ON THE ROAD TO THE FIRST NATIONAL WOMAN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION: How did the Transportation Revolution Affect the Woman's Rights Movement in 1850?

A WebQuest by Karen Board Moran (1 August 1998 Version)1


Use this WebQuest to discover more about antebellum America and practice critical thinking skills: map reading, gathering data, inference, generalizations, letter and essay writing.


Step back into the America of 1850. Your WebQuest begins when you receive this letter.


Which of Sally's friends will you follow to this historic event?____________________ [Select a delegate to the convention with your partner from the delegates' list. At present there is little known about most of these people. Some are more famous in the historic record than others, but they all were bold enough to publicly support the right to discuss the need for changes in their society.]


Where was s/he from? _________________________

Delegates signed in to be able to vote on the resolutions. They probably were standing in line next to people they knew. Whose name(s) is nearby that you might infer was a relative, traveling companion or friend? What sorts of clues did you use to make this inference?





What is your delegate's sign in number? ______

Do you think the people with lower numbers arrived earlier than those with high numbers?


What other factors may have affected the order in which they signed?





How will your delegate travel to Worcester, MA? ________________________________ [Use a state map to find her/his town and compare the location to one of the railroad maps. People with delegates from PA and NY should use 1827-1850 map, but all New Englanders must use the 1850 Pathfinder map. Some NY delegates are on the Pathfinder map, too. Discuss with your partner which rail lines you will travel to Worcester.

Rail road line _________________________________________________________________


What time will your train arrive? ________________ [Check the 1850 Pathfinder Guide to determine what time Sally and her father should be at the station. NOTE: NOT EVERYONE WILL BE ABLE TO DO THIS TASK until your delegate's train passes onto a line in the guide.]


Arrival time ___________________________________________________________________


Cost of ticket, if possible to determine ________________________


Why was Worcester a good location choice for holding the convention? [Investigate these resources: 1827-1850 map Pathfinder map; Women in America; November 1850 Ladies' Repository; August 1853 Lily; 1850 Ladies' Album.]




List 3 things you and your partner discovered about travel in mid-nineteenth-century New England. Write a generalization (one sentence) that summarizes your observations.

1. _____________________________________________________________________________


2. _____________________________________________________________________________


3. _____________________________________________________________________________


Generalization: ______________________________________________________________________



Too many of Sally's friends decided to come to the convention for them all to stay with her family. Where else might your delegate stay in Worcester? List at least 6 options. [Investigate these resources: September 1850 Liberator ; Heart of the Commonwealth 1851 map of Worcester. NOTE: The Central Exchange on Main Street is the post office, which also housed theWorcester Bank and an eating house. The other exchanges on the map are hotels.]








Where and what could your delegate eat during the convention breaks for dinner? [Investigate these resources: 31 October 1850 Cataract; 3 March 1850 Cataract; 25 October 1850 Boston Daily Mail; 23 October 1850 Worcester Spy ; 31 October 1850 Worcester Spy; 1 November 1850 Worcester Spy; Worcester House Broadsides]

List at least 3 places and 5 things to eat.














Write a thank you letter to Sally for the invitation to the First National Woman's Rights Convention in 1850. Describe your trip, accommodations and what you learned at the convention. Did the Transportation Revolution help move ideas along with goods and people? Close with how you will help the Woman's Rights Movement move forward.

















THE HEART OF THE COMMONWEALTH: OR WORCESTER AS IT IS (Worcester: Henry J. Howland, 1856.) [Difficult to photocopy]

P 84: Our city is well supplied with establishments of this kind, where the traveller[sic] or citizen may find comfortable accommodations by the day, week or year, or with a single meal or lunch; and in any style of elegance or richness to suit the taste or the pockets.

The Lincoln House, mentioned opposite, and its enterprising proprietors, are too well known to travellers to require further notice here. Others, of more or less pretensions, may be found by reference to their advertisements here or elsewhere; and we will only say in conclusion, that no one need stay away from Worcester for fear of lacking ample entertainment for man and beast.


Tefft, Rev. B.D., ed. THE LADIES' REPOSITORY: A MONTHLY PERIODICAL DEVOTED TO LITERATURE AND RELIGION. Cincinnati: L. Swormstedt & J. H. Power, Vol X (November 1850).

P. 382 : The longest passenger train upon the records of the Boston railroads was brought from Worcester in August of this year by three locomotives. It consisted of forty-six long cars, and carried between 2,700 and 2,800 persons.


