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into the mountain pasture, the death of a neighbor, an unusually severe storm,
the appointment of fast day — all were noted in the almanac. Sometimes they
were interleaved with blank pages on which more extended notes were
entered, forming often a daily journal of important happenings and notes on
the weather.

The weather predictions of the old almanacs are often startling, and the
usual arrangement of printing by which one prediction was made to extend
over several days gave an increased opportunity for it to prove correct. A
few of the more curious are here given.

The weather grows more unsettled.

The clouds denote wind and rain.

Pleasant sun.

Looks likely for rain but there will probably be none.

It may thunder in some places.

Perhaps smoky air.

Now comes rain.

A pretty warm day ( February 15 ).

Lfnusual weather.

It may gather up for a storm.

These little pamphlets usually of from 16 to 24 pages and about ^l-i by
inches in size contain much that is of interest. First comes the usual data,
such as the sun's and moon's rising and setting, the movements of the planets
tides, eclipses, and church days. Then information of the dates of the free-
men's meetings, the times and places of the setting of the courts, interest
tables, the principal roads with the distances from town to town, and some-
times the names of the innkeepers in the diff'erent towns. And last come
sketches, anecdotes, and items of information, interest, and amusement, some
of which would hardly find a place in publications of the present day. There
is usually a poem, stilted in style, with full rounded periods, and more or less
solemn in subject. One commences thus :


Begin the year with serious thought,
How many the last to the grave were brought,
Thy turn may come thou knowest not when.
Be sure thou art prepared then.

In England almanacs have been known since before the invention of
printing. The first printing press within what is now the United States was
set up in Boston in 1639, and an almanac was printed the same year.

The first Connecticut man to compile an almanac was John Tulley, who
lived at Saybrook Point He was born in England in 1638, was for many
years town clerk of Saybrook, and was a man of superior education. He tried
his hand at almanac making as early as 1677, a manuscript almanac by him for
that year being still preserved.* In 1 687 his first printed almanac appeared, and
the series was continued until 1702, when he "dyed as he was finishing this
Almanack ; and so leaves it as his last Legacy to his Country-men."
"This almanac for 1687 was the first New England almanac in which the
holidays of the Episcopal church were entered in the calendar, and the first

From Bickerstaff' .s Almanac for 1776.

Figure i. A, The Neck;. B, Fortification; C, Commons; D, Battery; E,
Magazine; F, Charleston Ferry; G, Mill Pond; H, Fort Hill; I, Corpse Hill;
K, Liberty Tree; L, Windmill Point; M, South Batten,^ N, Long Wharf ; OO,
Island Wharfs; P, Hancock's Wharf; Q, North Battery; R, Beacon Hill.

Figure 2. A, Boston; B. Corpse Hill; C, Charleston; D, Bunker's Hill;
E, Winter Hill; F, Cobble Hill; GGG, Forts; H, Prospect Hill and Upper
Fort; n. Provincial Lines; K, Lower Fort; M, Main Guard; N, Cambridge
College; O, Charles River; P, Pierpoint's Mill ; O, Fasciene Battery; R, Ro.Kbury
Hill Lines; S, Ministerial Army's Lines; T, Dorchester Hill and Point;
U, Mystic River.

that begaji the year with the month of January. Opposite to Jan. 30, is the
entry, 'King Charles murdered.'" At this time there were two recognized
methods of reckoning time, the hisorical which commenced as now on the first
*Statement of Mr. James Terry of New Haven.



An Afironomical DlARTj


I For the Tear of our Lord Christ,

' . 1753.

Being the firfl- after Bissextile, or Leap-
Year : And in the Twenty-Sixth Year
of the Reign of our moll Gracious Sove-j
reign King GEORGE //.
jWhereiois contained the Lunations^ Eclip(esJ
j Mutual Afpcds ot the Planets Sun and^
j Moon'sRifii!g&-Secting,Ririn^,Setting&
i SoiithingottheSevenStarSjTimeof High-
I Water,, Courts, Obfervabte Daysy Spring
I Tides, Judgment, of the Weather, t^c
jCalcukted for the Lacof 41 Deg.Notti),&thc
Meridian oi New- London in Connecticut.


