non-turkey day

A century ago some people in Georgia weren’t counting on turkey for Thanksgiving Day.

tgpossum (NYT 12-2-1917 LOC:

night time is the right time

World War was raging one hundred years ago. Perusing the rest of the December 2, 1917 Rotogravure Picture Section in The New-York Times, I was somewhat reminded of Thanksgivings from my youth. Although not on the day itself, Macy’s employees marched in Manhattan; there was a stunning parade in Toronto, although I doubt Santa Claus was invited. Detroit wasn’t hosting professional American football games, but a college and military units were competing.

Macys (NYT 12-2-1917 (LOC:

Macy’s employees send ambulance over there

toronto1(NYT 12-2-1917 LOC:

Sammies north of the border

toronto2 (NYT 12-2-1917 LOC:

Rude Britannia

football (NYT 12-2-1917 LOC:

a change of helmets imminent?

Thanksgiving in 1917 was on November 29th. Earlier in 1917 the United States actively entered the Great War. The Times editorial didn’t stress the first Thanksgiving as a time of peace and harmony between first Americans and Pilgrims (or the Tawnies and Whities?). The New England colonists had to be fighters:


Those old Pilgrims and Puritans whose Thanksgiving has passed as an inheritance to easier times often had, from the material or secular point of view, small reason enough to give thanks. “Our mercies” were often enough outnumbered by “our chastisements.” Sometimes the women and the children, and the men, were cut off by mysterious diseases, by the pitiless Winters, when COTTON MATHER’S inkstand froze by the fire in his library; by hardship, by the rough labors of winning a living from a thankless soil, by tomahawks of “the Bloody Salvages.” They fought not merely the Tawnies and the French, but the powers of Satan, as real to many of them as the Governor or the Selectmen. …

They fought the Devil and the climate. They had their ideal, harsh and intolerant as it looks to us. They kept Thanksgiving as a symbol of gratitude to “the Father of Mercies,” for what He was pleased to send of good or ill, for a narrow and toilsome life, for the accompaniment of their “pilgrimage,” in their own rigid way and for immortal hope. …

[Thanksgiving 1917 would not be as carefree and plentiful as in past years. America has finally put aside its “shameful prosperity” and taken on its enemy, “the monstrous German State.” America is fighting for “a great ideal, for justice, liberty, democracy.” The patriotic response to the war is helping to ease divisions. “Many in origins, one in duty.” Great suffering lies ahead, but the victory will be worth it.]

That the victory is for no selfish, material end, that it will be the victory of liberty and democracy, the close, we hope, of war for offense and dominion; that the Americans are one in purpose and in hope; that the meanest among us gets some tinge of the great patience, resolve, and heroism of the hour; that at last America is American – these things, amid all the darkling spectacle of human destiny, amid ruined nations and sorrow infinite, are cause for thanks. We have turned our backs to childish things. Duty and honor, courage and labor, are better masters than pleasure and moneymaking.

The war didn’t exactly wipe out all divisions in the United States, as pointed out by Stephanie Hall in an article for the Library of Congress: “Trench Blues”: An African American Song of World War I

Billy Sunday was a professional baseball player turned evangelist preacher. According to Wikipedia the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was marched in 1924; Toronto held its first Santa Claus Parade in 1905. You can check out all the Times images at the Library of Congress, which also provides the Pilgrim Landing.
The landing of the pilgrim fathers, in America. A.D. 1620 (LOC:

Pilgrims progress

Posted in 100 Years Ago, American Culture, American History, World War I | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

with a little help from the men

NY Times 11-7-1917

NY Times 11-7-1917

On November 6, 1917 New York State voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that allowed women the right to vote in all elections in the state. A large New York City majority in favor of the amendment offset a slightly negative vote in the rest of the state. Of course, for one last election in New York, all the voters were men.

NY Times 11-4-1917 million (LOC: image 1)

million signature march (NY City October 27, 1917)

today the state
(thanks to downstate)
NYT 11-7-1917

tomorrow the nation
(despite President Wilson)
NYT 11-10-1917

NY Times 11-12-1917

Woodrow Wilson threatened
NYT 11-12-1917


New York State women had always been leaders of the long struggle for female suffrage:

suffrage cook book (1915;

the vote in the balance

In the period following the Civil War, the various national organizations demanding the vote for women drew their most enthusiastic support and most of their funds from New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were in this period the acknowledged leaders of the movement in both the state and the nation. … [Women waged a persistent and protracted campaign that involved lobbying, meetings, speeches, propaganda, and pestering] … “At the state constitutional conventions of 1867 and 1894, they unsuccessfully sought an amendment granting women the right to vote” …

[The work continued] … Although Miss Stanton died in 1902 and Miss Anthony in 1906, there were now many others to carry on their work, and Miss Carrie Chapman Catt emerged as the generally acknowledged leader of the movement in both the state and the country.

