The Story of Cooperstown
204 Pages
English

The Story of Cooperstown

-

Downloading requires you to have access to the YouScribe library
Learn all about the services we offer

Description

! "# ! $ % " " & ' & ( & ) *+ ,--. / 0*1.,*2 % & & 3 4$115+$* 666 ' 47 83 4) 9 : 44; 8 4 # 47 44 4 4 ( &?? " " @ ! 9 ! ( A ! " # $ ! " # $ ! % &' % &( ! ) ! % % %&'( & &) )! *% ' ) +) ! +(, %- . + , +% & % '! /& + 0 ! % %) , %'! ! 0%' %1-% ! ! )! ! % % ' &' )&. %*%&!' ! #% .%'- #%. )*% #%%& '%,%-!%. + ! % '! 2 &!% %'! ! ! % %1-,(' & + 0(- ! )! ) '! ' %1 %-!%. ! - &!) &3 % .(,, ! %). + * ,,) % '! )' #%%& + ,, /%. &, & '(- . %-!

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 08 December 2010
Reads 18
Language English
Document size 8 MB
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Story of Cooperstown, by Ralph Birdsall
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: The Story of Cooperstown
Author: Ralph Birdsall
Release Date: June 19, 2006 [EBook #18621]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE STORY OF COOPERSTOWN ***
Produced by Lisa Reigel, Curtis Weyant, Michael Zeug and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by Cornell University Digital Collections)
Joseph B. Slote
CO O PERSTO WNFRO MTHENO RTHWEST
THE STORY OF COOPERSTOWN
BY
RALPH BIRDSALL
Rector of Christ Church
With Sixty-eight Illustrations from Photographs
NEW YORK, CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, 1925
Copyright, 1917, by RALPHBIRDSALL
First printing, July, 1917 Second printing, December, 1917 Third printing, August, 1920 Fourth printing, August, 1925
Printed in the United States of America
FOREWORD
The ensuing narrative is a faithful record of life in Cooperstown from the earliest times, except that the persons and events to be described have been selected for their story-interest, to the exclusion of much that a history is expected to contain. The dull thread of village history has bee n followed only in such directions as served for stringing upon it and hold ing to the light the more shining gems of incident and personality to which i t led. Trivial happenings have been included for the sake of some quaint, pic turesque, or romantic quality. Much of importance has been omitted that declined to yield to such treatment as the writer had in view. The effort has been made to exclude everything that seemed unlikely to be of interest to the general reader. Those who seek family records, or the mention of all names worthy to be recorded in the history of the village, will find the book wanting.
The local history has been already three times reco rded, first in 1838 by Fenimore Cooper, whose work was brought down to date by S. T. Livermore in 1863, and by Samuel M. Shaw in 1886. While now out of print many copies of these books are still accessible.
[Pg vii]
CONTENTS
432
326
299
339
393
364
1
26
51
74
89
109
IV.
THEBEG INNINGO FTHESETTLEMENT
I.
THEINDIANS
III.
II.
VII.
VIII.
V.
VI.
258
HO MESANDGO SSIPO FOTHERDAYS
XV.
FATHERNASH
X.
THEBIRTHPLACEO FBASEBALL
CHRISTCHURCHYARD
THELAKEO FRO MANCEANDFISHERMEN
FRO MAPPLEHILLTOFERNLEIG H
VILLAG EMAPANDGUIDE
MR. JUSTICENELSO N
SO LIDSURVIVALS
130
150
163
192
211
247
XIII.
XI.
XIV.
XII.
THECO MINGO FTHEWHITEMEN
A VILLAG EINTHEMAKING
OLD-TIMELO VEANDRELIG IO N
STRANG ETALESO FTHEGALLO WS
A BYPATHO FTHEREVO LUTIO N
FENIMO RECO O PERINTHEVILLAG E
CHAPTER
IX.
