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Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)
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Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)

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ANNALS contains all of the important 20th century summaries, surveys and studies of the McIntyre iron settlement and the old Tahawus Club colony in Newcomb township, Essex County, New York. PART ONE …

ANNALS contains all of the important 20th century summaries, surveys and studies of the McIntyre iron settlement and the old Tahawus Club colony in Newcomb township, Essex County, New York. PART ONE includes the introductory notes, the summaries of Alfred Donaldson, Harold Hochschild and Mary MacKenzie, and Arthur Masten's "Story of Adirondac" (with original photos).

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  • 1. Annals of the Deserted Village
  • 2. Annals of the Deserted Village TH KEY 20 CENTURY STUDIES OF AN EMBLEMATIC ADIRONDACK SETTLEMENT An anthology edited by Lee Manchester
  • 3. Annals of the Deserted Village: Key 20th Century Studies of an Emblematic Adirondack Settlement An anthology edited by Lee Manchester Front cover illustration: “The Ruined Village,” Seneca Ray Stoddard, “The Adirondacks Illustrated” (1874) Photograph inset on back cover: Lipstick Lodge, Summer 2003, Lee Manchester Page design and editorial selections, transcriptions, notes and annotations copyright © 2009 Lee Manchester Material in this anthology is drawn from the following sources: “The Adirondack Iron Works,” from “A History of the Adirondacks,” Alfred Lee Donaldson (New York: The Century Company, 1921). “The MacIntyre Mine: From Failure to Fortune,” by Harold K. Hochschild (Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.: Adirondack Museum, 1962). “Prelude: Archibald McIntyre and the Elba Iron Works,” from “The Plains of Abraham: A History of North Elba and Lake Placid,” by Mary MacKenzie (Utica, N.Y.: Nicholas K. Burns Publishing, 2007), reprinted by permission of the Lake Placid Public Library, Mary MacKenzie Collection. “The Story of Adirondac,” by Arthur H. Masten (privately published, 1923). “Tahawus Club, 1898-1933,” by Arthur H. Masten (privately published, 1935). “Adirondack Iron and Steel Company: New Furnace, 1849-1854,” by Bruce Seely (Washington, D.C.: Historic American Engineering Record, Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, Department of the Interior, 1978). “Documentation Report: Upper Works, Adirondack Iron and Steel Company, Newcomb, Essex County, New York,” by Wesley Haynes, Consultant, Technical Assistance Center, Preservation League of New York State, prepared for the Town of Newcomb Historical Society, Newcomb, New York (March 1994). “Special report: McIntyre Iron Works,” by Richard Sanders Allen (November 1968), reprinted by permission of the Allen Family. “Site visit, McIntyre Iron Works,” by Victor R. Rolando, Rensselaer County Historian (August 1974), reprinted by permission. “Adirondack Iron & Steel Company: Upper Works,” National Register of Historic Places nomination prepared by Doris Vanderlip Manley (March 1976). “Preservation of the McIntyre Ironworks Historic Site, Tahawus, New York,” by Duncan E. Hay (November 1978). “Assessment Report: Tahawus–Adirondack Iron and Steel Company: Upper Works,” by James P. Gold and the staff of the Bureau of Historic Sites, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (August 1989). For additional copies, visit “The Deserted Village” online bookstore at http://stores.lulu.com/DesertedVillage Print copies are available at cost (i.e., printing/binding and shipping/handling); searchable electronic (PDF) copies are available as free downloads. Also available: “Tales from the Deserted Village: First-Hand Accounts of Early Explorations into the Heart of the Adirondacks,” an anthology edited by Lee Manchester, and “The Deserted Village: Tales & Annals,” a CD-ROM containing both complete volumes in the searchable PDF format. Other Lee Manchester books are available at the following online storefronts: • http://stores.lulu.com/LeeManchester • http://stores.lulu.com/MaryMacKenzie • http://stores.lulu.com/WagnerCollege
  • 4. Table of contents Notes “Deserted Village” references On the August 1856 flood On the Adirondac schoolhouse and the Church of Tubal Cain Part One: Key summaries The Adirondack Iron Works Alfred L. Donaldson (1921).........................................................................................................3 The MacIntyre Mine: From Failure to Fortune Harold K. Hochschild (1962).....................................................................................................12 Prelude: Archibald McIntyre and the Elba Iron Works Mary MacKenzie (pre-1978) .....................................................................................................26 Part Two: ‘The Story of Adirondac,’ Arthur H. Masten (1923) Introductory .......................................................................................................................................43 1. The wilderness ...............................................................................................................................44 2. Discovery of the ore beds ..............................................................................................................49 3. Preliminary work ...........................................................................................................................59 4. Development begun — the cholera year........................................................................................66 5. The East River Falls — Preston Ponds..........................................................................................73 6. New company considered — Redfield’s visit ...............................................................................81 7. Wooden railroad — New furnace — Macready’s visit — Death of Mr. Henderson............................................................................89 8. Nephews of the company.............................................................................................................103 9. The bank — Attempted sales — Railroad projects .....................................................................115 10. The deserted village — Trusteeships — MacIntyre Iron Company ..........................................125 11. Old settlers — Cheney — Holt — Snyder.................................................................................135 12. Club occupancy .........................................................................................................................146 Elevations ........................................................................................................................................153 Part Three: ‘Tahawus Club, 1898-1933,’ Arthur H. Masten (1935) Foreword..........................................................................................................................................159 The McIntyre Iron Works ................................................................................................................160 McIntyre letters................................................................................................................................162 Improvements at the Upper Works..................................................................................................166 Odds and ends, 1840-1852...............................................................................................................169 Buildings at Lower Works...............................................................................................................177 Preston Ponds Club; Adirondack Club ............................................................................................179 Club register; fish stocking; treasurer’s report.................................................................................189 Scranton visit ...................................................................................................................................193 Tahawus Club organized .................................................................................................................199 Old-time transportation....................................................................................................................207 Club membership.............................................................................................................................217
  • 5. Part Four: ‘Adirondack Iron and Steel Company: New Furnace, 1849-1854,’ Bruce Seely (HAER report, 1978) Acknowledgement .......................................................................................................................... 227 Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 228 Chapter 1......................................................................................................................................... 230 Chapter 2......................................................................................................................................... 240 Chapter 3......................................................................................................................................... 254 Chapter 4......................................................................................................................................... 263 Chapter 5......................................................................................................................................... 271 Chapter 6......................................................................................................................................... 281 Chapter 7......................................................................................................................................... 291 Chapter 8......................................................................................................................................... 301 Chapter 9, The ‘New’ Furnace........................................................................................................ 316 Chapter 10....................................................................................................................................... 326 Chapter 11....................................................................................................................................... 336 Chapter 12....................................................................................................................................... 349 Images............................................................................................................................................. 361 Measured drawings of the ‘New Furnace’...................................................................................... 401 Part Five: ‘Documentation Report: Upper Works, Adirondack Iron and Steel Company,’ Wesley Haynes (1994) Executive summary......................................................................................................................... 433 Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 434 1. Historic context........................................................................................................................... 435 Chronology of development and use of the site.............................................................................. 438 Phase I, Adirondack Iron and Steel Company ........................................................................ 438 Phase II, ‘Deserted Village’ .................................................................................................... 444 Phase III, Club colony............................................................................................................. 445 Phase IV, National Lead ......................................................................................................... 452 2. Site survey .................................................................................................................................. 455 Vanished buildings and structures .................................................................................................. 455 Description of surviving buildings and features ............................................................................. 465 3. Recommendations ...................................................................................................................... 556 4. Bibliography................................................................................................................................ 558 Appendix A — Biographical profiles .............................................................................................. 563 Site visits, 1968-1989 Special report: McIntyre Iron Works Richard Sanders Allen (November 1968) ............................................................................... 571 Site visit, McIntyre Iron Works Victor R. Rolando (August 1974) ........................................................................................... 575 Adirondack Iron & Steel Company: Upper Works National Register of Historic Places nomination Doris Vanderlip Manley (March 1976)................................................................................... 578 Preservation of the McIntyre Ironworks Historic Site, Tahawus, New York Duncan E. Hay (November 1978)........................................................................................... 584 Assessment Report: Tahawus Adirondack Iron and Steel Company: Upper Works James P. Gold, et al. (August 1989)........................................................................................ 597
  • 6. ‘Deserted Village’ references Throughout this volume, references to key source documents that appear in one of the “Deserted Village” collections are cited as follows: References to documents reprinted in “Tales from the Deserted Village” are shown as TDV 9-99, the latter being the page numbers. References to material in the current volume, “Annals of the Deserted Village,” are shown as ADV 9-99.
  • 7. On the August 1856 flood Most sources — starting with Benson J. Lossing and continuing with Arthur H. Masten and Harold K. Hochschild — report that a catastrophic flood struck the McIntyre iron works in August 1856. Starting with Hochschild, sources also aver that this flood destroyed not only the dam and sawmill at Tahawus (the Lower Works) but “the dam [definite and singular] at Adirondac (the Upper Works).” In his 1978 report for the Historic American Engineering Record (ADV 223-430), Bruce Seely provided evidence that the August 1856 date was incorrect. The documentary evidence — a letter from James R. Thompson to James McIntyre — dated the flood in October 1857. The 1856 date may have arisen from confusion with the notorious September 30, 1856 freshet that burst the dam at St. Huberts, on the other side of the Great Range, producing a disastrous flood that washed out every bridge on the Au Sable River between St. Huberts and Lake Champlain except two in Keeseville. While nobody questions that the October 1857 freshet took out the dam and sawmill at the Lower Works, it is not at all clear which dam at the Upper Works was washed away in that flood. In addition to the dam at the outflow of Henderson Lake, where the Hudson River begins, an 1854 map shows three more dams at the Upper Works: one above the1844 furnace at the north end of the village, a second at the “Iron Dam,” and a third at the New Furnace south of the village. The first reference to the 1857 freshet was in Lossing, who wrote, “An upper dam [not the dam] at Adirondack gave way, and a new channel for the stream was cut.” (TDV 188) Lossing, however, presented an engraving captioned “The Iron Dam” in his book, “The Hudson,” leaving one to wonder whether his engraving was made from a drawing completed on the spot, or only from the memories of others. Only a study of the diary entries and original sketches he made during his visit to the site in 1859 will settle this question. The diary is housed in the Lossing Collection of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
  • 8. On the Adirondac schoolhouse and the Church of Tubal Cain The first documentary reference to the McIntyre/Adirondac schoolhouse appeared in an 1847 bill for a painting job. According to the invoice, three coats were applied to the schoolhouse. Both the 1851 and 1854 prospectuses for the iron works list a school house among the assets of the plantation. The 1854 prospectus, however, was the first to show a church — the Church of Tubal Cain — as part of the settlement. The reference appeared not in the building inventory, but only on the map of the property. According to that map, it was located on the south side of a road running from the New Furnace dam to the southern tip of Lake Jimmy, about halfway between the Hudson River and the lake. In Benson J. Lossing’s account of his 1859 visit to Adirondac, he mentions “a building with a cupola, used for a school and public worship.” Lossing’s drawing of the village’s main street, and the engraving he made for his book, both show the building later identified in photographs and watercolors as the schoolhouse and the Church of Tubal Cain. Engraving made from Benson J. Lossing’s 1859 sketch. Schoolhouse with cupola, center. In “Wake-Robin,” John Burroughs’ account of his 1863 visit to the village includes a description of the “schoolhouse with a cupola and a bell in it. … The schoolhouse was still used” by the Robert Hunter family, he said. “Every day one of the daughters assembles her smaller brothers and sisters there and school keeps.” He does not mention any other use made of the building by the Hunters, however. In 1868, Harper’s Weekly ran a full page of engravings made by Theodore R. Davis of various sights in the vicinity of the McIntyre iron works. Among them was a scene of “The Deserted Village of Adirondack,” below, the schoolhouse first on the left:
  • 9. In 1872, an anonymous writer for the Plattsburgh Republican wrote that “a neat and commodious building served the double purpose of church and schoolhouse.” However, “the little church’s … back is bent with age, and it will soon fall beneath its own weight.” Stoddard recorded finding similar conditions in 1873: “Near by at the left stood the pretty school house; the steps, worn by many little feet, had rotted and fallen, the windows were almost paneless, the walls cracked and rent asunder where the foundation had dropped away, and the doors yawned wide, seeming to say not ‘welcome’ but ‘go.’ … We went out in the middle of the street where, suspended in a tree, hung the bell that used to call the men to work, and on the Sabbath, perhaps the villagers to worship in the little school-house near by.” (Note that, 10 years earlier, Burroughs has reported that the schoolhouse cupola still had its bell hanging inside it.) “The Ruined Village,” from Stoddard’s “The Adirondacks Illustrated” (1874)
  • 10. In his “Tahawus Club, 1898-1933,” Masten reported that the Adirondack Club Executive Committee’s 1879 annual report said that “the old school house has been moved down to the river and fitted up as a hatching house.” An anonymous writer for the Plattsburgh Sentinel, writing in 1879, confirmed the move: “The old school house and church, a creditable structure, with arched ceiling, remained in position till quite recently, when it was removed to the brookside, under orders from the Adirondack Club, and fitted up as a propagating house in which to hatch fish for stocking their lakes and ponds.” There are at least six images showing the schoolhouse in its final setting. Two photographs — one taken by Edward Bierstadt in 1886, the other in 1890 by a photographer known only by the initials “G.B.” — show the schoolhouse building at its new site by the river, next to the old saw mill. Both of these photos show the entire Upper Works settlement, viewed from the south, with the schoolhouse and saw mill to the right. Two watercolors were made of the schoolhouse-cum-hatchery. One was rendered by Robert H. Robertson, probably around 1910. The other, a copy of which was published in Masten’s 1923 “Story of Adirondac,” may also have been made by Robertson (although Masten probably would have said so had he known that to have been the case). Curiously, both show the building from the south and west — but no trace of the immediately adjacent saw mill is to be seen. Finally, two photographs were taken at relatively close range, from the east bank of the Hudson. One of these photos, dated 1910, was shot by Norman Foote; it was used as an illustration of the Church of Tubal Cain in the Adirondack Architectural Heritage book on notable regional churches. The other photo, published as a colorized postcard, is undated. Based on the Robertson 1910 watercolor, Adirondack Museum intern Richard Youngken in 1977 was able to create a remarkably detailed description of the building’s construction: “The view in the picture is from the south. I imagine that the other side of the building was the same and probably the front had a large door as an entry-way. The construction is log-chinked and fairly rough in texture — you can see from the … picture that the construction was not clapboard. The logs were probably shingled over at a later date. … The Harper’s Weekly [engraving] gives a general idea of the location of the church. The cupola on the roof of the church you will note is supported in an interesting way — and it was painted white and contained an iron bell with a bronze clapper [which had been preserved by the Tahawus Club].” Though most writers since Lossing (1859) had referred to the building as both a schoolhouse and church, Masten was the first (in 1923) to call it “the Church of Tubal Cain,” using the name given on the 1854 map to the church building on the Lake Jimmy road, east of the New Furnace: “The school house, also used as a church and known as the Church of Tubal Cain, was at this time [1854] located on the east side of the river, though afterwards moved to the hill near the boarding house. As a crowning indignity it was later placed at the foot of the Falls and used as a fish hatchery. A few years ago [1914] it was carried out by flood when a lumbering dam on Calamity Brook gave way.” But was the Adirondac schoolhouse, which became the Adirondack Club hatchery in 1879, ever actually used as a church building — or did Lossing (and every other writer after him) simply assume that it either had to be a church, or should be a church, because of its unusual cupola and bell?
  • 11. Above, Bierstadt photo, 1886. Below, “GB” photo, 1890.
  • 12. Above, “Church of Tubal-Cain,” from Masten’s “Story of Adirondac” (1923). Below, photocopy of R.H. Robertson water color, ca. 1910
  • 13. Above, photo by Norman Foote, ca. 1910. Below, colorized postcard, photographer and date unknown. Was the Church of Tubal Cain, in fact, actually moved from the Lake Jimmy road into Adirondac, as Masten asserted — or did it just stay out there in the boggy wetland between Lake Jimmy and the New Furnace after the abandonment of the McIntyre works in 1857, rotting away, forgotten by one and all? For who would have been capable of moving that little church building from the Lake Jimmy road into Adirondac between 1854 (when we know it was standing on a site east of the Hudson) and 1859 (when Lossing sketched the schoolhouse with its cupola on the main street of Adirondac)? And why would they have done it?
  • 14. Could it be that Arthur Masten jumped to an unwarranted conclusion, assuming that the “building with a cupola, used for a school and public worship,” as described by Lossing in 1859, was the actual Church of Tubal Cain, transported from the wilderness into the Deserted Village by persons unnamed? Pete Nelson of Madison, Wisconsin, a long-time Upper Works enthusiast, thinks so. When Nelson contacted me over the summer of 2009, looking for information about Adirondac, I asked him what he knew about the McIntyre schoolhouse and the Church of Tubal Cain. Here’s how he replied on July 29, 2009: First, I think that the old schoolhouse was just that and not a church during the operation of the works; whether anyone, including Hunter, ever used it as a chapel or not, I have no clue. I concluded from my reading that some writers mistakenly described it as a church, and I surmise that its design, with a cupola and large bell, may have lent to this confusion. I have it [the schoolhouse] as an original structure, built in the last year or two of the 1830s (I cannot put my fingers on the source for this date) and do not know of it ever being relocated (that is, until it was moved years later to be the Hatchery). … The only structure I know of that was in fact built as a church was [the Church of] Tubal Cain. It was never moved but rotted away. I definitely had it placed on the road over the new dam behind the blast furnace on the way to Lake Jimmy, thus built after that dam was built — I assume 1854, concurrent with the furnace, but wonder if the dam was built prior to that year. A National Lead caretaker confirmed the location of Tubal Cain as on the way to Lake Jimmy when referencing the remains of the foundation. Nelson had not, however, personally seen those remains, though he had hunted for them for quite some time, mistakenly looking for the Adirondac cemetery in the vicinity of the old church. When the New York State Museum conducted an archeological survey of the Upper Works vicinity in 2004, they scoured the area between the Hudson River and Lake Jimmy. They found random stone piles near the spot where the Church of Tubal Cain’s foundations should have been — but they, of all people, know what 19th century stone foundations look like, and they aren’t likely to mistake a foundation hole for a pile of rubble. I think it’s safe to assume that the museum team did not find the foundations of the old church building. I plan to do a little exploring on the old Lake Jimmy road myself this fall, after the foliage is down, and see what I can find. I’ll report more when I’ve found something worth reporting. LM, August 30, 2009
  • 15. Part One: Key summaries
  • 16. The Adirondack Iron Works 1 ALFRED L. DONALDSON (1921) On the east side of the mountains, following the Hudson toward its source in Essex County, is the abandoned site of the Adirondack Iron Works, lying between Lake Sanford and Lake Henderson. Mount Santanoni rises on the west; the Indian Pass yawns to the north, and old Tahawus, or Mount Marcy, towers on the east. Early in the last century this was the busiest, most thickly peopled spot in all the Adirondacks, and promised to make them world-renowned as an iron and steel-producing center. But here again, despite bold initiative and enterprise, the undertaking succumbed to the inevitable doom that seemed inherent in all early Adirondack ventures. The unusual wealth of iron ore deposits in certain parts of the Wilderness was the subject of early investigation and comment among scientific explorers. Foremost among these, as we have seen, was Prof. Ebenezer Emmons, who made the first official report concerning the region, and first named Mount Marcy, Mount Seward, Dix’s Peak, Mount McIntyre, Mount McMartin (now Mount Colden), and Mount Henderson ; the first three after governors of the State; the last three after partners in the near-by iron-works. In 1852 Winslow C. Watson was appointed by the State Agricultural Society to make an exploration of Essex County, of which he later wrote a history. In the preface to the latter work, published in 1869, he says: To the notice of the ore beds and mineral wealth of the county, I have devoted a large portion of my volume. Many of the most important of these mines I have personally visited and explored. I trust that every reader will give to this portion of the work a careful consideration. The revelation to their minds of a mineral wealth, so vast but still in the infancy of its development, will excite astonishment and warrant a worthy exultation. The account of the industrial resources of the district will be read, I think, with interest and surprise. From the account of the Adirondack District, I quote as follows: The mineral wealth of Essex County is not limited to iron ore, but comprehends numerous other minerals of great interest and value. Iron, however, in immense deposits, constitutes its predominant resource. In many sections of the county it forms the basis of the entire structure of the earth, and occurs not merely in veins, nor even masses, but in strata which rise into mountains. The surface is often strewn with boulders of iron ore, weighing from a few pounds to many tons, as ordinary rocks are scattered in other districts. The Adirondack district is probably surpassed in no region in the extent of its deposits of iron, and the higher qualities and varied properties of its ores. The ores seem to concentrate in the vicinity of the village of Adirondac, and here literally constitute the formation. The cellars of the dwellings, in many instances, are excavated in the massive beds. 1 Chapter XIV of “A History of the Adirondacks,” Vol. I, by Alfred L. Donaldson (New York: The Century Co., 1921), pp. 136-149. While this chapter of Donaldson’s famous Adirondack history was written with the full cooperation of Arthur H. Masten, it is interesting that Masten published his own book, “The Story of Adirondac,” just two years after Donaldson’s book appeared. 3
  • 17. The first settlement in the Town of North Elba was made about 1800, and iron ore was early discovered there. In 1809 Archibald McIntyre2 of Albany, with two partners, Malcolm McMartin and David Henderson, bought a water-power on the Chub River, flowing out of Lake Placid.3 Here they erected a forge and started the Elba Iron Works. There was plenty of ore in the vicinity, but it proved to be of such inferior grade that it became necessary to import it from Clinton County, many miles away, and over roads that the snow alone made passable. This expense, added to that of getting the finished product to market, soon ate up all profits and doomed the enterprise to failure, and the works were finally abandoned in 1815.4 They initiated, however, the beginning of the iron industry which soon sprang up all along the valley of the Ausable and gave it a preeminence in that line which lasted for many years. Some ten years later, in 1826, a prospecting party visited the site of the deserted Elba Works. While they were looking about, an Indian approached one of them, Mr. David Henderson, and showing him a piece of iron ore, said: “You want to see ’em ore? Me fine plenty — all same.” He was asked where, and pointed to the southwest: “Me hunt beaver all ’lone, an’ fin’ ’im where water run over iron dam.” The Indian, a brave of the St. Francis tribe, seemed so honest and intelligent that the prospectors consented to go with him to the spot he agreed to show them. In the party were David Henderson, Duncan and Malcolm McMartin, John McD. McIntyre, and Dyer Thompson. They went southward through the Indian Pass, spending the night in its gorge. The next day they reached a lake, which they named Lake Henderson. Proceeding down this lake to the river at its outlet they came to the spot that was to become the celebrated Adirondac Village, or Upper Works, for here the Indian’s story was made good. They found the river at this point flowing over a natural iron dam, formed by a ledge of ore that extended across the channel. A little investigation, moreover, showed vast deposits of ore all around, and the eye of the expert quickly grasped the full range of coincident advantages. Here was not only a seemingly exhaustless supply of ore, but here were boundless forests for the fires, and endless waters for the power. The only drawbacks were the remoteness of the locality and the difficulties of transportation, but these weighed but little in the first enthusiasm over such a wealth of natural resources. The party lingered just long enough to assure themselves of the extent of the deposit and to conceal all traces of their search. The same night, so as not to attract attention, they departed in the darkness and the teeth of a violent storm. After retracing their steps through the wilderness, Mr. Henderson and Mr. McMartin, keeping the Indian with them, as a precaution against his betraying their plans, set off with all possible speed for Albany. They arranged there for purchase from the State of a tract of land embracing Townships 46 and 47 of the Totten and Crossfield Purchase. In the latter lay the dam and the heart of their great find. Immediately after securing their prize they started to build a road to the site, at great expense, through thirty miles of unbroken forest. 2 ALD: I use the old spelling of these names, but I understand that descendants of the families now spell their names “MacIntyre” and “MacMartin.” 3 Actually acquired in 1811. 4 Mary MacKenzie, the late North Elba town historian, dated the abandonment of the Elba Iron Works at 1817. 4 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 18. East of Township 47 there is a gore containing over 2,000 acres. This was conveyed by the State, on November 15, 1827, to John McD. McIntyre (the son of Archibald) and Peter McMartin. Later, on December 9, 1833, another adjoining gore containing 7,700 acres was acquired by Archibald McIntyre and Duncan McMartin. The story of the original discovery and purchase as given above, follows closely W.C. Watson’s version of it in his “History of Essex County.”5 This must be considered the most authoritative, because the facts were gleaned from Mr. Henderson’s journal.6 This journal is referred to in a footnote as follows: “I have before me a copy of the original journal of Mr. Henderson, furnished me by Mr. Clark, now of Cincinnati. I regret that my space will not allow me to publish this highly interesting document.” Acting on this clue, I tried to find the journal. I was able to get in touch with descendants of both the Watson and Clark families, who most courteously favored my quest in every possible way. It led to nothing but disappointment, however. During my search I learned that Mr. Henderson’s papers had all been burned shortly after his death. This would account for the disappearance of the original journal, but not for that of the copy of which Mr. Watson speaks, for the latter’s historical papers are still intact. But the coveted item was not among them, nor could the Clark family find any trace of its ever having been returned to them. This disappointment was offset, however, by another find of almost equal historical value — a little pamphlet privately published in 1885 by Henry Dornburgh, who was for years an employee of the Adirondack Iron Co. He calls his pamphlet: “Why the Wilderness is Called Adirondack,”7 and, as he seems to think that the name originated with the iron- works, he gives their history in minute and interesting detail. He died at Ticonderoga in 1915. His married daughter Mrs. George L. Washburne, also of Ticonderoga, kindly gave me one of her father’s pamphlets and furnished me with all the information at her disposal. Mr. Dornburgh was born in Montgomery County in 1820,8 and settled at Newcomb in 1844. Soon after, he became connected with the iron-works, and remained with them till they were abandoned. He married Miss Phoebe Shaw, of Minerva, who taught school at the works. They had three children, all born at the works — Robert, who became a leading lawyer of Essex County, serving twice as District Attorney; William H., now living in Schenectady, and Charlotte A., the daughter mentioned above. After leaving the iron-works, Mr. Dornburgh resided in Olmstedville, where he was postmaster for several years. While there he had the happy inspiration to put some of his memories of the “deserted village” into print, and may thus be called the Goldsmith of this Adirondack Auburn,9 for to no one else does the preservation of any records appear to have occurred. Indeed, the dearth of them is surprising, considering the magnitude and duration of the enterprise. Early writers give only the leading facts in the story, and are barren of 5 “The Military and Civil History of the County of Essex,” New York, p. 374. 6 ALD: They are corroborated, moreover, in a long letter written by Mr. Henderson and published in Wallace’s “Descriptive Guide to the Adirondacks,” p. 344. This edition (1896) also contains a picture of Mr. Henderson. TDV 1-9; also see ADV 51-55. 7 TDV 336-351. 8 Other sources say 1816. 9 See the poem, “The Deserted Village,” by Oliver Goldsmith (TDV 363-373), set in the fictional village of Auburn. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 5
  • 19. detail. The versions differ, moreover, and it has been difficult to reconcile them with accuracy. In my attempt to do this I have been most courteously helped by Mr. Arthur H. Masten of New York, who married a great-granddaughter of Judge McMartin, and is thoroughly familiar with the later history of the iron property. He has given me much valuable information as a supplement to Mr. Dornburgh’s earlier records. Mr. Archibald McIntyre, who had founded the Elba Iron Works, was again the leader in the new enterprise, which was often called the McIntyre Iron Works. Mr. Lossing, in his book “The Hudson,” speaks of “the little deserted village of Adirondack, or McIntyre.” Mr. McIntyre was a very prominent and wealthy man in his day. He was Comptroller of the State for several years, and also a State senator. Mr. Henderson was his son-in-law, and was engaged in the pottery business in Jersey City. Beyond playing an accidental part in securing the property for his father-in-law, he had no official connection with the iron- works till later. Mr. McIntyre’s first associate in the Adirondack Iron Works was Judge McMartin of Broadalbin, who was also a man of prominence both in business and polities. They erected a forge and the other necessary buildings at the Upper Works, and began operations there in 1826. After a few years Judge McMartin died, and then Mr. Henderson and Mr. Archibald Robertson of Philadelphia joined the firm. The latter was a prominent and wealthy merchant of that city. In 1838 Mr. Henderson was given entire management of the works, and from that moment they took on new life and felt the impulse of his dominant energy and enterprise. They were enlarged, the means of transportation were improved, and the old forge was replaced by a quarter furnace. In digging the foundation for this another bed of ore was struck, and the ruins of the furnace still stood on this ore bed a few years ago. Mr. Henderson soon began making experiments with a view to converting the iron into steel. He found that the ore had excellent steel properties, and decided to attempt its manufacture. The process had never been tried in America, so he made a trip to England and visited the famous Sheffield Works. There he met their principal foreman Mr. Pixley,10 and told him that he wanted to make steel in America, but would have to use charcoal. Mr. Pixley said he did not know whether steel could be made with charcoal or not, but offered to experiment with it, and report to Mr. Henderson later on. The latter, satisfied with this assurance, returned home. In a few months Mr. Pixley wrote that he had made the promised experiments, and was convinced that steel could be made with charcoal. On receipt of this favorable report Mr. Henderson at once began preparing for the manufacture of steel. He chose a site on the Hudson River below Lake Sanford, about ten miles south of the Upper Works, and built a dam, a large dock, a sawmill, and dwellings for the workmen. This place became known as the Lower Works, but was officially named Tahawus, when a post-office was established there. While these improvements were progressing, Mr. Pixley came to America, and visited the new plant. He gave directions and advice as to its completion, and then returned to England. Shortly after, however, he wrote to say that he had been making some new 10 More often spelled “Pickslay.” 6 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 20. experiments, which were not nearly so successful as the first, and that he had come to the conclusion that steel could not be made successfully with charcoal. In view of this he would not care to endorse the attempt, and urged Mr. Henderson to abandon it. There is little doubt that this sudden change of front had been inspired by the Sheffield people, who, upon learning of the tremendous resources of their prospective competitors, had found some way of influencing Mr. Pixley’s attitude toward them. This change, whatever caused it, led to the abandonment of the Lower Works and to the loss of the capital invested there. It resulted, however, in concentration on the Upper Works, where many improvements and enlargements were made, and where a successful business was carried on for many years. In the meantime, Mr. Henderson had met Mr. Joseph Dixon, the versatile inventor and mechanic, who later became known as “Graphite Dixon,” on account of the graphite works he established in Ticonderoga. Mr. Dixon said he thought he could make steel, if he had the necessary equipment and money. After some talk Mr. Henderson agreed to furnish both. So Mr. Dixon built a small cementing furnace on the outskirts of Jersey City. This proved successful, and a smelting furnace was built next. By slow degrees and many experiments Mr. Dixon finally succeeded in casting steel into coarse bars, but the next step was to work it into small ones. To solve this difficulty Mr. Henderson made another trip to England, and surprised everybody by bringing back with him an expert tilter from Sheffield. This Englishman showed the Americans how to build a tilting-hammer, and the first cast-steel plant in America was established. It led to the organization of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Co. in 1848, with works in Jersey City, costing $100,000. This company forwarded to the World’s Fair, held in London in 1851, specimens of its iron and steel, and was awarded a prize gold medal for both. Had it not been for the defection of Mr. Pixley these works would have been located in the Adirondacks, but, as it was, all the iron they used came from there. Expert opinion was unanimous, moreover, in pronouncing it to be the best steel producing ore so far discovered in this country. But this has carried us a little ahead of our story. We must go back to the year 1843, when the Upper Works were turning out from twelve to fourteen tons of iron a day, and were probably in their most flourishing condition. Between three hundred and four hundred men were employed there. Besides the furnaces, there were sixteen dwellings and a building with a cupola, used as school, church, and general assembly room. But the most surprising feature of this remote and secluded mountain hamlet was a bank — a duly organized State Bank, and the first in the Adirondacks. It was called the McIntyre Bank, and of course issued a large circulation, as did all the banks of the period. Its bills were redeemable at Albany, and they circulated freely and widely through northern New York. The institution, though prosperous, lasted but a few years. The sight of so unusual a plum seems to have overstimulated the greed of the local assessors, and they finally taxed the little wilderness bank out of existence. It is gratifying to record, however, that before closing its doors, it called in all its bills and redeemed them in full — a better exit than many a State bank could then boast of. At this time the works had grown so that the supply of water was sometimes inadequate in dry weather. Various plans for increasing it were discussed, but no steps were taken till September 1845. Then the company’s engineer Daniel Taylor suggested combining the two branches of the Hudson River at a point where they were only a few PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 7
