The Journal of Charles Rawn
August 27, 1831 to March 27, 1832 (Book 2)

Edited by Margo C. Groff

For this master’s thesis, I have used the second volume of Charles C. Rawn's more than thirty-volume journal to look at the patterns of his social life, his circle of male and female friends, his legal activities, and the range of his correspondence, as all those matters are revealed in his extremely consistent and regular journal entries. In tabulating the cycle of some of his activities, I used as a model the research by Michael Zuckerman on William Byrd's diary.1

In looking at the secret diary of William Byrd, Zuckerman used extensive tabulations of language and frequencies of behavior to analyze Byrd's relationships with his immediate family and those for whom he was responsible on his plantations. He examined a touchstone event--the death of Byrd's young son--and attempted to understand Byrd's apparent indifference to this event in terms of Byrd's perhaps broader view of "family." In this examination of only one of Rawn's many journals, I will use a similar method of tabulation in an effort to understand his social patterns, legal activities, range of correspondence, and circle of friends. For some of the tabulations in this analysis, I will look at two different month-long samples, August 27 to September 27, 1831 and February 1 to March 1, 1832.

The journal itself is a six and one-quarter inch by eight-inch notebook with a brown and beige marbleized cover. Labeled on the brown leather spine with the number "2," the journal has hard-cardboard covers. On closer examination, one sees that someone has written "Charlie" on the back of the leather spine, 3/4 of the way from the top. As one goes to open the journal, one sees the name "Rawn" written five times in random spacing near the top of the cover. He was twenty-nine years old when he began this volume of his journal, which spans seven months from August 27, 1831 to March 27, 1832. His journal-keeping coincided roughly with the beginning of his career as a lawyer; his subsequent journals continued until the 1860s.

A sample page shows the consistent format of his daily entries: the month near the top of the page, followed by the day of the month and the day of the week underlined, beginning with Sunday as 1, Monday as 2 and so forth. Next is a comment--usually upbeat--about the weather and a brief entry about his daily activities and the people with whom he had contact. He was unfailingly regular in writing his entries and does not miss writing something for each day in the seven-month span of this early journal. Whether he wrote a few entries at the same time after missing a day or two can not be determined; he was, however, meticulous about writing something for each day.

When Rawn began this second journal he was a lawyer newly admitted to the bar. He was the son of David Rawn and Elizabeth Cheyney, and after his father's death when he was seven, the family moved to his mother's family farm in Thornbury, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In the journal, we see extensive mention of his sister, Julia Ann Rawn, in the frequent correspondence he conducted with her; he wrote her twelve letters during the seven months of the journal, starting with September 16. While these letters often discussed the home news from Thornbury--she kept him informed of weddings, births and deaths--they also related to business. Julia Ann appeared to assume the role of Charles' informal banker as she frequently sent him money from the sale of some of his land.2

Charles C. Rawn was educated at the West Chester Academy, and then came to Harrisburg in 1826 where he began the study of law with Francis R. Shunk, a relative who was later to become Governor of Pennsylvania.3 Shunk's mother was a sister of Rawn's father. Several other members of the Shunk family figure prominently in Charles' daily life, as noted in his journal.

Rawn was admitted to the Dauphin County Bar on January 18, 1831, earlier in the year that this journal begins. He went on to a full life as a successful lawyer in Harrisburg, and was also active with the army board during the Civil War, before his death on December 18, 1865. According to Egle, "he was an earnest antagonist of human slavery, and during the days of the Fugitive Slave law was the eloquent pleader in behalf of the poor black."4

In describing Dauphin County Underground Railroad activity, Charles Blockson mentions Rawn's later link to the abolitionist movement: "Although black and white abolitionists worked together, there are no surviving records to indicate that blacks were members of the Harrisburg Anti-Slavery Society. Charles Rawn and Mordecai McKinney, two abolitionist attorneys, represented fugitive slaves in court."5

The M. McKinney first mentioned in Rawn's journal on October 14 is very likely Mordecai, since according to the 1839 Harrisburg Directory, he had a law office near the courthouse at the same time that Rawn had an office on the east side of Market Square.6 No glimpse of that later commitment to defend black fugitives appears in this early journal. There is only one mention of a person of color, on December 3, 1831, when he described a man who helps to break up coal and put it away.

Rawn, by any standards, was a social creature. Frequent mention is made of his circle of friends, both men and women, with whom he shared parties, walks, gig-riding, outings to the theater and the circus, and regular church attendance. One young woman in particular, Frances P. Clendenin, the daughter of Joseph Clendenin and Elizabeth Slough, first makes her appearance by name in his journal on Friday, September 9, 1831. Rawn subsequently mentioned her frequently, often identifying her simply as F.P.C. Frances later became his wife on May 25, 1833 and mother of their seven children.7

A twentieth-century sensibility might be tempted to look in this journal for a growing romance between Charles C. Rawn and Frances, but it is often difficult to find. He was surrounded by friends almost every night of the year; F.P.C. was only one of a number of women friends. (I noted only three nights of solitude in one August 27 to September 27, 1831, sample month of his nightly activities and only one in the second sample month of February 1 to March 1, 1832).

His journal entries are generally laconic and almost devoid of any discussion of feelings of any kind. We do see, however, what one might construe as the faint beginnings of a courtship: by the 31st of October, he was going to church regularly in her company. By the end of the journal, he planned to give her a book of poems and mentions another gift he gave her.8

His circle of friends was a wide one, and he mentioned other women friends as well, especially a number of young women he called "The P.O. Ladies." The Post Office on Market Square, presided over by James Peacock, the Postmaster, was apparently a lively gathering place most evenings for Rawn's group of young lawyers and businessmen, their sisters and women friends.9 It is not clear if they actually gathered in the post office itself, in the Postmaster's quarters above or in nearby rooms.

Besides F.P. Clendenin, he also mentioned Miss Mary Scott Clendenin, Mrs. Clendenin, Miss Elizabeth Peacock, Elizabeth Wilson, M. Fahnestock, and Miss Gibson in his circle of women friends. Frequently in company with one or more of these women, he attended various churches, went sleigh-riding and dancing, and made social calls, which also included condolence calls or attending funerals. In no cases does he give the reader any clues about their personalities, their ages, or their fathers' occupations. All we know is that they shared a common interest with him in parties and church-going.

