Article Archives: Articles - Franklin County (MA) News Archive
Revised list of topics
Revised list of topics
Revised Jan. 10, 2009
Welcome to the list of topics. You can call them subject headings or tags - they offer you another method of searching the Franklin County Publication Archive site. Interested in accident victims in Athol? Click on the tag below for Accident Victims and find a list of articles dating from Jan. 1, 1870 to August , 1875. Once on the page of articles, then use your Find command to pull up all articles mentioning Athol.
The search engine is being revamped by the wonderful and highly overworked Mik Muller. Once it is completed, you will be able to search for multiple subjects or terms by simply dividing terms with a comma in the search box. Example: Jones, Deerfield, Births That should give you a nice listing of all Joneses born in Deerfield during the time period mentioned above. Another way to search it will be to choose the terms Deerfield and Births from the drop down box and add Jones to the search box. Voila!
ACCIDENT VICTIMS Here reside the fatalities, not the regular every day deaths. Industrial accidents, drownings, death by fire, train, loose circus animals, accidental shootings, and freak accidents.
ACCIDENTS Much more run of the mill stuff here, and not even fatal, at least in most cases. Many of these articles concern runaway horses, falls and narrow escapes. ADVERTISING One of my favorite sections. Classified ads are also included here. AFRICAN AMERICANS / BLACKS Everything is covered here. Articles deal with slavery, racism, lynchings, and the like, but it is noteworthy to see that many articles are not racist in content.
AMUSEMENTSis kind of a catch-all, but primarily concerns fun stuff done for amusement - picnics, parades, croquet games, tableaux, taffy pulling, sleigh rides, masquerade parties, sociables, shadow pantomimes - you get the idea.
ANIMALS / REPTILES From the barnyard to the circus, to the hunted, to cats and dogs. Horses have their own category. I regret now that I did not create a subject heading for cruelty to animals, but those articles are also included here.
ARABS Exotic stuff here. Turkey, Palestine, harems, whirling dervishes, reflecting the fascination for the Middle East and all its customs and traditions in the 1870s. ARCHAEOLOGY is a mixed bag of accidental findings - like the dinosaur footprints in the Connecticut River bed in Turners Falls, to old burial sites of Native Americans [which were treated with appalling lack of respect]. "Humbugs" like the Cardiff giant are also included here, as well as accidental finding of treasure.
ASTRONOMY Rare astronomical events, aurora borealis, miracles, meteors, solar eclipses - and the more mundane, references to the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
ATHOL, MA BARBER / HAIR includes not only the establishment itself, but also all references to hair, wigs, bald heads, medicine to grow hair, hair dyes, etc. BARS (DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS) Pretty much portrayed as den of iniquities. The Gazette & Courier is very much pro temperance.
BIRDS All kinds of birds, many articles related to hunting. Hen stories abound as well, with some hens laying eggs that are 8 inches wide! [I pity the poor bird]. BIRTH CONTROL A really sad section, since birth control in this time period only relates to mothers killing their newborns, to botched illegal abortions, etc. BIRTHS Are prolific. Many names, usually only of the proud father, are repeated each year. Of course the matching obituaries contain many of these infants as well. All cases of multiple births worldwide are listed.
CHILDREN - They’re everywhere of course - families are huge, 15 children being a normal size. But the youth culture has not taken hold - one mostly hears about children having accidents or dying, or around Christmas time, or in school.
CONNECTICUT RIVER - The important one. All others are in one section entitled RIVERS.
CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES - Hasn’t dawned on them too much, even though they are familiar with Thoreau’s work. CONTESTS Base ball games (we call ’em baseball) becoming popular. Bets and wagers always a part of our society. We’ve got walking contests, horse races, tobacco stripping contests, girls splitting hard wood slabs, which hen can lay the biggest egg, who can grow the tallest corn stalk, etc.
COURTS One of the largest sections. Look here for all criminal activity. COURTSHIP - The path of true love did not run smoothly, even in the old days. Poems and stories abound, even personal ads (very high-toned ones, of course). Murders and scandals are not uncommon, as well. CRIME - Ah crime! There’s some of everything here, some of it salacious, much of it fines for drunkenness. CRIMINALS - Not everyone who commits a crime is a criminal. I reserved this area for people like serial poisoners, bank robbers, desperados, outlaws [like Red-Handed Dick and Henry Berry Lowery].
CULTS - Oh yes, they existed back then, and were just as troublesome. Read about Adventists, proponents of Free Loveism, Millerism, the Shakers, the Christian Israelites, the Nazarites, and the Howling Dervishes [Hmm, great name for a rock band]. CURIOSITIES AND WONDERS is a great catchall section, and one of my favorites [of course]. Here you will read about human and animal abnormalities - a youth with three legs and four feet, a lizard living in a man’s stomach, a three horned and three eyed ox, a living skeleton, a four legged chicken - well, you get the idea ;-). CUTLERY AND CUTLERY TRADE - Very important to Greenfield and Turners Falls history.
DANCE - Many kinds of dancing available for the young and the old. From Balls to Belly Dancers.
DEERFIELD, MA DISASTERS- We always have them. However, they don’t have the immediacy that they do nowadays in today’s news. Read about the great Chicago fire of 1871, the great Boston fire of 1872, shipwrecks, earthquakes, floods and explosions.
DISEASES - We’ve got a million of ’em. DIVORCE - the Court makes you jump through hoops, wait years, etc., but divorces do happen.
DREAMS AND SLEEP - Sleep and sleep disorders also included here. DRUG ABUSE - From sulphuric ether, to tobacco, chloral, opium and laudanum.
EXPLORERS - A great time period for exploration. We have Dr. Livingston, Arctic explorers, and more.
EYE - Blindness, accidents, eyeglasses, sore eyes, etc.
FAIRS - held bout once a week - the favorite moneymaker of the women’s church groups. Then there’s the County Fairs, which are covered as thoroughly as possible.
FAMILY - Family reunions, loving families, insane families, incest, and more. Very useful for genealogists.
FARMERS AND FARMING - A hot topic in the 19th century. Also covers tobacco and fertilizers. FASHION - A fun section. Sunbonnets, French kid gloves, waterproof dress goods, garters, corsets, wigs, demi-trains, false insteps, shawls, plaid poplins, striped stockings, chignons, Chinese grass cloth, kilting, etc.
