Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

January 17, 2013

Gunpowder explosion

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Jan. 16, 1813

Compiled, with comments



Died, in Cazenovia, on the 15th ult. [December] Mr. JOSEPH HEWES, in the 19th year of his age, son of Mr. Daniel Hewes of Springfield, in this county. He was a volunteer in his country’s service, and was on his return from Niagara, to his native town — but the cold hand of death arrested him on his journey! Thus has a patriotic volunteer met an early death far from friends and relatives.

COMMENT: Joseph John Hewes was born Feb. 16, 1793, the son of Daniel Hewes (1755-1846) and Sarah Cushman (1755-1836). He had six brothers and five sisters.

Cooperstown street law


Passed November 22d, 1812

I. Be it ordained by the Trustees of the Village of Cooperstown, That one fifth part of the street on each side thereof, be appropriated for side walks, and that no person shall lay, deposit or leave any wood, timber, wagon, cart, sleigh, wheelbarrow, or other obstruction whatever, in or upon the said side walks, under the penalty of twenty-five cents for every offence, and the further sum of twenty-five cents for every twenty-four hours the said obstruction shall be thereafter suffered to remain on the same.

II. And be it further ordained, That no person shall drive any wagon, cart, sleigh or sled, or ride on horseback on any of the said side walks, under the penalty of twenty-five cents for every offence.

III. And be it further ordained, That every person shall keep open the ditch adjoining to the side walk opposite his lot, and that every person who shall neglect or refuse to do so, within twenty-four hours after notice given him by one of the Trustees, shall forfeit and pay twenty-five cents.

IV. And be it further ordained, That no person shall deposit, or cause to be deposited, any firewood in any street or alley in this Village, and suffer the same to remain, during the months of January, February, March and April, for more than forty-eight hours, and, during the remainder of the year, for more than twenty-four hours, under the penalty of twenty-five cents for each offence, and of twenty-five cents for every day the same shall remain thereafter.

V. And be it further ordained, That no person shall permit or suffer any geese or swine to remain at large within any street or alley in this Village, or suffer or permit any cow to run at large within the same during the months of December, January, February and March, under the penalty of twenty-five cents for every offence. –

COMMENT: Although Cooperstown had been a village since 1807, it was only in 1812 (when its name was officially changed from Otsego to Cooperstown) that its trustees actually began to govern.

Recapture of Moscow

Capture of Moscow by the Russians. On the morning of the 20th [October, 1812], Count Wittgenstien stormed Polotsk after two days hard fighting. 45 staff and superior officers, and 3000 rank and file were made prisoners, and an extraordinary number of the French were killed.

The Russian loss also was considerable, but their success was complete.

The Petersburgh militia and volunteers had joined before this battle, and had distinguished themselves in the most brilliant manner.

On the 22d, the corps of General Winziegerode entered Moscow, having obliged the French to evacuate the place with such precipitation, that they abandoned all their hospitals.

COMMENT: During the French occupation, on Sept. 14 to 18, most of Moscow (some say three quarters of its buildings) were destroyed by fire. The ancient Kremlin, however, survived. Much of the French army perished as it retreated out of Russia during the winter that followed. The Russian General Ludwig Adolph Peter, Count Wittgenstein (1769-1843), badly defeated the French army in Polotsk (now in the Republic of Bielorussia). Lieutenant General Ferdinand von Wintzingerode (1770-1818) led a unit of Cossacks in the recapture of Moscow.

Gunpowder explosion

We are informed that the Powder Mills, near Blandensburgh, were on Monday night, about one o’clock, set on fire, as it is believed, by an incendiary. The fire was discovered in the centre building and immediately the inhabitants of the neighborhood left their houses.

In about 15 minutes the house exploded, containing about four thousand pounds of powder. From the judicious arrangement of the establishment, the explosion was not communicated to other buildings; already the operations have been renewed.

The loss is stated not to exceed six thousand dollars, although the explosion was so violent, as to have shattered the glass of houses two miles distant, to have raised from the ground large frame buildings, bursting out their windows and doors…. 

General Hull returns

We learn from Washington City, that general Hull has been exchanged, not for 30 pieces of silver, but for 30 soldiers. It is expected he will be tried without delay. – Democratic Press.

COMMENT: Gen. William Hull (1753-1825) was the American officer who had on Aug. 16, 1812, surrendered Fort Detroit to British General Sir Isaac Brock without firing a shot, even though his troops far outnumbered the British. As this item indicates, he was widely considered a traitor to America. He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but President Madison pardoned him. Hull died in Newton, Mass., after publishing two memoirs defending his conduct at Detroit.