Pastor George Joseph Wichterman, 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)
Congregant Lewis Edson, 67, was a singing master (a man who went around and conducted singing schools in communities as part of his livelihood; the "schools" might be held in regular schools, in taverns, as well as in churches). It is likely that he would have been the song leader (chorister) in the Sunday services; his son, Lewis Edson, Jr., would also have been involved in leading the singing.
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.(2)Such was not the case in the New York Ministerium, however. Pastor Wichterman, the first candidate to have been ordained by the New York Ministerium 20 years earlier, was not likely to have withdrawn from that organization, nor would he have favored revivalism.
From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 33, citing Nelson, E. Clifford, ed., The Lutherans in North America [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975], p. 92. (Close)
The Ministerium, after a delay of 19 years, finally fulfilled the will of the late Luther clergyman John Christopher Hartwick, whose beneficiary was Jesus Christ and whose stipulations specified that his 24,000 acres in remote Otsego County be placed in trust with the income to be used to establish and maintain an "Evangelical Theological Seminary in the Town of Hartwick." The seminary was now duly established and would graduate many Lutheran pastors over the next several decades, including several for Christ's Church in Woodstock.(3)
Region historian Alf Evers(4)
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, and for all his other Catskills holdings of some 66,000 acres, was Robert L. Livingston, 40, dwelling in his 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 Livingston. (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.)
Livingston 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. Red-oak staves (most Woodstock hand-made barrel staves were made of red oak) were selling for $34 per "thousand of twelve hundred" ($304 in 2006 dollars) on the New York City waterfront (the extra 200 needed to allow for culling).
With prices so low, stave-makers, like shingle-weavers, had to work swiftly and surely. But the quantity of staves made in the town shows that many did develop the needed skill and speed.(5)In the late spring or early summer tenants 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.)
Quoted from ibid., p. 162. (Close)
Tenant 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.
With the coming of peace, imports from Great Britain were flooding into the United States. Domestic manufacturing enterprises that had sprung up during the war (and during the prewar years of ruined international commerce), including manor lord Robert Livingston's Woodstock and Saugerties General Mining and Manufacturing Company and the two glass factories just over his property boundary--Samuel Stilwell's Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company in Bristol (Shady) and his brother Stephen's Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company, which had been shipping their wooden boxes of window glass (and their clay, sand, and soda) down the new Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in the new community of Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then by sloop on to New York City--began to suffer financial difficulties. Livingston's company languished, its reports of iron and coal deposits unfounded and its stock unsalable. The two Stilwell companies had borrowed money for expansion, and now were pressed by creditors. For example, New York City businessman Isaac Honfield had lent the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company over $76,000 ($680,200 in 2006 dollars). The Ulster County sheriff ordered an auction. Two other New York City businessmen, William Mott and John Mott, who had lent the company $15,000 ($134,250), bought the plant and over 4,000 acres.(6)
Excerpted from ibid., pp. 128, 131, 135, 156. (Close)
Stephen's company, however, managed to ride out the storm. Unfortunately, however, the glassmaking industry denuded the forests around Woodstock and, as a result of the deforestation, caused massive erosion of the mountainside soil.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ebenezer Hall, who two years earlier had bribed George Seaman, superintendent of the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company, for the secrets of glassmaking in order to manage his own factory in Warwick, CT, had by this time run that business into the ground. His local investors, who had mortgaged their livelihoods to Hall's scheme, drove him out of town. Hall returned to Woodstock and replaced Seaman as superintendent of Woodstock Glass, now under new management.(7)
Dr. Hall also practiced medicine, as one of Woodstock's only resident doctors.
Glassworkers, by the way, with their lungs well developed from blowing glass, were typically good singers, and they have been credited with bringing an interest in music to the Woodstock area.
The Woodstock commissioners and inspectors of schools, including Stephen Stilwell, John Wigram, and Dr. Larry Gilbert Hall, divided Woodstock into seven school districts. A trustee was elected for each district, schoolhouses were built, teachers hired, and education begun.
