Sayre family, cir. 1885

Family of David Sayre, prior to moving to Kansas
From the collection of Rodney Royston
Used with permission

In 1885, David Sayre and his family moved from Proctorville, Ohio to Garnett, Kansas, a journey of about 790 miles (using today's roads). His daughter, Carrie, not quite 20 years old, kept a daily journal of the family's trip.

Rodney Royston, a descendant of Emma Sayre (Carrie's sister), has transcribed Carrie's travel journal, and generously allowed it to be published online. As much as possible he has kept Carrie's spelling as it is in the journal; words that could not be made out are indicated in brackets.

Travel Journal

Written by Carrie Sayre From Proctorville, Ohio to Garnett, Kansas

Sept. 15, 1885 Tuesday

First camping place for dinner, half mile above Scottown. Three families and twenty two people.


Under a spreading walnut tree
Three wagons stood side by side
The horses grazing upon the grass
While the women talked and sighed
We are camping for the night at Arabia. It is five o'clock and we are making preparations for supper.

We are camping close to Dan Vermillion's house. He is very good to us and offered us wood to get our supper with. But we thanked him very kindly as we thought we could find enough in the fence corners to do us.

We have just eat our supper. We had Irish and sweet potatoes, light bread and butter, onions, coffee, plum butter, blackberry jelly, cookies, bacon and cathspop.

The men are smoking their pipes and the women washing dishes.

Daine Sutherland eat six sweet potatoes for his supper, large ones at that.

It is dark and I am writing by the lantern. We have singing all the evening and it sounds real nice for we have all parts. We have the callers this evening.

We have eat our breakfast and are making preparations to start on our journey. Black Hawk is the name of the creek we camped on last night. When we drove in last night a little girl grabed up her little sister and ran in the house with her thinking we were gypsies. Two men came last night to trade mules with Pa but as he thought he had a good team they couldn't get a trade.

Sept. 16,/85 Wednesday

We are stopping in Gallia County for dinner by a man's house. I don't know the name but he just returned from Kansas last night. He says he likes some parts of Kansas splendid and thinks he will move there sometime. The roads we have passed over have been very rough and we have walked a good deal. MacDaniel's post office is about half a mile from here. We took dinner by the road side in the sun. We camp tonight in Gallia Co. After we had got in bed two ladies and two gentlemen came down to our wagon and said they had just got thim a new Organ and wanted to know if any of us could play but we were in bed and did not go up.


We have left Gallia and are now in Jackson Co. We have stoped for dinner. The roads are a great deal smoother than in Gallia Co. We are now in Jackson it is a nice town it has several furnices and other things of notice, a great many fine houses and tolerable nice stores. The railroad passes through and all together it seems to be rather a business place. But everybody you see are Pigeon toed. I don't know the cause of it. Passed where they were burning charcoal and were getting ready to burn more and also where they were burning lime, quite new to us
{ A blue street car with two wheels }

Jackson is on a raise and I think a most beautiful place.

Camp tonight in Jackson Co. about two mile from Jackson.

Sept.18,/85 Friday

Stoped to get dinner in Ross Co. Just came in Ross Co. about an hour ago. Emma and Nora went to a house to get some water and they had Emma to go in and play on the Organ for them. We have passed through Richmond, a nice little town.

Sept.19 Saturday

We are now passing through Chilacotha a lovely city had a little shower of rain this evening. Drove into camp early. Camping in a grove about nineteen miles from Chilacothe

Sept.20 Sunday

A lovely day only rather cool We are camping in a grove all writing letters. Eight young men came in our camp last night and a young married couple.

Sept.21 Monday

Passing through Clarksburgh about sun up. It is a town larger than Proctorville. We are now passing through New Holland a nice little town. Also passed through Washington at two o'clock. Feyette County Ohio. We are now in camp for the night about five miles west of Washington.

Sept.22 Tuesday

Passed through one little town don't know the name. Passed through James town today about noon. Passed through Xenia a nice and tolerable large town. Camped in Green Co. last night ten miles from Xenia. Passed the Infirmary.

Sept.23 Wednesday

Camped last night by the little Miama River. Next to a big mill and the railroad. Passed through Dayton, Ohio today a most beautiful large city. And crossed the Big Miama River. Passed the Soldiers Home a lovely place. Saw the Insane Asylum.

Sept.24 Thursday

Passed through Eaton a small town. Came into the state of Indiana about half past two o'clock.

Sept.25 Friday

we are now traveling in Indiana. In Wayne Co. Passed through Centreville a small town. Passed through Germantown.

Sept.26 Saturday

Passed through Kingstown today. A man and his wife and two young ladies came to see us in camp last night

Sept.27 Sunday

Camping today on a branch of the White River. In Rush Co. had lots of company yesterday

Sept.28 Monday

We start bright and early from camp. Passed through Greenfield this morning a small town. We are stopping on a branch of the Whitewater for dinner. It is a pleasant day the sun hasn't shone today we thought it would rain but no rain yet we are in camp for the night.

Sept.29 Tuesday

Passed through Indianapolis this morning a nice city. The state fair was in progress. Seen the Insane Asylum a lovely place. In Marion Co. Camping for the night.
Sept.30 Wednesday

It is raining and we are making preparations to start from camp. We haven't got wet yet and don't think we shall as our wagon don't leak. We have stopped at a barn out of the rain at about three o'clock. The gentleman that owns the barn let us put our wagons under the shed and our horses in the stall and all the hay they could eat for thirty five cents apiece. There are four wagons now as we overtook another wagon a day or two ago.

