1 March through 15 March 1793

Frid[ay] [1 March] a disagreable Day quite unwell the Mrs Putnams paid a Morning Visit Mr Vanderlochts also, a narrow escape from fire just as all were agoing to bed a mat was discovered to be on ^fire^ that ^was^ carelessly flung upon the Caboose. –

Sat [2 March] spent the at Work no company Mr Smith dined with the Ugly Club [1], a handsome entertainment every fortnight by Gentlemen of the first rank.​

Sunday [3 March] a muggy disagreable air spent the Day in the Cabin Mr Vanderlochts & Capt Hopkins dined with us. –

Monday [4 March] a warm day rather more agreable than Sunday got the Horse & Chaise on shore PM took a ride with Mr Smith had not been on Land before for four Weeks had a pleasing ride amongst the Pine shrubbing found the Town of Savannah more agreeable than I expected the Plan is regular streets of a good width the Buildings in general very small & ordinary spent half an Hour with Mrs Vanderlochts then returned to my Cabin.

Tuesday [5 March] a fine agreable air at Eleven o’clock sat out upon a ride amongst the Pines returnd at twelve to Mr Vanderlochts to spend the Day and see the Horse ^races^ [2] which then Commenced, a favourite amusement in the Southern States past an agreeable Day, have procured lodgings but now tarry in the Vessell as Joseph Sawyer [3] has the Symptoms of the Smallpox. Races to continue four Days.

Wednesday [6 March] lowery spent the day in nursing Joseph quite sick with the Symptoms I felt very anxious for him as the disease has been so fatal in the Family, Mr Smith went to the races no business to be done all ranks devoted to the Sport of the Day. The early appearance of Vegatation quite new to me trees in blossom, Cabbage Asparagus & lettuce in the Market.

Thursday [7 March] an agreeable Day Joseph much relieved broke-out he was able to go and see the Races. – The Town of Savannah on the River Side is bordered by a Bluff of Sand that is very tedious to assend from the Shipping but the Negroes carry every thing upon their Heads there are no Carts nor drays to take things from the Stores. –

Friday [8 March] the Vessell was moved on the side of the River to be examind not ready for us at our lodgings.

Saturday [9 March] very unwell but some of the time amused with looking at the Negroes & their Huts on a Rice Plantation that we Lay by Joseph in a fine way. –

Sunday [10 March] the Weather not agreable nor my Situation PM was carried on shore by the Crane in a Chair the Chaise was on the Bluff, took a ride then went to my lodgings at Dr Putnams was very happy to be liberated from my Prison introduced to Six Ladys & two Gentlemen that Drank Tea with Mrs P—.

Monday [11 March] showery spent the Day at home –

Tuesday & Wednesday [12-13 March] at my lodgings took a bad cold quite unwell noised blood. – [4]

Thursday [14 March] a fine ^day^ took a ride in the Morning as we leave the Town enter a Pine barren rode, very Sandy till you get some Miles out then they are rather better Capt &c &c [5] spent evening. –

Friday [15 March] an agreeable Air Wind rather too high for a Sandy soil took a ride in a very rural road after passing through Pine barren we entered an Oak Wood the road quite Straight as far as the Eye can see the White Oak not leaved out but has a kind of Moss on the limbs as long as flax moving in the Air the appearance was Grand and Novel the live Oak which was intermixed is an ever green, with the same Moss. [6] Evening Company. –


