Until church members had a building of their own, they held services in their homes, subject to the weather and farm work schedules. Sometime before 1809 (possibly in 1808), congregant Henry Bonesteel donated a plot of land for a church building, located about ¾ mile east of our present location, "on a small rise of ground north [or south?] of the modern route 212 and overlooking the Sawkill where it twists by the present-day golf club, which was at that time a mill on the stream."(1)
From Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976]. In 2006, Mark Anderson learned that the original church building was not up on the ledge and north of Route 212 but was actually south of 212, between the road and the Sawkill. "This is congruent with the reported statement of Allen Nash, who transferred into the church from Rhinebeck in the 1830s when he said that there was an old, unusable church building still standing half-way between the one on the Bonesteel lease (on the ledge) and the mill at the east end of town (present golf clubhouse). Interesting, eh?" (Close)
Sometime soon thereafter the first church building was completed at that site.
Circuit-riding Reverend Frederick Henry Quitman, 48, was the official pastor, conducting services on different days in Rhinebeck (St. Peter's Church), West Camp (the Palatine Lutheran Church of St. Paul's), and Woodstock. There is some evidence that the church was holding services in German and English on alternate Sundays.(2)
Above are two pages from the church register. On the left is a record from 1807 through 1809 of the names and dates of children who were baptized as well as their parents and sponsors (with a big splotch of ink). On the right is a record of the officers of the church from 1807 through 1810, as they were elected on a rotating basis. To enlarge either picture, just click it.
In general, pastors and congregations belonging to the New York Ministerium (the synod) were not in favor of the evangelical revivals that were just beginning to be popular among American Christians--in particular, among the Methodists.
Since the Methodist movement grew out of Episcopal roots and shared much of the emphasis on "experimental religion" that dominated Lutheran piety, one might expect that Lutherans would cooperate with them fully.(3)Such was not the case in the New York Ministerium, however. Its president, our Pastor Quitman, had little regard for the Methodists. For example, he had written to his son:
Here Anderson, p. 33, is citing Nelson, E. Clifford, ed., The Lutherans in North America [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975], p. 92. (Close)
New sects spring up daily. We are surrounded with frantic Methodists, Erastians or New Lights, Baptists, Universalists, etc. There is continually preaching (so called) in our neighborhood. The Methodists are at present in camp-meeting two-mile beyond the flats.(4)Pastor Quitman was possibly the most thoroughgoing rationalist who had ever been ordained in the Lutheran church; for example, he denied the authority of both the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions.(5)
Here Anderson, p. 46, is citing Kreider, Harry J., History of the United Lutheran Synod of New York and New England, Volume I, 1786-1860 [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1954], p. 71. (Close)
According to Pastor Quitman, in his book A Treatise on Magic, or, on the Intercourse between Spirits and Men (which he would be publishing two years later to disabuse the local belief in witches)(6),
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, pp. 209-10. (Close)
in October of this year,
the house of a respectable farmer, of that district of the town of Rhinebeck, which is called Wertemberg, was believed to be haunted by evil spirits. Stones were continually thrown in every direction, and part of the winter store was either destroyed or carried away… the mischief was ascribed by the inhabitants, to some supernatural cause.… [Rather than making a careful examination, people] took the shortest and easiest way and attributed it to witchcraft. In this persuasion, they sent to a famous conjurer from the west side of the [Hudson] River [Dr. Jacob Brink of Lake Katrine]; but the demons, equally superstitious, and fearing the magical staff of the conjurer, departed before his arrival.… [Soon the stones began to fly again, and] I went there, accompanied by a well informed elder of my church in Rhinebeck. But the rumours of my expected arrival having been spread abroad, the house was so much crowded with people, that I could not proceed in the investigation of the matter, in the manner I had wished. However I addressed the incarnate demons and declared to them my suspicions of their wickedness, which at least put a stop to their proceedings, whilst I was there. I am sorry that the delicacy of my situation, would not permit me to bring the offenders to confession, and to deliver them up to well deserved punishment.…
Region historian Alf Evers(7)
Excerpted from ibid., pp. 23ff, 41, 150ff. (Close)
has described the Catskills as largely a region of absentee landlords and struggling tenants, in a manorial relationship more or less transplanted to upstate New York from medieval Europe. The principal landlord for tenant farmers and tavern keepers in the Town of Woodstock was "Chancellor" Robert R. Livingston (pictured), but actually running the Chancellor's affairs with his Catskill holdings of about 66,000 acres, however, was his son-in-law, Robert L. Livingston, 33. The Livingstons dwelled in their Clermont estate on the other side of the Hudson.
