The Travel Diary of Lewis Mabry

The Travel Diary of Lewis Mabry

13 April 1828 - 2 May 1828

Lewis5 Mabry (Lewis4, Joel3, Hinchia2, Francis1) was born about 1780, probably in Brunswick or Greensville County, Virginia. By the time he was ten years old, his parents, Lewis Mabry, Sr. and Susannah Hamilton, were living in Burke County, North Carolina. By July 1797 Susannah had died and Lewis Sr. married a second time to Elizabeth White in Madison County, Kentucky. About nine months later, in April 1798, Lewis Mabry, Sr. wrote his will and died almost immediately.

The young Lewis Mabry soon returned to Virginia where, in 1808, he married Mary Ann Davis and settled down in Petersburg to become a successful merchant. In 1828 Lewis was chosen by his partners in the Petersburg Manufacturing Company to go to Paterson, New Jersey to check on machinery for a cotton mill they were building. When Mabry left Petersburg on April 13, 1828, he decided to keep what he called “a little journal of his trip”. We are fortunate that the journal has survived all these years. The original can be found in the Library of Virginia.

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The Directors of the Petersburg Manufacturing Company having determined that it was necessary that some one of them go on to Paterson to forward on the Machinery for the Cotton Mill, requested Lewis Mabry to go, who having agreed thereto, started on the 13th day of April 1828; having left Powell's Tavern in the stage for City Point at 8 O'clock, to take passage in a steam boat for Norfolk. He, knowing how much his wife and his children are interested in every event of his life and especially how desirous they are to know the particulars of excursions like that he was now about to take, determined to keep a little journal of his trip. Which journal may be found in the following pages - The stage to City Point contained six passengers, who for some time remained mute, not being yet familiarized to each other. Among these passengers was Thomas H. Smith the ?India merchant of New York who had been on to Charleston for health. This man has for many years engaged in the importation of Teas into the City of New York and has by that trade amassed a very large fortune but from present appearances will not long enjoy his riches. The passengers having become somewhat acquainted with each other, entered into social conversation, and passed off the time agreeably, until they at half past 10 O'clock reached City Point. Two steam boats came down from Richmond. The Potomac reached the wharf first, and in consequence, most of the passengers went on board of her.

On board this boat was the unpleasant sight of negroes chained together, going to Norfolk, there to be shipped to New Orleans. There were perhaps twenty of these beings, male and female. Some objection was made by the passengers to going in the boat with them, but were told that the boat Richmond had on board more than one hundred. These negroes however were kept in the forward part of the boat and the passengers were not annoyed. The Potomac had a large number of white passengers on board among them were Jacob Hoffman, his wife and a part of his children -- It appeared that he was removing from Prince George to Alexandria. He appeared to be in a very melancholy state of mind and the spirits of his wife seemed much depressed. No doubt much of this had lately arisen from the failure of Mr. Cocke the brother of Mrs. Hoffman with whom they had been for some years residing. They had four daughters and a son on board the boat and had expected three other daughters, but they by some means had gone in board the other boat at City Point and could not get on board the Potomac until late in the afternoon although the two boats were all day in sight of each other. Two young men came with them and had to go to Norfolk. Some four years past Mr. Hoffman had failed in Alexandria and had been invited by his wife's brother, Thomas Cocke to move to Prince George and reside on one of his plantations. H_________ had continued to live until this time , and might have remained perhaps during the remainder of his life, but for the ?mismanage of Benjamin Cocke, who had been the means of the ruin of his brother Thomas and his family.

The Steamboat arrived at Norfolk about 9 O'clock at night, and the passengers remained on board, having comfortable births for sleeping. Monday morning was cloudy with a little mist of rain -- I walked up Market street, and through the market house, saw very good veal and an appearance of neatness about the butchers tables -- was told that Monday was generally a poor market day.

I took passage in the Steam boat Virginia and went on board immediately after breakfast but she did not leave the wharf until 10 O'clock. This was Monday 16th. While remaining at the wharf we saw a number of boats cross the river from ___port, bearing the U.S. flag - and in the foremost boat was the corpse of the son of Commodore Rogers who the week before had been drowned, with two other young officers of the Navy on a sailing excursion. His father came down from Washington to recover his remains, as had been enabled by dragging to find the bodies of all the men. The corpse was, when found, carried to the Navy Yard, encased in a lead coffin, and was now going on board the Steam Boat Potomac to be carried to Washington for burial.

