Christ's Lutheran Church in 1827

For the next two 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, 67, then retired 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)
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 have been stirring in Woodstock.

The Woodstock Region in 1827

As stipulated in a state law passed several years before, every slave in New York was free as of July 4 of this year. New York was one of the last Northern states to abolish slavery.

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, 57. 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(4)

Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town [Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987], pp. 23ff, 41, 150ff. (Close) has described the Catskills as largely a region of absentee landlords and struggling tenants, in a manorial relationship more or less transplanted to upstate New York from medieval Europe. The principal landlord for tenant farmers and tavern keepers in the Town of Woodstock, and for all his other Catskills holdings of some 66,000 acres, was Robert L. Livingston, 52, 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 freedslaves (though technically free, they continued to live and work exactly as they had as 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.

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. He reported on Dr. Brink's work, especially in dealing with uncontrolled bleeding.

Former New Paltz slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, 30, after slipping away from her religious upbringing, underwent a religious epiphany during Pinkster time, the annual festival observed by African-Dutch slaves (as a child, her family had been slaves in a Dutch household in Hurley). Here is how abolitionist Olive Gilbert, the literary mouthpiece of Isabella (in later life known as Sojourner Truth), described several years later (1850) what the epiphany entailed(5)

Quoted from Gilbert, Olive, Narrative of Sojourner Truth (a transcription with commentary of Sojourner's own words), 1850 (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997), p. 35. (Close)
God revealed himself to her, with all the suddenness of a flash of lightning, showing her, "in the twinkling of an eye, that he was all over"--that he pervaded the universe--"and that there was no place where God was not." She became instantly conscious of her great sin in forgetting her almighty Friend and "everpresent help in time of trouble." All her unfulfilled promises arose before her, like a vexed sea whose waves ran mountains high; and her soul, which seemed like one mass of lies, shrunk back aghast from the "awful look" of him whom she had formerly talked to, as if he had been a being like herself; and she would now fain have hid herself in the bowels of the earth, to have escaped his dread presence. But she plainly saw there was no place, not even in hell, where he was not: and where could she flee? Another such "a look," as she expressed it, and she felt that she must be extinguished forever, even as one, with the breath of his mouth, "blows out a lamp," so that no spark remains.…
She henceforth felt that she was in direct communication with God. She joined both the Methodist Church and the Zion African Church.

Isabella learned during this year that one of her five children--7-year-old Peter--whom she knew had been sold locally by her former master, John J. Dumont, a couple of years earlier (when slavery had still been legal in New York) but now would legally be free according to state law, had subsequently been sold again, illegally, out of state to an Alabama planter named Fowler, who routinely and savagely beat his slaves. Isabella walked several miles to the home of her former master and complained bitterly. Mrs. Dumont replied with scorn and contempt(6):

This and the following quotations are from ibid., pp. 22ff. (Close)
Ugh! What a fine fuss to make about a little nigger! Why, haven't you as many of 'em left as you can see to and take care of? A pity 'tis, the niggers are not all in Guinea!! Making such a hulloo-balloo about the neighborhood; and all for a paltry nigger!!!

I'll have my child again.

Have your child again! How can you get him? And what have you to support him with, if you could? Have you any money?

No. I have no money, but God has enough, or what's better! And I'll have my child again.

Then Isabella walked more miles to the home of Mrs. Gedney, the mother of both Solomon Gedney (who had made the illegal sale of Peter out of state) and Eliza Gedney (who had married Peter's new owner in Alabama). Mrs. Gedney laughed at Isabella's lamentations:
Dear me! What a disturbance to make about your child! What, is your child better than my child? My child is gone out there, and yours is gone to live with her, to have enough of everything, and to be treated like a gentleman!

Yes, your child has gone there, but she is married and my boy has gone as a slave, and he is too little to go so far from his mother. Oh, I must have my child.

A Quaker family had compassion for Isabella's plight and directed her to go to the court house in Kingston and enter a complaint to the grand jury. After her sworn oath that the complaint was real, this body gave her a writ to take to the New Paltz constable to serve on Solomon Gedney. The constable served the writ on Solomon's brother, however; Solomon's lawyer, meanwhile, advised him to retrieve Peter from Alabama to avoid the penalty stipulated by law: 14 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 ($16,600 in 2006 dollars). Gedney left for Alabama, and did not return with Peter for another year.

