Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Guides’

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Early Long Lake: Senator Orville Platt

7 u s senator orville platt from conn.What is believed to be the first summer camp on Long Lake was built on Birch Point in 1870 for Senator Orville Hitchcock Platt. Platt was born in Washington, CT in 1827. His father was a farmer who also served the community as deputy sheriff, judge of probate, and a school teacher. Platt’s parents were both active abolitionists and their home was a station on the Underground Railroad.

As a youth, Platt helped his father on the farm and also enjoyed roaming the countryside hunting and fishing in the woods and streams of northwest Connecticut. He attended school in Washington, CT, the student of abolitionist Frederic Gunn. When a pro-slavery group forced Gunn to close his school he and Platt (as assistant teacher) moved to the abolitionist stronghold of Towanda, PA. Orville Platt spent a year there and met a young lady who would later become his wife. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 2, 2015

2 Notorious Guides In Adirondack History

P326ABefore railroads and automobiles, travelers depended on the quality and skills of North Woods guides to show them the region’s natural beauty, to feed them and provide the best in hunting and fishing.  Often, guides were entrusted with taking ladies in the woods.

The guides, especially those not aligned with large hotels, depended on per diem fees for subsistence and quality reputations for honesty, dependability and woodcraft benefited all guides.  So when two guides brought dishonor to the profession, guides hoped people realized these two were the exception. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 27, 2015

In Honor of “French Louie Day”

250px-Adirondack_French_Louie_(Louis_Seymour)_(1833-1915)Last fall, while researching the history of Perkins Clearing and the West Canada Lake Wilderness for part four of my history on the State Land Master Plan, I came across a newspaper article published in the Fulton County Republican on February 4, 1909. The unnamed correspondent had interviewed several Adirondack trappers for the purpose of describing the solitary nature of their chosen occupation – and how their lifestyle was starting to conflict with the modernity of the twentieth century. Among the trappers he spoke with was 75-year-old Louie Seymour, called here “French Lewey.”

At the time this article was written, a profound flux in the way society perceived the Adirondack wilderness was in progress. The Adirondack Park was seventeen years old, fish and game laws were gaining teeth, and a series of devastating fires was about to convince New York State to take a more active role in the management of the region. By comparison, when these men entered the woods as youths the wilderness was considered a “no man’s land” where many of the rules of civilization didn’t always apply. Squatting was a way of life, and no one was counting the amount of venison in your pot or the trout on your line. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Friday Declared ‘French Louie’ Seymour Day

young-louie-300The Herkimer County Legislature has named Friday “French Louie Day” in honor of the noted French-Canadian Adirondacker Louis Seymour. A celebration is planned for Saturday in the Town of Inlet.

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Seymour, who made the wilderness between Inlet and Lake Pleasant his home from the 1860s until his death in Newton’s Corners (now Speculator) on February 27, 1915.  Seymour’s name became legend after the 1952 biography Adirondack French Louie: Life in the North Woods by Utica author Harvey Dunham, which portrayed him as a man of hard work, determination and humor.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Early History Of Seventh Lake

1909 ffg raquette lake (2000x1551)Until Robert Maloney’s 1989 history, A Backward Look at 6th and 7th Lakes, local histories of the Fulton Chain region had mostly concentrated on the growth and development of the more populated First through Fourth Lakes of the chain.

Though my primary subject here is the popular hotel that existed on the north shore of Seventh Lake, I wanted to also supplement Mr. Maloney’s information with additional early history about Seventh Lake itself.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Adirondack Murray’s Guide Honest John

Honest john“Honest John Plumbley [sic], the prince of guides, patient as a hound, and as faithful, – a man who knows the wilderness as a farmer knows his fields, whose instinct is never at fault, whose temper is never ruffled, whose paddle is silent as falling snow, whose eye is true along the sights, whose pancakes are the wonder of the woods…”

– Rev. William H. H. Murray, Adventures in the Wilderness, 1869.

