Diary of Reverend Ebenezer Parkman



Reverend Ebenezer Parkman ‘s website blog:




His signature

His Motto:

“Thy Heart is not right with God. Let me bear this saying in mind that I may keep clear of such a charge upon me !”


" Thy Heart is not right with God. Let me bear this saying in 
mind that I may keep clear of such a charge upon me ! " 

Reverend Ebenezer Parkman kept his daily diary for 65 years during his ministry at the Westborough, MA church. He graduated from Harvard in 1721. He married Mary Champney who died after their 4th child. He then married Hannah Breck and had 12 children. His son, Samuel, gifted to the church a bell that Paul Revere made. It has made it’s way to Boston’s Old South Meeting House.

His downloadable diary in pdf etc:


Paul Revere Bell:



Ebenezer Parkman’s 1720 Harvard student notebook


His biography:


Pdf link to his diary:




In giving a part of Mr. Parkman's Journal to the public, the West- 
borough Historical Society feel that they are making a valuable con- 
tribution to local New England History. It is not only a vivid 
picture of their own town during the last century, but a type of all 
New England towns, — the petty cares and economies, the small 
jealousies and quarrels, and back of it all and broader than all, the 
earnest, honest, God-fearing lives of those only a few generations 
before us. 

We especially feel indebted to Mrs. Edward Tuckerman, of Am- 
herst, who lent us most willingly and kindly the manuscript 
Journal. Miss Eliza S. Parkman, of Boston, has given us help 
repeatedly in too many ways to be separatel}' enumerated. Miss 
Alice B. Gould, of Boston, lent the picture of Edmund Quincy — 
Mrs. George Sumner, of Worcester, those of Rev. Mr. Sumner, of 
Shrewsbury, and his house — Mr. Bradford Kingman, of Brookline, 
the two blocks taken from Barbour's Collections, Harvard College 
and Eli Whitney's house— Mr. Arthur B. Denny, of Chestnut Hill, 
made the copies of Madam Parkman and of the Parkman Coat-of. 
Arms — the latter from a water-color illumination which formerly 
adorned the walls of the Westborough parsonage. 

The extracts from the Natalitia are published through the 
courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society. 

The drawing of Mr. Parkman on the cover is the only picture of 
him known to be in existence. It was a niemor}- sketch, done with 
pen and ink. 

The photograph of the handsome old table which Elias brought 
up from Cambridge is taken from the original now owned by Mr. 
Parkman T. Denny, of Leicester, and coveted by all of the old min- 
ister's descendants. The slate top has beeu replaced by a board. 


but the handsome carving and Ijeautiful wood might well excite 
the enthusiasm of a greater connoisseur in antique furniture than 
Klias Parkman. 

The Journal has been carefully copied, but for the sake of clear- 
ness most of the abbreviations have been written out. Mr. Park- 
man usually wrote they, yy — them, y'" — their, yeir^ and abbre- 
viated many other common words. The italicized words have 
been retained, except in the case of proper names — which he 
always underscores. In a very few cases where the words were 
illegible or blotted, an interrogation mark indicates the uncertainty. 

The notes have been written mostly from town records or au- 
thentic history, tradition very rarely being allowed a voice. 

Worcester, Mass., May 29, 1899. 


The following pages are part of the Jourual of Rev. Ebene/.er 
Park man. It is probable that he kept it for the whole period of 
his long pastorate iu Westborough. Much of it has been lost— that 
for many years burned,— a few volumes are in the Library of the 
Antiquarian Society in Worcester,— one at least in that of the Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society of Boston. This volume, w^iich the 
Westborough Historical Society is enabled to print through the 
kindness of Mrs. Edward Tuckerman, of Amherst, is owned l)y 
her. It is all in one book, sewed together probably long after Rev. 
Ebenezer's death. Mrs. Tuckerman writes : "The book came to 
me directly from my aunt, Mrs. Asa Rand, an older sister of my 
father's who received it from her mother Sarah, daughter of Rev. 
Ebene/.er. My good old aunt had more of her grandfather's diary, 
but in some of her movings (she was a minister's wife), it got left 
behind in a box of papers, on a closet shelf, she told me, and she 
could not recover it, probably destroyed as waste paper." 

Ebenezer Parkman was born in Boston, Sept. 5, 1703. His father 
was Wm. Parkman, who in 1680 married Elizabeth Adams, also of 
Boston. She is buried on Copp's Hill— dying on the 13th of April, 
1746. Wm. Parkman had died sixteen years earlier, Nov. 30, 1730. 
He was born in Salem, where his father Elias had settled, iu 1658. 
This Elias, born in 1635, was also the sou of Elias Parkman, who 
had come among the earliest settlers to New England, and grand- 
son of Thomas Parkman, of Sidmouth, Devon, England. 

