For a couple of years, "it seems there was no settled pastor. Some records were made by P. S. Nellis."(1)
Quoted from Frederick, Rev. Walter, "Historical Address, Woodstock, N.Y., May 3, 1931," 6, 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)
According to church historian Mark Anderson, Pastor Nellis was probably just "passing through" and doing a few sacramental favors. He was a descendant of the Palatine Lutherans from Stone Arabia in Montgomery County.
Services were conducted in the third church building, which, like the second one, was known as 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 of present-day Route 212, across from the country club).
We have no description of
what it was like in the first or second church building, but here is a reminiscence(2)
Quoted from Moseman, Magda, and Anderson, Mark, eds., Perspectives and Patterns: Christ's Lutheran Church, 1806-1976 [Woodstock, NY: self-published monograph, 1976], itself citing Nathaniel M. Nash. (Close)
about what the third was like in the 1850s:
My memory dates back fifty years, and that old church standing upon the rocks is the same in outward appearance now as it was then. The door in the center of the south end opened directly into the church, there being no vestibule or hall. The stove stood between the door and the first row of seats.… The stove was a solid cast iron stove … it took long wood and when it got hot it was awful hot. The pipe suspended by wire ran the whole length of the church to the chimney at the north end.… The seats were planed pine boards with backs and ends, and I think the hard side of the boards was up. I could not sit still on them. …The church owned no parsonage. The pastor
The church was lighted with candles, a candlestick on each end post of the pulpit and tin candle holders hanging upon the wall--just enough of them to make darkness visible. Every little while the sexton would go around with the snuffers and snuff the candles and sometimes he would snuff too low when out would go the light.
There was no carpet on the floor.… There was no bell, so when it was time to commence service, someone would come out and tell those outside to come in.…
It would be a sight worth seeing today to see the vehicle on a Sunday morning that stood about the church grounds with the teams tied to the pine trees.… [F]arm wagons with long boxes on them and boards laid across for seats, and bed quilts for lap coverings in cold weather, the same kind of wagon with wooden springs with seats attached which they put inside the box (which simply emphasized the jolts); the Gondola pleasure wagon which turned up slightly at both ends with no door but with springs under it; and others of various styles. And in the winter the long sleigh, the farm bobs and … you could see any Sunday that there was sleighing … in some neighborhoods one farmer would take his team and long box wagon and gather up all that wanted to go to church and the next Sunday another would take his team and bring them. In this way those not having teams could get to church. How they all enjoyed the ride! Neither do I think they were proud, for many if not all wore the garments spun, woven, dyed and fashioned by their own mother's hands.
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.
In the wake of the Anti-Rent War of the early 1840s, a land rush continued, with tenants besieging the Livingston brothers and other manorial landlords with offers to buy the farms they had been tilling for generations. In the years following that war and continuing for a few more years, Woodstock-area tenant farmers named Short, Shultis, Hasbrouck, DeWall, Riseley, Ricks, Happy, Lasher, Winne, Duboise, Hogan, Elting, Van de Bogart, and Lewis became fee-simple farm owners. Because some tenants could not afford to buy, Livingston agent Henry P. Shultis would be collecting rents for several more years; there were even still a couple of Livingston tenants left in the mid-1880s.
Former tenant John Reynolds, who had recently lost several children to typhus, hanged himself.
One of Woodstock's only resident doctors was Dr. Stephen L. Heath, whose house still stands just to the east of the old brick post office building on Tinker Street. Dr. Heath was active in politics and was commissioner of schools. He would ride his horse all the way to the end of Mink Hollow to deliver a baby--for a fee of $5.00 ($112.95 in 2006 dollars). 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.
Betsy Booth MacDaniel was a local herb doctor, nurse, and midwife, who had learned her craft from an "Indian doctor" on Tinker Street. She is said to have been able to cure consumption by herbal means.
The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike (present-day Route 28), leading up the Esopus Valley from Kingston and over the Pine Hill into Delaware County, floored with heavy hemlock planks, was holding up well under considerable freight.
Mark Carr of Hunter and his sons cut two wagonloads of fragrant balsam firs, hitched the wagon to an oxen team, and hauled the trees to Catskill, where they were loaded on a steamer for New York City. Carr rented space on the corner of Greenwich and Vesey in the city and sold the Christmas trees speedily and very profitably. This was the beginning of a lucrative Christmas-tree business in the Catskills.
The Hudson River Railroad opened to link New York City with East Albany.
The New York & Erie Railroad was completed between Piermont, NJ, and Elmira, NY, running along the western bank of the Delaware River. President Millard Fillmore rode on the first train, and old Senator Daniel Webster rode, seated on a rocking chair that was lashed to a flat car so that he wouldn't miss any scenery.
The Erie Railroad, a 19-year-old construction project now controlled by Hudson River and Long Island Sound steamboat operator and financier Daniel Drew, 53, at last reached Dunkirk on Lake Erie and now connected New York City with the Great Lakes. (Drew had made his fortune as a livestock dealer who fed his animals salt and then let them drink their fill to put on weight before being sold. As steamboat operator, he had been a fierce competitor with New York shipping magnate Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt [van Derbilt], 57.)
John Bolding, a fugitive slave who had escaped from South Carolina with the help of the Underground Railroad, lived with his family in Poughkeepsie and worked as a tailor on Main Street. A Southern visitor recognized him and had him arrested under the year-old infamous Fugitive Slave Law. Federal marshals seized Bolding, took him to New York City, tried him, and returned him to his South Carolina owner. A Poughkeepsie antislavery group raised money to purchase Bolding, however. According to historian Fergus Bordewich(3),
From Bordewich, Fergus M., Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement Amistad/Harper-Collins, 2006, reviewed in Almanac Weekly (supplement to the Woodstock Times), 22 February 2007, pp. 1-3. (Close)
There were subscriptions where people could contribute $1, $2, $5 or $10 [$22.59, $45.18, $112.95, or $225.90, respectively, in 2006 dollars] to help bring him back.The group raised $1,109 ($25,052) to retrieve Bolding and reinstate him in his Main Street business.
Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, 54, pictured here, now a wandering preacher going under the name Sojourner Truth and frequently speaking in the abolitionist circuit encouraged by William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, now addressed a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio. She encountered hissing and other hostility as she came forward to speak.
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women of the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man--when I could get it--and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [a member of the audience whispers: "Intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.
Millard Fillmore, 51 (Whig), was President. The newly elected 32nd Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $22.59 in 2006 for most consumable products.
The U.S. population was 23.6 million, with nearly half living west of the Alleghenies.
Transcendentalist philosopher and moderate abolitionist Ralph Waldo Emerson, 48, pictured here, persisted in his outrage at Secretary of State (erstwhile Massachusetts Senator) Daniel Webster, now 70, who had worked so hard to support the detested Compromise of 1850, conceding so much to the South, especially in the draconian Fugitive Slave Act, sneeringly referred to in the North as the "Bloodhound Bill" or the "Man-Stealing Law," designed to curtail any chance of a slave gaining liberty. Here is what Emerson wrote in his journal about the irony of Webster's choice of words:
I opened a paper to-day in which he [Webster] pounds on the old strings [of liberty] in a letter to the Washington Birthday feasters at New York. "Liberty! liberty!" Pho! Let Mr. Webster, for decency's sake, shut his lips once and forever on this word. The word liberty in the mouth of Mr. Webster sounds like the word love in the mouth of a courtesan.(4)A few months later Emerson addressed a crowd in Concord, MA, concerning the hated law:
Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 406. (Close)
The act of Congress… is a law which every one of you will break on the earliest occasion--a law which no man can obey, or abet the obeying, without loss of self-respect and forfeiture of the name of gentleman.(5)In his journal he put the following words:
Quoted in ibid., p. 409. (Close)
The filthy enactment was made in the nineteenth century, by people who could read and write. I will not obey it, by God.(6)
Quoted in ibid. (Close)
William Lloyd Garrison, 46, pictured here, editor of the abolitionist organ Liberator, declared in a meeting what he considered an appropriate response to the detested act:
We execrate it, we spit upon it, we trample it under our feet.
Here is a newspaper ad for a runaway slave, which the detested Fugitive Slave Act was intended to help capture:
TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD--the slave Hercules, 36 years old, 5 feet 7 or 8 inches high, badly scarred with the whip. I will pay the reward if delivered to me, or lodged in jail, so that I get him. [$20 in 1851 would be worth $452 in 2006 dollars.]
In the cotton fields of the Deep South, slaves brought several hundred dollars per head more than in the Upper South; the urge to sell slaves "down the river," therefore, remained strong. Recaptured escaped slaves were typically sold into the deeper South. Slave trading was a thriving business. There were some 50 dealers in Charleston, 200 in New Orleans, most of them very prosperous and thus now considered quite respectable in high society. John Armfield and Isaac Franklin were the most successful dealers, collecting slaves at their "model jail" in Alexandria, VA, and shipping them either by sea or land to their huge depot in Natchez, MS.
The Fugitive Slave Act was "tested" by many incidents, and many abolitionists took part in a conspiracy of evasion.(7)
Much of this material on lack of compliance to the Fugitive Slave Act is 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. 183. (Close)
The "grapevine telegraph" carried news south of an "Underground Railroad" to liberty. Slaves who had the courage to strike for freedom would take cover in woods or swamps near their master's plantation until the hue and cry was over, then follow the North Star to the free states. The most dangerous part of the escape route was in the South itself, where slaves helped one another. Harriet Tubman, 31, pictured here, an illiterate field hand, not only escaped herself, but returned [19 times] and guided more than 300 slaves from bondage to freedom, taking some as far as Canada. [There was a $40,000 reward ($903,600 in 2006 dollars), offered for her capture.] In the Northern states, fugitives were transferred from one abolitionist or free Negro household to another, sometimes driven in a [Quaker's] carriage, disguised in women's clothes and wearing a deep Quaker bonnet.
The Underground Railroad, which for years had smuggled slaves over the border into Canada, now increased its activities. Pulpits and newspapers denounced the Fugitive Slave Act, there were meetings of protest, and many of the Northern states in effect set about to nullify the law by simply refusing to comply with it--which increased the South's feeling of injury and aggravation.
A Virginia agent captured Frederick "Shadrach" Williams, a black coffee house waiter in Boston. While Williams was being held for deportation, a band of blacks broke into the courthouse and freed him. President Fillmore responded by calling upon Massachusetts citizens and officials to uphold the Fugitive Slave Act.
Euphemia Williams, a free black who had lived for many years in Pennsylvania, was seized. Her so-called "owner" also claimed her six children, all of whom had been born in Pennsylvania. A federal judge released the family.
Jerry, a slave who had escaped from Missouri, was seized in Syracuse, NY. The entire town heard the news within minutes and surged through the streets. That night they broke into the building where Jerry was being held and helped him escape.
Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, 40, sister of abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher, 38, and mother of six children, published Uncle Tom's Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, a tearjerker depicting conditions on the slave plantation in a most unsavory light, laying bare its wicked inhumanity (especially the cruel splitting of families), and arousing abolitionist feelings among many Northerners who heretofore had been ignoring the issue. Here(8)
Quoted from Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 422. (Close)
is from the closing scenes, where Uncle Tom's brutal master, Simon Legree, orders the $1,200 ($27,100 in 2006 dollars) slave savagely beaten (to death) by two fellow slaves. Through tears and blood Tom exclaims:
"No! no! no! my soul an't yours Mas'r! You haven't bought it--ye can't buy it! It's been bought and paid for by One that is able to keep it. No matter, no matter, you can't harm me!"
"I can't" said Legree, with a sneer: "we'll see--we'll see! Here, Sambo, Quimbo, give this dog such a breakin' in as he won't get over this month!"
Tall and imposing Charles Sumner, 40, pictured here, a fervent abolitionist, highly educated but cold, humorless, intolerant, and egotistical, was elected Senator from Massachusetts.
Churches were divided on the slavery question. Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist denominations separated into two independent bodies, North and South.
Though laws of the United States and almost every Western nation declared the African slave trade to be piracy, a capital offense, the laws against it were not enforced, at least not by the United States. British war ships attempting to suppress the trade were forbidden to search vessels, American or otherwise, that raised the U.S. flag, that "proud banner of freedom." Conversely, any American slaver had only to raise a foreign flag to evade search by the U.S. Navy, whose four vessels designated for "suppressing the slave trade" were in any event far slower than most of the slavers. The Navy Department warned its officers that they would be held personally liable for damages if they made any mistakes--such as cases being dismissed for "want of evidence" (chains and fetters on board apparently not considered evidence). As a result, tens of thousands of fresh Africans, "black ivory," were imported each year by Brazil, Cuba, and the United States; in fact, the number was now greater than it had been half a century earlier, when the trade had been legal. Many of the slave ships had been fitted out in New York City and other Northern states, where the profits from the trade ended up. Every Northern seaport (as well as New Orleans, Mobile, and Charleston) took part.
The Young America movement--modeled on European youth movements, inspired by the "manifest destiny" notion, and founded 6 years earlier by Edwin de Leon and by 46-year-old newspaper editor and social reformer George Henry Evans (organizer of the National Reform Association to lobby Congress for free homesteads in the West, insisting with his "Vote yourself a farm" slogan that every man had the same natural right to a piece of land as to air and sunlight ["Equality, inalienability, indivisibility"])--advocated support for republican movements overseas (such as each of the uprisings in Europe 3 years earlier), free trade (reduction or elimination of tariffs), and American expansion into new territory. Young America adherents argued for the spreading of American "democracy" over, first, the North American continent and, ultimately, around the world, by all means necessary. Secretary of State Daniel Webster insulted the House of Hapsburg with the following boastful declaration in a note to the Austrian chargé d'affaires Chevelier Hülsemann (who had protested Young America's support of the Kussuth rebels in Hungary)(9):
Quoted from Morison, Samuel Eliot, The Oxford History of the American People, New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 577. (Close)
The power of this republic at the present moment is spread over a region, one of the richest and most fertile on the globe, and of an extent in comparison with which the possessions of the House of Hapsburg are but a patch on the earth's surface.Webster had the declaration published widely within the United States. The Young America movement was already an important faction within the Democratic Party and was supported by such influential politicians as Illinois Senator Stephen Arnold Douglas, 38, pictured here, as a way to distract Americans from the explosive sectional issue of slavery. After having considerably enhanced his reputation the preceding year by steering the Compromise of 1850 through Congress, Douglas now set out to win the following year the Democratic nomination for President. He traveled around the nation making speeches consistent with his Young America ideals, disparaging European monarchs and demanding that Cuba be annexed. When Hungarian rebel Louis Kussuth received an overwhelming ovation in New York City as a guest of the nation, Douglas declared(10):
Europe is antiquated, decrepit, tottering on the verge of dissolution. It is a vast graveyard.
Social reformer Amelia Jenks Bloomer, 33, urged a reform of women's clothing in her magazine The Lily; she was ridiculed for advocating garments designed 3 years before by Elizabeth Smith Miller: full-cut trousers ("bloomers") under a short skirt. Many men mocked the style:
Gibbey, gibbey gabWhen a professor saw a girl admiring the bloomer outfit, he admonished here that they were
The women had a confab
And demanded the rights
To wear the tights
Gibbey, gibbey gab.
only one of the many manifestations of that wild spirit of socialism and agrarian radicalism which is at present so rife in our land.(11)On the other hand, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 37, pictured here, took up the outfit right away after she saw her cousin wearing it. She explained later(12):
Quoted from Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present, New York: HarperCollins, 1980, 1995, 1999; Perennial, 2003, p. 113. (Close)
To see my cousin with a lamp in one hand and a baby in the other, walk upstairs with ease and grace while, with flowing robes, I pulled myself up with difficulty, lamp and baby out of the question, readily convinced me that there was sore need of a reform in woman's dress and I promptly donned a similar costume.
Particularly since they had the job of educating children, women were urged to be patriotic. Elizabeth Witherall won the prize of $50 ($1,130 in 2006 dollars) offered by the women's magazine The Ladies Wreath for the most convincing essay on "How May an American Woman Best Show Her Patriotism?"
The newly elected 32nd Congress reduced the postage rates. Now a half-ounce letter could be sent 3,000 miles for 3 cents (68 cents in 2006 dollars).
Congress authorized the coinage of 3-cent pieces, to reduce the demand for large copper pennies (and possibly to enhance the sending of half-ounce letters?).
The U.S. Treasury turned out nearly 4 million tiny $1 gold pieces.
Fire damaged the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, destroying thousands of volumes including two-thirds of the collection acquired 37 years earlier from Thomas Jefferson. Congress appropriated $100,000 ($2.26 million in 2006 dollars) to buy new books and create a more fireproof room.