TWENTIETHCENTURYBEG INNING S
THEIMMO RTALNATTYBUMPPO
THEPIO NEERCO URTRO O M
XVI.
XIX.
XVII.
XVIII.
[Pg ix]
PAGE
174
PO MERO YPLACE
CO UNCILRO CK
THECO O PERGRO UNDS
SITEO FCLINTO N'SDAM
PAGE
THEOLDESTHO USE
104
C. A. Schneider
OTSEG OLAKE, from Cooperstown
131
110
86
137
141
151
133
52
71
21
[Pg xi]
8
2
Arthur J. Telfer
Arthur J. Telfer
CHRISTCHURCH
C. A. Schneider
CO O PERSTO WN, from the northwest
ILLUSTRATIONS
Charles A. Schneider
THEOTSEG OIRO Q UO ISPIPE
91
78
127
THEHO USEATLAKELANDS, as originally built
MRS. WILSO N
THEWO RTHING TO NHO MESTEAD
Frontispiece
Joseph B. Slote
WILLIAMCO O PER, from the Stuart portrait
AVERELLCO TTAG E
Forrest D. Coleman
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
13
JO SEPHBRANT, from the Romney portrait
AMBRO SEL. JO RDAN
LAKELANDS
J. Patzig
Charles Frederick Zabriskie
ATMILLISLAND
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
C. A. Schneider
C. A. Schneider
C. A. Schneider
Forrest D. Coleman
C. A. Schneider
EDG EWATER
RESIDENCEO FW. H. AVERELLAND JUDG EPRENTISS
HYDEHALL
JAMESFENIMO RECO O PER
A WEDDINGDAYATHYDE
259
256
243
246
263
267
233
230
FATHERNASH
LEATHERSTO CKINGMO NUMENT
265
JO RDAN'SHO ME,ANDHISLAWOFFICE
THECHALET
THEORIG INALHO USEATAPPLEHILL (now Fernleigh)
BASEBALLO NNATIVESO IL
FENIMO RE
226
185
[Pg xii]
188
SHADO WBRO O K
HYDECLARKE, from the Emmet portrait
212
James W. Tucker
THENO VELIST'SLIBRARY, a drawing by G. Pomeroy Keese
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
Walter C. Stokes
A. J. Telfer
THEHO MEO FRO BERTCAMPBELL
238
156
158
WO O DSIDEHALL
RIVERBRINK
NATTYBUMPPO'SCAVE
260
249
THEGATE-TO WERATWO O DSIDE
SWANSWICK
A. J. Telfer
228
J. B. Slote
171
221
193
OTSEG OHALL, from an old drawing
A PAG EO FCO O PER'SMANUSCRIPT
THEHO MEO FNANCYWILLIAMS
THECALLFO RTHEINDIG NATIO NMEETING
NELSO NAVENUE
FERNLEIG H
C. A. Schneider
271
282
293
357
359
337
378
374
381
383
327
[Pg xiii]
314
320
300
284
365
334
347
297
A. J. Telfer
ATFENIMO RECO O PER'SGRAVE
THECO O PERSCREENSINCHRIST CHURCH
J. B. Slote
269
F. D. Coleman
Alice Choate
CHRISTCHURCHYARD, from the Rectory
A FUNERALINCHRISTCHURCHYARD
Alice Choate
MAPO FOTSEG OLAKE
THREE-MILEPO INT
THEHO MEO FJUSTICENELSO N
SAMUELNELSO N, LL.D.