The 4-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 from the Hudson River School paintings of "romantic realist" landscape painter Thomas Cole, 26, a resident of Catskill village. During this year, Cole became very famous with his Last of the Mohicans.

The United States in 1827

[ John Quincy Adams ]

John Quincy Adams (National Republican), 60, was President. The newly elected 20th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $16.60 in 2006 for most consumable products.

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

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.

Thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States.

The western (most inland) border between Maine and the British colony of New Brunswick had not been adequately settled by the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War. Supposedly all the territory in that region that drained into the St. Lawrence River would be part of British Canada, and all the territory that drained into the Atlantic would be part of the United States--but the wording was obscure and the old maps were conflicting. The King of the Netherlands agreed to adjudicate the dispute.

Massachusetts required every town of at least 500 families to support a public high school.

Nathaniel Parker Willis, 21, began publishing The Youth's Companion periodical in Boston.

Abraham Bower established a horse-drawn public transit bus, called an "accommodation," seating 12, in New York City.

Swiss wine merchant Giovanni Del-Monico and his brother Pietro opened Delmonico Restaurant as a cafe and pastry shop in New York City.

Sam Patch, 20, from Pawtucket, RI, achieved fame by jumping over Passaic Falls in New Jersey, a height of 80 feet, and remaining alive.

The sportsmen's handbook, American Shooter's Manual, was published in Philadelphia.

Baltimore bankers George Brown, 40, and Philip Evan Thomas were chartered to build a 380-mile railroad to the West--the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad--to compete with the Erie Canal. There were no plans for a steam locomotive; the cars would be pulled by horses or propelled by sails. Engineer and explorer Stephen Harriman Long, 43, helped to lay out the route.

[ Charles Grandison Finney ] [ Revival camp meeting ]

Charles Grandison Finney, 35, pictured here, conducted religious revivals in country settlements in the Northeast and Midwest, urging true Christians to join reform movements. (To enlarge the revival meeting picture, just click it.) Theodore Dwight Weld, 24, 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."(7)

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, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, 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, 22, 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 September, Smith said the angel had finally allowed him to take the plates and other artifacts, although by this time he had begun having difficulties with local treasure hunters who were trying to discover where the plates were hidden on the Smith farm. Smith met Emma Hale, 23, in Harmony, Pennsylvania (present-day Oakland); the couple married and moved to Harmony.

Evangelist Alexander Campbell, 39, founded the Disciples of Christ, proclaiming the imminent Second Coming of Christ. Campbell practiced baptism by immersion and railed against liquor.

Painter-inventor Samuel Finley Breeze Morse, 36, and silk and textile merchant Arthur Tappan began publishing the semireligious Journal of Commerce in New York City.

The New Harmony, Indiana, utopian community of reformer Robert Dale Owen, 58, with some 1,000 residents, based on principles of reason rather than religion and devoted to bettering the human condition through socialism and free education, was dissolving into strife because most residents were idealists unprepared to deal with such practical necessities as running a factory or a farm.

John Brown Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish established the first Negro newspaper, Freedom's Journal, in New York City. Their goal was to turn public opinion against slavery by publishing stories about the brutal treatment of slaves.

[ Lucretia Mott ] In Philadelphia teacher Lucretia Coffin Mott, 34, pictured here, joined the liberal Hicksite wing of the Quakers and began delivering antislavery sermons.

Baltimore (formerly of Ohio and Tennessee) Quaker Benjamin Lundy, 38, continued to publish his abolitionist newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation. He was assaulted by a Baltimore slave dealer whom he had criticized in the paper.

The Washington National Intelligencer reported the following lynching in Georgia:

… a Mr. McNeily having lost some clothing or some other property of no great value, the slave of a neighboring planter was charged with the theft. McNeily in company with his brother found the negro driving his master's wagon; they seized him and either did or were about to chastize him, when the negro stabbed McNeily so that he died an hour afterwards. The negro was taken before a justice of the peace, who after serious deliberation waived his authority--perhaps through fear, as the crowd of persons from the above counties [Bibb and Perry] had collected to the number of seventy or eighty near Mr. Peoples' (the justice) house. He acted as president of the mob and put the vote, when it was decided he should be immediately executed by being burnt to death. The sable culprit was led to a tree and tied to it, and a large quantity of pine knots collected and placed around him, and the fatal torch was applied to the pile even against the remonstrances of several gentlemen who were present: and the miserable being was in a short time burnt to ashes. The sheriff of Perry County, with a company of about twenty men, repaired to the neighborhood where this barbarous act took place, to secure those concerned, with what success we have not heard: but we hope he will succeed in bringing the perpetrators of so high-handed a measure to account.(8) Quoted in McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians (Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993), p. 274, citing the Washington National Intelligencer (July 23, 1827). (Close)

Englishman Basil Hall traveled through much of the South on a riverboat and commented that the Southerners were interested in only one thing: cotton.

