News of the US: May 1815

By Mary Bowden, Researcher, UT Bound Newspaper Archive

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May 1: “Col. Kershaw, of S. C.; Col. Barnet of Geo.; and the Hon. J. Sevier, have been appointed commissioners to run out and mark the boundaries between the U. States an Creek Nation, as agreed upon in treaty with Gen. Jackson. It is proposed to commence about the first of May and continue until the work is completed.”–Raleigh Register, May 12, 1815

May 1: From the London Packet — “in consequence of the late affray at Dartmoor, orders have been given for the embarkation of all the American prisoners without waiting for the arrival of vessels from the United States.”–Salem Gazette, June 9, 1815

May 1: From New York — “We learn from a passenger in the ship Fingal, who arrived in this city yesterday, that Bonaparte was at Paris when he sailed, daily reviewing his troops.”–New York Gazette, May 2, 1815

May 2: From Buffalo — “Lake Erie overflowing. From some unknown cause the water in this lake has been rising for about three years. During which time it has risen nearly three feet; and according to its natural motion, will continue to rise during the summer. . . . May it not arise from the improvement of the lands lying on the margin of Lake Erie admitting a more free passage of the water in its tributary streams?”–Centinel of Freedom, May 23, 1815

May 2: From Nashville — “The general [Jackson] travels very slow, as he has taken under his particular care, all the old, destitute and disabled soldiers, which were left behind, as being unable to come on with their companions. He has invited a council of the Choctaw Indians, to meet him at the line, to ascertain the amount due that tribe, for provisions, and services rendered during the last war.”–Alexandria Gazette, June 15, 1815

May 2: From Cincinnati — “Our Lancastrian Seminary was opened two weeks ago. We expected about 200 scholars the first quarter; but, before the expiration of one week, the number exceeded four hundred; when, the room being filled, no more were admitted.”–Commercial Advertiser, July 20, 1815

May 3: From the Mississippi, the Steam Boat Enterprize — “Her last trip from New-Orleans to Natchez, was made in FOUR DAYS, a distance of three hundred and thirteen miles, against the strong current of the Mississippi, without the aid of sails–her rigging having been previously laid aside. She will make two more voyages between the last mentioned places, and then take her departure homeward.”–National Advocate, May 19, 1815

May 4: From New York — The new Catholic Cathedral, in this city, which was begun in the year 1809, and lately so far completed as to be fit for divine service, was last Thursday, (ascension day) solemnly dedicated to God, under the name of ST. PATRICK, by the Right Rev. Dr. Cheverus, Bishop of Boston.”–National Advocate, May 10, 1815

May 4: From New York — “The Corporation of this city deserve and will no doubt receive, the thanks of the citizens for the very handsome manner in which they are laying out the walks on the Battery. . . . We are requested to caution our fellow citizens against walking on the grass, and to prevent strangers, as far as practicable, from the sin of impairing it.”–New York Gazette, May 4, 1815

May 5: From Raleigh — “The Circuit court of the U. States commences in this city on the 12th inst. Several prize causes of great importance will come before the Court, & we learn that Aaron Burr, Esq. of New-York, and L. W. Tazewell, Esq. of Norfolk are employed as Council in them. It will doubtless excite much public curiosity to hear the important questions which will arise in these cases discussed by men of such talents and celebrity.”–Raleigh Register, May 5, 1815

May 6: From New York — “So fully convinced were the people in England that New Orleans was in possession of the British troops, that a number of letters were written to the officers and others attached to the army, and directed to them at New Orleans, and received at the Post office in this city, by the British packet arrived at this port on Thursday.”–National Intelligencer, May 9, 1815

May 8: From New York — “The beautiful squadron of vessels of war now assembled in this port, destined for the Mediterranean, are ready for sea and only wait the final orders of government. A company of U. S. Artillery, consisting of 100 men, under Major Archer, has embarked at N. Y. for the Mediterranean.”–Providence Patriot, May 13, 1815

May 8: From Boston — “Arrived the elegant letter-of-marque brig Rambler, Samuel B. Edes, Esq. commander, 108 days from Canton . . . . The Rambler has not seen a cruizer of any kind since she left Canton! . . . . The Rambler has performed her voyage in 11 months and 20 days. She has 10 guns & 40 men.”–Essex Register, May 10, 1815

May 8: “The Library recently purchased by the government from Thomas Jefferson, arrived in Washington on the 8th instant. Much gratification is anticipated by literary men.”–Raleigh Register, May 19, 1815

May 10: From Carthage, Tennessee — “NOTICE. A BARBECUE will be prepared in Carthage on the first Saturday in June ext, in testimony of the gratitude and high respect entertained for the services of the troops engaged in the late war, from Smith county, by their fellow-citizens. The attendance of all, officers and men, is expected, by The Subscribers.”–Carthage Gazette, May 19, 1815

