Christ's Lutheran Church in 1826

For the next three years, the church had no official pastor; "the church was supplied more or less" by pastors William J. Eyer and John Crawford, the latter a Methodist minister.(1)

Quoted from Frederick, Rev. Walter, "Historical Address, Woodstock, N.Y., May 3, 1931," itself citing, without attribution, Traver, Charles H., D.D., of West Camp, "History of Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, N.Y., 1806-1906," an earlier source from the centennial, when Reverend Frederick was pastor. (Close) That a Methodist minister could preach at a Lutheran pulpit would not have seemed odd: Rationalists such as our founding pastor, Dr. Frederick Henry Quitman, 66, then president of the New York Ministerium (the synod), felt that any ordained clergyman--Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregationalist, and (presumably) Lutheran--could be an interchangeable pastor for any one of those congregations.

Services were held at the first [or the second? see the following footnote] church building of Christ's Church of Woodstock, designated the "Church on the Rocks," because it sat on a rocky ledge overlooking 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).(2)

From Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976]. In 2006, Mark Anderson learned that the original church building was not up on the ledge and north of Route 212 but was actually south of 212, between the road and the Sawkill. "This is congruent with the reported statement of Allen Nash, who transferred into the church from Rhinebeck in the 1830s when he said that there was an old, unusable church building still standing half-way between the one on the Bonesteel lease (on the ledge) and the mill at the east end of town (present golf clubhouse). Interesting, eh?" Anderson concludes that the "Church on the Rocks" might really be the second church building (north of 212 and on the ledge), which would have been built after the second Wigram survey in 1822 (which shows the original, south of 212, location) and before Nash came in the 1830s. Therefore, at this date, the church the congregation worshipped at, the first church building, would not have been on the ledge north of 212. (Close)

Lewis Edson, Jr. (owner of a sawmill in Mink Hollow that supplied the Shady glass factories nearby) was involved in leading the singing at the church.

[ Revival camp meeting ] During this time, many ordinary American citizens were caught up in the the Second Great Awakening. At religious revivals, preachers would be "inviting" people to come forward to be saved. (To enlarge the picture, just click it.) This practice was started in the Erie Canal region by itinerant preacher Charles Grandison Finney, who understood the Gospel to be a means of societal change as well as personal salvation; such social reforms as the temperance movement, women's suffrage, and abolition were all linked with the evangelism of the Second Great Awakening. Even Lutherans were affected:

Lutherans were not immune, particularly those who used the English Language.… [There were] reported protracted meetings in Lutheran congregations, periods of special interest and emotional excitement in pulpit and pew, and sudden extraordinary growth in church membership. There was much debate as to the proper methods for Lutherans to use in stimulating these revivals. Sharp distinction was drawn between the traditional methods of catechization and the high-pressure appeal to the emotions. One was called "responsible accessions to our congregations," the other was called "the new measures."(3) From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], pp. 45-46, citing Wentz, Abdel Ross, A Basic History of Lutheranism in America [Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1955], p. 92. (Close)
During this year, Dr. Quitman stepped down as president of the Ministerium, a post he had filled with some controversy for 19 years. His English-language catechism, for example--Evangelical Catechism (1814)--had earned him considerable criticism from many of his contemporaries and certainly from later Lutheran historians and theologians. Dr. Quitman was possibly the most thoroughgoing rationalist who had ever been ordained in the Lutheran church--for example, he denied the authority of both the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions--and, of course, his catechism (which made no mention of Martin Luther), and his administration of the Ministerium, reflected that rationalism. Over the preceding decade since his catechism had been published, other Lutheran clergymen had been making direct translations of Luther's catechism.(4) Here Anderson, pp. 17-18, is citing Schalk, Carl, God's Song in a New Land: Lutheran Hymnals in America [St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1995], p. 69; Neve, J. L., A Brief History of the Lutheran Church in America, trans. Joseph Stump [German Literary Board, 1904], p. 51; 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. 46. Anderson, p. 23, cites one modern church historian, however, who does not agree with the assessment of Quitman being a "thoroughgoing rationalist." H. George Anderson, cited in Nelson, E. Clifford, ed., The Lutherans in North America [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1975], p. 106, sees him as being a member of the school of "biblical supernaturalism": "Standing between the … rationalists on the one hand and evangelistic American Protestantism on the other, Quitman represents a hybrid theology. His statements sometimes seem contradictory, as when he asserts that man has not been deprived of his 'free moral agency,' and then goes on to declare that it is the Holy Spirit who provides 'every good quality of which the Christian is possessed.' In an earlier work he attacks local superstition about spirits and demons on grounds that would argue equally well against miracles; he condemns the 'miracles' of Pharaoh's sorcerers but does not question the miracles of Moses. His catechism does not deal explicitly with the divinity of Christ, yet refers to him as 'the only begotten Son of God' in several places. His definition of faith and his explanation of the Lord's Supper show an almost complete misunderstanding of Luther. In short, Quitman presents no finished Lutheran theological system; he simply tries unsuccessfully to restate traditional beliefs in a rationalistic language and manner." (Close) Succeeding Dr. Quitman as president of the Ministerium was his stepson-in-law and fellow rationalist, former Pastor Augustus Wackerhagen (also spelled Wacherhagen), 52, who had received his D.D. from Union College the previous year.

