Friday, November 9, 2018

The “Gerry” in Gerrymandering - Even tho Women could not Vote in the USA until 1920...

Many women probably were well aware of the “Gerry” in Gerrymandering.   It is a practice that dates to the early days of the country.  Gerrymandering involved a practice in which governmental districts are drawn to favor one person, one political party, or one class of people.
“Gerrymandering” was named for Elbridge Gerry, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  As Governor of Massachusetts (1810–1812), Gerry approved a redistricting plan for the state senate that gave the political advantage to his Republicans.  In 1812, the political monster — the "Gerrymander" was born right in the Massachusetts State House. Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that created oddly-shaped voting districts in several parts of the state. The lines of these districts gave Gerry's party a distinct advantage in upcoming elections. An artist added a head, wings, and claws to the strange shape that was now the governor's new home district and declared it looked like a salamander. A quick-witted friend decided a better name was "Gerry-mander." Within a month, the image appeared as a cartoon in the local papers and gerrymander entered the English language. The term has referred ever since to any deliberate redrawing of voting districts to influence the outcome of an election.
“The Gerrymander: a New Species of Monster” Boston Gazette, March 26, 1812. Since then, “gerrymandering” has for years produced odd-shaped congressional and state legislative districts.

Governor Gerry remained on the scene in the early days of the republic. In addition to signing the Declaration of Independence, he also signed the Articles of Confederation.  When the founders decided the Articles weren’t working well, a convention was called in Philadelphia in 1787, to revise them.  Gerry was one of the delegates.  In Philadelphia, the delegates decided to write a new constitution instead of revising the Articles of Confederation.

Gerry was active in the debates and argued forcefully, that individuals needed more protection from the all-powerful central government than the Constitution provided and that the protections needed to be spelled out. The convention, however, rejected his pleas.  So when the Constitution was ready for signing and presented to the chairman of the convention, George Washington, Gerry said “No.”  However, as a member of the First Congress (1789–1791), Gerry did back James Madison’s proposals for Constitutional amendments that eventually became the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.

Gerry retired from public life after 2 terms in the House, but it was an active retirement, during which he served not only as Massachusetts Governor but also as President Madison’s Vice President (1813–1814). He died while Vice President in 1814, Gerrymandering, however, lives on.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Geo Washington notes the Possible Excesses of Political Parties - Even tho Women could not Vote in the USA until 1920...

Women could read what worried President George Washington about the possible excesses of political parties in the new USA.  Although known as his "Farewell Address," Washington never spoke these words before an audience. The president arranged with David C. Claypoole, editor, & proprietor of Philadelphia's Daily American Advertiser to print his letter in the newspaper in September of 1796.

"The disorders & miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an individual; & sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

"Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common & continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest & duty of a wise people to discourage & restrain it.

"It serves always to distract the public councils & enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies & false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot & insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence & corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy & the will of one country is subjected to the policy & will of another."

Monday, November 5, 2018

Another look at Mary Katharine Goddard, the Woman who Signed the Declaration of Independence

Mary Katharine Goddard (1738-1816), likely the United States’ first woman employee, this newspaper publisher was a key figure in promoting the ideas that fomented the Revolution

An illustration of Mary Goddard (Brown Library)
By Erick Trickey
November 2018 SMITHSONIAN.COM 

"As British forces chased George Washington’s Continental Army out of New Jersey in December 1776, a fearful Continental Congress packed the Declaration of Independence into a wagon and slipped out of Philadelphia to Baltimore. Weeks later, they learned that the Revolution had turned their way: Washington had crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day and beaten the redcoats at Trenton and Princeton. Emboldened, the members of Congress ordered a second printing of the Declaration – and, for the first time, printed their names on it.

"For the job, Congress turned to one of the most important journalists of America’s Revolutionary era. Also Baltimore’s postmaster, she was likely the United States government’s first female employee. At the bottom of the broadside, issued in January 1777, she too signed the Declaration: “Baltimore, in Maryland: Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard.”

"For three years after taking over Baltimore’s six-month-old Maryland Journal from her vagabond, indebted brother, Goddard had advocated for the patriot cause. She’d editorialized against British brutality, reprinted Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, and published extra editions about Congress’ call to arms and the Battle of Bunker Hill. In her 23-year publishing career, Goddard earned a place in history as one of the most prominent publishers during the nation’s revolutionary era.

The ever memorable 19th of April gave a conclusive answer to the questions of American freedom,” Goddard wrote in the Journal after the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. “What think ye of Congress now? That day. . . evidenced that Americans would rather die than live slaves!”

"Born June 16, 1738, into a Connecticut family of printers and postmasters, Goddard was taught reading and math by her mother, Sarah, a well-tutored daughter of a wealthy landowner. She also studied Latin, French, and science in New London’s public school, where girls could receive hour-long lessons after the boys’ schooling was done for the day.

"In 1755, the family’s fortunes changed when Goddard’s father, postmaster Giles Goddard, became too ill to work. Sarah sent Goddard’s younger brother, 15-year-old William, to New Haven to work as a printer’s apprentice. Seven years later, after Giles’s death, the Goddards moved to Providence, and Sarah financed Rhode Island’s first newspaper, the Providence Gazette. William, then 21, was listed as publisher. “[It] carried his imprint,” wrote Sharon M. Murphy in the 1983 book Great Women of the Press, “but displayed from the start his mother’s business sense and his sister’s steadiness.”

"Over the next 15 years, William, a restless and impulsive young entrepreneur, moved from Providence to Philadelphia to Baltimore to start newspapers, always putting his mother or sister in charge of his previous businesses as he went. In 1768, William sold the Providence paper and convinced Sarah and Mary Katharine to move to Philadelphia to help run his Pennsylvania Chronicle. In 1770, Sarah died, and William, who was feuding with his financial partners, left the Chronicle in his sister’s hands.

She was dependable and he brilliantly erratic,” Ward L. Miner wrote in his 1962 biography, William Goddard, Newspaperman. Mary Katharine kept her brother’s businesses running while he did time in debtor’s prison in 1771 and 1775. In February 1774, William handed control of his fledgling Maryland Journal over to her. That allowed him to concentrate on building his most enduring business: a private postal service, free of British control, which later became the U.S. Post Office.

"Mary Katharine Goddard took over the Maryland Journal just as the colonists’ anger at British rule surged toward revolution. By June 1774, she was publishing reports on Britain’s blockade of Boston Harbor. In early April 1775, she endorsed the women-led homespun movement against British textiles, encouraging women to raise flax and wool and embrace frugality. She published Common Sense in two installments in the paper, and covered the Revolution’s first battles with fervor. “The British behaved with savage barbarity,” she wrote in her edition of June 7, 1775.

"That July, the Continental Congress adopted William Goddard’s postal system, then promptly appointed the more reliable Benjamin Franklin as postmaster general. Mary Katharine was named Baltimore’s postmaster that October, which likely made her the United States’ only female employee when the nation was born in July 1776. When Congress turned to her to print copies of the Declaration the following year, she recognized her role in a historical moment. Though she usually signed her newspaper “M.K. Goddard,” she printed her full name on the document.

"The war years were tough on Goddard’s businesses. Because of its meager treasury, Congress often failed to pay her, so she paid post riders herself. She published the Maryland Journal irregularly in 1776, probably because of paper shortages. In 1778, she announced her willingness to barter with subscribers, accepting payment in beeswax, flour, lard, butter, beef or pork. Yet she was able to boast, in a November 1779 issue, that the Journal had as extensive a circulation as any newspaper in the United States.

"Goddard “supported her Business with Spirit and Address, amidst a Complication of Difficulties,” wrote her brother and his new partner, Eleazer Oswald, in a 1779 advertisement. In the same broadsheet, they declared that their new paper mill would not interfere “in the smallest Degree” with Goddard’s business.

"But in January 1784, William Goddard apparently forced his sister out of the business and took her position as publisher of the Maryland Journal for himself. Later that year, the siblings published competing almanacs. William included a screed that attacked his sister as “a hypocritical character” and insulted her “double-faced Almanack,” “containing a mean, vulgar and common-place Selection of Articles.”

"There’s no evidence that Goddard and her brother ever spoke again. When William got married in Rhode Island in 1786, Mary Katharine did not attend. A mutual friend, John Carter, wrote her a letter describing the wedding and suggesting, probably in vain, that the siblings reconcile. “Dear Miss Katy,” begins the letter -- a rare window into her personal relationships.

"In October 1789, she lost her job as postmaster of Baltimore. The newly appointed postmaster general, Samuel Osgood, replaced her with John White of Annapolis. John Burrell, Osgood’s assistant, justified the move on sexist grounds. Since supervision of nearby post offices was being added to the job description, Burrell said, “more travelling might be necessary than a woman could undertake.”

"Two hundred prominent Baltimore residents signed a letter demanding Goddard’s reinstatement. Goddard herself appealed to President George Washington and the U.S. Senate for her job back. Her petition echoes the disappointment she must’ve also felt when her brother pushed her out of the Journal.

“She hath been discharged without the smallest imputation of any Fault,” Goddard wrote, in the third person, to the Senate in January 1790, when she was 51. “These are but poor rewards indeed for fourteen Years faithful Service, performed in the worst of times,” she argued. Her “little Office,” Goddard added, was “established by her own Industry in the best years of her life, & whereon depended all her future Prospects of subsistence.”

