[August 1731] Tuesd 13. I was at home most of the day & Cutting Some letters in a Tomb Stone for R. Christophers Esqr. Adm Mowed al d. Wednsd 14 fair. a Shower aftern. I was at home al day. I made 2 pr letters & Mended fence &c. Ad hilled Corn. Thursd 15fair. David Minerd Mowed. I mowed Some & Raked Some & adm Mowed & Raked. a good hay day. fryd 16 fair. … Saturd 17 fair. I was at home al day Raking & Stacking. Mr Coits Mingo helpt. wee Stackt about 4 Ld.
We could use “a good hay day” right about now after two months of rainy summer weather; the wettest June and July since records have been kept by the National Weather Service. Of course that service didn’t exist for Joshua Hempstead, so the hay that Adam mowed on Tuesday got rained on on Wednesday (Adam was put to work hilling the corn on Wednesday probably due to the threat of rain). But good weather on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the combined labor of four men, including two slaves, resulted in stacks of hay equaling four cart loads being put up. Interesting to note here that both Adam, Hempstead’s slave, and Mingo, a slave of one of his neighbors, were working alongside Hempstead and another white farmer, doing what appears to be undifferentiated work.
That Adam could be put to work on the farm fairly independently was important to the creation of Hempstead’s other entrepreneurial opportunities–such as carving a headstone for Mr. Christophers.
Pat Schaefer, author of A Useful Friend, is now involved in researching some of the departed residents of New London’s “Ancientest Burial Place” for our newsletter. You should look for these articles, perhaps she’ll tell us more of the Christophers’s family. But it is a rather amazing experience to read of Hempstead’s work on a grave stone in 1731 and to be able to go and see that stone.
Here lyes interred the body of Richard Christophers, Esq., an Assistant in the Colony of Connecticut and Judge of the County Court and Court of Probates in New London, who departed this life June 9th, 1726, in the 63d year of his age.