Jemima Condict

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Inside cover page of Frederic and Bertha Goudy's 1930 version of Jemima Condict's diary.

Jemima Condict was born in a rural setting in the mountains of northwestern New Jersey, USA, on 24 August 1754. She was born to Ruth Harrison (of Samuel) and Daniel Condict/aka Condit (indexed as Condit in the Condit genealogy books), of Samuel Condict and Mary Dodd, Jemima's grandparents referenced in Jemima's colonial, Revolutionary War-era diary housed by the New Jersey Historical Society. She married the Revolutionary War Captain Aaron Harrison (of Samuel).

References of colonial surnames the Jemima Condict Diary (1772-1779), and references to Jemima's New Jersey family history: The Condit Family Association's (CFA) 1885 and 1916 genealogy books, "Genealogical Record of the Condit Family,Descendants of John Cunditt" by Jotham H.Condit and Eben Condit, indexed nearly all descendants of John ("John the Norman Ancestor") as Condit, making a brief reference to other surname spelling variations by others (Cundit, Cunditt (John's will) Cundict and Conduit); this includes the two Condit genealogy book authors' own surname for John, the ancestor, found as Cunditt, in a Trenton, New Jersey, will that John, the Norman ancestor, signed with his "mark", and not his signature in 1709 (some 30 years after coming to America in 1678) that raises questions as to the likelihood that John probably learned English by then, and could have signed his will with his name; Questions are raised as to it being highly unlikely a son and father would have differing surnames (Cunditt and Cundit), as the will was written by someone else for Peter and John. It is highly probable that John's surname was difficult to understand by pronunciation, hence the different spellings by others.

In 1701,Jemima's great, great grandfather, John, the Norman ancestor, is noted as Candet and Canduct, corrected to CONDICT by family, in the Archives of the State of New Jersey, V. XV regarding the 1700/1701 Horseneck/Horse Neck, New Jersey Indian Land Purchase where John is noted as Canduct (@ #1) and Candet (@#24), and corrected/footnoted to Condict by family in the journal (1738) found here: "Colonial Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, V. XV, also noted as Journal of the Governor and Council, Volume III (1738-1748), by Frederick Ricord and WM Nelson, (Trenton, New Jersey: 1891)at pages 530/533 in the Journal of Provincial Council archives. The New Jersey Archive can be found at The 1885 (CFA )genealogy book was published some 50 years after the Condict family cenotaph/memorial for John the ancestor and his son Peter, was erected by the Honorable Silas Condict,the ancestor's great, great grandson, which names Jemima's great, great grandfather, John the ancestor, his son, Peter, John's six grandsons(including Jemima's grandfather, Samuel), and others, memorialized as Condict (with the 2nd "c"). The memorial and cenotaph for John the ancestor and Peter and the first three generations of the Condict tree can be found on Find A Grave.

Although there is reference to Condicts, Cundict and Condit family members in Jemima's diary, other historical colonial surnames are noted, including: Acorn, Baldwin, Beach, Brown,Burrel, Canfield, Chapman, Crane,Dod, Freeman, Gold,Harrison, Hatfield, Jones, Lampson, Luis, Morris, Ogden, Pedesto, Pierson,Ready, Regs, Row,Smith, Soverel,Spear, Stage, Taylor, Tomkins, Ward and Williams,found here:[1] and here: The Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, Vol IX, 1924 at pages 158-159, titled: Death Records of an Old Diary:[2]

In Jemima's diary, in reference to the family surname of Condict, we find: "July the 10 Died Grandfather Condict." And "February the 10th 1777 Died Grandmother Condict." The names of others in Jemima's diary can also be found from several sources at the New Jersey Historical Society:[3] as Manuscript Group #123.

Jemima's father, Daniel Condict, is cited in his 1783 New Jersey will/estate further documenting Jemima's family in the New Jersey Historical Archives, at pages 89/90 here: "Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Post Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Vol 35, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, Etc.,Vol VI, 1781-1785, by Elmer T. Hutchinson, Corresponding Secretary for the New Jersey Historical Society (Trenton, New Jersey: 1939), that can be found at The will names Jemima's father, Daniel Condict, Daniel's sons (as executors): Joel Condict, Amos Condict and Samuel Condict, his daughters (Jemima's sisters), Eunice Condict and Mary Condict, his wife/Jemima's mother, Ruth (Harrison) Condict; Jemima's brother, Ira Condict (later, Rev. of Rutgers University ), a grandchild, Ira Harrison (Jemima's son),and witnesses including Jonathan Condict (Daniel's brother, Capt. Jonathan Condict of the Revolutionary War), with Abijah Harrison and Jedidiah Chapman.

Jemima's brother was the Rev. Ira Condict (1764-1811), who would become the 3rd president of Rutgers University, found at Find A Grave and at Rutgers University links.[4] Her great, great grandfather, John Condict/Condit's memorial cenotaph is also found on Find A Grave.

Jemima spent her entire short life in the vicinity of Pleasantdale (now in West Orange), New Jersey, dying on 14 November 1779 at the age of twenty-five. Nonetheless, she managed to obtain sufficient education to be able to write with some facility, and obviously felt driven to do so. At the age of seventeen, in the spring of 1772, she began a diary, and made sporadic entries into it for the rest of her life.

