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Papers, 1814-1845.

Author: Watson family.
Edition/Format:   Archival material : Microfilm : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The diaries series consists of 12 travel diaries kept by John Fanning Watson (1804-1858), a diary of a trip to New York kept by Selena Watson (1837), a diary of a tour of Western New York kept by Esther (Mrs. James) Bogert (1839), two commonplace books compiled by John Fanning Watson (1809- ), and diaries and reminiscences recorded by Lucy Fanning Watson (1834). John Fanning Watson's early travels in 1804 took him
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Genre/Form: Letters
Diaries
Commonplace books
Photoprints
Memoirs
Reminiscences
Silhouettes
Deeds
Anecdotes
Correspondence
Pictorial works
Named Person: John Fanning Watson; Charles Backus; Azel Backus; Frederick F Backus; Frederick William Backus; James Barron; Thomas Crowell; James Eaken; Edmund Fanning; Anthony Benezet; Benjamin Chew; Backus family; Crowell family; Watson family; Fanning family; Cromwell family; Barron family; Willing family; Lavinia Fanning Watson Whitman; Selena Watson Willing; John Howell Watson; Barron Crowell Watson; Phebe Crowell Watson; Lucy Fanning Watson; Esther (Mrs James) Bogert; Wilkins Updike; William F Spieler
Document Type: Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Watson family.
OCLC Number: 122548266
Reproduction Notes: Microfilm and photcopies. San Marino, CA : Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, 1973. 1 microfilm reel : negative ; 35 mm.
Description: 3 boxes + 1 microfilm reel.

Abstract:

The diaries series consists of 12 travel diaries kept by John Fanning Watson (1804-1858), a diary of a trip to New York kept by Selena Watson (1837), a diary of a tour of Western New York kept by Esther (Mrs. James) Bogert (1839), two commonplace books compiled by John Fanning Watson (1809- ), and diaries and reminiscences recorded by Lucy Fanning Watson (1834). John Fanning Watson's early travels in 1804 took him to New Orleans by way of Pittsburgh and then to Cuba. Traveling south on the Ohio River then the Mississippi, he commented on towns and dwellings that he observed along the route. In New Orleans, he found that the residents were more engaged in business than in Philadelphia. He also witnessed segregation between people of different ancestry. On November 11, 1805 he left New Orleans and arrived in Cuba on the 26th. Although he found Havana dirty and crowded, he did enjoy the Cuban countryside. Watson's diaries of summer vactions spent at the New Jersey shore span nearly 35 years. His observations document changes in the landscape and the character of people he encountered. Watson also took in the sights of Niagara Falls and Mauch Chunk, Pa. He sketched scenes he saw at both of these places. Watson made frequent trips to New York City and was there in December 1835 to review the remains of a devastating fire. He blamed the destruction on inferior construction methods and cheap building materials. In 1855, he went back to New York after five years and commented on change.

Watson also made quick trips to places in the vicinity of his home in Philadelphia. He traveled the Delaware Canal, went to Harrisburg, Pa., journeyed through Chester County, Pa., where he owned property, and several New Jeresy towns where he had friends and in which he had spent time as a youngster. In 1826, he visited King Joseph and Prince Charles of Spain at their home in Point Breeze, N.J. In 1856, he paid a visit to his birthplace of Batsto, N.J. Throughout the diaries, Watson was aware of wanting to preserve a record not only of his life but his surroundings as well.

Watson's commonplace books are primarily devoted to religious writings and thoughts. The first entries, however, cover his impressions of the Napoleonic wars and political events in the United States. Watson spent considerable time informing himself on numerous subjects in theology and set them out in over 500 pages of writing. Topics covered include: preaching, extravagance in religion, faith, Christian courage, Methodism, John Wesley, worship, fanaticism, marriage, divorce, capital punishment, inconsistencies in Calvinism, revivals, religious education, suicide, baptism, original sin, woman's duty, etc. Watson also discussed the nature of the bookselling trade.

Selena Watson's account was written when she was a young girl and covers the first journey of her life, taken from Germantown, Pa. to New York City. Much of her narrative reports on walks that she took on Broadway and other streets in New York, visits that she made with relatives and family friends, and church attendance. She drew pencil sketches of views of New York City and Philadelphia.

