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 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