1777 October 1 (Wednesday). In the Morning Mr. Moses Nurse takes the Jarvis Horse at the Tail of his Waggon to deliver him at Cambridge. Hannah has somewhat more Comfort, yet has more Fever: especially p.m. Conversed with her, read to her — viz. Dr. I. Mathers sermon on [blank]. Master Samuel Crosby dined with us, as did Dr. Stimpson and Mrs. Cotton, who are returning from Pomfret. N.B. Elias went to Mr. Belknaps with the Team and brought thence Six Barrells, for which he asks 2 Dollars apiece. Two he left at Mr. Chamberlains to be filled. Mr. Forbes and Lady and son came, nigh 9 at night, and lodge. I read Flavel on Mortification.
1777 October 2 (Thursday). Mr. Forbes etc. leave us a.m. Leaves Dr. Robinsons History of Scotland and 2 of his MS. sermons. Catechizing a.m. 27, p.m. 28. N.B. Sent a Barrell to Capt. Jonathan Fay; another to Lt. Jonathan Grout. Hannah not so feverish: rode to Dr. Hawes — but seems to decline: her Cough etc. no better. At night came Mr. Cornelius Waters and a young Gentleman, an Hazzletine with him, of Dartmouth College, but I was in so much trouble about my Daughter, and my pasture so gnawed up, that I could not freely ask them to tarry all night, though I did repeatedly urge them to stay to sup here. N.B. Mr. Waters has a Specimen of an excellent Spirituous Liquor distilled at Salem from indian Corn Stalks.
1777 October 3 (Friday). Hannah is more comfortable in Mind and Body. Blessed be God for any respit! But Elias droops.
1777 October 4 (Saturday). Hannah evidently looses Ground — does not get over the Fatiegue of her Journey. I read to her some chosen Passages of Dr. Doddridges Rise and Progress. Which may God bless!
1777 October 5 (Sunday). Preached again on Jer. 8.22. O that we might have the Precious Remedy applyed effectually by the Holy spirit to our Souls Healing! No preaching at Southborough. Mr. [Absalmom?] Ward dines with us — as does Molly Pratt and Mindwell Brigham. P.M. Delivered the first sermon on Isa. V on v. 1-7. At Eve repeat the morning sermon. N.B. received a Letter from my son Baldwin dated Camp above Still-Water Sept. 26. Glory to God for all their Successes. Breck writes on the outside, Worthing Oct. 2, that he is well and All with him.
1777 October 6 (Monday). Before Day Mr. Jonathan Forbes called me out of Bed to go and See Capt. Benjamin Fay who it was thought was drawing near his End. I went just after Break of Day; and found him exceeding low, his Fever high — but though he appeared to have his Reason, yet he could say but little. Prayed with him and discoursed as the Case required. Went to Deacon Wood and acquainted him with the designed Meeting tomorrow at Widow Hardys. Saw the Success of his New Squeezing Mill. Hannah weaker — read to her part of Mr. Showers sermon on Mat. 24.44. At Eve Hannaniah Parker here and tells Me Capt. Fay dy’d about Sunsett. May God Sanctifie it, and humble us by it! The Solid Members of our Church are more and more diminished, when We more and more need them. May God most gracious Pity and Pardon us!
1777 October 7 (Tuesday). Hannah has a bad Day: fever, Coughing; and She is very Weak. Mr. Benjamin Fay here to acquaint me with the Death, and desires me to attend the Funeral of his Father — tomorrow at 2 p.m.
P.M. I preached at a private Meeting, at the House of Mrs. Jemima Hardy, widow of the late Mr. Constantine Hardy. My Text was Phil. 4.6 and I used two pages and half of my Sermon from thence, but used part of Exposition on Mat. 6.25. Before returning I Spoke to them that were present of my Willingness to Serve them as I used to etc., and Mr. Benjamin Tainter desired the Monthly Family meetings might be revived, that the next Meeting might be at his House, the first Tuesday in the next month. Called to See Mrs. Piper, who is much recovered. D.G.
