Transcription of the Journal of Benjamin C. Townsend

JOURNAL of Benjamin C. Townsend[1]

Transcription by Russell DeSimone, August 2013

(The Townsend journal is available in Mss 010, the RI Manuscripts Collection, part of Providence Public Library's Special Collections. Read more about the journal in Volume 4, Issue 3 of Occasional Nuggets.)



                  1st Tuesday past off very pleasantly indeed; also the school wrote letters, I wrote some. William wrote to Aaron Wolfe from whom he had just received a letter. Quite a cool day. In the fore part of the evening nearly all of the school went up to the top of the pasture with their sleighs and rode down, I was the second one down. The old reindeer, for that is the name of my sleigh, did herself great credit. I call that a proper long, and good ride.

                   2nd Wednesday very pleasant & tolerable warm. Went a skating on the crust & rode down hill. In the evening we studied as usual. Good skating on the creek they say. Went up to the top of this large hill east of us & rode down. Stars were visible in my eyes as I descended. A beautiful moonlight evening.

                   3rd Thursday Quite warm. Some of the scholars went a skating on the creek. Looked as if I wanted to be there but circumstances prevented.

                   4 Friday Cold.

                   5th Saturday Weather moderated some. The boys went a skating on the pond. Mr. Talcott went to Pittsfield. I went a hunting with David Babbit saw nothing. Mr. Wilcox our former teacher was here.

                   6 Sunday Cold weather in the morning. In the afternoon a tremendous snow storm came on & the snow fell fast & thick. Made good sleighing. Mr. Wilcox preached, judging from this he is nothing [when] compared to Mr. Ferguson.

                   7th Monday Quite unpleasant outdoors during the night on account of snow drifting so much. Worked considerably in shoveling the snow. Pleasant in the morning. In the afternoon it was pleasant. Mr. T. beat roads with his sleigh. This evening was ours & what a lovely one. The moon in its silvery orb rose with magnificent splendor. The night for a sleigh ride.

                   8th Tuesday Cloudy & that is pretty much all I can say. Studied in the evening.

          9th Wednesday Tread our road to slide downhill. Mr. Talcott went away in the afternoon. Quite warm day snow melted fast. Appearance of snow but feelings of rain which will come I am not to tell. Work hard to everything I attended to [both] books & amusements. Considerable writing to do. In the afternoon Mr. Emerson taught school.

          10 Thursday Quite warm in the morning. Mr. Talcott bought some hay. Grew cold in the evening. A few of the scholars went to hear the abolition lecture. But what kind of a one was it?  Oh!  Unlucky man he missed it. The stove was covered with asafetida so badly they could not live in the house. Full of snow. The lecturer had his hat knocked off with a snowball. He now knows how it took in Lanesboro[2]. Probably he will want to lecture here again.

          11 Friday Very pleasant day. Rode down hill considerable.

          12 Saturday Some of the big boys went to Pittsfield. Rode down hill some.  Quite cool, snowed a little. Nothing out of the ordinary custom for me.

          13 Sunday Very unpleasant, splashy, rainy & disagreeable day. Rained pretty much the whole day. Went to church as usual. In the evening went downstairs.

          14 Monday. Wrote a letter to grandparents Townsend. Had the evening to ourselves.

          15 Tuesday At recess went up to the mill with David Babbit to get some grist. Helped Mr. Talcott get in his sawed wood. Very muddy indeed.

          16 Wednesday Remarkable weather for winter & for the middle of December. It is so mild & pleasant scarcely any snow [a]round.  A very good day to catch my squirrels. Mr Talcott’s cutter which was awhile ago sent away to be repaired came home. Now it is worth something & looks decent. Some of our number got quite warm in politics, so much [so] that nothing short of Whig & Jackson flags could satisfy us.  One flag trying to put down the other. Snowed some.

          17th Thursday Some feeling like winter came with considerable of a growl. The Independent Rifle company of Lanesbrough came out to train this cold day with white pantaloons. They must feel comfortable. A great piece of foolishness I say. But if the captain of this company thinks it is summer let him summon them out & train.

          18 Friday Quiet yet very cold indeed. Went down street with Dav to get Mr. Talcott’s horses. Had a good ride on old gray.

          19 Saturday Very windy. The new sled came home belonging to Chas. Mills [and is] of the same model as Lewis Morris’s was. In relation to speed it runs now, as if when the irons got bright & warm it would scratch along tolerable well {Bad} humorous? As it [illegible].

          20 Sunday Wind moderated to a great degree yet it is cold. A beautiful day to accompany the duties of the day. Rose early made a fire. Swept out the room etc. watered the horses. In the evening Mr. Talcott went to prayer meeting. Boys went down stairs and played Button Button who’s got the button with Mary & Augusta and they were well used up with kisses. It is a play which I did not engage in. These were not ladies enough Puellae et inuplae Bellae[3].

          21 Monday Snow during last night did amount to much. Blows considerable, sun shone considerable. Clouded up, some appearance of snow falling so as to make sleighing for Christmas. This day is the shortest day of the year. Duties went off well. Nothing of serious importance.

          22 Tuesday During the night it snowed very hard. Rose early and assisted David in doing the chores. Snowed very light. If it does not blow there will be good sleighing. Rode down hill some. Played backgammon with Mr. Emerson and got beat as was expected. Boys worked bringing in wood. Snowed hard in the afternoon. Great prospects of its blowing tonight & making it bad traveling. Before school was out Mr. Talcott let William and myself go out & help Dav draw in wood. After that he wanted to go down street & I took the reins & drove down. We then went down to Stuarts & got James Hayward’s sleigh & come home having the satisfaction of a good sleigh ride. Played backgammon with Dav and beat him too. Lessons good.

          23 Wednesday  Cold. Snowed drifted bad during the night & during the morning making it unhealthy & dangerous to travel. Nothing out of the ordinary course of affairs, allowing myself to judge I think summer is the pleasantest season throughout the year. To be sure there is great pleasure in skating & taking sleigh rides but summer to me is incomparably superior.  These are more useful enjoyments. Nature puts on its superbest garments the earth. The meadows are decked with (its) their rich foliage & assembles of the innumerable works of God are displayed. Others may differ from me in relation to this matter. They are at liberty to & so have their own opinions. They may more ably prove to the negative. Teachers & all rode downhill a while for exercise. Lessons good.

          Dec. 24 Thursday A few days ago a great alarm was occasioned by the sudden disappearance of a Mr. Suydnam[4], a citizen of New Brunswick. It is now accounted for he has been awfully murdered by someone. [illegible] man by the name of Robinson is on suspicion & trial. He was murdered on Thanksgiving. A few of the facts I shall record. Mr. Suydnam held a bond against said Robinson to the amount of 60 dolls. Mr. Suydnam was invited to said Robinson’s house to settle as Mr. Suydnam supposed. While there, and in the act of casting up the interest he was struck  probably by Robinson with an axe or some weapon till the vital spark of life had left him and dragged to the cellar where a hole was dug, & there laid & covered with dirt, and a dead cat on top to avoid suspicion. The floors were carefully painted to avoid marks of blood. Strong suspicions were entertained against Robinson from the fact that he wished to lay his cellar floor (it being a new house) which he did after Mr. Suydnam was murdered. A search all over the house was made & when they came to the cellar they took up a plank & thrust down a stick & it came in contact with a hard substance. They commenced digging & soon brought forth the mangled corpse of Mr. Suydnam. Robinson was of course secured. Such things will out & if he escapes punishment he cannot in eternity. Weather cold.  Ego miseratus illuam[5].

          25 Christmas Went to church as usual in the morning. Mr Talcott went away, rode downhill some.

`        26 Saturday Snowed some. Played backgammon. Nothing worthy of recording.

          27 Sunday Nothing much.

          28 Monday Very pleasant in the later part of the day. Rode downhill some though nothing special occurred. Lessons good. Mr. Emerson kept school in the evening. My lessons good.

          29 Tuesday Very pleasant day mild weather. Got two papers from home full of pictures.

          30 Wednesday Snowed some – turned out to be considerable of a storm. I don’t think this snow will blow much as the weather is damp and the snow rather moist. Nothing much occurred. Lessons good.

          31 Thursday Very misty day, unpleasant day for the last of 1840 & if I [illegible]  badly, the 1st day of  the year 1841 is going to be as unpleasant if not more so. I judge so from present aspects.



