Christ's Lutheran Church in 1883

[ The old church ]

Pastor William Sharts, 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). (To enlarge the picture, just click it.)

[ Beer's Atlas map of Woodstock ]

Above is a map of the Woodstock village, published in 1878, 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.)

The old reed organ was exchanged for an organ manufactured by the Esty Company at a cost of $100 [$1,946 in 2006 dollars]. It was about this time that the Bible School became a vital part in the church life, under the tutelage of Eveyln Cramer.

During this year, Pastor Sharts and Hiram Cramer were directed by the congregation to visit those families who had not been coming to church for a long time. No report was made of these results.

In addition to the detailed and meticulous minutes that Pastor Sharts entered in the pastoral record book, he also maintained a separate record of all the texts he based each sermon on, where he preached, what the weather and road conditions were, and an idea of the attendance. This record seems to indicate that he did evening services not only at the Pine Grove Church but also at the schoolhouse known variously as Herrick's and Overlook.

The Woodstock Region in 1883

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

Local Civil War veteran John Schoonmaker toured mountain resorts with his "Phantasmagoria" (a magic lantern that produced the effect of motion to glass-slide images projected on a screen), showing a version of Uncle Tom's Cabin and featuring his own war service.

[ Sojourner Truth ] Former New Paltz and Hurley slave Isabella Bomefree Van Wagenen, having matured into an abolitionist itinerant preacher known as Sojourner Truth, died in Battle Creek, Michigan, at the age of 86.

The United States in 1883

[ Chester A. Arthur ]

Chester A. Arthur (Republican) was President. The newly elected 48th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $19.46 in 2006 for most consumable products.

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 275,300. 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 92,600--34% of the Old Immigrants' rate, a threefold proportionate increase from a decade earlier and a fivefold increase in raw numbers. The New Immigrants huddled together in large cities, such as New York City and Chicago.

Solidly Democratic white supremacists held political power all over the South. The economically dependent blacks who even tried to vote (forget about being elected to political office) would be facing unemployment, eviction, and violence. Blacks (and poor whites as well) continued being forced into sharecropping and tenant farming; former slave masters were now bosses and landlords. Through the "crop-lien" system, the serflike small farmers could get food and supplies from storekeepers by agreeing to a lien on their expected crops, a lien they would never be able to fully pay off. The daily discrimination against blacks grew increasingly oppressive. Blacks were continually assaulted by harsh reminders of their second-class citizenship, and the white supremacists dealt brutally with any black who dared to violate the customary racial code of conduct.

The Supreme Court, in Civil Rights Cases, declared unconstitutional the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which had supposedly guaranteed equal accommodations in public places and prohibited racial discrimination in jury selection. The Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibited only violations of civil rights by the government; violations by individuals without government help were just fine.

Larvae of the gypsy moth (Porthetria dispar) continued to spread from Medford, MA, where French naturalist Leopold Trouvelot had brought the insect from Europe 14 years earlier with hopes to start a silk industry in New England. The moth population was exploding and defoliating American woodlands.

Irish immigrant journalist Edwin Lawrence Godkin, 52, publisher of the 18-year-old liberal opinion publication The Nation, which he had merged 2 years earlier into the New York Post, now became editor of the Post. Godkin continued to crusade mercilessly for reform in the civil service and for honesty in government.

Cattle drives on the 700-mile-long Chisholm Trail from San Antonio, TX, to Abilene or Ellsworth, KS (two "cow towns" on the Kansas Pacific Railway, where cattle could be transported to Chicago), continued on a large scale, hundreds of thousands of steers driven north on the "Long Drive," moving at an average 12 miles per day through open, unsettled country.

Drought continued on a good part of the cattle range in the West.

A machine was devised to make the self-opening flat-bottomed "flick" paper bag with side pleats.

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The World at Large in 1883

Ontario distiller Joseph Emm Seagram, 42, took over the 32-year-old whiskey-producing firm of millers and distillers in Waterloo, ON, that he had joined 13 years earlier, naming the firm Joseph E. Seagram and Sons.

U.S. entrepreneur Minor Cooper Keith, 35, under contract with the Costa Rican government to construct a 149-mile national railway from Port Limon on the Caribbean coast up to the national capital of San José, had run out of money 12 years earlier after building only 60 miles of track (and after 4,000 men had died in the construction effort) but had not been discouraged; he had planted bananas in the Zent Valley behind Port Limon to establish a new source of funds and had married the daughter of José Maria Castro, the ex-president of Costa Rica. Now he was supplying bananas to shipping companies in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia, and earning a fortune he would be able to use to complete the project.

King Rama V of Siam (Somdeth Phra Paraminda Maha Chulalongkorn), 30, introduced the telegraph into his country.

The coffee rust (Hamileia vastatrix), which had appeared in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 14 years earlier, was spreading throughout the Orient and the Pacific, wiping out coffee plantations and causing coffee prices to soar.

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