Besides James Peacock, at whose home he visited constantly, and Francis R. Shunk, with whom he studied law, the other men in his immediate circle of friends included A. Boyd Hamilton, J. Weidman, Dr. McKinney, S. Shock (sometimes spelled Shoch), George Ball, George W. Rawn, and James K. Findlay, some of whom are mentioned more than ten times during the course of the seven months of this journal.10

In addition to the social activities he shared with women and with his male friends, he engaged in sports such as walking, horse-back riding, pitching quoits (a game of aim involving throwing rings at a peg in the ground), pigeon-shooting, and marching with a military group, not to mention occasionally drinking some wine late into the evening.

Although he says nothing about his boarding house and where he sleeps at night (I found only one reference in the entire journal where he mentions he slept in his room: August 29), there is almost daily mention of going to the Peacocks, which he abbreviated as the P. O. (for Post Office, since Peacock was the Postmaster), or to Shunks, which one guesses was the Shunk family home. He was very involved in the Shunk family life, not only through his law studies, but also personally in social activities and at less felicitous times when, for example, he helped Mrs. Shunk and some others sit up with a sick child (September 3, 1831).

In analyzing his daily social life for two different sample months of the journal, August 27 to September 27 and February 1 to March 1, 1831, one finds that during the first thirty-one day period, he visited the Peacocks during some part of an evening eighteen times, about every other day. He called on the Shunk family a little less often: thirteen times during that period. Also during this time frame, he went to church every Sunday, often in the evening and always with others, and he noted only three nights between August 27-September 27 when he seemed to be alone or at least did not mention going somewhere with someone.11

During the second sample month examined for this same sort of social patterning, February 1 to March 1, 1832, he again spent considerable time at the Peacocks: twenty times in thirty days. Again, he attended church each Sunday and mentioned visits to the Shunks on four of the thirty days. As an extension perhaps of the winter social season of parties and balls that began in January, he noted attending five other parties during this month, including the one on February 22. During this sample month, there was mention of only one night when he was alone in his office, March 13.12

In addition to his circle of friends, his journal introduced us to a number of well-known figures, notably Governor George Wolf, and, at a special party on Thursday, January 26, James Buchanan, Minister (Ambassador) to Russia. Judges and attorneys from other cities in Pennsylvania and from other states are also mentioned. Although he did not mention world events in his journal, one gathers from his social contacts that his range was not limited and reached well beyond the immediate Harrisburg area.

So too is his correspondence wide-ranging. An examination of the radius of his correspondence-- much of it in relation to his legal activities, but some of it personal, shows that he wrote to people in a diverse geographic area: frequently to Pennsylvania cities such as Thornbury, Philadelphia, Halifax, Westchester, Marietta, Lebanon, Carlisle, Manheim, Downingtown and Pittsburgh, but also to the City of Washington (not yet the District of Columbia); New York; Virginia; Princeton, N.J.; and New Orleans, Louisiana.

The frequency of letters to his sister Julia Ann Rawn has been noted. His next most frequent correspondence during this period was to Philadelphia: to merchants about cloth, bills, boots; to clients for whom he was doing business, such as Captain John Bloomfield; and to the publishers, Woodward and Spragg, from whom he ordered copies of the Saturday Courier for a number of colleagues in Harrisburg. References to Woodward and Spragg were made nine times in the seven-month period: Aug. 30, Sept. 22, Nov. 2, Nov. 17, Nov. 24, Dec. 7, Dec. 28, Jan. 10, and March 26. In each letter to the publishers, he sent for a copy of the Saturday Courier on behalf of someone in Harrisburg.13

As a new lawyer recently admitted to the bar, Rawn spent considerable time doing his work and writing about his legal activities in some detail in his journal. In analyzing the frequency of his journal entries that refer to the law, one notes that over the two-hundred and fourteen days of this journal, he wrote about some kind of legal activity on one-hundred and eight days or almost exactly 50% of his time.

His legal activity per week or month varied widely. From late August to late September he noted only two entries a week referring to legal work (9/31 days, or 29%). From late September through late October, the activity increased to 16/31 mentions or 51.6% . From Oct. 28 - Nov. 27, it increased to 21/31 mentions (67.7%).

In early November, he mentioned doing legal work for ten straight days in a row, including one Sunday: Nov. 7-16 have daily entries about legal activity. Subsequent patterning is as follows:

Nov. 28- Dec. 2717/31 mentions, or 54.8%
Dec. 28- Jan. 2714/31 mentions, or 45.1%

As the regular term of court began in January, 1832 (he mentioned it on January 16) the record of his level of activity rose slightly again during the Jan. 28 to Feb. 27 time frame to 18/31 or 58.0% , with non-legal days being the exception for several weeks in early February.

Between Feb. 28 and March 27, he noted doing legal work on 13/31 days (41.9%), which may or may not have been affected by the fact that the Circuit Court "commenced," a fact he noted on February 27th. On March 14, he noted the adjournment of the Court of Common Pleas and the Orphan's Court.

He did land searches, drew up deeds, witnessed notes, wrote up powers of attorney, and was involved in arbitration, surveys and conveyances. He writes about a Scire Faccias (Nov. 8) and "applied a Praecipe for Foreyen attachment" (Dec. 5).14

In addition to his land use activities, he appeared in court and mentioned activities of the Orphan's Court (Sept. 12), the Court of Common Pleas (Oct. 17) and the Circuit Court (Nov. 21). He also mentioned defending a client in a robbery case and an Assault and Battery, so we know he argued in court during the course of this journal. For a more detailed listing of the legal activities he mentions in his journal, see the end of this essay.15

Besides arguing cases in court, he also attended court as a spectator for the February 1832 trial of Judge Ross. He mentioned going to court daily from February 6 to 11 to watch this trial. As a lawyer and colleague, he would have a professional interest in the court proceedings; he may have had a more personal interest in the case as well since one of his circle of friends was a Miss Ross and another friend, Mr. Burnside, assisted in the trial.