1777 October 8 (Wednesday). We are apprehensive that Hannah can continue but a little longer. Almost every Day Shews a Difference. Her mind is more calm: yet not without Disquietment. In Every Prayer I would remember both her, and our own share in her sufferings! May the Lord graciously and almightily appear for both her and us! We are too unfit to meet our God in these ways of Severity (yet Righteousness) with us! P.M. I attended the Funeral of the late Capt. Benjamin Fay, and prayed. N.B. Mr. Sumner and Dr. Crosby were with me. Sister Cushing came with those Gentlemen to see Hannah. At the House of Mourning nothing was more remarkable than the Strange Alteration of the Corps — Swelled enormously, discoloured, purple etc., fermenting and turning apace to putrification — exceeding offensive, and the general Desire was to have the Coffin nailed up. N.B. An urgent Message to me, while yet in their Yard, but presently after prayer to go up into one of the Chambers where was a young Woman, ill in Body and distressed in Mind. Mr. Sumner also was requested to go up to her. We complyed — discoursed with her. I desired Mr. Sumner to pray with her; which he did. He also came with Dr. Crosby, to my House, discoursed and prayed with Hannah, and is very sympathetic. May God graciously reward Him and extend Compassion to his own tender, weak spouse! But especially reward him in spirituals!
1777 October 9 (Thursday). Hannah is so low She speaks but a little, and Sophy is continually attached to her, till I fear the Event. Suse is very helpful as a kind, affectionate sister; took Care of her last night, when Cough followed her so tediously, that She had but little Rest. John Brown going to Leicester, dined here. Mr. John Fay of Levertt here, and asks whether he mayn’t own the Covenant here? For though there is a Church, yet there is no minister in their Town. Mr. David Sangor came (though it was rainy) from Framingham to bring me back the Dollars which were committed to him on the 15th and brought home safely Monsieur Jurieus Crit. Hist. Dear Hannah has the Covenant read to her; to which She freely (and She thinks heartily) consents. She has Such signs and Tokens of Sincerity and of Faith in Christ, that I am much relieved; and desire to praise God for it. She says (among other Things) that if there was no Hell, She would Shun and loath sin.
1777 October 10 (Friday). Hannah, though I don’t know but that She is lower then ever, yet has had a night of more Quiet from coughing and from other Disorders, than of late.
A Report that Philadelphia is taken by a part of the regular Army.
1777 October 11 (Saturday). Rev. Mr. Thatcher of [Gorham?] (in the Eastward) going to Lebanon breaks fast with us. Hannah I think looses Ground still.
1777 October 12 (Sunday). I preached a.m. on Jer. 8, concluding Clause. Molly Pratt and Mindwell Brigham dined here. P.M. preached again an Exposition on Mat. 16.28. At Eve read to the Family part of Mr. Byfields Cure of the Fear of Death — on Consideration of Hannahs low state.
Nicholas Byfield (1579-1622), The Cure of the Feare of Death. Shewing the Course Christians May Take to Bee Delivered from These Feares about Death, Which Are Found in the Hearts of the Most. A Treatise of Singular Use for All Sorts (London: Printed by G. P[urslowe] for Ralph Rounthwaite at the Flower-de-Luce and Crowne in Pauls Church-yard, 1618).
1777 October 13 (Monday). Went to Deacon Woods and got his Horse. Rode to see the widow Fay who is Sick; and dined there. Rode to Mr. James Bellows’s and Mr. Broads (at the Mills). Was at Widow Bakers, who is, with her Brother Josephs wife, very generous to me. But my principal Design was at old Mr. David Maynards, whose wife is very ill. Prayed there. At Eve read Dr. Whitakers Sermon on Judg. 5.23, “Curse ye Meroz,” etc. Hannah is in much bodily Distress — extreme low — besides cough, a very smarting Pain in her side — and is grown raw with lying — complains that she has not Assurance, can’t pray Steddily — her Cough very bad, but what is special is, she is much weaker. Little Alexander has been ill these two Days with bad Cough and sore Throat. Was Vomited this morning.
Nathaniel Whitaker (1732-1795), An antidote against Toryism. Or The curse of Meroz, in a discourse on Judges 5th 23, by Nathaniel Whitaker D.D. Pastor of the Presbyterian congregation in Salem, state of Massachusetts-Bay. Published at the desire of many who heard it. Dedicated to His Excellency, General Washington (Newbury-Port: [Mass.] Printed by John Mycall., MDCCLXXVII ).