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, 18, originally of Hurley, worked very hard to please her master, John J. Dumont. Mr. Dumont was a reasonably kind master (beating her only infrequently), although his wife was a severe and very hard-to-please taskmistress. Dumont boasted about Isabella: "That wench 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."(8)
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 romantic attachment with a slave of a different master(9):
Quoted from ibid., pp. 15-16. (Close)
As she advanced in years, an attachment sprung up between herself and a slave named Robert. But his master, an Englishman by the name of Catlin, anxious that no one's property but his own should be enhanced by the increase of his slaves, forbade Robert's visits to Isabella, and commanded him to take a wife among his fellow servants. Notwithstanding this interdiction, Robert, following the bent of his inclinations, continued his visits to Isabel, though very stealthily, and, as he believed, without exciting the suspicion of his master; but one Saturday afternoon, hearing that Bell was ill, he took the liberty to go and see her. The first intimation she had of his visit was the appearance of her master, inquiring "if she had seen Bob." On answering in the negative, he said to her, "If you see him, tell him to take care of himself, for the Catlins are after him." Almost at that instant, Bob made his appearance; and the first people he met were his old and his young masters. They were terribly enraged at finding him there, and the eldest began cursing, and calling upon his son to "Knock down the d--d black rascal"; at the same time, they both fell upon him like tigers, beating him with the heavy ends of their canes, bruising and mangling his head and face in the most awful manner, and causing the blood, which streamed from his wounds, to cover him like a slaughtered beast, constituting him a most shocking spectacle. Mr. Dumont interposed at this point, telling the ruffians they could no longer thus spill human blood on his premises--he would have "no niggers killed there." The Catlins then took a rope they had taken with them for the purpose, and tied Bob's hands behind him in such a manner, that Mr. Dumont insisted on loosening the cord, declaring that no brute should be tied in that manner, where he was. And as they led him away, like the greatest of criminals, the more humane Dumont followed them to their homes, as Robert's protector; and when he returned, he kindly went to Bell, as he called her, telling her he did not think they would strike him any more, as their wrath had greatly cooled before he left them. Isabella had witnessed this scene from her window, and was greatly shocked at the murderous treatment of poor Robert, whom she truly loved, and whose only crime, in the eyes of his persecutors, was his affection for her. This beating, and we know not what after treatment, completely subdued the spirit of its victim, for Robert ventured no more to visit Isabella, but like an obedient and faithful chattel, took himself a wife from the house of his master. Robert did not live many years after his last visit to Isabel, but took his departure to that country, where "they neither marry nor are given in marriage," and where the oppressor cannot molest.
James Madison (Democratic Republican), 64, was President. The newly elected 14th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $8.95 in 2006 for most consumable products.
There were 8.35 million people in the U.S., 80 percent of them along the Atlantic Coast. Philadelphia had 75,000 people, New York City 60,000, Baltimore 30,000, and Boston 25,000.
The chief U.S. export was raw cotton. Chief imports included finished woolen and cotton items, coffee, and sugar.
Major General Andrew Jackson, 47, with a ragtag, hodgepodge force of 5,700, including skilled "frontier militia" in homespun wielding long rifles capable of hitting targets 300 yards away, two Louisiana regiments of some 400 free black volunteers, and aided by many of Laffite's pirates, routed in continual volleys the British force of 14,200, many of them hardened veterans of the campaigns in Spain against Napoleon, in the Battle of New Orleans; the British suffered more than 2,000 casualties (compared with 71 American casualties). Pakenham himself was killed. A British officer later reported:
Never before had British veterans quailed. But it would be silly to deny that they did so now.… That leaden torrent no man on earth could face. I had seen such battlefields in Spain and in the East… but nowhere… such a scene.(10)When news of the treaty (which returned land that had been captured by the British) at last reached America, the Federalist Hartford Convention, which was contemplating secession in protest to the war, broke up in ridicule. The envoys from Hartford had just reached the burned-out Washington when the news of the Battle of New Orleans and the concluded Treaty of Ghent reached the capital, and the press sneered and jeered at them. The stigma of treason remained a shameful burden of the Federalists, whose prestige and influence plunged. When New England joined in the celebration of the end of the war, one Republican sourly observed that the Massachusetts Federalists had fired more powder and wounded more men in the celebration than they had during the actual war.