Going to court and arguing in court defined Charles C. Rawn very much as a man and lawyer of his times. According to Lawrence Friedman, most lawyers of that time tried cases: "Courtroom advocacy, both East and West, was the main road to prestige, the main way to get recognized as a lawyer or a leader of the bar. It was surely the only way for a lawyer, as a lawyer, to become famous. . . . Eloquence in court gained attention, and attention gained clients."16

In addition to the necessity of trying cases in court, Rawn was also caught up in attending court as a spectator sport. Friedman writes: "In the days before radio and television, the public appreciated a good trial and a good courtroom speech. In the provinces, when the court arrived at the county seat, court day was an occasion; trials and courtroom business broke up the monotony of life."17

Rawn's legal education appears to have followed a fairly typical pattern of the day: he served a kind of apprenticeship by studying law under Francis Shunk before being admitted to the bar shortly before the beginning of this journal. (As noted right before the transcription of actual text, the first part of his journal included a long list of legal definitions, which might have served as a kind of ready-reference for his practice. See note 31 for listing). We do not, however, know much about the content of his studies, nor do we know if his training included a strong background in the classics, which would have been typical of lawyers in the earlier colonial period.

Robert A. Ferguson, in Law and Letters in American Culture, described this earlier classical training of lawyers as "part of a now-forgotten configuration of law and letters that dominated American literary aspirations from the Revolution until the fourth decade of the nineteenth century." He goes on to say that "half of the important critics of the day trained for law, and attorneys controlled many of the important journals. Belles lettres societies furnished the major basis of cultural concern for post-Revolutionary America; they depended heavily on the legal profession for their memberships. Lawyers also wrote many of the country's first important novels, plays, and poems."18

Ferguson traces a shift in the training and preparation of lawyers from a classical education, with its attendant literary traditions, to a more practical kind of technical expertise, which was occurring by the 1830s in response to a larger body of cases and greater specialization. "By 1850 the expansive post-Revolutionary lawyer, the courtroom orator who relied on general jurisprudence, belles-lettres, and the classics, was an anachronism."19 Rawn, then, was on the cusp of change in legal education.

No mention of his legal training appears in his journal, nor do we have a sense of the kinds of things he liked to read beyond a few legal documents, and presumably, the Saturday Couriers he ordered for others. He does refer to borrowing books from the library of his mentor, Francis Shunk; on March 17, he borrows The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scot and The Pirate. On another occasion, he got a copy of The Poetical Works of Walter Scott to give to his future wife.

One does sense the great importance he attached to his law books, however, when he wrote in his journal for February 15, 1832 that " Mr.Sprigman is Labelling with my name my Law Books today."

Whether as a classicist or as a man of more pedestrian tastes, we do know that Rawn was quite fond of attending the theater, as noted in frequent attendance at plays in late August and September (August 29, and September 2, 3, 5 and 7). In some ways, he fits a description that Samuel Haber gives in his book The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900:

While the workday world of growing numbers of Americans was becoming increasingly subjected to discipline and restriction, the lawyer's employment remained a happy mixture of work and play, with ample scope for wit, whim, gaudy melodrama, and entertainments. It also afforded a rough-and -tumble camaraderie at the bar that many found so appealing, and which later would be commemorated in the histories of bench and bar of so many diverse cities, counties and states."20

In his journal, we see a young man of spirit and enterprise beginning his law practice, and behaving rather typically for someone of his background and training. While fun-loving, he was also committed to the law, and he fits the first part of a description that Max Bloomfield gives of a 1830s fictional lawyer:

He sets out in the most methodical way to impress the public with his usefulness, employing all of the preferred strategies for self-advancement to be found in the law magazines of the 1830s. Even before his admission to the bar he regularly attends political and cultural gatherings, delivers addresses before the literary societies of the city, and writes a series of articles on politics for the newspapers.21

Rawn can also be viewed as fairly typical in the kinds of law he practiced during the scope of this journal. As noted at the end of this essay, his practice was wide-ranging and not limited to just one kind of law: he searched out deeds, he drew up powers of attorney as well as defending a client on assault and battery charges. His practice touched on personal business as well as on politics. Samuel Haber describes the period from 1830-1880 as a time when lawyers as a profession prospered in this same variety of tasks:

The American lawyer combined the barrister's work of public argument with the country attorney's employments touching owner- ship and transfer of ownership. Moreover, the sporadic and migratory nature of his work as well as his forensic skills fitted him for the embroilments of the legislature and stump-speaking politics. In addition his conveyancing skills gave him entry into the world of business. He was present at the birth, crisis, and death of most business enterprises, and he was on tap for their day-to-day operations. If this commercial work rarely led to fame, it some- times led to fortune. The lawyer in this era, therefore, was often an accessory and even a principal in politics and business, and he could assume the democratic and capitalistic authority and honor of public office and wealth.22

Wealth, however, may have been a good way off for Charles C. Rawn. During the course of this early journal, he kept track of what he was paid for some of his services. While the journal does not afford a comprehensive view of his income and how to translate it into a measure of his life style, he noted the following receipts:

*letter to Washington [much legal activity was by letter]
[May 23]12 1/2 cents
*search at the land office [June 7] 2.50 dollars
*received for professional services [Sept. 8] 2.50
*pay for his services [Oct. 14]3.00
*recording power of attorney [Oct. 22]1.62
*paid for two drafts of surveys of land [date?]1.00
*received from Jones for profess. services 3.00
[Dec. 21]
*received on executing a conveyance [Dec.31]10.00

Although we do not know from him what many things cost in 1831, his journal gives us glimpses of a few everyday costs: In May he paid Mrs. Cuvzons 5 cents for five pieces of washing, 6 cents for six, etc. so a penny an item. Besides the 12.5 cents he paid for postage, we know he paid $1.00 for two theater box tickets (August 29) and paid A.J. Jones, merchant of Harrisburg $2.25 for two shirt "bosoms" (September 13), and that he bought a pair of gloves for 75 cents (October 26). For $6.00, he engaged Mr. Resch on September 27 to teach him German one hour per day for seventy-two days.

