Posts Tagged ‘1845’

Morse’s Electro-Magnetic Telegraph: Truly One of the Wonders of the Age

February 6, 2012

Image from the White River Valley MuseumMorse Code History



The following beautiful verses were received by us from Washington by the Magnetic Telegraph; and though the lightning speed with which they were transmitted, adds nothing to their beauty, it was a happy thought to select the wonderful invention, of which they are in praise, as the medium of transmitting them: — [Baltimore Patriot.

Oh! carrier dove, spread not thy wing,
Thou beauteous messenger of air!
To waiting eyes and hearts to bring
The tidings thou were wont to bear.

Urge not the flying courser’s speed,
Give not his neck the loosened rein,
Nor bid his panting sides to bleed,
As swift he thunders o’er the plain.

Touch but the magic wire, and lo!
Thy thought it borne on flaming track,
And swifter far than winds can blow,
Is sped the rapid answer back.

The sage who woo’d the lightning’s blaze,
Till, stooping from the summer cloud,
It played around with harmless rays,
By Fame is trumpeted aloud.

And sure she has a lofty meed
For him whose thought, with seraph reach,
To language gives the lightning’s speed,
And wings electric lends to speech.

Nerved by its power, our spreading land
A mighty giant proudly lies;
Touch but one nerve with skillful hand
Through all the thrill unbroken flies.

The dweller on the Atlantic shore
The word may breathe, and swift as light,
Where far Pacific waters roar,
That word speeds on with magic flight.

Thoughts freshly kindling in the mind,
And words the echoes of the soul,
Borne on its wiry pinious, bind
Hearts sundered far as pole from pole.

As flashes o’er the summer skies
The lightning’s blaze from east to west,
O’er earth the burning fluid flies,
Winged by a mortal’s proud behest.

Through flaming cherubs bar the gate,
Since man by tasting grew too wise,
He seems again to tempt the fate
That drove him first from Paradise!

Daily Sentinel and Gazette (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) May 18, 1846

The Electro-Magnetic Telegraph.

Some remarkable experiments have been made with Morse’s Electro-magnetic Telegraph arrangements, and they have demonstrated surprising facts. Wires extending in length 158 miles were laid down, the Battery, &c., prepared, and matters communicated that distance in almost a second of time! In experiments to ascertain the resistance to the passage of the electric current it was proved that this “resistance increases rapidly with the first few miles, and less rapidly afterwards, until for very great lengths no sensible difference can be observed. This is a most fortunate circumstance in the employment of electro-magnetism for telegraphic purposes, since, contrary to all other modes of communicating intelligence, the difficulty to be overcome decreases in proportion to the distance.”

This is truly one of the wonders of the age.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Oct 26, 1843

Image from Encyclopedia Britannica KidsSamuel F.B. Morse; Telegraph


The miracle of the annihilation of space is at length performed. The Baltimore Patriot of Sunday afternoon contains the action of Congress up to the moment of its going to press — received from Washington by Magnetic Telegraph Despatch.

The Patriot says:

Morse’s Electro Magnetic Telegraph now connects between the Capitol at Washington and the Railroad Depot in Pratt, between Charles and Light streets, Baltimore. The wires were brought in yesterday from the outer depot and attached to the telegraphic apparatus in a third story room in the depot warehouse building.

The batteries were charged this morning, and the telegraph put in full operation, conveying intelligence to and from the Capitol. A large number of gentlemen were present to see the operations of this truly astonishing contrivance. Many admitted to the room had their names sent down, and in less than a second the apparatus in Baltimore was put in operation by the attendant in Washington, and before the lapse of a half minute the same names were returned plainly written. At half past 11 o’clock, A.M. the question being asked here, “what the news was at Washington?” – the answer was almost instantaneously returned — “Van Buren Stock is rising” — meaning of course that his chances were strengthening to receive the nomination on Monday next. The time of day was also enquired for, when the response was given from the Capitol — “forty-nine minutes past eleven.” At this period it was also asked how many persons were spectators to the telegraphic experiments in Washington? — the answer was “sixteen.” After which a variety of names were sent up from Washington, some with their compliments to their friends here, whose names had just been transmitted to them. Several items of private intelligence were also transmitted backward and forward, one of which was an order to the agent here not to pay a certain bill. Here however, the electric fluid proved too slow, for it had been paid a few minutes before.

At half past 12 o’clock, the following wan sent to Washington, “Ask a reporter in Congress to send a despatch to the Baltimore Patriot at 2, P.M.” In about a minute the answer cam back thus: “It will be attended to.”

2 o’clock, P.M. — The despatch has arrived, and is as follows:

One o’clock. — There has just been made a motion in the House to go into committee of the Whole on the Oregon question. Rejected — ayes 79, nays 86.

Half past one. — The House is now engaged on private bills.

Quarter to two. — Mr Atherton is now speaking in the Senate.

Mr. S. will not be in Baltimore to-night.

So that we are thus enabled to give to our readers information from Washington up to 2 o’clock. This is indeed the annihilation of space.

The Clipper of Saturday contains the following information regarding the construction and working of the Telegraph:

The wire, (perfectly secured against the weather by a covering of rope-yarn and tar,) is conducted on the top of posts about 20 feet high, and about 100 years apart.

We understand that the nominations on Monday next will be forwarded to Washington by means of this Telegraph. The following is the Alphabet used:

We have no doubt that government will deem it expedient to continue this Telegraph to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, when its utility shall have been fully tested. When understood, the mode of operation is plain and simple.

American Freeman (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) Jun 15, 1844


A brief notice of the proceedings of the Tyler and Locofoco Conventions, held in the City of Baltimore on Monday the 27th of May and the following days —

….. [excerpt]

The Convention met again at four o’clock; when, after listening to sundry speeches, they proceeded to ballot for a candidate for the Vice Presidency, which resulted in favor of Silas Wright, of New York, who received 258 votes, and Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, 8. Information of his nomination was immediately communicated through the magnetic telegraph, to Mr. Wright, then at Washington City, who immediately replied, that [he could not accept] — eleven minutes only being taken in forwarding the information, and receiving the answer.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Jun 15, 1844


On Thursday, the 23d ult, says the New York Commercial, the experiment of carrying the wires of the electro magnetic telegraph across, or rather under the East river, was made with perfect success. The lead pipe through which this communication is made, weighs over six thousand pounds, and was laid at the bottom of the river from a steamboat employed for the purpose, though not with out great risk and labor. It is one continuous line, more than half a mile in length, without joint. Through this extensive line of heavy pipe are four copper wires, completely insulated, so as to insure the transmissions of the electro magnetic fluid. We understand that the various routs north, east, and west, have been delayed at the intervening streams, for the purpose of learning the result of this experiment. The whole work had bee effected under the superintendence of Mr. Samuel Colt engineer and of the proprietors of the New York and Offing Electro Magnetic Telegraph Line — Repub

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 8, 1845

Image from The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F.B. Morse

The late experiment of carrying the wires of the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph across, or rather under, the East river, New York, which was at first supposed to have been entirely successful, seems to have failed — the pipes through which the communication was made, having been brought up a few days afterwards, by the fluke of an anchor. Whether the attempt will be renewed, with such improvements as shall appear calculated to remove the cause of the failure, we are unable to say.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Nov 15, 1845

It is said that the American Magnetic Telegraph proves more efficient than those used in England and France — the former giving sixty signs or characters per minute, and the English and French not over one-fourth of that number. The impressions made by the American invention are likewise better, and more permanent, than those produced by its European rivals.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Sep 11, 1846

To the Enigma that appeared in the “Telegraph” of last week.