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. 11, citing Augustus C. Buell, A History of Andrew Jackson (1904). (Close)
Former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin said that the war had renewed the nation:
The people have now more general objects of attachment with which their pride and political opinions are connected. They are more American; they feel and act more like a nation.(11)One British naval officer stated his grudging respect for Americans:
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 202. (Close)
I don't like Americans; I never did, and never shall like them.… I have no wish to eat with them, drink with them, deal with, or consort with them in any way; but let me tell the whole truth, nor fight with them, were it not for the laurels to be acquired, by overcoming an enemy so brave, determined, and alert, and in every way so worthy of one's steel, as they have always proved.(12)The British did begin to rebuild their Great Lakes fleet, however, much to the alarm of the U.S. Public opinion in Britain was hostile to the United States, which was regarded as "little more than a grimy republican thumbprint" on the pages of history but still a menace to British institutions. Canadians, also, were frightened of the U.S., especially since the treaty did not provide for an Indian buffer region, which they had wanted, around the Great Lakes. Americans continued their hostility toward the British, too, and politicians continued to mention how they enjoyed "twisting the British lion's tail."
Quoted in ibid., p. 205. (Close)
A second treaty between the U.S. and the United Kingdom ended the discriminatory trade practices between the two nations.
The bad experience during the War of 1812 with the insolvent state banks that had overextended themselves and could not convert their currency into specie payments, caused many businessmen to demand a reinstatement of the Bank of the United States. Chief among the advocates for this was Treasury Secretary Alexander J. Dallas.
Blacks who had joined the Seminole Indians (a composite of runaway Creeks, Apalachees, Yuchis, and Yamasees) and who were called Black Seminoles continued to occupy a fort on the Apalachicola River in West Florida that had been abandoned by the British and that was well-stocked with armaments. They invited runaway slaves from the United States to join them and set up self-sufficient farms along the river. General Jackson demanded that Spain demolish this "Negro Fort," but the Spanish governor refused.
The 60-foot-long, bell-decorated Conestoga wagon was a very colorful method of transportation; it could carry a load of several tons.
The Boston Society for the Moral and Religious Instruction of the Poor was set up, promoting Sunday school education throughout the city.
Quaker Benjamin Lundy, 26, a saddlemaker, set up the Union Humane Society, an antislavery organization.
Black merchant, ship owner, and ship captain Paul Cuffe, 56, of Westport, MA, one of the most respected black men in America, transported on one of his vessels 38 black emigrants and a cargo of goods to the west coast of Africa (Sierra Leone). The goal of the families was to bring Christianity to African natives and to create non-slave trade between Africa and the U.S.
John Chapman, 40, 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."
Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!
Here are the postal rates(13)
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), p. 84. (Close)
for mailing a single letter (cost in 2006 dollars is in brown):
Not exceeding 10 miles: 6 cents ($0.71)
From 10 to 60 miles: 8 cents ($0.98)
From 60 to 100 miles: 10 cents ($1.25)
From 100 to 150 miles: 12 cents ($1.42)
From 150 to 200 miles: 15 cents ($1.86)
From 200 to 250 miles: 17 cents ($2.13)
From 250 to 350 miles: 20 cents ($2.51)
From 350 to 450 miles: 22 cents ($2.78)
Over 450 miles: 25 cents ($3.17)
There were no envelopes. Letters were simply folded over and mailed.
Nathaniel Bowditch, 42, concluded that an 1807 Connecticut meteor must have weighed 6 million tons.
Popular periodicals included Niles' Weekly Register.
Brazil declared its independence from Portugal.
