Dr. Robert I. Cottom, press director for the Maryland Historical Society, which is publishing the diary, expects the book and CD-ROM to be released next year.
Russo said the complete diary might interest weather historians and those piqued by maladies of the 18th century and the cures used. Not only does Faris mention yellow fever epidemics in Baltimore, he also notes his aches and pains, and his use of "callomel" -- mercury chloride, used as a purgative at the time. And on June 20, 1798, he writes, This morning Mrs. Boyle had her right Brest cut off on accot of a canser in it.
As much as Faris wrote about other people's deaths, Letzer and Russo have not been able to find out how he passed on. On Aug. 9, 1804, the 76-year-old silversmith casually penned his final entry: this morning after Brackfast, Mr. & Mrs. and the children & Salley and Miss Julia Owens went of in Mr. Pitts Boat for Baltimore. a fine day.
He died six days later.
Excerpts from William Faris' diary
March 20 -- while at work at the assparagrass Beds two people I took to be girls climbed up on the fence (I declare I did not know who thay ware) I desir'd them to gett off the fence the Biggest reply'd shee would not she would sett thare as long as she pleas ... as I lifte my hand to put her hand off the fence she said you Impedent scoundrel tuch me if you Dare, I pushed her hand off the fence she stept down and call'd me an Old Dog Old Dog, I told her she was a strumpit
Saturday (May) 28th -- about 5 oclock W. Whitcroft sett of for Linsecums it's the old mans Birth Day thare is to be grate doings thare this evening
Sunday (May) 29th -- this morning at Brackfast time William Witcroft & Hyram & the companey returned to Town from Mr. Lincecumbs very much dissopointed. Thay expected to have had a dance but thare was not a woman thare.
Sunday Septr 10th -- about 10 oclock Hyram came home from Baltimore he says that People at the point are very sickely and a grate maney die the doctrs have declared that it is the Yellow Feaveour thare is 13 or 14 of a night buried.
Fryday (Septr) 7th -- Peter Jenings was Hanged to day agreeable to his sentence thare was a repreve sent but the express arrived too late.