J.C. Ravell died in Eureka in 1899. One of those handling his estate, Dr. E. R. Keen of Eureka, came across a very old newspaper in among the effects of the late Mr. Ravell, still in good condition and quite readable.

It was from New York state, the Ulster County Gazette. The publish date on the newspaper was Jan. 4, 1800. Imagine that!

An article in the Jan. 6, 1900 issue of the Eureka Sentinel noted the Ulster County Gazette carried a long account mourning the death of former U.S. President George Washington who had died just three weeks earlier.

“The article contained a letter dated Dec, 20, 1799 giving a detailed account of the burial service. Letters between John Adams, then President of the United States, and the Congress, then in session, are also published giving details of the proceedings.”

George Washington died Dec. 14, 1799, following a bout with what was most likely pneumonia, although at the time that illness was not well understood by physicians, often being referred to as “Winter Fever.”

Historians note that Washington probably came down with the illness from his habitual horseback rides, which he took in the middle of a snowy day in December, then choosing not to change his wet clothes because there were guests visiting Mount Vernon. He ignored it the next day also, assuming he had caught a cold, but later that night decided his condition “was too severe to simply gloss over.”

The Sentinel article reports the same issue of the Ulster County Gazette ran a story on the Allied Powers, (England, Austria, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire), fighting against the French in the Battle of Zurich, which occurred on Sept. 25-26, 1799. It proved to be a decisive French victory, and although Napoleon was not present, it did help lead the way for him to increase his power, and 15 months later proclaim himself Emperor of France.

The article in the Sentinel concludes by saying, “This old newspaper is in an excellent state of preservation, quite legible and is an interesting relic of bygone years. We notice, however, that it has no discussion as to when the Nineteenth Century would begin.”

Of course, by Jan. 4, 1800, it already had.