(Newspapers of New York)

Otsego Co., N. Y. Newspapers
1795-1825 Articles

1795-1825   |   1826-1850   |   1851-1879   |   1880-1899   |   1900-1999

1829-31 1829-31 1829-31 1829-31 1829-31
1832-33 1832-39 1832-33 1832-33 1832-39
1834-39   1834-39 1834-39  
1840-46 1840-46 1840-46 1840-46 1840-46

OHr Jun 12 '95  |  OHr Apr 05 '98  |  OHr Nov 22 '98  |  OHr Apr 02 '01  |  OHr Oct 04 '04
ORP Oct 30 '12  |  OHr Jan 16 '13  |  Wtch Oct 02 '17  |  OHr Nov 29 '19
Wtch May 27 '22

News Articles Index  |  New York City Papers  |  Otsego Spalding resources


Otsego  Herald:  Western  Advertiser

Vol. I.                            Cooperstown, N. Y., June 12, 1795.                             No. 11.

From the TIMES, a London Paper.

We have already published several notices of a Mr. Brothers,
who is called in the London Papers a Prophet --
the following is a more particular account of him.


The GREAT PROPHET of Paddington Street:

Great political convulsions have always been either preceded or accompanied by moral revolutions, of which the factions of all countries avail themselves, to ingratiate their revolutionary systems with those classes of society, that lay most open to seduction and imposture.

Thus the French Revolution was preceded by a number of sects more or less absurd, but all equally extravagant, which prepared the public mind for all sorts of changes. -- Such were the Constitutionists, who played off their tricks with great adroitness; the Martinists, who pretended to penetrate into most hidden mysteries of the Divinity; the Mesmerists, who invited all France to their banquets; the Somnambulists, &c. &c. When the French Revolution was begun, the Prophet of Don Gerle, a Carthusian Monk, and a Member of the Constituent Assembly, made her appearance; and under Robespierre, there sprang up at Paris a number of other visionary dreamers. It seems that there are men in this country, who propote to employ the same means to attain their end. As a man of the name of BROTHERS, appears to be selected to act a prominent part in these scenes, we have been induced to communicate to our readers the following account of his printed prophecies, and the public conferences held at his house, No. 27 Paddington street.

Mr. Brothers introduces himself as a prophet, the friend of God, his own nephew, the chosen Chief of the Jews, and the Sovereign of the Universe. His daily and nightly apparitions amount to about 600, and in all and in every one of them, God reveals to him. that within a fixed time, which is to begin on the 1st of June 1795 and to end in 1798, all Sovereigns shall be struck down and destroyed forever.

Mr. Brothers, born at Newfoundland, is sent from the new, to overthrow the ancient world. At first he was an officer in the navy. "Considering that voluntary swearing which he was obliged to comply with, as a qualification to receive his pay, was unjust, he requested permission to receive it without it. The Earl of Chatham was so good, as to erase in his favor, the word Voluntary from the form of swearing. But soon after Mr. Brothers requested from the Admiralty, a dispensing order, that he might receive his pay but without taking any oath; but they would not grant it. As it was evident that Brothers was put of his senses, he was some time after taken to a workhouse," -- The very next night, God informed him in an apparition, "That he will shake the English Admiralty, as a man would do bread in a basket."

Brothers having heard that a friend of his had his ship seized in the West Indies, by an undersigned infringement of the navigation act, wrote to the Earl of Chatham to procure an indemnification for the poor man but was refused. Therefore the Lord God told him at night, that he would truly enable him to indemnify his friend, for he should be President of the Council and Chancellor of the Exchequer."

Brothers having for some time been confined in Newgate, complains "that a small penny loaf of bread was allowed him for the whole day to live upon," and states that therefore God revealed to him that, since prisoners were so very uncomfortably situated in Newgate, London must be a Sodom and Babylon, and would be destroyed by fire and sword."