[Carrie Chapman Catt, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, on telephone] (between 1909 and 1932; LOC:

Carrie Chapman Catt

By 1910 the suffragettes were committed to an aggressive campaign that was as spectacular as it was effective. The old methods were not abandoned, but many new ones were added. Suffragette societies were organized along the lines of political parties; huge parades were held in New York City; motorcades toured the state distributing literature; street-corner speakers urging the vote for women became a commonplace in large cities; a one-day strike of women was threatened; and almost any stunt that would attract publicity was used. These tactics and the long campaign of education that had been carried on by earlier suffragettes finally produced results. A bill for amending the state constitution was passed by the legislature in 1913 and repassed in 1915, but was rejected by the voters at the polls. The process was immediately repeated, and this time it proved successful. The legislature passed the bill in 1916 and 1917, and the voters approved it in the fall of 1917. …[1]

You can read a good article about the history of the 1917 New York constitutional amendment by Susan Ingalls Lewis at SUNY New Paltz.

femsufmap1917 (LOC:

the west was the best

NY Times 11-4-1917 Catt et al ( image 4)

see all about it (more from the October 27th parade)


Here’s a little about how nascent suffragettes remembered the 1867 New York State constitutional convention. From History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1881; pages 269-270):


Constitution Amended once in Twenty Years—Mrs. Stanton Before the Legislature Claiming Woman’s Right to Vote for Members to the Convention—An Immense Audience in the Capitol—The Convention Assembled June 4th, 1867. Twenty Thousand Petitions Presented for Striking the Word “Male” from the Constitution—”Committee on the Right of Suffrage, and the Qualifications for Holding Office.” Horace Greeley, Chairman—Mr. Graves, of Herkimer, Leads the Debate in favor of Woman Suffrage—Horace Greeley’s Adverse Report—Leading Advocates Heard before the Convention—Speech of George William Curtis on Striking the Word “Man” from Section 1, Article 11—Final Vote, 19 For, 125 Against—Equal Rights Anniversary of 1868.
This was the first time in the history of the woman suffrage movement that the Constitution of New York was to be amended, and the general interest felt by women in the coming convention was intensified by the fact that such an opportunity for their enfranchisement would not come again in twenty years. The proposition of the republican party to strike the word “white” from the Constitution and thus extend the right of suffrage to all classes of male citizens, placing the men of the State, black and white, foreign and native, ignorant and educated, vicious and virtuous, all alike, above woman’s head, gave her a keener sense of her abasement than she had ever felt before. But having neither press nor pulpit to advocate her cause, and fully believing this amendment would pass as a party measure, she used every means within her power to arouse and strengthen the agitation, in the face of the most determined opposition of friends and foes. Meetings were held in all the chief towns and cities in the State, and appeals and petitions scattered in every school district; these were so many reminders to the women everywhere that they too had some interest in the Constitution under which they lived, some duties to perform in deciding the future policy of the Government.
This campaign cost us the friendship of Horace Greeley and the support of the New York Tribune, heretofore our most powerful and faithful allies. In an earnest conversation with Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony, Mr. Greeley said: “This is a critical period for the Republican party and the life of the Nation. The word “white” in our Constitution at this hour has a significance which “male” has not. It would be wise and magnanimous in you to hold your claims, though just and imperative, I grant, in abeyance until the negro is safe beyond peradventure, and your turn will come next. I conjure you to remember that this is “the negro’s hour,” and your first duty now is to go through the State and plead his claims.” “Suppose,” we replied, “Horace Greeley, Henry J. Raymond and James Gordon Bennett were disfranchised; what would be thought of them, if before audiences and in leading editorials they pressed the claims of Sambo, Patrick, Hans and Yung Fung to the ballot, to be lifted above their own heads? With their intelligence, education, knowledge of the science of government, and keen appreciation of the dangers of the hour, would it not be treasonable, rather than magnanimous, for them, leaders of the metropolitan press, to give the ignorant and unskilled a power in government they did not possess themselves? To do this would be to place on board the ship of State officers and crew who knew nothing of chart or compass, of the safe pathway across the sea, and bid those who understand the laws of navigation to stand aside. No, no, this is the hour to press woman’s claims; we have stood with the black man in the Constitution over half a century, and it is fitting now that the constitutional door is open that we should enter with him into the political kingdom of equality. Through all these years he has been the only decent compeer we have had. Enfranchise him, and we are left outside with lunatics, idiots and criminals for another twenty years.” “Well,” said Mr. Greeley, “if you persevere in your present plan, you need depend on no further help from me or the Tribune.” And he kept his word. We have seen the negro enfranchised, and twenty long years pass away since the war, and still woman’s turn has not yet come; her rights as a citizen of the United States are still unrecognized, the oft-repeated pledges of leading Republicans and Abolitionists have not been redeemed.

Mrs. Stanton might not have helped her friendship with Horace Greeley with a letter republished in the July 4, 1867 issue of The New-York Times. I think the state constitutional convention was also debating removing the property qualification for black men to vote. According to The New York History Blog that didn’t happen until the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. From the suffrage history above and looking through NY Times headlines – Stanton and Anthony also campaigned for female suffrage in Kansas in 1867. In November 1867 Kansas voters rejected both negro and female suffrage.

Susan B. Anthony, portrait with Carrie Chapman Catt quotation on Anthony's courage and optimism (LOC:

Susan B. Anthony with Catt’s commentary

Justice. Miss Florence Hanlin as Justice in the Dance Drama presented at Seneca Falls, on July 20th in connection with the National Woman's Party's seventy-fifth anniversary celebration of Equal Rights. (July 20, 1923; LOC:

suffrage more just

You can see the cover and read The Suffrage Cook Book at Project Gutenberg (Jack London and wife participated – check out their Liver Dumplings). From the Library of Congress: map from The Woman suffrage year book printed in January 1917; Carrie Chapman Catt; farmers; all the images from the photo section of the November 4, 1917 issue of The New-York Times; Susan B. Anthony(apparently Anthony signed the photo about a month before her death); Justice portrayed in Seneca Falls, New York in July 1923 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first women’s rights convention
Suffrage farmers (1917; LOC:

time to reap?

