News from 1824

Sketch of Prince Saunders early black activist
Prince Saunders


Stories are from the American Watchman and Delaware Advertiser, October 15, 1824



Prince Saunders, a New England free black, through his public speeches and writings, led a movement under the protection of the Haitian king, Henry Cristophe (who had assumed the role, there being no hereditary royal line in Haiti, which rebelled from the control of France in 1791, and became independent in 1804). This movement attracted thousands of emigrants, but the dream of creating an economic base for free blacks with full equality of citizenship, was quashed by a fresh rebellion on the island.



The Time of a Black Boy

For Sale. He has been brought up in the country, on a farm, has six years to serve, and is stout and healthy. Inquire at the office of the Watchman.

[Contracts of apprenticeship could be bought and sold.]



What Next?

A short time since, an extraordinary operation was performed at the Kent and Canterbury hospital, upon a man whose sound thighbone was cut open, and an old decayed bone extracted. The man is now so much recovered as to be walking about the streets of Canterbury. We have now to record one almost as extraordinary, and which has been attended with the happiest results. A patient was received at the hospital some time since, with a very diseased liver. After some time, the case assumed the worst possible appearance, and it was resolved as the only chance of preserving life, to tap the liver. The operation was performed by Dr. Fitch, senior surgeon, in presence of other gentlemen of the faculty connected with the establishment. Upon the liver being touched, upwards of five pints of diseased matter immediately flowed from the wound. A tube, nine inches in length, was then introduced and retained in the wound, through which a pint of the same fluid was daily evacuated for a week! The poor man is getting quite well.  Kent (Eng.) Herald



Emigration to Hayti

Emigration to Hayti is progressing with unexampled rapidity; it is not a mere experiment, but vessel after vessel is despatched.

The New York Evening Post of Tuesday says:

The ship Concordia is expected to sail this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, from this port for Hayti, with about 160 colored persons of both sexes. Six vessels at Philadelphia, one at Port Elizabeth, one at Alexandria, and several others at Baltimore, are on the eve of sailing for the same destination. It is calculated that between three and four thousand of these persons will leave the United States within a few days, and that every fortnight additional numbers will be shipped off under the direction of President Boyer’s agent, who pays the expense of their transmission by authority of the Haytian government. One hundred of those about to sail from this port, are from the state of New Jersey, and there can be no doubt that the great advantages held out will induce the mass of this part of our population to withdraw from the country.



Dept. of State

Washington 15 Sept. 1824



Citizens of the United States having Claims, under the Treaty of Ghent, for slaves and other private property, taken from them during the late war between the United States and Great Britain, are hereby notified, That the Definitive list, required by the subjoined article of the Convention of St. Petersburg, will be laid before the Joint Commission for ascertaining and determining the amount of such Claims, at its next meeting, in this City, on the 8th of December, in the present year; that such as have not already exhibited their Claims, and the evidences of them, to this Department, may do so before that time.

Article III

When the average value of slaves shall have been ascertained and fixed, the two commissioners shall constitute a board for the examination of the claims which are to be submitted to them, and they shall notify the Secretary of State for the United States, that they are ready to receive a definitive list of the slaves and other private property, for which the citizens of the United States claim indemnification: it being understood and hereby agreed that the commission shall not take cognizance of, nor receive, and that his Britannic Majesty shall not be required to make compensation for any claims for private property under the first article of the Treaty of Ghent, not contained in the said list. And his Britannic Majesty hereby engages to cause to be produced before the commission, as material towards ascertaining facts, all the evidence of which his Majesty’s government may be in possession, by returns from his Majesty’s officers, or otherwise, of the number of slaves carried away. But the evidence so produced, for its defectiveness, shall not go in bar of any claim or claims which shall be otherwise satisfactorily authenticated.


Pics and Family Notes

Below are two of my grandmother’s Brownie snapshots from the 1920s, taken on the back streets of Mount Vernon, Illinois. I don’t know who the subjects are, but both compositions have a sort of existential quality.

