Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary Year 1792

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary

Year 1792

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 1st Sunday = “Revd. Mr. FESSENDEN presented his people with a New Year’s Gift so called from Acts 3.6 all day.” Attended his school. Henry came from Rochester and went on for Templeton. Ebenezer following a few days later. Arriving on Sunday morning, 15th, in time for services all day. Visited at home and friends. Returned to Walpole 18th and attended school. Henry returned weeks later in February to Rochester.

February – Attended school, worked for Esqr. SPARHAWK and began an evening school for cyphering. Mr. SAGE (TAGE) of Westminster preached on 12th. Mr. FESSENDEN is the pastor in Walpole. Returned to Templeton for another visit. This time for a week with much visiting with family and friends. Returned and attended school 27th.

March – Attended school. Dr. TRASK (?) and E. MORGAN of Rochester visited him on 4th. Ebenezer hired Lemuel CHENEY to work for him in Rochester and sent him on with Mr. MORGAN and Doct. TRASK. Attended school.

April – Attended school. Surveyed for Thomas BELLOWS and Gen. BELLOWS and Caleb BELLOWS. Visited again in Templeton after finishing of his school on the 9th. Arrived in Rochester on the 20th. “To my own house.” And back to work on his land. Clearing. Make a yoke.

May – May 1st spent framing all day. Surveyed small pieces of land for Mr. SHELDON and others. Sowed wheat. Sowed grass seed. 10th, “P.M. went to a meeting at Mr. SHELDONS to see about building a meeting house.” May 18th, “At night a very hard frost.” Sowed flax, sowed wheat on S. TUCKERS land. “Went to Am…(?) CURRIERS to take care of his wheat and helped Henry about burning slash. Plowed. On the 28th, “This Day completes the 28th year of my age.” Worked some for Capt. CLEMENTS.

June – Cleared. Sheared sheep. Agreed with J. CLAFLIN to frame Ebenezer’s barn. Sowed oats. Made fence. Surveyed roads, one from Thomas MARTIN to the River, also to Capt. EASTMANS from the meeting house. Helped to move meeting house fence on the Common. Planted potatoes. Made fence at home and on S. TUCKERS land. Set fire to his slash. Surveyed road thru Hancock to Goshen. “Helped clear a road to the west line of Rochester towards Philadelphia.” Mowed elders on TUCKERS land. Howed his own corn “on ye Interwale.” Worked more on road and more fence.

July – 1st. “Rev’d Mr. RUSSEL of Bethel preached in Rochester Proverbs 22.16 all day. “Excellent discourses indeed.” Chopped, burned slash, assisted about appraising estate of David CURRIER. Made fence. Hoed corn. On the 8th, “Went after cows in the woods most of ye forenoon.” Cut timber for shingles to cover his shed. Borrowed a saw in Stockbridge. On the 16th helped David AUSTIN raise a barn. Sawed timber for shingles. Shaved shingles. Worked at haying for himself and Thomas CURRIER. Went to Mr. SHELDON for turnip seed. Assisted in dividing estate of Samuel WILEY in Stockbridge. Surveyed widow’s part. J. CLAFLIN came for a week to hew timber for Ebenezer’s shed (barn).

August – 1st, mowed and worked about haying for Henry at Mr. CHANDLERS. Also for A. CURRIER. Pulled flax. Shaved shingles. Worked at raising his shed. Surveyed for R. FOSTER and Joshua WHITECOM and others. Gathered hayseed. Very hot and dry. Helped cut a road through south part of Hancock to Philadelphia line. On the 12th, “Mr. EMERSON, one of the Baptist order preached.” Worked at covering his shed with A. CURRIER, worked for Mr. CHANDLER setting hoops. Sent letters and money to Templeton by A. BRIGHAM. Went to Widow CURRIERS to settle estate. Put stones under his shed. Helped Henry. Worked at reaping.

September – On the 4th, “Went to Town Meeting to choose Representative and vote for State Officers.” Reaped wheat and oats and pulled hemp. Trimmed apple trees. Also reaped at S. TUCKERS land. Pulled beans. “Had a lame arm for several days.” Sold oxen to Capt. Wm. SWEETSER. Finished putting wheat in his barn. Worked for Henry burning STOCKWELLS log heaps. Attended court in Woodstock as Juryman. Lodged at Dr. DANFOTH’s in Barnard and Benj. BURETCH’s in Woodstock 25th – 28th but did not mention what the case was about.

October – 2nd. Training day (?). Reaped oats. Set his “heaps” on fire. Reaped corn. Made fence by his barn. Dug potatoes. Hewed timber for Henry for a house. Mr. DOLBEAR and his three sons from Templeton arrived for a visit.