All day and almost all night long, the captain, pilot, crew and passengers were talking of nothing else; and sometimes our ears were so wearied with the sound of cotton! cotton! cotton! that we gladly hailed fresh inundation of company in hopes of some change--but alas!… "What's cotton at?" was the first eager inquiry. "Ten cents [a pound] [$1.66 a pound in 2006 dollars]." "Oh, that will never do!"(9) Quoted in Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 387; Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., p. 364. (Close)

From the time that slave children began working in the field, they were working assets from the owner's point of view and were more liable for being sold.(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) Slaves able to perform diverse chores appealed to a wide range of buyers and could easily be sold at high prices if the need for cash or credit arose. Sales of slaves in the interregional slave trade peaked between the ages of 15 and 25, and vulnerability to sale began to increase for youths as early as age 8 and certainly by the age of 10, when they could work competently with the cotton crop. Planters sought teenagers and young adults, slaves whose physical condition qualified them as prime hands and who might be expected to labor for many years to come. Young men and women coming of age could be expected to choose spouses (or have mates chosen for them) and rear children after being uprooted from their families of origin, which added to their attractiveness as a financial investment. All slaveholders gained from the situation, those who bought laborers as well as those who sold them. Middlemen who facilitated the traffic in slaves also realized a profit by extracting a fee for arranging the sales. For the slaves--both the youngsters and the parents--separations from such sales generally had the same degree of finality as death.

Josiah Warren opened a "Time Store" in Cincinnati. Instead of marking up goods for a money profit, he charged the customer the cost of the item to him plus whatever time he spent in packaging it for the customer. That is, if it took him 5 minutes to pour the customer's flour and wrap it, the customer would work for him for 5 minutes in the store.

The U.S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, 72, in the case of Martin v. Mott, denied that any state could withhold militia from national service if the President demanded that service.

The Maryland legislature had passed legislation requiring wholesalers of foreign goods to purchase a state license. In the case of Brown v. Maryland, Marshall ruled that as long as goods imported into any state from overseas remained in the hands of the importer, no state tax needed to be paid. Any state's attempt to tax such "original packages" was actually an attempt to regulate the nation's foreign commerce--a right reserved by the Constitution to the federal government.

A Kentucky Senator declared in frustration at such sweeping rulings that the Supreme Court was a

place above the control of the will of the people, in a state of disconnection with them, inaccessible to the charities and sympathies of human life.(11) Quoted in Athearn, Robert G., ed., American Heritage Illustrated History of the United States, vol. 5, Young America, New York: Choice Publishing, 1988, p. 374. (Close)

President Adams recommended the establishment of a Naval Academy, but this idea--like most of his proposals--was ridiculed in the hostile 20th Congress. Congressman Lemuel Sawyer of North Carolina asserted that a fancy naval education would

produce degeneracy and corruption of the public morality and change our simple republican habits.
Senator William Smith of South Carolina pointed out that neither Julius Caesar nor Lord Nelson had attended a Naval Academy and predicted that sailors
would look with contempt upon trifling or effeminate leaders
who were graduated from it.(12)

Quoted in Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p, 419. (Close)

The new and very hostile 20th Congress subjected President Adams unfairly to investigations for corruption.

After an unsuccessful carpenter's strike, unionists in Philadelphia organized the Mechanics Trade Union Association. Their constitution pledged to establish a just balance of power--mental, moral, political, and scientific--among all the various classes and individuals in society at large.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Manufacturers and the Mechanic Arts convened a national convention in Harrisburg. Delegates from the Northern manufacturing states pressed for more tariff protection. The Southern states, opposing tariffs since their states needed foreign markets for their agricultural products, did not send delegates. Instead, a great anti-tariff meeting was held in Charleston, SC. Dr. Thomas Cooper, President of South Carolina College, asked,

[W]hat use is this unequal alliance by which the South has always been the loser and the North always the gainer? Is it worth our while to continue this Union of States, where the North demands to be our masters and we are required to be their tributaries?(13) Quoted in Wallechinsky, David, and Wallace, Irving, The People's Almanac, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1975, p. 160; Morrison, op. cit., p. 432. (Close)

The Miami Canal was completed in Ohio, thereby giving the town of Cincinnati commercial importance.