Ebeuezer Parkman was admitted to Harvard College in 1717, 
when he was fourteen years old, and graduated in 1721. The 
next year he taught school in Newton, living with the brother Elias, 
whom he mentions in the first part of the Journal. This brother 


was a mastmaker, and in 1728 an advertisement appears in a local 
paper : — 

"April I. Mr. Henrj' Richards wants to sell a parcel of likely negro boys 
and one negro girl, arrived from Nevis, and were brought from Guinea. To be 
seen at the house of Mr. Elias Parkman, mastmaker, at the North End." 

As the Rev. Ebenezer purchased a slave boy, Maro, in August of 
that year, it is very possible that he vi^as one of this "parcel." 
Maro lived only a little more than a year at the Westborough par- 
sonage, and Mr. Parkman writes under date of Dec. 6, 1728 : " Dark 
as it has been with us, it became much Darker abt ye Sun Setting. 
The .Sun of Maro's life Sat. The first Death in my Family! God, 
enable me to see thy Sovereign mind and comport with his holy 

This brother Elias and his wife are both buried on Copp's Hill, 
dying in 1741 and 1746. 

Mr. Parkman's son Elias was undoubtedly named for this favorite 
brother, and indeed most of his children bore the names of his 
brothers and sisters— Mary, Elizabeth, William, Sarah, Susannah, 
.lle.xander, Samuel, John, and Elias being names common to each. 

In 1723, Mr. Parkman commenced to preach, and twice during 
that summer occupied the Westborough pulpit. In 1724, he and 
the Rev. Jacob Eliot, of Boston, were nominated in a Town Meeting 
as candidates for the position of Town Minister in Westborough, 
and he, proving the successful candidate, was installed nine months 
later, over the little church organized just before. 

Those nine months had been very busy ones to the young man. 
Only a month had passed since he had become twenty-one years of 
age. He had built himself a house on the bleak hill-top where the 
Lyman School now stands, and he had married a wife in July — Mary 
Champney, of Cambridge. 

The Church was organized in this new house of INIr. I'arktiian's — 
with twelve members besides the pastor. They were : Thomas For- 
bush, John Pratt, Edmund Rice, Isaac Tomlin, John Fay, David 
Maynard, Thomas Newton, James Bradish, David Brigham, Joseph 
Wheeler, James Ball and Isaac Tomlin, Jr. It was five years before 
the little church near the parsonage was finished. 



" In the year 1729" — so says the Book of Church Records, "A 
Flaggon was sent the Church from a Friend of its Welfare at Boston. 
See Zechariah 6, 14, latter part. 

"In the year 1735, 10 sh. was given ye Church towards a Baptism 
Bason, afterwards another 10 sh. was given by the same person, who 
also Vjought ye Bason Dec, 1739, and devoted it to ye Qhh's use. 
N. B. A Frame for ye Bason with its shaft and vScrews, etc., price 
20s., was given and Devoted by ye Same." 

The flagon and basin have been guarded from the destruction 
which has overtaken nearly everything else connected with the 
little church on the hill, and have found their way through the kind- 
ness of Mr. John A. Fayerweather, into the collection of the His- 
torical Society. They are both of pewter, and bring before our 
eyes more vividly than any words could do, the simplicity and 
poverty and sincerity of these first members of the Westborough 



In February, 1737, when we begin in the middle of an entry in the 
minister's Journal, he was living in his house on the Lyman School 
Hill. His wife had died January 29, 1735. They had the following 
children : — 

Mary, born vSepteniber 14, 1725. 

Ebenezer, born August 20, 1727 — buried by his father's side in 
Memorial Cemetery. 

Lydia, born Septeml)er 20, 1731, and died June 21, 1733. 

Thomas, born July 3, 1729. 

Lucy, born September 23, 1734. 

Mr. Parkman married again, Hannah Kreck, September 11, 1737 — 
and their children were : — 

Elizabeth, born December 25, 1738— died January 14, 1739. 

William, born February 19, 1741. 

Sarah, born March 20, 1742. 

Susannah, born March 13, 1744- 

Alexander, born February 17, 1746. 

Breck, born January 27, 1748. 

Samuel, born August 22, 1751. 

John, born July 21, 1753. 

Anna Sophia, born October 18, 1755. 

Hannah, born February 9, 175S— died in 1777— antl buried in 
Memorial Cemeterj-. 

Elias, born January 6, 1761. 

Sixteen children in all, of whom only two died in infancy. 


Page 294  of his diary:

ion, &c. D. G. Read Biogr. Diet. F. ^^ ^ . 

27 Am forced to keep House by reason of y"^ Sharp Air. 
Mr Brigham brot Mrs. Jotham Bush to dine with us. I 
read, as yesterday, Biogr. Dictionary, now part of G. 


28. Several Neighbours came & killed 1113^ largest Hog. 
They were Messrs. Thad Warrin, Sol Batherick & Caleb 
Harrington. They would not stay to dine with us. The 
Hog weighed 316 pounds. At eve, Master Fisk here, N. 
B. Breck brings in a Letter from Eben"" at Fishkill. 