Man with Girl in Background

Child and Scooter

My G3 grandfather [Ramsey line], Silas Thomas Gaither (1832-1862) was married to Mary Marinda Clark (1842-?), who was the daughter of James Jordan Clark (1818-1897). James Jordan’s wife was Elizabeth Brewer. His own father was Edmond Clark, whose wife was Catherine Crane. The family at that time lived in Rutherford Co., NC.



From Lineage Book, The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1906

Under listing for Mrs. Florence D. Foster Crowell, of Indianapolis, Indiana:

(Mrs. Crowell would be a connection, not in the direct line, but the common ancestor, William Foster II, was my direct ancestor.)


William Foster II, 1746-1809, served as corporal and sergeant of minutemen in Capt. Josiah Wood’s company, which marched on the Lexington Alarm. He was born in Walpole, died in Worcester County, Mass. [married to Abigail Chapin 1748-1786]


William was the father of Jonathan Foster, who was the father of Jared Foster, who was my G3 grandfather.



The Salem Accused

Photo of grey squirrel with ginger tail
This squirrel with the red tail was part of my yard’s population for a while. But, I have hawks…


Mary Osgood Confession


My Foster ancestors settled in Massachusetts, some in the town of Salem. I don’t know that I have any direct descendancy from those involved in this famous event. But the Foster name comes up. As the story below relates, Mary Osgood was charged with tormenting a Rose Foster; also among the victims of this early hysteria was an Ann Foster, who died in jail. I feel the topic is worth a few analytical paragraphs. After all, the victims are often casually referred to as the “Salem witches”.

There is a strange sort of transmogrification, where feminism and political correctness join to color the story. Witches somehow, within our culture, much fueled by TV shows and books, are used to represent a kind of female power. The idea of the witch becomes iconic. At the same time, the notion of a protected class, a marginalized minority (and American history is rich in the marginalizing of minorities), gets woven in.

And what happens to justice?

An important lesson, for the times we live in, falls by the wayside. These people were not witches, a thing that doesn’t exist (while we make allowance for adopted religious practices). So we can’t “champion” their cause, by superimposing onto it pop culture and political creeds, resulting in an odd presumption of guilt. Our ancestors would not have wished to be told, “You’re a witch, and that’s okay!” They would have asked that their innocence be shouted from the rooftops.

Thus, the salient point, about application of the legal process: the case was not prosecutable. It would have been necessary to determine the validity of the charges first, before undertaking to bring them. The trials preceded on a circular basis: People made accusations against individuals; due to those accusations, the accused were brought to trial, to have the charges “proven” by the testimony of the accusers. There is a present danger of the same sorts of proceedings; and a bandying about, lately, of the term “witch hunt”. The fantasies the Salem accusers indulged were a product of those things culturally available to them; nothing unimaginable occurred, even in their heads.

So let’s bear this in mind—in the world of fiction, witches can be admirable characters, and carry the role of empowered feminist icon, or beleaguered minority, or both. The accused of Salem were ordinary people, innocent of the charges made against them, and murdered by the system.



The examination and confession (September 8, 1692) of Mary Osgood, wife of Capt. Osgood, of Andover, taken before John Hawthorne and Majesties’ justices. She confesses, that about eleven years ago, when she was in a melancholy state and condition, she used to walk abroad in her orchard; and upon a certain time she saw the appearance of a cat at the end of the house, which she yet thought was a real cat. However, at that time it diverted her from praying to God, and instead thereof she prayed to the devil, about which time she made covenant with the devil, who, as a black man, came to her and presented her with a book, upon which she laid her finger, and that left a red spot; and that upon her sinning the devil told her he was her god and that she should serve and worship him; and she believes she consented to it. She says further, that about two years ago she was carried through the air in company with Deacon Frye’s wife, Ebenezer Barker’s wife, and Goody Tyler, to Five Mile Pond, where she was baptized by the devil, who dipped her face in water, made her renounce her former baptism, and told her she must be his, soul and body, forever, and that she must serve him, which she promised to do.