How his legal income compared to other lawyers of the time, however, is difficult to say. In her book The Country Lawyer in New England 1790-1840, Catherine Fennelly talks about a lawyer's income as ranging from $200.00 to $950.00 per year. The man she describes, John McClellan, a country lawyer and part-time farmer, derived only part of his income from the law, and his charges varied according to the length and complexity of the work he was doing. She quotes the following fees: " between sixty-seven cents and $1.39 for writing a deed, $1.00 for drawing up an agreement, fifty cents to $2.00 for a will, $1.00 for advice about a dispute."23

Again, in the variety of his legal activities, Rawn seems fairly typical of his colleagues of the time, and while he enjoyed an easy camaraderie with his fellow lawyers, he practiced law as an individual, which was the trend, according to Daniel H. Calhoun in Professional Lives in America. After about 1850, more lawyers formed partnerships and practiced in firms, "through which they could handle varied business more efficiently, and through which they did in fact increase considerably the degree of concentration."24

Typical as well was his notice in a local paper, advertising his services: An ad in the Pennsylvania Reporter for September 2, 1831 announced the location of his law office and that he did "agency business generally, (consistent with his profession,) and in the Land Office particularly...."25 Here is an example of the beginning of specialization that according to Calhoun became the more common practice after 1819.26

While Rawn in this early journal may not yet be in Haber's phrase "a principal in politics," closely aligned with his legal activities noted in the journal were a number of political activities that he described. In late August, 1831, he noted the meeting to elect delegates; he was chosen secretary to the Convention. In September, he mentioned a meeting of General and State Administration men. On Oct. 4, he attended a Commitee meeting of the North Ward of which "J.O. Burnside was chair and myself Secretary."

On several occasions, he noted a meeting of the Committee of Vigilance (more completely described on Oct. 8 as the Democratic General Committee of Vigilance), usually at Wallace's Hotel. On Oct. 10, he attended a "very large Jackson Committee meeting" at Nagle's where a resolution was offered that two attorneys should be appointed to attend to disputed votes. The next day he heard a contest between the "Anti-Masons and the Democrats and Wolf Republicans." Not until March was there another reference to a political activity, the election for Burgess Council on March 16.

His activity with a military parade group, the Harrisburg Greys, combined sport and politics. He seemed more proud of his uniform (and what he paid for the various parts of it), of the drills and of the parades involving this group than of his successes in court, and he mentioned the group on seven occasions.27

Like most journal writers, Rawn does not mention a great many of the ordinary, commonplace details of everyday life. He does not mention food at all or where or when he takes his regular meals or much about his sleeping habits or companions in bed, if he had them. Only a few times does he mention any personal illness--colds or having to take "anti-bilious pills."

Rarely does his writing give any hints of humor or of his feelings about events or people. Only once does he appear to make any sort of joke or show any amusement: On December 7, after being at the Peacocks, he leaves before nine o'clock "to give the ladies an opportunity of unrestrainedly enjoying their own talk [ his underlining], which there seemed good reason to presume was not calculated for the ears of gentlemen---."

One gets the sense of two very separate spheres for men and women of that era. Certain activities were in the company of women--dancing, sleigh-riding, going to church--while other activities were strictly for men: drinking beer, hiking and hunting, or talking late into the night.

Only fleetingly do we have a sense that he may have a growing friendship with one of the young women of his circle. On February 3, he mentioned having "a most pleasing sleigh ride," which by his use of an adjective was an exception to his usual reportage and might mean it was an evening of some significance to him, as we realize it was: his future wife was among the party of sleigh-riders on that occasion.

Mary-Jo Kline in her Guide to Documentary Editing entreats editors to make emendations that "will least distort" the source, a goal to which I aspired.28 In transcribing this hand-written journal, I made every effort to decipher all Charles Rawn's words, to duplicate his spelling and punctuation, and to provide as clear a transcription as possible. As noted earlier, his dating system was to begin a journal entry with the day of the month and the day of the week by number--Sunday was day 1, Monday, day 2, etc. He would often write out the month and the day at the top of the page if a break in the journal entry came at the end of the previous page, but for the most part, the daily entries were denoted by an underlined date: 28 1, for example. For ease in reading, I have chosen to eliminate some of the references to dates that occur in the middle of the typed transcription (the word "continued" specifically) to maintain the flow of the text. I have also chosen to type the entries for each day in block form, rather than duplicating the exact number of words he used in each line, or his end of line hyphenation.

Rawn used underlining frequently; counter to some editorial procedure, I included them because they give a sense of the emphasis he placed on the underlined names or events. When they were done, whether at the time of the writing of each daily entry or afterward, is difficult to determine, but judging by the thickness of some of the lines, the underlining was probably not done as the words were being written.

For the most part, Rawn's handwriting was not too difficult to decipher. For those parts I could not make out, brackets are used to indicate omitted letters or words or confusing or illegible phrases.


1 - Michael Zuckerman, “William Byrd’s Family,” Perspectives in American History, ed. Donald Fleming, Volume XII (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), pp. 255-311.

2 - Following the September 16 letter, Charles wrote his sister Julia Ann on September 22, September 30, October 5, October 20, November 2, November 28, December 1, January 3, January 20, February 20, and March 26.

3 - William Henry Egle, History of the Counties of Dauphin and Lebanon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Biological and Genealological (Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1883), 529.

4 - Egle, p. 529.

5 - Charles L. Blockson, The Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania (Jacksonville: Flame International, 1981), p. 77.

6 - P. Sturtevant, The Harrisburg Directory and Stranger’s Guide, with a sketch of the first settlement of Harrisburg (Harrisburg: printed by the author, 1839), p. 25.

7 - William Henry Egle, Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania (Chambersburg, PA: J. M. Runk and Co., 1896), p. 940.

8 - On February 21, 1832, on the eve of a “splendid ball,” he presented her with a reticule, with no particulars, though if one were looking for signs of romance, one might be inclined to read into the gift of a small purse something special that she could carry at the ball.

9 - Directory, p. 22.

10 - The end of this essay has a listing of all the people mentioned in this section of the journal.

11 - The three nights he was alone were August 29, August 31, and September 26.

12 - Parties in February included a sleighing party on February 3, a large party at Mrs. Haldeman’s on February 15, another at Mrs. Leslie’s on February 16, and another there on February 29, following the “splendid ball” at Matthew Wilson’s hotel on February 22.