The typical official arrangement under which the tenant held his land was the "three-life lease": A tenant would be permitted use of Livingston land for three generations, and after the grandson of the original tenant died, the lease "fell in"--that is, the land would revert to a Livingston landlord. (For this reason, a tenant typically build a wood frame house or a rough log house, rather than the stone houses like those found in the Hurley or Marbletown lowlands.)
The Livingston landlord expected the tenants to increase the value of the land by clearing it, cutting the trees to feed the sawmill he had built on the Sawkill near the present-day golf course, and hauling the resulting boards and planks to the Hudson to supply the manufacture of gunstocks, houses, and ships. Stipulated in the typical lease was an annual rent of fifteen to twenty bushels of wheat per hundred acres, plus three or four "good fat hens" and from one to three days' work with team on the common land. A tenant could sell his leasehold, but he had to pay the landlord one-sixth of the sale.
What was actually happening, however, was often a little different:
[Not] only did [many tenants] fail to pay rent, but they cut timber for sale as boards, shingles and other uses at a lively rate.Even on paper, Robert L. Livingston's Woodstock lands and those in adjoining Shandaken and Olive never produced more than about $2,000 per year [$25,620 per year in 2006 dollars] in rents. And, because of the difficulty in collecting rents due, the income was considerably less.
Livingston--through his agent John Wigram, pictured here, the town supervisor who resided on Wigram Lane (Rock City Road) near the barn now known as Parnassus Square, and who farmed there with the help of his slaves--initiated several legal proceedings against recalcitrant tenants whom he considered scofflaws and trespassers. Livingston "regarded the tenants' own shiftlessness and dishonesty as responsible for most of their troubles."
The life of the tenant on Livingston land was not especially easy. The men worked at subsistence farming, they hunted, they logged, they produced maple sugar, they did part-time blacksmithing, and--with wood harvested from the still-large Woodstock forests (much of it belonging to the Livingston landlord, its harvesting thus constituting trespassing)--they produced charcoal and made such wood products as shingles and barrel and hogshead staves. In the late spring or early summer they peeled hemlock bark used for tanning, piling it in the woods and in the winter hauling it by sledge to smelly tannery of John C. Ring in the heart of Woodstock hamlet. (A few Woodstock tenants were sawmill operators [on sites reserved by the Livingston landlord] or tavern owners.)
Women cooked and baked in fireplaces, washed on the rocks beside a stream, sewed and spun flax and wool, churned butter, gave birth to children and then cared for them, and helped with the farm work, especially at harvest and slaughtering times: They made soap from ashes and animal fats, they dried apples, they pickled and preserved.
A Woodstock town ordinance forbade the pasturing of cattle from out of town on the Woodstock commons. (Stray animals, including large troops of hogs driven up from Kingston, had been fattening on bumper crops of acorns or beechnuts, devastating the young trees and brush and interfering with forest regeneration.)
New York City jewelry entrepreneur and land speculator Stephen Stilwell, who had bought property two years earlier in present-day Shady (soon to be called Bristol), just over the boundary from Livingston land, with a vision of building a glass factory, was being foreclosed upon, as a result of his many failed schemes. The Ulster County sheriff advertised thousands of his acres to be auctioned off at the Kingston Court House. His brother, Samuel Stilwell, however, bought most of the land and proposed to put a glass factory on it.
Dr. Jacob Brink of Lake Katrine, known in Woodstock and its environs as a "white witch" and "conjurer," was often called upon to deal with the black magic of reputed witches in the area. He was frequently called upon to contend with the "Mink Hollow witch," Becky Demilt (or Demill), reputed to be tall and thin, with black hair and snow-white skin, walking on a club foot adorned with three stockings and riding a black stallion.
Isabella Bomefree, 11, a slave of the Dutch-speaking Hardenberghs in Hurley (and therefore speaking only Dutch herself), the daughter of slaves James ("Bomefree") and Betsey ("Mau Mau Bett"), was sold by auction to English-speaking John Neeley, who purchased her along with a lot of sheep. She had already been separated from her brothers and sisters through repeated sales during her short life, and now she was separated from her aged and infirm mother and father. Neeley and his wife frequently beat Isabella because of her imperfect understanding of their English commands. Here is how Isabella remembered it many years later, when she was known as Sojourner Truth:(8)
The following two quotes, with the explication between, are from a republication of Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), p. 10. (Close)
If they sent me for a frying-pan, not knowing what they meant, perhaps I carried them the pot-hooks and trammels. Then, oh! how angry mistress would be with me!During the winter, Isabella's uncovered feet were badly frozen. The Neeleys fed her well and beat her frequently. Once Neeley beat her with a bundle of rods, prepared in the embers and bound together with cords, whipping her until her flesh was deeply lacerated, and the blood streamed from her wounds.
