Archive for January, 2012

“A Journalist,” said the Great Napoleon…

January 19, 2012

Image from Eponymous Flower

“A journalist,” said the great Napoleon, “is a grumbler, a censurer, a giver of advice, a regent of sovereigns, a tutor of nations. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a hundred thousand bayonets.”

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Mar 5, 1858

Woman’s Hard Won Freedom

January 18, 2012


Here’s one little old-fashioned girl that’s NOT going to wear corsets and long skirts no matter what happens!


We’ll have to admit we were wrong about the new fashions, they’re really VERY becoming!

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Oct 24, 1929

Axe it

January 18, 2012

Image from Old Picture of the Day

If you want to know whether a tree is hollow or not, axe it.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Mar 5, 1858

Franklin – The Home of his Boyhood

January 17, 2012

Image from the ThinkQuest page, Humble Beginnings: Franklin in Boston


There are a few places yet left in Boston, of universal interest. Do you see that old house on the corner of Hanover and Union streets, with a gilt ball protruding from its corner, diagonally into the street? It has no architectural pretensions to arrest a passer-by. It is a plain brick house, of three stories, with small windows, close together, and exceeding small panes of glass in them, the walls of a dingy yellow. Yet it is a house warming in associations interesting to well-nurtured minds throughout the civilized world. Read the name upon the bell, and you will get an inkling of my meaning — JOSIAS FRANKLIN, 1698. Yes, that is the very roof under which Benjamin Franklin grew up. He was not born there, but his father removed there when he was but six months old, so that all his recollections of home must have been connected with those walls. The side of the house on Union street remains as it was in the days of Franklin’s boyhood; but that on Hanover street has been shamefully treated. Nearly the whole front has been cut out to make room for two monstrously disproportioned show-windows. And this house, so full, as I have just said, of associations, is fuller yet of bonnets! Yes, by the head of the Prophet, of Bonnets! It is a bonnet Warehouse, and from the inordinate windows, aforesaid, bonnets of all hues and shapes ogle you with side-long  glances, or else stare you openly out of countenance, while mountain piles of bandboxes tower to the ceiling of the upper story, eloquent, like Faith, of things unseen. Heaven, forbid that I should say anything in derogation of bonnets, any more than of the fair heads that wear them, but I would that they had another Repository.

It was my good fortune to go over the house before it had undergone this metamorphosis. It was occupied in part at least, some eight or ten years ago, by a colored man, of the name of Stewart, a dealer in old clothes, who thought of buying the premises, and wanted my advice about it, I gladly availed myself of the opportunity to view them. The interior of the house was then, I should judge, in the same condition that it was when the worthy old soap-boiler and that sturdy rebel (in youth as in age) his world famous son, lived there. There were the very rooms in which the child Franklin played, the very stairs up and down which he romped, the very window seats on which he stood to look out into the street. The shop on the street was unquestionably the place where he used to cut wicks for candles, and fill the moulds, and wait upon the customers. I pleased myself in imagining which room it was in which the father sat, patriarch-like, at his table surrounded by his thirteen children, all of whom grew up to years of maturity, and were married. And you may be sure I did not fail to take a peep into the cellar, where poor-Richard, in his infantile economy of time, proposed to his father that he should say grace over the whole barrel of beef they were putting down in the lump, instead of over each piece in detail, as it came to the table. A proposition which inclined the good brother of the Old South Church to fear that his youngest hope was given over to reprobate mind, and was but little better than one of the wicked.

Image from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

And I would have given a trifle to know which of the chambers it was that was Franklin’s own, where he educated himself, as it were, by stealth, Where he used to read ‘Bunyan’s Works, in separate little volumes,’ and ‘Barton’s Historical Collections,’ — ‘small Chapman’s books, and cheap; forty volumes in all’ — and Plutarch’s Live, not to mention ‘a book of De Foe’s called An Essay to do Good,’ and where too, his lamp (or more probably his candle’s end) was ‘oft seen at midnight’s hour,’ as he sat up the greatest part of the night, devouring the books which his friend the bookseller’s apprentice, used to lend him over night, out of the shop, to be returned the next morning. How the rogue must have enjoyed them! Seldom have literary pleasure been relished with such a gusto as by that hungry boy.

It will not be many years before this monument of the most celebrated man that Boston, not to say America ever produced, will be demolished, and the place that knows it will know it not more, unless something be done to save it. It will be a burning shame, and lasting disgrace to Boston, with all its pretensions to liberality, and its affections of reverence for its great men, to suffer the most historical of its houses to be destroyed, when the rise of real estate in that neighborhood shall seal its doom. It is a shame that it has been left so long to take the chances of business. It should have been bought years ago, and placed in the hands of the Historical Society, or some other permanent body, in trust, to be preserved for ever, in its original condition. It is not late to restore it to something like its first est???e, and to save it from utter destruction. If it be not done, it will be a source of shame and sorrow when it is too late.

