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Otsego Herald

July 18, 2013

Editor dies


From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, July 17, 1813

Compiled, with comments



[All pages of the paper surrounded with heavy black lines, as a sign of mourning]

On Monday last, departed this life, ELIHU PHINNEY, Esq., aged 58 years, after a more than usual illness of 36 hours —  having served the public as Editor of this paper for upwards of 18 years. His health had been gradually declining for the past ten years. He retained his senses to the last, anxiously awaiting the moment of his dissolution; and when that period arrived, to use the words of Pope,

“Taught half by reason, half by mere decay,

He welcom’d death, and calmly pass’d away.”

On Tuesday his funeral was attended at his last residence — where an appropriate prayer was delivered by the Rev. John Smith, after which his remains were borne forward by the Masonic Brethren in solemn procession to the place of interment, and there, with the usual rites and ceremonies of that order, committed to its native dust.

On the same day, RICHARD WARD, Son of Mr. ROBERT R. WARD, aged 1 year and 8 months.

On Tuesday, ELIZABETH COOPER, eldest daughter of Mr. JAMES COOPER, of this village, aged 1 year and 10 months.

COMMENT: Elihu Phinney (1756-1813), originally from Canaan, was invited to come, with his heavy printing press, to Cooperstown by Judge William Cooper. He later wrote how he “in the winter of 1793, penetrated a wilderness, and broke a track, through a deep snow, with six teams, in the ‘depth’ of winter, and was received with a cordiality, bordering on homage.” He began a very successful publishing business, including the annual Phinney’s Almanack, but most importantly, starting in 1795, the weekly “Otsego Herald” carrying international, national, and local news. Originally a supporter of William Cooper’s Federalist Party, Phinney later switched political sides, leading Cooper in 1808 to sponsor a competing weekly paper called “The Impartial Observer” (now the “Freeman’s Journal”). Following Phinney’s death, the publishing company was continued and expanded by his sons Elihu Phinney Jr. (1785-1863) and Henry Phinney (1782-1850).

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