She says the renouncing of her first baptism was after her dipping, and that she was transported again through the air in company with the aforenamed persons, in the same manner as she went, and believes they were carried upon a pole.

Q. How many persons were on the pole?

A. As I have said before; viz.: four persons and no more, but whom she had named above. She confesses she has afflicted three persons: John Sawdy, Martha Sprague and Rose Foster; and that she did it by pinching her bedclothes and giving consent, the devil should do it in her shape, and that the devil could not do it without her consent. She confesses the afflicting persons in the court by the glance of the eye. She says, as she was coming down to Salem to be examined, she and the rest of the company stopped at Mr. Phillip’s to refresh themselves up, and the afflicted persons, being behind them on the road, came just as she was mounting again, and were then afflicted and cried out upon her, so that she was forced to stay until they were all passed, and said she only looked that way towards them.

Q. Do you know the devil can take the shape of an innocent person and afflict?

A. I believe he cannot.

Q. Who taught you this way of witchcraft?

A. Satan; and that he taught her abundance of satisfaction and quietness in her future state, but never performed anything, and that she has lived more miserably and more discontented than ever before. She confesses further that she herself, in company with Goody Parker, Goody Tyler and Goody Dean, had a meeting at Moses Tyler’s house last Monday night, to afflict, and that she and Goody Dean carried the shape of Mr. Dean, the minister, between them, to make persons believe that Mr. Dean was afflicted.

Q. What hindered you from accomplishing what you intended?

A. The Lord would not suffer it so to be; that the devil should afflict in an innocent person’s shape.

Q. Have you been at any other witch meetings?

A. I know nothing thereof, and I shall answer in the presence of God and his people, but said that the black man stood before her and told her that what she had confessed was a lie; notwithstanding she said that what she had confessed was true, and thereto put her hand. Her husband, being present, was asked if he judged his wife to be any way discomposed. He answered that, having lived with her so long, he doth not judge her to be any way discomposed, but has cause to believe what she has said is true. When Mistress Osgood was first called, she afflicted Martha Sprague and Rose Foster by the glance of her eyes, and recovered them out of their fits by the touch of her hand. Mary (Foster) Lacey and Betty Johnson and Hannah Part [probably Post] saw Mistress Osgood afflicting Sprague and Foster. The said Hannah Post and Mary Lacey and Betty Johnson, Jun., and Rose Foster and Mary Richardson were afflicted by Mistress Osgood in the time of their examination and recovered by her touching of their hands.

‘I’ underwritten, being appointed by authority to take this examination, do testify upon oath, taken in court, that this is a true copy of, the substance of it, to the best of my knowledge, January 5, 1692-3. The above Mary Osgood was examined before their majesty’s justices of the peace in Salem.

John Higginson, Just. Pac.


Source: Foster Genealogy, Frederick Clifton Pierce, 1899.

(Mary Osgood was released, and died in 1710; the John Hawthorne mentioned, was the G2 grandfather of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.)


News from 1819

Baby Deer
Photographed through the kitchen window, so as not to scare them. These two and their mother have been spending hours in my garden each day.


Transcriptions from the Alexandria Gazette and Daily Advertiser, September 1, 1819


The New Orleans Gazette of the 4th inst. states that a most dreadful hurricane took place on the coast of New Orleans, on the 28th ult. in which the U.S. schooner Firebrand, officers and crew were entirely lost; several others have met a similar fate or have been sunk. The officers on board the Firebrand were Lieutenant Grey, Dr. Wardle, and Messrs. Perkins and Adams, midshipmen. The schooner Thomas Shields was also capsized at the bay of St. Louis, and all the hands lost. All the houses at the bay of St. Louis were seriously damaged, and most of them blown down. The extent of the damage, it appears by the New Orleans Gazette, are as yet but partially known.

