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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Journal of Elijah Fisher of Sylvester Canada (now Turner)

What follow are extracts from the journal of Elijah Fisher—transcribed by William B. Lapham, and according to him "a consolidation of several diaries which he kept from time to time." The consolidation was done by Fisher himself in 1784, after his settlement in Sylvester Canada (now Turner). The journal was first published in the "Old Times Column" of the Maine Farmer, of which Lapham was the editor.

A brief genealogical sketch of Fisher is given, which states that he was born in Norton, Mass., June 18, 1758, the son of John Fisher, and married Jerusha Keen of Turner, Dec. 10, 1784. To them were born eight children.
He lived a few years in Turner [the editor writes], then moved to Minot and finally to Livermore in 1799, where he spent the remainder of his days.
The extracts commence with Fisher's departure from Jamaica Plains, Mass., in June of 1783, bound for Sylvester Canada.

Source: Elijah Fisher (William B. Lapham, ed.), Elijah Fisher's journal while in the War for Independence and continued two years after he came to Maine, 1775-1784 (Augusta, Me., Badger and Manley, 1880; New York, Reprinted, W. Abbatt, 1909). Notes in double square brackets are my own; notes in single square brackets are given in the text.
[p. 61]
Jan. 10th [[error for June]]. I Left Mr. T. Whites and comes to Mr. Brimmers [[in Jamaica Plains]] and takes what Cloths I thought I should be in want of and lockes the other in my chist. I left Mr. Brimmer go through Roxbury into Dodgester [Dorchester] then to Dodg'r Neck then visit towns, go through Boston to Charlston, then returns and crosses Wimismit [Winnisimmet] farrey I comes to Landlord Newills in Lyn[n].

The 12th. I Leaves Landlord Newell and coming through Danvers, Salum, Bearsley, Winham,58 Ipswich, Rowly and Newburyport I comes to Landlord Gays in Salesburey [Salisbury, N. H.] after thirty-eight milds travel.

The 13th. I leaving Landlord Gays going through Seebrook, Hampton falls, Hampton,59 Northhills, granla, Porchmoth and old York, I Com to Landlord Clarks in Ditto, thirty Nine mild.

The 14th. I left Landlord Clark, going through Wells, Kenebunk, Arandes,60 Saco, Scarboro, and Falmouth, I comes to Landlord Rigges in Ditto, after travel of forty-two mild.

The 15. I Leave Landlord Rigges and Comes through New Boston.61 I comes to Landlord Chanlers and after twenty-one milds I Comes to Mr. I. Brigges (my Brothers in Law) in Sylverster.

The 19. I leves Mr. Brigges and he with me gos Down to the falls at Luistown [Lewiston] and I Croses the farry for to go to Wintrupt [Winthrop] (and he gos Down to Hireseit)62 and Comes to Mr. Timothy Wights in Wailes63 thirty-three milds travel from Sylvester.

58Salem, Beverly, Wenham, all in Mass.
59Seabrook, North Hampton, Greenland, Portsmouth, all in New Hampshire.
60Arundel, Me.
61Gray, Me.
62Probably Freeport, Me. [[Freeport was formerly known as Harraseeket.]]
63Wales, Me. [[Wales then included the present towns of Monmouth and Wales. Timothy Wight lived in Monmouth.]]

[p. 62]
The 21th. I leves Mr. Wight's and gos to Mr. Sm. Tituses in Wintrupt six 1-2 milds.

The 22th. I with Mr. Titus and his wife comes to Mr. Wights.

The 24th. I Leaves Mr. Wights accompaned by my two Cosens a little way, they returns and I procedes on to Mr. Herrikes then to Mr. Sotherbees, then through the woods Down to the river, there being now Crosing I gos up the river and a sad jant I had too, over mountains and valys and cruel bad way, so I comes to Mr. Gillburts and could not crose, so I staid at Mr. Gillburts.

The 25th. I Leves Mr. Gillburt and croses the River and Comes to Mr. I. Brigges in Sylverster.

July 2th. I leaves Mr. Brigges and has his horse for Boston on besness, in hopes to have better sucksess than I had mett with of late, so I coms to North Yarmouth and Comes to Mr. Ellwels and Enquired of him If he knew of any vesel a going to Boston, he told me Capt. John Drinkwater was agoing to-morrow, and I gos down an sees him and having an oportunity of going with him I leaves my hors at Maj'r Browns and gos and stays at Mr. Drinkwaters that Night.

