1811 Travel Journal of Charity Rotch

Before choosing to relocate, Kendal founders Thomas and Charity Rotch traveled by carriage across Pennsylvania to Ohio and back in the late winter and early spring of 1811. Charity kept a journal of their experiences for sixteen weeks from January 29 to May 18. 

In recognition of the 200th anniversary of the journal's creation, The Kendal Companion published an excerpt a week between January 29 and May 18, 2011. Each excerpt is annotated with external weblinks and relevant images, and the series is accompanied by maps of the travel route and other supplementary material.

Charity's journal was transcribed and published with background information and footnotes in an Ohio History article by Ethel Conrad (1923-1996). The excerpts presented here use Conrad's transcription, and you can read her article in its entirety here. The Ohio Historical Society digitized the journal's pages and you can view them here.

January 29 to February 2, 1811

Left Philadelphia the 29th of the 1st m° 1811 _that day 32 miles to Downingstown on the Lancaster Turnpike; & lodg'd at Hunt Downings.


February 3 to 9, 1811

South Mountain by platospelunks @ flickr.com3rd of the month Rode 19 miles, & cross'd the South mountain, found it as good as we had reason to expect, & endeavour'd to get safely & slowly along -


February 10 to 16, 1811

Pennsylvania scenery at flickr.comLodg'd at Armours a log house as comfortable as cou'd be expected: next night <<tear>> Stuarts, 22 miles, & on the 11th Reachd Pittsburgh. Within 12 miles of the town we found the roads <<tear>> as any we pass'd, on acct of the miry places.


February 17 to 23, 1811

17th not being near any meeting, we Journeyd on abt 20 miles the road both yesterday & this, has required patience & care, Stop'd in Washington a pleasant little town, containing more than three hundred houses, more than twice as large as Cannonsburg; at Morris's which look'd like a good Inn, but as it was not much pass'd noon, we Journey on 13 miles further to the south fork of Buffalos Creek.