  1. [1] Ellis, David M., James A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and Harry J. Carman. A Short History of New York State. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1957. Print. page 390-391.
Posted in 100 Years Ago, 150 Years Ago This Week, American History, American Society, World War I | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on with a little help from the men

sitting it out

150 years ago Georgia conducted a five day election to determine if a state constitutional convention should be held, and, if so, who would be sent as delegates. Evidently many white conservatives didn’t vote. Here’s an early report from Savannah, which was the scene of a riot about a month earlier. From The New-York Times October 30, 1867:

… SAVANNAH, Tuesday, Oct. 29.

The election to-day passed off quietly. Many negroes from the country and some from South Carolina voted. The city vote was 602, and that of the county 440. About 250 votes were rejected, all of which, with the exception of three or four, were negroes. All the votes were for the Convention and the Radical ticket. Only one white vote was cast out of 174 city voters and 80 county voters. Many of the names given by the negroes could not be found upon the registry books. The Boston mulatto Bradley ticket is ahead.

Not a single arrest was made, and Savannah sustained its reputation as a peaceable city. The cooperation of the civil and military authorities was of the kindliest nature. …

And the military authority played an important part. In fact, General John Pope, commander of the Third Military District, added two days to the election period. From The New-York Times November 1, 1867:


With regard to the extension of time for the election in Georgia by Gen. POPE, it should be stated that there has been but one polling place in each county, except in the incorporated cities. As some of the counties are very large, and the voting by registration a novel and slow proceeding for the blacks, the additional time has been found necessary. …

The five-day tally showed that voters had approved the constitutional convention; overall conservative turnout was low. From The New-York Times November 4, 1867:


The Convention Election – Further Returns.

AUGUSTA, Ga., Sunday, Nov. 3.

From the election returns received at headquarters it is estimated that 105,000 votes were cast on the question of a Convention, out of 186,000 registered. The official count only can show the majority in favor of a Convention. Opposition candidates were nominated only in the northern part of the State, where the whites are largely in the majority. In the other portions of the State the Conservatives took no part in the contest, and the candidates favoring the Convention were elected by a large majority.

Here’s a summary from The Reconstruction of Georgia by Edwin C. Woolley (1901):


In the Third Military District, of which Georgia was a part, the Reconstruction Acts were administered from April 1, 1867, to January 6, 1868, by General Pope, and from January 6 to July 30, 1868, by General Meade. The present chapter will describe, first, the manner in which these men conducted the political rebuilding of Georgia, and second, the manner in which they governed during this process.

On April 8 Pope issued his first orders regarding the registration of voters. The three officers commanding respectively in the sub-districts of Georgia, Florida and Alabama were directed to divide the territory under them into registration districts, and for each of these to appoint a board of registry consisting as far as possible of civilians. On May 2 the scheme of districts for Georgia was published. The state was divided into forty-four districts of three counties each, and three districts of a city each. For each district the names of two white registrars were announced, and each of these pairs was ordered to complete the board by selecting a negro colleague. The compensation of registrars was to be from fifteen cents to forty cents for every name registered, varying according to the density or sparseness of the population. It was made the duty of registrars to explain to those unused to the enjoyment of suffrage the nature of this function. After the lists were complete they were to be published for ten days.

The unsettled condition of the negro population suggested to Pope the possibility that many negroes would lose their right to vote by change of residence. He therefore ordered on August 15 that persons removing from the district where they were registered should be furnished by the board of registry with a certificate of registration, which should entitle them to vote anywhere in the state.

The election for deciding whether a constitutional convention should be held, and for choosing delegates in case the affirmative vote prevailed, was ordered to begin on October 29 and to continue three days. Registrars were ordered to revise their lists during the fortnight preceding the election, to erase names wrongly registered, and to add the names of persons entitled to be registered. The boards of registry were to act as judges of election, but registrars who were candidates for election were forbidden to serve in the districts where they sought election.

The election was to occupy the last three days of October. On October 30 Pope extended the time to the night of November 2, in order to give the negroes ample opportunity to vote, which in their inexperience they might otherwise fail to do.

After the election the following figures were announced:

          Number of registered voters in Georgia 188,647
          Of these the negroes numbered 93,457
                  ”       the white men 95,214
          Number of votes polled 106,410
               ”                 ”     for a convention 102,283
              ”                 ”       against a convention 4,127

The delegates elected were ordered to meet in convention on December 9th. …

In his book on Reconstruction Eric Foner reviews the southern state constitutional conventions as a group and writes that “Since most opponents of Reconstruction had abstained from voting, the total of just over 1,000 delegates included few Democrats or Conservatives, and a high rate of absenteeism further reduced their influence.” The delegates represented “the first large group of elected Southern Republicans”. Blacks made up about a quarter of delegates overall; carpetbaggers a sixth; most delegates were southern white scalawags.[1]

According to a 1947 thesis by Paul Laurence Sanford (pages 14-15), blacks made up 32 of 170 delegates to Georgia’s constitutional convention. A.A. Bradley was indeed one of the delegates. You can read more about Aaron Alpeoria Bradley in an article by Keri Leigh Merritt at the African American Intellectual History Society

  1. [1] Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014. Updated Edition. Print. pages 316-318.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Postbellum Politics, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction, Southern Society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on sitting it out

clean energy

From The New-York Times October 27, 1867:

Petroleum for Fuel.

