JOURNAL OF
WILLIAM BUXTON
An account of his travels from
Nottingham, England to Carlisle, Iowa
November 7, 1853 to December 25,1853


1853

Mon.
Nov. 7

Left Nottinham early, on my return voyage to the land of the West bidding adieu to the scene of many happy hours spent in the company of those who will ever retain a place in my best affections and thoughts.

Tues.
Nov. 8

Went over to Didsbury where I spent the night and accompanied by Mrs. Hobbs and Miss Lack returned to Manchester where after making several bargains I received the last well wishes of many friends I have learned to value as well as many other things with which old England abounds above all other lands.

Tues.
Nov. 8

Tuesday arrived in Liverpool and took passage in the screw steamship "City of Glasgow" for Philadelphia, Captain Whylie.
 

Wed.
Nov. 9

Went on board the steamer then lying in the river which being all tight started on her trip about half past one o'clock p.m. favored by the tide and a clear sky.

Thurs.
Nov. 10
Steaming down channel with head wind run 160 mls. to 12 p.m.
Fri.
Nov.11

Irish coast in view head wind and clear sky pretty rough sea nearly all sick, myself among (the) lot dreadfully sick and good for nothing vowed never to cross again accept on my return. Course N.W. run 192.

Sat.
Nov. 12
Feeling rather curious about after eating a good dinner was as fresh and content as ever. Course West run 183.
 

Wednesday midnight we had a most hairbreath escape of being run down by a large (vessel) in full sail which came so close as to carry away part of our rigging; a few feet nearer we should have met with certain destruction to many if not all of us, but as it is we are proceeding prosperously on the voyage and I hope thankful for our safety.

Sun.
Nov. 13

Fine and pleasant service at 1/2 past ten conducted by the Captain according to the Church of Scotland Course WNW 

run 210.

Tues.
Nov. 15

Fine, getting quite jolly and friendly now on board spending the day in reading and games at pub the evenings in concerts. Course NW run 199.

Wed.
Nov. 16

With strong breeze which increased during the day and the sea

running pretty high knocking us about in all directions and causing no little inconvenience and a good many cases of sickness appeared again. Run 160 mls.

Thurs.
Nov. 17

All quiet again today very glad to see it so and now begin to relish the meals which are served up as follows. breakfast at 8 & 9 dinner 1 & 3 supper 6 & 7 o'clock provided on a very liberal scale C. West run 146 mls.

Fri.
Nov. 18

Past a very rough night, the sea now running what is term'd

mountains high, the finest I have ever seen, hope it may not last long, too cold to be on deck. The ship Sam Barker to Liverpool running before the wind with main & top sails a beautiful sight as seen from our ship. Run 190 mls. This was the day fixed for the grand concert and dress ball on quarter deck (weather permitting) but that not being the case it is deferred sine die to our great disappointment. At dinner there was a perfect commotion among the cookery (ware), ducks fowls beef & soup all alive occasionally some unfortunate dish would come sliding majestically on the floor, and requiring some effort to keep one's seat at the table.

Sat.
Nov. 19

Fine & pleasant but head wind C.N.W. Run 184 mls. Saw the first porpoises this voyage.

Sun.
Nov. 20

Dry and cold moderate & favorable wind as we are passed at
8 p.m. a mail steamer which left W. Fork last Wednesday signals were given & returned rockets were first thrown up from our ship and answered by the same number from the other. The night was clear and the effect of the scene was very startling and pleasing ‑ Run 200 mls.

Mon.
Nov. 21

Fine & pleasant & fair wind 12 p.m. run 209 mls. This evening we had our celebrated concert commencing at 71/2 o'clock embracing most of the celebrated places of (Music) both vocal and instrumental piano concertina and accordian. The Mid amused us with some very original singing, the old Batchelor. What are little girls made of & Father Stevens made an attempt but was sadly deficient in voice. Molly (Coover) was very amusing. After the concert the company adjourned to the quarter deck to witness the fireworks which were very imposing. Then came the dance, concluding with supper in saloon. Appropriate songs and toasts, altogether the evening was spent very pleasantly. The captain did everything to entertain the company and fully deserved the good name he has already.

Tues.
Nov. 22

Fine and steady winds. run 233 mls.

 

Wed.
Nov. 23

12 p.m. Last night we had the first theatrical performance on

board the comic farce of Box & Box & Mrs. Bouncer the lodging housekeeper, Messrs. Mienty‑Gibbons & Kendall were the performers the whole scene was very laughable and went off with great eclat. There was a concert going on at the same time in the forward cabin. We have had beautiful weather the last few days, time passed very pleasantly and not at all monotonous as is generally the case. Wed. run 200 mls.

Thurs.
Nov. 24
Still very calm & fine too vessels astern expect to be in Philadelphia  by Saturday. Run 213 steam only.
Fri.
Nov. 25

Last night the wind got up blowing strong, the sea changing in a few hours from a perfect calm to the opposite extreme but settled down considerably this morning. passed a beautiful clipper built ship hoisted American colors. Looking out for pilot boat. Run 233 mls. Course W.S.W. 1/2 W. about 2 o clock today we took on the pilot and in a few hours more the land appeared ahead Cape May on our right. The shore all along is low and sandy. Philadelphia lies about 100 miles up the Delaware a fine broad stream with a fine country on both sides. We anchored in the river at night and came along the pier about 1 o'clock Saturday making a passage of seventeen days
3275 miles.

