The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


April 20, 2013

U.S.S. Maine explosion, war drew much local sentiment

For most people in our area in early 1898, a growing conflict between two distant nations probably didn’t get much attention, other than some glances at the newspaper. When a young Oneonta man was one of many injured or killed in an explosion of a battleship he was aboard, the local attention increased markedly to what was soon to become the Spanish-American War.

The U.S.S. Maine had been sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain in the early months of 1898. The Maine suddenly exploded in Havana Harbor on Tuesday, Feb. 15, killing nearly three-quarters of its crew.

Ambrose Ham, the son of Cephas Ham of Oneonta, had been on board the Maine for four years, and his immediate fate was unknown. It was finally reported in The Oneonta Star on Saturday, Feb. 19, that Cephas Ham had received word his son was in Key West, slightly hurt.

“All Oneontans will rejoice with the father and sister over the good news,” the Star concluded.

The cause of that explosion was never actually determined, but popular opinion and the press of the day became a rallying cry to blame Spain and called for action.

While Ambrose Ham survived, local people began taking the saying, “Remember The Maine” seriously. On Wednesday, April 27, Star readers learned, “Manager Fitzgerald of the Oneonta theatre and Mr. Markham, of the company now playing at the house, are arranging a benefit performance for the Maine monument fund. A percentage of Thursday’s receipts will be given to the noble cause and special arrangements are being made for the production. Doubtless, the patriotic plan will be liberally supported by the public.”

Not only were there local fundraisers for the national monument, which was finally dedicated in 1913 at the Arlington National Cemetery, there were local awareness days for school children during May 1898.

Text Only
Big Chuck D'Imperio
Cary Brunswick

Chuck Pinkey
Guest Column

Lisa Miller

Mark Simonson

Rick Brockway

Sam Pollak
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service

Is Israel justified to conduct its military campaign against the Hamas in Gaza?

Undecided/no opinion
     View Results