John W. Monette papers  1824-1851
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Samuel L. Young of Reading, Pennsylvania, kept this 108-page journal "during a tour of the United States" between June 1, 1846, and October 12, 1846. He traveled by railroad, steamship, and stagecoach, and recorded his impressions of major cities, local scenery, and fellow travelers. Young ventured as far west as St. Louis, Missouri; as far north as Niagara Falls, Canada; and as far south as Lexington, Kentucky.

Young's journal, which contains descriptions and anecdotes from his travel, begins with an entry expressing his sadness upon leaving his loved ones (p. 1). He departed Reading for New York City, where he remained for 4 days; there, he witnessed a procession by the Sons of Temperance. Young then traveled to Connecticut and Massachusetts, where he commented on Boston's Chinese residents (p. 8). He continued to Niagara Falls, Detroit, and Chicago. In Detroit, he received copper samples from Morgan Bates, a prospector (p. 31); in Chicago he recorded his disappointment with the city and its construction. While in western Illinois and Iowa, Young visited a smelting furnace and mine (pp. 43-44), a "lead cave" and mine (pp. 48-49), and the Mormon temple at Nauvoo, Illinois (pp. 56-58).

When Young reached St. Louis, Missouri, he boarded a riverboat bound for Louisville, Kentucky, though he and three other travelers opted to walk the final stretch of the trip (pp. 70-71). Young recalled a stagecoach conversation about slavery, though he declined to participate (pp. 74-75). Upon his arrival in Lexington, Kentucky, he met with Henry Clay at his Ashland estate (pp. 87-88). Young spent much of September in Cincinnati, Ohio. Between Cincinnati and Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), he met Lewis C. F. Fatio, former captain of the United States revenue cutter Wolcott , who was on his way to contest a charge of disobedience in Washington, D. C. (pp. 101-102). Young began the last leg of his journey on October 10, 1846, heading for Philadelphia and, later, Reading, where he returned on October 12 (p. 108).

Young occasionally encountered dangerous situations, including a narrowly avoided stagecoach accident between Kalamazoo and St. Joseph, Michigan (p. 33), a fire next door to his Chicago hotel (pp. 36-37), and a suspicious stagecoach passenger at Rockford, Illinois (p. 42). He made acquaintance with many fellow travelers, and often joined them for excursions. Young played the accordion, read local newspapers and the works of Friedrich Schiller, occasionally measured the distances he traveled or noted the costs of transportation, and recorded the name of every hotel at which he boarded.

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