Christ's Lutheran Church in 1871

[ Christ's Church on the Sawkill ]

Pastor William I. Cutter, conducting services 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).

[ Beer's Atlas map of Woodstock ]

Above is a map of the Woodstock village, published just a few years later, showing the Church on the Rocks on the east side of town, just north of current Route 212 (known then as simply Saugerties Road) and north of the Sawkill. It is identified simply as "LUTH. CH." (To enlarge the view, click it.)

According to a later reminiscence(1),

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 in 1906. (Close) the church owned no parsonage. The pastor
lived in rented rooms wherever they could be procured, sometimes several miles away.
It was during either this year or the previous year that C. L. Shufelt, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church in the village, led the Union Bible School for our congregation.

The Woodstock Region in 1871

Regional historian Alf Evers cited the reminiscences of Byron "Bide" Snyder, whose father had a store in town, about local Woodstock life at this time(2):

Excerpted from Evers, Alf, Woodstock: History of an American Town, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1987, p. 268, citing Snyder, Byron, recollections in the Woodstock Weekly, 1924. (Close)
There were no places of amusement and [my father's] store was a sort of club room and general meeting place (for that matter it is yet [1924]) for the men who had to stay at home or go to the store. They seldom stayed home. People did not go to the store to do their trading and then go right back. They "sot around" and visited. The store keeper would go to New York every fall and lay in a stock of goods to last until navigation on the Hudson opened up in the spring. There were no railroads [yet] and it took three or four days to make the trip by boat and buy the goods.

During the winter… they had a mail once a week, if it could get through. If it didn't come one week it probably would be the next and no one was worried. The stores did not carry any canned goods like vegetables, fish, fruit etc. You couldn't take your pick of a dozen kinds of breakfast foods. There was only one breakfast food and that was buckwheat cakes. No packages of fancy cakes or crackers. Soda crackers came in barrels and toward spring they might become a trifle stale but nobody noticed it. When you wanted crackers the clerk would shoo the cat out of the barrel and dig out all you wanted at five cents a pound [74 cents a pound in 2006 dollars].… Codfish came in big bales of about 100 pounds. They were not the little things that masquerade under the name of cod that we buy now, but great lusty fish that must have weighed from ten to twenty pounds each. The bales were tied with tarred rope and piled in heaps on the floor. That didn't make any difference as there were no germs in those days, at least we never heard of them. Smoked halibut was cheap, good and in great demand. Bread was not sold. You baked it at home.

Prospectors were exploring the Woodstock area for coal, oil, and gas.

Naturalist John Burroughs, in his Wake Robin, noted that the huge flocks of passenger pigeons that once weighted down the trees in the Neversink Valley and in the Big Indian area had dwindled to a "few pairs" of nesting birds.

There were a large number of huge woodworking factories in the Catskills, turning out tremendous volume. Some of them were "stock factories," making parts wholesale; others made wooden bowls, wooden legs, rolling pins, policemen's billy clubs, little wooden pharmacy boxes, and porch pillars and balusters. These factories were shipping large orders of hardwood products to Europe, the West Indies, Central America, and South America.

The export trade in cane-seated chairs and in rocking cradles was very important. The furniture factory of Lemuel Chichester (son of Hunter furniture baron Samuel Chichester) in the factory town named for him produced up to 3,600 chairs and 900 rocking cradles per week. Hiram Whitney was also manufacturing chairs on a large scale in the Shandaken Valley.

Some operations were small, however: The Vosburgh brothers in Woodstock ran a small handicraft "turning mill" and would make anything to order.

Construction continued on the new Rondout & Oswego Railroad (the R&O), intended to extend from Kingston by way of the Esopus Valley and Pine Hill toward an ultimate objective of Lake Ontario. The route dared the sometimes-flooding Esopus Creek, worked its way up the steep Pine Hill in a series of exciting curves, and then moved down into Delaware County.

Charles L. Beach, 62, proprietor of the 48-year-old commodious Catskill Mountain House, the becolumned Greek Revival temple hotel near Kaaterskill Clove, set up a corporation, the Catskill Mountain House Company, to ensure continuous control and operation within his family.

Designer and builder Lewis B. Van Wagonen was still working on the construction on Woodstock's new Overlook Mountain House, a hotel that promised to outshine Beach's hotel, because of its higher elevation and its more breathtaking views. And also, of course, because it would be more accessible: Visitors would be able to debark from the R&O Railroad at the West Hurley station and make a short stagecoach trip to reach the hotel. John E. Lasher leased the hotel and inundated the Hudson Valley with press releases and rumors:

The building would be up-to-the-minute in appearance and equipment. It would boast a mansard or French roof similar to those so much admired on the newest and most fashionable hotels at Saratoga. It would be lighted by gas and would have an electric telegraph. Instead of the long dining tables still used by Mr. Beach, the Overlook Mountain House would have small round tables with some square ones which could be put together to accommodate large parties. Each table would be assigned a waiter who would hand each guest a printed menu and assist him in making his choice. One communication to the press hopefully claimed that Charles L. Beach had been driven into panic by the prospect of so splendid a rival that had offered the backers of the Overlook Mountain House double the amount of their investment if they would abandon their venture, but the backers had refused.(3) Much of the wording and all of the quotations concerning the railroad are from Evers, Alf, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1972, p. 471, citing the Kingston Press, December 1, 1870. (Close)
While it was still in an unfinished state, Lasher opened the hotel for business on an intensely foggy day. The opening was inauspicious. Moisture dripped from the ceiling, the electric telegraph refused to work, and much of the construction work was still to be done. It made no appeal to the imagination at all. As the season progressed, business was slow to pick up. The only item of brightness was the announcement that President Grant planned to visit the hotel.

Painter George Innes, 46, with his long hair and piercing gaze, part of the Hudson River School of painting, unveiled his Woodland Scene.

[ Sojourner Truth ] Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, now an abolitionist itinerant preacher residing in Michigan and known as Sojourner Truth, 74, pictured here, addressed white audiences in Northern states on religion, on Negro and women's rights, and on temperance.

The United States in 1871

[ Ulysses S. Grant ]

Ulysses S. Grant, 49 (Republican), was President. The newly elected 42nd Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $14.86 in 2006 for most consumable products.

During the preceding year, the seven-member Supreme Court had declared the 1862 Legal Tender Act unconstitutional, thereby making illegal the 19-year-old Congress-authorized legal-tender bank note, called the "greenback" or "folding money," whose gold value had continuously depreciated under a cloud of dubious legality and popular distrust. This decision had been welcomed by "hard money" supporters--bankers, creditors, and business owners--who wanted the "battle-born currency" to disappear from circulation. The decision had been denounced by the far more numerous "cheap-money" supporters--agrarian and debtor groups. With the concurrence of the Senate, President Grant had augmented ("packed") the Supreme Court bench with two additional justices who could be counted on to help reverse that decision. During this year, the nine-member Supreme Court did indeed reverse the decision, saving the greenback.

In spite of new silver discoveries in Nevada, the U.S. Treasury was stubbornly and unrealistically maintaining that an ounce of silver was worth only a sixteenth as much as an ounce of gold, even though open-market prices for silver were higher. Silver miners had no incentive to offer their product for sale to the federal mints.

There were 39 million people in the United States.

Serious epidemics of yellow fever, smallpox, typhus, and cholera killed thousands in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Memphis, and New Orleans.

President Grant signed into law a Congressional resolution "for the protection and preservation of the food fishes of the coasts of the United States," creating a U.S. Fish Commission, with Spencer F. Baird as commissioner.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was founded.

The professional National Association of Professional Baseball Players replaced the amateur National Association.

