1 June through 15 June 1793

Saturday [1 June] a fine morning packing up to leave Charleston engaged to drink Tea out but was disappointed by the Hacks not coming as engaged.

Sunday [2 June] a fine Day PM went to St. Phillips Church [1] with Miss Tebout [2]; their was a number of Orphan Children dresst in Uniform which chanted & sang very pretty [3] – drank Tea with Mrs Crafts. –

Monday June 3d a warm morning went on board the Swift Packet to Sail for Baltimore 18 Cabbin Passengers 8 Comedians [4] their was a Curious variety. –

Tuesday [4 June] the weather mild we had gentle breezes but fair could take all our meals upon deck some began to be Sick their was a Sick Gentleman on board I spent my evenings in the Cabin with him very agreeably. –

Wednesday [5 June] a fair and strong Wind we got into the Gulph Squaley and some rain were obliged to keep in the Cabbin most of the Day a dismal time half of the Company very Sick but we made a great run which consoled me, but the Scene was truly Comic.

Wednesday [6 June] made Vergina [5] we were to put ^into^ Norfolk [6] to Land Mr West and family the weather more moderate could sit upon Deck going up Chesapeek Bay an agreeable view of the Country anchored for the Night in Hampton road. [7]

Friday [7 June] went up ^to^ Norfolk we all landed Whilst Mrs West took his things out; Portsmouth lay on the opposit shore had a fine dinner at the Hotel, the Town appeared not reagular [sic] or agreeable [8] but it was too warm to walk out at 4 o’clock the Passengers for Baltimore re-embarked and we got under Sail left eight Passengers took two. –

Saturday & Sunday [8-9 June] fine weather spent in going up Chesapeek Bay which in some parts is so wide as to but just see Land most beautiful Sailing and we had so much room after leaving ^Norfolk^ that we enjoyed ourselves very much some very agreeable Passengers.

Monday June 10th Arrived at the Wharf in Baltimore [9] at 3 o’clock after Sailing two Hundred miles in the Bay went on shore to a Public Hous on the Point [10] dined and spent the Night there Mr Smith went up to Town to engage Lodgings returned in the Eve.

Tuesday [11 June] Morning before breakfast took a Hack and went to our lodgings at Miss Youngs in Colbert Street [11] a number of lodgers after Tea took a short walk. –

Wednesday [12 June] the weather good but very warm could not walk out in the morning, PM Mr Robertson [12] drank Tea with us, an agreeable Young Gentleman that came passenger with us from Charlestown went to see the Assembly Room [13] which was very Handsome and the Plan extensive three Elegant Glass Branches, Mr Holingsworth [14] sent me some Strawberryes in a handsome Glass bason on a silver waiter [15] and another to cover it all picked and Sugar over them. –

Thursday [13 June] lowery in the morning PM pleasant took a walk with Mr Smith Mr Robertson & Livingsworth [16] to see a handsome Brick Meeting House just built [17], then went into the Town House which is supported upon an Arch that you can either ride or walk under, went upon the Cupelo had a fine ^view^ of the Town Country & Harbour [18] the Town is large and handsome built almost entirely of Brick three Stories high the Principal Streets Straight and wide their is great appearance of business and wealth. [19]

Friday [14 June] an agreeable Day morning packing up to set out for Philadelphia PM went a shoping and walk to see the Town. –

Saturday [15 June] morning very pleasant at seven o’clock sat out upon Journey [20] found the roads bad stopt at red Lion [21] took a bowl ^of milk,^ a fine pleasant Country dined in Bush at Stiles a very good House [22], went on to Havre de Grace and lodged at Barnards [23] very good accommodation, in the morning crossed Susquehanna.


