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.
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