Jan. 1 - Oct. 29, 1837. Three volumes, recorded in charming period stiff paper wrappers illustrated with woodcuts. 7 1/2 x 6 in., over 100 pages total, approx. 14,000 words. The first journal which the author has labeled "Leiperville Journal, Vol. 1st 1837," was first used in 1835 as a poetry copy book, then dos-a-dos, as a journal. The second volume is edgeworn and chipped, but all three are in good condition, the text legible, clear.
The anonymous young author records near daily entries, between January 1 and October 29, 1837, making observations on domestic life, chores, visitors, the weather, spring cleaning and planting, and occasionally mentioning historical events. She is likely a member of the Leiper family as many of the visitors she refers to as "brother" and "sister" have that last name. She lives with her mother [there is no mention of a father] and at least two siblings Henrietta and Julia, though James and John are also spoken of. Another brother, Sam, is often traveling, as is another Richard. Her mother, at least, appears to be a Quaker and is often going to Meeting. The family lives near Lapidea and often travels there. Chester is also nearby: "Thomas Leiper was here thrice this day, going to and from Chester and once on a special message from his mother that tight sleeves are no longer the fashion but small legs of mutton are all the go." She says that on January 11, "Brother George called this morning and Thomas and John called on their way to Philadelphia- Thomas is returning to College at Brunswick." The young narrator mentions books the family are reading aloud, including "Three Eras of the Life of Woman," [a work by Elizabeth Elton Smith published in 1836] and "The Canarybird," [by Edward Augustus Kendall, published in 1799] as well as "Life of Wesley" by Southey. About this last she says, "I do not altogether approve the work. No Methodist I think could like it." She has several pages of poetry she has copied out, including one by William Cullen Bryant, one by Nathaniel Parker Willis, and one by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
In the second volume of her journal, the author's entry for March 4 mentions that Martin VanBuren has just been elected President and that they have amused themselves reading his inaugural address as well as Jackson's farewell address. Later in the month brother Thomas, sister Ann, and their children visit. In early April her sister Julia goes to Chester and brings back the first shad of the season. Peas and pumpkins are being planted, quilting is being done, wallpaper is being stripped and they are busy repainting the parlor and varnishing. Uncle and Aunt Thomas and Patty Grubb stop by on their way to Quarterly Meeting. In the third volume, she mentions that brother George and sister Eliza visited on July 21 to give a report on their trip to see their son Thomas at his commencement at Brunswick, where he was one of the speakers.
On September 3 the narrator mentions that her mother and Julia had heard a excellent sermon given by Sarah Emlen. The next day she notes: “This afternoon we had a pleasant visit from Mary Maris and Sarah Emlen. Julia read a letter from Brother Richard. Brother John left us this morning for Newcastle.” On Sept. 12, they were busy all day preserving peaches On Sept 20: “Brother Thomas his sons and John C. Leiper left us in the steam boat for Carlisle via Philadelphia. Henrietta and James went with sister Eliza in the carriage to town where they passed a pleasant day went to the Horticultural exhibition and to see the sarcophagus prepared for the remains of Genl. Washington.” In one of the last entries, she says that "sister came and went with mother and Henrietta to a meeting where Abigail Barker spoke most interestingly." [both Emlen and Barker were well known Quaker ministers]. Item #62272
The Leiper family was well known in the Philadelphia area, from the time of the American Revolution. Thomas Leiper (1745-1825) was one of the founders of and served as a lieutenant in the Philadlephia City Troop during the American Revolution, was a principal factor in the tobacco trade in Philadelphia, and the owner of snuff and tobacco mills and stone quarries. He and his wife Elizabeth Coultas Gray (1762-1829) had 13 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. One of his sons, George Gray Leiper served in the US Congress during the Jackson administration. George lived "in the family mansion 'Lapidea,' near the great quarries and mills of Leiperville on Crum Creek, according to Anthony Wallace's book "Rockdale: The Growth of an American Village," (Univ. of Nebraska Press: 1978). One of his daughters, Jane, married Judge John K. Kane. Their son was Elisha Kent Kane the famed Arctic explorer. Another daughter, Ann, married George G. Thomas. G.G. Leiper, Jane Kane, and a Dr. Thomas and his wife are all mentioned in these journals as visitors. Other small details seem to indicate the unknown young author is a member of this family.