Otsego Herald for Aug. 16, 1819, compiled with comments.

Jump made with balloon

New York, Aug. 3.

At an early hour on the afternoon, every carriage was in requisition for the (Vauxhall) gardens — and Broadway, the Bowery, and all the roads leading to that place were crowded. ... The lower parts of the town were nearly depopulated. Every tree, fence and shed in the vicinity of the garden, was covered with spectators, anxiously waiting to see the balloon ascend. ...

At five minutes past 6 (the balloon) was completely inflated and immediately rose about 40 feet. At 18 minutes past 6, Mr. (Louis Charles) Guille advanced to the centre of the circle ... took leave from his wife, bowed gracefully to the spectators, and took his poition in the basket. In an instant the balloon began to ascend ... the wind wafting it towards Long Island.

In less than ten minutes the parachute was detached from the balloon, and was seen for nearly half an hour, gradually descending, apparently over Long Island; the balloon continuing ... to ascend, till it finally disappeared in the clouds.

Till about 9 o’clock in the evening, much anxiety was manifested for the fate of the Aeronaut, when ... he reached the earth in safety ... at Bushwick ... about six miles from Vauxhall garden.

He reached town about half past eight o’clock with his parachute, in perfect health and spirits. – Mercury Advertiser.

COMMENT: Balloon ascensions in America went back as far as the 1700s, but this was apparently the first parachute descent. From drawings it looks like Guille was in a basket under the parachute, perhaps controlling its descent by throwing out ballast. U.S. Military pilots during World War I did not use parachutes — when their highly inflammable airplanes caught fire, they often faced a choice between jumping to their deaths, or crashing and burning to death.

For an excellent novel see Ramon Guthrie’s “Parachute” (1928), which is set in the facility for “shell-shocked” Army Pilots after World War I, at what is now the Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.

Otsego cotton factory

The Annual meeting of the Otsego Cotton Manufactory Company, will be held at the house of JOSEPH MUNN, in the village of Cooperstown, on the 23rd day of August, at 5 o’clock P.M. for the purpose of electing Trustees, and transacting any other business that may be necessary. RUSSELL WILLIAMS, Agent.

Cooperstown, August 9, 1819.

COMMENT: Joseph Munn (1756-1830) lived in Cooperstown for many years. He kept a tavern where all kinds of public meetings were held.

Otsego Cotton Manufactory Company seems to have had a short and troubled life, for a court case in 1824 refers to “stock of the Otsego Cotton Manufactory, which has since become insolvent.” Indeed, it was in trouble, because a mortgage it had given on a saw and grist mill it owned on the Susquehanna River was to be sold off in August 1819 for failure to pay the mortgage.

Reorganization of Agricultural Society

A meeting of the Agricultural Society of the County of Otsego. will be held at the house of Joseph Munn, in Cooperstown, on Thursday the 26th day of August for the purpose of re-organizing the Society, agreeably to the act of the Legislature of this date. ROBERT CAMPBELL, Rec. Sec.

Cooperstown, August 12, 1819.

COMMENT: The Otsego County Agricultural Society was founded in January 1817, the first such in New York. James (Fenimore) Cooper was its first “corresponding secretary.” I have not discovered details of a 1819 reorganization.

Welch in Missouri?

The St. Louis Gazette, after mentioning some account of the testimonies existing in support of the opinion that there is now inhabiting the southern branches of the Missouri a race of men from the Welch emigrants, who embarked to the number of 323 persons, in ten 10 vessels under prince Madoc, in the year 1170, from North Wales, mentions that an expedition is on foot for a thorough investigation of the fact.

The persons engaged in the undertaking are Messrs. Roberts and Parry, Welchmen, who speak the language of North and South Wales.

It is said that they are industrious, persevering men, and that they will pursue the search as long as the probability of a discovery exists.

COMMENT: Despite efforts to use the Madoc myth to promote tourism both in Wales and in the United States, there is no hard evidence that the 1170 voyage ever took place. An expedition in the 1790s up the Missouri River for some 1700 miles from St. Louis, found nothing.

Of this new proposed expedition, the Philadelphia Union commented that “We suspect the voyage of these two gentlemen, to discover their countrymen, will fall short of its object. They are said to be persevering men, and the expedition may be of some service in exploring the country about the southern branches of the Missouri.”

I have seen no evidence that it did so.

Corpse as bait

The wife of a laboring man, in the neighborhood of Stockholm, died some time ago, and the husband made the necessary preparations for her interment. —

He, however, deposited a block of wood in the coffin, instead of the corpse, which he conveyed, during the night, into a forest, that it might serve as a bait for wild beasts. By this horrible expedient, he succeeded in catching a wolf and two foxes.

The man was arrested and carrried before a court of justice; but far from being intimidated, he claimed the reward offered for destroying mischievous animals. – from a German paper.

COMMENT: This is the kind of story certain to get wide circulation, even if it was not true.

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