In general, pastors and congregations belonging to the New York Ministerium (the synod), including former pastors of our church, were not in favor of revivals. On the other hand, when the pulpit of our church was filled with the Methodist John Crawford, the spirit of revival must bave been stirring in Woodstock.

The Woodstock Region in 1826

All over the Catskills, including along our Sawkill, smelly tanneries were converting animal hides into leather, using chips and powder from hemlock bark in the tanning (softening) process and thereby leaving millions of bark-skinned hemlocks to die while standing. New turnpikes were being built to reach the hemlock stands. The largest tanning operation was the New York Tannery in the factory town of Edwardsville (present-day Hunter), autocratically run by Colonel William Edwards, 56. In the atypically neat factory town of Prattsville, workers in the factory of Zadock Pratt lived in some hundred handsome classical-style houses, with pilasters and sunburst gable windows. A 224-foot covered wooden bridge crossed the Schohariekill, and a thousand elms, maples, and hickories lined the streets. Pratt boasted that by getting rid of the hemlocks, he was providing pastureland to the village, so that in time, butter produced by cows grazing there would rival the famous butter from Orange County.

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, 51, 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. 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.

[ John Wigram ] 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. Livingston hired people to visit his sawmills weekly to claim decent wood to be sent off to Clermont. Nonetheless, trespassing and unlawful lumbering continued, becoming part of the Woodstock way of life by indigent tenants (termed "beggars" or "rascals" by Livingston agents), in spite of deputy sheriffs being sent to Woodstock to discourage the practice.

Two glass factories in Bristol (Shady), both just over the boundary from Livingston land--the Woodstock Glass Manufacturing Company and the New York Crown and Cylinder Glass Company--continued, with inefficient operation, to produce window glass and bottles, shipping their products down the Glasco Turnpike to the Hudson River landing in Glasco (from "Glass Company") and then by sloop on to New York City. Unfortunately, their operation required vast amounts of fuel, principally wood, which denuded the forests around Woodstock and, as a result of the deforestation, caused massive erosion of the mountainside soil.

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.

The Anti-Masonic Party was very popular in Woodstock, and local anti-Mason feeling was organized by Dr. Ebenezer Hall. Governor Dewitt Clinton was a prominent Mason, and many of his former supporters in Woodstock now deserted him.

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 eccentric William Boyse, pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church, documented supposed instances of local witchcraft--people and cows being bewitched, butter prevented from forming in churns, and the like. Boyse reported that one man was tossed into the millpond to determine if he were a witch (that is, whether he would be prevented from sinking). He also reported on Dr. Brink's work, especially in dealing with uncontrolled bleeding.

Jesse Buel, friend of Woodstock Judge Jonathan Hasbrouck, reported to the New York State Board of Agriculture about the apple known variously as the Esopus Spitzenberg (New), the Ulster Seedling, the Rickey, the Jonathan, the King Philip, or the Philip Rick, which had originated decades earlier in the Bearsville Flats orchard of Philip Rick, a congregant of Christ's Lutheran Church. The report insisted that no variety "should be propagated unless the parent tree is known to exist in a healthy condition."

