Pastor Augustus Wackerhagen (also spelled Wacherhagen), 48 (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, 52, 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)
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, 47, 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. Christian Happy, for example, wrote to Livingston that the operator of the Yankeetown mill, Solomon Shours (or Showers) was cheating him:
I was at Woodstock yesterday, and I think it my duty to tel you of what I was informed concerning the conduct of Mr. Shours with the new Sawmill which was built last Summer he will not saw hemlock for the tenants nor no other wood but whitewood they tell me he has carried between twenty and forty loads of the Choyest lumber to market for himself and has lef 3 or 4 loads of the infearrier quality for Mr. Levingston, my brotherinlaw wanted him to saw the lumber to build his house with, near my father, but he would not do it.…(6)Livingston hired people to visit his sawmills weekly to claim decent wood to be sent off to Clermont.
Quoted from ibid., p. 168. (Close)
Fifteen settlers in Little Shandaken (Lake Hill) petitioned Livingston to allow a sawmill in their neighborhood. They warned that
In case we Should be with out a mill we would be under the necessity to burn the timber on our follows.…(7)The word follow had a meaning in 1822 that has since been lost: The land covered by felled trees that had to be removed before there could be any planting. Anyway, Livingston granted the petition, but he stipulated that no timber was to be cut on the landlord's commons and sawed at the new mill. Probably for that reason, the mill was not built; trespassing and unlawful lumbering continued in spite of deputy sheriffs being sent to Woodstock to discourage the practice.
Quoted from ibid. (Close)
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.(8)
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 23 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, 5 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, 25, 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.(9)Isabella had been born 2 years before the 1799 cutoff and so, technically, had to look ahead to another 5 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 4 years.
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 13 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 3 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.
Attorney James Powers of Catskill, who had once been a student of Williams, agreed to buy the Pine Orchard and was soon controlling 7 acres of the land. He built a 60-foot-long addition to the refreshment stand of Comfort and Bigelow. Then with the help of Hudson Valley congressmen, judges, lawyers, and editors, he invited people "of the first respectability" to a "Rural Ball" at the building, which he lit with candles and adorned with balsam fir boughs. Fiddlers played and the guests danced nearly all night. The next morning the guests visited Kaaterskill Falls. With new capital from excited romantic investors, Powers bought the entire Pine Orchard from Williams and petitioned the state legislature to charter the corporation Catskill Mountain Association and to authorize "a large and commodious hotel" on the site. Powers was president of the Association, his law partner Caleb Day was secretary; incorporators included natural historian James Pierce, noted horticulturist John T. Thompson, Judge Caleb Benton, and editor Edwin Croswell.
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 ($5.29 in 2006 dollars) and about a quart of whiskey per day; snakebite, malaria, and pneumonia killed thousands of them.
James Monroe (Democratic Republican), 64, was President. The 17th Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 18th Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $14.11 in 2006 for most consumable products.
Large numbers of Irish immigrants came to the United States.
Some streets in Boston were lit by gas lanterns.
American football, a form of hazing at Harvard and Yale, was banned at Yale (violators were fined).
The population of New York City was 124,000. A family of 14 in the city could live comfortably on an annual income of $3,000 ($42,330 in 2006 dollars).
Yellow fever struck New York City. Thousands fled to rural Greenwich Village.
Hobart College, offering an "English" curriculum, was established in Geneva, NY.
The American Tract Society circulated with "circuit riders" (pictured here) religious literature to outlying settlements and isolated farms in the frontier.
Joseph Smith, 17, 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.
A bill passed the 17th Congress for maintaining the National Road and the Cumberland Road with federal tollgates (despite heavy opposition from New England and other states). President Monroe vetoed it. The various states along these routes decided to maintain and extend them. The Cumberland Road was extended along Zane's Trace into Indiana and Illinois.
John Chapman, 47, 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."
Kentucky distiller James C. Crow began producing his Old Crow sour-mash whiskey.
Christopher Fouls (an apt surname) founded the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company at Belleville, Illinois.
Ohio Quaker Benjamin Lundy, 33, continued to publish his abolitionist newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation; he moved right into the thick of the "slavocracy," establishing residence in Greenville, Tennessee.
Several Southern states tightened their slave codes. South Carolina passed the "Negro seaman's act": Persons of color, including cooks, stewards, or mariners, could be removed from vessels upon their entry into ports in the state. They would then be jailed until their ships were ready to sail, and the ship's master had to pay the costs of detention or face a $1,000 fine ($14,110 in 2006 dollars) or 2 months in jail, and the blacks involved sold into slavery. After the law was passed, over 41 ships in the harbor had their black cooks and sailors taken. The entire crew of one British ship was incarcerated. Meanwhile, some Americans were trying to send freed black slaves to Africa.
Florida was organized as a territory.
The steamboat S.S. Robert Fulton, built by Scots-American shipbuilder Henry Heckford, 47, completed a voyage from New York City to New Orleans and then on to Havana.
John Jacob Astor, 59, set up the western headquarters of his Pacific Fur Company in St. Louis, Missouri.
Missouri Lieutenant Governor William H. Ashley, 44, with his associate Andrew Henry, 43, advertised for 100 "enterprising young men" for employment in the fur trade (the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, a competitor to Astor) at the source of the Missouri River for up to three years. Among those hired were keelboatmen Mike Fink, 52, Jim Bridger, 18, Jedediah Strong Smith, 22, Joseph Reddeford Walker, 23, and William L. Sublette.
