The Otsego Herald for Sept. 21, 1818, compiled, with comments

Levi Pease — Postal Pioneer

It will hardly be credited as fact, though true, that at no more remote a period than 1783, there was but one mail route in the whole United States, which extended no farther than from Portsmouth to Philadelphia or Baltimore;—the mail was then carried in a portmanteau by a man on horseback; Messrs. Hyde & Adams being the contractors and carriers; that it passed from Boston to Hartford only once a week, and this was then its most rapid progress.

And that now there are [3,250] Post Office establishments; more than [460] mail contractors; and the mails are carried a greater distance every week than the circumference of the globe.

Mr. L. Pease, of Shrewsbury, who is now alive, was the first who contracted, in 1783, to carry the mail in stages, in New England; and with the exception of a contract made the year before, to carry that between New York and Philadelphia, in the United States. To the assiduity, enterprise and perseverance of this gentleman, is the country indebted, for a great part of the accommodation now so justly appreciated. – Columbian Centinel.

COMMENT: A plaque on his tombstone says of Levi Pease (1739-1824) of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. “1775 Soldier, Govt. Forager; Dispatch Bearer. 1783 Organizer and Proprietor of First Stage Coach Lines in the United States. 1786 First Contractor for Carrying U.S. Mail.”

A Connecticut History website states: “One of Pease’s greatest successes was winning the first United States Post Office contract to carry the mail. By the end of the 1700s, Pease’s operation had grown from 2, to 4, to 15 proprietors and his stage coaches carried mail from New Hampshire to Georgia. Pease’s efforts so impressed the government that, in 1799, the United States Postmaster asked Pease to come to Philadelphia and help design a reliable system to replace the poor mail delivery service that existed between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Pease took over the entire operation (right down to designing new mail coaches), providing an opportunity for the United States government to get into the mail coach business.”

So far as I can make out, no postal stamp honoring Pease has ever been issued.

‘Chemical Lecture’

A LECTURE on Chemical affinities as appearing in single and double elective attractions, metallic solutions, precipitations, sympathetic inks, and changes of colour, by the admixture of different reagents, will be given by Dr. WILLARD this evening, at 7 o’clock, at the [Cooperstown] court house.

An examination by Chemical tests of a bottle of water from the new Washington Spring, at Ballston, will also be made, and a repetition of the experiment of kindling a fire at the bottom of a glass of cold water, will be given.

For the accommodation of that class who may wish to see Chemical experiments as a matter of amusement only, unconnected with science, the tickets will be put at twenty-five cents, and for children at half price, to be had at the Bar at Mr. Griffin’s, and at Mr. Danielson’s.... Cooperstown, Sept. 21

COMMENT: I suspect, but haven’t been able to demonstrate, that Dr. Willard may by Dr. John Willard (1759-1825), who married Emma (Hart) Willard (1787-1870), founder of the Emma Willard School in Troy. The Washington Spring in Ballston (now Ballston Spa) was visited by George Washington in 1783 (hence its name) and first commercialized in 1806.


All persons are hereby forbid trusting any of my family on my account, without a written order from me, as I am determined to pay no such debts after this date. EBEN B. CURTISS. Exeter, Sept. 2, 1818.

COMMENT: Ebenezer (Eben) Birdseye Curtiss (1794-1838), in his will, made shortly before his death in Ellicott, Chautauqua County, in February 1838, left his property to his children. No mention in it was made of his wife, Sally (Cronkhite) Curtiss (1799-1881).

Our Navy

The United States Navy consists, it is believed, of [32 larger ships mentioned by size]. We go on adding to our navy as fast as we can obtain well seasoned timber—and it is thus we go on, until we shall become, as Bishop Watson once predicted, “the greatest naval power of the globe.”

Our government wisely pursues the plan of keeping the vessels we have, in service, active—and our seamen well trained.—For which purpose they send them on distant expeditions, where our commerce or concerns will be benefitted by their presence.

Some of them are stationed in the Mediterranean, to watch the crouching Corsair [i.e., pirates from the Barbary States of North Africa]. Others are despatched to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Pacific or Indian Oceans. Wherever they go, they bear the flag and reputation of their country.—

They bring distant nations acquainted with the discipline of our seamen, and the urbanity of our officers. Our commerce is protected against exaction and seizure—and an impression is everywhere imperceptibly disseminated of our strength, of our enterprise, of the blended firmness and courtesy of our naval heroes. – Richmond Enquirer

COMMENT: Most of the glory from the recently ended War of 1812 had come from our navy and its commanders, even though it remained much smaller than those of the major European powers like Britain and France.

New State of Illinois

The convention, elected to form a state constitution for the territory of Illinois, met at Kaskaskia, on the 3d [August]. It appears, by the census, that the territory contains 40,156 inhabitants.... – Albany Gazette.

COMMENT: Illinois now has a population of 22.8 million

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