Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Century of Easton Living

This blog post is part of an occasional series about Gibson family relatives. Family trees are rife with personalities: the mysterious aunt, the curmudgeonly great-uncle, the adventurous second cousin. Join us as we explore some of these colorful characters and learn more about the interconnected nature of Boston high society in the process.

On September 2, 2018, Elizabeth Motley Ames died at the age of 99. She had lived just shy of an entire century in Boston and Easton, Massachusetts.  A great-niece of Rosamond Warren Gibson’s, she was a passionate preservationist and a longtime supporter of community causes in Easton.

Eleanor Warren (left) and Rosamond Warren (right),
circa 1870.
Gibson House Museum (1992.406.1).
The Motley family lived nearby to the Gibsons in Back Bay. Sisters Rosamond and Eleanor Warren were quite close growing up, born only a year apart; they remained so after they were married. Family lore has it that when the Motley kids walked past 137 Beacon Street, on their way to or from the Public Garden, they’d better not be misbehaving or great-aunt Rosamond would be sure to tell grandmother Eleanor about it straight away. Boston’s Back Bay was a tight-knit community into the early twentieth century.

As a young woman, Elizabeth Motley married into a prominent Easton family. Oliver Ames (1779–1863) founded a shovel factory in Easton, Mass. which would go on to become a world-class operation, involved in many key construction events in American history. The Ames family also included several politicians over the years, most notably Oliver Ames (1831–1895) who served as governor of Massachusetts in the late nineteenth century.

Elizabeth Motley and David Ames, Sr. were married in December of 1940. The next December, while David was decoding military tapes about the attack on Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth was waiting at home to give birth to their first child, born just twelve days later. After David’s service, the couple returned to Massachusetts and went on to have three more children.

Mrs. Ames was a supporter of the Easton Free Library and she and her husband were charter members of the Easton Historical Society. In 2012, they sold their family homestead to The Trustees of Reservations; the Governor Oliver Ames Estate is now a public park open to be enjoyed by all. Mrs. Ames was also a friend to the Gibson House Museum and will be missed by all who knew her.

- Meghan Gelardi Holmes, Curator 

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