          1 Friday New Years. Had the day to ourselves. In the morning rode downhill. In the afternoon it snowed very hard. In the evening enjoyed myself more than any other part of the day. Mr. Talcott etc. went to a party.

          2 Saturday Not very pleasant. Rec’d the joyful intelligence (if nothing happened) from my friend Babbit that two squirrels resided in his house and that his father was trying to catch them for me. I consequently worked on my cages.

          3 Sunday Nothing special occurred during the day went to Church as usual. Weather cold and piercing. Snow blew some. In the afternoon there was communion at our church; a full congregation all day though from different churches.

          4 Monday Very pleasant but the weather is rather stingy it won’t do for a fellow to stand long in this cold snow. It being my turn to make a fire I rose not knowing what time it was made the fire & then looked at the watch & how astonished was I, when I perceived it was four o’clock. I immediately returned to my bed & after a good nap went into the schoolroom & found the room very comfortable. At light helped Dav do the chores etc. Rode downhill some. The thawing season has or rather will soon commence. The meaning of foreign mission. Oysters in a foreign place as if to commencement. Oysters at home is the meaning of home mission as a certain student is once said to have remarked when C.E. was looking over his accounts “My dear hearers if you will not hear the word of God you shall feel it as the minister remarked when he observed  his congregation were asleep.

          5 Tuesday Pretty pleasant day. In the evening some of the boys went to a concert. I heard some of the music and was convinced what it was going to be & came home.

          6 Wednesday The scholars wrote letters home. Rained hard some of the time. A real January thaw is now coming on & I wish it would rain & take all of the frost out of the ground & then there would be good traveling.

          7 Thursday Still raining and continued to rain hard all day. Overflowed the creek & consumed nearly all the snow, terrible storm. I reckon it will make some havoc in Troy if it rains there as it did here.

          8 Friday Rain ceased. Rode with Old Gray to water down to the creek which was dreadfully swollen on account of this late rain.  During the night the water was two feet over the bridge. Bad travelling.

          8 Friday Very muddy. Went up in the pasture to look at Mr. T.S.’s water works and we found the pipe bare on account of this late rain sweeping all the dirt away. Went up further and Mr. S was warning us & telling us we would fall in when he fell in himself up to his neck. This of course created great laughter among us; this reminds me of a story of an auctioneer who was selling off a hogshead of molasses & was saying going-going-gone when the head gave way & he fell in the molasses. Good Mr. Emerson got trapped. Saturday very pleasant. Rode little Grey to the watering troth & Dav rode old and he goes as easy as a cradle. Worked on Mr. Talcott’s water works and covered up the pipes which was bare, found it hard work to get through dirt which the frost had penetrated over a foot deep. However we made out to cover some of it. Went down street.

          10 Monday & Sunday Went to Church as usual in the morning. Right after the morning service without any intermission we went to a funeral of Lucius Hall in the Baptist Church where I (we) heard until 2 o’clock, one of the best sermons & prayers that I ever heard. Then we came home & took dinner & then went to another funeral in the same house. The deceased was an aged man named David Curtis.

          11 Monday Rainy & muddy & unpleasant day. Amused myself in the house fixing my cage not liking to waddling in mud. I hope the weather will extract all the frost out of the ground as it is very deep & somehow or other etc. I dislike this frost weather. Learnt something new that I was wilder than seven devils. That is not true & I should never dare tell a person so. Studied in the evening as usual and I got pretty sleepy. In 2 months & over, if nothing happens bad, I shall not have to mope over a book or some such thing without I wish to. But all is for the best.

          12 Tuesday Great change in the weather from warm to cold.

          13 Wednesday Snowy. At noon Dav B. hearing some hounds on the hill borrowed Mr. T.’s guns & cleared out after them and was gone the whole afternoon. At 5 he came home & told me he saw the fox & it come within two rods of him; he took up his gun & pulled the trigger but it did not go & the fox cut and about an half an hour after, 5 hounds came along & looked up to Dav expecting something but passed on. The fox was a large one & had Dav’s gun gone off he would have killed the fox, it was a pity. This is something like Mr. Talcott after hunting all day & seeing nothing, he was leaning against a tree and thinking how he would pop a fox if he could see one, when a large fox came on a knoll  right opposite & set there some while & Mr. T. was aiming his gun & never fired & the fox cleared. Bad enough. Saw Dav’s father about my squirrels.

          14 Thursday Very pleasant day indeed & a fine warm day & certainly a beautiful hunting day and I should like no better fun than to kill a fox or a dozen grey squirrels. This weather will take the snow off in a short while if this weather continues.

          15 Friday Nothing of a serious importance occurred. Snowed some very wet snow in the evening; helped the boys who were going a fishing fix their lines on tip ups.

          16 Saturday About 5 o’clock W. Baker, L. Pearson & Dav Babbit went down to the pond on a fishing excursion. J. Hayward went down with them in the cutter & drove up. Mr. T. went away. Had very interesting exercises. In the afternoon the fishermen came home and I was surprised to see their luck - a pickerel. Dav caught [one] that weighed 3 lbs. & 6 oz. and a number of others. I put three perch in the troth and they were as lively as ever. I took them out and cleaned them. I then watered little Gray and jump[ed] on him and rode him a little. I had a letter from home. Good news everything went well with me. Baker says it was really amusing to see Dav cut when he saw the tip ups fly, especially when he pulled up that large pickerel.

          17 Sunday Rainy all day so as to take off snow. Went to church as usual.

          18 Monday Very cold day indeed.

          19 Tuesday Had a proper good time sliding downhill on the crust in Mr. Hubbel’s lot and the way I beat the boys was a caution. Made the fire in the morning & filled my right eye full of ashes. In the evening played backgammon with Dav. Mr. Ferguson came here and interested us with his conversation and closed with a prayer.

          20 Wednesday Took a short walk down street to get our booths, while coming up I saw a squirrel on Seloam Powel’s barn which I wanted to get and had I presence of mind I could have knocked him down with a stone.

          20 I wrote a petition for the boys to go a skating on the pond as I thought it would be the last time we should get a chance this term and as I had not had the opportunity of skating this winter. It was handed in & granted and I went to put on my booths & was disappointed they pinched my feet. The boys went & Mr. T., Les T. P, D. B. & myself go a hunting. We had not proceeded far & Dav was going one way & me another when he hollered to us & told us there was a grey squirrel there.  We all ran & except Tom to catch him, who said he was afraid to catch a mouse let alone a grey squirrel. We got him down the tree & Dav tried to catch him for me & came very near. He was so tired out when he came to a tree he could hardly stir. He got up and we fired to him as much as a half an hour with stones & Dav hit him several times and came very near knocking him down, at last Tom shot at him & killed him. The sun then went into the clouds & the squirrels into their nest. Dav got his gun to hunt rabbits. Snowed hard & covered the ground & had the appearance of a hard storm.

          21Thursday Snowed then it rained & took off considerable snow.

          22 Friday A kind of a cold gloomy day, there is an unpleasant feeling in the air. In the evening cleaned Dav’s gun,

          23 Saturday Exercises past off well & early. Mr. Talcott Dav & Tom went up to the quarry to get stone for the foundation of his barn & got back before dinner. After dinner I went up. Went down stairs to see Mr. T.’s daughters but more especially my friend’s sister E. Babbit & she is a handsome girl & the handsomest one on the land of Lanesborough. The belle S.B. as she is called or rather the Lady of the Lake as she resides by the lake does not surpass her in beauty. When I went down there they introduced me to my friend & Dav as my brother & moreover I wish they were or in some way related to me. They are all very much liked by me from my very little acquaintance with them. [illegible] handsomest [illegible].

          [Marginal note for the entry on Saturday January 23rd]  says she looks like a chipmunk [with] his mouth full of corn [illegible].

          24 Sunday This morning snowed very fast. Learnt two new facts that there is not a word in the old testament that says anything about heaven. That the Songs of Solomon do not mention the word of God or Lord in the whole book. Snowed very hard & continued to snow.

          25 Monday Mr. Talcott went after more stones.

          26 Tuesday Wrote letters home. I wrote a little to cousin Esther. After school went out doors and wrestled with Grandpa & Bob Blanchard & threw them both. Then with Grandpa & Charles Mills & threw them both & I thought that was enough & then [missing word]. Says I to Mr. Emerson tonight, Mr. Day never heard us say our verses as you do - but scatters round the school. Says he, I know the drift of your remark.