May 10: From Natchez — “Both banks of the river from Ohio to this place, and in fact from Louisville, with the exception of a few bluffs, was entirely inundated. The great valley of the Mississippi from the highlands at this place to the highlands on Red river (west 40 miles wide) is now one entire sheet of water.”–Scioto Supporter, June 20, 1815

May 11: From the London Sun — “We are informed from various quarters, says the Birmingham Paper, that the greatest inducements are held out by some people in this town, to entice manufacturers and handicraftsmen to emigrate to America: the public-houses frequented by the manufacturers are visited by these agents, and money to a considerable amount, with various other tempting advantages, are held out, in order to procure the most valuable workmen, to abandon their country.”–New York Evening Post, July 1, 1815

May 12: From Liverpool Mercury — “The American Chamber of Commerce [at Liverpool] have been pleased to present an elegant silver Vase to our worthy townsman Lieutenant John Brown, R. N. as a public testimony of their approbation of the conduct of that gentleman in the discharge of the duties of his station.”–Liverpool Mercury, May 12, 1815

May 13: From Plattsburgh — “FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE . Return of Napoleon Bonaparte to Paris as Emperor of France.”–Plattsburgh Republican, May13, 1815

May 13: From Boston — “Three vessels which sailed from Canton in company, all bound for Boston, have arrived there within a few hours of each other, after a passage of 9,000 miles. The following is the order in which they came in; the brig Rambler on Monday, the ship Jacob Jones on Tuesday, and the brig Tamaamaah on Wednesday–“–Baltimore Patriot, May 15, 1815

May 13: From New Orleans — “We are at this moment in the utmost alarm in consequence of the heighth of the river. A small wind would be sufficient to break the levee in almost any place, and inundate our streets. Above and below the city, the levee has given away in several places, and it is said the fine cotton lands of Concordia are all under waters.”–Adams Centinel, June 14, 1815

May 15: From an American at Liverpool — “Mr. Edward Everett preached a very eloquent sermon on Sunday at the Octican Chapel. Prince Saunders, the black Schoolmaster from Boston, who came passenger in the New-Packet, receives great attention from the first characters of the country. He was at a large dinner party yesterday, and this day I left him in company with about 20 at dinner with Mr. B. Tomorrow he dines with a member of Parliament, with a splendid party, and receives from him letters of introduction to the Royal Family. Another letter says, Mr. S. brought letters to Mr. Roscoe, of Liverpool, from an eminent divine in America; –that Mr. Roscoe had given him letters to the Duke of Cumberland; –that he had been visited by several of the nobility; and was about taking a house in London to receive such visitors. He is a man of talents, erudition, and exemplary in his morals.”–Columbian Centinel, July 26, 1815

May 15: From Philadelphia — “That elegant and spacious establishment Washington Hotel, kept by Mr. Renshaw, is at present the habitation of a numerous collection of both American and British Officers of distinction. The novelty of British officers appearing in our city has attracted much public curiosity . . . .”–Richmond Enquirer, May 20, 1815

May 15: From New York — “On Monday last commenced the sale, by auction, of the pews in the new catholic cathedral of St. Patrick. There are 195 pews in the church, but only 77 were sold on that day, which brought 37,500 dollars. Twelve out of this number averaged 1000 dollars each.”–Aurora, May 19, 1815

May 16: From New York — “The United States frigate CONSTITUTION, Capt. Stewart, arrived at Sandy Hook on Sunday afternoon, from a cruize of about five months. After capturing the Cyane and Levant, she put into St. Louis de Maranham, in the Brazils, where Capt. S. landed his prisoners, and first heard the report of peace; and it was not until about two weeks ago, when Capt. S. sent a boat into Porto Rico, that he heard of its ratification.”–Providence Patriot, May 20, 1815

May 17: From Boston –“Capt. Luce, late master of the private armed schr. Sine Qua Non, of this port, captured on the 30th Feb. off Madeira, and sent into Gibraltar, has arrived in town from Halifax. He informs that a ship arrived at Halifax . . . reported that LOUIS 18th had arrived in England, and that GREAT BRITAIN had DECLARED WAR against FRANCE.”–Providence Patriot, May 20, 1815

May 17: From New York — “We understand that Sir James Yeo has expressed his determination when he next returns to England to go by the way of Montreal & Quebec, having already had his curiosity gratified by seeing New York and such a portion of the Yankee navy and the Yankee navy officers as are there assembled. We have always admired the character of Sir James as a prudent commander!”–Richmond Enquirer, May 17, 1815

May 18: From New York — “Sailed this forenoon, the United States’ squadron, under the command of Commodore Decatur, for the Mediterranean . . . .”–Augusta Herald, June 1, 1815

May 18: From New York — “Forty-four Gun Boats were sold at New-York on the 18th for the benefit of government–lowest price 220, highest 690 dollars.”–Salem Gazette, May 23, 1815

May 18: From Boston — “the U. S. ship Independence fell down the harbor and is anchored in President Roads. We are informed, that she is only waiting for the remainder of her guns, to be ready for sea. These are expected in 8 or 10 days.”

