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W.B. Austen Diary

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W.B. Austen maintained this diary from May 21, 1821 until September 1821. Austen wrote about his four-month journey from Liverpool, England, to Mansfield, Ohio, USA. The trip began in Liverpool, where Austen took the ship, Euphrates, captained by William Stoddard, across the Atlantic to New York City. While onboard, Austen recorded the number of miles the ship covered, how many "notts" the ship was traveling, the animals he saw, and comments about other passengers. At the beginning of the trip, Austen listed a few of the families and some younger people who would be accompanying him. Austen recorded the illnesses of the other passengers, including a woman who was sick for many days in a row and the birth of a new baby boy. At one point, a man fell down some steps with pots of hot water in his hands. Once the other passengers brought him back to consciousness, they cleaned his wounds with warm vinegar and salt.

Austen also documented the different ships he saw along the way, listing their names, if he could see them, and, if he could find out, their final destination. There are descriptions of the many aquatic animals seen throughout the trip, including fish, a 70-pound turtle, and multiple sightings of whales. After suffering damage during a particularly violent storm, the captain informed the passengers the financial costs of the ship's individual parts, which Austen recorded in the diary. During the whole trip, he also kept track of lunar phases. Two interesting accounts seen by Austen while onboard include a 201-foot tall iceberg and vapors or small balls of fire, which the seaman on the ship said were the signs of the southerly winds.

Once the ship arrived in New York City, Austen traveled south to Philadelphia, where he took a wagon headed to Pittsburgh. During the trip to Pittsburgh, he passed through the city of Lancaster, where he remarks that between Philadelphia and Lancaster there were sixty-four taverns. Once in Pittsburgh, Austen was disappointed with the city and commented that it was dull. He suggests that Pittsburghers move west to find useful farmland since there were no jobs in newer trades. He decided to leave Pittsburgh and continued traveling west through Canton, Ohio, before settling in Mansfield, Ohio. Austen's travel diary draws to a close when he reaches Mansfield, Ohio.

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