There have been many objections urged to the use of petroleum as fuel on sea-going vessels, most of which, we believe, will be successfully set aside. But none of them would seem to apply to the employment of this clean and concentrated fuel in those of our City steam fire engines that burn coal. At a late fire in Boston petroleum was thus used in one of the engines … [with much better steam and water pressure than the other engines] … by reason of never choking the exhaust, and, finally, by the complete combustion of the fuel, throwing off almost no smoke at all, while the other engines filled the streets with the same murky cloud that we know so well in New-York. All this was done with crude apparatus. Why could not this experiment be tried here by our Commissioners, and, if successful, adapted to the use of all our engines?

The self-propelling steam fire-engine, "J.C. Cary" ( Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, v. 2, (1858 November 20), p. 749. ; LOC:

even more smoke at the fire

Horse-drawn fire engine rushing to a fire ([between ca. 1900 and ca. 192; LOC:

still smoky

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war closing

Bv't Major General M.R. Patrick, full-length portrait, on horseback, facing left (by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, 1863 April, printed later; LOC:

General Marsena Patrick during Civil War

Seneca County (New York) Historian Walt Gable’s new book came out in July of this year. As I started leafing through the pages of Historic Tales of Seneca County, New York I stopped when I noticed what might possibly be a photograph of a Civil War soldier. Sure enough, the soldier was General Marsena Rudolph Patrick, who served as Provost-Marshal of the Union Army of the Potomac from October 1862 until the end of the war. One of his tasks as Provost-Marshal was to try to discourage gambling in the army. Because of the Civil War connection, I sort of naturally made General Patrick’s tale the first one of Walt’s I read.

During the 1840’s The New York State Agricultural Society began to promote the idea of agricultural schools, which following a European lead, would “train farmers to make better use of the new farming methods and technology developing as part of the Industrial Revolution.” By the late 1850’s an agricultural college had been chartered and a 600 acre site chosen in the Seneca County towns of Ovid and Romulus. Marsena Patrick was chosen as the institution’s president. The college opened on December 5, 1860. For $200 a year students would receive “classroom instruction and on-the-farm experience”.[1]

Town & village of Ovid, Seneca Co., N.Y. (1858; LOC:

ag college already mapped in 1858 (upper left corner)

agcollegefromprospectus (;view=1up;seq=1)

prospective college … from the prospectus

In 1859 the Agricultural College published its Charter Ordinances, Regulations and Course of Studies. Prospective students had to be at least sixteen years old and were directed how to apply: “Students, contemplating joining the institution, will be furnished with every necessary information by applying, personally or by letter, to M. R. Patrick, President of the College, Ovid, Seneca county, N. Y.”

In addition to the rules and some historical background, the document detailed the college farm’s wide variety of soils, which would help students practice in different conditions. The course of study was a three-year program divided into summer and winter terms. The college was “not intended to be a manual labor school“, but each term included classroom studies and hands-on experience. Students would study everything from Algebra to Veterinary Practice and Vegetable Physiology and would practice a wide variety of skills, including plowing, planting and reaping, fence-making, irrigation, topographical map-making, animal husbandry, dairy management, and “making and preserving manures”.


prospectus5 (prospectus1(;view=1up;seq=1))

prospectus7 (prospectus5 (prospectus1(;view=1up;seq=1)))(


Although never involved with animal husbandry, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how manure was made. Also, growing up in a rural area I sort of assumed that manure’s natural fertilizing qualities had always been common knowledge. I was wrong. According to A Short History of New York State, specifically a chapter entitled “The Rise of the Dairy State, 1825-1860”,[2] most New York farmers didn’t worry too much about fertilizers in the first part of the nineteenth century. However, knowledge of good farm practices, including the use of fertilizers, began to spread during that time. Simultaneously the supply of manure greatly increased. A transportation revolution accompanying the Industrial Revolution Walt mentioned dramatically changed state agriculture:

The expanding network of turnpikes, canals, railroads, and plank roads unleashed two revolutionary forces in New York agricultural history – the “pull” of the growing urban market and the pressure of western competition. The farm family of 1860 was spending an increasing amount of its time producing goods for a distant market and less for its its immediate use than it had in pioneer days, and it became more dependent upon the storekeeper for goods. By 1860 practically all farm women purchased cotton and wool goods instead of making them at home. [3]

Scene near Cayuga Lake, N.Y., Spring / J.M. Hart. (1870; LOC:


Farmers adjusted to market price fluctuations and crop pests and disease by changing what they produced.

The rise of the dairy industry was by far the most significant development in the agricultural history of the state between 1825 and 1860 [dairy replaced wheat in value by 1850]. Farmers discovered that cows were their most reliable money-makers, since both the domestic and foreign market kept demanding more dairy products. Dairying had several advantages. Manure helped restore soil fertility, and butter-making and milking utilized the labor of women and children, which the decline of home manufacture of cloth had released. Farmers found it easy to store cheese and butter and to carry them to market.[4]

“Butter was the backbone of the dairy industry…” Cheese factories were developed; railroads allowed country milk to be shipped to New York City. Although, “Farm management practices of the ordinary farmer continued to be soil-depleting and slovenly,” agricultural knowledge began to spread. “In 1834 [Jesse] Buel founded the Cultivator, a journal which preached the benefits of scientific agriculture. His own profitable experience added weight to his arguments for manuring, draining, deep plowing, crop alternation, and the substitution of fallow crops for naked fallows.” [5]

Other farm journals began to circulate; in 1832 the New York State Agricultural Society was established. County fairs and a state fair started being held. More formal education was also promoted by Buel and others. During the 1850’s momentum was generated for a state agricultural college. The college in Ovid was founded with Marsena Patrick as president, but it “failed to survive.” [6]

What we get to eat in the country / Ehrhart. (Illus. in: Puck, v. 59, no. 1534 (1906 July 25), centerfold.; LOC:

big changes down on the farm

Culpeper, Virginia. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick and staff (Sept. 1863, by Timothy H. O'Sullivan; LOC:

General Patrick and staff in September 1863

As Walt writes, “[t]he timing for the opening of this college was bad.” [7] A timeline: On November 6, 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected United State president. The agricultural college opened on December 5th. On December 20th South Carolina became the first in a succession of southern states to secede from the Union.