[The hurricane would have struck N.O. around July 28, 1819, the one reported below, striking the Virginia coast, was a separate event, of late August 1819]



The Weather

We do not recollect to have ever witnessed at this season of the year, a heavier fall of rain than we have had in this place within the last eight and forty hours. With very little intermission it poured a perfect torrent, from Thursday afternoon, about four o’clock, until nearly the same hour yesterday, blowing a heavy gale of wind the greater part of time from Northeast to West, shifting frequently. The sudden change of wind from the former to the latter point, on the first of the floodtide, checked the water passing up James River, and caused it to raise so high in this harbor that all the wharves were overflowed, and most of the warehouses contiguous had their lower floors covered from one and a half to two and a half feet. The damages sustained from this source is a little short of, if it does not succeed, 2 thousand dollars. Messrs. J. and W. Southgate, J. R. Harwood, W. Ashley, and S. & P. Christian are the principle sufferers, the three first by injury done to perishable articles in the lower story, and the last by the tide sweeping off a quantity of shingles from the end of Moran’s wharf. Spars, plank, heavy timber, and wharf logs were seen floating about in the harbor, and deposited in places on the wharf where they had been left at the recess of the tide.

Several vessels were driven on shore in different parts of the harbor, but, we believe, sustained no damage.

The wind blew with intense violence until about 5 o’clock yesterday evening; and when our paper was put to press the weather had not assumed any thing of a settled appearance.

We anticipate shocking accounts from such vessels on the coast as were unable to make a harbor before the gale set in. Our harbor is full of vessels that had put in in expectation of bad weather.



100 Dollars Reward


I will give the above reward to any person who will return to my possession, negro LAWRENCE, who assumes the surname of FENWICK. This fellow left my farm, on the Wicomico river, in Charles county, Md. on the 6th July, in consequence of his own outrageous conduct towards my overseer. He is a negro of a fine erect figure, good features, a smooth black skin, rather above the middle stature, of a youthful appearance for one of thirty years of age, and of great plausibility and natural smartness. His ears grow remarkably close to his head, and on the inside of his lower lip, he has a white mark or spot. I purchased him 4 years ago of the estate of Mrs. P. H. Courts, of this county. I am led (by circumstances which have come to my knowledge since he absconded) to believe that he will endeavor to make his way to King George county, Va.; should he not take this route, he will probably be met with in the District of Columbia, or in the upper counties of this state, on his way to Pennsylvania. I apprehend he will change his name, and if committed to jail, refuse to state to whom he belongs, as the misconduct which preceded his departure, & his absconding, have all appeared since to be premeditated. He took all his clothes with him, of which he had a large number; among them—a new bearskin overcoat, a long, close-bodied blue coat, a pair of striped jean pantaloons, one or more of white waistcoats, besides many articles of coarse clothing; these, however, he will probably exchange, or sell them for cash to defray his traveling expenses.

I will give the above reward to any person who will bring him home to me, or FIFTY DOLLARS if confined in jail, and notice given me, so that I recover him.

Should he be taken out of state, I will also pay all reasonable costs and charges which may attend the bringing him home.



West Hatton, near Allen’s Fresh Post Office, Charles county, Md.



Fifty Dollar Reward


 Ran away from the subscriber living in King George’s County, Va. on Monday the 22nd of March, a yellow man names JAMES, about 22 years of age, his fore-teeth wide apart and cannot speak very quick—had on Virginia cloth clothes and carried off a shaggy great coat, he has a father named Peter Hall, who lives with the widow Morgan at Oak Hill, Farquier Co., and his grandfather old Frederick Hall, is supposed to be living at Mr. Terrett’s near Alexandria, and it is likely he may be lurking about there. I will give the above reward for apprehending and securing said fellow so that I get him again, and reasonable charges if brought home.



Masters of vessels and others are forewarned against harboring or carrying off said fellow.



