Ned Myers

Ned Myers

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by James Fenimore Cooper

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"Ned Myers" from James Fenimore Cooper. Prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century (1789-1851).


"Ned Myers" from James Fenimore Cooper. Prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century (1789-1851).

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Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper was born in 1789 in New Jersey, the son of a wealthy land agent who founded Cooperstown in New York State. Cooper attended Yale, but was expelled in 1805 and spent five years at sea on merchant then naval ships. He married in 1811, and eventually settled in New York. Precaution, Cooper's first novel, was written in 1820 as a study of English manners; its successors, The Spy and The Pilot, written within the next three years, were more characteristic of the vein of military or seagoing romance that was to become typical of him. In 1823 he began the Leatherstocking Tales series of novels, centred on a shared Native American character at different periods of his life, for which he is chiefly remembered. Cooper's reputation as one of America's leading authors was quickly established, and spread to Europe by a long stay there from 1826, making him one of the first American writers popular beyond that country. After his return to America in 1832, however, conservative political essays and novels dramatising similar views, as well as critiques of American society and abuses of democracy, led to a decline in his popularity. James Fenimore Cooper died in 1851.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 15, 1789
Date of Death:
September 14, 1851
Place of Birth:
Burlington, New Jersey
Place of Death:
Cooperstown, New York
Yale University (expelled in 1805)

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Ned Myers (Large Print Edition) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
In November 1842 disabled, pensioned sailor Ned Myers was about 47 years old. In his 1843 biography as told to famed novelist, historian and biographer James Fenimore Cooper, Myers thought that he had been born in Quebec in 1793. "My real names are Edward Robert Meyers" (Ch. I). Both parents were German, Hanoverians probably. His father was an officer serving in the 23rd regiment of foot. Father's father had been a clergyman in Germany. It is possible (end note 7) that Ned actually found his own father, Lt. Col. Meyers, dead on the battlefield at Fort George. *** Residing off and on since 1840 in New York's Sailors' Snug Harbour, a retirement community for old sea dogs, Ned decided to write to James Fenimore Cooper at his home in Cooperstown, western New York. Perhaps they had been teenage shipmates on the merchantman Sterling to and from Europe in 1806 - 7. "I got an answer, beginning in these words -- 'I am your old shipmate, Ned'" (Ch. XIX). *** Cooper's early work THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1826) had vaulted him to the first ranks and the level of Sir Walter Scott as a writer of romantic historical novels. By 1842 Cooper had already written several of his sea adventure novels and a pioneering history of the United States Navy. In 1840 Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s book TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST had created readers avid for tales of simple sailors, not officers, ship owners or leading figures such as captains and mates. A life of Ned Myers would give Cooper entree to these new readers of realistic maritime adventure. *** The two old shipmates, reunited after 35 years, spent five months together at Cooperstown working on the first-person biography NED MYERS. In a 1997 article in THE AMERICAN NEPTUNE, William S. Dudley, of the Naval Historical Center, sketched out the few years left to Myers after his narrative broke off. Cooper shared book royalties with Myers. He helped him find a navy-related land job in Brooklyn. Cooper also hired one of Ned's stepdaughters as a house servant. Unfortunately, in a few years born-again Christian Ned resumed his sworn off absorption in alcohol. He died in 1849. Cooper had written Myer's will for him and continued to help his widow financially. *** I read NED MYERS as a remarkable tale of male bonding, of a friendship of two teenagers rekindled three decades later. It is, of course, much more: the social life of a common sailor, history of America's wars, including the near civil war with South Carolina over "Nullification" and the Seminole Indian war in Florida. The longest part of the narrative goes to Myers's service with the U.S. Navy on Lake Ontario in 1813, his capture, escapes, recaptures and imprisonment in Canada until peace was restored in 1815. Great events are seen from a little man's perspective, the Barbary Coast incursions, pirate encounters at sea, mammoth storms, sinkings, rescues, several long voyages to Canton, China and trade in opium from Calcutta. NED MYERS is a treasure trove of American history. -OOO- recommended reading: -- Richard Henry Dana, Jr. - TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST -- James Fenimore Cooper - THE PILOT -- Sir Walter Scott - THE PIRATE