Many New Englanders had been migrating to the Upper South, successfully restoring worn-out farmlands there (although the intensification of the sectional conflict, this "Vandal Invasion" [as a Richmond editor had called it] was waning). Still, however, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, with their reputation as tobacco-growing states, were concentrating more and more on diversified farming--corn, wheat, vegetables, fruits, and livestock. Cotton growing had been migrating ever westward, more and more of it was being grown west of the Mississippi River.
The price of wheat was 93 cents a bushel ($21 a bushel in 2006 dollars).
The Maine legislature enacted prohibition with a law drafted by Portland mayor, Neal Dow, 47, an ardent temperance advocate: The manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was now illegal in the state.
The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), which had been operating for 7 years already in the United Kingdom, opened an American office in Boston.
Merchants Eben D. Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh opened a dry-goods shop in Boston.
The Massachusetts legislature authorized towns in the state to tax their inhabitants for the support of free libraries.
At the London "Great Exhibition" world's fair, the British were very impressed with American expertise in producing goods requiring the use of precision instruments--for example, pistols, rifles, clocks, and locks. They were so impressed that they sent two special commissions to the United States to study American manufacturing processes. According to historian John Garraty(13):
Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 337. (Close)
After visiting the Springfield Arsenal, the British investigators placed a large order for gunmaking machinery and hired a number of American technicians to help organize what became the Enfield rifle factory. The British visitors were amazed by the lock and clock factories of New England and by the plants where screws, files, and similar metal objects were turned out in volume by automatic machinery. Instead of resisting new labor-saving machines, the British commissioners noted,the workingmen hail with satisfaction all mechanical improvements.They attributed this enlightened view to the high level of education found among American workers, what they calledthe perceptive power so keenly awakened by early intellectual training.
Boston shipbuilder Donald McKay, 41, launched the 229-foot-long, 41-foot-wide, 22-foot-deep 1,783-ton The Flying Cloud, the greatest of all the clipper ships. New York City merchant Moses Grinnell purchased her, and commissioned a record voyage of under 90 days from Pier 20 on the East River to San Francisco, under the command of Marblehead master Josiah Creasy.
Nantucket-born merchant Rowland Hussey Macy, 29, who had returned from whaling with a red star tattooed on his arm, opened a dry-goods store in Haverhill, MA, selling only for cash and never deviating from a fixed price.
The daily New York Times began publication, with Henry J. Raymond as editor.
Hiram Sibley, 44, organized the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company.
The baseball team New York Knickerbockers began wearing uniforms (straw hats, white shirts, and blue full-length trousers), the first team to do so. The team defeated Washington's at the Red House Grounds in New York City.
The Williamsburgh Savings Bank set up operations in a corner of the basement of a Greek Revival church on the corner of Old Fourth and South Third Streets in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn, NY.
Thousands of Irish immigrants came to the United States, at an annual rate of 92,000. The luckless immigrants received no red-carpet treatment on their arrival in America.(14)
This description of the Irish immigrant experience liberally quoted from Bailey et al., op. cit., pp. 302-05. (Close)
Forced to live in squalor, they were rudely crammed into the already-vile slums. They were scorned by the older American stock, especially "proper" Protestant Bostonians, who regarded the scruffy Catholic arrivals as a social menace. Large numbers of these unskilled laborers, eager for work of any kind, were absorbed into the factories of the Northeast. They depressed wages and discouraged union organization; destitute, they accepted whatever an employer offered them. Barely literate "Biddies" (Bridgets) took jobs as kitchen maids. Broad-shouldered "Paddies" (Patricks) were pushed into pick-and-shovel drudgery on canals and railroads, where thousands left their bones as victims of disease and accidental explosions. It was said that an Irishman lay buried under every railroad tie.
Some 4,000 miles of railway track were laid down during this year and the next year between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mississippi River, much of the work done by Irish immigrants. The Pennsylvania Railroad now reached Pittsburgh. The Erie Railroad at last reached Dunkirk on Lake Erie and now connected New York City with the Great Lakes. The Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroad now reached Wheeling on the Ohio River. The Illinois Central Railway, which had been given by Congress the preceding year the first of the land grants to the railroads, nearly 2.6 million acres of Illinois land, was now chartered to build lines between Cairo and East Dubuque and between Centralia and Chicago. The Pacific Railway (later called the Missouri Pacific Railway) began laying track at St. Louis, with an aim to reach the Pacific Ocean.
Thousands of German immigrants also came to the United States, at an annual rate of 95,000. The bulk of them were uprooted farmers, displaced by crop failures and other hardships. Some were liberal political refugees, fleeing after the collapse of the democratic revolutions of 1848. Many of the Germans, unlike the Irish, possessed a modest amount of material goods. Most of them pushed out to the lush lands of the Midwest, notably Wisconsin, where they settled and established model farms.
Emigration to America continued to appear as an attractive escape from the horrible conditions for the common people in Europe--especially for the Irish and the Germans. In America there was freedom from aristocratic caste and state church; there was abundant opportunity to secure broad acres and better one's condition. Much-read letters sent home by immigrants--"America letters"--often described in glowing terms the richer life: low taxes, no compulsory military service, and "three meat meals a day." The reality was usually somewhat different.
Many in the North resented the Irish and other immigrants, who were gathered in urban slums and voted in blocs according to what their political bosses told them to do. Immigrants sold their votes in order to satisfy immediate needs--jobs, relief, shelter, friendship. Urban politicians and the underworld of prostitution and gambling formed a strong alliance with the immigrant voters.