The house in which Franklin was born has been destroyed within this century. That house stood in Milk street, a little below the Old South Church, on the other side of the way, and the spot if marked by a ‘Fortunate Warehouse’ five stories high, which forms a fitting pendant to the Bonnet Warehouse, in Hanover street. The printing office of James Franklin, where Franklin served his apprenticeship, where he used to put his anonymous communications under the door, where he used to study when the rest were gone to dinner, and where he used sometimes to get a flogging from his brother — was in Queen, now Court street, nearly opposite the Court house on the corner of Franklin Avenue, which, if I am not mistaken, derives its name from this curious circumstance.

American Freeman (Prairieville, Wisconsin) Dec 15, 1847

Good Counsel

January 17, 2012

Image from Gallery of Photgraphy

Good Counsel.

To the Editor of the Whig & Courier:

If you think the following scrap may be of service to any of our young men entering into life, you will please to insert it in you useful paper. It was taken from Mr. Sam’l Coates’s counting room over forty years since in Philadelphia. I think the direction good, and worthy to be got by heart by every young man engaged in business.


“In things of moment on thyself depend,
Nor trust too far thy servant or thy friend;
For private views thy friend may promise fair,
And servants very seldom prove sincere.
What can be done with care, perform to-day,
Dangers unthought of may attend delay;
Thy future prospects all precarious are,
And fortune is as fickle as she’s fair.
Nor trivial loss, nor trivial gain despise,
Mole-hills if often heaped to mountains rise;
Weigh every small expense and nothing waste,
Farthings long saved amount to pounds at last.

We return thanks to our venerable friend for the above and for other favors received from him. — Editor.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Jul 31, 1843

Image of Samuel Coates from Penn Medicine – University of Pennsylvania

I couldn’t find  a  biography at Wikipedia or other usual sources. Here is an excerpt from one at the American Philosophical Society.

Background note: Samuel Coates (1748-1830) was a prominent Quaker merchant, who was Treasurer of the Library Company of Philadelphia (1784-1793), Secretary and later President of the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Hospital (1786-1825), a member of the Overseers of the Public Schools of Philadelphia. (1812-1823) and a director of the original Bank of the United States (1800-1812). Coates was born in Philadelphia on August 24,1748, the son of Samuel Coates and Mary Langdale. His grandfather Thomas Coates had emigrated to Pennsylvania from Leicestershire, England in 1684. He lost both of his parents at an early age, but was placed under the care of John Reynell, a merchant, who married into the Coates family. Under Reynell’s guardianship Coates received a good classical and business education. In 1767 at the age of nineteen Coates was put in charge of a small commercial business in order to give him practical experience.

Read the rest here.

The House that Jeems Built

January 16, 2012

Image from U.S. History ImagesBleeding Kansas


Kansas with Slavery. — This is the house that Jeems built.

Southern influence and Gold. — This is the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Shannon. — This is the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Walker. — This is the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Lecompton Constitution — This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Douglas — This is the cow with crumpled horn that tossed the dog, that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas without Slavery — This is the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The Union. — This is the man all tattered and torn that married the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The American People. — This is the priest all shaven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn unto the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas Crusader for Freedom.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Mar 5, 1858

The Latter House

January 15, 2012

Image from Image Museum – Lee, MA


Sad was the hour when startling bells
Rung out their fearful warning;
And all around we heard the cry:
“Our dear old church is burning!”
Burning — burning!
And all around we heard the cry:
“Our dear old church is burning!”

But other churches op’d their doors
To cheer us in our sorrow,
And Christian friends bade us be strong,
And hope still for the morrow.
The morrow — the morrow;
And Christian friends bade us be strong,
And hope still for the morrow.

That morrow, is has come TO-DAY;
And grateful memories bringing,
The glory of this latter house,
We dedicate with singing.
Singing — singing!
The glory of this latter house
We dedicate with singing.

Dear Jesus, come and bless this place,
Where youthful hearts are moulded,
And safe within thy loving arms
Let all the Lambs be folded,
Folded — folded!
And safe within thy loving arms
Let all the lambs be folded.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Jul 9, 1858

Lee One Year since the Fire. [Excerpt]

One year ago last Friday night we lay in the cars at Richmond, blocked in by snow three feet deep, while the thermometer stood at thirty below zero. The monotony of that tedious night was relieved by speculations as to the locality and cause of a brilliant light in the south east. After our liberation, we ascertained that it arose from the great fire which destroyed the Congregational Church, and much of the business portion of Lee.

