Fixing Up the Farm: Excerpt #2 from the "Private Journal of Henry Joseph Martin"

Edited by Matthew Farfan

The following is our second excerpt from the "Private Journal" of Henry Joseph Martin, a resident of Stanstead, Quebec.

Funding for transcription and research into this unique historical document has been provided in part by the Bélanger-Gardner Foundation of Bishop's University, Townshippers' Foundation, and through the Heritage Online Multimedia Enrichment Initiative of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network (QAHN).

larger_martin_001.jpgHenry Joseph Martin (1828-1885):

Henry Joseph Martin (1828-1885) is an obscure man today. This is due in part to the fact that he was such a private, modest man. But in life, Martin was profoundly respected by his friends, colleagues and community, where he was heavily involved in numerous behind-the-scenes ways, giving freely of his time and energy, without expectation of reward.

Martin was remembered by historian Arthur Henry Moore (History of Golden Rule Lodge) as being "of a quiet, even temperament, born to win the hearts of his fellows and to lead them by the sheer force of his personality."

Born and raised in Stanstead, Quebec, Henry Joseph Martin studied to become a civil engineer and land surveyor. After working as a surveyor and draughtsman for several years in the Townships, Martin moved to Iowa in 1861, where he remained until 1864. He then returned to Stanstead for several years until he received an appointment to the U.S. Patents Office in Washington D.C.

After moving to the U.S., Martin maintained close ties to the place of his birth, returning frequently to Stanstead where, among other things, he was one of the leading lights (and several times master) of Golden Rule Masonic Lodge. Martin died of tuberculosis in Washington D.C. in 1885. He was much lamented by all who knew him.

In his lifetime, Martin was known as a meticulous record-keeper. The diary that has come down to us, from which the following is an excerpt, is remarkable in its detail. Within its pages may be found descriptions of everything from local disasters to political events of regional or international significance.

This second excerpt in this series spans a seven-month period between March and October 1860. Martin's main preoccupation during these months is his family's move from their home on Stanstead Plain to their farm, a property that had been in the family for twenty years but that the family have never occupied themselves. With the help of various contractors, and Martin clearly doing much of the work himself, the farmhouse is completely renovated.

Private Journal of Henry J. Martin

larger_martin_005.jpgWednesday. March 28th. Cloudy Stormy day. Mooving Lumber etc etc from the Plain to the farm. Hard Snow storm in the afternoon. Walked to the Line in the eve’ to mail some letters.

Thursday. March 29th. Pleasant day. Forenoon drawing lumber, afternoon drawing wood to the farm.

Friday. March 30th. Pleasant day. Forenoon drawing wood to the farm. Afternoon gathering Sap in the Sugar place [...]

Wednesday. April 4th. Pleasant day. Sugared off in the forenoon. Afternoon at work on the frame to the Hop-house.

Thursday. April 5th. Rainy day. At work taring down old house at the farm, in which was held the first school I ever attended. I am sorry to see it demolished.

Friday. April 6th. Cold stormy day. Snow and rain together. At work all day taring down old house [...]

Thursday. April 12th. Pleasant day. At home all day demolishing the old house. Have been nearly dead for the last two weeks with a bad cold [...]

Tuesday. April 24th. Pleasant day. At work tearing off plastering in the house on the farm, that we intend reparing. Spent the evening at Bro’ Tim Winn’s [...]

Thursday. April 26th. Pleasant day. At work all day on the old house. Good Lord deliver me from again ever attempting to repair and fix up an old house.

Friday. April 27th. Beautiful day. At work on the old house, perfectly horrid! Sowed about two acres of wheat today. Went to the Line in the eve’

Saturday. April 28th. Lovely day. At work all day on the old house. Most dead from lime dust and fatigue.

Sunday. April 29th. Glorious warm day. Attended Church in the forenoon. Walked to Beebe Plain in the afternoon and Rufus took me home via Ruiters Corner in the evening.

larger_martin_006.jpgMonday. April 30th. Delightful day. All day clearing the old plastering from the house on the farm. Charles S Hazeltine arrived in town on a visit [...]

