12mo, 25 pp., plus two leaves with miscellaneous notes, sewn, some foxing and staining, few pages loose, else in good legible condition.
Dr. Henry Hyde (1774-1828) was a medical doctor from Milton, Vermont. In 1810 as recorded in this journal, Dr. Hyde went to Ohio to look for land. Not finding lands to suit his purposes in Ohio, he purchased a farm near Lyons, New York on his return trip, and by 1815 had founded the nearby town of Hydesville. Hydesville later became famous as the place where the American Spiritualist movement was started by members of the Fox family in 1848. The Foxes were friends of Dr. Hyde's son Artemus, rented their house from him, and John Fox worked at a forge owned by the Hyde family.
The diary commences "State of Vermont Chitten[den] County. Township of Milton, May the 10th AD 1810. Henry Hyde Junr. Set out for the State of Ohio..." With brief dated entries, Hyde describes his trip across New York and Pennsylvania, naming the towns visited, rivers crossed and the people he stayed or visited with. His descriptions of geography are quite precise: "1st June. Went to the West branch of the Susquhana [sic] River at Newberry, then up the River to the township of Milton. 34 [miles]. 2nd went across the big Island through Old Town and crossed the Bald Eagle River which empties in the W. branch of the Susqa. And then went on to Bellfont, the Seat of Justice in Center County where is the greatest Iron Mongery including Huntington County in the United States...7th Went on to Pittsburgh in the County of Alleghany, saw Steam Mills and Glass Houses supported by stone coal of which the country abounds...went on to Burgettstown and put up with Doct. James Grant." On the 10th he reached Wheeling and "crossed the Ohio River into the state of the same name." On the 12th he "went to Zanesville, a handsome village on the east side of the Muskingum River, the present seat of government of the State, where I called on the land office of Wm. Wells, now succeeded by Samuel Herick, Collectors of Non resident lands in the Military Tract."
On the 14th Hyde had reached "... Jefferson at the Pickaway Plains - about the most handsome natural situation in America on the east side of the Sciota River, the present seat of Justice for the County of Picaway is three miles north of the Town in an ancient fort described as follows..." Here Hyde has drawn a small sketch map of the circular mound and square fort next to it, with dimensions given in acres and rods, and the Scioto River shown to the west. This is the site of the town of Circleville, which was being built in 1810 when Hyde visited, directly on top of s prehistoric circular Indian mound, an unusual instance of American town planning using a Native American mound. Hyde's sketch must be one of the few from the period to show the prehistoric mound and fort on which Circleville was built. Circleville was converted to a standard square grid plan by 1856.
By June 25th Hyde had reached the town of Berkshire, where he rented rooms in which to lodge and practice medicine: "I bargained with David Prince to keep me and my horse and do washing at one Dollar and fifty cents a week, in such property as the practice of medicine will command in these parts." On July 12th he left Berkshire and the next day "went through Green Town, an Indian village and put up in the woods five miles south of Jerome's Town, another Indian village. Killed three rattlesnakes."
Green Town and Jerome's Town were Delaware Indian settlements, soon to figure in the War of 1812. After more adventures in Ohio and contracting severe dysentery, he returned to western New York and miles from the town of Lyons he purchased a farm from William Winters: "September 6th, 1810. Esqr. Winter and myself passed writings for his farm after a tedious bargaining of 20 days." He returned to Milton, Vermont the 30th of September and on October 25th, the last entry in this part of the journal notes: "I set out from Milton to the Geneseo, arrived at Sodus [near Lyons] Nov. 2nd 1810." This is followed by a two page account of Hyde's trip from Lyons to Lower Canada, August 23rd to September 25, 1815. And this is followed by a list of members of the convention of the Board of Supervisors held at Canandaigua Oct. 4th, 1814. Hyde lists 28 members as well as the towns each represents, Hyde represented Lyons.A rare and valuable account of early travel and land searching in Ohio, and which contains previously unknown background information on Dr. Henry Hyde's move to western New York where he founded Hydesville.