Pastor George Joseph Wichterman, replaced during this year by German immigrant Augustus Wackerhagen (also spelled Wacherhagen), 42 (stepson-in-law of founder and former pastor, Dr. Frederick Henry Quitman), 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)
Pastor Wackerhagen, a finished classical scholar and a diligent and critical student of the Bible, had been educated at the University of Göttingen in Germany and had come to the U.S. 15 years earlier. He had served as pastor for Lutheran congregations at Schoharie and Cobbleskill for 10 years and most recently at Germantown and Livingston Manor. In 1804, he had published Inbegriff des Glaubens und Sittenlehre, a result of his theological studies.
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, including the pastor in Woodstock. Reverend Wackerhagen reported
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 principles of unostentatious piety seem to prevail among the generality of my people.(3)Congregant Lewis Edson, 68, 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., owner of a sawmill in Mink Hollow that supplied the Bristol (Shady) glass factories nearby, would also have been involved in leading the singing.
Here Anderson, p. 46, is citing Schalk, Carl, God's Song in a New Land: Lutheran Hymnals in America [St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995], p. 69, and Kreider, Harry J., History of the United Lutheran Synod of New York and New England, Volume I, 1786-1860 [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1954], p. 181. (Close)
Colonel William Edwards, 46 years old, 6 feet 4 inches tall, with a huge head proportioned for a man twice that height, arrived in the Catskills from Connecticut, determined to build a large tanning operation at Red Falls on the Schohariekill Creek (the spot that would later become the village of Hunter). He was escaping from his bankrupt Connecticut venture, the Hampshire Leather Manufacturing Corporation, which had collapsed after the demand for leather had fallen following the end of the War of 1812. Through wheeling and dealing in Albany--and the help of his lobbyist son, the "young Colonel," William W. Edwards; his cousin, state Senator Ogden Edwards; state Senator Martin Van Buren, 36; and finally the initially opposed state Senator Lucas Elmendorf from Ulster County--he was able to secure an amendment to the 1811 New York law permitting manufacturing corporations to include special tanneries, as long as they were not located in Ulster or Sullivan Counties. Elmendorf had considered the huge operation Edwards planned and did not want it to compete with the small tanneries privately owned by some of his constituents, and--more important--to be a blight among all the rest of his constituents:
Elmendorf was aware that tanneries were far from popular as neighbors. The stink of decaying animal tissues radiated far from them; they polluted streams, lowered land values, destroyed forests, and left in their place a fantastic litter of trunks and branches that eventually resulted in fires that too often spread to the surrounding countryside. The stench of the tannery clung to their workers and made fastidious folks avoid them. The tannery mills in which bark was ground before being steeped sent up clouds of dust which made eyes smart and passersby cough and sneeze. The vats in which bark was steeped and hides soaked attracted small children who sometimes tumbled in and were drowned.… [Local people] saw to it that tanners did business in prescribed districts where they would cause the least annoyance. Lucas Elmendorf would not agree to a measure that might result in an increase in the size and stench of tanneries, but Elmendorf was a reasonable man.(4)As long as tanneries in his county, such as those in the Town of Woodstock, would remain small albeit stinky operations, Elmendorf could help Edwards build his blight elsewhere. At once Edwards's New York Tannery was incorporated and capitalized by five New York City backers and another backer from Havana, Cuba, at $60,000 ($615,000 in 2006 dollars). After an arduous search for the owners of the land he wanted to build on, rich in the hemlock trees he wanted to debark for the operation, Edwards bought the 1,200-acre site for his factory. He also had to buy out squatters who had established themselves at various places on the property, including one who had set a sawmill at Red Falls, the exact site Edwards wanted to put the factory.
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 330. (Close)
Region historian Alf Evers(5)
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, 41, 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, barrel and hogshead staves, and peeled bark used for tanning. Most of the tanbark went to the smelly tanneries of John Ring and of Samuel, Philip A., and John Culver on the Tannery Brook. The Culvers, for example, paid $2 ($20.50 in 2006 dollars) for 64 cubic feet of bark; they sold the finished leather to shoemakers and harnessmakers.