Anti-immigrant bigots, who had 2 years before organized the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, called for reforms in the naturalization laws, including a 20-year waiting period before citizenship could be conferred, and the deportation of alien paupers. They also promoted a lurid anti-Catholic literature, and they sometimes incited violence against immigrants. The group's membership was rapidly expanding.
The Oneida "Perfectionist Community" of farmers and mechanics in central New York State, founded in 1848 by New England clergyman John Humphrey Noyes, 40, sawmill owner Jonathan Burt, and farmer Joseph Ackley, continued to thrive, with hundreds of converts living in communal buildings made of timber from the community's farms. The community practiced free love ("complex marriage"), birth control (through "male continence," or coitus reservatus), and the eugenic selection of parents to produce superior offspring. Men and women were treated equally, and all classes of work were viewed as equally honorable. Noyes called his system "Bible Communism." Children were reared in the "children's house," operated by men and women considered best qualified.
Jesse Williams established the first cheese factory in the U.S. in Rome, NY.
Several tons of butter were shipped by rail in sawdust-insulated ice from Ogdensburg, NY, to Boston.
By now more than two thirds of the traffic on the Erie Canal was coming from west of Buffalo, twice the amount of six years earlier; the rest was all within New York State.
Benjamin Franklin Jones, 27, bought an interest in the American Steel & Iron Works being built outside Pittsburgh by Bernard Lauth.
Fred Lazarus and his brothers opened the dry-goods business Lazarus Brothers in Columbus, OH.
Physician John Evans, 36, professor of obstetrics at Rush Medical College in Chicago and publisher of Northwestern Medical and Surgical Journal, secured the charter for Northwestern University north of Chicago in an area that will later be called Evanston in his honor.
Illinois began to enforce prohibitions against liquor.
German immigrant brewer Valentin Blatz purchased the 5-year-old City Brewery in Milwaukee, WI, and began increasing his production of Blatz Beer.
The Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad was established.
Railroads began to use telegraphy. Prior to this, telegraph wires strung along the tracks were seen as a nuisance, occasionally sagging and causing accidents and even fatalities. But now a synergy began to be appreciated: The telegraph needed the right of way that the railroads provided, and the railroads needed the telegraph to coordinate the arrival and departure of trains. The greatest savings of the telegraph were from the continued use of single-tracked railroad lines. Single-tracked trains ran on a time-interval system, and two types of accidents could occur: Trains running in opposite directions could run into one another, as could trains running in the same direction. The potential for accidents had required that railroad managers to be very careful in dispatching trains. The telegraph reduced the number of accidents (even after double-tracking, telegraph use could prevent accidents from trains running in the same direction).
An agrarian bill limiting inheritance of land to 320 acres passed a second reading in the Wisconsin legislature, but it never became law.
Ripon College was founded by Congregationalists in Ripon, WI.
The University of Minnesota was founded at Minneapolis.
Dakota Sioux (Santee Sioux) chieftains signed the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and the Treaty of Mendota, ceding all Sioux lands in Iowa and most of their remaining lands in Minnesota Territory. In exchange for money and goods, the Dakota agreed to live on a 20-mile-wide reservation centered on a 150-mile stretch of the upper Minnesota River. The deal immediately began to turn sour as the United States Senate deleted Article 3 of each treaty during the ratification process. Much of the promised compensation never arrived, lost or effectively stolen due to corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and wrongful conduct by traders.
In September some 10,000 Indians--Lakota Sioux, Crow, Arapaho, Blackfeet, Shoshone, and others--responded to the summons of mountain man Thomas Fitzpatrick and gathered on the North Platte at Horse Creek near Fort Laramie (in present-day eastern Wyoming), many attired in the ceremonial dress they reserved only for the most significant events, assembled there by the U.S. Department of Interior to discuss how they were to surrender their lands and be given reservations (called at that time "territories" or "colonies") where, supposedly, they could live on their own, undisturbed, according to a government proclamation of the preceding year:
There should be assigned to each tribe, for a permanent home, a country adopted to agriculture, of limited extent and well-defined boundaries.If the leaders ("chiefs") of the "tribes" would agree to settle down in the "colonies" and not wage war or terrorize white settlers, and if they allowed the government to set up forts, they would receive $50,000 ($380,000 in 2006 dollars) worth of supplies for each of the ensuing 50 years. The government also promised that it would act quickly to punish any white settlers who dared to penetrate the Indian territories. Looking at a map of the proposed "colonies," Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (Black Sparrow Hawk, or simply "Black Hawk"), 84, chief of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, reacted suspiciously to the deal while stating how the Plains tribes warred among themselves over the ever-scarcer hunting grounds, impacted by encroachment by white hunters and their grazing livestock:
You have split up my land, and I don't like it. These lands once belonged to the Kiowas and the Crows, but we whipped these nations out of them, and in this we did what the white men do when they want the lands of the Indians. We met the Kiowas and the Crows and whipped them at the Kiowa Creek, just below where we now are. We met them and whipped them again, and the last time at Crow Creek.(The Sioux themselves had been displaced decades earlier from their ancestral lands in Minnesota by the Chippewas.)
Unfortunately, according to historians Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen,
the white treaty makers misunderstood both Indian government and Indian society. "Tribes" and "chiefs" were often fictions of the white imagination, which could not grasp the fact that Native Americans, living in scattered bands, usually recognized no authority outside their immediate family, or perhaps a village elder. And the nomadic culture of the Plains Indians was utterly alien to the concept of living out one's life in the confinement of a defined territory.(15)
Ibid., p. 600. (Close)
Many of the full-blood Cherokees in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) belonged to a secret society known as Kee-too-wah (the "Pins"), so named because each member wore two common pins in the form of a cross on the coat or hunting shirt. Its purpose was to encourage the retention of the old tribal customs and to prevent their taking up the ways of the whites. Few of the full-bloods owned slaves, and the Kee-too-wah was usually opposed to slavery. Nonetheless, many Cherokees did own slaves.
