Pastor Augustus Wackerhagen (also spelled Wacherhagen), 47 (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)
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)Lewis Edson, Jr. (owner of a financially troubled sawmill in Mink Hollow that supplied the Bristol [Shady] glass factories nearby) was involved in leading the singing at the church.
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)
The huge New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter), run by Colonel William Edwards, 51, continued to convert the shipments of smelly hides sent from the colonel's financial backers in New York City into tanned (softened) leather (with its reddish color characteristic of hemlock tanning) to be shipped back to the city for finishing. Millions of hemlocks in the surrounding countryside were being skinned for their bark to be used in the tanning process, the rest of the naked trees left to die while standing. Edwards's operation was so successful that other enterprising men were copying it; scores of new tanneries nourished by the same New York City backers had been springing up all over the Catskills, including along the Sawkill, wherever there were hemlocks to slaughter.
[Long] lines of wagons laden with stinking hides [arrived at] mountain tanneries. Flies buzzed around the wagons and tortured horses and oxen as well as men.… [Vast] mountainsides and hollows covered [were now] with bleaching trunks which a long dry spell would convert into fire-blackened wastes.… The water became polluted with tannery wastes and ashes.(4)Two such tanning entrepreneurs had for the preceding year operated an old tannery in the village of Schohariekill (present-day Prattsville), which they had purchased with loot they had obtained as part of a pirate crew. Even with supplies and operating capital provided by the New York City leather firm of Cunningham and McCormick, however, they could not make the business profitable. The tannery burned down, and the "pirate tanners" collected the insurance and vanished, leaving behind debts and their unsavory reputation.
Excerpted from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 338, citing Richards, J. A., "The Catskills," in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 9, no, 1 (July 1854), p. 153. (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, 46, 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. 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 tanneries of John C. Ring or of Samuel, Philip A., or John Culver on the Tannery Brook 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.
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.
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--had been muddling through against dire financial conditions of the Panic of 1819, cutthroat competition from cheap British imports, and the dearth of good-quality sand. The two factories continued to produce window glass and bottles.(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.
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.
The New York State Legislature had 22 years earlier enacted a gradual emancipation of slaves in the state: Any child born to a slave mother after July 4, 1799, would be freed from bondage after serving the mother's master until age 25 if female or age 28 if male. Then, 4 years before, the legislature had provided that
any Negro, mulatto or mustee within this State born before the fourth of July, 1799, shall from and after the fourth day of July, 1827, be free.New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree, 24, originally of Hurley--now in a "marriage" after a fashion to fellow slave Thomas (in a relationship that could at any time be sundered by the sale of either of them)--had been bearing children, thereby increasing the property of her master, John J. Dumont, who could at least get some labor out of the children for a few years. Dumont boasted about Isabella (whom he called "Bell"):
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.(7)Isabella had been born 2 years before the 1799 cutoff and so, technically, had to look ahead to another 6 years of bondage. But Dumont had promised her that
This and the following quotations are from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), pp. 14, 18. (Close)
if she would do well, and be faithful, he would give her "free papers," one year before she was legally free by statute.So now lifelong slave Isabella was looking forward to freedom in 5 years.
A new constitution in New York State enfranchised every white male 21 years and older. Free black men could not vote or be taxed unless they possessed an unencumbered freehold to the value of $250 ($3,360 in 2006 dollars). (Only one Woodstock black man was known to have qualified.)
Hudson attorney Elisha Williams had been an investor in some of the rugged Catskill land on the Schohariekill Road (approximately present-day Route 23A), land known as the "Pine Orchard," at the head of Kaaterskill Clove just a few minutes walk southeast of the twin lakes (North Lake and South Lake) and, with a little trimming, providing a dramatic view of the Hudson River and much of the entire region. As more and more nature pilgrims hiked into the wilderness, he had been biding his time on his investment, now held for the past 12 years, certain that one day it would become quite valuable.