Look Here

All classes of citizens concerned for the welfare of their posterity and the community at large, are informed there has just been published an ornamental sheet, entitled an


Antidote for Dueling;


Containing the folly and wickedness of that practice, in forcible and energetic language; mostly selected from the sacred scriptures. They are to be had from the bookstores of Messrs. Davis and Force at Washington, and at the different bookstores in Alexandria.



Was Committed


To the jail for the county of Alexandria on the 28th ult., as a runaway, a mulatto man who calls himself JERRY MORE, and says he is free born, and that he served his time with a Mr. Francis White, living on Big Capon, Hampshire Co., Va. at Cold Stream Mills, and that he is recorded as a free man in the clerk’s office, at Romney, Va.  Said mulatto man is about 23 years of age, 6 feet high, stout and well made, has lost the first joint of the forefinger on his left hand.

The owner is desired to come prove property, pay charges, and take him away, otherwise, he will be disposed of as the law directs.





Missouri and Illinois Bounty Lands


The subscriber has for sale a number of the most valuable tracts, in both of those rich and improving bodies of lands, and can supply applicants with any number they may wish, and in any part of either territory. Every person who visits the Western Country, particularly those who intend settling there, should take with them a few quarter sections of those lands; every man who has a young and growing family, and can spare a few hundred dollars, should not miss the present opportunity of getting some of those lands; as it will insure to his children a greater certainty than any other type of investment he can possibly make for their benefit. From the immense emigration to both Illinois and Missouri, particularly to the military lands, it is certain there must be a great rise in the price very soon, and those who miss the present opportunity will never again have the chance to do so well. The patents will be sold very low, for cash, good notes, or bonds at short dates, or bank stock in the Central Bank of Georgetown and Washington, and the Farmers and Mechanics Bank of Georgetown. As I am a large dealer in Military Bounty Lands, I can supply any number that may be required.

Please reply at my Exchange Banking House, Bridge street, Georgetown.




(Source, U.S. Library of Congress)


Advertising of 1809

By 1809, newspapers had stopped using the “s” that looked like an “f”, and so are a little easier for 21st century citizens to read. Human beings for sale were mixed among other notices and advertisements. The United States was at strong odds with Great Britain, over the embargo and impressment practices of their war with Napoleon Bonaparte, that led to our war of 1812.

Photo of historic sailing ship USS Constitution
USS Constitution
The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, March 3, 1809

Just Published

And to be had at R. C. Weightman’s Book Store

A tour through part of Virginia, in the summer of 1808, in a series of letters, including an account of Harper’s ferry, the natural bridge, the new discovery called Weir’s Cave, Monticello, and the different Medical Springs, hot and cold baths, visited by the author.

Price 37 and ½ cents


Mill Wrights Wanted

Six good journeymen will meet with employment by applying to the subscriber at Occoquin before the 20th March, and afterwards at Ellicott’s Lower Mills, 8 miles from Baltimore.


Ran away from the subscriber, in Pineataway, Prince Georges county, Maryland, on the 31st of May last, two Negro Men, viz. POMPEY, a very black man, upwards of 50 years old, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, rather slender made, with a small head and face; his forehead projects considerably over his eyes, and it is believed he has lost an under foretooth; he is much addicted to liquor, and when drunk disposed to talk a great deal; he has been accustomed to drive a carriage and waggon; he had on when he went away a deep blue short jacket of coarse cloth, oznabrig shirt and trowsers.

Basil, a dark mulatto, about 22 or 23 years old, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, rather stout made; has thick lips and large mouth; the forefinger of his right hand is stiff and smaller than the other; he had ulcers on his legs, and if healed, the scars may be discovered. Basil was a house servant, and at the time he went off, his apparel was the same as Pompey’s, but they had each a variety of cloths. They may endeavor to pass as freemen, and it is probable that Basil is in Alexandria or Baltimore, as his father is living in the former place, and he has a brother and sister in the latter. It is conjectured that a black man in the District of Columbia named Jack Neall, has contrived to get them away, as the subscriber has been informed that the said Neall about two years ago carried a negro woman of his on board a vessel at Alexandria, at which time she was a runaway. The above reward (including what the law allows) will be given for securing Pompey and Basil in any jail, so that the subscriber shall get them again, or Fifty Dollars for either and all reasonable expenses if brought home. All persons are forewarned against harboring them.



