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.

March 24 to 30, 1811

Thunderstorm by chrisirmo at flickr.com24th first day spent mostly in my chamber, our Landlord at Lebanon Wm Ferguson call'd in the afternoon to see us, & in the evening waited upon his wife to our lodgings I omitted mentioning the tempest night before last very sharp lightening, & a long continuance of it, & thunder, it disturbd us very much;


March 31 to April 6, 1811

Rope ferry photo by alex.shultz @ flickr.com31st attempted to get to a mtg 8 miles distant cross'd the ferry in a boat, which pass'd with the aid of a rope; & rode a few miles got into a wrong road, found it very bad; a severe tempest came up; & we were out in all of it: we rode on, untill we found it past the eleventh hour, & then turn'd back, & with much difficulty regain'd the ferry again;


April 7 to 13, 1811

Ohio Spiderwort by Darke County Parks on flickr.com7th arose in the morning with a full determination to surmount every obstacle in my way to Worthington, accordingly a good Saddle horse was procured; we cross'd the ferry in a boat, & rode abt 12 miles to that place; making it 3 further than to ford the river; left our horses at the Inn


April 14 to 21, 1811

On The Ohio River painting14th reach'd Springfield a pleasant little village opposite Zanesville; lodg'd at Burnams, a new England family, & commodious house