New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree, 29, originally of Hurley, had been promised by her master, John J. Dumont, that

if she would do well, and be faithful, he would give her "free papers," one year before she was legally free by statute.(6) 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, 20-21. (Close)
That was the statute that all slaves in New York State were to be freed on July 4, 1827. Unfortunately, Isabella was suffering from an injured hand, which gave her master an excuse to renege on his promise, because her work was allegedly not up to its usual quality. This, in spite of his frequent boast 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.
So, one morning a little before dawn, Isabella stole away from her master's house with her youngest of five children, an infant, on one arm. She found refuge with a Quaker abolitionist couple, Isaac and Maria Van Wagenen. Dumont arrived at the Van Wagenens to claim his property. Here was the dialog between Dumont and Isabella:
Well, Bell, so you've run away from me.

No, I did not run away; I walked away by day-light, and all because you promised me a year of my time.

You must go back with me.

No, I won't go back with you.

Well, I shall take the child.

Isabella, of course, did not consent to this. At this point Isaac Van Wagenen intervened and proposed to buy the runaways for the balance of the year--$25 for Isabella and $5 for the infant ($415 and $83, respectively in 2006 dollars). As the slaveholder departed with the money, Van Wagenen, making sure that Dumont could hear him, instructed Isabella not to call him "master":
There is but one master; and he who is your master is my master.
Newly freed Isabella stayed with the Van Wagenens for a year, doing paid work for them. She also adopted the surname Van Wagenen.

Meanwhile, Isabella was not aware that her 6-year-old son Peter had been sold, through a series of transactions, by Solomon Gedney of New Paltz to his brother-in-law, the Alabama planter Fowler, who routinely and savagely beat his slaves. This transaction was illegal by New York State law, stipulating that no slave was to be sold out of state, and that anyway, by the following year, every slave in New York should be freed.

The 3-year-old commodious House on the Pine Orchard--also known as the Catskill Mountain House, near Kaaterskill Clove and just a few minutes walk southeast of North Lake and South Lake and affording a dramatic view of the Hudson River and much of the entire region, operated by Catskill attorney James Powers as president of the incorporated Catskill Mountain Association, scorned by locals in the valley below as the "Yankee Palace"--enjoyed another glorious tourist season (with more guests than rooms, the surplus obliged to sleep outside), benefiting from the lower Hudson River steamboat fares from the 1824 Supreme Court decision Gibbons v. Ogden, from the fact that steamboat tourists could see the hotel in the mountains, from romantic descriptions of the region in Washington Irving's 1819 tale of Rip Van Winkle and James Fennimore Cooper's 1823 novel The Pioneers, and now from the Hudson River School paintings of "romantic realist" landscape painter Thomas Cole, 25, who had recently moved to Catskill.

A dramatization of "Rip Van Winkle" debuted in Albany.

The United States in 1826

[ John Quincy Adams ]

John Quincy Adams (National Republican), 59, was President. The 19th Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 20th Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $16.60 in 2006 for most consumable products.

Housewives preserved food by drying, salting, and smoking. The fireplace or woodstove fire had to be stoked relentlessly, and it invariably extinguished itself during the wee--and coldest--hours of the night. The kitchen in summer was sweltering.

The standard bathtub, for those who believed in bathing at all, was a wooden box lined with copper or zinc, filled with buckets from the stove. With water needing to be heated over the stove, little wonder than irregular bathing was the norm. Many people, convinced that bathing caused colds and other illnesses, bathed their bodies no more than once a year.

Every household had an outdoor privy.

Indoor lighting for more and more people came from whale-oil lamps and tallow and spermaceti candles.

Much of the American population had rotten teeth, along with chronic toothache and halitosis.(7)

Quoted extensively from Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, pp. 343-46. (Close) Very few people did anything to clean their teeth. The suffering from decayed or ulcerated teeth was enormous; tooth extraction was often practiced by the muscular village blacksmith. False teeth were invariably ill-fitting and had to be removed at meals. Some wealthy people had transplanted teeth, but few enjoyed them as long as five years without their falling out or becoming infected.

Victims of surgical operations were ordinarily tied down, often after a stiff drink of whiskey. The surgeon then sawed or cut with breakneck speed, undeterred by the piercing shrieks of the patient.

Thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States.

Professor Charles Follen introduced physical education into the Harvard curriculum.

Quincy Market opened in Boston.

The 6-mile-long Windsor Locks Canal, just north of Hartford, CT, opened, providing safe passage around Enfield Falls.

Storekeepers Samuel and David Collins of Hartford, CT, began manufacturing standardized precision axes.

Samuel Lord, 23, borrowed $1000 from his wife's uncle ($16,600 in 2006 dollars), John Taylor, to open a clothing shop. He went into partnership with his wife's cousin, George Washington Taylor, and renamed the business Lord & Taylor.

Dairyman Sylvanus Ferris and cheese buyer Robert Nesbit of Herkimer, NY, developed a dishonest scheme: Nesbit would refuse to buy cheese from farmers, saying that the market was poor, and then Ferris would buy up the cheese at low prices; together they would make a killing on the New York City market.

A group of 16 ministers and laymen in Boston founded the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance (later known as the American Temperance Union), using religious and moral arguments to convince people to give up strong alcoholic beverages by signing temperance pledges.

Josiah Holbrook established Millbury Lyceum Number 1 in Millbury, MA, for adult education and self-improvement.

[ Charles Grandison Finney ] [ Revival camp meeting ]

Charles Grandison Finney, 34, pictured here, conducted a religious revival in the Mohawk Valley of New York. (To enlarge the revival meeting picture, just click it.) Theodore Dwight Weld, 23, a member of Finney's "holy band," was preaching in western New York against the horrors of drinking.

Finney and Weld were part of the "Second Great Awakening."(8)

This paragraph has been adapted with permission from William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069 (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1991). Cited by them is Edward Pessen, Jacksonian America: Society, Personality, and Politics (1985), p. 70. There is also an extensive quote from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohenop. cit., pp. 336, 348-50. (Close) The movement was triggered by Finney's evangelical preaching and by widespread excitement over religious conversion, social reform, and radical idealism. During this era, reform groups of all types flourished in sometimes bewildering abundance. Reformers promoted rights for women as well as miracle medicines, communal living, polygamy, celibacy, rule by prophets, and guidance by spirits. Societies were formed against alcohol, tobacco, profanity, and the transit of mail on the Sabbath.

Joseph Smith, 21, a farmer in backwoods New York State (just outside Palmyra, NY), had for years been claiming theophany--that is, that he was receiving visits from heavenly messengers, telling him that he was God's Prophet. Smith alleged, for example, that he had been visited by an angel named Moroni, who indicated that Smith had work to accomplish. He was to find and publish a long-buried book of gold plates protected by the angel, which told of the ancient inhabitants of the western continents. In March Smith was convicted after an alleged admission to being a "disorderly person" and an "impostor" in a court in Bainbridge, NY.

The American Home Missionary Society was organized to carry the gospel to the frontier and to the immigrant.

Artist and naturalist Charles Lesueur, 48, joined the New Harmony utopian community of Robert Dale Owen, 57, in Indiana. Owen's perfect society was to be based on principles of reason rather than religion. It was devoted to bettering the human condition through socialism and free education. Some 1,000 settlers lived in the colony; most were idealists unprepared to deal with such practical necessities as running a factory or a farm. With no authoritative control, strife resulted.

Freemason William Morgan, 53, of Batavia, NY, was arrested on trumped-up charges of theft and indebtedness after he had published with David Miller a book revealing the secrets of the Masonic order. He was thrown into the Canandaigua jail but later kidnapped and spirited away to Canada. Suspicions arose that the Masons had obstructed justice and murdered Morgan. The Anti-Masonic Party was formed to oppose all secret societies.

The Maryland legislature repealed the law requiring office holders to be Christians. Now a Jew could hold public office there.

Former Thomas Jefferson died in Virginia at the age of 83. Former President John Adams died in Massachusetts at the age of 90. They both died on July 4, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Congregationalists founded Western Reserve College in Ohio.

John Chapman, 51, 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."

"Railroads" in the U.S. were short-line affairs powered by cable systems, horses, or even sails. The Mauch Chunk Railroad in Pennsylvania carried coal, and another railroad in Massachusetts carried granite.

