It is all the Fault of the Date, June 18

Or so thought the editor of the Worcester Massachusetts Spy, in his June 22, 1814 issue.  This is the story:

“On Saturday last, an attempt was made agreeably to appointment to launch the seventy-four at Charlestown, but owning to the great rains which fell during the last week, the grease would not adhere to the ways, and they were unable to get her off.  She slid down about half way and then stopped.  No other injury happened to her except ripping off about twenty feet of her copper.  A second attempt was again made on Sunday and likewise failed.  It is thought, however, that by making new preparations, she may be got off without difficulty.  We have to lament, that in making the second attempt, one of the workmen was killed by the fall of a block upon his head.

Were we inclined to superstition, we should ascribe this ill success to the unpropitious day which was chosen for this performance.  The reader will recollect that Saturday was the anniversary of one of the sorest curses that ever afflicted this nation, a wicked, wasteful and ignominious war.  If, then, the vessel of state, ever since the declaration of that event, instead of going forward, has been continually driven backward in its course, well may we expect that the same baleful influence will extend to every thing that has any relation to such a mournful occasion.”

The third attempt was successful.  The U. S. S. Independence was launched on June 22, 1814.

Readers, if interested in additional information on this 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and its use of contemporary newspapers, visit here.

Also, recently posted on UT’s digital repository is the newspaper Home and State, published in Westerville, Ohio, funded by the Texas Anti-Saloon LeagueThe first issue, dated October, 1922 carries these headlines: “The Congressional Race in Texas” and “Wet Democrats Nominate Dry Republican”.  Fascinating.
The location of the Digital Repository is can be found here.

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.

Mary Bowden