To really understand this story, you have to bear in mind two distinctive things about North Creek.
One, it butts up against the mountains much tighter than most Adirondack communities. Start on the path that runs beside Town Hall (within sight of the Hudson), and within minutes you’re climbing steeply up Gore Mountain, entering one of the largest wilderness complexes in the Park. » Continue Reading.
Travelling 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.
In Summer 1946, at the invitation of Paul and Carolyn Schaefer, Howard and Alice Zahniser and family made their first trip to the Adirondacks, from their home in Maryland where Howard had begun work with The Wilderness Society. Zahnie, as he was known, had met Paul Schaefer and Schaefer’s mentor John Apperson that February at the 1946 North American Wildlife Conference in New York City. There, Schaefer and Apperson showed their film about dam threats to Forest Preserve wilderness in the western Adirondacks.
It was Wilderness Society policy that any threat to wilderness must be considered a national issue. Accordingly, at the Conference Zahnie offered Schaefer the Society’s help to fight the series of dam proposals in what became known as the Black River Wars. Paul had suggested then that Zahnie and family visit the Schaefer family and their Adirondack camp off Edwards Hill Road out of Bakers Mills, New York, the coming summer. It was there that he met Archie “Bobcat” Ranney. The day the Zanhisers left Washington, D.C., a letter arrived from Ranney, addressed from Bakers Mills: » Continue Reading.
How fashions do change. Years ago we were thought to be the oddballs because of the togs we wore. We were taught to wear long sleeves. Many dresses coming into style in our younger days had short sleeves, so we wore shirts or blouses with long sleeves under our dresses. Maybe we were not in style then, but with today’s layered look many women are wearing similar outfits. » Continue Reading.
I recall my mother Hester Dalaba walking back and forth in our old-fashioned kitchen with her hands holding her stomach as she sang, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, the things of earth will look strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” She was in pains now for the birth of her ninth child. None of her children had been born in a hospital. With her first, Violet, she had been living in a log house next to the house at Hillmount Farms that she and my father built. My sister Blossom was born in the home of Hester’s sister Lillian Morehouse, across Edwards Hill Road. All the other children—Pansy, me, Rose, Fern, Lynden and Oliver—were born here. Now the ninth, Carnata saw the light of day here too.
Mama was a strong believer in prayer and praise, and she could sing in times of severe pain. The kitchen was her favorite place and it became a chapel that day. » Continue Reading.
After two award-winning Adirondack non-fiction histories, author Glenn L. Pearsall of Johnsburg has turned novelist.
Leaves Torn Asunder: A Novel of the Adirondacks and the American Civil War was published by Pyramid Press of Utica.
Inspired by true events, Leaves Torn Asunder portrays a time rarely covered in Adirondack literature. Pearsall’s research included soldier diaries and letters, town enlistment and cemetery records, regimental histories, and visits to the exact places on Civil War battle sites where local men fought and died. » Continue Reading.
The Ranger’s brother Charlie did most of the horseshoeing and set many a shoe. Uncle Charlie was a little harsh. He expected obedience and may not have believed in ”horse lib,” but he could make and train a horse.
Nellie and Topsy were young horses Papa bought from his brother Wilber, who had a mare name Mabel and had raised these colts, a beautiful pair. Prince was a lovely horse Papa liked very much. We were a large family, and many times cash was not plentiful. Papa would get his supplies on credit at the Frank Thissell store in the village of Bakers Mills. Papa wanted to get the bill paid and made some arrangement for paying them $100 and the horse Prince. » Continue Reading.
Uncle Charlie Dalaba was one of the helpers many times for sugaring. He was a bachelor for years. Then he married a lady preacher, pastor of the Bakers Mills Pentecostal Holiness Church. Esther Thomas was a city girl from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and before her conversion and ministry she had played in theaters. One name she mentioned was Helen Hayes, who was a child. When the opportunity for a part in a movie came, she listened. The child must have curly hair, which she did not have. Her mother thought her daughter would make a good actress and carefully curled her hair. Esther got the part and a movie career.
