Original Document
Original Document
Uria Brown's trip on the Cumberland or National Road, 1816

The following excerpt comes from the diary of Uria Brown, a traveler on the National or Cumberland Road. Brown, originally from Chester County, had settled in Baltimore and noted his experiences traveling through southwestern Pennsylvania in 1816.

[June 22, 1816] This morning set out from Cumberland and rod...on the Cumberland Turnpike road to Carters at the foot of the Aleghany Mountain fed & refreshed (37 1/2 cents) thence 16 miles on this Great Western Turnpike road on the Alleghany mountain to Tomlinson's fed & dined (68 3/4 cents) thence 13 miles to the Widow Janas and fed (12 1/2 cents). This is Somerset County in State of Pennsylvania, thence in Somerset County 6 miles to Phillip Smyth's Sine of General Jackson & Lodged. This great Turnpike road is far superior to any of the Turnpike roads in Baltimore County for Masterly Workmanship, the Bridges & Culverts actually do Credit to the Executors of the same, the Bridge over the little Crossings of Little Youghegany River is possitively [sic] a Superb Bridge. The goodness of God must have been in Congress unknownst to them: then the[y] fell about to & Erected a Lane for the making of this great Turnpike road which is the Salvation of those Mountain or Western Countrys & more benefit to the human family than Congress have any knowledge or any other Tribunal on the face of the Earth...

[June 23, 1816] My Land Lord Phillip Smyth is a proud Empty Ignorant Rich Dutchman, Lives in a big wooden House with a Stone Chimney in each end, the house kept prodigeously Dirty; the Living for man & horse is as good & looks as well as any of their Taverns, Inns or Hotels, he is situated Just on the East Side of the big Crossings of Youghagany River in Somerset County... Moves off & fords the River a Beautiful stream indeed, into Fayette County on General Braddock's old road 14 Miles to Freemans one hundred yards from this General Braddock was Interred. Fed & drank some Elegant Cyder (37 1/2 cents) thence 4 miles to John Slack's very warm Stops to let Cate [the horse] blow & Cool gives her a Gallono of Oats (12 1/2 cents)....

I am now in Union Town Formerly Beeson Town on the West Side of the Aleghany Mountain, the Back-Bone of America & Bug Bear of the World...This great western Road is Carried and Laid out a great part of the way on the same Identical ground & totally carried through on the General direction of Braddocks road....people are too abominably Lazy to repair roads here, Loose Stones & water running on the roads are the principal Evils; the Stones is very easy removed & that water would be easily turned off, but it get liberty to run until it makes Mires in the middle of the road & a Waggon will Swamp or Mire going down a Steep hill as well as going up...

Credit: "Uria Brown's Journal," Maryland Historical Magazine vol. X (March 1915): 279.
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