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A Journey to Ohio in 1810 As Recorded in the Journal of Margaret van Horn Dwight   By:

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Transcriber's note

Minor punctuation errors have been changed without notice. Printer errors have been changed and are listed at the end. All other inconsistencies are as in the original.

Characters that could not be displayed directly in Latin 1 are transcribed as follows:


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A Journey to Ohio in 1810

As Recorded in the Journal of MARGARET VAN HORN DWIGHT

Edited with an Introduction by MAX FARRAND


COPYRIGHT, 1912, BY YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS Printed in the United States of America

First published, October, 1912 Second printing, December, 1912 Third printing, December, 1913 Fourth printing, April, 1920 Fifth printing, October, 1933

All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers.


"If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue;" and Rosalind might well have added that a good story needs no prologue. The present journal is complete in itself, and it is such a perfect gem, that it seems a pity to mar its beauty by giving it any but the simplest setting. There are many readers, however, with enough human interest to wish to know who Rosalind really was, and to be assured that she "married and lived happily ever after." That is the reason for this introduction.

Margaret Van Horn Dwight was born on December 29, 1790. She was the daughter of Doctor Maurice William Dwight, a brother of President Timothy Dwight of Yale, and Margaret (DeWitt) Dwight. The death of her father in 1796, and the subsequent marriage of her mother, was probably the reason for Margaret Dwight being taken by her grandmother, Mary Edwards Dwight, a daughter of Jonathan Edwards, who trained her as her own child in her family in Northampton. The death of her grandmother, February 7, 1807, was the occasion of her going to live in New Haven in the family of her aunt, Elizabeth Dwight, who had married William Walton Woolsey, and whose son was President Theodore Woolsey.

Three years later, in 1810, Margaret Dwight left New Haven to go to her cousins in Warren, Ohio. It was doubtless there that she met Mr. Bell, whom she married, December 17, 1811, a year after her arrival. William Bell, Jr., was born in Ireland, February 11, 1781, and after 1815 he was a wholesale merchant in Pittsburgh.

The family genealogy formally records that Margaret Dwight Bell became the mother of thirteen children, that she died on October 9, 1834, and that she was "a lady of remarkable sweetness and excellence, and devotedly religious." Family tradition adds a personal touch in relating that her home was a center of hospitality and that she herself was active and very vivacious.

The journal of the rough wagon trip to Ohio in 1810 was evidently kept by Margaret Dwight in fulfilment of a promise to her cousin, Elizabeth Woolsey, to whom it was sent as soon as the journey was over. A good many years later the journal was given to a son of the author, and the original is now in the possession of a granddaughter, Miss Katharine Reynolds Wishart of Waterford, Pennsylvania. It has been well cared for and is in excellent condition, except that the first two pages are missing. This is of less importance from the fact that two independent copies had been made. The text of the journal here printed is taken from the original manuscript, and is reproduced as accurately as typographical devices permit.



Milford Friday Eve. at Capt Pond's.

Shall I commence my journal, my dear Elizabeth, with a description of the pain I felt at taking leave of all my friends, or shall I leave you to imagine? The afternoon has been spent by me in the most painful reflections & in almost total silence by my companions I have thought of a thousand things unsaid, a thousand kindnesses unpaid with thanks that I ought to have remembered more seasonably; and the neglect of which causes me many uneasy feelings my neglecting to take leave of Sally, has had the same effect I hope she did not feel hurt by it, for it proceeded from no want of gratitude for her kindness to me... Continue reading book >>

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