Journal of a tour to the West in 1839: diary, 1839.

  • UPenn Ms. Coll. 786
  • John Henshaw was born in Middletown, Connecticut to Daniel Henshaw and Sally Prentiss Henshaw on 13 June 1792. The family moved to Middlebury, Vermont, where John attended Middlebury College and graduated in 1808; he then attended Harvard University as a resident graduate for a year. After a visit to Middletown, Henshaw became interested in the Episcopal Church, although he was educated as a Congregationalist, and was baptized by the rector, Rev. Kewley. Henshaw took the name Kewley at the time of his baptism as a token of respect. He was ordained deacon in 1813, served at St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn, New York for three years, married Mary Gorham of Bristol, Rhode Island in 1814, and was ordained a priest in 1816. In the spring of 1817 he became rector of St. Peter's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he served for twenty-six years. In 1843 he was elected bishop of Rhode Island, Episcopal Church of the United States, where he served until his death in 1852. Henshaw published numerous sermons and essays. A small leather-bound travel diary from September 1839 to November 1839 written in ink and pencil with 201 numbered pages. Henshaw recorded his journey from Baltimore, Maryland to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was asked to preach at the consecration of the St. Paul's Episcopal Church on 6 October 1839 at the request of his friend and colleague Rev. William Jackson. Henshaw left Baltimore on 24 September, arrived in Louisville on 2 October, and began his return journey to Baltimore on 7 October, reaching home on 7 November. The journal records Henshaw's long and meandering travel from Baltimore to Louisville via stagecoach and steamboat through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois. Henshaw provides a detailed account of all the portions of his journey, including observations of passengers and their personalities, the names of the steamboats, lodgings, friends whom he stops to see, and scenery such as the Allegheny Mountains in the moonlight. He discusses the Episcopal Church at each town where he disembarks, the people, the culture, historical accounts of certain areas, and places he visited in towns, like the glass works factory in Wheeling, West Virginia and his fascination with the process of its manufacture. Henshaw also discusses the state of the church and visits to other churches where he was asked to preach. A list of cities and the expenses incurred on his journey are written on the end papers. There are two leaves laid in with Henshaw's signature and printed name.