Parkman, Ebenezer. Papers
Rev. Ebenezer Parkman (1703-1782) of Boston and Westborough, Mass. is most historically notable for the detailed diaries which he kept throughout his life. He graduated from Harvard in 1721 and received a Masters degree in 1724, going on to become the first minister of the Congregational Church in Westborough. He was ordained in 1724 when the church was organized. Shortly before his installation he married Mary Champney, who died in 1736. His second wife, whom he married in 1737, was Hannah Breck, the daughter of the late Rev. Robert and Elizabeth Breck of Marlborough, Mass. Rev. Parkman continued his ministry in Westborough until his death in 1782, in the 80th year of his age and the 58th of his ministry. Two of his sermons were published during his lifetime.
Rev. Parkman's ministry encompassed both the Great Awakening and the American Revolution. He was a moderate New Light, associating with the Rev. George Whitefield during the famous evangelist's first missionary journey to New England. He also refused to condemn Whitefield despite pressure to do so by his local clerical association. In contrast, he was troubled by the increase in uneducated itinerant preachers, and discouraged his parishioners from crying out with evangelical fervor during church services.
Rev. Parkman was initially skeptical of the Revolution and characterized the Stamp Act riots of 1765 as "a melancholy occurrence." After the Battle of Lexington and Concord he signed a manifesto "for peace sake and to avoid a rupture among us." However, he increasingly warmed to the idea of Independence, especially when his eldest son, Ebenezer Jr., joined the Continental Army. Another son, Samuel Parkman, became a wealthy merchant in Boston. Samuel was the father of George Parkman, who was murdered by Harvard professor John White Webster in Boston's infamous Parkman-Webster murder case of 1849.
The collections below include manuscript versions of a number of Rev. Parkman's sermons, preached largely in his home parish of Westborough, as well as assorted sermon fragments. There are also a number of loose records relating to Rev. Parkman's personal, financial, legal, and ecclesiastical concerns. Included in these is a whimsical school workbook ("Juvenalia") penned by Parkman in 1717 when he was 14 years of age. There are also a number of relations of faith from parishioners seeking membership to a church, likely drawn from Rev. Parkman's own congregation at Westborough, Mass. These records are provided in partnership with the Westborough Public Library and the American Antiquarian Society, who jointly hold the majority of the original documents.
at the Congregational Library and Archives
These four sermons by Rev. Parkman were all initially preached in his home parish of Westborough, with later dates and locations specified in the headers.
2 Timothy 2:19 – "...let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity..."
first preached at Westborough, 27 September 1724
Isaiah 1:5 – "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint..."
first preached at Westborough, 10 March 1727/8
Romans 6:13 – "but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God..."
first preached at Westborough, 15 December 1745
Mark 9:24 – "I believe; help thou mine unbelief..."
first preached at Westborough, 27 December 1778
from the Westborough Public Library
This array of sermons written by Rev. Parkman were largely preached in Westborough, as well as some neighboring locales. The dates and preaching locations are recorded in the headers, with the exception of four fragmentary records in which the headings have been lost.
1 Peter 3:15 – "and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..."
first preached at Westborough, 13 December 1724
Psalms 86:9-10 – "All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name..."
first preached at Westborough, 19 December 1725
Hebrews 10:22 – "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith..."
first preached 26 June 1726
2 John 1:8 – "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward..."
first preached at Westborough, 12 February 1726
Hebrews 12:11 – "...seemeth to be joyous, but grievous"...
first preached at Watertown, 11 February 1738/9
Luke 12:21 – "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God..."
first preached at Westborough, 10 August 1740
Jeremiah 8:5 – "they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return..."
first preached at Westborough, 15 May 1743
Matthew 22:37-38 - "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind..."
first preached at Westborough, 13 November 1748
Habakkuk 3:17-18 – "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines..."
first preached at "the North Side," 18 June 1749
Revelations 1:8 – "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord..."
first preached at Westborough, 3 March 1750/1
Isaiah 55:6 – "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near..."
first preached at Westborough, 13 May 1753
John 10:11 – "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep..."
first preached at Westborough, 6 June 1756
Proverbs 2:1 – "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee..."
first preached 25 March 1784
Deuteronomy 2:7 – "these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing..."
first preached at Westborough, 4 November 1764
Titus 3:4-6 – "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared..."
first preached at Westborough, 9 March 1766
Letter to Daniel Adams
read at Westborough, 15 February 1781
Psalms 10:4 – "...God is not in all his thoughts..."