Oliver H. Smith ran for Congress in Indiana and reported later on the campaign against his opponent, a judge:

The whole country was there. The judge was speaking and for the first time introduced the new subject of railroads. He avowed himself in favor of them… and then, rising to the top of his voice: "I tell you, fellow citizens, that in England they run the cars at thirty miles an hour, and they will yet be run at higher speeds in America." This was enough. The crowd set up a loud laugh at the expense of the judge. An old fellow standing by me bawled out: "You're crazy, or do you think we are fools; a man could not live a moment at that speed." The day was mine.
In another campaign, Smith commented that two opposing candidates were discussing the tariff:
The people knew but little about it, but what they heard was decidedly against it.… One old fellow said he had never seen one, but he believed it was hard on sheep.(9) 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. 24, citing Oliver H. Smith, Early Indiana Tales and Sketches (1852). (Close)

Imprisonment for debt was still a reality: Hundreds of penniless people were languishing in filthy holes, sometimes for owing less than one dollar. The poorer working classes were especially hard hit by this merciless practice. Criminal codes in the states were gradually being softened, in accord with more enlightened European practices. The number of capital offenses was being reduced, and brutal punishments, such as whipping and branding, were being slowly eliminated.

A Pennsylvania law nullified the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act by making any kind of kidnapping a felony.

Baltimore (formerly of Ohio and Tennessee) Quaker Benjamin Lundy, 37, continued to publish his abolitionist newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation.

Adolescence held many perils for young female slaves(10):

The material in this paragraph has been quoted from Schwartz, Marie Jenkins., Born in Bondage: Growing Up Enslaved in the Antebellum South, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000, pp. 1 ff. (Close) Entering puberty, they attracted the attention from masters, their sons, and other white men in the neighborhood. They faced a double jeopardy: They were at risk not only for sale but also for sexual exploitation. Some buyers purchased young females expressly for sexual gratification. Slave girls who were deemed pretty according to slaveholder standards could be sold as prostitutes, or "fancies" in the vernacular of the day. "Fancies" were generally of lighter skin and sold at higher prices than other slave women--sometimes by 30% or more.

Gideon B. Smith of Baltimore planted the quick-growing Chinese mulberry trees to develop a domestic silk industry.

President John Quincy Adams, in his annual message, stated his agenda of nationalism:

The great object of the institution of civil government is the improvement of those who are parties to the social compact.… [To] slumber in indolence… [would be] to cast away the bounties of Providence and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority.(11) Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p, 418. (Close)
Adams wanted to use the federal revenue to increase the Navy, build national roads and canals, send out scientific expeditions, establish institutions of learning and research, and make Washington, DC, the national cultural center. But the states' rights reaction in Congress was too great an obstacle to overcome.

[ Henry Clay of Kentucky ] [ John Randolph of Roanoke ]

When President Adams accepted an invitation to send representatives to a Congress of American Republics that was to meet in Panama, a step strongly supported by Secretary of State Henry Clay, 49 (pictured at left), the Senate vigorously resisted it--principally out of dislike for Adams and Clay. Senator John Randolph of Roanoke, 53 (pictured at right), from Virginia, charged that the invitations from Colombia and Mexico were

forged, with the connivance of the President, in the State Department… [and that] they have the footprints and flesh-marks of the style of that office as I shall show on a future occasion.
He insisted that this was the work of
the coalition of Blifil and Black George--the combination, unheard of till now, of the puritan and the black-leg!
Blifil was a canting hypocrite and Black George a rascally gamekeeper in Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones. It was the word black-leg that infuriated Clay, who challenged Randolph to a duel. Randolph, a fine shot, did not intend to fire at Clay, but his pistol was set on hair-trigger and accidently discharged harmlessly toward the ground. Randolph was allowed to reload and waited for Clay to shoot. Clay's shot made a hole in Randolph's coat, and Randolph fired into the air, threw his pistol to the ground, and extended his hand to Clay, who accepted it.
You owe me a coat, Mr. Clay,
said Randolph.
I thank God the debt is no greater,
was the response.(12)

Quoted in Wellman, op. cit., p. 74. (Close)

