"A Thousand Mile Trip"


Condensed from "Tufts Family History"
book by Jay and Ora Tufts, pub 1963.


by Philip George Parsons




After the death of his second wife, Lydia Blunt Blackstone Tufts, in 1830 the Rev. Francis Tufts was very lonely. His thoughts wandered to Ohio where his two sons and a daughter lived, and he wondered if he could stand a trip to see them. Finally, he heard that Samuel Knowlton and family were about to go to the Ohio country and decided to go with them. So it happened that on the first Monday of September, 1831, he wa on his horse and ready to head the little procession leaving Farmington, Maine, across nine states and into the wilds of Ohio.

The course of our emigrants took them through Leeds, Lewiston, down the Andriscoggin, through Brunswick, Boston and Saco. At North Berwick they left Maine, soon arriving at Dover, New Hampshire, through Exeter and into Massachusetts. They miss Boston and Medford, where Rev. Francis was born. Due to the conditions of roads, or we might say trails, ofttimes they only made twenty miles, or less in some days, other as much as forty, but the average for the entire trip was close to twenty-five.

In Massachusetts they go south westerly entirely across the state; through Li'l, Clinton, Worcester and Springfield. Then over the northwestern part of Connecticut, through Collinsville, Litchfield and Gaylordsville. They finally pass into New York State and cross the Hudson at Newburg.

They traveled the six week days and rested on the Sabbath, always aiming to reach some town or village Saturday evening, and where they might attend public worship on the Sabbath. Of the six Sundays during the entire trip, and when it was known, Rev. Francis was asked to preach, which he always did and ably filled the pulpit. His was a very retentive memory, well versed in Old and New Testaments, he could quote entire chapters, or suitable portions of scripture. His kindness and congeniality was ever present and whenever the little party stopped over night or on the Sabbath day, Rev. Francis was always the honored guest.

They soon encountered troublesome fordings of mountain streams in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, through Easton and Harrisburg, toiling for days over the many mountain ranges. Now they are close to Virginia (now West Virginia) and its dozen or so miles across its narrow panhandle. Wheeling (missing Pittsburgh) is next and after a time they cross the Ohio River, and land at Bridgeport, Ohio. They are now on the Old National Road (now US 40), on of the first through roads, Washington D.C. to St. Louis. They follow the Old National Road through Cambridge to Zanesville, then turn off at Zanesville, on Cincinnati Trail (now Route 22), and are now only 134 miles from their destination, Maineville, Ohio. Here we find Rev. Francis saying to Samuel: "You know, Samuel, I am told that we have but 134 miles to our destination. That will consume several days travel, but I want you to know that I have enjoyed every mile of this trip. My physical condition has never been better, and I have been able to withstand the rigorous journey in spite of my families' opposition." "We are all of us greatly pleased, Francis, to see you ride horseback, also the many miles you have covered on foot each day, an I might say at your age." (Rev. Francis was 87 years). "The good Lord has been with us, and also good to us this entire journey", said Samuel.

Those rugged pioneers continued their long journey through Lancaster to Washington Court House, thence Clarsville to Warren County and Maineville. At last the thousand mile trip is over and thirty nine days have been consumed in the entire trip. It is now October 13, 1831.

The Rev. Francis Tufts was not only 87 years of age when he started on this trip, but in perfect physical condition. Two years after, in 1833, he passed away, and is buried in Maineville, Ohio Cemetery."

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