FIRES - There are so many, and so few ways to put them out, that it’s a wonder that any buildings survived the 19th century at all. I had to be very exclusive, and only cover those fires of local and international interest.
FISHES AND FISHING - You can get a barrel of oysters delivered right to your door, andthey are "the" Sunday breakfast.
FOOD - For the gourmet and the every day eater. This section is large and all inclusive. Includes some recipes and all restaurant ads.
FREEMASONRY - A group deserving of their own section. FRENCH - Many influences here, from the Mansard or "French" roofs, stationary, corsets, pottery, jewelry, the Franco-Prussian War, etc. FURNITURE - Wooden items, [and what wood! Black walnut, solid ash, walnut, chestnut] beds and sofas [occasionally covered with haircloth], and some interesting articles about Gardner, Mass., the "chair capital of the world".
GAMBLING - One of the oldest vices. Chinese gambling houses, dog-pits, bets, every day chance taking.
GANGS - Not the Bloods and the Crips, but the homegrown Tough End boys, roughs and rowdies, brigands and juvenile delinquents.
GARBAGE - Remember that this is pre-plastic (in most respects) and that the necessity for community trash dumps is not an issue yet. Most, or all farmers, keep an iron and glass scrap heap somewhere in the back forty - a practice which still occurs today. Some articles do concern garbage - rubbish littering the streets, a city without sewers, ash barrels, etc.
GAYS - ah, this is a tough but rewarding section, where I’ve had to "read between the lines" quite a bit. Included here are men who dressed as women, and women who dressed as men [with the understanding that, especially in women’s cases, this could have been done for economic and other reasons]. Famous figures like Oscar Wilde, Susan B. Anthony and Anna Dickinson are the meat and potatoes of this section. GEOGRAPHY - one of the more recent additions, includes topographical surveys, maps, tourist type articles, etc.
GERMANS - Nice to see this ethnic group portrayed in such a positive light. Local Germans are hard working, athletic, happy, beer drinkers who do not get drunk, like to compete in gymnastic contests, love to dance, etc.
GLASS - a particular favorite of mine, since I dig for, and collect old glass embossed bottles. Bottles, window glass, demi-johns, looking glasses, etc. As time allows, I will scan in some of my "dug" antique bottles for your viewing pleasure. GOVERNMENT - usually Presidents, Congress, and taxes, new states and territories. Many other government related articles will be found under POLITICS.
GYPSIES - always a few passing through, telling fortunes, trading horses, stealing chickens, and kidnapping local children.
HAMPSHIRE & HAMPDEN COUNTIES (MA) A catch all section for all those towns not privileged to be in Franklin County, and yet covered fairly thoroughly here. So look for articles on Amherst, Northampton, and the Massachusetts Agricultural College (the earlier name of the University of Massachusetts).
HANDICAPPED - the blind, the deaf, the lame, the insane - all find a home here. Cork legs, poor houses and alms-houses, deformed infants, hunchbacks, etc. HAWLEY (MA)
HERITAGE ACTIVITIES - will come into their own a little later. For now, centennial celebrations are included here.
HISPANICS - another catchall heading. Latin American activities, as well as Spanish Peninsular items. This subject heading will probably be combined with LATIN AMERICA eventually.
HISTORY - well, it’s all history to us, right? But included here are items which were of historic interest to the inhabitants of the 1870’s - the early days of Greenfield, Deerfield, and Montague; the founding of historical organizations, like the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and genealogical family histories.
HOLIDAYS - not much different from today’s celebrations. Of course the 4th of July was a maelstrom of fireworks and severed limbs, and Christmas advertising did not occur untilthe two issues before Dec. 25th. Sabbath Schools all had their holiday celebrations, complete with Christmas trees and a song fest, and Valentine’s Day had already started its decline into ignorant and joke cards. Washington’s birthday, All Fool’s Day, May Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day are all represented. No sign of Halloween yet. HOOSAC TUNNEL (MA) is rapidly nearing completion. Read about the 19th century version of the "Big Dig". HORSES - I find this section absolutely fascinating. The vital importance of horses for all transportation needs is clearly shown, especially during the "Horse Disease"(Epizootic) of 1872. You either rassled up an oxen or goat, or you walked - in those places not accessible by train, of course.
HOTELS - There’s not that many of them, but they know how to do it up in style, and are a vital part of the town’s culture. This is the era when enormous resort hotels are springing up, and the concept of vacations are taking hold in the middle and upper classes. HOUSEHOLDS is a broad subject; I mainly went by the rule of thumb of what occurred inside a dwelling. Houses were the domain of women, and so items made specifically for women, like sewing machines, find a home here. Hints on cookery and thrift, as well as kitchen appliances also find a home here ;-). Ah yes, the world of washing, ironing, canning, and child rearing.
HUNGARIANS - Why the Hungarians, you say? Well, this is one of those personal interest type headings, since I am half Hungarian.
ICE - a big business, back in the days of pre-refrigeration. Ice was "harvested" from local lakes, and kept cool in warehouses, to be sold in blocks throughout the warm months. Also included here are frozen over rivers and ponds, ice skating, and ice used for drinks and preserving food.
To search for a particular subject term, click on the highlighted link containing that term at the bottom of the article. For example, if you are seeking more articles about animals, click on the highlighted link which says Animals/Reptiles/Amphibians.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
The first colored Senator Reverend H.R. Revels
The first colored Senator Reverend H.R. Revels [Hiram R. Revels] - A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial writes from Holly Springs, Mississippi, as follows concerning ex-Senator Revels, now a Methodist minister near there: "When we entered the door of the plain white frame meeting house, it was filled with worshipers. The Pastor is held in high esteem by his flock at home.
He is both law maker and shepard [i.e. shepherd], statesman and preacher. His party has put an "Hon." [Honorable] before his name, and a college of his church has put a "D.D." [Doctor of Divinity" behind it. He cane home from Washington City as pure as he went,which cannot be said of every white Senator [or ANY Senator these days]...
Pastor Revels is a man of about 30, rather below medium height, with wide perceptive faculties, and a face remarkably bland and winning. He is a light mulatto,with eyes tinged with blue. He is comely, graceful and dignified, and in manner as polite as Chesterfield, without the least affectation.
