200 YEARS AGO
Excerpts from a letter written by John Adams to Benjamin Rush on the subject of Slavery in America. “The turpitude, the inhumanity, the cruelty, and the infamy of the African commerce in slaves, have been so well represented to the public by the powers of eloquence, that nothing I could say would increase the just odium in which it is and ought to be held. Every measure of prudence, therefore ought to be assumed, for the eventual total extirpation of slavery from the United States. If however, humanity dictates the duty of adopting the most prudent measures for accomplishing so excellent a purpose, the same humanity requires that we should not inflict severer calamities on the objects of our commiseration than those which they presently endure, by reducing them to despair, or the necessity of robbery, plunder, assassination, and massacre, to preserve their lives. Some provision ought to be made for furnishing them employment or some means of furnishing them with the necessary comforts of life. I have, through my whole life, held the practice of slavery in such abhorrence that I have never owned a Negro, or any other slave.”
July 26, 1819
175 YEARS AGO
Statements on the subject of Slavery attributed to Henry Clay: “If gentlemen will not allow us to have Black Slaves, they must let us have White ones, for we cannot cut our firewood and black our shoes, and have our wives and daughters work in the kitchen. I am the son of Virginia, a slaveholder in Kentucky, and I would suffer the tortures of the Inquisition before I would sign a bill having for its object the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, or in any manner give countenance to the project.”
July 29, 1844
150 YEARS AGO
Medical Meeting – The Otsego County Medical Society met at the Court House on Tuesday. The Secretary read applications for membership from Elizabeth D. Pope, M.D. and Mary A. Bassett, M.D. Thereupon a brisk and somewhat general discussion arose. The subject was “novel.” The institution from which they claim to have graduated was “unrecognized” in this state, and confessedly not in “good odor” in the State where it exists. Nothing was known of its faculty or the extent of the qualification required, &c. Some single gentlemen thought the presence of ladies would “embarrass and restrict debate” while the Benedicts knew better. Finally, on motion of Dr. T.B. Smith, the subject was referred to a committee of three – Drs. T.B. Smith, Halsey and Sprague were appointed said committee. At the evening session the committee on the applications of Drs. Pope and Bassett reported adversely thereto. Dr. Leaning moved that the report be accepted and adopted. Dr. L.H. Hills opposed the motion and after some explanations and assurances made by Dr. Bassett, Dr. Halsey asked leave to amend his report in favor of granting the applications. Dr. Bassett then moved to refer the subject back to the committee.
This was amended to substitute “at the next meeting” and then accepted.
July 30, 1869
125 YEARS AGO
Four Persons Drowned in Otsego Lake – It occurred at 12:30 o’clock Monday last, about one-third of a mile from the shore, and about one mile north from Five-Mile Point, where the water is about 140 to 160 feet deep. A man named Jos. R. Edwards, his wife and her child by a previous
husband and a picture agent named George Lewis of East Worcester, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Edwards, took the row boat of George Newkirk at 10:45 in the morning, having fishing tackle with them, and said they were going to land Lewis at Hyde Hall. They did not go there. At about 12:30, Ex-Sheriff O. McCredy, who was driving by, saw an upturned boat and persons struggling in the water near it and shouting for help. He at once went to the camping party at Eldred’s Point, who were at dinner, and informed them of the fact. They started out two boats for the drowning party. But, before either boat could reach them they had sunk out of sight. Edwards is said to have been a drinking man and to have been on a protracted spree previous to Monday. Floating near the boat was a liquor flask and a bottle.
July 26, 1894
75 YEARS AGO
In less than a week the workers at the Cooperstown Farm Labor Camp harvested 330 bushels of peas and beans and 275 quarts of raspberries. In addition to the harvesting they have spent about 120 hours weeding. Besides giving help to the growers the campers have shown much interest in rural life and in food production. Sixteen additional workers arrived at the camp on Saturday, making a total of 55.
July 26, 1944
50 YEARS AGO
What with man’s exploration of the Moon, “Up – Up and Away In Style” was certainly an appropriate theme for the 1969 Otsego County Dress Revue at the F. Ambrose Clark Junior Show on July 28. Over 400 spectators watched as 129 4-H’ers modeled the garments they had made in their clothing projects this past year. Highlighting the Dress Revue was the selection of the two outstanding outfits to represent the county in the State Dress Revue at the New York State Fair on August 29 and 30. The two girls selected to represent Otsego County are Mary Chamberlin, Mount Vision and Patricia Mickle, Hartwick.
July 23, 1969
25 YEARS AGO
Murderous Mirth in Milford – “I Hate Hamlet,” a comedy by Paul Rudnick, will open this evening at the Leatherstocking Theatre Company in Milford. Lead character Andrew Rally, a hot young TV actor, recently relocated from Hollywood to the Big Apple has signed on to portray Hamlet in Central Park. The catch is, Andrew hates Hamlet and the laughs begin when Andrew discovers his apartment is haunted by the ghost of John Barrymore, the ultimate Hamlet. With coaching from the ghost Barrymore and help from friends, Andrews finally finds the nerve to play the role. “I hate Hamlet” is directed by Sammy Dallas Bayes, familiar to regional audiences for his work with Orpheus Theatre.
July 26, 1994