Albany, almanacs, American, Andrew Beers, attorney, Beers' Ontario Almanack, Canandaigua, diary, editor, farmers, James D. Bemis, Joseph Smith, New York, New York City, nineteenth century, Ontario County, Ontario Repository and Genesee Advertiser, polymath, spring, weather
“This month is generally ushered in with boisterous wind and nipping frosts. The hapless mariner beholds his vessel wrecked upon the very rocks which bind his much-loved home. Vegetation perishes through severe and untimely ires!; and deluging rains, descending with impetuous force crush the springing blade, and despoil the beauty of the gay parterre. Even thus do the rude passions of man’s soul break forth with resistless force at this unsettled period of existence, wrecking the fragile bark of youth. The tide of dissipation sweeps away the principles of virtue, which have not had time to take root, and every noble energy is blighted by the influence of bad example.”
The Farmer’s Diary, or, Beers’ Ontario Almanack, for the Year of our Lord 1824
Canandaigua, NY: Printed and sold, wholesale and retail, by J. D. Bemis, 1824
For all their necessity, American almanacs in the early nineteenth century assumed that most farmers understood, without printed confirmation, events such as the beginning of spring. Nonetheless, warnings such as the one above about the ravages of early spring weather, not to mention the unsettling effect it has on the “fragile bark of youth,” pervaded these sage documents. As evidenced here, spring fever was alive and well in 1824.
Attorney Andrew Beers acted as chief polymath for several almanacs in New York City before he moved to Albany in 1797. He began working with printers in western New York towns wanting to issue almanacs particular to their areas. Newspaperman and publisher James D. Bemis of Canandaigua, nine miles from the home of Joseph Smith, turned to Beers for help with astronomical, monetary and other calculations invaluable to local farmers and businessmen. Bemus was the editor of the Ontario Repository and Genesee Advertiser. Ontario County, New York was home to Joseph Smith and his family between 1816 and 1830.