Time fprnKg frcmUaiknefs,* £r»n) iticientKighr
Aid luOi'd'lonp wiih theft'ft Bejim of Li*lit ;
II Sol'j \}igt\t C/irr hs fcii'd the fl^wiiiy rcios.
And drove hH CmtTfei": -'iro' the JP.thcxeilfltias,
^hofe Rsdi^Bt Reims a.T-it our fe«Bie- Ejcs
Add fill put ^nd> with Wonder and Sutprir,",
And ItiUhis Vyheclsoii iheir f»vifr Axlet Roil
Withe»gef hjfte to reach the deftin'd GctI v
F»(} a-; the \V^nds- tbeii rapid Ccarfe they bejirf,
C'otid On the Srenen t' h'WR tHe fatal End.

N K W - LONDO nT "^ * *
■-ErioteJ &-SeW-fa^.T;.G ft e e Hi t? 5^.

day of January, and the ecclesiastical year which commenced on the twenty-
fifth of March. In all the earlier seventeenth century almanacs March
appears first in the arrangement of the months, while January and February
follow December. There being no printing press in Connecticut all of

Tnlley's almanacs were
printed in Massachu-
setts, either in Boston
or Cambridge.

Thomas Short, in
1709, removed from
Boston to New London
and established the first
printing press in Con-
necticut. An almanac
by Daniel Travis ap-
peared that year with
the imprint New Lon-
don. Li spite of the im-
print the almanac was
doubtless printed by
William Bradford in
New York, where he
printed an almanac the
same year with the im-
print, "Printed and sold
by N. Boon, Boston."

In 1 7 13, Short hav-
ing previously died,
Timothy Green of Bos-
ton, whose father and
grandfather had been
printers before him, re-
moved to New London
and set up a press.
There he printed Moss'
almanac for 1720, per-
haps the first almanac
printed in the state. Rev. Joseph Moss, the author of the almana;, was
a graduate of Harvard in 1699 and received the degree of M. A. from Yale in
1702. From his graduation until 1706 he was Rector of the Hopkins Grammar
School in New Haven, and from that time until 1731 was the settled pastor
over the church in Derby.

Robert Treat of Milford, grandson of the governor of the same name, a
graduate of Yale in 1718 and tutor in the college in 1724 and 1725, was the
author of an Almanack of Celestial Motions for the years 1723, 1725, 1727,
and perhaps for the intervening years. These were printed by Green at New

Roger Sherman of New Milford, the well known statesman and signer of
the Declaration of Independence, appears in 1750 in the role of almanac maker.


41 1

11755, * May hath 31 Days.

T,. „,.et U.C bun. lee ! yoiithtol bpnng app«r.

The warllmg Birds now lofty hover round .•
WhUe filver Fountains murmur to their Sound.
W Lads the Hear ; and with a general bong
Spring iKues out, and .ads the j olly Month.

LallQua. zDay Midnight.
New Moon II Day i Morn.

FirftQua. 1 8 Day 10 Night-
Full Moon 2 ; Day I J Foren.

M.ll \Coiirt s, Jfprlb, If

-y. 8 nt ^ 23 X

O 1 2 » ^ -'^
warm Showers, 5 25 IT
if not Thunder,
a Tj 3 *h i
Gen. Elect. Keiuporr.
Gtn Ei-ECT.//«r//i'i'.
• .-Xpngc, vc y ?
pleaCa'nt Weather,
Imall Spring Tides,
fuit.ilile Time, and :
^Inf.C. rrc;r,/. & /?

I - -I 7 5 5: ,1


hcation was continu-
ed as "Watson's
Register and Con-
necticut Almanack,"
the calculations be-
ing by Nehemiah
Strong of Yale Col-
lei^e. Watson dying
in I 777 the series was
continued as the Con-
necticut Almanack
until 1782 when
Strong began to issue
them under his own

An "American Al-
manack " described
as by "N. Ames, Esq.,
Professor in the Col-
lege of Berlin," was
published by T. Col-
lier in Litchfield for
1790, 1791, and poss-
ibly for a few years
earlier. The N. Ames
Esq., was probably
Nehemiah Strong, in
whose name Collier
piinted an "Astro-
nomical Diary Calen-
dar or Almanack "
lur 1792 and 1793, and
V^^ ' _ _ ' ■ ''' "The Connecticut,

