Collection: Narrative of Richard Lee Mason

Philadelphia To Steubenville

Monday, Oct. 4, 1819.–Dr. Hall and myself left Philadelphia at 1 o’clock p. m. after taking an affectionate leave of friends and acquaintances. Fair and pleasant weather, and the roads very fine in consequence of a refreshing shower of rain which fell on the night previous to our setting out. After traveling twenty-two miles and passing some rich and well-cultivated farms we arrived at West Chester at 7 o’clock. West Chester contains about 600 inhabitants, several places of worship, a gaol, etc., etc. A man named Downey is confined in the gaol of this place for debt. He was once

Through Ohio And Kentucky

Sunday, Oct. 18.–Myself and friend proceeded on our journey. We arrived at Siers, a distance of thirty miles, at dusk, much relieved by the change from our horses to the wagon. The roads were muddy, the weather drizzly and the country hilly. Buildings indifferent. The land very fertile and black. Trees uncommonly tall. Passed the little village of Cadis. In this country a tavern, a store, a smith shop and two or three cabins make a town. Passed ten or fifteen travelers. Great contrast between the quality of the land from Chambersburg to Pittsburg, and that which we have already

A Brotherhood Of Cutthroats

Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1819.–Left Miller’s tavern at 7 o’clock and arrived at Squire Chambers’ at 6 o’clock, after traveling a distance of thirty-six miles. Passed a trifling village, Fredericksburg; also Greenville. A poor, barren, deserted country. For ten miles, stony, poor, mountainous and naked. Land a little better. Miserable huts, poor accommodations, cabin taverns, and high charges. Crossed Blue river. Every man his own hostler and steward. Plenty of game–deer, turkeys, etc. Inhabitants generally possess a smaller share of politeness than any met with before. Thursday, Nov. 4.–Left Squire Chambers’ (who is only member of the assembly, by the by)

Escape From The Robber Band

Monday, Nov. 8, 1819.–The disappointment experienced from the unmanly conduct of Dr. Hill had a happy effect on our little company. It bound us more firmly and nearer together, and, I may add with truth, almost fitted us for the field of battle. The hour of 9 o’clock had now arrived, the night uncommonly dark and cloudy. On our going into the house one of the strangers went into the yard and gave the Indian warwhoop three times very loud. About 10 o’clock they took their six rifles, went into the yard with a candle and shot them off one

In Possession Of The “Promised Land”

Monday, Nov. 22, 1819.–This day breakfasted with Mr. R. Morrison and dined with Mr. W. Morrison. These gentlemen are wealthy and live in very comfortable style. Mrs. R. Morrison is one of the most intelligent women that I have conversed with, and possesses a lady’s privilege, while Mrs. W. Morrison might rank, in point of beauty with some of the belles of Philadelphia. Dr. Hill having accomplished his business, we set out from Kaskia at 2 o’clock, after bidding a friendly farewell to many new friends made in this place. I must confess I found a few possessing so much

Narrative of Richard Lee Mason in the Pioneer West, 1819

In the late fall and early winter of the year 1819 Dr. Richard Lee Mason made a journey from Philadelphia to Illinois, through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Some of his adventures were remarkable, and these, together with his observations on the country, the towns and the people whom he encountered, were recorded in a diary kept by him, which is now in the possession of his only surviving child, a daughter, who resides in Jacksonville, Ill. Dr. Mason was a remarkably intelligent observer, and his record of the people whom he encountered in Illinois more than three-quarters of a