"Washington refused to intervene, and the Senate never answered Goddard’s letter. She spent the next 20 years running a bookstore in Baltimore and selling dry goods. Never married, she died in Baltimore on August 12, 1816, at age 78, leaving her property to her servant, Belinda Starling, “to recompense the faithful performance of duties to me.”

"Goddard, as a contemporary of hers declared, was “a woman of extraordinary judgment, energy, nerve, and strong good sense.” Though sex discrimination and her ne’er-do-well brother ended her career too soon, Goddard left a mark as one of the Revolutionary era’s most accomplished publishers and a female pioneer in the U.S. government. None of Goddard’s letters survive, and she revealed little about herself in her journalism. Instead, our best evidence of her personality is her work, steady yet animated by a passion for American liberty."

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Baltimore Postmistress & Publisher Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) & Her Dismissal by Geo Washington

Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) was the only daughter of Sarah Updike (1700-1770) & Dr. Giles Goddard (1703-1757), postmaster & physician in Groton & New London, Connecticut. Sarah taught her daughter & her younger son William (1740-1817) to write and read Shakespeare, Pope, & Swift among others.

After serving as a printer’s apprentice in Connecticut, William Goddard decided to try his hand at publishing a newspaper with the help of his sister & mother. Their father had died in 1757, leaving an estate of 780 pounds sterling. In 1762, William began his publishing career in Rhode Island, creating the Providence Gazette and Country Journal by using 300 pounds given him by his mother to set up a printing press in Providence. Expecting to print lots of newspapers, in 1764, Goddard entered a partnership with 3 other gentlemen and used more of his father's estate to help establish & operate the 1st paper mill in Rhode Island on the Woonasquatucket River.

A year later, William Goddard became frustrated at his lack of financial success & gave up editorship of the Rhode Island newspaper. He claimed that 2 New York gentlemen "who wished to see me employed on a more extensive theatre" enticed him to leave Rhode Island. His practical mother & sister Mary Katherine kept publishing the Providence newspaper from 1765 through 1768; after all, they owned the printing press.

Before the Revolution, Goddard, who now had moved from New York to Philadelphia "to find a more adventageous situation," had to use private carriers to get news past the prying eyes of the English Crown post. After joining others to publish the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser —a paper sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, the local Crown postmaster kept out-of-town newspapers from the press, depriving the publisher of critical news & information.

His mother, who had stayed in Providence operating the business she had paid for; finally sold the Providence press & followed him to Philadelphia with Mary Katherine. In Philadelphia, Sarah Goddard ran a bookstore until 1768, she died in 1770.

Mary Katherine published the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser alone under her brother's name for the last year of its existence. Her erratic brother was too busy with politics to help in the everyday production. William was frequently jailed for public outbursts and rabble-rousing articles in the paper.

The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser was driven out of business, when the Crown post refused to accept it for distribution in the mails. William Goddard retaliated politically by designing an American postal system founded upon the principles of open communication, no governmental interference, and free exchange of ideas.

Goddard presented his plan to the Continental Congress on October 5, 1774. The representatives were intrigued but tabled Goddard's plan; until the startling battles of Lexington & Concord in 1775. Soon after, on July 16, 1775, the new "Constitutional Post" was implemented by the Congress, ensuring communication between patriots & keeping the readers informed of events during the American Revolution. The new revolutionary post system forced the Crown post out of business in America on Christmas day, 1775, becoming the foundation of the United States' postal system. Once again pulling up roots, Willliam Goddard decided to attempt a new printing venture in Baltimore. By early 1774, Mary Katherine, who had been helping her brother & mother with their bookstore, newspaper, almanac, and printing ventures, moved south to help her brother; as he began to publish a newspaper in Baltimore.

The Maryland Journal was established by William Goddard August 20, 1773, the first newspaper to be printed in Baltimore. Goddard published the paper with the help of his sister until May 10, 1775, when Mary Katherine Goddard, became the editor & publisher. Until 1784, the newspaper appeared solely under her name.

Because of the new postal system, newpapers could now flow between the colonies without censorship; but new problems arose, as the Revolutionary War created a paper shortage for publishers. The war also sparked inflation leaving subscribers with little cash. To keep her newspaper publishing regularly, Mary Katherine accepted barter in beef, pork, animal food, butter, hog’s lard, tallow, beeswax, flour, wheat, rye, Indian corn, beans and other goods she could either use or sell in her shop.

In 1775, Mary Katherine took an additional job at the Baltimore Post Office. She became the first woman postmistress in the colonies.
The First Post Office in Baltimore. Photo from the Maryland Historical Society, also located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Under Mary Katherine Goddard, the Maryland Journal openly expressed the colonials' thirst for freedom from the crown, although she was willing to take a risk and publish a variety of political perspectives. Mary Katherine published reports of Massachusetts of April 19, 1775, triggering the Battles of Concord and Lexington. Her editorial of June 14, 1775, proclaimed, "The ever memorable 19th of April gave a conclusive answer to the questions of American freedom. What think ye of Congress now? That day. . . evidenced that Americans would rather die than live slaves!"
During the lean years of the Revolution, Postmistress Mary Katherine Goddard opened a book & stationary store in Baltimore, and kept her printing press busy publishing books & almanacs as well as her newspaper.

In January 1777, she printed the first copy of the Declaration of Independence to include the signers' names, before any other newspaper in the United States. In the summer of 1776, the signers were aware that they were committing treason and submitting to an overabundance of caution, omitted their names from the original publication of the document. Six months later, finally garnering the courage to publicly stand by their professed ideals, the Continental Congress authorized Goddard’s Maryland Journal to publish the Declaration with its signers’ names.

Mary Katherine Goddard's almanacs were also popular in the Chesapeake. In her 1782 Maryland and Virginia Almanack, Mary Katherine wrote, "From the extensive sale of this Almanack last year, the publisher would presume to think that her endeavors, in some measure, met with the approbation of the Public. Nothing can be more flattering than this idea, which cannot fail to excite in her the highest sense of gratitude, attended with future diligence and perseverance."

After he married, her mercurial brother decided that he wanted to return to the Baltimore publishing business and to run the newspaper and the press himself in 1784. He had never been successful at any occupation and was jealous of his sister's success. Wrenching control of the press was not without turmoil. Mary Katherine Goddard filed 5 lawsuits against her brother before severing her interest in the printing enterprise, which she had successfully managed for 10 years. After all, she still had her position as Baltimore's postmistress to rely on for income.

However, in September 1789, Samuel Osgood, the newly appointed national Postmaster General, decided that inexperienced political appointee John White of Baltimore should replace Goddard. The Assistant Postmaster General Jonathan Burrall was dispatched to Baltimore to give Mary Katherine Goddard the news; but unable to face her in person, he sent a note to her office. She was ordered to turn over her office to White, and told, "a younger person able to ride a horse" was needed.

Over 200 merchants & residents in Baltimore sent a petition and letters objecting to her removal to the Postmaster General. They received no reply. Believing she was still capable at age 51; just before Christmas, she wrote to President George Washington to have the order reversed. She wrote the letter in the 3rd person.

Baltimore, Decemr 23d 1789.
Dear Sir,

The Representation of Mary Katherine Goddard, Humbly sheweth--That She hath kept the Post Office at Baltimore for upwards of fourteen years; but with what degree of Satisfaction to all those concerned, She begs leave to refer to the number & respectability of the Persons who have publickly addressed the Post Master General & his Assistant, on the Subject of her late removal from Office; And as Mr Osgood has not yet favoured between two and three hundred of the principal Merchants & Inhabitants of Baltimore with an answer to their last application, transmitted to him by Post on the last Day of November ultimo,
nor with any Answer to sundry private Letters, accompanying the transcript of a like application, made to Mr Burrell when at Baltimore: She therefore, at the instance of the Gentlemen thus pleased to interest themselves on her behalf, lays before your Excellency, Superintendant of that department, as briefly as possible, the nature & circumstances, of what is conceived to be an extraordinary Act of oppression towards her.

That upon the dissolution of the old Government, when from the non importation Agreement and other causes incident to the Revolution, the Revenue of the Post-Office was inadequate to its disbursements, She accepted of the same, and at her own risque, advanced hard money to defray the Charges of Post Riders for many years, when they were not to be procured on any other terms; and that during this period, the whole of her Labour & Industry in establishing the Office was necessarily unrewarded; the Emoluments of which being by no means equal to the then high Rent of an Office, or to the Attention required both to receive & forward the Mails, as will evidently appear by the Schedule, here unto annexed,
and therefore, whoever thus established & continued the Office, at the gloomy period when it was worth no Person's Acceptance, ought surely to be thought worthy of it, when it became more valuable. And as it had been universally understood, that no Person would be removed from Office, under the present Government, unless manifest misconduct appeared, and as no such Charge could possibly be made against her, with the least colour of Justice, She was happy in the Idea of being secured both in her Office, and the Protection of all those who wished well to the prosperity of the Post Office, & the new Government in general.