This assortment of loose records comprises fragmentary sermon notes by Rev. Parkman; the headings generally having been lost.
This assortment of loose documents spans a large swathe of Rev. Parkman's life, beginning with his 1717 school workbook and ending with a payment order for his funeral expenses on 1782. The records also include financial agreements related to salary and upkeep, personal financial transactions, land transfers, a copy of the church covenant, a reply to a disgruntled parishioner, and a brief essay on morality.
|1717||by Rev. Parkman||school workbook ("Juvenalia") including poems and tables of reference|
|1723 December||by John Hay (town treasurer)||receipt for the supply of the pulpit|
|1724 October 28||covenant of the Westborough Church|
|1752 July 30||from Rev. Parkman||to Mr. Champney||receipt for tableware, flour and cotton|
|1753 December 27||from Abijah Bruce||to Rev. Parkman||deed granting money and land in the southern precinct of Westborough|
|1767 May 25||survey of 1.5 acres of land granted to Rev. Parkman|
|1768-1771||loosely bound notebook of medical recipes and remedies|
|1776 April 4||from Rev. Parkman||to John Fessanden||receipt for £184.108.40.206|
|1780 November 9||by Rev. Parkman||to the Church and Mr. Daniel Adams||reply to Mr. Adams's paper in response to his disciplinary case verdict|
|1782 December 30||from Westborough selectmen||to George Andros (town treasurer)||order of payment from town funds to Breck Parkman for Rev. Parkman's funeral expenses|
|undated||note agreeing to pay £55 for Rev. Parkman's salary|
|undated||short essay on the word "morall"|
from the American Antiquarian Society
These varied loose records consist of copies of the covenant, sermons, member lists, disciplinary case materials, items relating to discord within the church, and a number of church meeting minutes. Although the church in question is not always identified, it is likely that all the records relate to Rev. Parkman's home parish of Westborough, Mass.
|1751 December 29||"A Proclamation For a Publick Thanksgiving" (recto) and manuscript essay "concerning this church’s disquiet" (verso)|
|1742 May 22||partial sermon or lecture|
|1766 October 17||church meeting minutes|
|1735 September 28||copy of church covenant intended for use during confirmation|
|1766 November 6||church meeting minutes|
|1768 January 11||church meeting minutes|
|1770 December 12||by Jonathan Bond and others||meeting request to consider the case of Levi and Deborah Warrin|
|1770 December 18||meeting minutes regarding case of Levi and Deborah Warrin|
|undated||committee report on temporary admission of Mrs. Andrews|
|1774 November 18||treatise "concerning the petition of the bretheren"|
|undated||testimony and vote "concerning Mrs. R. W.’s evidence"|
|undated||request for thanks and prayers from Caleb and Sarrah Harrington (verso); notes on 1 Corinthians 6:20 (recto)|
|undated||list of male church members|
|undated||notes regarding the deposition of an elder|
|undated||member list for "the private society of young women" in Westborough|
These records mainly comprise relations of faith, personal but formalized testimonials written or dictated by parishioners seeking to be admitted as full church members. They were likely kept by Rev. Parkman as part of his ministry at the Church of Christ Westborough, Mass. The records are organized alphabetically by last name.