November – Made shingles for Henry. Went to Eben. MOOSES shop and changed horses with Mr. STEBBING of Barnard. Surveyed for Amos ROOT and Mr. WHIPPLE, Mr. ASHLEY, Alexander DEAN of Kingston. A. CURRIER and Abel KNIGHT. 19th killed his hogs. Went after Mrs. BEAN to make some clothes. Set hoops for Mr. CHANDLER. Left Rochester for Walpole.

December – Attended school. Also visited in Mass. at his fathers in Templeton and his brother’s Thomas STEARNS in the academy in Leicester.

Transcribed by JMK 2003

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary Year 1791

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary

Year 1791

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, February, March and half of April were spent in Walpole at tending his school. In February there were visits from Ebenezer’s father, mother (step mother), brother Thomas STEARNS, and cousin Oliver SPARHAWK. These young men still at Darmouth. And there was much visiting and entertaining.

On April 3rd “in the morning a remarkable Eclipse of the Sun. Attd meeting Mr. FESSENDEN preached from Heb. 9.15 all day.” he visited in Templeton, Mass. following the finishing of his school (April 14). On the 23rd, “I came to Rochester to my own house.” The rest of April he cleared, mended fence, worked at Mr. CHANDLERs. April 27th was “Fast Day in this State.”

May – Worked for Henry, A. KNIGHT, then for himself, clearing, sowing flax and “pease.” “Set fire to my slash by the Branch and came near burning the Barm.” Went to Bridgewater for Doct. PERKINS for the SHELDON children, one of whom died. Sowed wheat for himself and Henry. Made fence for Henry. On the 28th “This day hath compleated the 27 years of my age.”

June – Planted S. TUCKERs (Boston) place. Sowed oats for TUCKER. Worked for Henry and himself, clearing, making fence, getting wood, planting potatoes, beans. Made fence at TUCKERs place. Attended school meeting on 27th. “Worked at ye Road.”

July – To Walpole to work at haying for Esq. SPARHAWK. Returned to Rochester. Attended Town Meeting on 13th. Worked for Henry clearing. Made rakes. Surveyed. Hayed. Attended funeral of Mr. BOYERS’ child on the 30th.

August – Made yokes. Worked on Highway. Worked at shoeing (?) sled. Went with neighbors “to look a place for a saw mill.” Surveyed for S. WILEY and reaped for Mr. KNIGHT. Rev. Mr. BOWMAN of Barnard preached on the 14th from Isaiah 28.7 all day. “Went to Raising at Mr. SHELDONS.” (17th). Pulled flax, piled logs, made fence, chopped and mowed brush. “Went after Basket stuff to TUCKERS land.” Then “My Brother Thos. came here from college (Dartmouth) after taking a Degree.” 28th. Set hoops. Changed oxen with CLEMENTS.

September – Reaped for Henry. Brother Thos. set out for Templeton. Helped J. ASTIN about raising a barin. Capt. EASTMAN was chosen representative at the Town Meeting. Bound wheat, gathered corn, worked for Henry about his barn. Rev’d Mr. DAMION (?) of Woodstock preached on the 18th. On the 23rd he went to training. Reaping wheat, corn etc. On the 30th S. TUCKER “came to my House from Boston.”

October – Thrashed peas, husked corn, brought home sheep from S. CHANDLER. Surveyed for S. TUCKER. Attended artibration at Capt. CLEMENTs, Jo TUCKER vs. M. CURRIER. S. TUCKER returned home. Reaped corn and oats, potatoes. Set fires. Worked about his barn making a sled. Made fence. Piled on Henry’s land for ashes. Worked for Mr. PAERTRIDGE on TUCKER’s land.

November – Worked at ye road, surved in Hancock for BELLOWS, pulled turnips, carted boards from the mill, carted dung, carted stalks, surveyed for A. KNIGHT on land he sold to e. MOOSE (22nd) “at evening I with others of the school committee met at Lt. BOYER’S”. Next day Ebenezer set out for Walpole and began school there on the 28th. The usual visiting in the evenings with different families. On the 30th “at evening went to a dance at Caleb BELLOW’S.”

December – Attended his school and surveyed for Thos. BELLOWS and Gen. BELLOWS. Visited and visited in the evenings. “It may be observed that 6 days out of 7 of Christmas were very pleasant.”

I believe this is the only time he speaks of Christmas throughout the diary. Often he speaks of Thanksgiving, but not in this year.

Transcribed by JMK 2003

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary Year 1790

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary

Year 1790

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.

Ebenezer kept school in Walpole until the end of March, worked for others in Walpole for three weeks in April, and on the 23rd of April he arrived in Rochester.

April – He worked at covering his house, also about his chimney.

May – He moved from Mr. CHANDLER’s to his own house. Clearing, plowing, sowing wheat, working for Henry, sowing on the S. TUCKER (Boston) land, put fire to his wood at the river. Sowed flax.

