9:39 AM


Today, my plan is to return working on a journal, I purchased on Ebay that almost was thrown away when a son was cleaning out his father's home until he thumbed thru the pages. It gives a real feel of 1850s life and I now have more Interest in the Arabia's glassware. 
This story is based on a two month journal written in 1855 by a St. Louis traveling salesman who visits porcelain and pottery manufacturers while distributing clay samples from their digs in Golconda, Illinois. Along the way he learns the chinaware industry and keeps notes about the people he meets and the places he visits. Although he never reveals himself by name or his employer he is your guide to the life of a traveling salesman.

The above scan is the oldest known catalogue circa 1858 for McKee- My journalist met the Mr. McKee and wrote, "Messr.McKee gave me the most encouragement.... They wished for a liberal sample and promised to try it and feared it would not do; but they desire to find a clay in this country that will make them independent of Europe." (I hate to say many manufacturer's imported clay to make American glassware) 

Hit the image to enlarge-




For any bloggers who are into glassware, my journal mentions the following names: Grey & Hemingray, Thomas A Potter, Sampson & Lindley, Hunnewell, Hill & Co, Huggins Bro & Anderson, Mr. N Kendall, GW Sholl & Bro, Woodward, Blakely & co (Jabez Vodrey), George S Harker, F & J McKee, Bennett & Bro, Daniel Bennett, Specker, Taylor & Bloor, Dixon Crucible & co., French, Wells & co., Haviland Bro & co, Wm Churchill Jr, Mr. Haren, American Stove Manufacturer, Samuel S White, and William Getecke.

After transcribing it, I showed it to the writer's club, they loved the penciled handwriting but didn't understand the significance of the text, because the journalist made comments that I understood what he was talking about, but it was like preaching to the choir and that's no good….so I been adding more details by my own knowledge and googled my fingers off looking for extra details without changing the voice or adding any fictional events.

The Journal's Easter egg was this salesman in the summer of 1856 went to Florence, Nebraska and sold one of the "Florence Land Co" partners a saw mill…there were 2 operational saw mills in Florence when the Arabia sank.

Here's the first few paragraphs starting at the beginning and I am asking for feedback, tell me if I succeeded to make a good story so far.….

My trunks are packed and I have the pleasure to take a trip east to visit chinaware manufactures seeking to provide them with as much kaolin they need. What’s Kaolin you ask? It is a type of mud or rather clay fit for making pottery and china. Being new to this company, I think we have been in business at least five years, maybe more. The partner's own 1,200 acres, just outside of Golconda Illinois and I am headed there to the digs, we nicked named “Kaolin” to pick up a supply of barrels to give as samples on my trip. It is my first trip east indeed and I am excited to visit places I have only read about. With pencil in hand, I plan to keep a diary and share with all willing to listen to my adventure.

September 20, 1855 Thursday
            I Left St. Louis at 6 o’clock p.m. on packet “Highflyer” and by Friday evening at seven o’clock l landed at Golconda, Illinois, Precisely five hundred and seventy-nine miles from St Louis. It is a regular trip I have taken for a while now, back and forth checking on our the crew at the dig.

September 22, 1855 Saturday
            On Saturday morning 22nd I rode out to Kaolin and found Lowe and Henry unable to work during a large portion of the two weeks I had been absent. They had been consumed [occupied] in timbering the creek front and only about 4 feet of progress made in it. Frustrated as I was, I left Lowe and Henry that afternoon demanding that they ready my barrels by tomorrow and rode over to Mr. Ferrel’s and staid [stayed] the duration of the night.
            Again the next morning I went back with a wagon to Kaolin to retrieve the barrels and found they filled boxes with 20 pounds of clay and they’ll send additional boxes to New York City by Adams Express and that way I am ample supply. In retrospect the boxes were the much better choice to carry as I go door to door since a barrel is much heavier and cumbersome.
            I thought I was surely now on my way eastward, however, fate paid me a hard blow, as upon returning that afternoon to Golconda’s wharf at five minutes past three o’clock, I found that the Packet Northerner on which I expected to take passage had just passed, not three minutes before I arrived. She was some two hours ahead of her usual time!
            Eventually, at about 10 o’clock that evening I got a cabin on the Steamboat W. S. Clifton -- a new and clean and pleasant stern wheel boat. She is the New Orleans - Cincinnati boat, run by Capt Wise, built earlier this year at Glassgo, Wisconsin and weighing 183 tons. The boat moved at a snail’s pace north on the Ohio River since the Clifton was heavily loaded and quite slow since it was pulling a barge in tow filled beyond capacity with bails of cotton recently harvested from the south At every landing the rancid smell of unprocessed cotton engulfs us on the Clifton’s decks, but this smell I distaste is gone once we resume navigation northward as the odor flows behind the steamboat. 


FOR THOSE CONCERNED I HAVE ALTERED THE ORIGINAL TEXT TOO MUCH, HERE IS A SNIPET AND THE RED SHOWS MY EDITING (per a draft kept in Feb 2010)






September 20, 1855 Thursday
I Left St. Louis at 6 o’clock p.m. on packet “Highflyer” and by Friday evening at seven o'clock l landed at Golconda, Illinois, Precisely five hundred and seventy-nine miles from St Louis.

September 22, 1855 Saturday
On Saturday morning 22nd I rode out to Kaolin and found Lowe and Henry unable to work during a large portion of the two weeks I had been absent. They had been consumed in timbering the creek front and only about 4 feet of progress made in it. Frustrated as I was, I left Lowe and Henry during the afternoon after demanding that they ready my barrels by tomorrow and rode over to Mr. Ferrel’s and staid the duration of the night. Again the next morning I went back to Kaolin to retrieve the barrels of kaolin I needed for my trip and felt calmer I was surely on my way East. Upon returning that afternoon to Golconda’s wharf at five minutes past three o'clock, I found that the Packet Northerner on which I expected to take passage had just passed, not three minutes before I arrived. She was some two hours ahead of her usual time! 

Eventually, at about 10 o'clock that evening I got a cabin on the steamboat W. S. Clifton -- a new and clean and pleasant stern wheel boat. She is the New Orleans- Cincinnati boat run by Capt Wise built earlier this year at Glassgo, Wisconsin weighing 183 tons. We moved at a snail’s pace north on the Ohio River since the Clifton was heavily loaded and quite slow pulling a barge filled with bails of cotton.
As slow as we went, we passed Shawneetown while at breakfast the next morning and arrived at Evansville just after sundown the same evening. Soon after breakfast on the next day, the 25th, the “Clifton” passed Cannelton and Hawesville. The weather is rather too warm and humid to be entirely pleasant, but nevertheless fine and the conversations aboard are good and appease my lack of patience. I have to sigh with regret since this is the anniversary of my marriage.  This day 22 years ago, September 25, 1833, I was made as happy as I could desire, so far as one of the loveliest and sweetest girls in the world could make me so.  Blessed day -- I ever hail thy return to home.