Jemima Condict titled her diary "J2M3M1 C59D3CT H2R B44K 19D P29", using a code that also appeared in a number of the diary's lines of verse. She used the numbers 1-9 to replace the letters a, e, i, o, u, y, t, s, and n, in that order. Thus, the title reads: "JEMIMA CUNDICT HER BOOK AND PEN".[5] Jemima Condict variously spelled the family's name in her writings as "Cundict", "Condict", and "Condit".[6]

The only published full text of the diary is titled "Her Book, Being a transcript of the diary of an Essex County maid during the Revolutionary War".[7] It was published in a collectors' edition of only 200 copies by the typographer Frederic Goudy and his wife Bertha Goudy. Two other books, one by Elizabeth Evans[8] and the other by June Sprigg,[9] contain many of Jemima Condict's entries.

Jemima Condict was religiously devoted and the majority of her diary consists of listings of religious teachings that she heard, with occasional commentary. Her writing provides a clear window into the intimate doings of her family and of her small community, as well as events of the Revolutionary War.

News of the Boston Tea Party had clearly reached rural New Jersey, as Jemima Condict wrote some ten months after that event.

"Saturday October first 1774. It seams we
have troublesome times a Coming for there
is great Disturbance a Broad in the earth &
they say it is tea that caused it. So then if they
will Quarel about such a trifling thing as that
What must we expect But war & I think or
at least fear it will be so."[10]

Condict's brief mention of the inoculation of her cousins, presumably against smallpox using a weak strain of the disease, long before Edward Jenner developed cowpox-based vaccination, is of some scientific interest.

"Monday February 5, 1775, Was my Cou-
sins Knockulated I am apt to think they will
repent there Undertaking before they Done
with it for I am Shure tis a great venter. But
Sence they are gone I wish them Success And
I think they have Had good luck So far for
they have all Got home Alive But I fear Cou-
sin N Dod Wont get over it well."[11]

An entry from March, 1775, describes a local party for some newly-weds. She makes reference to "horse neck kites," natives of Horseneck, New Jersey.

"Tuesday went up to my Sister ogdens and
there was a house full of people & we had a
great Sing indeed for the horse neck kites &
the newarkites were Both assembled Togeth-
er & there was the new maried Couple L W.
Juner & you may be Shure they cut a fine
figer for She is a Bounser Joan And he a little
Cross Snipper Snapper snipe. they tell me he
Cryd When he was maried at which I Don't
a bit Wonder for I think twas anuf to make
the poor fellow bellow if he had his wits
about him, for I am shure She Can Beat him..."[12]

In her entry for April 23, 1775, she relates events that transpired in the aftermath of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The "Regulors" or "regulers" are “regular” British soldiers.

“April 23. 1775. as every Day Brings New
Troubels So this Day Brings News that yes-
terday very early in the morning They Began
to fight at Boston, the regulers. We hear
Shot first there; they killd 30 of our men A
hundred & 50 of the Regulors.”[13]

A local violent death catches her attention in 1775.

"September the 28 1775. Was thomas
Crane very Sudenly & in An aufull manner
taken out of time into enternity; He was Plow-
ing in the field his father Was cutting of a
tree that was turned up by the roots & that
instand he had Cut it off, his Son Past By &
the root flew Back & Took him under Which
killd him immediately..."[14]

Jemima Condit's attention was momentarily directed at local Revolutionary War fighting during the "Battle of Elizabethtown," in what is now Elizabeth, New Jersey.

"September ye 12 1777 On Friday there
was an Alarm our Milita was Calld; The Reg-
elars come over into elesebeth town Where
they had a Brush With a Small Party of our
People; then marched Quietly up to Newark;
& took all the Cattle they Could, there was
five of the Milita at Newark. they killd Sam-
uel Crane & took Zadock; and Allen heady;
& Samuel freman Prisoners. one out of five
run & escapt..."[15]

Any notice of July 4, 1776, is notably absent.

The manuscript diary, itself, is in the collections of the New Jersey Historical Society, "Manuscript Group 123".[16]


  1. ^ "Death Records from an Old Diary, 1772-1778".
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Rev Ira Condict (1764-1811) - Find A Grave..."
  5. ^ Condit, Norman I. (1980), The Condits and Their Cousins in America, vol. 6, Blooming Grove NY: The Condit Family Association, pp. 403
  6. ^ Condit, Norman I. (1980)
  7. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), Her Book, Being a transcript of the diary of an Essex County maid during the Revolutionary War, Newark, New Jersey: The Carteret Book Club, pp. 74
  8. ^ Evans, Elizabeth (1975), Weathering the Storm; Women of the American Revolution, New York NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 372
  9. ^ Sprigg, June (1984), Domestick Beings, New York NY: Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 143
  10. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 36-37
  11. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 43
  12. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 46-47
  13. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 51-52
  14. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 55-56
  15. ^ Condict, Jemima (1930), p. 66-67
  16. ^ "New Jersey Historical Society, Manuscript Group 123".

Further reading[edit]