1866 · PA & NY
A pocket diary of an identified traveling tradesman whose territory was northwestern Pennsylvania and the southern region of Upstate New York along the Pennsylvania border. It is unclear exactly what type of tradesman the author of the diary is, however throughout the journal there are references to installing bells, or cutting plates (otherwise known as strike plates which metal spokes would hit to create a bell sound), Thus the supposition that he is an alarm bell installer. Often traveling by stage coach, though sometimes rail, the man spends his days drumming up business in the towns he visits, making observations on the town, its people, and surrounding country.
When not working, he visited friends and becoming enamored with young women he meets along the way. His promotion efforts, observations on the towns and calls on young woman are the highlight of this diary. The author is a prolific journaler making an entry for almost everyday of the year. However, these entries start to become shorter in the summer, until the majority of the entries listed only his location. . Some of the Pennsylvania locations he travels to are: Westfield, Elkand, Bingham Township, Muncy, Towanda, Rochester, Williamsport, Carlisle, Milton, Danville, Ashville, Harrisburg, Potter County, and Tioga County. Some of the New York locations he travels to are: Elmira, Troy, Auburn, Binghamton, Norwich, Springtown, and Port Byron. Additionally, in December of 1866, he does make a trip to Cleveland, OH, and stays there much of the month. There are two notes which are out of place in the diary - an inscription "My fathers diary when in the army". and The second a phrase "Williamsport, PA, Married", first written on August 30, and then crossed out with "Mistake" written above it. "WIlliamsport, PA,Married" is written again written on the next day, August 31, but there is no other information provided. Both the entries leading up to the date and after make no mention of a wedding or new bride, or anything similar. Excerpts follow, note that his entries are riddled with spelling errors. Instead of using the term [sic] to denote this, the correct spelling of the inferred word will be placed within the brackets.
"I stade [stayed] to the Troy House for the first last night and had a splend [splendid] time hear [here] and my buisness [business] havent ben [been] very good hear [here] to day much more than any other place that I ever have ben [been] in my life but I have had some plesent [pleasant] ours [hours] with the young ladies in the house and they are quite plesent [pleasant]. I think to sit down with and talk with to, spend some ours [hours] with them and I have ben [been] having loots [lots] of fun all day." - January 25, 1866.
"I have just ben [been] up and put in a bell on Water St and just one cutting plates to send a way and sent a sample to Towanda, PA." - January 29, 1866
"Stade [stayed] Elmira, I even ... ... and have ben [been] quite buisy [busy] all day and this eavning [evening] I ben [been] set up with Mr. & Mrs. Frank and my company is Miss Hamilton and I have had a plesent [pleasant] time there but she was some what fritened [frightened] but I talked to her and she got so she dident [didn't] mind it and I dident [didn't] get a moment sleep and I dident [didn't] feal [feel] as if I wanted any. I must close, so good morning." - April 9, 1866
"I am stying [staying] at Mr. Haders and I have found every thing all gay hear [here] and I have ben [been] out on a walk this afternoon and I had a splendid time with some French gurls [girls] and one of them fell in love with me but I don't think it will do but any good and got back in good reason and wrote severl [several] letters and I retired at 9 Pm, so good night." - April 15, 1866.
"Myncy [Muncy] PA. I am hear [here] and found a quite old place and found my business all right but it seams [seems] not to be growing any, it seams [seems] to me a loss for such rich men to live in a place and then to not help build it up. I sold a good many geiftrs [?], so good night." - July 6, 1866.
"Danville, PA. I came over hear [here] and found to quite a plesent [pleasant] town and feal [feel] quite gay and find that there is very nice rowling [rolling] hills carried on hear [here] and the best part of the town is up on the South Hill, Market St has got some quite nice dwellings on it and one of the welthest [wealthiest] men in the place lives there.... and loots [lots] of business don [down] hear [hear], I feal [feel] as if I was going to start I could make a good more hear [here]." July 30, 1866.
"Ashland, PA. I have ben [ben] up to the coal mines to day and saw them pull mules down 288 yards from the top of the ground and I have had quite a plesent [pleasant] day, so good night." - August 19, 1866.
"Carlisle [PA]. I think this is the prittest [prettiest] leaid [laid] out place there is in the stae and built up the best of place in this state, every thing is so plesent [pleasant] hear [here]." - October 22, 1866
At the back of the diary is a slot to hold a pencil, and the remnants of a small folder to hold loose bits of paper. Black covers. Gilt edged interior pages. Measures 6" x 3 1/2". (Inventory #: 29001093)