  • 21. miles apart. To investigate the feasibility of doing this a party was formed, consisting of Mr. Henderson, his ten-year-old son Archie, Mr. Taylor, and “Tony” Snyder and John Cheney the well-known guides. They took knapsacks and provisions with them, and prepared to camp out over night. They had not gone very far when they came to a little pond known as “the duck hole.” A number of ducks were swimming about it. “Take my pistol and kill some of those ducks,” said Mr. Henderson to Cheney. The guide took the pistol, but before he could get a shot at the ducks they flew away. He thereupon handed the pistol back to Mr. Henderson, who slipped it into his belt and moved away to join the rest of the party at the head of the little lake. John Cheney stayed behind to catch some trout in place of the lost ducks. Just as he had fixed his line and dropped it into the water, he heard the report of a pistol. Looking in the direction whence it came, he saw Mr. Henderson in a stooping posture, and Mr. Taylor and Snyder, who had been gathering wood, hurrying to his side. Cheney then realized that something was wrong, and ran to the spot. Mr. Henderson had meanwhile fallen to the ground, and when Cheney reached him he looked up and said: “John, you must have left the pistol cocked.” The guide was too overwhelmed to make any answer. Then Mr. Henderson looked around him and said: “This is a horrible place for a man to die.” A moment later he motioned his son to his side, and added, gently: “Archie, be a good boy, and give my love to your mother.” That was all. His lips kept moving a while as if in prayer, and then, fifteen minutes after being shot, he breathed his last. He had thrown his knapsack and belt, in which was the pistol, on a rock, and in falling the open hammer was struck and the weapon discharged. A bed of balsam boughs was made and the body laid upon it. This done, Snyder hurried to the village to got help. On reaching it he kept his errand as quiet as possible, but as he started back with a number of men carrying lanterns, axes, and other tools, so unusual a sight could not fail to attract attention in the little hamlet. Women ran out of the houses to inquire what had happened, and among them were Mrs. Henderson and her little daughter Maggie. On learning that an accident had occurred, the child had an intuitive foreboding of the truth, and began crying out: “Papa is shot! Papa is shot!” And so the fact transpired. On the way back Snyder detailed some of the men to cut out trees and bushes, and widen the narrow trail for the passing of the corpse. This became the path used by tourists on their way to Mount Marcy. J.T. Headley, the historian, passed over it the following year, with John Cheney as his guide. The latter pointed out the spot where the returning party, overtaken by darkness, had been forced to spend the night. The rough poles on which the corpse had rested, and the signs of the big fire that had been built, were still visible. “Here,” said Cheney, indicating a log, “I sat all night and held Mr. Henderson’s little son in my arms. It was a dreadful night.” The remains reached the village the next morning, and a rude coffin was constructed for them. A despatch was sent to Russell Root of Root’s Center, on the Schroon River, requesting him to meet the funeral party at Wise’s Shanty on the “cartage” road. This was only partly completed at the time, and the body had to be taken to Tahawus first. From there it had to be carried ten miles on men’s shoulders over a rough trail till the road was 8 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 22. reached. Here Root was waiting with a team, and drove the party to Lake Champlain, where they took a steamboat en route to Jersey City. The foregoing account of this tragic incident is taken from the Dornburgh pamphlet. Its author heard the story of the occurrence from Snyder in the afternoon, and the next day from John Cheney and Mr. Taylor. In concluding this part of his narrative Mr. Dornburgh says: “Mr. Henderson’s death was a sad blow to the Adirondack Iron Company, as he was their most influential man. He was also greatly missed by all classes, who had learned to love him, and for a few days all work was suspended in the village.” Mrs. Henderson survived her husband but a few years. They had three children — Archie and Maggie, who have been mentioned, and another daughter, Annie, whom Mr. Dornburgh says he never saw. Maggie married George Gregory of Jersey City, a son of her father’s partner in the pottery business there. She died soon after her marriage. Archie grew up and married, but also died prematurely. He left a son David, who, after marrying, lived in Paris till he died there. At his death he left a family of several children. Annie Henderson married Dr. Daniel Giraud Elliot of New York City, but passed away soon after the union. Dr. Elliot was a distinguished naturalist and became curator of the American Museum of Natural History. He died in 1915, leaving one daughter. It has been sometimes asserted — owing to the early deaths of the children, probably, — that the Henderson family became extinct, but such, it will be seen, was not the case. Mr. Henderson was a man of unusual business ability. He had great energy and enterprise, backed by sound principles, financial acumen, and considerable scientific knowledge. He was of a genial, cordial, cheery disposition, and very popular with the men at the works, in whose lives and welfare he took a personal interest. He was a player on the violin, and would often help to while away the long evenings by playing for the men and their families to sing and dance. The “duck hole” where he was shot has ever since been called “Calamity Pond,” and the brook that flows from it, and a near-by mountain, now bear the same name. The tiny pond lies about a three hours’ tramp to the east of Lake Henderson and near Lake Colden, and in this remote, deserted spot, where only a straggling hunter or fisherman strays, stands one of the most unexpected sights in the wilderness — a beautifully carved stone memorial, bearing this inscription: This monument erected by filial affection to the memory of our dear father DAVID HENDERSON who accidentally lost his life on this spot 3rd September 1845 Beneath the inscription, in high relief, are a chalice, a book, and an anchor. The monument is of Nova Scotia freestone, eight feet high, and weighs a ton. The difficulties and expense of placing it where it stands were, naturally, great. It was drawn in by oxen in winter over a specially improvised roadway, and there it stands, a touching tribute of affection and yet a strange anomaly, for seldom indeed does a human being pass that way to gaze upon it. Mr. Henderson’s death is usually given as the cause of the abandonment of the iron- works, but, while they undoubtedly felt the loss of his dynamic leadership, it was the PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 9
  • 23. transportation problem that ultimately forced them to the wall. The long haul to Lake Champlain over the most primitive mountain roads made it impossible to compete with concerns nearer the markets, even though the Adirondack product commanded the higher prices. The records show that while the best marks of American and Scotch pig-iron were selling for twenty dollars to twenty-two dollars per ton, the Adirondack output readily brought forty dollars to forty-five dollars. The repeated enlargement of the works in the face of the transportation handicap, was largely due to recurring prospects of relief. The earliest was a State survey of the valley of the upper Hudson, with a view to building a canal into the mountainous mining-region. The scheme seemed highly probable at one time, but was finally abandoned. High hopes were raised again in 1854, when the Sackett’s Harbor and Saratoga Railroad Company surveyed their line to within a few miles of the iron-works, and began construction with fair promise of completion. The industry at this time was not flourishing and its downward trend was clearly manifest. The prospect of the railroad, however, put new hope and life into the owners. They began repairing their old buildings and making many new and costly improvements. They built a new blast-furnace of the largest type, furnished with all modern appliances, which alone is said to have cost $43,000. But for the third time (if we include the Lower Works) money was wasted on a false hope. The railroad failed to make good, and when the last lingering possibility of its ever doing so had faded away, the Adirondack Iron Works gave up their long struggle against isolation, and the place thereof became the “deserted village.” This was in 1857. Six years later, in 1863, the same railroad — its name changed to “The Adirondack Company” — bought control of the abandoned works, and advertised them among its most promising assets. The scheme to build the road into them was revived, but never fulfilled. The new company laid its tracks as far as North Creek, but was never able to carry them beyond that point. Payments on the contract for the iron-works were never completed, and they were taken back by the original owners. Later they entered on their last phase by passing under the control of a large private fish-and-game club — the first of its kind and purpose to be organized in the Adirondacks. The original organization was formed in February 1876, and was called the “Preston Ponds Club,” after three small sheets of water lying not far north of Lake Henderson. This club leased the Preston Ponds for two years, at a nominal rental, from James R. Thompson, who was then acting as agent for the Adirondack Iron and Steel Co. (a later incorporation of the iron-works). The Preston Ponds Club had a constitution and by-laws, but was not incorporated. It was in the nature of a tentative experiment, but proved so popular and successful that enlargement and permanency were soon decided on. In January 1877, the club was reorganized and incorporated as the “Adirondack Club,” taking over the entire iron property under lease. The first officers of this club were: James R. Thompson, President William E. Pearson, Treasurer Thomas J. Hall, Secretary The incorporators were: Charles F. Imbrie William M. Fincke James R. Thompson James Weeks Thomas J. Hall William E. Pearson 10 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 24. Francis H. Weeks George W. Folsom William H. Power Lockwood DeForest Dudley S. Gregory Jr. Among the original members were such well-known names as the following: Robert H. Robertson A.A. Low Jr. Alfred M. Hoyt Dr. John B. Hawes Henry W. DeForest Colles Johnston Dr. Daniel L. Stimson Edward Annan W. L. Andrews James R. Roosevelt Frederick H. Betts William F. Morgan Rutherford Stuyvesant Dr. George G. Wheelock Emlen Roosevelt Robert W. DeForest Charles L. Atterbury Robert Lawrence In 1898 the Adirondack Club changed its name again, and became the present Tahawus Club. The headquarters and main buildings are north of Lake Sanford, near the site of the Upper Works. There is a post-office of Tahawus ten miles to the south, where the Lower Works used to be. The few buildings here are controlled by the club and kept open for the occasional convenience of its members. This club is now the lessee of the McIntyre Iron Company. Previous to 1894 the club leased its preserve from the heirs of the estate, through the medium of a trustee acting for the vested interests. This proved awkward at times, and finally led to a partition suit and the organization of a holding company, with nominal capitalization, known as the McIntyre Iron Company. The first president was Mr. James MacNaughton of Albany, whose father, a leading physician of that city, had married Caroline, one of the daughters of Archibald McIntyre. Mr. MacNaughton was always deeply interested in the Adirondack property, and became trustee for the heirs after Mr. Thompson’s death. He continued as president of the new company until his own death in 1905. Shortly before this he had started negotiations for the sale of a controlling interest in the property to Congressman Foote and some of his friends. This deal was consummated in 1907, when the principal stock-holders, mostly heirs of the McIntyre and Robertson estates, united in selling a major portion of their holdings. One of the new buyers, Mr. Edward Shearson, a banker of New York, became president of the company; Mr. Andrew Thompson of Niagara Falls, a great grandson of Archibald McIntyre, the secretary; and Mr. Arthur H. Masten of New York the vice-president. The property of the McIntyre Iron Company has been lumbered from time to time for many years. In 1914 the company began making tests of the ore deposits, and equipped a concentrating plant on Lake Sanford. A railroad — the Champlain and Sanford Railroad — has been surveyed from the old iron-works to Addison Junction on Lake Champlain, and terminal facilities acquired. It may be, therefore, that the iron industry of the region will be revived a century after it was first begun. 11 11 The railroad did not arrive at the MacIntyre Development until 1944. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 11
  • 25. The MacIntyre Mine: From Failure to Fortune HAROLD K. HOCHSCHILD (1962)12 In October 1826, an Abenaki Indian in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York guided a party of prospectors to an iron ore deposit in the heart of the forest. For his pains, it is recorded, he received $1.50 and a plug of tobacco. In recent years the mine has paid millions of dollars in dividends. Yet for more than a century of frustration and heartbreak on the part of the prospectors and their descendants it looked as if they had paid the Indian too much. The prospectors represented a family group headed by two Americans of Scottish birth, Archibald McIntyre, who then lived in New York City and later moved to Albany, and his brother-in-law, judge Duncan McMartin Jr., of Broadalbin, New York. Both were men of means and both had held public office. McIntyre, born in Perthshire in 1772, had been brought to this country in 1774 by his parents, who settled at Broadalbin. Between 1798 and 1804 he had served several terms as assemblyman from Montgomery County, and in 1806 he was appointed state comptroller. His term in that office, in which he served efficiently and honorably, was made notable through his controversy, beginning in 1819, with former Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, then serving as vice president of the United States. Tompkins had, as governor, spent large sums for which no vouchers could be found; and McIntyre charged him with having failed to account for $120,000 of state funds. Tompkins admitted unbusinesslike methods but stoutly maintained that he had honestly spent these moneys and that, on the contrary, the state was in debt to him for certain expenditures for which he had not been reimbursed. The Legislature finally settled the matter by authorizing an exchange of releases between Tompkins and the state. Tompkins was popular, and the dispute had engendered so much bitterness that his adherents in 1821 brought about the removal of McIntyre from the comptrollership. McIntyre’s friends rallied to his support and helped him to gain nomination to the state senate. He emerged victorious in a hotly contested race and was re-elected four consecutive times (in which respect he is not to be confused with his less prominent cousin and namesake, Archibald McIntyre of Johnstown, twelve years older, who also served Montgomery County in the assembly and the senate). McMartin, too, had served in both houses of the Legislature. He was known as judge McMartin because he had also served on the bench of the Court of Common Pleas. The prospecting party in October 1826 consisted of judge McMartin; his brother Malcolm; John McIntyre and Dyer Thompson, respectively the son and nephew of Archibald McIntyre; David Henderson, a young Scottish friend of the McIntyre family; and Enoch, a Negro servant. The story of the trip that resulted in the discovery is told in detail in a long letter written October 14, 1826, by David Henderson from the Adirondack settlement of North Elba to Archibald McIntyre in New York City. The letter, reprinted in 12 Hochschild first wrote about the McIntyre works for his regional history, “Township 34,” privately published in 1952. That version was “revised and amplified in the light of material that has only recently become available” for reprinting as a separate monograph, published by the Adirondack Museum in 1962. 12
  • 26. “The Story of Adirondac,” reflects the descriptive powers and sense of humor of its talented author, who will reappear in this story. One morning, just as the party were setting out from North Elba to search for showings of silver, a young Indian named Lewis Elijah came to them with a small piece of iron ore and told them he could lead them to the place, about twelve miles away, where he had found it and where there was more of it. Upon being asked his price for the journey, he replied, “Dollar, half and ’bacco,” to which the party assented. Traveling slowly up hill and down dale across the thickly wooded mountain range and pausing to examine carefully the rock ledges along their trail, the party, led by the Indian, made their way through a rugged pass and came on the third day to the place of which he had told them. It was between the two lakes now known as Lake Sanford and Lake Henderson, near the headwaters of the Hudson River. There they found a vein of iron ore, fifty feet wide, that astonished them by its richness. The party quickly decided on a course of action and headed back toward the settlement. Overtaken by dark before they could reach their temporary camp, the prospectors spent the night in the open in rain and snow. The next morning they arrived at the camp, where, wrote Henderson, “the very first thing we did was to drink up all the rum, we had raw about a glass each.” Thence the party made their way out of the woods and lost no time in driving to Albany to file a claim on their discovery. As a precaution against the find becoming known to rival prospectors, they persuaded Lewis Elijah to follow them to Albany in the company of Enoch, who was traveling by canal. A letter of November 11, 1826, from Archibald McIntyre in New York to judge McMartin, who had gone into the woods to obtain a more precise description of the location of the property for establishment of title, indicates that Lewis Elijah had been further persuaded to continue from Albany to New York, where, under McIntyre’s watchfulness, he would be safe from temptations that might be offered him to show others the way to the ore body. “The Indian [presumably Lewis Elijah],” wrote McIntyre, “will probably be prevailed on to remain here until you return from the woods, notwithstanding that he has lately shown some anxiety to return. If it were not that there is great danger of his losing his health here, we ought to keep him all winter. The manner of living in civilized life is very incongenial to a savage.” Lewis Elijah was the son of the famous Indian hunter and trapper, Sabael Benedict13 of Indian Lake. How long he stayed in New York and whether he had further dealings with the organizers of the enterprise is not known. Before we resume the story of the mine, we may note that a nearby summit was later named for Archibald McIntyre. The tip of Mount MacIntyre (the “a” was inserted many years after its christening), 5,114 feet high, is about five miles northeast of the site of the prospectors’ discovery. Among the peaks of New York it is second only to Marcy, three miles to its southeast, which tops it at 5,344 feet. With Mount Marcy, too, Archibald McIntyre is historically associated, for he helped to organize the party which on August 5, 1837, made the first ascent of that mountain by white men. It was led by Professor Ebenezer Emmons, who was making a geological survey for the State of New York. He named the mountain in honor of William Learned Marcy, then governor of the state. The 13 Lewis Elijah’s father was, indeed, Sabael. Sabael was not, however, known by the surname “Benedict.” It was Lewis Elijah who adopted that name, in deference to geologist and explorer Farrand N. Benedict, according to Russell Carson in his “Peaks and People of the Adirondacks” (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1928), pp. 36-37. For details, see the footnote, TDV 2-3. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 13
  • 27. mountain that rises between MacIntyre and Marcy was originally named for judge McMartin. It has since become known as Mount Colden in honor of David Henderson’s close friend David C. Colden, a prominent New Yorker, who visited the mine at least twice and through his connections in England tried, in behalf of Henderson and McIntyre, to interest English capitalists in this Adirondack enterprise. The pass traversed by the prospecting party on their way from North Elba to the ore vein is a great gorge, known formerly as Adirondack Pass and now as Indian Pass, about a mile long, between Mount MacIntyre and its neighbor to the northwest, Wallface Mountain. MacIntyre slopes away from the gorge at an angle of about forty-five degrees, whereas the rocky side of Wallface rises from it almost vertically, in some places to over a thousand feet. “We look upon the Falls of Niagara with awe and a feeling of our insignificance,” wrote Emmons, “but much more are we impressed with the great and sublime in the view of the simple and naked rock of the Adirondack Pass.” Soon after discovery of the mine — in the same year, according to Dornburgh — the promoters erected a forge and a log building for their workmen. “The new firm,” wrote Dornburgh, “went to work with great zeal, built fires and hammers, and made iron after the primitive method, using a forge and charcoal for smelting the ore and settling the melted ore in the bottom of the forge hearth into a loop. This loop was then taken out, put under a large hammer called a shingling hammer, and after being shingled into a loop it was heated again and put under a smaller hammer when it was drawn out into bar iron.” During the few months after the discovery, McIntyre and his associates bought from the state large tracts of land including and surrounding their discovery. Eventually their holdings totaled 105,000 acres. In 1828 Judge McMartin, then state senator, secured the passage of an act appointing commissioners to survey and construct a road from Cedar Point (now Port Henry), on Lake Champlain, westward through the townships of Moriah and Newcomb to the western boundary of Essex County. Of the three commissioners, one, a surveyor, was paid $3.50 per day; the other two received $2 per day. The road took several years to build. According to Professor Emmons’ report to Governor William H. Seward on his geological survey — of which the section on McIntyre was reprinted as a prospectus by the promoters under the date of January 1, 1840, and the title of “Papers and Documents relative to the Iron Ore Veins, Water Power and Wood Land, etc. etc., in and around the Village of McIntyre in the Town of Newcomb, Essex County, State of New York” — the road ran thirteen miles from Port Henry on Lake Champlain to West Moriah and twenty-six miles from West Moriah to the lower end of Lake Sanford. About the time the road was completed, the owners of the mine built a connecting road from the lower end of Lake Sanford to the mine. Meantime active preparations for increased extraction of ore were in progress. Archibald McIntyre, on a visit to the mine — he called it the Mammoth Ore Bed — recorded in his diary under date of October 24, 1832, that “the works executed are: the erection of a good saw mill (in operation), the erection of a two story log house (well finished for the country), a forge for a hammer & two fires (nearly finished) and a coal house, with a blacksmith shop, and some little stabling.” Letters exchanged between the partners refer to the slowness and inefficiency of the contractors. In 1831 a contractor named Taylor is even suspected of fraud, but the year 1845 finds him still, or again, working for the company and still the object of complaint. 14 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 28. The village which grew up around the mine and furnace was first named McIntyre and later Adirondac. The mine and works soon became the most active place in the region. But the many delays and the difficulties of getting things done in the remote backwoods tried the patience of the men who were putting up the money. To make matters worse, the region was swept in 1832 by a cholera epidemic. The discouragement of the proprietors is made clear in a letter written October 2, 1834, by David Henderson to judge McMartin proposing to lease the property to John Steele, who was then in charge of the operation. The proposal must have been dropped, for later letters and records show that the owners continued to run the mine. Judge McMartin died October 3, 1837. A few weeks earlier he had sold his interest in the property to Archibald McIntyre for $20,000. Part or all of this interest, according to Masten, was resold by McIntyre to his nephew, Archibald Robertson of Philadelphia, who had married David Henderson’s sister. Henderson had apparently already been a part owner. “The entire property,” wrote Masten in 1923, “thus passed into the ownership of the three proprietors whose names were chiefly identified with it as long as it was in operation, and whose descendants are still represented in the ownership. Mr. Robertson never took a very active part in the management, but from this time forward Mr. Henderson devoted more attention to the enterprise than before, and became its leading spirit.” Archibald McIntyre, who had moved to Albany, also followed the affairs of the business closely; he occupied himself with arrangements for transportation and purchases of supplies. Henderson, who by this time had married McIntyre’s daughter Annie, was in the pottery business in Jersey City, in partnership with Dudley S. Gregory. (According to Adeline Pepper, writing in the Royle Forum of September 15, 1961, Henderson in 1829 introduced in America the British method of making earthenware from molds instead of on the potter’s wheel.) From Jersey City Henderson supervised the McIntyre operations, with frequent visits to the property. He was a many-sided man of warm personality, energy and imagination, and a born leader. To his natural bent for finance and administration were added, as we have seen, a good literary style and a sense of humor. He was also skilled as a pen and ink artist and as a musician. “He was always very pleasant with his men,” writes Dornburgh, “and as he was an excellent violinist he often played while his men indulged in a little dance. This manifestation of interest in them won their friendship and his name will be revered by them as long as life lasts.” Over a number of years Henderson was in almost daily correspondence with his father-in-law. From those letters it can be seen that a close, affectionate relationship existed between them. About the time that Henderson took charge of the McIntyre business, Andrew Porteous was appointed superintendent — it must have been in 1837 or 1838 — and he remained in that position until 1850 (his predecessor in charge, John Steele, previously mentioned, was retained by the enterprise, presumably in a consulting or auxiliary capacity, at least until 1843). Under Henderson, operations began to develop more rapidly. In 1837 a puddling furnace was built at the mine. In 1838 Porteous built a blast furnace. In 1839 Professor Emmons made his examination, his report on which has been mentioned. “In the village,” he wrote in an appendix, “there are five comfortable dwelling houses (one of them is used as a boarding house, and can accommodate a family, and 30 boarders), a store-house, a blacksmith and carpenter’s shops, two barns, etc., etc., a good saw-mill, a forge, with two PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 15
  • 29. fires and one trip hammer, and coal-houses of capacity to contain 100,000 bushels of charcoal.” Professor Emmons expressed the conviction that large-scale production of iron was commercially practicable and termed the ore deposits of such magnitude as to be of national importance. The prospectus of January 1, 1840, embodying Emmons’ report on the property, was issued by McIntyre, Henderson and Robertson. It announced the incorporation in 1839 of the Adirondack (spelled with a “k,” the form that was gradually to prevail) Iron and Steel Company under the laws of the State of New York with a capital of $1,000,000. The company was owned by the three partners. In the same year they brought about the incorporation of the Adirondack Railroad, with a capital of $100,000. This line, to be built of wood, was to connect the mine with Lake Champlain. Emmons wrote that “the rails are of timber, about a foot in thickness, firmly fastened upon heavy logs laid across at certain distances. The pathway, for two horses abreast, is formed by smaller timber laid closely together, across, and covered with earth or gravel. Where the ground is even and dry, it may not be necessary to timber the pathway.” Construction was undertaken, starting at the mine, but, as the project was found impracticable, it ended about three miles to the east. In 1844 Henderson built a second blast furnace at the mine. He had been studying the conversion, at the company’s property, of its pig iron into steel, using as fuel charcoal, for the production of which the Adirondack forests afforded abundant raw material. Encouraged by the results of his experiments, Henderson went to Sheffield, England, where he visited a large steel and cutlery works. He consulted one of the principal foremen, a Mr. Pickslay, on the feasibility of making steel with charcoal on a commercial basis. Pickslay, who had never used this method, agreed to make his own experiments. Some months later he reported that they had been successful. On the strength of this news, Henderson selected a site for a steel plant about six miles south of the mine, on the Hudson, and began by building a dam, a dock, a sawmill and workmen’s houses. This place, later named Tahawus, an Indian name for Mt. Marcy,14 was designated as the Lower Works, while the blast furnace and the rest of the establishment around the mine became known as the Upper Works. During the course of these preparations Pickslay came to the United States and was taken by Henderson to inspect them. Pickslay returned to England just after Christmas 1844, leaving with Henderson plans and instructions for the completion of the steel plant. A few months later, Henderson was surprised to receive word from Pickslay that further experiments had caused the latter to change his mind, that he was now convinced that steel could not be produced commercially by the charcoal process and that he could not continue in association with the enterprise. It was conjectured that Pickslay’s employers, perhaps impressed by his reports of the magnitude of the McIntyre deposit and anxious to impede the birth of so formidable a competitor, had persuaded him to discourage Henderson from proceeding. Whatever Pickslay’s motive, his withdrawal did cause Henderson to abandon the project at the Lower Works. About this time, perhaps before Pickslay’s defection, Henderson had become acquainted with Joseph Dixon, a metallurgical genius, later known as Graphite Dixon 14 Not so. The “Indian” name for Mount Marcy was a total fabrication of journalist Charles Fenno Hoffman. For details, see the footnotes, TDV 31-32 and TDV 55. 16 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 30. because of the graphite works he established at Ticonderoga. Dixon said he thought he could make steel from the McIntyre product, and Henderson agreed to back him. Dixon built a crude cementing furnace on the outskirts of Jersey City, where he began his experiments. Later he built a melting furnace. “Mr. Dixon having succeeded in casting steel into coarse bars,” wrote Dornburgh, “set about erecting suitable hammers for working the steel into small bars. Mr. Henderson about the time went to England and proceeding to Sheffield, he procured a tilter. … With this Englishman’s advice they were able to build a tilting hammer and other necessary apparatus and the steel manufactured with their improvements was of a good quality. … This elated Mr. Henderson, as he saw he had accomplished what he had striven for.” This development, of which Dornburgh does not give the time but which would seem to have taken place during the first eight months of 1845, had important consequences. David Henderson did not live to see them. At the age of fifty-two, on September 3, 1845, he was killed near the Upper Works by the accidental discharge of his pistol. On that day he had headed a party in search of an additional source of water power. Among other members of the party were Henderson’s 10-year-old son, Archy, and John Cheney, who served the company as guide, courier and all-round factotum and lived to become one of the most famous of all Adirondack hunters (he is described as a small, modest, gentle man who by the time he was forty-seven — there are conflicting versions of the year of his birth, but in 1845 he was probably around thirty15 — claimed to have killed 600 deer, 400 sable, nineteen moose, twenty-eight bears, six wolves and other game). As the party came to a small pond called the duck hole, Henderson, handing his pistol to Cheney, suggested that the latter kill some ducks. As Cheney advanced toward the ducks they flew out of range, whereupon Cheney returned the pistol to Henderson, who replaced it in his belt. A few minutes later the sound of a shot was heard. Dornburgh, who was at the village when the party returned and heard their firsthand reports, wrote: Mr. Cheaney [sic] knew Mr. Henderson was shot by the movement he made, and he ran to him as fast as possible. Upon arriving at Mr. Henderson’s side the fallen man turned his eyes to him and said: “John, you must have left the pistol cocked.” Mr. Cheaney could make no reply, not knowing but that might have been the case. Mr. Henderson looked around and said: “This is a horrible place for a man to die,” and then, calling his son to him he gently said, “Archy, be a good boy and give my love to your mother.” This was all he said, although his lips kept moving for a few minutes as if in prayer, and at the end of fifteen minutes from the time of being shot he expired. The theory of the cause of the accident is as follows: Mr. Henderson, it is supposed, took off his knapsack and laid it on a rock and then unbuckled his belt at the same time taking hold of the muzzle of the pistol, and in laying it down on the rock must have struck the rock with the hammer which caused the discharge of the weapon, and as the muzzle was pointing towards him the ball entered his abdomen just below the navel, causing the fatal wound. The duck hole where the tragedy occurred, about four miles northeast of the mine, was named Calamity Pond in commemoration. Ironically Cheney had been the object of Henderson’s sympathy eight years earlier for an accident in which he (Cheney) had shot 15 According to his headstone in the Newcomb cemetery, John Cheney was born June 22, 1800, and died June 3, 1877. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 17
  • 31. himself in the leg (the accident is mentioned in Henderson’s letter of March 27, 1837, to McIntyre and was probably the one described by Cheney to S.R. Stoddard, as reported by the latter in the 1885 edition of his guidebook, “The Adirondacks”).16 Dornburgh goes on to give an affecting account of the return of the party to the village of Adirondac bearing Henderson’s body early next morning. The family was overwhelmed with shock and grief; and all the people of the small community joined in mourning their revered chief. Notwithstanding the loss of Henderson’s leadership, the enterprise continued to expand — partly, at least, from the impetus of his plans. In 1848 the Sacketts Harbor and Saratoga Railroad Company was chartered to build a line across northern New York between the said points, with a branch line to the McIntyre mine (see the author’s “Dr. Durant and His Iron Horse” and “Adirondack Railroads, Real and Phantom,” additional extracts from “Township 34,” both published by the Adirondack Museum). The hopes raised by this project stimulated the owners of the mine to undertake further improvements at the Upper Works and to expand the smelting operations carried on in Jersey City under the direction of Joseph Dixon. In 1849 the Adirondac Steel Manufacturing Company was established in Jersey City with a capital of $250,000 by McIntyre, Robertson, the Estate of David Henderson, and Henderson’s pottery partner, Dudley S. Gregory. The company built a plant, at a reputed cost of $100,000, with a capacity of two tons of cast steel per day. The plant, of which Joseph Dixon had charge, ran entirely on McIntyre ore. Letters exchanged in 1848 between Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson’s nephew and namesake, who had succeeded to some of his uncle’s responsibilities, reveal a crisis in the relations between Dixon and the owners. The letters, of course, present only the owners’ views of the dispute. Dixon, reputed to be a man of goad character, undoubtedly felt himself justified in his contentions. In any event, the crisis must have been surmounted, for Jersey City records discovered by Mr. Templeton, who has made an interesting study of the history of this steel works, show Dixon still as superintendent in 1850 and in 1851, when the company’s product, the first steel of American manufacture, was awarded a gold medal at the World’s Fair in London. This recognition was well-deserved, for Dixon had become the first man in America to achieve regular production of high quality steel by American processes from American iron — and it was McIntyre iron. About 1852 Dixon was succeeded by James R. Thompson, a nephew of the deceased David Henderson and a son of Archibald McIntyre’s nephew, Dyer Thompson, one of the prospecting party in 1826. James R. Thompson, who in earlier years had worked at the mine as a clerk under Porteous, managed the plant for a number of years, after which he acquired it from the company. Dixon went on to fame for his contributions to the progress of American technology and industrial development during the 19th century, including his manufacture of graphite and his perfection of the plumbago crucibles that played such a large part in the evolution of the American manufacture of crucible steel. In 1850 the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company, which had been formed in 1839 to acquire the McIntyre mine, was converted into a new company of the same name, with a capital of $650,000. The principal shareholders were Archibald McIntyre, Archibald Robertson and the Estate of David Henderson. Smaller holders included McIntyre’s son-in- 16 TDV 298-299. 18 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 32. law Dr. James McNaughton and Dudley S. Gregory, whose son, George, married Mr. Henderson’s daughter, Margaret, and whose daughter, Elizabeth, married Mr. Henderson’s son, Archy. The years from 1848 to 1853 saw the company’s activity at its peak. The hope of a railroad from the mine to its markets encouraged not only the owners but a syndicate of promoters who negotiated for the property through Benjamin C. Butler, a prominent lumberman of Luzerne, New York. In 1853 they bought the property for $570,000, payable in ten annual installments. In 1854 the syndicate, presumably in preparation for the sale of shares to the public, issued a prospectus which began by explaining that the mine village was sometimes called McIntyre and sometimes Adirondack. The prospectus then listed the buildings owned by the company, which included a cupola furnace, an old blast furnace and a puddling furnace; a new blast furnace, first fired on August 20, 1854, that had cost $43,000, was thirty-six feet square and forty-eight feet high and had a capacity of fourteen tons of iron per day; many auxiliary buildings and workmen’s houses; and a schoolhouse. The latter also served as a place of worship known as the Church of Tubal-Cain (according to Genesis 4:17-22, Tubal-Cain, a descendant of Adam in the eighth generation, was “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron”).17 The progress represented by this description of the property had been achieved by the company; the prospectus by the buyers was purely anticipatory. Why were the owners willing to sell out after they had attained an output of fourteen tons of iron per day? Perhaps they had become skeptical of the promised railroad, and without the railroad the mine could not make a profit. It was compelled to cart its ore to Lake Champlain for barge transportation to Jersey City and other mill centers. The excessive cost of this long haul by horse and wagon made it impossible to compete with imported Scotch pig iron. And McIntyre, now an old man in feeble health and with failing sight, must have felt himself more and more handicapped by the loss of his son-in-law David Henderson. The Butler syndicate paid the first installment on the purchase price. It was the only installment paid. The railroad did not come, and without it the McIntyre enterprise lost its attraction for the syndicate members. The purchase contract lapsed and the title remained with the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company. Wearily the owners of the latter struggled on. In August 1856,18 heavy rains flooded the upper Hudson and destroyed the dam at Adirondac and the dam and sawmill at Tahawus. Even if the owners had entertained hopes of rebuilding these structures, the nationwide financial crisis of 1857 would have made that impossible. Then, in May 1858, Mr. McIntyre died just before his eighty-sixth birthday, and in September Mr. Robertson passed away. The numerous heirs, none of whom could assume control of the enterprise, gave up the ghost. “The cessation of operations, whenever it occurred,” wrote Masten, “was a sudden step. Work was dropped just as it was. ‘The last cast from the furnace was still in the sand and the tools were left leaning against the wall of the cast house.’ ” The author Benson J. Lossing, who visited Adirondac in 1859, called it “the little deserted village.” One Robert Hunter, who had been a bricklayer at the works, was installed as caretaker — “at a dollar a day,” wrote the naturalist John Burroughs in “Wake-Robin” after 17 See the note at the front of this volume, “On the Adirondac Schoolhouse and the Church of Tubal Cain.” 18 See the note at the front of this volume, “On the August 1856 Flood.” PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 19