1777 October 14 (Tuesday). Hannah draws near her End — in the Morning is sensible of it — asks me to go to my study, and pray for her — or rather Stay and pray by her — which I did. I read to her part of Mr. Crawfords Zions Traveller, S.XXVI, Edit. 3. Edinb. p. 75.6.7. To which she added her own Amen, as peculiarly Suiting her. And She Seems to have her understanding clear. As we sat down at Dinner in all probability an internal sore in her side broke, and there came forth at her mouth putrid Matter. She waxes weaker and weaker. She looks round upon us, but can’t utter any thing. She appears to have hope in her Death. Her breathing is feebler. She Sinks by Degrees without any Groan, Sign or Gasp, She ceases. It is 20 minutes past 2 p.m. We resign her to the Great almighty Author of her Being, and that gave her to us. Blessed be His Name, who has continued her so long to us, and has granted Such hopeful Tokens of the Grace of God to her! Cousen Maynard came and with our sister Brigham, watched here, and especially with little Alexander. My Neighbour Barnabas Newton setts out for Brookfield, and New Braintry; but in peculiar to call this Evening at my Son Alexanders to inform him, if he be there, of the dangerous condition his son lies in. Neighbour Nathan Maynard will go hastily to Ashburnham to inform Mr. Cushing.
William Crawford, Zion’s Traveller : Or, the Soul’s Progress to Heaven; In the Several Steps Whereby It Ascends from Deep Distress and Misery, to the Height of Triumph and Glory.
1777 October 15 (Wednesday). Elias goes on an Horse of Col. Brighams, and with him (who is Representative for Northborough) to Boston, to Cambridge, and to Concord, to inform his Brothers there, of what God has seen meet to do. Alexander and his wife and young Child.
1777 October 16 (Thursday). Mr. Whitney came — dined — preached on Prov. 3.17. After the Exercise, he returned home. Mr. Newton here at Eve and his Wife; they watched. Ebenezer came from Dudley, from burying his Daughter How. Isaac Baldwin here from Brookfield. My Son Alexander waited on me to Mr. Nathan Maynards. Thence we walked over to Mr. D. Maynards to see his Wife. Prayed with her. Her Fever strong. Dr. Gordon and his Lady, journeying from Lyme to Boston, call upon us and lodge here. N.B. Certifies me of General Gates’s Temp[erance?]. Elias returns from Cambridge. Ebenezer and Isaac lodge at the Doctors. Mrs. Lucy Forbush came and watched with little Alexander.
1777 October 17 (Friday). Dr. Gordon and Lady leave us. My Son Cushing came a.m. Mr. Whitney and spouse. My son William, his Wife, his son William and his Daughter Lydia, my son Samuel, Miss Patty Fish — dined with us. Mr. Caleb Harrington has dug a Grave. Mr. Paul Lambson has made and brought a Coffin. Mr. Whitney at the Funeral prayed with us and the Assembly which gathered upon the Sorrowful Occasion. Messrs. Thomas Stone, Edward, Antepas and Winslow Brigham, [blank] Wheelock and Reuben Lambson, were Bearers, and we solemnly interred my dear Daughter Hannahs Remains! May God most gracious grant us the Grace of holy Mourning and to be ready also! The Company retire to go home except my sons Ebenezer and Alexander, his Wife and two Children, Isaac Baldwin, Miss Jedidah Woodward (who watches with little Alexander) and Molly Pratt, who tarrys to help us. Mrs. Harrington is ill and Mrs. P________ goes to her to night.
1777 October 18 (Saturday). Little Alexander is Still under the Distemper; and his Case doubtfull. Mrs. Harrington brings forth another son. At Eve, by Special Request, I go to Neighbour Harringtons, and pray and give thanks.
1777 October 19 (Sunday). Preached a.m. on Mat. 17.4 and administered the Sacrament. Cousin Maynard and Miss Katy How with her, dined here. P.M. delivered two sermons in one Exercise, with some Omissions, from Ps. 39.9, on Occasion of the Death of my Daughter Hannah; and desire Grace to enable me in the Same Manner, with the holy [Psalmist?], to Exercise holy Resignation and submission to the sovereign Will of God. Miss Betty Bevil tarrys here and watches with the Child.
Psalm 39.9: “I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.”
