January 1, 1754

1754 January 1 (Tuesday).  Through the Tender Mercy and Longsuffering of God I see the Morning of another New Year, and am at Brookfield.  Esquire Howard had Sent a Message to me Yesterday, and this Morning came himself to invite me and my son Ebenezer who is with me, as well as Mr. Forbush[1] and his Wife, to a New Years Dinner.  It prov’d a fine Day, which with good Company, and fine Eating, made it a chearful Time.  Thanks be to God for his great Goodness in which He is rich unto all!  May it be a truely happy New Year!  Captain Wit[2] and I rode from Esquire Howards up to Mr. Abraham Smiths to talk with him about his place, with a view to my son Ebenezer’s living there.  At Eve return’d to Mr. Forbush’s.

[1]Parkman’s son-in-law, the Reverend Eli Forbes.

[2]Ebenezer Witt.

January 2, 1754

1754 January 2 (Wednesday).  Am upon the Business of Mr. Smiths place.  Mr. Forbush and Lieutenant Gilbert[1] accompany us, as Mr. Smith shews us his Bounds.  But the Snow being on the Ground we can’t See the Soil.  At Eve Mr. Benjamin Ruggles,[2] preaching now a Days at New Braintree came to Mr. Forbushs.  I preach’d an Eve Lecture at the Meeting House there on Luke 29.10.  Mr. Ruggles pray’d.  N.B. This was the first Time Mr. Forbush got out since his Fall.  May God make his word effectual for our saving Profit!  Mr. Ruggles lodg’d with me at Mr. Forbushs.

[1]Benjamin Gilbert of Brookfield.

[2] Benjamin Ruggles (Yale 1721) had been minister of Lakeville, 1725-1753.  Because of an insufficient salary, Ruggles asked for and received his dismission.  He was called to the town of New Braintree where he served, 1754-1782.  Dexter, Biographical Sketches, pp. 255-56, and Sibley, VII, 46-650.

January 4, 1754

1754 January 4 (Friday).  Rain.  Agree with Mr. Smith.  Take a Deed of him and give him a Bond, to give him a Deed of my House, and nine acres and 1/2 of Land in Westborough.  Late in the Day leave Brookfield and rode to Mr. Eatons[1] in Leicester — were well refresh’d there, and though it was wet at Evening proceeded to the Reverend Mr. Goddards[2] and lodg’d there.  Through the divine Favour am also in good Comforts of Body, although my mind has been exceedingly agitated in my trading with Mr. Smith fearing whether it will be suitably improv’d by him and turn to his good.  But whilst I am thus concern’d for him pay him a great Price for his and sell my own but at very low rate.  His Wife also very backward to sign.

[1]The Reverend Joshua Eaton of Spencer.

[2]David Goddard of Leicester.

January 7, 1754

1754 January 7 (Monday).  I made a Visit to my old Neighbour and Friend Captain Maynard to acquaint him with what I had done with Mr. Abraham Smith and take his Advice.  Seeing likewise when I parted with Mr. Smith and saw how lost his Wife was, I told him that if I could do better, and his Wife should grow no easier, I Should still desire to throw up; I therefore relating the matter to Captain Maynard, ask’d both him and his Son whether they would b[u]y my whole (old) place, in Case Smith would release the Bargain; but they declin’d it, but especially refused the House.  Captain Wood[1] of Hopkinton brought a Letter from Mr. Barret[2] requesting me to assist there at a Fast by reason of the malignant Fever, which exceedingly rages and proves very mortal in Holliston, and begins to rage in Hopkinton.  N.B. Ten lay dead in Holliston last Friday.  Mrs. Prentice[3] was bury’d on Saturday last, but Mr. Prentice is recovering.  For want of Help, So many being Sick and Dead, they draw some Corps to their Graves on Sleds.[4]  N.B. Mr. Griffin here.

[1]John Wood,

[2]The Reverend Samuel Barrett of Hopkinton.

[3]Mary, the wife of the Reverend Joshua Prentiss of Holliston. This town was very hard hit in this epidemic, and Prentiss wrote an account of the sickness there.  See Mass. Hist. Soc. Collections, 1st Ser., III, 18-20.

[4]Modern authorities regard this as another outbreak of diphtheria, which was a problem in various parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  See John Duffy, Epidemics in Colonial America (Baton Rouge, [1953]), pp. 125-126.

