Archive for March, 2010

A Penitentiary Offense

March 24, 2010


On Sunday last, a German by the name of Miller, who lives in this vicinity, came into town, exhibiting, with much satisfaction, a part of a human EAR, exclaiming, ‘I’se mark’d him,’ and wanted to find a magistrate to have it recorded. On inquiry being made of him, he stated that he suspected a man by the name of Lemon of milking his cows, and watched him.

About 2 o’clock in the morning, he saw Lemon milk two or three cows belonging to some of our citizens, and afterwards commenced milking his, (Miller’s.) He crept cautiously up behind him, and severed his ear from his head before Lemon was aware of his approach.

‘You’ve scratched my ear,’ said Lemon.

‘I’se cot your ear,’ said Miller; and started off to find a magistrate, to have the ‘mark recorded.’

‘But,’ said the gentleman to whom he was communicating his exploit, ‘do you know the consequences of what you have done?’

‘Vy, pe shure he vill pe hung as tey toes in Charmany, ven a man sheals.’

‘No, he will not be hung; but you are liable to be sent to the penitentiary for what you have done.’

On learning that so far from performing a meritorious act, he had committed a penitentiary offence, he became alarmed, and offered Lemon $50 to settle it; but the latter demanded $500. Lemon came and procured a warrant for Miller; but when the constable went in pursuit of him he had fled, and has not yet been taken.

We understand Lemon’s story is, that his child being unwell, he went out with a tea-cup to get some milk; but not finding his own cow commenced milking Miller’s; when he was assaulted as above described.

Sandusky Clarion.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Dec 17, 1839

Forty-Niner Profile: Thaddeus B. Sturges

March 23, 2010

Thaddeus B. Sturges was one of the many men from Ohio who headed to California during the Gold Rush. He was the son of Lewis Burr Sturges, who was first married to Kezia Taylor Stiles, daughter of Ezra Stiles. Lewis later married Charlotte Belden/Belding, who I believe was the mother of Thaddeus.

Evidently, when Thaddeus Sturges left for the gold country, his wife, Eudosia Beach,  must have gone to live with  their daughter, Mrs. James Sidney Wilcox, in Utica, New York, where in 1859, she died. It appears they had 5 children: sons, Mahlon, Lewis and Thaddeus, and daughters, Eudosia and Marcia.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges was NOT one of the lucky ones. He did not make his fortune in gold. He died  penniless in California, like so many others.

View of Norwalk, Ohio - 1840's

From Historical Collections of Ohio, By Henry Howe – Vol. II – ©1888:

Norwalk in 1846. – Norwalk, the county-seat, named for Norwalk, Conn., is 110 miles north of Columbus and 16 from Sandusky City.  It lies principally on a single street, extending nearly two miles and beautifully shaded by maple trees.  Much taste is evinced in the private dwellings and churches, and in adorning the grounds around them with shrubbery.  As a whole, the town is one of the most neat and pleasant in Ohio.  The view given represents a small portion of the principal street; on the right is shown the courthouse and jail, with a part of the public square, and in the distance is seen the tower of the Norwalk institute.  Norwalk contains 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Episcopal, 1 Methodist and 1 Catholic church, 9 dry goods, 1 book and 4 grocery stores, 1 bank, 2 newspaper printing offices, 1 flouring mill, 2 foundries, and about 1,800 inhabitants.  The Norwalk institute is an incorporated academy, under the patronage of the Baptists: a large and substantial brick building, three stories in height, is devoted to its purposes; the institution is flourishing, and numbers over 100 pupils, including both sexes.  A female seminary has recently been commenced under auspicious circumstances, and a handsome building erected in the form of a Grecian temple.  About a mile west of the village are some ancient fortifications.

Thaddeus Burr Sturges, Prior to the California Gold Rush

Thaddeus Sturges appears to have taken an active role in helping to build the town of Norwalk:

Huron Reflector, May 4, 1830

Commemorating George Washington’s Birthday: An Oration given by Thaddeus B. Sturges. (LINK)

Thaddeus Sturges reads the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July:

4th of July.

The fifty sixth anniversary of our National Independence was celebrated at Monroeville on Wednesday last. A large concourse of people assembled at an early hour at the Hotel of H. GRIFFIN — at eleven o’clock, a procession of ladies and gentlemen was formed by Capt. W.B. MATHEWSON, Marshal of the day — among whom were several of  the old Patriots of the Revolution — preceded by a band of music, and moved to a grove, where the necessary platform was erected in good style by the committee of arrangements. The Throne of Grace was addressed by the Rev. F.H. JOHNSON — the Declaration of Independence was audibly read by T.B. STURGES, Esq. — after which C.L. BOALT, Esq. pronounced an Oration in his usual manner of eloquence. The procession then formed, and repaired to H. GRIFFIN’s Hotel, where an excellent dinner was prepared in a booth erected, and where a large company “fared sumptuously.” After the cloth was removed, thirteen select toasts were drank with cheers, music, and the discharge of cannon — then a host of spirited and pointed volunteers — all of which we omit for want of room. The company then parted under good feelings, and there was nothing to mar the harmony of the day.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 10, 1832

Huron Reflector – Jun 7, 1836

To the Citizens of Norwalk

YOU are respectfully invited to give your attendance at a meeting to be holden at the Academy, on the evening of Saturday the 12th instant, for the purpose of adopting measures for opening a High School at the Academy for the ensuing year.

It is thought that the amount now paid to the different teachers of our School is amply sufficient to support a Literary Institution, not excelled by any other in the State.
Every citizen, who feels an interest in the education of our youth, is earnestly solicited to attend.

?. Buckingham, P.P. Fusselman,
?. Buckingham, P. Latimer,
Asabel Morse, John Bedford,
Moses Kimball, T.B. Sturges,
?. Sheffield, S. Preston,
?. Jenney, Cyrus Butler,
?. Forsyth, H. Gallup,
?. Morton, W.B. Mathewson,
?.G. Raitt, I. Marshall,
Enos Gilbert, D. Higgins,
?. Benedict, L. Bradley.

Norwalk, Jan. 5, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 8,  1833


The ornamental branches usual for the young Ladies, will be taught in the Female Department if desired, at proportionate prices.

Two quarters will compose a term as usual of 23 weeks. The annual vacation will be in the month of August. Good board can be procured in respectable families, for $1.25 to $1.50 per week. It will be expected that the tuition fees be paid quarterly or half yearly in advance, and that Young Students from abroad have a guardian appointed in the village for the time being.

The Committee would further observe, that the Institution is opened under the patronage of the Ohio Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, upon liberal principles. The objects are to provide an Institution where all classes of persons can receive such an education as will prepare them to enter College, or upon the duties of active life; and so combine manual labor, (for those students who may desire it,) as will both promote health of body and vigor of mind, and at the same time diminish or defray entirely the expense of education, and also cultivate a taste for agricultural and mechanical pursuits. For the above purposes, the use of the building known as the “Norwalk Academy,” has been granted, where a large number of students can be accommodated. It is contemplated, as soon as practical, to procure philosophical apparatus, enlarge the buildings, erect Boarding Houses, rooms, &c. for the accommodation of the students, cultivate a garden, provide in which the students can recreate and employ themselves in inclement weather.

Norwalk is beautifully situated, and is a thriving and remarkably healthy village. It has a moral and an intelligent population. The Protestant Episcopal, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist Episcopal Churches, have stated preaching, besides occasionally other denominations. — These advantages, combined with the talent and experience of the Principal, the low price of tuition, the assurance that first rate assistants will be employed, and no pains spared to render the institution worthy, it is hoped, will secure that support, which an intelligent and liberal public are able to bestow.

T.B. STURGES,} Committee.

Norwalk, Oct. 19, 1833.  38tf

The Trustees at present, are Henry O. Sheldon, James Crabbs, Samuel Pennywell, Gershom Pierce, Ellzey Hedges, Sylvenus B. Day, Samuel Treat, Benjamin Cogswell, Benjamin Summers, Durin H. Tuttle, Julius House, Stanton Sholes, Edward S. Hamlin, Lemuel Powers, Platt Benedict, Thaddeus B. Sturges, Timothy Baker, Obadiah Jenney, Henry Buckingham, and William Gallup.

Editors in the north part of the State and in Michigan, friendly to the above Institution, will confer a favor by giving the above an insertion or two.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Nov 5,  1833

History of north central Ohio : embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Knox Counties Volume 1
By William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company, Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

**Thaddeus B. Sturges was listed as a trustee of the Academy. pg 125

Norwalk Academy was another early established institution which contributed materially to the educational progress of our state. Among its students were Rutherford B. Hayes, who became president of the United States; General James B. McPherson, Civil War commander, who was killed in the fighting before Atlanta; and Charles Foster, who became governor of Ohio and secretary of the treasury in President Benjamin Harrison’s cabinet. A catalogue of the academy March 17, 1829, gives the names of eighty-three young men and sixty young women, total of 143 who had been under instruction there.

Huron Reflector – Sep 2, 1834


The following Resolutions were passed, at the meeting of the Trustees of Norwalk Seminary:

RESOLVED, That while we lament the loss of the Norwalk Seminary, with the Library, Apparatus, and Cabinet, we deem it our duty, instead of brooding over the calamity, to make vigorous and speedy efforts to repair it, by erecting an edifice upon an enlarged plan, in view of applying for a College Charter….

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 15,  1836


1837: Thaddeus Sturges purchases several pieces of land. This is only one of the land purchase records. I think there were four or five of them, all purchased at the same time.


While Thaddeus Sturges‘ father, Lewis B. Sturges began his political career as a Federalist, Thaddeus appears to have started out as a Republican, later switching  to Democrat, specifically, a Loco Foco.

For the Huron Reflector.
United we stand — divided we fall,

A sentiment containing a most important truth, and peculiarly applicable to us all, who are opposed to the misrule of General Jackson and his administration.
A Convention was held at Norwalk last Saturday, composed of 52 Delegates from different townships in the county — after due notice having been given to all — a number greater than probably can be convened on any future occasion. — There was little or no division as to Senator. Doctor Tilden had nearly all the votes. There was more difference of opinion as to Representative; but our deliberations, after a harmonious and friendly consultation resulted in a decided majority in favor of Moors Farwell of Portland. Several of the Delegates, among whom, was the writer of this communication, would have been more gratified in their personal feelings, had some other favorite of theirs been put in nomination. Yet for one, I fully acquiesce in the decision of the majority, and my best judgment is to support Mr. Farwell; for I cannot possibly find a substantial objection to this Gentleman, either as a capable man, or as a man of the most perfect integrity — As to talents, he is highly respectable.
Let us my friends, on this occasion, give up minor objections — prove, that as brethren, we are cordial in a righteous cause — divest ourselves of every personal, selfish motive; let our enemies know that Clay men can be united, and let us have for our motto — our Pole Star and directory, “united we stand — divided we fall” — and then we may be assured that victory is ours. If we shall not be so united, it is in vain to disguise the fact that defeat will be our deserved reward.

A Member of the Convention.

Norwalk, Sept. 17, 1832.

Huron Reflector – Sep 18, 1832

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Republican Convention – Clip 2

For the Huron Reflector.
Messrs. Preston & Co.

You will please withdraw my name as a candidate for Representative for the ensuing election. Permit me to take this opportunity of returning my thanks to those who have generously proffered me their aid; of saying to those who have felt it their duty to oppose my nominations, that I fully appreciate the laudable motives by which they were governed; and of expressing to all my cheerful acquiescence in the decision that has been made, and trust that the coming canvass will only be distinguished by mutual concession, good will, and unanimity. Having a common interest to promote, it is to be hoped that we shall go to the polls with harmony and concord, determined to sacrifice all personal considerations and sectional feelings, and unite in one common effort to promote the general good of the county,

Yours Respectfully,


Norwalk, September 17th 1832.

The Editor of the Clarion will please note the above withdrawal. — EDITORS.

Huron Reflector (Noralk, Ohio) Sep 18, 1832

Huron Reflector Oct 1832

We omitted to notice last week, the result of the criminal trials which were decided at the term of the Court of Common Pleas of this county, which terminated on the 20th ult. after a laborious session of two weeks — present, Hon. David Higgins President, and his associates.

State of Ohio, vs. William H. Harrison. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. prosecuting Attorney for State, L.S. Beecher and John Bedford, Esqrs. for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for 10 years.

Same, vs. Nehemiah Higby. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, C.L. Boalt and John Bedfore, Esqrs for defence. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for four years.

Same, vs. Abraham Inman. Horse stealing — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y. Prisoner plead guilty, and was sentenced to penitentiary for three years.

Same, vs. John Smith. Assault with intent to commit a rape — T.B. Sturges Esq. pros. Att’y for State, M’Laughlin and Bedford, for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to Penitentiary for seven years.

Same, vs. Wm. R. Roberts. Burglary and larceny — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, O. Parish and C.L. Boalt, Esq. for defence. Verdict, guilty of larceny, and not guilty of burglary — Prisoner sentenced to be confined to Jail for 6 days.

Same, vs. John Crusen jr. Assault and battery — T.B. Sturges Esq. for State, Francis D. Parish for defense. Verdict, guilty — Prisoner sentenced to pay a fine of five dollars and costs of prosecution.

Same, vs. Rachael Morris. Murder — T.B. Sturges and A. Coffinbury, Esqrs. for State, O. Parish, P.R. Hopkins and J. Bedford Esqrs. for defence. This case occupied the Court for three days in the investigation, but the Jury returned not guilty — quite a nuber of other Indictments are yet pending, and were not tried for want of time.

