The Otsego Herald for June 21, 1819, compiled, with comments:

Would-be cat-killer

A young man by the name of John Mix, of Austerlitz, lately lost his life in the following singular manner.—

He had made several fruitless attempts to hang a cat, and was often defeated in his object by the cat’s seizing the rope above the noose with her fore paws.

Admiring such feats of agility, he mounted the stool, and fastened the rope round his own neck, to perform the same manoeuver — when the stool gave way, and left him completely suspended, in which situation he was found dead.

COMMENT: As a long-time cat lover, I could not resist including this item. The town of Austerlitz was created on March 28, 1818, in Columbia County, in honor of the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, which is considered one of Napoleon’s greatest victories. Martin Van Buren, then a state senator, (later to become president) and an admirer of Napoleon, had been angered because a town of Waterloo had been created in Seneca County, and proposed the name of Austerlitz — exclaiming, “Here’s an Austerlitz for your Waterloo.”

Dangerous hail storm

The Watch Tower, printed at Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, in speaking of the Heil (sic) Storm, which passed through this (Otsego) county on the 9th June and did much damage especially in the towns of Hartwick, Westford and Decatur, says:

“The greater part of the glass in the houses, in the direction of the storm, were broken — thriving forests were laid prostrate — gardens and fields were destroyed, many of which since the storm have been ploughed up, not having sufficient left to reward the husbandman for his labor of harvesting. ...”


The emigrations from Great Britain to America do not intermit; and are embracing more men of capital than formerly, particularly agriculturalists. A great many have arrived at Quebec, and proceeded thence to the United States.

The Welch settlement at Steuben, Oneida, is about to receive an accession of several families now on their way from New-York. — Intelligencer

COMMENT: The town of Steuben, 18 miles northwest of Utica, was created in 1792 (but reduced in size in 1797) in honor of the Revolutionary hero Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730-1794), who had a summer home in a log cabin there, and who is buried in a National Memorial State Historic Site in the eastern part of the town.

In 1795 several Welsh families (named Griffiths, Rowland, Owens, Williams and Jones) settled there, and their descendants still live in the area.


Married — in South Carolina, Mr. STEPHEN LYON to Miss REBECCA LAMB. Now join’d in matrimonial tether, The Lamb and Lion lie together; And at th’appointed time in troth, “A little child will lead them both.”

COMMENT: Usually, brief wedding notices refer to people from the Cooperstown area, but this seems to have been included only for its lion and lamb Biblical reference.

Sale of pews

The sale of the Pews in the Presbyterian Church, will take place on Thursday, the first day of July next, at 2 o’clock, P.M. Six month’s rent will then become due. It is earnestly desired that all should pay at that time.

GEO. POMEROY, Clerk. Cooperstown, June 21, 1819.

COMMENT: George Pomeroy (1779-1870) was a druggist and retailer who married William Cooper’s daughter Anne, and for whom William built Pomeroy Place, the stone house at the corner of Main and River streets. At this time, pews were rented for the use of specific families; today they are more likely to be dedicated to important members of the community, but church-goers can sit anywhere they like.

Longest bridge

Montezuma bridge, between the village of that name, and the town of Mentz, over the Seneca river and marshes, Onondaga county, extends about three miles!

It is said to be the longest bridge in the world. This is the third bridge over the waters of the Cayuga and Seneca river in the space of seven miles, and remarkably shews the progress of improvements in this part of our country.

COMMENT: The Cayuga Bridge Company was formed in 1797, and the bridge was completed in 1800 at a cost of $150,000. It fell in 1804 but was rebuilt in 1812-13, but eventually abandoned for good in 1857. “One mile and 8 rods long, and 22 feet wide, it was then the longest bridge in America and possibly the world.”

Hard times in Ireland

The people of the United States complain bitterly of hard times. Look at Ireland.

Such is the disproportion between work and workmen in that country, that thousands and thousands, unable to earn the most common necessaries of life, sink into abject despair; and, growing feeble for want of nourishment, become a prey to every kind of disease.

What would the managers of our hospital think, were they called upon to admit into their wards 20,000 patients in 13 months? It is stated by sir J. Newport, in the house of commons last month, that no less than 43,000 had, within that period of time, been received into the Fever Hospitals for the counties of Dublin, Limerick and Waterford. — Philadelphia Union.

COMMENT: Economic depression came on the heels of two foreign wars, The Napoleonic Wars, and with final British victory over France, soldiers returned to a time of protest, low wages and high food prices. This would be only one of many periods of hardship in Ireland during the 1800s.

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