Brigham Young, 50, pictured here, continued to develop the State of Deseret (Utah Territory, as it was known by the federal government and other non-Mormons), considered by its residents as an independent nation with Young as President, extending, according to the Mormons (and disregarding the arrangement that Congress had worked out in 1850), from the Great Salt Lake down to southern California (encompassing most of present-day Arizona, all of Nevada, and parts of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon, as well as all of Utah). Young's Salt Lake City had adobe brick buildings, avenues wide enough for a wagon and four oxen to make a U-turn, an ornate temple, and the first major irrigation project ever undertaken by American whites, irrigation that enabled the settlers to raise crops and herds on the desert. Other well-planned towns were springing up.
Thousands of Young's Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) followers, from different parts of the world, obeyed his commands without question. They paid a tenth of all they acquired into the coffers of the church. Young made polygamy part of the Mormon doctrine (he himself had some 27 wives and begat 56 children during his lifetime). From his spacious and rich "Lion House" mansion in Salt Lake City, Young, acting in what he was convinced were the best interests of his people, brooked no opposition from his followers, or from anyone else, and he was unscrupulous to that end. He condoned, if not actually ordered, many murders, and he warped justice in the courts. He was determined to resist the rule of the United States government. Young and his followers made emigrant travel to the Pacific Coast difficult and sometimes dangerous, since the Territory of Deseret lay right athwart the Overland Trail. Discipline in the church was maintained by a more or less secret body of men known as Danites (or "Destroying Angels"). Those disobeying church laws, especially "apostates," were sometimes murdered by these agents. Emigrants passing through Mormon country were frequently robbed and their livestock stolen. Young was suspected of involvement in the 1849 murder by Ute Indians (Mormon allies) of surveyor John Williams Gunnison, who had exposed the Mormon practices of polygamy and blood atonement.
The University of Santa Clara was founded in California.
A fire in San Francisco destroyed 2,500 buildings, causing damage totaling $12 million ($302 million in 2006 dollars).
Remarkable fortunes were being taken from the ground in the California gold fields. The vast proportion of the gold discovered, however, was in the form of "grains and flour," and thousands of seekers were finding no gold at all. Many gold seekers died of scurvy, but thousands avoided that fate by eating winter purslane (Montia perfoliata), an herb that became known as "miner's lettuce." Cradles, rockers, long toms, and sluices littered the mountain streams. Flumes were built several miles in length, and many streams and rivers were diverted to permit their sands to be worked over. The annual take in gold production was $91 million ($2 billion in 2006 dollars).
Many mining towns had been springing up: Hangtown (later Placerville), Angel's Camp, Grub Gulch, Poker Flat, Red Dog, Poverty Hill, You Bet, and Helltown. Population was growing almost unbelievably in San Francisco and Sacramento and many other towns that were becoming cities. The most reliable profits were made by those who mined the miners, particularly by charging outrageous prices for washing soiled laundry or performing other personal services. Businesses that sold goods and services to miners were flourishing. Eggs sold for $10 a dozen ($252 a dozen in 2006 dollars). Fortunes made in the gold diggings were lost overnight in a 'Frisco faro palace or in speculation in goods and land.
U.S. commodity prices were still soaring as a result of the California gold discoveries. Workers were striking for higher wages, but all the wage hikes could not keep up with the rising cost of living. The times were characterized by extravagance and wild speculation. Money by the millions of dollars that should have been used for legitimate investment was instead devoted to dubious schemes for sudden wealth. Much of the capital was put into new railroads into areas where there were as yet no settlers, so there was no revenue generated from freight. Land speculation attracted funds far exceeding their value as well.
A settlement that would later be called Seattle was founded on the shores of Puget Sound in Oregon Territory.
It was now fashionable for men to brush their hair forward to form a cowlick. Side and middle parts had become more common. Unruly hair was greased down with macassar oil. Mustaches were also fashionable, as were sideburns, ever more bushy. Some men were growing beards.
Fashionable men were wearing very stiff collars.
Fashionable women were piling their hair progressively higher in the back, sometimes with masses of sausage curls. Women's topknots began to move further back on the head; long coils of hair at the nape of the neck were held in place with silk nets.
Women's skirts had grown shorter from the styles of previous decades, but sleeves were now enormous. Very large hats had become fashionable, and they were ornamented with flowers and ribbons.
When glass eyes were introduced, many people were under the impression that they could restore sight to the blind.
New York inventor Isaac Merrit Singer, 39, patented his continuous-stitch sewing machine and went into partnership with New York City lawyer Edward Clark; and Rochester, NY, lawyer-ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan, 33, who would be called the "father of American anthropology," published The League of the… Iroquois.
Novelist Herman Melville, 32, published the profound masterpiece novel Moby Dick, dealing subtly and symbolically with the problems of good and evil, of stubbornness and pride, courage and cowardice, against the background of a whaling voyage. The novel received little attention, and most of it unfavorable. He wrote his friend, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, 47, to whom he dedicated the novel, that he had not expected it to be a success:
Dollars damn me. What I feel most moved to write, that is banned,-- it will not pay.(16)Hawthorne himself published The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales and The House of the Seven Gables, the latter ostensibly to work out a curse that had been placed on his family during the 1692 Salem witch trials.
Garraty, op. cit., p. 358. (Close)
Boston aristocrat and frontier wanderer Francis Parkman, 28, though blind, published Conspiracy of Pontiac, about the great struggle between France and Great Britain in North America, wherein he referred to the Indian as "man, wolf, and devil, all in one."