June – Sowing wheat for Henry, planting potatoes, corn, oats, made fence about his wheat, chopped and burned brush, helped J. STOCKWELL lay up a barn – his brother Thomas S. and Oliver SPARHAWK (latter from Walpole) came from Dartmouth for a few days visit – helped work at the Commons.

July – Helped A. KNIGHT lay up his barn, sowed oats – his father came from Templeton, Mass. and preached several times. Helped raise Esqr. EMERSON’s barn. Finished laying up his own barn. “Draw’d bark & covered my Barn.” Made fence about home. A very severe storm of hail nea by. Rain in Rochester.

August – Worked about his home. Sowed turnips, haying, got out flax, ran a line between Henry’s land and his own, cut hayseed, reaped wheat, burned brush, worked at chopping and piling logs near the house, surveyed for different individuals.

September – Surveyed. Drew stones for his chimney. Attended town meeting. Sowed wheat. Reaped and put grain in barn. Cut corn. Went to J. CLAFLIN in Hancock for beef. More work on chimney. Company. Stephen & Nathan CHANDLER with their wives and sisters came to his house to visit on the 27th.

October – On the 4th he “set out for Walpole with Chloe and Lydia CHANDLER”, stopping over in Barnard at the Robert DEANS and in Windsor at Esqr. BROWNS. In Walpole he agreed to help their school. Returned to Rochester. Assisted Esq. EMERSON in raising his house. With Selectmen he surveyed a road. Hired help for digging his potatoes. Traded with Dct. VALE (?) fora pair of steers. (He has used oxen in farm work.) Bouth a steer of D. AUSTIN for beef. Farmed wheat and ? hoops. The DOLBEARS came to help. More stones for chimney. More potatoes.

November – Gathered corn. Laid stones under his house. Drew stones to make an arch. Went with a team to Kingston for ash tubs and fixed kettles for salts. Set out for Walpole and Templeton and remained there for Thanksgiving Day – 25th.

December – Began school on Dec. 8 – and the usual visiting with friends and relatives. Always he attends Sunday services unless the weather is very bad. Nearly always records the text, whether in Templeton, Walpole or Rochester. In Rochester sometimes there was no one to preach since a regular pastor could not be afforded, but usually there were meetings.

Ebenezer ends this month of December with “It may be observed that the month past has been remarkably cold from ye beginning to end.”

Transcribed by JMK 2003

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary Years 1784 to 1789

Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary

Years 1784 to 1789

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.

Ebenezer Jr. first came to Rochester in the fall of 1784 “to look of the land my Father had purchased, tarried in Rochester 7 or 8 days, went and carried chain for CHASE the surveyor 3 days in laying out the east part of Rochester. Worked some for Capt. CLEMENTS and N. CHANDLER.”

After returning to Templeton, he kept school three months in one location and two months in another and then worked for his father until the first of June when he returned to Rochester. Every available moment that he was not teaching or working for his father during the next few years, he spent in clearing of his land, “worked out a fee on the lot up the branch,” sowing, “sowed 4 or 5 acres of wheat and rye on the river lot”, reaping, “reap’d my grain in August and carried it to Capt. CLEMENTS barn.”

In 1787 September his brother Henry came to Rochester and the brothers worked together. Ebenezer “bought a lot of land of Dr. CHASE of Cornish.”

In 1788, “built my barn” — October snow, ground froze very hard. November very pleasant” – and that fall he went back to teaching school in Walpole N.H.

1789. Teaching school in Walpole must have been far from boring for Ebenezer. He speaks often of visting with many friends – names of these families appear often. JENSONS, BUNDY (?), BELLOWS, FESSENDEN (pastor), Thos SPARHAWK (cousin), SMITH, KNIGHT – also a Capt. CARLISLE and Mr. WOLCOT are mentioned. On January 31st, “It may be observed that there has not been a large snow this winter. Not more than 5 or 6 inches at a time and except this morning very little wind with ye snow.”

Early in April he left for Rochester and stayed at the home of Mr. CHANDLER, working part of the time for Mr. CHANDLER with sugaring (?) – scouring (?) potatoes for heimself. May 25 – “burnt my land at ye meadow – on the island”. May 29th – “Set out some apple trees”. Every day is filled with work either for himself or some one else. When his early summer chores in Rochester were finished he went on for Walpole and Templeton working a month in each with the fhaying, reaping. On August 31st he set out for Rochester and also reported the weather “very cold and a great frost.”

At home again he worked at reaping, cutting corn, putting up fence, digging potatoes, burning, clearing. On the 12th of October, he “worked at digging my cellar”. October 14th, “getting boards from ye mill.” The 20th, “hewing timber for my house”. 31st, “work’d at sawing shingles.” Early November, scouring potatoes, threshing, farming wheat. November 11, “W. pleasant. Finished framing my house and Raised it.”