Maine, one of the United States.
Arctic, the name of an Ocean.
Greece, a country in Europe.
Niagara, a river in North America.
Egina, a gulf in Greece.
Thai, a country in India.
Imerina, a country in Africa.
Chili, a country in South America.
Tigre, a State in Africa.
Erie, a lake in North America.
Lima, a city in South America.
Elmira, a town in New York.
Green, a river in Kentucky.
Runac, a river in South America.
Aar, a river in Switzerland.
Parma, a country in Europe.
Herat, a country in Asia.
My whole is a Magnetic Telegraph, a great modern invention.


Alton Telegraph and Democratic Reivew (Alton, Illinois) Aug 13, 1847

Image from Telegraph History

From the West Jerseyman.

Along the smoothed and slender wires
The sleepless heralds run,
Fast as the clear and living rays
Go streaming from the sun;
No peals or flashes heard or seen,
Their wondrous flight betray,
And yet their words are quickly felt
In cities far away.

Nor summer’s heat, nor winter’s hail,
Can check their rapid course;
They meet unmoved, the fierce wind’s rage —
The rough waves’ sweeping force; —
In the long night of rain and wrath,
As in the blaze of day,
They rush with news of weal and wo,
To thousands far away.

But faster still than tidings borne
On that electric cord,
Rise the pure thoughts of him who loves
The Christian’s life and Lord —
Of him who taught in smiles and tears
With fervent lips to pray,
Maintains his converse here on earth
With bright worlds far away.

Ay! though no outward wish is breath’d,
Nor outward answer given,
The sighing of that humble heart
Is known and felt in Heaven; —
Those long frail wires may bend and break,
Those viewless heralds stray,
But Faith’s least word shall reach the throne
Of God, though far away.

Alton Telegraph and Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Mar 17, 1848

Discontented People.

Philosophers have a good deal to say about the blessings of contentment, and all that sort of thing. Nothing, however, can be more uncalled for. Contentment is the parent of old fogyism, the very essence of mildew and inactivity. A contented man is one who is inclined to take things as they are, and let them remain so. It is not content that benefits the world, but dissatisfaction. It was the man who was dissatisfied with stage-coaches that introduced railroads and locomotives. It was a gentleman “ill at ease” with the operations of mail wagons who invented the magnetic telegraph. Discontent let Columbus to discover America; Washington to resist George III. It taught Jefferson Democracy; Fulton how to build steamboats; and Whitney to invent the cotton gin. Show us a contented man, and we will show you a man who would never have got above sheep skin breeches in a life-time. Show us a discontented mortal, on the contrary, and we will show six feet of goaheaditiveness that will not rest satisfied till he has invented a cast iron horse that will outrun the telegraph.

Alton Daily Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) Jul 13, 1853

The First Telegraph.

In 1844 when Professor Morse petitioned Congress to appropriate $30,000 to enable him to establish a telegraph between Washington and Baltimore, Ex-Governor David Wallace, of this State, was a member of the committee on ways and means, to which the petition was referred, and gave the casting vote in its favor. The Whig members of the committee all voted for the measure, and the Democratic members all opposed it. The members who voted with Gov. Wallace were Millard Fillmore, Joseph R. Ingersoll, of Pa., Tom Marshall, of Kentucky, and Sampson Mason, of Ohio. Those who voted against it were Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, Frank Pickens, of South Carolina, Charles G. Atherton, of New Hampshire, and John W. Jones, of Virginia.

The Indianapolis News says:

“Gov. Wallace’s vote for the appropriation defeated him the next fall when he ran again for Congress. His opponent was Wm. J. Brown. He was, I’ve been told, a shrewd Democratic politician — the father of Austin H. Brown. The Governor and Mr. Brown stumped the district together, and Mr. Brown, all through the campaign, used as his most effective weapon, against his Whig opponent, the fact that he had voted for this appropriation. Pointing his finger at the Governor, he would say, ‘and the man who now asks you for your votes has squandered $30,000 of the people’s money, giving it away to Professor Morse for his E-lec-tro mag-net-ic Tell-lie-graph,’ with a most ludicrous drawl on the word telegraph. With the rough backwoodsmen, and even the people of the towns, the telegraph in that day was considered some sort of a trick or humbug; and many of Mr. Wallace’s staunchest supporters feared there was something wrong in the old gentleman’s head when they heard from his own lips that he really had voted the subsidy. One honest old Shelby county farmer, Mr. Wallace said, took him by the hand and looked into his face with the tenderest pity. Finally his lip quivered, and the tears fell as he sobbed out, ‘Oh, Davy, Davy, how could you ever vote for that d—-d magnetic telegraph.'”

The bill did not pass the Senate until the last night of the session. The story of its passage by that body has been often told, but will bear repeating. We clip the following from a scrap book’ without knowing the name of the author:

There were only two days before the close of the session; and it was found, on examination of the calendar, that no less than one hundred and forty-three bills had precedence of it. Professor Morse had nearly reached the bottom of his purse; his hard-earned savings were almost spent; and, although he had struggled on with undying hope for many years, it is hardly to be wondered at that he felt disheartened now. On the last night of the session he remained until nine o’clock; and then left without the slightest hope that the bill would be passed. He returned to his hotel, counted his money, an found that after paying his expenses to New York, he would have seventy-five cents left. That night ne went to bed sad, but not without hope for future; for, through all his difficulties and trials, that never forsook him. The next morning, as he was going to breakfast, one of the waiters informed him that a young lady was in the parlor waiting to see him. He went in immediately, and found that the young lady was Miss Ellsworth, daughter of the Commissioner of Patents, who had been his most steadfast friend while in Washington.

“I come,” said she, “to congratulate you.”

“For what?” said Professor Morse.

“On the passage of your bill,” she replied.

“Oh, no; you must be mistaken,” said he. “I remained in the Senate till a late hour last night, and there was no prospect of its being reached.”

“Am I the first then,” she exclaimed joyfully, “to tell you?”

“Yes, if it is really so.”