In the country, Aunt Esther Thomas Dalaba decided to learn what she could about her new way of life. One of those experiences led her to go watch the making of maple syrup. Aunt Esther was so large that walking was impossible. The men helped her onto the lumber wagon box and gave her a joyride to the back roads. Over the bumpy roads and swaying on the seat as the wagon wheel hit a stone, she laughed with pleasure and some alarm. What a good sport. » Continue Reading.
Hillmount Farms on Edwards Hill Road was made of many rolling hills. The Ranger’s team of horses was his companion for many days of labor. The team drew the plow over the hilly terrain. There were several kinds of plows used by the farmers, such as the side hill plow, flat land plow, and sulky plow. The Ranger used the side hill plow most, for plowing deep furrows, turning the sod to the right as he went up and around and down a field. The next furrow overlapped, falling into the path of the one just plowed.
Long wooden curved handles were fastened to the plow for the farmer to hold onto. It was difficult for the teamer to hold the lines, so he tied them together and threw them over his shoulder. They dropped to his waist, leaving him in control of the plowing. The horses were well trained with “gee” to turn to the right and “haw” to turn to the left. The horses understood these words. » Continue Reading.
The Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region (CFGMR) is accepting applications from area schools, municipalities, nonprofit, and community organizations for its 2016 grant cycle.
A component fund of Adirondack Foundation, CFGMR was established in 2005 and offers grants to organizations in the towns of Johnsburg, Chester, Minerva, Horicon and Schroon. Grants will support community beautification, historic preservation, culture and the arts, education, recreation, and programs for youth, seniors, and veterans. » Continue Reading.
The former chief of publications at The Smithsonian Institution Paul Oehser once joked that “You’ve never experienced wilderness until you’ve driven through Iowa on Interstate 70 in a heavy rainstorm!” His quip reveals one of many connotations of the inextricably entwined words wilderness and wildness.
Paul Oehser’s use of wilderness to evoke chaos harks back to Europe when urban areas began to be seen as a high earthly expression of order. By contrast, wilderness was unordered landscape outside the pale of humankind. Watch TV news today however, and our modern unordered wilds seem to be big cities. Their seeming disorder makes the wilds of the Adirondacks places of cooperation and restoration. » Continue Reading.
“Don’t step too far back in the pantry or you might fall into the cellar,” my mother Alice admonished us kids at our family’s Adirondack cabin Mateskared. Foreboding powers seemed to emanate from our fieldstone cellar walled by the cabin’s foundation.
When I was very young the cellar lurked dungeon-like, unseen below, and haunted with that adult admonition. Its night version—“Howard! What’s that noise in the kitchen?”—audibly whispered from the other bedroom split the pitch-dark, timeless expanse of childhood cabin nights. » Continue Reading.
As a builder of Adirondack cabins, conservationist Paul Schaefer did not consistently solve the problem of water supplies. About 1950 Paul had a well dug in front of his old log cabin on the the Cragorehol property in Baker’s Mills. Paul told me he bought the 100-year-old cabin – then sited elsewhere – and moved it before I was born.
The well still provides delicious, cold water, although the cabin no longer exists. The main, extended Fogarty family cabin – formerly owned by Paul’s and his siblings’ parents – now has its water pumped in by electric pump from its own, drilled well. Many years ago we kids helped carry the well water in buckets over to Cragorehol camp – quite the laden tromp for youngsters. » Continue Reading.
Gray-green lichens slowly increase their hegemony on the large rock that sits below our family cabin Mateskared in Bakers Mills and fifteen feet west of its outhouse. My older sister Esther’s daughter Layla Ward remembers sitting on this rock as a child and fearing falling off. Its steep downhill side slopes into depths of tall blackberry plants, ferns, goldenrod, and fireweed. » Continue Reading.
The story goes that, in the summer of 1970, a Town of Johnsburg highway crew was straightening a Garnet Lake Road near Crane Mountain. While removing some of the ancient corduroy logs that once carried the road across a swampy section, they discovered what appeared to be an old cannon.
Vincent Schaefer had the cannon dated at the Watervliet Arsenal and it was determined that it was a swivel gun of the type probably used by Benedict Arnold’s troops during the battle of Valcour Island. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.