And now, when I hear 'em tell of whipping women on the bare flesh, it makes my flesh crawl, and my very hair rise on my head! Oh! my God! what a way is this of treating human beings?Isabella began to beg God most earnestly to get her out of her situation.
Catskill businessmen had taken over the publicly owned Schohariekill Road (approximately present-day Route 23A) and were attempting to convert it into a private "Little Delaware Turnpike," which, when completed, would stretch from Catskill all the way to the East Branch of the Delaware River (north of Roxbury). Unfortunately, with the previous year's Embargo Act of President Jefferson, there had been a business slump, and it was difficult for these businessmen to recover.
Catskill bakery owner John Ashley harvested the tips of spruces on the shores of North Lake to obtain the "essence of spruce," from which he brewed (with water and molasses) and bottled spruce beer, as popular then as carbonated cola is today.
John Robert Livingston, brother of Clermont's Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, had been leasing and selling off as much of his inheritance in Sullivan County as he could to finance his businesses in New York City and elsewhere. During this year, he advertised three-life leases on 50 farms in the county, with no rent due for the first 3 years (thereafter the rent would rise until it reached 15 bushels of wheat per hundred acres.
With various blustering threats and maneuvers, Neversink Valley landlord Gerardus "Gross" Hardenbergh, 64, had for the previous 6 years been pressing his "tenants" and those whom he insisted were squatters (even though they had fee-simple deeds he insisted were worthless frauds) to pay rent. He terrorized the valley, dragging farmers from their houses and committing outrage after outrage. All the farmers in the valley hated him fiercely. In November he rode into the valley from Kingston, announcing that he "would raise more hell during the next seven years than had ever been seen on earth before." After threatening one farmer, John Coney, with eviction because a chimney wasn't properly "topped," Hardenbergh stayed with his son Hermann on a farm nearby. The next morning he rode off to terrorize other locals but was ambushed in the woods, shot from his horse and dying several hours later. The inquest into the murder found no clear suspects, because every farmer pretended ignorance.
There were 900 miles privately constructed roads in New York State, managed by 67 companies.
New York inventor John C. Stevens, 59, launched his 100-foot-long steamboat Phoenix with a domestically built engine.
Thomas Jefferson (Democratic Republican), 65, was President. The 10th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $12.81 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Presbyterian minister Samuel Miller, 39, preached the following in New York City(9):
Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 113, who cited Miller, A Sermon: Preached March 13, 1808, For the Benefit of the Society Instituted in the City of New York, For the Benefit of Poor Widows and Small Children (New York, 1808, pp. 13, 14). (Close)
How interesting and important are the duties devolved on females as wives… the counsellor and friend of the husband; who makes it her daily study to lighten his cares, to soothe his sorrows, and to augment his joys; who, like a guardian angel, watches over his interests, warns him against dangers, comforts him under trials; and by her pious, assiduous, and attractive deportment, constantly endeavors to render him more virtuous, more useful, more honourable, and more happy.
The home was a woman's domain or, more accurately, her confines.(10)
These three paragraphs quoted extensively from McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), pp. 91, 92, 98, citing The Kitchen in History. (Close)
Here, without electricity, without modern appliances, she did all her chores by hand. The wash. The preserving. The cooking. The cleaning. The sewing. The tending to her average flock of at least five children. A woman's work was never done. Imagine making all of your family's clothes by hand, and you begin to get an idea of just how labor-intensive the career of domestic manager was in those days.
[T]he fireplace was the main place in the kitchen. Of course there was a crane to hang kettles on. The brass kettles, of various sizes, were kind of dress-up kettles; the iron kettles were the everyday ones. They had legs, so they would either set on the hearth next to the fire, or hang by a pothook on the crane.… There wasn't too much stuff fried.… Things were mostly either cooked on a spit or in a pot.Most people, except the wealthy, slept on straw mattresses. Due to the small size of the houses that predominated among the poor and middle class, the parents of a family typically enjoyed the only private room--assuming there was even that. Small children and adolescents frequently slept together, two, three, and four to a bed. The boys shared their beds with apprentices or other male houseguests as well. (Even travelers barely acquainted with one another slept together at roadside inns.)
