1778 June 1 (Monday). Elias Bryant returns home, and leaves his Brother Timothy to live with me a Year, or at least till next March. The Contribution of yesterday, with some Addition to day, amounts to 45 Dollars and a few pence. Deacon Meriam with a Letter from Mr. Grosvenor for Assistance at a Fast on the 3d. Miss Ruth Waters of Sutton, dined with [illegible] came over from Hopkinton to see us. [Illegible] Who went up to Sutton. [Torn] Brother Daniel Forbes here p.m. for [illegible] enquiring about a number of matters [illegible] at Eve. [Illegible] informs that the General Assembly [is returned to?] Watertown.
1778 June 2 (Tuesday). It was rainy; but I rode to Deacon Bonds, where was [illegible] private meeting; and I preached on 1 Cor. 15.57 from p. 9 to [Quest?], p. 16. Mrs. Cotton with us Still.
1778 June 3 (Wednesday). I rode on an Horse of Mr. Tainters to the Fast at Grafton. It was occasioned by Rev. Grosvenor’s Hoarseness, so that he has not preached these two Years. Dr. Hall, Mr. Fish and Mr. Sumner came. Dr. Hall began the Solemnity with Prayer. Mr. Fish preached a.m. on Isa. 31.9. An excellent good and pertinent Sermon. May God forgive my ill Frame and bless it to me and to all Concerned! P.M. Mr. Sumner prayed and I preached on 2 Cor. 4.1 and read Several more verses. Which may God bless to us to our highest Benefit! Mr. Farrar who preaches on the Sabbath here, was among us. I returned home at Eve. Mrs. Cotton left us about 4 p.m. and went to Hopkinton.
1778 June 4 (Thursday). Deacon John Fay came and received the Money which was lately Contributed in our Assembly for him. Forty five Dollars, for which he gives me a Receipt, and returned his hearty Thanks to our Congregation.
1778 June 5 (Friday). Dr. Hawes raises a new part to his Barn. My sons assist at it.
1778 June 6 (Saturday). I rode to Mr. Nathan Goddards (in compliance with Mr. Maccartys Request) to let him know I was going to Worcester. Dined at Mr. Sumners. Proceeded to Visit the Prisoners. James Buchannan, William Brooks, Ezra Ross, and Bathsheba Spooner. I conversed with the Men in their Apartment and the Woman in hers. The former were very Penitent, and think they have each of them experienced the Special Grace of God. But the Woman, though she appeared to be Sober and was employed in reading the Scriptures, yet I could not find that She had a due sense of her Condition. She did not think that her Condemnation was just. She acquainted me with her having [illegible] Letter from Rev. and aged Mr. Carpenter. [Illegible] with me into the Mens Room [illegible] they all desired me to pray with and for [illegible] I would remember their [illegible] [Parents?] [illegible] Speaking of his Hope towards God etc., [illegible] that nigh a fortnight agoe, on the [Saturday?] Night, and Sabbath morning he had wonderful Manifestations of the Grace of God. It was the Day of his Baptism. I repaired to Mr. Maccartys, and lodged there.
1778 June 7 (Sunday). Preached at Worcester, the Prisoners present (and desiring Prayers) on Heb. 10.31, “It is a fearful Thing to fall etc.,” a. and p.m. Which may God grant success to! Mr. Maccarty was with us. At Eve he rode out to solemnize a Marriage and returned with a seven Dollar Fee.
1778 June 8 (Monday). I had desired, and my Thoughts had been much upon visiting the prisoners again (they having themselves requested it) but the weather proved rainy — and I was obliged to get home as soon as I well could, because of the Communion next sabbath and the preceeding Lecture. Also I was obliged to go home through Grafton — for which Reasons I omitted visiting abovesaid and I could not help resisting the importunity of Mr. Stearns (attorney) to dine with him to day. When I had took leave there, I rode to friendly Mr. Pratts, and being refreshed, went on my Journey — to Mr. Tanners, where I dined. He lends me Mr. Hopkins of Newport on Sin’s being the means of Good. Called at Mr. John Maynards — at Squire Brighams — at Mr. David Stow’s, to See why my Sheep had not been Sheared. Met Mr. Farrar, and though he was the Beginner of the Affair, and had repeated his Engagements to me, to preach my Lecture on Wednesday next, yet has he made an Appointment with Mr. Grosvenor, to go up to Brookfield. At Night the Singers had a Meeting at Brecks, but for better Convenience they adjourned to the Meeting-House.