His voice is strong and rich of accordant tones, his modulation distinct, his sentences models of compact English. You can almost see his punctuation points as he speaks, so exactly measured and as symmetrical as his diction. His gestures are mostly with the forearm, hand and finger, as if he would paint on canvas every shade of his meaning, and touch delicately every color of flower in his rhetoric.
There is no bombast, no trick of syllable or scare of sound. He just talks to you right out in an earnest, straightforward way, and you are arrested, interested, affected and helped by what he says. All this from a farm chattel - a United States Senator, a self-made man.
But he is far in advance of his race. He is a pioneer. Well might his colored substitute in the pulpit, a preacher black as ebony, referring to Pastor Revels in his public prayer, beseech blessings upon the head of "de old, leader of the army". We "heard a white amen to that. And he has an army of a congregation!"
It is much above the average in intelligence, and the order and attention excellent. The Pastor’s influence over the people is marvelous. He can sway a thousand people by a gesture or a word. He said to us that strange as certain demonstrations might seem, it was paradise in order and sweetness to what it had been in former days.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
Rev. Mr. Warfield of Greenfield, who was instrumental in getting up the protest of the Franklin County clergymen against Mr. Beecher's preaching at Lake Pleasant, and who bore the protest to Mr. Beecher at the Twin Mountain House, is man enough to publish a letter in the Greenfield Gazette, vindicating the motives of Mr.Beecher in making his engagement, and rebuking that paper for its unjust and uncharitable statement -- Springfield Union.
We deny that our statement was uncharitable to Mr.Beecher, or intentionally unjust. Mr.Warfield and every clergyman who signed the protest presented by Mr. Warfield to Mr. Beecher, and a large majority of the people of this vicinity, approved of our article and were glad to see it. It was the first thing that opened Mr. Beecher's eyes to the nature of his engagement.
The only thing stated, not strictly correct, was that Mr. Beecher was to receive compensation for his services. Whether people go back on us or not, the Gazette & Courier will not hesitate at all times to advocate an observance of the Sabbath and good morals for the community in which it circulates.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
News of the week
Mrs. Jones of North Somerville found the other day, a loving letter to Mr. Jones from a New York woman, and the next day discovered another; whereupon she broke a chair and two pitchers over her husband's head and tried to shoot him with a pistol. He succeeded in disarming her, when she took a dose of strychnine, but so large a one as to overdo the business.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
Mr. Beecher at Lake Pleasant
Mr. Beecher at Lake Pleasant - We have been assured on reliable authority that Henry Ward Beecher has been engaged by the railroad companies interested to preach at Lake Pleasant on Sun. the 19th; that excursion trains will be run from all parts of the state, and arrangements made for one of the largest gatherings ever held there. It may be urged by Mr. Beecher’s apologists, that he can preach at Lake Pleasant with the same propriety as in his own Plymouth pulpit, that his mission is to preach the Gospel to every creature.
But we cannot take this view of the matter at all. The meeting is not arranged in the cause of Christianity, nor for the purpose of obtaining any good. It is a worldly matter, a matter of dollars and cents. The railroad companies, knowing the curiosity among the people to see the man about whom there has been so much talk (and this curiosity far exceeds any desire to hear him preach), have made him a proposition to exhibit himself on the Sabbath at a place where thousands will be glad to make an excursion, simply for pleasure.
Of course Mr. Beecher has been offered compensation, and it is this compensation that has lead him to accept. The needless desecration of the Sabbath, this stroke of business under the cover of religion, will debase Mr. Beecher in the minds of people hereabouts far more than did the prolonged scandal trial through which he has passed. There are many people who yet have faith in, and respect for the New England observance of the Christian Sabbath.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
The Belchertown tragedy
Of course the death of Nettie Barrett, aged 17, by her own hand at Belchertown, and the narrow escape of her companion, Frances S. Bridgman, 14 years old, from a like fate, have created the profoundest sensation in that quiet community’, and the funeral of the former at the Methodist Church Sun. was largely attended. Indeed the whole affair is such a strangely sad one that there is a wide interest to learn all possible particulars concerning it.
The girls were bright and attractive, belonging to the higher village circles. Miss Barrett was sent to Belchertown last April by her mother, who lives at south Amherst, to continue her education, and was to have been examined for the High School Sat., and baptized Sun. in the Church which witnessed her burial; and Miss Bridgman, who had been her almost constant companion of late, was the adopted daughter of Calvin Bridgman.
Miss Barrett had the reputation of being a rather wild person, and the girls were in the habit of being out late nights. Miss Barrett was the leader, and her conduct had become so notorious that her guardian, Franklin Dickinson, had a serious talk with her Thurs. on her behavior. When she returned that eve., she remarked to Mrs. Daniel Packard, with whom she was stopping, that they "wouldn’t be troubled with her being out any more nights".
At 8 o’clock, she and Miss Bridgman - who had been secreted in the room - were observed by neighbors to leave the house. They procured the fatal morphine at the drug store of Mr. Barnes, the elder, a few days before, they had unsuccessfully undertaken to get the poison of the son, who refused to give it without a prescription. Mr. Barnes claims that he supposed it was for Calvin Bridgman. At what time and how the girls got into Packard’s house again is not known.
About half past 7 o’clock Fri. morning, Mrs. Owen, with whom Frances Bridgman was boarding during her parent’s absence, came over in the greatest alarm about her, saying that the night before the girl had left, after bidding them a tearful farewell. Mrs. Packard went immediately to the room and there the victims lay, one in a deadly stupor and the other writhing in terrible agony.
The bed was covered with candy, and Miss Bridgman explained that they had overeaten of this. Efforts were made to revive Miss Barrett, who refused to take anything but cold water, and then determinedly said "Go away, I want to sleep". When Mrs. Packard had left the room for help, Miss Bridgman hailed a little girl and threw down this note, written in a confused, uncertain hand, and unsigned:
"Mr. Barnes - will you be so kind as to send me as much chloroform as here is money enough, five cents’ worth?"
She threw down also two letters directed to George T. Slauter, Belchertown, and Wilbur F. Nichols, at Wilbraham Academy, bidding them farewell and asking them to act as bearers. Then followed an exciting scene in the little bedroom Poor Nettie Barrett was dying. Miss Bridgman confessed that they had taken the morphine, that the candy was only a ruse, that there had been scandalous stories in the town about them, that she did not wish ever to see her parents again, and hoped and expected to die.
