War Journal of Mahlon Burwell

Mahlon Burwell surveyed many of the townships and lots in the Talbot Settlement, laid out its roads and towns, and held numerous public positions, including member of the Assembly of Upper Canada. This career was nearly cut short, but was instead interupted by the War of 1812.

Burwell was captured by American forces and taken to Chilicote, Ohio. He remained a prisoner for the remainder of the war. This diary sheds light on Burwell. We see his opinions of his captors, hear his disappointments and desires, and gain insight into a man that helped form our area.

Journal of Col. Mahlon Burwell

Aug 16, 1814 - Jan 15, 1815

Presented to the Public Archives of Canada at Ottawa by Mr. John Stuart, Co. Clerk of Middlesex. Received March 31, 1921, by Public Archives

Mitchell Collection, Vol. 5/6. Manuscript Room.



Port Talbot

Tuesday 16th August 1814


I was made Prisoner at my own House; Having just recovered in some measure from the Fever Ague, I was lying on my bed, when the Indians came & made me a Prisoner. Plundered my House of everything they could carry away & what they could not carry destroyed; - An Indian upon being informed that I commanded Militia in this place was anxious to Tomahawk me, but was prevented from doing so by Captain John Walkeri who commanded the expedition, & also by an Indian Chief by the name of Montour who had a subordinate command. They forced me away from my family with a few other Prisoners, & marched us to Point Patrick where we tarried all night. - All the Prisoners except myself were pinioned as soon as it became dark to prevent them from getting away. -I was excused on account of ill health & was allowed a Horse to ride. They lent me a Blanket to sleep on.


Wednesday 17th August 1814


We were marched to Pinte Aux Pins, & tarried all night in Craford’s houseii - The Party had been very improvident about Provisions, they had attended so much to Plundering alone that they came away without furnishing themselves with anything but a little Fresh Beef which was all consumed at Point Patrick. I had begged a Piece of Bread as I passed along from a Woman in my neighborhood, which would have been sufficient to take me thro’ the wilderness but the Indians discovered it & took it away from me. Our Suppers consisted of green Pumpkins, some Eat them raw, others roasted them.


Thursday 18th August 1814


Was marched through from the Lake to the River Thames & down to Captain Jacobs’iii where were tarried all night - On the way the Indians were so hungry & careless that one of the Prisoners made his Escape, & took away with him two Blankets. - They threatened the remaining Prisoners with greater severities on his account -Yet they dispensed with tying me on account of my ill health.


Friday 19th August 1814


Left Captain Jacobs’ early in the morning, halted a while at the Bell River, the guard was careless & another of the Prisoners made his escape, which the Indians said they would put a stop to by Tomahawking those that remained, & it was with some difficulty that Captain Walker & Montour could prevent them from doing so. - These were the Delaware Indians. The Wyandots wished to preserve our lives - One Indian made several attempts to strike his War Club into my Head, & the Head of Captain Lytleiv - Proceeded on to Mr. Peters’ nine miles above Sandwich where we tarried all night, & I obtained leave to lie in a Bed - Mr. Peters was very civil to me - A little after Dark Captain Lytle made his escape, which I would have done myself as a more favorable opportunity could not have offered but I had unfortunately given my word to Captain Walker that if he would allow me to lie in a Room by myself I would be there in the morning -


Saturday 20th August 1814


Breakfasted at Col. Askin’s in Sandwichv - was taken across from my own side of the water to Detroit & was permitted by the Commanding Officer Captain Gray to have the liberty of the City on my Parole of Honor not to depart or hold any Communication with my Government until further ordersvi - The only Prisoner beside myself was Ensign Girtyvii, [t]he poor fellow was put in close confinement because Captain Gray said he had broken his Parole. & he further said that if Captain Lytle had not made his escape he would have been hung for the same Offence.

Immediately upon my setting my foot on the American Shore I was accosted by a Lieut. Lowell of the U.S. Army who was made a Prisoner on the River Thames last winter & was suffered to roam at large in Canada upon his Parole of Honor not to make his escape - which he violated the first opportunity & had returned to his own Country. His words were then, “Well it’s your turn now” - He marched away immediately & I saw no more of him while I remained at Detroit - This Officer was at my House in the Winter while a Prisoner & I had been very civil to him - Captain Gray told me that I could not be suffered to return home, but would be sent to Pittsburg.


Sunday 21st August 1814


Captain Gray advanced 50 Dollars to me on my giving him a Draft on C. Barclayviii at New York for that amount; he was civil, & said that anything I stood in need of for my comfort should be furnished me. I expected to remain at this place some time, & agreed with a Major Whipple to board me for one Dollar per Day - Towards evening I received a message from Captain Gray to say that I must be in readiness to sail next morning for Erie on board the Lawrence a vessel of Warix - Captain Dexter.


Monday 22d Augt. 1814


Agreeably to my instructions I went on board the Lawrence as soon as I had eaten my Breakfast, but she was not in readiness to sail until after 12 o’clock, & then the wind was contrary; She however beat down the River about nine miles, & was aground several times on the way -


Tuesday 23d August 1814


The Lawrence proceeded down the River about four miles & was aground on the Flats several times, in which situation she lay all night ~


Wednesday 24th August 1814


Arrived at Malden about noon & was informed that my route was altered by Brig.r Genl. McArthur & that instead of going to Erie on board the Lawrence I was to be shipped on board the Croghan for Sanduskyx - The Gen.l also went on board the Croghan himself. -


Thursday 25th Augt 1814


Sailed to Put-In Bay, the wind being so contrary that we could not clear all the Islands for Sandusky. Passed through the unfortunate place where the Battle of Lake Eriexi was fought – Anchored opposite the Block House



Friday 26th August 1814


Sailed from Put-In Bay to Sandusky Bay; entered the Harbor & went up the Bay a few miles - Gen.l McArthur took a few men & the Croghan’s Boat & went up the Bay to Fort Stephensonxii after night in order to send Boats to convey us all to the shore. At Malden a number of the Seamen who were taken with Commodore Barclay on Lake Erie were sent on board the same vessel to Sandusky - & these Prisoners were to be sent to Fort Stephenson to remain with the Prisoners of the 41st Regt. until they were sent to Canada - There were some Officers along who afforded me agreeable society -