1778 June 9 (Tuesday). Read part of Hopkins Book on Sin the Means of Good. P.M. Mr. Moses Bellows of Southborough made me a Visit. At Eve Deacon Wood conducted Capt. [torn] to see me.
1778 June 10 (Wednesday). Elias goes up to Grafton, being [torn] Shearing the Sheep: and at night [torn] home [torn] Mr. Farrar came not. I prea[torn] my Self [illegible] from Luke 19.10 from p. 14 to [torn]. Very thin Lecture [torn] not but observe it to them that were there, how many empty [Pews?] and how empty the Gallerys were. After Lecture Mr. Nat. [Rugg?] here about hiring or taking, one or more of my Cows, but they were both gone to Mr. Tainters, and [dined?] Mrs. Bent who weaves for Mrs. Parkman, brought home a Piece of Linnen Cloth, for the weaving of which I paid her five Dollars and a quarter.
1778 June 11 (Thursday). Mr. Rug was here again in Quest of Grain to Support his Family. I was not able to do much for him, Yet could not but Pity him and his unhappy Wife and Children. May the Lord be gracious to Each of them.
1778 June 12 (Friday). Elias is Sadly disappointed about an Horse, and Setts out for Cambridge on foot: goes away late in the p.m. choosing to travel chiefly in the night.
1778 June 13 (Saturday). Mr. Moses Nurse having brought up a Load of Earthen Ware from Danvers, I took an Opportunity as he was going from Brecks Store, to give him a most Solemn Admonition and Charge concerning his absence from the House of God. Reuben Lambson, come from Sandwich, Says that Col. Roland Cotton then lay dead there.
1778 June 14 (Sunday). Preached both a. and p.m. on the important Subject from Luk. 19.10, repeating the remainder of my Sermons on that Text except [illegible] use of Exhortation and the Directions. Yet I had prepared enough for a sermon on Job 31.24, but I chose to defer delivering it.
Administered the Lords Supper. Mrs. Maynard, Mrs. Miller (deaf), Miss Anna Brigham (Suse’s Sister) dined here.
Received from Mr. Nathan Fiske his Sermon at the Interment of the late Mr. Joshua Spooner of Brookfield.
1778 June 15 (Monday). Simon Forbes brought me a pair of New Shooes: for making only paid three Dollars.
1778 June 16 (Tuesday). I sat out for East Sudbury — went by Mr. Stones, and took him with me, to the Ministers Meeting. Mr. Smith was not there. He had gone a Journey. Mr. Bridge prayed, preached on 2 Cor. 12.15 (The Text the Rev. Prentice preached on when I was ordained). One of the Cases Proposed to the Association was Mr. Whitneys, viz. what had best be done about Deacon Livermores Wife [illegible] continues to offer herself to the Communion. Answer Let the Church [pick a?] Committee to determine it.
[After the Meeting?] I rode to Weston, to Visit Mr. William Blair Townsend — [but he Expired?] about 10 o’Clock Aet. 55. At Mrs. [Townsends and the?] only Sons Request I lodged there. I [illegible] as he was my generous Friend, but especially as he was [virtuous?] charitable and public-spirited Man. “Help Lord” etc!
1778 June 17 (Wednesday). Rode to Lincoln; called to see Mr. Lawrence, who and two of his [illegible] have been confined very much, with illness for some time. I proceeded to Mr. Timothy Brooks, where Mr. Procter and his Wife board — and dined there. P.M. returned to Mr. Lawrences; to old Capt. Daniel Adams, and to my Son Williams in Concord, where I lodged. N.B. My Son has lately bought a Chaise: also a large Number of Pictures. These last at the late Judge Russells. N.B. My son Samuel has returned to Boston last week.
