Summary of Ebenezer SPARHAWK’s diary
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.
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