After the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12-13, 1861 New York State Governor Edwin Morgan called West Point graduate Marsena Patrick to the state capital in Albany and charged him with developing a system to enlist and train volunteers. But it wasn’t just the college president who went to war. “By May, so many of the approximately forty students had left to fight that the college closed for the summer.” It never reopened. Cornell University became the state’s land grant college in 1865. In October 1869 the Willard Asylum for the Insane began admitting patients on the site of the closed college in Ovid. Currently that site houses the Willard Drug Treatment Campus.[8]

Ag College 8-20-2017

a brief history

Unlike his agricultural college, Marsena Patrick survived the war. He served as president of the New York State Agricultural Society from 1867-1868. On February 14, 1868 The New-York Times reported on the Agricultural Society’s annual meeting, including a speech by its president:

The peddler's wagon / drawn by C.G. Bush. (Harper's weekly, v. 12, no. 599 (1868 June 20), p. 393; LOC:


… At the evening session, held in the capitol, Gen. PATRICK delivered an address to the farmers. He spoke of the loss and denudation of our forests, becoming in danger of being lost by the constant movement of the ax, and thought that legislative interposition should be invoked for their protection. The civil war had produced great effects in many of the pursuits in agriculture, and in one, since the war, there had been almost a total change. That was in the cheese factories, where by combined efforts they had been able to do much more than before. There were other changes, some engendered by the war and some by other causes. He was sorry to see, as he sometimes did see, a great, stout, manly-looking fellow, peddling books, essences or jewelry. It was only done because labor was not honored, because labor had been cast down. We should elevate it. Let us bear in mind the relations we owe to our country and to our liberty, and that society is based on agriculture, the most ancient of professions. Yet, with its age, new ideas come up. The great rapidity with which transportation could be obtained had changed many branches of farming; fish culture had been introduced, and the dairy was now much more important than before. It gave him pleasure to assure the Society that the disease known as rinderpost had entirely ceased as an epidemic, excepting in South Holland. …

Life on the farm / drawn by Herrick, 1867. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1867 August 10, pp. 504-505. ; LOC:

the oldest profession?

Two good web articles tell of General Patrick’s Civil War experiences and challenges: Civil War Stories of Inspiration and Civil War Bummer. The Bummer piece mentions that after the war Patrick was soon relieved of his command of the District of Henrico in Richmond because General Grant thought he was too kind of heart for the job. Bummer also fills out the story of Marsena Patrick’s life after serving as the Agricultural Society’s president:

He then spent the next two years as a state commissioner. He became a widely known public speaker, particularly on topics related to technological advances in agriculture. Patrick showed a true interest in the care of former soldiers and moved to Ohio, becoming the governor of the central branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Patrick died on July 27, 1888 at the age of 77 in Dayton, Ohio, and was buried in the Dayton National Cemetery.

You can find the General Patrick’s grave (as well as the photo used in Walt’s book) here.


Willard cemetery, Civil war veterans section August 20, 20170820171004-00

Willard State Hospital cemetery, Civil War veterans section

From a Blue-Gray perspective Walt Gable rounded out the story of the agricultural college’s demise and it’s replacement with the insane asylum in a newspaper article in July. Walt wrote about several Seneca County sites that honor Civil War veterans. I never knew that “More than 150 Civil War veterans who were patients of the Willard Asylum for the Insane (renamed the Willard State Hospital in 1890) are buried in the northwest section of the facility’s cemetery, nearest to Seneca Lake.” I was inspired to take Walt’s suggestion to visit.

The first thing I noticed walking up the hill into the cemetery was that only the Civil War veteran section had gravestones (except for a couple anomalies in the rest of the burying ground; there was a gravestone for Angeline Billings Loos, 1868-1900). And there was even more of a sense of segregation about the place. The left side was mowed and included the veterans and an Old Jewish section. The right side was in the rough and was divided into old and new Protestant, old and new Catholic, and new Jewish. Probably because the Old Jewish section was mowed, I could more easily make out the small, circular, ground-level grave identifiers – see 37 below.

The Civil War veterans came from all over, but I did notice a few representatives from the local 148th and 333rd regiments, as well as one from the 50th NY Engineers. An example below is JAS ROE CO. K. 33 N.Y. INF. Several of the markers had aged enough to be unreadable (at least to me). In his article Walt mentioned that prior county historian Betty Auten learned that one of the graves belonged to William Collins, who was part of the squad that helped capture John Wilkes Booth. I didn’t notice that grave, possibly because it had aged too much.

