James M. Morton travel journal
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
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Overview and metadata sections
James Madison Morton, Sr., was born in Freetown, Massachusetts, on April 28, 1803, to Job and Patience Morton. On May 30, 1830, he married Sarah M. A. Tobey. The lived in Fall River, Massachusetts. He appears to have been either an accountant or lawyer. His journal contains several notes about property distributed by a will and on one inserted note Morton wrote "auditor" after his name.
The Mortons had three children: James, Mary, and Levi. The oldest of Morton's children, James Madison Morton, Jr., became a federal judge and prominent citizen of Fall River. The youngest, Levi, served in the army during the American Civil War. James Madison Morton, Sr., died on March 2, 1881 at the age of 77 in Fall River.
Franklyn Howland,A History of the Town of Acushnet, Bristol County, State of Massachusetts(New Bedford, Massachusetts: Franklyn Howard, 1907; Google Books, 1996), 328, http://books.google.com (accessed April 23, 2014)."Massachusetts, State Census, 1855." Ancestry.com Library Edition. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004. http://search.ancestrylibrary.com (accessed April 23, 2014).Additional biographical information derived from the collection.
The journal of Massachusetts resident James Madison Morton contains accounts of two trips to South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama taken in 1859 and 1861. It also contains brief notes and memoranda dated from 1859-1870.
James M. Morton wrote his journal in the printed volume entitledDaily Pocket Diary for the Year 1859, but the dates of entries in it range from 1850 to 1870. The entries are not in consistent chronological order and at times they correspond with the date printed on the page but often do not. Many pages are either left blank or contain only scant notes. Some pencil entries are smeared and difficult to read.
For the most part, it appears that Morton used this pocket diary to make brief notes including names, financial transactions, shopping lists, deaths, and marriages. On the page labeled February 3-5, he listed the popular votes for the 1860 presidential election as well as the votes from Massachusetts for president and for governor.
The most descriptive sections of the journal are those chronicling two trips to the South. The first, taken in November 1859, is written in both the November section of the journal and the Memoranda section at the back. Morton traveled by steamer from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina, and then visited Atlanta, Georgia, and the Alabama cities of Montgomery, Selma, and Linden, before returning to New York. Morton recorded the details of his travels as well as his observations of the locations visited.
Morton took his second trip between March 1 and May 3, 1861. Brief descriptions of his travel arrangements, expenses, correspondence, and daily activities are noted under the corresponding days in the pocket diary. Often the day of the week was corrected to reflect the 1861 calendar. The cities visited on this trip include Savannah, Georgia, and Montgomery, Columbus, Macon, Selma, and Linden, Alabama. Morton ended the second trip in Mobile, Alabama, where he noted the news of the capture of Fort Sumter and the secession of Virginia from the union.
Processed by Kate Hand, October 2007. Encoded by E. Evan Echols, April 2014.
- Alabama--Description and travel
- Georgia--Description and travel
- South Carolina--Description and travel
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 April 23
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The collection is open for research.
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