May 19: From Washington — “By letters from New Orleans we learn that fort Bowyer was promptly surrendered by the British to our authority, according to the requisitions of the treaty.”–Weekly Aurora, May 30, 1815

May 19: From Plattsburgh — “The snow fell six inches deep, in this town–sleighs were seen passing our streets as briskly as at almost any time during the winter.”–Plattsburgh Republican, May 20, 1815

May 19: From Mississippi — “Andrew Marschalk, Editor of the Washington Republican, a paper printed at Washington, M. T. was found guilty before the Supreme Court of said Territory, on the 19th ult. by a jury, on a prosecution for defamatory and libelous publications against the Hon. Geo. Poindexter, one of the judges of said court and fined 782 dollars, and sentenced to three months imprisonment.–Boston Independent Chronicle, June 12, 1815

May 20: From Charleston — “In the Portuguese brig Levre, arrived yesterday from Madeira, came passenger, J. H. Poinsett, Esq. of this city, late American Consul at Chili. This gentleman left the Brazils in January, and had a long passage to Madeira.”–Boston Daily Advertiser, June 12, 1815

May 20: From Baltimore — “In the schooner Chippewa, Captain Clarke, arrived at Baltimore from Jamaica, came passenger, Hiram Thayer, fourteen years in the British service, impressed, and refused to be given up off New-London, during the war, although recognized by his father in presence of British officers.”–Providence Patriot, May 20, 1815

May 20: From Hardinsburgh, Kentucky — “I have just returned from New Orleans, but I have no news worth your attention. . . . One hundred and five of the Kentucky sick came on with me and the remainder will soon be on. I travelled with General Jackson to the Choctaw agents where I left him, but presume he is in Nashville before this.”–Louisville Western Courier, June 8, 1815

May 21: From Chillicothe — “the British [in Mackinaw] are in readiness to give up the port to the Americans when demanded; but that Dixon with about 800 Indians, was within 4 days march of the Island, coming with a determination not to surrender the Fort unless compelled by force of arms!–Louisville Western Courier, June 15, 1815

May 22: From Lexington — “By a gentleman from Vincennes, we have the following distressing intelligence:–The Indians have surprised a party of rangers from fort Harrison, 33 in number, and killed all but three–great fears are entertained for the fort, which was but weakly garrisoned. The inhabitants of Vincennes were marching to its relief.”–Washington (Ky.) Union

May 22: From Niagara — “Fort Niagara was evacuated May 22 and occupied by our troops. Capt. Craig has the command.”–Connecticut Gazette, June 7, 1815

May 23: From the Buffalo Gazette — Yesterday Fort Niagara was evacuated by the English, and was taken possession of by the American troops. This event has been protracted to an unreasonable length. But, it is to be explained, we learn, in this way: Maj. Gen. Murray, Governor of Upper Canada, sent a despatch to Sackett’s Harbor in April last, for Maj. Gen. Brown, notifying the General that he was authorised and ready to deliver up Fort Niagara, according to treaty; this despatch reached the harbor, a few days after Gen. Brown left that place for Washington.–New York Spectator, May 31, 1815

May 23: From Raleigh — “A piece of Curious Blanket, made of Bark and Feathers, which enveloped a mummy found lately in the cave near Caney Fork, a branch of Cumberland River, in Tennessee, was recently presented to the Raleigh Museum, North Carolina.”–Albany Argus, May 23, 1815

May 23: From Salem — ‘DIED, In this town, Capt. James Hayes, jun. 42. Mr. Charles Howard, a man of color, 75–He was under Washington at Braddock’s defeat.”–Essex Register, May 24, 1815

May 24: “Yesterday morning, the new and beautiful ship Mexico, intended for a regular trader, sailed for Liverpool. She carried the following Passengers: Washington Irving, esq.; Mr. Thomas Otis, lady and two children; Mr. William Porter an lady; Captain Hickey; Lt. Col. Sir William Williams; Major Staunton . . . Thomas Gallaudett . . . .”–Columbian, May 25, 1815

May 24: “Mr. Gallaudett, one of the passengers named above, has gone to Europe for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of the European mode of communicating instruction to the deaf and dumb. He has gone at the request of a society of gentlemen in Connecticut, who are preparing to establish at Hartford a Seminary for the education of persons of this unfortunate condition.”–American Daily Advertiser, May 29, 1815

