Sad indeed was that hour when leaving the land of my birth, but deeper far the sorrow of my heart as I watched the small craft carrying away all that I dearly loved upon earth. With aching heart and streaming eyes we watched each others form upon the deck, 'til waving kerchiefs dropped and all disappeared in the distance.
As night came on, a storm arose to share our gloom, and a fearful time we had at midnight. The noise and confusion of trunks and boxed moving to and fro, for want of proper fastenings. The waves ran high and nearly tossed me from my berth; a bonnet fell, a trunk slid, pressing it flat. With all our sickness and fright we could not refrain a smile at the ludicrous sight of all the paraphernalia of a woman's dress being scattered round. Fearing our alarms, the steward rapped, telling us all was right. I felt all was wrong, but we felt better contented, my sister and I, alone, for the first time on board a ship. Her husband, and also our captain, were to come on board at Portsmouth. From Portsmouth we had a better time. Nothing of much interest transpired. We were on a fine sailing vessel with handsome accommodations, and excellent provisions for the table.
Only three married ladies besides myself, and the voyage of 39 days, although monotonous, was whiled away in conversation, reading and writing without much difficulty. The business men suffered in some degree by a calm when we lost a week. The weather became sultry and awnings had to be raised on deck, when many enjoyed themselves lying beneath its shelter. Some went away in a small boat, thinking to fish, but were disappointed and soon returned. We were blessed with fair weather, only having one boisterous day, when all were glad to go upon deck to witness the grand scene. On the 4th of June we landed, when we had to descend a long rope ladder, I with the Captain behind in case of a fall. It was a strange feat for me, but nothing uncommon in those days.
With the aid of a friend we found a comfortable boarding house, but trouble awaited me - the intense heat almost prostrated me, and my sister and husband were going west to Cincinati to search for a home to buy, when I decided to remain until some point was decided on. My residence was changed to Mrs. Harris' on Bleecker St., where her daughter kept a school, but being vacation and means being scarce, they were glad of a boarder, and Mrs. [Grasses?] had provided a pleasant companion. But the heat of the weather affected me and I was troubled with fainting spells, and much gratitude is due to a dear maiden lady (another boarder) for advice and care over me. In September Mr. and Mrs. Gooch returned after purchasing a place to build on. In October, the family arrived from England, and we were to move West. We packed things and left on the Albany boat which ran aground towards morning, and the tide had to be waited for. Much suffering followed. With miserable accommodations at a boarding house (Mrs. Mahans) we could hardly sleep at night for cold. Wisdom would have dictated our remaining in New York until Spring, but no, we were led by a romantic man. He determined to go in sleighs to Olean Point, and from thence down the Allegheny and Ohio rivers on a flat boat, to be fitted up for us, to Cincinnati. Six sleighs were engaged. One was covered with awnings for us, the other loaded with the goods, and on Jan 4th we started at a late hour with our train. The weather was cold and gloomy, and our first night's lodgings, although only a few miles from the city, were a sad experience, never to be forgotten. We entered a large room which appeared to serve as sleeping, dining room, and kitchen. A fine, large stove was the great attraction.
The supper was soon ready, and the tea was grateful, but poor accommodations for the night. The choice was between a large room for us all, or some small ones, leading out of it. Of course we preferred the latter, but were obliged to retire earlier than we wished, as our sleigh drivers were to take the large one. No carpets, and our furniture consisted of one chair and a poorly furnished bed. It was impossibly to sleep, on account of the cold, and when called at 6 ½ A.M. to get up, I was only too glad to obey the summons, that I might warm myself at the stove below, for the poultice on my chilblain [frostbite] was naturally frozen. The men down[?], and we found a chair set in the middle of their large room with a basin and a jug of water upon it for our use, also one towel. The pale glimmer of a tallow candle added to the wretched scene. Some might think it ludicrous, but not I, with my poor frost-bitten feet, and at 7 ½ had to start in the sleigh, and did not have breakfast until 10 ½ A.M. at Scotia, where they spread a good table. We reached Amsterdam at 2 P.M. where we warmed ourselves at a cheerful wood fire in the kitchen, and then renewed our journey, arriving at Johnstown by 7 P.M. Here we met with a clever landlady who provided us with an excellent supper and comfortable beds. A fire was made in the best bedroom which we all enjoyed, as one room led from the other. At 6 ½ A.M. one of our teamsters took a light to Mr. Gooch, and as there was no fastening on the door, marched in with it without ceremony, and a servant made a large fire of wood. This was a luxury we had not had for many days, for all enjoyed it as Mr. Gooch went down first. At 7 ½ we started again and did not stop until we reached Palatine [Bridge] where we had a very good breakfast. This was rather an unpleasant day as the weather was milder and thawed the snow on our awning which kept dropping through upon us, particularly in the afternoon when it rained for two hours. At 5 ½ we put up for the night at Herkimer, where we were comfortably provided with tea and beds, a fire in two rooms, and the third one warmed by a flue.