Sat.
Nov. 26

Myself and four others took up our quarters at Bloodwood corner of Walnut St. Took a tour through the city, which is one of the finest in the States. Chestnut St. the principal thoroughfare

contained some splendid buildings. Hotels and besides being the Keat promenade for the fashionable. I think the ladies of Philladelphia surpass anything I ever saw in any other city for beauty and dress.

Sun.
Nov. 27

Attended St. Stephens Episcopal Church the sermon more political than religious thorough whig. Left with a friend for New York by rail.

Mon.
Nov. 28

Arranging business matters, went to the Exhibition which quite met my anticipation there were a great many things worthy of attention and was only sorry I had not more time to examine its contents. The (statuary) was the most attractive and next the agricultural department returned to Philadelphia at night (per) Camden and Amboy.

Tues.
Nov. 29

Took ticket for Cincinnati via Baltimore and Ohio rail to Wheeling then a boat on the river. Left Phil. at 2 p.m. arriving at Wheeling 21/2 p.m. Wednesday 490 miles. The railroad runs direct over the Alegany mountains almost impassable, winding round the hills and overlooking some precipices truly fearful and certain death in case of any mishap one journey is quite sufficient to satisfy any traveller especially when he knows that the works are anything but substantial.



 

Wed.
Nov. 30

Left wheeling at 4 p.m. by the Latrobe, should be in Cincinnati early on Friday but am afraid I shall be disappointed. The river being low the regular packets run there are twice the, number of passengers on board there ought to be one half without berths a western traveller has plenty of exercise for a good stock of patience as well as a little smartness.

Thurs.
Dec. 1

Going along at a snail gallop. The banks all along are high and steep dotted over with many little towns. Just had dinner, a few scraps of all sorts, goes bad after having such good fare so long on board the "City of Glasgow."

Fri.
Dec. 2

Moving slowly down the river expecting every minute to come to a stand, several other boats being fast and stopping the navigation. In the evening most of the passengers were prevailed upon to go ashore in order to lighten a little and a good part of the freight put ashore but notwithstanding every endeavor the boat stuck fast alongside four others near Buffenden Island. We passengers were now in a fix having no means of getting aboard again until a yawl was got taking four passengers at a time with considerable danger.

Sat.
Dec. 3

Still fast and with every prospect of a famine on board. Hearing of a boat, being below, for Cincinnati we all left the "Latrobe" sending our baggage and the ladies down in canoes. The gents walked down to the boat. The "Crystal Palace" a splendid boat, good fare, which they took care to get paid for many of the passengers having to pay a second full fare however I was glad to get off on any terms.

Sun.
Dec. 4
Arrived late in evening at Cincinnati.
Mon.
Dec. 5
Took boat for Lawrenceburg 20 mls where I had to remain until morning for the cars to Flatrock.
Tues.
Dec. 6

Landed at Ben's just in time for a good dinner and found them all

well things improving fast. Looking round and visiting the rest of the week.

Sun.
Dec. 11
Went to meeting in the new Court House heard a pretty good sermon in the evening took tea at the Avery's, one of the nicest families at Flatrock.
Mon.
Dec. 12

Took the cars for Lawrenceburg & boat to Cincinnati went to see the pork slaughter yards which is carried on here on a large scale, a thousand hogs being a day's work for one set of hands to kill & pack, but rather roughly done.

Tues.
Dec. 13

Got on the Ben Franklin for Louisville and St. Louis, which left at 12 p.m. reaching Louisville in twelve hours 15 mls.

Wed.
Dec. 14

Took the bus down to Portland since round the falls the water being too low to allow the boats to pass over, and got aboard the "Fashion" for St. Louis 700 mls. from Cincinnati entered the Mississippi Friday noon. Took on a lot of Californians at Cairo bound home, some with a good "pile" others with disappointed hopes only.

Sun.
Dec. 18

Arrived early this morning at St. Louis winter having set in hard pretty near closed navigation on the upper river however determined to risk a day or two longer in town taking up quarters at the City Hotel until Monday. Attended service in morning at the Episcopal Church. Here I met with several of my shipmates and an English gentleman, Rutherford, who was well acquainted with Derbyshire.

Mon.
Dec. 19

Got my drafts exchanged after a good deal of trouble. Then started off at 6 p.m. for Keokuk 215 mls on the "Dubuque," probably the last boat to ascend the Mississippi this season - it being both difficult & dangerous on account of the ice which is fast choking up the river and very thick in some places. The upper Mississippi is far more interesting than the lower (so far as I have been) beautifully studded with islands and fine high bluffs. The water above the Missouri is perfectly clear and transparent.

Tues.
Dec. 20

The river rather more open this morning but making very slow

progress. Passed some flourishing towns on the Miss. side.

Wed.
Dec. 21

Morning arrived safe at Keokuk the end of my river travelling and

very glad of it. In time of high water it is very pleasant but miserable at low stages. Most of the captains & inferior officers are generally nothing but a lot of sharpers.

Thurs.
Dec. 22

Had to lie over until Thursday morning for the stage which left at
4 a.m. for Fort D'Moines 180 mls. The roads being good we got on pretty fast, travelling it in three days, first night at Fairfield, 2nd, Oskaloosa where we just came in right for a bear meat supper and ball the first was excellent, the latter very commonplace.

Sat.
Dec. 24
Arrived at the Fort about seven Saturday evening, pretty well tired of the stage.
Sun.
Dec. 25

Xmas day walked over to Carlisle 12 mls, which is to be my future home, where I found all things about as when I left after an absence of about nine months during which time I had travelled 12000 miles without any misfortunes.


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