  • 33. visiting the property in 1863, “to live here and see that things were not wantonly destroyed, but allowed to decay properly and decently.” In 1857 the Sacketts Harbor and Saratoga Railroad Company, whose line still existed only on paper, had been reorganized as the Lake Ontario and Hudson River Railroad Company, and in 1860 as the Adirondac Estate and Railroad Company. In 1863, under Dr. Thomas Clark Durant, it became the Adirondack Company. In the same year, Dr. Durant, still planning to build a branch line to McIntyre, bought the property of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company for $500,000, of which $25,000 was paid on signing the contract and the balance was payable in eight installments. Construction of the line, which became known as the Adirondack Railroad, began in 1865 at Saratoga and ended in 1871 on the west bank of the Hudson, at a point about three miles above North Creek and twenty-six miles from McIntyre; funds for construction had run out. Dr. Durant failed to consummate his purchase of the assets of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company, and the heirs of the original owners remained in possession. In 1876 the McIntyre property entered a new phase through the lease of the three Preston ponds, about three miles northwest of the Upper Works, to a group of sportsmen for hunting and fishing. This group informally set itself up as the Preston Ponds Club, the first of its kind to acquire a preserve in the Adirondacks. It was incorporated in 1877 as the Adirondack Club, which obtained a twenty-year lease of the entire 105,000-acre tract. James R. Thompson — related, as we have seen, to both the Hendersons and the McIntyres, former superintendent of the Jersey City steel plant, and now member of a three-man committee in charge of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company’s affairs — acted as agent for the company in executing the lease. He was elected president of the club on its formation in 1876, and remained in that office until his death, or shortly before it, in 1887. For sixty-four years after the lease to the Preston Ponds Club, the property served only as a game preserve and as a source of timber. In 1887 James MacNaughton, grandson of Archibald McIntyre, became the trustee of the heirs of the original owners. While anglers waded the streams and hunters roamed at will through the forests surrounding the deserted mine and furnaces, MacNaughton never lost his faith that the mine would some day again produce iron. Steadily he endeavored to acquaint the iron trade with the company’s ore and to enlist capital for a revival of the enterprise. His efforts were seriously hampered by the presence in the ore of a considerable percentage of titanium, which was believed to disqualify the ore from making iron pure enough to meet the more exacting new specifications for steel. The earliest mention of titanium in the ore occurs in this entry under date of April 22, 1833, in Archibald McIntyre’s diary: Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger, to whom I had previously delivered a piece of the McIntyre iron ore to analize, reported as follows: The ore contains: 70% protoxide iron 10% carbon 3% oxide chrome 8% carbonic acid 8% silica and lime 99% 1% gangue & more chrome 100% 20 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 34. The mineral or ore is quite fit for making steel from the first process, using a middle high furnace of about 15 feet height. Dr. F. is of the opinion that the 1 per cent marked as gangue, etc., or a portion of it, is titanium. Titanium is mentioned again in David Henderson’s letters of July 13, 1843, and September 1, 1843, to Archibald McIntyre. Its presence in the ore had apparently created no problem during the years of operation, but by 1890 it had become a formidable obstacle to the reopening of the mine. In that year MacNaughton engaged Dr. Auguste J. Rossi, a young French chemist, for a program of research to find a way out of the impasse. The dormant enterprise was reorganized in 1894 as the MacIntyre Iron Company, of which MacNaughton became president (by this time an “a” had been inserted in “McIntyre,” although not all the descendants have made the change). Two years later he made a report to the board in which it appears that the company had paid ten percent in dividends from the proceeds of lumbering. The president mentions that certain tests on the ore had cost the company only $2,800 because the New York Car and Wheel Works of Buffalo, which had found the iron particularly suitable for car wheels, had contributed $10,000 to the experiments. In the first of the following paragraphs he adverted to the predatory manoeuvres of Adirondack lumbermen of the period: During the session of the Legislature just passed two very vicious bills were introduced and were being sneaked through with great rapidity and success when I discovered what the real provisions of these bills were. They would practically, if they became laws, have given permission to wood pulp and lumber men, by right of eminent domain, to seize almost any amount of property not owned by the State of New York in the Hudson River watershed. One of the senators who introduced one of the bills stated in public that the parties back of him could well afford to pay $100,000 a year to have them become laws. I am glad to say that by attracting the attention of the newspapers to the iniquitous measures and in getting the Board of Trade and Transportation of New York interested in the matter, we succeeded in having the bills recommitted for a hearing, when they were promptly killed in committee. The property of this Company seems to be now in good condition. We are out of debt and have a balance in the Treasury and live contracts which, later on, will bring in some considerable income. There are three contracts, one first of all with the Adirondack Club, which provides for the payment of taxes; the contract with the Finch Pruyn Company, which runs a few years longer and a contract with David Hunter and John Anderson Jr. which provides for the cutting of timber by them on the Cold River watershed in Township 47. This report is in the collection of the New York State Historical Association, which also contains an undated memorandum, apparently written in the early years of the present century, in which the company offered its property for sale. Its holdings then consisted of 80,000 acres, including nearly all of townships 45, 46 and 47 and two gores north of township 45. The prospectus states that in 1899 Gifford Pinchot, after an inspection of 71,000 acres to prepare a forestry plan (of which nothing seems to have come), had estimated that the stands of marketable softwoods totaled nearly 200,000,000 board feet, mostly spruce, with some cedar and balsam. The owners valued the spruce and balsam at $450,000, based on the current price of $2.50 per thousand board feet. As to the iron ore, they admitted that objections had been raised to the titanium content but declared that PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 21
  • 35. experiments, chiefly Rossi’s, were proving the ore to be commercially useful. They had, in fact, led to the evolution of a process for the separation of titanium from iron; but again the hopes of the owners of the enterprise were thwarted by the advent to the market of cheap, high-grade iron ores from the newly discovered Mesabi Range of northern Minnesota. With these ores MacIntyre could not compete. At MacNaughton’s death in 1905, a new group acquired control of the company, leaving a minority interest to the former owners. The directors elected Edward Shearson of New York City as president, Arthur H. Masten of the same city as vice president, and Andrew Thompson of Niagara Falls, a great-grandson of Archibald McIntyre, as secretary. The income from lumbering and sales of timber lands was used to carry on exploration of the deposit and to continue metallurgical experiments. In 1908 John Birkinbine, a Philadelphia consulting engineer retained by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, wrote that “a contract reported with the Bethlehem Steel Company assuring a market for 3,000,000 tons distributed through ten years with no limit placed on titanium content assures a market and will encourage others to use the ore.” The MacIntyre Iron Company’s annual report for 1909 mentions 700 tons of ore which had been shipped to the Bethlehem Steel Company “with gratifying results.” Both the report of the contract and the gratification derived from the tests were premature by about thirty years. A proposed railroad from the mines to connect with the Delaware and Hudson — a variant of earlier abortive plans — is mentioned in the 1909 report. A company to build this line had been chartered April 9, 1908, through the efforts of James MacNaughton Thompson and his brother Andrew. On May 2, 1908, its directors decided that the route should run to Schroon Lake, pass parallel to the lake, half a mile to the west of the latter, as far as Pottersville and then make connection with the Delaware and Hudson at Riverside. The railroad remained on paper. In 1914 the company began to erect a concentrating plant on the shore of Lake Sanford, and there was talk of building a railroad from the works to Lake Champlain, but nothing came of it. The enterprise seemed doomed to oblivion. It was not. In 1866 Lossing had predicted that “the projected railway will yet be constructed, because it is needful for the development and use of that immense mineral and timber region, and again that forest village will be vivified, and the echoes of the deep breathings of its furnaces will be heard in the neighboring mountains.” Seventy-five years later, by a strange turn of fate, Lossing’s prophecy was fulfilled for a reason he could not have imagined, and MacNaughton’s faith was vindicated. Titanium, the unpopular impurity, had become a prized element; the Cinderella of the ore body had come into its own. Rossi’s researches had led to the advancement of earlier experiments, here and abroad, for the use of titanium dioxide as a pigment. These developments caused some of the owners of the MacIntyre Iron Company, in 1916, to form the Titanium Pigment Company, which built a plant at Niagara, N.Y. In 1921 the National Lead Company, the largest paint makers in the country, acquired control of the Titanium Pigment Company. The manufacture of white paints and enamels from titanium dioxide advanced rapidly in the 1930s and is still expanding. For a number of years this growth had no effect on the slumbering MacIntyre mines, as there were more readily available supplies in beach sands, chiefly in India and to a smaller extent in Florida. When imports from India were shut off by the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the United States Government became seriously 22 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 36. concerned. Investigation revealed the MacIntyre mine as the largest potential source of titanium in this country. In 1941, 115 years after the Indian, Elijah Benedict, had led the prospectors to the ore outcrop and 84 years after the mine had lost the race with other iron producers, the National Lead Company received the government’s approval for a revival of the enterprise for the production of titanium. To this end the National Lead Company acquired the assets of the MacIntyre Iron Company and proceeded to equip the property at a cost of $8,000,000. Its mine and mill are in full and efficient operation, employing some 325 men.19 The ore is mined from open pits with power shovels, which load it into ore trucks to be hauled to the concentrator. The mill ships daily about 2,000 tons of ilmenite (titanium dioxide) concentrates and 3,600 tons of magnetite (iron oxide) concentrates. The magnetite is a by-product; the principal product is the ilmenite. At first the concentrates were shipped by truck to the North Creek terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, whose parent company had in 1889 acquired the Adirondack Railroad. In August 1942, construction was begun on a 29-mile standard gauge railroad to connect the mine with North Creek. It was completed in 1943 and has been in operation ever since. Under date of November 21, 1961, Mr. Martino, president of the National Lead Company, writes: Since commencement of our operations at Sanford Hill [the MacIntyre ore body] in 1942 the grade of our ore mined has been quite uniform and has averaged 17.2% titanium dioxide and 35.8% iron. To date we have mined 27,000,000 gross tons of ore which has yielded approximately 5,500,000 gross tons of ilmenite assaying 45% titanium dioxide and 11,000,000 gross tons of Magnetite assaying 58% iron and 10% titanium dioxide. Professor Emmons’ characterization of the ore body 122 years earlier as one of national importance has thus been amply justified. At the start of the National Lead Company’s operations, the name Tahawus migrated from the Lower Works to the company’s village on the east shore of Lake Sanford near the mine. It was, in fact, the post office bearing the name that made the trip. “Not that such a move entailed shifting a building,” wrote Paul W. Allen in the November 1951 anniversary issue of the company’s magazine, Tahawus Cloudsplitter, “for the post office of those days was embodied in its rugged and outspoken custodian, Mike Breen.” Breen was then the respected caretaker of the club whose members had long been hunting and fishing on the property. Some years after operations had begun, discovery of an extension of the ore body under the company village required the removal of some sixty-seven homes, five apartment houses, a dormitory building, two churches, and a general store ten miles south to a site near the village of Newcomb. The moving operation began in August 1963 and permitted expanded operations at the mining site. While titanium still goes chiefly into pigments, interest is growing in its uses as a metal and as an alloy. A way has been discovered to produce a titanium crystal with a 19 NL Industries closed its mining operations on Sanford Lake at Tahawus in 1989. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 23
  • 37. refractive index much greater than that of a diamond and with unusual dielectric characteristics. These synthetic gems are being sold in some quantity as jewelry and to the electrical and optical industries. These outlets, however, are of small importance compared with the applications of titanium in industry. Imports from India have been resumed, and recently other titanium-bearing deposits have been developed in Florida; at Allard Lake in Quebec, near the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and in southern Norway. But the demand for titanium fully absorbs the MacIntyre production. This story would not be complete without a glance at the history of the famous club which occupied the MacIntyre property during the seven decades in which the latter was revolving in full cycle from a mining enterprise into a game preserve and then back to its original destiny. The roster of the Preston Ponds Club of 1876 and its successor, the Adirondack Club, incorporated as has been said in 1877, bore many distinguished New York names, among them that of James R. Roosevelt of Hyde Park, father of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Headquarters were established in an abandoned boarding house at the Upper Works, within reach of the main fishing waters. As this clubhouse was two hours’ drive by buckboard from the entrance to the preserve near the Lower Works, auxiliary quarters were established at the latter for the convenience of the members. Both clubhouses were occupied in 1877. The twenty-year lease executed in that year called for the modest rental of $100 per annum and taxes. In 1898 the organization, changing its name to Tahawus Club, renewed its lease from the MacIntyre Iron Company for ten years. The new lease covered 85,000 acres at an annual rental of $5,000, and, like the first, reserved the mining and lumbering rights to the company. Further renewals, accompanied by shrinkages in the acreage leased, carried the club along until 1941. Meanwhile, Finch, Pruyn and Company had bought a large part of the Iron Company’s land for lumbering. In 1929 the club itself, after reorganization as Tahawus Purchase Inc., bought 6,000 acres in the neighborhood of the Lower Works. Not long afterwards there occurred an incident which has furnished an illustration for this text. About 1932 the ceiling of the dining room at the Upper Works clubhouse was being scraped in preparation for painting. One of the workmen, who had penetrated several coats of calcimine applied in the course of decades and was beginning to peel off the original layer, discovered on the plaster a painting of the head of an eagle. Proceeding with caution, under the direction of Miss Yates, the workmen laid bare a complete fresco in colors. Questioning of the oldest guides at the club disclosed that the artist was probably one Cyril Burnell, an itinerant painter, who in the 1870s visited homes and taverns in the Adirondacks and “for lodging, food and drink, mostly drink,” as Miss Yates puts it, would adorn a wall or ceiling. Within a few years of his stay at the club, apparently, an unidentified house committee, now enveloped in posthumous obloquy, had ordered or permitted the painting to be smothered with calcimine. Soon after the discovery of the fresco, Miss Yates made a freehand copy, which was considered accurate. The reopening of the MacIntyre mines in 1941 brought a sharp change in the fortunes of the club. The National Lead Company’s preparations to begin mining and milling and the building of a town site for its workmen led the club to sell its 6,000 acres to the new owners. Simultaneously the club leased from the company, for six years, certain property near the Upper Works not then required for the mining and milling operations. This 24 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 38. included the main clubhouse at the Upper Works. In connection with this transaction the club underwent a fourth corporate metamorphosis, emerging as the Upper Works Club Inc. By 1947 the National Lead Company’s activities had expanded to such an extent that it required use of the property occupied by the club, and declined to renew the lease. The fate of the club hung in the balance. At the last moment a new agreement was reached by which the club acquired ownership from the company of a tract of land at the long deserted Lower Works, including its former auxiliary clubhouse. In that house, which the club first occupied in 1877, it has re-established itself. The club lost its fishing rights on the Preston ponds, home of the original club in 1876, but has attained closer access to Trout and Perch ponds, Lake Andrew and the Beaver Flow. Thus this venerable organization, numbering among its members descendants of some of its founders, has escaped engulfment by the tide of invading industry and has taken new root in familiar ground. It has resumed the name Tahawus Club, by which it was longest and best known. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 25
  • 39. Prelude: Archibald McIntyre and the Elba Iron Works MARY MacKENZIE (PRE-1978)20 In 1806 there was, down in Albany at the Capitol, a man with a dream. His name was Archibald McIntyre, and he dreamed of the vast wilderness of northern New York and fortunes to be made from its lodes of iron ore. Even to a canny Scot the dream seemed practical enough: He would discover a rich vein of ore and, with a select group of backers, reap huge profits as a miner and refiner in the North Country. Though it was to bring him untold misery and financial loss — and this more than once — the dream was never to be relinquished. Long before the Revolution, French voyageurs and trappers traveling down Lake Champlain from Canada speculated about the unexplored Adirondacks they saw to the west, far away and misty blue. They called them the Peruvian Mountains, believing fabulous treasures of gold and silver lay in their fastnesses. (The village of Peru, and Peru Bay on Lake Champlain, carry the last remnants of this romantic notion.) But it was not gold or silver the early settlers found. It was iron ore. We do not know who was the first man to discover Adirondack iron, but William Gilliland and Philip Skene knew the wealth of ore in the hills behind Port Henry before the Revolution. The British at Ticonderoga may have worked these deposits. The Americans certainly did, for Arnold wrote in his diary in June 1775, “Sent a boat with Skene’s Negroes to dig ore.” Knowledge of the great Cheever bed at Port Henry existed just after the Revolution. The ore, cropping out of the ground to such an extent that the pioneers could not fail to notice it, was mined as early as 1804. Beds in Elizabethtown were worked to a degree about 1800, and some of the remarkable deposits near Clintonville were opened up early in the 19th century. Encouraged by rumbles and rumors of mineral discoveries seeping down from the north, McIntyre began to send out scouting parties from Albany. Their make-up was chiefly relatives and friends, and friends of friends who had some knowledge of North Country geography. It was not long before one party stumbled upon what appeared to be large deposits of fine iron ore in the present town of North Elba. All were on unsold state lands. The men seem to have missed some far superior lodes in the town, for Winslow Watson wrote in his “History of Essex County” (1869), “I have examined in North Elba several large deposits, apparently of a high grade of ore. These were strangely overlooked when the original beds owned by the Elba Company were abandoned.” State Geologist Ebenezer Emmons poses another mystery in “Geology of New York, Part II, 1842”: “Another vein of ore has been discovered on Chubb River.” The location of these two veins is unknown to the author. In any event, with the initial discovery of iron in North Elba, 20 Mary MacKenzie’s account of Archibald McIntyre’s first iron manufacturing enterprise, the Elba Iron Works, was one of the sources reviewed by Bruce Seely when he prepared his 1978 study of the McIntyre Iron Works in Newcomb township for the Historic American Engineering Record. The material here is an early, very substantial draft of the Elba Iron Works story. While it is much more extensive than the account published in the April 14, 2000 issue of the Lake Placid News, it has been updated to be consistent with the 2000 version wherever significant facts differed. 26
  • 40. McIntyre was hooked for life. And the little settlement at the Plains21 was in for a vast sea change. Who was this man Archibald McIntyre? A leading political figure of the day, he was born in Kenmore, Perthshire, Scotland, on June l, 1772, to the parish schoolmaster. In 1774, when he was two, the McIntyre family emigrated to America. One of the first sights to greet them in New York City was the tarring and feathering of a Tory at a house directly opposite their first stopping place. Almost immediately, with four or five other Scottish families, they went up the Hudson to Haverstraw, and from there to Broadalbin (just outside the Adirondack Blue Line). The Revolution encroached upon this region, and in one instance the McIntyre family barely escaped death at the hands of marauding Indians. Moving to Albany, where the young Archibald became a schoolmaster and surveyor, they later returned to Broadalbin, and it was from here that Archibald at 26 was chosen a member of the state Assembly, serving from 1799 to 1802. He was then appointed deputy secretary of state, and in 1806 state comptroller, the fourth to hold the office. He continued as comptroller until 1821, a period of 15 years. No other comptroller in state history has held the office as long, with the exception of Arthur Levitt, and at no time has it been more ably filled. President Kennedy’s “Profiles In Courage” might well have included Archibald McIntyre. His complete integrity and moral courage are revealed in his quarrel with Governor Daniel D. Tompkins. During the War of 1812, Governor Tompkins was entrusted by both Albany and Washington with very large sums for disbursement. At war’s end he was unable to produce vouchers for a great deal of money. McIntyre claimed that Tompkins had a shortage of $120,000, whereupon the governor indignantly countered that the state owed him $250,000! McIntyre refused to pay a penny of this claim without supporting documents and was given a tongue-lashing by Tompkins’ friends. His reply to them can stand today as a credo of every guardian of the public purse: “I am not to be intimidated from performing the duty I owe to the Public and to myself by the calumnies or denunciations of any man or set of men; and for support in the discharge of this duty, I rely with confidence on an enlightened and candid people.” The matter was finally settled in 1820 when the Legislature directed McIntyre to balance the accounts on the filing of a release from Governor Tompkins of all his claims against the state. McIntyre had stuck to his guns — and he lost his job. His stand in part led to Tompkins’ resignation, and although McIntyre’s first and dearest friend, DeWitt Clinton, was elected governor, there were those in power decidedly hostile to both. On February 12, 1821, McIntyre was removed as comptroller by the Council of Appointments. His second successor as comptroller was none other than William Marcy, later governor, for whom Mount Marcy was named. In 1822 McIntyre was appointed an agent for the state lottery, then in high regard as a source of revenue for schools, new roads and other political projects. The infant republic was, in fact, largely financed through such state lotteries. Discontinued for many generations as abhorrent to the high moral standards of York staters, the lottery, as we know, is again in public favor. McIntyre ended his political career with a short term in the state Senate. 21 The Plains of Abraham, the name given to the area by the earliest settlers. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 27
  • 41. As comptroller, McIntyre figured in another piece of fiscal history. By 1800 the state had more than enough revenue to finance government services for its 200,000 citizens, and by 1814 the General Fund reached a high point: $4.4 million. With government expenses only $1.3 million and debts $1.5 million, it appeared that financial Utopia had come to roost. The Legislature promptly did away with general taxes. In vain McIntyre and his successors argued that only the income from the fund ought to be used and taxes levied to make up the difference. The Legislature continued to draw on the fund to finance government and finally, in 1834, the bubble burst with the dissipation of the last of it. This, then, was the Archibald McIntyre who came to be so closely associated with the great iron industry of Essex County, and whose dream shuttled the fortunes of North Elba. As a state official, McIntyre was in an advantageous position to act quickly, and the desired lands and water rights in North Elba were obtained from the state in 1811, though formal patents were not issued until 1813. These included: • Lot 280, Township 11, Old Military Tract, 92 acres. (Today the site of Lower Mill Pond, Chubb River, parts of the village below Mill Hill, the village power plant and part of the lower Lake Placid Club golf links.) Here were to rise the mills, forges and related buildings of McIntyre’s iron works. • Adjoining Lot 92, Township 12, Old Military Tract, 160 acres. (Today the site of the town dump and part of the airport.) Used as pasture land for horses and cattle by the iron works. • Lots 75 and 76, Township 11, Old Military Tract, 360 acres. Iron ore beds. (Exact location of the beds unknown, but in the vicinity of the state Conservation Department buildings on the old road to Ray Brook Sanitarium.) McIntyre later sold these lots to Daniel Ames. A little later the McIntyre interests acquired: • Lot 94, Township 1, Old Military Tract, 67+ acres. An ore bed lot at the foot of Cascade Mountain on Cascade Lakes. • Lots 60 and 64 of the same township, totaling 1,098 acres. Ore bed and timber lots near the Cascade Lakes. • Lot 234 of Henry’s Survey in the town of Jay, 59½ acres. Purpose and use unknown, but probably an ore bed lot. With financial backing assured, a corporation was formed for “making Bar Iron, Steel and Anchors from Ore, nail rods, hoop iron and every kind of Iron Mongery at the Town of Keene in the County of Essex.” The capital stock was set at $100,000, and the main stockholders were Archibald McIntyre, his brother James McIntyre, John McDonald, and none other than Simeon DeWitt, Surveyor General, Archibald Campbell, Deputy Secretary of State, and John Richards, State Surveyor, of the state of New York. (Richards surveyed North Elba for the state in 1813, 1814 and 1833.) The name of the infant corporation was the Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing Company. Elba’s origin was, of course, the island of Elba, then celebrated as the locale of great iron ore deposits worked by the ancients, and a few years later equally noted as the scene of Napoleon’s exile. The first order of business was the building of a dam and the impounding of the Chubb River. An excellent site was found — in fact, the same site noted by state Surveyor Stephen Thorne in 1803 when he described Lot 280 as a “poor lot but has a good mill place 28 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 42. thereon.” The pond formed by the damming of the Chubb, probably in 1811, is today’s Lower Mill Pond. The wooden dam erected occupied the same site as the present village electric power dam. A quorum of sidewalk superintendents must have been on hand when the buildings of the Elba Company began to rise on the shores of Lower Mill Pond. A fantastic industrial complex it was to the simple farmers whose rude cabins and barns dotted the Plains of Abraham. When all was done, 13 buildings were reflected in the deep, black waters of the pond: • Two forges under one roof, two fires and one hammer each • A dwelling house for agents, 1+ story, 2 large rooms, kitchen and 2 bedrooms • A boarding house, 1 story, 40x18 feet, 2 large rooms and 2 bedrooms • A dwelling house for bloomers, 1 story, 20 feet square • A store with 2 rooms, one for dry-goods, one for storing iron, cellar below, 40x20 feet • 2 barns about 30 x 40 feet, with barracks for workmen in one • A blacksmith shop • A grist mill with one run of stones • A sawmill with one saw, one set of running gears, both on the same dam with the forges • 3 charcoal houses, two 30 x 40 feet, the other 40 x 25 Axemen arrived to begin felling trees on The Plains for the making of charcoal. The face of the town was to be altered for a generation or two as the resident farmers also took to lumbering the virgin stands on their own acres and manufacturing charcoal, for which the Works paid the princely sum of 3¢ a bushel. Access roads leading from Old Military to both the Cascade Lakes and Ray Brook ore beds were hacked out of the forests. The forges were fired, the mill wheels began to spank the waters of the Chubb. Agents, managers, bloomers and miscellaneous workmen poured into town with their families. The Elba Iron Works was in business. And the settlement acquired a new name. Henceforth it would be known and shown on maps as Elba, though the names Keene Plains and Plains of Abraham were long in dying (in the late 1850s they were still in use by old-timers). All seemed to go well enough at first. There were, to be sure, the usual difficulties of a new enterprise, but markets were readily found in New York, Albany, and on the Great Lakes. With the advent of the War of 1812 and its government contracts, the business prospered. In these early years McIntyre referred to the Works fondly as “my New Jerusalem,” after the nickname of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Puritans having compared their flight to America with the Jews’ escape to Egypt. McIntyre was not often at Elba. The affairs of the Comptroller’s Office were demanding, and on-the-spot management was left largely to his brother-in-law Malcolm McMartin, his brother James, his son Jamie, and his nephew Dyer Thompson, all of whom made Elba their home. Many letters of an affectionate and homely nature passed between these family members during the years of the Elba Iron Works. From Malcolm to Archibald: Jean requests me to inform you that she has filled one firkin of butter for you and now filling another as fast as she can, which two firkins will be as much as she can possibly PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 29
  • 43. spare. They will contain about 60 lbs. each which I will send or bring to you as early in the winter as possible. I have had the pleasure of exchanging a few shots with the British forces at Plattsburgh in the late contest there. Esq. Wilson our neighbor unfortunately got shot through the body of which wound he died at 2 o’clock next morning. Major Pangborn was slitely wounded in the leg who is likewise in our company. No other man belonging in this town was hurt. The particulars of that affair you no doubt had long ago. And again: Jean wishes you to send her 3# Hyson Tea if you can conveniently. The overplus after pay for said tea and freightage you will please pay on my land. The bearer will hand you or your wife a few balls of homespun woolen yarn to make stockins [sic] for your children from your sister Jean as a token of love and friendship to you & family. And from Archibald to brother James at Elba: Now that I have got the folks to bed, let me spend an hour with you. I was so employed all day that I could not devote a moment to you, nor yet in the evening, until now at 11 at night. Your two kind letters, of the 6th instant, were handed to me this morning by Mr. Beach. I hope the Hammer will prove better than what you suspect. Mr. Ely will find you a bill of it and of the Ledger the next opportunity that offers. The Hammer is not yet paid and he has no bill of it, and could not find time today to go for it. I will, if possible, be with you in May. Remember me most affectionately to your wife and my friend Donald. Remember me also to Jean, to Malcolm, & to Mr. Thompson. I hope Anny has done well enough notwithstanding her father’s rage. As time progressed, there was increasing cause for alarm. The deeper the ore was mined at Ray Brook and Cascade Lakes, the more highly charged it was with iron disulfide, or pyrite. In short, there was gold aplenty in those hills of ore, but it was fool’s gold and a nuisance. The cost of refining spiraled, but McIntyre was far from ready to throw in the sponge. A solution had to be found, and quickly. It was determined that the Elba mines would be abandoned and high-grade ore purchased from the great Arnold bed near Clintonville, some miles to the northeast. One drawback to such a solution was transportation. To be sure, there was a road from Elba to Clintonville, but long and roundabout — Elba to Keene, to Upper Jay and Jay, to Au Sable Forks, to Clintonville. A more direct route was mandatory. Within a year the Elba Company had built a road over the Sentinel Range to Wilmington, at no small expense. Apparently it was financed from the proceeds of two two-year mortgages from Elba to the state of New York given in April 1814, each in the sum of $1,000. The moneys were spun off from the School Fund. Here it should be stated that no political hanky-panky was involved. It was common state practice at the time to loan funds for the development of land and resources. As a matter of fact, the state had, in 1808, set aside vast unsold forest lands in Essex County to encourage exploration for and manufacture of iron. The new road to Wilmington, long since obliterated, is shown in detail on a map of the Jay and Whiteface Mountain tracts made by John Richards in 1815. It did not follow in any part the present Wilmington Road. From a bridge over the Chubb at the dam site, the road 30 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 44. led up through the Gordon Pratt (Benham) property to the present Wilmington Road,22 over the Lake Placid Club golf links and through the woods to the Au Sable, crossing the river just below the new bridge at the intersection of River and Wilmington roads. Arrowing up into the mountains along the trail opposite the Conservation monument[s],23 it circled in back of Owens, Copperas and Winch ponds, dipping back down to the river at the state camp site. It crossed the Au Sable at the site of the new bridge, just above the Wilmington Flume, and mounted the bank on the west side. Traces of the old road still remain along the heights to Wilmington, west of the present road. This track was to be the main route to Wilmington until Robert Scott, William Nye and Peter Comstock built the Notch Road along the river in 1854. (It is interesting to note on the Richards 1815 map that all present roads from Wilmington to Jay and Upper Jay, as well as side roads, were even then in existence.) The ore could be drawn only in the winter, by sled, for the mucky forest soil of summer spelled disaster for heavily laden wagons. “I regret the weather did not permit your getting more Ore home,” wrote Archibald to brother James in Elba in March 1815, “but hope that even yet you may get some addition to your 260 tons. I observe the weather is getting cold within a few hours past.” Transportation costs proved horrendous, and there were other troubles as well, small and large. Eleazer Darrow, agent for the Works, quit in a dispute over salary and was lured back only with a promise of $450 a year. Mr. McLean, of Troy, a machine maker hired for vital work at the forge, had hocked his tools to secure the payment of a debt, and could not proceed to Elba until McIntyre had bailed him out. A more serious matter was the stiff competition offered by top-grade foreign [iron] imports, and McIntyre mentioned in his letter of March 1815, “I have heard that Malcolm sold the Iron he took to Sackets Harbor on a credit, payable next fall, but at what rate he sold, I have not heard. That sent here I fear we shall have to sell low enough, except that contracted for by T. McCann & Co. and James Rogers, which was sold for $8.50. It arrived too late in the season to answer well, even if the war had continued. I fear we may have to sell here as low as you sold at the works.” A year later the situation had worsened, and we find McIntyre writing to brother James at Elba on September 16, 1816, “I have just received a letter from John McIntyre in which he informs me that the Engineer will not purchase any of our iron, or contract for any iron or nails or spikes — and what is still worse he says that the iron we have there does not sell and that he thinks that plan will be a bad market for it. He says the size of the barrs is against it, and that some small barrs would sell. This is most discouraging news. I really thought there could be no doubt but the Iron at Niagara would have been all sold before now, and that we would soon realize the money for it. He writes that Sweden iron sells for [$8.50] per C and that he offered ours for $8 but could not succeed — but he states also, what surprises me, that cut nails of almost all sizes sell for 25¢ per pound. That would, therefore, I should think be a good market for your nails, if not for your Iron. I presume the places must be glutted with Iron from Canada.” 22 This segment still exists. It winds around the east side of Power Pond, then angles up toward the Wilmington Road. Today, it is called Alpine Lane. 23 This version was written prior to 1985, when a second monument was added to the site. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 31