She quietly watched her dying companion and waited for the expected chloroform. With the death of Miss Barrett however, came the desire to live, and she requested salt and water to enable her to vomit more.
The wonderful nerve and mingled frankness and cunning of these little misses as displayed during the whole affair, are brought out by the scenes immediately preceding the tragedy. Only 5 hours before they entered the little bed room, they gayly played croquet with some young people, holding in their hands the candy which they were to sprinkle on the bed.
Miss Bridgman wrote what she thought was her last letter to her father, in simple, affectionate, yet determined words. She would meet her parents in a world where there were no scandalous tongues, and where they could live in peace.
[Now don’t ask me how I got there, but I believe that Frances S. Bridgman is actually Emma Francis Bridgman, daughter of Franklin A. Bridgman, born in 1860].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 23, 1875
There is still another sensation in this region. This time it is an elopement. A Monroe man of 35 ran away with a girl of 15, living in Readsboro, Vt. The father of the girl came to Monroe to see if a marriage certificate had been obtained, and finding there had been none, followed the runaway pair to Hoosick, N.Y. Here it appeared they had been married, but the father traced them back to Pownal, Vt. and then gave up the search. The girl left behind her a note, saying that when she got settled down, she should send for her clothes.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
[Tried during the same session as the Woodard libel trial]. Peleg Adams vs. John Single, and Single vs. Adams were both tried at the same time, the first being on a promissory note in payment (or in part payment) of a building lot, bought by the defendant. The answer to the first suit is the declaration of the second, which alleges that the consideration of the note has failed by reason of Rev. Mr. Schwartz holding the land bought adversely. The case practically resolves itself into the same old boundary line between the plaintiff's (Adams) land and the Schwartz farm, and which was fought over in the Hartley vs. Adams case some two years ago.
The boundary in question is from a point near the suspension bridge over the Connecticut River, leading from Greenfield to Turners Falls, thence westerly to the highway leading from Greenfield to Factory Hollow. The same old "Indian Trail", "white pine stump" and "line trees" figure again as freshly to this jury as if they had not been as circumstantially rehearsed over the Hartley trial.
As in the former case, the jury were taken over the ground to view the disputed boundary. If the line shows that the land did not belong to Adams, of course the first case fails, and the plaintiff in the second action will recover what he has paid, with his expense in preparing for the erection of his house, and the note given for part payment will fail for want of consideration. The cases were given to the jury Sat., but no verdict given at the time of going to print. G.L. Barton and W.S.B. Hopkins for Single; S.O. Lamb and F.G. Fessenden for Adams. The criminal cases will be taken up today (Monday).
Mary E. Woodard vs. Samuel S. Eastman et al. - This was an action of libel brought by the plaintiff, the wife of Elbridge O. Woodard of Greenfield, against the defendants, publishers of the Gazette & Courier, claiming $5000 as compensation for the damage to her character, by a certain item published in the paper of the defendants on the 25th of Jan. last. The following is the plaintiff’s declaration, and the plaintiff says the defendants printed and published, and caused and procured to be printed, published and circulated, in a certain newspaper, edited and issued by the defendants at Greenfield, in the same county, this false, scandalous and defamatory libel of and concerning the plaintiff, a copy whereof is hereby annexed:
Copy of libel annexed: "Our village was disturbed by a lively row Sat. eve. It appears that Elbridge G. Woodard, whose wife is employed in the kitchen of the Mansion House, had learned from intercepted letters that one Bailey, a blacksmith of Shelburne Falls, had planned an elopement with Mrs. W. Woodard [meaning thereby the plaintiff; and further meaning that she, the plaintiff, had secretly devised, agreed and arranged with the said Bailey, and he with her, to run away and leave her lawful husband, the said Elbridge G. Woodard, and to live with him, the said Bailey, in adultery], his brother Galusha Woodard, and a friend were in waiting at the appointed hour, and when Bailey made his appearance at the rear of the Mansion House, pounced upon him, one Woodard using his fists and the other a whip-stock. Officer Kimball finally separated the parties, but Bailey was badly punished. Thoroughly scared, he rushed for his team at the American House, and made hasty tracks for home, while Woodard, in another sleigh, followed in his pursuit."
Whereby the plaintiff was and is greatly injured in her name, character and reputation, and was and is held up and exposed to public ignominy, shame, and disgrace, and was and is otherwise, greatly damnified. By the plaintiff’s attorney, Charles G. Delano.
Defendants’ answer - And now the defendants come, and for answer say, that they admit that they are the publishers of the Gazette & Courier, and that the article set forth in plaintiff’s declaration was published in the issue of January 25, 1875. The defendants deny each and every other allegation contained in said declaration, and leave the plaintiff to prove the same. They deny that said alleged libelous article is false, scandalous or malicious. They deny that said plaintiff has been in any way injured in her name, character or reputation by said publication...And the defendants aver that said article, as published by them, is substantially true; and they say that the village was disturbed on said Sat. eve. by a lively row; that the plaintiff was employed at the Mansion House; that letters had been intercepted, and that the plaintiff’s husband had learned from said letters that one Bailey had planned an elopement with the plaintiff; that said husband and Galusha, his brother, were in waiting at the appointed hour, and that when Bailey made his appearance in the rear of the Mansion House, they pounced upon him, one with fists, and the other with a whip-stock; and that the parties were separated by Officer Kimball; and Bailey was badly punished, and rushed for his team at the American House, and drove rapidly homeward, pursued by Woodard.
And the defendant further say that said article, set forth in plaintiff’s declaration, was so published by them in good faith, without malice toward the plaintiff, as current news of the day, and substantially as stated by the husband of the plaintiff to the defendants and to the bystanders and to others, on said Sat. eve., and at other times...That said words "that one Bailey planned an elopement with Mrs. W." do not, in their plain, common and natural import, accuse the plaintiff of any action whatever in the matter. It is Bailey who has planned...By C.C. Conant, Defendant’s Att’y.
It was decided to proceed with the case, and C.G. Delano, Esq., counsel for the plaintiff, opened by alleging that the words of the obnoxious item were false, and would be an injury to his client for a long time; would lacerate her feelings and hold her up before the community in shame and disgrace. Admitting that a portion of the facts were true, he said the objectionable words were those which alleged elopement...The counsel then read an item alluding to the libel case, from a recent issue of the Springfield Union, the responsibility for the publication of which he tried to trace to the defendants...