Pirated editions of The Personal History of David Copperfield, published the preceding year by British author Charles (John Huffman) Dickens, 40, with illustrations by "Phiz," was immensely popular in the United States. The popularity of Dickens was partly due to his superb portrayal of the "gentler" emotions but also due to his disparagement of the British aristocracy, his heart-rending accounts of the poor, and his colorful and humorous depictions of ordinary people. Dickens himself was outraged at the American violation of his copyright.
Novelist James Fenimore Cooper died at the age of 62, and John James Audubon died in New York City at the age of 65.
Popular periodicals included the Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, National Preacher, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Boys' and Girls' Magazine and Fireside Companion, Harper's Monthly Magazine, Yale Literary Magazine, Knickerbocker Magazine, Spirit of the Times, and National Police Gazette, and Scientific American.
The songs "Oh! Boys, Carry Me 'Long" and "Old Folks at Home" by Pittsburgh songwriter Stephen Collins Foster, 24, became popular. Other popular songs included "Camptown Races" (also by Foster) "Oh! Susanna" (also by Foster), "Jim Crack Corn" (also known as "Blue Tail Fly"), "Ben Bolt, or Oh! Don't You Remember," "Buffalo Gals," "Old Dan Tucker," "Old Rosin the Beau," "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton," "Home Sweet Home," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."
The Christy Minstrels of showman Edwin Pearce Christy, 36, continued their long engagement at Mechanic's Hall on Broadway in New York City. Here is a description of a typical minstrel show by historian Samuel Eliot Morison(17):
Morison, op. cit., pp. 495-96. (Close)
In the first act the performers, most of them white men in blackface, sat in a semicircle around the interlocutor, a dignified colored gentleman in dress suit who acted both as master of ceremonies and butt for the jokes of the end men--"Mistah Tambo" who banged a tambourine, and "Mistah Bones" who rattled castanets. Besides repartee and horseplay, the cast played banjo melodies and sang comic or sentimental songs. The second act, known as the olio, included a "hoe-down" dance, comic parodies of grand opera, and a "walk-around," in which the players one by one took the center of the stage for individual songs or dances while the rest clapped time to the music.
Cuban soldier-of-fortune General Narciso López, 53, had the year before charmed Mississippi Governor John Anthony Quitman, now 53 [pictured, son of Christ Lutheran's founding pastor, Frederick Henry Quitman], to help him in a campaign to "liberate" Cuba. Quitman had raised the funds, and López had made an unsuccessful "filibustering" attempt (filibustero is Spanish for "freebooter" or "pirate") with several hundred Spanish refugees and American Southerners but had been repulsed. During this year, he made another attempt with a similar force. Spanish forces captured him along with 50 of his followers--some of them from the "best families" of the South. The captives were summarily shot or strangled. In response, an angry mob sacked the Spanish consulate in New Orleans.
Several groups of French filibusters started out from San Francisco determined to conquer northern Mexico.
The Accessory Transit Company of the piratical-minded, foghorn-voiced New York shipping magnate Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt (van Derbilt), 57, inspired by promoter Ferdinand de Lesseps, 46, was very successful, garnering most of the Argonaut (Forty-Niner) traffic across Central America, cutting the price charged and the time needed by the rival Pacific Steamship Company, which helped travelers cross the Isthmus of Panama. Vanderbilt was earning over $1 million a year [$23 million a year in 2006 dollars] with his venture. He had improved the San Juan River channel, had built docks on both of Nicaragua's coasts and at Virgin Bay in Lake Nicaragua, and had constructed a 12-mile blacktop road to the Pacific side. He had also built 8 new steamers.
A cholera epidemic struck Jamaica.
Brazil's population was 8 million, including 2.5 million slaves.
Manuel Oribe, 55, former President of Uruguay who had been ousted from power 12 years earlier, in alliance with Juan Manuel de Rosas, 56, the dictator of Argentina, continued his civil war in Uruguay and his prolonged siege (now in its eighth year) of the capital, Montevideo. (De Rosas was intent on making both Uruguay and Paraguay client states of Argentina.) At this point, the army of rebel Argentine General Justo José de Urquiza, 50, with support from Brazil and from Uruguayan liberals, forced Oribe to lift the siege.
The Great Exhibition, the first world's fair, opened in London at the gas-lighted Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, an immense 108-foot-high greenhouse that had been constructed with the help of 2,000 men by the royal gardener (and architect) Joseph Paxton, 50, consuming a third of Great Britain's annual glass output. The Exhibition attracted more than 6 million admissions in less than 5 months. Many of the visitors booked their travel accommodations through tour-guide organizer Thomas Cook, 43.
German steelmaker Alfred Krupp exhibited a 4,300-pound steel ingot cast in a single piece, dwarfing the 2,400-pound Sheffield "monster" casting.
The "Yankee notions" exhibited at the fair--including machine-made buckets, cheap clocks, ranges, and reapers--impressed visitors with the inventiveness of the Americans.
American exhibitor Samuel Colt, 37, exhibited his .36 caliber single-action revolver that he had been mass-producing (with interchangeable parts); British gunmaker Robert Adams pointed out that Colt's revolver had to be thumb-cocked for each shot, whereas the revolver that Adams was exhibiting was self-recocking, and that, according to tests perhaps rigged, never misfired whereas the Colt revolver misfired ten times. Colt presented Prince Albert and his son George, Prince of Wales, with Colt revolvers and asserted before the Institution of Civil Engineers that the British would never defeat the Kaffirs in South Africa without Colt revolvers.
