February 13, 1737

General Introduction for 1737

Francis Walett: “The original of the diary from Sept 1728 to Jan. 1740 has evidently been lost. Fortunately a portion of this (February 1737 to November 1737) was published by the Westborough Historical Society in The Diary of Ebenezer Parkman . . . , ed. by Harriette M. Forbes (Westborough, 1899).[1]  The present editor has been completely dependent upon the transcription of Mrs. Forbes, and only minor changes of form in her text have been made.  This has meant, essentially, writing out abbreviated words as has usually been done throughout the diary.  Some material from Mrs. Forbes’ notes has been incorporated in this work, and numerous other references added.”

Additional Note: This version incorporates both Forbes’s and Walett’s footnotes, with the author of the various notes indicated by last name.

[1]Harriette M. Forbes, ed., The Diary of Rev. Ebenezer Parkman, of Westborough, Mass., for the Months of Feb., Mar., Apr., Oct. and Nov., 1737, Nov. and Dec. of 1778, and the Years of 1779 and 1780 ([Westborough,] 1899), 9-47.  The original may be found at: https://archive.org/details/diaryofrevebenez00park.


Diary Entry

1737 February 13 Sunday).  by the means thereof.  That we may be awares and have our Eyes open our minds apprehensive now, and not have the first thorow sense of those Things in the midst of the unhappy Experience of them.

February 15, 1737

1737 February 15 (Tuesday).  I rode to Concord.  Mr. Flagg[1] of Grafton my Company, from Biglo’s in Marlborough.  Mr. Whiting[2] and his wife had rid out.  Capt. Joseph Buckley Spent the evening with us.  I had conversation an hour or two with Mrs. Israel Whiting, lodged here.

[1]Walett: Eleazer Flagg.

[2]Forbes: Rev. John Whiting, of Concord, died May 4, 1752, aged 71.  He was pastor of the church for 26 years, a man of wealth, learning, influence and talents” – “a gentleman of singular hospitality and generosity.”  His second wife, whom he married in 1731, was the widow of Dr. Jonathan Prescott.  He was the grandson of Hon. Thos. Danforth, deputy-governor.

Walett: Rev. John Whiting of Concord.

February 16, 1737

1737 February 16 (Wednesday).  Lieut. Trowbridge came to Mr. Whiting’s and was my Company to Watertown.  Lodged at Father Champney’s[1] at Cambridge.

[1]Forbes: “Father Champney” was Samuel Champney, of Cambridge, born March 8, 1666-7 and died in March 1745-6.  Mr. Parkman’s first wife was his daughter Mary, who was baptized May 21, 1699, married July 7, 1724, and died Jan’y 29, 1735-6.

“Sister Hicks” and “Sister Lydia,” often mentioned in the Journal, were two younger sisters of the first Mrs. Parkman.  Rebecca, born in 1703, married John Hicks, while Lydia, born in 1705, was unmarried and seemed to have made her home part of the time in the minister’s family.

February 17, 1737

1737 February 17 (Thursday).  Rode to Boston.  My mother[1] a still in a measure of Comfort thro’ the Blessing of God.  I could not be seasonable for lecture.  N.B. At Mr. Increase Sumner’s[2] in the morning.   N.B. Capt. Foot[3] and Sister Elizabeth[4] and Mrs. Mary Tilestone took a ride with me in a double Slay at evening to Capt. Robert Sharp’s[5] at Brookline, and Brother Elias[6] came to us upon my Horse, after supper there.  At 10 o’clock they returned in the Slay but I tarried.  N.B. The discovery of my Inclinations to Capt. Sharp and to Madame.  By their urgent Persuasions I tarried and lodged there.  N.B. Mrs. Susanna Sharp.[7]

[1]Forbes: Among the Epitaphs on Copp’s Hill is the following: “Here lyes buried the body of Mrs. Elizabeth Parkman, the virtuous and pious consort of Mr. William Parkman, aged 85 years and 7 months, Apr. ye 13th, 1746.”

[2]Forbes: Mr. Increase Sumner was son-in-law of Capt. Robert Sharpe, having married his daughter Sarah, a year or less before this date.  She, as well as “Mistress Susanna,” was a cousin of Susannah Boylston, the mother of Pres. John Adams.