13 - Frank Luther Mott in his A History of American Magazines, 1741-1850, Volume I (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 355, makes only a passing reference to the Saturday Courier. We get a somewhat clearer sense of this Philadelphia literary magazine from the book edited by John Grier Varner, Edgar Allan Poe and the Philadelphia Saturday Courier (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia, 1933). In note one, iii, we learn that this weekly journal probably first appeared on April 2, 1831, and that it was published by Nelson Woodward and William Spragg. The journal held a contest that first year in which a “prize of one hundred dollars was to be given for the best American tale submitted.”

14 - According to Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, Scire Faccias (Latin for “do you cause to know”) is defined as a judicial writ founded upon some matter of record and requiring the party proceeded against to show cause why the record should not be enforced, annulled, or vacated; also the proceeding so instituted. Praecipe (Latin imperative of praecipere, to give rules or precepts) is any of various writs commanding a person to do something or to appear and show cause why he should not. Praecipe’s definition comes from the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language.

15 - According to his own descriptions in the journal, not surprisingly, much of his correspondence touch on legal matters. Although outside the range of this thesis, and examination of the content of Rawn’s letter would be a valuable contribution to an understanding of his practice and his place in Harrisburg’s legal society.

16 - Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law, Second Edition (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985), p. 312.

17 - Friedman, p. 312.

18 - Robert A. Ferguson, Law and Letters in American Culture (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 5.

19 - Ferguson, pp. 200-201.

20 - Samuel Haber, “The Egalitarian Interrugnum, 1830-1880,” The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), p. 112.

21 - Maxwell Bloomfield, American Lawyers in a Changing Society, 1776-1876 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976), p. 178.

22 - Haber, pp. 109-110.

23 - Catherine Fennelly, The Country Lawyer in New England, 1790-1840 (Sturbidge, MA: Old Sturbridge Village Booklet Series, 1968), pp. 42-43.

24 - Daniel H. Calhoun, “Branding Iron and Retrospect,” in Professional Lives in America; Structure and Aspiration, 1750-1850 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965), p. 78.

25 - Notice of his legal practice appeared in the September 2, 1831 edition of the Pennsylvania Reporter.

26 - Calhoun, p. 82.

27 - His first mention of the group was on November 12, 1831, when he became a member and was elected second lieutenant in the group. Subsequent mentions of his activity with the group are on December 27 (drill), December 31 (parade), January 28, 1832 (parade), February 22 (target firing and a procession), March 3 (meeting of officers), and March 24 (parade of three companies).

28 - Mary-Jo Kline, A Guide to Documentary Editing (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), p. 90.

Text Preceeding Journal Entries

Page one on the right looks like the beginnings of an account book. In brown ink in elegant cursive writing, Rawn wrote:

New Account With Mrs.Kevzens [spelling of name is difficult to read; also spelled Cuvzons] My Washerwoman commenced on the 11th of May A D 1831 Rawn

May11 5 Pieces5Nov 21. Monday 1831
18 [crossed out)Josiah (waiter) began to make fire
18 3 pieces 5 collars4in my office-----
259 -9
June15 -5
______Begin Again __________
7thSix pieces6
14Seven - Do.[?]7

On the next page he wrote his name in l/2 inch letters, a signature with a flourish:

C. C. Rawn
Sep 5. 1831

On the next right-hand page, he began fifty pages of legal notes, a kind of ready-reference section, detailing nineteen crimes, their definitions, and citing references to English law and to the U.S. Constitution. He also quoted statutes, and listed punishments. Occasionally he gave examples of a case and its outcome. His calligraphy for each heading was distinctive and varied (each new topic was lettered in a different script). My interests were in examining the main body of the journal; a legal scholar, however would find his list of particular interest for insight on the reference material of a young lawyer of the 1830s.

The legal definitions are followed by two more pages of accounts, and the body of his second journal, which began on August 27, 1831:


Capt John Bloomfield
1831 On acct with C.C.Rawn
May To Postage on a letter this day written by me to J Nourse in Washington on his business 12 ½
19th To Postage on Return letter from Nourse on same 12 ½
23rd To Postage on a Letter to Benjamin Smith Esqr. of Washington upon business 12 ½
To Postage and Pennypost on a Return letter from Benjn Smith Esqr. 14 ½
June 7th To Postage on a Letter this day to John Nourse as above upon Capt " business 12 ½
To Search with him in the Land Office-- 2.50
Oct " 17 To cash paid in Land Office for him for 2 Searches one down stairs the other up-- .50
[In left-hand margin next to the above entry, he wrote he was present]
Capt. John Bloomfield Dr. to C.C. Rawn. Acct. Continued.
Oct 17 To my Services making Searches in Land office 2.50
21st To payment made to James Alricks Esqr. by me for Captain Bloomfield's acknowledgement of Power of Attorney to me 12 ½
22nd. To cash paid by me to R. Pool Register and Recorder of Dauphin Co.y for Recording power of Attorney from Margaret Spard [?] of Phil." to Capt.n. John Bloomfield 1.62
Oct: 26th. REC (d on the above acct.-. the amt. of all excepting my charge for Services. 2.89 ½
27th I Paid in the Land Office this morning for Bloomfield .25
28 Paid for him this morning for two drafts of surveys of lands in Perry Co.y J.[?] b. Smith 1.00

The Journal

Transcriptions for this section of the journal begin August 27, 1831 and end March 27, 1832. Click on a date to begin reading.

Text Following Journal Entries

[Last two pages of journal have the following comments]

Construction. A thing which is even within the letter of Statutes of a Stat. is not within the Stat. incip[?] of B.H. 385 it be within the intention of the makers.

Saturday Courier" of July 2nd 1831 Says "The Court of Kings Bench has recently after Solemn argument determined that one foreigner may arrest another in England for a Debt which accrued in Portugal while Both resided there though the Portuguese law does not allow of arrest for Debt.