Reconstruction and reaction

The newly enfranchised Southern black men were now organizing politically, particularly through the Union League: Northern blacks assisted former slaves to form a network of political clubs to teach civic duties, to campaign for Republican candidates, to represent black grievances before employers and government bureaucracies, and to recruit militias to protect black communities from white retaliation. Black men and women organized parades and rallies, and they assembled mass meetings in the newly constructed black churches. Black men were participating with whites to formulate the new constitutions that provided for universal adult male suffrage regardless of race. Blacks were now holding political office in the South, including in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Southern Republicans attempted to appeal for support from Southern whites with the motto that they were the "party of progress and civilization" and that they had the "gospel of prosperity." A few Southern whites were receptive to Northern notions of progress. Here is Thomas Settle of North Carolina, calling for a "New South" that would become more like the North(4):

From "Transwiki: American History Primary Sources Reconstruction and the New South," Wikiquote (part of Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.), at _Primary_Sources_Reconstruction _and_the_New_South, accessed 7 April 2007. (Close)
Yankees and Yankee notions are just what we need in this country. We want their capital to build factories and workshops. We want their intelligence, their energy and enterprise.

Hiram Rhoades Revels, 44, a black man, was serving the U.S. Senate from Mississippi, filling the seat once held by Jefferson Davis.

The 6-year-old Freedmen's Bureau had its greatest success in teaching literacy to thousands of blacks, particularly those who wanted to read the Bible. In one North Carolina elementary class four generations sat together. In other areas, however, the accomplishments of the bureau were less than stellar. It had been authorized to settle former slaves on 40-acre tracts confiscated from plantations, hardly any land was given to blacks. Local administrators actually collaborated with planters in cajoling town blacks to sign labor contracts to work on plantations. (Without capital, the blacks had little to offer but their labor, and thousands of them, along with thousands of landless poor whites, became sharecropper farmers--essentially serfs, slaves to the soil and to their creditors.) Nonetheless, white Southerners resented the Freedmen's Bureau as a threat to their dominance.

Northerners, called "carpetbaggers," and Southerners, called "scalawags," had joined the Republican Party to carry out the congressional Reconstruction program in the South, sometimes meddling in the region's political affairs for their own benefit. The Republican regimes in the former Confederacy introduced some badly needed reforms: streamlining tax systems, launching public works, guaranteeing property rights for women, and establishing adequate public schools. Some of these governments were ridden with graft, however--especially in Louisiana and South Carolina, where unscrupulous promoters used naïve blacks as pawns. Such governments would, for example, purchase "stationery" as "legislative supplies," consisting of suspenders, bonnets, corsets, perfumes, hams, perfumes--even a coffin. According to historian John Garraty(5):

Quoted in Garraty, John A., The American Nation: A History of the United States, New York: Harper and Row, 1966, p. 436, citing Coulter, E. M., The South During Reconstruction (1947). (Close)
Legislators paid themselves large salaries and surrounded themselves with armies of useless, incompetent clerks. Half the budget of Louisiana in some years went for salaries and "mileage" for representatives and their staffs.… Large sums were appropriated for the building of imposing state capitols and other less-than-essential buildings. As for corruption, in The South During Reconstruction Professor E. Merton Coulter has described dozens of defalcations of various sorts that occurred during these years. One Arkansas Negro took $9,000 ($133,740 in 2006 dollars) from the state for repairing a bridge that had cost only $500 ($7,430) to build. A South Carolina legislator was voted an additional $1,000 in salary ($14,860) after he had lost that sum on a horse race. A judge in Louisiana contrived to sell a state-owned railroad worth several million for $50,000 ($743,000).
Notably, this sort of corruption was by no means confined to the South; it was happening in all levels of government all over the country during this "Era of Good Stealing." Also, in Mississippi fraud was almost nonexistent during the period that blacks participated in public affairs. In any event, historians have agreed that white thieves in the South got the "loaf," leaving only crumbs for crooked blacks.

Here is how a white Democratic politician referred to the carpetbaggers(6):

From "Transwiki,: op. cit. (Close)
[The word carpetbagger] applied to the office seeker from the North who came here seeking office by [getting the votes of] the negroes, by arraying their political passions and prejudices against the white people of the community
Dangerously defiant white Southerners cursed the "damnyankees" and referred to the federal government as "your government." Persisting in their conviction that their view of secession was the correct one and that the "lost cause" was a just war, they admitted of no crime in their rebellion. Here were the words to a popular song:
Oh, I'm a good old rebel,
Now that's just what I am:
For the "fair land of freedom"
I do not care a dam.
I'm glad I fit against it--
I only wish we'd won,
And I don't want no pardon
For anything I done.
These unreconstructed Southern whites were particularly incensed at the idea of former slaves holding political office.

With muffled horse hooves, the besheeted night riders of the 6-year-old "Invisible Empire" of the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan continued to break up black prayer meetings and invade black homes at night to steal firearms. The group was formally dedicated to resist Reconstruction and all activities of the Republican Party. Determined to force blacks to "keep in their place," they terrorized, flogged, mutilated, and murdered "upstart" ex-slaves and carpetbaggers. In a single county in Florida 163 blacks were murdered. In a few parishes outside New Orleans more than 300 were murdered. Here were some verses from one of their terrifying broadsides, including the carpetbagger Union League in its list of enemies:

Niggers and Leaguers, get out of the way.
We're born of the night and we vanish by day.
No rations have we but the flesh of man--
And love niggers best--the Ku Klux Klan:
We catch 'em alive and roast 'em whole,
Then hand 'em around with a sharpened pole.
Whole Leagues have been eaten, not leaving a man,
And went away hungry--the Ku Klux Klan.
Any scoundrel could don a sheet; the Klan was a refuge for several bloodthirsty bandits and cutthroats.

A group of terrorized Kentucky blacks appealed to the 42nd U.S. Congress:

We believe you are not familiar with the description of the Ku Klux Klan riding nightly over the country, going from county to county, and in the country towns, spreading terror wherever they go by robbing, whipping, ravishing, and killing our people without provocation, compelling colored people to break the ice and bathe in the chilly waters of the Kentucky River.

The [state] legislature has adjourned. They refused to enact any laws to suppress Ku-Klux disorder. We regard them [the Ku-Kluxers] as now being licensed to continue their dark and bloody deeds under cover of the dark night. They refuse to allow us to testify in the state courts where a white man is concerned. We find their deeds are perpetrated only upon colored men and white Republicans. We also find that for our services to the government and our race we have become the special object of hatred and persecution at the hands of the Democratic Party. Our people are driven from their homes in great numbers, having no redress only [except] the United States court, which is in many cases unable to reach them.(7)

Quoted in Bailey, Thomas A., Kennedy, David M., and Cohen, Lizabeth, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 503. (Close)

Congress, responding to Klan lawlessness, began to debate more legislation to stamp out Klan activities. Republican Congressman Joseph Rainey of South Carolina, a former slave, urged Congress to act against the Klan(8): From "Transwiki," op. cit. (Close)
When myself and colleagues shall leave these halls and turn our footsteps toward our southern home we know not but the assassin may await our coming. Be it as it may we have resolved to be loyal and firm, and if we perish, we perish! I earnestly hope the bill will pass.

Congress ultimately passed the second Force Act, authorizing federal troops to stamp out Klan activity. The Invisible Empire had gone underground, however, and continued its tactics to flout the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments while disguised as a "missionary society" or a "dancing club" or a "rifle club." Republicans in Congress consistently favored federal intervention in the former Confederate states in order to protect the basic civil rights of black Americans and their white Republican compatriots. Democrats, in contrast, vehemently opposed such federal intervention, voted against Reconstruction legislation, and called for the withdrawal of federal troops from political duty in the South.

The 3-year-old morning daily Atlanta Constitution of Colonel Carey W. Styles, which had been leading the fight for reestablishment of state government by white Georgians and a routing of the "scalawags and carpetbaggers," considered its campaign a success during this year. Georgia was able to install a white-supremacist "Redeemer," or "Home Rule," Democratic government and Congressional delegation.

Tennessee and Virginia had installed a white-supremacist "Redeemer" Democratic regime 2 years earlier and North Carolina the preceding year. South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas remained under Republican control.

Immigrants from the British Isles and western Europe (especially Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany)--the so-called "Old Immigrants," most of them boasting a comparatively high level of literacy and accustomed to some level of representative government, who were either Protestant (most of them) or Catholic, were arriving during this decade at an average annual rate of 159,300. The "New Immigrants," those from southern and eastern Europe (especially Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia), largely illiterate and impoverished, who tended to be either Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish and who had little experience with representative government, were arriving at an annual rate of 18,100--11% of the Old Immigrants' rate. The New Immigrants huddled together in large cities, such as New York City and Chicago.

