Transcribed by Nancy Shedd from a manuscript in the Archives Collection of the Huntingdon County Historical Society
This account was kept in the back of a small ledger by Conrad Bucher, great-great-grandfather of the donor, Joanne Phillips Dolnikowski. Bucher makes no reference to the reason for his journey, but the ledger also contains a list of items that seem to have been taken for the purpose of exchanging them, probably for beaver furs, as the Buchers — Conrad and his brother Jacob — were hatters; beaver fur was an important material used in the hatters’ trade.
The route traveled and the time required to go specific distances are of special interest in this account. The journey northward begins on the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg a few days before May 17, the first date mentioned, and ends with their viewing Niagara Falls on June 18. The journey homeward begins June 21 and ends July 14.
Although apparently living in Harrisburg at the time of this journey, Conrad Bucher later was a long-time resident of Alexandria in Huntingdon County. An extensive collection of letters between Conrad and Jacob, who remained in Harrisburg, has been preserved by his descendants. Selections from their correspondence will be added to the website in the future.
A General View of the Roads and Inland Navigation of Pennsylvania and Part of the Adjacent States by John Adlum and John Wallis, 1791.
Dansville was the first town we seen after we left Sunberry, next we seen Catawissa, next Mifflinsburgh [Mifflinville], next we seen Porwick [Berwick], next we come to Wilksberry [Wilkes-Barre] whare we seen Mr Cassel, next we come to Duncanneck[Tunkhannock] Creek, next to Wylousing [Wyalusing], next to Shesheken [Sheshequin], next to Tyoge [Tioga] Point, next to Tyoge town, next we come to Newtown Point, May the 17th I started to Cathareenstown, next we come to Newberry at the head of Seneca Lake on the 29th of May we started from Cathareenstown and came to peatch orchad, next to apple orchard, next to long point, next to E Bluff point Seneca Lake is 40 mile long and 4 ½ wide it lays north and south. Next we came to Jeneva [Geneva], next we came to Seneca river, next to the falls, next to the head of Ceuga [Cayuga] Lake, next to bluff poiint, next to Thousand Island on the 1st of June we crossed the cross lake, next we crossed Jacks rift, next we went to the annandaga [Onondaga] Lake whare we seen the federal salt works, next we came to three river point, next to three river riffel, next we come to oswago [Oswego] riffel, next oswago garison, then came into Lake Ontario come to little sodas next to blind sodas whare we incampt that night on the fourth [June] we set out and came to big sodas, next to little Sammon Creek whare we stayed all that night and next day and had a very hard wind and rain on the sixth we started and came to appleboom whare we got breckfest next we came to the Jaronda Gut [Irondequoit] whare we ware obliged to take out all our loading and draw our boat on shores on the 7th we came to the Genesee River, on the 8th we started out of the Genesee River in the morning and met a buck and doe in the Lake and we followed them and ketcht the buck and then the wind riss so that we could go no farther then 2 miles that day. On the 9th we set out and came by Bradacks [Braddock] bay next by the Devil nose, next by Sandy Creek whare we got our breckfast, next we came by Oak orchard, next to frogs hall whare we stayed all night and was almost eat up by the musketoes. On the 10th we set out and came 2 mile and the wind rise so that we had to lay by on the 11th we set out and came by point no point next to eighteen mile the wind riss so that we had to draw out our harbour whare we stayed all night on the 12th we set out and came by the six mile harbour whare we got breckfast then started on till we came to Niagara fort. It lays on the river St. Lawrence on the east side the river is three quarter of a mile wide and is about eighteen or twenty fathoms deep, then we crossed over on the British side whare thare is a very nice town called Newark on the 18th we set out to go and see the Niagara Falls we came by Queenstown next to the falls whare thare is always a rainbow when the sun shines and thare is always a fog Raises off the falls 3 or 4 hundred feet high just like smoke.
June the 21st Mr Lechner and I set out from Niagara homewards the wind riss and blew NE so that we could go no furhter then six mile then had to lay by for that day. Next day we started of early in the morning and came about 30 mile and then the wind riss out of the east so that we had to lay by that day. On the 23rd we set out and had a very fair wind so that we went 64 mile that day came to the Genesee River whare we stayed all night. We met Mr Porkins thare and he came along with us on the 24th we came six mile of this side of big sodas bay whare we stayed all night on the 25th we started early in the morning and had a very fair wiind so that we came to Oswago before twelve oclock, on the 26th we set out to go up the oswago riffel and the eight mile horse race, came to oswago falls whare we stayed all night and ware very tiert. On the 27th we got our boat carryed over the fall on a waggon and then we started of and came to three river point, next to the mouth of the Anandaga Lake whare we stayed all night on the 28th we started and came by Jacks rift as far as the cross lake whare we incampt on an Indian incamping. On the 29th we started very early and crossed the cross lake came by the thousand Ilands whare w met five bark canoe with indians going to three river a fishing. Next we crossed the Ciuga [Cayuga] lake, came as far as the seneca falls whare we stayed all night on the 30th we got our boat and loading hawled over the falls thare was one boat attempted to push up the falls and was broke all to pieces. Then we started on as far as Scoys rift we got up scoys rift then stayed all night on the 1st of July we started and came to the outlet of the lake whare we went on and came by Appletown whare we stayed all night on account of hard wind on the 2nd we set out early and came by daylytown, next we came to scenchs point and then the wind riss so that we could go no farther before sun down then the wind ceased and we started on came by peatch orchard next we came to the head of seneca lake went up Cathreens Creek to Cathareenstown it was 2 oclock in the morning when we land thare on the 4th I went from Cathareenstown to newtown and got our load hawled over, we bought a Canoe and started of on the 6th of July in the evening and came about 9 mile then stayed all night next morning we started early and came to shemong[Chemung]. Came to Lowmans and Cassels then went on as far as sheshekin [Sheshequin] whare we stayed all night on the 8th we started of and came by standing stone next to frenchtown [French Azilum] next to black walnut bottom whare we stayed all night on the 9th we started of and came within six mile of wilksberry whare we stayed all night next morning we came as far as Wilksberry whare we got our breakfest then went on as far as Nanticoke falls whare we stayed all night.
On the 11th we crossed the falls and came by bushey rock next we came to neskapeck [Nescopeck] falls whare we ware obliged to lead over our canoe then started on and came within too mile of Catawise whare we stayed all night on the we came to catawissy then went on as far as northumberland town whare we stayed all night on the 12th we started and came to Fishers next to the mouth of the Juniata next to flamms whare we stayed all night on the 13th we started and came through forsters falls next through hunters fall then came by Coxestown next to Harrisburg. 1797
AN INTERESTING COMPARISON
The account of Robert Allison’s journey on foot from Huntingdon to Niagara in the War of 1812 provides an interesting comparison with Conrad Bucher’s journey by boat from Harrisburg to Niagara fifteen years earlier. Comparing the two men’s journeys is made easier by the fact that the same map has been used to trace their different routes.