THADDEUS B. STURGES, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, intending a journey to the State of New York, and will probably be absent about four weeks, informs his old employers and others, that his father, LEWIS B. STURGES, Attorney at Law, will attend to their business, and will advise and direct them in his absence.

Norwalk, Jan 16, 1833.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jan 22,  1833

Huron Reflector – Oct 1833

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Huron Reflector – July 1833

Milan, Sept. 14th, 1833.


An unusual excitement exists in this section of the county, respecting the election of Prosecuting Attorney; and it is believed that those who have been most active in producing this excitement are actuated by the most envious feelings towards Mr. Sturges, the present incumbent; and a base desire to destroy his well earned and fast increasing popularity. There are those, undoubtedly, who have been busily engaged, of late, in different parts of the county, in circulating reports calculated to cast a shade over the character of Mr. Sturges; but happily for him and his friends, they have nothing to fear from an examination of his conduct, if fairly made, and he is certainly too well known to sustain any injury from the many shafts of envy, which are and have been hurled at his character and reputation. He stands as high as any member of the bar for talents, and his character, for integrity and correct moral deportment, has never been questioned. He is no upstart nor adventurer; but bears a name which has always entitled him to a rank among the first, as a public man in this county; and which will remain unsullied, until degraded by some other person than himself.

For the Huron Reflector.

We trust that Mr. Sturges or his friends will not think it necessary, at present, to notice particularly a dishonorable attack, lately, implicating his fair character in a neighboring paper. Although we presume who is its author, yet we care not who he is. The intention of that publication is apparent to any man of sense — it is to create a personal altercation, and to divert the public mind from the merits of the contest between him and Mr. Root. The unbiased public opinion must be well known, as respects the claims of these two gentlemen. The decision is submitted to the candid electors of the County of Huron. This is communicated without the knowledge of Mr. Sturges.


Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Sep 17,  1833

Thaddeus and Lewis Sturges 1835 Candidates

In 1835, both Thaddeus and his father Lewis, campaigned for elective offices. This campaign was particularly contentious, in part, I think,  because these two men were from the same family. The campaign commentary in the The Huron Reflector was quite brutal. Of course, that brutality held true for the later campaigns as well, being Thaddeus was a Democrat / Locofoco, and the Huron Reflector was a Whig/Republican paper. However, that is not to say that the mudslinging was one-sided; it was just as bad coming from the other side. In fact, during one election cycle, there was almost literally a “cat and mouse”  fight between the papers (Huron Reflector and The Experiment) regarding their respective candidates, one of which was Thaddeus Sturges.  The political flames were signed “cat” on one side, and “mouse” on the other.

Huron Reflector Aug 4, 1840

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Huron Reflector – Sep 8, 1840


There was a Locofoco meeting at the Court House on Tuesday evening last. E.M. Stone and T.B. Sturges were the principal speakers. The former too ground against a national Bank, the distribution of the Land money and also against the present Tariff law. He said he was opposed to the distribution of the Land money, and to a Tariff, because these measures were calculated to REDUCE THE TAXES OF THE PEOPLE. He would not give his support to any measure of this kind, because he had no taxes to pay, — and if any measure was adopted, which would have the effect of reducing the present high rates of taxes it would be of no benefit to him. The tax payers of Huron county can make their own comments.

Mr. Sturges‘s remarks were principally confined to the subject of the Tariff. He made a statement, which we have every reason to believe he knew to be false at the time, to wit — that the manufacturers of Lowell, Mass., had realized a clear profit of 33 1/3 per cent, on the amount of capital invested in manufacturing the last year.

It is perhaps unnecessary for us to say that their profits have not averaged seven per cent.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 5,  1844

Locofoco Mass Meeting.

The Locofoco mass meeting for Huron county, that has been advertised in the Experiment for several weeks past, came off at this place on Saturday last. It was a very meagre affair. —

From the exertions made to get up a large meeting, we certainly expected to see a large crowd, but were disappointed. We are informed by those who counted the Locos as they marched to the Court-House, that the number was 165. Probably there were in the Court-House, including Whigs, 250 persons — not more.

After the Convention was organized, the following individuals were nominated as candidates for county officers, viz: — for Auditor, Lorenzo D. Conger; for Commissioner, Daniel Sowers; for Surveyor, Ert Mesnard; and for Coroner, a Dr. Gibson.

The Convention was then addressed by T.B. Sturges and E.M. Stone.

The remarks of Mr. Sturges were uncommonly rich, rare and edifying to the hosts of the “unterrified” there assembled. The burden of his song was in unfolding to the admiring eyes of the democracy, the peculiar beauties and unparalleled advantages of that El Dorado of a Locofoco’s hopes — the magnificent Republic of Texas — the fertility of which, he told them was so great, that one acre there was worth ten of the best land in Ohio! The little “neophyte” worked himself into such raptures upon this subject, that one would have thought he had received a regular sergeant’s commission, and was beating for volunteers among his Locofoco friends to follow those of them who have gone before to the ‘Republic of the Lone Star.’

And then as to the debt of $15,000,000 that was nothing. He had made a computation, and found that it would only amount to about 7 cents per acre. Who would not consider it a cheap bargain to buy five new States, — independent States — for seven cents an acre! Ah! then you go into it as a mere matter of speculation. Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are already in the Union, and it would be a horrible violation of the Constitution to assume their debts, and let the National Government reimburse itself out of the proceeds of the public lands which the Government now holds in trust for these very States, — but to assume the debt of a foreign State — a State at war with a Government with which we are at peace, — that is perfectly right and constitutional, we would get the country for seven cents an acre!

About this point the orator was seized with a peculiar regard for the Tariff, and reasoned in this wise: If Texas is not annexed, the whole army of the nation cannot prevent smuggling along the whole line of our southwestern border! We are somewhat surprised at this tack of the gentleman’s argument; but in his new born admiration of the Tariff, he forgot to tell how much the case would be improved, either in this or in a military point of view, by changing the present boundary for the undefined and undefinable limits of the “vast Republic of Texas.” —

This matter requires a little explanation. Will he furnish it on some future occasion? He expatiated at some length upon the depredations, (present or prospective?) upon our revenue from this source, and then appealing to those special friends of the Tariff, the Locofocos, exclaimed — “reject Texas, and you reject me (unreadable).

“Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing [unreadable 3 words] all Venice. His reasons are as two grains of wheat in two bushels of chaff: you shall seek all day ere you find them; and when you have them they are not worth the search.”

The next attempt was to excite some sympathy in behalf of “the statesman, the hero, the patriot Dorr.” The effort appeared ill-timed, and but little interest for the hero of Chepachet was excited. The orator depicted the sufferings of this apostle of liberty, — said Rhode Island had always been a colony of Great Britain, and her star ought not to be placed with the old thirteen. This nice pink of Federalism closed with the following traitorous sentiment. “LAW OR NO LAW, ORDER OR NO ORDER, THE PRISON DOORS OF DORR MUST AND SHALL BE BATTERED DOWN.”

We supposed the Quixotic gentleman had caught a fresh ‘inspiration’ from the progressive school in the east, in advance of his brethren. —

We did not expect to see this base and unholy sentiment of mobocracy responded to by even a Locofoco assembly — but so it was. It needs no comment.

Through the disgusting details of the rest of his speech, we have no desire to follow him. If he can derive comfort from such honor, let him enjoy it.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 27,  1844

The Tariff — High Prices of Goods.

We understand that Thaddeus B. Sturges and Ezra M. Stone, are in the habit of stating in their speeches in different parts of the country, that all kinds of goods are higher now in consequence of the Tariff, than they were before the present Tariff Law was enacted. When T.B. Sturges, or any other Locofoco stump speaker makes a statement of this kind, he knows he is uttering a barefaced falsehood. In order to nail this lie to the counter we publish the following certificate, signed by several of the leading merchants of our village. We will only add — that if any merchant alleges that his goods are higher, now than formerly, in consequence of the enactment of the present Tariff, we would caution every person against purchasing of him, unless he is anxious to be cheated.


We the undersigned, Merchants of Norwalk, Huron county, Ohio, do hereby certify that since the Tariff of 1842 went into effect, goods have been cheaper than in any two years since we have been in business.

We also further certify, that foreign goods are as cheap this fall as we have ever known them.


Norwalk, September 26, 1844.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Oct 1, 1844

Huron Reflector – Sep 12, 1848


In the 1840’s, Thaddeus B. Sturges seems to have tried his hand at being a businessman:

The Experiment – Apr 6, 1842


The Experiment – Mar 2, 1842

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The Experiment – Jul 31, 1844

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Thaddeus B. Sturges was also involved in the Temperance Movement:

Temperance Crusaders (Image from

Sons of Temperance Celebration.

Agreeably to the notices which have been published in the Huron and Erie papers, the Order of the Sons of Temperance, in the two counties, celebrated the day by a Mass Convention at this place. Unfortunately, the weather proved extremely rainy and disagreeable. Notwithstanding, the Sons (who love cold water) assembled in large numbers, and with them, also, an equal concourse of the cold water ladies.

About 11 o’clock, A.M., the Procession, which had formed on the public square, proceeded to the Grove selected at the west end of the place, conducted by the Bellevue Band, and attended also by the Milan Brass Band. The Procession presented a splendid appearance and afforded to all a vivid illustration of the moral force which the Temperance cause has acquired among us.

The arrangements reflected honor upon the Marshal, S. PENNEWILL, Esq., and his Assistants. Over five hundred ladies, from a single point, formed into the Procession, and it is supposed that an equal number of ladies proceeded from other directions. The total number of persons present, at the Grove, is estimated at about three thousand, of whom, two thirds were Sons, Rechabites, Cadets and Ladies.

The exercises at the Grove were announced by the President of the day, S.F. TAYLOR, Esq., of Milan. Prayer was offered by Rev. WM. L. HARRIS*, of this place. The Declaration of Independence was read by T.B. STURGES, Esq., also of this place, who prefaced it with some appropriate and eloquent remarks. The meeting was then addressed by the Orator of hte day, I.J. ALLEN, Esq., of Mansfield, in a speech of much interest.

NOTE: Rev. Harris was educated at the Norwalk Seminary, mentioned  previously in this post.

The violence of the rain caused an interruption of his address, and at the close of the exercises, the meeting was adjourned to the Court House. Owing to the inclemency of the weather, most of those from abroad were obliged to return; but the Court House was thronged with those who remained. M. ALLEN resumed his remarks, and in a brilliant and powerful address, reviewed the history of National Intemperance. He traced its destroying agency in the fall of successive Empires, from Nineveh to Rome, and showed the appalling influence which it has exerted on the destiny of former nations. He exhibited the intimate connection which exists between national liberty and national intelligence and virtue; and he proved that moral and educational associations were the best conservators of the Republic.

His address embraced a variety of important and deeply interesting views, and has left a profound impression on all who heard it. At the close, some Resolutions were presented by T.B. Sturges, Esq., which were adopted, and the meeting adjourned.

Notwithstanding the adverse weather, this demonstration cannot fail to produce a favorable effect on the prosperity of the Order in this section. There are now about twenty Divisions in the two counties, most of which have not yet seen their first anniversary, and we believe one only has witnessed its second. In this State, about 16,000 have joined the Order during the past year, and nearly 100,000, throughout the Union. It now includes over 250,000 members.

Huron Reflector (Huron, Ohio) Jul 11, 1848

Based on his son, Mahlon Sturges’ biographical sketch, Thaddeus B. Sturges’ financial problems coincided with rush for California Gold. In 1849, Thaddeus would have been about 48 years old,  which was older than the average gold seeker; but probably with nothing left to lose, he headed for the gold country.