[1] The Ugly Club was a social club, patterned after some fictional clubs in England and derived from William Ward’s Satyrical Reflections on Clubs: In Twenty Nine Chapters (1710) as well as some essays by Richard Steele in the Spectator in 1711 (no. 17, 32, 48, 52, 78, and 87). In these fictional depictions of the club, a number of gentlemen would meet at a local tavern for food and drinking, usually proposing light-hearted toasts and singing humorous, good-natured songs in honor of the “ugliest” members. The Savannah Ugly Club, however, was very much a real entity, as was the one in Charleston existing at the same time. The first reference to the Savannah club appeared in the Georgia Gazette on February 22, 1769, announcing that the members were to meet “at Mr. Crighton’s Tavern . . . to concert some future regulations for the benefit of the Club, and afterwards to dine together with their usual harmony and festivity.” After a brief hiatus during the War, the Club was revived in 1781 (Royal Georgia Gazette, March 15, 1781). The last reference to the club in the Savannah papers appeared later that year. In 1939, a local historian, Elizabeth Groover, wrote a short piece on the Savannah Ugly Club, pondering in her conclusion whether the club continued after 1781, a question now answered by Dorothy Smith’s diary. Besides Savannah and Charleston, it appears that one other Ugly Club existed in America at this time. In the Josiah Smith Papers at the Newburyport Historical Library is a letter from P. W. Snow in Canton, China, to William R. Rogers of Providence, Rhode Island, dated 11 June 1804, that mentions an Ugly Club meeting at that time in Providence. Snow and Rogers were friends of Smith, for the writer sends his regards to a “Miss Smith,” most likely one of the daughters of Josiah and Dorothy Smith. Snow writes that a mutual friend had just left Canton for Providence, but he is “sorry to hear on his account that your Parties were not likely to continue for he anticipates much pleasure on his return in renewing his favorite game with the remnants of the Ugly Club.” For more on the Savannah Ugly Club, see Elizabeth Groover, “Ugly Club,” SHRA Papers, MS994, Box 4, folder 38, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah; for the Charleston Ugly Club, see “Ugly Club Song,” SCHS 43/485, South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston; Ellen Heyward Jervey, “Items from a South Carolina Almanac,” South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 32 (1931), 73–80; and Henriette Kershaw Leiding, Charleston: Historic and Romantic (Philadelphia, 1931), 175.

[2] The horse races described above were sponsored by the Savannah Jockey Club and lasted for three days, March 5-7, 1793 (Georgia Gazette, March 14, 1793). The popularity of horse racing was so great that the City Council felt compelled on Sunday, March 3, 1793, to issue a warning before the event witnessed by Dorothy Smith, requesting that “the stewards or committee of the Jockey Club . . . use their influence with those gentlemen who have horses to enter for the races, to prevent them from practicing on this day . . .” If not, they would receive fines not only for violating the Sunday ordinances, but also for “galloping through the streets.” See also Thomas Gamble, A History of the City Government of Savannah, Ga., from 1790 to 1901 (Savannah, 1900), 56–57.

[3] Mrs. Smith’s nephew, Joseph Sawyer (1777–1795), traveled with the Smiths from Massachusetts as a sailor on the Caroline. Though he would survive this sickness, his constitution was poor. According to a portage bill for the brig Caroline, compiled in August 1795, Sawyer was listed among the sailors, with his monthly wages set at £4.10.0, when he departed on a voyage to England from Newburyport in August 1794. His time of entry was listed as July 30, 1794. He did not sign for his wages on the portage bill, and the entries for him under the columns “time in pay,” “whole wages,” or “wages due,” are blank. The reason is that during this voyage, while in London in January 1795, Sawyer died (Josiah Smith Papers, 1785–1817). His parents were Dr. Micajah Sawyer (1747–1815) and Sibyl Farnham Sawyer (1746–1842), Dorothy Smith’s older sister. Sawyer earned an A.B. from Harvard in 1756 and married Sibyl Farnham on November 25, 1766. The Sawyers attended the First Religious Society in Newburyport along with the Smiths, and, like the Smiths, were opposed to the Federalists. He served as a Justice of the Peace in 1772 and as a member of the town committee in 1774. He was awarded an honorary M.D. by Harvard in 1793. He was a charter member of the Massachusetts Medical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Micajah Sawyer’s real estate was valued at $10000 and personal property at $63000 in 1807. See Farnham, New England Descendants, 1.405–06; Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of those who attended Harvard College, 17 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1933-75), 14:85–86; Newburyport Tax Records 1807, Newburyport Public Library.

[4] Smith probably means “nose blood” or “nose bleed.”

[5] Probably a reference to Captain Ammi Smith of the Caroline.

[6] Dorothy Smith is describing “Spanish moss,” an indigenous plant to Savannah and the southeastern United States that attaches itself to the trunk and branches of oak trees primarily, from which it hangs in long gray strands.