^Massachusetts, New
York and \'ennont Almanack" for 1795. After serving as a tutor at
the College, then as the settled minister at Turkey Hills, Mr. Strong
returned to Yale and was elected to the Professorship of Mathematics and
Natural Philosophy, which position he retained from 1770 to 1781. Later he
resided succe.'sively at Newtown, New Milford, and Stratford, where he died in
1807. After having tried his hand upon the calculations for Watson's
Register Prof. Strong in 1782 began the publication in Hartford of a series of
almanacs under his own name, which he continued until his death; printed
imtil 1770 by Hudson and Goodwin and later by N. Patten, and also beginning
with 1787 by Elisha Babcock. Commencing with 1800 he also published at

'% E.:nii>-'ili,jrearaf(irBijrcyt,L^r\.\s'-\v.^->. g

Yin the zSthYcarof the Reign of King GEOIiGE -Jie Second ^

Ai^ifi, Cnrii, Sfring.Ti.ie:, J-Migmeht of thefTieihtt, S""^
aid,Mboni rifm'^anijttlhl^.itmeof HighU'aitr,l:>'( S,.,

*C.ilcul>ted forthD.Mja-.i(lian^JJO.yf Oiv, A'm-vf»f.'ar/,'x
X ■ -l,a,..i^0fg;.i5Mip. .North, X

^ PJy Nathamel J4mes. f..

^ , WtAhc'r t»K tilt Inhibivtnts of 7r Vi-ar of he Rm - , J '■'. n '"-o^cir lir.' f

UK- ^!-ridllQ nf Sll-. W LONDON, -
/ji Dt:>: 2-; Mia W.ji.fi. •.••., _'■.''

co.sT.M.-as'G • - •- . ■ y ■

.■■-, :!•■ I t.niua.i. 1.; P'toiSljRtlW*nu"v'z

' ..,-..; M f-c.r'sVrirwj-ini'i f tfji^s-V ^^•*t)^lS

''ei.i iVK-.iiores tiifjavtJ'ff i i\tfuiBmoa'd by his it^v'rdsa'JfeiJi.
\ Oa .".r.gel; WiaRs leaps up to meet faisG-iiJ, ' "
-t Wlien ihe W\ Day fell be'procfeim'd oti high, . _ .
h:A Tifficis loll in aa Eternity. .

INc jj-Lm^-: printed and/dJ&y T'.'.G^s^at,

\ y



" The ptiblic have been greatly imposed upon by some late pretenders to

this art" — almanac making — says Joseph Prindle of New Milford in the intro-

troduction to his issue for 1760, which was printed by Parker at New Haven ;

and Prindle appears to believe that all previous errors have been corrected in

^ his work. The "College


• JSfeiD-England


For the Year of Our LORD CHRIST. .777-

Almanack" for 1761 and
1762, printed at New
Haven, was " by a student
at Yale College " who has
succeeded well in conceal-
ing his identity. " Poor
Roger's American Country
Almanack " for 1763, was
printed at New Haven.
It is said to have been the
work of one Moore, and
the name is evidently an
imitation of the " Poor
Richard " almanacs issued
at an earlier date by Benj-
amin Franklin. Samuel
Ellsworth of S i m s b u r y
issued an "Astronomical
Diary " for four years
commencing with 1765.
They were printed at Hart-
ford by T. Green.

"Navigation, survey-
ing, gauging, dialing and
other mathematics" were
taught, as he announces,
by Clark Elliot of New
London, who beginning in
1767 was the compiler of
" The Connecticut Alma
^~*^" - ■*,. — -: -'_ ^ ,'«T*^'' nack." Green the printer

in announcing this
almanac says that " it is hoped that all persons who are well wishers to
the government will discountenance the bringing of other almanacs into it
for the future ; especially so long as they can be supplied on as easy terms with
those of our own production." Nevertheless in the same announcement he pro-
poses to reprint "a sufficient number" of Ames' almanacs "to supply all our
customers who will not be contented without them." The issue was continued
until 1770 with Elliot's name, when it is said that he made an error in his
calculations and afterwards refused to allow his name to appear upon the title;
and the issue was continued by him, commencing in 1772, under the pseudonym
of Edmund Freebetter.

