Zadoc Long's Journal, 1823-1834
Source: Alfred Cole and Charles F. Whitman, A History of Buckfield, Oxford County, Maine. (Buckfield, Me.: [s.n.], 1915). Notes in parentheses are Cole and Whitman's.
[p. 469]ZADOC LONG'S JOURNAL
Extracts from Diary of Zadoc Long which he kept for 50 years. These extracts are but a very small part, but enough to give an impression of the local village life:
I was born on the 28th day of July, 1800, at Middleboro, Plymouth, County, Mass. The earliest thing I can remember was my father's return from a military muster in the costume of a commissioned officer with[p. 470]cocked hat and coat faced with white. The next thing I recall was the birth of my brother Miles in 1804. My father moved from Middleboro to Buckfield in 1806, and bought the Daniel Howard farm on North Hill. The first time I came to the village there were but two two-story houses here—Mr. Benjamin Spaulding's and the one in which I now live. There was no church here. I worked on a farm till I was 14 years old. My father carried on his farm and his trade of a shoemaker at the same time. In 1815 I commenced the study of English and Latin grammar. In the autumn of 1816 I attended the academy at Hebron and boarded a mile away at Mr. Barney Myrick's, where I could pay in shoemaking at $1.00 per week. This I think was the last bill my father ever paid for me.1823.April 13—Bought a stand for trade jointly with Capt. James Jewett—the new store on the north side of the river and east of the bridge—the largest and most convenient store for business in village—together with a building and apparatus for making potash.1824.Sept. 1—I was married to Julia T. Davis of New Gloucester and commenced keeping house. Lucius Loring, who has married my sister Sally, and I, hired a house called the "Foster House." He will occupy one part and I the other.
Oct. 24.—A pleasant young gentleman by the name of Henry White is boarding with us. He has lately commenced preaching the gospel and is engaged for a short time in the village.1826.July 30.—The first meeting of the members of the Bible class in Buckfield holden at Mr. Chase's Meeting House so called. The question written upon was: "How extensive is the knowledge of God."
The undersigned feeling persuaded that Capt. ______ ______ is injuring his health, his reputation, his property and the peace of his family, by an increasing habit of intemperance, and believing that, as he is not accustomed to the use of ardent spirits in his own house, it might prove a preventive of this evil for him to be denied it at the stores, by the glass, and feeling very solicitous to save a man from destruction, who but for this, would be one of our most respectable and useful citizens, hereby engage ourselves to let him have no more rum to be drank in our stores.
Buckfield, Dec. 2, 1826.Zadoc Long
The above accompanied by a letter to Mr. P. expressing the kindest wishes for his welfare.[p. 471]1827.Apr. 25—The greatest freshet remembered here. It was caused by 24 hours only of rain.
May 24—Purchased a chaise of Mr. Babcock, Portland, for which I gave him $185.
June 21—This day was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the County of Oxford.
July 24—Purchased a black horse of Hosea Benson, Canton, for $135 cash.1829.Mar. 9—Snow 4 feet deep on a level. Sam H. Blake teaching the school and boarding at my house.
Aug. 17—Drouth continues. Corn is much injured that it is thought there will be but half a crop. Potatoes nearly ruined. Business dull in consequence of the extreme scarcity of money. No sale for stock yet which is all that can be relied upon for a general circulation of cash here and we have no prospect of better times this season.
Oct.—Started from Buckfield Sat. morning and the Mon. following was in old Plymouth, Mass., a distance of 215 miles. Went to see Bro. Thomas, who had been for 40 mos. on the U. S. Frigate Brandywine on the Pacific coast of So. America. Had not seen him for 6 years. He had a roving disposition. His life on a man of war has improved him.
Autumn—The portraits of myself and wife painted by G. U. Appleton. My age 29, my wife's 22.
Dec.—It is nearly 2 years since I sold any spiritous liquors in my store, and though the profits of my business have been consequently less my satisfaction has been much greater. Did not feel justified in selling that to my neighbors which I knew to be for their injury. About the time a Temperance Association was formed in this vicinity I quit retailing ardent spirits. (These are words that deserve to shine in letters of gold. Authors.)1830.Jan. 17—The weather has been remarkably moderate this winter so far. There has been but little snow. We have had one week of sleighing.1831.Feb. 1—There has been no sleighing yet this winter. To-day it snows.