[On last page is written]

A continuation of this memoranda may be found in a Book of Similar Size adorned on the Binding thus "Harrisburg March 27th 1832"

Law Practice Activities

Search for J. Nourse (via letters) in Land officeMay 19
Wrote power of attorney for Joseph Jefferson (Phil)Aug. 27
Professional services rendered to Mr. JeffersonSept 5
Orphan's Court todaySept. 12
George C. Ball at office this afternoonSept 28
Shunk and Ball at officeSept 29
Wrote to Mr. Benj. Libhart (Marietta) on business for Mr. John ReschOct 5
Was at AB Hamilton office today & filed notices to Comm. for Borough to meet tonightOct 10
Wrote 2 Extracts in Mys McCullough's album in James Burnside's officeOct 10
Mr. Resch to pay me $3. for my services; agreed in officeOct. 14
Circus Co. made application to me for advice in relation to court house yard from which they were directed to removeOct. 14
Capt. Bloomfield, a client from Phila. came to office this a.m.Oct. 15
At the Land Office this a.m. with Capt. BloomfieldOct. 17
Argument Court today in the Common PleaseOct. 17
2 searches for Capt. J. Bloomfield (paid .50)Oct. 17
Received of Mr. Brown, Proprietor of the Circus Co. $10 for Professional ServiceOct. 20
Was at Judge McKinney's office this morningOct. 25
Received $20 fr. Capt. Bloomfield for money advanced to him in Land Office & Recording [of deed?] for his servicesOct. 26
Put name on back of note drawn today in favor of Charles Carson by Capt. Bloomfield on his orderOct 26
Was making an examinaion in the Law Office this morning with Capt. BloomfieldOct 27
2 drafts of survey of lands in Perry CountyOct. 28
Isaac Shunk of Phil. was in my office this morningNov. 1
Wrote Julia Ann Rawn; wrote in said letter an agreement for Samuel Warner to sign [for his land]Nov. 2
Uncle Saml. Rawn in office this morning & wish my opinion in relation to a power of attorney; gave it to him in writingNov. 2
Isaac Shunk in my office this morningNov.3
Entered as attorney for Geo. Subrich this afternoon as dept. to a Scire Faccias in which Geo. Subrich is Plaintiff Nov. 8
Was entered as attorney for Mr. Geo. Seinau on an appeal by Danl. Wingert for the Judge of Esq. HolbrookNov. 9
"Peacepipe" to Tho. Davies Esqr. to Issue Habias ag. Benj EvansNov.4
Filed warrant of Attorney and Narr. in Geo at Lerman [?]Nov. 11
Advertised in Chronicle 2 tracts of land to sell for Capt. Bloomfield on 23rdNov. 12
Letter fr. J.D. Pettit Esq. West Chester upon subject of a Gig of Mrs. Gemmes taken in Execution as the property of her son & sold . Called on Sheriff & Wrote PettitNov. 14
Wrote to J.D. Pettit Esq. again todayNov. 15
Was engaged this evening to defend Charles Swagger on an indictment for an Asslt & Batt. intent to kill Geo GatesNov. 22
Engaged today in Court defending Char. SwaggerNov. 23
Was engaged in sev. trials today in Court & rem. in office in EveningNov. 24
In company with Wood and H. Alricks defended a man on charge of robberyNov. 25
Chose arbitrations with Jacob Fisher, Esqr. this evening in Seinau vs. WengertNov. 28
Applied Praecipe for Foreyen attachment today. Tho. Wallace Gaineshee, Elaim Bliss of N.Y. Plaintiff &Solomon Schoyer defended.Dec. 5
Orphans Court today by Judges Hammond & McKinneyDec. 6
Attending all day today before the Board of Property where there was matter being arguedDec. 8
Was at Board of Property til 11:30 a.m. Dec. 9
Mr. Peacock placed another claim ag. Solomon Schoyer by John C. JohnsonDec. 10
Letters to Peacock and documents from CarpentierDec. 10
Wrote to J.L. Carpentier (att. in NY) for "Messrs. Wm. Goldey & Co"Dec. 10
Wrote to Geo. W. Rawn in reply by Mr. CampbellDec. 13
Wrote Charles Brown of Phil/Wrote deed from Capt. Bloomfield to Tho. KingDec. 13
Argument Orphan Court todayDec. 13
John Jones, Executor of V. Kirgan, came to office today & engaged me in businessDec. 19
Wrote conditions for the sale of V. Kirgan's property for John Jones Dec. 20
Wrote to Mrs. Rebecca Gemmel per Tho. Jones (recd. from Johns for prof. services $3.00)Dec. 21
Went to Harrisburg Bank with Mr. King today who pd. off Capt. Bllomfield's note $55.Dec. 26
Wrote reply to Mrs. GemmelDec. 28
Was at the Prothonotarys office & Commissioners officeDec. 29
Wrote 3 letters to lawyers and Canal Co. pres.Dec. 30
Trip to Lebanon. Executed reconveyance to Joseph Nourse of City of Washington through J.W. Morris Recd. fr. W. Morris this evening on Executing the conveyance $10.Dec. 31
Paid $10 by Jacob Duck for servicesJan. 4
Wrote to Jas Craft Esqr. Pittsburg to attend to taking of Deposition in Prot. office in Elaim Bliss vs. Solomon SchoyerJan 5
Commenced suit ag. Adam & John Row todayJan. 7
Had an Arbitratioin today at Mr. Wallace's Weinau v. Wengert. Gained an awardJan. 13
Court Regular Term Commences today rec. Sat. Evg 11th inst. fr. Elaim Bliss N.Y. Letter dated Jan. 11 and affadavitJan. 16
Took testimony on part Commonwealth in the case of R. v. K Mrs. Bawdy House, rec. fee from Mr. Sauman Cumberland CountyJan. 19
Wrote to Elaim Bliss N.Y. sending Commission & to J.L. Carpentier Jan. 20
Petitioned to Orphans Court this am for Guardian for Charles Veiel fr. Germany. Court appointed Christian Hachnlen (Baker) of HarrisburgJan. 31
Receivd letter from Elaim Bliss NY money and accom-panied by depositions of Goldy & Aldrich, taken before Comissioner MeredithJan. 31
Recd. letter per Dr. L. Anderson fr. Joseph Gibbons ["Springfield"] in relation to removal of seat of JusticeFeb. 1
Argued Foreign att. in court this evening against Harris--his rule dischargedFeb 2
Letter from Philip Newbeker requesting my opinion on a Law point, made motion & obtained order in Court todayFeb. 6
Wrote to Elaim Bliss in reply to his letterFeb. 8
Wrote to Mrs. Rebecca Gemmel , acknowl. money & counseling upon subject of suit ag. Dauphin Co.Feb. 9
Argued in "Argument Court" today a matter of costs Decided ag. him..Feb. 14
Labelling of his name on law booksFeb. 15
Called at Judge Fahnestocks this evening to transact some business w/ H.C. Fahnestock for Phila.Feb. 17
Received fr. Mrs. Veiel German widow Fee $5.00Feb. 21
Circuit Court by Judge Huston commenced yesterday Filed Capias [an arrest warrant] against MusserFeb. 28
Yesterday Recd. from Tho. M. Linnards Esqr of Phil for collections Hildebran & Abbots draft on Tho Snively "accepted" for $690.09 & at the same time gave him receipt for Land papers & protestMarch 8
Filio Rule R. Gemmel & J. Seiler to choose arbitration on 26thMarch 10
Adjourned Court Com. Pleas & Orphans Court today Presented petition of the Mayhew Insolvent debtorMarch 14
Jacob Gemmel called on me this morning. I will take his deposition this eveningMarch 16
Attended for Natl. Henrie at Henry's today before Arbitrations adjournedMarch 19
Was engaged on Arbitration today Mr. Cormick offeringMarch 20
Wrote to Mrs. R. Gemmel enclosing Rule to take depositionsMarch 22
Made return to Capt. Roberts today of Capp & Hamilton fined by Court of Appeal on 24th inst.March 26