January 9, 1754

1754 January 9 (Wednesday).  It rain’d hard; but I rode to Hopkinton found Messrs. Stone and Smith with Mr. Barret.  Mr. Fish came also.  Mr. Barret pray’d a.m. and Mr. Stone preach’d on Rev. 6.8.  N.B. about 20 pray’d for.  The rain prevail’d so that we all lodg’d there.  At Eve Dr. Wilson among us; who tells us that in this Fever there is much of pleurisy and peripneumony.

January 10, 1754

1754 January 10 (Thursday).  Bright morning — visit Captain Wood and his Brother Lieutenant John Wood who has the fever.  I pray’d with him.  Mr. Fish[1] went to a Fast to Day at Mill-river in Mendon.  In my return home call’d at John Kelley’s to get Loggs for some choice Floor Boards — din’d at Mr. Daniel Hardys.  At Eve Mr. Ebenezer Chamberlin here, and Mr. Daniel Forbush.  They offer a Motion for a Fast here.

[1]The Reverend Elisha Fish of Upton.

January 13, 1754

1754 January 13 (Sunday).  I read part of Judg. 6.  I spent so much time in my Preparations for the Afternoon that I could not prepare for the forenoon only a brief Introduction of the Repitition [sic] of Sermon on Rom. 6.21 from page 37 to 46, but from Jam. 1.15 last Clause.  To this I was induc’d the rather because of my last repetition Concerning the unprofitableness and Shamelessness of Sin, have appear’d to be acceptable and useful, and I heard it wish’d that there might be more:  and again I was induced hereto also because of the Mortality in Neighbouring Towns.  P.M. read Heb. 7, and preach’d on Rev. 10.6 latter part on occasion of our Contributing for the Relief of Alpheus Newton and his Wife, lately burnt out;[1] which Contribution was this afternoon, and may God accept the offering of his people and sanctifie His holy Dispensations.

[1]The Westborough Church Records, Jan. 13, 1754, reveal that Newton’s house was burned down “in the Night between the 24th and 25th of December last.”

January 18, 1754

1754 January 18 (Friday).  Much Company interrupting especially at Eve.  Mr. Timothy Warrin in Defence of Samuel Bumpso, so far as to prevent his going to Jayl, if getting posts and Rails next March might Satisfie on an Execution and Note of last October the third follow’d by continual Ingratitude, negligence and unfaithfulness.  One Mr. Moon of Lebanon here, tells me Dr. Eliot[1] of Killingworth is dead.

[1]This reference is puzzling, for the Reverend Jared Eliot of Killingworth, who also served as a physician, lived until 1763.  Two of his sons who also practiced medicine there died in 1741 and 1747.

January 20, 1754

1754 January 20 (Sunday).  Read Judg. 6, from number 25.  Preach’d all Day on I Cor. 15.25.  Read p.m. Heb. 8.  N.B. had the Sorrowfull news of the Death of Reverend Mr. David Goddard of Leicester.  He expir’d yesterday at his wife’s House in Framingham, after a very short illness of a violent Fever which prevails in Framingham.  He preach’d last Sabbath at Southborough, and was taken ill the next Day.  N.B. I was desir’d by Deacon Forbush to think of a Fast here.  After the Exercises I stop’d the Church and propos’d it.  The Deacon aforesaid manifested his Desire again — but I could not without Difficulty obtain of the Brethren to Speak their Minds about it, and yet when I put it to Vote, it was voted unanimously as far as I could discern.

January 23, 1754

1754 January 23 (Wednesday).  Mr. Joseph Bruce here on occasion of his son in Law Child his Thigh broke.  I sent a Line by him to Mr. Francis Whipple containing my Desire to have a Clause inserted in the Warrant for the next Town Meeting relating to their Arrears.  I went to the Funeral of the Reverend Dr. David Goddard of Leicester; who was bury’d from his Wife’s House in Framingham.  The Reverend Mr. Read[1] pray’d.  He and the Reverend Messrs. Stone, Bliss[2] and Bridge,[3] with Dr. Ebenezer Hemingway[4] were the other Bearers.  Mr. Ebenezer Goddard lies very bad of the same Fever.  News also came that Mr. Benjamin Goddard, who was with me yesterday, was taken sick as soon as he got home; and for the Time is very ill.  May a gracious God fit us for His holy will!  In the Eve the Mare I rode, Stray’d away from Colonel Buckminsters[5] where we turn’d in to warm us, and drew up some account of Mr. Goddards Death; which was committed to Mr. Bliss to carry Mr. Kneeland at Boston to publish.[6]  I lodg’d at the Colonel’s.