  • 45. McIntyre and his associates were pouring sand into a sieve. The Works were operating one jump ahead of the sheriff, until the sheriff actually did arrive at Elba one fine day with the intent to foreclose on a lien. The mortgages to the state were in default, and a number of other loans were outstanding, including one to Peter Smith, who had recently invested in Elba real estate. McIntyre complained to brother James in a letter of September 28, 1816, What scenes of trouble and vexation and distress are you not subjected to with that unfortunate business in which we are so deeply involved. I wish to Heaven we were all out of it some way or other that should not be absolutely ruinous. I have this very day received a letter from Smith in answer to one which I wrote to him about our Note to him. He consents to wait until his next payment becomes due in December on his lands purchased in Township No. 12. But how we are to pay him then or to pay any other of our debts I cannot conceive, unless the Legislature aid us. By your account nothing is to be calculated upon from sales of iron. You must not fail in coming down with Mr. Sanford [Reuben Sanford, member of the Legislature, from Wilmington], when the Legislature meets the first of November, to see what can be done. If they will attend to our Petition then, they will be more apt to grant us relief than in the Winter, when hundreds more will be pressing them for aid. If we do not get aid then I am afraid we shall be prosecuted. With all your troubles, incessant labors, fatigues, perplexities, and vexations, do not my dear Brother neglect the one thing needful. Search the Scriptures daily for his treasure and be earnestly importunate at the throne of Grace. In that there will be comfort when all the comforts fail. Remember me in your Prayers as I do you daily. Despite his earnest prayers, no relief came, and the stubborn Scot was at last obliged to acknowledge defeat. The business was terminated by the Elba Company in 1817. The Works buildings, however, were not completely shut down. Former agent Eleazer Darrow remained in residence for another 10 years, operating the forge and mills for his own personal use. The Elba Company was out of business, but its debts remained to plague the investors for many years. On May 12, 1820, McIntyre wrote brother James at Broadalbin, “Our horrid Elba business keeps me in constant torment. July will soon be upon us, and I do not believe that Donors will do a single thing for us, unless some of us go up. If you can, it will be best, but if you cannot, I must go myself — in which event I shall want you to lend me a horse.” On December 18, 1823, the Elba Company at last discharged its major debts to the state and others by a loan of $4,000 from the Farmers Fire Insurance & Loan Company of New York City. The loan was secured by a new mortgage, after Major Isaac Finch had come up from Jay and appraised the land and buildings at some $12,000. This final debt was at last satisfied in March of 1833. AFTERMATH There are several interesting footnotes to the Elba Iron Works story. Far from being put down by that abortive enterprise, McIntyre had only banked the fires of his dream. In the 1820s his scouting parties were still beating the Adirondack bush for iron ore, using the old Works buildings as headquarters. They examined a new vein near Elba discovered by an Indian, only to find the ore of poor quality. On October 2, 1822, we find McIntyre writing brother-in-law Duncan McMartin Jr., a land surveyor who often 32 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 46. worked in the Adirondacks, “You do not say whether you propose to visit the woods this year. If you go, you will have a cold, uncomfortable time of it, I fear. Do you find no Iron Ore or other mineral in your long journeys through those northern woods? If you find anything new, do take specimens home and note the location.” Now a new element sparked McIntyre’s dream: silver. Prior to 1825 there lived at neighboring Keene Flats24 a pioneer farmer named William Scott. Hunting moose in the High Peaks region of Elba, Scott became lost for a while in the intricate mazes of the forest. He wandered a day or two, bewildered and uncertain of his bearings. Then, from a large ledge sheltering his evening camp, the glitter of a rich metal, brought to life by the leaping fire, danced on his rapt eye. Breaking off some of the mass, he carried specimens home in his pockets. Historians record that spoons of purest silver were fabricated from William Scott’s ore. At any rate, it was not long before he set out for a return visit to his El Dorado. Never again, of course, was he able to find it, though certain it lay somewhere in the foothills of Nye Mountain. William died in 1825, but not before he had imparted his secret to McIntyre or one of his men. The hunt was on. Early in October 1826, a rather motley crew of McIntyre associates arrived at Elba from Albany. Their mission: find the “lost” silver mine discovered by William Scott. Much in the limelight were a garrulous and jittery Negro manservant, Enoch, and a dog of unknown ancestry answering to the name of Wallace. The balance of the party consisted of McIntyre’s son John, his nephew Dyer Thompson, his two brothers-in-law Duncan and Malcolm McMartin, and his future son-in-law David Henderson. Henderson was in the pottery business and had introduced to America the British method of making earthenware from molds instead of on the potter’s wheel.25 The full details of their ensuing adventure can be found in a remarkable letter written in Elba by that bright young Scot, David Henderson, and sent to McIntyre in New York. Witty, poetic, offering rare glimpses of life at Elba, vividly descriptive of the largely unexplored Great North Woods, Henderson’s letter should be read in its entirety. First published in excerpt form in Wallace’s 1894 “Descriptive Guide to the Adirondacks,”26 it is quoted in full in Masten’s 1923 “Story of Adirondac.”27 It is one of the most valuable documents of early Adirondack history, and contains what may well be the first descriptions of camping out and the first “deer story” ever to come out of these mountains. The men put up at the half-abandoned Works, then occupied by Eleazer Darrow. Here at Elba they joined a community deer hunt — several deer were seen, none killed — and attended Sunday services at Iddo Osgood’s. Next day as they were making preparations to enter the woods, a strapping young Abenaki Indian, Lewis Elijah Benedict, appeared at Darrow’s gate, the first red man seen in the settlement for three years. Opening his blanket, he took out a small piece of iron ore about the size of a nut, and with the famous words recalled by Henderson, “You want see 24 Today known as Keene Valley. 25 Note from M.M.: Henderson, on the way to Elba, purchased a Vermont lottery ticket from Postmaster Graves at Keene. On the return trip from Elba, he again stopped in to chat with Graves, who tried to wheedle the ticket back. His suspicions aroused, Henderson refused to relinquish it, and shortly learned at Whitehall that it had won him a $500 prize. 26 TDV 1-9. 27 ADV 51-55. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 33
  • 47. ’em ore — me know ’em bed, all same,” offered to conduct them to a vein he had discovered beyond Indian Pass while trapping beaver the previous spring. Hesitant, skeptical, they nonetheless hired him as guide (for a dollar and a half and a plug of tobacco) and set off to the south down Old Military Road. Making their way to the Au Sable through a clearing, they wandered up its banks to a mile above the bow of it. Darkness came, and they encamped for the night. Dyer cut an ancient birch for back-and- fore logs; the middle firewood was procured from a huge pine splintered by lightning. “Who could on that night boast of so sublime a fire?” Henderson wrote. “It was indeed a tremendous one, throwing a broad glare of light into the dark bosom of the wood — the very owls screech’d as if in wonder what it meant.” The next three days were spent in fruitlessly combing the Elba woods and cobbles for William Scott’s silver, running lines, and examining every ledge from the Au Sable to the top of the largest burnt cobble. They then proceeded on their forest journey, passed between the giant walls of Indian Pass and, to their astonishment, came upon the remarkable iron ore deposits near the lake they named Henderson, the eventual site of McIntyre’s second ill-fated venture, Adirondack Iron Mines. It was not learned for many years that the fabulous vein was “contaminated” by an unpopular element, titanium. Titanium, geologist Ebenezer Emmons declared in 1842, was useful only for whitening false teeth! Today, of course, the resurrected mines, owned by National Lead Company, are a major world source of titanium, that modern wonder-metal.28 An adventurous return through the Pass in the teeth of a wild northern storm, dining on partridge and pigeon, drinking raw rum to keep warm, and the men were back at Elba after eight days in the woods. Enoch, temperamentally ill-suited to the wilds and always a bundle of nerves, was in a state of virtual mental and physical collapse, but the canine Wallace was in rare spirits, having distinguished himself as a partridge dog. Next day the settlement staged a second deer hunt. “I was on the opposite bank of the River from the deer,” Henderson wrote. “He came running toward me — I waited, expecting him to come into the river — but on his reaching the bank, he discovered me & turned. When I fired — the ball broke his hind leg — he bleated piteously — gave a spring — and fell into the River head first. Thompson endeavored to get at him, but he turned about and got to the opposite side of the River out of his reach — poor creature! He hirpled up the hill towards the wood — his leg trailing behind him by the skin — and he looked behind him, lay down twice or thrice, before he made the woods — the dogs followed him in — brought him out again — the poor mangled animal lacerated behind by the ravenous dogs — caught at last — throat cut! Confound the sport say I if it is to be managed in this way.” Next morning they were off again for the Elba woods, and for several days continued their futile search for silver. But now, no longer able to contain the excitement of their stupendous iron ore discovery, they left Elba posthaste for Albany to buy up the land from the state. To safeguard their secret, they took the Indian with them. The full story of the rise, the fame, and then the failure of McIntyre’s great Adirondack Iron Mines has been told in many an excellent history and will not be repeated here. David Henderson, our articulate and talented penman, died tragically near Lake Colden in 1845, 28 In 1989, National Lead closed its titanium mine. 34 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 48. having shot himself by accident while hunting. At tiny, remote Calamity Pond, where he died, the occasional hiker is startled to find a beautifully carved stone monument in the heart of the wilderness, hauled up there in his memory at the direction of his children. As the years passed, McIntyre did not completely forget Elba, despite his deep involvement in the new venture. In June 1832 he instructed Duncan McMartin, then at the Adirondack Iron Mines, to salvage some of the equipment at Elba, and McMartin duly reported in a letter to his wife, West Moriah, June 28th, 1832 Came to Moriah 4 Corners on Sabbath where I heard three discourses by 3 different Presbyterian & Congregational Preachers. … On Monday after having engaged castings and other irons made for a Sawmill I left there for Pleasant Valley [Elizabethtown] & got at 10 p.m. to Graves in Keene where the next day on Tuesday I contracted for bringing 2 or 3 loads of the irons from the Elba Works to this place, engaged a couple of common laborers & returned at 9 P.M. to Pleasant Valley. In October 1833, McIntyre himself paid a visit to Elba and the old ore beds at Cascade Lakes (then called Square Pond and Long Pond), accompanied by several associates and guides Holt, Carson and Scott, three able woodsmen of Keene. The journey seems to have been a sentimental one, with no particular purpose in mind. Leaving the settlement called McIntyre at the Adirondack Mines on October 21, 1833, they traversed Indian Pass and camped a mile north of the notch. On the 22nd they arrived in Elba and put up at Iddo Osgood’s inn. On the 23rd they proceeded on the Old Military Road to Round Pond, near the present North Country School, and obtaining a boat there, portaged two miles to Cascade Lakes. Evidence of the tremendous landslide of 1830 was still fresh, and McIntyre’s description is well worth quoting: Wednesday the 23d Proceeded to the Long Pond ore bed. Our hands carried from the Round Pond, so called, a boat to the Square Pond, so called, about 2 miles. Arrived at the Square Pond at 3 p.m. Concluded to encamp at the west end of this Pond — Carson remained and prepared the Camp whilst we crossed the Pond in our Boat to the slide and ore bed. There are several slides from the mountains on either side of this Pond, but that on the south at the foot of the Pond, which passes over the Elba ore bed is the largest and is very remarkable from its having passed over a great ledge of Primitive Limestone bringing with it an infinite variety of Limestone, and various other Minerals connected with it. Thursday the 24 Visited again the slide and collected a large number of specimens of the rocks and minerals. Within three or four rods above the old Elba Iron ore bed the slide exhibited three other veins of Iron Ore, one 4+ feet, another two and another one foot wide, having rock of about one foot between. Took specimens of the ore from each vein. Friday the 25 Returned to Osgoods. Left at Ester’s large duplicates of our collection of minerals, with directions to box them & forward them to Mr. Myers at White Hall. Paid him $2 for the service. Hire Scott left us & returned home. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 35
  • 49. Saturday the 26 Left Mr. Osgoods for McIntyre at 8 a.m. In passing on Osgood’s line for home over the second brook from the Packard place [Packard was in possession of Great Lots 73 and 80, Township 12], we picked up from the stream two pieces of rock supposed to contain some metal, which we propose to have examined on getting home. This stream is in the region where Mr. Scott (now dead) found the ore which produced silver, and ought to be followed up & thoroughly examined. Put up at night at the camp which we occupied on our way out on Monday. Sunday the 27 Arrived at McIntyre the 1/2 past 1 p.m. There are two matters of interest in this account. First, McIntyre refutes once and for all the erroneous statement, found in early Adirondack travel books, that the two Cascade Lakes were created by an 1860 avalanche, having once been one body of water known as Long Pond. McIntyre clearly describes the two lakes as existing in 1833. Moreover, the 1812 patent from the state of New York to the Elba Iron and Steel Company for the Cascade Lakes ore bed also describes the two lakes precisely as they appear today: “Beginning at a rock about four feet high above ground and nine links wide on the top and a heap of stones placed thereon, this rock stands partly in the water on the north side of the brook, just where the water empties out of the pond lying a very small distance westerly from another pond commonly called the Long Pond, the said brook runs easterly from the said rock across a narrow neck of land into the Long Pond.” So much for the legend of two lakes created from one. Such a cataclysm may have occurred back in the mists of antiquity, but certainly not as late as the 19th century. Secondly, it will be noted that McIntyre’s interest in silver had not been completely eclipsed by his brave new enterprise on the other side of Indian Pass. We also find him writing in his journal while at the Adirondack Mines: Sunday Morning Nov. 11 Did John Steele Jr. find the piece of Quartz containing native silver at the place which he showed to us in the swamp below Lake Sanford, east of the river? I can scarcely believe it. Why? Because it was with manifest reluctance he wd. speak on the subject when we first came to the ore bed. Because the place he showed us had to my view, the appearance of never having been touched by hands before we began to dig of earth. Because he told Mr. McMartin last summer (when he (McM.) accidentally discovered his having the ore) that if it was silver, the mine could readily be found — when the truth is, if he has no other indication of the mine than what he now professes of finding a solitary piece of ore below the root of a fallen tree in an exclusive swamp, there is not the slightest probability of his ever finding the mine. Because also the man’s whole conduct is misterious, cold and selfish. It is possible that I do the man injustice — time will show whether I do or not. I am inclined to the belief that he found the ore in some very different situation, and that he has probably found the very Vein — that he will endeavor to purchase the land and appropriate all to himself and his family. Will his father sanction such conduct towards his friends & his son’s friends employees? I hardly think he will, and yet he may. If William Scott’s silver has ever been rediscovered in the hills of North Elba, there has been no one willing to come forth and admit it. The treasure hunt has gone on for 150 years, and may well continue for another century or so. 36 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 50. There is no indication, either, that McIntyre ever again revisited the scenes of his early misfortunes following the Cascade Lakes expedition. Though in close touch with the Adirondack Mines, he was never in active management and seldom visited there. Business interests kept him in Philadelphia and New York City for some years. The last of his life was spent in Albany. His death in May 1858 at the age of 86 at last snuffed out the dream that had brought him little but financial loss and disappointment. It is evident he was mentally as well as physically diminished at the end, for his will, dated April 7, 1857, was disallowed by the Court. Archibald McIntyre, said the Surrogate, was not competent to execute a will or devise real estate. The Adirondack Iron & Steel Company drew its last gasp along with Archibald McIntyre. For the Elba Iron Works, the course had been downhill to the boneyard many years before. The buildings gradually fell into decay or were dismantled, and by 1850 little evidence of Lake Placid’s first industry remained but the pond, a decaying dam, fragments of broken wheels and shafts, and a heap of slag. Legend has it that up until World War I, one Lake Placid citizen jealously guarded a bar of iron forged at the old Works. In a fit of patriotism it was donated to a war scrap drive. Thus, 100 years after its demise, the Elba Iron Works — having supplied a goodly share of iron to the government in the War of 1812 — made a contribution to yet another war. In 1924, by proclamation of the governor, the Elba Iron & Steel Company was dissolved for lack of any corporate action in over a century. PART ONE: KEY SUMMARIES 37
  • 51. Part Two: ‘The Story of Adirondac,’ by Arthur H. Masten (1923)
  • 52. “The New Blast Furnace,” from a watercolor drawing by Robert H. Robertson
  • 53. Introductory The tract owned by the MacIntyre Iron Company in Essex County, originally more than 100,000 acres in extent, has long been especially attractive to lovers of the Adirondack region. This is not alone because of the grandeur and beauty of its scenery, for the surrounding country, particularly in the neighborhood of St. Hubert’s, presents many similar features. The MacIntyre tract has always had a peculiar charm, due in part to its seclusion and remoteness, but largely to the strong appeal its history makes to the imagination. Even a casual visitor can hardly fail to be impressed by the history of the “Deserted Village” and its bygone activities as suggested by the ruins of the old furnace and other structures representing years of fruitless endeavor, or by the monument commemorating the tragic death of Mr. Henderson. There have come into my possession from time to time, various papers relative to the early history of the Iron Works, including a considerable part of the correspondence passing between the founders during a period of some twenty years following the discovery of the ore bed in 1826. This correspondence gives a graphic picture of the labors of the brave men who sought to establish a great commercial enterprise in this remote wilderness. It contains also many interesting descriptions of the region, for which these pioneers seem always to have felt a deep attachment notwithstanding their trials and disappointments. The literary merit of some of these letters makes them worthy of preservation. I have long had in mind the printing of an historical sketch of the property, based chiefly on selections and extracts from this correspondence and the writings of early visitors. The recent disruption of this vast estate, after being held practically in the same ownership for nearly a century, seems an appropriate time for carrying this intention into effect.29 Many of those to whom such a compilation would have been of especial interest have passed away in recent years, but there are still some friends who may care to read it. This sketch was substantially completed three years ago, but was not put to press owing to the demands of more urgent matters. Meanwhile there has been published Mr. Donaldson’s admirable “History of the Adirondacks,” which renders superfluous some of the following pages, but I have not thought it worth while to eliminate them. In collecting materials I have been much indebted to the late Robert H. Robertson, a nephew of David Henderson; to Messrs. Andrew Thompson and Howard McIntyre, great- grandsons of Archibald McIntyre; to the family of the late Mrs. James McGregor, a daughter of Judge McMartin, for letters written by the three original proprietors, with numerous other documents, and to Miss Margaret Elliot, a granddaughter of Mr. Henderson, for the use of various family portraits and a pen and ink drawing made by Mr. Henderson. To Miss Marie Russell, especially, also to Mrs. John T. Terry Jr., and Christopher R. Corning, Esq., my grateful acknowledgments are due for photographs. I am likewise under obligations to Fisher Howe, Esq., Mr. and Mrs. David Hunter and Mrs. S.E. Stimson for various courtesies. ARTHUR H. MASTEN New York, August 1923 29 LM: See ADV 150-151. 43
  • 54. 1. The wilderness Until shortly before the Revolutionary War, the broad area lying between Lake Champlain on the east and the River St. Lawrence on the west was an unknown wilderness, visited only by the Indians. On early maps it was called the “Beaver Hunting Place,”30 or was represented by a blank space, on the eastern portion of which was vaguely indicated the upper Hudson River. Governor Pownall’s map of the “Grand Pass from New York to Montreal” (about 1756) shows the source of the river in a small lake, opposite to which is the notation “Scaniadereouana — the Head Lake of Hudson River, so called by the Indians.” The land lying to the west of Lake Champlain is described as “hilly land not fit for culture,” and a further note states, “These parts but little frequented by Indians or White People.” The military atlas used by British officers in the Revolutionary War (London, 1776) notes that: “This vast Tract of Land, which is the antient Conchsachrage, one of the Four Beaver Hunting Countries of the Six Nations, is not yet surveyed.” About the middle of the 18th century vast tracts of land were acquired by Sir William Johnson in and near the Mohawk Valley. Others desirous of becoming landed proprietors or making money in land speculation, devoted their attention to the territory adjoining the upper Hudson and the Lake Champlain region. Direct purchases from the Indians were forbidden because of abuses that had arisen, and a rule was accordingly established requiring the title to be first taken by the Crown. The purchase price was paid to the Indians by the would-be owner, and for a nominal consideration the Crown then made a grant to him of the land desired. The McIntyre property formed part of a large tract lying in the Counties of Essex, Warren, Hamilton and Herkimer, known as the Totten & Crossfield purchase. This was a misnomer in fact, for neither Joseph Totten nor Stephen Crossfield, who were ship carpenters of the City of New York, was the real party in interest; nor was the purchase, so far as they were personally concerned, ever consummated. In April 1771, they petitioned the Earl of Dunmore, then Governor of the Province of New York, asking his license to purchase in the name of the King from the Indians, proprietors thereof, certain land “on Sagondago or the west branch of Hudson’s River ... in order that your petitioners and their associates may be enabled to apply for and obtain his Majesty’s Letters Patent for the same or such parts thereof as upon an accurate survey may be found fit for cultivation.” The description of the land was most vague in its terms, consisting chiefly of reference to adjoining lands petitioned for by other purchasers; nor was its boundary rendered entirely certain by the “accurate survey” afterwards made. In July 1772, William Tryon, who had succeeded the Earl of Dunmore as Governor- General of the Province, made a visit to Sir William Johnson at Johnstown. His ostensible object, says Stone,31 was to hold a council with the Mohawks of the Lower Castle in relation to their land grievances; his real one, however, was to acquire a knowledge of the upper part of the Province by visiting the Indian country and to effect some land purchases for private speculation. The Totten & Crossfield petition was acted upon by Governor Tryon on this occasion, and, incidentally, he secured for himself before returning to New 30 DeChastellux, “Travels in North America,” vol. I, p. 390. 31 W.L. Stone, “Life and Times of Sir William Johnson, Bart.” vol. II, p. 352. 44
  • 55. York, a large tract of land north of the Mohawk. A deed to the Crown was executed by Hendrick and three others, “native Indians of the Mohock Castle,” covering the tract described in the petition, which was stated to contain by estimation 800,000 acres located in the Counties of Tryon and Albany. This transaction was closed at Johnson Hall in Johnstown, Sir William Johnson’s son-in-law, John Butler, acting as interpreter. The petitioners were represented by Ebenezer Jessup, who was one of the persons chiefly interested in the purchase. He and his brother Edward, who are described as “sharp, enterprising and apparently unscrupulous business men,” were already large land-owners and men of extensive affairs. They lived for many years on the upper Hudson, the former near Jessup’s Falls (now called Palmer Falls) near Corinth in Saratoga County, and the latter near Luzerne in Warren County.32 Before going to Johnstown, Jessup had agreed with his associates that each should advance the purchase money for his property at the rate of £4 for each 1,000 acres. It was further agreed that as soon as the season would permit, an exploration and survey of the tracts should be made by Archibald Campbell, of Albany, and that no money was to be paid until he had reported by letter that the land was sufficient for at least twenty townships of 24,000 acres each, of good and profitable land fit for cultivation. This agreement was dated March 27, 1772, and the Johnstown transaction took place on July 29th. Some time during this interval Campbell made his exploration and survey, but toward the end of his task grew weary and went home, leaving it uncompleted. The north line of the purchase, as indicated by the petition, was a straight line running east and west and passing through a point ten miles north of Crown Point. As a matter of fact, this line was not run through, as appears from the following memorandum appended to the notes of the survey: The within work was done by me the subscriber in the presents of Sum of the Indian who was Deputed by the Original Proprietors to Goe and attend the within said Survey namely: Brant Isaac Nicholas Lawrence Powlas Jacob Peter Thomas From the end of the Aforesaid Line I Showed the Indians the Courses of the Line to 33 the East of a high hill which gave a full view to the East, and they all Agreed and was fully Satisfyed with the Course to be Continued & So Chose to Return home without Going any further along said Line. ’ ARCH D. CAMPBELL. This was an inauspicious beginning for the title. From that day to this the boundary lines of parts of the tract have been so uncertain as to result in continued litigation. The confusion was made worse when the proprietors undertook to subdivide the property into lots, and this notwithstanding the pious efforts of Ebenezer Jessup, who prefaced the field notes of one of his surveys as follows: In order to avoid Disputes hereafter, that May Arise, either by the Artfull Ways, of Designing Men, that would alter the Bounds of the Lands as they are Surveyed, to other 32 Holden, “History of Queensbury, N.Y.,” pp. 430-431. 33 Said to have been what is now called “Coney Mountain,” in Litchfield Park, Franklin County. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 45
  • 56. Places, indeavoring to put the whole in Confusion By some means, to serve themselves. Or by the Surveyors not Being Carefull, to do their work Perfect, in every Respect, And by that means some Advantage May be had in Law Against the Proprietors, which is Seldom Neglected where there Is opportunity, in these times, and not expecting them to be any Better Hereafter — I thought best to fix the Place of ye Beginning of the Survey at a natural Boundary, that Could not be altered, that the Lands Surveyed, that are Recorded In this Book, May Remain indisputable while Rivers Run. I therefore began on the East Branch of Hudson’s River on the tract of Land of about Four thousand Acres granted to Myself and others now called Jessup Lower Patent opposite to the Mouth of the West Branch of Hudson’s River called by some Sackendaga Branch. The question of the boundaries of the property, however, was not one in which Mr. Jessup was destined long to be actively interested. The Revolutionary War came on soon afterward, and with it many existing property rights were swept away. The Jessups espoused the cause of the King, and raised a battalion of loyalist troops, which joined Burgoyne’s forces and fought with him in the battles of Saratoga. After his defeat, both brothers escaped to Canada, and apparently never returned. The title to a considerable portion of the Totten & Crossfield tract, which had been in the Crown, became vested in the People of the State of New York, and there it remained for many years, notwithstanding continued efforts on the part of various claimants under the original purchase. In 1785 a petition was presented in the name of Crossfield and two associates to the Commissioners of the Land Office of the State of New York, setting forth that the tract had been surveyed into townships of 24,000 acres each, lots for which were cast by some of the associates, who thereupon became entitled to grants for the townships respectively drawn by them. It was recited: That by reason of some Order of the said King in Council or for some other Cause the issuing of the several Grants to your Memorialists and the other Associates aforesaid was delayed and by the Intervention of the late War wholly prevented. In November of the same year, the Commissioners of the Land Office filed their decision to the effect that Jacob Watson, a merchant of the City of New York, had an equitable title to various townships, among them Township 47, which had been conveyed to him by Ebenezer Jessup in 1776. After many delays, he secured in 1792 a return of survey of this Township. On it the Adirondack Iron Works were afterwards established, a large part of the iron ore deposits being also located in the same township. A little village grew up called originally “McIntyre,” then “Adirondac” or “Adirondack,” located between Lakes Henderson and Sanford. For many years it has been known as “Upper Works.” Ten miles below it on the Hudson River is “Lower Works,” now known as “Tahawus Post Office,” where in old days was located the dam by which the waters of the Sanford valley were raised so as to permit water transportation to “Upper Works.” 46 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 57. Archibald McIntyre From a portrait owned by Miss Margaret H. Elliot 47
  • 58. Duncan McMartin Jr. From a portrait owned by his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Arthur H. Masten 48
  • 59. 2. Discovery of the ore beds The pioneers in the Iron Works enterprise were Archibald McIntyre, long a resident of New York, but in his later years, of Albany, and his brother-in-law, Duncan McMartin Jr., of Broadalbin, Montgomery County.34 Both were Scotch, strict Presbyterians, and staunch Clintonian Democrats. Each was a man of standing in his community and was more or less in public life. Mr. McIntyre was first elected to the Assembly from Montgomery County in 1798 at the age of twenty-six, and was several times re-elected. In 1806 he became state comptroller, and continued to hold that office until 1821 — a term of service longer than that of any other man who has ever held the office.35 He was then removed as a result of a long and bitter controversy with Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, afterwards vice president, growing out of the latter’s accounts when acting as the fiscal agent of the state and national governments during the War of 1812. The comptroller declined to audit these accounts because they were insufficiently supported by vouchers. One of his successors in office, Comptroller [James A.] Roberts, writing in 1897,36 said: Correspondence relating to the matter, and marked by great bitterness of tone, took place between these eminent officials; and in this the Comptroller showed not only a familiarity with accounts, but a facility with the pen, which was a surprise to those who had not known him intimately. This matter occupied much of the attention of the Legislature for two years, and gave rise to protracted and animated debates, and there is no doubt that it entered largely into the defeat of Governor Tompkins by Clinton in 1820. The controversy was finally settled under an act of the Legislature of 1820, which directed the Comptroller to balance the accounts upon the filing of a release from Governor Tompkins of all his claims against the State. It had required no small amount of courage for Comptroller McIntyre to engage in a trial of strength with this idol of the State. Daniel D. Tompkins was four times elected Governor of the State, and twice elected Vice- President. ... At no time in the history of the State has the Comptroller’s office been more ably filled, and occupied a more prominent position than during the administration of Archibald McIntyre. He had the unbounded confidence of all, and although there were several Councils of Appointment during his term of service which were hostile to him, no one seems to have thought of removing him. He was regarded as a public servant whose services could not well be spared to the State. He was held in a measure responsible for the defeat of Governor Tompkins, and, although Clinton was elected, the Legislature and the Council of Appointment were decidedly hostile both to Clinton and to him, and on February 12, 1821, Mr. McIntyre was removed, and John Savage appointed in his place. His removal would have created far greater dissatisfaction than it did, although the dissatisfaction was considerable, had not his successor been a man of concededly great ability. Mr. McIntyre was, the year of his removal, nominated as the Clintonian candidate for Senator from the middle district, and, although strenuous efforts were made to defeat him, he was elected by a substantial majority. 34 Their descendants have for many years spelled the Mac without abbreviation. 35 LM: At this writing, only Arthur Levitt Sr. has bested McIntyre’s record in the comptroller’s office since Masten wrote his account in 1923. Levitt served from 1955 through 1978. 36 Roberts, “A Century in the Comptroller’s Office.” 49
  • 60. In 1822 he was appointed one of the agents for the state lotteries and made this his active business for several years. Enterprises of this character, most abhorrent to the high moral standards of an age which forbids betting on a horse-race and places the Volstead Act on its statute books, were then regarded with favor. The proceeds of lotteries were used for the support of free schools, the opening of new roads, and other worthy objects. Union College to this day draws some of her revenues from investments derived from such sources, and her president, the Reverend Dr. Eliphalet Nott, was largely instrumental in procuring the establishment of the lottery as a state institution. Mr. McMartin, or Judge McMartin as he was usually called from having served as a judge of the old Court of Common Pleas, was not as widely known throughout the state as Mr. McIntyre, although having a considerable record of public service. He was elected to the Assembly in 1819, and was in the Senate for most of the time between 1820 and 1830. In 1832 he was presidential elector from his district. He was a man of varied and important interests in his section of the state. Besides a large farm at Broadalbin, he owned lumber and grist mills, and a woolen factory. His house was described by a local chronicler as a “splendid brick mansion,” and was regarded as especially worthy of note because it contained “a dumb-waiter, two parlors, a library and many rooms.” The bricks used in its construction were made on the place, and its timbers were cut from Judge McMartin’s own land. Though not an engineer by profession, he was skilled in construction work, and took contracts for building bridges, canals and roads. He was also a land surveyor, and it was through his work on an Adirondack land survey that his first connection with the McIntyre Iron enterprise began. Mr. McIntyre wrote him October 2, 1822: You do not say whether you propose to visit the woods this year. If you go, you will have a cold, uncomfortable time of it, I fear. Do you find no Iron ore or other Mineral in your long journeys through those northern woods? If you find anything new, do take specimens home and note the location. Little did Mr. McIntyre realize what a vista of fruitless endeavors and disappointed hopes, extending to the close of his long life, was opened by that innocent inquiry. He had already had some experience in iron manufacturing, which, although unfortunate, had not dampened his ardor. In 1809 with Malcolm McMartin (another brother-in-law and a brother of Duncan Jr.), Mr. McIntyre and others became interested in a small furnace at North Elba, on the head-waters of the Ausable River.37 The ore found in that region proved unworkable, and the works were afterwards supplied with ore brought from Clinton County. The enterprise, which was known as the Elba Iron & Steel Manufacturing Company, was at first profitable, but finally the cost of transporting both ore and finished product became too great, and the works were abandoned, just about the time of the discovery of the new ore body hereafter described.38 37 LM: Clarification: McIntyre, McMartin et al. were not merely “interested in a small furnace at North Elba” — they established it themselves. See Mary MacKenzie’s “Prelude” in this volume, ADV 26-37. The lands for the Elba Iron Works, as they came to be known, were acquired in 1811. 38 LM: The Elba Iron Works were abandoned in 1817; the “new ore body hereafter described” was discovered in 1826. 50 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 61. There has been since the earliest days of Adirondack exploration a tradition that silver and other precious metals were found in the mountains by the Indians. Statements to that effect are attributed to an old Indian named Sabele,39 who at one time lived at Indian Lake. No Indian, however, seems to have been able or willing to show the white men where the veins were located. References to supposed deposits of silver are frequent in the correspondence of the original proprietors of the Iron Works. From time to time in later years paragraphs reporting the discovery of precious metals have appeared in the newspapers. So recently as February 1920, announcement was made in the Lake Placid News that a resident of that locality, with the backing of New York capital, was producing gold, silver and platinum in paying quantities. Mr. McIntyre and his associates at the North Elba Works evidently placed some confidence in stories of this sort, for it was while engaged in a search for silver that they were led to the discovery of the vast deposits of iron ore, near Lakes Henderson and Sanford, which engaged their attention for many years to come. In the fall of 1826 Mr. McMartin and his brother Malcolm, Dyer Thompson, who was a nephew of Mr. McIntyre, and John McIntyre, his son, were exploring the region about North Elba. They were accompanied by David Henderson, a bright young Scotchman, who afterwards became Mr. McIntyre’s son-in-law, and was, throughout his life, his most trusted friend and adviser. He was a man of great talent. Besides being a good musician and an artist of considerable skill, he had the pen of a ready writer, as will be seen from his graphic account of the discovery of the iron ore beds after an adventurous trip through the Indian Pass. In this and the other letters hereinafter quoted, the spelling and punctuation of the originals are reproduced without change. D.H. to A. McI. Elba, Essex Co. — 14th October 1826. My Dear Sir, I wrote you after our arrival here two weeks ago, which I hope you have received. We have now left the woods, and intend returning home, for several reasons. We find it impossible to make a complete search for the silver ore this season. Duncan McMartin’s time will not allow him to remain longer at present — to search all the likely ground, it would take seven men one month longer at least — but the principal cause of our quitting it just so soon, is the discovery of the most extraordinary bed of Iron Ore, for singularity of situation and extent of vein, which perhaps this North American Continent affords. As I have an hour or two to spare, I will give you a little sketch of our proceedings. The next day after we arrived here (Saturday) we went a deer-hunting — all the settlement turned out — several deers were seen — none killed — I had a shot at one — but too far off — On the Sunday we went to Squire Osgood’s meeting. On Monday got all in preparation for the woods pretty early — just before starting, a strapping young Indian of a Canadian tribe, made his appearance at Darrow’s gate, the first which had been seen in the settlement for three years. Enoch, who by the bye we had been plagueing about Indians, and whose fears on that score were considerably excited, happened to be standing at the door at the time, and made a precipitate retreat to the back settlements of the house. “Well now Missa Henderson this too bad — don’t you collect I tells you not to bring me in among Indians — they be a people I wants nothing to do with.” The Indian opened his 39 LM: The father of Lewis Elija, who led the Henderson party to the “Iron Dam” in 1826. (See below.) Henderson says that Lewis’s father’s name was Elija, yet nowhere else is Lewis’s father called anything but Sabele or Sabael. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 51