Buckeyes Catch the Gold Fever: A Letter From the Plains

T.B. Sturges arrives in Gold Country: A Letter Received

Mahlon B. Sturges was one of Thaddeus’ sons. He also was a miner, seemingly out of financial necessity, and his story is almost as sad as his fathers. The following biography can be found at this link:  Alameda County California Biographies – 1883

MAHLON BEACH STURGES.—Was born in Norwalk, Huron County, Ohio, February 26, 1830, and is the son of Thaddeus B. Sturges—at one time District Attorney of that county for a number of years, a graduate of Yale College, and a pioneer of 1849 to California—who died in Placerville, in 1851. The subject of our sketch having received his early education in the common school of his native place, and finishing at a private school at Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, at the age of eighteen prepared to go to college, but owing to the financial embarrassment of his father this course was abandoned, and he took to commercial pursuits. Obtaining the position of book-keeper in the Franklin House, Cleveland, Ohio, he there remained two years, when he changed to the Durham House, and held a like position there until the intelligence of his father’s death caused him to resign and proceed to California, to do which he was obliged to raise money by an insurance on his life, which has long ego been refunded. Coming by way of Panama, our subject arrived in San Francisco in March, 1852, and immediately on arrival secured a ticket for Sacramento, which left him penniless. On gaining that town he found it submerged. Mr. Sturges proceeded to the mines, in company with the late William B. Mastick of Oakland and Judge Carey of San Francisco. On arriving at Michigan Bar, where he found his brother, he engaged in mining as an occupation (Mr. Mastick and Mr. Carey continued on to the mountains) until the fall of that year, when he embarked in the mercantile business. Having proceeded to Sacramento to purchase goods, as ill-fate would have it, his newly-bought stock was entirely consumed in the great fire of that season. Broke in purse, he was by no means so in spirit, therefore he once more faced the mocking world, and proceeded to the mountains, by way of Marysville. Arriving at Rabbit Creek—a place now called La Porte, in Plumas County—he cooked for a company of miners that winter. He next worked for *ages for about one year, when he took up claims in company with J. M. Perry and George Stowe, both of Illinois. After three years’ toil he then sold his interest to his partners, who afterwards took out $64,000 worth of dust in three weeks, and in four years they took out over $300,000. Mr. Sturges now took up a claim for himself adjoining, and “struck it rich,” but owing to a change of the adjoining claim it swung him off, and he lost all. Once more his pocket was at ” bed-rock.” Undeterred, he proceeded to Jamison City, Plumas County, and conducted a hotel for James Kitts, where he remained until the fall of 1856; then moving to Mariposa County, he re-embarked in mining operations for one winter, but, the season being dry, and not meeting with much success, he footed it to Stockton, whence he found his way to San Francisco. He now accepted a position as steerage steward on board the steamer Sonora, then commanded by Captain Bobbie, in which he made several trips to Panama: He now returned to the Bay City, married, and went to the mines at La Porte, but soon moved to Richmond Hill, working for wages at anything that offered; Mrs. Sturges, in the first year, making on her own account $1,800. Our subject now changed his habitation to Sawpit Flat, where, purchasing a claim, he commenced working it, while his wife carried on the laundry business, at four dollars a dozen, clearing thereby from thirty to forty dollars per week. At the end of four years he gave up mining, and sold out his claims. At this period he served two terms as a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public under Governor • Low’s administration. Mr. Sturges next purchased the water rights of Onion Valley Creek, consisting of eight miles of ditches, which supplied the mines of Sawpit Flat and Richmond Hill with water. Two weeks after purchasing, the miners of Sawpit Flat struck rich pay, which made his purchase very valuable. In one year he made enough to pay for his purchase and leave a handsome balance. He continued in this undertaking until 1867, when he sold out on account of ill-health. He removed to San Francisco; and there he was engaged for a year in keeping a lodging-house, when, disposing of it in 1869,.he paid a visit to his former home in the Eastern States for the purpose. of securing a patent on an improved gas-burner he had invented. His intention was to settle in the Eastern States, but, owing to the great climatic changes between heat and cold, he returned to California in July, 1870, and purchased his present farm of fifty acres, situated one and a half miles from Washington Corners, on the main road to Centreville, on which he has made many improvements, being engaged in general farming and stock-raising, devoting much of his time to the rearing of thoroughbred short-horn cattle, a number of his raising having taken premiums at the different fairs throughout the State. Married in San Francisco, April 22, 186o, Miss Elizabeth Kane, a native of Philadelphia, of Irish parents; no issue.

A few snippets for Thaddeus Sturges’ father, Lewis Burr Sturges:

Lewis B. Sturges – 1832


Lewis Sturges Dies 1844

Although it states there will be an obituary notice next week, I checked the paper and couldn’t find one.

BURR Surname Trivia: Lewis BURR Sturges, and therefore, Thaddues BURR Sturges, are distantly related to Aaron BURR, by way of a common ancestor named Jehue BURR.

A General History of the Burr Family by Charles Burr Todd – 1902 – Google Book LINK In this book, Lewis B. Sturges is listed as an executor of a will for Thaddeus Burr. His father, I believe, also Thaddeus Burr, was married to Abigail Sturges.  There are other Sturges’ mentioned as well. These families seemed to  marry quite a bit. There was also a Sturges Lewis mentioned, although I don’t know exactly how he is connected.

We Conquer or Die

March 22, 2010

Falchion (Image from Wikipedia)


AIR — “To the Mountain.”

They are coming! are coming! and hark how their cheer,
Like the roar of ocean surf bursts on the ear;
They are coming! are coming! from East and from West,
In grandeur and gloom like the thunder-cloud’s crest;
They are coming! are coming! the sons of the North,
And the land of the South pours its chivalry forth.
Ten thousand bright banners are beaming on high,
Each bearing our watchword, ‘We conquer or die.’

Democracy’s bugle hath sounded the call,
And its soldiers are pouring from hamlet and hall,
To flock round the standard of justice and right,
In the pride of their soul and strength of their might,
and woe to the foeman who stands in their path,
As they press to the field in the gloom of their wrath.
Ten thousand bright banners are beaming on high,
Each bearing our watchword, ‘We conquer or die.’

On the falchion of earb is the flash of the morn,
Each one on the altar of freedom hath sworn
That his sword returns not to the place of its rest
Till his cause be revenged & his wrongs be redressed;
Till the pillar of Freedom in triumph ascends,
A cloud to its foes and a light to its friends.
Ten thousand bright banners are beaming on high,
Each bearing our watchword, ‘We conquer or die.’

Come rally! come rally! bright, bright beams the day,
For the noble YOUNG HICKORY shadows the ‘CLAY,’
Come rally! come rally! a charge and a shout,
As the blast of our bugle rings cheerily out,
Come rally! come rally! one effort to save
“The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Ten thousand bright banners are beaming on high,
Each bearing the watchword, ‘We conquer or die.’

[Paraphrased for the Albany Argus.

The Experiment (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 10, 1844


We Conquer or Die by James Pierpont (Lyrics Link)

Henry L. Goodwin: A Man For the People

March 21, 2010

A Monopoly of ’49.

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford, Conn., made a good share of his large fortune by a curious sort of monopoly. He was a California “forty-niner,” and in those early days, when San Francisco and its vicinity had a wretchedly poor supply of drinking water, he was one evening charged half a dollar by a man who owned a well for a drink for his oxen. That made him mad and he resolved that he too would become known as Man-Who-Owns-a-Well. With the aid of his partner, an engineer, he bored eighty feet deep on his town lot and there struck an inexhaustible supply of the best water yet found on the whole coast. Then he established a free drinking fountain for all passers by, but for all other purposes he sold the water, six gallons for a cent. Cattle owners could have their stock watered for fifty cents a yoke per week. For a long time everyone who wanted pure water had to go to Goodwin’s well for it, and a handsome fortune was realized therefrom.
Hartford (Conn.) Current.

Richwood Gazette (Richwood, Ohio) Feb 1, 1883

Father of Rural Deliver.

We again find Tom Watson described in newspaper print as the man to whom the country owes rural free delivery. We are not aware that he ever made such an unfounded claim for himself. The real father of American rural free delivery died some years ago in East Hartford. His name was Henry L. Goodwin, he left a shining example of faithful, useful citizenship behind him.

–Hartford Courant.

The Indiana Democrat (Indiana, Pennsylvania) May 10, 1905

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, a citizen of Connecticut, has addressed a memorial to congress, praying for the general extension of the free-letter delivery system, and the repeal of the law which forbids its establishment only in connection with post offices supplying a population of less than twenty thousand inhabitants, and the passage of a law leaving it discretionary with the postmaster general. Mr. Goodwin shows that we are far behind Great Britain, France, Prussia and Switzerland in the free delivery business, and refers to the fact that every step for the reduction of postage and the extension of postal facilities to the people has been followed by a large increase in the revenues of the postal departments.

The Weekly Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) Jan 25, 1883

From the Robert A. Seigel Auction Gallery:

The California Penny Post Company was established on June 25, 1855, by Henry L. Goodwin (sometimes reported as “J. P.” Goodwin). The Penny Post advertised service in several larger California towns and cities, offering to carry letters to and from the local post office, to bring letters to one post office and deliver them to the addressee from the receiving office, and to run an express service between towns after the government mails were closed for the day.

A specific rate was charged for each service, and these rates are reflected in the stamps and entries issued by the Penny Post.

Almost immediately the Penny Post incurred the wrath of the San Francisco postmaster, and Goodwin became involved in protracted litigation trying to fight the government.


Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford, Conn., one of the gold pioneers to California in ’49, aged 78 years.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Mar 18, 1899


Succumbed to Pneumonia at 3 O’clock This Morning.


Stricken While at the Capitol — Unconscious for Several Hours Before Death — Sketch of His Useful and Honorable Career.

Henry L. Goodwin of East Hartford, well known throughout the state, died from a severe attack of pneumonia at his home at 2:55 o’clock this (Friday) morning. Mr. Goodwin was stricken while in the hall of the House of Representatives last week Friday, having a fainting fit, from which he recovered in about half an hour, so as to be taken to his home in the Burnside district. Pneumonia developed and Mr. Goodwin has failed rapidly since then, principally because of his feeble condition and advanced age. His brother, George Goodwin, was with him at the time of his death. It was seen yesterday afternoon that Mr. Goodwin had not long to live. At 6 o’clock he recognized his brother George, and then relapsed into unconsciousness, from which condition he did not recover.

Henry Leavitt Goodwin was born in Litchfield November 25, 1821, and was the son of Oliver Goodwin, a native of Hartford, and his wife, Clarissa Leavitt of Bethlehem, Litchfield county. Oliver Goodwin was for some years engaged in the publishing business in Hartford as a member of the firm of Hudson & Goodwin, at one time owners and publishers of “The Courant.” He afterwards removed to Litchfield, where he carried on a book and stationary business, and where Henry L. was born. Henry L. Goodwin began his business career as bookkeeper for his uncle, who was in the paint business in Brooklyn, N.Y. He did not remain very long with his uncle, however, for upon the discovery of gold in California he joined the pioneers in 1849 and became an “Argonaut.” He did not, however, go to the gold mining region as a miner but with an eye open to opportunities for business. He established, shortly after his arrival in the mining regions, a letter post  or pony express for carrying letters and messages from one camp to another, and in this was very successful, making some money. The government, however, put an end to the profit in this private letter carrying and took the mail service into its own hands. Mr. Goodwin was then interested in a system of water supply for miners’ camps and in this he was also successful. He did not remain on the coast a great many years, but returned to Connecticut. His father was a man of competence and had retired from business, and Mr. Goodwin did not interest himself in any particular business.

He took up his residence in East Hartford in 1862, but never carried on business there except to engage in what farming was necessary to keep a small place in condition. He married Susan Leavitt Goodwin, July 30, 1873. She died the succeeding April. There were no children. Since his wife’s death Mr. Goodwin had lived in the Burnside section of East Hartford in the midst of park-like grounds, several hundred trees being near to his home, which in connection with the grounds of his brother-in-law, the late George H. Goodwin, make one of the most attractive home parks in this vicinity. He was very fond of trees and took great care of them and the grounds about them and was particularly interested in a fine spring of water on the grounds. His habits were of the simplest and he lived quietly and unostentatiously devoted in his later years to the children of his brother-in-law.

As a citizen of East Hartford he was public-spirited and deeply interested in the welfare of the town, and its people. He was always at town meetings and generally pointed out something in a proposed action that ought not to be sanctioned by the people, or, more frequently introduced legislation embodying his own views. Some years ago he called attention to the inefficient system by which the books of the collector was kept, and the people indorsing his idea a new system upon lines laid down by himself was adopted, much to the benefit of the town. Upon the completion of the trolley roads east of the river he was instrumental in getting a five-cent fare to Burnside and called attention many times to the shortcomings of the trolley companies in caring for their patrons. His most signal success was in fighting the battle for the people in the matter of the now famous $35,000 appropriated by the towns interested in the Connecticut River bridge, for the “legal expenses” of the old bridge commission in placing the care of the structure on the state. After the order for the payment of East Hartford’s share was passed by the selectmen, Mr. Goodwin sued out an injunction restraining the treasurer of the town from paying an order for $5,000. The matter went to the courts and the supreme court of errors decided in favor of the injunction and it remains permanent. He was greatly interested in the bill before the present Legislature providing for the payment of the $5,000 by the town, the supreme court to the contrary, and had within a few days, been in consultation with prominent men in East Hartford in an effort to defeat its passage. In other matters in the town Mr. Goodwin was in many ways a benefactor. He was often called upon to settle estates for widows, orphans and persons who could ill afford to pay fees for the work and in many such cases served without charge. In one case where there was a chance of very little coming to the beneficiaries of an estate he asked for an allowance for services by the probate court and turned the amount in for the benefit of the beneficiaries. He was generous, but in his own way, following the scriptural injunction not to let his right know what his left hand was doing. Many poor people in East Hartford, and many a public benefaction was aided by Mr. Goodwin in a modest manner and if he was to have told the story it never would have been told. A prominent citizen of East Hartford said of him recently, “Mr. Goodwin was a man whom I greatly admire. He was conscientious in all that he did, worked for what he believed was the people’s good and wanted people to be better than they wanted to be themselves. He has been a useful citizen to the town; none more so.”

Mr. Goodwin was elected to the General Assembly from East Hartford for the years 1871, 1873 and 1874, serving on the committee on roads and bridges and on a committee in 1874 on “Inaccurate legislation,” the last named committee being one in which he would naturally take special pride. If any one could closely scrutinize an act of legislation to find what was in it that ought not to be in it, Mr. Goodwin was pre-eminently the man. His terms in the General Assembly were marked by efficient work as a legislator. For many years Mr. Goodwin has been best known by his appearance before successive legislative committees and at meetings of the stockholders of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company pointing out what he thought were delinquencies in the management of the finances of the road, in its bookkeeping and in its returns to the state for taxation. The state treasurer in 1886 brought suit against the railroad company to recover $137,000 in taxes, for returning supplies on hand as cash, and the supreme court found for the defendant upon the ground that, “As the board of equalization acted upon the return with the best information they were able to obtain, their decision is final, however mistaken as to the real facts that decision may have been.” The action of the state treasurer was taken on account of the discoveries made by Mr. Goodwin.

The public will remember a controversy that arose at one of the meetings of the board of equalization in which Mr. Goodwin questioned the figures put in as related to the improvement on the “Portchester” road and was invited by Vice-President John M. Hall of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railroad to inspect the improvements via special train, under his personal escort. This inspection took place some months later, but all that Mr. Goodwin would say of it was that he was “much interested” in what he saw.