Saturday 27th Augt 1814


The Batteanux arrived at 8 in the morning & we left the Croghan at 9 - The day was wet & disagreeable, but we reached Fort Stephenson before Sunset -

As we were disembarking from the Batteaux at Fort Stephenson a circumstance took place which on account of its novelty I shall give a place here - my seat in the Batteaux was near the Stern; a little in front of me was seated all the way a Doctor Bradford of the U.S. Army on the top of a large heap of Officers Baggage. - After the Boat struck the Shore the Doctor sat motionless for some time; I was anxious to get on Shore as soon as I could, as it was wet & disagreeable in the Boat - [I] rose & in stepping on the Gunnel of the Boat past the Doctor my Foot slipped & in recovering myself I happened to put my hand on his Shoulder but quite softly -The Doctor although in all probability the laziest man in the world I discovered was in a most furious pet & said that I was extremely ungenteel to “ride” him in that manner. I said “Doctor I beg your Pardon, I did not ride you & my putting my hand on your Shoulder was unintentional, my foot slipped & I could not help it. I should otherwise have fallen into the River” - The Doctor answered “You are a Damn’d Lyar, Sir, - You are a Damn’d infernal Scoundrel, & if you were not a Prisoner, I would give you a Damn’d beating” - Having by this time got considerably in front of the Doctor, I bowed to him & said “Upon my word Doctor you are a very fine Gentleman,” & immediately left the Boat - I lodged with Lieut. McIntire of the 41st Regt. -


Sunday 28th Augt 1814


Last evening Captain Deshaxiii of the 24th U.S. Regt. under whose charge I had been from Detroit delivered me to the care of the Commanding Officer at Fort Stephenson, a Captain Stocktonxiv from Kentucky with whom I became a little acquainted this day & found him a very gentlemanly kind person. He delivered me over to the Deputy Marshal of the State of Ohio who happened to be at this place - & from him I received directions to be in immediate readiness to go to Chillicothe - He furnished me a good Horse & we travelled 9 miles to Fort Seneca.xv


Monday 29th August 1814


Proceeded on our way through an exceeding muddy road to Negroe Townxvi six miles to Northward of Upper Sandusky where we tarried all night & were furnished with an exceeding good Dish of Mush & milk -


Tuesday 30th Augt 1814


Left Negroe Town early & breakfasted at Upper Sandusky - Our Horses were much tired, & the Dy. Marshal Major Martinxvii concluded to remain all day at Upper Sandusky to recruit them as we still had a bad road to travel - We dined with some Officers of the American Army who were civil to me - Here I think I eat some of the best flavored Watermelons that ever I tasted.


Wednesday 31st Augt 1814


Left Upper Sandusky early. Halted at a well eighteen miles above, which is called Jacob’s well - we breakfasted near it & I drank of its waters -We reached the Town of Norton & slept all night at an Inn in Fort Morrowxviii kept by the Revd. Mr. Wyatt, who has a brother living in the Township of Haldimand, Newcastle District, Upper Canada -


Thursday 1st Septr 1814


Set out early & breakfasted at Delaware on Whetstone Riverxix - A small town containing about 100 Houses principally built of Brick. Reached Franklinton near which place the Whetstone River forms its junction with the Scioto - The Town of Franklintonxx contains about 200 Houses; is pretty well situated & stands on a Flat which has been made by the wash of the Scioto thro’ the centre of the town is a place where the Scioto has probably passed within a century, & has been forced to make a new passage by driftwood & Ice - Just opposite to Franklinton & on the East side of the Scioto is the Town of Columbus, it is situated on a commanding piece of ground from which is complete view of Franklinton & the surrounding country - This Town is made the Seat of Government for the State of Ohio by an Act of its Legislature which is to take place in [1817] -The Town is progressing very fast & the State House is very well under way. The Houses in these Towns are also principally made of Brick -


Friday 2 Septr 1814


Left Franklinton early breakfasted at a Farm House & proceeded to Circlevillexxi where we Dined - The Town of Circleville takes its name from the nature of the place. It is composed of a Circle consisting of two ancient mounds of Earth, one within the other at the distance of about one quarter chain. Within the inner circle is circumscribed about Acres of Ground. The Town is built in form of the circle & contains about 200 Houses - In the centre of the Town stands the Court House for the County of Pickaway built in an Octagonal form with an elegant cupelow & has a grand appearance from every part of the Town as well as from every part of the mounds which environ it -

This place has no doubt been a Warlike Fortification. The timber which grew on the mounds was as large as any in that part of the Country which I could plainly see by the Stumps yet standing -We reached the Town of Jefferson where we tarried all night -


Saturday 3 Septr 1814


Breakfasted at Jefferson which is a village on Pickaway Plains containing about 90 Houses. It is a very unhealthy place - In fact I found nearly two thirds of the Inhabitants between Lower Sandusky & this place in a very ill state of health - Proceeded to Chillicothe at which place we arrived about noon - I took up my Lodging at Major Martins in whose company I had travelled from Lower Sandusky - Walked the Streets after Dinner, & purchased Shoes stockings etc so as to enable me to live more decently than since I was plundered -


Sunday 4th Septr 1814


Strolled about the Streets, Ascended the mountain which surrounds the Town from which I had a commanding view of Chillicothe - Went to the Methodist Church


Monday 5th Septr 1814


This was the first day of the Circuit Court September Term for the State of Ohio - I had leave to attend as a spectator. No business was done -The Court just opened & adjourned.


Tuesday 6th Septr 1814


I attended the Court - Little business was done, but I observed that every thing was conducted much in the form of our English Courts -


Wednesday 7th Septr 1814


Attended the Court again. Heard the famous Virginia Lawyer speak. Heard others of the State of Ohio - Saw a Welshman naturalized. He was sworn to abjure allegiance to every foreign Prince or Potentate; more especially to George the Third, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland.


Thursday 8th Septr 1814


Attended the Court again - This was the concluding day of it - Passed away my time the remaining part of the day by Strolling about the Streets.


