Detailed trip up the Ohio River around Louisville

Date Written

Sept. 9, 1836

Sylvester Welch was 38 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Sarah Stannard Welch, was 24 when it was received.

Sylvester Welch died 16 years, 2 months, 27 days after writing this.
It was written 182 years, 6 months, 11 days ago.
It was a Friday.

Galt House
Louisville
Sept. 9th 1836

My dear Sarah,

I had rather a pleasant ride from Frankfort. We got a pretty good dinner at Shelbyville and kept our inside seat all the way. We travelled about 8 miles after sunset, and on this distance passed a great number of emigrant families, (the same in fact, which you see in Frankfort), encamped in the woods and cooking and eating their supper by fires built upon the ground. Some had tents, and some slept in their covered wagons. These people came as far as this place, and put their families, wagons and horses, and whatever else they had with them, on a steam boat or some other floating thing, and put off down the Ohio for some country in the west or south. The slave owner goes to Missouri or to Mississippi, and the man who is too poor to own slaves, goes to Indiana or Illinois.

Yesterday we examined the Louisville and Portland canal, and the current manufactory. We saw several boats pass through the locks, some steam and some flatboat. Last night we went to the theater to see the celebrated Mrs. Knight walk and sing in her sleep with her night dress on. The people said she sung well and played well, but as the play was an opera, and had a great deal of singing and fiddling about it, it did not please me. There was a fight, but nobody went.

This morning after breakfast, we hired a coach and crossed over to Jeffersonville in Indiana, and proceeded there down the right bank of the Ohio river to New Albany, a distance of about six miles, we recrossed the river then, to Portland, on the Kentucky side. A miserable looking place with a vile set of vagabonds and prostitutes. From Portland to this place is about two miles. Jeffersonville is but a small village, and has but little trade. New Albany is laid out for a large town, and the buildings scattered over a wide space. I suppose the Hosier’s wish is to rival Louisville. If they can make a grand canal or other improvement around the face which will supersede the concern at Louisville, they may have a chance of succeeding.

We go on tomorrow to Port William, where I shall remain one day and then return to Frankfort. Louisville is healthy, Mr. Stealy is well. Remember me to Mrs. Stealy, and take care of the little boy. Tell him I will buy him something.

Affectionately yours,
Sylvester Welch

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