John Chapman, 52, 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."

Sam Houston, 34, through the fatherly grooming of Andrew Jackson, 60, was elected Governor of Tennessee.

The Cherokee National Council of Georgia's Cherokee tribe established the Cherokee Nation in northwestern Georgia and drew up a constitution, providing for an executive, a legislative, and a judicial branch of government. They built frame houses, roads, and churches, and they published a weekly newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, edited by Elias Budinot, a full-blooded Cherokee. Some Cherokees had become prosperous cotton planters and had even turned to slaveholding (nearly 1,300 black slaves toiled for Cherokee masters).

War Secretary James Barbour, 52, proposed setting aside lands west of the Mississippi River for an Indian Territory. Those Indians who refused to move onto these lands were to be assimilated into white society. He hoped the tribal structure would dissipate, thus facilitating the incorporation of the territory into the U.S. as a state. His proposal, based on a misunderstanding of Indian culture and undoubtedly Western beliefs on the progress of civilization, failed. Barbour also famously remarked that 500 years would be needed to fill up the West.

Lewis Cass, 45, Governor of Michigan Territory, published an article in North American Review, articulating a proposal of Indian removal dear to the hearts of land-hungry white settlers(14):

Quoted in Gill, Indermit Singh; Montenegro, Claudio; and Dömeland, Dörte, Crafting Labor Policy: Techniques, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 83-84. (Close)
A principle of progressive improvement seems almost inherent in human nature.… Communities of men, as well as individuals, are stimulated by a desire to meliorate their condition.… We are all striving in the career of life to acquire riches of honor, or power, or some other object, whose possession is to realize the day dreams of our imaginations; and the aggregate of these efforts constitutes the advance of society. But there is little of this in the constitution of our savages. Like the bear, and deer, and buffalo of his own forests, an Indian lives as his father lived, and dies as his father died. He never attempts to imitate the arts of his civilized neighbors. His life passes away in a succession of listless indolence, and of vigorous exertion to provide for his animal wants, or to gratify his baleful passions.… Efforts… have not been wanting to teach and reclaim him. But he is perhaps destined to disappear with the forests.…
Such forests, according to Cass, should not be abandoned to "hopeless sterility" but should give away to the "march of cultivation and improvement." Governor Cass oversaw the appropriation through swindling treaties of millions of acres of Indian land, justifying the grabs as for the Indians' own good:
We must frequently promote their interest against their inclination.

The Creek Indians were evicted from the lands they had ceded to the U.S. government in the previous year's Treaty of Washington. They were under pressure to emigrate beyond the Mississippi, but an army colonel was dubious that their removal to the West was going to work(15):

Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 142. (Close)
They fear starvation on the route; and can it be otherwise, when many of them are nearly starving now, without the embarrassment of a long journey on their hands.… You cannot have an idea of the deterioration which these Indians have undergone during the last two or three years, from a general state of comparative plenty to that of unqualified wretchedness and want. The free egress into the nation by the whites; encroachments upon their lands, even upon their cultivated fields; abuses of their persons; hosts of traders, who, like locusts, have devoured their substance and inundated their homes with whiskey, have destroyed what little disposition to cultivation the Indians may once have had.… They are brow beat, and cowed, and imposed upon, and depressed with the feeling that they have no adequate protection in the United States, and no capacity of self-protection in themselves.
The Creeks decided to stay in the East.

French-American students in New Orleans organized street maskers on Shrove Tuesday, the first Mardi Gras celebration there.

Science and technology in America: Specifics

Physicist Joseph Henry, 30, built an electromagnet capable of lifting, first, 14 pounds, and then, with insulated wire overlapping the first layer, 28 pounds (and later a thousand times that much); and New Hampshire printer Isaac Adams, 25, invented and began manufacturing "Adams Power Printing Presses."