Meanwhile, many Americans had become convinced that the fictional character Rip Van Winkle that author Washington Irving had created 2 years earlier had actually been a historical figure who had hunted and slept in the enchanting Catskill Mountains. A lot of them were interested in exploring where Rip had been. Already Hiram Comfort and Joseph Bigelow had set up a barroom and bunkhouse there for romantic pilgrims as well as hunters and business travelers. Williams was now to be rewarded for his long wait.
Construction (begun in 1817) continued on the Erie Canal to connect the Great Lakes with the Hudson River (and, thus, the Atlantic Ocean). It was to be 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, with 10-foot-wide towpaths on either side. Stretching for 363 miles, it was to have 83 locks, since Lake Erie was 570 feet higher than the Hudson. A horse-drawn crane lifted rock debris out of the cut, and an "endless screw" attached to a roller, cable, and crank pulled down tall trees. A stump-pulling machine could extract 40 tree stumps per day. Most of the workers were Irish immigrants earning 37.5 cents ($5.04 in 2006 dollars) and about a quart of whiskey per day; snakebite, malaria, and pneumonia killed thousands of them. Critics referred to the slow-progressing canal as "Clinton's Ditch," doubting that it would ever be completed.
James Monroe (Democratic Republican), 63, was President. The newly elected 17th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $13.43 in 2006 for most consumable products.
President Monroe was inaugurated for his second term as President, and Daniel D. Tompkins was inaugurated for his second term as Vice President. Since March 4 was a Sunday, the President chose Monday, March 5, for the big day. Scots composers James Sanderson and E. Rilley composed the march "Hail to the Chief" in honor of the occasion.
Imperfect roads contributed to mishaps and unpleasantries of all kinds. Potholes broke wheels and axles, ditching some vehicles. Washboard surfaces jounced passengers out of their seats, and sometimes--if they were riding on the roof--onto the road. An English traveler in America wrote of being
tossed about like a few potatoes in a wheel-barrow. Our knees, elbows, and heads required too much care for their protection to allow us leisure to look out of windows.(8)The economic depression caused by the Panic of 1819 continued. Crops rotted in the fields, businesses and banks continued to fail, and unemployment rose. The depression was particularly hard in the West. A good many farmers in the Mississippi Valley began to make plans for emigrating westward.
Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), p. 53. (Close)
The U.S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, 66, in the case of Cohens v. Virginia, though technically siding with Virginia on the particulars of the case (determining that the Virginia court's conviction of the Cohens for illegally selling lottery tickets would stand), ruled that decisions of the Supreme Court could trump decisions of state courts regarding federal rights (Virginia had argued that the federal judiciary had no jurisdiction in this case). Marshall also interpreted the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution--providing that a state could not be sued by a citizen of another state--to mean that the Cohens or any other citizens were entitled to appeal to a higher court after a state court ruling.
Large numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States.
The English Classical School, the first public (tuition-free) high school in America, was established in Boston with 102 students and a curriculum that emphasized science, mathematics, logic, and history.
Massachusetts prosecutors brought the 1750 pornographic novel Fanny Hill to trial for obscenity.
Massachusetts abolished property qualifications for voting.
Amherst College was founded by Congregationalists to preserve country boys from the wickedness of Harvard.
At the New York Constitutional Convention state supreme court justice James Kent argued for the continuance of property qualifications for voting (at least $250 in land, excluding debts, to vote for state senators or governor, $50 in land to vote for assemblymen ($3,358 and $672, respectively, in 2006 dollars). He said that men who worked on the road or who served in the militia ought not to vote, because they would not care as much about government as would landowners. He worried that manufacturers would send their workers to the polls to overthrow the interests of farmers. Farmer Nathan Sandford, however, argued for extending the vote to citizens who contribute service who had established residency for at least 6 years. In the end, New York did abolish property qualifications.
Peter Cooper, 30, purchased a glue factory in New York City and began to build up a fortune from its operation.
Horse racing became popular in Queens County, NY.
Emma Hart Willard, 34, of Middlebury, Vermont, set up the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, NY, determined to prove that girls could master mathematics and philosophy and still keep their health and feminine charm.
