The Otsego Herald for Dec. 7, 1818, compiled, with comments:
Getting There and What I Found
Excerpt of a letter, dated Washington, Nov. 10
“I reached here in the mail stage in thirty four hours from the time I left home. The post coaches first introduced in New-Jersey, are now established on the whole route; and are much easier, safer & more convenient than the old carriages. Good horses and careful drivers, lessen the dangers, and increase the despatch, throughout this line.
“The roads are improved in many parts since I travelled it; and the delay and risk formerly encountered in crossing the Susquehannah, are obviated by a steam-boat, which differs little in the security and expedition it affords from a bridge.
“This place is rapidly advancing in buildings and population. Two or three hundred dwellings have been erected since last spring, either completed or approaching completion.
“Yet rents are extravagantly high, and boarding consequently higher than in any other city in the United States. Marketing is scarce and dear — the improvement of the surrounding country not keeping pace with the increase of population in the city.
“The public buildings are progressing; but not with the rapidity expected by many. So far from the capitol (building) being ready for the reception of congress this session, I have no doubt it will require the whole of another season to complete it.
“I have heard it suggested here, that the applications for (military) pensions under the act of last session are numerous beyond all estimation; and that two or three millions of dollars a year will be necessary to discharge them all.
“Many frauds have been attempted; and the utmost vigilance is necessary to guard against them. This, with the incorrect manner in which most of the declarations are made or authenticated and the deficiency of documentary evidence in the department to check impositions, have produced the delay so much complained of by many.”
COMMENT: Washington was still rebuilding its public buildings, like the White House and the Capitol building, after they were burned by the British during the War of 1812.
Terrible Wreck on Lake Michigan
Letter dated Fort Dearborn, Chicago, Oct. 13.
“I have to communicate the painful intelligence of the loss of the schooner Hercules, with every person on board. She sailed from this post on the evening of the 2d (October) and was wrecked near the head of the lake, during one of the most dreadful gales of wind within the recollection of the oldest inhabitants of this country.
“It came on early on the morning of the third, and continued to rage with unremitting violence until the evening of the fourth, when it in some measure subsided, and the lake became more calm. ...
“On the morning of the 10th, I detached Lieut. Dean...in search of the dead bodies, and to obtain, if possible, a more circumstantial account of the melancholy event. They returned last evening, and report that they found the remains of one of the unfortunate sufferers only, and that in a situation not to be identified; that the shore was literally strewed with the fragments of the vessel, from twelve to fifteen miles in length. ...
“But no information could be gained of the hull, nor could they recover any of the lost property, except an old uniform coat of Lieut. Eveleth’s, two handkerchiefs and a part of his flute ... which they took from an Indian canoe.
“The Ottowas (Indians) ... state that the Potawatamies ... carried off every article of value they could lay their hands upon. ...
“I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) DANIEL BAKER, Major U.S. Army”
Slave Trade to Cuba
Arrived at Havanna, Oct. 29, from Africa: ship Jupiter with 330 slaves; brig San Jose with 403; brig Brilliante with 354; Vengador with 400; schooner Astrea with 118; schooner Circassiana with 120. — Daily Advertiser.
COMMENT: Over a million African slaves were imported into Cuba before the slave trade there was abolished in 1886. Most were employed in growing sugar cane, but others were exported to other places, such as Florida even after it became an American territory in 1819.
Amaziah Blackmore, an old man about 65 years of age, was ... indicted for an assault and battery, with an attempt to commit a rape, on a little girl, about 10 years of age, in the town of Unadilla — found guilty, and sentenced to imprisonment in the state prison, at hard labor, for four years.
Caleb E Brooks was indicted for grand larceny, charged with stealing a horse, tried, found guilty, and sentenced to confinement in the State Prison, at hard labor, for five years.
One Cent Reward
Absconded, from the service of the subscriber, on the 3d (December) an apprentice girl, named POLLY COLE, about 12 years of age. Whoever will return her to the subscriber, shall receive one cent reward, but not charges paid. All persons are forbid harboring or trusting her on my account.
ELEAZER BLISS, Hartwick, Dec. 4 1818.
COMMENT: Eleazer Bliss (1745-1833) came from Rehoboth, Massachusetts, son of Abraham Bliss (1697-1787) and Sarah Ormesby Bliss (b. 1698), and settled in Hartwick in 1803. In 1769 he married Betsey Ingalls Bliss (1751-1808), and after her death Sally Tuttle Bliss (1760-1833). He served as a private during the Revolution, and died on his farm in Hartwick “after a severe sickness of three weeks.”