Pastor Joseph Prentiss (sometimes spelled Prentice), 33, conducting services at the first church building on the Sawkill about ¾ mile east of our present location (that is, north [or should it be south?] of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).(1)
(Reverend Prentiss also acted as pastor on a rotating basis at the Episcopal Christ Church in Hudson. Rationalists such as the previous pastor and founder, Rev. Frederick Henry Quitman, 52, pictured here, who had prevailed upon Pastor Prentiss to take over the pulpit in Woodstock, felt that any ordained clergyman--Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregationalist, and [presumably] Lutheran--could be an interchangeable pastor for any one of those congregations.)
There is some evidence that Christ's Lutheran Church in Woodstock was holding services in German and English on alternate Sundays.(2)
During this single year, the officers of the church were all called vestrymen, and there was no distinction among them. One of the vestrymen was Lewis Edson, 64, a blacksmith and nail maker who had moved into Woodstock (Mink Hollow) from Massachusetts six years earlier. In Massachusetts, he had been an active member of the Anglican (Episcopalian) church, where he had served on the vestry. It is possible that he may have influenced our congregation enough to get them to abandon, at least for this year, the form of government (trustees, deacons, and elders) that was most typical among Lutheran churches at that time. At any rate, the use of the Anglican term is yet another indication that the congregation was English speaking from the beginning.(3)
Above is a page from the church register, recording the vestrymen for the church during this year. To enlarge the picture, just click it.
A sexton, another borrowing from the Anglicans, was appointed. Whether or not this individual had the full range of responsibilities common to Angican sextons of those days (grave digging as well as cleaning and maintaining the property) is not known.(4)
Vestryman Lewis Edson was also a singing master (a man who went around and conducted singing schools in communities as part of his livelihood; the lively "schools" might be held in regular schools, in taverns, as well as in churches). He had been for many years a composer, and some of his hymns were already widely known by Lutherans throughout America. (To the left are a couple of his well-known hymns included in the book on the right, an instruction book for use in singing schools, which had been published by his son a little over a decade before; to enlarge either picture, just click it.)
There were probably also choristers, whether or not they were officially appointed, and vestryman Edson doubtless served in this capacity. They would have been responsible for choosing hymns, establishing pitch, and setting tempos.(5)
Ibid., p. 31. (Close)
In those days, a chorister (or sometimes the pastor) would "line out" (sing one line of a hymn), and then the congregation would follow.(6)
Reverend Quitman, our founding pastor, was still pastor of St. Peter's Church in Rhinebeck. He was also president of the New York Ministerium (the synod), and he was working on a new catechism in the English language.
Region historian Alf Evers(7)
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, 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, 37. 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.
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, those who failed to pay rent and who cut the landlord's timber for sale as boards, shingles, and other uses. 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.
Samuel Stilwell's fully incorporated (by the state legislature) Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Society, just over the boundary from Livingston land, was renamed the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company by an act of the legislature. Perhaps there had been some management irregularities necessitating the change.
With the United States now embroiled in the worldwide war, demand for domestic manufactures was stimulated. Both Samuel's Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company and his brother Stephen's Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company were doing very good business, shipping their products down the new Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in the new community of Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then on to distant customers.
Wagons loaded with casks of clay, with sand and soda, and with wooden boxes of window glass packed in hay or straw went on their way to Glasco and by sloop to New York. Glassworkers were traditionally lively and imaginative people. They were fond of music. Because their lungs were well developed and their throats affected by blowing glass, they were often singers.(8)Worldly glassmakers have been credited with bringing to the Woodstock area, mainly populated by tenants for life who never ventured far from home, an interest in music and a creative spirit. Certainly, glassmaking was a major factor in the increase in population and the establishment of numerous taverns, stores, and churches. There was also an important down side:
This quote and the following one, along with the intervening explication, is excerpted from ibid., pp. 131, 135. (Close)
The most conspicuous and long-reaching effect on the visible landscape of Woodstock's glassmaking years was the deforestation of Woodstock's hills and mountains, often followed by forest fires which blazed among the dry branches left behind by the woodcutters. Erosion then carried away the already sparse mountainside soil or piled up gravel and stones on fertile valley fields.
