William Upjohn, an English immigrant, composed these 2 diaries (approximately 350 pages) while living in Pittsford, New York, in the 1830s. The diaries contain a single running account from January 1, 1836-September 22, 1839, as well as notes and financial information. Upjohn wrote almost daily about his life near Pittsford and the Erie Canal, and frequently mentioned his farm work. He grew several crops, including barley and wheat, and raised pigs and other livestock. He occasionally drew maps of his land, showing different planting areas, and made one particularly detailed sketch of his garden (June 22, 1839). Upjohn and his family lived near the Erie Canal, and he noted the annual onset of the navigable season, as well as that of winter ice on the water. In March and April 1838, he reported on his attempts to collect insurance after a fire occurred in his home.
Many entries pertain to Upjohn's children and to his family's health, and he recorded milestones such as the date when several of his children left for Michigan (May 20, 1836), the date of his daughter Keturah's marriage (September 25, 1837), and anniversaries of his birth, marriage, and emigration to North America (July 11, 1830). Keturah Upjohn Dally and her husband moved to Canada in October 1837, and her father's diary contains reports about the Canadian rebellions of 1837. On December 31, 1838, he reflected at length about the state of the world and listed several potential political flashpoints. Each volume also contains signed receipts, accounts, and other information pertaining to Upjohn's finances, as well as notes on topics such as pest control, trips to Rochester, and weather patterns.