American cities were now growing rapidly, most of the growth resulting from immigration from abroad (augmented by considerable immigration from domestic farms). American government at all levels was not well suited to urban swelling and did little or nothing to ease the assimilation of immigrants into society, and municipal governments especially were totally inadequate to the task. It was left to the urban political machines, run by "bosses," to minister to the needs of the new arrivals. Jobs on the city payroll, housing, food, clothing, medical care, and legal help were cynically distributed in exchange for votes and other forms of political loyalty.

In the unfamiliar era of big money and expanding government following the Civil War, corruption flourished. Waste, extravagance, speculation, graft, and fraud at all levels in the United States created such a fetid, contaminated atmosphere during this "Era of Good Stealing" that it was said the Man in the Moon had to hold his nose when passing over America. According to historians Bailey, Kennedy, and Cohen:

Unscrupulous stock-market manipulators were a cinder in the public eye. Too many judges and legislators put their power up for hire. Cynics defined an honest politician as one who, when bought, would stay bought.(9) From Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 514.(Close)
The cabinet of President Grant was essentially a nest of incompetents and grafters. Favor seekers plied Grant with wines, cigars, and horses. Several dozen of his in-laws in the Dent family assumed highly paid do-nothing jobs for the administration, which was infamous for its failure to substantially reduce wartime customs duties, its failure to reform the civil service, and its intimacy with New York financiers of sullied reputation.

To deal with the swelling outrage over the corruption and to prepare for the following year's presidential election, President Grant appointed the first Civil Service Commission to "reform" the civil service and the spoils system. Its mild provisions had little more than cosmetic effect, however.

Navy yards were riddled with graft. George Maxwell Robeson, 42, Secretary of the Navy, padded payrolls to help secure elections. Commander Alfred Thayer Mahan, 31, testified before a congressional investigation that a million board feet of lumber purchased by the Boston navy yard had simply disappeared. He also stated that taxpayer money had remodeled the yacht America for Massachusetts Congressmen Benjamin Franklin Butler, 53.

Harper's Weekly cartoonist German immigrant Thomas Nast, 31, continued to draw caricatures mercilessly pillorying the Tweed Ring of New York City, headed by burly, 240-pound State Senator William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, 48, the Tammany leader, who possessed the loyalty of important immigrant groups. The Ring had defrauded the city of at least $200 million ($2.9 billion in 2006 dollars). Over the preceding 2 years, Boss Tweed and his henchmen billed the New York City government $11 million for a courthouse worth $3 million ($163 million for $45 million worth). The city was billed no less than $2,272,643.39 ($33,771,479) for stationery! Dispassionate estimates indicated that the Tweed Ring had pocketed between 85% and 90% of all the city's expenditures. Franchises were another lucrative source of illicit wealth; corporations paid huge bribes to win charters to build gas companies and streetcar lines.

Tweed's cynical motto had been

Addition, division, and silence
Anyone blowing the whistle on these shenanigans had found his tax assessments raised. Tweed complained that his illiterate followers could not help seeing "them damn pictures" (Nast's cartoons), and he unsuccessfully tried to bribe Nast to desist. He also tried, unsuccessfully, to silence The New York Times with a bribe of $5 million ($74 million in 2006 dollars) from publishing damning evidence. New York attorney Samuel Jones Tilden, 57, headed the prosecution of Tweed and his Ring for fraud.

The burly, ruthless Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, 77, continued to consolidate his Hudson River Railroad and his New York Central Railroad, thereby gaining a monopoly in rail transport between New York and Buffalo. In October, he struck up a partnership with the New York and New Haven Railroad to join with the railroads he already owned, consolidating operations at one terminal at East 42nd Street, which he called the Grand Central Depot (the present-day Grand Central Terminal). He was amassing a gigantic fortune by offering superior railway service at rates lower than those charged by his unfortunate competitors. Vanderbilt was popularizing the tougher steel rail, safer and more economical than the conventional iron, because it could bear a heavier load; he had to import the steel from England, however, since there not yet a reliable domestic source. His consolidation efforts also helped to standardize the track gauge, eliminating the inconvenience and expense of repeated changes from one line to another.

The Pennsylvania Railroad, already linking Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Chicago, now leased the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies, which included the original Camden and Amboy Railroad from Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, to South Amboy, across Raritan Bay from New York City, as well as a newer line from Philadelphia to Jersey City, much closer to New York, via Trenton. Track connection in Philadelphia was made via the United Companies' Connecting Railway and the jointly-owned Junction Railroad--thereby establishing a connection with New York City.

Thomas Alexander Scott, 48, first Vice President of the Pennsylvania Railroad, now became President of the Union Pacific Railroad.

The Texas Pacific Railroad was chartered by the 42nd Congress, awarded a land grant, and authorized, when completed, to extend from New Orleans, through Shreveport, Texarkana, Dallas, Fort Worth, and El Paso--and even, in their dreams--all the way to the Pacific.

As with the 2-year-old Union Pacific and Central Pacific transcontinental railroad, the nation's first, government subsidies in land grants continued to act as an inducement to railroad construction (the private railroad companies might not otherwise hazard huge sums needed to lay tracks across hundreds of miles of rugged, empty country, tracks whose traffic would not yield profits for years). Congress was awarding millions of acres of public land, and the states themselves were contributing million of acres more. For transcontinental routes in particular, the land was typically granted in broad belts along the proposed routes, within which the companies were allowed to choose the best location for the tracks; until they chose--and even long after--all the land within the belts was unavailable for settlement (and, for land adjacent to transcontinental routes, would be unavailable for another 16 years). The builders of the railroad projects were authorized to take the timber, stone, and other material needed from the public-land right of way it had been granted.

Historian John Garraty has summarized what was happening(10):

From Garraty, op. cit., p. 489.(Close)
Here was a clear conflict between equal opportunity and rapid economic growth, between the idea of the West as a national heritage to be disposed of to deserving citizens and the concept of the region as a boundless prize to be gobbled up in giant chunks by those interests powerful and determined enough to take it. When it came to a choice between giving a particular tract to railroads or to homesteaders, the homesteaders nearly always lost out. To serve a necessary national purpose, the linking of the sections by rail, the land of the West was dispensed wholesale as a substitute for cash subsidies.

Railroad promoters let out all the stops to reap the land grants. They were able to pocket millions of dollars from selling off granted land (at an average price of $3 per acre [$44.58 per acre in 2006 dollars]), investing a pittance of that to bribe Congressmen with cash contributions and lucrative stock. For example, the Crédit Mobilier company, which had been formed by Union Pacific directors and insiders, was dispersing a yearly average of $67,000 ($996,000) for "legal expenses," which were actually thinly disguised bribes to stave off government investigations into corruption.

A frontier village could become a flourishing city if it could host a new railroad; whatever settlement bypassed by the railroad typically became a "ghost town." Communities contended with one another to get the rails, offering monetary and other attractions to promoters, who sometimes blackmailed the communities to get even more generous handouts.

Railroads--especially the new transcontinental line---created an enormous integrated domestic market, a huge commercial empire, for manufactured goods as well as raw materials, and they attracted both domestic and foreign investors. The new lines stimulated both agriculture and mining, especially in the West, taking farmers and miners to their remote holdings, bringing manufactured necessities to them, and hauling to market the product of their labors. The iron horse stimulated immigration; the railroad companies advertised in Europe to seduce settlers to buy land from the grants. Now the entire Midwest--Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas--was becoming farmland, and the high-plain prairies of Dakota and Montana Territories was becoming cattle ranges; the white pines of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota was being cut for lumber, rushed by rail for construction of houses and fences in the treeless prairies.

Railroad construction itself generated a gigantic backlog for the young steel industry.

Some railroad promoters were grossly overoptimistic (or simply unscrupulous), however, cashing in construction bonds to penetrate areas that lacked even a potential population that could support a line, laying rails that led "from nowhere to nothing"; when the promoters declared bankruptcy, their trusting investors would be left with only "two streaks of rust and a right of way" (making rails out of steel rather than iron would solve the rust problem).