In many other railroad matters prior to the long contest with the “Consolidated” Mr. Goodwin was active and always interested in what he believed to be for the benefit of the people. There was never any suggestion of anything or anybody behind what Mr. Goodwin was engaged in in public affairs. He entered upon his work in these lines conscientiously, convinced that he was right as a matter of principle, and used his own money to further his plans, in legitimate ways, by printing arguments and results of his investigations, and oftentimes he employed an attorney to aid him before a legislative committee and never to anyone’s knowledge asking aid from the pocketbook of any other person. Mr. Goodwin was a man of slight physique, and not in the most robust health, but his will was dominant over his ailments and he pushed ahead with great energy. He was in manner almost timid, careful of the rights of others and appreciative of assistance whenever it came to him through the newspaper press. He was well known to newspaper men of the state and in newspaper offices, and well liked, even though it was not always possible to agree with his propositions, which were often a matter of expert bookkeeping, clear to him, he said, but not always so easily understood by others.

The efforts of Mr. Goodwin in behalf of town and state reforms include many things which cannot be recalled, but among other things he was the originator of the present system of the legislative calendar a great assistance to the work of the General Assembly.

While in California Mr. Goodwin became interested in the postal affairs of the country and had a contest with the then postmaster of San Francisco on a matter of principle, which was taken up by Congress and called forth much discussion. From that time forward during the remainder of his life Mr. Goodwin became a student of the postal system of the country and of other countries and had official reports from abroad sent to him regularly. He urged many important reforms in the postal service, was a promoter of free delivery, suggested the carrying of mails by trolley cars, and penny-post he was seconded by the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon, who was greatly interested in the penny-post system for rural towns. Members of Congress from this state often received from him useful suggestions for better mail facilities. In the matter of the penny post he was seconded by the had but recently taken many documents from Mr. Goodwin’s house to work up the reform, while Mr. Goodwin was busy with his work before legislative committees.

Hartford Courant, The (1887-1922)  Hartford, Connecticut  17 Mar 1899

From Wiki


Henry L. Goodwin.

Henry Leavitt Goodwin of East Hartford, Conn., died of pneumonia at his home, in that town, yesterday after a short illness.

Mr. Goodwin was an active citizen, serving as a member of the lower house of the Legislature in 1871, 1872, and 1874, when he devoted much attention to the affairs of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in opposition to its consolidation first, and later to its absorption of rival lines. It was he who for many years appeared at the annual meetings of the company and made a series of fruitless fights against the incorporation of the cost of the Port Chester branch of the road in the capitalization of the company, charging that this branch had been largely overcapitalized by illegal watering at the time of its construction. For more than a dozen years he advanced his views, both before the Legislature and at the stockholders’ meetings, but legislative investigations that never amounted to anything were all that he accomplished. He did, however, succeed in having the tax laws of the State so amended as to secure the taxation of much railroad property that has previous to his agitation escaped its share of the burden. He was also largely responsible for the defeat of the thirty-five-thousand-dollar appropriation for “legal expenses” which the Legislature had sanctioned in connection with condemnation proceedings by the East Hartford Bridge Commission.

Mr. Goodwin was born in 1821, and in 1849 went to California, where he made a comfortable fortune in a pony mail and express route which he conducted between the mines and San Francisco, and which the Government finally acquired. Then he supplied water to miners’ camps, and was one of the pioneers in the State’s irrigation schemes. He inherited another fortune from his father, at the time of whose death, in 1862, he returned to East Hartford.

New York Times (1857-Current file)  New York, New York  18 Mar 1899


Words of Eulogy by the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon.

The funeral of Henry L. Goodwin was attended at his late home in Burnside yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, a large gathering of friends and relatives filling the rooms of the old farm house. The services were conducted by the Rev. S.A. Barrett of the East Hartford Congregational Church, who offered prayer and read selections from the Scripture. the Rev. Dr. Leonard Woolsey Bacon of Norwich, an intimate personal friend of Mr. Goodwin, delivered words of eulogy, saying that out of an overflow of personal love he had come to pay a tribute to his friend of forty years. Long remembrance of a dear friend had made it impossible, at such a time, to say just the word that should be said, but here had lived a righteous man, if ever a righteous man did live. It would be impossible to speak words of praise in his presence, even his dumb lips might protest. He was not used to them in his modest life, but he had become well accustomed to obloquy and scorn, and his efforts had often been met with sneering and contempt. He had, however, the approval of God, speaking through his own honest conscience, and with that he was content. He moved about among the ways of men, his calm, quiet personality carrying a rebuke to unrighteousness. For many years his mind was active in enterprises for the benefit of his fellow men, fearless, tenacious, making it easier for us all to stand faithfully in our lot, doing our duty because we had seen his example.

Voices from unexpected quarters were now testifying to the dignity of his manhood and the usefulness of his life. But men may be simply righteous, and just, and not attain to goodness. Our friend was a good man. We shall know him better now that he has passed away, and little by little tales of his gentleness, of his acts of kindness and charity, shall be told. Even since coming to the house of mourning the speaker had learned what he had never heard Mr. Goodwin allude to in his long friendship of forty years — of his patient, fearless nursing of cholera patients on the Isthmus of Panama, when he made with his own hands the coffins for the dead and placed the dead in them while physicians and authorities had abandoned them. There was the gentleness and the goodness of the man. And there shall be many here who shall remember what good things he has done for the benefit of us all. The blessing of those who in their poverty were aided and in their distress were comforted will follow him even into the land of light.

This life had been a wonder to many. They were perplexed to find an explanation of its persistent dealing with those things that interested him in behalf of the community. there was an idea that there was something behind it, that it might possibly be a love of notoriety. There was no understanding that faithful service could come from the purest motives. People did not, could not, understand this sort of human nature, that could serve God by serving man.

Dr. Bacon offered the closing prayers. It is his intention to prepare a memorial sermon to be delivered in the East Hartford church, of which Mr. Goodwin was a member, at a later day, and also to prepare a sketch of Mr. Goodwin for publication.

The body of Mr. Goodwin rested in a casket in the east room of the house, surrounded with a profusion of flowers. At a later hour in the afternoon the burial occurred in the old North Cemetery in this city, beside his wife. The bearers were chosen from among relatives.

Special cars took friends and relatives from this city and from Glastonbury to the funeral.

Hartford Courant, The (1887-1922)  Hartford, Connecticut  21 Mar 1899

The Dead-Head System.

That very sensible and practical newspaper, the New York Journal of Commerce, takes the following logical view of free passes to the legislators and high officials in their travels over railroads:

Mr. Henry L. Goodwin, of East Hartford (Conn.), deserves something better than the insolent slur cast upon him by the president of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for having sued out an injunction to restrain that road from giving free passes to members of Legislatures and of Congress, and all public officers, from the President of the United States downward. “His real object,” says president Bishop, “is probably to make himself distinguished.” His real object, we should more charitably say, is to cut off a useless waste of money and thus to enhance the profits of the road in which he is a stockholder, and to terminate a public nuisance so far as that line is concerned.

The whole traveling public, still more than the stockholders, have a direct interest in the discontinuance of “dead-headism” on railroads. Nothing is given in this world without a value received or expected; and when the New Haven line distributes free passes to the Connecticut Legislature, it only pays in advance for benefits it hopes to receive. By such means railroads stave off investigations, or procure favorable legislation. The public, going to the Legislature and petitioning for laws to restrain or regulate railroads, find that body already bought over to the other side. It is not consistent with human nature that a man should feel unfriendly to a road whose yearly free pass for himself and family he carries in his pocket-book. To the average legislator, unambitious of “heavy strikes” and great spoils, this bit of pasteboard is an immense favor, and only to be recompensed by blindly voting for all that the donors want. Shrewd railroad managers well understand this, and distribute the tickets plentifully at the opening of sessions, and so secure the defeat of possible hostile legislation. The companies can never be depended on to abandon official “dead-heading” voluntarily. They pretended to try it at the West a year or two ago, but it was soon ascertained that every company broke its own rules, and the agreement was openly abandoned; and the old plan of controlling legislatures with free tickets is now in vogue everywhere except on this one Connecticut road, where a judicial injunction has stopped it temporarily. Mr. Goodwin merits the public thanks for invoking the intervention of the only power equal to the suppression of the evil.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 1, 1875

“What will Henry L. Goodwin do when the Legislature adjourns sine die?” is a question asked by every visitor at the Capitol. He has not missed a session since the Legislature convened and has been in attendance upon every hearing before the railroad committee. His aim and ambition in life appears to be, to harass the Consolidated road and he has succeeded in having bills introduced that caused the attorneys for that corporation many hours to labor of hunt up arguments and questions of law. If Mr. Goodwin was a member of the Legislature he would be of great service to the state if appointed upon the railroad committee but that day will never come. The Consolidated road has a great deal at stake and they take an important part in the state politics. They would do their utmost to defeat Mr. Goodwin if he were nominated and he must always remain a private citizen, content to introduce bills that are always reported on adversely.

Sunday Herald (Bridgeport, CT) – Apr 7, 1895


“Men of Mark in Connecticut: Ideals of American Life Told in Biographies and Autobiographies of Eminent Living Americans”
Editor:    Norris Galpin Osborn
Publisher: W.R. Goodspeed, 1904  (Google Book LINK – pg  275)

The Mad Mullah

March 19, 2010

The Mad Mullah (Image from

Mad Mullah.

Note — It is reported that the Mad Mullah has a band of hunters on the Roosevelt trail near Nairobi.

Mad Mullah, on a summer day,
Called out his band in fierce array.

“You hot Somali men,” said he,
“Must get some great big game for me;

“The rhino, hippo and them all,
Compared with this are mighty small.”

Mad Mullah smiled when thus he spoke;
His hot Somalis saw the joke.

“We’re on; we’re on,” they yelled in glee;
“Now turn us loose and you shall see.

“How quickly we will go and find
The great big game you have in mind.”

Mad Mullah grinned, for well he knew
What hunting stunts his band could do.

“Good, hot Somalis,” said he then,
“Now scatter and come back again.

“Which that big game, for if you fail
The bunch of you shall go to jail.

“You said you would; don’t stir my ire;
You know how I despise a liar.

“You’ll have a corking time, I hope,
And bring him hither on the lope.”

The hot Somalis bowed and skipped,
Resolved to have the big game nipped.

Mad Mullah, in the desert hot,
Waits, wondering if they will or not!

— W.J. Lampton

Carroll Herald – Jul 14, 1909

The Bone Rattler: Michael N. Gery

March 19, 2010

Michael N. Gery – The Bone Rattler



Hereford, Jan. 29 (Special). — Michael N. Gery, aged 88 years, who had been dubbed as the state champion bone rattler and old-time frolic fiddler, was buried from his home near this place. Services were held at the house, Rev. James N. Blatt, Reformed pastor of Huff’s Church, officiating. Further services were held at Huff’s Church, where interment was made.

Five sons and a son-in-law were the bearers at the house, as follows: Sons, Alfred, Allentown; John, East Greenville; Horace and James, this place, and Charles, East Macungie; son-in-law, Charles Roeder, Sigmund. At the church six members of Harlem Castle, No. 335, K.G.E. were the bearers. The remains reposed in an oak casket with plate inscribed “Father.” Undertaker William H. Dimmig, East Greenville, had charge.

The funeral was one of the largest held at Huff’s Church in many years, deceased having had a large acquaintanceship. At the time of his death he was treasurer of the Gery Family Reunion Association, and members of the clan knew him as “a young old man,” for even in recent years not a family meeting was held without the deceased giving an exhibition of bone rattling, violin playing and jig dancing.

Road Supervisor 20 Years.

For 20 years Mr. Gery served his township as road supervisor and was one of the first men in lower Berks county to foster the movement for better roads, improving them with the use of road machinery and macadamized material.

About 65 years ago he gained notoriety at the then old-time country frolics, where the lads and lassies of the rural communities gathered at the rural hotels and engaged in jigs and hops. He and his brothers, and later his sons, would sit on top of barrels and store boxes and fiddle and rattle the bones, while the buxom swains reeled around the pretty country maidens on the pewter sanded floors of the dining rooms of the roadside hotels.

None knew better how to cater to this — one of the earliest amusements of social life — 60 and more years ago, in the Pennsylvania German communities. In one evening, Gery and his family would get from $10 to $30 to play the jigs and reels, including such old-time frolic music as the “Kutztown Reel” and “Fisher’s Hornpipe.” Gery was a past master in calling out the dance gestures and every young man and woman knew what he meant when he bellowed forth his figures. Many a time would he throw the fiddle to his eldest son and then take the floor himself and dance until midnight. The last time he appeared in public with his bones in his hands was at the annual Gery reunion last fall, where he showed an audience of 3,000 persons that he still was able to bring forth real old-fashioned music, though he was four-score years and eight.

Had Attractive Offers.

When still quite young he had offers of $100 per week from shows and at one time refused a most flattering offer to appear at the then well-known amusement house in Philadelphia, “Carncross & Dixie,” because his father would not consent to his absence from home.

With his family he conducted many years an orchestra of string and wind instruments, as every one of his sons and daughters were musicians. He also helped to organize a number of orchestras and was well known in musical circles in lower Berks and upper Montgomery counties.

