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James M. Morton travel journal

Identifier: MSS 0097-Item 0053

Scope and Content Note

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 entitled Daily 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.


  • Creation: approximately 1859-1870


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

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, (accessed April 23, 2014)."Massachusetts, State Census, 1855." Library Edition. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2004. (accessed April 23, 2014).Additional biographical information derived from the collection.


1 volume (164 pages) ; 18 cm


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.


Purchase, 1956.

Related Materials in this Repository

This item forms part of MSS 0097 Diaries, Journals, and Ships' Logs collection.


Processed by Kate Hand, October 2007. Encoded by E. Evan Echols, April 2014.

James M. Morton travel journal
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2014 April 23
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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