The practice of medicine was typically practiced by "doctors" who had little education and no medical degree (although even those with a degree had strange notions). Medical practices were rarely inspected, and quacks and charlatans practiced virtually unchecked everywhere. Even legitimate medicine--including bloodletting, blistering, purging, puking--often did more harm than good. Little wonder that distrust of physicians ran high and that many who were ill tried desperately to find their own cures through folk medicine before resorting to a "professional." Bloodletting, or "bleeding," involved draining a patient's blood, either by lancing the flesh or by applying leeches. It was believed to relieve tension on arteries and to allow poisons to exit the body. Calomel (mercury chloride) was prescribed in large doses as a purgative--often destroying the patient's teeth and gums, or life.(11)
Captain Benjamin Ireson brought his schooner Betty into the harbor at Marblehead, MA, whose citizens, accusing him of abandoning a sinking ship, tarred and feathered him and rode him out of town on a rail.
One indignant New Hampshirite denounced the President with this ditty:
Our ships all in motion,A Federalist circular in Massachusetts against the embargo cried out:
Once whiten'd the ocean;
They sail'd and return'd with a Cargo;
Now doom'd to decay
They are fallen a prey,
To Jefferson, worms, and EMBARGO.(12)
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 224. (Close)
Let every man who holds the name of America dear to him, stretch forth his hands and put this accursed thing, the Embargo from him. Be resolute, act like sons of liberty, of God, and your country; nerve your arm with vengeance against this Despot [Jefferson] who would wrest the inestimable germ of your independence from you--and you shall be Conquerors!!!(13)New England seethed with talk of secession.
Quoted in ibid., p. 226. (Close)
John Jacob Astor, 45, however, played out an elaborate scheme to defeat the embargo: He disguised one of his clerks as "The Honorable Punqua Wingchong, a Chinese mandarin" who needed to attend a funeral in China, got permission from the government to send the "mandarin" to China on a ship loaded with merchandise. The ship returned full of goods, and--in the midst of the embargo-- Astor became rich.
One long-term effect of the embargo was to stimulate the development of domestic manufacturing.
Meanwhile, American men were "impressed" from American ships into the British Navy at the rate of about 1500 per year.
French forces confiscated U.S. ships and cargoes in European ports; Napoleon claimed that he was merely enforcing President Jefferson's embargo.
Never did a prisoner, released from his chains, feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power.(14)The Democratic Republican Party (or, simply, "Republican Party" [the ancestor of the present-day Democratic Party]) was divided over the embargo. New York Republicans nominated George Clinton as an anti-embargo candidate. The Congressional caucus nominated James Madison of Virginia the Secretary of State, whom his detractors nicknamed "Little Jemmy" in reference to his being a flunky to President Jefferson. Dissident Virginians nominated James Monroe. Nonetheless, Madison was elected President with 122 electoral votes (compared with only 47 votes for his Federalist opponent, Charles Coatsworth Pinckney of South Carolina, who again had Rufus King of Massachusetts as his running mate). Madison's campaign was helped immeasurably by the graces of his wife, Dolley. Clinton was reelected as Vice President.
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 184. (Close)
The 11th Congress was elected also, to begin serving the following year.
Following the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, Congress prohibited the importation of African slaves. Illicit trade (extensive smuggling) continued, however. Domestic traders purchased slaves cheap at estate and execution sales and resold them at public auctions to plantation owners short of help, especially in the deep South,
Notice. Will be sold at the mansion house of John Vivion deceased, all the personal estate of said deceased, consisting of Seven Negroes.… Two likely young Girls, between the ages of 20 and 25. Two likely Boys, between the ages of 16 and 20. And one likely young Girl of the age of five years.(15)Rev. William White founded the Bible Society in Philadelphia.
Quoted in McCutcheon, op. cit., p. 26, 211-12, citing Missouri Intelligencer (August 5, 1823). (Close)
Aaron Burr of New York left the United States for Britain and France to try to win support for his many schemes.
The Cherokees of Georgia, who had abandoned their seminomadic life and adopted a system of settled agriculture and a notion of private property, established the Cherokee National Council and legislated a written legal code.
