Cooperstown, Otsego, NY
The Indian Alarm
By Holice and Debbie

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THE INDIAN ALARM

The year 1794 was rendered memorable for what was known as the Indian alarm. The alarm proceeded from the combined circumstances that a report prevailed of a considerable body of Indians having been seen lurking in the woods at no great distance, and that a party who had brought in some counterfeiters discharged their pistols at midnight. Scouts had been previously sent to ascertain the fact about the Indians, and this discharge of pistols was supposed to proceed from the scouts, in the wish to alarm the village.

We give the following glimpse of travel in the early days, and the rapidity with which journeys were made in 1795: "Judge Cooper left Cooperstown soon after breakfast with his wife and two children, in an old-fashioned chariot drawn by four horses. At Middlefield Centre the party stopped, baited, and dined. It reached Cherry Valley a little before sunset, where it passed the night. Left Cherry Valley next morning after an early breakfast and stopped to dine with Christopher Yates; thence to the house of Hendrick Frey, at Canajoharie, to supper and to sleep. Quitting Mr. Frey's after a late breakfast or at ten o'clock, it reached an inn for the night, about ten miles from Schenectady. The next morning, making an early start, it reached Gilbert's, in Schenectady, to a late breakfast, and succeeded in getting to Albany about sunset."

In 1803 Cooperstown contained seventy-four dwellings, thirty-four barns, and three hundred and forty-none inhabitants. The number of stores, shops, etc., would probably have raised the whole number of buildings, exclusive of barns, etc., to about one hundred. (The History of Otsego, NY, by Duane Hamilton Hurd, 1878)

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Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Copyright Debbie Axtman and Holice B. Young

December 24, 1999

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