Feb. 6—Snow enough and the sleigh-bells begin to be heard on the streets.
Mar. 5.—Sold my goods and rented my store to Samuel W. Ingalls and E. Taylor for 2 years at $24 per year.
Apr. 1—There has been a big freshet here the past week. Damage $2500 at least, Lucius Loring's share is not less than $1000, Buck's & Gray's $1000. The east part of the upper dam was broken away by the ice and the main current of the river let into the road at the east of Buck's wagon shops, surrounding them. Gray's blacksmith shop and[p. 472]Loring's potash being in water in such a manner that no one could get to them to remove anything. The buildings were undermined and whatever was in or about them washed away, leaving a wreck behind. Notes and accounts to the amount of about $1500 belonging to Buck and Gray were lost. A shoe shop and a part of a shed attached to Crocker's store went down stream and were destroyed. It will be $100 damage to the roads.
Nov. 27—We have just returned from Sunday School. My wife and I have a class. The interest of the school is enlivened by our infant Library. There are some favorable symptoms for Buckfield—wicked, God-forsaken place as it has been called—our new meeting-house with its heaven pointing spire for one. We intend to have a bell if the purchase money can be raised by subscription.1832.Jan. 2—Winter set the last of Nov. with sufficient snow for sleighing and it has been the most severe and steady cold weather for the time of year that the oldest men among us can remember. Commenced business in the store of Lucius Loring, Aug. 1st last, and have made a greater amount of sales than ever before in the same length of time. Business of every kind has been better during the past year than I ever knew it to be.
Mar. 28—There have now been 125 days of sleighing. It has been the longest and coldest winter ever known in this country.
Mar.—Rev. Seth Stetson made some remarks a few days since upon the subject of intemperance and especially about retailers, which have kindled a war against him, that promises not soon to subside[.] _____ _____ in particular has taken it in high dudgeon and swears that he will no longer hear him preach or assist in his support and all this for what? Why because our minister had conscience and independence enough to admonish the people of the evils resulting from the practice of ardent spirits—for preaching morality. What a queer thing it would be I am thinking if the people of Buckfield drive away a Universalist minister for preaching temperance. Smith, the hatter from Portland, died last night at Smith's Tavern. His death was no doubt occasioned by intemperance. There have been 5 deaths in this village this winter—2 infants, Mrs. Cole, wife of Sampson Cole, Mrs. Parris, wife of Josiah Parris and Rev. Seth Stetson's daughter, Emily.
Apr. 18—There are now 5 stores with large stocks of goods for the country in operation here, Long & Loring, Luther Crocker, Ephraim Atwood & Co., Nathan Atwood, Samuel Ingalls & Co. The latter firm occupy a store belonging to me where I formerly traded.
June 6—Meeting house in this village ("church on the hill") dedicated. Dedication sermon by Rev. Seth Stetson.
June 10—It has been cold and cloudy nearly 4 weeks. Farmers are almost discouraged. Much of the corn and potatoes have rotted. There[p. 473]is very little prospect of a corn crop this year. It has been so damp and cold that I have kept a fire in the store every day for a month.
June 17—Attended Sabbath School this morning. There are now about 40 attendants. Have raised a sufficient sum by subscription to double the number of books in the school library. Much good may be expected from it, though far from popular with the majority of the town's people.
June 28—The universalists have their annual convention here today.
July 20—The season is several weeks later than usual.
Sept. 12—The corn on low lands killed by frost.
Oct. 22—It has been a very cold and unfavorable season for vegetation. So little corn has not been raised for many years. It is now selling for 6 shillings per bushel.
Dec. 16—Mr. Bates, a Universalist minister, preached at Union Chapel. A great majority of the owners of the meeting house are professed Universalists. Rev. Seth Stetson who has preached in this place once or twice a month for the past 2 years was formerly an Orthodox preacher. He is now a believer in universal restoration. I am not acquainted with a more exemplary man.