“Well,” she continued, “father remained till the adjournment, and heard it passed; and I asked him if I might not run over and tell you.”

“Annie,” said the Professor, his emotion almost choking his utterance, “the first message that is sent from Washington to Baltimore, shall be sent from you.”

“Well,” she replied, “I will keep you to your word.”

While the line was in process of completion, Professor Morse was in New York, and upon receiving intelligence that it was in working order, he wrote to those in charge, telling them not to transmit any messages over it till his arrival. He then set out immediately for Washington, and on reaching that city sent a note to Miss Ellsworth, informing her that he was now ready to fulfill his promise, and asking her what message he should send.

To this he received the following reply:


Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Jan 1, 1880

Image of Sam Houston from Son of the South


AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 5. — Samuel F.B. Morse offered the Republic of Texas his invention of the electro magnetic telegraph in 1828, but the offer never was accepted, according to a letter by Mr. Morse found in the state library.

The letter, dated 1860, was addressed to General Sam Houston, then governor of Texas, and withdrew the offer, which had been more than twenty years before General Houston was president of the Texan republic. The communication was written from “Po’Keepsie”, taken by librarians to be Poughkeepsie, New York. It is dated August 9, 1860. Starting with “May it please your excellency” the letter read:

“In the year of 1838 I made an offer of gift of my invention of the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas, Texas being then an independent republic. Although the offer was made more than twenty years ago, Texas while an independent state, nor since it has become one of the United States, has ever directly or impliedly accepted the offer. I am induced, therefore, to believe in its condition as a gift it was of no value to the state, but on the contrary has been an embarrassment. In connection, however, with my other patent, it has become for the public interest as well as my own, that I should be able to make complete title to the whole invention in the United States.

“I, therefore, now respectfully withdraw my offer then made, in 1838, the better to be in a position to benefit Texas, as well as the other states of the Union.

“I am with respect and sincere personal esteem

“Your Obedient Servant,

“Samuel F.B. Morse.”

Librarians are looking for the letter of 1838 offering the electro-magnetic telegraph to Texas. They are also seeking to find out what “other patent” Mr. Morse spoke of.

Ada Weekly News (Ada, Oklahoma) Aug 10, 1922

This Standard Gasoline advertisement ran in the Abilene Reporter News in 1937

When Might Was Right

September 11, 2011

Image by Don Troiani at the Old Glory Gallery and Frame Shoppe  website

The Last Soldier of the Revolution.

Oh! where are they — those iron men,
Who braved the battle’s storm of fire,
When war’s wild hallo filled the glen,
And lit each humble village spire?
When hill sent back the sound to hill,
And might was right, and law was will?

Oh! where are they whose manly breasts
Beat back the pride of England’s might,
Whose stalwart arms laid low the crests
Of many an old and valiant knight?
When evening came with murderous flame,
And Liberty was but a name.

I see them in the distance form,
Like spectres on the misty shore,
Before them rolls the dreadful storm,
And hills send forth their rills of gore;
Around them death with lightning breath,
Is twining an immortal wreath.

‘Tis evening, and the setting sun
Sinks slowly down beneath the wave,
And there I see a gray-haired one —
A special courier to the grave;
He looks around on vale and mound,
And falls upon the battle ground.

Beneath him sleeps the hallowed earth,
Now chilled like him, and still and cold —
The blood that gave young Freedom birth
No longer warms the warrior old —
He waves his hand with stern command,
Then dies the last of glory’s band.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Oct 6, 1845

Labor and the Laboring Man

September 5, 2011



Ho, ye who at the anvil toil,
And strike the sounding blow,
Where from the burning iron’s breast,
The sparks fly to and fro,
While answering to the hammer’s ring,
And fire’s intenser glow–
Oh, while ye feel ’tis hard to toil
And sweat the long day through,
Remember, it is harder still
To have no work to do.

Ho, ye who till the stubborn soil,
Whose hard hands guide the plough,
Who bend beneath the summer sun,
With burning cheek and brow–
Ye deem the curse still clings to earth
From olden time till now;
But, while ye feel ’tis hard to toil
And labor all day through,
Remember, it is harder still
To have no work to do.

Ho, ye who plow the sea’s blue field —
Who ride the restless wave,
Beneath whose gallant vessel’s keel
There lies a yawning grave,
Around whose bark the wintry wind,
Like fiends of fury rave —
Oh, while ye feel ’tis hard to toil
And labor long hours through,
Remember, it is harder still
To have no work to do.

Ho, ye upon whose fevered cheeks
The hectic glow is bright,
Whose mental toil wears out the day
And half the weary night,
Who labor for the souls of men,
Champions of truth and right —
Although ye feel your toil is hard,
Even with this glorious view,
Remember, it is harder still
To have no work to do.

Ho, all who labor –all who strive,
Ye wield a lofty power;
Do with your might, do with your strength,
Fill every golden hour;
The glorious privilege TO DO
Is man’s most noble power.
Oh, to your birthright and yourselves,
To your own souls be true!
A weary, wretched life is theirs,
Who have no work to do.

Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Oct 4, 1845

Image from the North Dakota State University Library website

From the New-York Evening Post.


I walked beyond the city’s bounds,
Along an unfrequented way —
The small, uncultivated grounds
Of poverty, before me lay,
A fence of turf the spot surrounds,
The poor lone cabin was of clay.

‘Twas sunset, and its parting light,
With golden lustre, bathed the west,
But seemed to linger in its flight,
To cheer the summer day to rest;
To gladden labor’s weary sight,
Like hope within a darkened breast.

It melted till the twilight crept
With gentle step to kiss the scene,
And the soft breath of evening swept
Its incense thro’ the foliage green.
The bird had ceased its note, and slept,
And all was silent and serene.

A form within the cabin door,
In  poor and simple garb arrayed,
With face of care, deep furrowed o’er,
Look’d out upon the gath’ring shade,
“He never lingered thus before,”
She sighed, and bitter grief displayed.

A moment more, that face o’ercast,
Grew radiant with joy’s brighter ray,
The cloud had gathered — burst — and passed,
For he, her only hope and stay,
Came hurrying to his house at last,
Far down the solitary way.

He came, the man of toil and care,
With brow o’ershadowed by distress —
And met, with sad, dejected air,
The wife’s affectionate caress!
His heart seemed full! What storm was there
To cause him so much wretchedness?

A word sufficed to tell the tale;
A ship, from foreign lands away,
Had yielded to the swelling sail,
And now was anchored in the bay.
The eye was moist, the cheek was pale
That listened to the laborer’s lay.

“Oh! I am broken-hearted, and my tongue
Refuses utterance of what I know;
My brain is maddened, and, my spirit wrung,
While sinks my form beneath this dreadful blow.
Bear with me, faithful one, while I impart
The heavy sorrows of my troubled heart.