William H. H. Murray is widely credited with bringing the masses to the Adirondacks.   The historian Warder Cadbury said, “Murray quite literally popularized both wilderness and the Adirondacks.” “Murray’s Rush”, the onslaught of tourists who rushed to the mountains in response to his book, gave rise to the claim that the Adirondacks are the birthplace of the American vacation.

John Plumley* is the man who brought the Adirondacks to Murray. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lorraine Duvall: A Trip To The Essex Chain Lakes

Lorraine & culvert--Photo by Jeri WrightI had been pining to experience the waters of the Essex Chain Lakes ever since hearing of the purchase by the Nature Conservancy in 2007. But now that the Lakes are open to the public seven years later my ability to carry a boat, even a lightweight Hornbeck solo canoe, is limited. I could have done it at the age of 68, but not 75. I wanted to do it with my canoe buddies, who were even older than me, ranging in age from their late seventies to ninety.

We are a group of six women from the High Peaks region who like to independently explore the wild waters in our solo boats. Our paddling explorations began 11 years ago during a camping trip on Little Tupper Lake, returning the last day during a hurricane. Every year since we’ve scheduled trips around hip and knee replacements and family caretaking duties – ranging from three day camping excursions on Lows Lake and Lake Lila to one day trips on Henderson Lake to an afternoon on Lake Everest in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mitchell Sabattis, Abenaki Guide and Boatbuilder

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 9.17.23 PMWhen I walk the land around Matthew Beach’s original hut and William Wood’s shanty on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point, I imagine the Abenaki guide Mitchell Sabattis pulling into their landings in a canoe or guideboat made by his own hand. Indian Point was a waypoint for many a traveler boating through the Central Adirondacks.

While it is impossible to know how often Sabattis visited those acres, we have written record of at least three occasions: his trips with Joel Tyler Headley in 1844-46, accompanying C. W. Webber in 1849, and an expedition of women who explored the region in 1873 (beautifully told in Barbara McMartin’s book To the Lake of the Skies).

Sabattis guided for my great-great-grandfather George Hornell Thacher in 1862 as he explored the region from a base camp Sabattis had on Blue Mountain Lake’s Crane Point. Even if Thacher and his guide traveled to Raquette Lake however, it’s unlikely they spent a night on Indian Point.  Sabattis maintained a campsite from 1852 to 1877 on Watch Point according to Ken Hawks, who now owns the property. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Joel Headley:
Among The First To Popularize The Adirondacks

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 2.45.55 PMAnd how solemn it is to move all day through a majestic colonnade of trees and feel that you are in a boundless cathedral whose organ notes swell and die away with the passing wind like some grand requiem. Still more exciting is it to lie at midnight by your camp fire and watch the moon sailing up amid the trees or listen to the cry of the loon, wild and lonely, on the wild and lonely lake, or the hoot of the owl in the deep recesses of the forest. - Joel Tyler Headley

Many have probably heard of “Adirondack Murray”, the Reverend William H. H. Murray who wrote Adventures in the Wilderness in 1869.  His book is credited with driving throngs of tourists to escape the cities for the Adirondacks in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century. However, it was Joel Tyler Headley two decades earlier who wrote the seminal book The Adirondack or Life in the Woods in 1849 that brought the first wave of wealthy sports to explore the region. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blue Mountain Lake’s Thacher Island Revisited

GHTSr & TomYou see me here standing where my great-great grandfather George Hornell Thacher Sr. once stood on the porch of the family lodge built in 1867 on Thacher Island on Blue Mountain Lake.   The photo is not dated but given his aged appearance (no, the guy on the left), I believe it to be from the early 1880s.

My father spoke of visiting his uncle on the island as a young boy in the 1940s.   No Thacher has had the opportunity to walk the island since then. It had always been a dream of mine to visit my family’s first summer home. A dream fulfilled thanks to the hospitality of John and Janet O’Loughlin, whose family has owned the island for over two decades. » Continue Reading.


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