Elias Pym Forham


Called at Manchester, a village of 25 houses in the State of Ohio.  Here, as in all the Ohio towns, the people are rude and half-civilized, yet very sharp and inquisitive. 

We reached at length the pleasant thriving town of Maysville, Adam’s County[?], Kentucky.  Here the tall, pale, well-dressed men, and agreeable looking women, reminded me of Virginia, of which Kentucky is an offslip.  There are a few slaves in this place; comfortable, sleek looking fellows.  We entered the port in the afternoon, amid repeated feux de joie from some small pieces of cannon.  On enquiring the cause, we learnt that a vessel from Baltimore had just arrived with General N. from New Orleans, and several from Pittsburg, and on this account they were firing.  I smiled at the cause, yet I could not but admire the effect of this cannonade.  The echoes rolled along the high banks like claps of thunder.

The dislike of slavery is becoming less violent.  There are more men of refined manners and cultivated minds in the slave states than in those that are more consistently democratic.  This I learn more from information than observation; yet both more and more confirm me in this opinion.  Behind this town is a fine, rocky eminence, up to which we scrambled through a watercourse.  On the top, we were rewarded for our trouble by a bird’s eye view of the Town, and the river of Limestone Creek, as rich and beautiful as can be imagined.  The top of the hill is a rich, black, earth, producing abundant crops of Indian corn and wheat; the latter is changing colour. . . 

In two days I shall see me friends at Cincinnati, from whom I have been separated seven weeks today; and I have traveled in that time 12oo miles. 


These are brief excerpts from Elias Pym Forham’s Personal Narrative of Travels in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky: and of a Residence in the Illinois Territory: 1817-1818. You can find the entire work on line at the Library of Congress’ American Memory Website, here.  It’s in the Travel Narratives Collection.