The night was a memorable one, and the year which has since passed has been an eventful one — for Lee. We chanced to celebrate the anniversary by a visit to the good town to see how it stands the rubs of fortune, and we found it looking, as energetic men do, all the better for the impediments with which it has struggled, although some of them have doubtless much checked its immediate progress.



is the only other prominent building which is replacing those burnt. It is of wood, and is to cost $20,000, including the organ, &c. Mr. A.L. Clark, of Pittsfield, is the architect. Judging from what is completed, which is only a part of the exterior, it will be one of the finest buildings of the kind in the State. The Saxon windows, with their heavy caps, are very attractive, and if the work to be done is in keeping with them, as we are told it is, the building will be one which would be an ornament to any town. It will be completed and dedicated next June, when we shall have more to say of it.


The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Jan 29, 1858

Biographical sketch of the church’s architect, Abner L. Clark from the following book:

Title: Samuel Davis, of Oxford, Mass., and Joseph Davis, of Dudley, Mass., and Their Descendants
Genealogy and Local History series
Author: George Lucien Davis
Editor: George Fisher Daniels
Publisher: s.n., 1884
Page 328

Thomas Chase: Last of Paul Jones’ Men

January 13, 2012

Image from the Revolutionary War and Beyond

The Last of Paul Jones’ Men.

To the Editor of the Whig & Courier:

During a recent visit to the County of Oxford, I found time to call on the venerable THOMAS CHASE, of Livermore, the last, probably, of Paul Jones’ men. Mr. Chase is now 88 years old, and, though the old hull is pretty much battered and decayed, his mind is clear, and his recollection of the stirring events of his youth, is distinct and vivid. He was born at Martha’s Vineyard; from which place he removed to L some fifty years ago, where he has since lived. He has ever enjoyed, and deservedly, the reputation of an industrious, intelligent, and thoroughly honest man. In fact, the name of “Uncle Chase” is the synonym of “honesty,” in the neighborhood where he lives.

He delights to tell the history of his early life — to relate the story of his numerous adventures and sufferings; but it is when he comes to speak of Paul Jones and his daring exploits — when he is describing, it may be, the engagement between the Richard and the Serapis, that his eye kindles and sparkles with unwonted brightness, and his voice, broken and almost inaudible before, becomes strong and clear, and he is ready to shoulder his crutch and show how ships were taken seventy years ago.

The outlines of his story, as near as I can recollect, are as follows: —

A Privateer came to the Vineyard in the early part of the Revolution, for the purpose of engaging a number of men to go out cruising on the coast. Chase, and about a dozen other young men joined them. After they had sailed they were, for the first time, informed that their destination was the coast of England. At this intelligence, they were a “good deal struck up,” though there were a few that were not displeased at the idea of going abroad, and among this number was Chase, who had a love of adulation and a strong desire to see foreign countries. —

They had not been long on the British coast before they discovered a British man-of-war, much too strong and powerful for them. As they were not noticed for sometime they had hopes of being able to escape, and tried to do so, — they were, however, seen, before they could get away, and were finally taken. In a few days the prisoners were put into another ship, and were shifted not less than three times in about four months. In one of the ships they suffered exceedingly — there were over 1400 souls, men, women, and children, Americans, French, &c. on board. The ship was dirty, the prisoners were dirty, sick and dying — large numbers died. At length the American prisoners were landed at Plymouth, and carried before two justices and a clerk and arraigned for treason. Witnesses were examined, and they were told that they would be committed to “Mill Prison,” on “suspicion of treason against his most Gracious Majesty, George the Third, and would there await their trial or His Majesty’s most Gracious pardon.” They were committed to this famous [or infamous] prison, and kept there twenty three months, during which time they underwent almost incredible privations and sufferings. At the end of twenty three months, (two years and a quarter after they were made prisoners) they were exchanged for British sea men and sent to France. They landed at a small town about ten miles below Nantes. Here they found a recruiting ship and were persuaded to enlist for the purpose of filling the crews required for the squadron, then fitting out at Le Orient, for John Paul Jones.

While at this place Mr. Chase very well recollects seeing John Adams on board the ship where he was. He was in his morning gown, walking the quarter deck when he saw him, and accompanied by his son, John Quincy Adams, then a boy some ten or twelve years old. Mr. Chase was one of the crew of the Alliance, Capt. Landais. His account of the celebrated engagement between the Bon Homme Richard, &c., the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough agrees in the main with that given by Mr. Cooper, though he differs with him in some respects. — He will not allow that the Alliance deserves all the left handed compliments paid to her by Mr. C. According to his account, it was the Alliance and not the Pallas, that disabled the Countess of Scarborough — that it was in consequence of the broadsides from the former that she struck — that the Pallas, coming up, rendered them valuable assistance, and was left in charge of the prize, while the Alliance went to the aid of Jones. And here, Mr. Chase says the Alliance also did good service — not to the enemy, as Mr. Cooper would have it, but to Jones.