That She has sustained many heavy losses, well known to the Gentlemen of Baltimore, which swallowed up the Fruits of her Industry, without even extricating her from embarrassment to this day, although her Accounts with the Post Office were always considered, as amongst the most punctual & regular of any upon the Continent; notwithstanding which She has been discharged from her Office, without any imputation of the least fault, and without any previous official notice: The first intimation on that head being an Order from Mr Burrell,
whilst at Baltimore, to deliver up the Office to the Bearer of his Note; and altho' he had been there several days, yet he did not think proper to indulge her with a personal Interview, thus far treating her in the Stile of an unfriendly delinquent, unworthy of common Civility, as well as common Justice. And although Mr White, who succeeded her, might doubtless have been meritorious in the different Offices he sustained, yet, She humbly conceives, he was not more deserving of public notice & protection in his Station, than She has uniformly been in hers: It must therefore become a matter of serious Importance & of peculiar distress to her, if Government can find no means of rewarding this Gentleman's Services, but at the Expence of all that She had to rely on, for her future dependence & subsistence.

That it has been alledged as a Plea for her removal, that the Deputy Post Master of Baltimore will hereafter be obliged to ride & regulate the Offices to the Southward but that She conceives, with great deference to the Post Master General, this is impracticable, & morally impossible; because the business of the Baltimore Office will require his constant Attendance, & he alone could give satisfaction to the people, if therefore the duties of the Assistant, Mr Burrells' Office are to be performed by any other than himself, surely it cannot well be attempted by those who are fully occupied with their own; and as two Persons must be employed, according to this new Plan, She apprehends, that She is more adequate to give Instructions to the Riding Post Master, how to act than any other Person possibly could, heretofore unexperienced in such business.She, therefore, most humbly hopes from your Excellency's Philanthropy and wonted Humanity, You will take her Situation into Consideration; and as the Grievance complained of, has happened whilst the Post Office Department was put under your auspicious Protection, by a Resolve of Congress, that Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to order, that She may be restored to her former Office, and as in duty bound, She will ever pray &c.
Mary K: Goddard

George Washington promply responded.

New York January 6th.1790

In reply to your memorial of the 10th of December, which has been received, I can only observe, that I have uniformly avoided interfering with any appointments which do not require my official agency: and the Resolutions and Ordinances establishing the Post Office under the former Congress, and which have been recognized by the present Government, giving power to the Post-Master General to appoint his own Deputies, and making him accountable for their conduct, is an insuperable objection to my taking any part in this matter.

I have directed your Memorial to be laid before the Post-Master General who will take such measures thereon as his Judgment may direct.

I am, Madam. Your Most Obedt. Servt. Go: Washington

Puffing himself up, Postmaster Samuel Osgood responded the next day giving no reason for the appointment of White except the following: "From mature Consideration, I am fully convinced that I shall be more benefitted from the Services of Mr White than I could be from those of Mrs Goddard."

After receiving Washington's dismissive letter, she pressed her appeal for reinstatement & for payment of a claim against the United States in both the Senate and House of Representatives. She was unsuccessful in obtaining either compensation or reinstatment.

The 1790 Maryland Census reported she owned four slaves and had one other free person living in her household. From 1790 to 1802, she operated a bookstore in Baltimore.

By the canvass of the 1810 Maryland Census, Mary Katherine Goddard was living with just one female slave in her household. Mary Katherine died in Baltimore in August of 1816, at the age of 78, leaving all her personal possessions & real property to her African American servant Belinda Starling & releasing her from slavery.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sarah Updike Goddard (c. 1701-1770) Printer & Mother

Printer's workshop (18th century woodcut). British Library. Shelfmark Harl.5915.(215.)

Sarah Updike Goddard (c. 1701-Jan. 5, 1770), printer, was born at Cocumscussuc, one mile north of the village of Wickford, R.I., to Lodowick & Abigail (Newton) Updike. Her grandfather, Gysbert op Dyck, had emigrated from Wesel, Germany, to Lloyd’s Neck, Long Island, in 1635. In 1643 he was married to Katherine Smith, daughter of an early Rhode Island settler, Richard Smith. Their son, Lodowick (1646-1737), moved in 1664 from New Amsterdam to Kingston, R.I., where he anglicized his surname to Updike, became a substantial landowner, & held several public offices. He had one son & five daughters, Sarah among them; the son, Daniel, served for several years as attorney general of the colony of Rhode Island.

Sarah’s education included not only the subjects usual to the day but also French & Latin from a French tutor in the Updike household. On Dec. 11, 1735, she was married to Dr. Giles Goddard of Groton, Conn., like herself a member of the Church of England, & he practiced medicine & was for many years postmaster. Of their four children, only two, Mary Katherine & William, lived to adulthood. Presumably Mrs. Goddard taught the two children herself, though William later mentioned having in a school as a child. On Jan. 31, 1757, Giles Goddard died, leaving an estate valued at 780 pounds. When William Goddard in 1762 started Providence’s first printing shop & newspaper, the Providence Gazette, the money (300 pounds) too set up the business came from his mother, who in the same year moved from New London to Providence. Both Mrs. Goddard & her daughter doubtless worked in the shop, since both became accomplished printers.

Lacking enough subscribers, William Goddard temporarily ceased publication of the Providence Gazette on May 11, 1765, & moved to New York, but the Providence printing office continued to function under the supervision of his mother. During the rest of 1765 the shop issued the annual West’s Almanack & various pamphlets under the imprint “S. & W. Goddard.” When, on Aug. 9, 1766, the Providence Gazette was revived, it was under the auspices of “Sarah Goddard & Company,” Sarah thereby becoming Providence’s second printer. She continued to print the weekly newspaper & run a bookstore & bookbindery until Nov. 5, 1768, when the business was sold to a partner, John Carter, for $550. Her bluestocking inclinations are revealed by her printing in 1766 the first American edition of the Letters of the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

After the sale of her Providence business Sarah Goddard joined her son in Philadelphia, where he was printing the Pennsylvania Chronicle; her financial assistance aided him in his struggle with his silent partners, Joseph Galloway & Thomas Wharton. In Philadelphia, Sarah Goddard remained mostly in the background, though she occasionally supervised the shop during William’s frequent trips to New England in 1769.

She died in Philadelphia & was buried in the Christ Church burial ground. An obituary in New-York Gazette of Jan. 22, 1770, eulogized “her uncommon attainments in literature,” “sincere piety,” “unaffected humility,” “easy agreeable chearfulness & affability,” & “sensible & edifying conversation.” In spite of her restless & selfish son, her daughter, Mary Katherine Goddard, carried on the family tradition. 

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

18C Jewish Holiday & Ritual Observances

Blessing the Sabbath Candles

It is impossible to know which customs 18C Jewish immigrants brought with them & observed in the British American colonies.  These woodcuts illustrate Jewish holiday & ritual observances in the 1707 Minhagim (Customs), published by Solomon Proops, Amsterdam, with descriptions & instructions in Yiddish, offer a glimpse of Jewish life at the end of the 17C & the beginning of the 18C in central Europe.

The woodcuts in the book cover Sabbath & holiday observance, & home & synagogue rituals. Among them area mother blessing the Sabbath lights of a Sabbath oil lamp;a father chanting the Havdalah (service of "separation" at the conclusion of the Sabbath), while he holds a cup of wine by the light of a candle held by a child whose sibling holds a spice box; 4 men blessing the new moon;a rabbi preaching on the Great Sabbath (preceding Passover); grinding flour for & baking matzoh; searching for chametz (leaven); & scouring pots & pans. Also shown are a man having his hair cut on Lag B'Omer--the 33rd day of the 50 between Passover & Shavuot, when restrictions obtaining during that period of sernimourning are relaxed; Moses on Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments; worshipers seated on the floor on Tisha B'Av, mourning the destruction of the Temple; the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, the New Year; a man building his tabernacle for the Feast of Tabernacles; the gathering of palms, willows, & myrtle to join the citron in its celebration; children receiving sweets to celebrate the Joy of the Law, Simhat Torah; the kindling of a Hanukkah lamp; & Purim jesters sounding their musical instruments.

The life cycle is also marked: bride & groom under the huppah (canopy); an infant boy entering the Covenant of Abraham; & finally, a body borne in a coffin to its eternal resting place. These are some of the 1707 woodcuts:
The Havdalah Service

Sounding the Shofar on Rosh Hashana

The Lulav: Palm Branch, Myrtle, and Willow

Hanukkah, Festival of Lights 

The Merry Festival of Purim

Removing the Leaven from the Home

Under the Huppah, the Wedding Service

Brit Milah, the Circumcision

Carrying the Deceased to the Cemetery

Sunday, October 28, 2018

18C Jews, the Revolution, & Geo Washington

Far from being newcomers, Jews are found in smaller or greater numbers in all of the original colonies in the early days of colonial settlement. In some, like New York & Rhode Island, they appear in considerable numbers long before the close of the 17C. In Georgia, they were among the earliest settlers.

In the 18C, the Jewish communities continued to grow in the North American British American colonies.  Sephardic Dutch Jews were among the early settlers of Newport (where Touro Synagogue, the country's oldest surviving synagogue building, stands), Savannah, Philadelphia & Baltimore.

In New York City, Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest continuous congregation started in 1687 having their 1st synagogue erected in 1728, & its current building still houses some of the original pieces of that first.

In 1740 the British Parliament passed the Plantation Act to regularize & encourage immigration; the law specifically permitted Jews & other nonconformists to be naturalized in their American colonies. By the time of American Revolution, the Jewish population in America was still small, with only 1,000 to 2,000, in a colonial population of about 2.5 million.

