Henry’s Dad John perfected the art of making lead pencils The Thoreaus were winding up their affairs in the Parkman house near (but not on) the site of the present Concord Free Public Library building, and getting ready to make other arrangements. “Made pencils in 1844.” Thoreau was preparing to go to Walden Pond to work on his first book, revising and copying the scrappy remains of his 1837-1844 volumes into the Long Book, drafting original passages of narration and description, and incorporating journal entries not originally related to the trip taken by the two brothers. http://www.kouroo.info/general/CFPL.pdf/a>
John Thoreau, Senior left off teaching school at 6 Cornhill Court in Boston, Henry David Thoreau was taken out of the Boston infant school, and theThoreaus removed from Whitwell’s house on Pinckney Street in Boston to rent the Jonas Hastings house in Concord, built in about 1790, Mr. Parkman’s brick house at the corner of Main Street and Walden Street, William Parkman was born in 1741. In 1788 William Parkman became a deacon of the 1st Parish Church of Concord. (He would serve until 1826). January 26, 1789: At Concord, the Rev. Ezra Ripley united Deacon William Parkman of Concord and Lydia Proctor of Boston in marriage. In 1823 John Thoreau, Senior left off teaching school at 6 Cornhill Court in Boston, David Henry Thoreau was taken out of the Boston infant school, and theThoreaus removed from Whitwell’s house on Pinckney Street in Boston to rent the Jonas Hastings house in Concord, built in about 1790, Deacon William Parkman’s brick house at the corner of Main Street and Walden Street, where the father would go into the pencil-making business of Dunbar & Stow that was making use of graphite that Charles Dunbar had discovered in 1821 near Bristol in New Hampshire, and also take up responsibility for the mill, milldam, race, and pond on Mill Brook just south of the “Milldam” district. Henry David Thoreau began to attend Miss Phœbe Wheeler’s infant school. Here is a later reminisce of this period in the life of the Thoreau family: “Mother reminds me that when we lived at the Parkman house she lost a ruff a yard and a half long and with an edging three yards long to it, which she had laid on the grass to whiten, and, looking for it, she saw a robin tugging at the tape string of a stay on the line. He would repeatedly get it in his mouth, fly off and be brought up when he got to the end of his tether. Miss Ward thereupon tore a fine linen handkerchief into strips and threw them out, and the robin carried them all off. She had no doubt that he took the ruff.”
Meanwhile Concord becomes, some say, the literary capital of America. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne are the best know of many thinkers and writers in Concord. Visitors from far-off places come to discuss major issues of the day. Transcendentalism develops, and the Concord School of Philosophy is built. Thoreau documents the town’s natural history and geography, and briefly lives in a Walden Pond woodlot surrounded by intensive agriculture. Culture expands in academies, libraries, and lyceums. Voluntary associations proliferate. Women play major roles in town. Abolitionism is active and the underground railroad runs through Concord. Monuments in Monument Square and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery suggest the impact of the Civil War on Concord.
Jonas Hastings House built by Deacon William Parkman in 1790 Concord, Mass (house at far right with tree front & center of house) This photograph of Concord Center, taken in about 1865, shows in the distance the Jonas Hastings house belonging to Deacon William Parkman in which the Thoreaus were to reside from 1823 to 1826, at the corner of Main and Walden Streets. As you can see, initially the Hastings corner had projected out into what is now part of Main Street, so that the house would need to be moved backward to allow Main Street to be widened prior to the opening in 1873 of the newly constructed Concord Free Public Library. (The Hastings house would ultimately be taken down to make way for the business block put up by pharmacist John C. Friend in 1892.)