Railroad construction and operation was making a new millionaire aristocracy and stimulated Wall Street speculation for amassing colossal wealth. The bedazzled public was not detecting, or was disregarding, the corrupt financial maneuvers and rapacious skullduggery. Railroad stock promoters were adept at "stock watering": exaggerating the assets and profitability of whatever line they were hawking, selling its stock and bonds at prices far surpassing their true value. Then, in order to redeem the oversold financial obligations, the line's managers were forced to charge extortionate rates and to wage ruthless competitive wars.

Meanwhile, railroad barons recruited lobbyists, anointed their own "creatures" into high political office, and bribed journalists, legislators, and judges with cash or free travel. They could exercise more direct control over the lives and welfare of people than could the President of the United States.

Industrial expansion was now assuming mammoth proportions. The natural resources of the nation were being exploited more and more. Massive immigration made unskilled labor plentiful and cheap. Industrialists were perfecting techniques of mass production. Tens of thousands of patents were being issued every year, facilitating business operations.

Liquid capital had become abundant. New York City banker John Pierpont Morgan, 34, joined with members of the wealthy Drexel family of Philadelphia to organize the banking house Drexel, Morgan & Co., with offices in both New York City and Philadelphia. Morgan, who would become known as the "banker's banker," became deeply involved in financing railroads. He raised large sums in Europe, but rather than merely handing over the funds, he persuaded railroads to reorganize in order to achieve greater efficiencies toward the vision of an integrated transportation system.

The 12-year-old petroleum "black gold" industry was booming, especially now with the derivative kerosene, which on a cotton wick in a glass chimney lamp burned so much brighter than the ever-more-expensive sperm oil from whales. Already kerosene was the the fourth most valuable U.S. export.

Kerosene was no longer the only valuable petroleum product, however. By now refiners were learning how to "crack" petroleum

by applying high temperatures to the crude in order to break up and rearrange its molecular structure, thus increasing the percentage of kerosene yielded. By-products such as naphtha, gasoline (used in vaporized form as an illuminating gas), rhigolene (a local anesthetic), cymogene (a coolant for refrigerating machines), and many lubricants and waxes began to appear on the market.(11) Quoted from ibid., p. 506. (Close)
Henry Huttleston Rogers, 31, oilman for the preceding 4 years for the Brooklyn firm Charles Pratt & Co. (directed by Charles Pratt, 41, with oilfields in Pennsylvania), patented his machinery for separating naphtha from crude petroleum.

By now the great increase in crude oil had driven prices down, a factor that put a premium on refining efficiency--larger plants utilizing expensive machinery and employing skilled technicians.

The year-old Standard Oil corporation--dominated by abstemious, parsimonious John Davison Rockefeller, 31, with his brother William Rockefeller along with Samuel Andrews, Henry Morrison Flagler, 38, and Stephen Vanderburg Harkness, 53, with smaller share holdings--was refining thousands of barrels of crude per day more than its competitors. With Standard Oil, Rockefeller had perfected a technique for allying with competitors to monopolize the petroleum market and controlling bothersome rivals--the "trust." Stockholders of several small oil companies would assign their stock to the Standard Oil board of directors, and all operations of formerly competing firms would be consolidated and aligned. Weak competitors not part of the trust were plowed under. Rockefeller's unwritten motto was

Let us prey.

Industrialists, almost all of them identified with the Republican Party and enjoying the tariffs that that party had secured, continued building new factories. These businessmen constituted a new class of gaudy, brassy, noisy, extravagant millionaires, plutocrats who defended their unbridled capitalism and their heartless contempt of the poor by adapting the theory of Charles Darwin: survival of the fittest.

More and more Americans, formerly self-employed farmers or artisans, were becoming wage earners toiling in the new factories, continually fearing unemployment from swings in the business cycle or simply from arbitrary whims of the businessmen. The sweat of these laborers was lubricating the robust new industrial machine, but the laborers themselves shared very little of the benefits enjoyed by the plutocrats. Like the Roman galley slave, the worker was merely an unskilled and easily replaced lever puller for a depersonalized, soulless, conscienceless corporation.

Workers were struggling to organize themselves into unions. The 5-year-old 600,000-member National Labor Union, headed by William H. Sylvis, 43, attracted the skilled, the unskilled, and farmers, but it excluded Chinese and made only nominal efforts to include women and blacks. It continued to lobby Congress to promote workers' interests, agitating for the arbitration of labor disputes and for an 8-hour workday (mandated only for federal employees; most workers still toiled for 10 to 12 hours per day).

Black workers had organized their own Colored National Labor Union as an adjunct. But since the blacks tended to support the plutocrats' Republican Party, and since the white unionists were persistently racist, the two unions could not work together in a common effort.

Workers in the 2-year-old Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, originally a group of garment cutters, continued to meet in Philadelphia as a secret society with passwords, handshakes, and a private ritual. Such secrecy forestalled possible reprisals from employers.

Larvae of the gypsy moth (Porthetria dispar) continued to spread from Medford, MA, where French naturalist Leopold Trouvelot had brought the insect from Europe 2 years earlier with hopes to start a silk industry in New England. The moth population was exploding and defoliating New England woodlands.

The U.S. Arctic whaling fleet was trapped in a late-August early winter. Of the 39 vessels, 32 were trapped in the ice, costing New Bedford $1.5 million ($22.3 million in 2006 dollars) in shipping. No men were lost, however: The seven surviving ships carried 1,200 men back to ports in New England.

Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker, 31, part owner of the 70-ton two-masted schooner Telegraph of Wellfleet, brought a full shipload of bananas from Kingston, Jamaica, to Boston. Andrew Preston, buyer for Seaverns & Co., sold the fruit on commission and assured Baker that a market existed for all the bananas he could obtain.

William Dean Howells, 34, became editor-in-chief of the prestigious Boston-based Atlantic Monthly.

Smith College was established in Northampton, MA, from a bequest of Sophia Smith, who had died the year before.

The British schooner Livonia lost to the schooners Columbia and Sappho in New York Bay in an unsuccessful bid to win back the America's Cup, originally lost 20 years previously.

The New York City ferryboat SS Westfield exploded in July, blowing 104 people to bits. Investigators noted that her boiler had become so corroded that "a knife blade could cut through the metal," but lax steamboat inspection continued, and no rigorous design or maintenance codes were enacted.

James Henry Roosevelt, 71, bestowed the Roosevelt Hospital on 59th Street in New York City, which offered private rooms at $3 to $4 per day ($45 to $59 per day in 2006 dollars). At that time Bellevue Hospital and most other hospitals in the city had only crowded wards crawling with rats.

Showman Phineas Taylor Barnum, 61, produced a circus advertised as "The Greatest Show on Earth" in Brooklyn, NY. It grossed $400,000 ($5.9 million in 2006 dollars) in its first season.

Birmingham, AL, was founded and incorporated near the diggings of iron ore, coal, and limestone deposits that had produced Confederate cannonballs and rifle barrels during the Civil War.

The University of Arkansas was founded in Fayetteville.

Pharmacist John Green moved to Hot Springs, AR, from Tennessee, bought the Locket Spring 12 miles out of town, and began selling Mountain Valley Mineral Water.

George Davis joined the Detroit pharmaceutical laboratory of of Hervey C. Parke, changing its name to Parke, Davis, & Co., using the motto "Medicamenta Vera" to make ether, sweet spirits of nitre, oil of wine, Hoffman's Anodyne, and similar preparations. The firm began to finance expeditions to Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and the Fiji Islands, introducing such pharmaceutical drugs as cascara sagrada, coca, Jabirandi, Jamaica dogwood, and Grindelia Robusta.

State supervision of grain warehouses began in Illinois, but the regulations were challenged in court.

In the Great Chicago Fire, allegedly started by a cow owned by a Mrs. O'Leary, who kicked over a kerosene lantern on Dekoven Street, a large part of Chicago (3.5 square miles) burned to the ground. A survivor described the scene:

Everybody was running north. People were carrying all kinds of crazy things. A woman was carrying a pot of soup, which was spilling all over her dress. People were carrying cats, dogs, and goats. In the great excitement, people saved worthless things and left behind good things.(12) From Davidson, James West, and Stoff, Michael B., The American Nation, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986, 1995, p. 574.(Close)
About 300 people were killed, 90,000 left homeless, and property damage was estimated at $196 million ($2.9 billion in 2006 dollars). Among the properties destroyed was the hotel owned by Potter Palmer.

