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October 17, 2013

Cooperstown Elephant!

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

Saturday, October 16, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

Now or Never!

A FEMALE ELEPHANT, Thirteen years old, upwards of eight feet high, and weighs more than five thousand seven hundred pounds, to be seen at JOSEPH GRIFFIN’S [the Red Lion Inn, alias “The Bold Dragoon,”], in the village of Cooperstown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the 21st, 22d and 23d inst. [October].

Those who wish to gratify their curiosity in viewing the wonderful works of nature, will do well to call on either of the above mentioned days, as she positively will be removed the next morning. Perhaps the present generation may never have an opportunity of seeing an Elephant, as this is the only one in the United States, and this, perhaps, the last visit to this place. -- Admittance 25 cents—Children half price.

Hours of exhibition from 9 in the morning until 5 in the evening.

October 16, 1813. [article accompanied by a large illustration of an elephant]

COMMENT: This was “Old Bet,” first heard of in Boston in 1804, and considered to be the first or second elephant brought from India to America. Hachaliah Bailey (1775-1845) bought her in Somers, New York in 1808 (where she is still remembered with both “The Elephant Hotel” and a statue), and toured eastern America with her. On July 24, 1816, she was shot by a farmer near Albert, Maine, who thought it was sinful for humans to pay to see an animal.

Merchandise Tax

An act laying duties on licenses to retailers of wines, spirituous liquors and foreign merchandize....

On retailers of merchandize, including wines and spirits, if in cities, towns or villages, containing, within the limits of one mile square, more than one hundred families, twenty-five dollars; of wines alone, twenty dollars; of spirits alone, twenty dollars; of domestic spirits alone, fifteen dollars; of merchandize other than wines and spirits fifteen dollars.... August 2, 1813...JAMES MADISON.

COMMENT: The desperate effort to find new means of financing the War of 1812 continued: carriages, distillers, now liquor stores.

Fossils Discovered

ANTI-DILUVIAN CURIOSITIES. Watertown, (N.Y.) Aug. 24. A gentleman on a tour to the westward this summer on exploring the mountain and ledges in the county of Oneida, has found a variety of valuable petrefactions, consisting of sea shell fish, &c. most of them were found enclosed in the softer kind of lime rock; some of them deep in the lime stone quarry.

In Jefferson county, near Sacket’s Harbor, he has found some still more extraordinary; among them are a large species of coral, and the weapons or tusks of several non-described animals which, by the appearance of their teeth, &c. must have been very formidable, and which as materialists say, must have had their existence previous to the general deluge.

COMMENT: Sea fossils from the Ordovician period (440-505 million years ago) are common along the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Further south, as in Otsego County, fossils from the Devonian period (360-410 million years ago) are common.

Curious Heavenly Phenomenon

From the [Keene] New Hampshire Centinel: Last Sunday evening, at half past eight o’clock, there appeared a little west from this village a most beautiful rainbow, the arch was complete, and the prismatic hues plainly discernable [sic]. In the western part of the hemisphere might be seen a dark cloud adorned with a beautiful rainbow, rising with awful grandeur; from which issued vivid flashes of lightning, accompanied with loud peals of thunder—in the east might be seen the clear sky, spangled with stars—the moon rising in full splendor and forming a pleasing contrast to the lurid prospect in the west—the lowering clouds---the forked lightnings—the reverberating thunder—the driving rain—the cerulean space—the twinkling stars—the full orbed moon, and the silence of the night—all combined to render the scene indiscribably [sic] sublime and beautiful.

COMMENT: The village was that of Westmoreland, New Hampshire.

Two Sad Suicides

Youthful depravity and desperation. The papers gave an account, a few days since, of a boy, 13 or 14 years old, at Williamsburgh, Va. having shot himself, on the 10th instant, in consequence of receiving a severe chastisement from his father. An instance of equal singularity and savage hardihood in this city in Friday last, when Daniel Caugholin, a boy 14 or 15 years old and small for his age, having been corrected by his master for swimming in the river, immediately went and hanged himself with his handkerchief! – Columbian.

A Crime

Peter Pyner, a black man, was lately convicted of a rape, committed on the body of a white female, and received sentence of death, at Northampton, Mass. The circumstances in this case were stated to be extremely distressing, and his guilt clearly proved.

Execution in Portugal

Lisbon, May 8. Yesterday an Englishman, Mr. H. nephew of an English Peer [nobleman], late of the Impetueux, underwent the sentence of the Portuguese laws. The law for murderer decrees that he shall be strangled, and then have his head and hands cut off, and be removed to the place where the murder was committed, put upon a pole, with his hands nailed under the head, and there to continue three days....

COMMENT: “Mr. H.” is identified only as one “who had killed a Portuguese, in a quarrel which originated at a gaming table,” HMS Impetueux was a British warship, originally the French warship “America,” built in 1788, captured by the British in 1795. and serving in the British navy until 1813.