Early Travelers in Central Pennsylvania

Compilation of this Bibliography grew out of my interest in first-hand accounts of travel through Central Pennsylvania. One of my hopes was to trace the common routes, using clues provided by a number of travelers who followed the same roads and paths. The notations at the end of each bibliographic citation stand for the libraries in which I found the account available: PSU – Pennsylvania State University; HCHS – Huntingdon County Historical Society; JC – Juniata College; HCL – Huntingdon County Library. [The complete text of some of these accounts is now available online.]                                                                                 Nancy Shedd, 1999.


[Map credit line: Plate 14 from Mathew Carey’s General Atlas, Philadelphia, 1814.]

GET MAP AT http://www.mapsofpa.com/19thcentury/1814carey.jpg



Early Travelers in Central Pennsylvania



1761    James Kenny

“Journal of James Kenny,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 37, No. 1: 1-47 (1913). PSU (Online at www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/digital/pmhb.html)

From Pottsgrove on horseback via Carlisle, Path Valley, Fort Littleton, and Bedford


1775    Philip Vickers Fithian

Journal, 1775-1776, Princeton, 1934. HCHS

Through what is now Centre, Mifflin, Huntingdon, and Fulton counties on horseback, July 31-Aug. 28, 1775 (pages 81-123)


1787    Mary Dewees

“Journal from Philadelphia to Kentucky,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 28:182-198 (1904). PSU

By wagon via York, Chambersburg, and Bedford


1788    Rev. Manasseh Cutler

Journal (pp. 391-434) in Life, Journal, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, by William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Co., 1888. PSU

From Ipswich, MA, to the Muskingum (Ohio) by horse-drawn sulky via Easton, Bethlehem, Reading, Harrisburg, Carlisle, and Shippensburg. Abandons the sulky and continues on horseback after crossing Blue Mountain


1788    Israel Shreve

“Journal from Jersey to the Monongahela,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 52, No. 3: 193-204 (1928). PSU, JC [Also available at www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/digital/pmhb.html]

By wagon and horseback via Carlisle, Shippensburg, Fort Littleton, and Bedford


1797    John Heckwelder

“Notes of Travel of William Henry, John Heckwelder, John Rothrock, and Christian Clewell to Gnadenhutten on the Muskingum,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 10:125-157 (1886). PSU, JC

On horseback from Bethlehem via Carlisle, Shippensburg, Fort Littleton, and Bedford


1798    Increase Matthews

“Diary of a Journey from Massachusetts to the Ohio Country,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 86:32-43 (1932). PSU

From Massachusetts to Ohio and back via Carlisle, Shippensburg, Bedford, and Somerset


1803    Thaddeus Mason Harris

The Journal of a Tour into the Territory Northwest of the Alleghany Mountains. Boston: Manning & Loring, 1805. [A facsimile edition has been digitized by Google Books. See partial transcription under Historic Documents.]

            By carriage from Boston to New York, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Carlisle, Shippensburg, Strasburg, Fannetsburg, Burnt Cabins, Bedford, and on to Ohio.


1804    John Cadwallader

Letter (from Lancaster) to his wife, Catharine, in Birmingham. JC Treasure Room

Describes the time required to journey to Washington and Baltimore, then back to Lancaster, and home to Birmingham


1809    Joshua Gilpin

Pleasure and Business in Western Pennsylvania: The Journal of Joshua Gilpin, Joseph E. Walker, Ed., Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1975. HCHS

By carriage via Carlisle, Shippensburg, and Bedford to Pittsburgh, and return through Greensburg, Indiana, Johnstown, and Bedford


1810    Margaret Van Horn Dwight

A Journey to Ohio in 1810, New Haven, 1914. JC

By wagon via Carlisle, Shippensburg, Fannettsburg, Bedford


1815    Timothy Flint

Recollections of the Last Ten Years, Boston, 1826. Reprinted New York, 1932. PSU

By carriage over the mountains between Shippensburg and Bedford


1835    Peregrin Prolix (Philip Nicklin)

Journey Through Pennsylvania by Canal, Rail and Stage Coach, York, 1975.


By canal through Lewistown, Huntingdon, Hollidaysburg; by stage coach to Bedford Springs, Somerset and Pittsburgh; return by canal to Philadelphia


1852    Eli Bowen

The Pictorial Sketch-Book of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1852. HCHS, HCL

By railroad through all the counties traversed by the PRR


1938    John W. Harpster, ed.

Pen Pictures of Early Western Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1938. PSU, JC, HCL

Excerpts from more than 30 early journals and diaries, with an extensive Bibliography of travel in and descriptions of Western Pennsylvania, 1748-1830