The 12-year-old Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (the A&P) of merchant George Huntington Hartford, 38, sent emergency rail shipments of tea and coffee to Chicago, most of whose grocery stores had burned down. Hartford would be opening A&P stores in Chicago as the city rebuilt.

A forest fire in Michigan and Wisconsin timberland, perhaps started by sparks from Chicago, burned more than 2 million acres: About 1,000 people perished, and 350 homes were destroyed, mostly in Peshtigo, WI, and 16 surrounding communities.

Passenger pigeons nesting in Wisconsin occupied 750 square miles.

H. M. Colver purchased a spring in Waukesha, WI, deeper than the one promoted 3 years earlier by New York railroad magnate Richard Dunbar, reputed to have cured him of his diabetes, and promoted the mineral spring water there as White Rock Spring water.

Charles Alfred Pillsbury, 29--with his brother Fred Pillsbury, his father George Pillsbury, and his uncle John Sargent Pillsbury (former Governor of Minnesota)--founded C. A. Pillsbury & Company in Minneapolis, using the $6,000 ($89,160 in 2006 dollars) profit he had earned by improving by 33 percent the equipment of a small flour mill over the previous 2 years. Millwright George T. Smith, 30, who had improved the LeCroix middlings purifier by employing a traveling brush that kept the cloth clean and better controlled air currents, was persuaded to join the Pillsbury firm.

Wheat and flour exports totaled 50 million bushels; corn exports totaled 8 million bushels.

The Grange, or the Patrons of Husbandry, with its secret rituals, passwords, and hierarchies (from Laborer to Husbandman for men, from Maid to Matron for women) founded 4 years earlier by Oliver H. Kelley, now 45, continued to grow in popularity among the farmers of the Midwest. Its stated aim was to enhance the lives of isolated farmers with educational, social, and fraternal activities--picnics, concerts, lectures in schoolhouses around potbellied stoves--with an emphasis on reading and discussion, much of that concerning freight rates, high taxes, and politics.

The 9-year-old Homestead Act, designed to stimulate the family farm and to encourage a rapid population growth in the West, authorized any U.S. citizen, or any alien intending to become a citizen, to take 160 acres of Western land (a quarter section) for just a $10 registration fee ($148.60 in 2006 dollars), provided that he make certain improvements and that he live on the tract for 5 years. Alternatively, the settler might acquire land after only 6 months of residence for a nominal price of $1.25 per acre ($18.58 per acre in 2006 dollars). Either way, the land acquired was to be exempt from attachment for debt.

Of course, the act augmented immigration. Tens of thousands of settlers applied for homesteads each year, a third of them actually receiving land. During this year, about a million acres of public lands were legally transferred to private ownership.

Unfortunately, most landless Americans were too poor to become independent farmers; the expense of moving a family from the East to the ever-receding frontier was prohibitive, and the subsequent costs of equipment, fencing, and housing was formidable for most. Industrial workers were ill-suited to transform themselves into farmers; most of the homesteaders were already farmers and were situated close to the frontier anyway.

Also, the standard quarter section was typically inadequate for raising livestock or for the kind of commercial agriculture that was suitable on the dry Great Plains; approximately two-thirds of the homesteaders eventually surrendered in their struggle against draught. Cynics joked that the government had put up the 160 acres against the $10 registration fee in a cruel bet that the settlers would not last the requisite 5 years. Notably, about five times as many families purchased their land from the states, the land companies, or the railroads.

The Homestead Act and similar laws spawned considerable fraud: Settlers often swore that they had "improved" their claim by erecting a "twelve-by-fourteen" dwelling, which actually measured 12 by 14 inches. Wealthy speculators used the law to obtain large tracts. Unscrupulous corporations bribed aliens with beer or a little cash to become a "dummy" homesteader so that they could snatch properties containing oil, minerals, and timber. And, as stated earlier, the railroad barons always had the upper hand over the homesteaders.

A sod house on the Santa Fe Trail just west of Fort Dodge in Kansas was the beginning of Dodge City.

Buffalo hunters on the plains south of the Platte River, brought there by the expanding railroads and the growing market back east for hides (buffalo robes were considered very fashionable, and, selling at a price of less than a dollar each [less than $15 each in 2006 dollars], the demand for them was insatiable) and meat (sometimes just for tongues and a few other choice cuts), killed millions of buffalo. There was also a brisk, faddish demand for mounted buffalo heads. (Of course, there was another important motive: to ruin the way of life of the Plains Indians, and in doing so, the hunters were ignoring the terms of the Medicine Lodge Treaty.) They killed hundreds of thousands of buffalo, often leaving the carcasses to rot in the sun, to be picked by the vultures. During this year and the next, the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia engaged in a gigantic hunt in the company of William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody, 25, the Seventh U.S. Cavalry under General Philip Henry Sheridan, 40, and several hundred Indians.

Replacing the buffalo more and more was the Texas longhorn cattle, brought in by cattlemen who had discovered how well the hardy stock survived the winters on the plains foraging on the seemingly limitless forage left behind by the buffalo. They were improving the stock (tenderizing the meat without diminishing the resistance to harsh conditions) by breeding them with pedigreed Hereford bulls. Provided that the cattleman rancher could get access to limited water, he could fatten thousands of steers on public land (in other words, without buying title to a private ranch) and then sell the result for beefsteak and leather at a bonanza profit.

Cattle drives on the 700-mile-long Chisholm Trail from San Antonio, TX, to Abilene, KS (the actual terminus of the Kansas Pacific Railway, where cattle could be transported to Kansas City or Chicago to supply "beef baron" Philip Danforth Armour, 39), continued on a large scale, hundreds of thousands of Texas long-horned steers (with horn spreads reaching 8 feet) driven north on the "Long Drive," moving at an average 12 miles per day through open (unfenced), unsettled country that provided abundant grass and water for the animals. This year was the peak year of the drive; some 600,000 head of cattle were driven north.

(Driving their bawling cattle en route through Indian Territory [present-day Oklahoma], the white, black, and Mexican cowboys were ignoring the terms of the 4-year-old Medicine Lodge Treaty between the U.S. government and the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes guaranteeing these Indians undisturbed land on two reservations there. Most of the cattlemen considered all Indians as "hostile," especially as the Indians considered any four-footed animal on the prairie, longhorns included, to be "fair game.")

Chicago livestock dealer Joseph Geating McCoy, 33, who had by now become the Mayor of Abilene, was not able to collect on his contract with the Kansas Pacific (the railroad had promised McCoy an eighth of the freight charges on each car of cattle that he could ship East)--the directors saying that they had never anticipated such volume--but McCoy still profited in real estate and other ventures.

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, 34, already with a dastardly reputation and then working as sheriff and city marshal of Hays, KS, was made marshal of Abilene, KS, the terminus of the Chisholm Trail. There he managed to subdue a number of outlaws with even more dastardly reputations, including outlaw John Wesley Hardin, who had to flee town.

Historian John Garraty has described what it was like in Abilene(13):

From Garraty, op. cit., p. 494.(Close)
"Cow towns" [such as Abilene] were… riotous and… venal.… "I have seen many fast towns," one tough westerner declared, "but Abilene beat them all." A local merchant characterized that town as a "seething, roaring, flaming hell"; its saloons bearing names like Alamo, Applejack, Longhorn, and Old Fruit, were packed during the season with crowds of rambunctious, gun-toting pleasure seekers. Gambling houses and brothels abounded.

By this time the Missouri Pacific line had reached another cow town just a few miles west of Abilene, and a branch of the Chisholm Trail accommodated it as a terminus of the "Long Drive." Here is what Garraty had to say about Ellsworth(14):

From ibid., pp. 494-95.(Close)
When Ellsworth, Kansas, had a population of only a thousand, it had 75 resident professional gamblers. At dance halls like Rowdy Joe's, the customers were expected to buy drinks for themselves and their partners after each dance. Little wonder that McCoy [later wrote]:
Few more wild, reckless scenes of abandoned debauchery can be seen on the civilized earth than a dance hall in full blast in one of these frontier towns.