  • 62. blanket and took out a small piece of Iron Ore about the size of a nut. “You want see ’em ore — me know ’em bed, all same” — Whereabouts did you find it? “Me know — over mountain” — (pointing to the South West.) — Does any other Indian know of it — “No — me hunt ’em beaver, all ’lone last spring — when me find ’em” — Have you shewn it to any white man? “Yes me shewn him ore — no, bed — but no white man go see it” — How far to it? “Me guess, twelve miles over that way” — The people about laughed at the idea, & said altho’ the ore was good — he had chip’d it from a rock, and thought the Indian would lead us a wild goose chase &c. &c. — However we had some further talk with the Indian, and we found that he had been at Graves’ that morning, shewing the ore to him — who sent him after us — Every one he shewed it to, laugh’d at him it appears, and no doubt, as Thompson thinks, Graves sent him to us that we might be led after the Indian on a wild goose chase. This Indian being a very modest, honest looking fellow, we concluded to take him along with us at any rate, and enquired at him how much he would take to remain in the woods with us till Saturday night — “Dollar, half, & ’bacco.” To this moderate demand we assented. So off we went with our packs on our backs — Our company consisted of, Duncan & Malcolm McMartin, Dyer Thompson, our valiant nigger, The Indian, John & myself — By the way the Indian’s name is Lewis, his father’s name Elija — and he calls himself therefore Lewis Elija — something like the Highland way of names, being another strong resemblance to the Highlanders — We (the descendants of Shem, Ham & Japheth) trudged along the road in a peaceable manner; although it was plain to be seen, that the descendant of Ham, eyed the descendant of Shem with suspicion, and kept at a most respectful distance. We went the road way, through a clearing to the River, and wandered up its banks, to a mile above the bow of it — darkness approached, and we encamped for the night — Dyer cut an old birch tree for back and fore logs, which (Mr. McMartin and I ascertained) had stood the blasts of a hundred and fifty winters — the middle firewood we procured from a huge pine which had been riven to splinters by the thunderbolts of heaven! — Who could on that night boast of so sublime a fire? — It was indeed a tremendous one, throwing a broad glare of light into the dark bosom of the wood — the very owls screech’d as if in wonder what it meant — the blue jays I assure you kept up an incessant chatter. Enoch said little, but thought much — always taking care not to be within arm’s length of this Hebrew of the Wilderness — but I find that neither time nor paper will admit of pursuing this train any longer. Tuesday & Wednesday we employed in running lines and searching from near the River to the top of the largest burnt Cobble — examining every ledge as we went along. On Thursday we came across your old camp — We removed ours to within a gunshot of it — finished the Examination of that Cobble by the Evening — no signs of what we wanted. — Had a good deal of conversation with the Indian about his iron ore bed — found him a sagacious yet honest fellow and extremely modest — willing to do anything — Before going any farther, I wish you to understand, that this is not the same Indian which Malcolm McMartin had heard discovered an ore bed near Elba. That was an old Indian — who shew’d his bed to one Brigham — but it is not good — On Friday morning we all started with the Indian for the Ore bed — our course to a notch in the South mountains, where the River Ausable has it’s source. After a fatiguing journey we arrived at the Notch, as wild a place as I ever saw. On one side an immense rock rising perpendicularly from the narrow pass we had to travel through, filled in many places with large masses which had tumbled down from each side of the mountain. On the whole, it was a terrific place to think of travelling through. Our descendant of Ham gaz’d in a fit of astonishment — When he found that we were scrambling on, and must go through what he saw so dreadful before him — Well now dis beat all! For God Almighty’s sake! how can a body ever get over dis? What put it in your compurnihenshun ever to come in sich parts. I never thinks there be such horrificable place in all dis world — We climb on — came to a place where we were all obliged to glide down on the breech with some caution. Enoch was brought to his trumps at this necessity — he liked not the idea of so long a voyage upon his beam ends — and declared to me with a good deal of pettishness — that “dis was a compleat 52 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 63. take in.” A few minutes afterwards, he made good his footing to a tree, but some green moss at its root having covered a deceitful hole, poor Enoch’s leg was destined to fill it up, and down he came, camp-kettle and all — the one leg pointing to the heavens, and the other to the opposite direction, for it was a dreadful chasm below — the hole however fitted the leg pretty well — Well, says I, Enoch, that is a complete take in indeed! — We at length gain’d the summit of the Notch, the very fountain head of the Ausable River, where we found another stream running South, which appears to be the principal source of the Hudson River. We proceeded down the Notch on the other side, and at about halfway down had obliged to camp for the night. Our situation here was grand in the extreme — encamped at the head of the North River in a narrow pass — the moon glimmering by fits through the forest; the huge perpendicular rocks on each side, aspiring to the heavens, were our curtains; the clouds our canopy — the ground our bed — the infant murmurs of the giant River Hudson, the music which lull’d us to sleep — Astir by times next morning — had every appearance of a wet day, and therefore concluded to leave Enoch for the purpose of making the camp as rain prooff as possible for the night. Took a little biscuit in our pocket by way of lunch and left Enoch all alone. The Indian carried us over a hill, and after travelling about four miles came to the same stream on which we encamp’d the previous night, but of course much enlarged. On crossing this, found a great many pieces of pure iron ore laying in the channel — some as large as a pumpkin. We travelled down the stream about half a mile, when to our astonishment we found the bed of ore, (which we had hitherto conceived to be on the side of a mountain) laying on the River — This River runs there nearly North & South, and the vein strikes over it in a North East & South West direction. He took us to a ledge five feet high running into the River, which was nothing but pure ore. The Indian however had no idea of the extent of the vein — We went one hundred yards below the vein, where is a waterfall of ten feet. Mr. Duncan McMartin, his Brother & the Indian, proceeded down to a lake below, (which is about four miles long) to make observations. Mr. Thompson, John & myself returned to the ore bed to make a particular examination & wait there till their return. We found the breadth of the vein to be about fifty feet! — traced it into the woods on both sides of the River. On the one side went eighty feet into the wood, and digging down about a foot of earth, found the pure ore bed there — and let me here remark — this immense mass of ore is unmix’d with anything — in the middle of the River where the water runs over — the channel 40 appears like the bottom of a smoothing iron — on the top of the vein are large junks which at first we thought stone, but lifting one up (as much as Thompson could do) and letting it fall it crumbled into a thousand pieces of pure ore. In short, the thing was past all our conceptions — We traced the vein most distinctly — the sides parallel to one another, and running into the earth on both sides of the stream. We had an opportunity to see the vein nearly five feet from the surface of it on the side of the ledge which falls perpendicular into the watter, and at this depth we made a cavity, of a foot or two, where we found the ore crumble to pieces, which Thompson called shot ore — it was there of an indigo colour — the grain of the ore is large — on the top of the ledge it appears to be a little harder than below, but not so hard but a junk would break easily in throwing it down — Thompson considers it a rich ore, and as we have now ascertained, entirely free from sulphur — Do not conceive it wonderful that this immense vein has never been discovered — it is in an extraordinary place — you might pass the whole and think it rock — it has been a received opinion that there was no ore South of the great ridge of mountains — a white man or even an Indian may not travel in that way for years — but certain it is, that here is the great mother vein of iron, which throws her little veins and sprinklings all over these mountains. Duncan and Malcolm and the Indian returned to us — they paced from the lake, and found it to be nearly a mile and a half from the ore bed. The nearest house, where one Newcomb lives, is from six to eight miles distant. The next is the Pendleton settlement — the stream is excellent for works — and a good chance for 40 LM: Chunks. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 53
  • 64. a road to Newcomb’s where is a regular road — When they returned to us, the rain began to pour in torrents — the day was nearly spent — We removed as much as possible all traces of marks on the ore bed, should it happen that any hunter might pass the spot — We hastened on our journey drench’d to the skin — the Indian our guide. What a wonderful sagacity these unsophisticated children of the forest display in the wilderness — let them see sun — Rivers or distant hills — or failing these the most indistinct 41 previous tracts they are never at a loss — “Here ’em bear to day — Moose here day ’fore yesterday — Wolf here hour ago” — were the frequent ejaculations of our Indian; and I may here observe when we were on the other side of the pass — he turned up three tier of leaves, and said “Brigham and me here tree year ago” — but to go on with my narrative, darkness came upon us, and soon found that we had turned back, for we found ourselves going South with the stream — We made great efforts after this discovery to go for the camp where we had left Enoch with our small stock of provisions which we had brought from our stationary camp but it rain’d so hard that we were weigh’d down with the weight of our clothes, and so dark that we could scarcely see our hand before our face — in short we at last knew not in what direction we were going. The Indian now was of no more use as a guide than any of us — for without sun, headlands or tract what could the poor Hebrew do? We were indeed on the stream on which we had left Enoch, but to travel along the Banks of it in the dark over windfalls and rocks we found impossible — as a last resource we plung’d into the stream with the intention of wading up till we came to Enoch but soon found that also impossible, and if it were possible, dangerous. It was plaguy cold also, for although all of us wet as water could make, we were in a state of perspiration from the exercise — it was therefore imprudent to scramble up the stream in the cold water. Being all wearied and hungry, and Mr. Duncan McMartin very unwell with a dysentery we halted, about Eight o’clock with the intention of waiting till morning — The prospect was very dreary — had nothing since early breakfast but a bite of biscuit, and all we had for supper was one partridge without any accompaniments, among six of us — We had great difficulty in getting fire — everything wet, and the rain pouring down — The Indian at last got some stuff out of the heart of a rotten tree, and with some tow and my gun we at length got a little fire started — But we had no axe, only the hatchet, and it being a place where there was little rotten wood, we could not with all our efforts make anything like a fire. The rain wet faster than the fire dried us, and to make the thing rather more unpleasant to the feelings, it became very cold with a shower of snow. We cook’d our partridge — divided it in six parts — and I believe we eat bones and all. Small as was the portion of each, still it did us much good — it cleared off towards the morning, and you may well conceive we gave daylight a hearty welcome. We found ourselves only one mile from the place where we left Enoch — we hastened to him as fast as stiff legs would carry us, and we found him asleep after a wakeful night of terrification. The storm howled “dreadly” he said all night — and he could not shut his eyes for the fear of bears, panthers, wolves & Indians — and the “horricate” thought of being left all alone in such a night & place. The very first thing we did was to drink up all the rum we had raw about a glass each — and a breakfast we made, finish’d everything but a piece of pork about two inches square. We slept for about two hours — and set out on our journey homewards. This was Sunday morning. We all, Indian not excepted, found ourselves weak from previous exertion and fatigue, and we had a pretty hard struggle to scramble through the notch. Mr. Duncan McMartin’s disorder continued, and we all felt that we could not reach our stationary camp that evening — So we had again the prospect of spending a day & night without provision — but we were very fortunate afterwards, for the Indian shot, with the aid of Wallace three partridges & a pigeon. One of the partridges flew some distance after it received the shot, and we gave it up as lost, but Wallace lingered behind us, and in a short time brought it to us in his mouth. In the evening got within about three miles of our stationary camp, and halted for 41 LM: Tracks (trails). 54 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 65. the night — For the information of Mrs. McIntyre in the way of cookery — with one of the partridges and the pigeon & the little piece of pork we made an excellent parcel of soup in the camp kettle — the other two partridges we roasted in the Indian fashion — this made a plentiful supper to us all, for which I believe we were all thankful. Next morning we started by times for our camp, and the first thing we did when we got there, was to “tap the admiral.” I now felt happy enough, and contented with having witness’d another scene of “Life in the Woods” — Thompson declared he never experienced such a time in his life. We had now been out in the woods eight days without having our clothes off, and we all concluded to go into the settlement, by way of recruiting a little. Got there that afternoon, and none of us received any injury from our little hardships. Next day, the settlement turned out for a deer hunt. I was on the opposite bank of the River from the deer — he came running towards me — I waited, expecting him to come into the river — but on his reaching the bank, he discovered me & turned — when I fired — the ball broke his hind leg — he bleated piteously — gave a spring — and fell into the River head first — Thompson endeavored to get at him, but he turned about and got to the opposite side of the River out of his reach — poor creature! he hirpled up the hill towards the wood — his leg trailing behind him by the skin — and he looked behind him, lay down twice or thrice, before he made the woods — the dogs followed him in — brought him out again — the poor mangled animal lacerated behind by the ravenous dogs — caught at last — throat cut! Confound the sport say I if it is to be managed in this way. Next morning set all off again for the Cobbles over the packard ridge, where we have been ’till this day. Found the thing out of the question to be satisfied with this season — Believe in it still — Will explain this at meeting — This enormous Iron Bed kept possession of our minds — I dreamt about it — We judge it best to lose no time in securing if possible — We will take the Indian with us to Albany — dare not well leave him in this country — Mr. McMartin has made all the observations he can — so as to come at it at Albany. The Indian has drawn us a complete map of all the Country about. If it has been surveyed, there will be little difficulty — if not, there will be much — but it must be overcome — the thing is too important to delay — speculators in Essex County running wild for ore beds — It would not benefit the Elba works — no chance of a road, but the vein lies on a stream where forges can be erected for thirty miles below it. No ore bed has yet been discovered on that side. Shew’d specimens of the ore to some bloomers — they said there was no doubt about it. I have written you very fully. Will write you on our arrival at Albany, after knowing what can be done. In the meantime, I am, Dear Sir, Yours truly, D. HENDERSON. r Albany 18th Octo . 1826. We arrived here last evening in the stage from Whitehall, Duncan McMartin, John & self — Enoch and Lewis the Indian, are following us by the Canal. We will lose no time in looking after the land on which the ore is and will likely write you tomorrow. An ore bed has lately been discovered in Maria. [Moriah.] A young man bought the land on which it was for $100 — and he has since been offered $5000 for it. When I went over the Essex Mountains on my way to Elba, I saw at the postmaster’s Graves’, Lottery tickets for sale — they were the 2d Vermont Class. For curiosity I thought I would buy some. I got one ticket for John & myself and did not intend taking any more. He urged me much to buy him out as he had only two left. Being pretty easily advised in this way, and thinking of the $200 prize I could afford to lose a little I bought the two tickets — One of these two I found on my arrival at Whitehall was a $500 prize — I am afraid I am getting too lucky in this way to be lucky in other matters. I will tell you when I see you, of the combination of Graves — the Post Master & others to get the ticket from me as I returned that way again from Elba. I believe John intends writing you today — We cannot yet say which day we will be in New York, in the meantime with best Compt.s to Mrs. M’I & family I am Dear Sir. Yours sincerely, D. HENDERSON. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 55
  • 66. The expression “tapping the admiral,” which occurs frequently in the correspondence of these worthy men of pre-Volstead days, is of doubtful origin. According to Farmer’s “Slang and its Analogues,” it was used among sailors to describe drinking out of cocoanuts from which the milk had been extracted and replaced by rum. This was in order to evade the regulation prohibiting the purchase of spirits when on shore in the tropics. Later it was applied to drinking on the sly from a cask by inserting a straw through a gimlet hole, and to drinking generally. There is also a tradition that it had its origin when the body of a British Admiral, who had died on an Eastern station, was taken home. Embalming being impossible, the body was placed in a hogshead of rum for preservation. The supplies of grog that were served were insufficient for the requirements of some of the sailors, who accordingly made up the deficiency by “tapping the admiral” as occasion required. 56 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 67. David Henderson From a portrait owned by his granddaughter, Miss Margaret H. Elliot 57
  • 68. Indian Pass, from Lake Henderson Mt. Wallface in middle background 58
  • 69. 3. Preliminary work Mr. McIntyre on receiving this news, wrote Judge McMartin, then a candidate for re- election to the Senate, a letter combining iron business with practical politics. A. McI. to D. McM., October 27, 1826. Above you have my cheque for $100, which the Cashier of the State Bank, or of the Mohawk Bank, will cash for you; and which I wish you to dispose of as my share of the expense of the election in your quarter. I did not wish you to be a candidate for the Senate again, fearing that the confinement at Albany might again bring on your complaint; but as you are one, I hope you may not fail. So soon as the election is over I hope you will pay us a visit without delay. You and your Company have made a discovery that bids fair to be very important, and no time ought therefore to be lost until the necessary lands are secured. Judge McMartin, instead of going to New York, arranged to return to the woods to locate the ore bed more exactly with reference to township lines. In this, Mr. McIntyre acquiesced, pointing out, however, some of the difficulties that lay before them. A. McI. to D. McM., November 11, 1826. I wished you to come down immediately after the election, because I thought it important to secure at once a part of To. No. 47 (I believe that is the Township) or the whole if necessary. The bed where you saw it, must be on that Township, or, at any rate near there, and must at all events, I think, extend into that township. Perhaps, however, it is best you should at once proceed in the way you suggest, and ascertain with certainty 42 its location. I advise you to proceed from Pendleton, and by all means to avoid 43 Newcomb: If you go near him you will be watched. You are aware, I suppose, that if the bed is on the State Land, that it will take some time before the land can be obtained. There must first be an order of the Land office to survey and appraise. Then the Sur. General directs that to be done. After the return of survey and appraisement, there is an order of Sale. All this will take up the greater part of a year. There will be a necessity of great caution and secrecy in the meantime. The Indian will probably be prevailed on to remain here until you return from the woods, notwithstanding that he has lately shown some anxiety to return. If it were not that there is great danger of his losing his health here, we ought to keep him all winter. The manner of living in civilised life is very incongenial to a savage. The anticipated difficulties arose in acquiring title to Township 47, but the proprietors were able to secure with unusual promptness a patent from the state authorities of land adjoining it on the east, since known as the gore east of Township 47. This patent embraced the westerly part of the McIntyre range, part of the Indian Pass, the valley of Calamity Brook for about two miles, Mount Adams, and the vicinity of Lakes Jimmy and Sally. Some 2.000 acres on the easterly side of this gore have recently been sold to the state, at 42 A little settlement, now the village of Newcomb. It was so named from judge Pendleton, who about 1810 made a clearing there and built a dam and grist and saw mill at the foot of Rich’s Lake. (Benson J. Lossing, “The Hudson,” p. 21, TDV 185.) 43 D.T. Newcomb, who then lived on a farm still bearing his name, near Newcomb Lake, figured frequently in the correspondence and always unfavourably. He owned several plots of land which the proprietors wished to buy, but as he was firmly convinced that they contained deposits of silver, his ideas of price proved a stumbling block. 59
  • 70. the price of $7 per acre. By resolution of the Commissioners of the Land Office, dated April 23, 1827, Reuben Sanford44 and John Richards were appointed to survey and appraise the tract. Their report, made in the following October, fixed the acreage at 6,080 and its value at 10¢ per acre. From the description given by the surveyors, the land hardly fulfilled the requirement of Mr. Jessup, that it should be “fit for cultivation”: The most Easterly line of this tract is also on land of second quality from the South east corner to the river at fifty five chains, thence on very rough steep hills and high mountains very rocky of fourth quality even where the Streams and little brooks rush down between the rocks and mountains, there are hardly any Smooth places on the margin of these waters. So that one hill, or mountain lies close behind the other all along. ... Thence ascending on rough and steep hills to a very high rocky, sprucy, mountain to the north boundary of this tract, so to sum up the whole, the land in this tract is of the worst kind, excepting a few small pieces on the Southerly line, and at the South east corner, and excepting also a Small Strip of land South of the Stream along the westerly line of this tract though this piece also is of an Inferior quality, and very rocky too, Timbered with spruce, Cedar, fir, few Beech and many Birch, it is watered by two fine Brooks or Streams, as per map, forming after their Junction in Township number forty six, what is called in these parts the “East branch of the north River” in many place on this Tract, it is impossible to run lines, on account of the Stupendious Rocks and ledges. The needle was attracted on the line of the 47th Township in two places, no oar in Sight. The patent for this gore was issued November 20, 1827 to Messrs. John McD. McIntyre, son of Archibald, and Peter McMartin, son of the Judge. Mr. Henderson, who was then engaged to marry Mr. McIntyre’s daughter, was one of the petitioners, but as he was an alien it was decided that it would be better for his name not to appear in the record title. “You will see,” he wrote, “to what a true born Scot is reduced by the illiberality of your laws. If a permission to hold real estate cannot be obtained without my becoming a citizen, and upon this subject I’ll expect to hear from you, Peter and John can at least convey my share of the concern to Annie before she changes her name, and she can hold and convey with my consent, else the d — -l’s in it.” In the following year, Judge McMartin, who was then in the Senate, secured the passage of an act (Laws of 1828, Chapter 302) appointing commissioners “to explore, lay out, open and work a road on the most eligible route westward from Cedar Point on the west shore of Lake Champlain through the Towns of Moriah and Newcomb in the County of Essex, passing as near as the natural make of the country will admit through Townships Numbers 59, 44, 46, 27 and 28 in Totten & Crossfield’s purchase to the west bounds of the said County.” The Commissioners were John Richards of Caldwell, a well-known surveyor of that day, Iddo Osgood of North Elba, and Nathan Shearman of Moriah. Their compensation was $2 per day, excepting that Judge Richards for his work as surveyor received $1.50 additional. This road followed the general lines of the present highway from the Lower Works to the Schroon River. The old road then existing had been laid out from Crown Point to Carthage in Jefferson County. It intersected near Root’s at Schroon River,45 the main West 44 Major Reuben Sanford, of Wilmington, for whom Lake Sanford was doubtless named, was in the State Senate in 1827. He was noted for his physical strength and achieved local fame at the battle of Plattsburgh by chopping down a bridge to retard the British advance. 45 A.B. Street, “The Indian Pass,” p. 170. 60 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 71. Moriah road running north and south through the Schroon River valley. Coming westward by Clear Pond, north of Blue Ridge, it passed to the north of Perch and Trout Ponds, and crossing the Hudson below the outlet of East River it went on over Guide-board Hill to Newcomb Farm and beyond. Traces of this road are still noticeable in the woods. It was generally referred to as the Carthage road but in later years it has been sometimes called the Old Military Road, from a tradition that it was constructed during the war of 1812 to afford communication between Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence. Great expectations were entertained of the advantages of the new road, as the grades were much easier than those of the Carthage road, but the work of construction was slow, and it was several years in completion. By 1830 some little progress had been made in acquiring additional lands and making preliminary arrangements for development. The proprietors were no longer apprehensive lest their plans should be discovered and were ready to congratulate themselves at the expense of others less fortunate who had learned too late of the ore deposits. Judge McMartin wrote from Albany July 15, 1830: I met here yesterday evening two men from Northampton, Mont’y Co. who knew me and made themselves known at the same time Shewed me a Bag of Iron Ore of like character with ours found they could not tell whither in Hamilton, Franklin or Essex County; but came to examine the maps in the Surveyor General’s office for discovery. On examination of the Water Courses and Lakes Seen near it V Ransselaer told them that it must be on Land Sold to McIntyre and McMartin — they were loth to give me a description of it, but on my telling them that I saw it & giving them a description of the lakes above and below it, the timber the fall &c. they said “that is the very place — You can describe it better than we can” they then asked me if I had Seen the bed above at the little lake; I answered that I had seen one of them like the flagging of a Side walk — “Is that on your Tract?” Yes about the middle of It. “then you have all the Treasure in that country” — I asked how they discovered it — they tell me by two of the St. Francois Indians to whom they were to pay $100 if they could obtain it — that they took a Canoe at Indian or Jessups River, N. of lake Pleasant, navigated it down to near its Junction with the N river then carried their Canoe a Short distance over land to the lake below Pendleton’s Settlement in N 27 T & Crossd whence they navigated to the new Road by 46 the Stream & Lake west of Newcomb’s house & Near the Crs of Nos. 27, 28, 46 & 47 thence carried the canoe along the new Road past Newcomb’s to the Bridge 4 or 5 miles below our ore & thence sailed up to within ½ mile of the ore bed — the Indians tell them there is silver upon it “that one Indian cut a piece out of it for which he got in Montreal its weight in coin.” (Judge McMartin’s marginal note is “a large story.”) They shewed the ore to Dr. Beck in this City who called it very good. Today a Mr. Clark of Mayfield a Merchant & one of their Partners arrived with Cash to Close an immediate contract should they find the owner; on his way down called at Union College to take advice from the exhibition of specimens, was assured that he could hazzard nothing by an immediate purchase. Young Nott retained some, of which he is to send Clark within a week the result of an Analysis. I have the promise of a copy thereof. I felt sorry for the poor Dogs’ heavy disappointment, especially those of them who encountered the fatigue of the Indian travelling and Navigating Expedition and bore the expences of the Savage Corps. Jewell one of the fatigue Party was very anxious to be employed in our Jaunt (which I intimated) but I put him off by stating that we were to go by way of Plattsburgh and could 46 Newcomb Lake, on property now owned [as of 1903] by Robert C. Pruyn [Great Camp Santanoni]. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 61
  • 72. not bear the triple expence of taking a hand round that way — I did not want to encourage disappointed men exploring lines and ores with our minuteness and at our expense. My affectionate remembrance to Mrs. McI — the Girls, James & the Jersey branch of the family. I feel as if I tarried too long with you. My example renewed retrospections 47 tending to sadness, in spite of all my Philosophy, Stoicism and fancied resignation. A. McI. to D. McM., July 19, 1830. I somewhat pity the poor, disappointed men you met in Albany. After having the cup at their lips, to have it so suddenly dashed from them, was certainly mortifying enough. You acted very correctly, I think, in not employing the one who wanted to accompany you. In August 1830, the proprietors made a visit to their new possessions. The trip from New York, now often made by motor in a single day, must then have been a serious undertaking. It involved, on this occasion, a long preliminary correspondence regarding the time-tables of stage coaches and of Lake Champlain steamboats, and arrangements in great detail for the movements of the different members of the party and the transportation of Enoch and the baggage. “Of Young & Walbridge’s red Coaches, one line leaves Albany every morning at nine o’clock for Whitehall via Salem and Granville. ... These stage coaches are splendid and comfortable, and appear to be well appointed.” The steamboat “Congress” left Whitehall on Mondays and Wednesdays at eight a.m., and the “Franklin” on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at one p.m. These boats landed at Crown Point on the Vermont side whence a ferry took the passengers to Cedar Point, now Port Henry. Mr. McIntyre, who had not been well, looked forward to the trip in the spirit which has characterized many another devotee of this region. “I rely much,” he wrote, “on the benign influence of the mountain air of Essex on my constitution. I long to be snuffing it.” Iddo Osgood, one of the Commissioners for laying out the new road, acted as a guide for the party. In a letter written by him in November 1852, he gave the following recollections of their arrival at the ore beds: Mr. McIntyre wrote a letter to me informing me to meet him and I met him at the bridge below the Sanford Lake. The Company consisted of Archibald McIntyre David Henderson 48 D. McMartin Randolph Taylor from Penna McIntyres water and a man from North Hutson his name I have forgot and myself this was the Party. when I met them they were making a raft to carry there bagage and provisions by water up the river and through the Lake but it faild to do so. we then went to work and made us a canoe out of a large Pine tree which answered our purpose we campt one night where we made Canoe the next morning lanch’d Canoe and Loaded her for the expedition McIntyre Henders McMartin Taylor and McIntyrs water went by Land who arrived at the Iron dam the same afternoon, Friday. myself and mate started with Canoe and toyld hard all day we arrived at the head of Sanford Lake and night and Darkness overtaken us ware compeld to Camp ¾ of a mile below the Iron dam. the next morning we suckceded in finding the Iron dam with Provisions for the Company this was Satterday we were busy in making a camp and Picking bows for beding and bringing Provisions and Bagage from Canoe satterday night came and we were all tired enough to repose ourselves in the Camp we had made by the spring I believe it is near where the Boarding house now stands we all had a good nights repose and awoke to behold another sabath morning. 47 Judge McMartin had recently lost a favourite son, Peter, who after graduating at West Point had entered the legal profession in New York. 48 Enoch, Mr. McIntyre’s man servant or waiter. 62 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 73. On that holy sabbath we had service on a Rock before the Camp I was told by the Company to offisiate in that service it consisted in singing Praying and Reading a sermon. I have often thought of that meeting then we were all smart with the vigor of youth as it were but alas Mr. Henderson McMartin and Taylor have gone to the silent toom, and the remainder of us will soon be no more. the company Paid two Dollars pr day there was no other but myself from North Elba at this time. There was some wild Indians in thes woods at this time Peter Sabaters Sabeal 49 Benedick and Elijah Benedick of the St. Frane-away Tribe and some others Hunting Indians in the woods I dont recolect their names I think they also were of the same tribe. Mr. Newcomb lived on the Newcomb farm at that time I was at the Newcomb house in July 1828 with some Gentleman from Moriah I told them I was a coming home through the Indian Pass they tried to discorage me the next Morning I started and at twelve o’clock according the Compass I stood on the Iron dam I traveled on to the Indian Pass and there Campt under the high Rock had a good nights rest I awoked refreshed I got home about noon. I come to North Elba in there year 4 of March 1808 if I live till the month of December next I shall be 73 years Old. Later in this season a project was under consideration, often mentioned in subsequent correspondence, for securing slack water navigation to the proposed works. A. McI. to D. McM., December 25, 1830. Your suggestion of petitioning the Legislature to remove obstructions in the Sacondaga and northerly branch of the Hudson meets my entire and warmest approbation. If the Legislature will direct this to be done, and at the same time order a survey and estimate of the expense of making slack water navigation from Lake Pleasant on the one branch, and from the new State road on the other branch, or rather from Lake Henderson on that branch, it would be just the thing for us. The sooner you move in this measure, therefore, the better. Had you not better draw up a proper Memorial, and get it printed, and distribute a number of copies in various directions for signatures? Like Mr. Henderson, these worthy gentlemen did not disdain an investment in the lottery in the intervals of business, and it is interesting to note that the lottery was “played” as in modern times one is said to “play” the races. New York, Dec. 28, 1830. My dear Sir, You may recollect that when you left here we had in the hands of Mr. Gregory a small Lottery investment. It had at an early day a little luck, which enabled Mr. G. to lay to one side $30 for us, and to keep in play a small fund. We thought it best not to meddle with the $30 and I now therefore enclose you $15, the half of it, together with a quarter ticket in each of two lotteries to be drawn, being your share of the remainder of the sum played with. If the weather continues mild I shall hope to see you here before many days. May the New Year dawn on you and your’s with many blessings, and may you see and enjoy many returns of the day. Very affectionately your’s, A. MCINTYRE. P.S. Should our ore prove to be really of a good quality, after you shall have given it a good trial — what would you think of one of your sons becoming Master of the Iron Making business? If it strikes you and him favourably he ought this very Winter or next 49 LM: Osgood made the same assumption regarding the Benedict surname as had Hochschild (ADV 13). THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 63
  • 74. Spring to go to work — and by the time you shall have built a forge he would be able to take charge of it. The Hon. D. McMartin Jr. By this time some little preliminary work had been done. A saw-mill at Pendleton had been purchased to provide the necessary lumber for building, and a few acres were cleared near the ore beds. Road construction was in progress with the view of taking out ore in sufficient quantities for experimental tests. Early in the following year six tons were drawn out to the Cedar Point road. They “started with small lots towards the settlements, but owing to the great depth of snow (part of the way 3½ feet) they were compelled to abandon the ore, and finally the sleighs, and proceed on horseback to Moriah,” returning for the ore later. The ore was “found to make an excellent iron for every purpose, except that, requiring polishing, the inferior iron of England is better to please the eye in polished work, but that ours is tough and malleable.” Much difficulty was experienced in securing the necessary road construction and Mr. McIntyre often expressed himself in forcible terms, regarding the shortcomings of the various contractors, particularly one Taylor. February 14, 1831. A. McM. to DANIEL I. McMARTIN (a son of the Judge), Two days before receiving your father’s letter and shortly after my last to you a friend of Taylor’s from New Hampshire, residing here, called on me at the request of Taylor to endeavor to persuade me to make him further advances. It appears the foolish scoundrel (I can call him nothing less) has been here now several weeks, when we thought he had proceeded to the woods to meet your father. Your father’s letter explained the mystery of T’s conduct. The clearing, which he said was completed is only about half done and the road (which he represented to be done and well done, and worth according to affidavits he brought, nearly $900) is not worth $20 to us, your father says. The wretch, it is clear, has already recd much more money than he has earned — and that his coming first to your father, and then to me was a contrived plan to defraud us out of a large sum of money. He and the conspirators who united with him in the fraud ought to be punished. A. McI. to D. McM., June 21, 1831 The Iron was carefully forwarded by Mr. Walker and duly received; but the causes which prevented my writing prevented also my attending to have it examined. I sent it yesterday to Mr. Steele, who promises to have it examined, and to inform me all about it. When I receive his Report, you shall be informed what he says. You propose that Henderson and I should join you and visit the Mine before Harvest with Maj. Sanford. I find that I cannot go, and that Henderson cannot. If we go at all this year it must be the latter end of August or beginning of September — you cannot therefore depend on our going, or calculate when we will go, and you will therefore please to make your calculation without reference to us. If you can join Major Sanford, and give the mine a more thorough examination by blasting down several feet, and provide several tons of Ore removed from Atmospheric influence to take away next winter, it will certainly be very important, and I hope you will effect it. It is necessary also that the Taylor concern should be examined and disposed of. And when you are there too, you may deem it necessary to contract with some honest man (if you can find any such in that region) to clear some land, and make a road. You need not fear that I shall ever pay another dollar to Taylor unless compelled to do so by law. 64 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 75. Peter McMartin From a portrait owned by Mrs. Arthur H. Masten 65
  • 76. 4. Development begun — the cholera year The preliminary tests made of the ore were evidently satisfactory, for in 1832 plans were made for beginning the active work of development. A. McI. to D. McM., January 3rd, 1832. We entirely concur here with you in the opinion you give of effecting as large a share of work and useful erection at the mine as can be done next season, and we are much pleased that you have made so much seasonable preparation. You will please to order on this winter whatever more you may deem necessary for your operations next summer, and do not fear to draw on me from time to time for whatever funds you may require for this purpose, or for your own private purposes. On full reflection, Henderson and I are decidedly of opinion in every view of the case, that it will [be] for your interest as well as our’s to engage young Steele, on some such condition as I suggested to you. ... You calculated, I think, if we determined on erecting works, to devote much of two years to the Concern. This we had in view when we thought of Steele. When this man has the experience he will acquire in a year or two with you, if we engage him, and if you are accompanying him, he will be eminently qualified to take charge of the whole concern, and conduct it on the best and most economical principles. ... Again, it is agreed by all that we have a field for extensive and vast operations, and that probably at some time or other works of great magnitude will be erected and carried on at our place. This being the case, will he not be of use to you in arranging and locating your erections? ... And again, if you should remain inclined to sell your interest a year or two hence, or should we all be inclined to sell a portion to a Company, depend on it, we can do it to much better advantage if we have Steele. I am utterly opposed to your selling until we can show the great value (great I cannot but believe it is) of our property, and I believe that by your joint exertions this can be done in two years. By way of preparation for the year’s operations, Mr. McIntyre sent to his brother-in- law early in the season a large supply of “Hygeian Pills,” which he described as made by a “London quack,” but to which he attributed wonderful curative properties. We have had no occasion for the Doctor’s visits in three months, which with us is a most extraordinary circumstance. When you get the pills therefore I must beg you will give them a full trial and judge for yourself. The Doctors will laugh at us, I know, if they learn that we use the quack medicine. We do not let them know, for we do not want to be laughed at — but we use the pills, and are thankful that we have discovered their value. They were tried and found useful, to Mr. McIntyre’s great satisfaction. I am much gratified to learn that I recommended so safe and efficacious a medicine for your family as the Hygeian pills. I’ll send two boxes of them by Mr. Steel for the woods, and shall charge the amount to the concern. Such medicine ought to be furnished gratis to your hands. These hardy Scots exemplified the truth of the “Old Soak’s” observation that “the old- time religion and straight likker and calomel has got the kick to them, they are among the seven wonders of the world.” What Mr. Henderson was in the habit of referring to as a “doze” of calomel, frequently consisted of fifteen to twenty grains. Judge McMartin took twenty grains on one occasion, followed by three doses of a fever and ague powder. It is 66
