From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, August 21, 1813
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
Cooper’s Military Failure
We are informed that a Floating Battery, in the form of an Octagon, constructed under the superintendance of Mr. William Cooper, formerly of this village, was stove to pieces on its way from Oswego to Sacket’s harbor, the fore part of July. It is said that 15 men were navigating it, one or two of whom were drowned, and the remainder considerably injured. It is stated to have been built at the expense and risk of Mr. Cooper, and to have cost about 5000 dollars —intended to have carried 16 heavy guns.
COMMENT: This was James Fenimore Cooper’s older brother William (1785-1818), best known for his dubious career at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton):
Major Robert Carr, Commander of Fort Ontario at Oswego wrote in a letter dated July 23, 1813 that: “A flimsy piece of work built or put together by a William Cooper called a floating battery but no better served than a raft sailed a few days since (16th) and took on board two brass twelve pounders with their carriages by order of General Lewis. When half way to the [Sacket’s] Harbor, a storm arose and the raft went to pieces while at anchor 1,200 yards from the shore near Great Sandy Creek. Two lives were lost and the guns went to the bottom in 14 feet of water without buoys.”
William Cooper did not attempt to build another “Ark,” as this “floating battery” was called.
Lost Child Found
Chambersburgh [PA], July 20. A Child 22 months old, son of Mr. John Mitchell ... during a short absence of its mother, about noon on Wednesday ... strolled from the house, and was not found until Friday evening.
The father being from home, Mrs. Mitchell immediately informed the neighbors of the loss of her child, who with a humanity highly commendable forsook their harvest fields to seek the little fugitive — their search proving fruitless, upwards of one hundred men assembled on Thursday, and regularly searched every part of the woods for a considerable distance around the house, but no traces of the child were discovered.
On Friday the search was again renewed, by a large company of foot and horsemen; and just as all hopes of finding it were vanishing and exertion had almost ceased, it was accidentally discovered by some persons who were going a fishing, sitting among the ruins of an old cabin, about two miles and a half from its home! and we are happy to say, has received no material injury from exposure.
When found, it had a stone in its hand resembling in shape a biscuit which it carefully rolled in its slip (the only garment it had on) and holding it concealed there with one hand, extended the other to its deliverer.
TO SUPERVISORS. As it is believed that much inequality has hitherto existed in the system of Taxation in this county, owing to the disproportionate rules which have been adopted by the assessors of the different towns in the valuation of real and personal Estates ... it is ... recommended to the Supervisors of the several towns in the County of Otsego, to ascertain ... the manner in which valuations ... have been made ... in order that the Board of Supervisors may ... be able to detect such inequality if it exists, and form the rolls of the several towns in a uniform system ...
E[lihu] PHINNEY, Clk. Bd. Supervisors, August 19,1813
COMMENT: And you thought that equalization of tax rates was a new problem???
At New-York, on the 12th inst. SAMUEL OSGOOD, Esq. Naval Officer
At East-Haven (Connecticut,) ORLANDO BENTON, Esq. Attorney at Law, late of Unadilla, in this county.
COMMENT: Samuel Osgood (1747-1813) was the first United States Postmaster General (1789-1791), Speaker of the New York State Assembly (1800-1801), and first President of the City Bank of New York (1812-1813), and Naval Officer of the Port of New York (1803-1813). During the American Revolution he led a company of Minute Men at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
Orlando Benton (1790-1813) of Unadilla, was appointed an Attorney in 1812. He had fallen ill in 1812, and was taken by his brother to the seacoast of Connecticut, in hopes that the sea air would help him. It didn’t.
Terms of the Herald
To Village subscribers the price will be Two Dollars per annum, the papers delivered at their doors.
To Classes, Two Pence each paper, payable on delivery.
To persons residing out of the village, who wish to take their papers at the office, One Dollar and Fifty Cents per year.
Subscribers per Mail, Two Dollars per year.
All arrearages must be paid before papers will be discontinued.
Advertisements inserted on the usual terms.
Erie, August 6, 1813. Yesterday our flotilla got safe over the bar — This morning about sun rise, Commodore Perry weighed anchor, and sailed towards Long Point, in pursuit of the enemy. The schooners Ohio and Amelia, and sloop Trippe, brought from Black Rock this summer, each carrying one gun, have been left behind for want of offices and crew.
COMMENT: The result would be the Battle of Lake Erie, on Sept. 10, 1813, perhaps the most important American victory of the War of 1812.