Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2018 Ticonderoga Fort Fever Series Schedule Announced

Sarah Pell leading President Taft on a tour of the restoration of Fort Ticonderoga on July 6, 1909. Fort Ticonderoga’s “Fort Fever Series” will begin in January and run through April 2018. The lecture series will be held on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm in the Mars Education Center. Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the door; Fort Ticonderoga Members and Ambassador Pass holders are admitted free of cost. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 4, 2017

North Country Crime and Justice: Adolphus Bouvia’s Murderer

Frank “Pork” Lafave, whom accused murder John Kinney said actually committed the horrific murder of Adolphus Bouvia, testified that he had been in Chazy for two months, a fact confirmed by his hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Eaton. In rebuttal, the defense called William Laforce, an inmate in the county jail. Laforce was facing two charges of horse theft, which may have reduced his credibility as a witness. He claimed that during Frank Lafave’s visit to the jail, Laforce had overheard him admitting the crime and promising revenge on John Kinney for being a snitch. According to Laforce, the comment was, “Kinney, I killed old Bouvia and gave you ninety dollars.” Then, on his way out, Lafave added, “John, you squealed on me, and I will get even with you yet.”

Another inmate, Robert Morrison, was re-called to the stand after testifying earlier about letters he had supposedly written on behalf of Kinney. The DA pressed Morrison to admit that he had been paid by the defense to testify. At that point, attorney John E. Judge took the stand briefly, explaining that, just six hours earlier (at 3 am), he had been dispatched to locate Morrison in Burke, a Franklin County village about forty-five miles west of Plattsburgh. Morrison was informed he would be paid fifty dollars by the county for appearing in court later that morning. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Book: Saving the Shawangunks

saving the shawangunksCarleton Mabee’s new book Saving the Shawangunk: The Struggle to Protect One of Earth’s Last Great Places (Black Dome Press, 2017) with foreword by Cara Lee of The Nature Conservancy takes a look at the grassroots fight to stop the construction of a 400-room hotel/conference center and 500 condominiums around Lake Minnewaska in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains in the 1980s.

The authors argue that these efforts were a landmark victory for Hudson Valley environmentalists and became a blueprint for subsequent struggles to preserve open space against encroaching development. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Murder of Adolphus Bouvia

George Lashway, murder suspect John Kinney’s father-in-law, testified that John didn’t support his family adequately (he and his young wife had three children), so Lashway was obliged to take care of them. In deep poverty and with nowhere to go, the family had recently moved into George’s home.

Lashway then told about an unusual incident involving his son-in-law. Kinney had asked to be awakened at 3 am on Wednesday, December 29, so he could go to his home (near Bouvia’s) and start a fire in the fireplace. When George went out to feed the horses at 6:30 that morning, he encountered Kinney, who said he had fallen asleep for a few hours after starting the fire. That absence identified a window of opportunity for Kinney to have committed the crime. Lashway also identified the gun that Kinney had borrowed for so long from George Trudeau, and had returned on January 2. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Rap Shaw Club’s 1925 Hunting Accident

rap shaw club club houseIn early October of 1925 about a dozen members and guests of the Rap-Shaw Club, hailing from Buffalo, Rochester and Elmira – plus an unlucky guest from Hartford, CT named William C. Roach – gathered at their Beaverdam Pond camp for deer hunting.

The camp was located deep in the forest about six miles north of the Beaver River along the western edge of Nehasane Preserve. Since 1917 the club had rented ten acres on the pond from the Webb family. They had a spacious clubhouse, four cabins and a number of outbuildings.

Every year since the club was founded back in 1896 deer hunting was under the direction of a local guide named Jimmy Wilder. He was a young man when he was first hired as a guide for Rap-Shaw Club. Now he was a 55-year-old experienced woodsman. The members of the Club liked the hard working but soft spoken Wilder. He was short, strong, and ordinary looking. Most importantly, he knew the Beaver River country so well he could walk the woods on a moonless night without a light. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanks For Giving

If the Pilgrims had only known what a big deal Thanksgiving was going to become in America they would undoubtedly have taken some pictures. Even the menu has been lost to us, although Wampanoag oral history, plus a few Pilgrim grocery receipts found at archeological sites, suggest there was corn, beans and squash as well as fowl and venison. Beyond that there may have been chestnuts, sun chokes (“Jerusalem” artichokes), cranberries and a variety of seafood.

Many historians believe the Pilgrims would have all perished during the winter of 1620 if not for food provided by the Wampanoags, whose land they appropriated. In the spring of 1621, Wampanoags gave the Pilgrims crop seeds, as well as a tutorial (possibly an App; we can’t be sure) on the production, storage and preservation of food crops such as corn, beans, and squash. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lumber Camp Cook Adolphus Bouvia’s 1909 Murder

A century ago, it was common during the Christmas holidays for North Country lumber camps to empty, at least briefly. In 1909, in far northeastern New York, the men of Altona in Clinton County enjoyed a welcome break after several weeks in the woods.

Near the settlement of Purdy’s Mills, the camp cook, Adolphus Bouvia, closed down operations on December 23. Widowed a year earlier, he planned to return home and spend time with family, friends, and neighbors, some of whom worked with him on the lumber jobs. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trailblazer: David Kanietakeron Fadden

Storytelling — stories about Native American history as told by the people who lived it and not the abridged school textbook version — is part of Dave Kanietakeron Fadden’s makeup, his DNA. He is Mohawk.