Ornithologist John James Audubon, 42, began publishing Birds of North America (his paintings of birds in action caused a sensation in Europe but little interest in America); and Boston-born British Admiral Isaac Coffin, 68, founded a nautical school in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Arts and culture in America: Specifics

Novelist James Fenimore Cooper, 38, published The Prairie and The Red Rover; and Catharine Maria Sedgwick, 38, published the novel Early Times in Massachusetts. Painter Charles Wilson Peale died in Philadelphia at the age of 85.

Lydia Howard Sigourney, 36, published her banal, sticky-sweet, and very popular Poems.

Quack medicines were very popular. More than half of newspaper advertising was devoted to quack remedies. Self-prescribed patent medicines were common(16)

Quoted extensively from Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen, op. cit., pp. 343-46. (Close) (one dose for people, two for horses) and included Robertson's Infallible Worm Destroying Lozenges. Among home remedies was the rubbing of tumors with dead toads. The use of medicines by the regular doctors was often harmful.

A physician in a rural area charged about 50 cents for advice given in the office ($8.30 in 2006 dollars); he charged the same for a house call (plus another 50 cents per mile) but reduced the fee if his horse was fed. A night house call might be 75 cents ($12.45), a labor and delivery $4 ($66.40), a hernia operated on for $20 ($332).

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 Mountains."

The World at Large in 1827

Sir John Franklin, 41, 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.

The Bytown settlement at Chaudière Falls on the Ottawa River separating Lower Canada from Upper Canada was founded; it would become the city of Ottawa.

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, 33, to destabilize the government.

The grant of land on the Rio Brazos in Texas to Stephen Fuller Austin, 34, 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 21 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, 27, blazed a trail from mission San Diego in southern Alta California (in Mexico) northward to the San Joaquin Valley, and along the barrier of the Sierra Nevada (still looking for the fabled "Buenaventura River" connection to the Columbia). He left most of his men along the Stanislaus River and struck out across the mountains to reach the Bear Lake rendezvous. They crossed central Nevada, nearly dying of thirst, and made it to the rendezvous, which by now had become a wild carnival of gambling, races, monumental drunks, cavorting Indians, wenching, and storytelling. Afterward, he took 18 men with him back to find the group he had left along the Stanislaus. They had a painful encounter with the Mojave Indians (who had previously been attacked by trappers from Taos). Only 8 of Smith's party survived, and the Mojaves stole all the horses and provisions. Smith and his men continued on foot, finally joining the rest of his party along the Stanislaus. Unfortunately, the Mexican military commandant at San Francisco ordered them to leave the territory. Smith's group traveled up the Sacramento River (hoping it would be the Buenaventura).

A decade later, writer Washington Irving would record the typical happenings at these rendezvous in his Adventures of Captain Bonneville:

[The trappers] engaged in contests of skill at running, jumping, wrestling, shooting with the rifle, and running horses.… They sang, they laughed, they whooped; they tried to out-brag and out-lie each other in stories of their adventures and achievements. Here the … trappers were in all their glory.(17) Quoted in Davidson and Stoff, op. cit., p. 351, citing Irving, Washington, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A., in the Rocky Mountains and the far West, A. & W. Galignani, 1837, chapter 20. (Close)

Peru seceded from Colombia, which was run by strongman Simón Bolívar, 44, charging the strongman with tyranny.

Argentina-Brazil war

Argentina and Brazil, each claiming Uruguay, continued their war. Argentine and Uruguayan forces defeated the Dom Pedro's Brazilians in the Battle of Ituzaingó.

A sailing ship crossed from New Orleans to Liverpool in 26 days, which was record time.

When the British Prime Minister, Robert Banks Jenkinson, Second Earl of Liverpool, a Tory, had a stroke, the government of the United Kingdom was in crisis. King George IV hesitated for a month over who to replace him--Foreign Minister George Canning, 56, or Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, 58? (The Whigs offered no alternative administration.) Finally, the King chose Canning, a Tory who had some Whig backing, so as not to give complete domination to the reactionary Tories. Unfortunately, after serving for just a few months, he died--perhaps from overwork, perhaps from dysentery. A weak coalition made the lachrymose Frederick John Robinson, Viscount Goderich, the new Prime Minister.

English reformer Henry Peter Brougham, 49, set up the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, making good literature affordable to workingmen.

The London Evening Standard began publication.

The Hammersmith Bridge, the first suspension bridge of stone and metal, was completed in London.