Friday 9th September 1814


I was Paroled on Tuesday last. My Distance is two miles, & not to travel any cross Road, or go into a Field - My hours are from six o’clock in the morning until nine in the evening; & not to absent myself from my lodgings upon any occasion without Leave from the Marshal, during those Hours - Strolled about the Streets to pass away my time -


Saturday 10th Septr 1814


I observed on the journey from Lower Sandusky to Pickaway Plains, which is within fourteen miles of this place - that at least one half of the Inhabitants were sick with Fevers Agues or some disorder or other - The country is generally low & wet - but the Land is very rich - The timber is nearly the same as in Upper Canada with the addition of Mulberry, Black Oak (or Black ash as they call it here) Buck Eye Locust, Redbud & Paw Paws - The Principle produce of the Country is Indian Corn, & the Inhabitants prefer eating bread made of it, to Wheat Bread - I went out to Paint Creek to see a Cotton Manufactory & returned without viewing it properly, upon promising myself another opportunity -


Sunday 11th September 1814


This day I intended to have gone to the Presbyterian Church, but as a Bishop made his appearance I went again to the Methodist Church - The Bishop is really a liberal & fair reasoner - & I have no doubt a man of abilities - In the afternoon I went up the River two miles to Camp Bullxxii, where our Prisoners were kept last winter - It is a beautiful place.



Monday 12th September 1814


The report of the Auditor of State for the State of Ohio, to the Legislature while in session in 1810 states that the total amount of Lands within the State of Ohio belonging to non-residents is 6,363,786 ¾ Acres - The total amount belonging to actual residents or as he terms them “resident Proprietors” is stated to be 4,088,608 ¼ Acres. The Land belonging to non - residents is owned by rich men, & principally by mercantile Gentlemen, who live in the Sea Port towns of the United States - Most of these however reside in Philadelphia & Baltimore, Being the Sea Port Towns from which the merchandize of this State is Principally brought. The means through which the tract of Land belonging to non-residents has grown to such an enormous size are these - Wholesale Merchants in Sea Port Towns have entrusted Retailers in Ohio to large amounts Retailers coming into the interior of the State with large assortments of Goods, would of course find a great many needy persons willing to buy but not able to pay - Debts having grown very large, with annual Interest, individuals have for want of other means frequently been forced to transfer their Lands to merchants or retailers to discharge their debts. Those retailers after trading two or three years would generally have no other means of discharging their accounts with their Merchants but by conveying the Land to them for less than its value, - then undertake some other mode of getting their living - their places would always be supplied by others following their steps, by which means the non-resident Land holders have constantly been adding to their number of Acres - I see nothing at present that can intervene to check the Growth & progress of the non-resident Land Holders - Add to this the Land speculation which the State Government admits of, & the many Law Suits to ascertain the validity of Titles in which the poorer class are generally foiled, - I am inclined to believe that in less than one century nine tenths of the good Land in the State of Ohio will be monopolized by a very small proportion of its population.xxiii

Today the District Court met, & I attended to hear the pleadings of the Lawyers -The weather extremely sultry -


Tuesday 13th Septr 1814


Amused myself by reading the Life of General Washingtonxxiv - The weather extremely sultry -


Wednesday 14th Septr 1814


The weather continues to be sultry -Attended the market a while as a spectator, read news Papers, Life of Washington -


Thursday 15th Septr 1814


The weather still continues intensely warm - To help myself from too much disagreeable reflection about the manner in which I was forced to leave my Family - I have continually employed myself since at Chillicothe, in reading such Books as I could find most to attract my attention - Today I began reading the Life & Campaigns of General Moreauxxv -


Friday 16th Septr 1814


The weather which since I have been at this place has constantly been wet & sultry - now became cool & clear, with extremely heavy dews - I employed myself in reading the Life & Campaigns of Genl. Moreau.


Saturday 17th Septr 1814


Continued reading the Life & Campaigns of General Moreau - Amused myself in some political conversation respecting the arguments & decisive negotiations; Bayonets -


Sunday 18th Septr 1814


Rode into the Country a few miles with some young Gentlemen of the Town & was past the Farm of Genl. McArthur



Monday 19th Septr 1814


Today is the commencement of the sitting of the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Ross - I attended part of the time to hear the pleadings of the Lawyers & finished reading the Life & Campaigns of General Moreau -


Tuesday 20th Septr 1814


Began reading the Revolutionary Plutrarchxxvi – The weather cloudy & appears like for rain - I attended the Court, & heard considerable of speechifying by the Lawyers, but nothing so novel as the judges Political charge to the Jury of yesterday -


Wednesday 21st Septr 1814


Weather still continues cloudy with considerable of rain - I attended the Court & read the Revolutionary Plutrarch alternately -


Thursday 22nd Septr 1814


Finished reading the Revolutionary Plutrarch


Friday 23rd Septr 1814


Began to read Mr. Smith’s account of the Capture, trial & execution of Major Andre during the American War.xxvii Mr. Smith was tried by a Court Martial composed of Officers of the United States Army, about the same time that Major Andre was, his trial lasted six weeks but he was acquitted -


Saturday 24th Septr 1814


Finished reading the Book respecting Major Andre. Strolled about Town to pass away the time. Weather wet & disagreeable.


Sunday 25th Septr 1814


Last evening I was very unwell with a HeadAche & today took a Portion of Salts - Strolled about but did not go to Church.


Monday 26th Septr 1814


Became aquainted with General Saml. Finleyxxviii of the Ohio Militia & who lives in this place - He gave me an Invitation to Dine with him, which I did & was made acquainted with three Presbyterian Clergymenxxix at his house - The Genl was exceedingly kind to me, & begged that I would have recourse to his Library whenever it would afford amusement for me - I borrowed Marshalls life of Washington Strolled over the Prairie in the afternoon -


Tuesday 27th Septr 1814


Read the History of Bonaparte’s reign, which has been written since the General

Peace in Europe, by a French Gentleman. - It agrees very much with the Revolutionary Plutrarch in matters respecting the wickedness & barbarity of the Tyrant - In strangling & poisoning the wounded men, etc etc etc


Wednesday 28th Septr 1814


The Town of Chillicothe is situated on the S. W. side of the Scioto River about forty miles from its junction with the Ohio - It is at present the seat of Government for the State of Ohio - It contains upwards of 500 Houses & about 3000 Inhabitants - The Town stands entirely on a Flat which has been made by the deposit of the Scioto River - & about twenty feet above its surface - From the surrounding hills there is a very commanding view of the Town - There are at present three Churches in Chillicothe - One Presbyterian, one Seceder, & one Methodist Church - It is incorporated - The Inhabitants of this Country are extremely fond of Pacing Horses - The first enquiry in case of purchase is whether he Paces well or not - Indeed it is very uncommon to see a Trotting Horse that has been raised either in this State, or the State of Kentucky. The Inhabitants in this part of the Country are generally bad farmers, so much so that it is a rare thing to see a good Barn. They are generally very hospitable.