All the extravagant visions were anterior to the present. Brothers mind being revolutionary exalted, he found himself, of course, in 1792, at the height of the French Revolution. For this reason he wrote several letters to the King, the Queen and Mr. Pitt, with a view of dissuading them from war against France, because this war would be carried on against righteous people, chosen to execute the plan which God had revealed to him. Since the beginnings of hostilities, Brothers has written several other letters to the King and the Ministers, to induce them to make peace, but his advice has been slighted, and therefore, the King, the Queen, the Royal Family, the Ministers of Parliament, the town of London, and every kingdom of Europe, are to be devoted to unavoidable ruin. This destruction would have been delayed from a regard to his prayers; but as he has been treated like a madman, and moreover Government persists in its perverse intention of continuing the war, that universal destruction is to begin on the 1st of next June. At that period Mr. Brothers will be recognized as the Sovereign of the Universe, the nephew of God, and the Chief and King of the Jews. All the worldly powers are to bow before him, &c. &c. -- "Yet Isabella Wake, who brought him a threepenny loaf every Monday, when he was in Newgate, shall always have an apartment in his palace, and a seat at his table."

Mr. Brothers enjoys the greatest variety of visions and apparitions. In 1792, he was transferred, to Stockholm, where he held several conferences with the ghost of the famous Swedenborg, the chief of the Somnambulists. He there saw through a window, a man walking round an empty elbow chair; and God told him, that this man should murder the king. He would have informed that Monarch of his impending assassination; but knowing that the king of Sweden was to take upon himself the command of the armies destined to act against France, and that it was his intention to penetrate thro' Normandy, and to burn the French fleet at Brest, he abandoned him to his fate.

At the same time the Empress of Russia would have been assassinated, but for the Prophet having been allowed by God to acquaint her with it. Her death is however only delayed; and Mr. Brothers relates all the circumstances under which it is to happen, which no doubt will afford much pleasure to the Conductor of one of our Jacobin prints, who lately assured the Public, that the death of that Princess would be a most fortunate event for humanity.

We forbear to enlarge any further on the visions of the Prophet BROTHERS, and beg only leave to add, that he is daily visited by ladies and gentlemen, who want him to have their fortunes told; by indignant French Emigrants, to whom he professes his protection through his interest with God; and by different descriptions of people, who delight in hearing, even from the mouth of a madman, invectives against the present administration.

Note: Solomon Spalding was married to Matilda Sabin on February 21, 1795, probably in New England. At about the same time the couple moved to Cherry Valley, NY to take up residence near Solomon's brother Josiah, who operated a retail store in that village. Solomon and his bride probably arrived in Cherry Valley a few weeks before Elihu Phinney began publication of his Otsego Herald in the county seat of Cooperstown (boyhood home of James Fenimore Cooper). The literate and curious Spalding would have doubtless read the new little weekly paper with great interest. What he may have thought of accounts of the Canadian "Israelite Prophet," Richard Brothers is any body's guess, but a few dryly humorous pastiches of prophetic impostors may be found in Spalding's Oberlin manuscript -- Brothers' public image may have served as a caricature for those fraudulent oracles of Spalding's imagination.


Otsego  Herald: Western  Advertiser

Vol. IV.                            Cooperstown, N. Y., April 5, 1798.                             No. 158.


The following gentlemen are appointed Justices of the Peace, for the County of Otsego.

... SOLOMON SPALDING, C. Valley ...

Note: Unfortunately Solomon Spalding's Docket Book is not extant and it is now impossible to determine just how long he served in office, what cases were brought before him, what judgments he rendered, etc. Presumably his brief legal training in Connecticut proved sufficient for his qualification as a judge on the then western frontier of New York.


Otsego  Herald: Western  Advertiser

Vol. IV.                            Cooperstown, N. Y., November 22, 1798.                             No. 191.