Richmond, Virginia, was founded in 1737. Dr. John de Sequeyra arrived in Virginia in 1754, from London. Dr. Sequeyra traveled between Mount Vernon, Williamsburg & Richmond in the course of his duties. He was trained as a Physician in Holland.  George Washington was a Colonel at the time when he requested the services of Dr. John de Sequeyra to aid his step-daughter Martha Park Custis ("Patsy" Custis). Throughout 1769, Colonel Washington & his wife, Martha Parke Custis, received the assistance of Dr Sequeyra. In 1754, George Washington mounted an expedition across the Allegheny Mountains accompanied by Michael Franks, of Capt Braam's Company, & Jacob Myer of Capt Mercer's Company.

Several Jewish names appear in Virginia about the period of the French and Indian War. In 1754 George Washington was sent forward to occupy the outposts on the Ohio. A list of the various companies of the Virginia Regiment under Colonel Washington are Michael Franks of Captain Van Braam’a Company and Jacob Myer of Captain Mercer’s Company. Both soldiers are repeatedly mentioned at this period.

Among the settlers in Albemarle County is Michael Israel, a Jew, who obtained a patent for eighty acres of land in 1757.  He was a Border-Ranger and a member of the militia of his county in 1758. Solomon Israel, probably a brother, is mentioned by the historian of Albemarle as a Jewish landowner in 1764.

In 1758 Michael Israel appears in Hening’s Statutes as one of the Border-Defenders who received compensation from the Colony of Virginia.a He is mentioned repeatedly as late as 1779, when he and his wife Sarah disposed of 300 acres of land at Mechum’s River. During the 19C, the Mountain Pass of Albemarle was still known as “Israel’s Gap,” though the family has entirely disappeared.

During the French and Indian War, for, in the letters to Washington appears one from David Franks of Philadelphia, in June, 1758. After Braddock’s defeat the duty of reorganizing the provincial troops fell to Washington, and he retained command to the close of the campaign of 1758. It appears that Franks furnished the military supplies for this Virginia expedition. His kinsman, Moses Franks, had supplied the King’s troops during the French and Indian War in transactions involving vast sums of money.

By 1776 & the War of Independence, around 2,000 Jews lived in America, most of them Sephardic Jews who immigrated from Spain & Portugal. They played a role in the struggle for independence, including fighting the British, with Francis Salvador being the first Jew to die.

The highest ranking Jewish officer of the Colonial forces was Colonel Mordecai Sheftall. Others, like David Salisbury Franks, despite loyal service in both the Continental Army and the American diplomatic corps, suffered from his association as aide-de-camp for the traitorous general Benedict Arnold.

In the “Journal of the Committee of Safety of Virginia,” dated Williamsburg, March 26, 1776, appears an order for a warrant to Michael Gratz, of Philadelphia, for £2800 for goods purchased of him.   In June, 1776, the Committee of Safety for Virginia issued an order for Michael Gratz for £708 and 78 dollars for “ Sundry Broadcloaths” furnished the public. Michael Gratz was one of the patriotic merchants who signed the Nonimportation Agreement of 1765. During the Revolutionary War Michael Gratz moved to Virginia and took the oath of allegiance to that State. When he returned to Philadelphia in 1783. he is described in Westcott’s list as “late of Virginia."

Aside from Haymn Salomon’s great services as the co-worker of Robert Morris, and in advancing large sums to the Revolutionary cause, he also has the credit of supplying pecuniary aid to Arthur Lee, Theodore Bland, Mercer and Randolph. James Madison declared that when the pecuniary resources of the members of Congress both public and private were cut off, recourse was had to Mr. Salomon for means to answer their current expenses and "he was always found extending his friendly hand."  Madison also states that he never resorts to Salomon’s generosity without great mortification, “as he obstinately rejects all recompense.“

President George Washington's reply letter to Moses Seixas and the Hebrew Congregation of Newport Rhode Island in 1790 is listed by the Library of Congress as of the most important documents in the history of our Republic:
"Happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support...May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths"

In 1790, the approximate 2,500 Jews in America faced a number of legal restrictions in various states that prevented non-Christians from holding public office & voting, but Delaware, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, & Georgia soon eliminated these barriers, as did the Bill of Rights Of The United States of America in 1791 generally. Sephardic Jews became active in community affairs in the 1790s, after achieving "political equality in the five states in which they were most numerous." Other barriers did not officially fall for decades in the states of Rhode Island (1842), North Carolina (1868), & New Hampshire (1877).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Biography - Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) Moravian Educator

Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) Moravian educator, a key figure in the beginnings of Moravian Seminary & College for Women, Bethlehem, Pa., was born in Berthelsdorf, Saxony. She was the 1st daughter & 2nd of 12 children, of whom only 4 reached maturity, of Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf by his wife, Countess Erdmuthe Dorothea von Reuss. Her father, founder of the Renewed Moravian Church, was of an old family of the Austrian nobility that had migrated to Germany. Her mother was of the nobility of Thuringia. Reared in the 18th-century Moravian Church, Benigna lived & achieved as a devout Pietist.
Henrietta Benigna Justine Zinzendorf von Watteville (1725-1789) with cittern

Her father’s banishment from Saxony, when she was 11, marked the beginning for her of a much-traveled life. With him she came to America for the first time in December 1741, for a stay of 14 months, chiefly in the newly established Moravian communities of Pennsylvania.

On May 4, 1742, at her father’s suggestion, the 16-year-old countess, with 2 assistants, opened a girls’ school in the Ashmead house in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Here 25 pupils were instructed in reading, writing, religion, & the household arts in what was probably the first boarding school for girls in the 13 British American colonies. Seven weeks later the school moved to Bethlehem; & in 1745, to nearby Nazareth, returning permanently in 1749, to Bethlehem, the center of the Moravian Church in America.

Moravian Young Ladie's Seminary and Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

On July 27, 1742, Count von Zinzendorf and his fellowship crossed the Blue Mountain into Cherry Valley, and on July 28 they finally emerged from the endless forests at Meniolágoméka -- "The Fat Land Among the Barren" -- present-day Kunkletown. Von Zinzendorf's 16-year-old daughter, Benigna, upon meeting the Indian children at the settlement, decided that the girls should have the opportunity to go to school just like white boys.

The same year she founded Moravian Seminary in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter it was moved to Bell House in Bethlehem, and Lady Benigna invited all the Indian girls to come. Moravian Seminary was the first boarding school for girls in the New World, and over time it gained a superb reputation -- so much so that 50 years later, while he was President, George Washington personally petitioned for admission of his great-nieces. Eventually the school's charter was expanded, and it became Moravian College and Moravian Academy, both of which remain to this day.

In the summer of 1742, Benigna Zinzendorf interrupted her teaching to accompany her father on 2 of his 3 trips among the Indians of Pennsylvania & New York, preparatory to establishing missions among them. The Zinzendorfs returned to Europe the following winter.

In 1746 Benigna was married to Baron Johann von Waterville (de Watteville), a Moravian clergyman & her father’s secretary, in a ceremony performed by Zinzendorf at the new Moravian settlement in Zeist, Holland. Consecrated a bishop the following year, Watteville, aided by his capable wife, became out outstanding leader of his church.

The couple came to America on church business in September 1748 & remained a year. On this visit Benigna de Watteville had a hand in the return of the girls’ school to Bethlehem, its consideration with schools in the outlying Moravian congregations, & the enlargement of its curriculum.

Thirty-five years later, en route to America a 3rd time, she was shipwrecked with her husband on the rocks off the Leeward Islands in February 1784. Reaching Bethlehem in June, they remained for 3 years. Again Countess Benigna was on hand to help direct a reorganization of the girls’ seminary, which in 1785, now opened to pupils from outside the Moravian Church, became a largely new institution, known for many years as the Bethlehem Female Seminary.

The Moravian philosophy of education was the rearing of children in a controlled Christian environment under consecrated teachers. Because of the worldwide mission commitments of the Church, many parents were abroad, with their children left behind in the care of the home community. Moravian teachers, therefore, tried as nearly as possible to serve as substitute parents. Both as a parent & as a devout church member, Benigna de Watteville kept this ideal in mind.

She had four children of her own: Johann Ludwig (born 1752), Anna Dorothea Elizabeth (1754), Maria Justine (1762), & Johann Christian Frederick (1766). The older son died while a missionary in Tranquebar, India, in 1780, & the younger son died at nineteen as a student at Herrnhut, the church headquarters on his grandfather’s Berthelsdorf estate. The younger daughter, who never married, served as a worker in the church. The older daughter married Hans Christian Alexander von Schweinitz (later changed to de Schweinitz) in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1779. One of their children was the distinguished American botanist Louis David de Schweinitz, & de Schweinitz descendants have for four generations been prominent in American educational & professional life.