1778 June 18 (Thursday). Left Billeys and returned home. I called at Col. Weeks’. They were going to Lecture which I attended. Mr. Daniel Foster preached on Mat. 17.46. Conversed after Meeting with him, he having been lately with the Prisoners. I went to Cousen Uriah Brighams. Mrs. P________________ had been there, on the 16th and received two pair of womens Shooes [illegible] Mr. B[illegible] who works there. When I came home I found my Daughter Cushing and her son George. Her Husband came with her but has returned home.
1778 June 19 (Friday). [A fresh?] demand for Men who are to go to Rhode-Island 14 or 15 for our part for 22 days. My Son Alexander came, and has brought my Gun, which I had lent him Some years agoe: and I gave him the Gun which I bought of Mr. Thomas Kendal.
1778 June 20 (Saturday). Alexander returns to Leicester. He drives away his Cow, and Heiffer, also his Cow’s Calf: to mate which I have given him one of my Calves. And further I have given my Daughter Cushing an Heiffer, which Alexander is to take the Care of, and drive to Mr. Browns of Winchendon. N.B. his (Alexander’s) son Breck is at Leicester to assist him. The new-raised Soldiers march this morning Eight o’clock. I was troubled with a Pain in my Stomach and much indisposed to Study. Was obliged to lye down.
1778 June 21 (Sunday). I preached on Job 31.24. P.M. I preached on Prov. 4.18, partly on Occasion of the Death of William Blair Townsend. As I conceive he was a just man, and his path [bright?] imitable. May God be pleased to raise up [illegible].
1778 June 22 (Monday). Breck met with Disaster by his stairs [illegible] Shocked; the supporting Timbers [illegible] wrote (in part) to Mr. Quincy. Finished Reading Mr. Samuel Hopkins 3 Sermons on “Sin by divine interposition an Advantage to the Univ.”
1778 June 23 (Tuesday). Catechizing a.m. 35 Boys, p.m. 30 Girls. [illegible] the divine Blessing accompany my Instructions! And may this be a Generation which may be to the divine Praise!
1778 June 24 (Wednesday). I rode to over to Northborough Lecture, which Mr. Newell preached from Phil. 2.12. N.B. Mr. Sumner was there, and disliked the sermon: discovered his Disgust to me. He did not (as he conceived) sufficiently assert the Necessity of the Special Operation of the Holy Spirit in Conversion. Mr. Whitney Stopped the Church for the Enquiry into Deacon Livermores Wife’s Case. They pray her not to partake and appoint a Committee to look more distinctly into the Cause. I rode with Mr. Sumner to Shrewsbury. We called to see Madam Trowbridge, at General Wards. I lodged at Mr. Sumners. Breck, Sarah and Sophy Set out for Boston — have Neighbour Newtons Chaise.
1778 June 25 (Thursday). I was Stung by a Bee yesterday Morning on my right Eye Brow: it proved so troublesome last night, and Swelled this morning So as to Shut out the Light wholly from that Eye. Yet I pursued my Journey to Worcester. Stopped and Eat at Capt. Curtiss’s. In Worcester Mr. Cunningham shewed me Mr. Carpenters Letter to Mrs. Spooner. I went in to See the 3 Men: in the Jayl Ross’s Brother Timothy, and Lucy McDonald (who was with Child by Ezra) were there. The Criminals are very penitent and behave well. I questioned them concerning the first Beginnings of the [work?] proceedings? They Said Mrs. Spooner began them. Each of them affirmed it. But on visiting Mrs. Spooner, I found her of no different mind from time past, unless it was in more evident denyal of the Legality of her Condemnation. She was free and friendly in Conversation — offered me Wine, which I drank. She Answered me as heretofore, that She took it kindly that I came to see her etc. but when I asked her who was foremost in the horrid and bloody Acts, She laid this on Ross; which being contrary to what I had met with from the Prisoners below, I enquired whether She would say this before them if they were together? She said She would be willing to with Ross, but did not want to have the other two present. We went down to prayer. (N.B. [She at?] mention of [illegible] answered that Mrs. Curtis was very [kind and?] obliging to her [illegible] did not love to impose upon her. [illegible] I answered that Mrs. Curtis, I could be sure, would be far from taking [illegible] the least hard, if she desired to go down on that Occasion. “Will you ask for me?” says She. “Yes, readily.” I did: and she had leave. I went to the men a little while before She came: for the Guard waited on her. A paper was delivered me, which Buchannan had drawn up from Ross’s Mouth, and Ross had Signed it, while I was in the Chamber. When we were together Ross by my Desire read the Paper containing the First of her promoting her Husbands Death. The Paper was thus,
“I Ezra Ross do desire that Mrs. Spooner will take particular Notice. The following is the first of her promoting her husbands Death.