WHEREAS, Joshua Tucker of Cherry Valley, in the county of Otsego, and state of New York, yeoman, did on the sixth day January, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, seven hundred and ninety eight, for securing the payment of two hundred and ninety-three dollars and sixty cents, with lawful interest by the first day of March, then next ensuing, mortgage and convey unto the subscribers all that certain piece or parcel of :AND, situate lying and being in Cherry Valley, aforesaid; beginning at the north east corner of a tract of land, formerly the property of Daniel Campbell, Esq... containing one hundred and one half acre of land... And whereas default has here been made in the payment as aforesaid: Notice is therefore hereby given, that by virtue of a power contained in the said mortgage, and in pursuance of the statute made and provided, the said mortgaged premises will be sold at public vendue on the fifteenth day of May next, at the house of John Walton, Innkeeper in Cherry Valley aforesaid, at one o'clock in the afternoon of same day, to the highest bidder.

Dated the 12th day of November, 1798.
                            SOLOMON SPALDING,
                            JOSIAH SPALDING.

Note: Since the above notice makes no mention of the Spalding brothers being residents of Richfield, it is probable that they did not move their residences and retail business out of Cherry Valley, to neighboring Richfield, until 1799.


Otsego  Herald: Western  Advertiser

Vol. VII.                            Cooperstown, N. Y., April 2, 1801.                             No. ?


At a respectable Meeting of the ELECTORS of Otsego County, held at the house of Major Joseph Griffin, in Cooperstown on the 24th March, 1801, the following Resolutions were adopted...

... Resolved, that the Chairman and Secretary, together with the following persons, be a committee to promote the election [of certain candidates for Otsego representatives to the State Legislature]...


Solomon Spalding, Obediah Beardsley, Nathan Jeffers, Elias Wright, Doraltus Hatch...

Note: The above notice contains one of the very few substantial mentions of Solomon Spalding in the Otsego public press, after his 1799 removal from Cherry Valley to Richfield. This circumstantial evidence tends to support the conclusion that he left his former positions in Cherry Valley (Presbyterian Minister and Academy Headmaster) under some kind of social cloud.



Vol. ?                            Cooperstown, N. Y., October 4, 1804.                             No. ?

Letters in the Post Office, Cooperstown.

...William Green,
Solomon & Josiah Spalding, Richfield...
Note: The above is merely a sample out of several different notices of letters waiting for the Spalding brothers to pick up at Cooperstown prior to Solomon's departure in 1809. Richfield was then rather remote from Cooperstown and its residents probably called upon friends and travelers to obtain their mail at the post office there on an occasional basis.



Vol. I.                            Cherry Valley, N. Y., October 30, 1812.                             No. 12.

William Campbell,

PRESENTS his compliments to all those who are indebted to him, and especially to those whose accounts have been of long standing, and would inform them that he "wants Cash, and must have it." He also hereby informs the Public (meaning, and intending thereby that portion of the public who shall attend punctually to the requisitions of the above billet, or such as may cash in hand" present themselves to him in his Store, and shall then and there manifest to him a disposition, propensity, inclination or desire to divest themselves of a part of their said Cash, and to invest it in commodities for sale by the said William) that, in addition to his extensive assortment of

Drugs & Medicines, Paints, Window-Glass, Dye-Woods, Hard-Ware, &c. &c. &c.

he has on hand a general assortment of
Cherry Valley, Oct. 23, 1812.

Note: Among the accounts listed in Dr. William Campbell's Cherry Valley store's ledger-book are those of Solomon Spalding (p. 100) and his brother Josiah Spalding (p. 49). Solomon moved away from Otsego Co. in 1809, but Josiah remained in Richfield for a few years thereafter, apparently managing the brothers' retail store in that village. Since Solomon and Josiah purchased various items from Dr. Campbell, (even after their relocating from Cherry Valley to Richfield in about 1799) it seems likely that Campbell supplied the brothers' store with some wholesale goods (see entries for 1801-02 under Solomon's name, below). Campbell's advertisements from the days before Solomon Spalding left the area for Ohio unfortunately have not survived. His old account book is on file with the Cherry Valley Historical Association.