The New York State legislature began enacting an effective statewide system of "common schools" financed by state and local governments. In Woodstock, schools were open for eight months of the year, with 256 of the 311 children between ages 5 and 15 being taught.
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.
New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree, 15, originally of Hurley, worked very hard to please her master, John J. Dumont. Mr. Dumont was a reasonably kind master (beating her only infrequently), but his wife was a severe and very hard-to-please taskmistress. Here is how abolitionist Olive Gilbert, the literary mouthpiece of Isabella (in later life known as Sojourner Truth), recorded Isablla's description many years later of her relationship with her master:(9)
Quoted from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), p. 14. (Close)
[She] became more ambitious than ever to please him; and he stimulated her ambition by his commendation, and by boasting of her to his friends, telling them that "that wench" (pointing to Isabel) "is better for me than a man--for she will do a good family's washing in the night, and be ready in the morning to go into the field, where she will do as much at raking and binding as my best hands." Her ambition and desire to please were so great, that she often worked several nights in succession, sleeping only short snatches, as she sat in her chair; and some nights she would not allow herself to take any sleep, save what she could get resting herself against the wall, fearing that if she sat down, she would sleep too long. These extra exertions to please, and the praises consequent upon them, brought upon her head the envy of her fellow-slaves, and they taunted her with being the "white folks' nigger."… At this time she looked upon her master as a God; and believed that he knew of and could see her at all times, even as God himself. And she used to confess her delinquencies, from the conviction that he already knew them, and that she should fare better if she confessed voluntarily: and if anyone talked to her of the injustice of being a slave, she answered them with contempt and immediately told her master. She then firmly believed that slavery was right and honorable.
Author Washington Irving, 29, visited John Robert Livingston, brother of the "Chancellor," in Barrytown and admired the "fairyland" of the Catskills in the vista available from across the Hudson.
With the outbreak of the War of 1812, many tenants of General Lewis, whose wife Gertrude Livingston had inherited 19,400 acres around Lake Delaware in Delaware County near present-day Bovina, enlisted. Lewis had instructed his land agent to forgive a year's rent for each campaign served by a tenant.
Samuel Wilson, 46, a meat packer in Troy, NY, became known among soldiers as "Uncle Sam" after the "U.S." he had stamped on his provision boxes.
James Madison (Democratic Republican), 61, was President. The 12th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $10.53 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Aaron Burr of New York, 56, returned to the United States from Britain and France after 4 years, having failed to win support there for his many schemes (such as restoring Canada to France or enlisting unemployed New England sailors during the embargo to march on Washington and overthrow the government). Burr directed his talents toward becoming a successful New York lawyer.
The militia of Kentucky are alone competent to place Montreal and Upper Canada at your feet.(10)Congressman John Sevier proposed annexing Florida along with Canada.
Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 382. (Close)
Congress adjourned without voting adequate funding for the military. Representative John Randolph of Virginia, 39, proclaimed that the war was a terrible mistake and would only help the tyrant Napoleon:
The blood of the American freemen must flow to cement his power!(11)As thousands of British factory workers were thrown out of jobs from the American nonintercourse of the previous few years, agitation had long been mounting for Parliament to repeal the restrictions that had brought on the embargo and nonintercourse; a petition to Parliament from the city of Birmingham bore 20,000 names on a sheet of parchment 150 feet long. The British Foreign Secretary actually suspended the offensive Orders in Council just 2 days before Congress declared war.
Quoted in Athearn, Robert G., ed., American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States, vol. 4, A New Nation, New York: Choice Publishing, 1988, p. 345. (Close)
The U.S. population was 7.5 million, including slaves. Canada's population was half a million, mostly French. There were, however, 5,000 trained British troops there, some 4,000 Canadian regulars and about the same number of militia. Isaac Brock was an inspired British general. Indian allies of the British numbered about 4,000. The U.S. regular army was barely 7,000 ill-trained, ill-disciplined, and widely scattered men, but some 400,000 even more poorly trained state militia were called up (although very few of them served). Some of the ranking generals were semisenile heirlooms from the Revolutionary War, resting on their laurels and lacking in vigor and vision. Assisting the British were the American "General Mud" and "General Confusion." There was no broad U.S. strategy.
