Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary Year 1798

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary

Year 1798

Summarized by Dorothy Mitchell McClure

Note: On the diaries. Ebenezer Sparhawk Jr. (28 May 1764 to 31 Oct 1836) of Rochester VT (here’s how he works into the family tree) kept a diary for 30 years. How Dorothy Mitchell McClure came into possession of the diaries is unknown, other than Ebenezer being gggrandfather of her husband, Albert, but they were quite delicate so she made a summary of them. The diaries were kept in a safe deposit box and I was never privileged to view them but received a copy of the summary. The style of her summarizing changes several times as it progresses, and shortly moves to being primarily direct abbreviated quotes. The transcriptions I’ve made of the summaries aren’t religiously exact as the style of summarizing was confusing at points where it was difficult to distinguish between direct quotes and what were her notations, but the transcriptions are close.

Though summaries, there are numerous accounts of transactions of various types with neighbors and others, accounts of illnesses and deaths, trading and selling of goods, mentions of town meetings, who was preaching, record of his surveying work for the towns and individuals, mixed in with notes on weather (and whether it was exceptional) and general and unusual chores.

Go to year index of the diaries.

January 3 – “Went to Hancock with my Sisters & N. CHANDLER & wife for a visit at Mr. DOLBEARS.”
January 8 – “Work’d at the Meetinghhouse clap boarding.”

January 15 – “Set out from Rochester with my sisters, Priscilla & Naomi for Templeton with my sleigh…” (Their trip was slow because of “snow being very much gone”. They arrived in Templeton on the 24th.)

January 30 – Ebenezer sent on for Boston on business, returning on the 3rd of February.

February 5 – “W. exceeding blustery went with my Sisters & a number of others to a Sleigh Ride & at (?) attd to a Ball at Eden BALDWIN’s” – more days of helping his father and squiring his sisters about, taking his mother visiting.

February 17 – Back in Rochester, Ebenezer settled with those for whom he drove cattle the previous fall.

February 24 – “Went to see about taking care of Lydia CURRIER who is crazy.”

February 27 – “W. cold & rough attd to getting window sashes made for ye meetinghouse”

March 3 – “W. clear & cold at A.M. went to ye meetinghouse to carry glass…”

March 5 – “went with Mr. Oliver LUCES of Stowe to see about getting a cow for him.”

March 6 – “In ye morning paid Mr. LUCE 115 Dollars in Cattle & money towards a Lot of Land I bot of him for my father – same day attd Town meeting to choose Town officers.”

March 10 – “Workd at meeting house about setting glass…”

March 11 – “W. stormy all day Snow & Hail attd meeting Mr. CLLARK preached from Jeremiah 6.14 all day it being the last day Mr. CLARK is to preach for us – full meeting at night rainy”

March 22 – “W. clear & thawy assisted Esqr. EMERSON make a Rate Bill for State Tax”

March 26 – “On a Journey for Templeton”

April 5 – “W. clear & plt. being Fast Day in State of Massachssets”

April 8 – “W. cloudy…Most of the snow is gone at Templeton in clear’d land except where it is drifted”

April 12 – “Fast day in S. of N. H.”

April 18 – “Fast day in Vermont attd meeting”

April 20 – “for several nights past the ground has froze something hard.”

April 30 – “W. clear & very hot…”

May 3 – “P.M. attd the Vendue of Land for the State Tax”

May 4 – “A most remarkable time for 8 days past for heat & for grass to grow that has ever been known at this time of year”

May 6 – “Death of one of John BROWN’s children”

May 9 – “W. something cloudy & cool attd meeting it being a day appointed by the President of the United States for fasting throughout ye States on account of the fearfullness of War with France. Mr. RANSOME preached from Joel 1.14 all day”

May 28 – “W. cloudy set out from home on Journey to the Northward to attd a Vendue of Lands at Danville – also to do Surveying Business in the Town of Stow – P.M. very rainy rode to Waitsfield with Esqr. HODGKINS & Isaac WING lodged at Gen. WAITS – The day past has completed the 34th year of my age – the swiftness of time how strange!”