A Congressman from Massachusetts remarked that
our natural boundary is the Pacific Ocean. The swelling tide of our population must roll on until that mighty ocean interposes its waters, and limits our territorial empire.Another agreed, stating that the government was powerless to prevent the spread of the population to the Pacific Coast.(10)
Pursuant to the Convention of 1818, Tsar Aleksandr of Russia had been asked to mediate in a dispute between the U.S. and the UK over compensation for the American slaves carried off by the British during the War of 1812. The Tsar recommended awarding a compensation of $1.2 million ($16.9 million in 2006 dollars), both for the slaves and for other debts the British might have incurred.
President Monroe proposed U.S. recognition of the newly independent Latin American republics: The new nations were "in the full enjoyment of their independence," of which there was "not the most remote prospect of their being deprived," and that they had "a claim to recognition by other powers." The 17th Congress passed a measure to establish diplomatic relations with them, defraying the expenses of
such missions to the independent nations on the American continent as the President might deem proper.(11)
Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 412. (Close)
Connecticut physician William Beaumont, 37, began digestion experiments in the exposed stomach of injured soldier Alexis St. Martin; and quinine production began in Philadelphia.
W. C. Graham was awarded a patent for making false teeth.
"The Old Oaken Bucket" by George Kiallmark, 41, became a popular song. It was a takeoff on the poem by New York poet Samuel Wordsworth, 38, published in 1818.
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.
Stephen Fuller Austin, 29, who had been granted a charter by the Spanish Governor of Mexico to settle 300 families in Texas the year before, established as the Empresario the first legal settlement of Anglo-Americans in Texas, on the rich land between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. Each head of family would receive over 4,000 acres of grazing land and 174 acres of tillable land. And unmarried man would receive only a quarter as much land. Good character, compulsory Catholicism, and an oath of allegiance to Mexico were required. Alabama planter Jared Groce arrived with 50 covered wagons and 100 slaves--the first big-time Texas operator.
Merchant and adventurer William Becknell led a second expedition, with wagons, on the Santa Fe Trail, to trade with the natives of New Mexico. They almost died of thirst in the dessert, but they made it through.
Haitians took control of all of Hispaniola from Spanish forces, thereby establishing the Republic of Haiti.
Forces of Antonio José de Sucre, 29, moved up the Andes and, with help from José de San Martín, 44 (pictured above at left), supreme "protector" of Peru, decisively defeated Spanish royalist forces in the Battle of Pichincha outside Quito. San Martín met Simón Bolívar, 39 (pictured above at right [from the University of Texas Portrait Gallery], President of present-day Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador, at Guayaquil; San Martín resigned as protector of Peru, letting Bolívar become dictator.
Rejecting the reactionary policies of the Portuguese government in Brazil, Regent Dom Pedro, 24, proclaimed the independence of Brazil Portugal, ruled by his father, King João VI.
British Foreign Minister Viscount Castlereigh, 53, mind unhinged from overwork, slit his throat with a penknife in the dressing room of his home, and was succeeded by George Canning, 52, who had just resigned himself to being Governor-General of India. Robert Peel, 34, became Home Secretary, and William Huskisson took over the Board of Trade. A liberal wing of the Tory Party began to make reforms; Canning at one point declared:
We are on the brink of a great struggle between property and population.… Such a struggle is only to be averted by the mildest and most liberal legislation.(12)This group set out to reform the penal code, overhaul the tariff system, revise the customs duties, abolish uneconomic taxes, and scale back the Corn Laws.
Quoted in Churchill, Winston S., The Great Democracies, vol. 4 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1957, p. 26. (Close)
The Sunday Times was founded in London.
The first iron steamship, S.S. Aaron Manby was launched at Rotherhithe, England, and carried a cargo of iron and linseed oil to Paris.
Orangemen (Protestants) in Dublin attacked the British viceroy. "Bottle riots" spread throughout the city.
The potato crop failed in the west of Ireland.
An earthquake in Aleppo, Syria, in the Ottoman Empire, killed 22,000.
English explorer Walter Oudney set out from Tripoli and discovered Lake Chad in central Africa.
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. Its agent, the black former slave Jehudi Ashmun, along with his wife and 37 other former slaves, sailed from Baltimore to Liberia in the brig Strong to join the group already there. The new arrivals discovered that the original group had either died of fever or were quite ill. Natives from the jungle planned to attack the settlement. With 27 men, a small cannon, and some pikes and muskets, Ashmun repelled the attack.
Both Ashmun and his wife became ill, and she died. Though later replaced by Dr. Ayres, a white sent by the Society, Ashmun continued to lead the colony; Dr. Ayres came down with the fever and returned to America. Ashmun taught his colonists to farm.
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 anglicization, replacing Dutch Afrikaans with English.
French mathematician Jean-Baptiste Fourier, 54, published his research on thermal conduction in Théorie analytique de la chaleur ("Analytical Theory of Heat"); and French biologist Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck, 78, published Histoire Naturelle des Animaux sans vertebres, asserting that environmental changes could produce structural changes in plants and animals. English astronomer Sir William Herschel died at the age of 84.
English reformer Francis Place, 51, recommended contraception (insertion of a soft sponge "as large as a green walnut, or a small apple" and "tied with a bobbin or penny ribbon"(13))
Quoted in Trager, James, ed., The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979, p. 400. (Close)
in his To the Married of Both Sexes of the Working People.
French physicist Joseph Nicephore Niepce, 57, and his kinsman Claude Niepce, 17, produced a heliograph, a prototype photograph. Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, 33, and Charles Bouton invented the diarama to give an illusion of reality.
French Egyptologist Jean François Champollion, 32, deciphered the Rosetta stone, which had been found in 1799 and contained hieroglyphics along with a Greek translation.