The Steam Boat Virginia left Norfolk at 10 O'clock and proceeded down to Hampton Road but on her arrival there she met a North Eastern gale and came to anchor --- here she remained all that day and night, nor did the wind abate or the rain clear until Tuesday morning -- during this gale the water became extremely rough, and produced in me sea sickness -- not sufficient to bring on vomiting, but a constant nausea, which lasted until two O'clock of Tuesday. It was about 12 O'clock on Tuesday that the Captain weighed anchor and passed around old Point Comfort. I had an opportunity of viewing the exterior of the ?fortress, which has the appearance of a very extensive work. The (unreadable).

Previous to leaving home I was hesitating whether I should take my cloak or surcoat along with me. The weather was so warm that I thought my surcoat would be sufficient. My wife thought differently, and now I find she was right; for I have been obliged to wear my cloak by day and to cover with it at night to keep me warm. Indeed the Captain of the Virginia has put his cabin on the summer establishment, put out his cabin fire, and left his blankets at home. His lady passengers seem to suffer very much.

Wednesday morning 16th April, is a fine day. The clouds and gales are gone and although the air is cold, it is nevertheless agreeable. My sea sickness is gone and I feel much better -- at sunrise the boat is off the Patuxent Highlands about 40 miles below Annapolis.

The boat arrived at Baltimore about 2 O'clock and as the other for Philadelphia did not start until 5, I had an opportunity of walking up the ?town. Got a barber to cut my hair and went into a tavern and got dinner -- called to see a Mr. Mosley for a while to ________ ________ and definitely a very pleasant man who treated me very politely and wanted me to call and see him again, told me that the Reformers who had been expelled the church by Mr. M______ had purchased a church for themselves and had a full congregation.

I left Baltimore at 5 O'clock on the 16th on the Steam Boat Philadelphia for French town, and the passengers for Philadelphia had to pass over the land in Delaware in the night, and would have no opportunity of sleeping after leaving the present boat. I went into my birth very early and slept well until 12 O'clock when I was wakened by some person shaking me and enquiring if I was going on, I said certainly, and found the other passengers had been rung up by a bell, which I had not heard -- they were dressed and on the point of starting, and stood a fair chance of being left behind--however I dressed quickly paying little attention to my toilet, and was ready on time. I have a ticket for stage No 3 and found myself crowded in with eight others, and very uncomfortably situated, and what rendered it still more so, we had in the stage, some man of little understanding, who seemed disposed to talk continually, and to talk nonsense. I had been placed alongside of this man in the boat at supper time and then had talked a little with him. At supper he told me he had been to Washington, that he lived in Boston. He told me that he went to Washington to see some of the Senators and other members of Congress to induce them to pass the tariff bill. I asked him in what way he was interested -- he said he was a weaver of Wire __. At 3 O'clock we arrived at French Town, and went immediately into the other boat, which we found very uncomfortable and without births -- There were some mattresses without covering, laid along the seats on one of which I laid myself down in my cloak but could not sleep. This boat arrived at Philadelphia at 8 O'clock. Here I called on Mr. Redwood Fisher to whom I had a letter of introduction and was treated with great politeness -- gave me much information respecting the business on which I came and offered to aid and assist me in any way he could -- He gave me letters to two gentlemen of his acquaintance in Paterson.

I called at the Pennsylvania Insurance Offices, and had a long conversation with the agent, on the insurance of Cotton Factories. He recommended to me to call on Mr. McCreedy, No. 3 North ?Front Street, to get information respecting his picking room and indeed thought it would be wise for me to go to Norristown, and on his mill, as it was constructed with greater than usual security. The Agent of this office said they insured factories at rates of premium varying from 1 to 3 pr Cent. He seemed not to like insuring where slaves were employed, he said that he had been told that these little Negroes had as leave set fire to the house as not. He recommended me to insure at first for a short time only, and that afterwards when the factory was fairly in operation it would be done for less. I left Philadelphia at 12 O'clock on the 17th, for New York. We passed in succession, Burlington, Bristol, and ?Borden town; at this latter place, or near it, is situated the residence of Joseph Bonnaparte. On the margin of the river, on a high bluff, he has built an observatory for his private amusement. It is a large and high house with a _______ and railing on the top and very conspicuously situated. His dwelling seems located in a valley and is a large __ill of building -- a little before four O'clock we were at Trenton, and took stages for Brunswick -- passed through Princeton, famous as the place through which Washington retreating with his Hessians, which he had taken at Trenton, and famous too as the place of Nathan Hale, where President Davis the grandfather of S. D. Davis presided. Here is likewise situated a Theological College of large extent of building. The exterior of the College is hansome, having in front 68 windows -- that of ?Nassan Hall has 88.

