Journal Of William Buxton 1853
Monday, November 7--Left Nottinham early, on my return
voyage to the land of the West bidding adieu to the scene
of many happy hours spent in the company of those who will ever retain
a place in my best affections and thoughts.
Tuesday, November 8--Went over to Didsbury where I spent the night and
accompanied by Mrs. Hobbs and Miss Lack returned to Manchester where after
making several bargains I received the last well wishes of many friends
I have learned to value as well as many other things with which old England
abounds above all other lands.
Tuesday, November 8--Tuesday arrived in Liverpool and took passage in
the screw steamship "City of Glasgow" for Philadelphia,
Wednesday, November 9--Went on board the steamer then lying in
the river which being all tight started on her trip about half past one
o'clock p.m. favored by the tide and a clear sky.
Thursday, November 10--Steaming down channel with head wind run 160 mls.
to 12 p.m.
Friday, November 11--.Irish coast in view head wind and clear sky pretty
rough sea nearly all sick, myself among (the) lot dreadfully sick and
good for nothing vowed never to cross again accept on my return. Course
N.W. run 192.
Saturday, November 12--Feeling rather curious about after eating a good
dinner was as fresh and content as ever. Course West run 183.
Wednesday midnight we had a most hairbreath escape of being run down by
a large (vessel) in full sail which came so close as to carry away part
of our rigging; a few feet nearer we should have met with certain destruction
to many if not all of us, but as it is we are proceeding prosperously
on the voyage and I hope thankful for our safety.
Sunday, November 13--Fine and pleasant service at 1/2 past ten conducted
by the Captain according to the Church of Scotland Course WNW run 210.
Tuesday, November 15--Fine, getting quite jolly and friendly now on board
spending the day in reading and games at pub the evenings in concerts.
Course NW run 199.
Wednesday, November 16--With strong breeze which increased during the
day and the sea running pretty high knocking us about in all directions
and causing no little inconvenience and a good many cases of sickness
appeared again. Run 160 mls.
Thursday, November 17--All quiet again today very glad to see it so and
now begin to relish the meals which are served up as follows. Breakfast
at 8 & 9 dinner 1 & 3 supper 6 & 7 o'clock provided on a very
liberal scale C. West run 146 mls.
Friday, November 18--Past a very rough night, the sea now running what
is termed mountains high, the finest I have ever seen, hope it may not
last long, too cold to be on deck. The ship Sam Barker to Liverpool running
before the wind with main & top sails a beautiful sight as seen from
our ship. Run 190 mls. This was the day fixed for the grand concert and
dress ball on quarter deck (weather permitting) but that not being the
case it is deferred sine die to our great disappointment. At dinner there
was a perfect commotion among the cookery (ware), ducks fowls beef &
soup all alive occasionally some unfortunate dish would come sliding majestically
on the floor, and requiring some effort to keep one's seat at the table.
Saturday, November 19--Fine & pleasant but head wind C.N.W. Run 184
mls. Saw the first porpoises this voyage.
Sunday, November 20--Dry and cold moderate & favorable wind as we
are passed at 8 p.m. a mail steamer which left W. Fork last Wednesday
signals were given & returned rockets were first thrown up from our
ship and answered by the same number from the other. The night was clear
and the effect of the scene was very startling and pleasing ? Run 200
Monday, November 21--Fine & pleasant & fair wind 12 p.m. run
209 mls. This evening we had our celebrated concert commencing at 7 ½
o'clock embracing most of the celebrated places of (Music) both vocal
and instrumental piano concertina and accordion. The Mid amused us with
some very original singing, the old Batchelor. What are little girls made
of & Father Stevens made an attempt but was sadly deficient in voice.
Molly (Coover) was very amusing. After the concert the company adjourned
to the quarterdeck to witness the fireworks which were very imposing.
Then came the dance, concluding with supper in saloon. Appropriate songs
and toasts, altogether the evening was spent very pleasantly. The captain
did everything to entertain the company and fully deserved the good name
he has already.
Tuesday, November 22--Fine and steady winds. run 233 mls.
Wednesday, November 23--12 p.m. Last night we had the first theatrical
performance on board the comic farce of Box & Box & Mrs. Bouncer
the lodging housekeeper, Messrs. Mienty?Gibbons & Kendall were the
performers the whole scene was very laughable and went off with great
éclat. There was a concert going on at the same time in the forward
cabin. We have had beautiful weather the last few days, time passed very
pleasantly and not at all monotonous as is generally the case. Wed. run
Thursday, November 24--Still very calm & fine too vessels astern
expect to be in Philadelphia Nov. 24 by Saturday. Run 213 steam only.
Friday, November 25--Last night the wind got up blowing strong, the sea
changing in a few hours from a perfect calm to the opposite extreme but
settled down considerably this morning. passed a beautiful clipper built
ship hoisted American colors. Looking out for pilot boat. Run 233 mls.
Course W.S.W. 1/2 W. about 2 o clock today we took on the pilot and in
a few hours more the land appeared ahead Cape May on our right. The shore
all along is low and sandy. Philadelphia lies about 100 miles up the Delaware
a fine broad stream with a fine country on both sides. We anchored in
the river at night and came along the pier about 1 o'clock Saturday making
a passage of seventeen days 3275 miles.
Saturday, November 26--Myself and four others took up our quarters at Bloodwood
corner of Walnut St. Took a tour through the city, which is one of the
finest in the States. Chestnut St. the principal thoroughfare contained
some splendid buildings. Hotels and besides being the Keat promenade for
the fashionable. I think the ladies of Philadelphia surpass anything I
ever saw in any other city for beauty and dress.