A natural gas well was tapped in Fredonia, NY.
Joseph Smith, 16, a farmer in backwoods New York State (just outside Palmyra, NY), claimed theophany--that is, that he was receiving visits from heavenly messengers, telling him that he was God's Prophet.
The American Tract Society circulated with "circuit riders" (pictured here) religious literature to outlying settlements and isolated farms in the frontier.
A 20-foot-wide, 18-foot-high, 450-foot-long tunnel opened near Auburn, PA--America's first tunnel.
John Chapman, 46, 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 Snelling in Minnesota expanded into the village of St. Anthony on the east bank of the Mississippi River (eventually to become Minneapolis, MN).
Yellow fever attacked Charleston, SC, killing 12 to 15 people daily. The mayor recommended that everybody who could should get out of town.
Kentucky abolished imprisonment for debt.
General Andrew Jackson, 53, the military Governor of Florida, inaugurated the official U.S. occupation of that territory by having the flag raised in Pensacola.
Alabama raised 40,000 bales of cotton.
Missouri submitted its constitution to the new 17th Congress as the final step in its being admitted as as state. The document authorized slavery and prohibited the emancipation of any slave without the consent of his or her owner. It required the state legislature to enact legislation barring free Negroes and mulattos from entering the state "under any pretext whatever." This clause violated Article IV Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution:
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.Northerners then refused to accept the Missouri constitution. Henry Clay of Kentucky, 44, provided a cockeyed demurrer: Congress would accept the state constitution with the disclaimer that no law passed in Missouri would be construed as violating Article IV Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. What crap! This new Clay compromise passed the House 90 (all of the slave states and 15 of the free states) to 87 (the rest of the free states). After Senate approval and President Monroe's signature, Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 24th state.
Most Southerners believed that it was OK for Congress to prohibit slavery on land the government owned and out of which states might eventually come, but they insisted that Congress could not impose such conditions upon states seeking admittance into the Union.
The injustice of slavery had a corrosive effect on the personalities of Southerners, whites as well as blacks(9):
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 335. (Close)
[The] finest Southerners were often warped by the institution. While most plantation owners labored endlessly at the management of their estates, their feudal society and the very logic of a system based on naked exploitation encouraged extravagance and idleness. One Mississippi planter squandered $10,000 ($134,300 in 2006 dollars) furnishing a single room. Some planters sent their Negro chefs to France for training. The novelist William Gilmore Simms wasted much of his wife's large fortune and his own considerable royalties on lavish entertainment and easy living. And even men who abhorred slavery sometimes let it corrupt their thinking: "I consider the labor of a breeding woman as no object, and that a child raised every 2 years is of more profit than the crop of the best laboring man." This cold appraisal was written by the author of the Declaration of Independence.Ohio Quaker Benjamin Lundy, 32, a saddlemaker, began to publish his antislavery ("abolitionist") newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation. Meanwhile, some Americans were trying to send freed black slaves to Africa.
Cherokee Indian Sequoya ("George Guess"), 55 (pictured at left), developed an 85-letter alphabet of the Cherokee language.
Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, 54 (pictured at right), proposed that the U.S. convert to the metric system, but Congress rejected the proposal.
Dr. John Power, in his Essays on Female Economy, stated that
the more remote any individual state or society was placed from moral and political habits, and the various causes which are capable of interfering with the actions of nature, the less frequent would be the occurrence of the menstrual phenomenon, and… in some instances, it might be wholly unknown or nearly so.
Samuel C. Atkinson and Charles Alexander began publishing the Saturday Evening Post in Philadelphia.
Popular periodicals included Niles' Weekly Register, American Journal of Science, American Farmer, and the Christian Herald.
Aristotle's Masterpiece, an anonymous sex education book, illustrated with explicit woodcuts and describing sexual mechanics, was popular among young men, who read it behind the barn.
The Roman emperor look continued to be fashionable for men.
