Appendix B


Proceedings of a Symposium

Pride of Columbia:  The Life and Legacy of Brig. Gen. Thomas Welsh

“Memorandum of the Travels of Thomas Welsh,” by Thomas Welsh, undated[1] 

 

 

Memorandum of the travels of Thomas Welsh

 

May 15th Wedns   left Washington City at 6 oclock  arrived in Baltimore at 8 by the railroad   at 10 engaged passage to Pittsburg by Bingham’s line fare and baggage $6.00    seen Slicer     also seen Parkerson and staid with him at Mrs. Chambers boarding house opposite the New Market Engine house    fare   37 ½ cents.

May 16th Thursd   left Baltimore at 9 oclock   arrived in Columbia at 2 oclock by railroad     visited my friends until half past six, then started for Pittsburg by the boat Princton    Cap Hawn run all night      had a pleasant sleep

May 17th Frid   reached Harrisburg at 5 oclock in the morning     left at 6 after having purchased a Ham at 52 cents   2 plates and bowl 18 ½   2 dozen eggs 7   bread 12 ½     cooked and eat our breakfast on the boat     a pleasant ride this day

May 18th Satur   passed Lewistown in the morning     a pleasant ride to day     run untill 12 oclock     then tied up at Mill Creek     5 miles below huntingdon

May 19th Sunday    passed the day at Mill [Creek]   swimming and fishing all day

May 20th Mon    left M at 12 oclock night     nothing of importance to day     arrived in Hollidayburg at 10 oclock night

May 21st Tuesday    detained in H all day     seen Major Johnson and Napoleon Wolf

May 22nd Wednes    left H at 9 oclock in the express     car near run off the track on the summit level     seen J Lewis and N Wolf     arrived in Johnstown at three oclock     distance 36 miles     left Johnstown at 6 oclock  in boat Thomas Bingham     Cap J Wyman   run untill one o’clock then tied up     built a fire in the woods and watched it  till day

May 23th Thursday    started at daylight     run all day     passed through a tunnel 940 feet long 43 miles from Johnstown     run 10 miles further and tied up for the night     passed the night by a fire in the woods

May 24th Friday    started at daylight     crossed an aquaduct  about 300 yds long  29 miles from Pittsburg  where the Alleghany and Kiskiminetas rivers unite

May 25th Sat    arrived in Pittsburg at 6 oclock in the morning     walked round the City and tried for work   without success     seen the Militia parade and engaged passage to Cincinnatti     passage and boarding (cabin)  $4.00 ……….

May 26th Sunday    visited Alleghany city in the afternoon ………

      27th Monday    started from Pittsburg at 2 oclock in the afternoon     arrived in Wheeling at 11 oclock at night     pleasant trip so far

May 28th Tuesday.   left Wheeling half past 9 oclock in morning

May 29th  …….  pleasant riding on the river Ohio

May 30th Thursday   arrived in Cincinnatti early in the morning     tried for work but without success ------     and took boarding at Mr. Cake’s on 4th street between Elm and Plum streets at 2 dollars per week

June 1st Friday    passed the day looking for work     Herbert started to day

[June] 2nd  Sat.    passed the day with the brick layer looking for a job – both got work to commence on Monday

June 3d Sunday    loaf’d about the wharf     heard the Jew preach.    in the evening I went to the Episcopal church and went to sleep and didn’t hear the preacher

June 4th   commenced Work for Greenawalt and Bonsall at Chambers Mill

June 9th saturday    got up and took a walk for my health

June 18th    quit work with a swelled ancle [sic] and was not able to walk for a week and was taken sick at the same time

June 20th    Wm Herbert called to see me on his way home.   I was in bed   was sick and had a swelled ancle [sic]

June 24th  Monday     left Mr. Cake’s and went to board with Mr. Sonders on the N. West corner of Broadway and 6th streets

July 12th Sunday 1845    left Cincinnati for Fort Smith

July 20th – arrived at Little Rock.  sick with the fever

August 14th   arrived at Fort Smith   -----

August 17th   commenced work for U. S. at making sash

 

 

[reverse side]

 

Miss Catherine

                                                      Miss       Miss       Miss

 

Please pass me on at a rapid rate

A La Dudle Dorkle

To Columbia pennsylvania

 

Th

                                    Thom

                        Thomas  


[1] This document is in a private collection belonging to the descendants of Thomas Welsh.  Transcription provided by the editor.

 

Return to Associated Symposium Materials

 

Return to Original Source Materials

 

 

Editor’s Note: 

The detail through his arrival in Cincinnati suggests it was kept up faithfully each day.  But then he skips May 31st and after he begins work on June 4th, his notations become sketchy.  Nevertheless, the narrative holds together through June 24, and the incredible detail suggests it was kept on a current basis.  June 18th through 24th were probably added at one time (see note on June 18 about not walking for a week).

 

Through May 30, the dates are consistent with the 1844 calendar.  From June 1 to June 20, the dates conform to 1849, but this is probably just a careless error (skipping May 31), because June 24 returns to conformity with 1844. 

 

July 12 conforms to the 1846 calendar, but since he was in the Gulf of Mexico on his way to war on July 12, 1846, his designation 1845 must be correct.  Another document indicates he was in Cincinnati in the fall of 1844, so he would have to have returned to Cincinnati shortly after arriving in Fort Smith if this were to be interpreted as 1844.

 

His difficulty keeping the calendar straight is an intriguing puzzle, and suggests that this document may have been written from notes at a later date, possibly after his return from Mexico with new found status as a War Hero.  However, if that were the case, then we must ask where and why had he kept his notes, and why does he not include his return from Fort Smith to Cincinnati?

 

The reverse side doodles perhaps reinforce the suggestion of having been written after his return from Mexico, as he seems not to have had much interest in remaining connected with Columbia before then.  Whoever Miss Catherine may be, or whatever clue La Dudle Dorkle may offer, perhaps these relate in some way to his wistful midnight daydream from Vera Cruz (see Appendix C). 

 

Whatever the case, this appears to be an interesting chronicle of a 20 and 21 year old  itinerant laborer.  Why was he in Washington?  How did he have sufficient money in his pocket to make this trip?  Why did he not visit any of his family on his way through Columbia?  Why and for whom did he keep this memorandum?  What more can we learn about his year in Cincinnati, what prompted him to go to Fort Smith, and how might his experience at Fort Smith have influenced him to enlist in the Mexican War?