Their son Increase, born in 1746, was Governor Increase Sumner of Massachusetts.

[3]Walett: Probably Captain John Foote of Amesbury, Mass.

[4]Walett: Mrs. Elias Parkman.

[5]Forbes: Capt. Robert Sharpe was a prominent citizen of Brookline.  He owned all the land from the corner of School and Washington streets on the north side to a line above Park Street extending across Harvard Street to the Longwood Marshes, above the Aspinwall lands and below the present Stearns lands.  His house was standing until about thirty years ago, never painted except the window frames, which were white.  He was a man of wealth.

Mistress Susanna was born May 29, 1716, — so, was a maid of twenty-one summers at this time.  She afterwards married Thomas Snow, of Boston.

Walett: A Prominent and wealthy resident of Brookline.

[6]Walett: Elias Parkman of Boston.

[7]Walett: The daughter of Captain Robert Sharp whose hand in marriage Reverend Parkman was seeking.

February 22, 1737

1737 February 22 (Tuesday).  A number of Hands came to get wood.  Mr. Grout[1] with his Team, Mr. Tainter[2] with his and Mr. Harrington[3] with his, Mr. Grow,[4] Daniel Hardy, Dan. Forbush,[5] Elias Rice, Noah Rice,[6] James Fay,[7] James Bowman, Zebulon Rice, Solomon Rice, John Rogers, Timothy Warren, Jonathan Forbush, jun., Thomas Winchester, David Baverick, Ebenezer Nurse, Simon Tainter, jun. and Samuel Bumpso.

[1]Walett: Joseph Grout.

[2]Forbes: Simon Tainter, and his son Simon, Jr., were always good friends of Mr. Parkman.  The father in his will styles himself “gentleman” and bequeaths his “silver cup,” valued in the inventory at £1, 6s. 8 d., to his grandson Simon.  He died in 1763 and Mr. Parkman writes in his journal under date of April 2: “My dear friend and brother, Deacon Simon Tainter Dyd!  He expired about 11 A.M.  May God Sanctify this death in a peculiar manner to me and mine.  Tho my good deacon is gone, yet God who is All-Sufficient lives and is unchangeable.”  And April 5 he writes: “I read Isac. 51.  Preached A. M., on the occasion of the Sorrowful Death on I Thess. 4-18, read also 14, but could not handle that.”  “His duty,” says the Boston Evening Post – in a piece probably written by Mr. Parkman, “was manifested by his high regard to the house of God, his constant attendance there, his esteem of the ordinance and ministers thereof.

“His deeds of Charity were unstinted, his heart and hands being ever open, to relieve and help, and to supply the necessitous, who now deplore the loss of such a friend and father.”

Simon, Jr., was born in 1715.

Mr. Parkman’s later Journals are full of instances of Dea. Tainter’s kindness to him – breaking in an unruly mare, killing, with his son’s help, cattle or hogs, inviting him and his wife to dinner, when “they had dressed a very large Pigg to entertain us,” sending him fresh meat and wood, a bottle of Madeira, or a few oysters from Boston, selling divers sorts of edibles for Mrs. Parkman in the Boston markets, ploughing, sowing and reaping, and helping him in a thousand ways, and the pastor writes: “I hope he does all sincerely and as to the Lord, for I am utterly unworthy, but this conduct must quicken me to endeavor to deserve it.  May God reward him with Abundant Special Blessings.”

He lived on Mt. Pleasant Street, in the house now known as the Wadsworth house.

Walett: Deacon Simon Tainter.

[3]Walett: Samuel Harrington.

[4]Walett: Samuel Grow.

[5]Walett: Son of Deacon Jonathan Forbush.

[6]Walett: Son of Thomas Rice.

[7]Walett: Son of Captain John Fay.

February 24, 1737

1737 February 24 (Thursday).  Had sent to Mr. Prentice of Grafton[1] and very much depended upon him to preach my Lecture, but he failed.  I repeated Sermon on Heb. 7.25.  A very cold day — very slippery — few at Lecture.  Heard by Cousen Winchester that Sister Ruth Champney at Cambridge was sick.

