The Otsego Herald for Sept. 13, 1819, compiled, with comments:

Lightning strikes two

On the evening of the 6th September, about 10 o’clock, during an unusually severe shower, accompanied by continual and vivid lightning and almost incessant thunder, Mr. Jabez Perkins and his wife of Macdonough, were killed by lightning which entered their room, after tearing one gable end of the house to pieces.

We are informed that the fluid struck one of the end rafters of the house, following it to the eaves, passing inside of the building and struck a bed post, shivering it in pieces and seriously injuring the eyes of a little girl who was in the bed, passed thro’ the floor to the ground, reascended, and took the post of another bed, crossed over the bowels of Mr. Perkins, to the side and up to the face and head of his wife.

Mr. Perkins is said to have been sitting by the bedstead, and Mrs. Perkins lying on it, neither of them undressed; the latter is supposed to have been instantly killed. Mr. Perkins awoke one of his sons, and told him to put out the fire which had communicated to the bed clothes, he then walked towards the door, where he was found dead by the neighbors who were called in by the children.

The deceased were persons of exemplary character, and what adds to the melancholy visitation, seven young children are suddenly bereaved of both their parents. — Norwich Agriculturalist

COMMENT: Jabez Perkins (1783-1819) was born in Connecticut and died in Chenango County. His wife’s first name was Abiah. The deaths were given extensive newspaper coverage, but how such detailed information about the lightning was determined is not explained. Jabez’ oldest brother, Erastus Perkins (1778-1862), may have taken over the children. Macdonough (or Mcdonough) is a small village whose population is still less than 1,000.


DIED — In Middlefield, on Tuesday the 7th September, Mr. ASAPH POTTER, aged 62.

COMMENT: There seem to be a number of Asaph Potters in Middlefield and Hartwick, but I can’t find one who matches these dates.

DIED — in this village (Cooperstown) on Wednesday last, ELLEN, an infant daughter of Mr. George Pomeroy.

COMMENT: Born Nov. 4, 1818, daughter of George Pomeroy and Ann Cooper Pomeroy of Pomeroy Place.

Illustrious ruler of Tunis

Hamouda Pasha governed Tunis as bey, upwards of thirty two years, and with great tranquility. He was distinguished for bravery, vigilance, shrewdness and sagacity; and was deservedly popular among his countrymen.

“From a habit of administering justice for many years”, says Mr. Noah, “Hamouda Pasha had accustomed himself to promptness, and decision which never admitted of quibble or delay. If a crime were committed; the culprit was was immediately brought before him, the evidence adduced, the defendant heard, the sentence given and the execution immediately followed.

“He was accustomed to read the looks of man with a keen scrutiny, which seldom or never deceived him in his idea of character, (and) he was accounted a physiognomist of the first order. ...”

COMMENT: Hamouda Pasha Bey ruled Tunis from 1631 until his death in 1666.

The quotation is from Mordecai Manuel Noah (1785–1851), the illustrious American Jewish writer and philosopher. In 1813 he was named American Consul to Tunis, where he succeeded in rescuing Americans enslaved in Morocco, but in 1815 he was fired by Secretary of State James Monroe, on the grounds that his religion was “an obstacle to the exercise of (his) Consular function.”

Noah protested and was supported by former presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Noah moved to New York where he founded the “National Advocate,” which published his satirical articles, signed Howard, some of which we have included in this column. Later he sought to establish a Jewish colony on Grand Island between the U.S. and Canada at Niagara Falls.

Franklin College

The report of the trustees of Franklin college ... affords us a gratifying assurance that it is about to become an honor and a blessing to the cause of literature in Georgia. ... The President (the Rev’d Moses Waddel) would honor the head of any scholastic institution in the union. His salary is 2500 per annum. The trustees have created three professorships with a salary of 1500 dollars per annum. ...

The first of natural philosophy is filled by Dr. Henry Jackson; another (of the languages) by John R. Golding — the other (of mathematics and astronomy) is yet vacant. ...

It is honorable to the integrity and public spirit of the managers of the institution, that they have employed a tutor to conduct a grammar school, under the control of the president, “which is open to all who may choose to avail themselves of its use, exempt from any compensation whatever on account of tuition.”

COMMENT: The Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, in Athens, Georgia, now part of the University of Georgia, had in fact been established in 1801, named after Benjamin Franklin. Its “Old College,” built in 1806 is Athens’ oldest building.

Rev’d. Newton Moses Waddell (1770-1840) presided over Franklin college from 1819 to 1829. Henry Jackson (1778-1840) was U.S. Charge d’Affaires in France (1812-1818) while teaching at Franklin College from 1811-1813 and 1819-1828.

“In 1819 the board elected to the presidency the most popular educator in the south, Rev. Dr. Moses Waddell. Dr. Henry Jackson, Dr. John R. Golding and Dr. Alonzo Church were elected professors, and Mr. Ebenezer Newton Tutor. These constituted the best Faculty the college has ever had, which together with the new endowment gave new life to the institution.” — John Newton Waddel, Memorials...., 1881, p. 89.

Recommended for you