Almanack Contributor Lawrence P. Gooley

Lawrence P. Gooley

Lawrence Gooley, of Clinton County, is an award-winning author who has hiked, bushwhacked, climbed, bicycled, explored, and canoed in the Adirondack Mountains for 45 years. With a lifetime love of research, writing, and history, he has authored 19 books and more than 150 articles on the region's past, and in 2009 organized the North Country Authors in the Plattsburgh area.

His book Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune won the Adirondack Literary Award for Best Book of Nonfiction in 2008. Another title, Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow, has been a regional best-seller for four years running.

With his partner, Jill Jones, Gooley founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. They have published 65 titles and are now offering web design.

Bloated Toe’s unusual business model was featured in Publisher’s Weekly in April 2011. The company also operates an online store to support the work of other regional folks. The North Country Store features more than 100 book titles and 60 CDs and DVDs, along with a variety of other area products.



Monday, June 29, 2015

George Kissell: The King of Baseball

GK1A GeorgeKissellGeorge Kissell, a native of Evans Mills, about eight miles northeast of Watertown, is one of the most famous sports figures you’ve never heard of – unless maybe if you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Conversely, here are some baseball names you might be familiar with: Earl Weaver, Tony LaRussa, Steve Carlton, Joe Torre, Whitey Herzog, Sparky Anderson, Don Zimmer – and to go way back, let’s include Branch Rickey.

For a bit of perspective, listen to what they had to say about George Kissell (who is in no way related to the recent troubles in the Cardinals organization). Hall of Famer Earl Weaver called him one of the biggest influences on Weaver’s career. In » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jim Barry: King of Death Penalty Reprieves

JJBarry2A1918It was Keeseville native Jim Barry’s reputation as a top-rated lawyer, fighting relentlessly and effectively against great odds, that led to his role in an infamous New York City murder case. In November 1918, four young men robbed a 68-year-old subway-ticket agent, Otto Fiala, and when the man resisted, he was shot dead.

The four included James “Bull” Cassidy, 25, an amateur boxer; Charles McLaughlin, 21; Joseph “Lefty” Milano, 19; and Joseph “Onions” Usefof, 20. Three sailors saw them flee the scene (netting only $61 from the robbery). Ten days later, detectives found them in Syracuse, where they were arrested after Cassidy fought a four-round bout. Willie Kirk, driver of the getaway car, was » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

James Barry: Friend of the Working Man

James J Barry of Schenectady and KeesevilleNearly a century ago, a North Country man played a role in one the most remarkable murder cases in New York State history. Attorney James J. Barry was a Keeseville native, born there in late 1876 and a  graduated of Keeseville’s McAuley Academy in 1898. In 1901 he moved to Schenectady where he worked for General Electric. He later attended Albany Law School, graduating in 1908 and setting up shop in Schenectady, his adopted home.

The Adirondacks were his real home however, and he maintained strong ties here. To share with others the joys of spending time in the mountains, he helped form the Northmen’s Club, of which he was » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Notes From The ACW Publishing Conference

HeavenHill01On Saturday we made our first-ever visit to Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid, where the Adirondack Center for Writing Publishing Conference was held. My wife and business partner Jill Jones served with me on the panel of self-publishers that included Gary VanRiper and Jamie Sheffield. We shared different experiences and answered a variety of questions. Hopefully it was helpful to some of the attendees. After the panel’s portion ended, we visited with some of the authors and answered more questions.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Current Events on the Local Book Scene

BooksImageJW01There’s a lot going on in the world of books at this time that will affect writers everywhere, including the Adirondack region. BookExpo America and BookCon, held at the Javits Center in New York City, ended on May 31, the same day that regional book awards were presented at Blue Mountain Lake by the Adirondack Center for Writing. On June 6–7, the ACW’s annual Publishing Conference is being held in Lake Placid. From 2:45 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, my partner, Jill Jones, and I will be serving on the self-publishing panel, along with Jamie Sheffield » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Early Baseball: Golden Age of the Silver Ball

SilverBallTrophyIf you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game, you’ll recall certain things: the food, the camaraderie among like-minded fans, exciting plays on the field, and the overall feeling of enjoyment. And remember that professional doesn’t necessarily mean major league. It also applies to the minor leagues, where, at least in my opinion, all those things are even more enjoyable, especially in Single-A ball. Watching the Geneva Cubs and other teams back in the 1980s in the Finger Lakes region is one of my all-time favorite baseball experiences.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Johnny Prindle: The Funnyman’s Last Lines

JP 04A Ad1888SyrExpectations were high for Johnnie Prindle‘s newest production, “Reuben Glue, or Life Among the Bushrangers”, about the adventures of a Vermont Yankee farmer in the wilds of Australia, but if anything,  he exceeded them.

As the reviews rolled in from packed opera houses and SRO theaters in Syracuse, Buffalo, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and elsewhere, it was clear that Reuben Glue as portrayed by Johnnie was a tour de force.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Johnny Prindle: The Joy of Laughter (Part 3)

JP 03A Ad1885IowaSince the Beedles & Prindle tour of 1883 wasn’t scheduled to begin until May, Johnnie Prindle performed Reuben Chandler and other favorites on the western circuit with the Oakes Brothers, who were more than happy to have one of the biggest traveling stars for the tidy sum of $500 per week ($12,000 in 2015).

The Beedles & Prindle Pleasure Party toured again that summer, reaching a wide audience, but also visiting their fans back home. A show was held for appreciative audiences in Plattsburgh at Palmer’s Hall, where Johnnie’s career began, and at Ticonderoga, where the Sentinel noted: “They are meeting with greater success than ever. Houses crowded every night, twelve star » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

North Country Funnyman Johnny Prindle (Part 2)

JP 02A B&PColorAdIn March 1877, Johnnie Prindle left the troupe and joined wife Carrie at home for the birth of their first child together, daughter Vincentine. Family was important, but due to scheduling commitments, he rejoined the company before too long. After all, so many others were counting on the show’s star to help produce their income.

Tours lasted six to nine months, and sometimes a year, after which some performers took a break. Others, like Prindle often did, signed with different traveling shows and carried on. Earlier in the year, while on the road in Ontario, Johnny had begun advertising his pending availability. Before the tour ended in May, he had committed to » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Johnny Prindle: The Joy of Laughter

JP 01A HeadThe recent loss of Robin Williams, whose death felt deeply personal to many who never actually knew him, reminded me of a North Country entertainer who shared a somewhat similar fate long ago. Although the man’s passing was not by his own hand, it was the suddenness of his “not being there” that was stunning and difficult for many thousands of fans. For like Williams, he had brought decades of laughter and great joy into their lives.

Johnnie Prindle was born in Plattsburgh, New York. The year? His gravestone says 1845; several census records say 1846; his marriage and death certificates say 1847. And age was only the first of many vagaries regarding his life » Continue Reading.


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