A Servant, accustomed to wait on a single gentleman, who is sensible and likely, and has a good character; for whom liberal price will be given.


A very likely, healthy, MULATTO GIRL, about 12 years of age—apply at this office.


A valuable family of NEGROES, consisting of a man, who is a carpenter, his wife and seven children; all young and healthy.


Prince Georges County


LOST, a SILVER WATCH, with hands telling the day of the month, on the face of her, and capped—Mott, maker, of New York. Whoever will return the Watch to this office, shall receive the above sum, and no questions asked.

News of 1803

Photo of hollyhock bloom white with purple veins
From my garden this year, an extra-pretty hollyhock.
From The National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser, January 24, 1803, U.S. Library of Congress
[A weekly feature, sampling the news and opinions our ancestors might have been reading.]


Message from the President of the United States

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives


I enclose a report of the Secretary at War, stating the trading houses established in the Indian territories, the progress which has been made in the course of the last year, in settling and marking boundaries with the different tribes, the purchases of lands recently made from them, and the prospect of further progress in marking boundaries, and new extinguishments of title in the year to come, for which some appropriations of money will be wanting.

To this I have to add that when the Indians ceded to us the Salt Springs on the Wabash, they expressed a hope that we would so employ them as to enable them to procure there necessary supplies of salt. Indeed it would be the most proper and acceptable form in which the annuity could be paid which we propose to give them for the cession. These springs might at the same time be rendered eminently serviceable to our western inhabitants, by using them as a means of counteracting the monopolies of the supplies of salt, and of reducing the price in that country to a just level. For these purposes a small appropriation would be necessary to meet the first expenses, after which they should support themselves, and repay those advances. The springs are said to possess the advantage of being accompanied with a bed of coal.



January 13, 1803


Note, above, our third president proposes as the best solution to paying the annuity the U.S. government owes the Indians who’d just ceded rights to the salt springs, giving them salt from the springs! 



[A conflagration in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire]


The late terrible fire with which Divine Providence has visited us, in a view of all circumstances, is believed to be without parallel in our common country. This town retarded in its early growth by many causes, seemed beginning to overcome those obstacles, when the revolutionary war, by its necessary effects, nearly annihilated its former and principal branches of Commerce. It was just emerging from this state; its trade began to revive and increase, and particularly in the central part of the town; where great exertions were made, and much money was laid out to render it commodious for the purpose, and even to embellish it.

This fair and beautiful part of the Town has in one short day become a heap of ashes and rubbish; exhibiting such a scene of devastation and ruin, as gives fresh pain at every new view. The number and value of the streets totally, or in a great measure destroyed— The number of inhabitants now exposed to sufferings and hardships, beyond the relief rendered by their sympathizing neighbors— The aged and infirm, widows and orphans unhoused in mid-winter— The stagnation of business, excepting the labor, patiently submitted to, and going on, of rearing or fitting up shelters for persons and property rescued from the flames— The great destruction of books, accounts, and papers of very great value— The inability of the inhabitants of the town, to preserve, without assistance, its trade with the interior, ready to fly off in many directions— And finally, the damages consequential to such a state of ruin, which, tho’ they may be conceived, baffle all description and calculation— ALL CONCUR to plead powerfully with the opulent and the prosperous; indeed with all in a comfortable state, who feel themselves exposed to like calamities, that relief is peculiarly desired and solicited— But injustice would be done to our own feelings, to those of our suffering friends and neighbors, to those of our benevolent fellow citizens in the union, did we not declare that the smallest donations which may be made by the compassionate of every class, will be gratefully received and with all others faithfully appropriated. This town has cheerfully had a fellow-feeling on like calamities taking place in distant parts of the union, and has no doubts of experiencing the sympathy it feels bound to shew.









