Almanack Contributor Glenn Pearsall

Glenn Pearsall

Adirondack historian Glenn Pearsall is the author of Echoes in these Mountains (2008), When Men and Mountains Meet (2013), and the Adirondack novel, Leaves Torn Asunder (2016).
In 2000, Glenn Pearsall and his wife Carol established and funded the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of year round residents of the Adirondack Park.

When not pursuing a passion for history and philanthropy, Pearsall is a senior partner and Portfolio Manager for a wealth management team in Glens Falls, NY. He and his wife Carol live near the base of Crane Mountain in Johnsburg.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Return of “Echoes in These Mountains,” book release & signing set for Dec. 10

echoes in the mountains book

Echoes in These Mountains was my first award-winning book. Published in 2008, it tells the stories behind 55 historic sites in the Township of Johnsburg, Warren County. The book was well received and the original run of 1,500 copies sold out years ago. With folks asking for up to $114 for a used copy “signed by the author” (eBay emphasis, the original retail price was $16.95), I decided it was time
for a second edition. I used the opportunity to fix some typos, but also to expand the original manuscript with additional historic photographs and added new research and analysis.

The expanded second edition, now totaling 512 pages, will be officially released at a special program on December 10 at the Town of Johnsburg Library [located on] Main Street [in] North Creek, NY. The new edition includes additional documentation of a French & Indian War warpath that passed through the area including pictures of a Revolutionary-Era “cannon” found unearthed along a local dirt road years ago, cannon balls of different diameters found in a garden in Bakers Mills by a local resident and a Revolutionary War French bayonet found near the east shore of Loon Lake.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Place I Live: Johnsburg

north creek aerial

When we travel I tell folks we live in UPSTATE NY – not NYC. Explain we live on a dirt road 7 miles from the general store – which burned down 10 years ago and has not been re-built.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Above is a picture son Adam took recently from the summit of Crane Mt. (In Johnsburg, where we were married June 1971) looking west. See the house just to the left of the center of the photograph with the green roof? Not ours… you can’t see ours. Ours, although two story and 36’x50’, is buried under the cluster of orange trees an inch or two to the right.

House 85 ft set back from the dirt road – but you can’t see that either. Buried under the trees.

Main body of water is Garnet Lake; 70% of which is NYS “Forever Wild.” Water to the upper left is not a river; Lixard Pond is surrounded by wild lands. 50 miles of “forever wilds” borders our 27 acre “backyard.”

Editor’s note: Thanks to Glenn for sharing this. Let’s see if we can turn this into a series! Share what you love about your part of the Adirondacks. What makes it special? Send your “The Place I Live” commentary to Melissa Hart: editor@adirondackalmanack.com.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Fire in The Adirondacks

The burning of the Straight House Hotel in North Creek also set the adjoining Methodist Parsonage on fire. (courtesy Johnsburg Historical Society)

Out west the summer of 2022 will long be remembered as the year of fire, but the Adirondacks also has a history of fire.

The years 1903 and 1908 were two great fire years in the Adirondacks. An article titled “Years of Fire” in the March/April 1981 Adirondack Life notes that “During both years the northeast suffered from drought. Due to sloppy logging, the woods were filled with piles of slash, the discarded tops, and limbs of trees. The railroads, which crossed the Adirondacks in the 1890s, failed to equip their wood and coal burning locomotives with spark arrestors. Although mandated by state law the penalties for violating the equipment law were so insignificant the railroads ignored them, and fires started all up and down the rail lines.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 8, 2022

Land of the Towering White Pines

White Pine west of Crane Mountain, Warren County

About 30 years ago I built a 16’x20’ shed to store my canoes, the riding lawnmower, my chainsaws and assorted wood scraps. There was a cute 8 foot white pine near the site that I left because it looked pretty. That “cute little white pine” has grown; it towered into the sky and its increasing diameter reached and pushed against the roof of my shed such that, as that white pine swayed in the wind, it caused my shed to creak and groan.

Clearly it had to come down (the tree, not the shed). Once on the ground it measured over 60 feet tall.

Earlier this summer my son Adam helped me take down a 90 footer which was only 50 feet from our house and leaning towards the house, with the prevailing winds pushing it from behind. Although white pine can get big, their root systems are surprisingly small and shallow, making them subject to blow down. Our April 14th storm, 14” of wet snow, took down a large white pine just across our street that tore out the power and broadband for 3 days and splintered the power pole 20 feet away into 3 pieces. Although it measured more than 70 feet high and had a chest height diameter of 28”, its root span was only 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

An Adirondack Blacksmith

blacksmith

Somehow, over the years, the 1838-1841 business ledger of Johnsburg blacksmith Christian Whitaker found its way to Seattle, Washington. This past spring the local historical society was notified that it was being auctioned off in New York City. After a successful bid by Deana Hitchcock Wood, Johnsburg Town Historian, it has returned “home” to Johnsburg.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Walking Adirondack Cemeteries

cemetery

I have always been fascinated by old cemeteries. There is something special about the serenity and peace of such places. To the observant visitor, they can also reveal much about the past, and perhaps, some insight into the lives of those who have preceded us.

My interest in cemeteries was re-awakened last year when I began working with other volunteers to restore, straighten, and preserve old headstones that had broken, fallen, or slipped lower into the soft earth at the Mill Creek Cemetery here in Johnsburg. That work, fun among friends of similar interest, re-ignited my interest in the stories these places hold.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 13, 2022

Challenges of Researching Local History: The Grist Mill at Cooper’s Falls

Cooper's Falls

Tracking down documentation of historic sites can be a real challenge, especially so here in the Adirondacks when the historic site may be little known or perhaps the site even lost in enveloping forest growth.