The first witness called by the prosecution was the junior editor of the Gazette & Courier, who was asked under oath, the extent of the circulation of the paper. [This is rather a delicate question with some publishers, but we have no reason to be ashamed of our growth, in the court room or elsewhere]. Mary E. Woodard was next put upon the stand. She had lived in Greenfield about 10 years, and had been married 17 years to Elbridge G. Woodard. She held property and did business in her own name. The publication of the article which she had alleged was libelous, had been made the subject of no little talk and comment about town, and she cited instances when it had been the occasion of sneers and derision when she walked the streets.
People who had been friendly before now cut her acquaintance. She described an interview which she had with Mr. Eastman after the publication of the item. She said that she was real sorry that it had appeared, and asked him to retract it; but he said it was all true, and he could prove it. On the cross examination she said she had worked at the Mansion House 3 days, at the time of the disturbance there. Her husband came for her that night about 7 o’clock in the eve. to take her home. He went out to get his horse; had been gone half an hour when he came back and said there was a gentleman at the door who wanted to see her. She went to the door, saw a gentleman and went right back.
Afterwards she heard a noise but didn’t hear anything said. Didn’t know what the disturbance was about; didn’t anticipate any row; didn’t know what it was. Saw Bailey the week before at the house of friends at Shelburne Falls, and played cards with him. She saw her husband the next day after the fracas, but didn’t see him again that night. She never got a letter from Bailey; didn’t know whether her husband had intercepted one or not; she never wrote to him. She had lived in Coleraine a number of years with her husband. He was in the war 3 years. She had no talk with Mr. Doolittle after the trouble at the Mansion House about the matter, never told anybody that her husband had intercepted letters.
She never told Maggie Tracy anything about it nor Jim Butler. She never had any trouble at Coleraine with her husband; never heard any stories about her character; didn’t remember asking Hugh B. Miller if an accusation of unchastity by her husband was sufficient ground for divorce. She never told Euclid Owen that she was "going to get a good slice out of Eastman". never asked him if they could go back more than 5 years on her character. Didn’t sit on a sofa with Bailey at Shelburne Falls; never told him that he was the "first man that ever turned his back on her". In direct testimony she did not expect her husband to call upon her the night of the fracas. He asked her if she got a letter from Bailey, and she told him she hadn’t.
The prosecution rested their case her, and C.C. Conant Esq. opened for the defense. He told the jury that he would prove that the complainant’s character could not have been greatly injured by the publication, because it was already soiled by a reputation for unchastity in this and an adjoining town; but it would appear in testimony; that the statement published was substantially true. He would show that Bailey received a letter, and came to Greenfield to meet her in obedience to it; that this proposed meeting was the reason that Woodard committed the assault, and because Bailey was going to run away with his wife. Before the witnesses for the defense were called to testify, Lilla B. Woodard, a daughter of the plaintiff, was put upon the stand by the prosecution, and she said that she had complained to her mother about the treatment she receives from the children at school in consequence of the scandal.
The first witness for the defense was Samuel S. Eastman, the senior editor of the Gazette & Courier. He described the interview with Mrs. Woodard at his house after the publication. she asked him if he had not published something about her, and he replied by inquiring if Bailey did not come to meet her, and if letters were not intercepted. She did not deny, but she said "You can’t prove it". She did not ask him to retract or apologize, but was violent in her talk and behavior, and said she would give him all the law he wanted.
E.A. Hall, the junior proprietor of the Gazette was called to the stand, and said that he wrote the item giving an account of the disturbance, that he had no malice towards Mrs. Woodard, and knew her only by reputation. In the cross examination he told how he obtained the facts, as published, by Officer Kimball, whom Woodard had told that he (Woodard) had intercepted letters from Bailey to his wife, arranging to run away with her. Darwin F. Hamilton, a clerk in the post office, did not recollect of a letter passing through the office directed to Mrs. Woodard.
George Doolittle, proprietor of the Mansion House, said the plaintiff worked for him two days at the time of the fracas. He recollected the disturbance. Mrs. Woodard was in the pastry room at the time, adjoining the kitchen, where the sound of voices outside could be plainly heard. He saw Mrs. Woodard when she came for her pay, and she said she ran away because of the trouble. Maggie Tracy, meat cook at the Mansion House, testified that she slept with Mrs. Woodard the night after the disturbance. Mrs. W. told her then that her husband said he had received letters from Shelburne Falls directed to her.
Mrs. Woodard told her that she was "a’feared" to go home. At the time of the disturbance, she (Maggie) was in her room, second story, facing Federal Street, and heard Woodard say that the man was going to run away with his wife, and that he had letters in his pocket to show it. Joseph A. Bailey of Shelburne Falls was the next witness put upon the stand. He saw Mrs. Woodard at Shelburne Falls, at the house of one White, where he joined with her in a game of cards. He left her about 11 o’clock. He came to Greenfield the night of Jan. 23, and hitched his horse at the American House; went to the Mansion House alone; met a man at the entrance of the stable yard, of whom he inquired for the hostler; the man lead him to a short distance and then assaulted him.
He didn’t know as he saw Mrs. Woodard or any other woman. He received a letter from "M.E. Woodard" that day, asking him to meet her in the eve. at the American House. He met a man there, by the name of Hossington, who told him that she wasn’t there. When he was with her at White’s, at Shelburne Falls, she said, when he was seated beside her on a sofa, that "I was the first man that ever turned his back on her". On the cross examination, Bailey said that Hossington told him at Shelburne Falls, the day of the fracas at Greenfield, that he would get a letter from Mrs. Woodard. When he stopped at the American House he went in and took a drink of whiskey. He denied that he knew Mrs. Woodard was at the Mansion House. When asked his name during the fracas, he said it was "Hilliard".