Economic depression struck the United Kingdom, with huge inventories, plunging prices, and hundreds of thousands of demobilized troops. Parliament passed the Corn Law to "deal" with the postwar economic crisis: British landholders were able to keep grain prices high by restricting imports (no foreign wheat unless the domestic price per quarter rose above 80 shillings). The cost of bread went up, and manufacturers were forced to raise wages to save the labor force from hunger. London banker David Ricardo, 43, published The Influence of a Low Price of Corn on the Profits of Stock.
Parliament suspended the income tax.
The warden at Dartmoor Prison in England ordered his militiamen to fire on unruly prisoners, killing hundreds of them.
Napoleon promised peace to Europe and issued a liberal constitution for France, Le Champ de Mai. Meanwhile, he planned for the restoration of his empire.
The Allies-- the United Kingdom, Austria, Prussia, and Russia-- declared Napoleon an outlaw and disturber of world peace; they raised a million men to oppose him. Napoleon engaged the Prussians in the Battle of Ligny and defeated them at great cost. Marshal Ney was tied up against the British and Hannoverian forces under Sir Arthur Wellesley, 46, Duke of Wellington, in the Battle of Quatre Bras and could not send reinforcements to Napoleon.
Wellington joined with Prussian forces under General General Gebhard von Blücher and defeated the French in the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium. Nathan Meyer Rothschild, 38, a London banker, made a huge fortune with his "insider trading": His carrier pigeons reported on the battle before the general public knew of it; he sold British consols short, depressing their price, and then bought them all up again just before their value soared.
Napoleon was again forced to abdicate. This time he was exiled as a prisoner of war to St. Helena in the South Atlantic.
King Louis XVIII returned to Paris and resumed his rule. Prussian troops entered Paris, determined to wreak revenge for the devastation Napoleon had wreaked in 1806, but Wellington posted British troops at sensitive areas to prevent this.
The Congress of Vienna (not to be confused with its 1822-23 offshoot, the Congress of Verona), in the Second Peace of Paris, legitimized the monarchies in Prussia and Austria. It also created the German Confederation (a loose union of 39 states pledged to mutual aid and defense), the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Kingdom of Poland (with Russian Tsar Aleksandr I as King of Poland). Prussia acquired Danzig as well as other Polish territories. The United Kingdom retained possession of Malta, Heligoland, and some colonies that had previously belonged to the Netherlands and to France. The Netherlands was awarded the Spice Islands, but the United Kingdom acquired the formerly Dutch Ceylon and the Cape of Good Hope. Austria kept Lombardy and Venetia. Sweden was allowed to keep Norway.
France was obliged to pay a 700-million-franc indemnity and to submit to Allied occupation under Wellington for 3 years, but otherwise (to preserve the balance of power in Europe) the terms were gentle. Without the British, Prussia, Austria, and Russia (calling themselves the Holy Alliance) would have imposed a much harsher peace upon France, and they would have partitioned Germany and fought over Poland.
France agreed to abandon the slave trade by 1819.
General Michel Ney was executed for having aided Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo.
French General Joachim Murat attempted to reconquer Naples and unseat the Bourbon dynasty that had been reinstated there. His plan was foiled, and he was executed by a firing squad.
Conrad J. Van Houten opened his chocolate factory in Holland.
The Swiss Federal Pact was ratified: 22 contiguous cantons made up the Swiss Confederation.
The Sumbawa volcano in Indonesia erupted, killing more than 50,000. Tidal waves and huge dust-bearing whirlwinds resulted.
French biologist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, 71, published Histoire naturelle des animaux; L. J. Prout speculated on the relationship between atomic weight and specific gravity; and Augustin Jean Fresnel reported on his research in light diffraction. Viennese physician Franz Mesmer died at the age of 82.
German author and composer E. T. A. Hoffman, 39, published the novel Die Elixiere des Teufels; French novelist Henri Benjamim Constant de Rebecque, 47, published Adolphe; Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert, 18, produced Eriking; German poet Johann Ludwig Uhland, 28, published his patriotic Gedichte; and Pierre Béranger published Chansons I. Puppetmaker Laurent Mourquet, 71, opened his Grand Guignol horror play theater in Lyons. German poet Matthias Claudius died at the age of 75.