FISHERMEN'SSHANTIESO NTHEFRO ZEN LAKE
Henry L. Eckerson
A. J. Telfer
THECO O PERPLO T,INCHRIST CHURCHYARD
THELAKE, FRO MTHEO-TE-SA-G A
HO P-PICKING
A. J. Telfer
J. B. Slote
M. Antoinette Abrams
A. J. Telfer
Elizabeth Hudson
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
KING FISHERTO WER
THESUSQ UEHANNA,NEARITSSO URCE
MAINSTREET, LO O KINGWESTFRO M FAIRSTREET, 1861
C. A. Schneider
LEATHERSTO CKINGFALLS
FIVE-MILEPO INT
MO HICANCANYO N
GRAVELLYPO INT
BISHO PPO TTER
THERECTO RY
THEARCHBISHO PO FCANTERBURYAND THEBISHO PO FNEWYO RK
BYBERRYCO TTAG E
THECLARKESTATEOFFICE
THELYRICATCO O PER'SGRAVE
CO O PERSTO WN,FRO MMO UNTVISIO N
MAPO FCO O PERSTO WN
A. J. Telfer
A. J. Telfer
M. Antoinette Abrams
A. J. Telfer
A. F. Bradley
C. A. Schneider
A. J. Telfer
C. A. Schneider
A. J. Telfer
J. B. Slote
A. J. Telfer
H. L. Eckerson
The Story of Cooperstown
CHAPTER I
THE INDIANS
387
388
389
391
395
396
405
407
409
420
430
432
The main street of Cooperstown traverses the village in a direction generally east and west. While the street and its shops are far superior to those of most small towns, the business centre, from which the vi sitor gains his first impression, gives no hint of the quaint and rustic beauty that makes Cooperstown one of the most charming villages in America.
Following the main street toward the east, one reaches the original part of the settlement, and the prospect is more gratefully reminiscent of an old-time village. In summer the gateway of the Cooper Grounds opens a pleasing vista of shaded greensward, while the cross street which runs down to the lake at this point attracts the eye to a half-concealed view of the Glimmerglass, with the Sleeping Lion in the distance at the north.
The historical associations of the village, from the earliest times, are centered in
[Pg 1]
the Cooper Grounds. Within this space, when the first white man came, were found apple trees, in full bearing, which Indians h ad planted, showing an occupation by red men in the late Iroquois period. On these grounds the first white settler, Col. George Croghan, built in 1769 his hut of logs. During the Revolutionary War it was upon this spot that Clinton's troops were encamped for five weeks before their spectacular descent of the Susquehanna River. On this site William Cooper, the founder of the village, built his first residence, and afterward erected Otsego Hall, which later became the home of his son, James Fenimore Cooper, the novelist.
Beyond the Cooper Grounds, on the main street, the buildings seen on either hand belong to the earlier period of village history, except the Village Club and Library, which gracefully conforms to the older style. After passing the next cross-street, the main thoroughfare THECO O PERGRO UNDSleads across the Susquehanna River, and, beyond the bridge, becomes identified w ith the old road to Cherry Valley. Keeping on up the incline, one finds Mount Vision rising before him, and begins to gain fascinating glimpses into the grounds of Woodside Hall, whose white pillars gleam amid the pines above the Egyptian gate-tower, and whose windows, commanding the whole length of the main street westward, reflect the fire of every sunset.
Just before reaching Woodside, one observes a road which makes off from the highway at the right, and runs south. Opening from this road to Fernleigh-Over, and quite close to the corner, is a small iron gate that creaks between two posts of stone. The gate opens upon a path which leads, a few paces westward, to a large, terraced mound, well sodded, and topped by two maple trees.
Sunk into the face of this mound is a slab of granite which bears this inscription:
WHITEMAN, GREETING!
WE,NEARWHO SEBO NESYO USTAND, WEREIRO Q UO IS. THEWIDELAND WHICHNO WISYO URSWASO URS. FRIENDLYHANDSHAVEG IVENBACK TOUSENO UG HFO RATO MB.
These lines offer a fitting introduction to the story of Cooperstown. There is enough of truth and poetry in them to touch the hea rt of the most indifferent
[Pg 2]
[Pg 3]
[Pg 4]
passer-by. No sense of pride stirs the soul of any white man as he reads this pathetic memorial of an exiled race and its vanished empire. From this region and from many another hill and valley the Indians w ere driven by their white conquerors, banished from one reservation to another, compelled to exchange a vast empire of the forest for the blanket and tin cup of Uncle Sam's patronage.
