we are Obliged to foot it up

In 1788, Mary Coburn Dewees and her family journeyed from Philadelphia to Kentucky, where they had decided to settle. This page is from the diary she kept for family and friends back home. The entries shown are from the early party of the trip, through southern Pennsylvania.

Can you read Dewees’ writing? Her penmanship is quite good and the passage is legible compared to other writers.

Need help? Here’s a transcription:

Oct. Town with some pretty Stone and brick Buildings in it. After passing the Town we crost the falling Spring again, one of the finest Springs in this part of the world by which several Mills in the Neighborhood are turned. Obliged to stop sooner than Usial one of our horses being Lame, find the people a good deal shy, at first, but after a little while very sociable and Obliging, treated us with some very fine apples which begin to grow very scarce with us, I am much afraid we shall be like the Childern of Isreal long for the Garlick and Onions that your city Abounds with.

7th Set off for the north mountain which we find so bad we are Obliged to foot it up, and could compair ourselves to nothing but a parcel of Goats climbing up some of the Welch Mountains that I have read of. … find this the most fatiguing days Journey we have had, the roads so very bad and so very steep that the horses seem ready to fall backwards. … Beleve me my dear friends the sight of a log house on these Mountains after a fatiguing days Journey affords more real pleasure that all the Magnificent buildings your city contains. …

This excerpt is from In the Words of Women, Chapter 9, page 283. You can see a higher-quality image of this and other manuscript pages from the journal at this WEB SITE. The manuscript page is part of the Reuben T. Durrett Collection on Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, Durrett Codex Collection, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library; digital ID: icufaw cmc0024.

posted September 17th, 2012 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Reading old documents, Travel


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