0820170945-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171016-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171015-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171022-00 Willlard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171022-01Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171023-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171020-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171033-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171032-00(Wilard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171001-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820171007-00 Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

0820170955-00Willard cemetery 8-20-2017

from the 33rd’s roster

The image of the college and all the other brownish cut-outs come from agricultural college’s Charter Ordinances, Regulations and Course of Studies at Hathitrust. From the Library of Congress: General Patrick on horseback; map; farm overlooking Cayuga Lake, part of which borders Ovid on the east; changes, which skips ahead about fifty years to the July 25, 1906 issue of Puck; general with staff; peddler from the June 20, 1868 issue of Harper’s Weekly; a little less than a year earlier the August 20, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly published farm life. The images of the grain cradle and McCormick reaper come from Agricultural Implements and Machines
in the Collection of the National Museum of History and Technology
by John T. Schlebecker at Project Gutenberg – apparently the Smithsonian has a grain cradle from about 1844 and a model of a McCormick reaper from 1831 in its collection. I visited Ovid and the Willard cemetery in August 2017.
What Marsena Patrick would think of robots? His speech to the agricultural society reminded me of some of the tensions of our times. The general had intended to work as president of a college dedicated to applying science and technology to agriculture to make it more productive with presumably less of an emphasis on manual labor, yet he could bemoan big strong men selling jewelry. I certainly can relate. I remember a co-worker suggesting I take a Windows 95 course and being totally amused by difficulty controlling a mouse. Then years later when I finally got that mouse thing down folks started touching the screen … smudges all over and that’s a good thing, swiping left and right and all around … rubbing the thing like trying to get a genie out of the bottle … my big fingers flailing on the minuscule smartphone keyboard, yeah, please show the password I’m typing in because I have no idea. But change has been happening for a real long time. I believe I’ve heard that hunting/gathering is an even more ancient profession than farming and that agriculture’s greater surplusses allowed there to be a more professional priest class. That must have shaken up society.
I assumed that General Patrick was talking about technological change when he talked about men peddling, but that might not be true or it might have been only part of the story. From an article titled “FUGITIVES FROM LABOR” in the September 1867 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (pages 371-372):
… As a general rule, everybody is above his business, and thinks manual labor mean, and only fit for emigrants.
It is said that our mechanics are nearly all foreigners, and that an American apprentice is an extinct species, like the cave bear or the dodo. Farmers’ sons prefer any way of getting their bread to working with their hands. The pedler’s caste ranks higher than the manly independence of the plough. A country store is an object of ambition, where the only toil is to deal out a glass of wretched tipple to the village sots who haunt those castles of indolence to drink, to smoke, and to twaddle over stale village news. Some young fellows solicit subscriptions for maps or for great American works, or drum for fruit nurseries, patent clothes-wringers, or baby-jumpers. Others aspire to enter the religious mendicant orders of America as paid brethren. They are too proud to work, but not ashamed to beg. Beg is perhaps a hard word; but solicitation is begging when the solicitor personally profits by it.
The sons of trading fathers despise the old tiresome roads to wealth of their class. Ledgers and law-books are too slow. All are in search of the short cut to fortune. They believe in the philosopher’s stone as implicitly as the alchemists; they seek for it as earnestly. It is a jewel that will last forever, but its composition varies with each generation. …

But technology definitely does change life and some change sure seems good. From pages 274-275 the New York State history referenced in this post:

The influence of the urban market and the railroad is clearly illustrated in the growth of the milk industry. Before the construction of the railroads enabled farmers to send fresh country milk to market, a great deal of the milk drunk in New York City came from the immediate vicinity. An unusual source was so-called distillery milk, that is, milk from cows drinking the swill of distilleries. This milk was widely sold. The barns attached to the distilleries were incredibly dirty, since the cows never left their filthy pens. Their only food was the thirty to forty gallons of hot mash they drank each day. The diseased animals produced a “blue, watery, insipid, unhealthy secretion” whose food value was questionable. Sometimes the dairymen put in chalk, sugar, flour, molasses, starch, and coloring matter in order to conceal the water which they had added in generous amounts. Physicians kept up a running warfare against this milk, blaming it largely for the alarmingly high infant mortality. One out of two children failed to reach his fifth birthday. Little was done before the Civil War to clean up this source of malnutrition and disease. [Although, according to Wikipedia, “In May 1858, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper did a landmark exposé of the distillery-dairies of Manhattan and Brooklyn that marketed so-called swill milk …”]
Country milk gradually took command of the New York City market after railroads were built. …

limited edition

Grain cradle in use in the field (

“McCormick reaper (1831) in use in the field”

Grain Cradle, about 1844 (

“Grain cradle in use in the field”


  1. [1] Gable, Walter Historic Tales of Seneca County New York. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2017. Print. pages 20-22.
  2. [2] Ellis, David M., James A. Frost, Harold C. Syrett, and Harry J. Carman. A Short History of New York State. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1957. Print. page 271-279.
  3. [3] ibid. page 271.
  4. [4] ibid. page 273-274.
  5. [5] ibid. page 274-275.
  6. [6] ibid. page 275-276.
  7. [7] Gable, Walter Historic Tales of Seneca County New York. Charleston, S.C.: The History Press, 2017. Print. page 23.
  8. [8] ibid. page 23-24.
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massacre once more

From the October 14, 1917 issue of The New-York Times at the Library of Congress.
Nevsky Prospect “is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia.”
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safety first

According to the October 1, 1867 issue of The New-York Times a riot broke out 150 years ago today at a rally in Savannah, Georgia. The speaker apparently urged confiscation of white-owned land for ex-slaves. After things calmed down the police chief issued a seemingly non-discriminatory order to arrest all disorderly people regardless of race or politics:


A Meeting of Negroes Broken up by the Police – An Incendiary Mulatto Speaker

… SAVANNAH, Ga., Monday, Sept. 30.