(A few Woodstock tenants were sawmill operators [on sites reserved by the Livingston landlord] or tavern owners.) 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.
Meanwhile, Livingston was having trouble managing the resources on his manor lands. Trees cut down on Livingston land were taken to non-Livingston sawmills, and the sawed boards taken to market with little attempt at concealment. As for the Livingston sawmills, the operators apportioned inferior boards for the landlord's share, selling the better ones for their own profit.
Imports from Great Britain continued their flood into the United States, and domestic manufacturing enterprises were suffering against the cutthroat competition. Manor lord Robert Livingston's Woodstock and Saugerties General Mining and Manufacturing Company languished, its reports of iron and coal deposits unfounded and its stock unsalable. The two glass factories in Bristol (Shady)--the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company of William and John Mott and the Bristol Glass, Cotton and Clay Company of Stephen Stilwell, both just over the boundary from Livingston land--managed to muddle through against the competition, the extremely cold weather, and the dearth of good-quality sand.(6)
The material on the glass factories is excerpted from ibid., pp. 131, 135. (Close)
They shipped their wagons loaded with wooden boxes of window glass (and their clay, sand, and soda) down the Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then by sloop on to New York City. Unfortunately, the glassmaking industry denuded the forests around Woodstock and, as a result of the deforestation, caused massive erosion of the mountainside soil.
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.
Dr. Ebenezer Hall, superintendent of Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company, practiced medicine, as one of Woodstock's only resident doctors. Another doctor was Dr. Larry Gilbert Hall (no relation), who had much better academic training and a good medical library and who lived in the house later torn down to make room for the present Woodstock Library. A doctor in those days could pull teeth, bleed a sufferer, and lance a boil, as well as other medical duties. There was no hospital available to Woodstockers, but many women were skilled in nursing and midwifery. There were no drug stores, but the remedies most in demand were available at the general store, including opodeldoc, a soap-based liniment; camphor; spirits of hartshorn; castor oil; gum guaicum; syrup of squills; and opium and its derivatives, such as laudanum.
One local schoolteacher, James D, Hering, also wove linen and flannel for the townspeople.
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.
New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree, 19, originally of Hurley--having lost her boyfriend, the one man she truly loved, the year before (because he worked for a different master, one who didn't want anyone's property but his own to be enhanced by the increase of his slaves)--was now directed by her own master, John J. Dumont, to "marry" to another of his slaves, Thomas. Here is how abolitionist Olive Gilbert, the literary mouthpiece of Isabella (in later life known as Sojourner Truth), described several years later (1850) what a "marriage" among chattel slaves really entailed(7):
Quoted from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), p. 16. (Close)
[Thomas] had previously had two wives, one of whom, if not both, had been torn from him and sold far away. And it is more than probably, that he was not only allowed but also encouraged to take another at each successive sale. I say it is probably, because the writer of this knows from personal observation, that such was the custom among slaveholders at the present day; and that in a twenty months' residence among them, we never knew any one to open the lip against the practice; and when we severely censured it, the slaveholder had nothing to say; and the slave pleaded that, under existing circumstances, he could do no better. Such an abominable state of things is silently tolerated, to say the least, by slaveholders--deny it who may. And what is that religion that sanctions, even by its silence, all that is embraced in the "Peculiar Institution"? If there can be any thing more diametrically opposed to the religion of Jesus, than the working of this soul-killing system--which is as truly sanctioned by the religion of America as are her ministers and churches--we wish to be shown where it can be found.… [So Isabella] was married to Thomas--she was, after the fashion of slavery, one of the slaves performing the ceremony for them; as no true minister of Christ can perform, as in the presence of God, what he knows to be a true farce, a mock marriage, unrecognized by any civil law, and liable to be annulled any moment, when the interest or caprice of the master should dictate.Isabella, thus tied to a "spouse" in a relationship that could at any time be sundered by the sale of either of them, began to bear children.