“On that far isle, where our young days were passed,
A bolt has fallen from God’s mighty hand!
Upon the forms of men disease is cast,
And blight and desolation sear the land;
On every side the waitings of despair
Rise from the lips of those who loved us there.

“Dost thou remember where the silver stream
Leaps in its wild career the vale along,
Where oft we’ve lingered in our summer dream,
And filled the air with hope’s expectant song.
In every cottage on the old hill’s side
Some of our well-beloved friends have died.

“Oh! I can see the pale and haggard face
Of her whose last farewell is ne’er forgot.
Who when she held me in her last embrace
Invoked a blessing on the laborer’s lot.
How little dreamed she when those tear drops fell,
That she would starve, and I ‘midst plenty dwell.

“To-day these dreadful tidings met mine ears.
And quick I turned my weekly earning o’er;
Tis gone, midst choking prayers and burning tears:
And Oh! I would to God it had been more.
Tis gone — and in the thought I find relief;
It checks the swelling torrents of my grief.”

The laborer ceased; his tale was o’er,
His heart unburdened of its care,
And passing in his humble door,
He bent his weary form in prayer.
The anguish that his features wore
Was passed, and hope sat smiling there.

God bless the laboring man ; –” thy bread
Is on the far-off waters cast,”
And He who came to save hath said,
“It shall return to thee at last.”
The rich shall find no softer bed,
Or happier memory in the past.

The future, it is full of flowers
To Christian hearts, so pure as thine —
And may the knowledge of these hours
Shed such a blessing upon mine,
That I may seek those joyous bowers.
Where spirits like to thee incline.

Janesville Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) Aug 7, 1847

The Daily Record (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) Aug 30, 1954

Dust Off the Old Waffle Iron

June 29, 2010

Today is National Waffle Iron Day!


If you have not used your griddle or waffle-iron for some time; wash it off hard with hot soap and water; wipe and rub well with dry salt. Heat it and grease with a bit of fat salt pork on a fork.

It is a mistake, besides being slovenly and wasteful, to put on more grease than is absolutely necessary to prevent the cake from sticking.

A piece of pork an inch square should last for several days. Put on a great spoonful of butter for each cake, and before filling the griddle, test it with a single cake, to be sure that all is right with it as well as the batter.

The same rules apply to waffles. Always lay hot cakes and waffles upon a hot plate as soon as baked.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Feb 17, 1874


Stir into a quart of flour sufficient lukewarm milk to make a thick batter. The milk should be stirred in gradually, so as to have it free from lumps. Put in a table-spoonful of salt, and half a tea-cup of yeast.

When risen, fill your waffle irons with the batter, bake them on a bed of coals.

When they have been on the fire between two and three minutes, turn the waffle irons — when brown on both sides, they are sufficiently baked.

The waffle irons should be well greased with lard, and very hot, before one is put in.

The waffles should be buttered as soon as cooked. Serve them up with powdered white sugar and cinnamon.

Title: The Ladies’ National Magazine, Volumes 7-8
Publisher: C. J. Peterson, 1845
(Google book LINK Pg 178)


We are indebted to the Germans for this cake, which, if this receipt is exactly followed, will be found excellent. Warm a quart of milk, and cut up in it a quarter of a pound of the best fresh butter, and stir it about to soften in the warm milk. Beat eight eggs till very thick and smooth, and stir them gradually into the milk and butter, in turn with half a pound of sifted flour. Then add two table-spoonfuls of strong fresh brewer’s or baker’s yeast. Cover the pan with a clean thick cloth, and set it in a warm place to rise.

When the batter has risen nearly to the top, and is covered with bubbles, it is time to bake; first stirring in a wine-glass of rose-water. Having heated your waffle iron in a good fire, grease it inside with the fresh butter used for the waffle mixture, or with fresh lard; fill it, and shut the iron closely. Turn it on the fire, that both sides of the cake may be equally well done. Each side will require about three minutes baking. Take them out of the iron by slipping a knife underneath. Then grease and prepare the iron for another waffle. Butter them, and send them to the tea-table “hot and hot;” and, to eat with this, a bowl or glass dish of sugar flavored with powdered cinnamon.

In buying waffle irons choose them very deep, so as to make a good impression when baked — if shallow, the waffle will look thin and poor. Those that bake one waffle at a time are the handsomest and most manageable.

Title: Miss Leslie’s New Cookery Book
Author: Eliza Leslie
Publisher: T. B. Peterson, 1857
(Google book LINK, pgs. 441-442)


Two cupfuls flour, one-half teaspoonful salt, one teaspoonful baking powder, one egg beaten separately, one tablespoonful butter, one cupful milk, one cupful cold boiled rice, one-half cup of the water in which the rice was boiled. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl; make a hole in the center, into which put the rice and the rice water. Add the well beaten yolk of the egg, the milk and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Lastly, fold in the white of the egg beaten to a still froth.

Fry in a well greased waffle iron.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Mar 23, 1899

To make rice waffles take a teacup and a half of rice that has been well boiled, and warm in a pint of rich milk, stirring it till smooth and mixed. Then removed it from the fire, and stir in a pint of cold milk and a teaspoonful of salt. Beat four eggs very light, and stir them into the mixture, in turn, with sufficient rice flour to make a thick batter.

Bake in a waffle-iron.

Send them to the table hot, butter them, and eat them with powdered sugar and cinnamon, prepared in a small bowl for the purpose.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Mar 27, 1873

How to Make Good Waffles.

Boil and mash about a pint of sweet potatoes. Sift one good teaspoonful of soda with three cups of flour. Beat two eggs light. Add one teaspoonful salt and sour milk enough to make a thin batter. Have the waffle-iron as hot as possible without burning the waffles.

Woodland Daily Democrat (Woodland, California) Mar 24, 1890


1 quart flour, 1/2 teaspoonful salt, 3 tablespoonfuls sugar, 2 large teaspoonfuls Royal Baking Powder, 2 tablespoonfuls lard, rind of 1 lemon, grated, 1 teaspoonful Royal Extract Cinnamon, 4 eggs and 1 pint thin cream. Sift together flour, sugar, salt and powder; rub in lard cold; add beaten eggs, lemon rind, extract and milk. Mix into smooth, rather thick batter.

Bake in hot waffle iron, serve with sugar flavored with Royal Extract of Lemon.



1 quart flour, 1/2 teaspoonful salt, 1 teaspoonful sugar, 2 teaspoonfuls Royal Baking Powder, 1 large tablespoonful butter, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 pints milk.

Sift together flour, salt, sugar and powder; rub in butter cold; add beaten eggs and milk; mix into smooth consistent batter that will run easily and limpid from mouth of pitcher.

Have waffle-iron hot and carefully greased each time; fill 2-3, close it up, when brown turn over.

Sift sugar on them, serve hot.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 25, 1895

South African Wafels.