The mound in Fernleigh-Over is probably an Indian b urial site of some antiquity. In 1874, when the place was being graded , a number of Indian skeletons were uncovered in various parts of the grounds. The owner of the property, Mrs. Alfred Corning Clark, caused all the bones to be collected and buried at the foot of the mound. Some years afterward she marked the mound with the granite slab and its inscribed epitaph.
The lines were composed by the Rev. William Wilberforce Lord, D.D., a former rector of Christ Church, in this village, once hail ed by Wordsworth as the coming poet of America. He had written some noble verse, but wilted beneath [1] the scathing criticism of Edgar Allan Poe, and after becoming a clergyman published little poetry. This epitaph alone, however, fully justifies Dr. Lord's earlier ambition, for no poet of his time could have included more of beauty and truth and pathos within the compass of so brief an inscription.
In a comment upon the placing of this tablet, Mrs. Clark afterward wrote: "The position of the stone is misleading, and gives one an idea that the mound contains the bones—whereas they are buried at the foot of the mound. I have sometimes wondered if this rather curiously shaped mound, with the two maple trees thereon, might not contain undisturbed skeletons; and I feel sure that throughout this strip of land, which the grading on ly superficially disturbed, there are many bones of the Iroquois, for in 1900, when we cut down some trees, a skull was found in the fork of a root."
Mrs. Clark's record shows that the mound existed prior to 1874, and since this particular corner of ground was unoccupied before that date except, for a period, by the barns and stables of Lakelands across the way, it is reasonable to suppose that the mound was made by the Indians. While the mounds of New York State cannot be compared in size and extent wi th those of the West, [2] writers on Indian antiquities, from Schoolcraft onward, have identified as the work of red men many such formations within the Empire State. The mounds were commonly used by the Indians as places of buri al, and sometimes as [3] sites for houses, or as fortifications. The mound in Fernleigh-Over may be reasonably regarded as a monument erected by the Indians to the memory of their dead.
Two Indian skeletons were found in Fernleigh grounds in 1910, when a tennis court was being made, and the skeletons of Indians have been unearthed in some other parts of the village. A concealed sentry keeps vigil not far away from Fernleigh. The garden at the northwest corner of River and Church streets, nearly opposite to Fernleigh, has had for many years, on the River Street side, a retaining wall. When Fenimore Cooper owned the property this wall was his despair. For at a point above Greencrest, the wall, which then consisted of dry field stone, could never be kept plumb, but obstinately bulged toward the east; and as often as it was rebuilt, just so often it to ttered to ruin. There was a tradition that this singular freak was caused by th e spirit of an Indian chief
[Pg 5]
[Pg 6]
whose grave lay in the garden, and whose resentment toward the village improvements of a paleface civilization found vigorous expression in kicking down the wall. It was at last decided to replace the retaining wall with one of heavier proportions and more solid masonry. On tearing down the wall the tradition of former years was recalled, for there sat the grim skeleton of an Indian, fully armed for war! The new wall included him as before, but to this day there is a point in the wall where stone and mortar cannot long contain the Indian spirit's wrath. This Indian sentinel was first discovered by William Cooper when River Street was graded, and four generations of tradition in the Cooper family testified to his tutelary character.
The banks of the Susquehanna, near the village, and the shores of Otsego Lake, have yielded a plentiful harvest of Indian re lics in arrow-heads and spearpoints, with an occasional bannerstone, pipe, or bit of pottery. Often as the region has been traversed in search of relics, there seems always to be something left for the careful gleaner; and the experienced eye, within a short walk along riverbank or lakeshore, is certain to light upon some memento of the vanished Indian, while every fresh turning of the soil reveals some record of savage life.
