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March 28, 2013

Trust Nobody!

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, March 27, 1813

Compiled, with comments



Died in this village on Thursday last, Mrs. SUSAN GRAVES, consort of Mr. RECOMPENCE GRAVES, aged 49 years.

COMMENT: Susan (Little) Graves (1759-1813) died of the prevalent epidemic disease of “spotted fever” (meningococcal meningitis). She was the wife of Recompence Graves (1756-1821), who came to Cooperstown from New Hampshire and was a brass founder and gunsmith, and a veteran of the Revolutionary Battle of Bennington. They were married in 1782 and had a total of about 10 children.


Trust Nobody!

NOTICE. All persons are hereby forbid trusting any of my family, without a written order from me. WILLIAM TYLER. Pittsfield, March 25, 1813.

COMMENT: I haven’t been able to identify him. Did his wife run away and take the children?


Epidemic Cure??

JUST RECEIVED and for sale at the Bookstore of H. & E. Phinney Jun.

AN ESSAY on the Bilious Epidemic Fever, Prevailing in the State of New-York; By CHRISTOPHER C. YATES.

COMMENT: Dr. Christopher C. Yates (1779-1848), from a prominent Albany family, was a medical doctor who became Albany city physician in 1820. He married Ann Muller in 1802, and after her death married, in 1838, the widowed Emma Hart Willard (1787-1870), founder in 1821 of the famous Emma Willard School in Troy. Dr. Yates gave up his medical practice and the couple moved to Boston, but after nine months she walked out on him. He eventually died in Nova Scotia.

Dr. Yates’ book on the epidemic of “spotted fever” (meningococcal meningitis) went through a number of editions, and relied for a guaranteed cure on the heavy use of purgatives and emetics. Much of its second edition was devoted to denouncing letters from other doctors who doubted his cure, and a Dr. Low, also in 1813, published a long pamphlet seeking to expose Yates as a charlatan.

Alleged Atrocities

From a letter from Black Rock, NY, dated Feb. 3, 1813, to his friend in Baltimore:

“I have spoken of savages; but must state something that would disgrace even them: After the defeat of our troops at Queenston, the British merchants and others resident there, provided a parcel of drunken squaws, each with a stocking into which they put iron weights (used in their shops.) and sent them to kill wounded Americans, who lay on the field.

“Many were knocked on the head by these means. This susceptible of the strongest proof. Now Quere, ought we not to wage a war of extermination against so inhuman an enemy?”

COMMENT: I have never seen any corroboration of this atrocity story.

Aliens Removed from Frontiers

We are informed that, the Marshal of this district has received positive orders from the department of state, to remove forthwith all alien enemies concerned in commerce into the country, 40 miles from tide-water. – Baltimore Mercantile Advertiser.

COMMENT: This was correct. Among other things it led to the travel of the Husbands family from Barbados to Hartwick in Otsego County, including their former slave “Joe Tom” Husbands (1808-1881), who became an important character in Cooperstown during much of the 19th century.

Russian Mediation

Washington, March 9: It is understood that the Emperor of Russia has offered to the U. States and Great Britain, his mediation, with a view to promote peace between them…

COMMENT: Russia, of course, was allied with Britain against France.

The Algiers Pirates

A Letter from Daniel Glover [of Salem, Massachusetts] to his mother, dated Algiers, Oct. 1, 1812. He was a member of the crew of the brig Edward, captured by the Algerine pirates:

“Dear Mother – I am very sorry to inform you of my unfortunate situation; we were taken on the 20th August, by an Algerine frigate; were all taken on board the frigate and stripped to our shirts, in which situation we remained five day before we arrived [at Algiers].

“On our arrival we were directed to this dark and gloomy hole; and here to remain until the United States government redeems us. Our allowance is small, being nothing more than two loaves of bread and water for twenty-four hours. We are turned out every morning at day-light, and work all night – sometimes all day and night on this small allowance of bread and water.

“We are all hard to work, some to dragging rocks, and some to sail making. I am at work at carpentering. Capt. Smith is at sail-making. Sometimes we are all dragging rocks on the mountains

“We all have a task master over us, flogging us nearly all the time. As soon as we are done work, we are all marched to this dark and dismal hole where is the number of six hundred slaves, all of us with chains on our legs.

“I am in hopes the government of the United States will soon do something for us, if not I much fear I shall never more see my native home, it is impossible for a person to live long with this usage.

“I am your dutiful son, DANIEL GLOVER.”

COMMENT: This may be the Daniel Glover of Salem (1787-1815) who is listed as having been “lost at sea.”