Hugh B. Miller of Coleraine was next called. He had known plaintiff since 1860; her reputation for chastity in Coleraine was not good, and he should think that it was the same at Greenfield. Thomas D. Purrinton of Coleraine knew this woman, and her reputation for chastity was not the best. Charles Webster Smith of Coleraine had heard people say "she" was not what she should be. J.B. Clark of Coleraine said her reputation for chastity was not the best. Dwight Jewett of South Deerfield was acquainted with the plaintiff, and her general reputation for chastity was bad. When cross examined, he said her father and brother had called her character into question. C.B. Tilton of South Deerfield corroborated Mr. Jewett’s statement. Alfred Wells of Greenfield knew Mary Woodard’s reputation, and it was bad. Bela Kellogg of Greenfield said her reputation for chastity was not what it should be.
J.H. Beals testified that his place of business on the night of Jan. 23, was opposite the kitchen of the Mansion House on Federal Street. He thought the noise of the fracas could be heard 20 rods. The distance from the pastry room across the kitchen was 14 ft. He could hear the talk in his store with the door shut. He heard Woodard ask Kimball to arrest Bailey, and when the officer said he would arrest him if he didn’t stop, Woodard said "Mr. Kimball, you don’t understand, this man has had sexual intercourse with my wife" or words to that effect.
C.H. McClellan being called, said that he was a storekeeper in Greenfield. Had known plaintiff in Coleraine and Greenfield, and her reputation for chastity was not good. J.M. Monson has known her for some years, and her reputation has been bad ever since he knew her. Euclid Owen testified to having had conversation with plaintiff in reference to the case. She had asked him how much she was likely to get; a thousand dollars would do her a great deal of good; she meant to "get a good slice out of Eastman". she asked if they could go back on her character to the time she lived in Coelraine. He told her that they could not go back more than 5 years.
Henry L. Miller said that his shop was 22 paces from the entrance to the Mansion House. He heard Woodard’s voice answer to a question "This man was going to run away with my wife". He heard it distinctly. George A. Kimball, the officer who quelled the disturbance, testified that he heard the noise of the fracas as far off as Howland & Lowell’s store, some 15 rods. He found Bailey in the custody of Woodard, told the latter to let him go, and the former to clear out. Kimball declined to arrest Bailey because he had no authority. In answer to his inquiry, Bailey gave his name as "Couillard". Woodard said his name wasn’t Couillard, but Bailey, as he had a letter in his pocket.
The disturbance was within 3 ft. of the windows of the kitchen. Thomas Todd, employed in the Federal Street Market, testified that he went out when he heard the row; saw a fellow running and Woodard after him. In answer to his inquiry, Woodard said the fellow was after his wife. Heard Woodard say to Mr. Kimball, that he had got a letter in his pocket to show the man’s name. This last statement was corroborated by Samuel J. Lyons, who heard a portion of the conversation. Miss Belle W. Eastman, daughter of the senior proprietor of the paper, corroborated her father’s testimony in regard to the conversation between him and Mrs. W., at the interview at the former’s house. She remembered distinctly shutting the hall door when ushering Mrs. W. into the house. Mrs. Woodard did not ask her father to retract the statements in the publication.
The defense here rested their case, and the prosecution then called the following witnesses, who had known the plaintiff and had not heard her reputation called in question: S.L. Shattuck, George W. Potter, Joel Wilson, Hattie A. Sessions, Sarah H. Brown (of Leyden), Lewis W. White. The latter lives at Shelburne Falls, and it was at his house where Bailey was introduced to Mrs. Woodard. They played "Old Maid". Hossington, his wife’s brother, was present. He didn’t see anything out of character. The testimony of Mrs. White was substantially the same. Elbridge G. Woodard, the husband of the plaintiff, was slow called to the stand. He couldn’t describe much of the Mansion House fracas.
He said the letter he told Kimball he had in his pocket was from the Warrior Mowing Machine Co., on the back of which he had some memoranda. He said he heard Bailey was coming there from Bill Hossington. He didn’t have any letter which he had destroyed. He didn’t know that he had told S.D. Bardwell of Shelburne Falls that he had destroyed a letter from Bailey to his wife. He didn’t know that he had left instructions at the post office to have all letters addressed to his wife detained and given to him. On the night of the fracas he didn’t know Bailey. He thrashed a man he did not know, and that he couldn’t see in the dark. He followed him to Shelburne Falls.
Went to Bardwell’s to enter a complaint against Bailey for riding out with his wife. He was over there the same day in Bailey’s shop with Hossington, told him about Bailey and his wife. He didn’t tell Mr. Bardwell that Bailey said he had had all he wanted out of Mrs. Woodard. At this point the prosecution called to the stand Dr. Charles L. Fisk, L.L. Luey, George Pierce Jr., James Newton, A.A. Rankin and S.O. Lamb, who couldn’t recollect that they had heard Mrs. Woodard’s character called to question.
S.D. Bardwell, a magistrate at shelburne Falls, was called by the defense in rebuttal. Woodard came to him on the night of the 23rd of Jan. saying that he had taken a letter from the post office in Greenfield, directed to his wife, purporting to come from Bailey, arranging a meeting. He (Woodard) was exasperated and proceeded to catch Bailey when he came according to his appointment. A complaint of rape was made on Woodard’s representation. On cross examination Mr. Bardwell said that Bailey was tried before him on the complaint, but was discharged because neither Mr. nor Mrs. Woodard appeared against him. Euclid Owen was also called to the stand to contradict Woodard’s statements. Woodard told him that he was about starting for Conway that Sat.; he went into the post office and took out a letter for his wife and noticed it was from Shelburne Falls. He opened it and found it was from Bailey. He didn’t say what he did with the letter.
The evidence in the case was now in, and W.S.B. Hopkins Esq. of Worcester presented the cause of the defense to the jury. It was one of those cases that it was always unpleasant to try, but nevertheless should be tried fully and fairly. There were several points in the statements of the alleged libelous article upon which both sides agree. The counsel for the prosecution objected to the portion which says: "One Bailey, a blacksmith at Shelburne Falls, had planned an elopement with Mrs. W." Were these words libelous? The words were capable of two constructions, and it was left for the jury to determine which was intended...
[Follows a long rehashing of the evidence]. Judge Aldrich charged the jury at considerable length, and with unusual clearness. He explained the difference between slander and libel. A libel is a false imputation which is written or published, holding up the slandered party to more public ridicule and contempt than would words spoken in slander. the plaintiff claims that she has sustained damage in consequence of the article published. The defendants admit the publication. they say that it is not libelous, does not hold up Mrs. Woodard to shame and ridicule. It was not claimed that there was any actual malice on the part of the defendants.
