The Joshua Hempstead Diary

May 13, 2009
By EDWARD BAKER

In the early part of the eighteenth century, in New London, Connecticut, Joshua Hempstead kept a diary.  He recorded, on a daily basis, the weather, his business activities, baptisms, notices of marriage intentions, military trainings and wars, divisions of the Commons, court sessions, ship traffic, town meetings, New Light controversies, thanksgivings, fasts, deaths, his travels, celebrations both happy and sad, and all the other large and small events that made up life in that busy seaport.  The surviving part of the diary covers forty-seven years, from September of 1711 through early November of 1758.

The Hempstead Diary

The Hempstead Diary

At times during his long life Hempstead was a shipwright; carpenter; farmer; townsman; trader to Boston, New York, and the West Indies; representative to the General Assembly; justice of the peace; surveyor; writer of wills; and business agent for the Winthrop family. Hempstead’s thorough involvement with the life of the town, and the immediacy of daily entries, make the diary particularly valuable.

Scholars and Connecticut historians have been using The Diary of Joshua Hempstead as a major resource for information about 18th century New London ever since the first edition was published by the New London County Historical Society in 1901.

 Quoted from: A Useful Friend: A Companion to Joshua Hempstead’s Diary 1711-1758 by Patricia M. Schaefer

See an index all the Joshua Hempstead Blog postings.

2 Responses to “ The Joshua Hempstead Diary ”

  1. Deborah on June 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Hey Mr. Hempstead,
    It has rained here in 2009 15 out of 22 days of June (so far) and the other days have been none too sunny. Did you ever have such a June back in the day?

    Looking forward to your comments on summer weather in CT.

  2. EDWARD BAKER on June 23, 2009 at 11:40 am

    On the 22nd of June 1726 it rained smartly — so much that it raised the brook so that it near ran over the bridge.