List of Names Mentioned

  • Agnew, Dr. Samuel
  • Aitkin, James
  • Alricks, James, Esq. - Father of Hamilton and Herman Alricks, also attorneys, who were both friends of Rawn
  • Alricks, Hamilton, Esqr. - Friend, who had law office at Market street near Third (according to the Harrisburg Directory of 1839, page 25); brother Hermann Alricks was later a fellow investor with Rawn in the Harrisburg Savings Institutions, as noted in Gerald G. Eggert's book, Harrisburg Industrializes; the Coming of Factories to an American Community (University Park, PA.: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993) 32.
  • Baker, Jacob - For whom he got a Saturday Courier
  • Ball, George C. - Of Virginia
  • Berry, O.
  • Berryhile, William C.
  • Berryhill, John H. - Attorney with office near court house, resident of Prince's Hotel (Directory, page 25)
  • Bloomfield, Captain John - Frequently mentioned in the journal
  • Bloomfield, Captain Thomas
  • Bon a Ton - A "dancing room" there, mentioned on December 20, 1831
  • Bollinger, Jacob
  • Books, Miss
  • Brent, R. - Student of law
  • Brien, Mr.
  • Briggs, Miss
  • Brinn, Mr.
  • Brinton, Caleb, and two sisters - From West Chester, PA
  • Brown, Mr. - Artist? for whom he "stood for a likeness" - March 16
  • Brown, Mr. - Of the Circus
  • Brown, Charles - Of Philadelphia, PA, with whom he corresponded
  • Buchanan, James - Minister to Russia at the time of this journal; later the fifteenth president of the US
  • Buehler, Mrs. - Likely the proprietress of a hotel, "Spread Eagle," which was a social spot for Rawn and his friends. (The Directory lists it under Hotels and Inns of Harrisburg.) She was the wife of George Buehler, a merchant who died in 1816, and mother of William Buehler who came to Harrisburg in 1848, according to the History of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties; possibly mother as well of Henry Buehler.
  • Bullock, Dr. - From Bellefonte; He and his niece are mentioned
  • Burnside, James O.
  • Cameron, Jane and Eliza - Daughters (?) of Simon Cameron, prominent Harrisburg citizen, and later Senator
  • Cardon, Mr.
  • Carpenter, Israel
  • Carpentier, J. L. - Of New York City
  • Carson, Charles
  • Chapman, Mrs. Elizabeth - Daughter of Joseph Jefferson
  • Chritzman, Henry
  • Clendenin, Miss Frances P. (also spelled Clendennin) - One of Rawn's close circle of friends and the woman who became his wife
  • Clendenin, H. - Not clear if this is Mrs. Clendenin or Miss
  • Clendenin, Miss J. J. - A young woman who married A.J. Jones, who with T.S. Jones, was listed as owning a dry goods store on Market, between Second and Third
  • Clendenin, John Joseph - Left Harrisburg for New Orleans; exchanged letters frequently
  • Clendenin, Miss Mary Scott
  • Cline, Philip - High Constable, for whom he ordered a copy of Saturday Courier
  • Cox, Miss
  • Craft, Jas., Esqr. - Of Pittsburgh
  • Cungle, Henry
  • Cuvzons, Mrs. - Woman who did his laundry
  • Dean, Dr. A. L. - Reference on page 11 to Dean's shop to get medicine. "Mrs. Dr. Dean" is also mentioned.
  • De Witt's Church (Presbyterian) - Presided over by the Rev. William R. De Witt; Rawn in frequent attendance
  • Ellison's - A merchant of Philadelphia
  • Espey or Espy, Mrs. - Listing in Harrisburg directory for James Espy, No.2 S. Front Street
  • Fahnestock, Miss - Possibly related to A.K. and F. Fahnestock who run a hardware store near Buehler's Hotel
  • Findlay, J. K. (either John or James?) - Frequent companion of Rawn's; brother of Gov. Wm. Findlay; moved to Lancaster to practice law
  • Findlay, Thomas K. - Of Philadelphia
  • Fisher, A., Esqr.
  • Friedley, Mrs.
  • Franklin, Walter, Esq.
  • Geiger, Mrs. George - Any relations to the "Geiger" of the present-day street name?
  • Gemmel, Mrs. Rebecca - A client at East Whileland, Chester County, with whom he corresponds
  • Gibson, Chief Justice and Mys Gibson
  • Miss Gleim - Of Pittsburgh
  • Goodman, J. - Of Philadelphia
  • Gortons
  • Hachnlen, Christian - Baker in journal who may have become guardian of a German child. Possibly the same Christian Hehnlen the Directory later lists as a member of the Town Council.
  • Halderman, Miss - Possibly related to Jacob Halderman in the 1839 directory
  • Hamilton, A. Boyd - Close friend of Rawn's and frequently mentioned; printer and editor of Harrisburg Chronicle
  • Hamer, Dr. Jesse
  • Hanna, Mrs. - Who also sat with Shunk's sick child
  • Hare, David - Grocer at Market, between 3rd and 4th
  • Hiester. A. O. (also spelled Hiestin in the text) - Frequently mentioned
  • Heisely, George J. - Listed as a watch maker at the corner of Second and Walnut
  • Hicks, Miss - Of Carlisle
  • Holderman, Jacob
  • Hought & Musser - Did cabinet work
  • Hughes, Alexander - For whom he got a Saturday Courier
  • Jefferson, Joseph, and his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Chapman
  • Johnson, Samuel - Boatmaker in Philadelphia