I was delighted with the lands through which I passed today and especially from Princeton to Brunswick. The soil is what is called mulatto land, and very rich. The farms are small and appear to be well managed. The ploughing is extremely good. I saw no person ploughing with less than two horses and they seemed to turn the sod from 8 to 10 inches deep. The wheat looks very well. The general appearance of the land is good; but not without exception -- for several miles we passed through a rocky country of little value. We expected to be in Brunswick by 7 O'clock , but were delayed by a stage accident -- one of the horses being blind, fell down and could not rise again until the passengers got out and assisted the driver to get him up. In doing this the harness became damaged so as to delay us in the dark and rain for a considerable time. However before nine we were in Brunswick, where we took supper and went to bed --

On Friday the 18th we took boat for New York, went down the Raritan River, into Amboy Bay, up the North River and at New York by 10 O'clock.

I went to the bank coffee house kept by ?Niblohers. I was told that I could not be accommodated as the house was full. I then went to the City Hotel and asked for a room. They sent me up to the third story -- I determined to climb up there but once intending to move my quarters if I could not get a room lower here. I dressed and went out to see some persons with whom I had business. I had a draft on J. D. Beers & Co., the partners of Beers Booth & John of Petersburg. Mr. Beers was very polite and attentive to me -- he went with me to a bank where I deposited my draft for collection -- introduced me to the officers and indeed seemed inclined pay me much attention. I expect that Mr. Booth had written him giving information of my office, and that he thought me a much greater person than I really am. This much I can say for him, he is very polite. I also called on Messrs. J. & J. Morton -- here I found that Paul & Biggs had shipped from Paterson the gearing of the mill, and that it had been insured by Mr. Morton. Paul & Biggs had however deviated from their contract, and from my instruction, in as much as they were bound to deliver these articles in the City of New York to the agent of the company, (Mr. Morton) who was to ship them onboard one of the Petersburg Packets, cause them to be insured, get a bill of lading, and send it on to Petersburg. Instead of this, they had shipped on board a Vessel at Paterson, not so good as the packets and consequently increased the amount of insurance ¼ pr Cent and put it out of the ?power of Mr. Morton to get full insurance, the officers refusing to pay a partial damage, agreeing to insurance only against a total loss.

I determined to go at once to Paterson, and on enquiring found the stage would leave Hoboken at half past two -- I therefore had my trunk taken to the stage office at the corner of Barekley and West Street, and at the time of starting I crossed the North River in a Ferry boat for Hoboken, where I found the stage waiting. At 3 O'clock I set out from there for Paterson which is 14 miles -- The road is bad although a turnpike, being much cut up, through the meadows and very rough. About half past 5 however, I arrived at Paterson, and repaired immediately to see Paul & Biggs. I found that Biggs had just left that place for Petersburg, and that I had met him on the road as I came from New York. I had intended to scold these people very much but as I found they had sent off the gearing and that Biggs had started, and Paul seemed to be a pleasant kind of man and made apology and indeed after he had shown me a mill which he had geared, and told me that ours would be done better than that. I was so much pleased that I couldn't scold him. His gearing is most beautiful -- until this day I had never seen a Cotton Mill in full operation and certainly no operation of machinery ever gave me so much delight ---- Paterson is happily situated on the Passaic River, the water of which drives thousands and thousands of Cotton spindles, and affords employment for thousands of persons in the various ramifications of manufacturing.