May 24: From Milledgeville — “The British have not evacuated Florida. Colonel Nicolls, who commands at Appalachicola, has addressed an insolent letter to the Agent for Indian affairs, stating, that according to the treaty of peace, he considers the territories of the Creeks to be as they stood before the war; and, arrogating to himself the entire control of the Indians, warns the citizens of the United States from entering the Creek territory, or holding any communication with the inhabitants thereof.”–Providence Patriot, June 17, 1815

May 25: From St. Louis, letter from Captain David Musick — “About eleven o’clock yesterday, we were alarmed by the firing of guns in the direction of fort Howard, and immediately mounted such horses as were within reach, and proceeded in full speed to the assistance of capt. Craig, who we found closely engaged with the Indians, and pretty equally matched with respect to numbers.”—Augusta Herald, July 13, 1815

May 25: From Salem — “we. . . hope, that whatever the Legislature can constitutionally do towards restoring to us the blessings of peace and commerce, they will do. The fundamental principle of the federal constitution is the ‘general welfare;’ a war which so grossly violates that constitution can hardly receive any countenance from the Legislature of the free, sovereign and independent State of Massachusetts.”–Salem Gazette, May 25, 1813

May 26: From Norfolk — “The perseverance and enterprize of our Northern Brethren are equalled only by their ingenuity in devising untried schemes of acquiring wealth. The schrs. Licina and Hiram, of Dartmouth, and Fairplay, of Philadelphia, have been for some days past dragging about the anchorage ground of the British squadron in Lynhaven Bay, for Anchors, &c. and yesterday came in with nine of those articles and four complete cables, one of which is apparently new. The finders had no difficulty in disposing of their acquisitions for a very handsome sum.”–New York Spectator, June 10, 1815

May 26: From the Barbadoes Times — “Much as we may boast of our military and naval supremacy and glory, the late contest with America has terminated in a manner if not to lower the eminent opinion entertained of us by other nations, at least to exalt the character of the U. States and remove from the minds of many prejudiced Europeans, that contempt formerly felt for the imbecility of this infant government.”–Raleigh Register, May 26, 1815

May 27: From New York — “The Bourbon Flag, has this day been struck, and Bonaparte’s Tri-colored flag displayed on board the French Frigate L’Harmoine now in this port. A French national salute was fired on the occasion. This measure, it is said, has been adopted by order of the French Consul.”–New York Spectator, May 27, 1815

May 27: From New York — “Two American 74’s and two frigates, half manned, are shortly expected at Plymouth, to complete their crews from the American prisoners of war at Dartmouth [Nova Scotia], and then to sail against the freebooters on the coast of Barbary.”–New York Spectator, May 27, 1815

May 27: From Richmond, advertisement — “WESTOVER. ** The sale of Westover, and the few Negroes attached to it, is necessarily postponed until further notice.” Richard W Byrd, ex’or. of Wm. Byrd, dec’d.”–Richmond Enquirer, May 27, 1815

May 29: From Augusta — “By a gentleman lately from the [Creek] agency we learn, that they have driven back the commissioners who were proceeding to run the line–driven off the settlers on the Alabama–declared that all travelling through their country by white persons should be put a stop to, & declared that their boundaries should remain as they were in 1811.”–Kentucky Gazette, July 3, 1815

May 29: From New York –“A piece of land near the battery in New-York which was recently bought of the state by the corporation of the city, for $50,000, has lately been sold in 17 building lots, for $158,200.”–Boston Daily Advertiser, May 29, 1815

May 30: From a letter from a Baltimorean dated Funchal, Madeira — “At Mr. ______’s table yesterday, amongst many toasts, that gentleman gave, & we had the pleasure of drinking, ‘The commander of Fort M’Henry,’ in thirty years old Madeira; from which you will infer, that a knowledge of the manly defence of that post is not confined to an ordinary space.”–Providence Patriot, July 22, 1815

May 31: From New Orleans, A REGULAR MAIL! — “We received by Monday’s mail a National Intelligencer of the 24th July, eighteen hundred and thirteen, which Mr. Brown, one of our Senators in Congress had been so kind as to send us under cover. Several individuals of this city, occupying offices under the general government, as well as a number of our mercantile friends, received by the preceding mail letters of 1813 and 14.”–New York Spectator, July 8, 1815

May 31: From Milledgeville — “We understand that the 8th regiment under the command of col. Jacks, is ordered to attend the U. States commissioners, who will shortly commence running the boundary line as designated in Jackson’s treaty. This measure of precaution is deemed necessary in consequence of the hostile threats of the Lower Creeks, who appear determined to oppose the commissioners in the prosecution of their labors.”--Aurora, June 17, 1815

About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.