New London County Historical Society, Inc.

11 Blinman Street, New London, CT 06320

Phone: 860-443-1209

About Pat Schaefer

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So far Pat Schaefer has created 4 blog entries.
110, 2010


By |October 1st, 2010|Hempstead Diary, Thunderstorms|Comments Off on Thunderstorms


[Oct. 1754] Saturd 5  fair. I was about home all day fitting up Cask for Cyder.  I Rid out to Crossman Lot to water the Cattle.  Thundr & Lightning in the night & a Storm of wind & Rain.

“Thunder and lightning” are fairly common with rain storms in this part of New England all through the summer and into the fall, as they were in Hempstead’s time.  What has changed is our perception of them.

Well into the eighteenth century, it was the thunder that was assumed to be the dangerous part of the combination.  When you think about an age without our capabilities to measure the transmission of sound and light, this makes sense.  If you have ever had a tree or pole near your house struck by lightning, you know that the noise of the thunder accompanying it is impressive—and simultaneous.  Looked at objectively, it does appear that the thunder is more important, since no harm came earlier from clearly visible lightning.

In the earlier parts of the diary Hempstead refers a couple of times to damage done by thunder and lightning.  When the meetinghouse was struck on August 31, 1735, he records “a Terable Clap of Thunder & Lightning […]

1706, 2010

Mowing Down Assumptions

By |June 17th, 2010|Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on Mowing Down Assumptions

[July 1719] Thursd 16  fair & hot. . .I Stacked Some hay yt grew before ye door.  Thursd 22 [April 1725]  fair.  In ye morning I Sowed Some white Clover Seed betwixt ye Barberry Bush & Cherry trees. . . . Saturd 11 [August 1739] fair. . . Adam Mowed the Little pasture before the Door & Stacked the oats.

Wednsd 13 [March 1751] fair. . .& aftern I Set out for midletown [from Hartford] & bot 2 qrts of Clover Seed for 40s of one Curtiss near the South Side of Wethersfield. . . Tuesd .26 fair.  in the foren I Sowed the oats att home.  7 Bushells & in the aftern I followed the Harrow & Sowed 2 Quarts of hay seed that I bot of Mr Curtice of Weathersfield Near Midletown uper houses.  Tuesd 2d [July] fair.  I was att home foren & aftern I was out to the Cornfield &c.  Raked ye Clover ye most of itt.  Natt Way Mowed itt ys day.

One of the biggest problems in understanding life in times past is our assumptions.  We all carry around mental pictures of objects and activities based on our experiences, which can include reading and watching videos.  […]

803, 2010

March … brot home the mare & colt

By |March 8th, 2010|Hempstead Diary|0 Comments

Tuesd Mar .1. . . .wee got home [from his farm in Stonington] Sun about an hour high and wee buried the Child at Sun down. . . . Saturd 5. . . I was at home al Day. Josh brot home the mare & Colt & left the young Horses. . . Mond .7. fair & Cold & windy.  I went to Groton to John Averys to Assist in an arbitration . . . Tuesd 15 it Snowed & Rained most of the Day.  I was at home foren. afternoon helping measure 100 Rod of Land for Dea. fosdick Hills Lot Next Jno Plumb taken by Execution for Charlots Debt.  Wednsd 16 fair & warm.  I was at home al day. foren helping Adm draw S[t]ones. aftern pruning Appletrees.  Thursd 24. . . I was Laying out Commons . . . I am to Receive 7s 4d of Dea Fox.  the Rest are pd & I Recd 2s 6d for Abel Moors part of Dea Fosdick.

Something that fascinates a good many people about Joshua Hempstead’s life is its variety.  One day he’s at court acting as someone’s lawyer, the next he may be surveying or working on the highways.  […]

1209, 2009

Harvest Time

By |September 12th, 2009|Hempstead Diary|Comments Off on Harvest Time

 [Sept. 1724] Mond .7.  fair. I fetched a turn of aples fro Holmes’s Lot Ab & Moley. . .Saturd 12 fair. I was picking apples. wee Carted 1 Load to ye mill. . . .Tuesd 15 fair. I was at home all day. I finisht Riming my wheell. Jo Bent[Bennett] & Jno Mowed Rowin & Stackt Stalks. fryd 18 fair. I was about home. I mended highways for the Cart to go to fetch hay to the medows in the forn. aftern Raking hay at Mamacock 20 Cocks in R. Cs medow. Jo Bent & Jno Carted 1 Load from ye Medows & 1 from Mamacock. I help ye Latter my Steers & Horse. 
September meant preparations for winter were in full swing in New London. In 1724 Hempstead still had several of his children at home to help. Abigail was 12, Molly 8, and John 14. There were several other days that month of picking apples and taking them to the mill to be made into cider to store for the winter. Lacking modern refrigeration, the cider would go hard fairly quickly, and then eventually turn to vinegar. (There’s a reason besides efficacy for all those old household tips […]