The 42nd Congress approved the Indian Appropriations Act, thereby ending the practice of treating Indian tribes as sovereign nations and directing that all Indians be treated as individuals and legally designated "wards" of the federal government. The law did not abrogate existing treaties, but it did forbid recognition of Indian tribes as independent powers. The act was justified as a way to avoid further misunderstandings in treaty negotiations, in which whites had too often wrongly assumed that a tribal chief was also that tribe's chief of state. In effect, however, the act was another step toward dismantling the tribal structure of Native American life. President Grant appointed Francis Amasa Walker, 31, to be Commissioner of Indian Affairs, who began to implement the paternalistic policy--placing Indians on new reservations, setting up schools, issuing rations to Indians who had no more game.

Federal judge James B. McKean, seeking to break the alliance between church and state in Utah Territory, ordered the arrest of Brigham Young, 70, and other Mormon leaders on charges of polygamy, prohibited in U.S. territories in a 9-year-old law. None of Young's 27 wives was able to prevent the temporary incarceration, but Young was acquitted in the end. Federal prosecutors also charged John D. Lee and others with murder for the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857.

Camp Grant Massacre

The U.S. Army had suppressed the Apache Indians and had forced them onto reservations in New Mexico Territory and Arizona Territory, and hostilities waned. At the same time, merchants in Tucson, especially several Anglos and Hispanics under merchant Sam Hughes, were interested in continued hostilities, because they made considerable income from supplying smallpox-infected "blankets for peace." The merchants were unhappy with the Indian policies of the Grant administration, appointing Indian agents from Protestant religious organizations rather than from political patrons: Why should Eastern clergymen tell the frontier residents how to run their territory? Army General E. O. C. Ord, whose troops were stretched too thin over too wide an area, even declared that war was the foundation of Arizona Territory's economy and that civilians were demanding more troops because they were interested in profit at the expense of peace.

First Lieutenant Royal Emerson Whitman, 37, was in command of Camp Grant on the San Pedro River, about 50 miles northeast of Tucson. In February five old Apache women straggled into Camp Grant to look for a son who had been taken prisoner. Whitman fed them and treated them kindly, so other Apaches from Aravaipa and Pinal bands soon came to the post to receive rations of beef and flour. That spring, Whitman created a refuge along Aravaipa Creek about 5 miles east of Camp Grant for nearly 500 Aravaipa and Pinal Apaches, including Chief Eskiminzin. The Apaches began cutting hay for the post's horse and harvesting barley in nearby ranchers' fields.

Meanwhile, William Oury and Jesus Maria Elias, with support from merchant Hughes, organized a Committee of Public Safety, which blamed every depredation in southern Arizona on the Camp Grant Apaches. When some Apaches ran off livestock from San Xavier, Elias recruited Tohono O'odham (Papago) Indians, long-time enemies of the Apaches, and collected arms and ammunition. They descended on Aravaipa Canyon and surrounded the Apache camp at dawn while most of the Apache men were off hunting in the mountains. They massacred (and mutilated) more than a hundred Apaches that morning, most of them women and children, picking off any Apaches who tried to escape.

Lieutenant Whitman searched for the wounded, found none, buried the bodies, and dispatched interpreters into the mountains to find the Apache men and assure them that his soldiers had not participated in the "vile transaction." The following evening, the surviving Aravaipas began trickling back to Camp Grant.

Although many of the Anglo and Hispanic settlers in southern Arizona considered the attack "justifiable" homicide, one merchant, William Hopkins Tonge, wrote the following to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

The Indians at the time of the massacre being so taken by surprise and considering themselves perfectly safe with scarcely any arms, those that could get away ran for the mountains.
The U.S. military and the Eastern press also referred to it as a massacre. Public opinion, particularly in the East, linked the event to the recently investigated Sand Creek Massacre 7 years earlier as further evidence of Westerners' deep-seated hatred for Indians. In October a grand jury in Tucson indicted 100 of the assailants with 108 counts of murder. The defendants were brought to trial only after President Grant informed Governor A. P. K. Safford that if there were no trial, he would place Arizona Territory under martial law. The trial lasted 5 days, and after 19 minutes of deliberation, the jury acquitted every defendant.

Western Apache groups soon left their farms and gathering places near Tucson in fear of subsequent attacks. As pioneer families arrived and settled in the area, Apaches were never able to regain hold of much of their ancestral lands in the San Pedro River Valley.

President Grant ordered General George Crook, who had been very successful in subduing the Indians of the Northwest, to Arizona Territory to deal with the Apache raids on white settlements throughout the region. Apaches were now swooping down on isolated farms and small settlements, killing everyone they could. In retaliation, whites attacked peaceable Apache camps. General Crook, using Apaches as scouts, was charged with subduing the Apaches and bringing peace to the reason. Chiracahua Apache Chief Cochise, 59, who had been leading his warriors out of his hideout in the Dragoon Mountains of Arizona in guerilla raids against white settlers, was finally tracked down and forced to surrender by General Crook. Cochise managed to escape back to his mountain stronghold rather than let his people be sent to a New Mexico reservation.

Pennsylvania political economist Henry George, 32, who had settled in California, described the phenomenally fertile, irrigated Central Valley of that state as "not a country of farms but a country of plantations and estates."

Thousands of Chinese immigrants were fleeing the disintegrating Chinese Empire and coming to the United States, at an annual rate during this decade of 12,320. Most were men (the ratio was 21 males for each female). Some came with money pooled by their families back home, but most were desperately poor and in debt to Chinese middlemen, which they would need to repay in cruel conditions of indenture for years. The indenture business was known ignominiously as "pig selling." Chinatowns were springing up in railroad towns, farming villages, and cities, where the immigrants could speak their own language and seek safety from prejudice and violence. Many organized themselves into tongs (secret societies).

A quarrel over a woman between two Chinese men in Los Angeles, CA, escalated into a city-wide anti-Chinese riot, ending in the murder of at least 23 of the city's 200 Chinese residents.

The U.S. and the United Kingdom concluded in May the secretly arrived-at Treaty of Washington, providing for arbitration of the Alabama claims (about Yankee shipping that had been sunk over 2 Civil War years by the British-built and -manned Confederate commerce raider Alabama) and the San Juan Islands dispute that had been festering for 25 years and almost sparked open hostilities 12 years earlier--that is, referring the settlement of the Alabama claims to an international commission in Geneva and referring the settlement of the U.S.-Canada border in the Pacific Northwest to the new German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm I. The treaty also provided for a partial settlement of a dispute in the North Atlantic fishery. During the negotiations, the U.S. was pressing not only for compensation for actual damage inflicted by Confederate cruisers but for "indirect" claims as well--the numerous transfers of registry occasioned by fear of capture. English opinion was outraged by these extra claims, and the British government would have withdrawn from the arbitration--but Charles Francis Adams, 35, dropped the indirect claims in advance.

Americans and Europeans suffered a bizarre but exceedingly common fear of being interred alive.(15)

Information in the following two paragraphs are quoted from McCutcheon, Marc, Everyday Life in the 1800s: A Guide for Writers, Students & Historians, Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books, 1993, p. 168. (Close) The fear rose out of the reputations of physicians who, lacking modern medical knowledge (and sometimes lacking a medical degree), occasionally pronounced comatose or unconscious patients dead prematurely. The deceased would sometimes miraculously revive during funeral services, much to the dismay of friends and family; these incidents were always widely publicized in the local papers. The fear of premature burial became all-consuming, and many weird measures were taken to prevent it. Thanks to the Society for the Prevention of People Being Buried Alive and other concerned citizens, death was handled more tentatively than ever before. For example, the deceased were left lying in their caskets for days or weeks on end before being deemed sufficiently dead to warrant burial. Sometimes crowbars and shovels would be placed inside the deceased's casket; any corpse who revived would be able to dig his or her way out. Sometimes a pipe was installed through the ground and into the casket, to be used for emergency communications; wealthy families hired servants to wait by the pipes and listen for calls for help. Wealthy families who wanted their dead to stay that way had another option: coffins fitted with special nails that, when driven, punctured capsules of poison gas.