|Beals, Elizabeth||relation||1764 March 9|
|Bellus, James||confession||1761 May 3|
|Bellows, Judith||confession||1761 March 25|
|Chamberlain, Edmund||relation||1768 May 1|
|Chamberlain, Ruth||relation||1768 May 1|
|Chase, Mary||relation||1760 June|
|Cook, Mary and Jonathan||confession|
|Forbes, Susanna||confession||1765 May|
|Forbes, John||confession||1765 May|
|Forbush, Hannah Jr.||relation|
|Goodenow, David and Dinah||confession||1741 June 23|
|Hardy, Constantine||relation||1763 November 27|
|Parker, Isaac and Margery||confession|
|Rice, Anna||relation||1736 August|
|Rice, Zebulun||relation||1743 May 2|
|Snow, Hannah||relation||1769 July 16|
|Snow, Jabez Jr.||relation||1769 July 16|
|Tainter, Benjamin||relation||1748 November|
|Whipple, Francis Jr.||relation|
|Whipple, Francis Jr.||confession|
|Wood, John||relation||1765 February 3|
|Wood, Martha||relation||1765 February 3|
|Whitney, Eli||relation||1767 December 6|
|Whiteny, Elizabeth||relation||1767 December 6|
|Kenney, Abigail||relation||1774 February 20|
|McAllester, Mary||relation||1770 April 29|
These records kept by Rev. Parkman primarily relate to local ecclesiastical councils convened to vote on ministerial matters and disputes.
|1736 July 13||from Rev. Thomas Frink (pastor of the Church in Rutland)||to the ecclesiastical council in Rutland||letter requesting dismission|
|1736 February 26||by the committee of the Church in Rutland||church meeting minutes|
|1736 March 11||from Rev. Thomas Frink||to the Rutland Church committee||Rev. Frinks’ request for dismission|
|1758 January 30||from "Mr. Pemberton"||to "the brethren"||epilogue to the council’s second decision|
|1744 December 4||by the ecclesiastical council convened at Upton||second results of a council at Upton|
|1762 September 15||from Rev. Thomas Frink||to the Church in Westminster||letter denying ministerial call|
|1771 June 11||by the ecclesiastical council in Bolton||council minutes|
|1771 August 8||by the Congregational Church in Bolton||Bolton church meeting minutes regarding the case of Rev. Thomas Goss|
|1771 August 20||by the ecclesiastical council in Westborough||decision denying discharge of Rev. Thomas Goss (copy)|
|1771 August 20||by the ecclesiastical council in Westborough||decision denying discharge of Rev. Thomas Goss (original)|
|1771 October 15||"by local ministers"||commentary regarding the proceedings of the ecclesiastical council at Bolton|
|1772 August 26||by Rev. Thomas Goss||certificate with membership numbers|
|1773 May 27||by the Massachusetts Convention of Ministers||proceedings of the convention|
|1779 April 6||results of an ecclesiastical council acknowledging the creation of the South Church in Bolton|
|undated||printed list of Yale theses (recto) with draft letter to Rev. Adams at Roxbury regarding the Church in Bolton, and several memoranda relating to payments, notes, boards, and books (verso)|
The items ennumerated below consist of personal writings of Rev. Parkman, which include sermons and other ministerial writings but also creative works such as poetry and personal prayers and essays. There are also two relations penned by Rev. Parkman for admission to the Old North and New North Churches in Boston.
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||draft copy of lecture "Of the Nature of the Humane Mind"|
|1723 February 1||by Rev. Parkman||lecture "Of the Nature of the Humane Mind"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||theological notes|
|undated||from Rev. Parkman||to the Old North Church of Christ in Boston||relation of faith|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||‘soliloquy’ on Psalm 99:5-9|
|1730 February 19||by Rev. Parkman||meditation on Hebrews 12:5 while ill at Cambridge|
|1749 January||by Rev. Parkman||notes on a sermon preached on 1 Nehemiah 9:6|
|1772 January 15||by Rev. Parkman||Rev. Parkman’s charge to Elijah Fitch at Fitch’s ordination as minister of Hopkinton, Mass.|
|circa 1728||by Rev. Parkman||draft of a letter, and biographical sketches|
|1723 March 31||from Rev. Parkman||to the New North Church of Christ in Boston||relation of faith|
|1719 August-September||by Rev. Parkman||bound notebook with relation, articles of faith, "Rules of Behaviour", and relation draft|
|circa 1723||by Rev. Parkman||theological essay|
|1724 August 18||by Rev. Parkman||poem about Daphnis|
|circa 1718||by Rev. Parkman||various prayers|
|1713-1718||by Rev. Parkman and Leonard Dowding||"Book for Sundry Collections"|
This voluminous manuscript records the biography of Sarah Pierpont, wife to Congregational minister Rev. James Pierpont Jr. (1699-1776) of New Haven, Connecticut. While the memoir has been attributed to Rev. Parkman, it was most likely written by Rev. Jacob Johnson of the Second Church in Groton, Conn. On October 24, 1756, Rev. Pierpont visited Parkman, bringing his wife’s private papers and a draft of the memoir written by Jacob Johnson “in order to publication but imperfect.” However, there is no direct evidence that Parkman ever revised the draft.