French Canadian politicians in the Assembly of Lower Canada (Québec) made vehement speeches and refused to vote money for the salaries of royal judges and British-appointed officials. New arrivals from the British Isles into Upper Canada (Ontario) struggled with the older inhabitants, mostly former Loyalists who had been driven out of the U.S. after the American Revolution, and their descendants. Lower Canada and Upper Canada were quarreling with each other, too: Upper Canada's external trade had to pass through Lower Canada, where it was heavily taxed, and they disliked each other's religion.
Russia announced that it claimed the Pacific Coast from Alaska all the way south to latitude 51° N and forbade the ships of other powers to enter the waters north of that line.
The Governor of Spanish Mexico had granted a charter to American banker, mine owner, and merchant Moses Austin, 60, who had lost his fortune in the Panic of 1819, for the settlement of 300 families into Tejas (Texas) along the Brazos River. Unfortunately, Austin's trip into Texas and back to Missouri to settle his affairs was filled with hardship, and he died soon afterward of pneumonia. His son, Stephen Fuller Austin, 28, decided to take up where Moses Austin had left off and crossed into Texas.
I bid an everlasting farewell to my native country, determined to fulfill rigidly all the duties and obligations of a Mexican citizen.Unfortunately, Austin learned that the agreement that his father had made with Spanish authorities needed to be confirmed by a newly independent Mexico. He traveled to the City of Mexico to obtain the grant of land for the settlement of San Felipe de Austin (present-day Austin, TX) on condition that he settle a certain number of families on the land.
Merchant and adventurer William Becknell led a group of traders from Franklin, Missouri, across the plains to Santa Fe in region of Nuevo Mexico, controlled officially by Spain (but soon by newly independent Mexico). The Mexicans there were eager to buy Becknell's goods, and Becknell returned laden with treasure. H. H. Harris later recorded:
My father saw them unload when they returned. When their rawhide packages of silver dollars were dumped on the sidewalk [at Arrow Rock] one of the men cut the thongs and the money spilled out and clinking on the stone pavement rolled into the gutter. Everyone was excited.…(10)Other traders began to use the Santa Fe Trail.
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. 85. (Close)
The Captain General at Guatamala City declared the independence of Guatamala from Spain.
Simón Bolívar, 38 (see his picture on the left [from the University of Texas Portrait Gallery], sent an army with his lieutenant Antonio José de Sucre, 28, to liberate Quito (Ecuador) from the Spanish. Bolívar then led forces into Venezuela and joined with José Paez and defeated the Spanish royalist army in the Battle of Carabobo. The revolutionary forces then occupied Caracas, where Bolívar became President of Venezuela.
José de San Martín, 43 (see his picture on the right), declared the independence of Peru from Spain, and became the supreme "protector" of the new nation.
There were 30.4 million people in France, 26 million in Germany, 20.8 million in the United Kingdom (6.8 million in Ireland), 18 million in Italy, 12 million in Austria. The German states, duchies, free cities, and principalities contained 26.1 people.
The British Parliament granted Queen Caroline, 52, estranged and separated wife of King George IV (who was coronated this year, with the Queen attempting to attend and be crowned herself), an annuity of £50,000. She died, however, saving the Exchequer considerable funds.
John Edward Taylor, 30, founded the Manchester Guardian.
A concordat was reached between Prussia and the Vatican.
The American Society for the Return of Negroes to Africa, founded in 1817, continued to send blacks to the new colony in West Africa called Liberia, largely through the efforts of Matthew Calbraith Perry, 27, and Robert Field Stockton, 26. Monrovia, named for President Monroe, was established as the capital of Liberia. The effort to colonize West Africa with freed American slaves remained popular with several people in the United States.
The British administration in South Africa continued a policy of anglicisation, replacing Dutch Afrikaans with English.
Napoleon Bonaparte, former Emperor of France, died on remote St. Helena in the South Atlantic at the age of 52.
American seal hunter Nathaniel B. Palmer, 22, discovered the South Orkney Islands.
French archeologist and linguist Jean-François Champollion, 43, used the Rosetta Stone to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.