  • 77. only fair to Mr. Henderson, however, to state that while taking the “doze” by direction of his doctor, he described it as “a cursed mineral poison” and prophesied that within fifteen or twenty years the doctors would look back with astonishment to the time when they prescribed it. Mr. McIntyre not only supplied the Hygeian pills, but provided for the needs of the soul. A. McI. to D. McM., May 14th, 1832. I send you by Mr. Steel a bundle containing the following: Cleaveland’s Mineralogy, 2 Vols. — Bakewell’s Geology, I Vol. — Eaton’s Geology I Vol: — Chalmers’ Sermons I Vol: — Saurin’s Sermons I Vol. (odd) — Jay’s Exercises 2 Vols. and a parcel of Religious News papers. All these I suppose may be useful to you on Sundays and on rainy days. ... I mentioned before that I would probably visit you in August. If there is any probability of your having a forge erected so as to be able to make Iron in October, Henderson & I would defer our visit until then. When you can form an opinion as to the time you will be ready to make iron, you will please to let us know. ... If you cannot inform me before August that you will be ready to make Iron in October, Henderson & I will visit you in August, and I shall be much pleased to have Mr. Hammond of the party. The summer of 1832 was a notable one because of an epidemic of Asiatic cholera, which paralyzed all business for a time. A. McI. to D. McM., July 4, 1832. You probably have heard, even in the wilds where you are buried, of the dreadful ravages of that dreadful Scourge, the Asiatic or Spasmodic Cholera, at Quebec, Montreal, &c., &c. It first broke out at Quebec & immediately thereafter at Montreal, and very soon thereafter at Laprarie, St. John’s & Plattsburgh and Burlington, and Westward at Prescott, Kingston & Sackets Harbor. In Quebec and Montreal it was much more severe & mortal, than it has been any where in Europe, cutting off its victims for some days by hundreds. Elsewhere the cases were few, and I am happy in being able to say, that in Montreal & Quebec it is passing off, the cases but few, and those ameliorated, and elsewhere that we hear of none, unless it be admitted to have existence in this City. It has been maintained by some that it has existed here for several days, altho’ it is by others denied. The board of health made their first report the day before yesterday, and report eleven cases, but admit only four of them to be like the Canada Cholera. The others, they say, were only the Cholera Morbus & Cholera Infantum. I hear of no new cases, and the dreadful alarm seems to have subsided. Whether the destroying Angel is yet to visit us in wrath here with this dreaded disease, or whether we are in mercy to be spared, God only knows. It soon became evident that New York was not to be spared. Mr. McIntyre left his house in Broome Street and took his family to Jersey City, where he remained some weeks. On the 16th he wrote: The panic has been excessive in N.Y. and not much abated. It is estimated that 40 or 50 thousand have left the City. Business suffers extremely, and the effects will be long felt. We feel it of course in common with all others. None are gainers unless it be the medical faculty & the apothecaries. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 67
  • 78. The conditions prevailing in the north were described in a letter from Judge McMartin to his wife, written from West Moriah, June 28th, 1832. I left our chanta on thursday evening last for Mr. Harps and thence for Cedar point on friday morning at ½ past 7. got to Geoweys at 5 p. m. very tired riding on Saturday I went to Cedar point tarried at Port Henry came to Moriah 4 Corners on Sabbath where I heard three discourses by 3 different Presbyterian & Congregational Preachers — they and the people appeared to be very ardent and in view of the impending Judgments hold on this day a fast in that church — on Monday after having engaged castings and other irons 50 made for a Sawmill I left there for pleasant Valley & got at 10 p.m. to Graves in Keene where the next day on tuesday I contracted for bringing 2 or 3 loads of the irons from the Elba Works to this place, engaged a couple of common laborers & returned at 9 p.m. to Pleasant Valley just as a fine gentle rain (which continued until 10 a.m. yesterday) commenced. Yesterday I got down to Schroon in search of a Millwright. Staid at Esquire Johnsons and will only get here to Smiths tonight when, in the evening I expect two Carpenters or Millwrights to Call on me, and expect early to-morrow to take the Woods for Newcomb again. ... Last week there was a dreadful Panic throughout this whole Region on account of the dreaded calamity — the Common Pleas of this Co. met and adjourned without doing any business. Many of the School houses were closed — every one refuses entrance to the Many Straggling poor Irish People daily passing for Albany but hand them out something to eat & let them lodge in sheds and barns only — they are passing yet Men and Women on foot as no boat will or dare take them on board — Many indeed of them look decent and cleanly and are to be pitied for the cool reception they meet with but some take advantage of the circumstances to beg for work, ‘as they are out of money’ who, at the same time, have money in pocket. As You will see by the Albany papers but very few cases have yet occurred within this State, and those wholly of the foreigners from Canada. I hope it will not Spread at least in the country but we know not how extensive may have been the Commission given to the destroying Angel or whether this is the commission spoken of in the Apocalypse to destroy one [third?] of Men, this we do Know, and ought to feel, our highly favored Country has Sinned, with a high hand, against ‘High 51 Heaven’ and our People would have it so. The most orderly may well join in the lamentation of the humble Prophet ‘Woe is me for I am of unclean lips and I dwell among a People of unclean lips.’ The uninterrupted course has been from S. Eastern Asia near the Pacific Westward and it is more than probable that it may reach the Pacific again — that our Cities & Villages Shall wholly escape it seems not very probable but I trust the thinly settled country may be spared generally from the Scourge. 52 I left Archd and all the hands very well when I came from home the black fleys had been extraordinary troublesome for several days before I left and 4 or 5 hands cleared out in consequence. Some swell in large lumps where they bite them. Archd was in blotches and J. Steele; but we are informed they will not continue much past the 1st July, the Gnats are also considerably annoying, but musquitoes not so much so as in the Woods there. The logs of our 2 story house would be up to the plates on the p.m. I left them 20 50 LM: Elizabethtown. 51 Judge McMartin doubtless referred to the recent triumphs of the Jacksonian party throughout the country, which were little to his liking. 52 Judge McMartin’s peculiar method of spelling this word may be due to the fact that near his home in Broadalbin was located the Sacandaga Vlaie, a body of several thousand acres of drowned lands. The word vlaie is of Dutch origin, meaning marsh. It was also spelled vley, vlie or vly but was usually pronounced “fly.” 68 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 79. by 40 feet hewn inside & I got sash and Glass which will go in next week by Wednesday I left some to make long shingles some to plant Potatoes sow oats and Grass Seed &c. and directed the rafters and upper beams to be hewn together with poles on which to shingle and soon to set the whip saw on sawing plank &c. It will be very difficult to obtain many men until the fleys are less nor until the Haying is over. 2 or three are all I could now induce to go in and two of these whom the fleys drove out to return next week. Hands indeed are Worse to obtain on account of the terror stricken Inhabitant Several I saw would go up if their wives would part with them. I think we shall begin to get out timber next week, both for Sawmill and Forge Bridge &c. We have not yet made a survey nor located our Works. It would seem we were tardy but from the time we left here it took three weeks to get in all our Property brought from here & Harps the two Youke of Cattle & two hands eight or 9 days, one Yoke and hand another week & from two to 4 hands three weeks Boating — making road chantas chopping clearing & building took up the residue of the time. Messrs. McIntyre and Henderson visited the property again in November of that year, and as usual found the trip an eventful one. Mr. McIntyre on his way out wrote from Smith’s, Schroon road, to Judge McMartin, at the Works: Here we are in warm and comfortable quarters, after a most fatiguing and disagreeable journey. We shall move on in the morning. ... I stood the journey very well yesterday until I travelled a mile or two on the State road, when I flagged excessively, owing to sliding on the soft snow & mud, and the weight of my mantle, which got completely drenched with the rain. Satterlee & Pat preceded Mr. Steele & I, and I was really alarmed that Satterlee would not have stopped at the Rock Shanta, but proceed to one near the Borus, which we talked of going to. Fortunately for me they stopped at the first, and had a good fire. I doubt whether I could have gone to the other last evening. I slept well during the night — for the men gave up all the Blankets to me, and made me comfortable: This morning we started at day, and the road was equally bad & slippery — but as it did not rain, I was relieved of the cloak, and permitted to go on without carrying a thing, so that I got on pretty well, altho’ very much fatigued when I reached Clear Pond. There we got a dinner, and we found the road thence here comparatively comfortable, there being no snow. I regret to inform you that the waggon which conveyed Mr. Steele, Mr. Henderson & my sons, was upset near the Lake, and all except Mr. S. more or less hurt. But from what I can learn none were dangerously hurt. Henderson had his face cut badly it is said, and John (not James I believe) his leg badly cut, so that when his boot was taken off, it was full of Blood. I am told that all went on, however, and I trust therefore that nothing serious has happened. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 69
  • 80. East River Falls From a photograph by F.R. Rix 70
  • 81. Upper Preston Pond, from Outlet 71
  • 82. Upper Preston Pond, from Camp 72
  • 83. 5. The East River Falls — Preston Ponds Notwithstanding this experience, Mr. McIntyre was ready for another trip the following year, although disposed to take all possible precautions against the “fleys” and the danger of the roads. A. McI. to D. McM., February 16, 1833. I have reason to be very thankful for the great improvement to my health, which I attribute to my Northern Jaunt. I purpose to take that Jaunt again as early in the season as I can. What is the tormenting period for the flies? When do they begin, and when do they cease? I wish we had suitable roads to, and suitable accomodations at “McIntyre,” for our families to go there. I have no doubt it would be beneficial for them to spend a month or two there annually. The roads appear to have been at their worst at this period. Judge McMartin kept men busy cutting out fallen trees and replacing bridges that had been washed out. He arrived at Yates’ (Newcomb’s) at 7 o’clock one night after traveling with oxen since 6 in the morning “having waded the Boreas mid-thigh deep and the North River by the Newcomb road mid- body deep,” as he wrote his wife. Mr. McIntyre seems to have been almost more discouraged by the condition of the roads than by the other difficulties of their undertaking. A. McI. to D. McM., April 2, 1833. I am shocked and grieved to perceive the intolerable suffering you and Archie and your people have had this winter in getting things to the Iron Works. And if this were to be the last of it it would be some comfort. But I can see no end to fatigue privation and trouble in that quarter. ... With the greatest care and economy to get business started there and roads (passable roads) made will require the expenditure of large sums of money. That I would not regard however should I be able to meet them which I hope I may be able to do without inconvenience but then the dangers and hardships which must be endured before anything is effected are really frightful. ... When can Mr. Baxter and his family move in, or when will that abominable road be in a condition to enable them to go in? I had hoped that he or whoever took the boarding house would have gone in during the winter. A. McI. to D. McM., June 6, 1833. I confess that I am at times alarmed & disheartened with this same concern of our’s, and afraid that it may turn out another Elba concern. I cannot allow myself to believe it will be so and yet I cannot avoid sometimes of having my fears. For the ore has not yet been tested, the roads are abominable, and coal wood in the vicinity very scarce. Had I seen my Lycoming Lands before we laid out so much money at McIntyre, I would have advised to let the Northern lands lie still and got you engaged at Lycoming, where there is an inexhaustible quantity of the finest Iron ore for the furnace and equally inexhaustible quantities of the finest bituminous Coal for converting the ore into pigs and bar iron on the spot. Mr. Henderson’s letters in the summer of 1833 showed the extent to which the development work had then progressed, and are of particular interest as they contain the earliest recorded descriptions of the East River Falls and the Preston Ponds, which he then visited for the first time. 73
  • 84. D.H. to A. McI., 8th September 1833. Since I left Plattsburg, I have received three letters from you — one on my arrival at West Moriah, dated Albany, another after I arrived here, dated New York, in which I was sorry to observe that it would be a fortnight before you could possibly reach this place. ... I am certain that a week or two in this region would be of great benefit to your health, a relief to your mind — and a gratification to your curiosity, for you yet know but little of this highly interesting region. It was rather late before I could get away from Smith’s (now Wellington’s) on the Wednesday — the day was delightful. The waggoner came on at rather a slow pace, and the consequence was, that six o’clock in the evening found us at the Boras River; and dark, at the Rock Shanty — eight miles from Newcombs. It was wrong to proceed on, but we did so — and had great difficulty in groping our way; in the hollows between the mountains we could neither see the road nor the horses — as a last resource, I walked before, groping about, and kept crying out to the driver which way to come. About two miles from the Farm, one of the horses fell over the Road Side, about three feet down, and we had a sad job to get him released and things put to right again; however, we arrived in safety at Yates’s (as Newcomb’s is now called) at 12 O’clock. Next day, thursday, I came here. I found the place very much altered in appearance for the better — an excellent road from the landing to the settlement, and a straight level street from the house to the saw mill, good and dry, nearly completed — the wood cut down a considerable distance south of the house, from the mountain to the River — and all clear to Lake Henderson. What struck. me particularly was the excellence of the oats, on the level field on the opposite side of the River, and on the side of the hill towards Lake H. — I asked Mr. McMartin, how he got out all the stumps, for I saw none amongst the oats — he replied that they were all in, but that the growth of the oats overtopt them — I must say that I have not seen so fine a crop of oats in these United States — and here let me remark that we were all mistaken about the quality of the land in this valley — it’s productiveness has astonished Mr. McMartin and all the people here. The man who is engaged in chopping on the west side of the River and south of the Village, says that there will be nearly thirty acres of meadow not surpassed in the county of Essex, and very little stone upon it. The potatoes are most excellent — and grass grows well. — There is a very comfortable and convenient dwelling attached to the South End of the log house. It is kept by Mr. and Mrs. Baxter — the latter is an excellent housekeeper, has everything clean and orderly — indeed I was delighted to find such a well regulated community in every respect. The Revd. Mr. Comstock, an old gentleman of about 70 years of age, has been here for two Sundays preaching, and also lecturing on other evenings — his hair is as white as the driven snow — he has been in the habit for many years of visiting remote places in this northern region — and you may well imagine the effect produced, when, for the first time, a regular preacher of the Gospel raised his voice in this infant settlement, so lately a perfect wilderness — to a congregation of nearly thirty men, five women, and one (solitary) little child — the day was warm, and the doors open — the waters of the infant Hudson rolling past, and the huge mountains towering above were in view — all were seated, and silence reigned for some little time, when the good old man stood up, and said “Let us commence the Worship of the living God by singing a psalm” — I have but seldom felt a stronger touch of the sublime than on this occasion — the day — the place — the circumstances — the patriarchal appearance of this apostle of the wilderness, his earnestness of manner; the well-sung psalm — the fervent prayer, and impressive lecture — altogether made a picture of much sublimity. ... On the day we sent out the waggon for you, Mr. McM. & I took a hand, and set out upon our exploration of the East River. We struck it, a little above, where he and I left off at, last year. We walked about two miles up that same day — gentle ascent, and beautiful long gravel beaches — a much larger river than the north branch. Camp’d that night near the margin — Next morning followed up the channel, and very soon came to rapids — We now saw (contrary to McM.’s idea before) that this stream cut completely through the 74 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 85. great mountain. We wandered up the Rapids all that day, and near night had much difficulty in finding room to camp — precipitous on both sides — We at length found a place just large enough and some trees growing out of the rocks — came on a wet night — nothing over us but our blanket, which soon got wet enough of course. Next morning proceeded up the channel of the Rapids, with a good deal of difficulty, jumping from one rock to another — (I will not attempt to describe the wildness and rugged grandeur of the scenery, but will tell you all I can when I see you) — in a short space of time we came to a splendid perpendicular fall of about sixty feet the whole river pouring over — and here we were arrested as we thought — but on one side was a steep slide of about 150 feet in length which we scrambled up with great difficulty & I think danger. We thus got round the falls — but a hundred paces further on was an immense shute of water at an angle of about 45 degrees — and other falls above it prevented us from following the channel any more and we kept the edge of the acclivities all the way till we got to the summit, where we found the River level and still water for a long way — We meant to continue on to a 53 very narrow pond between two immense precipices in the adjoining great mountain — 54 which Judge Richards & Mr. Sanford told us, is the greatest curiosity they ever saw — but the day was wet, and we wet to the skin and we travelled round the mountain, and got to the head of the Valley where the ore bed stream comes down, which we followed home & arrived at night. They had been blasting a good deal of rock about the settlement, and I looked in vain for chrystals of iridescent Labradorfelspar — Where then did all these little pieces in the streams come from — the mystery was solved when we got so far above the iron region, in the bed of the East River — there we found nearly all the rocks in scite were full of it. We found near the great fall a large vein of what I call agate — one part of the vein was in the centre of the channel, and as big as a log house — it’s excessive hardness having resisted the wear of the waters, when the hornblende and all around it had been carried away — I also think we saw abundance of Carnelian, from flesh to the deepest reds — I picked up a piece of hornblende with a regular black vein attached to it, the exact fracture and appearance of anthracite coal — The place is interesting beyond any I ever saw. When coming down the ore bed River, three miles from the settlement, we came across a rock about 8 feet by 4. It perfectly glittered with hypersthene, as we used to call it. Two days afterwards I took a blaster up to it, along with two other men, and put a blast into it. A slab of it fell into the water, and I can compare it to nothing else but a peacock tail — all the colours of the rainbow — splendid beyond anything I had conceived, the greater proportion of the stone — I bring fragments of it with me, several pound weight for you — one beautiful specimen — what splendid pier tables — mantelpieces and other ornaments this stone would make — I question much if any prince in the world possesses any furniture equal to what it would make — I am serious when I say that I am of opinion much may be made of this beautiful rock and perhaps of the agate — but of this afterwards — from the wetness of the day we were unable to make anything like an examination of the minerals of the East River — in fact it would take a week — Richards and Sandford value our new half of the triangle at six cents per acre. I could pick out 50 acres at least of hyperstene (agate & carnelians if so) including the romantic waterfalls and rapids, which I think are worth the $3. — — D.H. to A. McI., September 14, 1833. You will have received a long letter from me which I sent by the Steam Boat from Cedarpoint on my return here (Plattsburgh). You will be able to gather from it some little idea of McIntyre. 53 Avalanche Lake. 54 Judge Richards and Major Sanford had been engaged during this summer in surveying the gore around Lake Colden, Letters Patent for which were issued to Messrs. McIntyre and McMartin later in the year. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 75
  • 86. Mr. McMartin will write you from Keeseville, on the subject of engaging with Mr. Lewis, a brother-in-law of Major Sandford, to take charge of the works this winter, and until other arrangements are made. He was with Mr. Sandford in the iron business for some time, and he understands it well. ... He has been in at McIntyre, and was astonished, as all are who see the enormous quantity of ores — I have myself been more astonished this year than ever — in fact, there is little doubt but the whole valley and sides of the mountains, are masses of ore. — However inadvisable it may be for us, under existing circumstances, to drive this business to any extent, I am for one much disinclined to a sale of the property — unless indeed to a company, who might afford to give something adequate to it’s value — Where indeed can such a place be found? To go on with two fires this winter — or rather as soon as we can get ready for it, I think is indispensable. The road out to Clearpond is to be kept open all winter — from there to Moriah, will be open at any rate to draw out Johnson’s lumber — Mr. McMartin means to have all provisions, and what may be necessary for next year’s operations, to be brought from Cedar point — & to take out the iron there. He calculates that our Iron can be delivered in New York at $60 per ton — I see the Peru, in bar, is quoted from 110 to 120. — He thinks, that when we are prepared, we ought to exhibit our iron, and have it tried at the Navy Yards, as from it’s extraordinary toughness, it would be valuable for Government purposes. — Mr. McM. & I, on Monday last, went on a raft up to the north end of Lake Henderson, and proceeded up a stream which comes in to the Lake, a little West of North. We proceeded up the valley nearly three miles — following the ancient Indian line. There is no better land in that region of country & excellent timber for coaling. Having arrived at the summit of the valley — we descended very little indeed, for a few gun shots — say about the distance from the house to the blacksmith’s shop, when we came to a Lake, apparently as large as Lake H. — We could go no farther — there are two other lakes attached to it, all of which empty into the Rackett. These lakes are fed in part by one considerable stream from the range of mountains East. Where the last lake empties out to the water of the racket, we have been informed on good authority — that it is precipitous rocks on each side, and not more than 15 to 25 feet wide where a dam could be made 30 or 40 feet high at a trifling expense. By a cut, then, from the lake we saw, to the summit of the Valley, (no very great job Mr. McM. thinks) the whole of these waters, would go quick march into Lake Henderson. This might perhaps never be necessary — but should anything like Carron or the Welch works of Merther-tydal ever be erected there it is well to know that an enormous water power can be readily created, at a trifling expense. I said something to you of the splendid scenery of the East River where it struggles through the great mountain — and down the Rapids — What a place for a painter — I hope yet to have an opportunity to try my skill in that way — and what a place for a mineralogist. We had not time however to examine much. Perhaps we have discovered anthracite coal. If that splendid rock of all colours, can be sawed, I will not be content until a small mill is erected in one of the streams for the purpose. You will be tired I fear of reading my long letters. It seems strange that Mr. Henderson, susceptible as he was to the beauty of this region, should not have had a word of praise for the charming glen on the upper end of the trail to Preston Ponds. Possibly his thoughts were too intent on the practical question of water power. While far less bold and rugged than his favorite “Notch” on the East River gorge, it is to the minds of many one of the most beautiful spots on the MacIntyre tract. Unscathed by lumbering operations, the glen remains as it was when traversed by the Indians. But as 76 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 87. the public now has a right of way over the trail, it will doubtless soon be disfigured by the metal disks, or “trail markers” of the Conservation Commission. The project of securing additional water for Lake Henderson in order to increase the power at the works was a favorite one. Ten years later Mr. Henderson wrote (November 3, 1843), that Porteous (then superintendent) reported: “Mr. Scott from Keene55 was in a few days ago and he tells me there is a pond,56 the outlet of which runs into the Ausable, and for ten or twelve dollars it can be turned into the Notch stream, and that it is as large or larger than the stream from the notch. This is very important. This is the pond I have no doubt on the hill west of the notch which has now two natural outlets one (the smallest) into the notch stream and the other into the Ausable.” Some years after Mr. Henderson’s death, Mr. McIntyre wrote (April 10, 1848): Thompson was here on Wednesday night and returned with his money next morning. He told me they had to stop the puddling works for want of water, and that there was too little for the furnace. In consequence of this information I wrote on Saturday to Porteous to employ Taylor (now at Adirondack) to survey the Preston Pond, and learn whether their water could not be turned into L. Henderson and at what cost. The loss for want of water for a single dry season would be more than the cost of the improvement. 55 LM: Scott lived on the Plains of Abraham, which in 1850 became part of the town of North Elba; at the time this letter was written, however, the Plains of Abraham were a part of Keene township. 56 Still called Scott’s Pond. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 77
  • 88. Lake Colden 78
  • 89. Mt. McMartin (now called Colden) From the Flowed Lands 79
  • 90. David C. Colden From a Century Club publication 80
  • 91. 6. New company considered — Redfield’s visit Owing to protracted illness in his family and his own failing health, Judge McMartin was able to spend but little time at the works after 1833, although continuing an active interest in the enterprise. He sent up his son, Daniel, to act as his representative at the works, and through him and the letters of another son, Archibald, an invalid who visited the place for his health, Judge McMartin was advised of the progress of affairs. A. McM. to D. McM., June 23rd, 1834. Notwithstanding the weather has been very bad since I came here, the work appears to go forward quite rapidly. They have done a considerable at continuing the road to the outlet of Henderson Lake, have done something at the dam, but have not laid the foundation. They have got up the frame for a plain dwelling house on the opposite side of the road from the lime kiln, and have got up a part of the store frame and will raise the whole building tomorrow or next day. They have got the whole fallow near Henderson Lake under oats and potatoes. The oats look well. The potatoes are not up yet. They let a job of clearing the McCauly chopping South of the house to a man by the name of Harris, who was to board himself, find a team and everything and clear the whole for $6 per wk. But after buying the oxen I sent up last spring from Broadalbin at $60 and clearing about 5 acres of the fallow he concluded he could scarcely clear his board, and left it giving back the oxen and all he had done. So that they have now the fallow on their hands and I assure you it will be a tedious piece of work. All that part which lays above or west of the road is clear and all except about an acre is under potatoes and turnips. They have not less than 10 acres of ground under potatoes. Daniel has not moved into his house yet, but still lives in the south end of the Large boarding house. The house will not be ready before the first or middle of next week. The second coat of paint was put on, on Saturday. Mr. Ferguson (the bloomer) was absent on a visit home when I came in and did not return until friday of the week following the one on which I got here. He had got nearly or quite discouraged making experiments upon the ore before he went home and almost concluded not to return again. But since his return he has succeeded much better and is encouraged to go on. He makes iron of a superior quality to any made in the State, at least, so it is pronounced to be by all who have yet tried it, but he cannot make it fast. He is gaining however in the quantity and thinks he will soon be able to make a ton a week of it. He made about 1500 last week and would have made more perhaps if he had not lost one or two loops by the tree iron getting out of place. Mr. Hines is expected daily in from Wilmington to start the other fire. I am anxious that he make a trial before I leave, as he is said to be as good a bloomer as is in Essex Co. It is doubtful however whether he succeeds as well as Ferguson for some weeks. ... The boarding house is kept very well indeed under the superintendence of Mr. and Mrs. Wilder. They are very active and very economical. He anticipates making $25 a month. If he does, he must manage much more prudently than Mr. Baxter did, who had about 19/2 per week for boarding. They keep but one girl and that but a poor one. Not only Ferguson, the bloomer, but the proprietors as well were considerably discouraged with the outlook at this time. D.H. to D.McM., 6th August 1834. 81
  • 92. By a letter from your son Daniel to Mr. McIntyre dated the 30th July which was received yesterday, we were somewhat surprised to learn, that they had at length given up all hopes, and arrived at the conclusion that Iron could not be made at least in loops of a sufficient size to pay. I must confess, I was hardly prepared for this untoward result — for the information we received from time to time during the summer, certainly was encouraging — at one time they were making good steel regularly, worth in that country, double the price of Iron — and then they had found a white flint stone for flux, which succeeded in making good iron — that our ore took as little charcoal as the Peru — and in the last letter I saw from the works, a few weeks ago, it was stated, that Ferguson was improving in the size of his loops, and that in the week in which the letter was written, it was thought that Ferguson would produce 18 cwt. We are decidedly of opinion, that under all the circumstances, it will be advisable to procure one or two good Bloomers from Jersey, who have been accustomed to work mountain ores, very similar to ours — that, either you Mr. McIntyre or myself go with them to McIntyre, and remain there with them, during a course of experiments to be made in a systematic manner, but to have all the old gang entirely off the ground, and even to prevent them from seeing or conversing with them. We should have them there if possible early in September — in the meantime Mr. McIntyre thinks that if your wife’s health, will at all permit, that you should go immediately on to McIntyre, and bring the whole to an arrangement, and as snug a footing as possible agreeable to the above, and what you, yourself may think proper. A.McI. to D.McM., September 19, 1834. The more I think of our unfortunate concern, the more I am satisfied of the egregious folly of our whole proceedings, and of the necessity of making what can be made from the wreck as speedily as possible. I had thought, you know, of having a quantity of the Ore drawn to the Dalaby furnace, in order to have it tried in that way — but it will only be making more expense without any satisfactory or profitable result. We are at least half a century too early in opening that region. I am of opinion that the sooner Daniel winds up the whole concern, and converts every thing into money that can be converted, except simply, a pair of Horses or a yoke of Cattle for Mr. Yates, and such articles as he may want — the better. Judge McMartin visited the property the following year to complete what needed to be done for its care, and Mr. Yates was continued in charge. In 1836 Mr. Henderson went up early in the season, taking with him Mr. David C. Colden of Jersey City, and Mr. Abraham Van Santvoord, whom he wished to interest in the property. With the latter was associated Mr. William C. Redfield, a scientist of high standing. He was much interested in geology, but perhaps best known through his writings on meteorology, and his connection with laying out the routes of the New York state canals and the Hudson River and Harlem Railroads. Mr. Van Santvoord was a man of means who had successfully carried on a transport and forwarding business in the Mohawk Valley. He later became interested in steamboat enterprises in New York, and made his residence in Jersey City, of which he was at one time mayor. One of his sons, Alfred, generally known as “Commodore,” was for many years President of the Albany Day Line. A. McI. to D. McM., November 15, 1836. When in New York I saw Redfield and Van Santvoord, who seem fully inclined to take hold of our Iron Concern, and make the most of it for themselves and us. For some reason they cannot make use, just now, of the Newark people — but they have others in view, at Saugerties, I believe. They talked of articles between us. There was no time to 82 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 93. draw such up whilst I was there but I advised that they and Henderson should prepare them, and when done to send them to us for consideration. Redfield and Van Santvoord wished us to secure more land. I told them that we had gone as deep as we intended for the present — but that if they wished we would join them in the purchase of all they wished, to be held by us as Individuals, separate & independent of the Iron concern, for the present. I furnished them with a list of the owners of land along the line of your contemplated route for a road from Macintyre to Clear Pond, and they will endeavor to effect purchases. They think that the Newcomb Township ought to be secured, even if it should cost 50 cents an acre. ... Messrs. R. & V.S. propose to apply to the Legislature for a charter of incorporation for a million of dollars, with the right to increase it two millions. For some reason that does not appear, nothing resulted from the negotiations thus opened. Mr. Redfield visited the property twice, however, and published an account of his trips.57 It is of peculiar interest because of the precision with which the route is described and its references to early nomenclature. On his first trip in the summer of 1836 “the party consisted of Mr. Archibald McIntyre of Albany, the late Judge McMartin of Broadalbin, and David Henderson, Esq., proprietors, together with David C. Colden, Esq., of Jersey City, and Mr. James Hall, Assistant State Geologist for the Northern District.” They left Saratoga August 10, spent a day at Lake George and reached Ticonderoga on the 12th, going by steamboat from there to Port Henry. They left Port Henry on horseback August 13, going to Weatherhead’s at West Moriah on the Schroon River, thirteen miles. “An old state road from Warren County to Plattsburg passes through this valley.” From Weatherhead’s they went “by newer and more imperfect road which has been opened through the unsettled country in the direction of the Black River in Lewis County,” and after riding nine miles from Schroon reached Israel Johnson’s at the outlet of Clear Pond. On the morning of August 15 they left Johnson’s and reached at 9:05 the “Boreas Branch of the Hudson,” eight miles from Johnson’s. Soon after 11 they reached “the main northern branch of the Hudson, a little below its junction with the outlet of Lake Sanford.” This was the East (or Opalescent) River. The old road crosses the stream at a point opposite what is now known as Guide Board Hill. From the river crossing, he says, “another quarter of an hour brought us to the landing at the outlet of the lake nine miles from the Boreas River.” The outlet of Lake Sanford, at the point for many years called the Long Crossway, was accordingly, by the old road, thirty-nine miles from Port Henry. At this point they left the road “and entered a difficult path leading up the west side of the lake six miles to the Iron Works and settlement of McIntyre.” Leaving the Iron Works the following day, the party went by way of Lake Sanford to the East River, which they ascended until they found “a beautiful lake to which our party afterwards gave the name of Lake Colden.” In crossing the inlet of Lake Sanford they noticed “the fresh and yet undried tracks of a panther.” At Lake Colden their guide, John Cheney, with Mr. Henderson, went around the lake and found further signs of a panther. There were also fresh wolf tracks, and on the shores of Lake Colden were found the warm and mangled remains of a deer that two wolves were disposing of when frightened away by the approach of the party. While Mr. Redfield was exploring the Opalescent, others of the party went to the North where they discovered a lake (Avalanche), the scenery of which 57 American Journal of Arts and Sciences, vol. XXXIII, No. 2. (TDV 10-33) THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 83
  • 94. they described as “very imposing.” The streams and lakes on this trip were found destitute of trout. The party returned by way of the Calamity Brook to the Iron Works, and Mr. Redfield records that traces had been found of an Indian trail going by Lakes Sanford and Henderson and the Preston Ponds to the headwaters of the Raquette River. His second trip was made in August of the following year, 1837. The party then consisted of “Messrs. McIntyre, Henderson and Hall, Professor Torrey, Professor Emmons, Messrs. Ingham and Strong, Mr. Miller of Princeton, and Mr. Emmons Jr., of Williamstown.” On this occasion they found two small boats awaiting them at the foot of the lake and Mr. Redfield notes that trout were then plentiful in Sanford and Henderson. He again visited Lake Colden, going this time by way of Calamity Brook. The weather was so cold that ice formed near their camp on the morning of August 5. Mount Marcy, which he then visited for the first time, was called by him the “High Peak of Essex,” and was so designated on his map accompanying the article. The other mountains, McMartin (now called Colden) and McIntyre, were apparently named at this time. “The mountain peak which rises on the easterly side of this lake and separates it from the upper valley of the main stream of the Hudson has received the name of Mount McMartin in honor of one now deceased who led the party of last year and whose spirit of enterprise and persevering labors contributed to establish the settlement at the great Ore Beds as well as other improvements advantageous to this section of the State.” McIntyre, he says, was named “in honor of the late Comptroller of the State to whose enterprise and munificence this portion of the county is mainly indebted for the efficient measures which have been taken to promote its prosperity.” Governor Marcy talked of visiting the region at this time, but it does not appear that he ever did so. It was not until some years later that Mount Tahawus was called by his name.58 D.H. to A. McI., March 27, 1837. So it appears, Gov. Marcy has some idea of camping it with us next time we visit the upper Hudson. The territory is getting into so much notice, that I verily believe, were a railroad to be made from the lake, and a large public house erected — it would become a fashionable resort for the Summer months — the notch being the greatest curiosity in the country, next to the Falls of Niagara. If Niagara be the prince of waterfalls — the other exhibits the prince of precipices. If Messrs. Emmons & Hall are correct in their measurement, there is no such precipice of equal height on the Continent. At least I have not read of any such having been discovered. The great admiration of the Indian Pass so often expressed by Mr. Henderson in his letters, was shared by all the early travelers. Richard H. Dana wrote (1849): “This is a ravine or gorge formed by two close and parallel walls of nearly perpendicular cliffs of about 1300 feet in height and almost black in their hue. Before I had seen the Yosemite Valley these cliffs satisfied my ideals of steep mountain walls.” 59 58 LM: Not so. Ebenezer Emmons wrote a report to the Assembly dated Feb. 15, 1838, stating that his party, which had ascended Marcy in August 1837, had already decided to name the peak for the governor. The “Indian” name for Mount Marcy was fabricated by journalist Charles Fenno Hoffman, who climbed Marcy a month after the Emmons party. For details, see the footnotes, TDV 31-32 and TDV 55. 59 “How we Met John Brown,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1871. (TDV 147) [LM: The same encounter is recorded in Dana’s diary; see TDV 134.] 84 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 95. “The Sacrifice” From a pen and ink drawing by Mr. Henderson, owned by Miss Margaret H. Elliot 85