As I passed through the cotton factories, I made various enquiries respecting the interior economy of the mills, and among other things of the manner of heating the houses in winter. I discovered that they are most commonly heated by large stoves fixed on the lowest story, with pipes passing through all above. One stove is sufficient for all the house. In this they build a large fire of Lehigh Coal which is kept continually burning, and the heat passes through the pipes to all parts of the building and renders it comfortably warm. I was told that three tons of Lehigh coal, of about 30 bushels to the ton is found sufficient for a large mill. The stoves are built of fire brick and covered round with thick iron leaving a space of 2 inches between the bricks and Iron.

This is Saturday, the pay day at the factories. I sat some time in the counting room of Godwin Rogers ___ to observe the hands as they came for pay. The manager of each room keeps a time book, wherein the name of each person is entered in a column every week, and other columns are ruled as many as there are working days, then one for prices, one for the amt each hand is entitled to for the week, and one for whole amounts. The manager of the interior of the mill gives to each hand a ticket stating how much money he or she is entitled to for the work of the past week, which ticket is carried into the counting room, where a clerk stands with money of convenient sizes including a ______ amount in copper cents, to pay each person. As he pays a ticket, he sticks it on a spindle, until he is done, then adds up all together, to see whether all is right. I was much amused to see the factory girls, receiving each her pay. Some small boys and girls would receive about 1.50 to $2 while grown up girls would get double that amount. This however was for two weeks working.

I had been enquiring since my arrival here, for hands, and particularly for one calculated to manage our mill. I had been told of one by the name of Daniel Cameron, who was said to understand the business well, and to be a sober steady man. I had made enquiries about him, and got Mr. Rogers to do so too. He enquired of Mr. Carmick, who owns a large establishment and of Carmick's carder; both of whom seemed to know him well, and to recommend him highly. Mr. Rogers was well pleased with the man himself, and said he should prefer him to Doan.

Very much of the success of our mill in Petersburg depends on the manager. Much responsibility on the choice. I dislike that responsibility, but what can I do? A man we must have and I must employ him. This man is well recommended. He has worked in a mill for 30 years, has been manager for 7. -- I do not know where to find a better; I must employ him. He is willing to go on to Petersburg if we can agree. We determine to leave the price that I am to give him to disinterested men, and make a bargain, which is done and writing signed. This man has in Scotland a wife and six children, 3 boys and 3 girls -- He writes for them immediately. When I waked up Sunday morning, I found it blowing a north east storm, and raining tremendously. Thus is continued all the day. I am confined to the house by the weather, but fortunately for me, it is a very comfortable, genteel place. Here every thing is neat and clean.

The scenery around this place is quite romantic. Indeed about the falls it is wild and picturesque. Even Doctor Syntan might here be much delighted. Here the water power is everything. The location of the town at this place was for the express purpose of using that power in driving machinery; and the inhabitants seems disposed to make the most of it.

Monday Morning 21st

Still raining, and a prospect of a gloomy day. Called to see Mr. Travers, owner of the Phenix Mills for the manufacture of Sail duck -- found him to be a very smart man, very polite and very communicative. He talked a great deal about the management of factories and how necessary it was to have good rules & regulations and to see that they were adhered to. He recommended me to purchase a book in New York, entitled "Sutcliff on Canals, Rail Roads, Cotton Spinning, Civil Engineering" to be had at Leman's, Corner of Broadway & Wade Street -- upstairs -- also "Morgans Manufacturers Book of Wages" -- to be had in Baltimore -- He requested me to see a ?Steam Engine in New York at No 112 Front Street -- Wm. C. Willcox -- In the internal management of Cotton Mills, he said it was all important to clean up every night, and to carry off the waste -- let it go down the stream, or make manure of it. The hands work in the mills 70 hours per week -- are allowed 45 minutes a meal for breakfast and dinner, and fined if they are beyond the time -- A bell rings for them to go, and for them to return again -- They go to their respective homes to eat. -- He thought that in a factory, more danger was to be apprehended from fire by spontaneous combustion than from any other cause. And that this is most common by generation of oil mixed in the cotton.