[1] Located in Church Street, St. Phillip’s Church (the oldest Episcopal church south of Virginia) was organized in the late 1670s. The building the Smiths worshiped in was originally built between 1723 and 1733, but the wooden structure was later torn down and replaced by a brick structure in 1761, complete with an impressive eighty-foot steeple. That building burned in 1835, and the current edifice was erected between 1835 and 1838. At the time of her visit, the minister was Robert Smith (d. 1801). He was banished during the Revolutionary War for refusing to support the American cause but returned to Charleston in 1783 and became the first Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. See Edward McCrady, An Historic Church, the Westminster Abbey of South Carolina: A Sketch of St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, S.C. (Charleston, 1901), 31–33.; also Lesesne, Landmarks, 24.

[2] Sarah Cornelia Tebout (also spelled Teabout, Teibout) was 25 at the time of Dorothy Smith’s visit. She was the daughter of Tunis Tebout, a local blacksmith who accumulated a substantial number of enslaved persons in the 1760s. Many of them were trained as blacksmiths, working for him and sometimes hired out to other individuals. He devoted considerable time to local politics as a member of the Mechanics Committee. In 1765 he was one of the signers at the Liberty Tree in Charleston in protest of the Stamp Act. Because of his support of the American cause prior to the Revolutionary War, he was offered the post of sheriff of Beaufort in 1776. He appears to have died during the war, for in April 1782, during Charleston’s occupation by the British, his widow was among a list of persons ordered to leave Charleston for allegiance to the American cause. By 1790 both parents were deceased, with Sarah appearing in the census as head of household overseeing her three younger sisters while operating a boardinghouse at 4 Kinloch Court. She disappears from the Charleston Directories shortly thereafter, and by the time of the Smiths’ visit, was probably living independently from previously acquired family wealth. She died on September 6, 1817, and was buried at St. Philip’s, having never married. See Schoepf, Travels, 2:221; Richard Walsh, Charleston’s Sons of Liberty: A Study of the Artisans 1763–1789 (Columbia, SC, 1959), 65; Joseph W. Barnwell, “Letters to General Greene and Others,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 17 (1916), 8; Charleston Directory for 1790, 38; Elias Pinckney, Register of St. Philip’s Church, Charleston, South Carolina 1810–1822 (Charleston, 1973), 140; and City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, September 19, 1817.

[3] In 1790, the City Council of Charleston passed an ordinance for the provision and education of poor orphan children in the city. The cornerstone for the Orphan House was laid at 160 Calhoun Street in November 1792; the orphanage officially opened in October 1794 with 115 children under its care. At the time of Smith’s visit, a number of children were already under the care of the Commissioners, who outfitted them in special attire and brought them to St. Philip’s regularly to sing during services, as Smith witnessed. The day before she arrived in Charleston, West and Bignall’s theatrical company (see note below) had performed a tragedy by George Barnwell at the Charleston Theatre “for the benefit of the Orphans,” raising over £300 for the new orphanage. A few days later West and Bignall sent a letter, along with the proceeds, to the commissioners of the orphanage, noting that such a generous gift was only possible because of the establishment of “a well regulated theatre . . . in a city where liberality, benevolence and charity are so conspicuously evinced on every deserving occasion.” The Orphan House continued in Charleston until 1951. See Gene McKnight, The Charleston Orphan House 1790–1951 (Charleston, SC, 1990), 3–5; City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, May 25, 1793; and City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, May 31, 1793.

[4] Sailing along with the Smiths on the Swift Packet out of Charleston were eight members of the Virginia Company of Comedians who had just finished their initial theatrical season in Charleston the previous Friday. These included the founders of the Company, Thomas Wade West and John Bignall (both Englishmen), and their families. West enjoyed a brief career as a Shakespearean actor on the London stage in the late 1770s. By 1790, however, West and his friend Bignall (considered the finest actor in America at that time), along with their wives, were performing in a company in Richmond, Virginia. In May 1792, West decided to build a theatre in Charleston, for which he proceeded to raise funds, publishing advertisements frequently in the Charleston papers that year. According to a report in August 1792 in the Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, “The theatre is to be built under the immediate direction of Mr. West. When it is considered, that this gentleman has had near thirty years experience in many of the first theatres in England, and that he is to be assisted by artists of the first class, Capt. Toomer and Mr. Hoban, we may expect a theatre in a style of elegance and novelty. Every attention will be paid to blend beauty with conveniency and to render it the first theatre on the continent.” When the Theatre opened in February 1793, the citizens of Charleston were not disappointed. See Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, August 14, 1792, June 4, 1793, and February 13, 1793.