DeWitt Clinton, 47, was appointed to the Erie Canal Commission.
James Madison (Democratic Republican), 65, was President. The 14th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $10.25 in 2006 for most consumable products.
The U.S. public debt was $127,335,000 (about $15 per American) ($1.31 billion and $154, respectively, in 2006 dollars).
Chewing tobacco was used widely, with frequent spitting in streets, saloons, stores, government buildings, and elsewhere. Although spittoons were frequently put out, chewers often disregarded them or missed, so that floors everywhere were frequently awash or stained with tobacco juice, much to the distaste and complaint of nonchewers and foreign visitors to the United States. Lower-class or rural women chewed tobacco or dipped snuff.(8)
Commenting on the nation's need for more widespread education, former President Thomas Jefferson, 73, stated:
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.(9)The Second Bank of the United States was chartered, capitalized at $35 million ($359 million in 2006 dollars), designed on the First Bank of the United States, whose charter had lapsed 5 years previously. It was intended as a central banking system that could handle all the financial business of the federal government and that would prevent the recurrence of the irresponsible extension of credit that state banks had been doing for the past 5 years, thereby generating a runaway inflation. Unfortunately its first president, William Jones, was inept and allowed unscrupulous shareholders to have unwarranted power and looked the other way when credit was extended irresponsibly.
Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 413. (Close)
A savings bank was set up in Boston, the Provident Institution for Savings. The Bank for Savings was founded in New York City.
The Black Ball Line, running clipper ships between New York and Liverpool, began operation.
The American Bible Society, whose mission was to circulate Bibles among the poor, was founded in New York City.
The existence of parties is not necessary to free government.(10)The 15th Congress was elected also, to begin serving the following year.
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 209. (Close)
The Supreme Court affirmed the right of federal courts to review decisions of the state courts.
In the 14th Congress, John Caldwell Calhoun of South Carolina, 34 (see his picture on the right), pressed for a plan to spend $1.5 million for roads and canals ($15.4 million in 2006 dollars); the plan Congress passed despite concerted opposition from New England and parts of the South. President Madison vetoed the measure.
British manufacturers dumped their goods on the American market at ruinously cutthroat prices in an effort to force U.S. manufacturers out of business. American newspapers were so full of British advertisements for goods on credit that little space was left for news. In one Rhode Island district, all 150 mills were forced to close their doors, except for the original Slater textile plant.
In spite of the opposition of Congressman Daniel Webster, 34 (pictured at left), of New Hampshire, who represented shipping interests, Congress passed a 25% tariff bill specifically to protect domestic manufacturers. (The UK found a way to get its cheaper products in, nonetheless.) Some Southerners were very outspoken in their opposition to the tariff.
A congressional committee found that $2.43 million worth of industrial goods ($24.9 million in 2006 dollars) were being produced annually by some 100,000 industrial workers, two thirds of them women and girls.
Machines were now beginning to replace hand tools, and steam to replace human and animal power. Although there were some factories in America during this period, especially along the rivers in eastern Massachusetts, most manufacturing was done in the home or in small shops by craftsmen. There were also traveling artisans. All kinds of useful items were manufactured: cigars, pottery, shoes, hats, barrels, pencils, clocks, pianos. In addition were mills in almost every town producing bricks, iron, flour, whiskey, and finished lumber. Machines were stamping out nails and sheet iron, and improvements were made in the paper-making process.
A savings bank was set up in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, directed by George Billington.
Pittsburgh, PA, was incorporated.
Captain Henry Miller Shreve began operating his 148-foot 400-ton double-engine steamboat Washington between Wheeling, Virginia, and New Orleans.