[ Andrew Jackson ] In the mid-term Congressional elections, the enemies of President Adams, supporters of Andrew Jackson, 59 (pictured), won a comfortable majority and began attacking the President on unfounded charges of corruption. Meanwhile, Jackson himself was at his estate in Tennessee--the Hermitage--where he and his close supporters (Senator John Henry Eaton of Tennessee, 36, John Overton, Major William B. Lewis, 42, and General Sam Houston, 33, worked on his strategy for winning the Presidential Election of 1828. He decided to identify with the "common people" against the evident property interests within the now monopolistic Democratic-Republican Party. His new Democratic Party, formed from the Jeffersonian (yet not so loosely liberal) rather than the Federalist wing of the Democratic-Republican Party, reacted against such statements as these in the American Quarterly Review:

The lowest orders of society ordinarily mean the poorest--and the highest, the richest. Sensual excess, want of intelligence, and moral debasement, distinguish the former, intellectual superiority, and refined social and domestic affections, the latter.(13) Quoted in ibid., p. 76. (Close)

Christopher "Kit" Carson, 17, ran away from his Kentucky home.

The Cherokee Nation in the Southeast had a population of 17,000, surrounded by some 900,000 whites in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.(14)

Facts in this paragraph are taken from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 136. (Close) The Cherokees were adapting to the white man's world, becoming farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, owners of property. The census of this year revealed 22,000 cattle, 7,600 horses, 46,000 swine, 726 looms, 2,488 spinning wheels, 172 wagons, 2,943 plows, 10 saw mills, 31 grist mills, 62 blacksmith shops, 8 cotton machines, and 18 schools.

The Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Washington, superseding previous agreements (including the previous year's Treaty of Indian Springs) and ceding a little less land to the U.S. government (they had to give up "only" 5 million acres, 2 million acres of which would go to individual Creeks who might sell if they wished). Within days of the treaty's signing, it was abrogated: White looters, swindlers, whiskey sellers, thugs, and land seekers began driving Creeks from their homes and into the swamps. The federal government did nothing.

Chief Tukose Emathla of the Seminoles (known as "John Hicks") led a delegation to Washington, DC, to protest continued raids into their territories in Florida Territory to capture their black slaves, as well as the renewed efforts by settlers to remove the Seminoles from their native land. He demanded that the white men return their slaves, and he called for an end to separate schools for Indians. But he was most eloquent in his protest against Indian removal(15):

Quoted from ibid., p. 132. (Close)
Here our navel strings were first cut and the blood from them sunk into the earth, and made the country dear to us.

Science and technology in America: Specifics

Connecticut inventor Samuel Morey, 64, patented an internal combustion engine; and a cotton mill in Lowell, MA, using a female labor force, produced 2 million yards of cloth during the year. Dr. S. P. Hildreth wrote in the American Journal of Science that a well sunk for salt had discharged instead great quantities of petroleum, "vulgarly called Seneka Oil" and generally considered a nuisance (except by "medicine show" promoters who sold it as Seneca Oil or Genessee Oil to cure ailments). Hildreth wrote that the oil "affords a brisk, clear light, when burnt" and predicted that it might be valuable for lighting "the street lamps of the future cities of Ohio."

Massachusetts inventor Amasa Holcomb, 39, built the first reflecting telescope in America.

Arts and culture in America: Specifics

Novelist James Fenimore Cooper, 37, published Last of the Mohicans; and painter-inventor Samuel Finley Breeze Morse, 35, painted Portrait of Lafayette and founded the National Academy of Design. Actor Edwin Forrest, 20, portrayed Othello in New York City and became a national idol.

The Roman emperor look continued to be fashionable for men.

Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, the New York Mirror, and National Preacher. 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.

Popular songs included "Home Sweet Home" and "From Greenland's Icy Mountain."

The World at Large in 1826

Sir John Franklin, 40, explored the Arctic regions.

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.

In Upper Canada (Ontario) newly arrived settlers struggled for political equality with the Loyalists (those who had left the United States after the Revolution) and their descendants. Liberals wanted to make the executive responsible to the Assembly and threatened to secede from the British Empire. One of these Liberals, William Lyon Mackenzie, 31, publisher of the Colonial Advocate, in York, attacked the ruling clique of old Loyalist families, the "Family Compact." A government-sponsored mob then attacked him and threw his presses into Lake Ontario.