Congress voted to award volunteer troops $124 (about a year's salary for most, $1,306 in 2006 dollars) and 360 acres of land for signing up, and many men joined (and then deserted after a few months). Many would not march or fight unless they were paid.
"Hey, Betty Martin" was a favorite marching song of the American troops.
Green American militia forces under General William Hull, 59, Governor of Michigan Territory, invaded Canada from Detroit with a force of 2,200, but timidly withdrew soon after his lines of communication were cut. Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, 44 (pictured on the right), meanwhile, joined his forces with the British. Canadian and British forces under General Isaac Brock rushed from Niagara to Detroit and persuaded Hull to surrender the city by leaking disinformation that the Indian allies of the British, in numbers deliberately exaggerated, might get out of hand and scalp the Americans otherwise.
In addition to surrendering Detroit without a fight, Hull ordered the evacuation of the garrison at Fort Dearborn (Chicago) on Lake Michigan, whose inhabitants-- men, women, and children-- were indeed slaughtered by 500 Potawatomi Indians. The American defenses were pushed back to the Ohio and Wabash Rivers.
The British from the St. Joseph's post on the Sault captured Michilimackinac in northern Michigan Territory.
Major General Samuel Hopkins led 4,000 Kentucky militiamen from Vincennes in Indiana Territory to punish the Indians who had sacked Fort Dearborn. But the militia became mutinous, so Hopkins, who could not persuade a single volunteer to press forward, had to retreat.
Captain "John" of the Kentucky brigade (the "Kentucks," commanded by General James Winchester) boasted that he had broken his knife in the process of taking the scalp of Potawatomi Chief Wynemack. Many Kentucks fashioned shoes for themselves out of fresh animal hides.
U.S. forces under Captain John E. Wool tried to capture the Niagara region by attacking the Queenston heights, but were repulsed because the New York militia under Stephen Van Rensselaer and Governor Daniel D. Tompkins would not support the regular soldiers.
Brigadier General Alexander Smyth ("Apocalypse Smyth") exhorted his men with fine speeches and convinced them to cross the Niagara River in the sleet, but he retreated with his men when he saw the determination of the Canadians.
General Henry Dearborn, 61, so fat that he needed a special cart to go from place to place, tried to lead an army of militiamen across Lake Champlain on the way to take Montreal, but his men refused to cross the border into Canada (they had not signed up to fight beyond the border).
The American frigate U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), under the command of Isaac Hull, 39, nephew of the incompetent General William Hull, defeated the British frigate H.M.S. Guerrière off the coast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Later, under the command of William Bainbridge, it destroyed the H.M.S. Java off the coast of Brazil. (Lucy Brenner, disguised as "Nicholas Baker," served on the crew of the Constitution.)
One London journalist called the American vessels
a few fir-built frigates, manned by a handful of bastards and outlaws,(12)and the Americans gloried in the taunt.
Quoted in Churchill, Winston S., The Age of Revolution, vol. 3 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1957, p. 361. (Close)
The U.S. sloop Wasp, commanded by Jacob Jones, captured the British Frolic but lost it and was itself taken prize by the 74-gun H.M.S. Macedonian. The U.S.S. United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur, 33, then captured the Macedonian off the Madeiras and took her to New London, CT, as a prize.
Federalists, opposed to the war with the United Kingdom and disappointed that their antiwar votes in the 12th Congress had not prevailed, continued protesting the commissioning of regular army officers to command local militias, the discrimination against New England commerce, and the neglect of coastal defenses. In New England the news of the declaration of war was greeted with muffled bells, flags at half mast, and public fasting. The Governor of Massachusetts declared a Day of Fast in protest against "Madison's ruinous war," and the lower house of the state legislature urged the organization of a "peace party." New England newspapers inveighed against the war, and ministers of the gospel preached against it, some drawing
strange and subversive parallels from the scriptures.(13)Federalist-controlled state governments refused to enlist militia for the war and lobbied against any lending of money to the national government. New England continued its brisk trade with the British, both directly to the British fleet and across the Canadian border.