He was an expert in telling Pennsylvania German stories and jokes and whenever he came to the crossroads store he kept the farmers in a jolly mood. Then he also kept up a record of a Sullivan in his community for two generations. He was a man who never sought a quarrel, but during the country dance era such fights among the young folks were of frequent occurrence, and “Mike” Gery acted as peacemaker at a score of the most important fights, where he had to use his fists to impress his peace arguments. Only once in his long career did he get licked, and then he fought single-handed a dozen assailants and laid eight of them on the floor before he went sprawling himself.

He is survived by six sons and two daughters and many grandchildren, among them Francis Ritter, a grandson, who is able to take the grandfather’s place at bone rattling and keep it up with the enviable record the grandfather made during more than 65 years of experience.

Reading Eagle – Jan 29, 1917

The Hereford Literary Society Reunion – 1903

Corn: Better Use It For Fuel Than Make Booze of It

March 17, 2010


Manager Declare Over Supply Should Be Utilized.


Better Use It For Fuel Than Make Booze of It.

The Adel Clay Products company is burning corn in its kilns in making tile and sewer pipes.

H.R. Straight of the company defends it warmly. “No one ever protested on economics grounds against the consumption of millions of bushels of corn annually in the distilleries,” he said today.

“Industrial alcohol is still made from corn and a great deal of this alcohol is burned for various purposes. If industrial alcohol made from corn was burned in a tractor instead of gasoline, surely no one would say it was wrong.”

The government having encouraged the farmer to increase production during the war, the only way to sell the oversupply at a price that it cost to produce it is to encourage the use of corn in other ways than customary, but Mr. Straight is strongly opposed to using it to make alcohol.

“When the farmers,” says Mr. Straight, “can save handling and hauling to market and the hauling of coal home, keep his money in his own community and help to relieve his bankrupting situation, it surely seems to me that it is right to do so. Since everyone in Iowa is indirectly dependent on the farmer, it seems quite evident that anything that any of us can do to decrease the excessive supply will mean money in all of our pockets in the long run.

Other Wastes.

“No one ever severely criticized the farmer for wasting a good percentage of corn fed to hogs on the bare ground instead of on a masonry platform, where it is all saved. Who ever heard of telling the farmer that he was doing an economic wrong by feeding his stock in a cold barn or without adequate shelter and thereby wasting a good part of his feed? If the writers against burning of corn think it is such a sin, why don’t they go after the rats, which eat enough corn, which if burned, would heat hundreds of homes.

“The results were equivalent to that secured from the highest grade of eastern coal and the cost was but very little more. Since it is necessary to use eastern coal, low in sulphur content, to secure thorough vitrification and a uniform color, can any one say that it was economically wrong to use the corn instead?

“The war caused an over production of warships and war materials for peace time needs. No one would criticize the nations for making an agreement to junk a part of hte warships at heavy losses.

A War Condition.

“Along the same general lines, corn was a war material and the over supply is a direct result of the war. Let us use it up to the best advantage so that the new crop, which will shortly be coming on, can be in demand at a price that will help raise us out of the present financial chaos.

“Hard times in the east or in the extreme west had no great effect on Iowa during the depression of 1907 and 1914 because we didn’t have more food products than the balance of the world needed. If we were now short, even 30 per cent of what we have on hand, it is my opinion that we would be getting a living return for the balance.

“I would say don’t encourage the feeding of corn to hogs or we shall shortly have an over production of hogs selling at perhaps 3 cents. As it is now, they are the last straw of hope for the farmer.

“Let us use up the corn in such a way as to save as much as possible of the freight, which is too high, on the corn, and also save the freight on and the cost of coal, both of which are far out of line with the value of farm product.”

The Carroll Herald – Jan 25, 1922

St. Patrick: He Was A Saint So Clever

March 17, 2010


St. Patrick was a gentleman,
and came of decent people;
He built a church in Dublin town,
And on it built a steple.
His father was a Hoolagan,
His sister an O’Grady.
His mother was a Mulligan,
And his wife the Widow Brady.


Success attend St. Patrick’s fist,
He was a saint so clever;
He gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And banished them forever!

The Wicklow hills are very high,
And so’s the hill of Howth, air,
But there’s a hill that’s higher still,
And bigger than them both, sir.
I was from the top of that same hill
St. Patrick preached his sarmint
That drove the frogs into the bogs,
And banished all the varmint!

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist, &c.

Nine hundred thousand vipers blue
He charmed with sweet discourses,
And carved them up at Killadoo
In soups and second courses.
The blind worms crawling on the grass
Disgusted all the nation,
Till he opened their eyes and their hearts like wise,
To a sense of their situation!

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist, &c.

There’s not a mile through Ireland’s isle
Where the dirty creatures musters!
But there he put his dear forefoot,
And murdered them in clusters.
The toads went pop the frogs went slop,
Slap dash into the water.
And the snakes committed suicide
To save themselves from slaughter!

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist, &c.

No wonder that the Irish boys
Are all so brave and frisky,
For sure St. Patrick taught them that,
And the way of making whisky.
No wonder that the saint himself
Was handy at dishtilling,
fir his mother kept a shebe?n house
In the town of Enniskillen!

Success attend St. Patrick’s fist,
He was a saint so clever,
He gave the snakes and toads a twist,
And banished them forever.

Titusville Morning Herald (Titusville, PA) Mar 17, 1871

The Wreck of the Steamboat “Swallow”

March 16, 2010

Steamboat Swallow 1836


Total Wreck of the Steamboat Swallow.
— A Number of Lives Lost.

The steamer Swallow left Albany at 6 o’clock on Monday evening, with two or three other boats, to come directly through to New York. She has on board a large number of passengers, probably three hundred and fifty in all. when passing through the narrow channel at Athens, she ran upon a large rock, called “the brig.” The bow ran up so high that it was impossible to stand upon the deck. The keep broke and the stern bent upwards, and still went down so that in three minutes the two cabins were full of water. The scene among the passengers may be imagined. It was 9 o’clock in the evening, and very few of them were in their berths. The upper part of the boat soon took fire, which increased the alarm.

The evening was very dark and the wind blowing fresh at the time, the boat struck. Fortunately the Rochester, Capt. Cruttenden, was but a few boat’s length behind, but by the time she succeeded in rounding to and reaching the Swallow, the water was up to the top of the ladies’ cabin.

The passengers were taken off by Capt. Cruttenden (should be Crittenden), but so short was the interval from the time the Swallow struck till she went down, that it is impossible to say how many lives were lost.

The following letter contains full particulars of the fearful accident:


MY DEAR FRIEND: — You may value a few lines from me, an eye-witness, descriptive of the terrible accident which befell the SWALLOW last evening. At about 8 o’clock last evening when going at a rapid rate, the boat struck on a small rock island abreast the town of Athens and the city of Hudson. I was sitting in the upper saloon in conversation. At the first severe shock the passengers rushed below, but fears were calmed for a moment by the outcry that we had only come in contact with a raft. But our ears were speedily assailed by the appalling sounds of the rending of timbers, and the evident destruction of the boat; while the stern settled with frightful rapidity. —

Those who had “turned in,” in the after cabin, had barely time to leap from their berths, before the water was upon them. You can imagine the horrors of the scene at this moment when more than three hundred souls were thus exposed in the midst of falling snow, and almost utter darkness. As the waters reached the boiler fires, a sheet of mingled steam, smoke and flame poured into the boat, illuminating the ghastly countenances with a sudden glare of vivid light, and completing the consternation. The conviction that the curse of fire was to be added to our other imminent perils, curbed the resolution of the stoutest hearts. But the rapid sinking of the boat extinguished the fires, and darkness prevailed again.

In less than five minutes, by the blessing of God, the stern rested on the bottom, the water being above the windows of the aft saloon state-rooms. Several females were drawn out of state-rooms by dashing in the windows; two almost exhausted — one very aged, and now lying on board this boat in a precarious situation — were taken from the Ladies’ Cabin by cutting through the floor. — They had sustained themselves on settees with only a few inches of breathing room for their faces. The bow had been forced high and dry upon the rock, and the boat, split open amidship, was left rising almost perpendicularly upward, covered with anxious beings clinging to the bulwarks. The remainder of the passengers were sadly grouped on the forward upper deck, many bewailing the absence of dear companions, and actuated by the most dreadful apprehensions for their fate.

By this time the alarm had been thoroughly communicated to the shore on either side. The bells of the churches began to ring, and the river was soon covered with torches, waving in the fleet of boats that put off to our assistance; while the steamboat Rochester, which had found it difficult to get to us, and the steamboat Express, which had now come up, were gradually approaching alongside. The sound of the drum pealing on the air, the shouts of those in the boats, the light of the waving torches, and the wailing grief of many on the wreck, constituted features of a most impressive scene.

In the course of an hour all were taken off who remained, in the Rochester, the past seeming like a terrible dream. I am approaching the city. It can be scarcely be but that many are lost. Many leaped immediately overboard in that frenzy of mind which precluded the power of self preservation in the water.

The awful scene exhibited to the self-possessed observer many striking traits of human nature. In the very height of the confusion and dismay, on the upper deck, when all was darkness, the snow falling fast, the boat sinking rapidly, wives shrieking for husbands, sisters for brothers, and children for parents, and the accents of prayer best befitted the lips, the voice of a strong hearted ruffian was heard even among the tumult, pouring volleys of oaths at the poor agonized females around him, because of the emotion they exhibited. A gentleman was hurrying up from the lower cabin, with difficulty escaping the pursuit of the waters, and when he reached the saloon he saw a husband hasten from the state room beside him closely hugging a valise, while his wife, with an infant in her arms and another little child by her side, shrieked to him as he rushed away, never turning his head to view their fate —

“Husband! husband! in God’s name, drop your valise and save your wife and children!”

But he disappeared unheeding! He probably preferred the miserable gold in his valise to his wife and children! A gentleman although he had apparently lost every thing, except the clothing on his back, did not make an effort for himself until he had secured the safety of that family. we rejoice to be able to offset so finished an exhibition of selfishness, with this act of disinterested generosity.

The scene must have been as appalling as it has been described. Even the feelings of those on board the Rochester and Express, as they approached, were not to be envied. The awful cry of hundreds in their terrible agony was heard, it is related, full a mile away. And when the glare of the sudden flames lighted up the boat as she was described sinking fast, very fast, the intensity of sympathy was almost akin to the who of the sufferers.

The boat is broken entirely open. — The engine, &c. may be saved provided it holds together long enough to raise them. But it is so complete a wreck that a high wind is likely to break her entirely up.

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Apr 14, 1845

Wreck of the Steamboat Swallow on North River.

The following particulars in relation to the loss of this boat we copy from the Buffalo Pilot of the 11th:
Troy, April, 8, 1845, 9 o’clock P.M.

GENT. — I arrived in this city this afternoon at 5 o’clock, and find that much excitement exists, produced by the loss of the fine steamboat Swallow, the news of which reached here this morning. You will find in the Albany Evening Journal, of this evening, an account of the disaster, this I am informed, is erroneous in many particulars. It is states in the Journal that Mrs. Starbuck, of Troy, was among the dead. This I learn to be an error.

On the tidings here, the steamboat John Mason immediately started for the scene of the disaster, and I have waited until this hour in hopes of getting more full particulars, but she has not yet arrived. Should she come up during the night, I shall gather what I can in the morning, and add to this in a P.S.

Meantime, I send you the proof of an article prepared for the Troy Daily Whig of to-morrow morning, which is believed here to be the most authentic accounts received yet, and for which I am indebted to the kindness of the editor of that paper Mr. WATSON.

“The steamboat Swallow left this city for New York on Monday afternoon. — She had a large number of passengers on board — over 300. The night set in very dark with occasional squalls of snow. About 8 o’clock the boat, while under full headway, struck a ledge of rocks just north of the village of Athens, opposite the city of Hudson. The bow of the boat was forced completely out of water, causing the stern to be proportionally depressed under water.

“The steamboats Rochester and Express were a short distance astern of the Swallow when she struck. They came alongside with great alacrity and took off her passengers. In their fright, a number of the passengers jumped overboard, and were picked up by the small boats of the Swallow. The citizens of Hudson and Athens also came to the assistance of the passengers in boats and carried many of them on shore at those places. Had the passengers been aware at the time of the accident of the exact position of the boat, all of them might have been taken off without wetting even the soles of their shoes; as the rock on which they Swallow struck was 12 or 15 feet out of water. The hull of the boat is broken in two near the forward gangway.

After the Swallow struck, her stern sunk very rapidly; so much so that several persons were extricated from the state-rooms on the promenade deck, by cutting holes though the roof. Capt. Squires exhibited throughout the whole affair, the most commendable coolness and energy in his efforts to save the lives of his passengers.

“The Swallow was purchased last summer by the Troy and New-York Steamboat Co. for $24,000. During the last winter she was thoroughly repaired and greatly improved in every respect. She was built in 1835, and was in excellent condition. The loss will be a heavy one to her owners, as she was not insured. She was valued at about $30,000.

“The Albany will be put on the line in place of the Swallow.

“Among the passengers on the Swallow from this city, were John Paine, lady, daughter, and son, John L. Thompson and lady, N. Starbuck and Mrs. Benjamin Starbuck, Mrs. Townsend, M. Vail, Mr. and Mrs. Hayner. Mr. Fellowes, Wm. C. Rice, C.L. Richards, and a large number of others whose names we have not ascertained.

“P.S. We learn that another passenger, Mrs. French of Detroit, is missing and is suppose to be lost.”

Wednesday, April 9, 6 A.M.