Saturday. May 5th. Lovely day. At work on the farm and old house all day. Commenced planting potatoes [...]

Monday. May 7th. Pleasant day. All day moving Shrubery etc etc from the garden in the Village, to the farm. Mr Bullock took his Deed to day.

Tuesday. May 8th. Pleasant day, and dusty as in August. At work all day making garden at the farm.

Wednesday. May 9th. Pleasant day. All day planting Corn Potatoes, Peas etc in my new garden. Went to the Line in eve’

Thursday. May 10th. Cloudy windy day, trying hard to rain. Engaged all day in getting Cranberry bushes from the Swamp, planting Potatoes etc. Sanborn & Felch commenced raising old house

Friday. May 11th. Beautiful day, with a strong South wind. At work all day about the farm. John Heath’s and Edson York’s houses burned up in the afternoon. Blistered my feet running to the fire [...]

Monday. May 14th. At work all day dooing a little of everything.

Tuesday. May 15th. Fine day. Planting Corn and at work in the old house all day.

Wednesday. May 16th. Pleasant day. Commenced moving furniture from the Plain and stowing it away in the Hophouse and Barn, as the house is not ready to move into yet [...]

Friday. May 18th. Pleasant day. Moving all day. Last night was the first time Father ever slept on his farm during the twenty years he has owned it.

Saturday. May 19th. Rainy day. Moved a Pig-pen to the farm. Went to the Line. Like to frose to death last night.

larger_hunter.10.jpgSunday. May 20th. Cold snowing, raining day. Hardly able to cook our meals. Father, myself and the men, are living in the Hop-house. We do our own cooking out doors by an old Stove. Mother is at the Line. Carrie is at Capt J Gilman’s, and the Servant girl (Jane Patrick) is stoping with the Methodist Minister (Mr Bakewell.) She keeps us supplied with Bread and we doo the rest of the cooking ourselves. Spent the forenoon and took dinner with W S Hunter. Afternoon and Supper with Bro’ Kathan

Monday. May 21st. Cold cloudy day. Planting potatoes all day [...]

Thursday. May 24th. Pleasant day. At work all day lugging Brick and Mortar onto the roof, to Annis who is topping out the chimney. D---d hard work

Friday. May 25th. Pleasant day. At work painting inside the house, all day.

Saturday. May 26th. Pleasant day. Painting all day. Completely used up. Went to the Line and stoped all night with Kathan.

Sunday. May 27th. Beautiful day. Took breakfast with Kathan after which we walked down to Stewarts and not finding Rufus had gone to Church (!!!) We came back and lunched in the Store. Went up to A Bigelow’s where I took dinner. Took Tea with Henry S Hunter and Wife at Capt. Edington’s. Stoped all night at Bigelow’s [...]

Tuesday. May 29th. Pleasant day. Painting in the forenoon. Attended Lodge in the afternoon. Slept with W B Colby.

larger_hunter.vig_.4.jpgWednesday. May 30th. Fine pleasant day. Tried hard to rain but did not succeed. At work on the house. Terrible wind in afternoon and eve’

Thursday. May 31st. Pleasant day. Rained hard in the evening. At work in forenoon Harrowing in Oats. At work in the house in afternoon.

Saturday. June 2nd. Pleasant day. Painting all day. In the evening I walked to Beebe Plain and stoped all night with R P Stewart [...]

Tuesday. June 5th. Fine day. Nearly all day painting. Washed one Sheep in the forenoon. Evening went down to Alonzo A Young’s where I stoped all night [...]

Thursday. June 7th. Pleasant day. At work Painting and cleaning up about the old house. Baker and his hands left off work today [...]

Saturday. June 9th. Cloudy day. Painting all day. Jerry Young sheered our Sheep. Went to the Line in the eve’ and stoped all night with J H Baxter [...]

Monday, June 11th. Pleasant day. Hays commenced to plaster the House. At work all day drawing Water and mixing mortar [...]