Charleston, January 10



A plan of the most daring nature to rob the vaults of this bank, was discovered during the night of Friday last and on Saturday morning. About three weeks ago a corporal of the city guard informed the porter of the bank, that while standing at the corner of the bank, he heard a noise of some person working under the ground or in the bank. Mr. Harvey, the deputy sheriff, having heard the same noise, gave the like information; but on examination, nothing of the kind being discovered, it was tho’t no more of; but on Friday night about eleven o’clock, Mr. M’Neil and his clerks, who live at the corner opposite the bank, observed a man lurking about the pavement next to the bank wall, who frequently stooped down to the pavement as if in the act of listening; struck by his conduct they went out, when the man made off. On examining the pavement, they found a brick loose and out of its place; supposing that this was the beginning of an attempt, they gave no alarm that night; in the morning, the place was again looked at, when the brick was found in its place, and some fresh earth spread over it. On taking up this brick, it was discovered that the earth below was taken away, or had caved in. On digging a little way down, a large vacancy was discovered, and some provision found lying at the bottom, also some tools by which the excavation had been made. Immediately after, the legs of a man were seen, who appeared to be desirous of retreating to the drain in the street, but was prevented, the earth that had fallen in having blocked up the passage. Convinced that he could not escape, he told those at work to unearth him, that if they would stop, he would deliver himself up, this being affected to, he came up, was apprehended and immediately committed to jail. On examination, his name is found to be William Withers, that he came to this city about a year past from Kentucky, that he had brought some horses, which he had disposed of, and spent the money. It is also known that during the last summer, he was very sick in this city, and being destitute of money, he had been obliged to lay in the Hay-Market of South Bay, he was there seen by a benevolent gentleman of this city, who had him removed to his house, had medical assistance given, and supported him until his recovery, he then suddenly disappeared; it is supposed that he then began the nefarious business he was detected in; he says that he entered the public drain of Church-street, near the French church, on the 10th of October last, and that he had been underground ever since, but from appearances it is believed he had progressed from the grating which is in the intersection of Broad and Church streets. At any rate he had worked through the palisade wall, and through the foundation of the bank, the latter of which is three feet and a half thick, this brought him to the wood cellar; a considerable quantity of wood here prevented his progress to the vaults, but it is believed, that had he not been discovered, he would have found means to remove this. He owns, which cannot be doubted, that he has accomplices. On Saturday a man named William Butner was apprehended about eight miles from the city; he is the man Mr. M’Neil and his clerks saw; another man, named Abner Robinson, has been committed by James Bentham, esq., who is charged with being an accomplice. As the court of session is to sit shortly, no doubt but it will be in our power to give a fuller account of this daring combination of villains.





(2019, Stephanie Foster)



Post-Colonial Life

See lots of cartoons at The Cartoon House!


From early newspapers, samples of what our ancestors, in the first years of the republic, might have been reading. First, a few titles you could buy in New York, advertised in the Gazette of the United States, August 13, 1791


Ruddiman’s Rudiments

Klopflock’s Messiah

Gentleman’s Pocket Farrier

Smellie’s Philosophy of Natural History

Miss Murray’s Mentoria



Portion of an editorial:

America, from this period, begins a new era in her national existence —“The World Is All Before Her”—the wisdom and folly, the misery and prosperity of the EMPIRES, STATES, and KINGDOMS, which have had their day upon the great Theatre of Time, and are now no more, suggest the most important Mememtos—These with the rapid series of events, in which our Country has been so deeply interested, have taught the enlightened Citizens of the United States, that FREEDOM and GOVERNMENT—LIBERTY and LAWS, are inseparable. This Conviction has led to the adoption of the New Constitution; for, however VARIOUS the sentiments, respecting the MERITS of this system, all GOOD MEN are agreed in the necessity that exists, of an EFFICIENT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

A paper, therefore, established upon NATIONAL, INDEPENDENT, and IMPARTIAL PRINCIPLES, which shall take up the premised Articles, upon a COMPETENT PLAN, it is presumed, will be highly interesting, and meet with public approbation and patronage.