South African “wafels” vastly differ from our waffles merely in being made with wine as a “moistener” rather than with milk for the principal liquid ingredient.

In South Africa when they are going to make “wafels” they take a pound of flour, three-quarters of a pound of butter, half a pound of sugar, eight eggs, half a pint of wine and a teaspoonful of sifted cinnamon. The butter and eggs are creamed; then they mix in alternately one egg and one spoonful of flour, add the wine and spice and bake in a waffle iron.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) May 10, 1903


Put into a bowl two cupfuls of sifted flour, three and a half level teaspoonfuls of baking powder and half a teaspoonful of salt. Beat the yolks of two eggs and add to them one and one quarter cupfuls of milk and then the flour mixture. Beat until smooth one teaspoonful of melted butter and the whites of two eggs whipped stiff.

Cook on a hot, greased waffle iron and serve with maple sirup.

The waffles should be thin and crisp.

The Daily Review ( Decatur, Illinois) May 14, 1904

Tomato Waffles

Pare six medium-sized ripe tomatoes, chop very fine and add one teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, one tablespoon butter melted after measuring; sift one-half teaspoon soda in a little flour to make the mixture like a thin griddle cake batter; have your waffle iron very hot, grease both under and upper lids, place a small tablespoon of the batter into each section, close the lid upon it and bake at least one minute on each side; when serving, cut the sections apart and arrange on a napkin.

This makes a novel and delicious entree.

Title: Good Living and How to Prepare it
Authors    King’s Daughters of Iowa, King’s Daughters of Iowa. Circle No. One (Oskaloosa)
Publisher: Hedge-Wilson Co., 1905
(Google book LINK pg. 113)

Waffles, Southern Style.

Mix and sift one and three-fourths cupfuls of flour, three teaspoonfuls of baking powder and one-half teaspoonful of salt, add gradually one cupful of milk, the yolks of two eggs well beaten, one tablespoonful of melted butter and the white of two eggs beaten stiff.

Cook on a greased hot waffle iron and serve at once with maple syrup.

A waffle iron should fit closely on the range, be well heated on the one side, turned, heated on the other side, and thoroughly greased before the iron is filled. In filling put a tablespoonful of the batter in each compartment near the centre of the iron, cover, and the mixture will spread to just fill the iron. If sufficiently heated, it needs to be turned almost as soon as filled and covered.

Trenton Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sep 14, 1906

Recipes For Waffles.

(By Mrs. J.M. Fine)

One-half cup of cornstarch, two cups of flour, three teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of salt, three eggs, well beaten, one and one-half cups of sweet milk, three tablespoons of melted butter, one tablespoon of Karo corn syrup.

Mix to a thin batter.

Have waffle iron very hot before pouring in the batter.

Witchita Daily Times (Wichita Falls, Texas) Sep 3, 1914

Buckwheat Waffles.

2 cups buckwheat flour.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
4 teaspoons baking powder.
2 tablespoons molasses.
2 cups milk.
1 tablespoon melted fat.
2 eggs, beaten separately.

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add molasses, milk, melted fat and eggs.

Heat waffle iron and grease well, put a tablespoon of mixture in each compartment, cover and cook, turn occasionally until crisp and brown.

Serve with syrup.

These may be cooked on a griddle if a waffle iron is not available.

Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jun 17, 1918

The chocolate nut waffles are made by sifting together 2 cups of pastry flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of ground chocolate or 3 tablespoons of cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat 2 egg yolks and add 1 1/4 cups of milk. Stir liquids into dry ingredients and add 1/2 cup melted butter. Fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites and 1/2 cup finely-chopped nuts and bake in hot waffle iron. This makes 7 or 8 large waffles.

Centralia Chronicle Advertiser (Centralia, Washington) Apr 24, 1936

Spelling is the Pitts!

June 23, 2010

Pittsburgh -- Pittsburg

A Question in Etymology.

An old dispute has been revived in the city of Pittsburg, or Pittsburgh, as the case may be. In old times they used to spell it with an “h,” after the English fashion of putting that letter where it is least needed. The dictionaries incline that way in this case. Worcester, who is called Wooster at the North, has “burgh — a corporate town or borough,” and Webster gives the choice of burg, burgh, burough and burh without the “g.” This ought to be enough to satisfy all parties; but it only widens the breach, and obliging people, who wish to satisfy all parties, have their hands full.






Half of the papers have “Pittsburg” in their head-lines; the other half have nailed “Pittsburgh.”

These images are from the same map. For the railway, they used the Pittsburg spelling, but for the city, they used Pittsburgh.

The railroads, to secure traffic, have to paint their cars on one side “Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago,” and on the other “Pittsburg, Fort Wayne and Chicago;” on the locomotives they put “P., F. W. and C.,” and allow each man to spell it with an “h” or not, as he pleases. Harper’s Gazetteer drops the “h.”

In the meantime there is a lull in the question whether the first syllable in the name of the city should have one or two “t’s.”

The site used to be called Fort Pitt, in honor of the great English statesman; but people now generally think it is named after the coal pits which abound in the neighborhood.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jun 16, 1874


More newspaper examples:

An 1867 paper


1833 Paper - "Pittsburgh"


Now, just for fun, two that use BOTH spellings!

1854 -- Gold Rush Era - California Paper


1845 - Norwalk, Ohio Paper

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

Lynch Law Revived

January 12, 2010

Humor and Inference for a serious incident:


The Southern Tribune, published at Point Coupe, Louisiana, says:

“A preacher whose name, we believe was Twing, attempted to commit a rape on a little girl about 6 years old, somewhere on the Atchafalaya, about two weeks since. He was caught, tarred and feathered, rode on a rail, and then put in a canoe and turned adrift in the Bayou, without oars or paddles of any kind. We have been informed that a jug of water and a loaf of bread was put in with him, so that if people were afraid to venture near the ‘strange bird’ to assist him, he would be safe from starvation.”

Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Apr 26, 1845

This Child For A Horse

December 13, 2009


The St. Louis Republican states on the authority of a gentleman personally cognizant of the fact, that the Osage Indians have among them about twenty white children, whome they purchased from the Comanches, by whom they were stolen from their parents in Texas and New Mexico.

The same paper says in addition:

Our informant states that such of them as have been seen by the whites are said to be sprightly and intelligent children, of both sexes, but generally have been taken so young as to have lost all recollection of their parents, homes, or of the place from whence they were taken.

The Osages will only sell them for horses or goods. Occasionally they bring one into the settlement to barter off. A few days since a gentleman of Newton county purchased, for a hrose, a pretty girl, about eleven years old. — A few days before our informant left, another Osage brought in a boy, about eight or nine years old, which he, however, did not succeed in selling.

The Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Jul 11, 1845

Poetry for Winter

December 4, 2009

Winter Coming

A week or so since, we were forcibly reminded of the following, by Hood:

Summer’s gone and over!
Fogs are falling down;
And with russet tinges,
Autumn’s doing brown.

