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 23 – “W. clear & plt about home preparing to set out on a journey”
January 25 – “W. snowy set out from Rochester for Walpole & Templeton (my sister Nabby went with me to Walpole)
February 12 – Back in Rochester after visit to Walpole & Templeton
February 15 – “W. clear & something cold went to Hancock to get coal to iron my sleigh.” (With Ebenezer MOORE’s help the next day Ebenezer repaired it and by the 19th was off again for Templeton.)
February 22nd – “W. snowy went from Templeton to Barre after Cyder & Walnut Timber”
March 1st – “W. very plt. came home A.M. – P.M. went to town meeting”
March 13 – “W. very plt & thawy attd meeting of Mr. RANSOM preached from Locke 12.32 all Day – at night very strong south wind. Mr S. PARTRIDGE house burnt at eight O’Clock in the Evening – ”
March 17 – Meeting of Selectmen
March 29 – “W. something cloudy went to Town Meeting to choose a Grand Jurourman (?)”
April 8 – “W. cloudy A.M. – P.M. rainy work’d for Mr. S. PARTRIDGE framing and raising a house.”
April 23 – “making ox yokes – Boys began ploughing”
May 2 – “W. clear & plt went with Esqr HODGKINS to Chittenden to measure the fourth line of sd Town”
May 28 – “W. something clear worked at sowing oats A.M. – P.M. sowed my garden seeds & planted some corn & potatoes a shower just at night – This day ends the 32nd year of my age.”
May 30 – “… at evening went to Isaac WRIGHT’s to get a coat turned.”
June – Early in month a trip to Walpole.
June 12 – “W. cloudy rode from Walpole to Keene to attd the funeral of Esqr Newcombs oldest son who was drowned”
June 15 – He returned to Walpole and spent much time mending roads. Also “dress planks to ye Bridge”
July – Farm work.
August – Same.
August 15 – “…went to chopping wood for a coal pit – at night a frost, some damage”
August 30 – “…W. cleared off very cool at night very hard frost almost destroyed corn.”
September 3 – “W. something cloudy assisted Esqr. HODGKINS about drawing Plans of Pittsfield Chittenden.”
Another trip to Walpole and Keene.
September 22 – “W. cloudy A.M. worked for Mr. SHAW at the Brick Kiln – P.M. rainy.”
September 27 – “…assisted Mr. HALL about raising a House.”
Latter part of Sept and early October he went to Walpole with cattle and for other business.
October 12 – Ebenezer set out again with a drove of cattle, this time for Boston via Walpole & Templeton
October 31 – “W. something cloudy set out from Templeton for Rochester with my Sisters Priscilla & Naomi…”
November 5 – They arrived home in Rochester.
November 8 – “Proprietors meeting at Esqr. CLEMENT.”
This month, killing beef, surveying, helping to build a bridge near A. CURRIERS.
December 1 – “W. cold & rought it being Thanksgiving Day attd at Esqr. EMERSONS.”
December 6 – “Samuel RUCKER who had been at my house three months set out for Conneticut – at night very snowy – came knee deep”
This month chores of getting wood, butchering hogs and getting iron work done. He calls iron “Coal.”
December 20 – “W. clear work’d at getting wood. Mr. Stephen PAINE came to my House to board & keep school in our district.”
December 29 – “…to get Ropes made at Mr. MORGAN’S.”
Transcribed by JMK 2003