The question of inference or interpretation of the words should be decided by the jury; they should determine the obnoxious meaning; should see practical common sense to reach a verdict; they should decide whether the words were applicable to the plaintiff or not; whether Bailey planned an elopement with Mrs. Woodard or without her aid. If the import of the language was that it was a plan of Bailey alone, then it was no imputation upon Mrs. Woodard. the defendants say that if it was a charge upon Mrs. Woodard, they can prove that it is true. It was for the jury to say whether the truth was established or not.
The judge reviewed the evidence. If what Woodard said in the fracas was competent evidence, it must be proven that it was within the hearing of his wife. This the jury should determine. If the matter is libelous and also true, you must find for the defendants, if libelous and untrue, the verdict should be for the plaintiff. In fixing damage to character, the jury should take the standing of the woman before the public for chastity. A bad character may be hurt, and it was for them to determine the extent. It was competent for the defense to show a bad reputation 10 years before. If a woman years ago was lascivious, the presumption is that her character continues the same. The jury were to judge whether before the publication she was a pure woman.
The case was given to the jury at 4:30 on Thurs. Their first duty was to choose a foreman, as E.D. Merriam, the foreman previously chosen, was challenged off. The judge kept the court open till 9 o’clock in the eve. and then adjourned, and the jury were out all night. At 9 the next morning, they announced that they had still failed to agree, and were called into the court room. The judge took the occasion to say that he thought the case a clear one, and it should not have detained them but a short time. In a case of this type, the burden of proof rested with the plaintiff. It was necessary for the defendants to show only the truth by a preponderance of evidence.
They should show the truth by a fair amount of testimony, absolute truth was not insisted upon. It was the duty of the jury to render a verdict if possible. They should pay proper respect to each others’ opinions. He then sent them out to make another attempt. About half past 11 in the forenoon, the jury sent in for instruction, asking if the word "appears" used in the article alleged to be libelous, did not indicate that there was no direct charge. His Honor instructed them that that was the very point which they themselves must determine. He added that he wanted them to understand that he was not detaining them. If they were satisfied that they could not agree, they might say so and be dismissed. But the jury retired to their room, and in 5 minutes returned a verdict for the defendants. They had had a siege of 19 hours and were dismissed until Mon. morning.
The counsel for the plaintiff had filed a bill of exceptions, which has not yet been approved by the judge.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 9, 1875
News about home: Greenfield items
The Beecher party, en route for the Twin Mountain House, White Mountains, passed through Greenfield on the morning train Tues. They spent the previous night at Easthampton, and were making the journey in a drenching rain, though they enjoyed comfortable quarters in a drawing room car. The party numbered about 35, and included, beside Mr. Beecher and family, General Tracy and wife, Mr. Ovington, at whose house Mrs.Tilton found refuge, and many of the personages that have been made familiar to the public during the great trial.
Henry L. Pratt http://oldtoolheaven.com/biography/henry-pratt.htm and wife, formerly of this town, were also among Mr. Beecher's friends who were accompanying him on the excursion. While the train was waiting here, a few of our citizens were introduced to Mr. B., and received his usual free and cordial salutations. The great preacher, notwithstanding the fearful ordeal through which he has passed, looks as young as he did 10 years ago.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 19, 1875
Rev. J.W. Hanner
Rev. J.W. Hanner, Presiding Elder of the Methodist church for the Murfreesboro (Tenn.) district - 65 years old, 45 years a minister, prominent and eloquent - has been suspended for trying to seduce a young woman.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 5, 1875
The Beecher case - a correct view of it
Medium sized article...The jury by their disagreement say, though not so emphatically as they would do by a unanimous vote, that the evidence against Mr. Beecher was not of a clearness or character to convince their minds...This is not so simple and triumphant an acquittal of Mr. Beecher as his friends and a large part of the public expected...but it is an acquittal, which we believe public opinion will sooner or later receive and ratify...
[There was a hung jury in the trail; 9 voted to acquit, 3 to condemn. See Google books "The Beecher trial: a review of the evidence", 1875].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 5, 1875
The community, usually so quiet, had a genuine sensation the other day. It appears that one Partridge, who has lived in the vicinity for some time, separated from his wife a year or two since. The couple were never divorced, but the woman, not waiting for that process, remarried, and has since lived in Boston. Partridge kept possession of their child, against the mother’s will.
Two women came to Montague a few weeks since, both well dressed and city bred in appearance. From inquiries they made, it was found that they were after the child, and Partridge was put on his guard. But two weeks later he met on the road a stranger with a lady closely veiled. It occurred to him afterward that the lady was his wife, and hastening to the place where the child was living, he found that she had been forcibly taken away, the mother of the child using a pistol to frighten those who opposed her. Partridge has gone to Boston, and says that he will stay there until he recovers the child.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 5, 1875
Brief notes of a pleasant excursion
The Massachusetts Press Association left Boston on the morning of June 23, for their annual excursion. The party, including ladies, numbered almost 90...On this excursion two first class cars and a smoking car on the Boston & Albany road were devoted to the exclusive use of the excursionists...The sandwiches, cakes, etc. were neatly packed in pasteboard boxes for each individual, and were liberally accompanied with iced lemonade.
At Albany...there was a change to the fine cars of the New York Central Railroad, and we were soon steaming with almost lightning rapidity through the beautiful Mohawk Valley. The flat farm lands here are of an unsurpassing fertility. There does not appear to be an acre that is not under cultivation....The Mohawk runs parallel with the road for many miles, and on the opposite side of the river is the Erie Canal. The latter, which has been one of the great institutions of the Empire State for many years, appears to New Englanders to be a rather slow method of transportation. The canal boats, which we pass in quick succession, seem hardly to move, so snail like is the progress which they make, but what is lost in time is saved in expense. If it was not for the Erie our coal and grain would never approach the present low prices, and upon it has depended largely the wealth and development of the great Western States.
But...the day was fearfully hot, and our excursion cars were in the rear of a very large train; and the dust and cinders that poured into the windows soon blackened our faces, filled our eyes and ears, so that when we reached Syracuse about 8 o’clock in the eve., after a ride of 350 miles, we were a sad looking set, more like a band of miners from the coal region, than people who patronized soap and water. We were, however, nicely quartered at the Globe and Vanderbilt hotels and through the transforming influences of the bath, clean linen, and a good supper, were soon ourselves again.
