Christ's Lutheran Church in 1890

[ The old church ]

Pastor Martin J. Stover, 83, 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 1890

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The United States in 1890

[ Benjamin Harrison ]

Benjamin Harrison (Republican) was President. The 51st Congress was in session. (The midterm elections that year would elect the 52nd Congress.) A dollar in that year would be worth $20.91 in 2006 for most consumable products.

Only 3.5% of Americans 17 years and older were high school graduates; this number was a 40% improvement over a decade earlier, however. During this year, about 44,000 Americans graduated from high school (nearly twice as many as a decade earlier), 15,539 from college (a quarter again as many as a decade earlier).

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 the preceding 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.

Horses killed nearly 10 times as many pedestrians as automobiles kill today.

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.

There were 96 lynchings in the United States during this year; 85 of the victims were black, 11 of them white. (Apparently what terrible things that happened to Native Americans or to Asians did not get counted.)

Some 10.3 million tons of iron were produced in the United States, two and a half times as much as a decade earlier, five and a half times as much as two decades earlier, an elevenfold increase over three decades earlier, more than 16 times as much as four decades earlier, 32 times as much as five decades earlier, nearly 56 times as much as six decades earlier, and 468 times as much as seven decades earlier. During this year, 4.79 million tons of steel were produced, nearly three and a half times of a decade earlier, and 62 times as much as two decades earlier; in earlier decades--before the widespread use of the Bessemer method or the open-hearth method--hardly any steel was produced.

Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, 54, after visiting the new steel mills in Birmingham, AL, said that the South was Pennsylvania's most formidable enemy.

There was now some 166,700 miles of railroad in the United States, nearly an 80% increase of the mileage a decade earlier.

The National Woman Suffrage Association, organized 21 years earlier by Susan Bromwell Anthony, 70, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the American Woman Suffrage Association, organized by Lucy Stone also 21 years earlier, merged.

Charles William Eliot, 56, who had been president of Harvard College for the preceding 21 years, organized a graduate school of arts and sciences. He also made the Harvard Divinity School nonsectarian.

L. (Lyman) Frank Baum, 34, publisher of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer in South Dakota and author of the "Baum's Bazaar" column in that paper, wrote an editorial upon the death of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, stating:

Sitting Bull, most renowned Sioux of modern history, is dead.

He was not a Chief, but without Kingly lineage he arose from a lowly position to the greatest Medicine Man of his time, by virtue of his shrewdness and daring.

He was an Indian with a white man's spirit of hatred and revenge for those who had wronged him and his. In his day he saw his son and his tribe gradually driven from their possessions: forced to give up their old hunting grounds and espouse the hard working and uncongenial avocations of the whites. And these, his conquerors, were marked in their dealings with his people by selfishness, falsehood and treachery. What wonder that his wild nature, untamed by years of subjection, should still revolt? What wonder that a fiery rage still burned within his breast and that he should seek every opportunity of obtaining vengeance upon his natural enemies.

The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession, lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings, and speak, in later ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroism.

We cannot honestly regret their extermination, but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed, according to their lights and education, by the early Redskins of America.(3)

Quoted from "L. Frank Baum's Editorials on the Sioux Nation" by A. Waller Hastings, Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD ( (Close)
A little over a week later was the Wounded Knee Massacre, as if to fulfill Baum's exhortation.

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The World at Large in 1890

U.S. entrepreneur Minor Cooper Keith, 42, finally was able to fulfill his contract that his uncle had made 19 years earlier 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, using the funds he had earned from his banana plantation, supplying bananas to shipping companies in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Colombia.

Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsikov, 42, finished the opera Prince Igor that composer Aleksandr Borodin had begun 21 years ealier.

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