Quoted in Wellman, Paul I., The House Divides: The Age of Jackson and Lincoln, from the War of 1812 to the Civil War, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1966, p. 12. (Close)
Alexander C. Hanson, editor of a Baltimore Federalist newspaper that argued for peace, had to keep himself and his friends lodged for safety in the city jail while mobs demolished the newspaper office. Some of the Federalists were dragged out of the jail and badly beaten, including Hanson and General Henry Lee. General J. M. Lingan was killed.
New England merchants, as well as many in New York and Pennsylvania, continued illegal trade with the enemy. Brokers in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston sold licenses to get through blockades to supply British vessels.
Amos A. Evans, a navy surgeon aboard the frigate Constitution, commented in his journal:
Will the U.S. receive any assistance from the Eastern States in the prosecution of the present war? Judging from the present symptoms, I fear not. Good God! Is it possible that the people of the U.S. enjoying the blessings of freedom under the only republican government on earth have not virtue enough to support it!(14)The war encouraged the development of domestic manufacturing in the United States: New Englander Francis Cabot Lowell, 37, memorized the specifications of English textile machinery and chartered his own cotton fabric company in Massachusetts, in partnership with his brother-in-law Patrick Tracey Jackson; Eli Whitney of Connecticut, 47, "the Father of Mass Production," obtained a government contract to produce 15,000 muskets with interchangeable parts; clockmakers from New Haven and the Naugatuck Valley observed Whitney's milling machines and his manufacturing methods and then set up a flourishing machine tool industry; and William Monroe of Concord, Massachusetts, began manufacturing lead pencils.
Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 152. (Close)
The 13th Congress was elected also, to begin serving the following year.
The City Bank or New York (later the National City Bank) was set up on Wall Street in New York City.
Many other state banks were chartered, most of them extending credit recklessly, issuing their own banknotes and generating inflation.
Philadelphia merchant Steven Girard founded the Girard Bank.
The Pennsylvania Company for Insurance, primarily underwriting life insurance, was incorporated in Philadelphia.
John Chapman, 37, 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."
Louisiana was admitted to the Uniton as the 18th state, its constitution allowing slavery. The rest of the Louisiana Purchase, heretofore called Louisiana Territory, was reorganized as Missouri Territory, with its capital at St. Louis.
onanism [masturbation] produces seminal weakness, impotence, dysury, tabes dorsalis, pulmonary consumption, dyspepsia, dimness of sight, vertigo, epilepsy, hypochondriasis, loss of memory, manalgia, fatuity, and death(15)Large-scale drug production began in Philadelphia; The New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery began publication; and Massachusetts physician James Thacher published a study of rabies.
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), p. 169. (Close)
Popular periodicals included Niles' Weekly Register.
The Red River Settlement was established in Manitoba, Canada.
If Nature thwarts us and our plans, we shall fight against her, and make her obey.(16)Miranda became dictator and tried to rally the revolutionaries, but he was captured by Spanish forces and sent to Cadiz.
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 314. (Close)
Mexican revolutionaries under José Maria Morelos, proclaiming the equality of all races and promising to distribute land to the peasants, captured Oaxaca and advanced on Acapulco. Wealthy Creoles opposed him.
Spanish colonial forces suppressed revolutionaries in Central America.
Patriot Bernardo O'Higgins, 34, challenged the dictatorial rule of José Miguel Carrera in Chile.
The eight sons of Meyer Rothschild of Frankfurt helped Wellington's cause through their international bank clearing house by smuggling with disguises and false passports a gigantic fortune of French Napoleon d'or, Dutch gulden, English guineas, and gold.
British Prime Minister Spencer Percival, who was about to repeal the Orders in Council that were causing so much strain with the United States, was assassinated by a madman (a merchant who blamed the government for his business troubles). As a result, the revocation was delayed for several months, and news of the revocation did not reach the United States until 7 weeks after the United States declared war.