I made various inquiries of Mr. Morgan -- He thought that the four ____ttes, which we were about to carry on, would make us 1500 of No 10 yarn per week -- No 10 is 10 skeins per pound. In the factories here, the hour for breakfast at this season is 7 or 8 O'clock and the hour for dinner twelve. -- I was about the factories at twelve o'clock today and saw the hands go out, and saw them likewise return again -- It is astonishing how many boys & girls are here employed! -- I am told by the factory owners that they sell the yarns as fast as they are spun. They send nearly all to Philadelphia -- then they are wove and many of the cloaths sent for sale to New York. They do very little weaving here preferring to sell the yarns in Philadelphia. They are allowed to draw at sight for the full amount as soon as they are sent, as they are there sold at once for cash. The numbers made here and most salable are 18 & 25 -- I observed the construction of the doors of entrances into the factories -- they are all double doors -- that is, there is an entry from the outer door, which in cold weather is shut, before the iner (sic) door is opened -- this is to keep out the cold air. The iner (sic) doors are fixed with weights & pullies so that they shut and latch themselves. Mr. Travers spoke much of the method of heating factories -- Some use stoves, but ___ __ Lehigh Coal -- fires one large stove in the basement story built on Perkins' plan letting air though a pipe, cold air into the stove, and conducts the heated and rarifyed air in pipes through all the other stories. These pipes require cleaning once in two or three weeks. He promised to give me a drawing of this stove, and also a copy of the rules and regulations of his factory, which he would send on by mail to Petersburg.

Godwin & Rogers promised to give me general directions in writing, for the government of factories. It was recommended to me to subscribe for the "Franklin Institute", as much useful information might be there obtained.

22nd April

Today I leave Patterson for New York. I had understood that this place was famous for making puddings and since I came have had an opportunity of tasting one which I thought good. I asked the lady of the house to give me a Recipe for making one, which she readily did, and which is as follows -- Take Indian corn meal, milk and water, and make a quart of mush -- to this put 12 eggs, and add a little salt and brandy -- When the other part of the dinner is ready to go in, put this into a pan, and the pan into an oven previously well heated, and bake it very quick -- This is Indian pudding. Although I have before mentioned Paterson, I have given no description. It is situated mostly on the south side of the Passaic river, sixteen miles from New York; is nearly all built of wood, except the factories -- still there are some good Brick and Stone houses. Two bridges cross the river - the streets are at right angles - a canal of water, called the race, runs along one of the streets nearly through the town - on this the factories are situated -- There are 15 cotton mills, 2 Duck or Sail Cloth Mills, one bleaching establishment. 2 or more machine shops, one ?Cutlers establishment, besides all other trades usually found in our small towns -- It has several handsome churches, a very good Market house, and six thousand inhabitants. There is a canal here which is called the Morris Canal and is brought about 70 miles -- down which they will bring Lehigh Coal in sufficient quantities.

I set out for New York about 8 O'clock and traveled slowly over a bad road. Reached New York after eleven and put up at the American Hotel in Broadway. Went immediately to the Post office to look for a letter, as I wanted much to hear from home, to hear how my wife and children were -- I was disappointed to find none. Hope to get one tomorrow. I had a letter for the Methodist book agents -- carried it to their office in Crosby Street, which was, by the by, a very long walk, and made me very tired. I shall have to stay here a day or two, to ship the machinery when it comes in from Paterson.

The weather is still cold and my cloak very agreeable. I called at the insurance offices today about insurance against fire. They all dislike to insure in Petersburg -- and especially if Negroes are to be employed. The President of the Manhattan office referred me to a Mr. Young in Philadelphia, who would give me a description of the best mode of heating factories. Also to a Mr. Banister in Baltimore.

I walked along Broadway several times today and thought of Mr. Strouds saying "what awful bonnets the women wear". -- If the old gentleman was only here, he might also say what awful bows they wear upon their bonnets. The bonnets seem to be of paste board, made like large brim Quaker hats -- mine is a baby to them -- they seem cut off behind -- are covered some with silk, some with velvet and some with cotton cloth -- and on the crowns, they have enormous bows, made of tiffany or some such stiff looking thing of various colors. As I walked along I felt a great desire to measure one with my cane, to see how broad it was, so enormous was their breadth.

Wednesday 23rd

This morning I was much pleased to get a letter from my wife, and to hear that all were well. I wrote to her in answer, and that I expected to take my homeward course in a day or two.

I have been waiting today for the machinery to come in from Paterson, but it has not arrived.