Boughs are daily rifled
By the gusty thieves,
And the Book of Nature
Getteth short of leaves.

Round the tops of houses,
Swallows, as they flit,
Give, like yearly tenants,
Notices to quit.

Skies, of fickle temper,
Weep by turns and laugh —
Night and Day together,
Taking half and half.

So September endeth —
Cold and most perverse;
But the months that follow,
Sure will pinch us worse!

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Nov 17, 1845

A.S. McDonald.

Athwart the skies
The red bird flies
Through snow flakes light,
In soft disguise
The landscape lies
Serenely white.

What gorgeous dyes
Delight the eyes
When, flecked with white
Athwart the skies,
The red bird flies
Through fields of light.

Cambridge Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio) Jan 8, 1885


COLD! — bitterly cold!
The moon is bright
And the snow is white
Beautiful to behold.
But the wind is howling
Like hungry prowling
Wolves on the wintry wold!
Cold! — bitterly cold!

My shawl is ragged and old —
The hearth deserted and dark,
Gladdened by never a spark;
And my only light
Is the pitiless white,
That the moonbeams spill
Silvery chill,
Cruelly — splendidly bright,
This frosty winter’s night —
Cold! — bitterly cold!

Babe, more precious than gold,
Rest, little one, rest!
Sleep my own one,
Slumber, thou lone one,
Clasped to thy mother’s breast,
Though thin and wasted her form,
Her arms shall cufold
And shield thee from cold,
For the love in her breast
For the love in her breast is warm
Though the chill night breeze
May the life-blood freeze —
Cold! — bitterly cold!

Cold! — bitterly cold!
My eyes are dim,
And my senses swim,
And racking pains are in every limb, —
I am prematurely old!
Foodless and tireless,
Almost attireless,
Weapt in rags so scanty and thin
With bones that stare through the colorless skin,
Weary and worn
Tattered and torn,
If I should wish I had ne’er been born —
Tell me, is it a sin?
Cold world! — bitterly cold!

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Dec 16, 1871


NOW Autumn’s variegated scenes
Are hast’ning to a close’
And soon the farmer will enjoy
The Winter’s calm repose.
No more he’ll turn the verdant globe
‘Till Spring renews the plain,
Nor plant with care the swelling corn,
Nor sow the yellow grain.

The Summer’s bright and scorching sun,
And sultry breeze are past,
Follow’d by autumn’s feeble rays,
And Winter’s chilling blast.
The various fruits of summer months
And sober autumn’s reign,
Now meet no more the wand’ring eye
Or variegate the plain.

From thinking on the winter’s blast,
The Farmer’s mind recoils
Back on these pleasing scenes, now past,
His various summer toils.
How in the pleasant month of June,
When nature all is gay,
He mow’d with care the curling grass,
And made the fragrant hay.

Or when the yellow waving grain
Proclaim’d the harvest near,
When blythsome steps he paced the plain,
And view’d each golden ear;
Which, when matur’d, by sturdy swains,
A sickle each in hand,
With rushing noise, and clamorour mirth,
Was reap’d and bound in bands.

Then to the barn was safe convey’d,
The Winter’s den supply,
Secure from near approaching rain
That threatened in the sky.
Now harvest’s o’er and Phoebus’ beams
With lessen’d ardour shine;
Autumn steals in with grave approach
On summer’s slow decline.

To plow the spacious fallow-field
And break the stubborn soil,
He yokes the patient, sturdy team,
And whistles as he toils.
Thus whistling o’er the furrow’d field,
His though  with pleasure dwells
On the next harvest’s plentious yield,
‘Till hope his bosom swells.

Now noon-day’s glimmering, gloomy sun,
And evening’s chilling air,
And yellow fading nature’s face,
Proclaim the autumn here.
The spacious fields where lowing herds,
In richest pasture stray’d
In summer months, are now forsook;
Their verdure all decay’d.

The butter-firkin, long ‘ere this,
By careful house-wife fill’d,
For winter’s store, shall rich supplies
Or yellow treasure yield.
Matured by genial summer suns,
And tinged with gold around,
The apple from the bended bough,
Comes rattling to the ground:

Which roguish lads and lasses coy,
Trigg’d up so neat and spry,
Collected into evening clubs,
Now peel and cut, to dry,
Or to extract their precious juice,
The mill and press are plied;
Which soon or late in earthen mug,
Shall cheer the bright fire-side.

Or else condens’d to whiskey’s form —
That wonder-working drink,
Which drowns dull care in frantick mirth,
And e’en makes numb-heads think —
It sparkles in the shining glass;
Here reader take a thought:
[Sip you too oft this poisonous draught?
If so — you’ll come to nought.]

The grey-clad cornfield’s rustling noise,
Declares the husking near;
Depending from the loaded stalks,
Are seen the numerous ears.
The husker now, (with peg in hand)
Stalk slowly through the field;
Asunder cleft each stubborn husk
Its yellow treasure yields.

Then sounds the axe among forest oaks,
Fit winter’s fire-wood deem’d;
Homeward the loaded wagon hies,
Drawn by the sturdy team.
Surrounded thus, with bounteous store,
John would not wish to roam;
Content, he with his wife and friends,
Enjoys the sweet of HOME.

Dec. 1814

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio)Nov 21,> 1816



When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the white-thorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O’er the bare upland, and away
Through the long reach of desert woods
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladdens these deep solitudes.

On the gray maple’s crusted bark,
Its tender shoots the hoar-frost nips;
Whilst in the frozen fountain — hark! —
His piercing  beak the bittern dips.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,
The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke —
The crystal icicle is hung.

Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs
Pour out the river’s gradual tide,
Shully the skater’s iron rings,
And voices fill the woodland side.

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out the mellow lay;
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!

But still wild music is abroad,
Pale, desert woods, within your crowd;
And gathered winds, in hoarse accord,
Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

Chill airs and wintry winds, my ear
Has grown familiar with your song;
I hear it in the opening year —
I listen, and it cheers me long.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 17,  1845


The springtime came — the springtime went
With shimmering cloud and shiny weather,
The golden glory of June was spent,
On hills and fields we roamed together,
We walked through autumn’s purple haze,
The future’s dream of bliss forestalling,
And shuddering thought of winter days,
With snows a falling.

For earth was all so wondrous fair,
And heaven smiled down so blue above it,
Each wandering breath of balmy air
But bade us learn anew to love it.
What wonder if with all so bright,
And wild birds through the woodland calling,
We sighed to think of a winter’s night,
And snow a falling.

But when at last the world was dressed
In shining robes of ice-maid gleaming,
And calm white silence lulled to rest
The pale, dead flowers beneath it dreaming,
Behold we woke to find made true
The hope our hearts had been forestalling,
And life grew fairer than we knew
While snows were falling.