          27 Wednesday Taking all things into consideration it was a pretty pleasant day. Mr. Emerson & a party of males & females went to Lenox on a sleigh ride.

          28 Thursday Rose early & went down to Browns for the sleigh they used.

          29 Friday In the morning Mr. Babbit brought me a squirrel. Snowed hard & deep. Dav went home.

          30 Saturday Did the chores with Frank. Took a sleigh ride with Mr. Talcott in his cutter on Cheshire mountain. The principal part of the school went to Pittsfield.

          31 Sunday Very pleasant day indeed. Dav came home & told me he killed two rabbits. If I can’t think of anything else I put down this anecdote which Mr. Talcott told me. There was once an old negro who had a fine horse whom he set a good deal by. Whilst he was riding out in a thunderstorm the lighting struck his horse & killed him. The negro was very angry so every time there was a thunderstorm he would go out & imitate the thunder by booing & shake his fist & say you want another horse don’t ye? Had a prayer meeting in the school room in the evening.

 Feb. 1 Monday Snowed pretty much all day. Mat Noyes’ parents came to see him.

          2 Tuesday Very pleasant & warm day.

          3 Wednesday Violent snow & blow[ing] snow storm came on & pretty much lasted all day.

          4 Thursday In the evening had a full & total splendid view of the eclipse of the moon.

          5 Went into Mr. Emerson’s room and played backgammon with Dav for Friday.

          6 Saturday Worked awhile for Mr. T. at his [illegible] Then went a hunting with Dav, Bob Blanchard’s father came. R’s father came here from P. with a horse which had the heaves & glanders & everything else & slobbered all over the yard & smelt worst than anything.

          7 Sunday Not much occurred.

          8 Monday Dav went home & brought me the mate to my squirrel.

          9 Tuesday Mr. Talcott went to Wm. Town. Learnt some new facts & first one is the use of the eyebrows. I never thought of their use. If it were not there we should never see much with them in the summer when we were at work for the sweat of our forehead to run into our eyes and keep them full [of] water but our eyebrows prevent it, the water strikes the eyebrow & turns off & trickles down our cheeks. This I learned from Mr. Emerson & the eyelids protect the eye from dirt. I need to get my new squirrel out of his nest, Mrs. T. wanting to see them. Dav bored a hole in their house so as to punch them out, got hold of his tail & pulled considerable off. They a[re] pretty good friends. Had the evening played backgammon with Dav, came off even.

          [page removed from journal here]

          Many days I left this journal for some reasons best known to myself. I did not get this journal to have everyone inspect it.

          April 4[6] General Harrison died[7]. The bells in this place were tolled 2 hours & 68 minutes. Providence guns were fired. The arcade was dressed in black etc. He was in the chair 30 days precisely & only 30 days. But all is for the best. All the stores were closed & everything seemed dull. I felt myself kind of curious. Probably as much parade will be made over his death as of Napoleon’s funeral. To his burial from Washington his remains were removed to North Bend. His corpse was drawn by 6 white horses. A numerous train of mourners followed. He was buried on a mound near the sea. After his death his house at North Bend was consumed by fire. Unlucky.


          1 Saturday Left Troy early in the morning at 10. The boys left in Mr. T. omnibus with 4 black horses of his own. I went with Mr. Babbit who took the baggage. The Hudson River was very high up into the streets. I did not get into Lanesboro that day therefore logged at Eldridges tavern.

          2 Sunday Got at Lanesboro at ½ 8. Spent a very unpleasant sabbath and why shouldn’t I. It is going to snow & blow all the while. It is always blowing, snowing or raining all the while.

          3 Monday Snow drifts as big as usual. I don’t know but what there will be snow all summer. The school was organized some, we were in school all day. No matter.

          4 Thursday The sun rose this morning in all its glory but whether it will be so or no I can’t tell. Ground froze rather hard. We will not have good roads or travelling as any for this [for] some time yet. Because this road will never dry up.

          11 Tuesday Rain in plenty.

          12 Wednesday “    “    “

          13 Thursday Carpenters came here and worked on barn.

          14 Friday Went to church and heard a mean sermon from Mr. Ferguson.

          15 Saturday Exercises through at ½ past eight. Mr Talcott had his barn raised. After it was raised all here joined in played ball, & we had a good game of it. Cider in plenty.

          16 Some took too much.

          16 Sunday. Went to church down here Presbyterian

          17 Monday Many violent spells of rain. Mr. T. says because I don’t work for him he shant give me any privileges. Well. Well.

          18 Tuesday Got a letter.

          19 Wednesday Mr. Talcott’s horses got stuck. For weeks nothing great happened.

May June July

          Things don’t go slick.

          4 Sunday R. Blanchard’s father came here. One thing occurred on this day which I shall not soon forget – Recorded soon


[illegible] Mr. Emerson

          Monday 5 Used this as fourth of July. Went to Pittsfield on a ride. Saw the wonderful tree which was struck by lightning on June 30. A house was burnt to the ground on the same time. Trying to preserve it by painting it & beeswaxing it. Coming home got caught in a shower. Some of Miss Green’s scholars came here such as Anna, F. Tower & E. Babbit. Toward dark went home with them. On account of people looking in to my affairs I only kept a monthly journal.

          17 Friday Towards evening father & mother came here. Mr. Talcott was abed. I went down to the town with them.

          18 Saturday Mr. Talcott went down to the tavern for them to come up here to stay. In the afternoon Tom harnessed the horses and we went to ride with Miss Green’s scholars. Father liked them much and sided with me, went down to the pine grove.

          19 Sunday Nothing great occurred here today.

          20 Monday Did not go to school today. Father went away as his business called him; went down to Pittsfield with him to see him off. Mother concluded to stay.

          21 Tuesday Went to school as usual.

          22 Wednesday Mr. T. & mother and all the family nearly went to Williamstown. Mr. Emerson heard of the death of his father & he was obliged to go away home. He died on peculiar circumstances. He was home setting in his chair reading & he was seen to drop his head supposing he had fell asleep. Well he did fall asleep but it was the sleep of death. He felt very sorry because he did not see his father before he died. He felt bad because of his sister who was in Illinois. 

           We all went to the temperance meeting & I signed a false name.

          23 Thursday the family came home. Told mother that I signed a false name. She did not like it & we all went down to Mr. Ferguson & erased it.

          24 Friday Mr. Wilcox came here in Mr. Emerson’s stead for [a] while. Mother went away today for home, in the cars.

          25 Saturday Went down to the pond for fishing & bathing.

          26 Sunday Today was kind of handsome.

          27, 28, 29, 30 Nothing much happened.

          30 Friday In the evening Miss Foster Anna & Electra came here & spent the evening, at ½ 8 they went home. Tom with Miss Post Bencent with [illegible] & I went with the best of all. Mr. T. grumbled about it.

          31 Saturday Did not do much today as it was very unpleasant – though I intended to go to the big rock. Because I did not work for Mr. T. he called me, I am told, a real deceiver etc. & said I always [illegible] after girls & I’ll do so when I wish & he may talk to my back if it pleases him. Is that my character?  No it is not. I am very sorry if it has come to pass that I am worst than devils, a deceiver, a flatterer & composed of soft soap. I am not that, but I am called so by some. However I may deserve it.

          [Marginal note for the entry on Saturday January 31st]   I like the girls tell him. I want to know if he never walked a girl when he was a boy.

Aug. Journal

          1 Sunday Very warm day though nothing [won]derful occurred.

          2 Monday Pleasant.

          3 Tuesday Oh dear, very warm. Went to a funeral in afternoon to Baptist church. When they sang we were obliged to face Miss Green’s scholars & they stared at us so we couldn’t breathe. Johnny & [illegible] father came.

          4 Wednesday Very warm.

          5 Thursday Mr. Talcott & Tom went away. Very muggy.

          Mr. Emerson and his brother came here. About two hours afterward Mr. Wilcox went away. He asked all the boys for their address before he went. He said the reason he did so was he wished to remember all the boys who have been to him. For eight years, said he, I have taught school & I have the names of all the boys who have been to me. Under their name he judges of their characters. Mr. Stevens cut a door in our room & did not finish the same day & were obliged to sleep in the starboard room. Wrote an original & false piece in an album. Wish I hadn’t. Oh! I am so rash in things.