Nathan Daboll of Groton commenced in 1773 the most popular series of
almanacs ever issued in this state, the publication of which has been continued

!'">; > HERTFORD

VA^'-A aid %M b« ^■■,^^.^•. ■

■'■■ I - ^ ' " ! *.? ■ ; J


by his son and grandson successively to the present day. His name is found
on the issues for 1773 and 1775, and then disappears until 1793, which is the
beginning of an unbroken series with the Daboll name.

Elliott and Daboll both appear to have had an interest in the series of
"Edmund Freebetter" almanacs which were issued at New London from
1772 ts 1792, with the possible exception of 1775. The earlier years were
doubtless the work of Elliot, the issue for 1774 being announced as by one
" whose calculations, under a diffei;ent signature, have for several years been
srreatly approved of throughout New England." The calculations for the 1779



T H vE



-o R :->

Lro-dy^ and {seni^lemanziyiK'KYy

•■; FoBTBaTsAftor ov* ipRD CHRlaT,

. And.mim thi Creation o^fe -Worid,; '^,^1-. - j?is/''A > '
, J - r "'Being BisstXTrLE or Leap-Ytar; ''■ ft : ■/^it'A.T

I I ',p»ftU(1ning, the LiinstjehJ, SClipfts, JuSgihaS^f ftt'

f, 4 If- &!rf&c. ... . _ . .■:;= .-


issue " are the per-
formance of the most
approved astronomer
in this state.'' The
later years of the
series are known to
have been the work
of Daboll ; but when
he superceded Elliot ■
it is impossible to
determine. Possibly
Daboll was a pupil
of Elliott, that each
had a pecuniary in-
terest in the publica-
tion, and that they
worked together —
the pupil learning
and gradually assum-
ing the labor of the
compilations which
had first been made
by the older man. A
Freebetter almanac
was also printed at
Hartford for 1777.
and at Norwich for
1778, 1785, 1786, and
perhaps other years.
Next comes an
almanac by Nat-
haniel Low calcu-
lated for the meridi-
an of Boston, which
was reprinted a t
Hartford by Watson
for the years 1772,
177.1774. Joseph Perrv of New Haven issued an "Astronomical Diary" as early
as 1773 and as late as 1784 : but it is uncertain whether or not it was issued for
all the intervening vears. An almanac for 17 75 by Lemuel Warren was

C*)c^>aHntl;« .i.i.cni.SuiM. ;. -.' ;. " :

I , j|- L 1. .li u I. n ^,'^'.

Y I jI D.^-KK blxUMtJBg o'«r ibt vjft, tKo wild don»aiirj, /
[,i ^ihi . V.'i.rne tiiicvut cSnoa held pf»«S(>r(ii»l rejgil, . - ':

i: "H- In one attp cicud of more ib«n medipbiao (.yti
L ;' ^ .• /imlWrfr-dWa'ck biliO'.vs on il» fiit of day,

' , Th' jfTfea' Taw :— He Tj^Sl"— 1«t licte be rj-h:,

Xi)fi.Ndi:t iprang. uH o'er iht iMlm) ofni^hij,
f ;' '^rij*)..'i»nt ftow'd c ffjfc srocftij
■'f^in K'.iAem, OK?tr, bjontyy fiiMiO cssuft;
,-.S««tirw;«f»-isl hiiv'ns titisglotttt dicit ;

Ai6 ttti tad ilr, and carrii, and .actsn, kun'