The 3th. We went abord at sunrise and maid sale for Boston and come to—

The 5th. Marvelhead [[Marblehead]], when the sloop onloded and I with Capt. Boney Left Marvelhead and went to Boston by land and I Comes to Mr. Lamburts and gos about town and finds out the prises of things and byes severel articales.

The 7th. I gos to Jemekah Planes and has a chist maid by Mr. Stone, then gos to Mr. Brimmer and gits what Clothes I thought I shoold want and puts them in the Chist and sent them to Boston.

The 8th. I gos to Boston and lays out Eighty Dollars for articales to Convey with me to Sylvester at the Eastword.

The 9th. I finds an opportunity to Carry them in Mr. H.

[p. 63]
Hill's bote and puting them all on bord his schoner at Night we set sale.

The 10th. We Come into Capan [Cape Ann?] harbor and Lay there all Day watting for one Mr. Baker but it being late when he Come and likely to be a Storm we did not sale so I gos and Lodges ashore and before I Could get abord the Next morning they saled and left me and the man was the fastest for Leaving me that we wated for the Day before so I had to travel by Land to North Yarmouth one hundred and thirty miles and one Dollar in my pocket and of that I lost four Shillings at Newbury.

The 11th. I Left Capan at seven and after fifty miles travel I Comes to Mr. ____ six Miles from Porchmouth and Lodges.

The 12th. I Croses the farrey at Porchmouth and having no money I tryes at severil houses to git some Vuitels at Length at one house I gits a little Cold haste puden and Milk and after fifty-two milds travel I Come to Saco at half past ten at Evening and there gits one more Vitels being tired and fant [faint].

The 13th. I Leaves Soco and after thirty miles travel I Comes to Mr. Ellis in North Yarmouth but my things being not there I hires a bote and gos to Mr. Hills on the Island and staid that Night the Next Night he brought them.

The 14th. Mr. Hill and Mr. D. Briggs with two others gos a fishing and at Evening he brings the schooner to the falls in N. Yarmouth at Mr. Ellwell's Landing.

The 15th. We onlodes my things and Carrys them to Majr. Browns and stores them there and settles with Mr. Hill for bringing them from Boston and gets my horse and at twelve we sets out for Sylvester and at two in the morning we arrived at Mr. I. Briggs.

The 16th. Mr. I Briggs Rased his Barn and a fine own [one].

The 21st. I With Mr. D. Briggs having his horse and A.

[p. 64]
Phillepses and Dr. Briggs oxen gos to Yarmouth to fetch up my things from there and has Mr. Dillinghams Waggon.

The 24th. We Leves Majr. Browns for Sylvester With some Difficulty We gets there.

The 26th. We arrived at Mr. I. Brigges and unlodes and stored them.

The 28th. I gos to work for Mr. J. Briggs and Works for him till the Eighth of September.

Aug. 16th. I bargins with Mr. Benj. Alden for an half Lott of Land (Lying the West side of the Road and my Br-in-law the East) for two hundred Dollars (Sixty achers more or Less).

The 20th. He gave me a Deed of the Lot and I gave him two Notes one to be paid in Eighteen months from Jenuary next the other in one year after.

Sept. 8th. We Began and hoed in little short of three Bushels of Rye for me on my Lot and then gos to Work for Mr. Briggs again.

The 26th. I has better than two Bushels of Rye soed on Br. Briggs Lot and we be-acutting of the alders on my lot and Clear two achers.

Oct. 8th. I leaves Sylvester at Nine of the Clock in the morning and Comes to Majr. Browns in N. Yarmouth and stays that Night.

The 9th. I Comes to Mr. N. True's and stays there with a friend of myne till

The 12th. at Evening I gos with Mr. Elwell, Doctor Jones and Mr. True with Capt. Gray too Boston and a fine passage.

The 14th. We Come to the Wharfe in Boston and I helped him onlode the sloop for my passage.

The 15th. Mr. Ellwel wanted me to help him bye his things
[p. 65]
to Carry to N. Yarmouth (he kapte a shope there) so I assisted him to buy them.

The 16th. I Leaves Boston and Comes to Mr. Brimmer's and stays.
After visiting with his mother in Attleborough, Mass., and purchasing a dozen axes and other articles, Fisher returns to Boston on November 26, where he loads his stores onto "Mr. Yorke's sloop" and waits to set sail.
[p. 67]
The 30th. We histed sale and left the harbor at four in the morning it seemed so likely for a storm we put in Squam64 harbor and lay still and a severe storme of wind and rain there was and a number of sloops and schooners was Drove ashore ten in number and two lost.