          6 Friday Nothing special happened. We slept in our own room. Mr. Emerson’s brother departed.

          7 Saturday Very pleasant and warm in the morning. Charles Thomson’s brother & sister came here & towards noon went away. At noon went down street and there I found William Baker & James Hayward come up home. Then they & a few boys went abathing down to the pond. I stayed home sometime then I went of an errand for Mrs. Talcott, then went abathing. When I came by Miss Green’s I stopped and talked with Anna & Clara a while then I came home. I was so lonesome I did not know what to do so I talked with them a while.

          8 Sunday Nothing material happened.

          9 Monday Rained some. Towards evening stopped and the sun shone, very muddy. I wish I was home.

          10 Tuesday The rain has stopped. Bill Baker went afishing and caught some of the biggest trout I have seen this season. Played ball considerable.

          11 Wednesday Rained hard. Baker & Hayward went away to their [illegible].After supper Mr. Talcott came up here and we had a regular lecture about Green’s scholars being such an attraction to school. Told me mother did not wish me to have anything to do with those girls whereas she told me when I was invited to go over there to go but not to be too intimate with them. Talked considerable about their albums, I wrote in four but didn’t want to. Said considerable about them for our inspection. Tom went to Williamstown & gone all day.

          12 Thursday In the morning very cold. Tom went away again. Out of school all day. Mr. T. had some of his grass mowed.

          13 Friday Mowed all his grass. Grandmother C. came here with Miss Eddy stayed at Mr. Fergusons.

          16[9] Saturday Mr. T. had a new pipe laid in his new drain carried into the bathing house Went down to Mr. Fergusons & supped. Mr. T. asked the boys in the evening if they had wished to go to commencement & if they did they must pay the expenses. They said they wished to go. Up jumped George Bement and said all the boys would pay except Wm & Benj. Townsend. That he said. Well I’ll pay for the expenses if we don’t go. He’s the speaker. He knows all about the pecuniary affairs of my father. He had better go to bed now. I guess he did after he said that for it was in the evening.

          17 Sunday heard by Grandmother of a great accident which occurred on Lake Erie[10]. A steamboat with 170 passengers caught afire 30 saved. 1 lady out of 70.  She had presence of mind enough to jump overboard put on her life preserver & inflate it and float ashore. It is not every lady that will do that, some were half scared to death and 140 perished in the flames. That must have been an awful scene.

          In the evening went down to Mr. Fergusons.

          18 Monday Grandmother comes up here to stay.

          19 Tuesday Rather of amuggy morn. In the afternoon. Mr. Emerson went up to Williamstown with G. Squiers who enters college.

          20 Wednesday We all rose early and prepared to go up to as it is commencement day. Miss Green’s scholars started first; arrived there before 8.

          20 At 10 in the morning the exercises in the church began, those who left college spoke. Done very well. We set behind Miss Greene’s scholars. It was very hot and if we jumped off of our seats we lost them. One person set on me and I punched him & said I wouldn’t have people setting on me. Tony set side of me and was in the act of punching and the man grabbed him by his wool & they jawed awhile & then stopped; on the whole it was a tedious day. In the evening Grandmother left and went down to Mr. Ferguson as she is going tomorrow morn at 6.

          21 Thursday Grandmother went away in the morn.

          20 Friday Sprinkled some. Rather muggy morn.  Mr. T., Tom & Dav went away to Pittsfield.

          21 Saturday Very pleasant. Sun shone beautiful.

          Mr. Talcott and Tom went to Cheshire. The scholars went down to the creek and swam and so forth. There is a place right below the house over our heads the waters. A good place to swim. I and some other boys went in there, had a fine time though the water was rather cold for me.

          23 Sunday Rained considerable. Heard some good sermons from a Mr. Edwin Clark who exchanged with Mr. Ferguson.

          263 Monday Rather of a cool day. [illegible] up.

          224 Tuesday In Dav’s room sometime to study. Air quite chilly and sharp, up before the sun. Things look quite snug. Painters came.

          25 Wednesay Oh, as usual nothing worth looking at.

          26 Thursday Pretty pleasant day.

          27 Friday Rained all day which adds much to the picturesque scenes of Lanesboro.

          28 Saturday Very similar to Friday, just as unpleasant.

          29 Sunday Don’t feel [illegible] today. Head rather ain’t suited with my deeds better ones soon of nothing. Oh! What a dreary day to me to be punched up in this school room all Sunday. I want to be home and stay there and if I live I don’t intend to spend my life here to school. I think it is foolish. Who wishes to be locked up here all the time, I don’t. And when I can’t keep friends with school [illegible].and when I try to do as well as possible and try to do right to be accused of making or trying to make trouble it is “abominable” and the best way is to keep clear of all such ones.

          29 Sunday Mrs. Stevens had a fit in church, disturbed the congregation much. Such folks who are accustomed to fits every day (as she is) ought not to come to church. In the eve at 3 went down to the Baptist meeting heard a little temperance singing. Very unpleasant day.

          30 Monday Raining as usual. A beautiful rain. Washing day.

          31 Tuesday Rather pleasant in the morn. Mr. Emerson taught school in the morn. In the afternoon we went up to the Episcopal church to hear Bishop Griswold talk & preach. Had a very bad headache all the afternoon. Mr. Talcott was sick & summer has gone - today very pleasant.

Sept. Journal

          1 Wednesday Cloudy. Mr. T. yet sick. Attended by Doct. Pierce.

          2 Thursday Mr. T. worse but kept school.

          3 Friday Mr. T. was up before breakfast but was obliged to go to bed soon.

          4 Saturday Mr. T. was up the last time. Worse.

          5 Sunday Mr. T. grows worse.

          6 Monday David went to Pittsfield for Doct. Brewster to consult with Doctor Pierce. He came here in the evening. Said Mr. T. was low. Had the bilious fever. Doubtful whether he got well – somewhat deranged toward night.

          7 Tuesday Thomas went to Pittsfield for Doct. Brewster old doctor – Pierce young Doct.  - all ends also. Doct. Brewster came here but went away in a short time. In the morning all Mr. Talcott’s friends were sent for to see him die. Numerous people of the town came to see him in the morning. In the afternoon Doct. Chilos was sent for. When he came here he cupped him on each side of his forehead. Doct. Pierce applied blisters all over his body but they said he would die and could not be saved. Mr. Ferguson was here and prayed with the family.

          At ½ past ten in the evening he died. From 3 o’clock on Tuesday morn until he had an apopledic fit and was perfectly sleeped (sic) [he] could not move, see or feel any time. He was perfectly unconscious that his friends were around his deathbed.

          Oh! If he could have had his senses before he died but an all wise providence has seen fit to take him away. He has a wife and seven children* to morn his loss. A great loss to his town and his family.  He has left them in good circumstances.  It is remarkable that as soon as he had finished his buildings he should die.

           *[marginal note]  April no. 8.

          Mr. T. died very easy. [illegible] strangled to death hours before he died. Mr. Emerson was employed wiping blood from his mouth which proceeded from his brain. Who would [have] thought in one short week Mr. Talcott’s life would be terminated. That his soul would be ushered into the presence of his God. I can hardly realize that he is dead. That he should be taken from the world so soon. That he should be taken from his family when he was most needed in it; but an all wise providence has ordered it otherwise.

          8 Wednesday At 11 funeral took place in the house. All his Mr. Talcott’s relations came to see him laid in the grave. He has so mortified and blackened they dared not to show him. Where he was cupped the blood ran. About 100 came here in the house. They sung the tune “All is well” before they closed here. At 12 went to church, sat behind the mourners. Mr. Ferguson preached on the 88 Psalm and 18 verse. Mr. Ferguson preached a most capital sermon and addressed us all. In the church there were over 500 people. After church the procession was formed.


          1st The hearse      

          2 The family of Mr. Talcott

          3 His parents

          4 His sister and brother

          5 His own sisters and brothers which were over 50

          6 The school 30

          7 Miss Green’s school 15

          8 Town people

          The procession was nearly a mile long – walked up to the Episcopal burying ground and there buried him. Age 38. We all came home then and ate dinner. Had the afternoon. Shall remain here two weeks more.