[5] Virginia.

[6] Norfolk, with a population of 3000 in 1790, was Virginia’s chief port. Along with its sister city, Portsmouth (pop. 1700), situated on the opposite bank of the Elizabeth River not far from its emergence into the Atlantic Ocean, the town had made a significant recovery since 1776, when it was burned by the British.

[7] Situated at the opening of a channel (2.5 miles wide) through which the estuaries of the James, Nansemond, and Elizabeth rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads was the first port of entry in Virginia for ships coming from the south. The cities situated on the shores of this channel – Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton, and Newport News – would become Virginia’s leading seaports.

[8] The Frenchman Moreau de St. Mery (1750–1819) recorded a similar impression of Norfolk in May 1794, noting that most of the streets “are laid out helter-skelter,” with few being “paved, which makes them unpleasantly dusty or muddy, according to whether it is dry or rainy. The sewage ditches are open, and one crosses them on little narrow bridges made of short lengths of plank nailed on crosspieces.” See Moreau de St. Mery’s American Journey [1793–1798], trans. and ed., Kenneth Roberts and Anna M. Roberts (New York, 1947), 47.

[9] Baltimore Town, built above a basin near the mouth of the Patapsco River, just before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay, was founded in 1729 but not officially incorporated as a city until 1796. It experienced considerable growth in the 1790s, more than doubling its population from 13,500 in 1790 to over 31,000 by 1800. By 1830 it would surpass Philadelphia, becoming for a time the second most populous city in America after New York City.

[10] Ships coming to Baltimore docked at Fell’s Point, a community one mile east of Baltimore and settled in the 1730s by Edward Fell (1736–63). It was not incorporated until 1763, but quickly became a rival to its neighbor up the hill, becoming the primary location for merchants and artisans associated with the shipping industry. Isaac Weld, an Englishman traveling in the United States between 1795 and 1797, during his visit to Fell’s Point in late 1795, noted that “Upwards of seven hundred houses have already been built there, and regular streets laid out, with a large market place. . . In the neighbourhood, Fell’s Point and Baltimore are spoken of as distinct and separate places. Fell’s Point is chiefly the residence of seafaring people, and of the younger partners of mercantile houses, who are stationed there to attend to the shipping.” See J. Thomas Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 2 vols. (Baltimore, MD, 1971), 1:54-60; Isaac Weld, Travels Through the States of North America, 2 vols. (New York, 1968), 1:43-44.

[11] Nancy Young’s establishment was actually located at No. 2 Calvert Street near the Court House (Baltimore Directory for 1804, n. p.). The street was named after the Calverts, who became Irish peers under James I of England and were the primary founders of the colony of Maryland in the 1630s.

[12] Walter Robertson, who appears later in the diary when the Smiths reach New York, was a miniature painter from New York City. He was most likely the son of Archibald or Alexander Robertson, limners at the Columbian Academy of painting and drawing, 89 William Street. See New York Directory, and Register, for the year 1796, 151; New York Directory, and Register, for the year 1793, 128.

[13] Built in 1790–91 by Daniel Grant, proprietor of the Fountain Inn, the Assembly Room, located at the corner of Light Street and Pine Alley, was a distinctive architectural feature of Baltimore in 1793, providing the city’s wealthy citizens with a suitable place for dancing and social gatherings. The enterprise proved unprofitable, however, and in 1795 the Methodists purchased the building, transforming it into the new home of Cokesbury College. That building burned the following year, and a new Assembly Room was opened in 1800 at the corner of Fayette and Holliday Street. See Scharf, History of Baltimore, 2:679.