Ah, well! the days of youth fly fast,
Their suns grow dim, their blossoms wither,
And all the dreams that made our past
Fly fast and far, we know not wither;
But when we tread life’s wintry slope,
We hear again their voices calling,
And Memory clasps the hand of Hope,
While snows are falling.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 13, 1872

Absquatulators! Whigs vs. Locofocos

November 14, 2009

From the O.S. Journal.

Inverse “Absquatulation” — The Tables Turned — The Ass Standing to Hay, but wouldn’t eat!

The scene in the Senate, yesterday afternoon, on the passage of the bill to amend the Congressional Districting law, was “rich” (as the Senator from Hamilton would say) beyond anything that has been witnessed this session. The majority proceeded with the business before them very orderly, and with no seeming haste, offering to the minority full swing at the bill. In the first place, it will be remembered, the State Printer discovered that the copy of the bill laid on the table of Senators, was a “forgery.” This astute discovery being exposed, what was next to be done? There was a bill — it was no forgery — should they stand up to the rack “fodder or no fodder,” or should they “absquatulate.” —

Unfortunately, they had passed a law during the session of 1842-‘3, when running over with patriotism at the outrageous conduct of the Whigs, which might be a little troublesome should they attempt that Constitutional remedy, so they began casting about for a substitute. They could play Dummy! — So they opened their mouths and proclaimed aloud that they couldn’t talk! — they would walk up to the rack, but they wouldn’t touch that bundle of hay, the vile thing — their “democratic” stomachs revolted at being obliged to eat their own trash — no! they would starve first! — they felt indignant! — and if the majority would stuff them, they would stand mute, their mouths sealed, and if all their friends would do the same thing, it would be some time before the majority got the bundle of hay eaten — that it would! — (Here the scene changed — the open mouths were shut — and there sat the Senators, the one from Hamilton and the one from Richland taking the lead, playing “absquatulation” on an inverse rule. They would not speak, not they — the majority might whisk the bundle of hay under their noses, but they wouldn’t open their mouths, if they died for it!)

At this point of the proceedings, a new act in the drama was being enacted by the majority. The first part had been broad farce — that which was to follow, was clearly tragi-comical. Mr. Kelley, from Franklin, rose, and began reading the proceedings of “an unprecedentedly large  meeting of citizens from different portions of Ohio, convened at the Market-house in Columbus, on the evening of Tuesday, August 11th, 1842,” to express their opinion of absquatulation in the abstract and in the concrete — of “absquatulaton” direct, and of “absquatulaton” inverse.

At this meeting presided as Chairman, “the Hon. DAVID T. DISNEY, of Hamilton county.” Mr. K. read the patriotic remarks of the Hon. Chairman, on taking the Chair, in explanation of the objects of the meeting. “This is no matter of party interest,” said the eloquent chairman — “it is above and beyond mere party — it is one which appeals to the heart and judgment of every man — it is an assault upon your Constitution — it is a dissolution of your Government.”

During the reading of the very moving remarks of the chairman, the muscles of the Senator from Hamilton were observed to twitch. The scene was “rich, racy, to use his own favorite expression.

It was supposed too that some slight recollection of the provisions of the Constitution was flitting across the minds of the dumb members, just at this time, wherein it is provided — that “each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, and punish its members for disorderly behavior.” There was a rule compelling the members to think of absquatulation direct, that is, resigning, when they would no longer be members. But then it occurred to the logical mind of the member from Richland, that it was not “disorderly” to refuse to talk. He seemed to think that “disorder” consisted in kicking up a fuss generally, like the member from Hamilton in the lower House — taking off your coat, rolling up your sleeves, and kicking up your heels. And “absquatulation” inverse, was not “absquatulation” direct — for though the mind might be absent, the body was there. They could count their bodies, but they couldn’t count their noes, for they wouldn’t open their mouths, Constitution or no Constitution!

Well — there say the Dummys. Mr. Kelley proceeded with the reading of the proceedings. He had got through with the pathetic speech of the Chairman, and he came next to the preamble of the Resolutions. From this he read — “And, whereas, the power to repeal the bill about to be passed, was boldly claimed upon the floor of the Senate, by one of the Senators who aided in this revolutionary attempt, AND THAT POWER NEVER DENIED, it is now too late to claim that if the law was odious to the People, still would it be saddled upon them for the next ten years”!!!

At the reading of this, the lips of the Dummys dropped, and it was supposed they would open their mouths. But this bill does not follow out the remedy above conceded — it does not repeal, it only AMENDS! Of course, said the Senator of Hamilton to himself, I admit the doctrine of Repeal — ain’t I going for repeal of the Bank Law? To be sure I am — and if these Whigs would only go for Repeal, I would be with ’em but not to amend! No, no — repeal, destroy, break down, but never amend and build up!

— In this state of suspense the bill was gone through with, and put on its passage in the Senate. The time had arrived for seeing how many intended to play “absquatulation” in dumb show. The Constitution requires a quorum of two-thirds to do business. The question was put — a sufficient number, under a sense of duty imposed by their oaths while members, answered to their names to make a quorum, and the bill passed. Thus ended “absquatulation” inversed — and so ended this game of wickeness and folly. We have not heard this morning from the Dummys, whether they have recovered their speech or not. The bill has yet to pass the House.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 18, 1845


Alfred Kelley

Alfred Kelley: His Life and Work

by the Hon. James L. Bates 1888 (Read it online HERE)

Locofoco “Absquatulation.”

Our readers will learn, by perusing the proceedings of the State Legislature, that the Locofoco members of the Senate arrested the proceedings of that body on the 14th instant, by absenting themselves from the Senate chamber while the Apportionment Bill was under consideration in that body. This high-handed act was committed by every Locofoco member of the Senate, with the exception of Messrs. Archbold and Spindler, thus leaving the Senate without a quorum for the transaction of further business. A call of the Senate took place, and the proper officer sent for the absentees, who announced that he could find but two of them, and that they refused to return to the Senate. The reason the “Absquatulators” assign for the course they have pursued, is, that the majority were about to pass an Apportionment Bill which contained a provision for dividing the county of Hamilton into two districts, which provision they claim to be unconstitutional; and rather than see the constitution violated, they say they were determined to commit the “treasonable” act of breaking up the Legislature, and dissolving the State Government. They well knew that unless the present Legislature passed a law to apportion the members among the several counties of the State, there existed no authority under the constitution for holding another election for members of the Legislature, and that the State Government would be at an end, — and yet they deliberately vacated their seats.