By the Constitution of the State of Ohio the right of suffrage is extended to every white male Inhabitant above the age of twenty one years with or without a Freehold Estate - if he has been in the State one year preceding the Election & pays or is liable to pay to any State or County tax or is liable to work on the Highways - All appointments are Elective, and votes & interest are always in favor of those who can make the greatest showing of kindness without ever suspecting the integrity or capability of the Person exercising it or whether he has sinister views in so doing - This is meant to apply only to the Common class or yeomanry of the Country.

It appears to me that if the right of suffrage was to be entrusted throughout the United States upon so broad a basis as it is in this State it would be impossible in the nature & fitness of things for the Government to exist many years - The very freedom of Election would sap its own foundation - because the number of Electors who have no Freehold Estates is increasing in a great Ratio - These people not being bound by interest, would always incline to the person who would affect to be the people’s humblest servant or in fact to him who in reality would be the greatest Fool who could make the most noise - I do not mean to say that all indigent persons want principle, on the contrary I believe they are as virtuous a class as any of the human family - but wanting wealth they are generally more ignorant of what would be most conducive to the protection of it, and the good of the State because that other considerations occupy their minds - & they would always side with the person who would affect to be the greatest Philanthropist & who would be most likely to have sinister views or design against the State - I think that in a Country like America where Freehold Estate is so easily attained no person ought to be entitled to a vote without it or without paying a good rent annually to a Landlord - There is no doubt but that the Elective interest constituted without Freehold Estate would always act as it would be acted upon - In fact no Government can be so equitable & perfect in its representation as that whose representative interest, influence & authority is purely derived & flows from the possessors of its Freehold Estates -

The Latitude of Chillicothe is 39˚ 20’ & Longitude 5˚45’ W from Washingtonxxx -



Thursday 29th Septr 1814


The weather cool - Read considerably in a Book intituled “Thinks I to myself,” & reflected much on account of the disagreeable news from Lake Champlainxxxi -


Friday 30th Septr 1814


Strolled about & read alternately to kill time - This appears extremely odd even to myself, because I am sensible that time is unremittingly killing me -


Saturday 1st Octr 1814


I spent the day as yesterday - at night was a very splendid illumination under the immediate auspices of the Mayor of the City, to celebrate the late achievements acquired by the American Army, viz. McDonough’s victory on Lake Champlain, & Genl Brown’s sortie on Genl Drummond’s Batteries near Fort Erie on the 17th Ult. which by the bye, from his own Letter to the Secretary of War, I take to be a sound drubbingxxxii.


Sunday 2nd Octr 1814


Strolled about the Town & a little way in the Country - went to the Plantation of Genl Kerrxxxiii, where I saw several fine English Cattle, three mules & a Jack Ass


Monday 3rd Octr 1814


My time was expended as usual only that I went to the Seceder Church where I heard more Predestinarianism than I could well swallow -


Tuesday 4th Octr 1814


Weather exceedingly sultry - Read & strolled about the Streets alternately -


Wednesday 5th Octr 1814


Began reading the works of Dr. Caustic entitled “Democracy unveiledxxxiv - Recd an invitation to visit the Chillicothe Lodge this evening which I did


Thursday 6th Octr 1814


Strolled about & read alternately -


Friday 7th Octr 1814


The weather very fine. Strolled about the Streets & read a great deal.


Saturday 8th Octr 1814


By this day’s mail I was in hopes to hear that Sir James Yeoxxxv is out on Lake Ontario, but failed


Sunday 9th Octr 1814


Walked three miles into the Country & saw an ancient fortification near the Banks of the Scioto -


Monday 10th Octr 1814


Borrowed two Volumes of Mr. Curran’s Speeches in the Irish Courts & read all dayxxxvi -


Tuesday 11th Octr 1814


The General Election for this State was commenced today - I strolled up to the Court House to see their manner of proceeding, which was quite orderly, as they voted by tickets & the Candidates could not know to a certainty who were their friends or foes -

One transaction appears to me worthy of note, which is the following - There were several Candidates for the office of Sheriff for the County of Ross which includes Chillicothe the present seat of Government, or Metropolis for the State - Party spirit ran high, Elisha Harrisonxxxvii one of the Candidates issued a hand bill several days previous to the commencement of the Election stating a number of fine things to the Freeholders, & warning them to beware of a Mr. Thomas Steel another Candidate, because that he was a Federalist, & had not confined the British prisoners last winter as soon as he was directed by the Government to keep them in close confinement as Hostages - Mr. Steel having been at that time Deputy Marshal for the State of Ohio. After saying a great many more nonsensical & extravagant things he signed his name plain truth & plain dealing.

Mr. Steel just answered it by a small hand bill to convince the public that he treated it with the greatest possible contempt -

Then pop came out another handbill in which Mr. Harrison avowed himself to be the author of the former one, & confirmed the people to beware of the artful insinuations of Mr. Steel saying that he was known to be a Federalist; that he had drunk wine with the British Officers last winter, & had conversed familiarly with them several timesxxxviii - that the Federalists were friendly to the British & unless the People would come forward & assert their rights by supporting him they would in long “be servants to the Lords, Dukes & Earls of England.”


