History and Description of Manuscript
This edition joins two journals, the first transcribed here as Parts I and II, the remaining parts comprising the second. Both ended up in Minnesota, undoubtedly because Asa, the brother who moved west, was the primary journal-keeper.
The earliest manuscript was dearly cherished as an important family heirloom. Ludlow Patton valued it enough to make a handwritten transcription around 1900, which can now be found in the scrapbook he prepared and deposited in the Wadleigh Public Library, Milford, New Hampshire. It has not been possible to determine how Patton saw the manuscript. Was it loaned to him? Or did he travel to Minnesota to do the transcription, where Asa's son, Oliver Dennett, kept the book among other family papers? Interestingly, his work is incomplete, containing only about forty percent of the full text. Not surprisingly, all the sections concerning his wife Abby are transcribed, but beyond that he generally chose to include descriptions of places and people and omit sections having to do with money matters, intra-family backbiting, Judson's ramblings, and musical matters--often precisely those sections of most interest today.
After Patton's work, the journal laid unused until the 1940s, when a microfilm of Dennett's collection was made for the Minnesota Historical Society, perhaps in response to renewed interest in the Hutchinson Family generated by Carol Brink's and Philip Jordan's books. In fact, at one time the manuscript was given to the Historical Society, to gather from the stamp on the inside of the back cover. But in the days before their current policies regarding gifts, donations were sometimes re-considered and taken back, which seems the case here.
Whatever the situation then, the manuscript today is in the