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. It’s very different from today’s specialization.
The month of March, 1736/7, gives a representative sample of this range of activities. In that month, Hempstead:
- attended two funerals, one for an infant grandchild
- worked for Madam Winthrop by making up accounts with a tenant and renewing that lease, and assisting in an arbitration involving tenants
- spent three days in Norwich at a court
- performed a marriage
- spent several days surveying commons and land taken for execution of a debt
- spent another several days engaged in agricultural work such as pruning apple trees, breaking dung, toppoling a fence, and gathering stones and making part of a wall
- paid the minister’s “rate,” or tax, for two towns where he owned property
- held a court of probates one day
- sold some land and wrote the deed of sale; purchased bass and sent money to Guilford to purchase flax
- shipped two horses to Long Island
- received news from London
- attended meeting every Sunday and recorded the publishments (announcements of marriage intentions)
- spent several days “at home,” with no further explanation.
What didn’t Hempstead do that month? Well, he didn’t letter any gravestones, an activity that provided income now and then throughout his adult life. He didn’t write a will for anyone. He didn’t hold any justice of the peace courts at his house, although he did perform that marriage, also a justice function. But overall this month gives a very good picture of the scope and variety of Hempstead’s life.