Sunday, November 27--Attended St. Stephens Episcopal Church the sermon
more political than religious thorough whig. Left with a friend for New
York by rail.
Monday, November 28--Arranging business matters, went to the Exhibition
which quite met my anticipation there were a great many things worthy
of attention and was only sorry I had not more time to examine its contents.
The (statuary) was the most attractive and next the agricultural department
returned to Philadelphia at night (per) Camden and Amboy.
Tuesday, November 29--Took ticket for Cincinnati via Baltimore and Ohio
rail to Wheeling then a boat on the river. Left Phil. at 2 p.m. arriving
at Wheeling 2 1/2 p.m. Wednesday 490 miles. The railroad runs direct over
the Alegany mountains almost impassable, winding round the hills and overlooking
some precipices truly fearful and certain death in case of any mishap
one journey is quite sufficient to satisfy any traveler especially when
he knows that the works are anything but substantial.
Wednesday, November 30--Left wheeling at 4 p.m. by the Latrobe [boat],
should be in Cincinnati early on Friday but am afraid I shall be disappointed.
The river being low the regular packets run there are twice the number
of passengers on board there ought to be one half without berths a western
traveler has plenty of exercise for a good stock of patience as well as
a little smartness.
Thursday, December 1--Going along at a snail gallop. The banks all along
are high and steep dotted over with many little towns. Just had dinner,
a few scraps of all sorts, goes bad after having such good fare so long
on board the "City of Glasgow."
Friday, December 2--. Moving slowly down the river expecting every minute
to come to a stand, several other boats being fast and stopping the navigation.
In the evening most of the passengers were prevailed upon to go ashore
in order to lighten a little and a good part of the freight put ashore
but notwithstanding every endeavor the boat stuck fast alongside four
others near Buffenden Island. We passengers were now in a fix having no
means of getting aboard again until a yawl was got taking four passengers
at a time with considerable danger.
Saturday, December 3--Still fast and with every prospect of a famine
on board. Hearing of a boat, being below, for Cincinnati we all
left the "Latrobe" sending our baggage and the ladies
down in canoes. The gents walked down to the boat. The "Crystal
Palace" a splendid boat, good fare, which they took care
to get paid for many of the passengers having to pay a second full fare
however I was glad to get off on any terms.
Sunday, December 4--Arrived late in evening at Cincinnati.
Monday, December 5--Took boat for Lawrenceburg 20 mls where I
had to remain until morning for the cars to Flatrock.
Tuesday, December 6--Landed at Ben's just in time for a good dinner and
found them all well things improving fast. Looking round and visiting
the. rest of the week.
Sunday, December 11--Went to meeting in the new Court House heard a pretty
good sermon in the evening took tea at the Avery's, one of the nicest
families at Flatrock.
Monday, December 12--Took the cars for Lawrenceburg & boat
to Cincinnati went to see the pork slaughter yards which is carried on
here on a large scale, a thousand hogs being a day's work for one set
of hands to kill & pack, but rather roughly done.
Tuesday, December 13--Got on the Ben Franklin [steamboat]
for Louisville and St. Louis, which left at 12 p.m. reaching Louisville
in twelve hours 15 mls.
Wednesday, December 14--Took the bus down to Portland since round
the falls the water being too low to allow the boats to pass over, and
got aboard the "Fashion" [steamboat] for St. Louis 700
mls. from Cincinnati entered the Mississippi Friday noon. Took on a lot
of Californians at Cairo bound home, some with a good "pile"
others with disappointed hopes only.
Sunday, December 18--Arrived early this morning at St. Louis winter having
set in hard pretty near closed navigation on the upper river however determined
to risk a day or two longer in town taking up quarters at the City Hotel
until Monday. Attended service in morning at the Episcopal Church. Here
I met with several of my shipmates and an English gentleman, Rutherford,
who was well acquainted with Derbyshire.
Monday, December 19--Got my drafts exchanged after a good deal of trouble.
Then started off at 6 p.m. for Keokuk 215 mls on the "Dubuque,"
[steamboat] probably the last boat to ascend the Mississippi this
season ? it being both difficult & dangerous on account of the ice
which is fast choking up the river and very thick in some places. The
upper Mississippi is far more interesting than the lower (so far as I
have been) beautifully studded with islands and fine high bluffs. The
water above the Missouri is perfectly clear and transparent.
Tuesday, December 20--The river rather more open this morning but making
very slow progress. Passed some flourishing towns on the Miss. side.
Wednesday, December 21--Morning arrived safe at Keokuk the end of my
river traveling and very glad of it. In time of high water it is very
pleasant but miserable at low stages. Most of the captains & inferior
officers are generally nothing but a lot of sharpers.
Thursday, December 22--Had to lie over until Thursday morning for the
stage which left at 4 a.m. for Fort D'Moines 180 mls. The roads
being good we got on pretty fast, traveling it in three days, first night
at Fairfield, 2nd, Oskaloosa where we just came in right for a bear meat
supper and ball the first was excellent, the latter very commonplace.
Saturday, December 24--Arrived at the Fort about seven Saturday evening,
pretty well tired of the stage.
Sunday, December 25--Xmas day walked over to Carlisle 12 mls,
which is to be my future home, where I found all things about as when
I left after an absence of about nine months during which time I had traveled
12000 miles without any misfortunes.
Used by permission: Special Collections, State Historical
Society of Iowa, Iowa City.