A man named BRADLEY, a Boston mulatto, who has been several times arrested by the military and civil authorities for swindling negroes and exciting them to disturbance, had a gathering here of about one thousand negroes, mostly from the country to-day. In the course of his harangues against the white men, and in favor of a distribution of lands to the conservative negroes, he was interrupted and a mêlée occurred. A large number of police charged through the crowd, the military came to their aid and together cleared the square. The muskets brought in by a large band of country negroes were taken by the Police and turned over to the military. A large proportion of the colored population disapprove of BRADLEY and threaten to assassinate him. The perfect understanding which exists between the City Government and the military affords great satisfaction to all classes except the adherents of BRADLEY.

[later in the evening] … The city is all quiet. Disturbances are threatened between the country and conservative city colored people to-night, but Gen. ANDERSON, Chief of Police, has given orders to arrest every disorderly person, regardless of color or politics. The military will remain under arms, but their services will probably not be needed. A large number of arrests of rioters and several ringleaders have been made, and they will probably be sent to Fort Pulaski by the military.

According to Wikipedia Aaron Alpeoria Bradley was a lawyer “was among the very few African Americans admitted to the bar before the Civil War.” “He moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1865. In 1867 he applied for admission in United States District Court in Georgia as part of the carpetbagger movement. Due to the anti-black socio-political culture of the time, as well as Bradley’s confrontational activism against racial injustice, he was denied admission.” He advocated for more rights for blacks and against police brutality. At one point the government brought “criminal sedition charges against him.” From the Richmond Daily Dispatch December 27, 1865:

… A. A. Bradley, a mulatto, formerly expelled from the bar at Boston, was sentenced at Savannah to a year’s imprisonment by a military court for using seditious language. …

Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia / Sketched by A.R. Waud. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. XI, no. 523 (1867 January 5), p. 8. ; LOC:

this land is who’s land?

From the Library of Congress: Alfred R. Waud’s sketch of “Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia” published in the January 5, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly
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theme song

(Churchyard with graves) (between 1862 and 1869; LOC:

both sides now: “Under the sod and the dew, Waiting the judgment day;—”

On September 17, 1867 a national cemetery at Antietam was dedicated; dead Confederates were excluded, at least partly because of the rancor of war. 150 years ago this month a magazine included a poem that celebrated a somewhat different attitude. The poet was Francis Miles Finch: “Perhaps his best known poem, “The Blue and the Gray”, written in remembrance of the dead of the American Civil War, was inspired by a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, who on April 25, 1866 tended the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers, treating the dead as equals despite the lingering rancor of the war.”

From The Atlantic Monthly, VOL. XX.—SEPTEMBER, 1867.—NO. CXIX.:


They sleep in lonely southern graves (1867; LOC:

although well-decorated in Columbus, Mississippi

“A contrast! Federal buried, rebel unburied, where they fell at the Battle of Antietam”


Meanwhile in the land of the living (100 years ago) veterans of the American Civil War reportedly marched in London.

NY Times 9-23-1917(LOC:

veterans in London

NY Tribune 9-23-1917(LOC:

London bridge

All of the images are from the Library of Congress, although none are from Columbus, Mississippi: stereograph; sheet music; Alexander Gardner’s contrast at Antietam – the photo “from nature” is said to show “a man looking at the grave of 1st Lt. John A. Clark, Company D, 7th Michigan Infantry. A dead rebel soldier lies next to it.”; veterans from the September 23, 1917 issue of The New-York Times; at the Y.M.C.A. from the September 23, 1917 issue of the ; Charleston – the Confederate monument is in the background.
Fallen of the mighty conflict--graves of Confederate soldiers, Charleston, S. Carolina (1903; LOC:

Confederate graves, Charleston in 1903

Posted in 100 Years Ago, 150 Years Ago This Month, Aftermath, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction, Southern Society, War Consequences | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on theme song

war musing

war orphan

NYT 9-16-1917 orphan (LOC:

French war orphan

glee club

NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC:

they’ve got the music in them

road crew

NYT 9-16-1917 SC convicts (LOC: NYT 9-16-1917 glee club LOC:

doing their part to beat The Hun

All the images were published in the September 16, 1917 issue of The New-York Times and can be found at the Library of Congress
This past Sunday afternoon I was in a reverie, a sort of escapist reverie, looking through the 100 year old pictures, listening to Youtube music, when I saw the photo of the French orphan girl. That really affected me and snapped me out of my reverie. But then I saw the glee club from nearby Rochester and laughed right out loud: World War I, the Musical? Sonny & Cher could have done a great job making the road-building South Carolina prisoners into a comic opera sketch, Sonny as a convict in the old-fashioned striped outfit singing a chain gang aria with a big smile beaming. I have no idea who the woman under the umbrella is or what she’s doing at the work site, but I’m sure Cher would have carried off the role with her dispassionate passion.
The New York 69th Regiment fought for the Union throughout the Civil War. Despite its dislike of the British the unit fought alongside them during World War I. You can check out the 69th site.

practicing sixty-ninth

NYT 9-16-1917 fighting 69th (LOC:

charge like a red coat?

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Antietam address

NYT Sept. 18, 1867

The New York Times September 18, 1867

The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War. 150 years ago today dignitaries dedicated a national cemetery at the battlefield and laid the cornerstone of a national monument. It was a big event. According to The New-York Times arrangements were made so that round-trip tickets on the Baltimore & Ohio to Sharpsburg for the dedication were reduced to two-thirds the regular price; many government officials, military officers, foreign dignitaries attended; Dr. Elisha Harris, who was in charge of distributing supplies from the United States Sanitary Commission to the seventy-one “surgical depots” on and near the field after the battle accepted an invitation; the Commissioners of the Antietam Monument accepted the design of James G. Batterson for the approximately $30,000 “colossal statue and pedestal.”