[14] Four possibilities exist here: Jesse Hollingsworth (1731-1810); Thomas Hollingsworth, merchant (1746-1815); Samuel Hollingsworth, merchant (1756-1830); and Zebulon Hollingsworth (1761-1824), a prominent attorney. Zebulon lived across the street from Mrs. Young’s at No. 5 Calvert Street. Samuel lived two blocks west on North Charles Street. All were prominent citizens of Baltimore in the 1790s. Shortly after Smith’s visit to Baltimore, on July 9, 1793, 53 ships bearing over 1500 white and black refugees from St. Domingo arrived in Baltimore. Both Samuel and Zebulon were part of a committee formed for the purpose of finding permanent homes for these individuals. Thomas and Zebulon served as members of the first City Council from 1797 to 1801. At the time of Smith’s visit, Zebulon was serving as the United States attorney for the District of Maryland, a position he held from 1792 until 1800. Politically, Zebulon was a Federalist, and given Josiah Smith’s allegiance to Republican politics, Smith’s guide that day was probably the merchant Samuel Hollingsworth, who may have known Smith previously through mutual business interests, and, as merchants, may have shared similar republican ideals. See Baltimore Directory for 1804; also Scharf, History of Baltimore, 1:82, 169, 187; 2:519, 658, 801.

[15] water] MS

[16] The context here suggests that Smith meant to write “Hollingsworth.” According to the 1790 census, Baltimore had no residents by the name of Livingsworth.

[17] A reference to the First Presbyterian Church. In 1791 the church completed a new building on the corner of Fayette and North Streets, adding in 1795 a portico, supported by six stone pillars, as well as towers, making the building “one of the largest and finest churches in the country” (Scharf, History of Baltimore, 2, 545).

[18] Reference here is to Baltimore’s first Court House, built c. 1768 at the north end of Calvert Street, not far from Mrs. Young’s establishment. When Calvert Street was extended further north, city officials decided to tunnel the street under the existing structure, leaving the building sitting atop large arches through which the street and pedestrians passed some thirty feet below, with a cupola on top that, as Dorothy Smith discovers, provided excellent views of Baltimore. See Sherry H. Olson, Baltimore: The Building of an American City, rev. ed. (Baltimore, 1997), 20.

[19] Baltimore had nearly 3000 houses by 1793, mostly three-story structures made of brick with sidewalks in front of them, some as wide as ten feet. Moreau de St. Mery described the streets of Baltimore in 1794 as “spacious, paved, and arranged in a straight line . . . The principal street running east and west is about eighty feet wide and is called Baltimore Street. The others vary from thirty feet to eighty feet. Holyday Street, where the new theater is, is nearer one hundred” (American Journey, 76).