          10 Friday All wrote letters home containing the mournful news of Mr. Talcott’s death. Wrote to have it published in the papers as it is necessary it should be known in all these cities.  Many expected to send out their children next term and it is necessary such should know it.

          11 Saturday Exercises past off very well. Did not do much.

          12 Sunday Rather chilly morning. Went to meeting all day, in the evening went down to the Baptist church to see the temperance doings. Mr. Briggs or rather more proper Hon. Geo. N. Bangs made a few nice [illegible] in relation to the subject. Tommy Porter is sick has been so for some days.

          13 Monday Pleasant day, quite warm. Very dry. the earth thirst but I don’t see why it should for it has rained a great deal lately.  A great deal of an excitement has prevailed on the sudden disappearance of Miss Rogers the beautiful cigar girl.[11]

          From an article in the Tattler of Monday evening it would seem that a hope may be indulged of a clue to the discovery of this horrible murder being speedily obtained. That paper states the fact that the gentlemen Messrs. Fanshaw and Thomas on the 25th were witness to a circumstance which may possibly shed some light on the deep mystery which now impends the fate of Mary C. Rogers. It is there stated that on Sunday the 23 while at Hoboken they saw a boat containing a man and one woman, all of whom when they landed left the boat and started for the woods. Soon afterwards another boat landed there rowed by 3 men one of whom asked the above named gentleman if he had seen a boat with 6 men and one female stop. On being replied in the affirmative he asked if any violence had been offered, to which he answered there had not. They then started off in pursuit of them. Afterwards her body was found floating on the Hudson River and the rascal had fled. Oh that they would be caught and every one of them caught and hung in effigy.

          14 Tuesday Very pleasant day and time. Something occurred this night which I shall not forget soon nothing bad at all but I do not wish to enter it here at present.

          15 Wednesday “      “        “      “ 

          16 Thursday Exercises as usual in the morning. In the afternoon after dinner all the school with Mr. Emerson in company started to go over to second brook ,while near prospect Mr. Emerson had an opportunity to shoot 3 gray squirrels on the same tree. He shot one, wounded the other and the 3 fled into the woods. About ½ 3 arrived at second brook. I fished awhile then I went to the cave and cut my name & returned home. Had a delightful time.

          16 - 28 Nothing special happened.

          28 Tuesday At ½ 7 the Troy & Albany boys started for home in Mr. Brown’s conveyance. After seeing them off I went in aswimming in the troth or bathing tub with David at ½ past two. The rest of the school went to Pittsfield in the omnibus with Mr. Balkley and 3 Ladies and daughter in the stead of Mr. Emerson to take the train of cars for Hudson. Staid in Hudson Pittsfield. Left P. at ½ 2 arrived in Hudson a ½ hour before the Hudson boat started.

          29 Arrived in New York in the morn – started for Providence.

          30 Here at 6 o’clock found all well.


          1 Friday I did not go out at all today on account of a sore foot.

                   2 Saturday do. Could not go out.

                   3 Sunday Today it rained so no one went to church save William & Almond.[12] Cousin Ira Windsor was crazy and father was called up to go down and see him. He was immediately strapped down to his bed lest he should do some damage. I should have mentioned a long time ago Aunt Catherine was very crazy and wild.

          4 Monday Very unpleasant day as it rained pretty much all day. Mother and William went to a funeral in the afternoon. My foot is much better and I hope I shall soon be able to walk out doors as I have not stepped outside of the gate since I have been home. Aunt Catherine is very feeble. Cousin Ira is quiet.

          5 Tuesday Did not do much, it rained and was a very unpleasant day in the evening. Filed some papers and notes for father.

          6. Wednesday Today there was some difference in the weather. Took tea up to Grandfathers the first time I have been out since I have been home. In the evening filed all the letters we had written home. Aunt Catherine calls our family & others all devils. Grandfather she calls the husbandman of the lord’s vineyard, and he is raising grapes for her to eat. Cousin Ira is convalescing.

          7 Thursday Quite a pleasant day. Went out in the morning with mother to do some necessary work. I should have mentioned some time ago that Mr. Nicholas Brown was dead and buried[13]. His funeral was numerously attended. All the students and the city attended. He has left a great deal of property, has given 30 thousand dollars for an insane hospital etc,

          8 Thursday During the night the bells rang for fire but it was not much of a thing. Went done to Mr. Grinnell’s with father to look at his store and at him. I am to go into his store on the following Monday if I’m alive and well. I like the idea of going into a store very much indeed. I shall by and such.

          9 Saturday Was a tolerable pleasant day. Run of a considerable many errands.

          10 Sunday Was quite cool today. All the family went to church except myself. Mr. Pallison preached. This afternoon I went to church for the first time since I have been home, staid at communion with mother. The church was so still were heard the clock tick. The congregation is rather large. In the evening Father and Mother went downtown & to hear Mr. Knap the celebrated minister. Did not return till after 9. Retired at 10 o’clock PM.

          11 Monday Today I commenced and turned over a new leaf and went into business. In the morning I went down to Mr. Grinnell’s store as clerk, went down to errands etc. If I suit and I live I shall remain there. Father went to New York.

          12 Tuesday Today some changes took place. We went into a new bedroom which is soon to be ours. Grandmother had the bed made larger, a bureau for our room closets etc.

          12 Tuesday Our room was fixed nice. Learnt many new things, down to the store from 6 in the morn until ½ 7 in the eve.

          13 Wednesday Rose early in the morn and down o the store I went. Quite cold today, raw wind. Nothing great transpired.

          14 Thursday Consider[able] business in the store.

          15 Friday Cold enough. Rained some in the afternoon. Nothing special happened.

          16 Saturday Was quite a different day. What occurred to my notice was worth writing down.

          17 Sunday Father came home early this morning. Went to church all day, very cold. Rev. Mr. Sears entertained us with his eloquence. Miss Hancock Jenks died last night @ 12. She has long been sick with the consumption and long been the subject of much pity and compassion and was obliged to call upon others for food etc. She was very poor. It seems she did not expect to live long as she had the clothes she intended to be laid on made and some mourning dresses made for her nephews etc. No one can say hardly that they are sorry she is dead because she has been so sick & troubled.

          18 Monday.  Nothing special. Considerable business in the store.

          19, 20, 21, 22 Nothing special occurred, only Mr. Rhodes one of the bearers of Mr. N. Brown’s corpse died suddenly and unexpectedly.

          23 Saturday Today it was no different from any other day. We were not troubled with customers so we were enabled to try to clear the counters of some of their loads.

          24 Sunday Pleasant day though rather chilly.

          25 Monday [Large brace encompassing this and the next entry]{                                         

          26 Tuesday{ Nothing at all.

          27 Wednesday Nothing very special happened, only it was very cold. About 12 in the night there was a fire but it amounted to nothing.

          28 Thursday Business very brisk down to the store. Very cold weather in our days.

          29 Friday Nothing new springs up; all things are becoming quite stale.

          30 Saturday Today it was very warm, the heat was fairly oppressive, and it fairly seemed as if summer was approaching again.

          30 Sunday The last day of the month. In the morning went to our own church as usual, but in the afternoon I went downtown to hear Mr. Knap preach, he being said to be a great preacher and I was greatly disappointed to find he was so unwell he could not preach. We had however a good (Summer) sermon from a Mr. Baker.

Nov. Journal

          Nov. 1 Monday Nothing very important transpired. Mr. Geo. Grinnell went to New York, so did father.

          Nov. 2 Tuesday As my time is wholly occupied I do not learn the news.  I think I did not say before that McLeod[14] was cleared and got home. The people got a little seared at what Eng said and let him go.

          3,4,5,6,7  I now have an important trust in my hands, I have the keys of the store and have to go down to the store early.

          7 Sunday Not very warm today. 3 persons were baptized today in our church but they were not converted under Mr. Patterson’s preaching.

          8 Monday Father went away, nothing special happened.

          9 Tuesday Nothing any different from the order of things occurred.

          10 Wednesday

          11 Thursday

          12 Friday

          13 Saturday This afternoon I happened to witness the bad effect of carelessness. Just before I came to the bridge I saw a horse running away apart of the fills of a carriage. I hastened to see what was the matter and found that a careless teamster in attempting to pass through a crowd of teams struck this wagon and threw a lady & gent out of their seats onto the ground. Whether they were hurt or not I cannot say.

