The Otsego Herald for Oct. 12, 1818, compiled, with comments:

In Town of Springfield

On Thursday last, A.M. Mathew Simmons, about 80 years of age, living in the town of Springfield in this county, was killed by his son _______ Simmons, about 23 years of age. They went to work together in the morning in an adjacent field, with a hoe and shovel. Two or three hours after, young Simmons came to one of the neighbors, Mr. A. Moore, and requested assistance to take his father to the house.

On being asked what ailed his father, he replied, he had struck him with the hoe. Mr. Moore then went with him to the field, and found the old man lying senseless, with his scull (sic) beat in. He was immediately taken to his house where he expired in a few hours.

Young Simmons was immediately taken into custody, and is now lodged in gaol.

He is stated to have been in a state of partial derangement for some time previous to committing this act, but had never discovered (i.e., displayed) any feelings of a malicious nature. His conduct and conversation since his commitment, likewise justifies the presumption that this horrid act was the effect of delirium

COMMENT: The New York Post of Oct. 19 added to this, in a report from Cherry Valley, that: “Verdict of the jury summoned by the coroner (Mr. May) was murder. The deceased was a worthy man and a good citizen. The son, as a matter of caution, has been committed to prison.”


Died — At La Fourche, near New Orleans, WALKER GILBERT, Esq. son of Butler Gilbert, Esq. of the county. Mr. Gilbert sustained an excellent character, and his loss will be severely felt, as he was a highly useful and enterprising citizen.

COMMENT: He was born in Connecticut, about 1790, married Marie Constance LESSARD of Louisiana, in 1810. He was the son of Butler GILBERT and Abigail WOODHOUSE, and was a land surveyor.

Died — In this town, on Wednesday last, Mr. JOHN WOOD, aged 70, a respectable inhabitant.


Marriage — in this town, on Thursday evening last, by the Rev. Mr. Paddock, Mr. BENJAMIN BUTMAN, to Miss ANNA LOOP, all of this town.

COMMENT: Benjamin Butman was born about 1790 in Connecticut; Anna Loop was the daughter of Martin Loop and Mary Hull. The presiding minister was Rev. Benjamin G. Paddock, of the Methodist Church.

Gas Entertainments

For the last time at present. The much admired play, called the NITROUS OXIDE, or EXHILARATING GAS, will be represented at Mr. Munn’s hall this evening, at half past seven o’clock. It is expected that a sufficient number of actors will voluntarily proffer their services to perform their respective parts.

On Wednesday evening, at the Court-House, will be given a Lecture on the properties of Oxygen and Hydrogen Gases, accompanied by an exhibition of GAS LIGHTS, and a number of highly interesting and amusing experiments on the two Gases. – SAMUEL WILLARD. October 12

COMMENT: Nitrous oxide is otherwise known as “laughing gas.” Presumably, volunteers were expected to “perform” the play. Col. Joseph Munn (1756-1830) lived in Cooperstown for many years, where he kept a tavern — where all kinds of public meetings were held between about 1813 and 1825.

The previous July, the following was advertised in a Troy paper: “The subscriber (Samuel Willard) informs the citizens of Troy and the public at large that he has at a great expense fitted up an apparatus for a splendid and brilliant exhibition of this wonderful production of chemistry. An invisible, aerial, and permanently elastic fluid will be made to burn in the atmospheric air with a steady and silent flame, and to afford a soft and most remarkably pleasant light.

“The gas-lights will be exhibited during the whole of the present week at Barney’s City Coffee House, near the court-house in Troy. They will appear in various fanciful forms, as issuing from common burners, from chandeliers, from the beaks and wings of eagles, and from a cross, a crescent, and a fish.”

New American Flag

On Thursday the new flag of the United States was displayed at the navy yard, and on board the national ships of war in this harbor. The “star spangled banner” was saluted by each vessel, by direction of the navy department. Similar honors are to be paid, on its being hoisted at all the stations. — Boston Century

COMMENT: The addition of new states to the Union posed a problem for our flag. To add a star for each state was (and is) not too difficult, though there remains the question of how to arrange those stars. But what about the stripes?

In 1795, two new stars and two new stripes were added to the original 13, for a total of 15, to recognize the admission of Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792). This remained the American flag until 1818, even though an additional five states had been admitted in the period — Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1803), Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816) and Mississippi (1817).

In 1818 Congress decided that, in the future, there would be one star for each state (as counted on the fourth of July following its admission), but only 13 stripes — to recognize the original ones. Therefore, the “new flag” referred to in this article had 20 stars and 13 stripes. For a while, the flag was therefore changing every year or so, as new states continued to be admitted.

“Very like a Serpent.”

The Winyaw (North Carolina) Intelligencer states that three MERMAIDS made their appearance off North Inlet on the 3d of August. — Boston Palladium.

COMMENT: Better to have mermaids than sea serpents.

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