We are somewhat anxious to know what our neighbors of the Experiment will say to this “treasonable” act of his Locofoco brethren. —

When the Whig Senators resigned, at the extra session in 1842, for the purpose of preventing the passage of the bill to divide the State into Congressional Districts, no person was louder or more bitter in his denunciations of those who felt it their duty to defeat that unjust measure in the only constitutional manner that was left to them, than the editor of the Experiment. Their resignations, too, only had the effect of postponing the apportionment bill until the next session of the Legislature, and the people then had ample time to elect their Congressmen before they were required to assemble at the national capital. But now, the absence of the Locofoco Senators, if persisted in, will prevent an organization of the State Government next winter — leave the office of Auditor of State vacant — defeat, among other important measures, the passage of the bill making appropriations for the support of the State Government for the ensuing year — and leave the affairs of our State in confusion.

The Statesman and other Locofoco papers, uphold and approve the course pursued by the refractory Senators, and we have no doubt our neighbor will be found following in the footsteps of his illustrious leader — Sam Medary.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 22, 1848


Samuel Medary

For more on Samuel Medary:

Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd (Pennsylvania)
By Howard M. Jenkins
Second Edition 1897

Scroll down a bit HERE.

The Legislature.

This body adjourned sine die on Friday last, having been in session about eleven weeks, during which time a large amount of business has been accomplished. The session was prolonged somewhat in consequence of the factious course pursued by the fifteen Locofoco “Absquatulaors.”

The bill dividing the State into Legislative districts for the ensuing four years, which caused so much squirming among the Locofoco, became a law in spite of the fifteen Locofoco Senators who fled from the Senate at the bidding of Sam Medary, and issued their decrees from “No. 18.” We learn from the Cleveland Herald, that the following is the mudus operandi by which the bill was passed into a law:

The Senatorial Absquatulators and their party associates in the House who had signed and sealed a contract to back up the revolution, were completely out-generaled in the final action on the apportionment bill, and by one of the quietest as well as most worthy men in the house.

The House some time previous passed the Senate Apportionment Bill with amendments. It was sent to the Senate for concurrence. The Senate disagreed. The House insisted on its amendments — then moved a reconsideration, and receded from some of its amendments. — The bill was again sent to the Senate. The Senate were about to take the vote upon the question of concurring with the remaining House amendments, when the absquatulation took place. Peaceful and legal measures were employed to bring the recreants back to duty, and these failing, the Whigs of the House “did up the job in a hurry.”

In pursuance to a preconcerted arrangement, when the Locos in the House were somewhat off their guard, Mr. Park, of Lorain, rose and offered a resolution, which he sent to the chair. Now Mr. P. is a philanthropist as well as a Solon, and a portion of his business this session as well as the previous one, had been to get the Legislature to allow a cripple among his constituents by the name of Coppins, to peddle without license. Of course when Mr. P. offered his resolution the Locos thought it must pertain to the Coppins project, and paid no attention to it. What made them still more off their guard was the fact that the Speaker was not in the Chair, but it was occupied at the time by Dr. Truesdale, of Trumbull. The resolution was read rather rapidly, the Whigs voting  Aye, and the Locos two or three of them saying No, and it was declared carried before the opposition collected themselves enough to ask for a division of the question, to call the ayes and nays, or to absquatulate!

When they finally came to their senses, they found that the resolution declared that the House receded from all the amendments of the House to the Apportionment Bill, which the Senate had not concurred in, and that the bill was a law!

Uncle Toby says “our army swore terribly in Flanders,” but that swearing we are told, was not a priming to the oaths of Ohio Locofocoism at the successful maneuvre of Mr. Park, of Lorain. Absquatulation at once fizzled out! and the Legislators who had sneaked to the tavern, sneaked back to the Senate Chamber! —

Farmer Park had blocked the Revolution!

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 29, 1848

The Revolution — The Great Day.

Thanks to the vigilance of our city authorities or to some other cause, no violence has yet been perpetrated, no wrong has been done, no hen roost has been robbed, no watchful mother goose had been untimely torn from her callow offspring.

Rain, that stern and relentless enemy of popular movements, sat in early in the morning, and has fallen during the whole day; and powder and patriotism have alike suffered under the influence of its rigid conversatism. The advances of the Revolutionary army have been made under cover of their umbrellas; and have given no alarm and done no damage.

The plan of taking possession of the vacant public buildings at Franklinton, organizing there a provisional government, and making that place the capital of the State of Locodom, which was projected yesterday, has, as we are informed, been abandoned, at least until the weather changes.

— O.S. Jour.


The agony is over. The long talked of Convention of the disorganizing, revolutionary Democracy has met and separated. The great cloud which arose with so much bluster, has spent itself in wind, and now is not even so large as Tom Thumb’s hand. The great bull-frogs of the party; as John Brough and others of acknowledged parts, hopped about a little, with an occasional boo-o-boo, marked with the melancholy languor which distinguishes the moanings of a dying calf. The reptile tribe, who have been for years winding their coils tighter and tighter about the consumption-stricken carcass of Locofocoism, as Sam Medary and his abettors, moving sluggishly in their slimy beds, emitting now and then a hiss which only served to make the little polliwogs of the Democratic family, wiggle their little tails like mad. Yes, the agony is over, and the sun shines as brightly as ever, the stars twinkle at night, without any apparent diminution of lustre, the earth rolls along in her orbit, and thank fortune the constitution still stands! Law and order reigns, and the evil day — the day of anarchy and blood, if not altogether abolished, is at least far away.

Cleveland Herald.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) May 23, 1848


Below is an excerpt that gives some context to the above news articles. To read more, click the link below.

Volume 38 OHIO HISTORY: The Scholarly Journal of the Ohio Historical Society

Party Politics in Ohio, 1840-1850 (continued)
by Edgar Allan Holt



The first Ohio State Constitution provided that the General Assembly should apportion representation among the several counties in proportion to population.

The controversy over the constitutionality of the act passed by the Whig Legislature on February 18, 1848, in accordance with this provision of the State Constitution, became so bitter that it convulsed the State for two years; interrupted legislative procedure for weeks; led to a realignment of parties and to the election of Salmon P. Chase to the United States Senate.

Before the State elections were held in October, 1847, attention had been called by Whig papers to the need of a fair districting of the State, on the ground that the Democrats had been able to control the General Assembly, previously, by gerrymandering. The issue assumed additional importance because upon the 1848-1849 Legislature depended the election of a successor to William Allen to the United States Senate. The Hamilton Intelligencer favored dividing the State into single member districts; and the Clermont Courier recalled how the Democrats in 1839-1840 had united Clermont, Brown, and Clinton Counties in order to overcome Whig majorities.

Reapportionment had not figured in the campaign of 1847, and the Democratic leaders, therefore, were all the more surprised, when on January 12, 1848, an apportionment measure was introduced by the Whigs in the Senate, providing among other things, for the division of Hamilton County into two electoral districts and assigning two senators and five representatives to the whole County as before. This measure the Democrats denounced as unfair, unjust and unconstitutional, and centered their fire on the proposed division of Hamilton County.