Governor William Henry Harrison of Indiana Territory, 35, kept pressure on the Indians, grabbing their lands through promising aid to one group against another, penalizing one group for some misdemeanor, or corrupting another group. Shawnee Indian brave Tenskwatawa, 40, known as the Prophet, preached that the Indians had to give up white ways and white artifacts, such as muskets, iron cooking pots, cloth, and whiskey. If they returned to ancient Indian ways, they would be able to gain sufficient power to resist the relentless pressure from American settlers. The Prophet built a village along Tippecanoe Creek in Indiana Territory, and Indians traveled from Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota to hear his message. Meanwhile, the Prophet's brother Tecumseh, 40, was visiting other Indian villages and organizing various tribes into a confederation to oppose the encroachment of the whites.
John Chapman, 33, known as "Johnny Appleseed," continued distributing Swedenborgian religious tracts and apple seeds to settlers in the Ohio Valley. A small, wiry man with "eyes that sparkled with a peculiar brightness," he had a reputation for loving children and all living creatures, even mosquitoes. He made friends with all the Indians he encountered. He traveled barefoot, dressed in cast-offs or a coffee sack. He liked to read to settlers from the New Testament, calling it "news right fresh from heaven."
The Théâtre St. Philippe was opened in New Orleans.
Pigtails in men's hair went out of fashion.
Popular periodicals included Lady's Weekly Miscellany and Christian's Magazine.
Separatist groups in Mexico and South America were encouraged by the vacuum of power caused by Napoleon's occupation of Spain.
A printing press was set up in Brazil.
London barrister Samuel Romilly, 51, succeeded in getting the British Parliament to reform the English criminal law code; laws stipulating capital punishment for theft were repealed.
The Scottish legal system was reformed.
King Carlos IV of Spain abdicated in favor of his son Ferdinand, 23. Napoleon (to enlarge his picture, just click it), however, made his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain, forcing King Ferdinand to abdicate as well (under threat of the firing squad). The Spanish in Madrid rose in revolt, but General Murat forced the Spanish Council into requesting Joseph as King. (Meanwhile, General Murat succeeded Joseph as King of Naples.)
A 30,000-man British force under Sir Arthur Wellesley, 39, landed in Portugal (along with war correspondent Henry Crabb Robinson for the Times of London); Portugal joined in the Spanish uprising against French domination. French General Pierre Antoine Dupont surrendered his thirsting 18,000-man force to Spanish rebels after the Battle of Bailen. King Joseph was forced to flee Madrid.
General Wellesley defeated the French under Marshal Andoche Junot first in the Battle of Roliça and then in the much more significant Battle of Vimeiro. Junot retreated back to Lisbon. With the Convention of Cintra, the French agreed to surrender Lisbon to the Portuguese; in return, the British under Sir Harry Burrard, Sir Hew Dalyrimple, and Wellesley peacefully transported Junot and 26,000 Frenchmen to Rochefort in France!
Napoleon himself invaded Spain with a force of 150,000 French, Germans, and Austrians and won several battles before capturing Madrid, where he reinstalled his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. A British force under Sir John Moore advanced from Lisbon to Valladolid, but the French under Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult pursued him back to Portugal.
General Murat, now officially King of Naples as Joachim Napoleon, entered Naples and captured Capri from the British. French forces also occupied Rome.
With the Congress of Erfurt Napoleon and Tsar Alexander renewed their alliance of the previous year.
Napoleon abolished the Inquisition in Italy and Spain.
Excavations began at Pompeii in southern Italy.
King Christian VII of Denmark, a demented monarch, died at the age of 59 and was succeeded by his son Frederick VI, 39, who has been regent since 1784.
Municipal Councils were introduced in Prussia.
Ottoman Grand Vizier Mustafa Bairakdar led his forces on Istanbul to restore Sultan Selim III to power after the Janissaries had deposed him the previous year in favor of Mustafa IV. The Janissaries strangled Selim, however. Bairakdar then captured Sultan Mustafa and had him killed. Bairakdar placed Selim's 23-year-old nephew on the throne as Mahmud II, sent his troops to the Danube, and killed himself to avoid capture by the Janissaries.
The source of the Ganges River was discovered in India.
French author François René de Châteaubriand wrote Les Adventures du dernier Abencérage (to be published 18 years later); German artist Kaspar David Friedrich stunned the art world with his use of light in The Cross on the Mountain; German poet Johann Christoph Friederich von Schiller, 49, persuaded German Sturm und Drang philosopher novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 59, to complete the first part of Faust (Goethe met Napoleon at Erfurt); and German composer Ludwig von Beethoven, 38, deaf, produced Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67 and Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral"), Opus 68.