kitchen.


January 18, 1851


/51 Jan 18 Saturday  I was very lazy this morning as usual after

being in Boston.  We tried out the suet & salted the 

quarter of beef & boiled the tripe  Jane has been

busy all day but I have not done much.  Have mended

the stockings painted Susans wooden dolls head & arms

Mr Robinson has at last finished painting our chimney

pieces.  it is 5 weeks since he commenced them & I could

not nail down the carpet  Mr Ames has been to Boston.  Pleasant.

It was back to domestic life today after an enjoyable trip to the city.  No more dining on oysters. The kitchen was humming with more familiar fare as Jane McHanna processed a huge gift of meat that Old Oliver had sent a few days back.  She may have kept it cold in the snow or in an ice house until today when they had time and table top to deal with it.

“Ox beef is considered the best,” noted Sarah Josepha Hale in her 1841 guide, The Good Housekeeper.  Lucky for Evelina’s family that Old Oliver raised his own oxen. Jane salted it, salting or “corning” being a time-honored way to preserve it. Typically, the beef was placed in a container – likely a barrel – and covered with a brine solution.  One recipe for brine in an 1858 cookbook* called for four gallons of water, two pounds of brown sugar and six pounds of salt.  Beef stored this way could keep for months.

The suet, which, strictly defined, is the fat from around the kidneys, was “tried,” meaning that it was boiled and rendered into lard.  The tripe, from the stomach, was boiled as well.  The odor from both these boilings was strong and would have been noticed throughout the house.

By her own confession, Evelina didn’t get too involved with anything going on in the kitchen today, leaving it to Jane’s good offices. Instead, she puttered here and there, unpacking, doing a little mending, painting her daughter’s wooden doll and standing over Mr. Robinson’s shoulder as he finally completed painting the mantels.   We might describe her day as “re-entry.”  Oakes, meanwhile, was in Boston on shovel business.

* Mary Peabody Mann, Christianity in the Kitchen

January 13, 1851


/51 Jan 13  Washing day of course, and I have been

about house in the morning as usual.  A Augustus dined

with us, come up in the stage.  Made a hair cloth back to

another rocking chair  Went to Mr Whitwells with Mr

Ames this evening, met with Alson & wife.  It is a

beautiful moonshiny evening and we have had a

pleasant ride and have enjoyed myself very much.  Mr &

Mrs Whitwell I like very much  Father killed another

yoke of oxen to day and we have a quarter & the tripe.

Boiled that we had last week to day.

Monday is Wash Day.  This might be a Yankee commandment, were there a written code.  History has it that the first day the Pilgrims got off the Mayflower was a Monday, and the first thing the women did after all those weeks at sea was to wash their clothes.  The timing stuck, and remained a custom for centuries.  On Mondays at the Ames house, Jane McHanna washed the family clothes and linens while Evelina did almost everything else in terms of housework and cooking.  Evelina was not fond of putting her hands into soapy water.

The roads around town must have improved.  This evening, Evelina and Oakes finally got over to the Whitwells’ house, presumbly for a delayed acknowledgment of Mr. Ames and Mr. Whitwell’s shared birthday.  Evelina clearly enjoyed herself.  Another couple was there: Alson and Henrietta Gilmore. Alson is Evelina’s older brother.  He owns the old family farm in the southeast corner of Easton, just north of the town of Raynham.  He and his wife have six children together, as well as a son from Alson’s first marriage.  This is Alson “Augustus” Gilmore, who had midday dinner at the Ames house today.  Augustus lives in Boston as the year opens but will soon move back to North Easton.  He does courier work for the Ames brothers.

Evelina is close to her nieces and nephews; their presence in her life, and her affection for them, is evident throughout the diary.  Less certain is the regard that other members of the Ames family held for the Gilmores; family lore has it that the two families moved in different social circles and that even into the 20th century, the Gilmore clan was looked down on by members of the Ames clan. From Evelina’s happy description of the day, however, we can surmise that she was unaware, on this lovely, “moonshiny” night, anyway, of any discrimination.

January 6, 1851


/51 Monday Jan 6

Jane commenced washing this morning but was taken sick

and had to leave it.  And I had to do the housework again

Father killed two oxen & gave us the tripe  Went to North

Bridgewater this afternoon in a sleigh with S A, Helen 

and E Quinn.  A A Gilmore here to tea had business in

the office  Bought patch for a quilt for Susans bed   run

it together this evening  Received a letter from 

O Foss  She says Roland A has come from California

Jane McHanna was under the weather this Monday morning – perhaps from yesterday’s drive in the frigid air – and unable to manage the laundry and housework.  In the kitchen, something had to be done with the fresh tripe that arrived from Evelina’s father-in-law. Considered a delicacy, the tripe would soon be served at the midday dinner table.

As was typical for this time of year, Old Oliver slaughtered a yoke of oxen and distributed the meat and offal among the family. As he described it, “we kilt a yoke of oxen to day I had of Charles Gurney the off one weighed 1475 and the other 1330.”  Now 71 and retired from the shovel business, Old Oliver spent much of his time raising oxen. (Farming, too, as we’ll see later.)  He was evidently quite fond of them, and they were extremely useful in the family business for transporting raw material and finished shovels.  Oxen were a common sight in North Easton in 1851; anyone inside the Ames house would have heard ox carts rumbling by on the road.

The weather had improved and  housework couldn’t keep Evelina at home this afternoon.  Off in a sleigh to North Bridgewater she went with Sarah Ames, Sarah’s daughter Helen and a neighborhood dressmaker, Elisa Quinn.  The women were most likely on the hunt for fabric.  Evelina found quilting material, and after tea was over that night, began to put together a quilt for her daughter, Susan.