Dec. 2d. We Left Squame harber to pursue on our Way but the Wind being Contrary we was obliged to put into Purscatway harber65 and Cast anchre.

The 4th. We Waid anchre and Left Purscatleway harber for N. Yarmouth but the wind shifting when we was off against the Nubble66 we was obliged to return to Purscatway harber then lying there till

The 6th. We Waid anchre and set sale and left Purscatleway harber and Landed at Mr. Drinkwater's wharfe at ten in the morning and onloded my things and I had his oxen and sled to Convey them, to Majr. Browns at the folls two milds and I staid at Mr. Nath True's till

The 11th. Was Thanksgiving Day and I gos to Meeten and at Evening Colo. Mitchell to Supp with him (it was Mrs. True's father) accordingly I did and a Number of his friends.

The 13th. I Leaves Mr. Trues and Comes to Mr. Waggs in Rylestown.67

The 14th. I Left Mr. Waggs and Comes to Brother Briggs in Sylvester.

Jan. 1. I Left Briggs for N. Yarmouth and Come to Mr. Trues.

The 8th. I Leves Mr. Trues at Yarmouth and Returns to Sylvester.

64Squam Harbor, at Gloucester, Mass.
65Portsmouth Harbor, N. H.
66Probably an island. [[Probably Cape Neddick, in York, Me.]]
67Durham, Me.

[p. 68]
The 15th. I and E. Briggs Left Sylvester and went on snow shoes through the woods and Come to Mr. T. Wight's in Wales fourteen milds.

The 16th. Mr. Wight and his wife was gon to his Br. Tituses and we Come there in Winthrupt.

The 19th. We Left Mr. Tituses and Come to Mr. Wight's again.

The 21st. We takes our Leave of our friends and Returns to Sylvester.

The 24th. I gos to those that I had trusted to bring in the Corn according to Bargen.

The 28th. I Engaged to Ceep an Evening Scool for ten Days work a month and we begun School at Evining.

Feb. 16th. The howl town turned out and brake the track through the woods to Mr. Dresser's ten mild and Returnd.

The 20th. Mr. Waight the high Sherive Come to Sylvister with an Execusion for negleting of Sending alternates of men for the three years sarvis &c., but [as] he got Securities for a short time he Did not Sarveit this being the first.

The 24th. I had Mr. J. Briggs oxen and sledd and Carres sixteen Bushels of ye Corn to N. Yarmouth then after Desposing of my Corn and giting my things

The 27th. I gits the things I left at Majr. Browns and Returned.

Mar. 25th. I Left Sylvester and Comes to Mr. Wm. Gilburts in Likilsbury.68

The 26th. I left Mr. Gilburts and Come to Mr. S. Tituses in Wintropt.

The 27th. I Left Mr. Titus and Come to Mr. Wight in Wales.

68Leeds, Me.

[p. 69]
The 28th. I Left Mr. Wights and then through Luiston and Crost the farrey and then through Ryelstown then through Brumswick69 then to maire pint70 Come to Landlord Chase in flying point.71

The 29th. I Left Chases I gos through hardsicikit72 and North Yarmouth and N. Glocester.73

Apr. 2d. I Comes to Mr. J. Parkers in the age [[edge]] of Bakerstown.74

Apr. 3d. I Left Mr. Parker and going through Sheppardsfield75 and Buckstown76 or the twenty mild river I Comes to Sylvester at home again.

The 5th. I had Mr. J. Briggs horse to go to Glocester and I paid a Deat of two Dollars to Mr. I. Wood for him and got the money I left there.

The 7th. I had two pounds seven shillings Endorst on the Back of one of the Notes to Mr. Benj. Alden on Mr. Chas. Bradford's account that he oed me.

The 8th. I Reckened with Mr. J. Briggs and found Due to me for things he had of me Come to Eighteen pound four shillings and what I had of him Come to Nine pound five Shilling at Bording 6/8 per week.

The 10th. I Left Sylvester and Come to N. Yarmouth.

The 11th. At Evening we set sail from Yarmouth with Capt. I. Drinkwater and Come to Marvilhead at 2 of the Clock and went for Boston.