  • 96. Mt. McIntyre, from Lake Colden 86
  • 97. Lake Jimmy 87
  • 98. Henderson Monument Photo by Lee Manchester (original image in 1923 printing spoiled by printer’s error) 88
  • 99. 7. Wooden railroad — New furnace — Macready’s visit — Death of Mr. Henderson Judge McMartin died October 3, 1837, having but a few weeks before his death disposed of his interest in the property to Mr. McIntyre. The amount paid him on the final adjustment of their accounts was $20,000. Mr. McIntyre transferred this interest, or a portion of it, to his nephew, Archibald Robertson, of Philadelphia, who was also related to Mr. Henderson, having married his sister. The entire property thus passed into the ownership of the three proprietors whose names were chiefly identified with it as long as it was in operation, and whose descendants are still represented in the ownership. Mr. Robertson never took a very active part in the management, but from this time forward Mr. Henderson devoted more attention to the enterprise than before, and became its leading spirit. Thus far, iron and steel had been made at the works in very small quantities and by primitive methods, a forge and charcoal being used for smelting the ore. In 1838 was built the first blast furnace, which was located near the head of the village street, a short distance above the so-called iron dam. John Steele was still consulted in metallurgical matters, but the superintendent in charge of the works at this time and for a number of years later was Andrew Porteous, afterward of Luzerne. The year 1839 marked considerable progress in the development. The ore bed on the side of Sanford Hill was opened, and the ore tested with satisfactory results. Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, then professor of geology at Williams College and state geologist of New York, who had been a member of the Redfield party, began in the spring an elaborate survey and exploration of the property, the results of which were later embodied in his report on the Second Geological District. This was published by the state in 1842, and contains an exhaustive description of the ore deposits of the entire Adirondack region. Professor Emmons’ conclusions were such as greatly to encourage the proprietors. He found the supply of ore practically inexhaustible, his estimate of the contents of Sanford Hill being nearly 70,000,000 tons. That this was conservative was shown many years later by the results of diamond drilling operations at the same locality. He reported the ores to be satisfactory as to texture and mode of working, and the iron made from them to be of superior quality. “However others may regard the matter,” said he, “I am fully satisfied that the mines in question are a subject of national interest. My convictions of this fact were strong from my earliest investigations, and they have been strengthened with every examination which I have subsequently made.” He also considered the question as to whether the iron could be manufactured in competition with that of Pennsylvania and other coal-bearing states, and concluded that because of the superior quality of iron made from charcoal, the decision must be in favor of the northern mines.60 During the summer of this year surveys were made for the construction of a railroad from the works to Johnson’s on Clear Pond. Mr. Harris, the surveyor, made a special trip to New York from Albany for the purpose of purchasing a theodolite, “an instrument which will enable him to take levels and heights with great facility and get on rapidly with the work.” 60 “Natural History of New York,” Part IV, pp. 244 to 263. 89
  • 100. By act of the Legislature (Laws of 1839, Chapter 120), a corporation was organized to be known as the Adirondack Railroad, with a capital of $100,000, subscription books for which were opened with all due formality, although, as Mr. McIntyre wrote Porteous, there would really be no stockholders excepting the original proprietors. The route of this road passed around the head of Lake Sally and thence to the Opalescent or East River over ground that was in large part low or swampy. A causeway was projected, and begun during 1840, on which wooden rails were laid, Mr. Henderson being “firm in the belief that to the wooden railroad a company must resort to carry on their operations successfully until some one of the great avenues down the valley of the Hudson shall have been opened.” It was intended that this road should be extended to the “State Road” leading from Glens Falls to Elizabethtown, but this proved impracticable, and it was not constructed beyond the East River, a distance of some three miles. The remains of this structure are still visible in the woods and on the meadows around Lake Sally. By another act of the Legislature (Laws of 1839, Chapter 158), the Adirondac Iron & Steel Company was incorporated “for the purpose of making from ore in the Town of Newcomb, in the County of Essex, bar iron, anchors, mill irons, chains, steel, sheet iron, nail rods, hoop iron, nails, spikes, bolts and iron mongry.” Its capital was $1,000,000, and the directors for the first year were Archibald McIntyre, David Henderson, Archibald Robertson, Peter McMartin and Luke Hemenway.61 The correspondence of this period shows that Mr. McIntyre, then living in Albany, devoted much time to the details of the company’s business, his active interest covering not only questions of iron manufacture but agriculture, religion and politics. He personally bought the food and farming supplies, which were shipped in summer by canal boat from Albany to Cedar Point, and in winter by team. His purchases ranged from a pair of dark bay horses for the use of the tenant on Newcomb farm to “coffee, arrowroot and Loco Foco matches.” For two of the men he bought sealskin caps at $10 each, and for another a Bible at $1. “I might have got a Bible at half the cost I purchased for Allen but the paper was very dark and bad and the binding bad. Charge no profit on the Bible.” The question of labor then, as now, gave great concern, and Mr. McIntyre deplored a disposition on the part of nearly everyone employed at the works to charge more for services than the rates prevailing elsewhere. Their bloomers demanded $24 per ton, whereas at other furnaces the wages were $16 and at one place as low as $12. One Dibble demanded $15 per month wages though he had never received more than $12 elsewhere. Root, of Schroon River, proposed to charge $9 per ton for teaming in addition to hay and feed for his horses, whereas “Porteous is offered it at $6.” Mr. Henderson considered $2 the rod enormously high for constructing the causeway through the swampy land near Lake Sally. “That would be at the rate of $640 a mile for mere causeway.” He wrote Porteous (April 6, 1839): We are fully sensible of the disposition of a great proportion of the northern people to charge, as you say, enormous prices for what they do, and it is certainly a duty we owe to 61 This Peter McMartin was the son of Malcolm McMartin, one of the party who discovered the ore bed in 1826. His mother was Jane McIntyre, a sister of Mr. McIntyre. He was thus a nephew not only of the latter but of judge McMartin. Hemenway was Mr. McIntyre’s book-keeper. 90 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 101. ourselves, and perhaps to them, to oppose the principle as effectually as we can. We are sensible of having been much imposed upon from the beginning of the settlement, and we have no doubt you will be able to judge properly and prevent it for the future. There was trouble from time to time in finding a suitable man to conduct the boarding house. The references of a Mr. Durand were not altogether satisfactory, “yet as drinking too much occasionally seems to be the only fault against him, I should think it might be safe to venture to employ him, for at our place there can be no chance of indulging in drinking, besides in keeping a Boarding House as much, if not more, depends on the women of the family as on the man, and Mr. Porteous speaks favorably of the women of Durand’s family.” Durand was accordingly engaged, and two months later Mr. Henderson wrote: Boarding our hands at $2 per week I suppose we ought to be satisfied with, and so ought also Durand. I should think the privileges allowed him are certainly very considerable, and if his family and he are economical they cannot fail to make money. The Newcomb Farm was another source of care. It had various tenants from time to time, nearly all of whom were subjects of complaint. Allen, notwithstanding the purchase of the Bible for his benefit, proved no exception. A. McI. to Porteous, October 30, 1839: I am glad you acted promptly in discharging Allen, and it will be best that every man who will not do his duty should be treated in like manner. What evil spirit could have moved this man to have so altered his course. At first he acted well — seemed fully disposed to do his duty, and went on with his work neatly, and with a commendable share of industry. I wish for the present that you would not make any permanent arrangement with any one to take charge of the Newcomb farm — for I think we can secure the services of a worthy Scotchman and family for that farm. The worthy Scotchman was Andrew Harkness (after whom Lake Harkness was doubtless named) who came over in April 1840. Allen, in addition to his necessary food, was paid $130 per year for his services, but Harkness seems to have been willing to run the farm without compensation other than the use of the livestock and supplies on the premises, for which, however, he was to pay by constructing 75 rods of stone wall annually. During 1842-1843 there was a general business depression, and the proprietors did not always find it easy to raise the money that they poured out freely for new development. Mr. Henderson complained that most of his houses in Jersey City were in want of tenants. People who used to pay $400 for rent now want to pay only $200 to $250. It is to be hoped that times are now going to take a turn for the better. Some think that as Congress is now disbanded business will improve. A strange idea that the Congress, which should do all that they can to aid the country, shall be so considered as preventing healthy business operations in the nation whilst they are in session for fear of something injurious being enacted and done by them. Eighty years of “triumphant democracy” seem to have left conditions unchanged in this regard. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 91
  • 102. He devoted much time to the study of metallurgical chemistry, admitting that he had become “inoculated with a mania on that subject.” He found ample field for his labors in “that peculiar iron region of ours,” and was continually making tests and experiments in the effort to improve the crude conditions of their manufacturing. As from the beginning, there were alternating periods of high hope and complete discouragement. A magnetic separating machine, “a great bargain,” was purchased by John Steele, with the right to use it to the end of the patent for $737.50. Great expectations were entertained of the operations of this machine, and when it seemed likely to be a failure even the enthusiastic optimism of Mr. Henderson forsook him. D.H. to A. McI., June 24, 1843. We found the stamping apparatus well and substantially built, the water wheel and rest of machinery going as smooth as oil. The Magnetic machine was attached to it, which did very well after regulating. The magnets it is true had lost a good deal of their power, from having got wet in coming in, still they are sufficient in their present state to separate more ore than would be wanted for any intended operations. Ferguson came in on Tuesday evening last. On Wednesday he commenced his trials on the ore taken up by the magnets, and has continued them up to this night. I regret to say that as yet he has not succeeded in making work which would be at all profitable. ... This want of success has caused me much uneasiness, because this place cannot be kept on as it has been at a great expense unless iron can be made. Indeed the idea of farming here without making iron at the same time is absolute folly, because it would be a continual throwing away of money never to be seen again. We have looked upon these mountain masses of rich ore with wonder, but for all the iron making that any of us or those connected with us would carry on, a very insignificant vein would be just as good. My only hope has been, that if two fires could be profitably carried on here, to assist in keeping the place alive, and sending the iron out by sleighing, and getting a character for its quality in the market — that then the place would have a chance of being taken notice of by capitalists. The want of a good communication out, however, is against this. Should these experiments fail, it will be a very serious question to decide what should be done. The property here should be preserved from ruin if possible, to take advantage of any chance which may hereafter arise. I fear that you and I may both make up our minds that the large amount of money spent from first to last, has been spent in vain at least for us. I have expended upon it over $36,000.00, and you, I believe, a good deal more. I am compelled at length to consider it lost. Yet something may cast up unlikely as it seems to be. But if iron cannot be made profitably, of course nobody will look at it. Robertson goes out on Monday morning and I am very anxious to get home on many accounts, but I will attend the experiments for another week, and see whether any improvement can be made. I regret exceedingly that I am compelled to send you such poor accounts, but it is always best to know the worst. I hope you have bought but very little land at the late tax sales, for under existing circumstances it may be valueless to us. Notwithstanding this, they were, early in the following year, planning a new furnace, discussing whether it should be 20 feet in height or only 12 to 14 feet, and lamenting the necessity of paying a mason skilled in furnace construction the high wages of $2 per day, his special knowledge entitling him to more than ordinary masons’ wages. Work was begun in the spring, and by October the furnace was in operation. By the end of the year the prospects were brighter. D. H. to A. McI., December 6, 1844 92 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 103. The operations at Adirondack this year although vexatious and expensive, have yet fully proved, that the ore will run regularly that valuable white metal — the furnace being in order — that that metal can be regularly made into an iron — extraordinary for its quality. The fact of quality is most certainly and satisfactorily proved — and the proper mode to work the ores ascertained. What is now wanted, is, above all good workmen, and a thorough system of operations. These will produce regularity and certainty in the production of iron. By adding 5 or 6 feet to the top of the furnace the yield will be materially increased and this can be done. The furnace at least will keep three fires going, which with hammers will produce 36 cwt. per day or over 10-2/3 tons per week. But take a low estimate and say only 8 tons per week for 40 weeks in the year. By a liberal calculation the refined iron can be laid down in New York for $50 per ton, making every calculation of expense. I showed these eight bars to Mr. Ward who knows all about iron and the market. I asked him what such iron would readily sell for. He smiled and replied — at least you may calculate on $90. He only looked at it however as American refined iron, and had no respect to its peculiar quality. That it would bring $100 or more when known I have no doubt. If wanted for railroad axles and many other things where great strength is necessary it would bring a very great price. Well what I meant to say is this that if the 320 tons per year is made and bring a profit of $50 per ton — $16,000 — this would be a surplus to lay out on the place, without any more advances by us. With such profit — the water power could be substantially regulated I mean as regards as durable dams etc. and other permanent improvements made — so that manufacturing iron might be conducted with great facility. You will at once say — all this is paper calculation. Yet we must have ideas in our head, or we cannot expect any important results. D. H. to A. McI., December 18, 1844. I now consider that all experimenting as to quality is done away with, both as to the white metal and the bar made from it. That fact is established most fully. It has still to be proved — the running of the metal week in and week out regularly, and with the quantity of fuel which I firmly believe will do it. A great waste has taken place, in consequence of having had the misfortune to get a mulish and stubborn fireman, who had no experience in a small charcoal furnace. There is no mystery in the matter at all. We have suffered this year by waste, but not more or so much as they have done in many other places in the beginning. ... Mr. Pickslay sails for England on the 26th inst. and wants some more of the white metal which I will get him and some more flat bar iron. After all the trials are made he will send me a Report and specimens. His Father writes his opinion that our metal is in reality cast steel, but with more carbon in it than should be — and he compared it with specimens of cast steel which he had overcharged with carbon in the melting pot, and the fracture and appearance is precisely the same as ours. In June of that year (1844), Mr. David C. Colden, who had been a member of the Redfield party in 1836, again visited the property in company with [William Charles] Macready, the English actor, who was then playing in this country. Mr. Colden was not interested in the Iron Works, as some have supposed from the fact that Lake Colden was named after him, but he came as the guest of Mr. Henderson, of whom he was an intimate friend. He was a grandson of Governor General Cadwallader Colden, and a man of social prominence. He was one of the first treasurers of the Union Club and one of the founders of the Century Association, acting as chairman of the meeting at which that Club was organized in January 1847. He had a wide acquaintance in England through Lord Jeffrey, with whom he was connected by marriage, and also through Macready. Dickens, on his THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 93
  • 104. first visit to this country, had a letter of introduction from Macready to Colden, and was entertained by him. He wrote Macready (March 22, 1842):62 David Colden is as good a fellow as ever lived, and I am deeply in love with his wife; indeed, we have received the greatest and most earnest and zealous kindness from the whole family, and quite love them all. A copy of the first edition of “American Notes” inscribed “David Colden Esquire from his friend Charles Dickens, Nineteenth October 1842” was sold at the Anderson Galleries last winter for $475. Although Macready kept a full diary when in this country, it contains, as published, no record of this trip to the wilderness, except for entries showing that he was in Albany on June 6 and at Saratoga on his way out on June 18.63 This is possibly because he wrote two letters to his wife describing his trip, one sent out from the woods and the other written in part from Auburn, where he stopped on his way to Buffalo to play an engagement. This second letter, which gives his impressions of the Indian Pass, was by great good fortune secured from a London autograph dealer. Macready to His Wife. Auburn, New York, Thursday night, June 20th, 1844. My ever beloved Catherine: This date will remind you of our travels here seventeen years ago, when the black “gentleman” was introduced to me, as the person to clean my shoes. I arrived here about an hour since, and, after re-visiting the Prison tomorrow morning, go on my way towards Buffalo. I purpose however staying at Canandaigua tomorrow afternoon to deliver my letters — but they will be of little use to me. My short experience of “life in the woods” so gratified me, that if I should have any time on my hands, I shall ask Mr. Henderson’s leave to go there by myself, making my own arrangements, which will be more complete than his were. On the day that my last letter was despatched to you, I went with Henderson and Colden, and two attendants, on our excursion to one of the grand passes of this wild region — called the Notch: — I took the precaution of arming myself with Mr. Hunter’s bowie-knife, and this put me completely at my ease. — We made our way along the length of a wild lake resembling, in its fringe of blasted & withered firs, those on Mt. Catskill, but this was five miles in extent. — We then struck into the wood, and, starting three deer at our outset, pushed, climbed, scrambled and tore our way through and over this wild and grand labyrinth. An European can have no idea of an American forest — indeed many Americans are as much abroad in forming any idea of its savage grandeur. I constantly pause to look around, above and all about me to feel the depth of loneliness, that it impresses on one. The Pass, or glen, we went to see, exceeds in beauty and grandeur any other that I have chanced to look upon, considered in regard to its own distinguishing features. Its peculiar characteristic is, that along, and over its whole extent, it may be said to be formed entirely of boulders, varying in size from the stone, that a single hand could raise, to masses of rock, tumbled one upon another, of an immensity, that one hesitates to state in measurement. The side of the mountain has tumbled down at various times, and thus produced this wild scene of terrible beauty — Most of these rocks are grasped by enormous roots of trees, that send their huge trunks high into the air. They form varieties of pictures beyond all power of numbering. Some stand sharply erect in the midst of the ravine. Some piled in the wildest confusion upon others, form 62 Letters of Charles Dickens, Scribner’s, vol. I, p. 74. 63 Diary of William Charles Macready, edited by William Toynbee — two volumes, London, 1912. 94 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 105. deep and extensive caverns beneath, with long and intricate passages, capable of holding several hundred men, whilst between the clefts and in the depths of their interstices lie masses of ice and snow beyond the reach of sun-light. The river, or rather torrent, the infant Hudson, rushes among and over the rocks, forming cascades and rapids, or deepening in its swift course through closely pent-up channels. Enormous trees, uptorn and broken, are thrown across or into the stream in the most furious disorder. Over these except on the more recent victims of the tempest, is spread a growth of mosses, varying from one to two feet in depth and frequently it happens that in placing one’s foot upon some giant trunk laid prostrate, it yields to the pressure, and the traveller has to draw his leg out of a mass of decomposed vegetable matter of all depths. On the right side of the pass the mountain rises in a rapid slope, covered with trees of all dimensions, from the pine just bursting from its seed, up to the loftiest forms of the giants of the wilderness. On the left, rugged and bare, except where on its edges the birch and pine have enrooted themselves, the mountain of rock rears its naked front abrupt and perpendicularly from the tumbled heaps of its own ruins, and forms a perpendicular wall to the height of above twelve hundred feet. It is not easy to imagine a scene inspiring profounder awe, or more sublime emotions than this — whether considered solely for its grand and picturesque combinations, or for the reflections it induces on the agency, which nature exerts in the mystery of her creations. — We made our way along, for path we had often none, and such as there was, was little else than a deer track, bending under, or clambering over, rocks and trees, that overhung our line of travel — sometimes we went forward, guessing at the torrent’s course, over high knolls and through deep gullies, and at other times were guided by the blazing of the trees, a guidepost track, which I had learned to know the value of in Georgia. These are cut with an axe in the tree, which is called blazing. We crossed and re-crossed the stream many times on the rocks or fallen trees, that lay across its course, and then clambered, or floundered, or picked our way, toiling up and dropping down hills from tree to tree amid moss, and leaves, and rocks, of every form and size, that fancy could depict. We quenched our thirst often by little trickling rills, the silver sound of whose fall was almost as sweet to the ear, as their freshness to the taste. — We found a commodious place to build our camp of boughs and bark for the night, covering our bed of fir and balsam leaves — and oh! how we relished the slices of fat bacon toasted at the large fire made of the trees, that our men had cut down. Our fare was scarcely eatable out of camp, but did it not relish there? — and the brandy — and the tea — and the cigars! — Oh — fauns, Dryads, bears, panthers, and moose-deer — did you ever see such a set of cosey fellows in those woods before? We had an alarm of steps at midnight, but they gave me neither disturbance nor alarm — I looked out, and took to my blanket very comfort-ably again, and in the morning, when I had feared my 64 bones would be filled “with cramps and racked with aches,” I was “like a doe, like a doe” as Letty used to say — as active and fresh, as I never feel from bed. — It was a real enjoyment to me, and my only concern was, that we had not more of it. I had another day of the buck-board — coming out: — thirty miles of buck-board. When Shakespeare wrote about patience on a monument, he did not know what he was saying: for an evidence of the utmost that patience can endure, she should be placed on a buck-board, and the picture she would offer with that ghastly smile, which every winch of this rack would call forth, would be the sublime of the ridiculous. — They talk a great deal in the West (where they have very rich lands) of the excellence of the “American Bottom:” — I never was aware of its extraordinary properties till I saw David Colden and our driver bumping, like Stoics, on the buck-board. We returned by Lake George, which we traversed in a steam- boat, having thus the full range of its views from North to South — they are most beautiful. — I procured Willie a chrystal, some other curiosities, and the next day we went on to Saratoga (passing the falls of the Hudson), where we dined at the visitors’ table, 64 LM: Possibly a paraphrase of Prospero’s speech in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Act I, Scene II: “I’ll rack thee with old cramps, Fill all thy bones with aches and make thee roar.” THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 95
  • 106. and reached Albany in the evening. He left me next morning for New York — and at noon I began my journey here, travelling to Utica. — I was much disappointed at Auburn — it seemed to me, as if the moral purpose and effect were gone — all mercenary, and a low, ignorant, heartless set of men about the Prison. You remember how much I was pleased with it before: it appears to me quite altered — enlarged and profitable pecuniarily to the State, but in its effect on those, whom it most should benefit, I should think not tending to good. — Buffalo. — June 25th. — At Canandaigua I got amongst a crowd of Loco-focos: they did not beat me; but I was delayed some time, before I could get a room to make my 65 toilet. — I walked up to Mr. Gregg’s house; I had a letter to him from Carlyle — he and Mrs. Carlyle were living near to one another — he knew her when she was quite a child. — He was from home, but Mrs. Gregg asked me to dine at 4, and though it was to sit with 5 Ladies (oh!!!!! — it is not enough — I want one of Nina’s batches of notes of admiration) I boldly said “I would.” — I went down again to hear the harangues of my Loco-foco friends — but it was such trash, I could not stand it long. This is (illegible) part of the republic: the people are so often the tools of these knavish demagogues. (illegible) went to dinner. It is one of the handsomest country-seats in the United States. (illegible) a man of very large fortune, all made by himself, and is evidently a person of very good taste. There was another gentleman, for whom I presume they had sent in compassion to my situation, and we got over dinner cheerfully enough — a carriage came up by appointment at 6 to take me to the Railway, and by that I went on to Rochester, where I arrived in time to go to Ole Bull’s concert, where I found to my expectation, Mr. Gregg, and introduced myself to him. — He was very courteous, requesting me to visit him, if I returned that way, which I shall not do. — Ole Bull is a quack. I now have fairly heard him. I heard Vieux Temps at St. Louis, and thought the performance dull — I am disposed to think the composition was so. — But with him I listened to the music — with this man it was a succession of clever tricks with no reference to air, or subject; all the thought was, “that was clever” — “that was extraordinary” — but not like Paganini — not like Liszt — not like Droczmecsh. He is a humbug — he draws very sweet tones from his instrument, but it is like a manufacture of tones — Alas! for American taste at the mercy, as it is, of such creatures as Mr. Bennett, Mr. Willis &c-&c. I looked the next morning at the Falls of the Genesee, and at the cemetery of the place, which is in very good taste. — In the afternoon the Railway brought me on here. — It was a mistake — the coming here — The agent in N. York told me it was certain — that there was a large Theatre & great population — there is a large theatre, but a new and un-educated and straggling population, to whom my performances and even my name must be altogether strange. — Last night the house only $204! — and I have three more nights to play. No matter — they will soon be over. ... Ever your most affectionate husband, lover & Friend, WILLIAM CHARLES JOHN ANDERSON MACREADY. Fancy an actor of the present day writing, even to his most recent wife, at such length as this, and largely on the subject of scenery. Describing this visit, Mr. Henderson wrote Mr. McIntyre, June 15, 1844, in happy ignorance, apparently, that Macready had found the arrangements for his comfort incomplete: Root having come in to take Messrs. Colden and Macready out, he brought me Annie’s letter of this day week, which informed me how you all were at that time. … On Wednesday morning we went to the Notch, and roamed about there through the caves 65 LM: John Grieg, who is described in Mrs. Richards’ “Village Life in America” as “a wealthy Scotsman, long time resident in Canandaigua.” 96 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 107. &c., &c., and camped in the Notch all night. Next morning Macready and Colden came home, and Cheney and I went over the Mountain east of the Notch and then on to the wing of Mount McIntyre, for the purpose of coming down a ravine which I had often noticed from Lake Henderson, and which runs down in a straight line from the top of the mountain. We found a stream running down this ravine, which empties into the stream from the Notch. The wild and abrupt scenery in this gorge equalled anything I ever saw — the stream running for over a mile upon a steep inclined plane of smooth solid rock, and from 50 to 100 feet wide. This inclined plane of rock is broken every few hundred feet by perpendicular precipices over which the river runs. We had a hard tramp of it, but I considered myself well repaid, for I had seen nothing like it before. I saw nothing but the usual rocks, and some fine specimens of trap dykes crossing the rock. This morning we ascended the hill east of the Forge and went around the high mountains surrounding Lake Jamie. Macready, who has a fine taste for wild scenery, was perfectly enraptured with the Notch and delighted with what he has seen. He has travelled over the greater part of Europe, but he says the character of the scenery in the Adirondack mountains is entirely new to him and abounds with interest. He is a most gentlemanly and intelligent person. The next week I mean to devote entirely to business matters. The furnace is all lined and the hearth completed. They have now to erect the chimney over the furnace, and the place to hold the hot blast pipes — which is only a short job. Two of the masons will leave in a day or two. — Taylor, although very competent, is slow and dilatory, and seems to have no faculty to push matters. They are at the bellows apparatus, which ought not to take more than 3 or 4 days to complete. The wrought iron pistons for the two cylinders have been turned here on a lathe which Taylor brought in with him. — They are now blasting in the black ore bed, and we have now got it to assume a better shape, and will soon have it to work to advantage. A great deal of work has been done to accomplish what we wanted, but all is well done — and Mr. Porteous has spared no pains to do the best under the circumstances. A great many men are still here, but a number will be paid off soon. We had some very cold weather in the beginning of the week — on Tuesday night ice was made, — but yesterday & to-day has been warm. Macready has gained much strength since he came in here. He was by no means well when he came. The next letters I receive from Albany I trust will bring me accounts of further improvement in your health. Were you only here you would very soon find the advantage of this fine air. No letters of Mr. Henderson subsequent to December 1844 are available. His untimely death occurred in the following year. During the summer of 1845 he was at the works with his family. There had been for some years trouble from insufficient water power at dry seasons, which was now augmented by the requirements of the new machinery that had been installed. The project of turning the water of the Opalescent River down the Calamity Brook Valley had been under discussion for some time. It was while on a trip of investigation for a proposed dam site that Mr. Henderson lost his life on the shore of the little sheet of water ever since known as Calamity Pond. The story of this catastrophe has been often told, but nowhere more graphically than in a small pamphlet published long afterwards by Henry Dornberg, who was for many years an employee at the works.66 66 “Why the Wilderness is Called Adirondack,” by Henry Dornberg [sometimes spelled “Dornburgh”], Glens Falls, 1885. Dornberg died in Ticonderoga in 1911 at the age of 92. [Others give Dornburgh’s birth year as 1816, with his death in 1915.] He was an uncle by marriage of Mrs. David Hunter. His son, Robert W. Dornberg, was for some years District Attorney of Essex County. (TDV 339-341, 343) THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 97
  • 108. A party was formed consisting of Messrs. Henderson and Taylor, Anthony Snyder, John Cheany and a ten-year-old son of Mr. Henderson, to search for a course to lead the water to their works, and as they expected to camp out over night they carried knapsacks. The distance between the two streams upon their route was six miles, and about half way of this distance there was a small pond called the duck hole. When the little party came in full view of it they discovered a number of ducks in it, whereupon Mr. Henderson remarked to John Cheany: “You take my pistol and kill some of those ducks,” and he handed his pistol to Cheany. The balance of the party had gone to the head of the pond to start a fire preparatory for dinner. John Cheany had advanced but a few yards upon the ducks when they discovered his approach and flew out of range, and Mr. Cheany then stepped up to Mr. Henderson and returned the pistol which Mr. Henderson replaced in its sheath. Mr. Cheany knowing there was an abundance of trout in the pond, concluded not to follow up the ducks but catch some of the gamey fish, and preparing hook and line he found a pole where he had caught hundreds of trout before. He had just dropped the hook in the water when he heard the report of a pistol, and looking in that direction he saw the party had arrived at the head of the pond and also saw that Mr. Henderson was in a stooping posture and that Messrs. Taylor and Snyder, who had been in the vicinity gathering wood for the dinner fire, were at his side. Mr. Cheany knew Mr. Henderson was shot by the movement he made, and he ran to him as fast as possible. Upon arriving at Mr. Henderson’s side the fallen man turned his eyes to him and said: “John, you must have left the pistol cocked.” Mr. Cheany could make no reply, not knowing but that might have been the case. Mr. Henderson looked around and said: “This is a horrible place for a man to die,” and then calling his son to him he gently said, “Archie, be a good boy and give my love to your mother.” This was all he said, although his lips kept moving for a few minutes as if in prayer, and at the end of fifteen minutes from the time of being shot he expired. The theory of the cause of the accident is as follows: Mr. Henderson, it is supposed, took off his knapsack and laid it on a rock and then unbuckled his belt at the same time taking hold of the muzzle of the pistol, and in laying it down on the rock he must have struck the rock with the hammer which caused the discharge of the weapon, and as the muzzle was pointing towards him the ball entered his abdomen just below the navel, causing the fatal wound. The ball in its passage made three holes through his shirt, which was in folds. The party set to work to make a couch for the body, breaking balsam boughs and laying them in a pile, and on this bed the lifeless remains were placed. This done, Mr. Snyder returned to the village for help and lights, knowing that by the time he returned it would be dark. The balance of the party remained with the body. Upon his arrival in the village Mr. Snyder was very cautious in stating his errand, and picked his men judiciously, ordering them to prepare themselves with lanterns, axes and tools to construct a bier to carry the remains to the village. He also set men to work cutting out trees and bushes to make a way for the corpse to be conveyed to the village, there being but a narrow trail then, and the trail made by Mr. Snyder is now used by tourists on their way to Mt. Marcy. The singularity of a body of men passing along the street with lighted lanterns in the day time and carrying axes and other tools, naturally caused quite a sensation, and the news of the accident soon spread, and it was soon known by the company’s principal manager, Mr. Andrew Porteous, now of Luzerne, Warren county, N.Y. Mrs. Henderson, Maggie, little Archie and a nephew named David Henderson, were in the village at the time, and Mrs. Henderson, accompanied by her daughter Maggie and Mrs. Porteous, made her way into the street to ascertain the cause of the commotion. Seeing Michael Laverty, the women caught hold of him and insisted upon his telling them the cause of the unusual proceeding, but the man was not disposed to give them any information and evaded a direct answer, whereupon they laid hands upon him and told him they would not let him go until he told them. He then admitted that he believed that some of the men were hurt in the woods, and Maggie immediately burst out crying, “Pa is shot, pa is shot.” Woman’s instinct divined the mystery which the men had been directed to preserve towards the women, and they knew it was Mr. Henderson who had been shot, 98 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 109. for if it had been any other in the party secrecy would not have been observed. When some of the men arrived at the scene of the sad accident, they set to work preparing a bier to lay the remains upon, while others made the path wider, so that the transference of the corpse could be accomplished with greater ease. Early in the morning the other party bringing the remains, arrived at the village and men were set to work building a rude coffin. These men were Spencer Eggerton, of Moriah, and the writer of this article, and as the weather was very warm speedy despatch was required to hasten the remains to Jersey City before decomposition set in. A despatch was sent to Russell Root, of Root’s Center, Schroon River, requesting him to meet the party in charge of the corpse at Mr. 67 Wise’s shanty on the cartage road. The cartage road being in course of construction the remains were conveyed by team from the village to Tahawus, where they were taken from this point upon the shoulders of men to strike the cartage road. This occupied all day as the party were obliged to move slowly upon a winter road trail, and Mr. Wise’s shanty was not reached until daybreak, where Root was waiting to conduct the party to Lake Champlain to take the steamboat. The last carry was ten miles. The relatives of the deceased immediately proceeded to Jersey City, to make the funeral arrangements and despatches were sent to friends. Mr. Henderson’s death was a sad blow to the Adirondack Iron Company, as he was their most influential man and he was also greatly missed by all classes who had learned to love him, and for a few days all work was suspended in the village. … Mr. Henderson was a scientific man of more than ordinary attainments and was not only one of the best financiers but was very accomplished and agreeable. He was always very pleasant with his men and as he was an excellent violinist he often played while his men indulged in a little dance. This manifestation of interest in them won their friendship and his name will be revered by them as long as life lasts. The day of the calamity still seems fresh with many. It was a day of great mourning in the wilderness and it will be a long time before such a day of mourning will again take place in the Adirondacks. Had Mr. Henderson lived, in all probability, the Adirondacks would have flourished with iron and steel works second to none on this continent. His whole energy was in that direction. The historian Headley, who visited the Upper Works and ascended Mount Tahawus in the following year with John Cheney as a guide, wrote: The first few miles there is a rough path, which was cut last summer in order to bring out the body of Mr. Henderson. It is a great help, but filled with sad associations. At length we came to the spot where 25 workmen watched with the body in the forest all night. It was too late to get through, and here they kindled their camp fire and stayed. The rough poles are still there on which the corpse rested. “Here,” says Cheney, “on this log I sat all night and held in my arms Mr. Henderson’s little son, eleven years of age. Oh! how he cried to be taken to his mother, but it was impossible to find our way through the woods; 68 and he at length cried himself to sleep in my arms. Oh! it was a dreadful night.” Mr. Henderson was buried in the McIntyre family plot in the Albany Rural Cemetery, where his grave is marked by a stone inscribed: “David Henderson. Born in Scotland. Died at Adirondac N.Y. 3d Sept. 1845 aged 52 years.” A monument in his memory was erected by the family on the rock where the accident happened. It bears the inscription: 67 The Carthage road. 68 “The Adirondack, or Life in the Woods,” New York, 1849. (TDV 91) THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 99
