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April 3, 2014

Fasting, humiliation and prayer

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, April 2, 1814

Compiled, with comments



The Presbytery of Oneida, having met at Whitesborough, on the 3d day of February, 1814, took into consideration the present calamitous state of our country, the war, its disastrous and demoralizing effects, the prevalence of immorality, of irreligion, drunkenness, sabbath-breaking, and vices of various kinds,

Resolved, that the second Thursday of April next, be recommended to the Churches under our care, as a day of FASTING, HUMILIATION AND PRAYER; — that we then lay aside our secular employments; assemble ourselves together in our respective places of public worship; and there beseech God to pardon our national and individual sins; to sanctify to us our national and individual sufferings and calamities; to arrest the horrors and ravages of war; to grand the blessing of peace to our bleeding country; to shield our soldiers in the day of battle; to protect our borders;

— to counsel our counsellors; to inspire our rulers with heavenly wisdom; to preserve our constitutional union; to secure to us and to our posterities the blessed privileges of civil and religious freedom; ... that religion, civil order, peace and righteousness may every where prevail; that wisdom, piety and knowledge may be the stability of our times. ... ANDREW OLIVER, Moderator. JOHN SMITH, Clerk.

COMMENT: Such days were frequently proclaimed whenever conditions in America seemed bleak, or our future in danger. Seven such days were proclaimed by Congress on a national level during the American Revolution; President Adams proclaimed two during the “semi-war” with France in 1798-99; President Madison three during the War of 1812; and three by President Lincoln during the Civil War. More recent proclamations — now held annually — have left out the “fasting” and “humiliation” (except for one by President Carter proclaimed Oct. 9, 1980 as a day of prayer and optional fasting, because of the holding hostage of American diplomats in Iran).

In 1819 Rev. Andrew Oliver (1762-1820) became the first moderator of the newly created Presbyterian of Otsego, and died in Springfield.

Washington Library

The annual meeting of the Washington Library Society, will be held at J. MUNN’s Hotel, Cooperstown, on Tuesday the 5th of April next, at 3 o’clock, P.M. for the purpose of electing officers for the ensuing year. ROBERT CAMPBELL, Librarian. Cooperstown, March 29, 1814.

COMMENT: This library seems to have been founded about 1820. Robert Campbell (1781-1847), a graduate of Union College, came from Cherry Valley to Cooperstown. In 1830 he became the first president of the Otsego County Bank.


DIED — In Hartwick, on Saturday, the 26th ult. [March] of a lingering illness, which she bore with christian fortitude and resignation, Mrs. DOROTHY MIX, aged 52, wife of Mr. Rufus Mix, of that town.

COMMENT: Dorothy Mix (1760-1814) was the wife of Rufus Mix (b. ca.1757), a Revolutionary War veteran from Connecticut. He later moved to Albany.

School Money Available

The proportion of School Money for the county of Otsego, has been received from the Superintendent of Common Schools. The several towns in the county can have the same for the year 1813, by applying for it. An order signed by all the Commissioners, will be necessary, which may be drawn payable to any one of them, or any other person — It will also be necessary that the Town-Clerk in each town certify that such persons were duly appointed Commissioners of Schools, at the last annual Town Meeting.

HENRY PHINNEY, Treasurer. Cooperstown, March 26, 1814.

COMMENT: “Common schools,” required in each town within walking distance of all potential pupils, were subsidized by the state (and by the towns themselves), but were neither free to parents nor compulsory.

For Rent

To Let, and possession given immediately, the room in the brick building, next door south of H. & E. Phinney’s Bookstore, lately occupied by Cory & Starr as a Dry Good and Grocery Store, with a commodious cellar under it. The room is completely shelved and fitted for Dry Goods or other Merchandize. For terms apply to H. & E. PHINNEY. Cooperstown, April 2, 1814.

Famed Elocutionist

Mr. Ogilvie is engaged in delivering a course of lectures on elocution, at Washington. His first discourse was pronounced on Thursday week last, in the hall of the representatives, and was attended by almost the whole delegation of congress, besides a numerous bevy of ladies. The Intelligencer speaks in raptures of his sublimity and enthusiasm. – Boston Gazette.

COMMENT: James Ogilvie (1760-1820) was a very well-known teacher of elocution — the art of effective public speaking. Born in Scotland, he came to America where he became famous both for his lectures, and later for a book “Philosophical Essays” (1816) that he wrote on the subject. As this brief article indicates, he seems to have attracted in his audiences almost everyone in Washington who had need to address the public convincingly. He became a friend of Thomas Jefferson and tutored his grandson. He was, however, a drug addict, and about 1817 returned to Scotland, where he committed suicide in 1820.

A Lost Piece of Wood

A piece of logwood was left at H. & E. Phinney’s Bookstore some time last winter. — The owner can have it by calling for it.