The Mason returned last night at 11 o’clock, bringing the bodies of 6 persons, viz: Mr. Geo. Coffin, of West Troy; 2 Misses Wood, of Albany, Miss Briggs, of Troy; and a man and woman unknown. On the woman’s finger was a silver thimble marked ‘F.M.C.’ The Troy Whig of this morning states that the body of Mrs. Starbuck, of this city, was among the number brought up, but this is a mistake — it is not yet known whether she was drowned. A gentleman informs me that he saved himself by jumping some 18 feet down upon the island.

My informant says that the boat must have been under great headway at the time, as her bow ran between 30 and 40 feet on the island. It will probably never be known how many lives were lost. The following letter was written yesterday afternoon by the Steward of the Swallow, and no doubt contains his honest opinion — it having been written without instructions from those interested in having the truth concealed:

“I have just returned from the Swallow. They are fishing out dead bodies all the time. I saw ten women that were drowned. They think that about 60 are drowned.

Yours, in haste,


“Capt. Squier of course is blamed by no one — the captains on the Hudson having nothing to do with piloting the boats — that duty devolving on a pilot. So if any one is to blame it is the pilot, and a coroner’s jury has said that he was not, the night being so dark he could not see. It appears to me, then, that he should have stopped, notwithstanding the importunities of a few hot-headed passengers, who objected to his so doing, because they did not wish to get into New York behind the Rochester.

Capt. Squier is still on board the wreck, hard at work. He intends to have the river dragged to-day, as it is known that many jumped overboard.

The Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 15, 1845


Steamboat Swallow

This next article was rather blurry and hard to read, so there are some blanks where I couldn’t make out, or figure out what it said.

Appalling Disaster!

From the Albany Evening Journal, of Tuesday.

The steamboat Swallow, Captain Squires, which lies between Troy and New York, on her way down the river last nigh, met with an accident of the most serious nature. She left here at 6 o’clock with a considerable load of passengers, and when opposite Athens, ?0 miles below the city, ran upon a small island while going at full speed. The violence of the _________ was so great that the bow of the Swallow was bent nearly at right angles with the hull, and almost immediately after she struck, the water came pouring in through the openings in the bottom plank. It was nearly nine o’clock when the accident occured, and the passengers had all taken ___ and were mostly on the main and upper decks. A few, however, remained in the after cabin below deck.

The waiters and hands were taking supper in the forward cabin. Alarmed by the shock, they rushed aft, the chambermaid passing through the entire length of the two cabins, and ascending by the after stairs to the Ladies’ Cabin, on the main deck. The water followed with great rapidity, and within three or four minutes after the accident, the lower cabin was filled with water. The greatest alarm now prevailed, and every body hurried to the state-room deck. an opening was cut through the roofing of the state-rooms, and many clambered up on that, as the boat continued to fill and settle rapidly.

At this moment Captain Squires heard some calls for help below, and decending the main deck, then under water, rescued Mrs. and Miss Starbuck, of Troy from imminent danger. Mrs. Starbuck, an aged lady, was immediately carried on shore in a small boat, and every attention paid to her, but the exposure and alarm proved too much for her enfeebled frame and she died shortly after reaching shore. This is the only life yet known to have been lost, though great fears are ___tained that several persons have been drowned in the main cabin. The chambermaid, however, who ran through this cabin, after the boat struck, thinks that everyone had left it; and such we hope will prove to be the fact.

The rock or island on which the Swallow struck is on the west side of the channel and within a stone’s throw of the Athens shore. The night was dark and tempestuous. Within a very few moments after the accident the Express first, and then the Rochester came alongside the wreck and took off the passengers and luggage. There were several sloops and small boats engaged in the same way.

From the Albany Advertiser, Wednesday morning.

THE DISASTER AT ATHENS. — We regret that the worst anticipations of our citizens — ___nding the loss of the Swallow at Athens, on Monday night, are realized. Life has been lost and it is feared to a great extent.

The steamer John Mason returned from the wreck at 11 o’clock last night with the bodies of six persons which had been recovered. Two were landed here — the sisters of Dr. War__d of this city. The others were washed from the wreck.

If the snow storm was so dense as to prevent the running of the boat, she should have anchored. That is no excuse. The storm was so heavy when the boat passed Hudson that the South America could not land. So we have no more news by her from the Swallow.

The Express of last evening publishes a list of 199 saved, of the 250 passengers said to be on board. Amongst them we see the names of Jas Dickson and Mrs. and two Miss Conkline [Conkling] of this city. It is doubtful if Mrs. C. is saved. Mr. Hard of the state Senate, and Mr. Frisbee of the House, are among the passengers.

Mrs. ? Starbuck, of Troy, said to have been drowned, is saved.

P.S. Some of the passengers that came in the morning train, state that four more bodies, all females — have been found. It was the general impression at Albany, that not less than 30 or 60 persons were drowned.

Further from the Swallow.

We glean to-day a few more particulars about this most distressing casualty, although it seems impossible to obtain full and accurate accounts. An extra from the Columbia Republican, dated at Hudson yesterday, mentions the recovery of five more bodies, all females, making ELEVEN in all, who are — known to have perished. Of the last five, three, we understand, have been recognized: Mrs. Conklin [Conkling] of Bennington, Vt., Mrs. Coffin of West Troy, and Mrs. Walker of New York.

Mr. Walker in his testimony before the coroners jury at Hudson yesterday, stated that he could have saved his wife, and was taking her forward towards the bow of the boat, but the Captain stopped him, saying “be easy, there’s no danger.” He accordingly remained where he was and in a moment or two his wife was swept from his side by the rush of the water.

Up to yesterday evening, no entrance had yet been affected into the Ladies’ Cabin or the Main Cabin below deck. There is every reason to fear that many were drowned in their Cabins, in the attempt to escape. Many, too, were swept off the deck when the stern sunk, and it is not probable, or even possible, that all of them were saved.
There is a great disparity in the various statements as to the number of passengers on board — it is estimated by some at high as 300 and by others as low as 150. Why will not the owners of the boat ______ something towards allaying the _____ _____ of the public by publishing the list of passengers! This should be done at once.

We hear that at the Coroner’s inquest held in Athens, immediately after the accident, not a single passenger was sworn as a witness. — No wonder that the Jury returned a verdict _____pating the officers of the boat from all blame. The Columbia Republican, however, states that it appeared in evidence yesterday, before the Coroner’s Jury now –ing, that the Swallow was in charge of the first pilot Mr. BURNETT, at the moment it struck. He had just come up from tea, and as soon as he stepped ___ the wheel house, said to the second pilot, then at the wheel, “You are out of your ?mind?.” He immediately seized the wheel, and was in the act of turning it, when the boat struck. This is a very different story from the one first told in explanation of the disaster which was that a snow squall came up, a few moments before the accident and prevented the pilot from seeing the shore. As the case now stands, it would appear that a pilot was in charge of the boat, at the time of the wreck, who did not know the channel. — If this shall prove to be the fact, what a weight of responsibility rests upon the owners!

A correspondent in to-day’s Journal, over his proper signature, gives some particulars of the disaster, that had not before _____ed. Thousands will concur in the opinion expressed by him, that there should have been some person on board the boat to proclaim to the passengers the precise situation of things, and to have directed them to the bow, where all might have been saved.

Very deep and general interest has been felt here in the fate of Gen. MATHER’S interesting little __y. The report came up last night that the little fellow had been ____, floating on a plank; and all were eager to believe the story. But we fear that it was without foundation. It is but too probable that he is one of the many victims of the most appalling catastrophe that has occurred upon the waters of the Hudson within our recollection.

Correspondence of the Evening Journal.

DEAR SIR — There being many contradictory statements in circulation in regard to the loss of the steamer Swallow, I take the first opportunity of furnishing you with a relation of the facts which occurred under my own observation. At the time the boat struck I was sitting near the Captain’s office on the main deck. Great confusion of course at once ensued — passengers rushing one way and another, to inquire the cause, ladies — screaming, &c, when Capt. Squires came aft, near to where most of the passengers were congregated, and said, “[Ladies and gentlemen, be quiet, all is safe.”] This word was immediately passed about the boat, and our fears had become somewhat allayed, when the Captain again appeared in the crowd, holding a signal lamp over his head, and called upon all to go forward. A general rush was then made forward, in which I was forced along, but when I had got to within reach of the door which opened out on to the forward deck, (about 100, perhaps, having passed — through,) a cry came from forward of “Go back, go back.” We were then forced back again towards the centre of the boat, and as we passed the stairway, the cabin at that point was nearly full. I then discovered that the ladies saloon aft was filling, and the stern sinking. At this moment a cry of “fire” went through the vessel, and the smoke, sparks and coal dust rushed up from the fireplaces. The water by this time had reached to where I stood, and was fast rising around my feet. Up to this time we had no knowledge of the nature or cause of the calamity, nor had any intimation been given in my hearing that we were aground, or that we were near land; but on the contrary the work was several time passed around that we had run on to a raft. Being thus [hemmed’ is driven back by the crowd from before, prevented from going aft by the water and fire, and there being no stairway or other passage to the upper deck within this space — I and those around me endeavored to compose ourselves for death, which we believed inevitably and speedily approaching, when the crowd in which I stood moved again forward, and we passed out to the forward deck, and I was carried along up a stepp aclivity, which I supposed, (it being very dark,) was a gang plank leading up on to the vessel, or whatever else we had run into, until i came to get hold of the net-work or cordage which surrounded the bow; it then occurred to me that the boat was broken in two. I then saw those forward of me, near the bowscript, — throwing themselves over this bulwark, and upon following their example found myself upon the ground — This was the first intimation I received that we were aground. On examination by day-light, this island on which we struck proved to be a rock, covered partly with grass, about 30 by 50 feet in size, and 10 or 15 feet above the water.

The boat is broken a little forward of the wheels, the forward part running up on the island at an angle of 45 degrees. Shortly after I tumbled over, (a fall of about 15 feet,) a ladder was brought, and in all I think about 100 persons escaped that way.

The Rochester and Express, which were known to be close behind, soon came in to the channel, and most of the passengers were supposed to have gone on board of them, by aid of boats from Athens and Hudson, upon either side of us. After remaining on the island until half past 6, I finally got off on the Athens shore, where I remained until last evening. During yesterday efforts were made to search the boat, which resulted in obtaining most of the baggage and 6 bodies — 2 Misses Woods of Albany, Miss Briggs and Mrs. Coffin of Troy, Mr. Davis of Albany, and a lady unknown, having the initials of “W.M.C.” on her thimble. Upon going on board of the John Mason last evening, I was informed that the Coroner’s jury had just returned a verdict either acquitting the pilot of, or not charging him with blame. This verdict has not been satisfactory to any one of the passengers with whom I have conversed. Indeed the question of negligence seems to me to lie in a very small — compass, for if it were so dark as to prevent the pilot from seeing, he should have stopped, while on the other hand, if he could see, he was bound to know better than to leave a straight, fair channel — 1 of a mile wide — and run his boat upon a well known island, at an angle with the channel of 20 to 25 degrees, and pointing almost into the village of Athen. — If is said that he had just come up from supper, the above remark will apply to the person left in charge, for on such a night as that, (if ever) none but persons of known skill and prudence, should be at the wheel. —

Great praise is due to Mr. J.P. Hinsdale of New York, who, with the aid of a small board, supported Miss Platt of Detroit for a long time in the water, and until they were picked up and taken ashore in a small boat, quite helpless. Mr. J.A. Hicks of Detroit, Chandler Root of Cooperstown, and Osborn ______ of Albany, also deserve honorable mention. Mr. Hinsdale was obliged to cast from his arm a satchel, which contained $1,500 in gold, belonging to Miss Platt, which was lost. From a careful examination of the above named persons and others who were in the water, (each of whom left different parts of the boat) who state that a number of persons were around them, crying for help, saying they could not swim, &c. I am of opinion that not less than 30, and probably 40, lives were lost. No search had yet been made in the river, nor had that part of the boat where the ladies would most likely be found, been reached when I left last evening — the ladies’ saloon being entirely submerged. I have yet heard no blame attached in Captain Squires, but would be glad to know who it was who started that unfortunate cry which sent them back to perish who might otherwise have been saved. It also seems to me that some one ought to have known that one end of the boat was high and dry and therefore safe, and to have made known that fact to the passengers — in which event I verily believe not a life need to have been lost. Being aware that those interested have made statements and arrived at conclusions entirely exculpatory of the officers, I have thought best to attach to this hasty and very imperfectly written — sketch, the proper name of your friend and servant,

ALBERT. I. RANES, (name hard to read, so not sure last name correct)
Greenwich, Washington co., N.Y.

From the Albany Advertiser.
Further from the Swallow.

In addition to the six bodies brought up by the Mason on Tuesday, the following are to be added to the melancholy list, and embrace all that were found at 8 P.M. yesterday.

Mrs. Concklin, [Conkling] of Bennington, Vt.

Mrs. Coffin, mother of Mr. C of West Troy, __ __ his wife.

Mrs. Walker of New York

A female who had in her possession a berth ticket marked “C. Ve____” this gives no clue to her name, as it is probably that of the agent of the Swallow in this city.
A female, name unknown, dressed in a light colored mouselain __ ____ gown; had in her possession $41 — $37 of which were in notes of the Mohawk Valley Bank.
Among the saved we see the names of Miss Cornelia Platt of Detroit, and C. H. Hicks of New York. They were picked up on a netting.

Leroy Gazette Apr 16, 1845

The Hudson River Calamity.

Albany papers of Saturday state that the wreck of the Swallow remains in the position it was left at the time of the accident except that the stern has settled to a greater depth in the water. The cabins, (with the exception of the forward cabin,) the state rooms on the main deck on a line with the ladies’ cabin, and the upper state rooms, not washed away by the tide, are all submerged, and have not been examined, nor can they be until the wreck is raised. The stern of the boat is supposed to be in forty feet water.

