The Journal of Charles Rawn
February 25, 1841 to April 19, 1841 (Book 12)

Edited by Brenda Bretz

Charles Rawn’s style of writing does not make transcription or interpretation easy. He is stingy with the words within the individual entries and about any particular event he is recording. He rarely writes in complete sentences and provides very little detail information about the various events of the day. He abbreviates constantly, which makes it very difficult to understand what he has written. Sometimes the abbreviations have the final letter or letters of the abbreviated word written in superscript on the page; sometimes they do not. The journal has not revealed any clear pattern for this type of writing.

Rawn also uses Latin terms within his writing, most specifically when identifying dates. When he refers to a date in the previous month, he uses the Latin term "ult" or "ultimo." For a date in the current month, he uses the term "inst." Another term he uses each time he receives or sends a letter is "pd POS" and then an amount of money. This might indicate that he had to pay postage to receive the letter or postage to send the letter. It might also be a reference to a Latin verb indicating a deposit of the money enclosed with the letter. More likely it is a code of his own making to indicate that he received Payment of Service. He almost always capitalizes POS and underlines it--in the 2 ½ months of entries transcribed here there is only one instance where he indicates POS in lower case letters. This parallels his method for indicating when he is paid a fee by a client: he always capitalizes and underlines FEE and the amount. The difference between POS, if it does indicate payment of service, and FEE, is not clear.

The journal entries follow a pattern which Rawn maintains with regularity. The entry begins with the day of the month followed by the number designating the day of the week (1 =Sunday, 2=Monday, etc.) This portion of the entry is always underlined. The first entry of every left-side page of the open journal begins with the notation "day of the mo Monday day, year day of the week." If he must split a single day’s entry between two pages, which rarely happens, he makes this notation at the top of the right-side page and continues with that day’s entry.

Each entry begins with single word descriptions of the weather. Most of the entry contains work-related information: who visited him, from whom he received a letter, from whom he received payment, to whom he wrote. He cross-references many of the entries, especially those indicating a receipt of money, with his receipt and bill file. He painstakingly records in detail monetary exchanges. There seems to be a pattern of underlining monetary amounts; sometimes these are a single line and other times they are a double line. The entries also contain detailed information regarding the amount of money he "handed wife" for marketing and how much she spent on each item she bought.

When referring to particular persons he will indicate if the person is involved in a particular lawsuit, often recording the case number and the court where the case is registered. Sometimes he will indicate both the defendant and the plaintiff, but rarely does he indicate the nature of the case.

Rawn is careful to record whether he walked on a particular day, how far and with whom. During the time period covered in this transcription, he walked approximately 50 miles. He more often walks with others than he walks alone. When he walked with a man, he always recorded the full name of his walking partner and also his title, if he was an attorney. These walking partners are obviously more than simply acquaintances since he tends to walk with the same two or three gentlemen consistently. Although they were most likely his friends, he never refers to them simply by their first name. When he walks with his wife, he indicates that by writing "walked with wife." He ends each entry with how he spent his evening and what time he went to bed.

Within the entries he constantly names names. He refers to men by their first and last name, and often will include the man’s title. Sometime he will identify a gentleman by his occupation as well. He refers to some women by their full name. He always identifies his hired men and colored girl by occupation. Interestingly, he never refers to his wife by name, only as "wife." In the section transcribed, he does not refer to her by name even once. He also abbreviates first names quite often.

Almost all of Rawn’s recorded activities for the day center on his work. He indicates when he goes to court or when he visits someone to collect rent. On Sundays, however, Charles abstains from work related activities--at least he doesn’t provide any written record of working on Sundays. Each Sunday he attends church in the morning with Mother C (his mother-in-law) and in the evening with wife and sometimes with her sister or other female friends of the family. For almost every entry on a Sunday, he indicates who spoke during each service.

Rawn attended several different churches. He probably attended the Presbyterian church regularly, referring to it as "my church," and he has several entries throughout the journal recording when he paid his pew rent to the Presbyterian Church. Sometimes on Sunday he attends "his" church and sometimes he indicates his attendance at the Methodist or the Lutheran church.

I have been careful to record the words of Charles as he wrote the entries. However, for the benefit of the reader, I have taken the following liberties in displaying the text:

  • Punctuation has been inserted to separate run-on thoughts.
  • When he has abbreviated a word or a name and superscripted the last letter(s) I have indicated that by placing a hyphen in the word.
  • When words are abbreviated and might not be clear, I have placed my interpretation of the abbreviation in brackets.
  • Any parentheses around text are a duplication of his entry punctuation.
  • Parentheses around a question mark indicate my inability to decipher his writing.

The Journal

Transcriptions for this section of the journal begin February 25, 1841 and end April 19, 1841. Click on a date to begin reading.