The boarding house where I stay is on Broadway, opposite the Park. I sit sometimes at the windows to amuse myself looking at the thousands of people as they pass. I think how many thousands who have heretofore passed on the same pavement have rolled into eternity, never to pass these streets again. And these, now so busy, are gliding down the stream of time, and very soon will plunge into the same eternal ocean:

"Time like an ever rolling stream
Bears all its sons away;
They die, forgotten as a dream
Flies at the opening day."

My wife asked me to notice the dresses of the ladies, and on whether they were long or short waisted. This I have done today; and find them quite long. I observe that they make the forepart of the bodies fan fashion, with gathers, all wear belts tied in a bow behind. But the hats -- they are most enormous! -- Many are made of ?Chiss. Some of Leghorn - but more of pasteboard, covered with various colors of silk, just as fancy leads them. Many have Crowns just like men's hats, only they are Cranksided -- I saw some little girls have on black fur hats, with broad brims -- I write all this -- not because I care a straw about these hats, but to amuse my wife. I can write it now, better than I could tell it when I get home.

Thursday 24th

Some of the boxes of machinery were brought in early this morning, and others during the day -- I am told that in all probability, the remainder, so far as it is ready, will come in tomorrow. I find that I have to take an abundance of exercise here, and am often very much fatigued. Today I went into the Rotunda to see the Panorama of the City of Mexico. It is an interesting painting. I purchased some silk dresses for my wife and two oldest daughters. In the afternoon I got a horse and rode around the outskirts of the City, passed by No 34 North Moore Street, and took a view of our old premises. The house looks precisely as it did 17 years ago, but there is a vast difference in the neighborhood. Then there was a vacant space around and beyond St. John's Church for a long distance -- that space is now filled up with streets of large brick houses; and indeed the city now extends out in that direction thickly built, for near a mile beyond St. John's Church. From that part I crossed over to Broadway above the Vans Hale Garden crossed the bowery Road, and road to the dry dock on the East River. In this direction too there has been built within the last 17 years as many houses or nearly so, as previously existed in the City. And still the "March is onward" -- Streets are digging down and filling up beyond the limits of houses, showing a rapid growth in future prospect.

As I was walking along the street today, I heard some person behind me calling Mr. Mabry!, Mr. Mabry. I turned around to see who called me and who should it be but Mr. Murdock's Asher -- He seemed very glad to see me, and anxious to make enquiries -- but I, recollecting how vile he was in Petersburg, was not disposed to give him much information.

Walking along another street, I heard a loud cry of fire! Fire! Fire! --I looked about to see where the fire was, and wondered the people around me seemed so careless, until looking to see from where the sound came, I found it was Pole in a cage making all this outcry.

Friday 25th

I have been looking out today for the arrival of the remainder of the machinery but it has not come. The wind blows from the North East, cold and rainy. I am quite unwell, more so than I have been when on land, since I left home. I have turned out very little -- seeing however some little book of tales for children advertised, I went to the book store where I not only bought that, but several others -- and Miss Edgeworth's tales, are for Susan; Scenes in Africa, and Easop's Fables in Rhyme, are for Everette; and the History of Beasts for Hetty -- I intended to get her a baby so that she will have one book and one baby to her share. I know how fond Everette is of Rhyming, so I got her Easop -- and Susan is fond of Tales.

Saturday 26th

This is a rainy and very unpleasant day. The machinery does not come in and I have little to do. I wrote to my wife, that she might not expect me so soon. I also had the machinery insured against the dangers of the seas -- this I affected on very favorable terms, at the American Insurance Office.

I am still very unwell, and find that this climate would not suit me by any means. My predisposition to pulmonary consumption would be at once firmly fixed.

Sunday 27th

In the forenoon I went to the John Street church and there heard a pretty good sermon. Not so good as I often hear in our church at home. The congregation was very thin -- and the majority, poorly dressed.

Went again in the afternoon and found a larger congregation, and of more respectable appearance. I was also well pleased with the sermon which was from the text "Well done good & faithful servant, thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many; enter then into the joy of your Lord".