When Jones sailed alongside of the Serapis, her commander hailed him — “who are you?’ Jones made no answer. The questions was repeated, “Who are you?” Tell me, or I’ll fire into you” “I will tell you when I get a little nearer!” roared Jones, in a voice that almost drowned the thunder of a simultaneous discharge of broadsides from the Richard and Serapis, which took place at that moment.

Chase was afterwards under Jones several months while he was in command of the Alliance, and became considerably acquainted with him. He was a man of great mechanical ingenuity, and an excellent worker of wood, and while at the Mill prison had beguiled many weary hours in whittling out some very curious wooden ladles, one of which he happened to have with him when Jones came to command the Alliance, and which so pleased Jones, that he gave him half a guinea for it for a punch ladle. He then employed him as a cabin joiner, and while in this capacity he saw a good deal of Jones, and had the vanity to believe he was quite a favorite.

Mr. Chase represents that Jones was liked by his own crew, but not generally by the crew of the Alliance. The crew of the Alliance were much attached to one of their Lieutenants, a Mr. Barkley of Boston, with whom Jones had a falling out, and who was sent below by Jones as the crew thought without sufficient cause. Jones tried to get him back, but he resolutely refused to stir without a Court Martial, Jones would not give him one and he did not go upon deck until Landais was reinstated.

He says Jones was a stern man — brave impetuous — a good man when the crew did well, but the devil if they did otherwise. He wanted everything done in its proper time and way, and everything in its place, and would have it. If his men did well, and took hold right he was kind and pleasant. He had a voice like a cannon, but which in ordinary conversation was rather thick and grum. He was of light complexion, and something, perhaps, below the medium stature. Chase speaks highly of his talents as a naval Commander, and says he always “liked Jones.”

En passant,]our friend is one of six revolutionary veterans (they are all Whigs,) now living in the fine old Whig town of Livermore. A year ago his son endeavored to persuade him to vote the anti-slavery ticket. “No, said he, “I was a Whig of ’76 — I am a Whig now — I have always been a Whig — I believe I shall die a Whig.”


Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Sep 19, 1843

The Expedition:

Richard “Dick” Swete’s goal was to find, and preserve, all of John Paul Jones’ ships. A historian and underwater archaeologist, he spent years researching Jones and the American Revolutionary naval battle between the HMS Serapis and the HMS Bon Homme Richard. Gathering a group of volunteers, his own modest income and a great deal of perseverance, Swete laid plans to find Serapis.

Find out more HERE

An Adventure with Foot Pads

January 12, 2012

Image from New York Times Crossword in Gothic


On the evening of the 3d inst., as Mr. Anthony Maynard, of the firm of Barrows & Maynard, Pittsfield, was passing through a lonely piece of woods between Canaan, N.Y., and Richmond, the head of his horse was seized by two men so firmly that he could not break away from them.

Mr. Maynard, jumping out of his wagon, was greeted by a blow of a club, but succeeded in wresting it from his assailant, and using it to so good advantage that he laid the rascal senseless. In the meantime, he was seized from behind by the second robber, and finding the club useless, threw it into the bushes, and clutching him by the neck-cloth, brought his antagonist between himself and his horse, and continued “whaling” him “in the natural manner” — a la member of Congress — until he thought him about tame enough to take into his wagon as passenger for Lenox.

This praise-worthy design was frustrated by the recovery of the first robber, when Mr. Maynard, finding himself  “out of breath” from his efforts in the cause of humanity, and his assailants being two to one and in loose dress, while he was cumbered with a heavy overcoat, concluded very truly that no imputation would rest upon his character for pluck if he jumped into his wagon and made for Richmond, — and he did it. We have no accurate notes of the time his horse made on the road.

Mr Maynard was informed at Richmond that a foot-peddler was robbed of a gold watch, some money, and other valuable articles, at the same place the previous week, besides being badly beaten.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Feb 12, 1858

Title: The Guardian, Volumes 32-33
Author: Reformed Church in the United States
Publisher: H. Harbaugh, 1881
Page 11

Image from Art of the Print

Two Footpads

TWO Footpads sat at their grog in the roadside resort, comparing the evening’s adventures.

“I stood up the Chief of Police,” said the First Footpad, “and I got away with what he had.”

“And I,” said the Second Footpad, “stood up the United States District Attorney, and got away with —-”

“Good Lord!” interrupted the other in astonishment and admiration —” you got away with what that fellow had?”

“No,” the unfortunate narrator explained — “with a small part of what I had.”

Title: Fantastic Fables
Author: Ambrose Bierce
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s sons, 1898
Page 92

Sweet ‘n’ Sour

January 11, 2012

Image from Flickriver – Daguerreotype

Some rascally wag poetizes as follows, on the marriage of Miss Jane Lemon to Ebenezer Sweet:

How happily extremes do meet
In Jane and Ebenezer;
She’s no longer sour, but Sweet,
And he’s a Lemon-squeezer.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Jun 18, 1858