1785 1786 1787 1788  1789  1790  1791  1792  1793  1794  1795  1796  1797  1798  1799  1800  1801  1802  1803  1804 1805  1806  1807  1808  1809  1810  1811  1812 
Jan. 1: Martha Ballard begins her diary. The diary is the only record we have of Martha Ballard's very active life as an individual and as a central participant in the healthcare and female economy of Hallowell. Ephraim Ballard elected Hallowell town moderator.

Aug. 6: Ephraim's mill burns.
Scarlet fever strikes Hallowell, and Martha nurses its victims. In her Aug. 7 entry, Martha shows rare sympathy for her patients, probably remembering the summer of 1769, when three of her own children died in a similar epidemic.

      July 10: Judge Joseph North stands trial for rape.  April 21: The Ballards move from the Jones Mill to their own property, which they finally have cleared.  Three Marriages:
Jan. 11
: Jonathan Ballard marries
Sally Pierce.
Oct. 28: Hannah Ballard marries Moses Pollard.
Nov. 18: Parthenia Barton marries Shubael Pitts.
Dec. 12
: Moses and Hannah Pollard
"go to housekeeping."
    May 14: Dorothy Ballard marries Barnabas Lambard.    Feb. 20: Hallowell divides in a dispute over whether to bridge the Kennebec at Fort Western or The Hook. North and Middle parishes soon incorporate as the town of Augusta, which later will become the capital of Maine.
Nov. 21
: Kennebec Bridge
at Fort Western is dedicated.
Nov. 8: Lucy Ballard Towne dies. Martha Ballard nursed her daughter through a long illness with persistence and hope, but meets Lucy's death with acceptance and a prayer. Nov. 26: Martha and Ephraim move to their new house on son Jonathan's farm. The new house, about a mile uphill from the town center, turns out to be a difficult move for Martha. Walking to town and to the scattered houses of clients will become increasingly difficult for the aging woman.              Feb. 5: Ephraim Jr. marries Mary Farwell.
December 23
: Jonathan and family move in with Martha who is living alone while Ephraim is in jail. As tax collector Ephraim is punished personally when he does not collect the full amount.

May 29: Ephraim released from jail.
Sep. 14, 1805: Jonathan and family move out
of Martha and Ephraim's house.

July 9: Capt. James Purrington kills his wife, his six children and himself.     The Malta War divides Maine. Settlers without land title from the Plymouth Proprietors contest attempts to remove them. Ephraim Ballard receives much of his work from the Plymouth Proprietors.       Apr. 26: Martha Ballard midwives for the last time.
May 7: Martha Ballard writes the last entry in her diary.
Between May 7 and June 9:
Martha Ballard dies and her daughter Dolly Lambard inherits her diary.
   Thomas Denman publishes An Essay on Natural Labours.                           Alexander Gordon writes A Treatise on the Epidemic of Puerperal Fever of Aberdeen, in which the Scotsman observes that the fever is spread from patient-to-patient by birth attendants.   Edward Jenner develops a vaccine against smallpox using the less dangerous Cowpox virus.  The Kennebec Medical Society is founded.                               Dec. 25: Ephraim McDowell, a Kentucky surgeon, performs the first recorded gynecological surgery in the U.S., removing a 22 1/2 pound ovarian tumor from Jane Crawford.        New England Journal of Medicine founded.

The Dollar becomes the official U.S. currency, as Congress adopts a decimal monetary system. Martha Ballard and her neighbors, as well as the rest of the country, often lack hard currency with which to carry on their daily trade.

Daniel Shays leads an armed revolt by farmers in Western Massachusetts, closing local courts in an attempt to stop foreclosure on their farms.     June 21: U.S. Constitution is ratified by the ninth state, New Hampshire. George Washington becomes the first U.S. President. Judith Sargent Murray publishes On the Equality of the Sexes.   The Bill of Rights is added to the Constitution.  Mary Stone Wollstonecraft publishes Vindication of the Rights of Women, in which the Englishwoman argues for equality of opportunity for men and women.   America's first cotton mill -- built by Samuel Slater -- opens in Rhode Island. Martha Ballard buys by the pound raw cotton brought up the Kennebec River by ship. The women of Hallowell and Augusta pick, comb, spin, and weave the cotton.

Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.

The Jay Treaty, postpones - but does not avert - an Anglo-American war.

The Whiskey Rebellion pits Pennsylvania farmers against the U.S. Army.

   John Adams is elected the second U.S. President.    The Alien and Sedition Acts pass Congress.  George Washington dies.

Thomas Jefferson is elected third president of the United States.

National Census: US population 5.3 million

      Apr. 30: U.S. Purchases Lousiana Territory from France for $15 million. May: Lewis & Clark expedition into the Louisiana territory begins. Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel.  Toussaint Charboneau and his wife Sacajawea join the Lewis & Clark expedition with their infant son.    

Congress outlaws slave importation.
Jefferson bars all exports to Britain and France, causing New Englanders severe economic hardship.


Jefferson's embargo on American trade with Europe brings a slump to the Kennebec River economy. Martha Ballard's diary notes the celebration when the embargo is repealed.

   National Census: US population 7.2 million. William Henry Harrison and his troops engage Tecumseh's army at the battle of Tippecanoe. 

James Madison is elected fourth U.S. President.

Shipping disputes lead the U.S. to declare war on Britain.