The hotel where I board, as I have before remarked, is on the most public part of Broadway. After coming from church today I sat down by the window to see the people pass; and was much amused at the very great variety, and the continual crowd going up and down crossing in every direction. After looking on for a long time, I turned to a gentleman who sat near me and asked him, "What in the world they were all walking so much for?" He said he supposed for amusement; it was the first fair Sunday evening they had enjoyed for a long time, and that the two or three days just passed had been rainy, and now they were glad to get out again. Never before did I witness so great a concourse, of all grades and conditions, from the finest Belle to the humblest blackaman.

Monday 28th

This morning I was very unwell again and quite low spirited. I have taken Cold, or else the atmosphere makes me feel as though I had; and I have a troublesome cough. I lounged about the house pretty much until dinner time waiting the arrival of the machinery. Just before dinner, a man came to inform me that it had arrived. As soon as I had dined I went to the depot to see it shipped, which was all done before night and bills of lading signed. I bought three parasols and put on board the vessel for my wife and daughters. At night I paid off my bill, intending to start for Philadelphia, tomorrow morning at six O'clock. I feel thankful to the almighty that he has enabled me thus far to proceed with safety, and hope he will continue his goodness to me, and carry me again to my family. I paid Godwin Rogers & Co $6888.94 -- I had previously paid to Paul & Biggs two thousand. I leave in the Phenix Bank $111.06 -- this I can check for at any time.

Tuesday 29th

This morning I bid adieu to New York, and verily hope I may never again have occasion to go there for I find that a very short stay brings back all my old complaints, and puts me quite out of order. I kept pretty close in the cabin of the steam boat until I arrived at Brunswick at 10 O'clock. Here we found nine stages waiting on the wharf for the passengers, and believe they were all pretty well filled. The one in which I was placed had nine passengers. This I found a convenience; for the road was rough, and the number served to make the stage easier. We were at Trenton at 2 O'clock - went immediately on board another steam boat and were in Philadelphia at 5. I had a reference from Mr. Lord of New York to Mr. Wm. Young of this place. I wished to make some enquiries of him of the best method of heating factories -- I called on him, and found him a smart communicative old gentleman. He told me that Mr. Lord had written to him respecting me, desiring him to give me information. He told me that the very best and safest method of heating factories, was with steam, but that this method was too expensive. His own plan was as follows -- He put up a very large stove in the basement story, to burn Lehigh Coal -- the pipe of this stove was carried through to the next floor -- but previous to carrying the stove pipe through, he inserted in the hole cut in the floor, a copper cillender tub made double so as to hold water, and so as to let the stove pipe pass through, the tub was left open around at the top - every morning this was filled with water -- through the cillender in the floor the pipe was passed, and conducted along the room for some distance, and then passed in the same way through the next floor and so on.

He told me that his picker was placed in a part of the lowest floor -- no fire was ever allowed to go into the room when it was activated. He requested me to go by Wilmington and view his factories, one cotton and another wool -- told me he would give me a letter to his son who would take pleasure in showing me any thing I wanted to see. He told me that if after I arrived at home, I should want any information, write to him, and he would give it to me with pleasure. To get this information from him was all the business I had here, so that if nothing happens to prevent, I shall continue my homeward rout tomorrow morning at 6 O'clock. I have here stoped at Mrs. Bradley's -- she has several genteel boarders -- some ladies -- I was brought here by a Mr. Rankin of New York, a genteel clever man, with whom I entered into conversation on board the Steam boat. I notice that the ladies bonnets here are nothing like those in New York -- Some of the Quaker seems to sober down public opinion and they do not run so much into extremes.

Monday April 30th

I intended to have taken the boat for Baltimore this morning, and rose sometime before five O'Clock for that purpose, thinking the boat started at 6. But when I arrived at the wharf, I found the boat had gone about five minutes, and was then not a quarter of a mile off. This was rather mortifying, but must be submitted to. I found however that another boat would go at twelve, so that I went away to a Hotel, to get breakfast, and to leave my trunk until that hour.

