Monday, October 05, 2009

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 1850

Letter from Benj Scott to mother, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Dec. 8, 1850. After leaving Craftsbury, Vermont he travelled through many cities and towns (Burlington, Rochester, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, etc.) via railroad, steamboat, stage, team and canal boat, before finally arriving in Harrisburg where he's been for a week - "awaiting an answer from one Mr. Spear from Alexandria, VA. I expect to go there to work in a Public House this winter."

"This is a great country. I have seen more ignorance since I left home than I ever saw in my life. I have found thousands of People that could neither read nor write....There is one thing. Deliver me from the western Country. It is a cold good for nothing country."; "...I have been on the road about 68 days...I have formed 10,000 new acquaintances."
"Illinois & Wisconsin is a colder country than the New England states & the people are as poor as people ought to be be & live. Wheat was selling when I was there for 40 & 45 cts per bush. & drawing it from 50 to 80 miles & it cost them about all that the wheat was worth for to freight it to market & I never saw such poor oxen as they have."
"Pittsburg, Pa. is a Business Place. It is the smokiest place I ever saw. I was there three days & there was not any of the time that I could see even 40 rods distance, there is so many Foundrys of Iron & glass works & steam boats in the Ohio River & so much coal burnt, that it is a thick cloud about all of the them."
"Harrisburg is a nice place. There is about 10,000 inhabitants...& I find some very nice people...I have occasion to find them if there is any for I stop to the best of the Houses."

This great old letter is up for sale on Ebay Item number:230382531442

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