Sophia Cumming McCormick, a young woman from Savannah, Georgia, arrived in New York City on the Brig Champlin with her uncle ("Dr. Cumming"), aunt, cousin, and brother in late May 1811. Over the next five months, she and her family spent a considerable amount of time in New York and New Jersey, including a three-month stay in Morristown, New Jersey, before traveling south through Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. From June until September, Sophia and her cousin Anna attended Miss Scribner's School, a young women's academy in Morristown. When the family departed Morristown in September, Sophia's brother stayed on at an unnamed school. McCormick and her family visited and attended several Presbyterian churches over the course of their trip.
In 1818, McCormick was visiting family members in St. Clair, Georgia (near Augusta in present-day Burke County). According to her diary, her mother had died by this time, and her father was in the midst of recovering from an illness.