Benigna de Watteville died in the place of her birth at the age of sixty-three, a year after her husband. The Bethlehem seminary, incorporated in 1863 as the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies, became in 1913, Moravian Seminary & College for Women & in 1953, a part of the coeducational Moravian College at Bethlehem.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Monday, August 13, 2018

18C American Women - Moravian Johann Valentin Haidt 1700-1780

Mrs. Gertraut Graff. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Johann Valentin Haidt (Heydt) was born in Danzig (Gdańsk), Poland, on October 4, 1700. Haidt came from a long line of goldsmiths learning the trade from his father, Andreas Haidt, a jeweler & sculptor for Emperor Frederick I in the Prussian royal court. Between the ages of 10-13, Haidt studied drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin, where his father was an instructor.
Miss Anna Rosina Anders. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In 1754, Haidt left England to become the assistant pastor of a Moravian church in Philadelphia, where he continued to paint & teach painting. By the fall of 1755, he was living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, then the center of the Moravian church in this country.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Haidt felt that portrait painting also was important in order to express the spirit within the person. He wrote in his treatise, "One applies all energy to the face, so that it predominates above all...Each figure must immediately depict why is has been drawn...A portrait is beautiful when it is an accurate likeness and when one can see the essence of the person's face and spirit. Therefore, painters who want to paint all faces happy and make the mouths smile make a mistake. The painter must look accurately at the person he wants to paint. If he gets the opportunity to know the subject well, it is a great help to him."
Mrs. Elizabeth Boehler. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Haidt's portraits of women seem to portray them as spiritual, happy, & content with their roles in Moravian community life under Zinzendorf's leadership.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The artist in Haidt did worry about the lack of color choices for his portraits of his plain-clothed congregation. "The clothes should be chosen by the painter according to the complexion of the person, as well as the background, but one will not find it easy to put this rule into practice in the congregation, so a good portrait can never or at least very seldom be painted" of fellow Moravians.
Married Moravian Woman. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The women wore the traditional Mittel-European two-layer headdress or Haube. The only colorful aspect of their clothing were the ribbons they wore: red for young girls, pink for eligible maidens, blue for wives, and white for widows.
Mrs. C. Theodora Neissen. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

One Pennsylvania reader writes of the costumes, especially the tightly-fitted jackets, "Look at the lacing, the weasel waists, the odd little notch in the sleeve and the way the kerchief is arranged. 'Curiouser and curiouser,' said Alice, quite forgetting her grammar."
Anna Maria Lawatsch. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Johann and Susanna Nitschmann. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Young Moravian Girl. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

1754 John Valentine Haidt (1700-1780), Johannetta Maria Kymbel (1725-1789) Mrs John Ettwein. Moravian Historica Society, Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Miss Anna Nitschmann. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Many of Haidt's American paintings recording this period, its religion, & its people are located at the Moravian Archives & College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; the Moravian Historical Society in Nazareth, Pennsylvania; the Moravian Congregation, Lititz, Pennsylvania, and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Widow Catharina Huber. Johann Valentin Haidt (1700-1780) Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

To learn about the lives of 18C Moravian women see:

Faull, Katharine. Moravian Women's Memoirs: Their Related Lives, 1750-1820. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Smaby, Beverly Prior. "Female Piety Among 18th-Century Moravians." Pennsylvania History 64 (1997): 151-167.

Wachovia Historical Society, Winston-Salem, North Carolina & Old Salem, Inc., Winston-Salem, North Carolina 1750 Johann Valentine Haidt (1700-1780). Women portrayed as separate but sharing power at the Moravian Synod at Herrnhut.& "Forming the Single Sisters' Choir in Bethlehem." The Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society 28 (1994): 1-14

Sommer, Elisabeth W. Serving Two Masters: Moravian Brethren in Germany & North Carolina, 1727-1801. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2000.

Vogt, Peter. "A Voice for Themselves: Women as Participants in Congregational Discourse in the 18th-Century Moravian Movement." In Women Preachers and Prophets through Two Millennia of Christianity, edited by Beverly Mayne Kienzle and Pamela J. Walker, 227-247. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

1784 Children in the Early Republic

The Gloucester Limner JB
In nearby Baltimore, Jill and Austin Fine collected folk art for decades. One of the most endearing pieces they collected was JB by an artist dubbed the Gloucester Limner. Two other examples of his work exist at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

The Gloucester Limner John Wharff
The Gloucester Limner Priscilla Wharff.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Jane McCrae 1752-1777 Killed during the American Revolution

Jane McCrae (sometimes spelled McCrae or MacCrae, 1752-1777) was a young woman who was purportedly slain by Native American allies of the British army’s Lieutenant General John Burgoyne. It was reported that her death at the hands of General Burgoyne’s Native American allies roused support for the patriot cause & contributed to the American victory at Saratoga. She was born near Bedminster (later Lamington), Somerset County, N.J., where her Scotch-Irish father, James McCrea, served for 26 years as a Presbyterian minister.
John Vanderlyn (American artist, 1775-1852) The Death of Jane McCrea 1804

Jane's brothers included

John McCrea, Colonel American Army
Samuel McCrea, Soldier American Army
Dr. Stephen McCrea, Surgeon American Army
Creighton McCrea, Captain in the 75th Highlanders, Queens Rangers
Robert McCrea, Captain in Queens Rangers & a Major in the 5th Royal Vet. Battalion
Obviously the family loyalties were divided during the Revolution. After the war, the British side of the McCrea family settled in Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK, and have a long history of service to the British Crown from the Revolutionary War until well into the late 1800s, from the battle of Trafalgar to the campaigns in India. Loyalist Robert became governor of the Channel Islands, after the American Revolution.
Little is known of Jane’s early life. After her father’s death in 1769, she made her home with her eldest brother, John, a Princeton graduate who had practiced law in Albany, married into the Beekman family, & then settled at Northumberland, N.Y., in the upper Hudson Valley, a few miles below the frontier outpost of Fort Edward. She was at least 25 in 1777, & not the maiden of 17 or 18 depicted in legend.

In New Jersey & later in New York, she had been courted by Loyalist David Jones, whose family had also moved to the Fort Edward area. In the latter part of 1776 Jones departed with his Tory neighbors to join the British army, where he became part of the forces led by Gen. John Burgoyne. When in the summer of 1777, Burgoyne launched his invasion down the Lake Champlain-Hudson River route, most of the patriot troops & nearby residents evacuated Fort Edward. John McCrea, now a colonel, is said to have urged his sister to come with him to Albany. But Jane had received a letter from David Jones informing her that “In a few days we will march to Ft. Edward, ….where I shall have the happiness to meet you.”

Though her story was later embroidered by fancy & subject to controversy, some facts are verified. On the morning of July 27, 1777, Jane McCrea went to the home of her friend Mrs. Sarah McNeil, who was preparing to flee Fort Edward for Albany. There, shortly after noon, the 2 women were discovered & carried off by a band of Native Americans scouting in advance of Burgoyne’s army. Mrs. McNeil was subsequently delivered to the British, but Jane McCrea’s dead body -scalped & bearing bullet wounds- was found the next day near Fort Edward.

Though some historians have contended that she was accidentally shot by a party of American troops pursuing the Native Americans, the best evidence - including the later testimony of a supposed eyewitness, Samuel Standish, an Native American captive being held in the vicinity- suggests that the Native Americans probably killed her.

General Burgoyne could not punish the guilty party for fear of breaking his alliance with them. Burgoyne's inability to punish the alleged killers also undermined British assertions that they were more civilized in their conduct of the war; the dissemination of this propaganda reportedly contributed to the success of Patriot recruiting drives in New York for several years.

The propaganda war certainly received a boost after Burgoyne wrote a letter to the American general Horatio Gates, complaining about American treatment of prisoners taken in the August 17 Battle of Bennington. Gates' response to Burgoyne was widely reprinted: “That the savages of America should in their warfare mangle and scalp the unhappy prisoners who fall into their hands is neither new nor extraordinary; but that the famous Lieutenant General Burgoyne, in whom the fine gentleman is united with the soldier and the scholar, should hire the savages of America to scalp europeans and the descendants of europeans, nay more, that he should pay a price for each scalp so barbarously taken, is more than will be believed in England…Miss McCrae, a young lady lovely to the sight, of virtuous character and amiable disposition, engaged to be married to an officer of your army, was…carried into the woods, and there scalped and mangled in the most shocking manner…”

News of the killing, surrounded by its aura of romantic tragedy, spread through the colonies & overseas.  London’s 1777 Annual Register recorded that Miss McCrea’s death “struck every breast with horror.” In the House of Commons, Edmund Burke took the occasion to denounce severely the British policy of using Native American allies. Within the northern colonies, the event -which Gen. Horatio Gates, the American commander, quickly exploited for propaganda purposes- crystallized a growing indignation & uneasiness. Neutrals, alarmed for their safety, swung over to the patriot cause; patriot sentiment consolidated, & a surge of new recruits strengthened Gates’ forces.

Within 3 months came Burgoyne’s historic surrender. Col. John McCrea buried his sister at Moses Kill, near Fort Edward. It was reported that David Jones deserted Burgoyne’s army in despair & retired to the Canadian wilderness.

Soon Jane McCrea became a fabled heroine of the Revolution, celebrated in ballads & poems. Philip Freneau used her story in his 1778 “American Independence.” Joel Barlow recalled it in the 1807 The Columbiad. Mercy Warren wrote of Burgoyne’s guilt in her 1805 History…of the American Revolution. A French author turned the tale into a novel as early as 1784, & Delia Bacon made it into a play in 1839, The Bride of Fort Edward. In Philadelphia the 1799 Ricketts' Circus performed "The Death of Miss McCrea," a pantomime co-written by John Durang. John Vanderlyn painted the portrait (shown above) in 1804, and James Fenimore Cooper described similar events in his novel The Last of the Mohicans, where the captured maiden was named Dora.

In 1822, with suitable ceremonies, Jane McCrea’s remains were removed to the old Fort Edward cemetery. McCrea's remains have been moved 3 times. In 1852, they were moved to the Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. The body was exhumed again in 2003, in hopes of solving the mystery of her death.