69Brunswick, Me.
70Called also Mere and Muir. Now Mare Point in Brunswick.
71Flying Point is in Freeport.
73New Gloucester.
74Now Poland, Me. [[It also included the present towns of Minot and Mechanic Falls, and part of the city of Auburn.]]
75Now Hebron. [[It also included the present town of Oxford.]]
76Now Buckfield.
Fisher visits with his mother in Attleborough, buys some axes, hoes, scythes, and steelyards, and sets sail from Boston aboard "Mr. I. Gray's sloop" on May 13.
[p. 70]
The 14th. At 1 of the Clock p. M. we arived at N. Yarmouth and left my things at Mr. I. Gray's and stays at Mr. True's.

The 15th. I arrives at Sylvester and Come to Mr. J. Briggs.

The 16th. I begen to Bord with Brother I. Briggs for Six Shillings and Eight Pence a week and begin and fell a fence Round ten achers which took me ten or Twelve Days.

[p. 71]
The 28th. I sowd my flax and pease and otes and had D. Briggs Cattle to Harrow ½ a Bushel of rye.

The 29th. I sent for my things by Mr. S. Andrues that I left at Yarmouth.

June 1st. I planted my Corn one acher and an half.

The 10th. I sowed three Bushels of otes on two achers of my Entervail [intervale].

The 16th. I hoed my Corn the first time at least to kill the weeds.

The 21st. I Begun to fall and fill seven Achers in twenty-five Days.

July 3d. I finished felling trees and I hired all but twelve Days.

The 5th. I how'd my Corn the secund time and had a sithe snath maid.

The 8th. I Cutt what Clover I had besides that I had left for seed.

The 13th. I Leaves Sylvester and Comes to Mr. Parker from there to Mr. Norses in Glorshester and there I found Mr. Parker.

The 14th. I gos with Mr. Parker to N. Yarmouth after his mother and goods that he brought from the westward and loded them ito the Cart

The 15th. and Mrs. Parker and her Daughter rid in the Cart and Left Yarmouth.

The 16th. We arrived at Mr. Norses after some Dificulty.

The 18th. I gos by the way of Mr. Parker's and Returned to Sylvester.

The 20th. I took Care of the Corn that I had taken in the winter before now I let go things for Corn and Engaged to take in

[p. 72]
Corn at three and four pence a Bushel and lying to gather a Quantaty it was like to hurt and I tuck it and stored it.

The 28th. I began to Digg the Suller for my house and Vary bad Digging I had too which Cost me a good deel for I was Eighteen Days a Diggin of it and Come to a Solid Rock all on the Botom of it which we tried to blow but Could not make any hand of it so I Dugg it the biggness of the house which was thirty-two foot.

Aug. 2d. I mow'd my hay seed and Raked and stacked it.

The 3d. I Begun to Reep my Rye that I sow'd of Brother Jothem.

The 6th. I Secured it in his Barn which Cost me five days work.

The 12th. The same Day I Reept the Rye I sow'd on my lot.

The 13th. I had a lode of hay of Wm. Haskell and Carred my Rye to Mr. Bradford's barn that grue on my lot.

The 16th. I Cutt and Secured my otes and had that grue at the low land of my lot on the Entervail.

The 23d. I had Mr. Bradford's horse and went to Yarmouth and got some things and Returnd to Sylvester.

The 26th. I gits my otes and flax and had a meeten to agree with Mr. Stricklen.

Sept. 2d. We had a town meeten to agre with the Reverent Mr. John Stricklen77 to settle with us and they agree to give him fifty pound a year Salary and to Clear two achers.

The 8th. Br. J. Briggs Stons my Suller and the Stoning and

77Rev. John Strickland, the first settled minister of Turner, Maine, first called Sylvester. He was installed September 20, 1784, dismissed May 18, 1797. A native of Hadley, Mass. Wife, Patty Stone, who died May 4, 1805. A Presbyterian. He died Oct. 4, 1823, leaving 14 children. Graduate of Yale, 1761; first settled at Oakham, Mass., April 1, 1768; dismissed June 24, 1773; installed at Nottingham, West, N. H., July 15, 1774; dismissed in 1783; March 12, 1806, installed at East Andover, where he died.

[p. 73]
the giting the stone Cost me tenty-four Days work and I Rased it four feet from the ground and the banken that up Cost me two Days &c.

The 17th. Cosen Timoth Wight and his wife Come to visit us. I Cut my stolks [corn-stalks] and tuck Care of them.

The 20th. Mr. John Sricklen was Reinstold [[reinstalled]] at Sylvester.

The 22d. I agrees with Mr. Benj. Jones and Mr. Harry Gilurts to hew the timber and frame my house.

The 23d. We begun to git the timber for the house and it Cost me forty-Eight Days work to git the timber and frame the house.

