Sunday Dec 26 It was very stormy this morning
and I did not decide to go to church untill
it was to late to dress myself & Susan all the
rest went from the three families except father
Elijah Robinson in the other part of the house
came Friday night It was cleared off very pleasant
Mr, Mrs & Miss Swain Augustus & wife & E Robinson
called this evening
Once again, we see Evelina and her father-in-law differ on their descriptions of the weather. While Evelina found it “very stormy this morning,” Old Oliver wrote: ” it snod a verry little last night and there was a little rain this morning + the snow is all gone there was not rain + snow enough to make more than ¼ inch of water it was fair in the afternoon wind north west”* It was proving to be what New Englanders call an “open” winter – at least so far. It was nearly January, and there was no snow on the ground.
There was no Evelina in church, either, as she just couldn’t bear to go out in the rain. Her daughter also managed not to dress in time. So the two females stayed at home while the males rode off to church. This is our last glimpse of Evelina on the Sabbath Day, as the year will soon draw to a close, obviously, whereupon Evelina’s diary stops. So our final Sunday post is not Evelina listening with rapt attention to Mr. Whitwell’s sermons, or being aware of her husband as he nodded off in the pew, or visiting with the other Unitarian ladies during the midday intermission. It’s Sunday at home.
The next few years at the Unitarian Church in Easton would be much the same as this one. By 1857, however, Rev. Whitwell would not be invited to extend his service there** – we don’t know why. He would be called to serve as minister at the Unitarian Church in Chestnut Hill, outside of Boston, but would remain in touch with the Ames family – even borrowing money from Oliver Jr. at one point (a loan which Oliver Jr. forgave). According to historian William Chaffin, Whitwell’s departure initiated the period when part of the congregation moved its service to North Easton proper:
At the conclusion of Mr. Whitwell’s ministry the Ames family discontinued attendance upon the First Parish Church, as a Unitarian Society had been formed at North Easton village, where they resided. A proposition was made to unite with the latter society in the support of a minister who should supply both pulpits, but the proposition was not carried into effect.***
It’s generally acknowledged that Old Oliver played a leading role in establishing a new Unitarian association in North Easton in a tiny church in the middle of the village (since moved to make room for the Rockery). Did he also play a role in ending Reverend Whitwell’s tenure?
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection
**Oliver Ames (3) Journal, Stonehill College Archives, David Ames Collection
***William Chaffin, History of Easton, Massachusetts, 1886, p. 362