The story of the last investigation of McCrea’s body is recorded in the Plymouth Magazine, Winter 2006, Volume XXI, No 2 written by Dr. David R. Starbuck

"What is it like to dig up an American icon—in this case the most famous woman to be murdered and scalped during the American Revolution? Over the past three years, I have worked with the remains of Jane McCrea. Her tragic death on July 27, 1777, prompted thousands of outraged Americans throughout the northern colonies to rise up against British authority because Jane had been murdered by Indians who accompanied General John Burgoyne on his march south from Canada. Jane’s death thus contributed to the great American victory later that year at the Battle of Saratoga, known as the “turning point” of the American Revolution.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 18th century. In July 1777, she was living in Fort Edward, N.Y., awaiting the arrival from Canada of her fiancé, David Jones, a Tory officer with Burgoyne’s army. Most other settlers in northern New York had already fled for Albany. Only Jane and an older woman, Sara McNeil, remained behind in Sara’s house in Fort Edward. On July 27, a party of Indians was sent by Burgoyne to locate the two women and escort them back to the British camp. As the Indians approached, both women hid in the cellar; they were discovered and dragged out by their hair. The Indians mounted Jane on a horse, but Sara was forced to walk because she “was too heavy to be lifted on the horse easily.”

"What happened next has been hotly disputed by historians, but it appears that two competing bands of Indians fought over who was to receive the reward for delivering Jane to her fiancé. While we know that she was then killed and scalped, it is unclear whether her death was a deliberate murder or merely an accident. The Indians claimed afterward that an American musketball, intended for them, had mortally wounded the young Scottish-Presbyterian woman. Faced with the prospect of no reward, they scalped her and took the scalp to the British camp. David Jones recognized Jane’s hair in the middle of a pile of scalps. He recovered her body, and buried her about three miles south of Fort Edward. The colonial population intrepreted Jane’s murder as a symbol of British oppression—and American leaders manipulated her image most effectively as they organized resistance to British authority.

"The mysterious circumstances of her death made Jane McCrea one of the best-known American women of the 19th century.

"Ironically, after her first burial in 1777, Jane McCrea was later dug up and relocated twice because of her prominence as a tourist attraction. In 1822, she was moved to State Street Cemetery in the Village of Fort Edward where her remains were placed atop the brick vault of Sara McNeil (who had passed away naturally in 1799 at the age of 77). In 1852, she was exhumed again and moved to the newly-created Union Cemetery in Fort Edward. A disturbing story later appeared in a local newspaper that year, describing how the box containing Jane McCrea’s bones had been “broken open and nearly all the bones stolen,” and her bones were “scattered all over the country.” … History alone could not establish whether any of Jane McCrea’s bones still rested in her third grave in Fort Edward.

"Given the many questions surrounding the circumstances of Jane McCrea’s death and subsequent reinterments, I wrote to her oldest living relative, Mrs. Mary McCrea Deeter (then 97 years old), on May 1, 2002, and asked whether she would give her consent to an exhumation and forensics study that would establish for certain whether Jane McCrea actually rested in Union Cemetery. Upon receiving her consent, I retained an attorney to draft a petition to the Supreme Court in Washington County, N.Y., and assembled a team of forensic scientists and archaeologists including several forensic scientists from the New York State Police Forensics Investigation Center and Dr. Anthony Falsetti, head of the C.A. Pound Laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The court granted our petition in November 2002, and I chose April 9, 2003 as the date for the fourth and—we hoped—final exhumation of Jane McCrea.

"Using the skull as a starting point, scientists were able to reconstruct the features of Sara McNeil, the 77-year old female colonist who was Jane McCrea's companion in life and death.

"All between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. that day, we conducted the exhumation, found the original burial trench, and discovered the remains of a 20" x 24" box containing the skeletons of two women—but only one skull, from a very old woman who had definitelynot been scalped. I was the archaeologist in the bottom of the trench, responsible for excavating the bones and passing them up to the scientists who took measurements and collected bone samples for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing. We also brought in a radiologist who took x-rays to look for possible cause(s) of death. In addition to the two dozen scientists and historians who attended the exhumation, I was joined by a PSU student, Jennifer Gynan, who was one of our bucket-carriers and sifters. At the end of the day, we placed all of the bones inside a modern coffin and returned it to the grave. A Presbyterian minister said the burial service (again!), and then the process of analysis and interpretation began.

"The presence of two skeletons was utterly unexpected but, since one set of bones was from a very old woman, I acted on a hunch and contacted a descendant of Sara McNeil to find out whether there might be a modern-day maternal descendant of Sara’s from whom we could obtain an mtDNA sample for comparative testing. There was an off chance that the bones of Sara had become combined with Jane’s in 1852, and the two women might have been moved together to Union Cemetery. It took a full year for the U.S. Department of Defense to prepare a DNA sequence for the “ancient DNA” from the grave but only a couple of weeks to collect the modern DNA from a 94-year-old (seventh generation) descendant of Sara McNeil and to have the samples compared. And sure enough, they matched! Sara McNeil, Jane’s companion at the end of her life, had joined her in death.

"Our project was the subject of multiple news stories by the Associated Press, and in November 2004 we appeared on The History Channel’s “Buried Secrets of the Revolutionary War.”

"We returned to the grave on April 22, 2005 with yet another court order from the Supreme Court, and this time we were able to do a much more thorough separation of the two commingled skeletons. We prepared a reconstruction of Sara’s 77-year-old face from the skull discovered in the grave, and I experienced the thrill of showing “the face” to the descendants of Sara McNeil just before we returned both women to the ground, each with her own coffin.

"In addition to reconstructing Sara’s face, perhaps the most significant outcome of our new work was discovering that the skeleton of Jane McCrea was just as intact as that of Sara McNeil. Because of the old stories about Jane’s bones having been stolen as souvenirs, we had assumed that no more than a handful of the bones might be hers. However, this time it was possible for Anthony Falsetti to spend much more time with the bones, and as he laid out the two skeletons side-by-side on our laboratory tables, it became clear that most of the major limb bones were present from both women, but with very few surviving ribs, vertebrae, hand or foot bones. Jane McCrea’s skull was missing from the assemblage (no doubt stolen as a souvenir in 1852), so while it is now possible to describe even the face of Sara McNeil, we can only say that Jane was a petite woman, between 5' and 5'4" tall, with no evidence of any injuries on the bones that were still in the grave.

"The relatives and descendants of Jane and Sara have been quite pleased with our efforts to bring both women “back to life” and to restore to them a part of their identities. One of the very real benefits of our research is that we have prompted a flurry of new historical research into the lives of 18th-century women on the frontier of upstate New York. We have also prompted a host of questions about when we might go back into the grave for what would be the 6th time."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The diary & sad life of Mary Wright Cooper (1714-1778) of Oyster Bay, NY

On July 13, 1769, Mary Wright Cooper wrote in her diary, "This day is forty years sinc I left my father’s house & come here, & here have I seene littel els but harde labour & sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven."

Mary's family had long been a part of Oyster Bay. Her ancestor Peter Wright was called the Father of Oyster Bay. Originally inhabited by the Matinecock Indians, Oyster Bay was founded by the Dutch in 1615.  When the Dutch settled there, they named the area for the rich beds of shellfish that flourished in the surrounding waters.
In 1653, English colonists Peter Wright, Samuel Mayo & the Rev. William Leverich came from Cape Cod & settled near Oyster Bay Harbor.  During the colonial era, Oyster Bay had a reputation as a hotbed of smuggling, & it was Captain Kidd's last port of call before sailing to Boston, where he was arrested, transported to London & hanged .

Mary's parents, William Wright (1680-1759) & Elizabeth Rhodes (1689-1734), had been born on Long Island. Mary had 7 siblings, 3 of whom died young: John Wright (1707-1750); Ann Wright (1710-died young); Elizabeth Wright (1712-1733); William Wright (1715-died young); Sarah Wright (1719-1780); Elizabeth Wright (1723-1770); & Caleb Wright (1730-1752).

Mary was married, before her last 2 siblings were born. Although Mary's mother died when she was 20, she remained close to her father & remembered his death years later.  Mary Wright was only 14, when she married Joseph Cooper (b 1705) in 1728, in St. George's Chapel, Hempstead, Long Island, New York.

By the age of 18, she had her first child. Mary Wright & Thomas Cooper had 6 children: Elizabeth Ann Cooper (1734-1755); Martha Cooper (1737-1749); Esther Cooper (1744-1778); Mercy Cooper (1750-died young); Caleb Cooper (1754-died young); & Isaac Cooper (1756-died young). Mary was especially touched by the death of her baby son, Isaac.

Mary began her diary at age 54, continuing from 1768-1773, while tending the family farm & providing meals & rooms for travelers along their busy road, with her husband at Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York.  Her diary entries are often brief & cryptic, but they do give us an insight into the hardships, both emotional & physical, experienced in everyday life working on the land. They also give us a glimpse of the impact of faith on their lives, as many looked to the teachings of English evangelist George Whitefield (1714-1770).
Whitefield briefly served as a parish priest in Savannah, Georgia in 1738; visited the colonies 7 times; & died at Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1770. He was one of the chief movers of the Great Awakening & the Methodist movement. The adoption of his methods at church meetings by the Baptists was responsible for their schism into the New Lights, who followed him, & the Regulars, who adhered to the old way & disparaged revivals. Mary's diary covers the height of his American years.

October the 3, Tuesday. Dear Lord, bless the day to us & prosper the worke of our hands. A fine warm day. Ms. Weekes com here to make my gown.

