On April 15, 1862, Eliza Baylies Wheaton and her husband Laban Morey Wheaton departed from their home in Norton, Massachusetts, to begin their journey to Europe. In the travel journal that she wrote to memorialize the trip, she recorded the events leading up to their departure:
We rose early and made our toilet preparatory to leaving home for Europe— After looking at drawers, closets, + memorandums to see all was safe we made our way to our Pastor’s for breakfast where we had been invited. My appetite was nearly gone[.]
Wheaton’s lack of appetite indicated the level of intense excitement and trepidation with which she anticipated the journey. She and her husband were avid travelers. Twelve years earlier, they had toured the United States, traveling down the east coast to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, turning west and traveling through Pittsburgh, Harper’s Ferry, Bowling Green, Nashville, and other cities on the way to St. Louis, and then turning north to travel through Chicago and Detroit, and sailing east on Lake Erie to Buffalo and Niagara Falls and then home.
In April 1862, Eliza Baylies Wheaton had spent the previous month preparing for the European journey. Her beloved sister Mary Chapin Judson had come from her home in Uxbridge to help with the preparations, and she joined the Wheatons as they set off for Boston, where Mary’s husband Willard Judson met them at the train depot. The travelers spent the night at the American Hotel in Boston. They would board their ship and embark for Europe the next day.
Paine, Harriet E. The life of Eliza Baylies Wheaton: A Chapter in the History of the Higher Education of Women. Cambridge, Mass.: Printed at the Riverside Press, 1907.
Eliza Baylies Wheaton, Travel Journal, p. 1, Wheaton Family Collection (MC089), Marion B. Gebbie Archives & Special Collections, Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, Wheaton College, Norton, MA.