1777 October 20 (Monday). Mr. Haven of Framingham here to enquire concerning his son David’s Death, in Battle; concerning which Breck had writ to me. I wrote to Breck, and Send it by the Hand of Alexander: to the Post for Conveyance — for Alexander returns to Leicester, his little Boy being better, as we hoped. N.B. The wonderful News of Success against the Kings Forces in the N.W.
1777 October 21 (Tuesday). Though it rained yet I went to Marlborough, it being Association there. Only Mr. Whitney and Mr. Newell came besides. Mr. Smith prayed and read a Discourse on Phil. 1.21, which I hope is to my Spiritual Profit. Was at Mr. Uriah Brighams. From thence I rode over to Mr. Stone’s, having heard that he was Sick, and found him so: confined to his Bed by a Fever. I lodged there.
1777 October 22 (Wednesday). Rode home. Little Alexander is grown better. N.B. The News of Gen. Burgoin and his Army’s surrendering to General Gates, is confirmed every where. P.M. My Cousin Winchester came with her daughter Maynard to see me. The Wife of Mr. James Miller junior examined. Dr. Crosby came to See our Invalids — among which Mrs. P________ is to be reckoned, she being much out of Health.
1777 October 23 (Thursday). Mrs. P________ is in a very drooping Condition. Elias can’t study, but can go about other Business. His Eyes are weak, and it affects his Stomach to read.
1777 October 24 (Friday). Elias most probably took Cold yesterday and lyes by. Our minds are much agitated respecting the Manner and Terms of General Burgoines surrendering to G. Gates
1777 October 25 (Saturday). We hear there has been great Rejoicing at Boston on Account of the Success of our arms in the West. Mr. Benjamin How brings me one of the Thursday Papers, which confirms the Articles of Convention (so its called) between the two Generals. I have been preparing on Eph. 2.1.2 but on Consideration of the remarkable Favour of Heaven in the submission of the British to the American Forces, and the minds of people being engaged [torn] this wonderful Providence. I looked up a suitable Thanksgiving Discourse and set to adapting it to this [joyful?] Occasion. Elias is feverish; has sore Throat and [torn] under Dr. Hawes’ Care. Alexander came from Leicester.
1777 October 26 (Sunday). Preached again a.m. on Ps. 39.9. Mindwell Brigham dined here. Preached p.m. on Ps. 108.5.6. Gratulatory for the late Smiles of divine Providence on the American Arms. Which May God graciously prosper to us all who have heard it! Elias is, through divine Goodness, better: but Alexanders Cough is bad. May God mercifully prepare him for His holy will!
1777 October 27 (Monday). Alexander waits upon me with the Chaise and Horse he came with, to see Mr. Reuben Bellows’ Wife, who lies sick; and having discoursed with her, I prayed there. We then proceeded to Southborough, and visited Mr. Stone, who though at the Close of the last Week he was somewhat better, was grown Worse. Prayed with him. We dined there. He manifests great Humility, and a deep sense of his need of Mercy. A storm of Rain arose and continues. In returning home we went to Mr. Abraham Beemans, his son Abraham being Still much out of Health: the man himself and his two other sons also not well. We called at Mr. Thomas Andrews. Though it proved a stormy Day, yet we arrived safely at Eve. D.G.
1777 October 28 (Tuesday). A very unusually wet Season which confines my Son Alexander and his Wife and Children here. Elias has sore Throat etc.
1777 October 29 (Wednesday). It is Still a storm. Read part of Drexilius. Elias is poorly, able to keep off from the Bed. Lambson can do but little.
1777 October 30 (Thursday). Fair — but windy and cold. Alexander pays me 12 Dollars of the Interest of 100 Dollars which I payd for him to Capt. Mackey at Boston Some time agoe. He, his wife and two Children leave us to return home to Leicester. I visited Mrs. Ann Maynard again. Discoursed and prayed with her. Breck returned from the Army in the West, and has endured his Excursion considerably well. Thanks to God for His Favour to him! Miss Nanny Wilder and Miss Sally Wyman of Lancaster dined here.
1777 October 31 (Friday). Mr. Paul Lambson came p.m. to mend the Roof of the Barn by putting in shingles where they were wanting: and Reuben helped him. They mend also some parts of the Roof of the dwelling House. Mr. Thatcher of Gorham returning from Connecticut calls here.
That another Month is gone, calls for Serious Reflection!