May 29 – “W. rainy in the morning then cloudy all day rode to Stow with Esqr. H. & Mr. W. lodged at Mr. Oliver LUCE’S”

May 30 – “W. warm & a little cloudy went & viewed the Mills in Stow with Esqr. HODGKINS then went to Esqr. UTLEYS to enquire after Land for Mr. WING. P.M. set out from Stow for Danville with Esqr. H. rode to Waterbury & on our way took a Thief who had been stealing cattle – lodged at Capt. KENNAN’s Tavern” (They rode to Calor’s (?), Danville, St. Johnsbury, Barnet, Peacham, back to Danville, attd Vendue, came back thru Hardwick to Stow)

June 11 – “W. very clear work’d at fixing my Compass for surveying P.M. attd a Town meeting in Stow”

June 12 – “W. clear Began Surveying business in Stow”

June 13 – “W. clear except a shower of Rain & Hail. P.M. attd to Surveying.”

June 14 “W. clear attd the Vendue of Land for the Cent Tax” (He continued at surveying several more days.)

June 18 – “Workd at Surveying ’till near Sunset when I rec’d a Wound in my Heel from SPOTMAN’s ax”

June 19 – “Attd Vendue”

June 20 – “Work’d at making a Plan of Stow being so lame that I co’d not walk in Woods boarded at Mr. LUCE’s”

June 21 thru 22 – Ebenezer went home to Rocheseter.

June 23 – “Workd for Thos MARTIN framing & raising a house”

June 30 – “Sold a lot of Land of my fathers to Mr. Eldad GARNSEY of Rockingham”

July 6 – “It has been as dry a time as we almost ever had in Rochester” (Mr. RANSOM seems to be their regular preacher now.)

August 4 – “W. cloudy look’d after my Mare that had got out of the pasture into ye woods – at night rainy”

August 5 – “W. showery being Sunday lookd Do all Day”

August 6 – “W. clear look’d Do & found her P.M.”

August 8 – “W. Do very hot workd about Clapboarding my House”

August 17 – “rode to Col. GALLUPS in Hartland to purchase a lot of Land in Warren for Timothy DOLBEAR…rode to Croyden…to see about buying a lot of Land for my Brother Harry.”

August 27 – “It may be observed that the weather has been very warm day & night for about six weeks not one cold night.” (Late August & most of September Ebenezer spent in Stow, surveying and making plans for the town.)

October 5 – “It may be observed that the weather for about three months except two or three days has been very hot night and day, most of September very hot”

October 8 – “set out from Rochester with Beef cattle for Boston” (and he arrived in Watertown on the 17th, sold his catlle, returned via Templeton and Waterbury to Rochester on the 31st)

November 3 – “workd about fixing a Plan of Rochester”

November 5 – “began about surveying the third division Lots in Rochester”

November 12 – “W. very windy & some rain in the morning – something cool all day Set out to survey the piece of Land taken from Bethel to Rochester by WHITELAW’s line”

November 16 – “Work’d at Surveying on the River near Mr. WHIPPLE’s & so on down to ye R. to find undivided Land”

November 17 – “surveyed on the River opposite Mr. Enos MORGANs House until it intersected the old Town line South of my House”

November 20 – “snowy…good sledding”

December 4 – “W. cold & rough about home at Evening Esqr. EMERSON came to visit about fixing a Plan of Rochester”

December 12 – “just at Sunset old Mr. Josiah CHANDLER died in his sleigh supposed instantly for a minute before he appeared to be in good health”

December 14 – “assisted Esqr HODGKINS about making a Plan of Pittsfield”

December 15 – “W. cold & blustering went about taking in the Continental List in Rochester…” (Ebenezer worked on the list the rest of the month.)

December 21 – “assessors of Several Towns met at my House to see about making our Lists”

December 24 – “W. clear began something of a school in my own House”

Transcribed by JMK 2003

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