Elihu Phinney was born in New Milford, Connecticut
on July 14, 1756 and in the early 1790's he lived in Canaan,
Columbia County, New York where he published the Columbian
Mercury and Canaan Repository of Rural Knowledge. On March
15, 1781 he married Mary Noyes in New Canaan, Columbia
County, New York.
Phinney was the first printer in Cooperstown, New York
and was considered a prominent pioneer and one who did
much to advance the interests of Cooperstown. Phinney
was invited to Cooperstown by Judge William Cooper, a
wealthy land developer. It is said that future author
James Fenimore Cooper, son of the Judge, frequented Phinney's
print shop. Caroline Cooper, the daughter of James Fenimore
Cooper, married Phinney's grandson, Henry Frederich Phinney.
In 1795 Elihu opened a printing and publishing business
in Cooperstown printing the weekly newspaper "The
Otsego Herald or Western Advertiser" which he published
until 1813. His sons Henry and Elihu, Jr., took over the
business in 1813 upon their father's death. Both Henry
and Elihu, Jr., held the office of Supervisor of the Town
of Otsego (in which the Village of Cooperstown is located).
Elihu Phinney's name may now be associated
as much with the game of baseball as with the publishing
business. It was claimed that Abner Doubleday, the supposed
inventor of baseball, regularly played the game on Phinney's
farm. This led to the purchase of the lot for use as a
baseball park now called Doubleday Field where the annual
Hall of Fame Game is played.
Elihu Phinney died at the age of 56 on
July 12, 1813 in Cooperstown, New York.
Note: Death notice for Phinney was published in The
Troy Post on August 3, 1813