Guadalupe Victoria continued to serve as President of Mexico amid incessant troubles between the conservative clergy and liberals, troubles fomented largely by General Antonio López de Santa Anna, 32, to destabilize the government.

The grant of land on the Rio Brazos in Texas to Stephen Fuller Austin, 33, was flourishing. Austin continued to bring in colonists and to rule them with nearly dictatorial powers. Other empresarios flocked in to claim land--including swashbucklers Robert Leftwich, Hayden Edwards, Green De Witt, Ben Milam, James Powers, and David G. Burnet (formerly of Ohio, who had been a soldier of fortune 20 years earlier in a failed Venezuelan revolution). Most of the new settlers were hard-working, honest, capable, self-sufficient, and law-abiding--as required by the required certification of "good character"--but some were shady characters of dubious history. The expression "G.T.T." ("Gone to Texas") was a byword for outlaws fleeing justice in the United States. The certification also required the newcomers to become Roman Catholic, but many of the newcomers found ways to flout that rule.

Jedediah Strong Smith, 26, with partners William L. Sublette and David E. Jackson, bought out his partner William Ashley, 48, and took over the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. Smith then led the self-styled South West Expedition from the Great Salt Lake to explore the Southwest (which was part of Mexico) and perhaps find the fabled "Buenaventura River" and its supposed huge inland sea, and blazed the first overland route to Lake Mead and the lower Colorado River, the Mojave Desert, San Gabriel mission in the San Bernadino Valley, and finally the mission and port at San Diego in Alta California. There Captain William Cunningham, master of the ship Courier out of Boston, recorded:

There has arrived at this place Capt. Jedediah Smith with a company of hunters, from St. Louis, on the Missouri.… Does it not seem incredible that a party of 14 men, depending entirely upon their rifles and traps for subsistence, will explore this vast continent, and call themselves happy when they can obtain the tail of a beaver to dine upon?(16) Quoted in Athearn, Robert G., ed., American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States, vol. 6, The Frontier, New York: Choice Publishing, 1988, p. 531. (Close)

[ Simón Bolívar ] Peru recognized the independence of Bolivia. Simón Bolívar, 43 (pictured above at right [from the University of Texas Portrait Gallery], organized its government and then departed for Colombia and the Congress of American Republics (the "Panama Congress"), which new Latin American republics convened to organize a defensive union against any designs of Spain or other European countries to reconquer them. (The U.S. Senate reluctantly approved sending delegates to the congress--after supporters of Andrew Jackson attacked American attendance as just a way for Henry Clay to promote himself; one of the delegates died on the way there, and the other arrived after the Congress had adjourned. The British delegate who attended made sure that the U.S. appeared coldly indifferent to the republics.)

Argentina-Brazil war

Argentina and Brazil, each claiming Uruguay, continued their war.

The Dutch vessel S.S. Curaçao crossed the Atlantic with a steam-powered paddle wheel to supplement her sails. Steam power enthusiasts were frustrated, however, because of the need for fresh water to make steam.

Stamford Raffles founded the Royal Zoological Society in London, which established the Zoological Gardens in London's Regent's Park.

A railroad tunnel was built on the Liverpool-Manchester Railway in England.

James and Peter Coats founded J. & P. Coats at Paisley, Scotland, to make sewing threads.

Prussia and Mecklenburg-Schwerin concluded a commercial treaty, initiating the Zollverein (the commercial union, which would become the basis of a united Germany).

Berlin's Unter den Linden was illuminated by gas lamps.

King João VI of Portugal died at age 56 and was succeeded by his son Dom Pedro of Brazil (as Pedro IV). Dom Pedro, refusing to leave Brazil, abdicated in favor of his daughter, Maria da Gloria (as Maria II), 8, with her uncle Dom Miguel, 28, as regent. Liberal and constitutional forces rallied around the child Queen, but reactionary forces within the country, and Spain and the Holy Alliance outside, were persuading the absolutist Dom Miguel to stage a coup. British troops were sent to support the Queen. British Foreign Minister George Canning, 56, declared to his Parliament that the troops were not intended

to prescribe constitutions, but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally.
The British Ambassador to Portugal described the wild scenes in Lisbon at the approach of British ships:
No one is afraid to be a constitutionalist now.… England has spoken, and some of her troops have already arrived. the lion's awakening [ce revéil du lion] has been majestic.(17) 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. 31. (Close)

The despotic King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies (Sicily and Naples), 48, left the government to his court favorites and the police, while he lived with his mistress, surrounded by soldiers to protect him from assassination.

