The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Journal of Samuel Maclay

Journal of Samuel Maclay

While Surveying the West Branch of the Susquehanna, the Sinnemahoning and the Allegheny Rivers, in 1790 Samuel Maclay, and annotated by John F. Meginness
  • Copyright: 1836
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Page Count: 68 pages
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-05647-0
  • Series Name: Metalmark
  • A Metalmark Book

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The Journal of Samuel Maclay is one man’s account of a 1790 surveying expedition, commissioned by the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, to explore the newly purchased land in northwestern Pennsylvania, including the headwaters of the west branch of the Susquehanna, the Sinnemahoning, and the Allegheny Rivers. The journal, published in 1887 with ample historical annotations by John F. Meginness, provides a richly detailed record of Maclay’s travels in the “New Purchase” over five months, ending along the Juniata River in the Kishacoquillas Valley. It preserves both the physical landscape and the cultural milieu of the state between the American Revolution and the turn of the century, as seen through the eyes of an observant surveyor. Day-to-day details of dining and travel, as well as Maclay’s personal interjections, help establish the greater historical and cultural context of this pivotal era in Pennsylvania’s expansion.

Samuel Maclay (1741–1811) was a well-known surveyor, judge, and politician born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. He served in the American Revolution, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature, and represented the state in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

John F. Meginness (1827–1899) was a prolific editor and journalist for a number of Pennsylvania newspapers. A noted local historian and book collector, he also authored several county and local histories.

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