The British public deeply resented the U.S., feeling that the Americans had stabbed Britain in the back while it was defending civilization against the Napoleonic menace. The Times of London declared amazement that the U.S. did not recognize their true enemy, France:
The Alps and the Apennines of America are the British Navy. If ever that should be removed, a short time will suffice to establish the headquarters of a [French] Duke-Marshal at Washington.(17)Secretary of War Robert Banks Jenkinson, Second Earl of Liverpool, took over the British government. Robert Stewart, Marques of Londonderry and Viscount Castlereagh, was appointed once more as Foreign Secretary.
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 195. (Close)
Russia made peace with the Ottoman Empire at Bucharest.
Prussia agreed to allow French troops to transit Prussian territory in an imminent invasion of Russia. Generals Gneisenau and Scharnhorst resigned.
Napoleon (to enlarge his picture, just click it) fancied himself the heir of Alexander the Great; he was determined to be master of Asia. His Grande Armée (some 600,000 men, consisting of Frenchmen, Prussians, Poles, Germans, Swiss, Austrians, Dutch, and Italians) crossed the River Niemen and invaded Russia, and then crossed the River Viliya and sacked Smolensk.
The Russian Ambassador in London predicted:
We can win by persistent defense and retreat. If the enemy begins to pursue us, it is all up with him; for the farther he advances from his bases of supply into a trackless and foodless country, starved and encircled by an army of Cossacks, his position will become more and more dangerous. He will end by being decimated by the winter, which has always been our most faithful ally.(18)After the Battle of Ostrowo, some 80,000 of the Grande Armée were sick with typhus, dysentery, and enteric fever. The French barely defeated Russian forces in the bloody Battle of Borodino on the Moskova River. In their retreat, the Russians under Field Marshal Mikhail Kutusov, 66, abandoned Moscow to the French. Most of the inhabitants fled before Napoleon, setting fires on the way out; Moscow burned, destroying 30,000 houses.
Quoted in Churchill, op. cit., p. 336. (Close)
Napoleon's forces were extended too far; they ran out of supplies and had no shelter in the coming fierce winter. Thousands died from hunger, exposure, lack of salt, and sporadic Cossack attacks, as the French retreated across the Berezina. The Russians under Field Marshal Kutusov routed the French under Marshal Ney and Marshal Davout in the Battle of Smolensk.
Meanwhile, General Claude François Malet led a conspiracy against Napoleon at home in an attempt to end the war and install Louis XVIII as King.
Napoleon left General Joachim Murat in command of the retreat from Russia and hurried off by sleigh to Paris. Only 20,000 (3.3%) of the original invasion force survived the Russian campaign. Napoleon squashed the Malet conspiracy and had Malet executed.
Frederick Albert Winsor set up the Gas, Light, and Coke Company (later the British National Light and Heat Company) in London, to further the piping of gas to consumers in several London districts, enabling the lighting of these districts.
Bryan Donkin set up a canning factory in Bermondsey, England, to produce tinned foods for the British military and naval forces.
English chemist Humphry Davy, 34, published Elements of Chemical Philosophy; Russian chemist Gottlieb Sigismund Iorchoff observed and described catalytic processes; French mathematician Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace, 63, published Théorie analytique; and French naturalist Georges Leopold Chrétien Frederic Dagobert, Baron Cuvier, 43, discovered the relationship between depth into rock layers and geological age, described in his Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupèdes, which inaugurated the science of paleontology.
In the Hardenberg reforms, the Jews in Prussia were emancipated.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain was established.
The waltz was fashionable in English ballrooms.
German composer Ludwig von Beethoven, 42, produced King Stephen Overture, Symphony No. 7 (Opus 92), and Symphony No. 8 (Opus 93); Beethoven and Sturm und Drang philosopher novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 63, met at Teplitz; French painter Jean Louis André Théodore Géricault, 21, painted Mounted Officer of the Imperial Guard; and German storytellers Jacob Grimm, 27, and Wilhelm Grimm, 26, published Grimm's Fairy Tales.