Jan. 7th. Awoke at 6 o'clock and heard the church bells ringing, which was customary at that hour, also at 9 P.M. Breakfasted at 7 A.M., and continued our journey at 8 ¾, arriving at Utica in the afternoon, when we took dinner previous to our entering the family of Mr. and Mrs. Williams in Broad St. who kept a few select boarders. How thankful I was to have a seat. Mr. G. had to carry me over the snow from the sleigh, for my foot was aching terribly and I was almost lame, but I managed to climb the stairs. It was worth some exertion to reach a bed or sofa, and many days passed before I could go down to meals. It was a comfortable home. Mrs. Williams was kind and attentive, the house good and well-furnished, and the table excellent. A large stove in the front hall, with the pipe passing up the stairway, kept my room comfortably warm, and sister's, a large front one, served also for a sitting room. We had also the use of the parlor. The harp and two piano-fortes were moved, the old being put upstairs for the girls to practice on, but this was not done until the following week.
On the 8th, Sunday, they rose at 8 A.M. What peace it seemed! All went to Church excepting Sophia, who had chilblains to nurse, too. Mine were very bad and lasted until the 19th, when I joined the family at the table for the first time, only having changed before into sister's room and kept my foot upon a pillow or a chair. There was a fine large fire (of wood) constantly burning, which Mr. G. made up every morning before sister arose, which she found quite a luxury after suffering so much from cold. The time passed with little variety, at least to me. Sister's family took walks occasionally when the cold was not too intense. On the 13th, we had two new boarders - a French teacher and his wife, the former very interesting, being full of anecdotes. These, with four gentlemen who only took meals with us, composed the family. Fine clear weather which continued several days.
On the 15th, Sunday, Mr. Porter called and politely invited us to take seats in his pew. I was sorry I could not go. Mr. and Mrs. G. went and were introduced to his family. Mr. P., and wife called on us in the afternoon, when they came upstairs and I enjoyed their company. For the evening, they went to the Dutch Church.
On the 16th , Mr. Porter invited us to take a sleigh ride in the afternoon, and soon after dinner Mrs. Porter and Mr. Davis, the pastor of the Episcopal Ch., called and came upstairs where I was sitting ungracefully with my feet upon a chair, for there was no chance of escape, nor did I feel inclined to run away with my muffled feet. Mrs. P. appeared an estimable character. At 2 ½ Mr. Porter started with Mr. and Mrs. G. and children for their ride, but Mr. Porter excused herself as she was a poor traveler, but begged us to join them in the evening. Mr. & Mrs. G. went to tea & spent a pleasant social evening . The family consisted of two sons & two daughters. 17th. A rapid thaw, which caused such a noise with the dripping around the house that it prevented our sleeping.
19th. Mr. G. was laid up with a cold. I joined the family at table - the thaw continued. 21st. Sister went out to buy some flannel, and was scarcely able to cross the streets for the water. 22. Mr. Porter called early to invite sister to ride to church, as Mr. G's cold was still troublesome. She took Emma & Isaac with her. In the aftern Mr. G. accompanied them and in the eveg they went to Ch again.