Vol. ?                            Cooperstown, N. Y., January 16, 1813.                             No. ?

N O T I C E.

JOHN RUDD, Junior, of the town of Richfield, having on the 12th day of December, 1801, for securing payment of one hundred dollars and interest convey by mortgage to Abraham Ten Broneck, Esq. a part of lot No. 37, in Scuyler's Patent, in the town of Richfield and county of Otsego, bounded as follows: -- Beginning at a stake and stones, standing at an angel of J. & S. Spalding's land, near a spring, thence north 55 degrees, west eight chains & ten links to Willis Howland, at a stake and stones, thence 5 chains and 25 links, to the highway that leads from C. Green's to O. Beardslyey's, at a stake and stones, standing northerly 5 chains and 17 links from the first mentioned corner, thence to the first mentioned bounds, containing two acres one half & twenty rods of land. Defaults having been made in the payment of said sum of money -- Notice is given, that in pursuance of a power contained in said mortgage, and of the Statute in such case provided, said premises will be sold at public vendue at the house on said premises at two o'clock in the afternoon, of the 17th day of July next.

                    ABRAHAM TEN BROECK.
By his Attorney,
January 12, 1812.

Note: The above notice ran in the newspaper all through the first half of 1813, so John Rudd, Jr. must have lost his mortgaged property that July. The notice is useful in helping to determine where the Rudd family and the Spalding (Solomon, Josiah & John) families lived in 1801. John Rudd, Jr., his widowed mother, and two brothers became Mormons in 1832 in Springfield twp., Erie Co., PA. Their land holdings in PA (as had also been the case in Otsego Co., NY) were close to the residence of their old friend (then in New Salem), Solomon Spalding.



Vol. IV.                      Cooperstown, N.Y., Thursday, October 2, 1817.                       No. 183.

                      Sussex, N. J. Sept. 15.
Uncommon  Sect.

Passed through this town, on Wednesday last, ten pilgrims (six men and four women) from Woodstock, in the state of Vermont, on their way to the southward, possessed of very singular appearance and deportment.

They profess to be the only true followers of Jesus Christ, and his gospel, and are in a special manner called of God to go forth into the world to do, and that continually, his will; for which purpose they have forsaken their houses and lands, relatives and friends, and all this world's enjoyments, and after the manner of the Apostles, are travelling from place to place doing good to the children of men.

They have a prophet or leader among them, who occasionally preaches; and most of them exhort in the streets and ways, as they pass by. They seem all devotion and humility, and are continually engaged in the service of Christ; holding forth the power of his holy spirit, as communicated unto them, saying that the Millenium is near at hand, and that the lost tribe of Judah is now beginning to be gathered in, and the way is fast opening, when the four quarters of the world will be gathered into one fold of such as will receive the true spirit of faith: not the faith which is received by christians of the present day, but such as is accompanied with holy fire. They have no abiding place in view, but travel as the Lord may direct. They say the people of the world are of the Devil, for they cannot serve the Lord and be Christ's. They ask no charity; move very slow, with a cart yoke of oxen and one horse, and say the Lord will provide of them, for where they go, there is he. Their dress is very singular, long beards, close caps, and bear skins tied around them. The writer believes them to be a set of deluded enthusiasts.

Five families, consisting of twenty-one ot two persons, passed through this village [on] Friday last. In dress, &c. they had the appearance of those above described, and were travelling to Ohio, where they intended to settle.

