Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

August 29, 2013

A brave patriot?

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, August 28, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

Isaac Sterling

Bravery and Good Fortune. An obliging friend at Braintrim [Wyoming County, PA] has favored us with a letter, written to him from the Genesee —  from which we have extracted the following account, the authenticity of which we have no reason to question.

Mr. Isaac Sterling was employed with his team, in transporting articles for the army in Canada. At the time of the surprise of our troops at 40 Mile Creek [in Upper Canada], he was there with his wagon. Hearing a disturbance in the night, he roused up, and stepping from his wagon found four men near it, who immediately called upon him to surrender, threatening to kill him if he resisted.

Mr. Sterling was true-blooded. Cowardice and he were no partners in trade; — Finding they were enemies he drew a pistol and shot one of them dead on the spot. His other pistol was left in the wagon.

The other three attacked him: From the foremost he had the good fortune to wrest his gun, and immediately he plunged the bayonet into him. The other two attempted to fly, but Mr. Sterling killed one of them and the fourth escaped.

Thus did Mr. S. kill three of the enemy and saved himself from the attack of four, but not without injury; he was wounded in the wrist, in the arm, and in his side, but is slowly recovering. A braver or more successful exploit has rarely been met with. Mr. Sterling certainly deserves a high reward for his valor. — Wilkesbarre Gleaner.

COMMENT: Isaac Sterling (1772-1840) was born in Wilton, Conn., and about 1794 married Margaret Jones. They had 13 children born between 1795 and 1816. It would seem, however, that Isaac liked the country in Upper Canada and after the War of 1812, in 1817, he moved there — and one of his grandsons (born 1818) was named Isaac Brock Sterling after the Canadian military hero!

A family genealogy says this of the above incident: “There is a tradition that during a skirmish Isaac was captured by four of the enemy who started to conduct him to headquarters. The captive did not proceed fast enough for the British, one of whom prodded him in the back with his fixed bayonet, which so enraged Isaac that he turned, wrenched the gun from the soldier’s hands, whirled it around his head, brained one of the men, shot another, bayoneted the third, while the fourth took to his legs and Isaac escaped.”

Despite his heroism Sterling ended up picking Canada over America!

A Common Scold

Boston, August 9. In the municipal court of this town, last week, a woman, residing in Sheafe’s lane, was indicted as a “common scold” and tried and convicted, before the hon. Judge Dawes. This is the first instance of a similar indictment in this country to our knowledge.

In England, indictments of this nature are usual, if we can judge from their law books; and the punishment is by a “ducking stool.” The offense of annoying street passengers or neighbors by any inordinate use of the female tongue, deserves the severe animadversions of the law. Solomon has said “it is better to live upon an house top, than in a wide house, with a brawling woman.”

COMMENT: An early American woman writer, Ann Newport Royall (1769-1854) who “exposed graft and corruption wherever she went,” and whose “boldness and tenacity were remarkable in an era when society was obsessed with the trappings of gentility,” was convicted of being a “common scold” in Washington, D.C. in 1829. However, though the Marines at the Washington Naval Base had duly constructed a “ducking stool” with which to punish her, she ended up being fined $10 (which a newspaper paid). A New Jersey law providing for the indictment of “common scolds” was overturned as too vague in 1972.

Obituaries

DIED—In this village on the 15th [August] of the nervous fever, ZERVIAH NILES, youngest daughter of Mr. GIDEON NILES, aged 9 years.

In Maryland, Otsego county, on Monday the 2d of August, of a short but severe illness, which he bore with manly fortitude, JOSIAH CHASE, aged 65. He retained his senses till within a few minutes of his death.

COMMENT: Gideon Niles (1768-1822) is buried in Fly Creek. “Zerviah” was apparently a family name (grandmother and aunt).

Josiah Chase was an early settler of the Town of Maryland, Otsego Country, where he came in 1791. It was said of him: “The first regular public-house was kept by Josiah Chase, familiarly known as ‘Landlord Chase.’” This was a log building ... It is said that the strength of ‘Landlord Chase’s’ lungs was such that he could be distinctly heard a distance of three miles or more. In corroboration of this statement, it is said that a little son of his one day mounted a tame colt that was running loose in the pasture, and after making several circuits of the field, much to the amusement of the youngster, it redoubled its pace, and seemed about to enter the adjoining woods. The father, witnessing the scene shouted, “Stick to him, ‘Siah! Stick to him! Stick to him, ‘Siah” and his voice was heard by those living three miles distant, in the present town of Worcester.”

Lost Animal

A stray steer came into the enclosure of the subscriber, sometime in June last, of a red color; about 2 years old.—The owner is desired to prove property, pay charges, and take him away. WILLIAM COATS, Jun., Hartwick, August 24,1813.

Navies on Lake Erie

August 12, 1813: AMERICAN: Brigs Lawrence (20 guns), Niagara (20), Caledonia (3; Schooners Ariel (3), Scorpion (2), Somers (2), Tigress (1), Porcupine (1), Ohio (1), Amelia (1); Sloop Trippe (1). BRITISH: Brigs Queen Charlotte (13), Hunter (14), Lady Prevost (10; Sloops Friends Goodwill (2), Erie (2). A new 20 gun brig nearly ready and some gun-boats and tenders.