In the mean while, I visited Mr. Fisher, who told me that during my absence he had, been applied to by seven persons who wished employment as managers of our factory. I called also on Mr. Bernard McCreedy. Some person had recommended to me to enquire of him respecting the construction of the Picker room. He took a great deal of pains to give me all the information in his power. He told me that the picker should by no means be in the same building with the other machinery. That a fire proof room 24 by 20 feet would answer for our factory -- his was much larger and had cost him $3000. It should be arched over, and contiguous to the cording room, and so constructed that even if it got on fire, the fire could at once be extinguished. He said we should have a forcing pump, to go by water, with a sufficient quantify of hose. I was told by him that his factory had cost him $120,000 -- When I thanked him for his politeness in communicating to me so freely, he said that he took great pleasure in giving southern gentleman all the information in his power -- that he had taken much more pains to inform me, being from the south, than he otherwise would as he wished to get manufacturing introduced into our state especially, to break down that opposition which was so bitterly maintained against the American System. I have found the same spirit very much manifested by all those gentlemen with whom I have conversed in this trip of enquiry. He, Wm. McCreedy, told me that his factory was heated with steam, which was by far the best, although much the most expensive.

At twelve O'clock I left Philadelphia for Baltimore. On board the Steam boat, I found Mr. Dunlop's John who seemed very glad to see me. He was waiting on Mr. Barksdale, who was there in Philadelphia -- John was not going away in the boat, but merely came on board to take leave of Tom, who also had belonged to Mr. Dunlop, and was now living in Philadelphia, but going on to Petersburg on some business of his own. John requested that I would take him under my care, which I agreed to do.

On board the boat today, talking of the mode of heating factories, some person asked me if I had seen the newly invented plan in Philadelphia, patented by Nicholas and James Johnson Steam Engineers of that place, or of Kensington. He told me that they had invented a mode of heating by steam, which would cost very little, and recommended me to write them on the subject, which I did immediately, desiring them to direct their letter to me in Petersburg. Our passage today was attended with no incident worth recording. We passed rapidly on to New Easter, thence to French Town, and on to Baltimore, where we arrived at half past one Thursday morning the 1st day of May -- I went on board the Virginia, understanding that she would leave Baltimore for Norfolk at 7 O'clock. I feel thankful to almighty God: that he has thus far protected me on my journey, and that I now have goodly prospect of being with my family tomorrow evening. It has been very long since I was separated from them for any length of time, and I feel a heavy disposition to see them, hoping that they all enjoy their usual share of health. I had forgot to say that I have the company of Mr. Swan, from our town, who came from Philadelphia. This to me is agreeable, as I now have some person to converse with, who understands our local affairs and seems to have a fellow feeling. Today having little else to do, I have looked over this journal and here and there scratched out surplusage. I find that it is not so easy for one writing a journal to avoid the fault which Jesse Lee fell into, as the pronoun I occupies a very conspicuous place, even in this recital.

At 7 O'clock we left Baltimore, and proceeded down the Bay. The day was cloudy, and in a short time it began to rain, and promised to be stormy, but fortunately turned out better than was anticipated. For although it continued to rain more or less during the greater part of the day, yet the wind was not so boisterous as to make our passage unsafe or uncomfortable, but rather added speed to our progress, it being fair and our captain having his sails in order. Nothing remarkable occurred during our passage down the bay to Norfolk.

Friday May 2nd

This morning at 5 O'Clock we arrived at Norfolk and immediately went on board the Potomac, bound for City Point. She started at 6 O'clock in company with the Boat Petersburg. On board the Potomac I found a Mr. Page, his wife and sister. His wife was a sister of Wm. M. Atkinson of our town. With her, I had previously had no acquaintance, but found on her part a disposition to converse with me, and I found her a smart clever woman. I understand from her that she lives near Winchester in Virginia, that she came down from Alexandria, and is going on to Petersburg, intending previously to stop for a short time with Mr. Harrison on James River. During my absence from home it has been necessary for me to introduce myself to many strangers, to make numerous enquiries and to have very much intercourse with many persons I never saw before, and I am pleased to recollect, and now to be enabled to say that I have been treated with very much politeness and on very many occasions with marked attention by those who knew me not and whom I never saw before. No one has ever hesitated to give that information which I sought, except on one occasion, which was in a bleaching factory in Paterson, where I stopped for a moment, and was treated with a little rudeness -- and I firmly believe that they were engaged in some illicit trade, which made them dread detection. Almost every person with whom I have conversed, has learned my business, and even to take an interest in it; and if expression of good will for the establishment, will make our factory prosperous, our success is rendered certain.

August 2014