Oct.1 Thursday

We are still in the barn this morning it has quit raining and looks like it will clear off. The gentleman that owns the barn keeps boarding house he is a perfect gentleman, he gave us a pitcher of milk last night which was very acceptable. We are in kind of a little town by the name of Mount Maridian. We have stopped for dinner. We have traveled over some dreadfully rough roads this morning and awfully muddy but our mules can pull us through all right.

Oct.2 Friday

We passed through Brazil this morning, a tolerable nice little town. We all got our letters at that town. And we were all well pleased to get them. We are now stopping for our dinner. We camp for the night about four mile from Terre Haute. We had the hardest rain tonight that ever I seen in all my life.

Oct.3 Saturday

It hasn't rained any since last night. Passed through Terre Haute this morning situated on the Wabash River. It is a nice city, saw the Orphan's Home a lovely place. We are now camping for dinner. Drove into camp in the flat woods a nice place. Rather cool this morning, got three big campfires and they feel real comfortable. We are in Clark Co.

Oct.4 Sunday

Cloudy this morning and looks like rain. Cleared off this afternoon, and this evening it is perfectly clear. We have all spent this day in writing letters back home to our friends.

Oct.5 Monday

Start from camp bright and early. Rather cool today. Camp tonight close to a little town. Passed through Marshaltown.

Oct.6 Tuesday

Cleared off last night. The men stood watch all night last night for the first time. Real cold today. Heavy frost last night. Camped tonight in a grove of Hazelbush.

Oct.7 Wednesday

Ice froze last night. Passed through Effingham today in Effingham county. Camping for the night. Passed over some awful rough roads this afternoon.

Oct.8 Thursday

Passed through Vandalia today a nice little town in Fayette Co. Crossed over the Kaskaskia river. Camping in a grove about a mile from town.

Oct.9 Friday

We are passing through Mulberry Grove a small town. Passed through Greenville county seat of Bond county 2700 inhabitants.

Oct.10 Saturday

Passing through Highland Madison County a nice little town. Camping for the night in a grove. Passed through St. Jacob town this evening. John Floyd met his folks at this town.

Oct.11 Sunday

We are traveling today for the first time on Sunday. It is a lovely day. We are passing through Troy this morning a nice town. Passing through Collinsville a nice town. They are tolling the bells a grand army man is dead. Camping for dinner by a grove we are spreading our dinner in the grove in the shade a lovely place. Camping for the night close to St. Louis in a bare place can't find wood enough to get our supper.

Oct.12 /85 Monday

A beautiful day passed through St. Louis this morning a lovely city. Crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis. Stopped for dinner about four miles from St. Louis commenced raining about six o'clock rained all the rest of the evening.

Oct.13 Tuesday

Started out from camp this morning in the rain. Stopped at Manchester about noon, rented a house and will stay till morning. Have plenty of music on the french harp.

Oct.14 Wednesday

It is clear today but rather cool, stopped for dinner. Camping tonight just between the Missouri and the Mirimac river three mile from each. We are in Franklin County.

Oct.15 Thursday

Start from camp this morning, the sun is shining bright but tolerable cool the roads are the roughest I ever seen. Camping for the night in a grove. Passed a tramp going walking to Kansas.

Oct.16 Friday

Traveling today over rough roads but not so rough as yesterday. Camping for dinner. Camping for the night. Met three cowboys coming from Kansas in a wagon.

Oct.17 Saturday

Start from camp this morning. The roads are better today than yesterday. Stopping for dinner.

Oct.18 Sunday

Crossed the Cascanade River this morning a not very large river but awful deep crossed on a ferry flat. Lay up for the day on this side of the river, in Cascanade County. Camping for the night and raining.

Oct.19 Monday

Raining this morning. We are passing through the town of Linn, the county seat of Osage County. It is still raining and awful cold.

Oct.20 Tuesday

Crossed the Osage River this morning. Saw a boat the Dan B. [Hurlbut; not sure of the handwriting--RR] and a little tug.

Oct.21 Wednesday

A lovely day but cool. Came through Jefferson City today the capitol. Monitean County.

Oct.22 Thursday

A lovely day. The wind is blowing tolerable hard. Passed through California today a railroad town. Stopped for dinner. Passed through Clarksburgh today camping for the night.

Oct.23 Friday

Warmer today than usual. Getting on better roads. Stopping for dinner. Camping for the night in front of a mans house from Ohio.

Oct.24 Saturday

Passed through Sedalia Pellis County this morning, camping for dinner, camping for the night.

Oct.25 Sunday

Camping for the day close to Windsor in Henry County. Had lots of company today.

Oct.26 Monday

In camp yet. Will not start out today untill afternoon. In camp for the night. Passed through a little town name Calhoun. Traveling today with another family. Got in with some people that knew Mr. Harwood from Indiana.

Oct.27 Tuesday

A lovely day. Passed through Clinton this morning.

Oct.28 Wednesday

Raining today stop for half a day, passed through Johnstown today wind blowing furiously. Camping for the night.

Oct.29 Thursday

Cleared off in the night cool this morning. Camping for dinner Bates County. Camping for the night in Kansas. Came in to Kansas at six o'clock this evening. Linn Co.

Oct.30 Friday

Clear this morning but awful cool. Had company last night and music. Passed through La Cygne this morning.

Oct,31 Saturday

Stopped for dinner and it is raining slacked raining looks awful stormy this evening camped for the night.

Nov.1 Sunday

Cleared off in the night a lovely day. In five miles of Joe Green's. will stop there today. Got to Joe Green today.

Nov.2 Monday

My birthday. Twenty years old today. Have come to our journeys end. Will settle in Garnet a town of twenty seven hundred inhabitants

The Small Print: The photograph of the Sayre family and Carrie Sayre's journal are the property of Rodney Royston and are used with his permission. Web design and HTML coding © 1997 by Teresa Lindquist.