Morgan describes an Indian trail as being from twelve to eighteen inches wide, and, where the soil was soft, often worn to a depth of twelve inches. Deeply as these trails were grooved in the earth by centuries of use, it is to be doubted if many traces of them now remain, although over the summit of Hannah's Hill, sheltered by thick pine woods, just west of the vil lage, there runs toward the lake a trail, which, though long disused, is clearl y marked, and is believed to have been worn by the feet of Indians. It is indeed possible that this is a [4] remaining segment of the great trail from the north, which, as Morgan's map shows, here touched Otsego Lake, and bent toward th e southwest. For, in 1911, a likely trace of it was found by Frank M. Tu rnbull while clearing the woods on the McNamee property west of the village. In line with the trail on Hannah's Hill, and southwest of it, were two huge h emlocks that bore upon their trunks the old wounds of blazes made as if by the axes of Indians. The blazes were vertical, deeply indented, and the thick bark had grown outward and around them, forming in each a pocket into which a man might sink his elbow and forearm. These patriarchal trees of the forest were about four feet in diameter at the base, and on being felled showed, by count of the rings, an age of nearly three hundred years.
When Fenimore Cooper, inThe Deerslayer, describes Council Rock as a favorite meeting place of the Indians, where the tribes resorted "to make their treaties and bury their hatchets," he claims a picturesque bit of
[Pg 7]
[Pg 8]
stage setting for his drama, but also records an CO UNCILRO CK early tradition. This rock, sometimes called Otsego Rock, standing forth from the water where the Susquehanna emerges from the lake, had been a favorite landmark for the rendezvous of Indians. As one views it now, from the foot of River Street, it lifts its rounded top not quite so high above the water as when Cooper described it in 1841. The damming of the Susquehanna to furnish power for the village water supply has raised the whole level of Otsego Lake, and gives an artificial fullness to the first reaches of the long river.
Whether Cooperstown stands upon the site of an old Indian village is a debated question. Richard Smith's journal describes his visit at the foot of Otsego Lake in 1769, before the time of any considerable settle ment by white men, and makes no mention of any Indian residents of the place. He saw many Indians here, but gives the impression that they were come from a distance to visit the Indian Agent whose headquarters lay at the foot of Otsego Lake. On the other hand, a stray hint comes from the papers of William Cooper, among which is a memorandum including various notes relating to population and other statistics, jotted down apparently in preparation for a speech or article on early conditions here, and containing the item, "Old Indian Village." A more significant record appears in theChronicles of Cooperstown, published in 1838, in which Fenimore Cooper asserts that "arrow-heads, stone ha tchets, and other memorials of Indian usages, were found in great abundance by the first settlers, in the vicinity of the village." InThe Pioneers, his description of Cooperstown includes, in a location to be identified with the present Cooper Grounds, fruit trees which he says "had been left by the Indians, and began already to assume the moss and inclination of age," when the first settlers came.
The fruit trees would indicate permanent though late occupation of this site by Indians; "stone hatchets in great abundance" would suggest that a prehistoric village was here. But it is difficult to understand how so little trace should now remain of the one-time "great abundance" of hatchets. Such is not the case at any other permanent prehistoric site in the general region, where pestles and hatchets continue to be found even in streets, as w ell as in yards, and well-tilled gardens.
Every few years the inhabitants of ancient villages in the east were wont, for various reasons, to build new cabins on new ground, though not far removed from the old. Not all the sites of ancient Otesaga, if ancient Otesaga existed, can have been covered by Cooperstown. Some fields s hould still produce something out of "an abundance" of village debris. Yet only one hatchet has [5] come, in many years, from all the foot of the lake. Many points, spear and arrow, have been found on all shores of Otsego; for beyond doubt the lake, from very early time, was a resort for aboriginal hunters and fishermen. But points indicate only camp sites.
On the whole, by reason of the notable absence at this time of stone relics indicating permanent residence, it seems possible t hat the statement concerning their original abundance was exaggerated, and there is no good
[Pg 9]
[Pg 10]
[Pg 11]