The most popular device was the Bateson Revival Device (commonly known as Bateson's Belfry), advertised as

a most economical, ingenious, and trustworthy mechanism, superior to any other method, and promising peace of mind amongst the bereaved at all stations of life. A device of proven efficacy, in countless instances in this country and abroad.
It consisted of an iron bell mounted on the lid of the casket just above the deceased's head. The bell was connected to a cord through the coffin that was placed in the dead person's hand, "such that the least tremor shall directly sound the alarm." Though there is no record of this device actually saving someone's neck, it did, nevertheless, enjoy brisk sales for many years and made inventor George Bateson a rich man.

Few women openly admitted to enjoying sex.(16)

Quoted in ibid., pp. 205-06, citing George Napheys, M.D., The Transmission of Life, Counsels on the Nature and Hygiene of the Masculine Function, pp. 74-75. (Close) Many "experts" of the day, such as the following, contended that it was impossible for women to have orgasms or derive much physical pleasure of any kind from sex; a woman who experienced such pleasure was probably abnormal.
In reference to passion in women, a vulgar opinion prevails that they are creatures of like passions with ourselves; that they experience desires as ardent, and often as ungovernable, as those which lead to so much evil in our sex. Vicious writers, brutal and ignorant men, and some shameless women combine to favor and extend this opinion.… Nothing is more utterly untrue.… The best mothers, wives, and managers of households know little or nothing of the sexual pleasure. Love of home, children and domestic duties are the only pleasures they feel.
A rare survey of forty-five women revealed, however, that about 70 percent acknowledged having sexual desire. When having sex, most said they experienced orgasms and one third said they "always did." Only 7 percent admitted to having premarital sex, while one fourth reported being repelled by their first sexual encounter. After marriage, most of the women said they had less desire for sex than their husbands.

[ Victoria Claflin Woodhull ] Spiritualist Victoria Claflin Woodhull, 33, pictured here--a beautiful and eloquent divorcée, a tireless feminist propagandist, a wealthy protogée of Commodore Vanderbilt (who had mentored her Wall Street investments)--publicly proclaimed her belief in free love. With her sister, Tennessee Celeste Claflin, 25, she published the zany and daring periodical Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly, which defended abortion, advocated free love, and recommended the licensing and medical inspection of prostitutes.

Science and technology in America: Specifics

Massachusetts horticulturist Luther Burbank, 22, began experimenting with plant breeding and produced from a chance seedling the improved hybrid "Burbank potato"; Connecticut farmer Simon Ingersoll invented a pneumatic drill using compressed air to cut through rock; and the 1836 Colt revolver was redesigned to extend its effective range.

Philosophy and religion in America: Specifics

Bearded and rotund Chicago preacher Dwight Lyman Moody, 34, weighing nearly 300 pounds, a former shoe salesman who adapted old-time religion to the facts of city life, could hold huge audiences spellbound. He operated the largest Sunday School in the city as well as the 1,500-capacity Illinois Street Church. Unfortunately, the YMCA building that Moody had raised 4 years earlier as well as his Illinois Street Church and his parsonage were all lost in the Great Chicago Fire. Moody's church reopened in late December, now called the North Side Tabernacle. During this year Moody was joined by gospel singer Ira A. Sankey.

Arts and culture in America: Specifics

Unitarian minister Horatio Alger, 39, published the juvenile Tattered Tom, beginning a new series. Alger's stock formula was that honesty, virtue, and hard work were rewarded in the end by honor and success: Supposedly, there was always room at the top.

Novelist Louisa May Alcott, 39, published Little Men; the Atlantic Monthly paid Bret (Francis Brett) Harte, 35, $10,000 ($148,600 in 2006 dollars) for 12 contributions; painter Thomas Eakins, 27, unveiled Max Schmitt in a Single Scull; photographer William H. Jackson produced a photographic survey of the Yellowstone area; and author Henry James published A Passionate Pilgrim. Poet Walt Whitman, 52, urged literary freedom with his essay "Democratic Vistas"; he also condemned the excesses of the Gilded Age, calling his fellow countrymen the

most materialistic and money-making people ever known.… I say we had best look our times and lands searchingly in the face, like a physician diagnosing some deep disease. Never was there, perhaps, more hollowness of heart than at present, and here in the United States.(17) Quoted in Garraty, op. cit., p. 543. (Close)

Harlan E. Halsey was making a fortune dashing off hundreds of dime novels each year, read by goggle-eyed youths behind the broad covers of serious but boring books.

Popular periodicals included the Lippincott's Magazine, Farmer's Home Journal, Harper's Bazaar, Sporting Times, Niles' Weekly Register, the American Journal of Science, American Farmer, Christian Watchman, Saturday Evening Post, Good Health, Godey's Lady's Book, Ladies' Repository, Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine, Home Journal, Home Monthly, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Frank Leslie's Boys of America, Harper's Weekly, Yale Literary Magazine, Carriage Monthly, Phunny Fellow, National Police Gazette, Illustrated Police News, and Scientific American.

Popular songs included "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me," "Sweet Genevieve," "Sweet By and By," "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," "Little Brown Jug," "The Flying Trapeze," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair," "Camptown Races," "Turkey in the Straw," and "Amazing Grace."

The World at Large in 1871

The 8-year-old worldwide cholera epidemic continued.

Irish-Americans belonging to the the Irish Republican Brotherhood (the Fenians movement) to free Ireland from the United Kingdom continued crossing the Niagara River from the U.S, into Canada, drawing attention to the Fenian cause.

British Columbia became a province of the Dominion of Canada, with an understanding that a transcontinental railroad would be started within 2 years and would be completed within 10 years.

Canada's population, with the new British Columbia province, was 3.7 million, including 1,082,940 French, 846,000 Irish, 706,000 English, 549,946 Scots, and 202,000 Germans.

U.S. entrepreneur Henry "Don Enrique" Meiggs, 60, who had 8 years earlier supervised the construction of the Santiago as Sur Railroad between Valparaiso and Santiago in Chile and was still building railroads up and down the Peruvian coast and into the Andes, now won a contract from President Tomas Guardia of Costa Rica to construct a 149-mile national railway from Port Limon on the Caribbean coast up to the national capital of San José. Don Enrique enlisted the help of his nephew Minor Cooper Keith, 23, and three of Keith's brothers (who soon died of yellow fever). Keith imported 1,500 workmen from New Orleans but ran out of money after building only 60 miles of track, and after 4,000 men had died in the construction effort. Not to be discouraged, however, Keith planted bananas in the Zent Valley behind Port Limon to establish a new source of funds. He also married the daughter of José Maria Castro, the ex-president of Costa Rica.

There were 10 million people in Brazil, including 1.5 million slaves.

Yellow fever killed 13,614 people in Buenos Aires in 5 months.

Cuban rebellion

Hostilities continued.

The British Parliament legalized labor unions.

The British Parliament also abolished the purchase of British Army commissions.

British investors absorbed some $110 million ($1.6 billion in 2006 dollars) in American securities.

[ Queen Victoria ] Robert Cumming Schenck, 62, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, introduced the game of poker to Queen Victoria, 52, pictured here. Schenck not only showed the Queen how to play but also, at her request, wrote down the rules.

British educator Anne Clough provided a residence for female students at Cambridge.

The Albert Hall amphitheater (the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences), capable of seating 8,000, opened in London.

Coventry machinists James Kemp Starley, 41, and William Hillman, who had patented the year before a lightweight all-metal bicycle with wire-spoked tension wheels, marketed their "Ariel Cycle" for £8 for the regular model, £12 for the model with a speed gear.

The White Star Line launched the large modern luxury liner Oceanic.

Bank holidays were introduced in England and Wales.

Land planted to grain in Great Britain was declining, with domestic farmers having a harder and harder time competing with grain from the western United States.

The population of Great Britain was 26 million, that of Ireland 5.4 million.

Butter merchants Jan and Anton Jurgens acquired margarine rights from French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouries, 54, for 60,000 francs per year, opened the world's first fully operative margarine factory at Oss in the Netherlands.

[ Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck ] German economist and social reformer Adolph Wagner, 36, published The Social Question, proposing the kind of state socialism that Prussian Prime Minister Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, 56, pictured here, would be adopting.

In reaction to the previous year's decree at the First Vatican Council of Pope Pius IX, now 79, that the Pope was infallible whenever he declared doctrines of faith or morals ex cathedra (from his throne), now deemed "irreformable" and requiring no "consent of the church" (just at the time when the temporal power of the Pope had been diminished to the minimum), Bismarck initiated the Kulturkampf to control the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.

The first congress of Old Catholics, those rejecting the First Vatican Council, met in Munich.

The population of Germany was 41 million, that of France 36 million.

Franco-Prussian War

[ Kaiser Wilhelm I ] In mid-January, while German forces continued the siege of Paris, King Wilhelm I of Prussia, 73, pictured here, surrounded by his victorious troops in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, was proclaimed Emperor of a united German Empire, joining Prussia with Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg, five grand duchies, 13 duchies and principalities, and the free cities of Bremen, Hamburg, and Lübeck, at last ending the German fragmentation and inaugurating the "Second Reich" (the First Reich, the thousand-year Holy Roman Empire [which had been neither holy, nor Roman, nor--in its final centuries--an empire] had been declared officially dead by Napoleon 65 years earlier, in 1806, just as Christ's Lutheran Church of Woodstock was beginning). Prime Minister Bismarck was made First Chancellor.

German forces had been besieging Paris, population 1.8 million, for months. Parisians had been forced to eat cats, dogs, and even animals from the zoo. Finally the city surrendered to the Germans in late January.

The French National Assembly of the newly proclaimed Third Republic accepted the Treaty of Frankfurt, whereby France ceded Alsace and Lorraine to Germany and agreed to pay an indemnity of 5 billion francs and to permit an army of occupation to remain on French soil until the indemnity was paid.

Radical Parisians, opposed to the French National Assembly, established in March a municipal council, the Commune of Paris; they were called communards.

French Emperor Napoleon III, 63, was formally deposed at the beginning of March by the National Assembly, meeting in Bordeaux, because Paris had been taken over by the communards, declaring the Emperor

responsible for the ruin, invasion, and dismemberment of France.
Napoleon III was released from the castle of Wilhelmshohe near Kassel, where the Germans had been holding him; he retired to England.

Louis Adolphe Thiers, 73, was elected President of the Third Republic. He immediately sent troops to seize the cannon of the communards in Paris, but the troops refused to fire and fraternized with the crowd. The communards seized Generals Lecomte and Thomas and executed them, along with hostages, including the Archbishop Georges Darboy. They also burned the Tuileries Palace and gutted much of the Louvres Palace. Ultimately, however, the French Army smashed the communards at the end of May in a "Bloody Week," during which tens of thousands of Parisians were killed at the barricades (the death toll greater than during the Reign of Terror of 1793 to 1794).

German inventor Peter Paul Mauser, 33, and his brother Wilhelm Mauser, 37, perfected the "Mauser Model 1871" breech-loading rifle, which was adopted by the Prussian Army.

The German criminal code punished abortion by up to 5 years in prison.

Germany went on the gold standard.

In an effort to remain independent of France or other food-growing countries, Germany raised tariffs against food imports. Even so, domestic wheat prices fell in both Germany and Sweden, ruining many farmers.

The Italian Parliament passed the Law of Guarantees, granting to the Pope the Vatican and other palaces, an annual income, and special rights.

Rome was made the capital of Italy.

The population of Italy was 26.8 million.

Commercial oil wells were dug in the Baku suburb of Balakany on the Apsheron Peninsula into the Caspian Sea.

British expansion into Africa

Scots explorer and missionary David Livingstone, 58, reported from Africa in an account sent home to England that hundreds of African women had been shot dead by Arab slavers or had drowned in the Lualaba River in Nyangwe while trying to escape capture. His report inspired indignant efforts to suppress the slave trade by the Sultan of Zanzibar.

New York Herald correspondent Henry Morton Stanley, 30, found Livingstone at Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika in central Africa, 2 years after having been sent by editor James Gordon Bennett, now 30, to find the famous missionary somewhere in the jungles of Africa. After greeting Livingstone--

Dr. Livingstone, I presume
--Stanley joined the missionary in exploring the northern end of the lake, proving that the Rusizi River ran into the lake and not out of it.

The British Cape Colony in South Africa annexed Basutoland (present-day Lesotho). The United Kingdom also annexed the diamond mines of Kimberley

British expansion into southern Asia

British colonial entrepreneurs in Burma founded the Rangoon Oil Company (later the Burmay Oil Company).

The coffee rust (Hamileia vastatrix), which had appeared in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 2 years earlier, was spreading throughout the Orient, wiping out coffee plantations and causing coffee prices to soar.

Cables were laid from Vladivostok to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore, through Nagasaki.

Taiwanese natives killed 54 Okinawan seamen who had shipwrecked in Taiwan.

Japan's government of Emperor Meiji Mutsihito, 19, formally abolished feudalism and officially outlawed discrimination against the Burakumin--those so-called "Eta" (filth) outcastes who lived in ghettoes and were employed in smelly leather tanneries. Despite the decree, however, the Burakumin continued to be discriminated against.

Metal type and printing presses were introduced into Japan, and a daily newspaper began publication.

Japan organized a postal service between Tokyo and Osaka.

Japan's ministry of education was reorganized to promote universal education.

There were 33 million people in Japan.

World science and technology

British inventor Richard Leach Maddox, 55, made an emulsion of silver bromide using gelatin rather than collodion, thereby reducing the exposure time a photographer needed from 15 seconds to as little as 1/200th of a second; and Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev, 37, revised the periodic table and correctly predicted that the empty spaces would be filled by yet-to-be discovered elements.

English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, 62, published The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, applying evolution to humans:

Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits.… For my part I would as soon be descended from a baboon… as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies,… treats his wives like slaves,… and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.(18) Quoted in Bailey et al., op. cit., p. 579. (Close)

Arts and culture in the British Isles

English art and social critic John Ruskin, 52, began publishing Fors Clavigera and would take another 16 years to complete it; artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 43, unveiled The Dream of Dante; novelist and poet Mary Ann (Marian) Evens, 52, generally calling herself "Mrs. Lewes" (because she had been living openly for the preceding 17 years with the philosopher-critic George Henry Lewes, 54, who was married to another woman), published Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life under the pseudonym George Eliot; painter and writer Edward Lear published "The Owl and the Pussycat"; composer Arthur de Lulli (Euphemia Allen), 16, produced "Chopsticks" ("The Celebrated Chop Waltz"); the burlesque musical Thespis (or The Gods Grown Old) was produced at the Gaiety Theatre in London, with lyrics by London barrister William Schwenck Gilbert, 35, and music by church organist Arthur Seymour Sullivan, 29--the first Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration; and lyricist Louis Sullivan, 15, composed the hymn "Onward! Christian Soldiers."

World arts and culture

German historian Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen, 54, began publishing Roman Constitutional Law and would take another 5 years to complete it; Russian dramatist Aleksandr Ostrovsky, 48, produced The Forest; Russian novelist Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, 51, published Besy ("The Possessed [or The Demons]"); French Naturalist novelist Émile (Édouard Charles Antoine) Zola, 31, began his novel series Les Rougon-Macquart; and French poet Jean Nicholas Arthur Rimbaud, 17, published "The Drunken Boat". French poet Paul Marie Verlaine, 27, left his wife after 18 months of marriage in order to live with Rimbaud. German novelist Willibald Alexis died at the age of 73.

German painter Moritz von Schwind died at the age of 67.

Austrian composer Johann Strauss the younger, the "Waltz King," 46, produced the opera Indigo and the Forty Thieves at the Theatre-an-der-Wien in Vienna; French composer Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, 35, composed the poetic La Ronet d'Omphale ("Omphale's Spinning Wheel"), Op. 31; and to celebrate (a little late) the opening of the Suez Canal, Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, 58, produced the opera Aïda, featuring the great Italian soprano Teres Stolz, at the Cairo Opera House in Egypt. Pottier and Degeyter, two French workers, composed the socialist anthem "L'Internationale" ("Debout, les damnés de la Terre!").


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