[1]Forbes: Rev. Solomon Prentice – ordained as minister of the Grafton Church in 1731.  “He became,” says Rev. Peter Whitney, “what was called in that day a zealous new light, or more properly, a raving enthusiast.”  He died in 1773, leaving a will in which he provided that his wife Sarah, is to live in his house, and have all his household goods and furniture and indore movables; his riding chair and horse which is to be well kept for her, summer and winter, and replaced if he fails; her firewood cut at her door; as much cider as she shall have occasion to use in the house; full and free liberty to put up a friend’s horse or horses, to hay in winter and grass in summer, when they come to visit her, &c.  All to be provided by Solomon, Jr., for her sole use and benefit during her natural life.  £15 to be paid her annually by my sons.

Mr. Parkman was acquainted with Mr. Prentice before he came to Grafton, and with two other ministers signs a paper recommending him to the gospel ministry “when it shall please God to engage him in it and heartily pray he may prove a blessing to the churches.”  This was in 1731.

Mr. Prentice built for himself a house in Grafton, which after his death was occupied by Rev. Aaron Hutchinson, and later by Rev. Daniel Grosvenor; Mr. Parkman doubtless was a frequent visitor to each of its owners.  It was moved from its first location and now forms the front of Mr. Henry Prentice’s house on Oak Street, having come at last again into the family of the Rev. Solomon.

Walett: Reverend Solomon Prentice (Harvard 1727), minister of Grafton, 1731-1747.  Sibley, VIII, 248-257.

February 25, 1737

1737 February 25 (Friday).  A very cold day again.  Ensign Ward of Marlborough here to obtain my Evidence of what the Association which met at Framingham Oct. 16, 1733 judged concerning Mr. Kent.[1]  At eve I gave my Testimony, confirmed by an Oath before Justice Keyes.[2]  Ensign Ward being there present.

[1]Walett: Benjamin Kent (Harvard 1727), minister at Marlborough, 1733 to 1735, was dismissed and tried as a heretic.

[2]Walett: Captain John Keyes of Shrewsbury.

February 28, 1737

1737 February 28 (Monday).  The weather was very Raw Cold.  The Wind was north and very bleak.  I visited Mr. Beeman’s[1] Family and Mr. David Brigham.  The Dauter of the former and the Wife of the Latter were ill.


Monsieur Thyery came to my house P.M. and I had some Expectations of Mr. Prentice of Grafton, and his wife to visit me, but they did not come.  The Doctor spent the evening and good part of the night with me, but presently after he got to Bed came Simon Tainter jun. upon a most urgent message from Stephen Fay,[2] to have the Doctor visit him forthwith.  Howbeit he would not rise till he had taken several naps.  I did not get to bed till past Three o’clock.  N.B. Town Meeting to add to the Seats in Meeting House.

[1]Forbes: The Beeman family lived on the Flanders road.  David Brigham’s house stood about 60 yards east from where the Hospital now stands.  His farm comprised about 500 acres.  His house was burned Oct. 16, of this year (see entry for that day).  He rebuilt the house with the help of his son Jonas, who after his father’s death lived in it.

Walett: Ebenezer Beeman of Westborough.

[2]Forbes: Stephen Fay, in spite of this severe illness, and lack of attention on the part of Dr. Thyery, lived many years.  He was the son of Capt. John Fay and was born May 5, 1715.  He lived in Westborough until 1743 when he moved from town, and later became one of the first settlers of Bennington, Vt.  He built the first tavern west of the Green Mts., a house which had a stirring history during the Revolution.  He had five sons in the Battle of Bennington, and Peter Fay, of Southborough, tells the following touching account of his learning after the battle that his oldest son John had been instantly killed by a ball through the head.

“A messenger was sent to bear the solemn tidings to Capt. Fay as gently as possible.  He told him he had something bad to tell him concerning one of his sons.  The Capt. instantly asked him:

“‘Did he disobey orders?  Or desert his post?’


“‘Did he falter in the charge?’

“‘No, worse than that.  He is dead,’ was the answer.

“‘Then it is not worse,’ exclaimed the father. ‘Bring him in, that I may once more gaze on the face of my darling boy.’

“And when they brought him in, covered with dust and blood, he called for water and a sponge, and with his own hand bathed the disfigured features; declaring at the same time that he had never experienced a more glorious or happy day in his life.”