The Editor of this publication is determined to leave no avenue of information unexplored : —He solicits the assistance of Persons of leisure and abilities—which, united with his own assiduity, he flatters himself will render the Gazette of the United States not unworthy general encouragement——and is, with due respect, the public’s humble servant,  

THE EDITOR (John Fenno) (November 25, 1789)

The Gazette of the United States was a Federalist paper, based in New York City, then America’s capital. It received funding (coordinated by) and contributions from Alexander Hamilton. (Information, the United States Library of Congress.)  



The Monitor and Wilmington Repository. September 20, 1800   


A feature piece: 

Musquetoes enjoy successively two kinds of life, which appear very opposite, but which are also common to many other insects. It may be said, they are born fish, and latterly are winged inhabitants of the air. The male may be known from the female by the plumes on his head. Their time of love is generally when they are seen playing in the air. The female lays eggs on the surface of stagnated waters, to the number of 200 to 350, which stick together with a kind of glutinous substance, in form of a boat, with a head and stern, the small end upwards. They appear like little spots of lampblack, or small coals huddled together. From the bottom of the egg, hatches out a larva, which is a long body without legs; the large head hangs downwards, with the tail resting on the surface of the water, in which is a pipe and organ of respiration, and four fins on the opposite side. In this state it feeds on small animalculae, and grass; and then is very sprightly, for on the least agitation of the water, they dart instantly to the bottom, but are obliged to rise quickly to receive fresh air. They remain in this state two or three weeks, and then change into the Chyrsolids, in which state they do not eat. Their pipes for breathing are then transferred from the tail to the head, which represent horns. The tail is turned under quite to the head, like a lobster.

They live in this state three days, and when about to leave the watry element, they burst the shell at the top of the head, then get the two forelegs out and begin to dress, and hawl out the hinder legs and wings. The shell now represents a boat floating about, and if roughly agitated by wind, on the shaking of the water they are drowned, but if undisturbed [they spread their] wings and take their flight; abandon the waters to seek their nourishment in the blood of animals, and sacarine substances.

The best way to cure their bite, is to wet the parts bitten with saliva, and desist if possible from the itch of scratching. Volatile Alkali applied, is a remedy in this as well as in the bite of vipers. Lemon juice rubbed on our skin, it is said, will prevent musquetoes from being troublesome.  



Notice is Hereby Given

To the TRUSTEES of the POORHOUSE of the County of Newcastle 


That a meeting of the board will be held at the Poorhouse, on the first day of October next, at ten o’clock, A. M. at which time and place it is hoped the trustees will give punctual attendances. The Collectors of the Poor Tax for Newcastle County, are also notified that the 2nd sum of the payment became due the 7th day of this instant. It is hoped that they will, without delay, discharge the same; and those who are in arrears for old balances, and the first quarter of the current year with the Treasurer of the Board, need not expect any further indulgence. All persons having any legal demands against the Board for supplies furnished either by the orders of the Trustees, or by the order of the Overseer of the House, are required to render the same for settlement.  


John Crow, Sec.

Aug. 29, 1800



War Department, August 4th, 1800


The commanding Officers of corps, detachments, posts, garrisons, and recruiting parties belonging to the military establishment of the United States, are to report to and receive orders from Brigadier General Wilkinson, in the city of Washington, and all officers on furlough are to report themselves to the same officer with all possible dispatch.  



Secretary of War  


Some New/Old Photos


My grandfather, Randall Barker, with my mother. I don’t know the location…it looks like a country church. And below, my great-grandmother Barker, an Illinois teenager in the 1890s, wearing the true prairie dress.