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Otsego Herald

October 4, 2012

Unnecessary gallantry

Weather: Utica 1812 Almanack: High winds from the S.W., with rain.



Married, on the evening of the 15th September last, by the rev. Samuel Martin, the REV. JOHN SMITH, of Cooperstown, Otsego county, and state of New-York, to MISS POLLY LAIRD, of Chanceford township, York County, Pennsylvania.

COMMENT: Rev. John Smith (1785-1860) had been ordained as Presbyterian Minister in Cooperstown on Feb. 7, 1811, and held the position until 1833. He has been described by Rev. Ralph Birdsall in “The Story of Cooperstown” (1917) as a “tall strongly built man, who loomed large in the pulpit as a champion of old fashioned orthodoxy. His manner of delivery was soporific, his voice thick and monotonous, but none could gainsay the learning and intellectual power of his discourses.”

Smith’s departure was not a happy one. In the words of James Fenimore Cooper, in his “Chronicles of Cooperstown” (1837): “The departure of Mr. Smith, and the causes which induced it, being of a spiritual character, were connected with a separation of this congregation into two congregations, one of which held its religious worship in the court house and in the great hall of the "Hall," the latter building being at that time unoccupied by any person but a keeper.” (The “Hall” was the Cooper home of “Otsego Hall.” which the author would buy back and re-occupy when he returned to live in Cooperstown in 1834.)

This “Second Presbyterian Church” of Cooperstown, preached that “it is wrong to make, vend, use or give ardent spirits as an article of common commerce.” But after a year, and with the departure of Rev. Smith (who went on to become a Presbyterian Minister in Oneonta), the two churches were re-united. I have not found further details about Polly (Mary) Laird.


Take Notice,

Lost some time since, a Note of hand against Benjamin Parker, of eighteen dollars and fifty cents, payable on the first day of October, 1812, with interest, payable to Silas Peet and believed to be negotiable; this is therefore to warn the public against purchasing said Note if it should be offered for sale, as the same has been paid.

SILAS PEET, Edmeston, Sept. 39th, 1812.

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