James Simpson constructed a sand filter to purify London's water supply.

Anglican clergyman John Darby, 25, seceded from the Church of England and founded the Plymouth Brethren.

Scotsman George Ballantine started his distillery in Dumbarton to make Ballantine's Scotch.

German publisher Karl Baedeker, 26, began publishing his travel guides.

Dom Miguel of Portugal, 29, who was betrothed to his niece, Maria II, 9, became regent in her name.

Giulia Buitoni and her husband, Giovambattista, started the Buitoni macaroni business in San Sepolcro, Italy.

The despotic King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies (Sicily and Naples), 49, 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

France, Britain, and Russia demanded an armistice from the Turks, but the Sultan refused. Turkish troops entered Athens; defenders on the Acropolis were forced to surrender. France, Britain, and Russia became Allies against the Ottoman Empire through the Treaty of London. With the rapid change in British leadership (Lord Liverpool suffering a stroke and resigning, and soon after George Canning dying), Sultan Mehmet II rejected the right of the Allies to mediate in the war. Allied naval forces, under British Admiral Codrington, then destroyed the Ottoman and Egyptian fleets at the Battle of Navarino. Count Kapodistrias was elected President of Greece. The United Kingdom had mixed feelings about its own victory at Navarino, worried that Russia would now upset the balance of power, and the British government considered court-martialing Admiral Codrington for winning the battle.

Russia-Persia war

Russian forces defeated the Persians and captured Tabriz and Erivan in Armenia.

The cholera epidemic spreading from India spread into central Asia.

Ashanti War

Ashantis and Fantis continued their hostilities, with one side blowing war horns and the other side playing "God Save the King."

Javanese conflict

The Javanese continued their revolt against Dutch control.

Chang and Eng, 16, male "Siamese twins" connected at the chest, were presented to King Rama III of Siam.

World science and technology

French inventor Joseph Niepce, 62, produced photographs on a metal plate; French engineer Benoit Fourneyron, 25, devised a 50-horsepower waterwheel turbine; English astronomer Frederick William Herschel, 35, invented contact lenses; and Austrian engineer Josef Ressel, 34, invented the ship's screw propeller (Scots engineer Robert Wilson, 24, invented it at the same time, independently). Sulfur friction matches ("lucifers"), with a head made of potash, sugar, and gum arabic, were introduced in England by John Walker.

Estonian physician Karl Ernst von Baer, 35, discovered the mammalian ovum and discussed it in his Epistola de Ova Mammalium et Hominis Generis; English physician Richard Bright, 38, described the kidney disorder with elevated blood pressure that became named for him; Irish mathematician Sir William Hamilton, 22, published Theory of Systems of Rays; German chemist Friedrich Wöhler, 27, obtained metallic aluminum from clay; and German physicist Georg Simon Ohm, 38, published his theories on the uses of electrical current, defining potential and resistance. French mathematician and astronomer Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace died at the age of 78, and Italian physicist Alessandro Volta died at the age of 82.

Heinrich Emanuel Merck began producing morphine commercially at Darmstadt in Hesse.

World philosophy and religion

Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi died at the age of 81.

Arts and culture in the British Isles

Poet John Keble, 35, published The Christian Year; painter John Constable, 50, painted The Cornfield; architect John Nash, 75, designed Carlton House Terrace in Westminster; and scholar Henry Hallam, 50, published The Constitutional History of England. Poet William Blake died at the age of 70, and painter Thomas Rowlandson died at the age of 70.

World arts and culture

French landscape painter Jean-Babtiste-Camille Corot, 31, exhibited his Le Pont de Narni; French artist Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix, 29, painted Death of Sardanapalus; French vaudeville dramatist Augustin Eugène Scribe, 36, produced Le mariage d'argent ("Marriage for Money"); Italian author Giacomo Leopardi, 29, published Operette morali; German poet Heinrich Heine, 30, published his songbook Buch der Lieder; Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, 26, produced the opera Il Pirate; Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert, 30, composed the song cycle Die Winterreise, with words by Wilhelm Müller; and French poet Victor Marie Hugo, 25, published Cromwell, whose preface called for freedom from rigid literary styles. German composer Ludwig von Beethoven died in Vienna of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 57, German poet Wilhelm Hauff died at the age of 25, and Italian author Ugo Foscolo died at the age of 49.


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