Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Thomas Minor's Diary - 1653 to 1684

by JimP

Thomas Minor lived on a farm in the frontier of what is today Stonington, CT during the latter half of the 17th Century. Perhaps he is an ancestor of our very own Bob Minor? Anyhow, as many readers probably already know, Stonington, CT is filled to the gills with rock piles and stone structures.

Thomas Minor left a rather humble record of his life in the form of a diary. The Minor family cared for the diary until it was finally published in the late 19th century. It is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a contact period farmer in the years leading up to and immediately following King Philip's War.

More than 30 Indians are mentioned in the diary. Most were hired to do manual labor. One example had an Indian man working for 20 days to obtain a coat. Some of the tasks they performed included building stone and log fences, breaking the soil, carrying corn to the mill, carrying lumber from the mill, and gathering hay.

One fascinating entry has an Indian man delivering a letter to Thomas Minor. From what we know about how Indians carried news -- the fastest runners going from village to village -- it is possible that those early colonists utilized Indian news-carriers to deliver letters and packages.

But, by far, the most curious entry concerns Thomas Minor's primary Indian laborer named Agedouset. The entry is dated February 8, 1666.

"agedousets daughter was borne under a rocke the 8 day thursday"

[CLICK HERE] to read Thomas Minor's Diary online at Google Books.


Tim MacSweeney said...

I like the "search in this book function" of Google books. Thomas mentions on page 31 that John Minor of Stratford was married on the 21st of october. I live in the house that John Minor began building, probably about 1700, the time of the first Indian Deed for this area. I see that Thomas was also able to understand the Native language...

Anonymous said...

Also: when I was in Hawaii this July, I read about certain rocks, considered sacred still, where women went to give birth, that the statement about that "agedousets daughter" immediately came to mind when I read it...

JimP said...

I've read multiple accounts from New England sources that say pregnant women were separated from the clan until they gave birth. This is the first hint I've seen that they may have been located at a rock shelter.

Then I'm reminded of the Baby Crying Rocks story from the Narragansett Reservation. The Crying Rocks is a mass of boulders where infants with deformities or mental handicaps were put to death with somber ritual in ancient times. Some Narrgansetts claim to have heard babies cry at those rocks in the wee hours.