[October 5] Wednsday. A very warme rain most of the day. Sent wheate to mill...

[October 11] Tuesday. Like for rain. Wee are much hurried drying appels. Extreeme high wind this night but no rain.

[October 12] [We]dnsday. Fine clear day. Much hurried drying appels...

[November 17] Thirsday. A fine clear & still day...Evening. I am much tired cookeing & washing dishes. Evening Epreham went home with the girls but come bak again.

November the 18, Friday. A fine warm day with a south wind. Ester & Epreham is gon to Huntan Town to carry my coverleds to the weaver...

November the 20, Sabbath. A very grevous storme of rain & snow. It has beene a tiresom day to me. It is now bed time & I have not had won minuts rest today.

[December 23] Friday. Very cold with a north west wind that blows the snow all day. We are cleaning the house. I am tired almost to death.

[December 24] Saterday. Very cold. I am tired almost to death. Rachel (wife of Mary's nephew) is gone to town. We are a lone. I am drying & ironing my cloths til allmost brake of day. This evening is the Newlights’ Covnant meeten. I am thinking of the events of tomorrow with greate delight. O Lord, prepare us to selebrate the day of thy nitevity & o my Savour be neare to them that shall commorate thy dying love the day ensuing.

December the 25, Sabbath. Christmas. A fine clear day. The sun shines warm. Oh, may the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Peter Underhill gave out the breade & wine this day to some whose hearts the Lord had touched. Though I sat in the meeten with great delight, yet I came home with a heavy hearte. I went to meeten in the slay with Whippo & come home with John Wright & Nicolas & their sister Anne Crooker (children of Mary's brother John)...1769...
[January 7] Saterday. A fine clear & still morning with white frost on the ground but soone clouds over. Some hail but soone turns to a small rain & mist. Sister gone home. Evening. O, I am tired almost to death waiteing on visseters. My feet ach as if the bones was laid bare. Not one day’s rest have I had this weeke. I have no time to take care of my cloths or even to think my thoughts...

[February 12] Sabbath. Something cold still. I hoped for some rest but am forst to get dinner & slave hard all day long Old George Weekes here. Hannah & Edd Weeks here...

Febeaury the 19, Sabbath. Fine warme & still as yesterday & more so. I went to the Newlig[ht] meeten with greate delight & offer my self to be a member with them. seemed to be very glad but I was sudingly seased with a great horror & darkeness. E think darkeness as might be felt. O, my God, why hast thou forsaken me. Thou knowest that in the sinsarity & uprightness of my hearte I have done this, moved as I did belive by Thy spirit. Evening, I came home before the worship began, most distrest.

[February 20] Moonday. Fine warme weather. O, I am in greate darkness still...

Feabery the 26, Sabbath. A storm of rain with a north east wind. The wind & rain cease by the midel of the afternoon. I feel dul & distrest & did not go to meeten...

[M]arch the 12, Sabbath. Much warmer & like to be a fine day. O, I am trying to fit my cloths to go to meeten in as much distres as my heart can hold. Am. L. & Eb Colw. came here. I am forced to get diner & cannot go to meten atall. Alas, how unhappy & meresabel I am. I feele banished from God & all good...

[April 14] Friday. Some clouds & wind, cold. Easter (Mary's daughter who had separated from her husband & returned home to live) gone from home on some buisness. Tabthea come here. Our people (slaves) quriel with her & Semon Cooper turned her out of doors & threw her over the fence to my greate grief & sorrow...

April the 16, 1769. Sabbath. Clear but a cold west wind. The sun shine bright to my sorrow, for had it hid his face it might have hid sorrow from my eyes...

[April 19] Wednsday. Like to be a rainey day but clear in the afternoon. I am unwell & up very late.

[April 20] Thirsday. O, I am so very sik so that I cannot set up all day nor all night. Very cold snow some hours in the day.

[April 21] Friday. Clear but cold. I feele much beter all day. Evening, I am sik again.

[April 22] Saterday. Clear but cold. O, I am sik all day long. Up very late but I have got my cloths iorned. Endurstres. (Industrious)...

[May 3] Wednesday. A fine clear morning. The early songsters warbling their notes & all nature seemes to smile, but a darke cloud hangs continuly over my soul & makes the days & nights pass heavily along.

[May 4] Thirsday. A fine clear morning. I went frome hom on some buisness. Come home disopinted.

May the 6, 1769, Saterday. A fine warme day. Cleare & pleasant. I a hurred, dirty & distresed as ever.

[May 7] Sabbath. I am much distrest. No cloths irond, freted & tired almost to death & forst to stay at home.

[May 13] Saterday. Much hard worke, dirty & distrest. This night is our Covnant meeten but I cannot go to my greate surprise. Sister comes here this night much distrest about her sons. We seeme to have little or no sence of any thing but our troubels.

May the 14, Sabbath. Very hot weather. We went to meeten senceles dull & sleepe.

[May 15] Moonday. Very hot. We began to cleane house much hurried.

[May 16] Tuesday. Exceeding hot. Linde here. Evening. Peter here. We are all very dul & lifeless. Oh Lord, direct our ways...

June the 1, 1769, Thirsday. A most vemant cold north east wind. We all went to the Quaker meeten where a multitude were geathered to here a woman preach that lately come from England, & a most amebel woman she is. Tex: “Of the leaven put in three masuess of meal...”

July the 13, 1769, Thirsday. This day is forty years sinc I left my father’s house & come here, & here have I seene littel els but harde labour & sorrow, crosses of every kind. I think in every repect the state of my affairs is more then forty times worse then when I came here first, except that I am nearer the desierered haven. A fine clear cool day. I am un well.

August the 1. New moon this morning. Tuesday. A fine clear cool morning. I feele much distrest, fearing I shall hear from some of my credtors. Afternoon, I have done my worke & feele something more comfortabl. I went to Salle Wheeler’s to meet Ester & Salle but am sent after in greate hurre. Ben Hildrith is come here in a littel boate with two men with him. I am up late & much freted them & their two dogs which they keep att tabel & in the bedroom with them.

[August 2] Wednesday. The first I hearde this morning was Ben’s dogs barking & yeling in the bed room. They did nothing but drink them selves drunk all the day long & sent for more rum.

[August 3] Thirsday. The wind is not fare to go home, so they cary the girls to town in the boate. Ben behaved like a blackgarde soundrel & as if he had been hurried by the devil

[August 4] Friday. They set sail to go home to my great joy, & I desier I may never see them here again. I greately dread the cleaning of house after this detested gang.

[August 5] Saterday. A fin clear cool day. Much hard worke cleaneing the house. An old Indian come here to day that lets fortans & ueses charmes to cure tooth ach & drive away rats. O Lord, thou knowest that my soul abhors these abominations. Lay not this sin to my charge. On Thirsday I had an extreme pain in my back & hip so th I could not go with out cryin out...

August the 20, Sabbath. Like for rain but the shower went by us. I & Ester went to meeten. Some Indans & one Black man com from Montalk. Ben Jethrow & Siah Baman preach all day long & while late in the night. I & Ester come home alone very late in the night. I fell in the Brook. I am tired & very much distrest...

[August 23] Wednsday. A fine clear morning with a cold north wind. My hearte is burnt with anger & discontent, want of every nessesary thing in life & in constant feare of gapeing credtors consums my strength & wasts my days. The horrer of these things with the continued cross of my family, like to so many horse leeches, prays upon my vitals, & if the Lord does not prevent will bring me to the house appointed for all liveing. Salle Burtis here...

August the 27, 1769, Sabbath. Very gretely hurred getting this company a way to the Greate Meten. I went to the Nigh light meeten to here a Black man preach. Felt nothing but distres. Very greately tired & freted, walkin home so fast.

[August 28] Moonday. Clear weather but not a fair wind for New England. Up late this night. I am much distrist & know now what to dow. O Lord, lead my ways & let my life be in this sight. Docter Wright come here this day.

August the 29, Tuesday. We are hurred to set said for New England, very greately against my will. The tumulting waves look frightfull. But thro infinate mercy we came safe to Mr. Hildrith house in two hours wheare we weare recived with many welcoms & used with the utmost kindness by all the famaly. Cloudy & like for rain every day this weeke but none come except some small showers, not more than due. Nothing remarkabel except that we had the heavyest bread I have ever seene. Mr. Dibel come to se us & said that he was going to change places with Epnetus for the nex Sabbath. After he had talked against Mr. Whitefield as much & something more than we could well beare to, he left us & we saw him no more. One day we went into the woods together...

[September 30] Saterday. Very high north east wind. Very cloudy most of the day. Afternoon changes to a south wind. We are very busie cooking for the work men. Evening, they eate ther supper. The more parte went away. Some stay to dance, very greatly aganst my will. Some anger about the danceing. Some time in the night come up a shower of rain & thunder. Easter & Salle was frighted very greatly & come down. Easter like to have fits.

October the 1, 1769, Sabbath. West wind & like for fair weather. Simon Cooper quarel very greately about Ester dancing. He got in a unxpresabel rage & struck her. I am going to meeten but no not how to get over the Broock, the tide is so high. I come to meeten just as they ware coming out of the house. I did not stay to the evening meeten & yet come home sometime in the night...

November the 9. This day is ten years since my father departed this life.

