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September 12, 2013

Otsego men drafted

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, September 11, 1813

Compiled, with comments



Agreeably to General Orders ... received last evening ... by Lieut. Col. Elijah M. Metcalf, of this village, it appears that this county has to furnish as its quota of Artillery, 1 captain, 2 first lieutenants, 2 second do., 5 sergeants, 6 corporals, 1 drummer, 1 fifer, and 90 privates, total 108,whom we understand, by Col. are to rendezvous in this village, as soon as they can be organized ...

The quota of Militia, of this county, is as follows: 1 Captain, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Ensigns, 5 Sergeants, 5 Corporals, 1 Drummer, 1 Fifer, and 90 privates of Infantry, and the same of Light Infantry; total 216 ...

The detachment is required under the authority of the act of Congress, passed 28th February, 1795,and will not serve a longer term than three months.

COMMENT: All told, this draft of militia covered eight counties, and called for 1,496 infantry, 540 light infantry, 106 riflemen, 432 artillery, and a company of horse artillery. The field artillery were to be commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Elijah Hyde Metcalf (1778-1821) of Cooperstown.

Virtually all able-bodied white males were required to serve in the militia. When a draft of them was called, volunteers could take their place to the extent available. A major problem with New York militia during the War of 1812, aside from the fact that most were untrained and badly equipped, is that many units refused point-blank to serve outside the boundary of New York State, thus wrecking a number of American attempts to invade Canada.

“Light Infantry” were units intended to march outside the main heavy infantry units, to screen them from attack, and its “members were often smaller, more agile men with high shooting ability and capability of using initiative.” Rifle-men, of course, carried rifles — as opposed to the smooth-bore muskets of regular infantry.

Direct Tax

By the “act to lay and collect a Direct Tax (of three millions) within the United States,” the following apportionment is made among the several states ... New York $480,141.62 ... The quota of the state of New-York ... is apportioned among the several counties, as follows: ... Otsego $11,690 ...

A direct tax ... shall be assessed and laid on the value of all lands, lots of grounds with their improvements, dwelling houses and slaves ...”

COMMENT: New York was charged more tax than any other state (Virginia was next with $369,018.44). Of the 43 counties, Otsego paid more than Ulster County but less than Westchester. Under the Constitution (until the Income Tax Amendment of 1913), all direct taxes on income — like electoral votes — had to be apportioned in accordance with the population of states and counties, and slaves were counted as 3/5 of a white person (which increased the voting power of Southern whites, since slaves didn’t vote, but reduced their direct taxes). Direct income taxes were collected under emergency legislation during the Civil War.


Married at Canajoharie ... on the 5th [September] by the Rev. Mr. Elliot, ALPHONSO WETMORE, Lieut. 23d Regt. U.S.I. to the amiable and accomplished Miss MARY SMITH, of that town.

At Cherry-Valley, on the 8th [September] by the Rev Mr. Cooley, Mr. ROBERT DUNLAP, of the late firm of Diell and Dunlap, Merchants, to Miss HANNAH BURGETT, step daughter of Mr. Jesse Johnson, of that town.

COMMENT: Alphonso Wetmore (1793-1848), married Mary Smith (b. 1793); they had eight children. Robert Dunlap (1787-1863) married Hannah Butler Burgett [aka Burkett] (1794-af. 1862); they had 10 children. We may hope that she was as amiable and accomplished as Miss Mary Smith.


In Albany, on the 4th [September] Mr. EZEKIEL BURLINGHAM, of Hartwick, in this county.

In this village, last evening, of a nervous fever, Miss LORA BALDWIN, aged 15 years, second daughter of Mr. Joseph Baldwin.

COMMENT: Joseph Baldwin, a cooper (barrel maker) settled in Cooperstown in 1790, the third settler in the village. Lora is buried in the Presbyterian Churchyard, Cooperstown.

A Bank Needed

NOTICE: A MEETING of persons friendly to preferring a Petition to the Legislature of this State, at their next session, for the incorporation of a BANK in the county of Otsego, is requested at the Court-House in Cooperstown, on Thursday the 16th [September] at one o’clock in the afternoon.

Pro Bono Publico – September 4, 1813



MR. CLARK, I observe a notice in your last paper, requesting a meeting in Cooperstown, on the 16th [September] for the purpose of procuring a bank. I have for some time been anxiously wishing for the same, and have been surprised that it has not been agitated before. The county of Otsego is certainly second to but two or three counties of the state, for improvements; manufactures and a spirit of enterprise; and as far as I understand the principle of banking, I cannot believe, that the citizens of Otsego County are as much entitled to the privileges and benefits of a banking institution, and are as capable of managing its commerce as many other counties, who have already obtained charters ... A FARMER.

COMMENT: The Otsego County Bank was not, in fact, organized and incorporated until 1830, in the stone building with columns which still stands next to the entrance to Cooper Park.