Wednesday 12th Octr 1814


Read in Curran’s Speeches & Strolled about the Streets. Expected by this day’s mail to have obtained leave to return to my family but was disappointed -


Thursday 13th Octr 1814


Continued reading Mr. Curran’s Speeches -


Friday 14th Octr 1814


Continued reading Mr. Curran’s Speeches -


Saturday 15th Octr 1814


By this days mail I expected to receive leave to return to my family - Read in Curran’s Speeches & Strolled about alternately


Sunday 16th Octr 1814


Took a walk into the Country in the early part of the Day - & in the afternoon went to the Court House to hear a Quaker woman Preach, but was not much edified by her feeble effort & ejaculations - She was accompanied by a venerable Old Gentleman of that Society who was not a preacher & by an Old Woman who also said a few words, but herself was the Principal - They had travelled from Salem in Jersey


Monday 17th Octr 1814


Today I became acquainted with a Mrs. Houghxxxix of this town who came from within three miles of where I was born in Jersey - Her name before marriage was Carrol or Caryll - She knows all my relations in Jersey & those that went to Nova Scotia after the American War, as well as those who went to Canada -


Tuesday 18th Octr 1814


I walked about with some friends & read alternately


Wednesday 19th Octr 1814


By this days mail I expected intelligence respecting the manner in which I am to be disposed of but recd none - The mail of this day brought the Communications between the British & American Ministers at Ghent which appear very much unlike a speedy Peace -


Thursday 20th Octr 1814


Captain Gray who commanded at Detroit when I was made Prisoner arrived today & made an effort to have me sent to Pittsburg, where I would be more likely to be exchanged soon but it was disapproved of by the Marshal -


Friday 21st Octr 1814


I read over all the Letters sent by Mr. Monroe to the American Minister at Gottenburg, before Mr. Madison knew that the British Government would not admit of the mediation of Russia & it appears that the Govt. of the United States were lost in the pleasing Idea that G. Britain would not dare to refuse the Mediation of Russia for fear of offending that Government - & that Mr. Madison was bent upon insinuating himself with Russia so as to make her espouse his favorite cause of “Free Trade & Sailors rights” - It was really astonishing to read the fulsome adulation which the American Minister was directed to offer the Emperor Alexander for his proffered Mediationxl - The tone of the instructions was however much altered when it was ascertained that G. Britain had the firmness not to allow Russia to negotiate or mediate upon maritime rights - Mr. Madison had flattered himself that the Emperor Alexander would be tenacious of the Maritime Prowess of G. B. & would be proud to avail himself of mediating between them on that subject & thereby render it less formidable - Mr. Madison must have been panic struck when he heard of the repeated successes of the allied troops against the troops of Bonaparte, for several months before the downfall of that Tyrant - Mr. Monroes Letter of the 25th June 1814, to the American Minister at Gottenburg is a convincing proof to the world how the news prayed upon his mind, which announced the entire destruction of the Bonapartian system, - The following is taken verbatim from Mr. Monroe’s Letter before alluded to as published in the National Intelligencer of the 18th Octr 1814 - “Information has been received from a quarter deserving attention that the late Events in France have produced such an effect on the British Government, as to make it probable that a demand will be made at Gottenburg, to surrender our right to the Fisheries, to abandon all trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope, and cede Louisiana to Spain.”

Mr. Monroe also in the same Letter expresses a willingness on the part of the United States not to bring the business of “sailor’s rights” (for which the Declaration of War was pretended to be continued) into discussion at all - Salving it over by saying “that the United States had resisted by war the obstructions to sailor’s rights, and continued the war, until such obstructions have ceased by a peace in Europe. Their object has essentially obtained for the present” -


Saturday 22d October 1814


Strolled about the Streets & read News Papers


Sunday 23rd October 1814


Walked into the Country Six Miles to see Land & some ancient Fortifications near the Banks of the Scioto - Returned before Dinner


Monday 24th October 1814


Strolled & read News Papers


Tuesday 25th October 1814


Killed time by walking the Streets -


Wednesday 26th October 1814


Read a Pamphlet published by a Mr. Darnellxli of Kentucky who was made a Prisoner at Genl. Winchester’sxlii Defeat, & taken through Upper Canada as far as to Fort George - The Pamphlet consisted of a Diary which Mr. Darnell had kept on his tour through that part of U. Canada in which he had inserted the principle casualties that occurred - & roundly asserts that the Canadians have to Swear that the Queen of England is an honest woman & further asserts that there is no doubt, but that the Canadians are all perjured by taking the said Oath, he says the Oath is called the Oath of Adjuration - Mr. Darnell I am informed is one of the wise men of Kentucky & is electioneering to be a member of Congress -


Thursday 27th October 1814


Went to the Presbyterian Church in the Evening -


Friday 28th October 1814


A Rainy Day -


Saturday 29th Octr 1814


I became acquainted with Colonel McClurghxliii from Pittsburg, an Irishman. he left his Country in the time of the Rebellion - He owns a Cannon foundery at Pittsburg. He told me that he had taken a very active part with the United Irish, & was imprisoned a long time, but was enlarged for want of good Evidence against him, upon giving a security of two hundred thousand Pounds Sterling to quit the Kingdom in one month & never to return again - but being informed by a friend that he was going to be arrested again, he made his Escape to a Ship in the night, & sailed for America, leaving his Family behind him - He observed to me, “Little did King George think at that time, that he was going to send me to the United States, to make Cannon to kill his subjects with” - He observed to me that he had made all the round Shot, Grape & Cannister, that Captain Perry had in his Flotilla on Lake Erie - I have been informed by Gentlemen who know him well, that the United Irish had appointed him their treasurer, & that he made his escape with all their money which had enabled him to figure away very magnificently in the United States -


Sunday 30th Octr 1814


This day I have bet a Bottle of wine with a Mr. McKay of this Town, that the British Army are now in possession of Fort George, he says the Americans have Captured it. Such News have arrived to be sure, but I have so long been accustomed to their News Paper talk that I put no confidence in anything I hear, unless other reasons induce me to believe its correctness -


Monday 31st Octr 1814


Took a walk into the Country a few Miles, returned before Dinner, & read in the afternoon - A very severe Frost last night -


Tuesday Novemr 1st 1814


Walked out on the Gallipolis Road two miles, returned & Strolled about Town.





