CHESTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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Title Diary of Henry Carter of Lancaster County.
Object Name Diary
Creator Carter, Henry
Scope & Content Diary ([photocopy of typed transcription) of Henry Carter of Lancaster County, 1804-1892. Essentially his autobiography. Born in Hartford Co., Maryland in 1804. Father was John Carter and died in 1805. Mother was Rebecca Harlan Carter. Mother and sons moved to Frankford (Philadelphia). Henry was very interested and influenced by the sailors who roomed at his mother's house. Henry saw the "great comet" of 1813 and again on its return.

Attended Friends school at 4th and below Chestnut. War of 1812 going on. Henry was attracted to the activities of the riflemen and the rangers. After naval victory, the ships were put on runners and pulled through the streets. The family was living on 2nd street. At the large market he saw his first tomatoes - called "love apples." Lived near the Old Court House.

1813 - attended Westtown School for a year (to get him away from bad influences in the streets). He visited Westtown seventy years later and saw it "very changed." Bright spot of his early life was vacationing at Uncle James Painter on the Brandywine. He went to market in Philadelphia with the tenant [farmer]- remembers going to a little tavern in Strawberry Alley at the sign of the Bull's Head (said to have been painted in the very early days by Sir Benjamin West).

Rode to Birmingham Meeting on old sorrel mare. Attended a school run by Jacob Pierce, a Friend from Chester County at 5th above Market. Pierce a respected and well loved teacher and Henry credits him with everything he ever learned in school. Pierce bought home in Kennett Square later. He was interested in minerals, had a collection and was one of earliest members of the Academy of Natural Science. Henry never forgot the man's teaching, his deep interest in and efforts to gain the boys interest in nature and natural history.

Burned wood but soon coal became available.
Mother died 1819 when he was 15 - buried at Friends' ground at 5th and Arch Streets. Didn't like the work at Elliot's where his mother went, wanted to learn currying, left and went to New York City which was a turning point in his life - went to sea!. Gives very interesting descriptions of working on ships including preparing to fight off pirates.

Home from the sea, his brother sent him to Uncle Samuel Carter's to farm.

Long entries regarding his mother's fine character. Lists many friends and family,
Describes discovery of mining of chrome locally.
Describes a trip to Ohio on horseback.
Married March 3, 1826 to "mother" as he has been calling her. Lived at "Eastland."
In 1849 he went to California to take part in the gold rush.
Returned in 1856 and travelled West, alone, to Kansas Territory.
Met John Brown, had a great trip.
Saw the Mormons going west.
Became active in Towship (Lancaster County) and state.
Collection Diary Collection
Extent 1 volume