Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library
210 YEARS AGO
Who was the first Democrat? A gentleman claiming the name of federal, requested to be informed whence the name of democrat came, and who was the first democrat? For the information of such gentleman, I would observe, that the word democrat came from Democritus, a Grecian philosopher, who flourished between three and four hundred years before the Christian era; this same Democritus was the first Democrat I can find by searching the ancient writings; I take it his political opinion was, that the supreme power ought to remain the people; and this is the opinion of his followers to this day.
April 27, 1811
185 Years Ago
Congress has been between five and six months in session and the general appropriations bill is not yet passed. The consequence is that the salaries due on the first of April have not been paid, to the great inconvenience of those officers of the government who have no other dependence. In the meantime, the members of Congress take better care of themselves and draw their pay at their pleasure, even in advance. This is not very fair.
May 2, 1836
160 Years Ago
The position of affairs in this country changes rapidly. The Administration, from the day of its inauguration, has suffered great provocation, and has witnessed its authority in several States of the union constantly set at naught. Rebellion against the government exists – an assault upon the capitol is threatened – men are in arms against the authorities of the country – the President, by authority of law, calls upon all loyal citizens for aid; and that call has been responded to with alacrity – more men and money than he needs are tendered – the people of the loyal States are united in sentiment that the Government shall be sustained at Washington. Party lines are obliterated.
May 3, 1861
135 Years Ago
Editorial – In the House of Representatives, on a recent occasion, when a bill appropriating $150,000 for the relief of the sufferers by the recent floods in Alabama came up, Congressman Oates of that State said that he regretted that he could not agree with his colleagues on this question. This measure was confessedly outside of the Constitution, and he was one of those who believed that the oath of office he took to support that instrument was violated when he went outside of it and usurped authority to appropriate the people’s money. Bravo for Mr. Oates! He administered a well-merited rebuke to those Democrats in Congress, and out of it, who are drifting away from the distinct construction of the Constitution and who have permitted themselves to be beguiled by the “paternal” government notion, especially fostered by Republicans. The idea that the general Government should be called upon to provide means for the education of the people, or relief for communities visited by floods, fire or pestilence, is repugnant to those who hold to the good old-fashioned Democratic ideas. There is no more constitutional warrant for Government relief of collective than of individual distress.
May 1, 1886
110 Years Ago
Cooperstown Postmaster George M. Wedderspoon was the host at a banquet given to the post office employees in Parshall’s restaurant on Thursday evening last. Since he assumed the office on April 1, Mr. Wedderspoon has spent most of his time getting acquainted with the place. He found among other agreeable conditions that the list of employees was made up of about as fine a lot of fellows as one could wish to be associated with, and he decided, as a mark of appreciation, to “blow them off.” The covers were laid for fifteen and an eight-course meal was served, to which all did ample justice. Those present were postmaster Wedderspoon, assistant postmaster Addison C. Boorn, Clerks Gerald D. Ellsworth, Homer L. Hunter and Charles A. Schneider, village carriers J. Clyde Ainslee, Ernest Reed and C. Frederick Peck, substitute carrier Harry Withey, rural carriers Hugh Lynch, Howard Van Patten, Wilburn Bliss, Hiram Reed and Clarence Drew, and Albin Johnson, special delivery boy.
April 26, 1911
85 YEARS AGO
At the regular meeting of the Junior Fenimore Girl Scout troop, Louise Bowen and Mary Betsy Parrette were invested as tenderfoot Scouts. The girls are planning a series of Saturday hikes to pass fire-making. The Japanese doll festival, which has twice been postponed because of illness, is to be held on Tuesday afternoon, May 5th, at the Girl Scout rooms. Miss Cecily McKim, from the St. Christina School, will speak on “Scouting in Japan.” The Japanese nation anthem will be taught to the girls by Miss Ruth Newton, a member of the high school faculty and Miss Adelaide Lippitt will tell of the doll festival tradition in Japan.
April 29, 1936
60 YEARS AGO
The Farmers’ Museum acquired two young oxen April 15 to replace Tom and Jerry who were retired last fall. The new Devon Red Calves were purchased from Irving Lamb of Belmont, Alleghany County, who brought them to Cooperstown on Saturday. They have been named Buck and Bright, two historic names for oxen. Both are about a year old, and stand about chest high. Mr. Lamb, who raises oxen as a hobby, has been giving them preliminary training during the winter months, but the two will get most of their training under the direction of Farmers’ Museum curator George P. Campbell and Seth Martindale of The Farmers’ Museum staff. They will not be put to work at the museum until they have attained their full growth about three years from now.
April 26, 1961
20 YEARS AGO
On Wednesday, National Baseball Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey stepped before the National Press Club to announce the beginning of a $50 million endowment campaign for the Hall of Fame and a traveling exhibition titled “Baseball in America.” Two weeks ago, Petroskey told the audience, the FBI returned four priceless baseballs signed by U.S. Presidents Taft, Wilson, Coolidge and Hoover that were donated to the museum in 1968 and stolen in 1972.