Wednesday 2 Novr 1814


I was in conversation with an officer of the U.S. Army a few days ago, who had been at Detroit a considerable time during the last summer, - He was a Kentucky man, - He told me that he was completely tired of his living at that place - He said while he was there he had had nothing to eat but “Wheaten bread & butter, & fresh Beef & Sas, or Sauce - by sauce he meant vegetables of all descriptions, he said he had not seen any Pone bread or Johnny Cakes while on the Campaign in that part of the Country - The Johnny Cakes or Johney Cakes are made of Indian corn meal knead up & Baked on a Board before the fire, the Pone Bread is made of the same, but baked in large loaves in Dutch ovens -


Thursday 3 Novr 1814


Another Gentleman from Kentucky was in Town a few days since. In speaking of Wheaten Bread said it was good enough for Negroes - & that they ought not to be allowed to eat Pone bread & Sweet Potatoes -


Friday 4th Novr 1814


A Gentleman from Philadelphia informed me that he was a few days ago at Portsmouth, a Town in this State at the confluence of the Ohio & Scioto Rivers, he heard the People relating as an undoubted fact that 30,000 British Troops had surrendered to the Maryland Militia at Baltimore, without making any resistance, & that a British 74 off New York had surrendered to a Company of Light Dragoons. A Lawyer from Boston was in company with him & attempted to convince the People of the improbability of the truth of such reports - To their Astonishment in a few minutes the Lawyer was arrested by the Sheriff for a British Spy, fortunately however there was a gentleman in the neighborhood who knew his Father at Boston through whose influence he was permitted to pass - Another Gentleman was taken up for a Wizard, because he had printed cards in his Pocket, which enabled him to tell the age of a Person after obtaining his answer to several indirect interrogations -


Saturday 5th Novr 1814


The Kentucky & Ohio people have a wonderful opinion of the New Englander, - A Gentleman relates a circumstance of his coming to this Town to settle himself as a Lawyer - Upon being informed that he was a Yankey, a Town meeting was called by the sovereign People, & a Committee waited on him with a message to say that he must immediately depart.


Sunday 6th Novr 1814


I happened in at a Shoe making Shop a few days past, where was also a Printer of this Townxliv, a Democratic one by the bye, he immediately observed to me that he had understood I was born in America, & that my father was such a Tory that he had moved to Canada when I was an infant he added that he was extremely sorry that I being an American born had disgraced myself so much by living under so barbarous a Government as that of England- I looked him full in the Face & his Countenance was apparently so fraught with ignorance & illiberality that I concluded the best way was to avoid conversation with him - He however continued talking & said that the British Officers had been very impudent while they were prisoners at this place, particularly Captain O’Keef who one day met one of the first young Ladies of the Town in the Street, & peeped under her Bonet. He however continued that all the young Ladies considered Captain O’Keef a most beautiful man - He said that notwithstanding all their impudence the people of Chillicothe had treated them as well as it was constitutional to treat British Prisoners -


Monday 7th Novr 1814


Nothing appears to more astonishing than to hear as I do every day, persons making the highest professions of Religion, who devoutly perform Family worship on their knees morning & evening, wishing to exterminate the Indians from the Face of the Earth, & saying that if it was not for the British they would have been able to complete it in a short time - It is so contrary to the Genius of all religion & civilization as to be truly disgusting to any mind capable of reflection -


Tuesday 8th Novr 1814


The Leaves are all now perfectly Killed by the Frost & begin to quit the trees -


Wednesday 9th Novr 1814


It appears wonderfully novel to hear the people from the States of Tennessee, Kentucky & Ohio, who never saw a Ship of any description in their lives, & indeed have no Idea of their Shape or size to be continually prating about Free Trade & Sailor’s rights - The theme of conversation for all the ignorant is “British tyranny & Indian alliance” - They are taught from their infancy to revere the System pursued by the late Tyrant of France & are continually comforting themselves in the Idea that Bonaparte will soon disturb the tranquility of England by being again at the head of affairs in France - They are continually lamenting the fate of Bonaparte, & say that he is a great & good man, & that British Tyranny & British Gold has been the ruin of him - They read an American Edition of the History of the late rebellion in Ireland with Enthusiasm, & speak of it as though they were now at War with England for the Emancipation of that Country - A Lawyer from Tennessee told me a few days past that he would sooner be the ruin of Bonaparte than the greatest Potentate on Earth. He said he considered him one of the greatest & most magnanimous personages that ever graced the human Family on this Globe -


Thursday 10th Novr 1814


Tom Paine’s age of reason & his rights of manxlv appear to have formed the rule of opinion & conceit for this part of the States even those who are fanatics in religion think it no harm to effect anything for their own Political or pecuniary benefit however prejudicial it may be to others, if within their power - It has become very respectable for a man to contract Debts to a large amt. & then fail - this is frequently practiced by men who have nothing to recommend them but impudence. they call it taking the benefit of the Act - It is a common by word that “might constitutes right” & that “every Person has his Price.” -




Friday 11th Novr 1814


I hardly ever see a person from Kentucky but that is boasting of the humanity & Gentlemanly refinement of that Country, it is common for them to say that they are all “men of first rate talents” - & that “there is not their equal to be found in Society in London” – I have heard a Gentleman holding a very responsible place under the Govt of this State say so, & I believe it to be very correct - It is really diverting to see the Flaming pieces written & published in Kentucky respecting the conduct of Captain Hillyar in capturing Captain Porter’s Frigatexlvi, - they have called meetings amongst the sovereign People & written some of the most wicked resolutions that could possibly be conceived against Cap. Hillyar, - They have unanimously declared that they will support “Free trade & Sailors rights” & retaliate upon the British Marine. They have certainly expressed some of the most Jawbreaking words & Jawbreaking Ideas that ever I heard when speaking of the “Maritime Laws of Nature” & of Nations” – These resolutions have been sent to the Editor of N. Intelligencer for publication in that paper -


Saturday 12th Novr 1814


An officer from Kentucky informed me that he was wounded at the Battle of the River Raisin by the late Col. Elliottxlvii - He talked of humanity & free trade & sailors rights he was apparently civil to me, but when he spoke of the War he would grate his teeth across each other in a most violent manner that he could be heard across the room plainly - When War was declared the people of Kentucky illuminated their Houses, & burnt in Effigy their members of Congress who voted against it.