American inventor George Henry Corliss exhibited his 1,700-ton 2,500-horsepower steam engine. Cyrus Hall McCormick, 42, exhibited his mechanical horse-drawn reaper and was able to enlarge his foreign markets. American Gail Borden, 50, was awarded the Great Council Gold Medal for his meat biscuit, which he had promoted as useful for naval expeditions and, in general, for families in warm weather.
American sculptor Hiram Powers, 45, now residing in Florence, exhibited his marble Greek Slave at the Exhibition. Authorities set aside special hours for women to view the female nude marble when men were not present.
Sale of intoxicating beverages was prohibited at the Exhibition, but tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, lemonade, ices, ginger beer, and soda water were permitted. Schweppe & Co. sold nearly 85,000 dozen bottles of soda water there.
The schooner yacht America beat 14 British yachts in a race around the Isle of Wight. The trophy won was thereafter called the "America Cup."
Sir John Tenniel, 31, began drawing cartoons for Punch.
Architect William Cubitt built the King's Cross Station in London.
The horse-drawn double-decker omnibus was introduced in London.
British chemist Arthur Hill Hassall and dietician Henry Letheby began publishing articles documenting the adulteration of British foods, such as the whitening of bread with alum, the dilution of coffee with chicory, and so forth.
English educational and social reformer Mary Carpenter, 44, published Reformatory Schools for the Children of the Perishing and Dangerous Classes, and for Juvenile Offenders.
Jewish schools were allowed in England.
Great Britain's population reached 20.8 million, with 17.9 million in England and Wales. London itself had 2.37 million residents and was the world's largest city.
Ireland suffered widespread blindness as a result of malnutrition. More than 250,000 Irish had emigrated during the preceding decade, and the population of Ireland had fallen to 6.5 million, a one-third drop.
A cable was laid under the English Channel between Dover and Calais. To take advantage of it, German entrepreneur Paul Julius von Reuter, 35--who had pioneered using carrier pigeons to convey over the Brussels-Aachen gap in the Paris-Berlin telegraph system the closing stock prices--now moved to London and started Reuter's News Service, extending his messages from stock prices to general news.
French President Louis Napoleon, 43, with the help of his half-brother Count Morny, carried out a coup d'etat to end the 3-year-old Second Republic. Army brigades occupied Paris, leading deputies were arrested in the middle of the night, and the minister of war sent troops against the workers' street barricades, suppressing the popular uprising. In the Massacre of the Boulevards, troops fired upon unarmed crowds.
A plebiscite in France ratified the new constitution Louis Napoleon was imposing, giving him monarchical powers.
France's population reached 33 million, with 1.3 million in Paris and suburban environs.
King Ernst August of Hannover (formerly the Duke of Cumberland, the eldest surviving son of King George III) died at the age of 80, and was succeeded by his son, George V.
Prussia recognized the German Confederation and concluded a commercial treaty with Hannover.
Germany's population reached 34 million.
Austrian authorities had 2 years earlier sentenced Russian anarchist Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin, 37, to death for his revolutionary activities, but they had not executed him. Now he was turned over to Russian authorities.
An insurrection in Portugal was suppressed.
Italy's population was 24 million, Russia's 65 million, the Ottoman Empire's 27 million (with 900,000 in Constantinople).
Danilo II converted Montenegro into a secular principality.
India's population was 205 million, with 800,000 in Calcutta and 650,000 in Bombay.
King Rama III (Phra Nang Klao) of Siam died and was succeeded by his half-brother, Buddhist monk Phra Chom Klao Mongkut, 47, who began rule as King Rama IV, who intended to import Western notions.
China's population reached 430 million, with 2 million in Sochow, 1.65 million in Peking, 1.24 million in Canton, and 1 million each in Changchow, Kingtehchen, Sian, and Siagtan.
Victoria in Australia became a distinct British colony.
Australian sheep ranch manager Edward Hammond Hargreaves, 35, discovered gold near Bathurst in New South Wales, whose population was now 190,000, largely from Irish immigrants. English merchant shipper George Fife Angas, 62, the founder of South Australia (whose population had ballooned to 77,000, mostly from Irish immigrants), moved to Adelaide. An influx of Chinese gold seekers prompted nativist demands for legislation to stem non-white immigration.
Former missionaries Samuel Northrup Castle and Amos Starr Cooke founded the mercantile house in Honolulu, Hawaii, that would become Castle & Cooke.
English optician George Dollond, 77, was honored for his invention of an atmospheric recorder capable of measuring several weather conditions simultaneously.
British scientist William Thomson (much later to be named Baron Kelvin of Largs), 27, gave a complete account of the thermodynamic theory coordinating the discoveries of the preceding half century, laying the foundations of the theory of electric oscillations as well as the laws of the conservation and dissipation of energy; German instrument maker Heinrich Daniel Ruhmkorff, 48, invented the high-tension induction coil; and German physicist Franz Ernst Neumann, 53, enunciated the law of electromagnetic induction.
German botanist Hugo von Mohl, 53, determined that the secondary cell walls of a plant are fibrous; German scientist Ernst Werner von Siemens, 35, invented a water meter; and German physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz, 30, patented his ophthalmoscope.
Photography pioneer Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre died at the age of 62.
French painter Jean-Babtiste-Camille Corot, 55, unveiled Morning, the Dance of the Nymphs.
French composer Charles François Gounod, 33, produced the opera Sappho in Paris; Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, 40, produced Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in Weimar; German composer Robert Schumann, 40, produced his Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ("Rhenish") at Geisler Hall in Düsseldorf; and Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, 38, produced the opera Rigoletto, which included the aria "La Donna è mobile," at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice. German composer Gustav Albert Lortzing died at the age of 50.