Christ's Lutheran Church in 1887

Pastor William Sharts resigned during this year:

Meeting of ch[urch] officers at Morgan Lashers. Reports having come to the Pastor's ears that some of the cong[regatio]n were dissatisfied with him chiefly because of the n[umber] of members did not increase. The Pastor tendered his resignation … to take place on July 1st next, & with the privilege to remain in the parsonage until the fall, free of rent.…(1) From Anderson, Mark J., For All the Saints: Christ's Lutheran Church, Woodstock, New York, 1806-2006 [Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006], p. 57, citing the pastor's notes. (Close)
On July 3, Pastor Sharts noted:
Preached my last sermon as Pastor of this cong[regatio]n after 15 years service. Number of members removed--27, N[umber] of members died--23. Not one Lutheran moved in the cong[regatio]n in that time. The organist [Mrs. Eudora Sharts, the pastor's wife] for ten years faithful service has been paid $12.00 [$251 in 2006 dollars]. Amount of salary paid me last year $158.00 [$3,304]. The amount of indebtedness of the cong[regatio]n to me on account of arrearage of salary is quite large. Here ends my labors. Wm Sharts [signed in red ink](2) Ibid. (Close)
[ The old church ] The congregation found a new pastor: Rev. Martin J. Stover, 80, who had been a revivalist pastor licensed by the Hartwick Synod for the preceding 54 years. He had a reputation for calming troubled waters, a talent sorely needed at Christ's Church in Woodstock at that time. He continued 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.)

The Woodstock Region in 1887

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.

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The United States in 1887

[ Grover Cleveland ]

Grover Cleveland (Democrat) was President. The newly elected 50th Congress was in session. A dollar in that year would be worth $20.91 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.

To prevent a repetition of the 1876 debacle, the new 50th Congress passed the Electoral Count Act, making a state's determination of electoral disputes conclusive in most circumstances. If the same state were to send multiple returns to Congress, however, the act stipulated the validity of whichever return the executive of the state had certified, unless both houses of Congress decided otherwise. The interpretation of this act would be the subject of controversy in Bush v. Gore, a case relating to the disputed presidential election of 2000.

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.

Larvae of the gypsy moth (Porthetria dispar) continued to spread from Medford, MA, where French naturalist Leopold Trouvelot had brought the insect from Europe 18 years earlier with hopes to start a silk industry in New England. The moth population was exploding and defoliating American woodlands.

Albert Blake Dick, 31, began marketing his A. B. Dick Diaphragm Mimeograph machine he had developed from the license he had received 7 years earlier from Thomas Alva Edison, now 40: a flat-bed duplicator suitable for office use and employing a strong stencil fabric made from a species of hazel bush that grew only on certain Japanese islands.

The 36-year-old Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad (nicknamed "the Milwaukee Road") extended to Kansas City, MO on its main line and Mobridge, South Dakota, on its northwest line.

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The World at Large in 1887

The coffee rust (Hamileia vastatrix), which had appeared in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 18 years earlier, was spreading throughout the Orient and the Pacific, wiping out coffee plantations and causing coffee prices to soar.

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