Read more about how the Six Nations Indian Museum began

More about Dave

Though he’d never in his life addressed a group, Fadden went ahead and listed “storyteller” on his resume when applying for a position as an educator for the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY, in 1993. He got the job, and his first talk was to a busload of sixty third-graders. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 13, 2017

North Country ‘Birdstones’: Mysterious Ancient Relics

Early Northern New York history goes far beyond the bounds of stories of pioneer families and colorful guides. As archaeologists like to say, the Western Hemisphere was invaded, not discovered. Many different societies, civilizations, or cultures existed here long before Europeans crossed the ocean and discovered “new” lands.

The history of humans in the Americas is extensive. In general (and brief) terms, the Lithic stage ended about 8,000 BCE (10,000 years ago), followed by the Archaic stage, (ending around 1,000 BCE or 3,000 years ago), and then the Woodland Period, which extended to around the year 1500.  I mention this because certain North Country artifacts written about by scholars more than 100 years ago, were created during the Late Archaic or Early Woodland period, about three thousand years ago. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Conservation History: Northwest Bay, Lake George

loines preserveLands above Northwest Bay acquired by Stephen and Mary Loines between 1898 and 1908 – in part to protect them from the same destructive forces that threatened the Adirondacks – and which were sold to private landowners over the ensuing decades, are now largely protected again, this time permanently, thanks to land conservancies and New York State.

That’s something Tim Barnett recognized last spring, when the Lake George Land Conservancy announced that it had purchased a 159 acre parcel that includes Wing Pond “This would appear to complete a four decade- long project to protect the Loines holdings,” remarked Barnett, the first director of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and a founder of the Lake George Land Conservancy. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Julian Reiss’s Missing Airplane Engine

Julian Reiss Airplane Wreckage (Peter Reiss Photo)

Julian Reiss’s plane crash on the evening of Halloween 1958 remains one of the more unusual in the Adirondacks. While most Adirondack plane crashes involve Forest Rangers, State Police, and many civilian volunteers, this one was different. This search was over almost before it got started when the ‘victims’ walked out of the woods the next day. Shortly thereafter, the Lake Placid village police, the NY State Police and its investigation division, the BCI, became involved.

Earlier that day Reiss had picked up his plane in Norwood, MA, where it had gotten a new engine and a thorough checkout. He then flew to Immaculata College in Malvern, PA, where he landed on the front lawn to pick up his daughter Patti before heading home to Lake Placid. He stopped for fuel in Warren County and continued homeward. Around 6 pm he flew into a violent cold front with squally winds, rain, sleet and snow flurries. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Glens Falls Feeder Canal Program Nov 15th

Autumn Along the Canal The Warren County Historical Society will host a program on the Glens Falls Feeder Canal on Wednesday, November 15 at 7 pm, at 50 Gurney Lane in Queensbury, NY.

This program will focus on the past, present and future of the Feeder Canal that was once the economic engine of the area.

The Glens Falls Feeder Canal is the oldest original canal still used to provide water to the Champlain Canal. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

5 Myths About New York’s Suffrage Centennial

Photo by John Warren.As of November 6, 1917, the State of New York became the first state east of the Mississippi to grant full voting rights to women. The tremendous support from New York City overcame the lack of support from most upstate counties. Essex County was one exception, approving woman suffrage by a margin of 15 votes: 2838 to 2823. “Newcomb is the Banner Suffrage Town” announced the Adirondack Record. The town “did her bit” for the ladies, casting 73 votes for suffrage and only 6 against. “Newcomb is certainly most chivalrous.”

Minerva, North Elba, St. Armand, Ticonderoga and Westport also approved the suffrage measure, but regardless of whether your town voted for or against suffrage, it is time to celebrate. The centennial of NY women winning the vote is being commemorated in Albany, Seneca Falls, Johnstown, Ticonderoga, Plattsburgh and other towns across the state. From flotillas to parades, rallies, conferences, and tea parties, the events celebrating the suffrage centennial have been informative and energizing. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Bennett Brothers; An Adirondack Witch Tale (Conclusion)

At the end of 1915, a year and a half after their mother was removed from the home, conditions had hardly improved for the Bennett brothers of Hope in Hamilton County. Their father, badly troubled by rheumatism, had hired a man to operate the farm, and the boys were learning to do for themselves whatever their father couldn’t. Dr. Edwin Hagedorn, after examining the three boys, said each suffered from “fatty degeneration of the heart,” and that their muscles had atrophied to such an extent that even walking might well be outside the realm of possibility.

On the plus side, they were all still alive, and had begun accepting visitors more often, a result of their notoriety among Adirondack residents and tourists who wished to meet them in person. One of their favorite subjects to discuss with visitors was the conflict (World War I) raging in Europe. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Early Settlers of the Beaver River Country

Fenton’s at Number Four after 1870 Settlement came slowly to the upper Beaver River valley in the west central Adirondacks. John Brown Francis, governor of Rhode Island and grandson of John Brown, the original titleholder, built the first road from Lowville to Number Four in 1822 with the hope of starting a village there. To spur settlement he gave 100 acres each to the first ten families willing to clear the land and establish farms. A number of pioneers moved in, the first of which was a man named Orrin Fenton who arrived in 1826. By 1835 there were about 75 residents. Gradually all attempts at farming failed. By 1864 the settlement of Number Four was nearly deserted. » Continue Reading.


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