          14 Sunday Went to church all day.

          15 Monday Father went to N. York.

          16 Tuesday  [Large brace encompassing this and the next two entries]{  

          17 Wednesday{ Nothing new [illegible] up.

          18 Thursday{

          19 Friday Fanny the divine has been here and done tonight at the theater.

          20 Saturday Today as I was getting up to perform some necessary duty I was alarmed by hearing a cry of fire. I immediately dressed myself and started to find it – found it was a cotton waste 4 story store back of the Baptist meeting house. It had the advantage of the fireman from ½ past & until 12 when they after working an hour longer left. It is a total loss. Mr. Almy was dangerously hurt by a ladder falling on his head which knocked him a[s] stiff as could be however has recovered but was at first deranged.

          21 Sunday About seven this morning there was another cry of fire and I soon found out it was the City Hotel in Broad Street. It took the back part while the boarders were in bed. A Mr. Fuller who boards there hearing the cry of fire jumped out of bed to see where it was when the flames burst into his room, he had no time [to] dress but seized his garment, watch & 3p booths and [illegible] containing his shirts & drawers and put them in the entry, all his wardrobe he lost & trunks. A Mr. Marshall who boarded there lost everything he had that day, he became crazy and went and board with his brother-in-law. The next morning he was found in his bed, cold & dead. I shall write what is said in the papers about him if I see anything about it. The front part of the building the firemen saved after great exertion.

          26 Friday Nothing new afloat as yet, only I found out that Edward was going to sea in the ship Panther, the ship which Grandfather had commanded years ago now commanded by Capt. Martin.

          27 Saturday Very good business down to the store today.

          28 Sunday Today I went over the bridge to hear Mr. Knap preach but when I got there I found it was so full I could not get in so I went over to hear Mr. Vinton preach. As it happened I got into Mr. Hoppin’s pew. I found they were very kind and willing I should set there. Mr. Vinton preached a very fine sermon. They are somewhat in their modes of worship to those of the Episcopal domination in L___[15].

          29 Monday Had a heavy fall of snow today so that it was very good sleighing.

          30 Tuesday Very pleasant though rather cold.  Good sleighing and snow to the end of Wednesday.

Dec. Journal

          Rained hard and took the snow pretty much off. Grandfather & his family dine with us. Ned is going to sea in fine style has clothing sufficient for cold or warm weather just as it happens but he is going to be a common sailor but that perhaps is the best way to begin a seafaring life I suppose – and be promoted and then an officer will know how to treat a sailor.

          2, 3, 4, 5 Wednesday Thursday Friday and all these days nothing occurred.

          6 Monday William entered Mr. Blodget’s store on trial to New Years. Father went to New York.

          7 Tuesday It rained.

          8 Wednesday }

          9 Thursday}   Things moving on regularly in this part of the country but in other places not so.

          10 Friday}

          11 Saturday}

          13 Monday Very pleasant day & so we must have a few fires, about ½ past 6 in the evening an alarm of fire was raised. I put on shutters and closed & and went, proved to be Gov. Fenner’s[16] barn set on fire. Nothing could be done to save it, loss $2,000. While over there another cry of fire was raised and I started with the No. 6[17] and found a large fire blazing at the foot of Power Street that however was easily extinguished, that was also set on fire and during the night there were five fires and some rascal did the whole, and soon he’ll get caught and he won’t get handled softly either.

          15 Wednesday Someone has tried hard to set a house on fire 6 times in one day, a Mr. Howard’s house was set afire and all discovered in time to put it out without any trouble, the mean servant is supposed to have done it all, as he has acted rather suspiciously during the day. Edward went onboard the ship Panther which dropped down to the crook.

          Nothing very special has turned up amongst the people of the city; father was appointed master of transportation on the Great Western and left home to be gone all winter. No news of any consequence as I know of.


Jany 1st 1842

Another year has gone and a new of one come. Heard from father. Dined over to Uncle Hodges,[18] had a first rate dinner; but otherwise it was nothing new to me.

2 Sunday Went to church all day; but it was very muddy going.

3 Monday - Was a very cold day – and a very large fire came along. Had an invitation from A. Whitman to go to Sabin’s hall and hear an address and a poem delivered before the Franklin Society in Westminster hall. I got there but did not get there in time to take a seat when a cry of fire was raised which spilt all the soup. The fire proved to be a large one and lasted until the noon of next day and kept the firemen to work all the night & they were tired enough to the next. Begun the fine job of taking account of stock down to the store but it is a hard job, will take us 2 or 3 months. Efforts are now made to find out who have set fire to houses in the city & I hope those who are found be dealt with according to the law & the law is Death. It is so now that a person cannot go to bed in the night feeling safe, it is horrid times when it comes to this – however a reward of five hundred dollars has been offered for the detection of any person being engaged in any of these fires and a just punishment is given.

Jany 12 Good nothing special happens.

30 Mother got ready to go to Greenbush[19] and see father. I ought said more about matters & things but I have neglected the journal and lost many things. Been in Mr. Grinnells[20] store 6 months – all as in the dark as ever.

Tuesday Mother went to Greenebush.

Thursday Had a letter from [illegible] said mother got there safe. Had many violent gales during the week & many vessels wrecked during their visit & many a marine lost his life.

Friday Great temperance celebration for the cold water army. Nothing important occurred.

Tuesday Mother came home from Greenbush.


Great excitement in relation to new constitution. The three voting days are at hand, and all in favor of a free constitution will vote. But I don’t care anything about them no. No important news come as yet. The people are voting for two constitutions.[21] Free suffrage which implies the right of foreigners etc. voting after having become naturalized. Landholders  implies the right of their voting after having lived in the state so long & city & owning so much and great interests are at stake.


The suffrage people have got a majority and will probably endeavor to bring their constitution into effect.

26 Grandmother Wilbur was taken very ill. Mother, William & Almon[22] started for Greenbush via Boston

27 Sunday Very pleasant went to church all day. Rev. Dr. Sharp preached all day.

28 Monday found grandmother dangerously ill. Went for medicine as usual.

30 Wednesday Oh nothing new, dull time in every place.

April 1st Grandmother Wilbur breathe her last in her 85th year. Died very happy. Died as it were in a sleep.

April 4 Grandmother was buried today Mr. Grafton made a most excellent prayer.

7 Nothing new, very dull times; nothing much doing. April showers are visiting us.

Mar 8 Friday Nothing new. Journals are nor worth much here when there are no news to write.

Mar 12 Very stormy day now & dull times too.

Mar 14 Now we have a little pleasant weather for a while as we need so now and then.

Mar 16th Sun shining for a while now. Nothing new now though lots of constitution.

19 Rather stormy time for today, not much business doing now.

Wednesday nothing [illegible] all quite through the week.

24 Sunday Went to church all day, heard two good sermons from Mr Seavill & Philips – Rather pleasant.

Great excitement during the week about the Constitution, people leave business to engage in it next Tuesday. Tom Dorr thinks he is going to take the place of a Gov but he gets sucked. No other news during the week.

Sun May 1 Over 200 government troops arrived [from] Newport to fight for law and order and chuck Tom Dorr’s head in a [k]not hole if they should be needed[23].

May 2 Monday Great preparations for the suffrage party convention.

3 Tuesday Today the suffrage show themselves about 1800 hundred in the procession 500 muskets, but the rag muffins processions spoilt the whole. Some in 5s & some went in goose file. They escorted Tom Dorr over to Fullers furnace[24]. There Tom Dorr took his oath, called himself governor, treason he has committed. The whole were fools in truth.

4 Wednesday Great excitement, Brown[25] was arrested & bailed for $15000; Dutee J. Pearce[26] arrested & bailed for $10000.

6 Friday Burrington Anthony[27] was arrested & bailed for only $4000. He cussed & swore so bad that he was taken care of.

          6 In the afternoon Gov King & assembly was escorted from the steam boat up to Hoyle’s tavern by the Light Infantry, Marine Artillery, Cadets and men on foot & horses. The procession reached down to the steamboat from R Arnold was very long indeed, nearly 300 muskets. In that procession there was order everything was well arranged. The contrast was strong. It was something worth looking at. Everything in its place. It suited me and that’s considerable, in the procession of those on foot 10 were ministers and Doctors----- Gov King was at the head of the assembly; after all was through the usual salutes were fired.