31. I preached a. m. on Mai : 1.14 the latter part, & p. 
M. on Eccl. 12.13. It is deeply to be regretted that those 
great and Serious Subjects have so slender Effect upon our 
Minds, Since they do so nearly, so inf.ly concern us !^ 

I have great Reason to be astonished at myself, that I am 
so far below what I ought to be ! I beseech God most gra- 
ciously to awaken me to a proportionable Exertion ! 

At eve Mr. Brigham read Mr. Flavell on Rev. 3. 20. 

y' I might have a Frame of Spirit suited to y^ Close of 
y^ Year, & that I might have a lively Apprehension of y^ 
Close of Life, y' I may be found ready for it. 

We know of uo later volume of the Journal. 

The last entry in any book that we have was written by Mr. Park- 
man under the date of Sept. 5, O. S. 1782 in the Natalitia — 

" I have still fresh Cause to praise and extol ye name of ye most 
High who endures me and permits me to live in His World, to en- 
joy innumerable Advantages and especially to enjoy both ye Day 

1 These last sermons on this last day of the year were preached 
from the texts : — 

" For I am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and my name 
is dreadful among the heathen " — and in the afternoon — 

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; I'ear God 
and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man." 


& ye Means of Grace-would therefore offer up a sacrifice of Praise 
and Thanks to His glorious Name ! 

That my Senses have been continued in such a Measure : and 
particularly That my Light has not been utterly taken away-but 
that I can in such a Measure both read & write ; that especially 
the Day and Means of Grace are continued, that I am yet permitted 
to Serve in ye Sanctuary and have my Furneture & Ability for it 
(May I myself savingly profit thereby \) 

But while I have been thus highly indulged, O what Ingratitude 
& Unworthiness I have been chargeable with. 

Therefore " 

As he turned the page he found he had written some items on the 
other side-there was no more room in the book. He commenced 
on its first page in 1727-he had now-an old man-reached the 

last. , 

He lived but a short time after this birthday, dying on the 9th of 


An article in the Worcester Spy reads :— 

" Westborough Dec. 16. 1782. 

" On Monday evening the 9th inst. departed this Life that aged 
and venerable man of God, the Reverend Ebenezer Parkman, pas- 
tor of the Church of Christ in this place, in the 8oth year of his age 
and the 59th of his ministry, and this day his remains were decently 
and honorably interred. He was a gentleman and a scholar, a 
good divine and real christian. He was a lover of religion and of 
learning: a lover of the college in Cambridge (where he had his 
education) and an honour to it ; a lover of good men & given to 
hospitality. He loved his brethren in the ministry, & was an orna- 
ment to the order. He was a friend to his country, and to these 
churches and a firm supporter of their order & constitution, & op- 
posed all attempts to subvert the same. By nature, education & 
grace, he had much done for him to furnish him for the various 
services of the pastoral office ; and he was diligent & eminently 
faithful in improving all his gifts for the glory of God & the good 
of his people. He had a singular talent in private conversation ; 



his communications were always edifying & ministered grace to 
the hearers. 

" He took heed to himself and unto his doctrine and continued 
therein to the very last ; and we believe (through grace) has saved 
himself and many who heard him. Having obtained help of God, 
he continued his ministerial labor for more than thirty of the last 
years of his life, without any intermission, through bodily infirmi- 
ties, until Six Sabbaths before his death. 

" His widow and children with a beloved flock, and an extensive 
acquaintance mourn his departure; But sorrow not as they who 
have no hope, for they believe he has gone to rest : which rest re- 
maining for the people of God was the subject of his last discourse 
to his people. The great head of the church has said. Be thou 
faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of glory." 



Mr. Parkman's grave — the only oue in Memorial Cemetery with 
"a horizontal slab, has been protected in recent years by an iron 
fence. For many years it was used by the boys of Westborough as 
a convenient table for their games, or for a seat in the rare moments 
when they sat. The Inscription reads ; — 

" Here lies deposited 
the mortal part of that mau of God 
the Revd Ebenezer Parkmau A. M. 

who was born Sepi". 5. 170.^ ; 
ordained the first Bishop of the Church 
in Westborough, October 28th 1724; 
and died on the ninth of December 17S2 
having completed the 79th year of his age 
on Septr. 161I1 & the 58 year of his ministry 
on November 8th preceding. 

He was formed by nature and education to 

be an able minister of the New Testament, 

and obtained grace to be eminently faithful 

in the work of the Lord : 

He was a firm friend to the faith, order and 

Constitution of the New England Churches. 

He was a learned pious good man 

full of the Holy Ghost, & faith unfeigned ;— 

and answered St. Paul's description 

of a Scripture Bishop, being "blameless 

Vigilant, 'Sober, of good behaviour, 

given to hospitality, Apt to teach." 

Be thou faithful unto death. 
And I will give thee a Crown of life 
Says Christ. 

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