From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, July 31, 1813
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
A Marine Biography
JAMES BROOM, first lieutenant of marines on board the Chesapeake, about 24 years of age, was killed in the action with the Shannon on the 1st of June. He was born at Wilmington in the state of Delaware. His father, major Abraham Broom, until this unfortunate bereavement, had three sons, all of whom were enrolled in the naval or military service of their country.
His brother Charles, about 18 years of age, is now a lieutenant of marines serving with commodore Chauncey on the lakes, and promises to be an ornament to his profession, having, to use the expression of his gallant commander in relation to him, “a veteran head on young shoulders.” His youngest brother, Thomas, is a cadet at West Point, preparing for military service.
James was on board the Chesapeake as midshipman on his first cruise when she was attacked by the Leopard [in 1807], and ... received several wounds. These he never forgot, and ardently wished for an opportunity to wipe off the stain on the national flag which that unhappy event ... was supposed to have occasioned ...
From the time he entered in the service he was constantly employed ... Such youth as these the times can but ill spare. They ... have by their brilliant exploits raised the public expectation to so lofty a height that none but such as they can meet it.
The gloom which the disasters of the war have overspread the nation is cheered only by the ray of resplendent success which the navy sheds ... They nobly sustain the character which their fathers acquired in the revolution, and prove that they, at least, have courage and skill to tread the path which leads to glory ...
His father ... says [before James’ death was confirmed]: “I am much afraid my poor James is no more — his situation, having the command of the boarders ... and knowing his intrepid spirit, I have but little hopes that he lives ... He fell doing his duty like a soldier, and when living was a dutiful son and beloved by all who knew him.” His country’s sympathy is all she has to give ... —United States Gazette.
COMMENT: During this battle, in which HMS Shannon boarded and captured USS Chesapeake, 15 US Marines were killed and 20 wounded.
The parents of this family of three military veterans were Maj. Abraham Broom (1755-1835) of Wilmington, Del., and Elizabeth Rumsey, who also had four daughters. Their three sons were: James M. Broom (ca. 1789-1813), U.S. Marine Corps; Lt. Col. Charles Rumsey Brown (ca. 1795-1840), U.S. Marine Corps (a Marine for more than 27 years), and Thomas Rumsey Brown, (b. 1797) West Point cadet.
I do hereby offer to accept, on demand, any bets, from FIVE THOUSAND to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, to the end of proving in a few days, both by mathematical data, and by three separate experiments, to the satisfaction of three enlightened judges ... that Mr. Charles Redheffer’s Machine is genuine, and it is incontestably ... a perpetual self-moving principle ... N.B. This to be valid until the 15th [July] at sun-setting. CHARLES GOBERT, Civil Engineer ... Philadelphia, July 12, 1813 ... from a Philadelphia Paper.
COMMENT: Redheffer’s “machine” had already been proved to be a fake, operated secretly by an old man turning a crank, by none other than Robert Fulton (1765-1815), the inventor of the steamboat, and the Otsego Herald had run an article exposing it in January 1813.
A fraud has been lately discovered in the General Post Office in Washington. It has some time been suspected, that the dead letters which have been sent from the different post-offices to the general post-office, had been opened, and in some where money had been enclosed, it had been taken out. There are two clerks in the office, whose duty it was to attend to the dead letters.
Suspicion having fallen upon one of them who was innocent, he contrived to save his own character from imputation by discovering the thief. He concealed himself in a chest in the room where the letters are kept, and through the key-hole discovered his colleague (Henry Aborn) opening the letters containing money, and put them in his pocket. He immediately mentioned the circumstance to the Post Master General; but Aborn getting wind of the discovery, absconded. The Grand Jury of the city are now investigating the circumstances.
COMMENT: The “Inspector of Dead Letters” was created by Congress in 1777, to examine and seek to deliver or return to sender letters without proper addresses. The “Dead Letter Office” was recently named, no doubt to be politically correct, the “Mail Recovery Center.” As of 2000 there were three such centers, with a total of more than 200 clerks. Apparently Henry Aborn needed the money; his real property in Washington, D.C., was seized on July 27, 1813.
Dancing School Postponed
Mr. Shepherd, respectfully informs the inhabitants of this place, that a number having declined subscribing to his school, alleging as a reason that it was too early in the season, has therefore postponed opening his school to the first of September next, and as that will be the most pleasant season in the year for a Dancing School, he flatters himself he shall meet with liberal encouragement. Cooperstown, July 31, 1813.
Two merino lambs were exhibited at the court in Talbot county, (Md.) in May last, the fleeces of which weighed, one 20 and an half, the other 18 and an half pounds. The weight of the lambs were, 174, and 159 lbs. Their united fleeces, making 39 lbs. at $2 per pound, were worth seventy eight dollars.
COMMENT: This was in the midst of the so-called “Merino sheep” craze when that breed (smuggled into America from Spain) was going strong — not least in Otsego County — and both the sheep themselves and their heavy fleeces brought enormous prices.