No effort had been made to raise the boat, up to Saturday, although the accident occurred on Monday night, and it is supposed many bodies are coffined in the wreck. A culpable negligence is manifested by the Troy owners of the Swallow, for they have not even published the Clerk’s list of passengers, although one of the Troy editors says he has seen it, and expresses the opinion that not more than 15 or 20 perished by the dreadful accident. An effort to conceal the full extent of the terrible calamity is apparent.

Two more bodies were recovered on Friday, making 13 in all. The two last, Mrs. Parker, of Utica, and Mrs. Torry, of Pottsville, Pa., were taken from the river by drags. The river was dragged both above and below the wreck, but no other bodies discovered. By a statement in the Albany papers, it appears to have been ascertained that 201 passengers were saved on the Swallow. The lowest estimate of the number on board is 250, and the Clerk’s list is said to show full that number, and he supposes that there were at least 50 others on board. Several are yet missing who were known to have been on board, among them the son of Gen. Mather, the wife of Mr. Gelston, of Schenectady and Mr. Bracklin, of Albany. In the pockets of the young man recovered was found a handkerchief marked “Sarah Brundage,” a large roll of bank bills, and memorandums for the purchase of hardware — a Western merchant probably. The body of the lady found with bills of the Mohawk Valley Bank in her pocket book, proves to be that of Mrs. F. Bassett, of Mohawk.

The circumstances attending the loss of the Swallow are such as show gross negligence on the part of the pilot at least, and the Senate of New York have appointed Messrs. Beckman, Barlow and Chamberlain to investigate the matter. They are authorized to send for persons and papers, and a full and close investigation will be had.

The Albany Atlas has published a diagram of the river at the place of the disaster, which shows that the boat was piloted as an angel of 20 or 25 degrees directly out of a channel half a mile wide, and the Atlas says, “of all the navigation, this reach of the river is considered the least difficult.” The customary track of steamboats through it is but slightly curved. It was not so dark but what the Express and Rochester, just behind the Swallow, kept the usual course, and the lights and landmarks were plainly visible. It appears too that Burnett, the pilot, took the wheel some three miles above where she struck, and had charge at the time. Burnett is an old river pilot, and has heretofore been discharged for intemperance. — When the facts all come out, we presume it will be found that the sad calamity was owing to the influence of that bane of human life, alcohol.

Clev. Herald.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 22,  1845


From The Wreck of the Swallow.

The Senate committee returned yesterday afternoon from the wreck. From the chairman, Judge Barlow, we understand that no more bodies were found yesterday, though men are still raking the river for some distance below the rock on which the Swallow struck. The great depth of the water in the channel, from 30 to 60 feet, renders the chances of raking up the dead, very uncertain.

The time — a consideration of some importance — in which the Swallow was sinking, seems to be in much doubt. — The testimony of those present, ranges between ten and fifteen minutes. The instinct of self-preservation is so strong and active under such an emergency, that the hope may be indulged that there are not so many souls in that ill-fated wreck, as natural apprehensions suggested.

Whether this be a well-grounded hope or not, is not likely to be very soon ascertained so far as the interior of the boat can show it, for there is yet, notwithstanding the public anxiety, no preparation for raising the wreck. — Alb. Arg.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 22, 1845


The Swallow.

At our latest dates from the east, no attempt had been made to raise the wreck of the Swallow. The number of individuals known to be lost, is 14. It is thought by some of the papers in the neighborhood of the disaster, that nearly all, if not every one of the passengers left the cabin of the boat before it sunk, and that but very few if any more bodies will be found. Some of the persons who escaped say that fifteen minutes elapsed after the boat struck before the stern sunk beneath the water, which gave the passengers who were in the cabin an opportunity to reach the deck. The number of passengers lost, will probably never be correctly ascertained.

The Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 22, 1845

The steamboat Albany has been placed on the night line on the North River, in place of the ill-fated Swallow. Capt. Squier has been put in command of the Albany, showing that the proprietors of the line, the parties most deeply interested, have not lost their confidence in his skill and fidelity.

THE SWALLOW DISASTER — The Senate of the State of New York have referred the matter of the disaster of the Swallow to a select committee for a thorough investigation, as is the practice of the English Parliament.

Milwaukie Daily Sentinel Apr 24, 1845

From the Albany Evening Journal of April 12.

In company with a large number of our citizens, we went to Athens, yesterday, in the steamer Sandusky, for the purpose of examining the wreck, and satisfying ourselves as to the position of the ill-fated Swallow. It is hardly possible to convey by words, a correct idea of the spectacle she presents. We have rarely looked upon a more appalling sight. the rock upon which the Swallow struck, is about 15 feet high, and some 40 feet long, by 30 broad. On the inner or west side, there is a thin sheet of water, perhaps four rods across, which at low tide a man can easily wade. On the outer or eastern side of the rock, the water is deep, the channel running within a rod or two. Looking to the south, the rock is just in the line of Athens docks, distant about 15 rods. To the north, however, the channel inclines somewhat to the westward of this range.

The entire bow of the Swallow rests upon this rock, her stern being about 30 feet above the water’s level. The whole of the after part of the boat — say 80 to 100 feet — is under water. This includes the ladies’ cabin on the main deck, and a few of the state-rooms on the upper deck. The gentlemen’s cabins below are, of course, full of water. The Swallow lies with her head pointing [in shore], making an angle with the direction of the channel, of some 25 degrees. If the rock had not been there, the Swallow, from the course she was taking, much have run up high and dry on the Athens shore. The channel runs close to the rock, and the Swallow could have passed it safely, had she been a length to the eastward.

It has been said that the Swallow was not in the usual channel. This is an error. The Athens, or west channel, is much the most direct, the widest and the deepest, and is always preferred by steamboats which do not land at Hudson. It has also been stated that the second pilot was at the wheel when the boat struck. — This is equally a mistake. We had it yesterday from Mr. Burnett’s own lips, that he took the wheel about six miles above Hudson, and was at his post when the disaster occurred. He can give no other account or explanation of it, than that the night was so dark as to deceive him as to the lay of the land. He states, however, that he could see the lights on the shore.

A wide difference of opinion exists as to the rate at which the Swallow was going when she struck the rock. The engineer, fireman and pilots, as we were informed at Athens yesterday, all swore before the coroner’s jury, that the boat was not going much over [six miles an hour], when she struck. No man can look at the wreck, with the bow forced nearly forty or fifty feet up on to the rock, without an instant and unchangeable conviction that her speed must have been very much greater than this testimony makes it out. According to Mr. George Pomeroy, who looked at his watch an instant before the accident occurred, the Swallow must have struck the rock about 5 minutes before 8. As she left here, in company with the Rochester and Express, at 6 P.M., it will be seen that she had accomplished the many miles from Albany to Hudson, in about two hours; thus running at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. Her speed could not have been much, if any, short of this, at the moment of the accident.

Upon the whole, after a dispassionate examination of the localities, the conviction forces itself upon our mind, that the accident was the result of the most unpardonable carelessness. No excuse can be offered for the pilot, who was at the wheel when the Swallow struck. He must have been ignorant or his position, or [dozing] at his post. In either event, he was deeply culpable.

After the boat ran on the rock, there seems to have been a want of presence of mind and efficient management among the officers of the boat. Their first duty was to have ascertained her exact condition; their next, to have proclaimed it to the passengers. Had this been done immediately after the accident, all on board, with very few if any exceptions, might have been safely gathered on the forward and upper decks.

After all, however, the heaviest charge remains to be brought against the proprietors of the boat. Five nights and as many days have passed since the accident occurred, and the Swallow still remains with the ladies’ saloon and main cabins entirely under water. God only knows how many human beings have found a watery grave within these narrow limits. The lapse of every hour will render it more and more difficult to identify the bodies that may be found. And yet nothing has been done to raise the sunken hull.

Not a single proprietor of the boat has been near the fatal spot. Even the captain and hands of the Swallow, (with the exception of Burnett, the pilot, and two others,) have abandoned her, and gone off to New York to fit up another boat, which is to take her place.

Many persons are still at Hudson and Athens, endeavoring to ascertain the fate of missing relatives or friends. No traces have been discovered of Gen. Mather’s little boy. A letter, received in this city yesterday, from a young lady who was drawn from the river about fifteen minutes after the Swallow struck, states, that just after being washed off the boat, she was clasped round the neck by a little girl, and that they sank together; but the child losing her hold, she rose again, and happening to strike against a settee, clung to it until rescued. The river, it is feared, has not yet given up all its victims. A large number of boats, however, are constantly employed in dragging the bottom for a mile or more below the fatal rock.

Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Apr 26, 1845


The grand jury of the U.S. circuit court, in session at New York, on Friday last brought in a true bill against William Burnett, pilot of the Swallow, at the time of the disaster, charging him with manslaughter.

— Buff. Com. Adv., April 21.

Sandusky Clarion Apr 1845


The Pilot of the Swallow.

The New York Morning News of Saturday says: “The grand jury of the United States Circuit Court yesterday brought in a true bill against William Burnett, late pilot of the Swallow, charging him with manslaughter. The indictment charges that “the said William Burnett did by his misconduct, negligence or inattention, cause the death, on the night of the 7th of April last, by drowning or suffocation,” &c. We are glad to find that the grand jury have so promptly done their duty. Their action will have more influence on steamboat officers than any legislative report whatever.

Guernsey Jeffersonian (Washington, Ohio) May 1,  1845

William Burnett, the pilot of the ill-fated Swallow, and who was indicted for manslaughter before the U.S. Circuit Court has been admitted to bail in the sum of ___ Thousand Dollars. It is said that, at the time of the disaster, he was intoxicated. Those who furnished him the liquor should also be made to suffer with him. They are as guilty of the death of all who perished by the disaster.

Alton Telegraph And Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) May 10,  1845


We have seen a letter from Capt. Squires to the agent in this city, written from the Swallow yesterday afternoon. The water in the hold was reduced yesterday to less than four feet, when several articles were discovered from the cabin — consisting of three valises, one marked A.P. Rayner, Troy, N.Y.; another containing a small sum of money; and a third, with wearing apparel, marked J.S. Patten. Also, thirteen overcoats, of different descriptions; also, a lady’s satchel, containing wearing apparel, and a letter addressed to Ebenezer Clark, No. 18 Mercer st., New York. No bodies have been found in any part of the boat.

Troy Budget.

Sandusky Clarion Jun 7, 1845



The editor of the American Protestant who knows this young lady and her family, gives the following facts in a case which has excited great public interest:

Miss P. left Detroit on board a steamboat for the nunnery at Georgetown, without the knowledge or consent of her parents. When her father, Judge Platt, heard that she was gone, he, in company with some of the most respectable gentlemen in Detroit, called upon the Roman Catholic Bishop in order to make some inquiries concerning this sudden and mysterious disappearance of his daughter and also to request of the bishop a letter of introduction to the superior of the convent in Georgetown. Judge Platt inquired of the bishop how his daughter had obtained money to defray her expenses. — The bishop gave him on definite nor satisfactory answer to this inquiry. Judge Platt wished to know whether any thing had been said on the subject of money. — The bishop recollected that something had been said on the initiation fee. This he said was $1,500. Judge P. said if the bishop would inform him who had given that sum or any sum to his daughter he would immediately refund it. He very honorably declared that painful as it was to him to have his daughter leave under such circumstances, yet he preferred to defray all the expenses himself. But he did not learn whence came the trunk of Nun’s clothing for his daughter, that was put on board the steamboat at Detroit.

Miss P. has letters of introduction from the bishop and nuns of Detroit, to the archbishop of the Roman Catholic church in the United States, and also to the superior of the convent in Georgetown. Those who have read these letters have told us that they speak of Miss P. as belonging to a highly respectable family, as going to the convent without the consent of her parents, and that when it shall be known, it will produce some sensation or stir in the community. Such is a brief statement of facts, which we have received from those who know.

Sandusky Clarion Jun 28, 1845

The Triumph of Freedom, The Fall of the Hun

March 14, 2010

Victory Parade 1919 (Image from

How the Great News Came to Miami.

(As Told By Miss Irene Bewley.)

The thrilling poem which follows, entitled, “How the Great News Came to Miami,” was written just after the greatest celebration the world has ever encountered, on the occasion of the signing of the armistice early on the morning of November 11. The enthusiastic lines were written by Will Allan Dromgoole, a Tennessean for the Nashville Banner and was published in that paper last week. The poem in that paper however was entitled, “How the Great News Came to Nashville” and was paraphrased by Miss Irene Bewley and read in Miss Bewley’s effective was at the Thanksgiving service under the auspices of the Neighborhood Bible Study classes. Miss Bewley’s version of the poem follows:

It crackled in flame down the aisles of the dark,
It flowed in a current of light.
It boomed in a trumpet-voice over the world,
It sang like a bird in the night.
The great, good news of the victory won,
The triumph of Freedom, the fall of the Hun,
And the heart of the tense world stood to hear,
And its great throat opened, to cheer and cheer.

Over the sea in a crackle of fire,
It leaped through the land like a flame;
It waved like a torch in the noon of the night,
It challenged in thunder to fame.
And the great North shouted the good news on,
The West caught the word in the fire-flash blown,
And down through the South, over river and brake,
It thrilled in a bugle, “Awake! Awake!”

The grey dawn broke on old Miami town,
Enrobed on her sturdy rock throne,
And the town that has mourned her own brave dead,
Made the great news all her own.
“Rejoice! Rejoice! We have settled the score,
The dead are avenged; the struggle is o’er.”

