Original Document
Original Document
Extracts from George Washington's Diary during his 1794 trip through Pennsylvania at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion

[Tuesday, September 30, 1794] Having determined from the Report of the Commissioners, who were appointed to meet the Insurgents in the Western Counties in the State of Pennsylvania, and from other circumstances -to repair to the places appointed for the Rendezvous of the Militia of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia; I left the City of Philadelphia about half past ten oclock this forenoon accompanied by Colo. Hamilton [Secretary of Treasury] and my private Secretary [Bartholomew Dandridge]….

[October 3] At Harrisburgh we found the first Regiment of New Jersey (about 560 strong) commd. By Colo. Turner drawn out to receive me; passed along the line, to my Quarters and after dinner walked through and round the Town which is considerable for its age (of about 8 or 9 years). The Susquehanna at this place abounds in the Rockfish of 12 or 15 inches in length and a fish which they call Salmon.

[October] 4th. Forded the Susquehanna; nearly a mile wide, including the Island at the lower end of whc. The road crosses it. On the Cumberland side I found a detachment of the Philadelphia light horse was ready to receive, and escort me to Carlisle 17 miles; where I arrived about 11 Oclock. Two miles short of it, I met the Governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey with all the Cavalry that had rendezvoused at that place drawn up passed them and the Infantry of Pennsylvania before I alighted at my quarters.

Sunday, [October] 5th. Went to the Presbiterian meeting and heard Doctr. Davidson Preach a political Sermon, recommendations of order and good government; and the excellence of that of the United States.

[Washington then continued as far west as Williamsport and then on Monday, October 13, 1794 reflected in his diary on the general state of roads in early national Pennsylvania]

…Having now passed thro' the States of Pennsylvania and Maryland, Williamsport being on the Banks of the Potomac, at the mouth of Conagocheague, I shall summarily notice the kind of Land, and state of improvements, along the Road I have come.

From the City of Philadelphia, or rather from Norris Town to Reading the road passes over a reddish, and slaty, or shelly kind of land, through a very open and hilly Country, tolerably well cultivated by the farmers. The farm houses are good, and their Barns above mediocrity. The former chiefly of Stone. The whole Road indeed from Philadelphia to Reading goes over Hilly and broken grounds -but very pleasant notwithstanding.

From Reading to Lebanon, along what is called the valley, the Country is extremely fine -The lands rich- The agriculture good as the buildings also are, especially their Barns, which are large and fine, and for the most part of Stone -This settlement is chiefly of Dutch, and upon the Tulpahocken.

From Lebanon to Harrisburgh, along the same vale, the Lands are also good; but not in so high a state of cultivation as between Reading and Lebanon.

From Harrisburgh to Carlisle the lands are exceedingly fine, but not under such cultivation and improvement as one might have expected.

From Carlisle along the left Road, which I pursued, to be out of the March of the Army, and to avoid the inconvenience of passing the Waggons belonging to it; the Lands are but indifferent until we came within a few miles of Shippensburgh. The first part being of a thin and dry soil, succeeded by piney flats (not far from the South Mountain) for a few miles before we arrived at Shippensbg the Lands were good, but uncultivated. The improvement along this road were mean; -the farms scattered- the houses but indifferent; and the husbandry apparently bad. Along the Road which the Troop marched, both the land and the Improvements I was told are much better. The Roads come together again at the East end of the Town.

From Shippensburgh to Chambersburgh the Road passes over pretty good land; better (but not well) cultivated than betwn. Carlisle and Shippensburgh.

From Chambersburgh to Williamsport the Lands are fine, and the Houses and improvements amended, considerably…

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