Martha Anne (Kuhn) Clarke kept a diary in 1836, while a student at the Temple School in Boston. The series of excerpts began here and continued here and here. In this installment she writes about the conclusion of a journey around New England.
Monday August 15th, 1836
I played with the baby till breakfast was ready. In the forenoon I played with one of my cousins. In the afternoon we went up to Bears Head (a mountain) from which we saw five lakes, some at a distance. I did not know the names of many. The crooked lake we saw very distinctly also the glass lake. When we got home we played.
Tuesday August 16th, 1836
I wrote my journal and played with the baby. I took a walk with father and mother just before dinner. After dinner father, mother, my cousins and myself took a ride round Land Lake. It is a beautiful lake. When we got home we played.
Wednesday August 17th, 1836
I wrote my journal and played till breakfast. At about 10 oclock we started on our journey. We had a pleasant ride to the North River which we crossed in a horse boat. We passed through Troy and Gibbins Mills to Albany where we dined. After dinner we took a walk to see the city. The City Hall is a beautiful building made of marble. We saw a great many pigs in the streets. We had a pleasant ride along the Grand Canal to Scenectedy where we spent the night.
Thursday August 18th, 1836
We started between eight and nine and rode through several towns and villages. Near the railroad we saw some mud cabins. We dined at Amsterdam. In the afternoon we had a very pleasant ride to Auriesville where we stopped at some of our friends. I played and we went down to the creek which we forded.
Friday August 19th, 1836
We spent the day in Auriesville. We played about and had a pleasant time. In the afternoon we took a ride and went to see an indian who lived in a small woods. We saw his wigwam. It was a smoky dirty place. It was made of poles and bark. He was lame and looked very miserable.
Saturday August 20th, 1836
We left and went through Johns-town. This is an old place. We called to see some friends. We dined in Fondasbush and had a pleasant time playing near a pond. The road was quite rough to Galway where we spent the night and Sunday. There was a beautiful garden at the tavern. The tavern keeper had a very large farm of 8100 acres. Sunday we went to meeting.
Monday August 22nd, 1836
We saw nothing curious on our ride from Galway to Saratoga though it was very pleasant. We drank some of the spring water which I did not think very good.
Tuesday August 23rd, 1836
We passed through Schuyler after having crossed the North River in the horse boat.
Wednesday August 24th, 1836
We left Salem between 7 & 8 oclock. This is quite a pleasant place surrounded by mountains which in the morning are covered with a fog. About noon we ascended a very long road. We stopped at a tavern near the top of the mountain to dine. We had a pleasant ride to Londonbury where we spent the night.
Thursday August 25th, 1836
We had breakfast about 7 oclock after which we set out. We had a pleasant ride to Bellows Falls where we dined. Father took a walk with us. We walked out into the middle of the Connecticut River on the rocks. At about two oclock we left here and rode to Keene where we spent the night. We left Keene the next morning and proceeded on our way to Boston where we arrived in a few days during which time I did not keep any journal.
Those are some of the fascinating excerpts from nine year old Martha Anne Kuhn’s 1836 diary, which can be found in the Society’s R. Stanton Avery Special Collections. While reading, I couldn’t help but to connect and compare her scholastic and geographic journey through those few summer months in 1836 with Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth’s journey through Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
About Andrew Krea
Andrew Krea holds a B.A. in English Literature from Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts, and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. He has previously interned at the Massachusetts Historical Society. His areas of interest and expertise include New England research, specifically genealogies dating back to the inception of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and researching and writing historical narratives of family genealogies.View all posts by Andrew Krea →