Oct. 2d. We Rased the frame a Saturday in after Noon.

The 6th. I begun to gather my Corn and Crib'd it by my frame.

The 11th. I Dugg my Powtatos that I planted on Br. Briggs lot.

The 12th. and allso them I planted on my lot and Carred them to Mr. Bradfords.

The 16th. I thrasht my stack of hay seed ½ a lod and some Rye at Br. J.

The 18th. I sow'd four Bushels of Rye which Cost me Eight Days work.

The 20th. I began and junked78 on my fell trees which Cost me six Days work.

The 22d. I had a Shote of Br. J. Briggs which waight was seventy-one lb.

The 26th. I worked for Brother Barker which Come to one ½ Bushel of Wheat.

78To "junk" means to trim felled trees and prepare the lot for burning over.

[p. 74]
The 28th. I Worked In my Entervail which Cost me five Days work.

The 30th. I gathered my Cabbage and french turnups that I raised on Br. J. Briggs lot and put them in his suller.

Nov. 6th. The first snow storm.

The 18th. I Plow'd ½ an acer by my frame which Cost me five Days work.

The 20th. I was taken lame and Remaned so for a week with a sore on foot.

Dec. 2d. I junked and pil'd the logs where I planted and Cleared and burnt them which Cost me ten Days work.

The 4th. I thrashed my Rye at Mr. Bradfords and Carred it to Mr. Briggs.

The 11th. I gos and Borrow Mr. Morrell's Croscut sawe, but after a good deel of Dificulty in trying to git it put in order and Could not make out.

The 13th. I fell trees for shingle stuff and junk'd on my fell trees.

The 14th. I Left Sylvester and Come to Mr. Parker's in Bakerstown and after doin my besiness with him I Comes to Mr. Winslow's in Glosester.

The 16th. I Left Glosester and Come to N. Yarmouth then to Capt. Bagley's in Ryelstown then to Capt. Neckels and then after Doing my Bisness

The 18th. I Left Ryelstown and Crosed the farrey then through Luiston I Come to Mr. T. Wight's in Wails then to Mr. Fairbanke's in Winthropt.

The 19th. I Comes to Mr. L. Tituses in Wales and then Returns to Mr. Wight's in Do [[Ditto]].

The 26th. I Left Wailes and Comes through Luiston I Comes to Sylvester.

[p. 75]
The 27th. I gos and Carrys that saw and gits Mr. B. to put it in order.

The 30th. I sawed and bolted and had a part of the shingles stuff that we had ben giting hald to Mr. Bradford's Barn to make them.

Jan. 3d. I sawed the boltes that we had Drue there to make shingles of.

The 6th. I had help and we split and shaved about 4 thousand I had.

The 12th. I had about 2 thousend not shaved and after secured them I left.

The 18. I Reckened and settled with Br. Jotham Briggs from the time I first Come there untill this Date both for bording and other things.

The 19th. Was Thirsday and I Left Sylvester for the westward and I Come by the way of Mr. Parker's in Ryelstown and through Glosester I Come to Landlord Hunt's in the town of Grey being twenty-Eight milds.

The 20th. I Left Gray and Come to Falmouth town [Portland] 37 milds.

The 21st. I Left Falmouth and Come to Landlord Clark in Wells 37 milds.

The 22d. I Left Wells and Come to Mr. Williames 3 mild from Derhamfalls79 26 miles.

The 23d. I Left Derhamfalls and Come to Landlord Cambels ½ mild from Haverhil farrey, and I had mett with a miss fortain of renchin my foot.

The 24th. I Left Haverhil Come to Mr. Farnam's in Andover and after Doing bisiness with him for Mr. Marker
79Probably Durham, Me. [[This is incorrect. Apparently a location in New Hampshire.]]

[p. 76]
The 25th. I Left Andover and going through Boston I Come to Mr. E. Wells on Jemakah Planes in Roxbury after traveling 32 milds.

The 26th. I Left J. Planes and Come to Mr. E. Hunt in Wrentham 25 milds.

The 27th. I left Wrentham and Come to Mother Fisher's in Attleborough.

The 31st. Brother Abial Fisher Left Attleborough for Putney with his sloop.

Feb. 7th. I Left Attleborough and Come to Dighton from there to Rheboth then to Provedance then returns to Wrentham then to

The 19th. Mother's in Attleborough to Visit my Relations and other bisness.

The 23d. I gos to school and followed it pritty stiddy while it cept.



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