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March 27, 2014

Recovering after the fire

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, March 26, 1814

Compiled, with comments


“Taylor & Graves”

HAVE again commenced business, in the white building south of the Bookstore of H. & E. PHINNEY, where they hope their friends and the public generally will please to call, in order that they may be enabled to forget the loss which they have so recently sustained by fire. They are constantly receiving the newest fashions from Albany and New York, and trust they shall be able to cut and make clothes, to the satisfaction of their employers. Cooperstown, March 24, 1814.

COMMENT: That was fast work getting back in business! By employers, the store no doubt means the customers who order them to cut and make clothes.

“Joseph Wilkinson,”

IS under the necessity of requesting all persons who have unsettled accounts, notes, &c. to call and adjust the same without delay, as he is obliged to suspend his business until a complete settlement of all his concerns takes place. Cooperstown, March 26, 1814.

COMMENT: I don’t know whether Wilkinson recovered from the fire which had destroyed his home and store.

New Newspaper

A CARD. On Saturday, the 2d of April next, the undersigned will commence the publication of a republican journal, under the title of The Watch-tower. which will be afforded upon the same conditions that the papers now printed in this village are. Public patronage is respectfully solicited. I. W. CLARK. Cooperstown, March 26, 1814.

COMMENT: Israel W. Clark (1789-1828) had begun this paper in 1813 in Cherry Valley. Like the Otsego Herald it supported the Republican party, and it continued to be printed in Cooperstown until 1831, though Clark moved on to Albany and eventually Rochester. Of him it was said that:

“He was a man of singular disinterestedness and fidelity. His private and political sentiments were entirely guileless. His aim through life seemed to be to adorn that bright maxim of Franklin, which teaches us to do ‘as much good and as little evil to our fellow citizens’ as was possible. Politically Mr. Clark labored to purify the character and elevate the standard of our public journals. He never uttered a venal sentiment or traced a servile line. Though contributing largely to produce important political results, he derived personally none of their advantages. No man labored more zealously with such generous regard of pecuniary or political reward.” (Joel Munsell, “The Annals of Albany,” Volume 9, 1858, pp. 172-173)

The Herald Is Not Pleased

To the Patrons of the OTSEGO HERALD. It will be seen by our paper of to-day, that a new paper is about to be established in this village, by Mr. Clark, who has lately managed the editorial department of the Herald. Without animadverting on the futility of maintaining a third newspaper establishment in this town, we would merely observe, that as many might be induced to suppose, that by this arrangement, the Otsego Herald would become extinct, the proprietors have thought proper, with a view to correct any erroneous impressions, to inform their friends, and the public, that they are determined to continue their establishment, and that nothing on their part shall be wanting to render it deserving of their liberal patronage, which has been heretofore extended to it, and which they confidently trust, will be continued. H. & E. PHINNEY.

COMMENT: In fact, the Watch-tower outlived the Otsego Herald, which went under in 1821, while the village’s third paper, The Freeman’s Journal (called the Impartial Observer, 1808-1809, and the Cooperstown Federalist, 1809-1817) is with us still. At least once, in the 1850s, Cooperstown again had three weekly newspapers.

“Great Battle”

Middlebury, March 2. About 12 o’clock on Saturday night, a detachment of the enemy were discovered in a large swamp in the east part of this town. A strong guard of citizens was immediately detached, and posted at short distances on the road near the mountain to cut off the enemy’s retreat until day-light.

On Sunday morning, a party was dispatched into the swamp to reconnoitre the enemy’s position. The main body, consisting of about 400 men, having surrounded the swamp, moved on the attack in four hundred divisions. The action commenced about ten o’clock, and about twelve became general throughout the whole line,

The enemy made a most obstinate resistance, but were at length compelled to yield to superior numbers. No quarter was given, and but one escaped!

The fruits of this victory, to tell the plain truth, were FIVE WOLVES! for the scalps of each of which the fortunate conquerors will receive twenty instead of six dollars.

COMMENT: There was a bounty paid, to encourage the killing of wolves (which were then considered a dangerous, rather than an endangered, species).


A letter from York-Town, Virginia, of the 4th inst. states, This village was yesterday visited by a dreadful conflagration ... The fire commenced at Mrs. Gibbons’s white house at the upper end of the town and in a short time our village presented a view of one continued flame! Thirty eight buildings are consumed with our public ones, and the portion of the town under the hill is one universal scene of desolation. Many of our inhabitants have lost their all — our Court-House, Church, Mrs. Judith Nelson’s large building all in ashes.

COMMENT: Much of this town, famous for the battle that ended the American Revolution, was destroyed — including most of its then well-known early American buildings. The town is now, in 2014, preparing to “celebrate” the 200th anniversary of the occasion on March 4.