[1]Solomon Reed of Framingham.

[2]Daniel Bliss of Concord.

[3]Matthew Bridge of Framingham.

[4]Ebenezer Hemenway was a physician of Framingham.  Clair A. H. Newton, Ralph Hemmenway . . . and his Descendants (Naperville, Ill., 1932), I, 16.

[5]Colonel Joseph Buckminster, a leading citizen of Framingham.

[6]This news item appears not to have been published.

January 24, 1754

1754 January 24 (Thursday).  It snow’d in the Night and Morning, but I walk’d up to Dr. Hemingways who lent me his Horse to Southborough — found mine at Mr. Andrew Newtons, and proceeded to the Fast in Southborough, on occasion of the sickness.  Mr. Stone pray’d first.  I preach’d from Mat. 24.44.  Mr. Smith pray’d after sermon, then we sang part of Ps. 37.  Mr. Bridge pray’d after singing — for we had but one Exercise.  In returning home (Lieutenant Tainter my Company) comply’d with Lieutenant Nathan Brighams earnest Desire to turn in and see his son Nathan, who lay very sick of the Fever, and pray’d with him.

January 28, 1754

1754 January 28 (Monday).  Dr. Perkins[1] of Framingham informs me that Mr. Benjamin Goddard,[2] who was with me last Tuesday, dy’d last Night.  Alpheus Newton’s House rais’d.  Captain Eager ask’d me to go up, and I did so.  Some refreshment at Deacon Newtons[3] by Captain Eager.  Mr. Hezekiah Rice came to request me to go to Mr. Goddards Funeral.  N.B. some Discourse with Deacon Newton and Mr. Francis Whipple about my addressing the Town for the remains of my Sallery in the Year 1744.  N.B. James Eager brings a Message from Mr. Jonathan Greene.

[1]Richard Perkins (Harvard 1748), a physician, was the son of the Reverend Daniel Perkins of Bridgewater and the brother-in-law of the Reverend Matthew Bridge of Framingham.

[2]Of Shrewsbury.

[3]Josiah Newton of Westborough.

January 29, 1754

1754 January 29 (Tuesday).  I visited Mrs. Dodge, wife of Mr. Jabez Dodge.  Also a Lad ([blank] Childs) at Mr. Hezekiah Pratts, he having broke his Thigh Bone.  I went to the Funeral of Mr. Benjamin Goddard.  Mr. Cushing not sent for.  I reprov’d them for their Neglect.  N.B. Colonel Nahum Wards private Talk with me about Mr. Cushing.  N.B. Mr. Jeduthun Baldwin and [blank] Cutler from Brookfield.

January 30, 1754

1754 January 30 (Wednesday).  This Day was observ’d as a Day of Humiliation and Prayer by this Parish.[1]  I began with Prayer.  No minister comes though I had sent to most of those round about, it being a dark, stormy Day.  Mr. Stone[2] came in Prayer Time.  He preach’d on Ps. 39.4.  Mr. Cushing came also in prayer Time.  In time of the last Prayer a.m. came Mr. Barret.[3]  Neither did any other come.  P.M. Mr. Barret pray’d.  Mr. Cushing preach’d on Hos. 4.7.  Captain Brigham, Deacon Burnap[4] and Mr. Ephraim Wood Supp’d here.  O that God would graciously accept our Offerings; pardon our sins, revive His Work and remove from His People His sore Judgments.  Preserve us still in this Day of Evil, and prevent Spiritual Judgments falling upon us!  May the Goodness of God to us lead us to repentence and prevent our abusing His Mercy.

[1]This fast was held “on Account of a Malignant Mortal fever raging in many Neighbouring Towns.”  Westborough Church Records, Jan. 30, 1754.

[2]Nathan Stone of Southborough.

[3]The Reverend Samuel Barrett of Hopkinton.

[4]Benjamin Burnap of Hopkinton.

January 31, 1754

1754 January 31 (Thursday).  I rode over to Mr. Jonathan Greens.  In going by Captain James Eagers swamp I perceiv’d there was a great Number of men getting shingle for Abner Newton.  I din’t at Lieutenant Holloways.  Mr. Green and his wife both gone from home.  Visited Mr. Martin.  His wife and Daughter confin’d by illness.  Call’d at Ensign Rice’s who was gone to Boston.  N.B. She desires me to talk with her Husband for Azuba.