Note: The band of Vermont Pilgrims that passed through Cooperstown, New York, on Friday, Sept. 26, 1817, were the major portion of the group, which had a few days before split into two separate caravans. The smaller caravan proceeded down the Hudson River valley, passing through northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, before evidently re-joining forces with their brethren in southern Jefferson Co., Ohio. The larger caravan (which included the "Prophet" Isaac Bullard himself) went through Cherry Valley on Sept. 25th (according to the Albany Daily Advertiser of Oct 13th.) About 13 miles separate the two towns, but the "valley" itself extends from the latter village towards Cooperstown, and so the Pilgrims may have actually journeyed a somewhat lesser distance, from that valley to Cooperstown, between Sept. 25th and 26th.



Vol. XXV.                            Cooperstown, N. Y., November 29, 1819.                             No. 1288.


In this village on Monday last, by the Rev. Mr. Smith, Mr. John Davidson of Hartwick, to Mrs. Matilda Spalding, of this town.

Note 1: The marriage of the Widow Spalding (Matilda Sabin, 1767-1846) and John Davison (or Davidson) took place on Nov. 22, 1819 in Cooperstown, Otsego Co. NY. Evidently the widow had moved there from her former, temporary residence in Onondaga Hollow earlier that year. It is likley that she brought with her, from Onondaga Co. to her new home in Otsego Co., her belongings, including whatever items she had inherited following the death of her husband, Solomon Spalding, in 1816. After her marriage to John, it is reasonable to assume that Matilda moved to his home at Hartwick, bringing her belongings along with her.

Note 2: The John who married Matilda was the son of another John Davidson (1734-1815), who married Matilda's aunt, Mehitable Sabin, on Jan. 6, 1757, in Pomfret, Windham, CT. Mehitable was evidently living in Hartwick, Otsego, NY when Matilda was married in nearby Cooperstown. Mehitable Sabin Davidson died in Hartwick February 28, 1829. One of her younger relatives, Zeviah Lyon married Jerome Clark, who also lived in Hartwick during that time. The 1820 and 1830 Census reports show a "John Davison" living in Hartwick -- this was John. Jr., whom Matilda parted company with near the end of 1829.

Note 3: Matilda Spalding Davison and her daughter remained with John Davison until 1828 when the daughter, Miss Matilda Spalding, married Dr. Oliver W. McKinstry of Monson, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. The younger Matilda joined the Monson Congregational Church in December 1829 and her mother joined the following year, indicating that she had by then moved away from Hartwick and Mr. John Davison, Jr. permanently. See notes accompanying the 1901 letter of John's grandson, George N. Davison, for further details.

Note 4: The probable locations of Solomon Spalding's writings, in the midst of his widow's various relocations after his death, are as follows: early 1817 to late 1819: in the home of William H. Sabin, at Onondaga Hollow; late 1819 to mid 1828: in the home of John Davison at Hartwick; late 1828 (or 1829) to late 1833: in the home of Jerome Clark at Hartwick. In the late fall of 1833 D. P. Hurlbut called at the Clark residence and removed an unknown quantity of Spading's writings to Geauga Co., Ohio. The frequently encountered claim, that Joseph Smith, Jr. had access to Spalding's writings while he was an employee of William H. Sabin, appears to present the practically impossible scenerio of a fourteen year old Joseph working for Mr. Sabin, before the removal of Spalding's papers from Sabin's place, at about the end of 1819.



Vol. IX.                      Cooperstown, N.Y., Monday, May 27, 1822.                       No. 426.


Nominations. -- Franklin Coudery, "editor, printer and publisher" of the Angelica News Record, offers himself to the electors of Allegany county, as a candidate for clerk. Henry Torrey has nominated himself to the same office. Mr. C. advertises "self nominations, if not more than a square, at two dollars a candidate! -- Buffalo Patriot.

Note: A "square" in an old-fashioned five-column newspaper advertising page, was about 10% of a column, or 2% of the page. A two dollar purchase of such ad space probably bought 2 or 3 appearances of the advertisement in a weekly paper.

Back to top of this page.

Articles Page    |    Articles Index    |    History Vault
Oliver's Bookshelf    |    Spalding Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Mar. 10, 2009