Some time ago I was approached by friend Evelyn Greene. Evelyn is a daughter of the famous Adirondack environmentalist, Paul Schaefer, and is a great explorer of the local woods. Evelyn told me about an abutment near a picturesque waterfall on the North Creek stream, about 3.6 miles upstream of where the steam enters the Hudson River at the village of North Creek. She wondered if I knew anything about it and wondered if there had ever been a mill there. Despite all my research on 55 historic sites in the Town of Johnsburg for my first book, Echoes in These Mountains, I replied I knew nothing about it.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

For Whom Was William Blake Pond named?

william blake pond sign

William Blake Pond is located near Thirteenth Lake in North River, NY and is part of the 114,000 acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area. It is a popular hiking destination.  In the early 1900s the water from the pond was piped downhill to Frank Hooper’s Vanning Jig. The jig used a lot of water to separate garnet from the hornblende and feldspar stone in which it was encased.

But exactly who was this William Blake for whom the pond was named?

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

French & Indian War Bayonet Discovered Near Loon Lake

Loon Lake - Johnsburg Area in 1805Last fall a rusted old military bayonet was unearthed on private property just east of Loon Lake in Warren County. It was taken to David Starbuck, a noted local historical and industrial archeologist who has written extensively on Fort William Henry on Lake George.

Coincidentally, on that day Jesse Zuccaro, a student who has focused his studies on early bayonets, happened to be visiting Starbuck. Together they inspected this new find. After careful examination they concluded it was French in design and probably dated between 1728 and the 1740s. Twenty thousand of these bayonets were made and sent to New France prior to the American Revolution. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mid-19th Century Adirondack Farm Life

An early 19th century scene at Wisconsin’s Living Museum (photo by Glenn L. Pearsall).While researching and writing my latest book, Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War, I knew I wanted it as historically accurate regarding Adirondack farm life in the mid-1800s as it was about the movement and moods of the soldiers during the war.

Getting good information on the soldiers was relatively easy; there are a multitude of letters, diaries, and many books on the subject. Researching Adirondack farm life of the time proved to be more of a challenge. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wevertown Farm Is A Microcosm of Adirondack History

kenwell farmTravelling on NYS Rt 28 just north of Wevertown, you may have taken little notice of the old abandoned farm on your right. If you did, you’ll probably gave it little thought; it is, after all, just a few run down barns and pasture overgrown with weeds and “poverty grass”. Yet this farm is a microcosm of Adirondack History.

Andrus Wever and his family were the first to open up the forest and to settle and farm on this site. Andrus was a Revolutionary War veteran who had served with the 6th Albany County Militia. At that time, Albany County included most all of Northern New York, the present state of Vermont and theoretically extended west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The 6th was called up when General Burgoyne’s Army invaded from the north and Andrus likely saw combat at the battle of Saratoga in 1777. The 6th Albany County Militia was also part of the pursuit party that chased Sir John Johnson and his Royal New Yorkers back north after Johnson’s raid of Johnstown in 1780. It’s unclear if Andrus was a member of that pursuing party, but it’s intriguing to speculate he first came through the wilderness of what is today Wevertown during that pursuit. Andrus’ father, William, was also a patriot and apparently served in the American Revolution on Long Island. He was captured and died of small pox on a British prison ship in Boston Harbor. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Big Boom: Old Hudson River Chain Recalls Logging History

courtesy Adam PearsallRecently my son Adam and his seven-year-old daughter Mckenna were canoeing on the Hudson River above the Feeder Dam in Glens Falls when they noticed a small tree growing atop an old stone pier about 30 feet from shore – and something more. Tangled in the roots, they found a large old rusted chain with links 4 inches wide by 6 inches long.

Sharing pictures with Richard “Dick” Nason, the unofficial Finch Pruyn historian and an authority on river log drives, it appears likely the chain was left over from the heyday of log drives on the Hudson River. The chain was found in the Big Boom sorting area. Logs were released from the Big Boom upriver and floated down to the sorting area where they were tallied by owners, identified by the owner’s mark stamped on the butt end of each log. The sorting area was used from 1851 to 1929. Dick suspects the chain may be from the late 1800s. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Adirondack History: Old Wooden Water Pipes

wooden water pipes 1 When you turn on your kitchen faucet you probably don’t give it much thought, yet it’s a marvel of modern history.

For centuries, to get water into the house it was necessary to fill your buckets from a fast moving stream and lug them home. Later, you might have filled them from a well or cistern, but still had the chore of lugging them back to the house. Every drop of water you wanted for drinking, cooking or washing had to be transported this way and it was a seemingly endless task. In winter, you might have to carry an axe with you so you could break through the ice that had formed overnight. Here in the Adirondacks, wells were sometimes dug right under the house so getting water wouldn’t be quite so arduous, especially in winter. Common indoor plumbing with water to a faucet didn’t arrive in most homes in the Adirondacks until the 20th century. But there were exceptions, one of which was the LeRay Mansion near the town of Leraysville in Jefferson County. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gouverneur, The U.S. Constitution And The Adirondacks

13We all know that Thomas Jefferson gets credit for writing the Declaration Of Independence. As important as that historical document is however, it’s the Constitution that dictates how democracy works in the United States. But who was its author?

James Madison of Virginia has been called the “Father of the U.S. Constitution”.  Some historians say no other delegate was better prepared for the Constitutional Convention, and no one contributed more to shaping the final document. It was Gouverneur Morris, the New York City native and Pennsylvania delegate (at 36, the youngest), who the Rutledge Committee asked to pull together the disparate ideas and thoughts of the convention and mold them into a single document.  Morris immediately went to work – in four days he had a full draft ready. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Fish House: Great Sacandaga Lake’s Underwater Mysteries

47One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.

There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. » Continue Reading.



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