November the 12. Sabbath. Some small rain this morning tho it did not rain hard, yet hendered me from going to meeten. Salle & Lidg here most of the day. Clears at evening with a very harde north west wind. I & Ester went to the night meeten. We had a comfortabel meeten, but coming home the tide was high & the wind extreeme harde but throw mercy we got safe home. I went to bed very cold. We had little or no fier...

November the 19, Sabbath. Very cold, frose hard last night. We are hurreing to meeten. Siah Baman & Melat Peter is com to town. I come to town just as the meeten was out. I went to se Rebeca Weekes. Evening, we went to meeten to Phebe Weekes’ house. Siah Bamon tx: “Except ye eate the flest of the son of man & drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Peter Undrill tx, of Abraham’s sarvant sent to take a wife for his master’s son. A very greate number of peopel was thare. I am Frances come home but the girls staid all night. We had a very happy meeten...

[December 13] Wednsday. Clears with a most frightfull harde west wind. Grows extreeme cold & freses hard all of a suding. This day is thirty seven years since my dear & amible sister Elisabeth departed this life...

[January 24] Thirsday. A fine clear still morning with a white frost. This afternoon is 3 weeks since Easter & those with her took the small pox...

Febeaury the 1, 1771, Friday. Clear but a harde west wind. The Lord has brought my daughter home to me, well of the small pox. What shall I render to the Lord for all his mercys?

[February 2] Saterday. I an unwell & much aflected for fear of the small pox. I had envited some of my friends to come here to se Ester & dade17 would not let me have a turkey to roast for supper & I am so affected & ashamed about it that I feele as I should never get over it. I got to bed feard & distressed at 1 or 2 a’clok in the mornin

Feb. the 3, 1771, Sabbath. I waked up frighted much about the small pox. Fine clear weather, a west wind but not cold. Esther thought the people would a fraid of her, so we did not go to meeten. Nico & Anne went from here this morning but John all day long.

March the 10, Sabbath. This surprising storme continues yet & encreses. The hail cesses this this morning & floods of rain pores down with frightfull gusts of wind which blew away parte of the kitchen. We have hardely a dry place in the house. I suffered much this day with the wet & cold, & am up all night...

May the fifth, 1771, Sabbath. Very cold with a west wind. I went to town & found Ester in the Cove. I took her with me. We went by the New Lite meeten & so along til we come to the Quaker meeten ho[use] where we went in & hear so[me] poor preaching. O Lord, grant some lite to these poore benighted peopel. I spoke with those that I wanted to so we come back & went to the New Lite meeten & then home at night. O, I sik with the cholic. We had some showers of rain as we went...

[June 27] Saterday. A fine clear pleasant day & Ester went to the Quaker meeten. one woman preach, tx: “He come to his own, but they recived him not, but as many as recived him, to them he gave power to become the sons of God.” One man preach, another woman prayd. O Lord, is not this peopel ignorant of the greate & needfull doctrine of the gospil? O thou that has the residue of the spirite, I pray the, enlitein these that set in darkness...

[August 9] Sabbath. A fine pleasant day. We hurred to meeten & a very happy meeten we had. The Christans seemes full of exersise. Five Negor men gave them selves members to the meeten.

October 15, Thirsday. Clear & warme. I went from home to carry a letter & tea cittel to Jet’s boate that is loading above Eel Creeck. I went to March Coons, to Robersons, to Prock Coon’s. I stayed a littel while att each house & then sot of with old Mrs. MCoon & Prock to find the way home. Prock wint with me to Cove Brook. We tramted up high hills, crosst woods & barran fieds, crost a find orchard full of appels, & at last arived at Cove Brook where Prock left me. In my way home I met Cus John Wright who had been in persute of the same boate. When I come home I found Bille Wright & Josh Hammon waiteing for the boate to take them in. They are going to Yorke. Jest after sundown come Jet & Ben Hawx in persute of the boate. They are going to Yorke, two...

[November 24] Tuesday. Very warme still. Dade is gon to carry the hogs to Townsend Parrish. Salle & Bette Burtis went to Docter Potter to day to take the small pox. O Lord, have mercy on them, are they not some of thy redeemed ons? Reveal thy love to them, heal thier souls & bodys & bring them home to thier mouring mother in helth & safty. New moon at 7 a’clok this night, north east wind & some littel snow but very warme. Jerushe & Sarah MCoon here. Abb Colwell here...

Christmas, December the 25 day, Friday. Warme, the sun shines bright & warme. I & Salle hurred away to meeten & staide to the night meeten. A very great white frost & very cold coming home.

[December 26] Saterday. North east wind & rain but not cold. Ruth & some man to be baptised at Samuel Townsend’s. I hurred a way on horse back with out any saddel, but they was gon before I got thare, so I come home in the rain & did not go down to meeten. I hearde they had a very greate meeten & 12 people offered to the church.

[December 27] Sabbath. Cloude & some small rain, very mude. A very greate meeten, some much afected, others crying out aloud. Salle unwell, I carred her to Josh Hammon’s. Ester gon to Whippo’s. His wife is unwell. Some small rain & very darke. I come home alone & had no hurt or fright thro mercy...

[January 13] Wednsday. Fine clear weather, not very cold. I & Salle are going to the night meeten. I went to se Daniel parish. He told me he had a sight of me & tho I had done many things that ware good in theme selves, yet I was not in the spirite of the Gospel. O Lord, known to the is the case of every soul which thou hast made. If I have had no saveing grace all this while, but have been deciveing my self, O Lord, the gift is thine & not in my power. O Lord, now let me share with a number whome thou delitest to bless...

[March 24] Wednsday. A fine clear warme day. I felt heavy harted & so distrest that I colud hardely set up about Uncel & Aunt. After Ester was gon to se Uncel about five a’clok this afternoon the Lord met with my soul in mercy & told me that thier departed souls should mount on the wings of saraphs to the relms of etarnal day, & that thier weathered limbs should have their dusty bed like the bounding robe & made parfet in thier Savour’s righteousness. Immortal youth & beauty mount to meet their redeemer in the clouds of heaven...

May the 8, Saterday. A cold south wind. Ester & Polle come home this morning from meeten. To day is thirteene years since I parted with my son Isaac. O, sorrow & loss unspakabel...

June the 29, Tuesday. South west wind, cloude, some thunder & a fine shower of rain this after noon & a bright rain bow appeared some thing longer then uesal which raised my thoughts to the bright relms of day. I longed to se that head once crowned with thorne, that dean parson treated with scorn & cruelty for sinful me. The dasling luster of his face I faint. I can find no word to express my ideas, my greatest vews seeme to be of my Jesus seated on a throne of glory in the bright relms of etarnel day. The pleaseing luster of his eyes out shine the wonders of the skys. In raptures & sweet delight I fell a sleep. O, that my last moments may be like these...

[September 12] Sabbath. A stormy wind & some rain in the fore noon. I & Ester went to meeten the afternoon but very few peopel at meeten. I feele much distrest to se the dissolute state of the New Lite church which but few weekes past was greate & a florishing peopel. Why is it forsking & dissolate the Lord only knows. I & Ester come home in the rain...

October the 4, Monday. A fine clear warme day. My harte is full of anguish for the deplorabel state of the Newlite church. O Lord how long?...

[October 8] Friday. Warme weather. I & Ester much talk about the New Lite church...
Note: Brother John Wright married Zervia Wright, daughter of Edmond. Brother Caleb Wright married Freelove Coles, daughter of Wright Coles. Sister Sarah Wright married John Townsend, son of John Townsend. Sister Elizabeth Wright did not marry.

NB. About slaves in Oyster Bay. The Oyster Bay Historical Society has a Bill of Sale for a Slave Girl in the town in 1721.
Deed of Sale from Thomas kirby to David Vallantine for a negro Wench.
Know all Men by these Presents That I Thomas Kirby of Oyster-bay in Queens County on Nessau Island within the province of New York Yoeman, for & in considration of the Sum of Fifety-Pounds of good & Lawful Currant Money of New York to me in hand paid by Nathan Coles & David Vallantine both of Oyster bay in ye county, Island &Prov i nce aforesaid, Yoemen, where of I do hereby - acknowledge the Receipt, & am therewith fully Satisfied & contented; have Bargeined Sold Lef t over & Delivered & by these Presents do Bargein Sell & Deliver unto they the Seid Nathan Coles & David Vallantine one Negroe girl aged about two years called by name Peg, & one Bessy. The said Negroes - to have ant to hold to ye proper use & behoove of them the - Said Nathan Coles & David Vallantine theirs Executors - administrators & Assigns forever, & I the Seid Thomas Kirby for mySelf my Heirs Executors Administrators the Said Bargained Negroes unto the Said Nathan Coles & David Val lantine their Heirs Executors Administrators & Assigns - ageinst all & all Manner of Persons Shall Warrant & - forever Defend by these Presents In witness whereof with the Delivery of the Said Negroes I have hereunto Sett my hand & seal this tenth Day of January in the Year of our Lord Christ one thousand Sevenhundred & twenty one, two, & in the Eigth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George of great Britain France, & Ireland King & C.
See: National Humanities Center, 2008
George Bradford Brainerd (American, 1845-1887). Camp Fire, Oyster Bay, Long Island, ca. 1872-1887

Manuscripts of the 1721 Slave Bill of Sale & of the Diary of Mary Wright Cooper, located at the Oyster Bay, New York Historical Society.

The Diary of Mary Cooper: Life on a Long Island Farm, 1768-1773, ed. Field Horne (Oyster Bay, New York, Historical Society, 1981)