According to the main report in the Times about 8,000 people attended the ceremony (only 2,000 could hear the proceedings) (according to Historynet’s account almost 15,000 were present). Like the dedication at Gettysburg back in November 1863 the main oration was not given by the United States president (Maryland’s ex-governor Augustus Bradford played the Edward Everett role); however, similarly to Gettysburg, President Andrew Johnson did say a few words. Unlike Gettysburg, those words didn’t go down in history, although they were recorded for history. From The New-York Times September 18, 1867:

… MY FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: In appearing before you it is not for the purpose of making any lengthy remarks, but simply to express my approbation of the ceremonies which have taken place to-day. My appearance on this occasion will be the speech that I will make; my reflections and my meditations will be in silent communion with the dead whose deeds we are here to commemorate. I shall not attempt to give utterance to the feelings and emotions inspired by the addresses and prayers which have been made, and the hymns which have been sung. I shall attempt no such thing. I am merely here to give my countenance and aid to the ceremonies on this occasion; but I must be permitted to express my hope that we may follow the example which has been so eloquently alluded to this afternoon, and which has been so clearly set by the illustrious dead. When we look on your battle field and think of the brave men on both sides who fell in the fierce struggle of battle, and who sleep silent in their graves, yes, who sleep in silence and peace after the earnest conflict has ceased, would to God we of the living could imitate their example as they lay living in peace in their tombs, and live together in friendship and peace. [Applause.] You, my fellow-citizens, have my earnest wishes, as you have had my efforts in times gone by, in the earliest and most trying perils to preserve the Union of these States, to restore peace and harmony to our distracted and divided country, and you shall have my last efforts in vindication of the flag of the Republic and of the Constitution of our fathers. [Applause.] …

The Times editorial on September 18th didn’t mention Andrew Johnson at all. It expressed the importance of honoring the (patriotic, Northern) war dead, but it was slightly critical of Governor Bradford’s oration for focusing too much on the facts of the Maryland campaign (although the Times began its main report with its own summary of invasion of 1862). The editorial ended with the “almost inspired language” of the ending of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address from “In a larger sense …” on.

I can’t tell from Andrew Johnson’s speech whether he realized that only Union soldiers were buried at Antietam. According to the National Park Service:

The original Cemetery Commission’s plan allowed for burial of soldiers from both sides. However, the rancor and bitterness over the recently completed conflict and the devastated South’s inability to raise funds to join in such a venture persuaded Maryland to recant. Consequently, only Union dead are interred here. Confederate remains were re-interred in Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; and Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Approximately 2,800 Southerners are buried in these three cemeteries, over 60% of whom are unknown.

Map of Antietam National Cemetery at Sharpsburg, Maryland (1867 LOC:

well laid-out … well segregated?

President Johnson might have rankled his audience by mentioning the “brave men on both sides.” His goal of peace, harmony, and friendship sound real good; back then that ideal was proving divisive – unlike the Congress, the president didn’t seem to care whether peace and harmony included anything like equal rights for the ex-slaves.

antnatlcemc1890 (

c. 1890

Sharpsburg from Cemetery Hill (1869

when thousands weren’t converging

ajspeech (

a bit different than NY Times report


The image of Sharpsburg was published in 1869’s History of Antietam National Cemetery, including a descriptive list of all the loyal soldiers buried therein: together with the ceremonies and address on the occasion of the dedication of the grounds, September, 17th, 1867. (at HathiTrust), The same book reported a slightly different version of President Johnson’s remarks, including “yon battle field”, which might make more sense than “your battle field”. The 1890 photo of the cemetery and the image of Andrew Johnson’s speech comes from an updated version of the dedication ceremonies also at HathiTrust. The newer book also added President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Both books show that the Freemasons had a large part in the cemetery dedication. That must have pleased Andrew Johnson, who was a “proud brother,” who “took part in the ceremonies of the Washington Templars.” In June 1867 “he was inducted into the higher degrees of the order.”That same month the president traveled to Boston for the dedication of a new temple.[1]
The cemetery map comes from the Library of Congress. You can read about the map’s mysterious No.28 – General Lee’s Rock at Crossroads of War. The issues involved with Lee’s Rock sound like today’s current events. The rock was gone by September 1868.
The Times in it’s “Sketch of the Battle” that began its main report included General Lee’s September 8, 1862 message to the people of Maryland and then commented: “… while Gen. LEE was thus proclaiming his pacific intentions, and giving exemplication of them by plundering everybody within reach of his troops …”
Also from the Library of Congress: Carol M. Highsmith’s photo of the private soldier monument, which made it to the cemetery in 1880. It spent time at Philadelphia’s centennial exposition; a nice Antietam review from the National Park Service
President Johnson’s remarks reminded me of Eric Foner’s comment on his 1866 Washington’s Birthday address: “… in a speech one hour long he referred to himself over 200 times …”[2] And as Hans L. Trefousse wrote (in the context of the “Swing Around the Circle”) “… the trouble with Johnson’s speeches was that he never fully prepared any of them in detail.[3]
Private soldier monument, Antietam Battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Maryland (by Carol M. Highsmith, LOC:

“colossal statue and pedestal” nowadays

NPS Antietam 1980 (

Clara Barton helped clean up the mess

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 286.
  2. [2] Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014. Updated Edition. Print. page 249.
  3. [3] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 266.
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Battle Monuments, Battlefields, Civil War Cemeteries, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Antietam address