[20] The overland journey by coach from Baltimore to Philadelphia traveled along what was then known as the Philadelphia Post Road, easily the most traveled thoroughfare in America at that time. According to Christopher Weeks, “everyone used the Post Road – wealthy planters from Virginia and Maryland, rich merchants from Boston and New York and Charleston, itinerant tutors, commission-seeking artists, everyone,” with most travelers finding it “expedient to spend at least one pre (or post) boarding night at the many inns that soon appeared along the road.” One account of the trip c. 1800, essentially the same route used by the Smiths, noted that the stage would leave Baltimore “at ‘Union Town,’ and running nearly due east, crossed Back River very high up near ‘Bird-in-hand,’ and thence to Smith’s Shop, Buck Town, Scales Town, crossed Bird River near the old iron-works, reached the Great Gunpowder, thence across to the Little Gunpowder near Grand Turk, and passing into Harford County, continued by Black Horse, across Winter’s run, and over Gunpowder Neck to the Bush River, through Abington, about one and a half miles from Joppa, reached Bush Town, also Harford, thence over the northeast branch of Bush River, near Hall’s Mill, by Poplar Hill, on to Havre de Grace, at the mouth of the Susquehanna, across which a ferry carried the stages at the charge of $2 for coach and four horses; thence in a northeasterly direction to Charlestown, on Northeast River, where, bending north, the road crossed the river at Northeast Town, passed on to Elkton, in Cecil County, and crossed the State line forty-five miles from Philadelphia, and then over Christiana Creek to the village of Christiana, and nearly due north crossed White Clay Creek to Newport, and thence to Wilmington, near which place the road crossed Brandywine Creek, then Shellpot Creek, Cartwill Creek, passed out of Delaware into Pennsylvania near Marcus Hook, and thence over Chester Creek and through Chester, still close to the banks of the river, crossed the Schuylkill at Gray’s Ferry, and entered Philadelphia, a total distance of ninety-eight miles.” Francis Bailey (1744–1814), an English traveler on the road c. 1796, recorded the fare from Baltimore to Philadelphia at six dollars, with customary charges at the inns along the way consisting of one-half dollar for breakfast, one dollar for dinner (excluding wine), one-half dollar for supper, and one-quarter dollar for a bed. See Christopher Weeks, “Bouncing Along the Post Road: Eighteenth Century Harford County as Seen by Travelers,” Harford Historical Bulletin 57 (1993), 75; Scharf, History of Baltimore, 1:311; G. E. Gifford, Jr., Cecil County Maryland 1608-1850 (Baltimore, MD, 1974), 125–26.

[21] The Red Lion Inn was thirteen and a half miles from Baltimore and was built c. 1760 and operated at that time by Clement Skerrett. See Maryland Journal, 12 November 1784.

[22] Eliza Stiles, a widow, operated an inn for travelers in Bush Town, a small village along the Post Road near the head waters of the Bush River that served for a time as the county seat of Harford County, Maryland. According to the 1790 census, Eliza Stiles was the head of her household. The tavern – a two-and-one-half-story stone structure with a gabled roof and dormers erected c. 1750 – sheltered such notables as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Isaac Weld commented that at such taverns “the landlady always presides at the head of the table to make the tea . . . and at many taverns in the country the whole of the family sit down to dinner with the guests.” See Maryland: A Guide to the Old Line State (New York, 1940), 325; Weld, Travels, 1:42.

[23] Havre de Grace was settled in 1658 and is situated on the northern tip of the Chesapeake Bay along the west side of the mouth of the Susquehanna River. The English tea magnate, Thomas Twining (1735–1804), traveling the Post Road in 1794, most likely stayed at the same inn as the Smiths, describing it as “the best inn I had yet seen in America, neat, clean, and pleasantly situated,” where he enjoyed “a good and abundant breakfast ready for us, consisting of tea, coffee, eggs, and cold meat.” Francis Bailey also stayed there, describing it as “an excellent tavern” “kept by Mr. Barney (brother to the Commodore), and which is frequented by parties in the shooting season, for the sake of the wild fowl with which the Susquehannah so plentifully abounds.” The name may actually have been Barry, for the “Commodore” Bailey is referring was probably John Barry (1745–1803), naval hero of the American Revolution. This was probably the same inn, opened in 1774, that had been previously operated by John Rodgers (c. 1726–1791) and his wife, Elizabeth (they also became sole operators of the ferry in the early 1780s). Their son, John (1772–1838), became the first Commodore in the American navy, so the Mr. Barnard (Barney) referred to by Dorothy Smith may have been a son-in-law of John Rodgers (and technically a “brother” to John Rodgers the Commodore), who, after the death of the elder Rodgers, was now assisting Mrs. Rodgers in the operations of the inn. For Twining’s comment, see Weeks, “Bouncing,” 118; for Bailey, see Gifford, Cecil County Maryland, 124.