Greek War of Independence

The Ottoman Sultan ordered the massacre of 6,000 to 10,000 unruly Janissaries in their Constantinople barracks. Russia issued an ultimatum against Turkey over its oppressive policy in Serbia and the other Danubian principalities. Sultan Mehmet II, advised by Austria and France, yielded. British Foreign Minister Canning worried about the "Eastern Question": Russia might intervene, set up a client state in Greece, and upset the balance of power.

Russia-Persia war

Persian forces attacked Russian possessions in Transcaucasia, and Russia declared war on Persia. Russian troops under Ivan Feodorovich Paskevich, 44, defeated the Persians in the Battle of Ganja.

Dost Muhammad, 33, the ruler of Ghazni, captured Kabul and became the Emir of Afghanistan.

Ashanti War

Ashantis and Fantis continued their hostilities, with one side blowing war horns and the other side playing "God Save the King." British forces crushed the Ashanti in the Battle of Dodowa near Accra.

The British administration in South Africa continued a policy of anglicization, replacing Dutch Afrikaans with English. The Cape Colony extended its borders north to the Orange River.

A cholera epidemic struck India.

Anglo-Burmese war

With the Treaty of Yandabu a long-simmering Anglo-Burmese War was ended. The British acquired Assam, Arakan, and the Tenasserim coast. They also concluded a treaty with Siam.

Javanese conflict

The Javanese continued their revolt against Dutch control.

World science and technology

An English gas company executive designed a commercially practicable gas stove; Italian physicist Leopoldo Nobili, 42, invented a galvanometer for measuring small electric current, minimizing the effect of the earth's magnetism; French inventor Joseph Niepce, 61, helped Farisian printer M. Lemaitre expose etched metal plates to iodine vapors to sharpen photographs; Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, 39, proposed a partnership with Niepce; German author Aloys Senefelder, 53, invented color lithography; and German scientist Otto Unverdorben, 20, obtained aniline from indigo.

Scots inventor Patrick Bell invented a workable grain reaper, but it required horses to push it (which they resisted doing).

English chemist Humphrey Davy, 48, won the Royal Medal for his lecture On the Relation of Electrical and Chemical Changes; French physicist André Ampère, 51, published Electrodynamics; French chemist Antoine Jerome Balard, 24, discovered bromine; Russian mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, 29, developed a non-Euclidean geometry; German astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, 42, designed a pendulum with a swing of precisely 1 second; and Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, 24, founded the Journal for Pure and Applied Mathematics.

World philosophy and religion

English parson Thomas Malthus, 60, published the sixth edition of his 1798 Essay on Population, wherein he pointed out that national income in an industrialized society would outpace population growth.

Arts and culture in the British Isles

Scots poet Sir Walter Scott, 55, published Woodstock (but his publishers go bankrupt leaving newly widowered Scott with huge liabilities to clear up); lyric poet Thomas Hood, 27, published Past and Present; painter John Constable, 49, painted Leaping Horse; and politician Benjamin Disraeli, 22, anonymously published the novel Vivian Grey. Irish genealogist John Burke, 39, published Burke's Peerage, a directory of British baronets and peers.

World arts and culture

French author Alfred Victor de Vigny, 29, published the historical novel Cinq Mars and Poèmes antiques et modernes; German poet Heinrich Heine, 29, published Reisebilder I ("Pictures of Travel"); French artist Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, 28, painted Greece in the Ruins of Missolonghi and Execution of the Doge Marino Falieri; German composer Ludwig von Beethoven, 56, produced String Quartet in B flat major; and German composer Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn, 17, established his reputation with his Overture to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. German composer Karl Maria von Weber, 39, composed the opera Oberon and then died of tuberculosis; German author Johann Peter Hebel died at the age of 66, and German poet Johann H. Voss died at the age of 75.


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