          8 Monday Nothing special today.  Benj. Arnold[28] was arrested, refused to give bail and went to prison. What a fool to think he would be released from prison by his friends. But he stayed in all night, no attempt was made to tear down the prison.

9 Tuesday In the afternoon H. Willard was taken and did as was done by Arnold,  but during the afternoon they both gave bail and were out.Got tired of their place I guess.

          Tom Dorr, it is discovered, had sent a letter to a Mr. Slamm[29] in New York for 500 men to assist him, but in his rascally proclamation he denied sending for 50. It was 300 men, and moreover he said he would put man to man to all the troops government would send on against them ----- He was being very saucy indeed. I cannot express my thoughts at all. All know him now.


          Monday night I was awaken by the bells ringing as a signal for the law and order men to go to protect the arsenal at 12 o'clock in the night the S[uffrege] fired 6 guns as a signal & out went the S. men to take the arsenal with Tom Dorr at their head. However there were in the arsenal 3 companies for Gov. King besides the citizens who had assembled there on the bells striking 3 times. Tom Dorr and men surrounded the arsenal intending to take it and after trying several times and methods to take it, fired a cannon but it was spiked and they were defeated and went home. Today the stores are shut & the citizens met ½ past 7 this morning at the armory with arms to protect G. King and the laws of the state.

          At about ½ past nine or ten the company proceeded up town to the house where it was expected Tom Dorr was on the hill over the river.[30] The procession was as follows:

          Col. Blodget at the head of all Light Infantry next Marine Artillery, citizens, company from Newport & Bristol. All with muskets and loaded with balls and 6 field pieces and ammunition.

          The house of Marshall Anthony was crowded with suffrage men & speeches made to [illegible] them but Tom Dorr after being so bold during the night ran away this morning. The suffrage has few guns and cannon loaded with slugs and grape shot & swore that they would fire when the landholders show their heads.  The landholders & soldiers they parted in two divisions and marched right ahead and when Tom Dorr’s men saw how determined they were they withdrew.

          Gov. King had the house searched for Dorr but could [not] find him, the fool had gone. The suffrage made no resistance and our soldiers took the guns & cannons; and the suffrage party promising to bring down the pieces by 4 o’clock not coming at that time, the cadets went up with swords to take them; but when they got up there they found they had built an embankment 3 feet high all around the square and refused to give them up. 14 of their assembly men left the party today.[31]

          Thursday  Nothing occurred during the night, all quiet. About 6 this morning the guns were taken from the insurgents’ home.

          The military companies from Bristol & Newport went home, escorted by the Light Infantry, Marine Artillery, Gov. King, Mayor Burges and some other companies.

          May 24 Nothing more has been heard of Tom Dorr and no news.

          May 23 Wednesday Today is pleasant but no news of any kind.

          26 Thursday Today was a busy day down to the store. Did not learn many news consequently.

          28 Saturday A letter written by Dorr was printed in the papers today, but I don’t care anything about it.

          29 Sunday Nothing new, rainy, all quiet.

          30 Monday Today this morning I feel sleepy, very sleepy indeed did not learn any news.

          31 Tuesday Today and heretofore this citizens have made great doings in relation to forming volunteer companies for the present help of the city; so as to prevent any disturbance.


          1 Wednesday Very pleasant.

          4 Saturday Very hot indeed today and considerable business tired me out.

          Sunday Being hot & dusty today. Mr. Hall preached a sermon on the times. Some say good etc.

          6 Monday Nothing  great today.

          8 Wednesday Gov. King offered a reward of $1000 for Dorr, hope he’ll get caught.[32]

          10 Friday – Hear that Gov. Dorr laughs at the $1000 reward ,says he is coming on here with 5000 men on the 4th of July.

          11 Saturday Was tremendous cold, pity the patrol tonight

          Sunday The City Guards & citizens law and order who have formed a co[mpany] & drilled on Brown street this afternoon very good opposite B Cowell.[33] [illegible] have much I suppose as he is suffrage and Dorrish. No news.

          12 Sunday

          14 Tuesday

          16 Thursday No news at all, but great.

          19 Sunday Excitement and false reports.

          20 Monday New companies are formed & drill every night.

          21 Tuesday Very great excitement reported, Dorr is coming into the city with forces and people are preparing to receive him. it is so strange that one man should cause much trouble & put the city to such expenses. I hope all will be seen to immediately.

          22 Great excitement in the city, Gov King has ordered troops from Newport, Bristol, Warren & the neighboring towns & thousands of them have come to help us Saturday. The city was placed under martial law. There are within [the] city over 3000 troops and [they] are continually coming in, all armed; and the citizens are obliged to quarter them as there are so many here. Heard N. Powers[34], Parmenter[35] etc. have been arrested & loads of powder & ammunition have been taken by our party.

          24 Arrest are being made continually.

          27 Today Dorr’s father went out to see him & when he came in awhile, a letter from traitor Dorr said he had done trying the people’s constitution as it would not be carried into effect and he has his own personal [illegible] views. But the punishment of his crime [is] his death and he knows it. He has put the state to the expense of over $100,000 since his rascally movements & now he has gone to brew up more trouble, but hundred[s] are in hot pursuit of him & if they can get track of him no matter where he is they [will] pursue him. His father ought not to have been allowed to see him. Dean Bolter, John S. Harris & many others have been arrested we are filling up the jail fast, 200 suffrage arrested in Woonsocket. Our companies after a short struggle yesterday took Dorr’s fort & all that’s in it. Dorr’s men fled in all directions. Dorr had 20 body guards.

          I hope Dorr will be caught & the law inflicted.

          Some City Guards are searching all suspicious places & houses & taking care of all rascals. This morning some of the county volunteers came home & passed by with cannon & spears etc. of Dorr’s instrument Grandfather stopped them & gave them a lunch & in return they gave them & mother some of Dorr’s spears & clubs & plugs. Mother gave some flowers & they gave 3 cheers. Great times.  ½ past 7 I have just come up from the street & seen our noble companies with their prisoners come from Dorr’s encampment. We have got his louse hat, cannons, ammunition [and] soldiers as loafers to fight for him bound hands together & march them to prison. Great many of our men had roses thrown them, 3 cheers & so on. It was a great sight if Dorr’s head had only been under the hat.

Dorr’s document

                                                                                      Glocester R.I. June 27, 1842   Having received such information as induces me to believe that a majority of the forces of the peoples Constitution disapprove of any further forcible measures for its support & believing that the conflict of arms would therefore under existing circumstances be but a personal controversy among different portion of our citizens I hereby direct that the military here assembled be dismissed by the respective officers.

                                                                                       Thomas W. Dorr

          His last I’ll not write but now the companies return home. They have done well - $5000 reward for Dorr. It was reported that Dorr was going up to Albany on the W. R. Road, if he does WHS must catch him as quick as a fox.  We have down in the street a paixhan gun which was cast for us in Boston last fall. [illegible] It is a beautiful thing hole [illegible] throws a bomb & when at such a distance it explodes & burst into hundreds of pieces. It was intended to throw into Dorr’s camp but he run before it was used. More prisoners today. Streets filled with ladies to see the field pieces.

          July 1st 1842

          Friday Today two vessels sail from New York. One for England & one for Havre. Now if folks ain’t on the lookout Dorr may cut.

          Friday Mr. Spencer Secretary of War reviewed our companies [of] citizen volunteers & two chartered co., they made [a] fine appearance. Wonder what he thought. Heard afterward they were [as] fine looking troops as he had seen.

          4 Monday The store was closed and I was willing. The prospects of a rainy day were flattering but after all it did not rain. The 3 chartered co. & volunteer City Guard, the Marine Artillery & Light Infantry with their new uniforms all made a fine appearance & Sea Fencibles formed a procession & marched on the hill Smith & there speeches were made Gov. King then appointed 21 July for day of thanksgiving – J Whipple in his speech said W. McNeil in all the 25 years he had been in US Service he had not seen such courage & bravery displayed as there was in our troops & those which came from the neighboring towns around us[36]. No news up to this date.

          July 10 Sunday

          July 18 Nothing especial, all things tolerable quiet. Martial law is good for the people.

          Thursday July 21 During the night an attempt was made to take the Pawtuxet guns, came pretty near but missed.[37]

          July 27 Wednesday All very quiet & hot.