As She was going to Hardwick She asked me the Reason of my being so low Spirited? I made answer It was my long absence from home. She replyed that her Opinion was, I wanted some one to lodge with — I told her it would be agreeable. She asked me if Such an One as her self would do? I made answer If She was agreeable I was. [Marginal notation: The Dialect was so.] Upon which She said “After She came off her Journey she would See.”
N.B. After her Return She Gave me an Invitation to Defile her Marriage Bed; which I Expected. And after that she proposed constantly every sheam for her Husbands Death. [Marginal notation: The spelling is so.]
This Ross Said he declared was the very Truth, as a dying Man, and soon to be in Eternity — but it was but a sketch — there was much more of the like sort. [Mr. Maccarty at his House shewed me another Testimony of Ross’s (as a dying Man) concerning Mrs. Spooners [urging?] him very much to [poison her husband that?] he would give the Poison to Mr. [Crosby?] also (a Neighbour of theirs at Brookfield). But he [illegible]ly refused.] At their repeated [Request?] I prayed with them and giving them Serious Charge, I took Solemn Leave of them all. Their Ages, respectively I took from their Mouths.
Mrs. Spooner; She was 32 Feb. 15 last.
James Buchannan; He was 36 Jan. 25 last.
William Brooks of Walsal in Staffordshire, old England, in his 27th year, which would be compleat if he could live till July 30th next.
Ezra Ross, would be 18, could he live to July 20th next.
I dined at Mr. Stearns’, the Lawyer’s, Mr. Maccarty and Mr. Isaiah Thomas also. P.M. I was at Mr. Salisbury’s with his Mother chiefly. In returning home called (besides the usual places) at Mr. Israel Allen’s, to See his Wife who, tis thought, has a Cancer. Arrived safe. To God the Glory!
1778 June 26 (Friday). Very tedious, hot Weather to those who are obliged to be abroad. Mrs. P________ informs me that Brother Smith came on 24 to see me. Deacon Batchelour of Grafton came from Boston and brought thence 1/2 lb. of Tea for my Daughter Sophy, which he had given 4 Dollars and half for. I paid him the money but laid the Tea up; not willing to please my Palate at such Cost.
1778 June 27 (Saturday). I perceive that Breck returned from Boston sometime in the last night. I understand by him that Mrs. Hicks of Cambridge is not well pleased with what was done for James. Before we rose from Table, my Daughters Sarah and Sophy came from Concord.
1778 June 28 (Sunday). Was obliged to go on in repeating (but with Alterations and Additions) my Sermon on Prov. 4.18. Mrs. Maynard dined here. N.B. The Singers not only Sang at noon, but now begin to Sing after the Exercises at Evening.
1778 June 29 (Monday). Col. Buckminster comes this way in going to Rutland. I read Some part of Rob[inson]ns excellent History of the Church of Scotland. At Eve came Mr. Cushing from Ashburnham. His Horse is put to Mr. Daniel Forbes’s.
1778 June 30 (Tuesday). Though Mr. [Larkin?] came early in the morn to mowe my Square piece between [illegible] [meeting House?] he broke off at mid forenoon: he [illegible] and raking the Hay. Breck helps also. But about 3 or 4 p.m. a Thunderstorm arose [torn] much wet it. Mr. Cushings Horse [is gone?] from Mr. Forbes [torn]ure — he fears he is gone to Lancaster. Mr. Ripley from [Concord?] came — lodged here. N.B. Sarah and Sophy rode to Mr. Whitneys at Northborough.