t, *aF thc'r loj/id
,Xf. "■■ t/WY'DD -


calculated not only for the meridian of Norwich but " also for the meridian of
mirth and jolity, and may, without any sensible error, be adopted to the
pericraniums of all those who understand an Ape from an Apple, or a B from
a Battledore." This was Warren's first and last attempt at almanac making.
Another, of which but a single issneis known, is " The New England Almanack"
by F. B. for 1778, printed at Hartford by N. Patten. The United States
Almanack for 1783 by Andrew Beers, and a series of "Beers' Almanac and
Ephemeris" commencing in 1790 were printed at Hartford, and commencing
with 1797 they were also printed at Danbury. Eben W. Judd of Waterbury,
"student of mathematics under Dr. Joseph Perry," published an almanac from
1785 to 1790 ; the first being printed at Hartford and the following years at
Litchfield. Under the author's pseudonym of " Nathan Ben Salomon X. Y. Z."
Meigs, Bowen and Dana of New Haven printed an almanac for 1785 and 1786.
Woodward and Green, publishers of the Middlesex Gazette at Middletown, issued
the " Middlesex Almanac " for 1787, 1788, and probably other years. "Father
Abraham's Almanack" for 1782, printed at Hartford, and the" Farmer's Alman-
ack by J. Weatherwise" for 1799 and 1800 printed at Norwich, are imitations
if not reprints of " Father Abraham's Almanack, by Abraham Weatherwise "
which was printed at Philadelphia as early as 1772.

The Connecticut State Register, issued for 17S5, 1786, 17S9 andannually
thereafter was published "with an almanac by Nathan Daboll."

This completes the list of the more important and possibly of all the series
of Connecticut almanacs of last century ; although it probably does not
mention all the years in which some of the series were printed, as no copies
for some can now be found. It is hoped that the sketch will prove of some
interest both to the general reader and to the more exacting bibliographer.

[NOTE. The illustrations are from almanacs in the Connecticut Historical Society^
exceptin_t; the Daboll and Bickerstaff, which are in the Watkinson Library, Hartford.]




Home and at rest ; oh, trees that guard his sleep.

Watch well the sacred treasure which you keep,
And starry sky with all your golden eyes.

Shine soft upon the summit where he lies
In slumber sweet — never to wake again

To all life's weariness and bitter pain.
We stand beneath the shadow of his tomb ;

He dwells where flowers of thought immortal bloom.
Through spaces wide his happy spirit strays.

And finds new wonders all the heavenly days.














Mar. I
April 12


June 30
July 2

Cannon, the prisoner. Interment
Charg'd William Hosmer, aged 32

Jonathan Thorn, aged 53.

Child of John Caldwell, aged i '.,.

Child of Frederick Basset, [Willi-
mytje] aged 12.

Infant child of Allan McLean.

Daughter of Simeon Judd, aged 23.

Two children of William Olcott,

aged 3 years, and 3 months.
Infant child of Capt. John Chene-

vard .

Bush, the pi'isoner. Intered at

Exp.of Bansillia Hudson, aged 37.

Infant child of Elijah Hubbard.

John Bradley. [Born in Guilford.

Nov. 7, 1700; son of Stephen and

Sarah (Ward) BradleyJ aged 77.

Child of Gurdon W'adsworlh, aged

5 mos.
Widow Lydia Goodwin, aged S7.
Infant child of John Caldwell.
Infant child of Consider Burt.
Wife of Deacon Daniel Hinsdale,

aged 68.
Child of Capt. Samuel Matox,

aged II.
The mother of Frederick Bassett,

[Else, wife of John,] aged 79.
The wife of Capt. Thomas Hop-
kins. [Alice, dau. of Samuel and
Alice (Hooker) Howard] aged 3S.
Ichabod Wadsworth. [.Son of Capt.
Jo.seph and Elizabeth (Barnard)
Wadsworth] aged go.
Infant child of William Collyer.
Child of Ebenezer Neland, aged 5m.
Child of Oliver Ellsworth, Esq.,

aged 1}^.
Wife of Stephen Wilson, aged 28.
Child of Samuel Winship, aged 6m.
Peter Westerley, aged 44.
A Prisoner. Intered at Exp. of

Barsillia Hod.son.
Child of James Seymour, aged 5 m.

13 Child of Cotton Murry, aged i.
17 - Child of William Stanley, aged 5.
Aug. 15 Child of Benjamin Watrous, aged I.

25 Joseph Wadsworth. [Son of Capt.

Joseph and Elizabeth (Barnard)
Wadsworth; born 16S2; died Aug,
2+ 177S] aged 96.

26 Child of Frederick Bull, aged i.
Sept- 16 William Olvord, aged 37.

Online LibraryWilliam Columbus FerrilThe Connecticut quarterly (Volume 2) → online text (page 43 of 46)