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 2 – “W. DO (plt) set out from Rochester with my Sleigh to carry a load of Venison to Boston for Ammi & Thomas CURRIER…”
January 11 – “W. Do (plt) went in to Boston sold my Venison, towards night began to snow moderately lodged at CROSBY’s Tavern, sign of the Lamb.
February 7 and 8 – Henry SPARHAWK sets out for Templeton on a visit and Ebenezer took his sisters on a visit to Hancock and Kingston. Return visits from friends on the 24th. Henry returned on the 25th.
February 28 – “Something clear very blustering & cold”
March 1 – “W. Do. P..M. went to ye school to inspect it.”
March 7 – “W. something clear attd our annual Town meeting at Evng. Mr. Alexr BOWMAN & Sister came to my House for a visit…” More visits with friends.
March 11 – “”W. something … worked at making a Bill for School Rate – and weighing Hay for Isaac Wing.”
April – Sugaring, sledding timber for fence, hewing timber for “my House”.
April 12 – “W. very clear & exceeding cold for ye season”
April 14 – “W. clear & warm went & got Pine Logs & carried them to ye mill for Clapboards”
April 19 – “W. cloudy a little rain work’d at making a fence about my Barn – being Fast Day in this State tho not known to us in Rochester.”
May 8 – “W. clear workd at clearing & sowing Wheat on my new land by the Road that goes to Mr. MOORES”
May 13 – “W. clear & windy work’d at Harrrowing & drawing Dung – also agreed with Mr. Danl Lovering to do the Carpenter work on my House.”
May 20 – “W. rainy most of the Day work’d at planting Corn it has been very Cold most of ye time this Spring – and many very freezing nights this month
May 22 – “attd Town meeting to choose Representative to Congress”
May 28 – “This Day finishes the 33rd year of my age”
May 30 – “P.M. went to Esqr. EMERSONS to make the Highway Rate for the Town.”
May 31 – “P.M. went to appraise the Estate of Deacon EMERSON deceased.”
June 1 – “W. very cool & clear – began about digging a Cellar for a new House”
June 2 – “P.M. my Father arriv’d at Rochester from Templeton”
June 6 – “P.M. att’d Proprietors meeting – My Father set out from my House for the Northerly part of Vermont State.”
June 10 – “drawing Rocks for my Cellar”
June 12 – “Mr. Danl LOVERING came to work for me about building my house. P.M. went to hewing Timber.
June 16 – “went to Hancock after a Saw”
June 17 – “began to frame my House”
Ebenezer’s Father preached each Sunday he visited in Rochester, June 4th, 18th.
June 19 – “W. clear work’d at drawing Stones & several men framing my House.”
June 24 “W. clear & warm raised my House P.M.”
June 26 thru 28 – Ebenezer met his Father in Waitsfield to look of Land in Fayston…rode to Gen. WAITS…went to Fayston with Mr. Lone (?) WAIT. Father set out for home on 30th.
July 3 – “attd Town meeting to see about selling of ye School Land.”
July 15 – “W. cloudy in ye morning – work’d about my hay – towards night a most remarkable shower the quantity of rain very great that fell in about half an hour.”
August 5 – “P.M. went to Mr. WINGS about clothes …”
All this time he was working at making shingles for his house beside other chores and rocks for cellar.
August 16 – “P.M. attended a Town meeting about School Land & building a Bridge over the River”
August 22 – “P.M. went to look out Stones for my Chimney”
August 26 – “P.M. very rainy work’d all day at the meeting house laying floor”
August 30 – “finished underpinning my House”
Sept 1 – “work’d at ye Meeting House”
Sept 4 – “P.M. att’d to making Pates (?) with Esqr. EMERSON at my House.”
Sept 5 – “P.M. attd Freemans meeting”
Sept 6 – “Set out on Journey to the Northerly part of Vermont State rode to Waitsfield lodged at Gen. WAITS – some frost, but not to do much damage.”
Ebenezer’s journey included Marshfield, St. Johnsbury, Burke, Newark, Lyndon, Barton, Craftsbury, Hydespark.
“My horse was very lame.”
Sept 15 – Hydespark “looked of several lots of Land. did not proceed of my Journey on account of my Horse being lame -”
Sept 17 – He rode home to Rochester – days of gathering stones for chimney
Sept 27 – “W. clear began with Mr. SHAW to build my chimney”
October 5 – “P.M. went to Town Meeting about selling Pines in ye Meeting h9ouse at night a hard frost & the first this fall”
October 9 – “W. showery in the morning Set from Rochester with a drove of Cattle for Boston.”
October 20 – “…sold them to Mr. Willard GAY, Dedham”
October 23 – “rode Boston at Evening went to ye play”
On the way home he came by Templeton and Walpole.
November 2 – “W. clear came home to Rochester”
There was work about his house, surveying for a number of people.
November 19 – “…five days last part as cold as is common to have almost any time in winter”
November 21 – “”Proprietors meeting at Capt SAFFORDS”
November 25 – “Work’d at fixing my water at ye House at night snowed so as to make good sledding about home.”
November 28 – “Set out to go to Stowe to purchase some Land for my Father”
Dec 4 – “traded with Mr. Oliver LUCE for one hundred acres of land”
Dec 7 – “rode from Mr. RICE’s (Kingston) home by sunrise 14 miles it being Thanksgiving Day in Vermont State attd meeting”
Worked at getting wood, butchering hogs, salting his pork, taking his sisters visiting.
Dec 25 – “went to Hancock to engage Mr. J. CLAFLIN to make a Sleigh for me.”
“The most of the time for Seven Weeks has been very cold”
Transcribed by JMK 2003