Davis, A H, ed. THE LADIES' ALBUM: devoted to the arts, science, music, painting, religion and literature, Vol. XV. Boston: Davis, 1850.

P. 24: [Sketches by the Way by the editor No. 1 ] . . . left home on 9 April 1850 taking Norfolk CO Rail Road. At Waterford it meets Providence and Worcester RR and it is anticipated that it may eventually be extended to CT, to form a junction with . . . line road to NY.

28-29 view for traveler GREAT COPY


CATARACT 31 October 1850 Vol. 8 No. 33

Ad for Mr. D C Gates TEMPERANCE EATING ROOMS at 167 Main opposite Flagg's New Block:

Mr. D. C. Gates, --a true teetotaler, both in principle and in practice, --has renovated with fresh paint, and various other improvements, and now re-opened his TEMPERANCE EATING ROOMS on Main Street, where either ladies or gentlemen can be promptly and politely furnished with all kinds of eatables and drinkables, except those of an alcoholic nature, as will appear by his advertisement in our business columns.

In the next issue ad offers: "oysters for family use. By pint, quart or gallon, steak, confectionery, oranges, lemons, figs raisins, nuts and a great variety of other Fruit, both Foreign and American." Uses hand symbol to point to "Ladies can visit these Rooms with perfect propriety, as such is the custom [i.e., the type of customers] of the place." Upside down hand symbol date placed Oct 31


CATARACT 3 March 1850

P168: Temperance Eating House and Oyster Saloon

We invite the attention of the Ladies and Gentlemen of Worc and vicinity, to the TEH of C & J Forbush, directly under the PO, where meals are furnished at all hours, from 6am to 10 pm -- Hot Coffee, Tea, Pies, Cake, Confectionery and Fruit. Oysters, Stewed, Fried and Roasted. Come and see us. N.B. Families furnished with the best of oysters.


Daniel C. Thurston, Central Exchange Eating House, No. 162, Directly under the Worcester Bank.

Meals at all hours of the day and evening. Boarding by the day or week OYSTERS by the quart and pint, and served up to order. Pies, Cake, Hot Tea, and Coffee constantly on hand, but-- NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES -- Ladies can call with perfect propriety, as such is the custom of the place.


E.A.S. comment in LIBERATOR, Sep 20, 1850 [ WWHP Teacher's Resources - Small Group Projects

4th group Medical Profession]

The Liberator, September 20, 1850 "WHY WAS IT DONE?"

Worcester, Sept. 10, 1850.

Dear Mr. Garrison:

Allow Ö usurpations.


I am glad there is to be a Woman's Rights Convention held here this fall. Let the women of New England, and especially of Massachusetts, make it a spirited and profitable occasion. Let the united voices of the noble and uncompromising women of America be heard speaking in thunder tones for those rights whichmight, not right, have so long deprived them of. Ladies from abroad will find warm and sympathizing hearts to welcome and provide for their wants while here. Come, then, to the rescue, one and all!

E.A.S. [Mrs. Martin Stowell]



August, 1853 Vol. 4 No. 8 pp. AAS

Letter from Mrs. Gage signed Aunt Fanny on Convention Women traveling without Protectors' Self- Reliance Lucretia and James Mott, Sarah Tyndale, Sarah J Hale, Harriet K Hunt, &c.


Perhaps I should talk of the kindness and gallantry of the rail-road companies. Who allowed us crazy disorganizers [sic] to whirl over their routes at half price. Surely we owe them many thanks, and I earnestly hope that other states may follow their example and secure our good will by laying us under similar pleasant obligations.


Vance, James E. Jr. THE NORTH AMERICAN RAILROAD. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Union Press, 1995. AAS Page 102 From Report from Boston-Worcester Railroad directors to General Court of MA

43 miles depot to depot

456í above level of Western Avenue Boston

491í highest summit path

greatest inclination 30í in a mile

whole ascent 556í

only 16 miles were level

AAS doesnít have Oct 1850 edition SEE COPY OF SEPT 1850

B&W RR 11/30/50 Annual Report had good figures of jobs and wages



RAILROAD. Chester, CT: Pequot Press, 1973. At WHM HE2791.N946F37

Before p. 53 pic of Steamer CT Nov 1850 Courtesy CT Historical Soc

Engine Uncas 1850 Courtesy Freeman M Fogg, Stoughton, MA



Ads in Worcester Spy for 23 and 31 October 1850 and 1 November 1850

Stereoscopic view of Foster St. Station

Boston & Worcester Fare Card and Tickets in AAS Graphics


Women in America Website Travel description