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The Diary of Thomas Minor

Thomas Minor (1608-1690) was born in England and came to New England about 1630. Minor was a farmer, and he also had a number of public responsibilities. These included town treasurer, leader of the militia, selectman, and brander of horses. He also participated in church and in town meetings.

Thomas Minor left a terse record of the second half of his life in the form of a diary. This diary is a journey into the world of the colonial years leading up to and immediately following King Philip's War (1675-1676). Although it rarely gives details, it does give us a glimpse into his daily life and community activities. Thomas records many births, marriages, and deaths among his neighbors. It served as a calendar and a record of planting, harvesting, and of unusual weather conditions. It is truly his farmers almanac.

He began the year in March, as people in England and New England did until the mid-eighteenth century. While his spelling is idiosyncratic and therefore difficult to read, the journal is a valuable record of how written English looked at that time and probably also of how Minor pronounced his words.

The Minor family cared for the diary until ... it was finally published in book form in 1899.


Sample Entries from the Diary
title page In this age the year began with March as "The first month".

Year of 1653/4

Year of 1657

Year of 1662

Year of 1668/9

Year of 1676

Year of 1682/3
title page
The entire diary is currently on-line at Google Books.

Minor Family Birth, Marriage and Death records from the Diary
Nbr Name Entry
3 Clement 22 Sep 1662 Clement + ffrancis willie was made
3 Clement p 55: 26 Nov 1662 Clement & Ffrancis wer married
23 Mary 29 Jan 1663/4 Clements Daughter was Borne
5 Ephraim 20 Jun 1666 our Ephraim was married
27 Ann p55: The Last of Nov 1672 Ann was borne
p209: delivered 30 Nov 1672, daughter of Clement
12iii child p174: 2 Oct 1682 Thomas Avery's daughter was born
12v child p184: 12 Aug 1684 child of Thomas Avery [William?] buried
3 Clement's wife p56: 6 Dec 1672 ffrancis Departed this life
p209: departed 6 Dec 1672 [Frances Burcham]
50 Christopher p181: 3rd son of Joseph born 28 Dec 1683
37 Deborah p150: 19 Sep 1678 Deborah was dead
35 Elizabeth P122: 30 Apr 1674, Ephraim's daughter was born
35 Elizabeth p208: baptised 15 Nov 1674, daughter of Ephraim
12 Hannah P144: Tho. Avery and Hannah Minor was married 22 Oct1677
44 Joseph p208: baptised 18 Apr 1675, child of Joseph
11 Marah p175: Marah (Lord) was published 26 Dec 1682
11 Marah p177: widow Marah (Lord) Minor and Joseph Pemberton were married 19 Mar 1683
? Marie p55: 19 Jan 1663 being Tusday Clements Daughter Marie as Borne at nayantick
45 Marie p208: baptised 18 Apr 1675, child of Joseph
46 Mercie p208: baptised 18 Apr 1675, child of Joseph
33 Rebekah p208: baptised 15 Nov 1674, daughter of Ephraim
12ii Samuel Avery p173: 15 Nov 1680 Hannah's second son born
36 Samuel p133: 9 Dec 1676 Ephraim's third son was born
39 Samuel p161: 28 Aug 1680 Ephraim's fourth son was born
11 Samuel p169: 15 Dec 1682 Samuel and Marie Lord where married at Mr Noyse's house
11 Samuel p173: 22 Jul 1682 the 14th day of Sam's sickness [apparently died before 9 Aug]
12i Thomas Avery p154: 20 Apr 1679 Hannah's son was born

English Correspondence
Date Entry
p43: Dec 1660 Christmas Day I received a letter from my cousin in England
p51: 2 Jun 1662 2 letters from cousin Wm
p68: 16 Jul 1665 I received my Cosin and mr Blindmans leters
p75: 16 Aug 1666 letter from cousin
p84: 4 Jun 1668 I received 3 letters from Bristoll
p 86: 30 Aug 1668 I writ letters to Bristoll
p105: 24 Sep 1671 letter from cousin
p132: 22 Oct 1675 I Received 5 letters from bristoll
p146: 22 Dec 1677 wrote to Cousin William Minor
p153: 17 Mar 1678/9 I wrote to England
p177: 16 Apr 1683 I was at our daughter Pemberton's with my letter


Updated 15 December 2016.

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