On Mon. 23rd, received three packets of letters from England. Mrs. Porter called 24th - snowed all day. 25 the storm continued. 26th extremely cold but beautifully bright. 27th & 28th nothing of interest. Sunday, 29th - Sister took Isaac with her to church as Mr. G's cold was bad, but they went together in the afternoon with Emma and Isaac. 30th - Mr. G. better - still very cold. 31st - Mr. Porter said the thermometer stood 23 below zero. Wednesday, Feb. 1st - Much warmer - Sister called on Mrs. Porter and invited them to spend the eveg. with her daughters. Mr. & Mrs. P. came with the oldest daughter. They begged for music and I accompanied Sister with the piano, and I sang a few songs. Anne also played some Solos on the Harp which they much admired, particularly "Drink to me only." They left us at 9 P.M. after a very pleasant eveg. February 3rd - Nothing interesting. In the eveg. practiced a little while some duets for the harp and piano, but before going to bed Mr. G. complained of some chills over him.
Feby 4th - Mr. G. ill in bed with cold. 5th Sunday - Woke by sister between 4-5 A. M. to ask me to be ready in case I was wanted, as Mr. G. was very ill with chills and pain near his heart. Water was brought up and his feet bathed and about eleven the doctor came (Mrs. Williams' doctor) and pronounced it pleurisy with influenza. He was bled twice in his arm and had leeches on his side, and afterwards a blister. He was confined to his bed until the 15th. I sat up for five nights until early morn, when I was made tea and toast, for a waiter was brought up every night with Bread, butter, three apples to toast, & sometimes preserves, with Tea caddy & Teapot, also a kettle to heat the water - and a fine fire we kept upon the hearth. I was very anxious about sister Anne, as she would not leave the room to get a sleep. She was ill able to nurse, but sometimes had to get up several times in the night to apply hot flannels &c. At such times I used to get her to take some refreshment with me. Sometimes I slept until 4 P.M. or I could not have helped at night, which was of the most consequence, as Emma could assist in the daytime.
On the 16th Mr. G. went downstairs but was very weak for several days. He soon became anxious to begin the perilous journey, and the following week made his arrangements. Our French border felt great interest, and tried hard to persuade him to give it up, but to no purpose. He and his wife were very kind and dreaded our suffering on the river - but Mr. G. was extremely anxious to reach Cincinnati before May on Sister's account [she was pregnant], and nothing would deter him. He dreaded the cold lest it might bring on a relapse of his illness, and our own and four children's comfort was to be considered. I hoped some suffering might be repaid by scenery as lovely as we had passed on our way from Albany, particularly near the Mohawk.
On Monday, Feby. 28th we left Utica at 4 P.M. in a covered sleigh with our train of four sleds of luggage. The weather was cold and miserable, but with an unusual quantity of wrappers and some blankets we got along pretty well for nine miles, when one of the sleds was overturned and detained us. The inn we put up at afforded tolerable accommodations.
29th - We were called at 4 ½ but did not get started until past six ock. when they expected to run 12 ms. before stopping at Oneida where we got our breakfast, being half past ten A.M. At Chittenango the horses had to have water, so we had time to take some refreshment. We then proceeded to Selina where we found all the inns were occupied, which obliged us to go two miles further in the cold, when we met with poor accommodations in the dark, being 7 P.M. The meals generally consisted of coffee, cornmeal, bread & salt pork of some description.
March 1st - Started at 7 A.M., and rode 12 miles before breakfast when we partook of an excellent meal of salmon and potatoes. We did not stop again until we reached Auburn at 2 P.M. The State prison is a handsome building, but we thought it would take up too much time to go through it. Our drivers kept us waiting a long time, when we found they had been through it, detaining us two hours. At length we resumed our journey, and after riding about eleven miles we heard a signal from a driver a short distance before us. It being dusk, he could with difficulty see his way while descending a steep hill which also sloped down so much on one side that the sled was in danger of being overturned down a precipice. However, with the aid of Mr. G. and our fine drivers it was saved and reached the bottom of the hill. We had not proceeded much further when we met a traveler who informed us that the road continued as bad for the next five miles. We were not far from the next inn, but to our great disappointment a large sleigh party had engaged all the rooms. Four drivers, however, concluded to put up with any accommodations they could get, but our sleigh being lighter, our driver undertook to take us further, and we reached Seneca Falls by half past 10 P.M. almost perished with cold and fatigue. How cheerful to see a blazing fire to warm our aching limbs and a real good-hearted landlord to welcome us. In a short time we were asked to supper, which was very good. We retired early.