Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Horace Healy Journal, 1838

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, April 2012

Summary Information
Title: Horace Healy journal
Creator: Healy, Horace
Inclusive dates: 1838
Extent: 1 volume
This 88-page journal recounts Healy's travels from his home in Middlebury, New York, to northeastern Illinois between May 30 and July 13, 1838. The journal contains notes on his steamship voyages on the Great Lakes, descriptions of his overland travels and experiences in Illinois, and prayers and other religious reflections. This diary is a handwritten copy made by Horace Healy in 1841.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1989. M-2483.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Horace Healy Journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Horace Healy of Middlebury, New York, married and had several children before May 1838, when he embarked on a journey to Illinois and Michigan. His brother, Freeborn Healy (1793-1825), died in Macomb County, Michigan. His daughter Laura Pamelia Healy was born on July 12, 1824. Horace Healy served as a justice of the peace for Middlebury in 1827 and as a member of the New York State Assembly in 1840.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This 88-page journal recounts Healy's travels from his home in Middlebury, New York, to northeastern Illinois between May 30 and July 13, 1838. This diary is a handwritten copy made by Horace Healy in 1841.

Healy departed from Middlebury on May 30, 1838, with a friend, Hosea Wilson, and reached Buffalo the following day, where the men boarded the steamer Anthony Wayne , bound for Chicago via the Great Lakes. Healy kept a brief daily record of distances he traveled and the steamer's stops, until his arrival at Chicago on June 9. There, he took leave of Wilson. Along the way, Healy visited Fort Mackinac, Michigan, and described some of his fellow passengers. Upon his arrival in Illinois, he set out to visit acquaintances living southeast of Chicago, and then traveled westward and northward throughout the area for the rest of the month. A devout man, he recorded his religious activities, his attendance at church services, prayers, and religious thoughts.

The journal also contains brief descriptions of a few settlements, such as Naperville and Rockford, and of life on the Illinois prairie. One man at a camp meeting along the DuPage River mentioned his missionary work with local Native Americans (June 24, p. 38). On June 25, Healy left for home, though he remained in Chicago for several days awaiting a steamer; during this time, he visited Fort Dearborn and other sights. He boarded the Anthony Wayne on June 28, and spent a few days in early July near Detroit, Michigan, where he visited his brother Freeborn's grave in Macomb County (July 6, pp. 66-67). On July 10, he took the Clinton to Buffalo, where he arrived on July 12, his daughter's 14th birthday. The entry for July 12 also contains Healy's lamentation on the sinking of the steamboat George Washington on Lake Erie less than a month before (pp. 81-82). Healy arrived home in Middlebury on July 13, 1838.

Horace Healy transcribed this copy of his journal on October 21, 1841.

Subject Terms

    • Anthony Wayne (Steamship)
    • Camp meetings--Illinois.
    • Clinton (Steamship)
    • George Washington (Steamship)
    • Great Lakes (North America)--Description and travel.
    • Chicago (Ill.)
    • Illinois--Description and travel.
    • Illinois--Religious life and customs.
    • Michigan--Description and travel.
    • Second Great Awakening.
    • Steamboats--Great Lakes (North America)
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    • Journals (accounts)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Horace Healy journal,  1838 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data

    The New York Red Book. James Malcolm, Ed. Albany, New York: J. B. Lyon Company, 1922.

    Skinner, Roger Sherman. The New-York State Register, for the Year of Our Lord 1830, the Fifty-Fourth Year of American Independence, with a Concise United States Calendar. New York: 1830.