Dec. 25—Christmas. Six years ago to-day was the first meeting of the Temperance Association in this village at which an address was delivered by Stephen Emery, Esq. Since that time I have not trafficked in ardent spirits.
Sunday, Dec. 29—Rev. Mr. Bryant, a Methodist, preached at the school house to-day.1833.Jan. 24—About one o'clock we awoke and found the whole village in an uproar. It was dark and misty—not a breath of wind. A broad red glare lit up the sky. Thought at first it was Atwood's store on fire. Soon ascertained that it was the grist mill. If any wind had been blowing nothing could have prevented the saw mill and probably Atwood's store from burning. The flames kindled in 20 places and burned the outside next to the grist mill to a coal. Mr. Heald's loss is probably $1500. Nathan Atwood's whose carding machinery was burned, $600. A. B. Morrill's blacksmith shop was in that part of the building, where the fire commenced. Many persons had admonished Mr. Heald of the imprudence of having this shop in the building.
Mar. 5—Since March came in, we have had some of the worst freezing and blustery weather of the winter.
Mar. 12—I expected to sell my store to-day to Mr. Cole of Livermore, but he seems inclined not to take it. I have offered him my house, store and whole concern for $1600. He talks of buying Dr. Bridgham's house and store at $1350. The term for which Ingalls & Taylor hired the store expired to-day. Just sold my store for $400 to Nathan Morrill and Artemas F. Cole.
Mar. 13—The rain which continued nearly all night is changed into a snowstorm and the wind is piping louder and louder from the north.[p. 474]Hurrah for another blockade. Blue devils are flapping their dull wings about. This weather's propitious for hatching 'em out. Continual snowing and blowing and blasting and vapors and darkness and storms everlasting.
Mar. 17, Sunday—Mr. Stetson preached to-day at Union Chapel. He talks about moving away in the spring and we are in the way of having no preaching of any kind in this town. For vindicating the cause of Temperance, he lost the friendship and support of those who were most instrumental in procuring him to preach here for which reason mainly he will remove.
Mar. 19—Have nearly sold my house from over my head to-day to V. D. Parris, Esq., who is about being married to Miss Columbia Rawson of Paris possessing $8000 in addition to her other attractions. He has the refusal of it at $1200.
Apr. 9—Mr. Samuel Hutchinson, a very amiable young man, in attempting to pass a bridge without any railing on horseback, over what is called the "Roundabout," while the water was running over it, was washed off by the current and drowned. His body was found after lying in the water 8 or 9 hours. Left an affectionate wife, who mourned him bitterly.
Apr. 14—Mr. Chase, the first man I ever heard preach in Buckfield, holds forth to-day at Union Chapel (This was Elder Nath'l Chase).
Apr. 22—Rev. Mr. Bates, a Universalist preacher, lectured this evening at Union Chapel on the subject of Temperance.
Apr. 25—Dr. Comstock dined with us to-day.
May 5—Rev. Mr. Stoddard, Universalist, preached at Union Chapel. Buckfield Sabbath School Society held its annual meeting at 5 o'clock.
May 26—The season is forward. Trees have been several days in bloom. Grass knee high in my front yard. Lilacs blossomed for the first time since I planted them.
Sunday, July 14—Just returned from Sunday School. Have charge of a class. Mr. Chase preached to-day.
Oct. 6—Sunday School closed to-day for the season. Mr. Brown and myself have been the only teachers. Have been absent but 2 Sabbaths during the summer.1834Jan. 23—About 8 o'clock this morning Mr. Jewett's cabinet shop was discovered to be on fire. It burned to the ground in a few minutes. Other buildings in great danger were saved.
Feb. 26—We had a temperance meeting here to-day and an address.
Apr. 26—At 8 o'clock evening my wife presented us her first boy.
May 15—To-day it snows fast. The ground is covered and sleighs are out.
June 23—Our store was broken into last night and about $200 worth of silk goods stolen.
Aug. 26—One William Dyer had his trial this week at Topsham for breaking a store. We attended and found about $15 worth of our goods which were taken from our store June 23d.