J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, July 04, 2019

Samuel Danforth’s Independence Day

In 1788 Samuel Danforth was a seventeen-year-old apprentice carpenter living in Providence, Rhode Island.

The previous year he had started to keep a diary—fitfully at first and then more regularly. This was connected with his education since he recorded signing up for a school and kept track of what library books he borrowed and read.

On 3 July 1788, Samuel recorded a job with a deadline:
Work over on Camp hill to build Benches for to Dine upon Independence Day.
However, the next entry makes the holiday sounds like a disappointment:
a scanty meal for such a numerous train of people
Young Samuel Danforth’s diary is now in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester.

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