Sunday 13th Novr 1814


Nothing is more common than to hear the most ignorant of the Inhabitants speaking of the ignorance of the British Nation. Some of the Democratic Papers have lately fulminated through the Country a story, to say that the speech of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent at the Prorogation of the late Session of Parliament, was not grammatically arranged, & say they would thank the P. R. to send them over some of the latest English Dictionaries. The most ignorant of the population, even little boys are continually prating about this circumstance, & say the English are in a bad situation, with a King who does not know how to write English. - What is more astonishing these remarks are made by people who in general dont know how to read - which is the case with nine tenths of the population of this part of the Country -


Monday 14th Novr 1814


The weather is very warm & wet


Tuesday 15th Novr 1814


Weather still continues wet





Wednesday 16th Novr 1814


I had the good fortune to get several of the Gentlemen of this place to write to Washington asking for me to be allowed to return home on Parole, whose goodness I shall certainly never forget - Today I saw an account in one of the Papers to say that three Sailors of the late American Squadron sent to blockade Macinak, & were captured by Lt. Col. McDowall had made their escape from the Bay of Quinte & arrived at the mouth of Gennesee Riverxlviii - The news says they gave an acct. of having become acquainted with a great many of the Inhabitants of that part of Upper Canada, & that all they wish for is for an American Army to march on the N. side of Lake Ontario & give them liberty - knowing it to be such a gross libel on the Kings loyal subjects of Upper Canada, & to see them affect to believe it so generally here could not fail to excite my indignation.


Thursday 17th Novr 1814


The following is copied verbatim from the Democratic Press, printed at Philadelphia, Monday evening October 31st 1814 -

“From the Kentucky Advertiser ~ Captain Shaw’s & Captain McKinsay’s Toasts - The Kentuckians who were made Prisoners at the River Raisin, after being marched to the lower end of Upper Canada, were at a certain place treated by Capt. Shaw the British Officer who had them in charge, and who at the commencement of the treat, gave the following Toast: “Success to King George and to all his allies, - may we always have such success as this” [meaning the victory gained at the River Raisin, and pointing round to all the Prisoners present] -

In reply to the above John McKinsay of Bourbon County, who was among the Captives, gave the following:

“Here’s wishing Captain Shaw well for his good treatment to us Prisoners, - and success to all good republicans, and especially to all true hearted Kentuckians, wishing that we may shortly obtain the SKIN of King George for Drum heads, and the Shin Bones of all Damned Tories for Drum Sticks, to beat the Kentuckians to arms, to revenge their Country’s wrongs for all this” [Pointing round to all his fellow Prisoners as Captain Shaw had done]” -


Friday 18th Novr 1814


The Leaves are now just completely fallen from the Trees - the weather unsteady.


Saturday 19th Novr 1814


Strolled about the Streets


Sunday 20th Novr 1814


Went to Methodist meeting


Monday 21st Novr 1814


Quietly in Town -


Tuesday 22d Novr 1814


Pleasant Weather


Wednesday 23rd Novr 1814


Strolled about the Streets & read alternately -


Thursday 24th Novr 1814


Walked two or three Miles into the Country -


Friday 25th Novr 1814


I got a new pair of Trousers which I stood much in need of –


Saturday 26th Novr 1814


Strolled about & read alternately -


Sunday 27th Novr. 1814


Remained all day at my Quarters -


Monday 28th Novr 1814


A Gentleman from Boston informed me that five years ago, he had an Ark Sunk in descending the Ohio which was principally Laden with Hemp - There happened to be some property belonging to some persons of Kentucky on board - The owners of the lost property sued him - The case was tried at Lexington Kentucky, & he said to his astonishment when the jury was empanelled to try his Case he observed, that out of the Twelve Jurors, two had had their noses bit off, & five had each lost an Eye, by having it Gouged out of his head -


Tuesday 29th Novr 1814


Rode three miles into the Country on the Kentucky Road & Read General McArthur’s Genl. Orderxlix respecting his plundering incursion into Upper Canada


Wednesday 30th Novr 1814


Today I got new Surtout Coat, - Strolled & read Papers





Thursday 1st Decemr 1814


I saw London news in the Boston Patriot up to the 19th Septemr which asserted that the negotiations at Ghent were not broken off at that time - That they were not broken off, or suspended, I have all along been induced to believe, notwithstanding the Fulminations in the National Intelligencer - I concluded it was a plan to induce the people to inlist -





Friday 2nd Decemr 1814


Mr. Longl, Dy. Marshal of Ky. who resides at Frankfort, returned home from Long Pointe, where he had delivered some prisoners arrived here to day & brought me the first account I have had from my Family since I was captured, - he informed me that my Family had gone to Fort Erie, which affords me a great deal of satisfaction -


Saturday 3rd Decr 1814


Very wet & disagreeable weather -


Sunday 4th – the Same


Monday 5th Decr 1814


Today is the meeting of the Legislature of this State -


Tuesday 6th Decr 1814


Changeable weather Raining, Hailing, Snowing, Freezing & thawing alternately -


Wednesday 7th Decr 1814


I was invited to take a walk, & ascended a hill which is about two miles & a half below Chillicothe, & I think its Summit is about 300 feet above the Surface of the Scioto, - from which is a very commanding view of the meanderings of the River & all the Surrounding Country for several miles - On the Pinnacle of this hill there is a large Mound whose appearance in that situation is quite romantic -


Thursday 8th Decr 1814


Streets intolerably muddy


Friday 9th Decr 1814


Rode to General McArthur’s to see if I could not excite feelings of Humanity enough in him to allow me to return, He was not at home.


Saturday 10th Decr 1814


Aud. Report 7th Decr 1814

non-residents 5,960,443

residents 6,375,401

Taxable in 1814 12,335,844


Sunday 11th Decr 1814


was not well, & did not go to Church -


Monday 12th Decr 1814


Had an amazing bad cold -


Tuesday 13th Decr 1814


My cold continued -


Wednesday 14th Decr 1814


To days mail brought no news of any consequence


Thursday 15th Decr 1814


Read & went to hear the speechifying of the Assembly


Friday 16th Decr 1814


To day is four months since I saw my Family -


Saturday 17th Decr 1814


To day Private Letters came from Washington favorable to a Peace -


Sunday 18th Decr 1814


Did not go to Church but took a Portion of Salts.


