The Journal of Charles Rawn
February 19, 1846 to March 14, 1846 (Book 17)

Edited by Elizabeth Sparks

During this brief period, we are afforded a glimpse of a man in middle age, established in his practice, and settled into the routine of daily life amongst his family and friends. We see in these pages a careful man with a keen eye for observing details in his financial affairs. He meticulously recorded the money spent by his household for goods ranging from staples, to clothes, to books, to candies. Rawn was a man who was well connected in Harrisburg social circles, counting among his friends during this time the Governor of Pennsylvania and many local businessmen. He made a note of either horseback riding, walking, or exercising in an upstairs room for 16 of the 24 days. This is remarkable, considering that, according to Rawn’s records, the weather at this time of the year was not always conducive to outdoor activity.

Rawn’s social life was not quite as active as it had been during those days of his youth as described by Margo Groff in her work with his early journal. Most nights he was in bed by 9 or 10 p.m. after an evening at home. Occasionally he entertained a guest during the early evening hours at his residence, but within this 24 day period he attended only two parties at night, one at the home of E. M. Pollock and one at the home of Governor Shunk. He spent time visiting friends with his wife (who he refers to in this part of journal only as "wife") and attended church with his wife and sometimes with his son, Charles. Only a passing reference was made to his daughter who had been treated in Philadelphia for an undisclosed illness. Rawn twice lamented the loss of their "girl," Susan Peck, as he mentioned having to help "wife" with the baking. Other routine activities included reading and answering correspondences (although he never records their specific content), paying bills, and visiting the State Library.

During this time period, two events were described by Rawn that were out of the ordinary scope of his daily life. One involved a discrepancy over payment of a bill to a doctor who had apparently treated Rawn’s daughter at some point. Dr. Heber Chase was going to bring suit against Rawn and secured a lawyer, as did Rawn himself. At Rawn’s suggestion the suit was settled for a sum, and Chase immediately offered to again treat Rawn’s daughter, this time free of charge. Rawn’s desire to settle this matter before it came to a deposition and a full-blown suit was, as he said, "for the sake of his feelings as well as my own wishes," and was not discussed further.

A second event of note was Rawn’s attendance at the funeral of the two-year-old child of his friend, Herman Alricks. He described the care he took in cleaning and preparing his horses and his carriage to loan to Alricks during this funeral service and at the cemetery. A week later we read that he visited the Alricks family with his wife. Again, there is no detail given about the child, the death, the funeral, or the feelings of his friends during this time.

At the beginning of each entry Rawn recorded the date of the particular month in which he was writing, and a number corresponding to the day of the week, Sunday is day 1, Monday day 2, and so forth. I have transcribed spelling and punctuation exactly as Rawn recorded it, mistakes and all, and I have underlined wherever he has underlined. I have substituted the symbol "&" when Rawn used another symbol. This is because my computer has no symbol resembling the one he used so casually and so frequently. I have made every effort to decipher his frequently illegible handwriting, but when this was not possible and I didn’t want to risk misinterpreting a word and possibly influencing another’s reading of the text, I replaced the missing word with [?].

The Journal

Transcriptions for this section of the journal begin February 19, 1846 and end March 14, 1846. Click on a date to begin reading.

List of Names Mentioned

  • Alricks, Hamilton - Brother of Herman Alricks
  • Alricks, Herman and Fanny - Herman was fellow investor with Rawn in the Harrisburg Savings Institutions; Rawn attended their child’s funeral
  • Bailey, Miss Sarah - Teacher
  • Barclay, S. M.
  • Beck, Peter - Client
  • Bratton, Mr. B.
  • Bruheker, Mary and Ann - Thos. Lingle was their guardian
  • Buehler, Henry - Business associate of Rawn
  • Busdale, C.
  • Butler, Bill - Paid by Rawn for cleaning carriage
  • Chase, Dr. Heber - Doctor who threatened Rawn with a legal suit regarding payment of the bill for daughter’s treatment in Philadelphia
  • Clendenin, Mary Scott - Rawn’s sister-in-law, acted as messenger for Chase
  • Curtis, Bill - Paid by Rawn for cleaning horse
  • Dole, Mrs. - Attended funeral of Alrick’s child with Rawn
  • Elder, Dr. - Lectured on temperance
  • Eslinger, Miss
  • Fesler, Mr. - Client
  • Hannahs, Mrs.
  • Henry, G. B. - Delivered money to McCord for Rawn
  • Hoffman, Mr. - Sold wheat to Rawn
  • Hubley, Barny
  • Hubley, Mrs. - Stayed with Rawn’s children while he and his wife attended a party
  • Jordan, Mr. - Counsel for Chase in suit against Rawn
  • Kaull, Mr. J.
  • Kean, Miss (Kane) - Attended funeral of Alrick’s child with Rawn
  • Kimble, Mr. R.
  • Lingle, Thos. - Client
  • McClure, Mr. William - President of Harrisburgs Savings Institution, counsel for Rawn in regard to Chase’s suit
  • McCord, Lawr. - Rawn paid him for a mitten order
  • McKeevers, J. K.
  • Millers, Mr.
  • Peck, Susan - One time "girl" no longer employed by Rawn
  • Pollock, E. M. - Hosted a party attended by Rawn and his wife
  • Rahn, Judge
  • Rawn, D. - Rawn’s brother
  • Rawn, Elizabeth (Beth) - Rawn’s daughter
  • Rawn, Juliann - Rawn’s sister
  • Roads, Chas. - Client
  • Sanders - Mended shoes for Rawn’s wife
  • Shaffner, Mrs. Rachl.
  • Shearer, Jos. - Tailor of Rawn
  • Shoop, George - Sold butter and hay to Rawn
  • Shunk, Governor - Relative, friend, and frequent riding partner for Rawn
  • Snyder, Ch.
  • Springman, Solomon - Bookbinder
  • Thompson, Walker
  • Utz, George - Handyman employed by Rawn to do work around the house

Works Consulted

Eggert, Gerald G. Harrisburg Industrializes; the Coming of Factories to an American Community. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993. 32.

Egle, William Henry. History of the Counties of Dauphin and Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Biological and Genealogical. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1883.

Egle, William Henry. Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. Chambersburg: J.M. Runk and Company, 1896.

Groff, Margo. "A Lawyer’s Life: The Journal of Charles C. Rawn, of Harrisburg Pennsylvania, 1831-1832." Master’s Production, December 1996.

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PDF Icon Book 17: 1846-02-19 to 1846-03-14