"What is the most ludicrous, but horrid, the cat-haul," commented Arthur Singleton about this ugly form of slave punishment,
that is, to fasten a slave down flatwise upon the ground, with stakes and cords, and then to take a huge, fierce tom-cat by the tail backward, and haul him down along the screeching wretch's bare back, with his claws clinging into the quick all the way.(11)Indiana was admitted to the Union as the 19th state.
Quoted in McCutcheon, op. cit., p. 214, citing Arthur Singleton, Letters from the South and West, p. 79. (Close)
Pioneering families generally traveled west either on foot or on horseback. The Great Wagon Road across Pennsylvania continued to be a popular route. Some went along the Wilderness Road, pioneered a generation before by Daniel Boone, through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. New Englanders and New Yorkers ("Yorkers") pushed westward along the Mohawk River and across the Appalachians, and from there many followed the Indian trails around Lake Erie or they got across the lake into Ohio.
John Chapman, 41, 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."
Fort Dearborn on Lake Michigan was rebuilt (after its destruction 4 years previously by the Potawatomi Indians) and became the nucleus of Chicago.
The U.S. continued to express alarm that the U.K. was building up its Great Lakes war fleet. President Madison instructed John Quincy Adams, 49, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., to propose a limitation of naval forces on the Lakes.
David Thompson was commissioned to survey the boundary between Canada and the United States.
The Seminole Indians, a composite of runaway Creeks, Apalachees, Yuchis, and Yamasees, were not involved in this affair, but they were making incursions into U.S. territory elsewhere, raiding Georgia, looting, burning, killing, and then retreating back into Florida.
A wire suspension bridge, the world's first, was built over the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia.
Popular periodicals included Niles' Weekly Register and the Christian Herald.
The Canadian steamboat SS. Frontenac began cruising Lake Ontario.
The insane Queen Maria I of Portugal died at the age of 81 and was succeeded by her son Dom João VI, who had already been ruling in her name for the previous 17 years.
The United Provinces of La Plata (in Argentina) declared in the Congress of Tucuman their independence from Spain. José de San Martín, 38 (see his picture), led the revolutionaries.
Spain was able to reassert its authority in Mexico.
Coal was replacing charcoal in English iron founding, which meant that factories moved from the wooded southern England to the coal-rich northern counties. Canals dug across the Midlands and the northern counties enabled the transport of coal.
Economic depression continued in the United Kingdom, with huge inventories, plunging prices, and hundreds of thousands of demobilized troops. The Corn Law that had been passed in 1815 to "deal" with the postwar economic crisis enabled British landholders 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 was high, and manufacturers were forced to raise wages to save the labor force from hunger. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nicholas Vansittart, could not deal with the mounting government deficit and the unstable currency. Distress grew.
The British postwar economic crisis caused widespread emigration to Canada and the United States.
The British Parliament passed the Apothecaries Act, outlawing quack doctors from practicing medicine.
George Canning, 47, rejoined the British government as President of the Board of Control.
English playboy George Bryan "Beau" Brummell, 38, fled England for Calais to escape his creditors.
King Louis XVIII of France dissolved the far right Chamber of Deputies.
An ergotism outbreak struck down French peasants in Burgundy and Lorraine.
Klemens Wenzel Lothar von Metternich-Winneburg, 43, Austrian Foreign Minister, began to expand Austrian domination over the German Confederation.
The Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar granted his subjects a constitution.
Four French naval vessels with 400 people aboard foundered on a sandbank off the coast of Senegal. Most of the people perished, either by falling off the overcrowded rescue raft and being eaten by sharks, or from dehydration in the Sahara sands. There was considerable cannibalism among the "survivors."
The Dutch regained their authority over Java.
Scots physicist Sir David Brewster, 35, invented the kaleidoscope; and French physician René Théphile Laënnec, 35, invented the stethoscope.
Italian composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, 24, produced Barbiere di Siviglia ("The Barber of Seville") to audience hisses and boos.