Student Note: "20 its pair at auction in Harrisburg Lkt 3/39 Book XII [This notation is written on the inside front cover of the journal near the spine in a handwriting different from that of Charles Rawn]"

List of Names Mentioned

  • Ahicks, Danulton
  • Allen, Mary - Rawn’s "Cold" hired girl
  • Alricks, Herman, Esq. - Colleague
  • Anderson - Representative from Perry County
  • Banks, Hon. Jno. - Whig candidate for Governor
  • Baptiste, Harriet - Attended Mary Parker to office for business
  • Barnes, Rev.
  • Bell, Wm. - Store owner
  • Bend, Peter - Built oven
  • Benedict, J. W.
  • Berghous, C. S. - Seller of Pine Grove coal
  • Beryhill, John H., Esq.
  • Boas, Danl.
  • Boas, Fred K.
  • Boyd, Wm.
  • Brenizer, Mrs. Elizabeth - A widow
  • Brewster, Benj. St., Esq. - Of Philadelphia
  • Briggs, Jno. H., Esq. - His walking partner
  • Brinton, Henry W., Esq. - Of West Chester Charter Co
  • Books, Jno., Esq.
  • Brown, Tom - His hired man
  • Bucher, Judge
  • Charles - His son who is ill in February, 1841
  • Cochran, Wm. J. - Student
  • Crawford, B. Bordly, Esq. - Of Chambersburg
  • DeWees, Jacob
  • Diller, Gen. Adam - Lancaster City, Adjutant General of Pennsylvania
  • DePui, Elizabeth
  • Dougherty, Jno.
  • Douthat, Wm. H. - Of Pattonsburg, VA
  • Durben, Dr. - Preached at Methodist church
  • Eddowes, Ralpha
  • Ehrgott, Michl. - Young German client
  • Eulock, Mr. H. - Editor of State Capitol Gazette
  • Fedgwick, R. C., Esq.
  • Findlay, J. K., Esq.
  • Fisher, Geo., Esq.
  • Forste, Jno. E.
  • Fortney, C.
  • Fox, Sheriff
  • Galbraith, Hon. John
  • Galome, Michl. Ehrgott
  • Gilmore - State Treasurer
  • Gratz, Elizth. Fry
  • Gratz, Theo.
  • Gresimer, Joseph - Charles Rawn’s Philadelphia tailor
  • Grimshaw, Isabella
  • Haldeman, Jacob M. - Holds Rawn’s mortgage
  • Harford, Mr. & Mrs.
  • Haves, Miss - Prospective teacher for common school
  • Hemphill, Joseph Esq.
  • Henbeck, Mr.
  • Henlock, Wm.
  • Henry, Elizabeth a.k.a Isabella Walker - "Black" or "yellow" girl
  • Henson, Jon
  • Hicks, Saml. - Subtenant under Mr. Schaeffer
  • Hieskell, W. B., Esq.
  • Higgins, Rev.
  • Hutman, H. D.
  • Jauss, J. G.
  • Jenkin, Judge - Of Perry County
  • Kelly, Dudley - Rosanna’s husband who has pleurisy
  • Kelly, Rosanna - Poor woman
  • Kingsford, Mrs.
  • Layng, George W., Esq.
  • Learing, John - Seller of Wilkes-Barre coal
  • Leiter, Jacob
  • Letzel, Jacob
  • Lewis, Jas. L. - Of Philadelphia
  • Lilghman, Hon. Wm. - Deceased
  • Lingle, David
  • Mar, Jno.
  • Mattzried, Conrad
  • McClintock, Professor - Preached at Methodist Church
  • McClure, Wm., Esq. - Partner on some legal cases
  • McCulloh, Tho. G., Esq.
  • Miller, John - Wheat flour salesman
  • Nathans, Betsy - Soap maker
  • Neuer, Geo. - Meat salesman
  • Parker, Mary - Black girl
  • Parkhill, Wm.
  • Peacock, James
  • Pearson, Senator
  • Philips, Jno.
  • Pilkington, Mr.
  • Pool, D., Esq.
  • Price, Eli K.
  • Pollock, E. M.
  • Porter, Gov.
  • Rawn, George - Of Philadelphia
  • Rawn, Jacob
  • Rawn, Juliana - Charles’ sister
  • Rehrer, Mr.
  • Reun, David
  • Roberts, Jno.
  • Rutherford, Dr. Wm. W. - Family doctor
  • Sales, Esq.
  • Seiler, Christn., Esq.
  • Servis, Jos. S., Jr. - Of Philadelphia
  • Sharp, Nelson
  • Shellehamer, Fred-k
  • Elizabeth, Shunks - Is named separately
  • Small, Jno.
  • Snyder, Thos.
  • Sprigman, Henry
  • Spunile, Rev.
  • Sullivan, Senator
  • Toby
  • Trimble, Jas.
  • Verbeke, Dr.
  • Walker, Isabella a.k.a. Elizabeth Henry - Black or yellow girl
  • Wallace, Wm., MD - Of Washington City
  • Walter, H., Esq. - Person to whom pew rent for Presbyterian Church was paid
  • Wells, Rep.
  • White, J. Martin
  • Wier, Jno. A.
  • Wilson

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PDF Icon Book 12: 1841-02-25 to 1841-04-19