Monday 19th Decr 1814


Caught another very bad cold - & was also troubled with a Headache -


Tuesday 20th Decr 1814


I addressed a Letter to Thomas Worthington Govr of the State of Ohio - respecting my situation.li


Wednesday 21st Decr 1814


General McArthur informed me that he had concluded to allow me to return on Parole


Thursday 22nd Decr 1814


I hastened to make myself in readiness for my journey, & received a Parole, or rather gave one & received a copy to enable me to return


Friday 23rd Decr 1814


Set out for home about nine O’Clock in compy with Mr. Saml. Brown of Chillicothelii, & travelled as far as Pique Plains 16 Miles -


Saturday 24th Dec 1814


Mr. Brown concluded to return to Chillicothe, & I then proceeded on my journey in company with a Mr. Abbot of Jefferson Breakfasted at Circleville & proceeded 8 miles beyond Lancaster which is a beautiful little Town or rather County seat, containing about 80 Houses - The Inhabitants are principally Germans - This days journey was 31 Miles -


Sunday Christmas Decr 25th


Travelled 30 miles to Zanesville on the Muskingum River – This is a beautiful situation - On the western side of the River is the Town of Springfield, & on the Eastern the Town of Zanesville just opposite each other; - Both Towns contain about 400 Houses. There is a very good Toll Bridge across the Muskingum, - & another one constructing a little below it with beautiful Stone Pillars


Monday 26th Decr 1814


Travelled 25 Miles to Wills Creek or the Town of Cambridge, in which there are about 40 Houses -


Tuesday 27th Decr 1814


Travelled to Morris Town making 35 Miles today



Wednesday 28th Decr 1814


Proceeded from Morris Town to the Ohio, which we crossed & tarried all night at the Town of Wheeling in the State of Virginia. There is an Island in the River at this Ferry which is about half a mile wide, & contains about 700 Acres. The Western part of the River is about 35 Chains to the Island. On the East side it is about 45 Chains across to the Town of Wheeling which contains about 120 Houses & has been settled about 40 years. The Island is called Zanes’ Island is settled & has several fine orchards - Breakfasted this morning at St. Clairsville, a Town which contains about 50 Houses - Travelled only 20 miles this day -


Thursday 29th Decr 1814


Travelled thirty miles to the Town of Washington in the State of Pennsylvania, where we tarried all night - Washington is a good looking Town with Paved Streets, & contains upwards of 300 Houses -


Friday 30th Decr 1814


Proceeded from Washington to Williamsport on the Monongahela River which is 20 Miles then proceeded across the River, which is about 20 Chains, & ten miles further to a Mr. Spear’s where I tarried all night - The Town of Williamsport is on the west side of the Monongahela & contains about 100 Houses standing in the Bottom -


Saturday 31st Decr 1814


Left Mr. Spear’s early & breakfasted at Mr. Joseph Burwell’sliii, who is a second Cousin of mine. Strolled about the Country, went to Cooks Town a little village on the Monongahela, & play’d a Rubber at whist in the Evening at a Mr. Cook’s – Slept at my Cousins -


New Years Day 1815


Left my cousin’s at 10 o’clock a.m. he came with me about 10 miles – I then proceeded to Elizabeth Town a Town on the Monongahela containing about 50 Houses, crossed the River, fed my Horse & travelled about 5 miles further on my way towards Pittsburgh - Tarried at a Private house - Journey 20 Miles today -


Monday 2nd Jany 1815


Set out very early & reached the Monongahela opposite Pittsburgh, (which is 10 miles) at 9 in the morning – Crossed the River which is about half a mile wide & breakfasted at my own Cousin Phineas Burwell’sliv – endeavoured to make myself in readiness to proceed homeward as soon as possible –


Tuesday 3rd Jany 1815


I went on board of a Steam Boat, which is 160 feet on Deck, 40 feet Beam & 400 Tons burthen, - Went to the Steam Grist Mill, to the Cannon Foundery, to a Bath House, & to a Glass House – Saw them all in operation – I viewed the ruins of the old Fort Duquesne, which is just in the Fork, at the junction of the Allegany & Monongahela Rivers – the old Fort is now sold to individuals, & they are building in it – The walls of earth are yet upwards of ten feet high – I saw the place where * Grant was killed, & buried – as well as the hill which he descended in rear of Duquesnelv

Churches in Pittsburgh

  1. Episcopalian

  2. Presbyterian

  1. Seceder

  1. Methodist

  1. Catholic &

  1. Covenanter

Jail & Court House


The Town contains upwards of 900 Houses, built principally of Brick. there are some very well-regulated Streets, three Market Houses - & a Population of 6 or seven thousand Souls – It is the dirtyest place that ever I saw occasioned by their burning coal entirely, of which the surrounding Mountains furnish an inexhaustable quantity – A majority of the inhabitants are Irishlvi-


Wednesday 4th Jany 1815


Made myself in readiness to proceed as fast as possible. Set out on my Journey accompanied by my Cousin Phineas Burwell, travelled 7 Miles to Brown’s Tavern


Thursday 5th Jany 1815


My cousin left me & I proceeded 25 Miles to Mr. Whites Tavern –


Friday 6th Jany 1815


Travelled 22 Miles – the Day cold & roads extremely bad


Saturday 7th Jany. 1815


Travelled 19 Miles through an exceeding bad road to Mr. Moores –


Sunday, 8th Jany 1815


Crossed French Creek early 4C[hains] 25I. wide, Dined at Meadville & wrote a letter to Cousin Samuel Burwelllvii – Meadville contains about 40 poor Houses. reached a Dutch-man’s five miles beyond Meadville


Monday 9th Jany 1815


Travelled 22 Miles to Waterford a village of 20 houses - here the road leaves French Creek


Tuesday 10th Jany 1815


Left Waterford early, turned off a Mile Eastward of Erie & remained all night at Mr. Backus’ about 12 Miles belowlviii


Wednesday 11th Jany 1815


Left Mr. Backus’ but it stormed so that I travelled but about 9 miles to Mr. Brown’s Tavern -


Thursday 12th Jany 1815


Travelled about 15 Miles & tarried all night –


Friday 13th Jany 1815


Set out early & reached Cap. Macks – 30 Miles at Cataragus -


Saturday 14th Jany 1815


Reached Mr. Goodriches


Sunday 15th Jany 1815


Remained at Mr. Goodriches


End of Diary