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 thru March – Attended school in Walpole. In March did some surveying before leaving for Rochester.
April – Finished school on 12th and came to Rochester on the 19th. Going to Henry’s to board. The usual ploughing, sowing, getting out dung. On the 21st and 28th the Revd Mr. HON preached, the latter date his farewell sermon.
May 1st Training Day. (Training?) And more sowing, clearing, harrowing, planting potatotes, making fence. Meeting Days 5th, 12th and 19th. Meeting but no preaching. On the 22nd Henry went over the mountain to Brandon. On the 26th the Revd Mr. RUSSEL of Bethel preached. 28th, “This ends the twenty ninth year of my age.” Weather all month was clear mostly and extremely dry. “Greatest drowth ever known at this season of the year.”
June 1st – “Rainy”. 2nd – Attended meeting. 3rd – Surveyed road from E. BUTTS to N. CARPENTERS. This month he traded horses with Nathan AUSTIN, bought oxen of C. MARSH and took a pair of oxen of CLEMENTS. Surveyed for John WHITECOMB on the WILEY farm. Ebenezer and brother Henry went over the mountain to Brandon again. “Drove oxen to Brandon to pay for land we bought.” Came home. Worked for John WOODARD about beginning his house. Visited Oliver SPARHAWK at College. Lodged at Col. KINSMANS. Returned. Helped WOODARD lay up his house. Made trip to Walpole and Templeton.
July – Returned to Rochester on the 7th attended meeting. Ebenezer settled some of his business. Took some cattle Moses WHIPPLE owed him. A heifer from Isaac CLEMENTS. Took money to David AUSTIN for Salts. Bought a calf of Robert HEATH. Surveyed road through Pittsfield, from Chittendeen line to Stockbridge line. Mr. FISK from Windsor Mass. preached on the 14th. Assisted in settling … of Widow BOYER. Mended rakes. Hayed. Sowed Turnips. On the 21st and 28th attended meeting.
August – Covered his hay. Worked about house. Getting ready to set out a journey for Henniker (?) and Walpole on business for A. CURRIER. Settled a debt with Esq. GIBSON in Henniker for A. CURRIER. 11th attended meeting in Walpole. Came home to Rochester. He came over the Great Bridge and up the West side of Con’t River to Weathersfield. Lodged at Mr. KIDDERS. He came home to Rochester and began reaping. Mowing. Pulling flax. On the 18th attended meeting. No preaching. On the 20th he rode to the college (Darmouth) “at evening”. Visited Miss Sally FISK and lodged at Col. KISSMAN. Came home and back to work. 25th. Attended meeting. Deacon RAMSON of Woodstock spoke. Ebenezer drew a plan and deed for John WHITCOMB.
September – Attended meeting on the 1st. On the 3rd to Town Meeting to choose Representative and wroked at wheat for himself and Jno. WOODARD. His father and mother came from Templeton on a visit. His father preached on the 8th and the 15th. During visit he continued reaping but at evening visited with his father and mother and friends. Henry and his father also went to Brandon where Ebenezer and Henry had bought land. On the 16th his father and mother set out for Templeton. Ebenezer and Henry continued with reaping. Ebenezer surveyed for Esqr. HODGKINS in Hancock. For Samuel MARTIN and Jon. JEWETT. 22nd attended meeting. “bro’t home a pair of Staggs rec’d of I. CLEMENTS”. Made shed to cover corn. 27th. Went to Capt. CLEMENTS to make the Grand List for Rochester to send to the Assembly of ye state.
October – 1st attended training. Ebenezer hired A. R. FOSTER to work for one month with the reaping and storing. Henry took sheep to Brandon. Ebenezer “assisted in finishing the3 Grand List for to send ye Gen. Assembly.” Got in corn, potatoes. Frosty nights. Went after sheep that wolves had scattered. Did some writing for A. KNIGHT. Worked at making fence about barn. Plouging. Tim. DOLBEAR and Humphrey DOLBEAR came to visit from Templeton. Surveyed for Capt. STRONG as agent for Daniel KING. 28th, changes location of his house. 29th, “worked at taking down my house”. “Moved it and raised it again.” Drew stones for his house. (Attended meetings on 6th, 20th and 27th but no mention made of preacher.)
November – Worked about house and began to lay chimney. Nov. 3, “attd meeting and also the funeral of Dr. TRASK’s child.” “Went to John EMERSONS after Brick.” Worked about house and laying chimney. Ran lines for Enos MORGAN. Went to Capt. CLEMENTS to make Rates and do errands. Killed his beef. Layed his hearth. Set out for Templeton on the 25th, arriving at his fathers on the 29th. Attended meetings 10th, 17th and 24th but no mention made of preaching.
December – 1st and also 8th attended meetings in Templeton, his father preached. Ebenezer visited in Templeton until Dec. 9 with family and friends. On the way home to Rochester he went by Dartmouth to call on Miss Sally FISK at Col. KINSMAN’s. On his return he drew logs to mill, bringing planks home for barn floor. Killed hogs. Thrashed for himself and Henry. Bought a calf from Moses CURRIER. On the 31st borrowed a horse to go to Boston. Did not leave for another week.
On his return to Rochester he attended meeting on the 15th, 22nd and 29th, the last one at Capt. CLEMENTS. No preachers mentioned.
Transcribed by JMK 2003