The party left Syracuse soon after 6 the next morning, by the Auburn branch of the New York Central. At Auburn we got the chance to see the extensive buildings of the State Penitentiary, but did not stop for a close inspection of the establishment. A short ride brought us to the wharf at Cayuga, where we embarked on a small steamer for a delightful trip of 38 miles through Cayuga Lake...
With song and mirth the happy excursionists were soon on the top wave of enjoyment. At Goodwin’s Point a landing was made and the party visited Taghkanic Falls To reach the Falls we climbed a steep descent of a mile, under a broiling sun, and were hardly, when we reached the summit, in the most favorable mood to fully appreciate this wild freak of nature. These falls are on a small stream, and 215 ft. in perpendicular height, while the rocky gorge is nearly 400 ft. down.
It is a wild and picturesque spot, but at this season there is not a large flow of water over the fall. A hotel has been built upon the summit, within a stone’s throw of the fall, and it is quite a resort for excursionists and picnic parties.... Afterwards we landed at the beautiful town of Ithaca, at the head of the lake. the principal business here is apparently the transferment of coal. The coal is brought by rail from the mines in Pennsylvania and transshipped to the canal boats, which convey it across the lake and thence through the canal to the Eastern markets. Our quarters were at the Ithaca Hotel, a first class house...After a sumptuous dinner, carriages were provided for a visit to Cornell University.
The college buildings occupy a beautiful site overlooking the lake, and can be seen miles away...The college was opened in 1868, and everything about the premises is neat and new...The founder of the college, Ezra Cornell, Esq. endowed the institution with more than three millions of dollars...Our party assembled in the Library of the college, and were addressed by President White...It was the purpose of Mr. Cornell to found a university where any person could find instruction in any study, and well has his purpose been carried out. It recognizes no distinct religious belief, though its aim is to promote Christian civilization...
Upon the grounds an opportunity is afforded, as at our Agricultural College, for the practical study of agriculture. There is a carpenter shop, furnished with power and machinery, where students who have tastes in that direction can cultivate their skill in wood work. A large machine shop is fitted with lathes and a variety of machinery and tools, and we found here a dozen or more young men hard at work with sleeves rolled up, dressed in colored shirts an overalls, hands and faces begrimmed, just like "greasy mechanics".
Several valuable inventions have been made in this shop, and much of this work is put to a practical use. In the same building is a printing shop with a large assortment of type and presses...Cornell University recognizes the co-education of the sexes. Young ladies are admitted on the same footing as young men, and are advanced through the same studies...the young men, who at other colleges have been accustomed to practices that were vulgar and demoralizing have voluntarily given them up since the admission of the young ladies, and so far from the mingling of the sexes leading to unpleasant talk and scandal, as some had predicted, not a breath of suspicion of anything out of character had ever existed...
Before leaving the college grounds we were driven to Fall Creek Gorge a wild, romantic locality, where the waters of a small stream leap and splash over the rocks of a wild ravine in its mad course to the lake below. We left Ithaca at 7 in the eve. over the Utica, Ithaca and Elmira Railroad, the President of which is Gen. W.I. Burt, the Postmaster of Boston. General Burt had accompanied our party, and we were indebted to his kind attention and influence for many courtesies. On this road we pass through Elmira, and about 10 o’clock at night, in the midst of a drenching rain, arrived at the town of Watkins at the head of Seneca Lake. After a little confusion we were provided with carriages and driven through the pitchlike darkness up the steep ascent to the Glen Mountain House [See the NYPL Digital Gallery for great photos], which has been erected above the famous Watkins Glen.
There is no natural wonder on the American continent, with the exception perhaps, of Niagara Falls, that surpasses the Glen...Says Bayard Taylor: "In all my travels I have never met with scenery more beautiful and romantic than that embraced in this wonderful Glen, and the most remarkable thing of all is that so much magnificence and grandeur should be found in a region where there are no ranges of mountains...It is only since 1869 that the Glen has been accessible to the public...[A very large section follows about the Glen and its hotels. To be continued next week].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 5, 1875
News of the week
Loeder, the peeping upholsterer, who made an absurd statement concerning the Beecher scandal, has been arrested on the charge of perjury. Price says that he did not know Loeder prior to 1872, and that Loeder told him this would be a good opportunity to make some money.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, June 14, 1875
We think the colored brother has hit Beecher's case exactly
We think the colored brother has hit Beecher's case exactly. His opinion, as given by the reporter, is as follows: "Breddren, I know that Brodder Beecher am innocent, you must believe him innocent. But it am just possible he's dun been among the skunks". There are indications of the fact.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, June 14, 1875
News of the week
Beecher has just received as a gift from the ladies of the recent homeopathic fair an umbrella stand of gilt wood, two umbrellas and a cane, the sticks being of malacca, gold-headed, and the silk of the best English make. It was awarded him by vote as the most popular clergyman, his principal rival being Cardinal McCloskey .
Gazette & Courier - Monday, May 24, 1875
A Jersey clerical scandal
The latest case of clerical falling from grace is the Rev. John W. Porter, formerly an ex-confederate, then pastor of a small church down on the Maine coast, but latterly a dispenser of religious truth to the Baptist Church at Van Syckle's Corners near Clifton, N.J. and teacher of the village school. His victim is a mere child, Selinda Stires, not 14 years of age, daughter of the man he boarded with, and an unusually bright pupil in his school.
/ About a month ago, he went to Boston and married a Southern lady, with whom he had become acquainted in Maine, and returning, was proceeding to settle down, when the child, Selinda Stires, being about to become a mother, confessed that her seducer was her teacher and pastor. Confronted with the charge by Selinda's father, the reverend gentleman confessed his guilt and declared himself willing to make all the reparation in his power, and - here is the most singular part of the scandal - this he judged could best be done by giving Mr. Stires a bill of sale on his horse and buggy. The father, a man of rare worldly sagacity, without a moment's hesitation, closed with the offer, because, as he said, the mischief was done, and no man could give more than he possessed in atonement. The next morning, the earliest train through Annandale, which is the nearest railway station to Van Syckle's Corners, took the Rev. John W. Porter and his wife toward Philadelphia. [Good news - I see that Selinda got married in 1881, 5 years after the event].