Esther Bogert's short narrative began on June 6 and ended on July 13, 1839. She wrote about her family's round trip to Niagara Falls from their home at 46 Bleeker Street, New York City. Recording an itinerary that took them to Utica, Syracuse, Auburn, Geneva, Rochester, and finally to Niagara, Bogert wrote of little except their modes of transportation (she disliked the railroad and fast carriages), friends met on the way, and hotel accommodations.

The first volume of Lucy Watson's diaries is an account of her childhood experiences in New Hampshire. In the mid-1820s, she told her son, John, her story and asked him to write it down. In 1860, he copied the original manuscript into this volume. In 1762, Lucy left Stonington, Ct. with her family to settle at Walpole, N.H. The volume opens with an account of the move, on which the family traveled by sloop up the Connecticut River. At Enfield, they bought a barge to continue the trip and further north they switched to a wagon and oxen. When they arrived at Walpole, the Fannings bought 150 acres of land and constructed a house. They raised corn and wheat, fished, hunted, tapped maple trees for sugar, picked berries, and made their own clothes. Lucy recounted the details of village life and described buildings in town. After fours years, the Fannings moved to Batsto, N.J. to take advantage of the warmer climate. The second volume, entitled "Experiences & Incidences in the Life of Mrs. Lucy Watson" covers her later years. It opens with a narrative of her life penned by John Fanning Watson. Her diary entries, recorded sporadically between 1805 and 1828, are followed by copies of some of her letters. The orientation of all of Lucy's writings is religious. She dwellt on her spiritual development and experiences as a Methodist mystic in these pages. She also revealed her morbid preoccupation with death and regularly noted dreams about coversations with her dead relatives.

Family history and genealogy includes an account of the Fanning family compiled by Lucy Fanning Watson concentrating on familial relationships, but without the benefit of related dates; a family tree tracing the origins of the Watson, Fanning, Crowell, Barron, and Willing families in the 17th and 18th centuries with a description of the coat of arms, crest, and motto for each family; a volume of letters, biograpical sketches, essays on Oliver Cromwell, a 1685 order for Thomas Watson to survey and lay out a town in Cohanzey (now Greenwich), N.J., and other material collected by John Fanning Watson; and a newspaper clipping of a biography of Charles Backus.

Among the correspondence there are two letter books containing a series of exchanges between John Fanning Watson and Lucy Watson during John's travels between 1800 and 1806, and between John Fanning Watson and Phebe Crowell during their courtship in 1812. Twelve of Lucy's responses are with the photcopied letters. Five letters from Lavinia Watson to her parents record her activities while on a trip to New York in 1839. Letters to Watson from Anthony Benezet (5), Benjamin Chew (4), Frederick F. Backus (22), Frederick W. Backus (8), James Barron (8), Thomas Crowell (4), James Eakin (14), and Edmund Fanning (9) document business, personal, religiou, and family matters. In a letter to Wilkins Updike, Watson provided historical anecdotes and part of his family's history. Eight miscellaneous letters also relate to family history. Two letters and an agreement between John H. Watson and J.B. Lippincott & Co. to reprint the Annals of Philadelphia.

There are three photographs of John Fanning Watson taken when he was about 80, one of which was taken by William F. Spieler. Another is a "crayon" photograph that has a description of the process used to make it on the back. A fourth photograph shows a young boy, perhaps one of Watson's sons.

Miscellaneous material includes: fragments of documents with scraps and seals; Watson's seal as a notary public in Germantown, Pa.; a card addressed to Harriet Willing, Watson's granddaughter; a book of hymns with accompanying music written by Watson when he was a boy; a volume of family remedies and cures devoted to such illnesses as dropsy, toothaches, stammering, cancer, dog bites, dysentary, dyspepsia, scalds and burns, weak stomachs, wards and corns, gout pains, bleeding of the lungs, lock jaw, cholera, asthma, consumption, rheumatism, and frost bite along with hints for destroying cockroaches, driving away rates, and preserving food; a presentation copy of the Memoir of John Fanning Watson by Benjamin Dorr; a copy of Annals of Philadelphia presented to Phebe Watson by John; two lithographs, one of Arch Street Bridge at Front Street and one of the Slate Roof House, from the Annals; a deed granting Phebe Watson the right to collect ground rent for property that was owned by her father; and a certificate from the "National Museum" in Independence Hall for the "William Penn" chair he gave them.

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