Friday. June 15th. Pleasant day. At work all day moving our furniture from the Barn into the house, tacking down Carpets etc etc. Carrie and Jane both assisting. All glad once more to get a home. This is the first move we have made for fifteen years, and I hope it will be the last. Father took mother as far as Island Pond on the way to Portsmouth NH where she is going for her health.

Saturday. June 16th. Pleasant day with a hard shower in the afternoon. Drove the two Gray Cows to Sheafs at the Line in the Morning. At work moving into the house, all day. Evening went to the Line and got my Cows [...]

Monday. June 18th. Pleasant day. Painting nearly all day.

larger_hunter.vig_.7.jpgTuesday. June 19th. Pleasant day. At work all day, picking up about the buildings.

Wednesday. June 20th. Cold cloudy day with rain in the eve’. Moving things from the Graniry and back chamber on the Plain to the farm. At Mr. Bigelow’s in the eve’

Thursday. June 21st. Beautiful day. Marked the Sheep and took them to the back pasture in the forenoon. At work in the garden in the afternoon. Went to the Plain in the eve’

Friday. June 22nd. Hot day. Walked to the Line twice during the day. Picking up rubbish about the house. Sister Carrie took my mare Fanny and went to Compton to a Musical Convention on Wednesday. She returned today with another mare not so good as mine.

Saturday. June 23rd. Hot cloudy day. Picking up about the buildings. Father went to Compton today and got my mare from the man who took her in exchange for his own. Made him pay three dollars damages [...]

Thursday. June 28th. Went to the Line in the forenoon. Painting floors in the afternoon, at Mr A Bigelow's in the eve'

Friday. June 29th. Rainy day. Papering Bed-room all day. Porty Chamblin called. Went to the Line in the eve' when it rained so hard I stoped all night with Bro' Kathan

Saturday. June 30th. Cold cloudy day. Papering the Sitting room [...]

Monday. July 2nd. Pleasant day. Papering the rooms all day. Towards night I walked to the Line and got paper for another room.

Tuesday. July 3rd. Warm pleasant day. Papering the Kitchen today. Moved one load of plunder from the cellar of the old place on the Plain, eve' at Bigelow's

Wednesday. July 4th. Pleasant day. Horse-trot day. Father attended the trot. Carrie and I finished papering Kitchen [...]

Friday. July 6th. At work all day making Carrie a "whatnot." Attended a called meeting of the Lodge in the eve' [...]

Thursday. July 12th. Pleasant day. Painting in the forenoon, in the afternoon took Carrie & Jane to a Menagerie which was a poor one. There was any quantity of whores about town [...]

Thursday. Sept 13th. Pleasant day. At work all day leveling down the dirt that has been thrown from the cellar in front of the house. Naomi Hubbard spent the afternoon with Mother. Went to the Line in the evening where I stoped all night with Bro’ Kathan [...]

Saturday. Sept 15th. Pleasant day. In the woods nearly all day getting out timber for a frame to a Kitchen and woodhouse. Carrie came home from Sherbrooke [...]

larger_hunter.vig_.12.jpgThursday. Sept 27th. Pleasant day. Made mortar for Wallingsford in the forenoon, who finished underpinning the House. Raked up the Oats in the afternoon. Went to the Line in the eve’ and stoped all night with Kathan. Raised frame to Kitchen and Shed [...]

Tuesday. Oct 9th. Rainy cold day. At work about the Barns in the forenoon. Afternoon on the Plain getting pipe made for Franklin Stove [...]

Thursday. Oct 25th. Cloudy day. At work in the Garden and making front yard, all day. Went to the Line in the eve’ and slept with Kathan. R P Stewart returned from his trip West. Father went to Derby for lumber.

Friday. Oct 26th. Rainy day. Commenced drawing Chip-dung from the Plain, to make terace in front of house Father went to Derby for lumber.

Monday. Oct 29th. Cloudy day. Piling up wood all day. Went on to the Plain in the morning. Baker commenced working on the Shed [...]

Click here for:
"Fire at the Terrill Mansion: Excerpt #3 from the Private Journal of Henry Joseph Martin."