And the old church bell at the corner of Tenth,
Lifted its iron tongue,
And it rang, and rang, as only one bell,
Since God made the world, has rung;
“Won! WON!” pealed the old church bell,
“Great freedom has triumphed! All’s All’s Well! All’s well!”
Peace on the land. Peace on the sea.
A tyrant has fallen, the people are Free!

Over the seas where the ships keep watch,
The jubilant proud news sped;
In thundering joy from the living throat,
In the soundless voice of the dead.
And the old bell echoed the vibrant joy,
“We have settled the score for each absent boy.
Won! Won! From your far seas come;
America calls, Come home! Come home!”

On the grime-greyed walls of the dusty streets,
How the flags came rippling out —
Red, white and blue in a gladdened flow
To answer the glad-mad shout.
And the joy of a million souls was voiced,
For even the dead in their grave rejoiced.
“Rejoice! Rejoice!” O, the old bell knew
That the darling dead loved their country too.

The hurrying car and the scare-crow horse
Side by side in the mad ranks drew,
Bearing the flag of the country,
Helping the great news through.
And the great throngs jostled, and roared and sang,
And o’er the noise the church bell rang,
“WON! WON!” O, the mellow, sweet boom,
“Peace shall abound, the wilderness bloom.”

The startled children forsook their books,
The workmen his sturdy tools,
And nobody spoke of the task forgot,
Nor no thought of the broken rules;
While all through the town, tears, laughter and gun
All published the downfall of the Hun.
And ever the solemn old iron bell
Kept tolling and tolling — “God Lives! All’s well! All’s Well!”
And the shades of the great who had mustered there,
A phantom line, thronged the thoroughfare.
For each reveler swore as he marching along
The soul of Old Hickory fed the throng.

O, it flashed round the world in a circle of fire,
It swept in a river of song;
The voice of a God to a listening world —
How the Right had triumphed o’er Wrong.
Up from the half-tilled Southern fields,
The plowman came on the great news’ heels;
And the church bell boomed, a jubilant strain,
“Rejoice! The world shall blossom again.”

And I think that forever and ever will glow
In the heart of this Southern town
The glory of joy that was born that night
When Freedom proclaimed her own.
And that men will go with a softer tread,
Proud of their living, proud of their dead;
Nor forget the message — “God lives, all’s well,”
That the old bell sounded — “God’s bell, God’s bell.”

The Miami News – Dec 22, 1918

Atlanta Constitution - 1912


An interesting literary note comes from L.C. Page & Co., of Boston.

Will Allen Dromgoole, the brilliant Southern writer and poet, whose recent novel — “The Island of Beautiful Things” — is much in the public eye, has quite a time of it trying to keep her identity clear, for “people will insist upon thinking of me a ‘he’ you know,” Miss Dromgoole confides, “and it’s all on account of my name, of course.”

“You see William, a real man name, was the name bestowed on me. There had been several girls in our family and it was devoutly hoped that I should turn out a boy, but I came out a girl, and to relieve somewhat father’s disappointment a dear friend of the family’s suggested that I receive a boy’s name. and so I was called William Anne Dromgoole — William after the dear friend’s husband, and Anne after the dear friend herself. I did not much mind the name William so much in childhood days — in fact I rather liked it, for with a boy’s name to back me up, pranks which were, perhaps, ‘ungirlish’ seemed to be in the order of things. But that name Anne I did dislike!

“One day, coming from school — I was only a kiddie of seven or so — a beautiful gilt sign, bearing the name Allen above a shop door held me spellbound. What a beautiful name Allen is, I thought. Then, I concluded, I’ll have that for a name, too. I won’t have to change my initials and just think how pretty William Allen Dromgoole will sound! So boldly I wrote my new name in a brand new primer. Mother was not so pleased with the name as I had been, when she happened upon it in the book, and scolded me for my foolishness, but secretly I vowed that the name Allen should stay with me. Not long after, baptism took place at our church and without a word to anyone, I became baptized William Allen Dromgoole, and since that time the name has stuck. It was when I started my writing that I decided to cut William to Will, though popularly I am known as ‘Miss Willie.'”

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California)  Jan 12, 1913


One of Tennessee’s Fair Authors Who Is Winning Both Fame and Fortune.


Miss Dromgoole, writer, lecturer, and reader, is a very interesting personality. Small, frail, full of fire and spirit, she impresses one as being a woman of unusual mental vitality and force; one who in the space of nine or ten years has earned a high and unique position in the ranks of popular writers. She draws her power and inspiration from many streams. Irish, French, Danish and English blood flow in her veins, and the fine traits of all these strong people can be traced in her writings. Mr. Flower, editor of The Coming Age, says of her:

“It is not strange that we find in her nature as well as her writings strong contrasts and great versatility.” Her first writing was for Tennessee papers, general correspondence, graphic reports of strikes, descriptive and character sketches. She taught for a year in a college at Sweetwater, Tenn., and was regarded as a teacher of marked ability. Her newspaper work soon won for her a wide circle of admiring readers. She counts as her first decided success in literature the winning of a prize for a story, offered by The Youth’s Companion. This achievement surprised and encouraged her. For a time she filled the position of engrossing clerk for the Tennessee senate. when she desired reappointment there were other women in the field. In her canvass for the place she received the following note from one of the rural members in answer to her application by letter:

“Dear Bill — No, sir, I don’t vote for any d–d man against a lot of women.”

More chivalric than polished, her masculine-sounding name has been the cause of many amusing mistakes. A society of literary men in New York recently elected her to membership and the secretary sent her a badge of the association with the request that it be worn on the left lapel of his coat. she once received a very cordial invitation from Mr. Hesekiah Butterworth, of Boston, to visit him in his bohemian bachelor quarters. Miss Dromgoole’s successes are on many lines — novels, short stories, descriptive work, juvenile stories and verse, in addition to her spririted and delightful readings from her own works. Her principal books are: “The Valley Path,” “Cinch,” “Rare Old Chums,” “Hero Chums,” “The Farrier’s Dog and His Fellow,” “Adventures of the Fellow,” “Harum Scarum Joe,” “A Boy’s Battle,” “The Moonshiner’s Son,” “The Heart of Old Hickory,” “The Three Little Crackers from Down in Dixie;” and she has now in press “A Notch on the Stick” and “The Battle of Stone’s River.” She excels in negro dialect and in rendering the speech of the southern mountaineer; she has also done some very clever things in Irish dialect and that of the street gamin. In her conception of the mountaineer she is discerning and sympathetic. She says:

“The mountaineer, in the rough as I care chiefly to discuss him, is a jewel. He has some strong and splendid characteristics. He is honest, he is the soul of hospitality, he hates a lie, he will pay back an injury if it takes to the day of his death to do it. He takes every man at his word, grants every man honest, until he proves himself unworthy of trust; then he takes him at his true value and treats him accordingly.” She loves the mountains and makes one of her characters say: “A body can’t content his’ef to love the levels when he has once knowed the heights.” She has known the heights and their spell is over all she writes. Her pictures are framed in the blue and emerald of the Cumberland mountains, with their embroideries of shining streams and limitless reaches of the rhododendron or mountain laurel, that matchless flower that blooms in prodigal profusion in every tint from shell pink to gory wine color. Small wonder is it that her aims are high, her sympathies tender, her types noble. She has breathed “the repose that lies on every height;” her brain has been vitalized by the strength of the everlasting hills, and her imagination nourished by their supernal beauty. During the summer months she lives in her little cottage, the “Yellow Hammer’s Nest,” near the Elk river in Tennessee. In winter Boston, New York or Washington city is her abiding place. In these centers she is the recipient of many social honors and is the valued companion of the foremost men and women of letters. She frequently gives public readings from her books. Of these it has been written:

“She is one of the few modern writers who can interpret her creations in such a manner as to delight the most fastidious, possessing the rare power of throwing life into her renditions without at any time over reaching or straining after effect.” *** “Her voice, sweet, flexible and strong, sways her audience at will to laughter or tears.”

Miss Dromgoole has won a place beside “Charles Egbert Craddock,” (Miss Murfee) and Ruth McEnery Stuart. Like Miss Murfree, she is a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn. Had I more space I should like to touch upon the strength of “The Heart of Old Hickory,” the tragic pathos of “In the Heart of the Woods,” then tenderness of “Rare Old Chums,” and the wholesome humor of her negro sketches. To those unfamiliar with the work of this gifted young woman, I will say: Read her books and then you will understand why the south is so proud of her and the north delights to do her honor.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 25, 1900

Will Allen Dromgoole


A Girl of the Tennessee Mountains Who Writes Entertaining Fiction.

The pretty town of Murfreesboro, the ancient capital of Tennessee, pops up in history occasionally as if it would not be denied a claim to the remembrance of future generations, but it is doubtful if even the fact that it was near the scene of one of the great battles of the civil war will do so much to preserve its memory as the other fact that within a decade two of its daughters have made fame for themselves as writers under masculine names. Will Allen Dromgoole is the latest of these; but, unlike that of Charles Egbert Craddock, whose near neighbor and friend she is, the masculinity of her name is not a mere ruse of the pen, but was the deliberate choice of her parents at her birth.

Miss Dromgoole was the sixth daughter in her family. When she was born, her parents gave up the hope of ever having a son and listened to the half humorous suggestion of a neighbor that the baby should have a boy’s name. As she grew older she developed traits in keeping with her masculine appellation. Her father was  a persistent hunter and fisher, and she became his constant companion. She is an expert with the rod and gun and does not know what “fear” means. Her hunting costume is of gray corduroy, such as the mountaineers wear, and the short skirt reaches just to the top of the boy’s boots with which she covers her little feet.

Up in the Cumberland foothills Miss Dromgoole has a pleasant cottage where she and her father, as chummy as ever, spend their time from April to November every year. The father is now 88 years of age, but is still an expert angler, and many a day the pair of them walk 10 miles in pursuit of their outdoor pastime. Miss Dromgoole christened her cottage “The Den,” but her neighbors call it “The Yellow Hammer’s Nest.” Her study there is decorated with the skins of animals which she and her father have shot, and the floor is carpeted with similar spoils of the chase. The walls are decorated with pipes and walking sticks, gifts from admiring mountaineers. Each of the sticks commemorates a story, and some of them are handsomely carved, for carving is a natural gift of those strange shy people whom Miss Dromgoole has actually as well as artistically “made her own.”

Miss Dromgoole is a prolific writer and finds a ready market for the product of her pen. She studies her characters from the life and knows whereof she writes. Method she says she has none, but depends upon the inspiration of the moment. She recently made an extended visit to the north and was much petted by the literary people of New York and Boston.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Mar 12,  1894

Will Allen Dromgoole

The watercolor of Will Allen Dromgoole was found on the blog, Amy’s Art. She has some other wonderful watercolors posted.

Her Hobby Is Tramping.

The Tennessee authoress, Will Allen Dromgoole, has a hobby. It is walking — “tramping,” she calls it. Nine or ten miles of mountain walking is her daily constitutional when at her country home. A short, ordinary skirt, a blouse waist and a soft, gray felt hat with a history form her walking costume. The history part comes in with the only ornament of the hat — a bullet hole of goodly size. Miss Drumgoole has made a study of the coal mines of the Tennessee mountains. When the war with the miners began on Coal creek, she hurried up there to see all she could of it. “Every one of the state authorities was very nice to me,” she adds in telling the story, “but if I wanted to see things for myself I could not be sheltered any more than they were. I messed with them, and one evening at supper a bullet went through the hat on my head.”

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 1, 1894

Tampering With a Bill.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 30. — Both houses of the general assembly of the legislature adjourned sine die yesterday at noon. Considerable of a stir was created in the senate in the morning when Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, engrossing clerk, stated that the bill known as the natural gas bill “giving cities the right to convey exclusive privileges,” had been tampered with by someone who had erased the word “natural.” It was evidently in the interest of the companines manufacturing gas. She discovered the erasure in time to replace it. Numerous attempts had been made from time to time to secure ths bill by gentlemen of standing, as is charged, for fraudulent purposes.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Mar 31, 1887


(Will Allen Dromgoole in the Nashville Banner.)

Hush-abye baby, de winter winds croon.
Hush-a-bye, summer will come along soon,
De wind’s in de meader, the rain’s in de brake,
But mammy gwine sing a li’l song for yo’ sake,
Hush-a-bye, baby, to slumber and sleep,
Under de snow-sheet de violets creep.

Hush-a-bye, baby, de change in de moon
Tell ’bout de roses dat comin’ wid June;
De wind will lay low, de rain gwine ter stop,
De sun wahm de furrer for daddy’s cawn crop;
Den hush-a-bye, baby, to sleep till de mawn,
Dar’s hawg an’ dar’s hominy bofe in dat cawn.

Hush-a-bye, baby, de fire on de h’a’th
Paints on de floor ob de cabin a path,
Down through de orchard, out to de sheep fol’,
Draws it, and paints it in shimmery gol’;
Den hush-a-bye, baby, no use fer ter fret,
Mammy gwine make you a fine lady yet.

Mammy gwine dress you in wahm rabbit skin,
Down fum yo’ foots ter de tip ob yo’ chin,
Daddy gwine git out de plow, by and by,
So hush-a-bye, baby, ’tain’t no use ter cry,
De wind at de winder will crackle an’ croon,
But I hear de Night laffin’ an’ talkin’ of June!

Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Apr 26,  1913

The Heart of Old Hickory and Other Stories of Tennessee – by Will Allen Dromgoole (google book LINK)