Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Old Farmer's Almanac - 1860s

This was the last periodical prior to the United States Civil War.

On page 3:

'HINTS AND HOME THOUGHTS FOR 1860.

The matter of insurance against fire is so important, and so apt to be neglected, that I would ask if you have attended to it ? Is the policy all right, and at a responsible office ? --I suppose you are aware that the surest way to destroy your own health is to constantly be drinking of other people.-- The exercise of prudence, perseverance, and manly energy, will prevent you from having to read, as Jerrold says, "those hard words, want and poverty, in the iron book of daily life."-- Keep your soul open to the sunshine, for if your heart gets clouded with discontent and impatience, you will find the pleasantest place on earth dark and disagreeable.-- Never open the door to a small vice, lest a large one enter.'

This goes on for quite sometime...

As this was printed in 1859, James Buchanan was still in office from 1857. He didn't know at the time that Abraham Lincoln would be starting in office in 1861...

Mostly the almanacs of that time gave facts: tables of information; the twelve months spread out with the sun rise and set times, length of day, Moon rise and set, high and low tides, weather information and the Farmer's Calendar.

After that there are Court listings for when Supreme Court is in session; agricultural articles; Poetry & Anecdotes; tables of tides, simple interest, popular vote for President in 1856; and the Population of the United States & Territories. Finally, some weather tables and then adverts. The Almanac for 1861 (printed in 1860) mentions nothing of impending war - and it is not enough we couldn't see it coming by then.

Let's see 1862.

On page 2, where Robert B. Thomas [used to] writes to the reader to thank them for support, it reads:

'TO PATRONS & CORRESPONDENTS

Number seventy ! Three score and ten ! Few, few indeed, who greeted us as we started into life in 1793, now live to welcome us to their firesides. We have survived the friends who first new us and took us cordially by the hand -- nay, have even renewed our youth from year to year, and now feel younger, stronger and more vigorous than ever. A hale, hearty old age to you all ! We chronicled faithfully the rolling years, and your fathers and grandfathers delighted to finger our leaves, as they sat in the old chimney-corner, wondering as the great miracles were renewed in the changing seasons, bringing life out of death, bringing a living green upon the face of the cold earth, bringing the gold and crimson blush upon the fruits of autumn ; and we come to you now, as we came to them, with something new, something fresh, and something useful, from day to day through the whole year !

A prominent feature of this number will be found in the complete chronological events connected with the rise and progress of the rebellion against the national government, commencing with November, 1860, and extending to July, 1861, in the calendar pages. This record will be continued, and hence the importance of preserving the number for future references.

"We are living in, we are dwelling in a grand and awful time,
In an age on ages telling, to be living is sublime !"

[Robert B. Thomas actually died in 1846; but I'm sure on some level he knew that war was coming, however distant it was at that time. The northern states had abolished slavery completely by 1804; the southern states continued to embrace it, despite general political rallying against it. Once the southern states began seceding in 1861, it all hit the fan.]

The usual astronomical information is then given, followed by commencements, anniversaries and vacations; American Presidents (Abraham Lincoln is there now); Commercial value of gold and silver coins [can you believe they still had ducats then? Damn...]; and the Worthless and Uncurrent Bank Notes in New England [back in the days before the United States unified all the money as a federal function; local banks produced their own bank notes still].

Then the monthly pages begin with the usual sun, Moon, astronomical information and the Farmer's Calendar. This followed by court information, agricultural articles, poetry & anecdotes, tides, interest, population of the U.S. & Territories... if you look at the table of the population, though, you can see it:

State
Square Miles
Electors
Date of Admission to Union
Free
Slave
Total
Reps

Ugh. Imagine that.

Territories in 1862? There were seven. Colorado, Nevada and Dakotah were the first three. Colorado included parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and Eastern Utah. Nevadah was taken from Western Utah and Northern California. Dakotah was formerly a part of Minnesota territory. New Mexico, Utah, Nebraska and Washington [State] were the last four territories.

1863:
'What seceding states have cost.--The following figures show how much money has been paid by the Government, to say nothing of the sacrifice of human life, for the exclusive benefit of the seceding States of the Union ; --Louisiana (purchased of France). $15,000,000 ; interest paid $8,385,353. Florida (purchased of Spain) ; $5,000,000 ; interest paid $1,430,000. Texas, boundary, $10,000,000 ; for indemnity $10,000,000 ; for creditors ; $7,750,000. Indian expenses of all kinds ; $5,000,000 ; to purchase navy, pay troops ; $5,000,000 ; all other expenditures ; $3,000,000."

Nothing showed in 1864.

I can't find the figures for 1865.

Oh, you can't believe what I found in the 1865 book (see image at top of post)! In June, there just a teeny corner hanging out of the page, was a piece of envelope with a 26 June stamp (the year isn't visible) and a perfect, untouched 2 cent Andrew Jackson stamp. The postal stamp is not on it, it's next to it. I have no idea what the value is, but it has to be worth... something. Not even monetary - the history in my hands! I need to find a stamp collection place to look at it. This is amazing! (I wish Las Vegas was close - I'd go visit Rick Harrison at the Pawn Shop. I bet he'd love this!)

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