  • Jones, Mr. A. - Merchant who married J.J. Clendenin, owner of dry good store
  • Jones, Mr. Thomas - From Thornburgh(y)
  • Kelker, Mr.
  • Kemble the tailor - Likely George S. Kemble, No. 7 South Front Street
  • Kelso, Charles, Esqr.
  • King, Thomas - Involved in deed transaction
  • Kirgan, V.
  • Krause, David, Esqr. - With law office on corner of Market and Third
  • Leach, Miss
  • LeBaron, William
  • Leslie, Mrs. - Mentioned frequently as hostess
  • Libhart, Benjamin - Of Marietta and his brother, Jacob
  • Lockman's - Evangelical Lutheran Church which he attended occasionally; Rev. Augustus H. Lochman, pastor there (see I. Daniel Rupp, The History and Topography of Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Bedford, Adams, and Perry Counties (Lancaster, PA.: Gilbert Hills, Proprietor and Publisher, 1846) 288
  • Lombart, M.
  • Marthews, Geo. - For whom he ordered a Saturday Courier
  • McClure, William, Esqr. - With an office on Market between Third and Fourth; later president of Harrisburg Savings Institution
  • McAllister, Captain
  • McCullough, Miss - Of Chambersburg
  • McKinney, Dr. J. - Frequently mentioned as a companion, especially for riding
  • McKinney, Judge - Question if this is Mordecai McKinney or same as doctor above
  • McKinney, Miss - Who was to marry Mr. Alexander, the missionary
  • Merrill, Miss - Another of Rawn's social set; along with a Miss Meyers
  • Morris, J. W. - President, Union Canal Company in Lebanon, to whom he wrote
  • Murray, Mrs.
  • Nagle, George - Whose name appears frequently; likely owner of the Union Hotel on the southeast corner of Market Square
  • New Baptist Church - Where Mr. Dugg from Philadelphia preached (possibly the First Baptist Mission Church?)
  • Newbeker, Philip - Of Halifax, Virginia, to whom he writes
  • Newpt & Ellison (Philadelphia) - From whom he ordered pants
  • Nourse, John - From Washington
  • Ogelsby, Geo. - For whom he got a Saturday Courier
  • P.O. Ladies, The - Aforementioned social circle
  • Peacocks, The - Family with whom Rawn had frequent contact. The father, James Peacock, was Postmaster. Elizabeth Peacock was his daughter. The Mrs. Peacock referred to was probably Mrs. Frances C. Slough Peacock who died in 1837, according to Egle (524-5).
  • Pettit, J. D., Esqr. - Of Westchester
  • Pierce, Myers - From Maryland
  • Rawn, David W. - Of Delaware County, his brother
  • Rawn, George W. - Of Philadelphia, mentioned often
  • Rawn, Jacob - Son of Uncle Samuel Rawn
  • Rawn, Julia Ann - Rawn's sister who lived at and wrote often from Thornbury in Delaware County
  • Resch, Mr. John - Rawn's German teacher, for whom he also conducted some legal business
  • Rawn, Uncle Samuel - Whose death on December 19, 1831 was noted in the text
  • Roberts, Captain (Edmund, John or Joseph Roberts?)
  • Roberts, James - For whom he got a Saturday Courier
  • Ross, Miss
  • Schicks, Herman - Whose wife was a Miss Carr
  • Schoyer, Solomon - A client for whom he did some legal work
  • Seinau, George - From whom he got gloves
  • Shegogg or Shesogg, Mr. - Also spelled Shegogs. It is his room that had some paintings that Rawn and his friends went to see.
  • Shock, Samuel, Esqr. (also spelled as Shoch) - A close friend of Rawn's
  • Shunk Family - Already noted Francis R. Shunk with whom Rawn studied law. *J.R. Shunk is mentioned as is Mrs Shunk and Isaac Shunk and his daughter Marie from Philadelphia.
  • Smith, Benjamin, Esqr. - Of Washington
  • Spard, Margaret - Of Philadelphia
  • Sprigman, Mr. - Who labeled his law books. This could be either Solomon or Henry, both of whom are listed in the 1839 directory as bookbinders.
  • Sudhis, R. O.
  • Sübrich, George
  • Tags, Mr. - Of Philadelphia
  • Brisban Vansant, Dr. Brisban
  • Veiel, Charles - Whom Rawn described as a German orphan for whom a guardian is assigned. Later, there is mention of a widow Mrs. Veiel.
  • Wallace, Mr. - With whom he hunts for pigeons. This may or may not be the Thomas Wallace from whom he buys a stove and to whom he pays board on January 16, 1832.
  • Walker, Colonel Thomas
  • Weidmans, The - He mentioned F. Weidman, John Weidman of Lebanon often, and Thomas Weidman
  • Whitehills - Landmark near which he walked
  • Williams, Lewis - For whom he ordered a Saturday Courier
  • Williams, Rudolph - An apothecary?
  • Wilson, Matthew - Who owned Wilson's Hotel on the corner of Third and Market
  • Wilson, Elizabeth - Possibly of the same family, one of his social set
  • Wolf, Governor George - At whose home he attended a number of gatherings
  • Wolfersberger, George - Owner of a dry goods store on the corner of Market and Third
  • Wright, Mrs. R.
  • Woodward and Spragg - Publishers of the Saturday Courier in Philadelphia
  • Wridman, John - From whom he got a letter
  • Wridman, Thomas - Of Princeton to whom he wrote
  • Wunderlich of Carlisle - To whom he wrote
  • Wyeth, Francis - Bookseller

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