Transcribed by JMK 2003

SUMMARY OF EBENEZER SPARHAWK’S DIARY, by Dorothy Mitchell McClure

SUMMARY OF EBENEZER SPARHAWK’S DIARY, by Dorothy Mitchell McClure.

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.

One will notice that below some of the years are unlinked, empty, they have no summaries. Why? Well, I scanned all the pages and had them on CD and had begun transcribing them. The photocopy of Dorothy’s summary had been damaged enough over the years that I threw out the notebook that was falling apart. Then, as can happen, something happened to the CD I had the scans of the summaries on. Something happened to a number of my CDs, not just that one. I lost a lot of material. A lot. Not just Dorothy’s summaries of the diaries but other material. This was back in 2003 and it still pains me to remember the loss of those CDs. So, all I had left were the transcriptions that I had completed.

As for the diaries themselves, on Feb 19, 2004, The Herald of Randolph ran a story of them being contributed to the Rochester Historical Society by a member of the family after my grandmother’s death.

Sparhawk Journals Return Home

Over two centuries after they were written in the neat and elaborate script of the day, the journals of Ebenezer Sparhawk Jr. have been returned to Rochester by one of his descendants.

The journals, which were handed down through Sparhawk’s family, first came to the attention of the Rochester Town History Committee 38 years ago, in 1966, when a letter of inquiry came to the town postmaster. That led the committee to have access to material from the journals and thus, the Rochester Town History book, published in 1975, included many interesting entries from those journals.

The owner of the journals at that time was Albert McClure, a descendent of Ebenezer Jr. Albert’s wife, Dorothy McClure, transcribed many of them and Jane Sparhawk, another relative, typed up the transcriptions.

Dorothy valued the journals greatly and thought they should be returned to Rochester after her death. After celebrating her 100th birthday this past October, she developed pneumonia and died Dec. 8, 2003. Her daughter, Betty Kirby, sent the journals to the Rochester Historical Society, causing great excitement among its members.

“What a treasure!” said Mary Davis. “We are so grateful to have them.”

Sparhawk History

The journals, which span the years 1789-1822, are about 3 1/2 inches by six inches, made of folded paper hand-sewn with thread. They are brown with age and very fragile.

Davis explained that Ebenezer’s father, Ebenezer Sparhawk Sr., was one of the signers of the charter issued for the town July 30, 1781. His intention was to provide land for his sons, Ebenezer Jr. and Henry.

Born May 28, 1764 in Templeton, Mass., Ebenezer Jr. was a teacher, surveyor, carpenter and farmer. A prominent citizen, he was active in church, school, and town affairs. According to his journal, 20 year-old Ebenezer Jr. first arrived in Rochester in the fall of 1784 to view his father’s land.

This was at a time when traveling in the area wasn’t easy. For example, there was only a bridle path through the woods from Royalton to Rochester. North of Rochester, and through to Warren and Waitsfield, the only guide for a traveler was a series of marked trees. However, for the next five years, Ebenezer Jr. traveled back and forth frequently between Templeton, Mass. and Rochester, working his own land and working for others. Finally, in October of 1789, he began framing his house and became a Vermont resident.

It wasn’t until almost 10 years later, on June 23, 1799, when he was 35, that Ebenezer Jr. married. His bride’s name was Azuba Jefferson. Their first child, George, was born in May 1800, followed by a second son, Samuel, in 1802, and three daughters: Priscilla, born in 1803, Polly in 1805, and Naomi in 1807. A third son, Ebenezer III, arrived in 1809, and a fourth, Joseph, (who died at the age of two) in 1811. Two more daughters, Martha, born in 1814, and Louisa, born in 1816, also joined the family.

Ebenezer Jr. died Oct. 31, 1836, at the age of 72. His widow, Azuba, died in 1847 at the age of 68.

Sparhawk’s diaries provide a fascinating look at the everyday activities and special occasions in the early days of a rural Vermont town. They cover births, deaths, marriages, and other family news; farming issues, the building of houses, his work as a surveyor, the weather, the establishment of stage routes, churches and town organizations; trips out of town, business deals, local court cases, state news, the War of 1812, and various milestones for the town.

Historical Society

The Rochester Historical Society Museum, located on the second floor of the Rochester Public Library building, is closed during the winter months, but will have a number of the journals on display when it re-opens June 1.

The historical society members are currently working on plans for their display at the Vermont History Expo at the Tunbridge fairgrounds June 26 and 27. Their subject this year is “Wash Day Circa 1900,” and anyone who has artifacts, photos, etc. they would be willing to share, is urged to contact Mary Davis at 767-4759. New members are always welcome.

By Martha Slater

1784-1789
1790
1791
1792
1793
1794
1795
1796
1797
1798
1799
1800
1801
1802
1803
1804
1805
1806
1807
1808
1809
1810
1811
1812
1813
1814
1815
1816
1817
1818
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1821