This large folder of personal papers includes sermons, notes on sermons and publications, copies of various publications, a booklet of medical recipes for various ailments, and a bibliography of historical and religious works. The publications from which Rev. Parkman copied text are largely historical, religious, or concerned with travel and exploration.
|1712 December 21||by Rev. Parkman||sermon on Hebrews 5:9|
|1717 November 2||by Rev. Parkman||sermon on Psalm 103:10|
|1718 March 12||by Rev. Parkman||copied extract from "The Entertainer No. XIX"|
|1708||by Rev. Parkman||copy of Thomas Weld's latin theological essay|
|1719 July 1||by Rev. Parkman||copied excerpts from "An Account of the Voyages and Adventures of Toillin Gayer from the East Indies" by William Gayer|
|1721 August 20||by Rev. Parkman||notes on a sermon by "Mr. Welsteed" on Matthew 16:26|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||notes on a sermon by "Mr. Cotton" on Samuel 3:29|
|1720 November 29||by Rev. Parkman||manuscript writings: "Sundry Collections from Dryden’s Virgil"|
|1722||by Edward Wigglesworth||manuscript writings: "Oratio Habita in Ausa Academica Cantabrigiensi"|
|1722 January 17||by Rev. Parkman||"Sundry Collections from Mary Mollineux"|
|1722 November||by Rev. Parkman||notes on a sermon by "Mr. Appleton" on Psalm 115:1|
|1731||by Rev. Parkman||copied excerpts from "Memoirs of Capt. Roger Clap"|
|1735 January||by Rev. Parkman||notes on "Grounds & Reasons of the Christian Religion"|
|1751||by Rev. Parkman||copied extracts from "The Earthquake at St. Domingo", as published in the New Universal Magazine|
|1754 January 3||by Timothy Bryant||"Prescription to Cure the Throat Distemper"|
|1736 October 10||by Rev. Parkman||sermon on Exodus 20:15 - "Thou shalt not steal..."|
|1739 March 11||by Rev. Parkman||sermon on 1 Timothy 4:7 - "and exercise thyself rather unto God himself..."|
|1761||by Rev. Parkman||manuscript writings: "Political Extracts"|
|1766 January||by Rev. Parkman||notes on "The Court Miscellany"|
|circa 1772||notebook of various medical recipes|
|undated||recipe for throat distemper|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||manuscript writings: "Miscellaneous Collections and Observations"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copy of parody work "The last will and testament of Old England"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||notes on Hutchinson’s "History of Massachusetts Bay"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||notes on Hutchinson’s "History of Massachusetts Bay"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||notes on "The World Display’d Vol. IX: Mr. Grose’s Voyages to the East Indies"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied preface and contents to "New England Memorial"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied instructions for casting lead bullets|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||notes on "State of Vermont", Cotton Mather’s "History of the War with the Indian Savages in 1698", and "writings of Abraham (Isaac)".|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied extract from "Whigs vindicated" by Mr. John Withers|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied extracts from "the World display’d Vol. XIX: Misson’s Travels into Germany and Italy"|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied extract from "Continued Corruption" by Mr. Bollan|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copied extracts from "Cold Bathing" by John Floyer|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||bibliography of religious and historical works|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copy of "on Sin the Occasion of Great Good" from Romans 3:5-8 by Mr. Samuel Hopkins|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||copy of "A Prayer for Sincerity Towards God and Man" by Mr. Nelson|
|undated||by Rev. Parkman||manuscript sermon on Romans 9|
These digital resources have been made possible in part by the Council on Library and Information Resources, through a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the Council on Library and Information Resources.
This digital resource has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this resource do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.