          Aug 2 Tuesday Left the city on a visit to father in Greenbush.

          Aug 16 Tuesday Arrived home @ ½ past 9 in the Morn. Had a very pleasant visit hunting, fishing. 16 quite a number men drowned in the river while I was there. On Friday last, two negroes got afighting on board a vessel & both fell overboard. When they came up the first time they were both afighting & a rope was thrown them but they paid no attention to it & went down, both drowned. When they were found they were clenched together; that was envy enough.

          Aug 20 Saturday Pretty much used up with a boil on my knee very troublesome.

          23 Tuesday Nothing important.

          Sept 6

          Tuesday Nothing of any consequence has occurred along back.

          10 Saturday Today was the great celebration & review of troops employed in the late rebellion, the greater part of which are furnished with new uniforms. Old men of 80 were there with guns. Number of men all told under arms about 2300; a grand sight such as was never before witnessed in Providence[38].

          16 Friday Saw by the papers of N. York that 1 of the prize fighters was killed near N. York [a] few days ago after fighting 121 rounds which occupied 248 minutes. One of them died from wounds 6 minutes after the engagement for the sum of $200 – the murderers of them are in jail.

          October 1842

          Oct 2 Sunday Aunt Catherine Wilbur died this morning at 2 o’clock, funeral @ 3 tomorrow evening.

          Oct 10 Monday Went to the funeral of Aunt Catherine Wilbur, long walk to the grave & back again.

          Nothing especial through the week – Pleasant weather.

          Oct 16 Sunday Nothing of any importance to the 22 – Rather cool, no news of importance – Some of Dorr’s Col. were arrested one on treason & one on an attempt at rape.[39]

          23 Sunday Coolish like.

          30 Sunday Very winterish.

          Sunday Dec. 18 Cold, snowy, blowing.



[1] Benjamin Comstock Townsend (1827-1867) son of William H. Townsend and Maria Ann Comstock. At the time of the journal entries he was 14 years old. He, like his father, made his living at sea and was lost at sea when the British bark “Guardian Angel” sank in a shipwreck off the coast of Wales. His remains are buried in a churchyard in Abrergele, North Wales.

[2] Townsend spells Lanesborough variously as Lanesboro throughout his journal.

[3] Latin for “girls and unmarried beauties”

[4] Townsend misspells Suydam’s name throughout. Abraham Suydam Esq., president of the Farmers’ and Mechanics Bank of New Brunswick, NJ went missing on December 3, 1840. Peter Robinson was tried for his murder, found guilty and after his conviction he confessed to the crime. He was hung on April 16, 1841.

[5] Latin for “I pity him”.

[6] Townsend was back home in Providence for the journal entries of April. His school, the Family School for Boys in Lanesbourough, MA., held two four week vacations per year, one  in April and the other in October.

[7] William Henry Harrison, 9th president of the United States, died on April 4, 1841.

[8] N.P.T. are the initials of the school principal Mr. Talcott.

[9] From this entry on until the end of the month with few exceptions Townsend gets his dates wrong and days of the week mixed up.

[10] Most likely this is in reference to the loss of the steamship Erie which was destroyed by fire on August 9, 1841 while in transit from Buffalo to Chicago. Of the 343 passengers onboard 254 lost their lives.

[11] The murder of Mary C. Rogers, the “beautiful cigar girl”, on July 25, 1841 captured everyone’s attention. Edgar Allen Poe’s The Mystery of Marie Rogêt was a fictionalized account of the murder.

[12]   Townsend misspells his brother’s name. It should be Almon.

[13] Nicholas Brown Jr., (1769 – 1841) a wealthy Providence merchant and philanthropist died on September 27, 1841.

[14] Possible reference to Alexander McLeod who was tried for the murder of Amos Durfee. The crime occurred during an insurrection in Upper Canadian which had spilled over into US territory. While the murder of Durfee occurred  in 1837, it wouldn’t be until three years later before McLeod was arrested. His trial ended in November 1841; the jury found him not guilty.

[15]  Most likely a reference to Lanesborough, Massachusetts where Benjamin attended school.

[16] James Fenner (1771 – 1846) served as RI governor for numerous one year terms in 1807 – 1811, 1824 – 1831 and 1843 – 1845.

[17] Presumably Engine Co. No. 6. of the Providence Fire Department.

[18] Townsend’s uncle, Almon D. Hodge, was married to Martha Comstock the sister of Townsend’s mother Maria Ann.

[19] Possibly Greenbush Massachusetts near Scituate MA.

[20] This was the paint and hardware store of Peter Grinnell & Sons located at 37 S. Main St. not too far from Townsend’s home at 3 Benevolent St. The journal actually has one page of printed labels pasted into it from Grinnell’s store.

[21] Here Townsend seems to be confused. The People’s Constitution was overwhelmingly approved in an election not in March but in late December 1841. The election in March on the 23rd, 24th and 25th was for ratification of the Landholder's Constitution which failed to be ratified.

[22] William and Almon were both brothers of Benjamin.

[23] The Charter government did not know what to expect from the installation of the People’s government. Due to the recently enacted AlgerineLaw, which make it an act of treason against the state for anyone to accept the nomination for office or serve in office under any government but the existing government, many of Dorr’s supporters felt he would be arrested. To prevent this from happening many armed supporters were present at the installation of the People’s Government on May 3rd. In all over 1800 supporters of the People’s Government joined in a parade that wound its way through the streets of Providence. In anticipation of possible trouble the Charter governor called for the closing of government offices and beefed up its policing of the city with militia men.

[24] The People Legislature met from May 3rd – 5th 1842 in a partially constructed foundry building at the corner of Weybosett and Dorrance Streets. The opposition press frequently thereafter referred to the People’s legislature as the foundry legislature.

[25] Dr John A. Brown, President of the People’s Constitutional Convention.

[26] Duttee J. Pearce, a former member of the state General Assembly and former US Representative; a leader within the suffrage movement.

[27] Burrington Anthony, former Sheriff of Providence County was a staunch Dorrite. It was Anthony’s home that Dorr used as his headquarters and from which he launched his attack on the Arsenal.

[28] Arnold, a Providence grocer, was a member of the suffrage party and a vocal advocate of black suffrage during the People’s Constitutional Convention.

[29] Levi Slamm was a New York City newspaper editor, Democratic Party leader, locofoco and Tammany Hall operative.

[30] A reference to Burrington Anthony’s house on Federal Hill

[31] Following Dorr’s attack on the Providence Arsenal a number of member’s in the People’s legislature resigned. Their joint letter of resignation was gleefully published that day in the anti-Dorrite newspapers.

[32] Gov. King initially offered a reward of $1,000 for the return of Thomas Dorr following the attack on the state arsenal but after the events in Chepachet he increased the reward to $5,000 by proclamation on June 29th.

[33] A reference to Benjamin Cowell a suffrage supporter and author of a pro-suffrage pamphlet “A Letter to the Hon. Samuel W. King, late Governor of the State of Rhode Island”.

[34] A reference to Nichols Power a Dorrite and minor player in the events of the Dorr Rebellion. Best known as the derelict  father of Providence poet Sarah Helen Withman.

[35] A reference to David Parmenter a rabid Dorrite and public speaker.

[36] A reference to John Whipple, a prominent Rhode Island lawyer, in whose office a young Thomas Dorr had once clerked, and William McNiel, Commanding General of all Law & Order forces.

[37] Around midnight on July 21 two men broke into Mechanic’s Hall in Pawtuxet village were the canon of the Pawtuxet Artillery was kept. While one canon was removed and another unfastened the perpetrators were discovered and fled before being captured. The incident was reported in the Providence Journal as the work of Dorrites.

[38] This military review was really intended to celebrate the anniversary of Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory on Lake Erie however with the rebellion still on everyone’s minds and with all of the faithful Law & Order militia companies present it was the ideal opportunity for the “Ladies of Providence” to present four hand painted flags, one each to the  State chartered military companies (Kentish Guards, Newport Artillery, Bristol Artillery and Warren Artillery)  for their “patriotic services on the eighteenth of May 1842”.

[39] A search of the leading Law & Order newspapers of this time reveals no accounts of any arrest of Dorr supporters. It may be that the newspapers omitted providing any account or our young journalist could have reported hearsay that had no foundation in fact.