  • 110. Erected by filial affection to the memory of our dear father, David Henderson, who accidentally lost his life on this spot by the premature discharge of a pistol, third of September 1845. Situated in the midst of an almost unbroken solitude and far from any settlement, it has for years been the subject of wondering comment by tourists. That evoked by the somewhat fantastic imagination of Street has often been quoted:69 The monument was cut and carved abroad, and, in separate pieces, was transported on the backs of Hunter and several of the workmen of the Upper Works, to the rock, and there erected. How often has the wild wolf made his lair beside it! How often the savage panther glared at its beautiful proportions, and wondered what object met his blazing eyeballs. A few years ago this monument was moved about ten feet to the south of the rock on which it was originally placed, lest it should be damaged by the flooding of the brook during lumbering operations. It has recently been replaced. Unfortunately the land on which it stands is no longer owned by MacIntyre Iron Company, being within the gore around Lake Colden which the state appropriated in 1920. As relatives of Mr. Henderson still retain an interest in the company, it was requested on their behalf that a small square of land immediately surrounding the monument might be reserved from the appropriation. This was refused by the Conservation Commission for reasons doubtless sufficient to the official mind, but never made apparent. 69 “The Indian Pass,” New York, 1869. (TDV 254) 100 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 111. Mount Colden 101
  • 112. Avalanche Lake 102
  • 113. 8. Nephews of the company It has often been said that the death of Mr. Henderson put an end to the enterprise. In a broad sense, this is true. He had succeeded, after years of struggle and disappointment, in reaching the point where he found that the ores could be profitably manufactured. Had he lived, his remarkable energy and resourcefulness would undoubtedly have enabled him to solve the problems of fuel, transportation and the competition of other ore beds, so that the enterprise would have attained the proportions anticipated by its founders. But there was no one to succeed him who had his peculiar qualifications for leadership. Mr. McIntyre was at this time seventy-three years of age, and, being far from robust in health, was most reluctant to take up additional business cares. Mr. Robertson was not familiar with the iron business, and moreover had other interests requiring his attention at his home in Philadelphia. The business had acquired a momentum, however, which carried it forward for a considerable period, and the next few years were marked by great activity. Mr. Henderson had been for some time before his death in negotiation with one Pickslay, an English steel maker of Sheffield, with the view of securing his cooperation in the manufacture of steel from Adirondack ore. Similar negotiations were later taken up with Joseph Dixon, afterwards well known as the head of the Dixon Crucible Works, whom it was proposed to employ as superintendent. It does not appear that either became directly connected with the Adirondack concern, but as a result of the negotiations the proprietors became convinced that steel manufacturing from their ores could be carried on successfully. The Adirondack Steel Manufacturing Company, incorporated under the General Laws of New Jersey, began in 1848 the erection in Jersey City of a steel- manufacturing plant, costing about $100,000, and capable of manufacturing two tons of cast steel per day. These works were operated successfully for some years, using solely Adirondack iron, and the steel products were of the highest quality. It was the first steel of American manufacture, and was awarded a gold medal at the World’s Fair in London in 1851.70 In 1850 a New York corporation was organized under the General Laws of 1848, bearing the same name as the corporation formed by the Special Act of 1839 before referred to. This new corporation was authorized by the Laws of 1850, Chapter 333, to take lands in payment for its capital stock, and conveyance to it was accordingly made of the Adirondack property. The capital was $625,000 in shares of $250 each, apportioned as follows: Archibald McIntyre............................................................................................ 903 Archibald Robertson .......................................................................................... 781 Heirs of David Henderson.................................................................................. 781 Dr. James McNaughton........................................................................................ 10 J. McD. McIntyre ................................................................................................. 10 Dudley S. Gregory ............................................................................................... 10 W.E. Brown............................................................................................................ 5 Dr. McNaughton, of Albany, was a son-in-law of Mr. McIntyre. Dudley S. Gregory was for some years a partner of Mr. Henderson in the pottery business in Jersey City and 70 New York State Agricultural Society Transactions, 1851, p. 145. 103
  • 114. later president of the [Adirondack] Steel Company. His daughter, Elizabeth, married Archibald, son of Mr. Henderson, and his son, George, married Mr. Henderson’s daughter, Margaret. Mr. Henderson’s second daughter, Annie, married Daniel Giraud Elliot, the well- known naturalist. The superintendent at the Jersey City works for four years was James R. Thompson, a nephew of Mr. Henderson and a son of Dyer Thompson, one of the party of discovery in 1826. He was at the Adirondack Works for some time as a clerk under Andrew Porteous, the superintendent, and in later years, after operations had ceased, took charge of the property. For several years after Mr. Henderson’s death, his interests in Jersey City and at the Adirondack Works were looked after by a nephew and namesake, David Henderson. Through correspondence with him, Mr. McIntyre kept advised of the progress of the enterprise, but apparently never visited the property again. Mr. Robertson, however, was often there, and for some time after Mr. Henderson’s death looked after the purchase and shipment of supplies, and similar matters of detail. The property was now called Adirondac instead of McIntyre. A post office under that name was established through the efforts of Orlando Kellogg, congressman from the Essex County District, and in October 1848, Andrew Porteous received his commission as the first postmaster. Richard H. Dana, visiting the works in 1849, wrote: The agent lived in a house where it was plain that one room served for parlor, kitchen and nursery. He was a hard-worked, sore-pressed man. A chance to sleep on a floor in a house with ninety-six puddlers, with liberty to wash in the stream, was as fair a result as we had a right to expect in the one house into which strangers could be received. But then we had the consolation that our landlord was a justice of the peace, and wrote “esquire” after his name, and had actually married a couple, it was hoped in due form, and was popularly supposed to be able to fill out a writ, if the rough habits of the people 71 should ever call for so formal a process. By the Government contract with the mail carrier, John Wright, the office at Adirondac was to be supplied with the mail twice a week from Schroon River, a distance of nineteen miles. His compensation was to be the net proceeds of postage collected at the office, not exceeding $18.75 per quarter. The mail was then sent from Albany by way of Sandy Hill and Glens Falls. The boarding house was kept for some time by David C. Goodale, apparently a versatile man, who also served the community as physician and schoolteacher. In the latter capacity he contracted “to give his services to all the Inhabitants of Adirondac and Tahawus as Doctor and physician ... also that he will teach school in Adirondac six hours each day that is usual for District Schools to be kept … and will give every proper attention toward the teaching and proper improvement of the scholars in every branch of their Study.” For this he was to receive $186. As keeper of the boarding house he paid $5 per month rent, received his supplies at a discount of 7 per cent. and was guaranteed $2.25 per week for each boarder sent him by the Company. Besides Mr. Thompson, Robert Clarke of Cincinnati, and Alexander Ralph, both relatives of Mr. Henderson, were employed in the business management of the works. 71 LM: From “How We Met John Brown,” TDV 148. Also see Dana’s Adirondack diary, TDV 135. 104 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 115. Ralph succeeded Porteous as superintendent in 1852. Dornberg, being unable to trace the intricacies of Scotch relationships, described Messrs. Thompson, Clarke and Ralph in broad terms as “nephews of the company.” “Mr. Thompson,” he says, “made the little valley ring with his Scotch songs, and the laborers after their day’s work would collect around him and urge upon him the expansion of his lungs. When once started it was so easy for him he would amuse them with songs until late in the evening.”72 The other two were also evidently jovial blades, and Robert Clarke, in particular, was keenly interested in what was going on. Writing to Alexander Ralph from his home in Cincinnati, before he came to Adirondac, he said (August 26, 1847): I am greatly obliged to you for the description of your ascent to Mount Tahawus. It is very interesting, but I want very much to know what “the breaking up of a hard winter” looks like. I am very anxious to know something more of the geology of Adirondacks. I think you could give me a little touch of it. Have you collected any river or lake shells? Again, October 23, 1848: In my opinion the situation of the Storekeeper bookkeeper & Cashier of the McIntyre Bank is not to be scoffed at. Snatch at it, you blackguard, & be thankful for it. The Cashier business which you seem so scared at, I should think would be very easily managed, you would soon get accustomed to it, & as to getting rid of it when opperations are to be commenced in Ohio, I think that it will need no managing, you are not bound for any time, & if any objection was to be raised, Uncle Archie could certainly use his influence. Don’t make any objections to it at all, but grab it as soon as it is offered to you. What is the salary? if it be a fair question, it ought to be large for such a trust. I am glad you have at last managed to find out the great unknown. it is a satisfaction always to know the cause, even when you can’t remedy it. It is rather Singular that after so many analyses & so many years of experiment, that they should find at last that they had overlooked 10 pr. ct. of Titanium, rather an extensive oversight I should think if it is really true. I think it highly probable now that with fair weather & winds I will spend next summer with you at Adirondack. I think I will likely leave here in June & stay — as long as I please. Your declaration that there are some pretty girls up there has given me some encouragement. The “pretty girls” perhaps failed to materialize, for the writing of long letters (no doubt at the book-keeper’s desk still preserved in the Club room at the upper works) seems to have been his chief resource in the long evenings. In the following year he and his cousin, Alexander Ralph, made a trip to Lake Colden and the East River, which was described at great length in a letter to his mother: Sandy & I dressed ourselves “a la mode” of the backwoods. Strong full cloth pants, flannel shirt, Stogy boots & slouched hat, he carried a rifle & a pack containing bread, pork, tea, sugar, salt &c. I carried an axe & pack containing teapot, tin cups, my plaid, the “admiral” as we call the brandy bottle, my spy glass & a compass. Thus equipped we started at 5 o’clk on a fine cold morning in the middle of July, & for the first five miles walked very fast, which we had to do to keep ourselves warm. We then got to the East River dam. From this we had to strike off into a new country to both of us but we both 72 LM: Dornburgh, TDV 344. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 105
  • 116. knew the bearings of the country well & knew we couldn’t get lost. So on we started through the unbroken wilderness. We had some four miles to go before we reached Mt. McMartin & Avalanche Lake our destination. They climbed Mount McMartin (now Colden) by going up the trap gorge and the slide, taking an hour and a half for the trip. This, so far as known, is the first recorded ascent of that mountain. Returning by way of East River, they fished down the stream, taking 113 trout, “as many as we wanted to back home for five miles more through the woods.” He said nothing about trying the fishing in Lake Colden or Lake Avalanche. Apparently no trout were found in those waters until many years later. Redfield, a careful observer, reported that there were none there in 1837, and Lossing (1859) said “only lizards and leeches occupy these cold waters.”73 So also wrote Street in 1868.74 There was excellent fishing in Lake Colden when the Adirondack Club was organized in 1877. The first trout known to have been taken in Lake Avalanche were killed by Judge Samuel H. Ordway in the summer of 1903. In the following year trout were first taken in the Flowed Lands by Mr. William H. Wheelock. Mr. Clarke’s most valuable contribution to the history of this period is contained in the following letter written March 15, 1852, to “The Members of the Western Academy of Natural Sciences,” evidently a Cincinnati organization: Gentlemen, This is Monday evening, and many a Monday evening do I think of you & wish I could spend it among you, but my lot is cast for a time here in this wilderness of woods & snows; and I must abide contented in the hope of “a good time coming.” If I cannot be with you bodily, however, thanks to Rowland Hill I can send my representative in the shape of these few lines, which I trust will not be unwelcome to my old Academican friends, even if they are not very scientific. A life in the backwoods is just like a life anywhere else “all over in spots;” has its advantages & its disadvantages; its merry times & its gloomy times; its summer & its winter. The greatest advantage here, however, is the climate, which is extremely healthy, owing, in part, to our altitude; the village stands in a little north-and-south vally in the Adirondac Mountains at an elevation of 1750 feet above tide water. Summer is here a delightful season, mild and pleasant. The thermometer is seldom higher than 80° and very rarely above 90°. In July and August, the warmest months, there are but few mornings and evenings in which a fire is at all uncomfortable; and we can never “camp out” in the woods without a big fire at our feet, which is kept up all night. On the other hand, the winters are very severe, but the air is dry, bracing and healthy, with no damp, chilly weather. I see by my Cincinnati papers & letters — most welcome messengers to me — that the winter has been unusually severe with you, as almost everywhere else. But your winter, with all your freezing descriptions of it, we would laugh at, and wish you here for a week, to see you hop about in furs, moccasins and snow shoes. The only difference I can notice between this and last winter, is in its length. It commenced a couple of weeks earlier than usual and is likely to last a little longer. The first sleighing was on the 8th Novr. Since then we have not seen the ground except where 73 “The Hudson,” p. 40. [TDV 196] 74 “The Indian Pass,” Introduction p. xxiv. 106 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 117. uncovered by drifting of the snow, and we don’t expect to see it till about the 8th of April; thus we will have had about one hundred and fifty days of uninterrupted sleighing. The sleighing lasted till 3d of May. Thus we only lacked five days of having six months of uninterrupted sleighing. The actual amount of snow that has fallen this winter, I cannot tell, but it has kept at an average depth of four feet nearly all winter. At times it would be reduced, by thaws, to a foot or so, but it was immediately piled up again by fresh storms. The snow is dry and mealy, and we cannot walk off the beaten track except on snow- shoes, on which we do all our hunting and strolling. The thermometer has been down to 32° below zero this winter, and I have seen weeks together that it would average below 16° below zero. The winter of [18]49/50 was a much colder winter than this one. The mercury froze and for a week it was colder than it was ever known here before, even by that ancient individual “the oldest inhabitant.” That was what the folks here would call “quite a spell of weather,” which expression is applied equally to hot or cold weather, provided it keeps the same for a “spell.” We have plenty of fishing here. Our trout, pickerel and perch furnish fine sport for the followers of old Isaak Walton. The trout fishing is not as good as formerly, but still a mess can be caught almost any day in most of our streams and lakes. There are two kinds, the Lake trout (Salmo confinis: De Kay) and the Brook or spotted trout (Salmo fontinalis: De Kay); the former inhabiting the larger lakes and the latter the smaller lakes, ponds & rivers. Lake Henderson half a mile above the village and Lake Sanford, the same distance below, were once swarming with lake trouts. But their spawning beds were destroyed by the construction of dams for the Works, which raised the waters of each of them some six or eight feet above the original level, and I doubt very much if they ever form new spawning beds after their old ones have been destroyed. In these lakes therefore they are almost exterminated. In Lake Henderson there were only three caught last year. They were about the same size and weighed twenty one pounds. This winter there has been seven caught in Lake Sanford through the ice, an unusual number. They were all large; the heaviest weighed thirteen & a half pounds, and the total weight of the seven was seventy three pounds. They are indeed a delicious fish, firm fleshed and finely flavored, though I don’t think they are equal to the brook or spotted trout. These little beauties give great sport especially when fished for with the artificial fly. But they are very capricious in their tastes; sometimes you can tickle their fancy with a worm, when they wouldn’t look at the most “killing” flies; and then again they will, at times, “rise” to the merest piece of feather when a good, fat, well-conditioned worm wouldn’t move them. Their average in weight is under half a pound, but they vary very much, and always in proportion with the size of the pond or stream. The largest I ever saw weighed three pounds. The pickerel came originally from Lake Champlain. They were taken thence to Schroon Lake, and doing well there five years ago, there were eighteen brought in here from the latter lake and put into Lake Sanford. They increase very rapidly and grow very large. To see the Lake Champlain pickerel and those caught in Lake Sanford now, together, you would scarcely suppose them to be the same fish; so great has been the change produced on them by the purity of the water and probably the abundance of food. Ours are not so long, lean and soft, but are shorter, thicker, firmer in flesh and more delicate in flavor. They are an excellent “game” fish in summer and require no little tact to capture them. In winter, through the ice, they act quite differently and are more easily caught. There have been upwards of five hundred caught this winter, which would average from four to five pounds each. A yearling weighs from two to four pounds, and the oldest in the Lake, four years, being the product of the first years spawn, weigh from twelve to fifteen pounds. Perch are also plenty, and give good sport though sometimes I have caught them so fast that there was no fun in it. One afternoon I went down to Lake Sandford with my aunt, cousin & a friend, bent on a pickerel and perchance a few perch by way of a change. It was in August last, & the water was drawn to its original level. We no sooner fastened our THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 107
  • 118. boat to a stake, than we were surrounded by such a swarm of perch as I never saw before. It was needless putting out our pickerel hooks so we rigged for perch and caught them just as fast as we could throw in our hooks and haul them out, untill we were perfectly sick of it. We unhitched & rowed off fifty rods or so, threw in our pickerel lines and each of us had a bite immediately. The others pulled up and nothing but perch appeared again. I knew mine was not a perch by the way he acted, and expected to surprise them with an awkward young pickerel which had got hold of a hook for the first time. So laughing at their perch, I pulled up my line and lo! I had what was ten times worse, a big bull-pout or catfish, with its infernal “squeak, squeak.” I would rather have had a snake on. We gave it up, pulled for home and reached the landing just one hour from the time we left, and had caught three hundred perch, just as much as two of us could waddle under, placed in strings across two oars. Besides these, Bull-pout are plenty enough for those that want them. Suckers in the spring come up the river from Lake Sandford to the foot of the dam in myriads, and can be speared or scooped out with a net or even a shovel in any quantity. When they first come up they are tolerable eating, but they soon get soft and are then not good for anything. Then, we have the minnow, horned chub, dace, punkin seed and other small fish. Eels have also been caught, but none since I came here. There is a curious fact connected with fish, which is generally doubted even by scientific men. I refer to their resuscitation after having been frozen. Our winters are so severe and fishing through the ice such a common employment, that we have unusual facilities in observing this phenomenon. I may here give you the substance of a letter I wrote to the Editors of the “Scientific American” (in answer to an enquiry on this subject) which was published in the number of that paper for 21st of Feby. as it will illustrate this point as well as anything else I can write. I have witnessed it repeatedly in the trout, pickerel and perch, and have no doubt but that all other fresh water fish are affected in the same way. It is not every frozen fish, however, that will revive on being thawed out, but only those that have been frozen under certain circumstances. If, for instance, on a bright, clear day you catch any of these fish and throwing them down on the ice let them toss around in the sun for an hour or two before they freeze; then they will never revive. But if caught on a dull, cloudy day and freeze immediately on being thrown on the ice then they will revive on being thawed out, even after having been carried for miles. It is such a common thing here that I have only to go back to the last time I was out fishing, for an example of it. I went down to Lake Sandford with one of our men on the 29th Jany. and at night we carried home in our packs eleven pickerel, all frozen hard and bent and curved just as they happened to twist themselves before freezing. We put them in a trough of running spring water, and when thawed out, six of them were alive; the others had probably been caught in the warmest part of the day and died before they froze. The same day fifteen fine brook trout were brought from Lake Andrew five miles distant in a pack, and on being thawed out, several of them revived; though I did not notice how many. They are, however, a more delicate fish than either the pickerel or perch and are more easily hurt. On the afternoon of the 24th Jany., I had fished faithfully for pickerel, without even getting an encouraging nibble; tired, at last, of that fun, I took out a small hook and line and soon had twenty five perch, they froze almost instantly, I strung them on a crotched twig and carried them so for two miles and when thawed found fourteen of them alive, the others having been hurt either by the hook or the twig. The pond behind the village, formed by the damming of the river, is full of young pickerel. They are all from three fish put in there last winter; one male and two females. Every one of them were brought from Lake Sandford frozen and were put in the pond after they were thawed out in a trough. The male one I caught; it lay on the ice frozen for three hours, and then not finding a mate for him I ran a stick through his gills and dragged 108 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 119. him home on the snow, two miles, threw him into the trough & thought no more of him until next morning; when I found him alive and seemingly enjoying himself as well as his narrow limits would permit him. I took pity on the poor fellow, carried him down to the pond and he went off with a dart. These are but a few instances of what occurs here, almost every day, the winter through. The fact of their resuscitation after having been frozen, as I have described, is known to every one here who is in the habit of fishing in winter, and cannot escape notice as the weather is cold enough almost all the time to freeze them, and they have to be thawed out before they can be cleaned. I have heard some say that they have taken trout when frozen and whittled their fins and tail off, and on being thawed found them alive, but I have never tried this nor any other experiments with them and would not vouch for its truth. Before leaving the water I must mention our fresh water shells. I have often looked for them but never found any till last fall, when on a little island in Lake Sandford I obtained two species, the Unio purpureus and the Anadenta undulata. The shells are very thin, so different from the shells of the Ohio, showing the absence of lime in the water. This Lake is, no doubt, the highest water in the United States in which shells are found. It is 1714 feet above tide water. I have never found any fresh water univalves. Of the Helices I have found six, viz.: Helix Alternata; H. Hirsuta; H. Interna; H. Arborea; H. Thyroides. The other is a small one, one-twelfth of an inch in diameter and the same in height, being very much elevated, it has no formed lip and the umbilicus is closed. I don’t know what it is. I think there are more here but the moss is so thick in the woods that it is difficult finding them. I have seen the remains of the H. Albolabris, where fire has run over part of the woods, but have never found a live specimen. There is grand scope here too for the hunter and trapper. Deer are very plenty, and in the season we are kept pretty well supplied with fresh venison. “Once upon a time” moose were not very scarce about these “diggins,” but now they are. Though two were killed a few days ago by two parties out in different directions, I never saw one, but they are described as most frightful looking beasts, especially when attacked and kept at bay by the dogs. One of those caught, a bull, stood six feet eight inches or twenty hands high. Their color at this season is greyish black, though this one was almost black, and his skin will make a beautiful sleigh robe. We feasted on his nose the other day, which is considered a great delicacy by epicures, but I beg to be excused, I would rather have a piece of his ham any day. His meat is course grained like beef and has a wilder taste than venison. But it shows its good qualities best in the dried state. I have the skull of the other one an old cow and will clean it and put it among my crania. There was a party of Indians came in here with their families about eight winters ago and camped near the Boreas pond in the principle “yard” of the moose killed all they could find and scared off the rest, which accounts in part for the scarcity. There is one trait of this singular animal which shows that he had a little foresight. Whenever there comes a thaw, they will tramp roads for miles, where ever the balsam and mountain ash, on which they browse, are thickest. Thus in a few days thaw they can make themselves quite a large “yard,” in which they can walk at their leisure when the deep snows come, when otherwise they would find at almost impossible to move at all. There used to be panthers here and if all stories we hear of them are true, we have them round us yet. A bear or two are killed every fall. There are also wolves, wolverine or lynx, foxes, black cat, otter, sable mink and some smaller animals. The beaver too were once here and has left a few of his dams across some of the small brooks, but he is gone now. I might continue and tell you of our birds. The eagle among the precipices, hawks, owls, jays, partridges, robins, snowbirds and the tame and pretty little crossbell who will pick crumbs from your very feet and enlivens every second winter with its cheerful chirp. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 109
  • 120. And also the red headed and black ducks, the loon or northern diver, snipe and dippers in abundance, with once in a while a great heron stalking in majesty in the shallow water. but my few lines have been multiplied too often now and I fear I am tiring your patience. But before I close I must mention a curious botanical fact noticed elsewhere as well as here. In the woods, where there is not the least vestige of a cherry tree or raspberry bush if the wood be cut and carried off & then the land let go to waste, it will immediately spring up with the wild cherry; But if the timber is logged and the brush and heaps burned on the land & then let go to waste, in a season it will be covered with raspberry bushes. The fruit is very fine, and they cover all the old deserted land that has been burned. The cherries are sour and small, but the trees are good for grafting on. The seeds of these have no doubt been latent in the soil for years, perhaps centuries, and only required the heat of the sun to develope them. They are probably remains of a former forrest which stood on this same land, & the seeds have probably laid deep in the soil for more than a thousand years, but why should they not rot? Would not water cause them to rot? It is true seed have been taken from an Egyptian mummy after being encased for upwards of two thousand years, & then take root and reproduce, but in that case they were perfectly dry. I have given you a long screed, on almost everything, & have no doubt you are heartily tired of it. I hope however it will give you a small idea of my whereabouts and of the companions with whom I enjoy myself here in my backwoods home. It is somewhat remarkable that in his full account of the game of the region Mr. Clarke made no mention of wild pigeons which for many years were over-plentiful throughout the Adirondack country. They formed a staple article of food when Burgoyne came up Lake Champlain, and, as Digby said, “helped out his majesties allowance of beef and pork very well.”75 Lossing76 (1859) dined on wild pigeons at Tahawus, and they were numerous at the time of Burroughs’77 visit (1863) hereafter referred to. David Hunter, the oldest inhabitant of Tahawus, says that when a boy he often saw the sky darkened by the enormous flocks of pigeons. 75 Lieutenant Digby’s Journal, p. 154. 76 Lossing, “The Hudson,” p. 45. [TDV 199] 77 Burroughs, “Wake-Robin,” Second Edition, Boston, 1891, p. 107. [TDV 205] 110 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 121. McIntyre Bank, Strong Box Below, showing mechanism of lock 111
  • 122. Above, Shipping Notice, from Adirondac Iron Company’s Adirondac Iron Works to Adirondac Iron & Steel Company Below, McIntyre Bank Draft 112
  • 123. Two McIntyre Bank notes. The $1 note (above) was sold at auction in 2007 for $3,250. 113
  • 124. McIntyre Bank (in small wing, foreground) 114
  • 125. 9. The bank — Attempted sales — Railroad projects The McIntyre Bank, referred to by Clarke, was established for the convenience of the company at a time when it employed several hundred men, and its operations were in full headway. It was located in the cottage, nearly opposite the Club House, now owned by Mr. George A. Crocker Jr.78 The wing on the south end constituted the “Banking House,” as it was somewhat magniloquently called. The house, which was the first dwelling of importance to be erected in the village, was long used by the owners for their own occupancy. Some of its panels and other wood work are hand hewn. It was occupied for several years by Robert Hunter while acting as guardian of the property after the works shut down. His son, David Hunter, for many years superintendent of the Club, was born in the house. When the Adirondack Club was formed in 1877, it was repaired by Messrs. Robert W. deForest and Francis H. Weeks for their use. Later it was occupied successively by Messrs. James MacNaughton and Robert H. Robertson, during their respective terms as president of MacIntyre Iron Company. The capital of the McIntyre Bank was $50,000, and its bills, which were in general circulation throughout the northern part of the state, were redeemable in Albany. It was maintained only a few years, as the assessors, after the manner of their kind, levied a tax upon it quite disproportionate to the ordinary local tax and which was characterized by Mr. McIntyre as “abominable.” The company therefore found it cheaper to do its banking in Albany. The bank’s strong box, made of wrought iron and with most elaborate locks, is still preserved at Upper Works. Not only the tax rates but the changed scale of living in the woods became the subject of criticism by Mr. McIntyre. A. McI. to Alexander Ralph. Nov. 22, 1850. P.S. — I have seen the bill of groceries purchased by Mr. Clarke when down, and I really cannot help expressing surprise as to many of its items. Pray, what was the need for three hhds. sugar in addition to what had been previously sent? Can Mr. Robertson’s instructions as to the work to be done next year have given you the idea of the necessity for such quantities of sugar! Again, there must be a wonderful change in the population of your country to warrant the laying in of 12 boxes raisins, 6 mats cassia, one box citron, with other fancy articles. From 1848 to 1853 was on the whole the period of the company’s greatest activity. A prospectus issued in 1854 by intending purchasers, hereafter referred to, thus described the improvements then in existence: A village has been located at the head or north end of Lake Sanford, called “McIntyre,” and sometimes “Adirondack.” The buildings owned by the Company at this village are as follows: 1 Cupola Furnace; 1 Blast Furnace; 1 Forge and Puddling Furnace; 1 Stamping Mill; 1 Mill for driving small machinery; 1 Saw Mill; 1 Grist Mill, or Mill for grinding feed; 1 Hay Scales, 2 Kilns for roasting ore; 1 Brick House; 1 Granary; 1 Tool House; 1 Blacksmith shop; 1 Carpenter shop; 3 Coal Kilns; 6 Coal Houses; 1 Long Wood house; 1 Store for merchandize; 1 Ice house; 1 Powder house; 1 Large Boarding house; 16 Dwelling houses 78 LM: MacNaughton cottage. 115
  • 126. for workmen; 1 School House; 3 Large Barns; several Cow Stables and Cattle Sheds; 1 Piggery; 1 Building with Steaming apparatus. Also one Blast Furnace, just completed and for the first time, “fired up” on the 20th day of August 1854. It is 36 feet square on the ground, 48 feet high, 11½ feet “bosh,” and built on the most approved plan, at an expense of $43,000. It has four blowing cylinders, made of cast iron, with quadruple the power required at any one time, and so constructed that one blower can work while the others are not in use. They will blow equal to 5,000 cubic feet per minute. This furnace is located at a dam of never failing water power of twelve feet head and fall. Its capacity is for fourteen tons of iron per day. A new wheel house, carpenter shop, and two large coal houses are connected with it. It has also connected with it an ample dock with crane and apparatus for loading and unloading boats. It has connected with it six boats — one of fifty tons, another of twenty tons burden, and four of lesser tonage. This furnace is so constructed that by the addition of another stack, at a cost of $10,000, its capacity without any additional machinery, buildings, or other outlay, will be increased one hundred per cent. A village has also been located about eleven miles south of the above named village on this estate, called “Tahawus.” Here the Company have erected a new dam, one thousand seven hundred feet long, at a cost of $19,000, with a water power having a fall of 24 feet. Here is also a dock and crane for loading and unloading freight. The buildings here are as follows: 1 Warehouse for merchandize; Iron Warehouse; 1 Blacksmith shop; 1 Saw Mill; 1 Large Boarding house, with large Barn and Sheds; 3 Dwelling houses for workmen; 1 School house; 1 Lime Kiln. About five miles from the village of Adirondack, the Company has cleared and improved a farm of three hundred acres, having on it a Dwelling House, Barns and Sheds, Milk house and stabling for many cattle and horses. All the stables are sufficient for forty horses. The lands cleared and cultivated at and near the village of Tahawus amount to three hundred and fifty acres. The shops and mills, the furnaces and forges, are all furnished with tools and apparatus complete for working each on a large scale. The farms are well stocked with cattle, sheep, and hogs, 50 tons of hay and 2,000 bushels of grain. The Company also own several teams of oxen and horses, suitable for carrying on the business with the necessary wagons, carts, sleighs, etc., etc. At the saw mills are at least 150,000 feet of good lumber with a stock of logs in the booms. There are on hand $2,000 worth of merchandize. The furnaces are provided with coal, carefully housed, to the extent of 250,000 bushels, and with ore taken from the mines for 3,000 tons of iron, with fire-brick and many extra tools and implements for any emergency. Ten thousand dollars have been expended in the construction of roads. An estimate also was made of the value of pine timber on a portion of Township 47. The result of a cruise of 3,500 acres on both sides of Cold River showed about 35,000 trees, equivalent to 388,000 logs. Of all these various structures, representing so much expenditure and human effort, hardly a vestige remains, excepting at the Upper Works, the “New Blast Furnace,” now a picturesque ruin, is still standing a few hundred yards south of the village, and one of the workmen’s cottages nearby. The old furnace stood at the head of the street, just above what is called the Coe Cottage. It was destroyed by lightning. Part of one of its chimneys 116 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 127. remained standing as late as 1873. The “Large Boarding House” (1852)79 has been in use many years as a club house. The “Annex” and the Crocker cottage opposite are the only other buildings that remain. The saw-mill, which was located at the Falls just opposite the boarding house, stood and was in use by the occupants of the property until about 1890. The school house, also used as a church and known as the Church of Tubal Cain, was at this time located on the east side of the river, though afterwards moved to the hill near the boarding house.80 As a crowning indignity it was later placed at the foot of the Falls and used as a fish hatchery. A few years ago it was carried out by flood when a lumbering dam on Calamity Brook gave way. Its bell has hung for many years in front of the Club House and summoned several generations of hungry visitors to their meals. There are but slight remains of the two dams, one at the north end of the village and the other at the furnace. At the Lower Works, or Tahawus, the obliteration is still more complete. A pile of stones in the bushes a short distance above the bridge crossing the Hudson, represents all that is left of the dam which furnished the slack water navigation to the Upper Works. The boarding house, which stood across the road from the present lower club house was burned many years ago. The other buildings, as well as all the buildings on the Newcomb farm, long since disappeared. Of the six boats mentioned in the prospectus, the only vestige is the hulk of an old freight barge still to be seen in the river between the furnace and Lake Sanford. There were in the fleet two boats much more pretentious in character, one known as the “McIntyre” and the other as the “Experiment.” The boat McIntyre is forty-seven feet long from the cabin to the upward end. At the bow it is twelve feet five inches wide, grows wider gradually for eleven feet back where it is thirteen and one half feet wide, and is the same from there to the cabin. The mast is twenty-seven feet from the cabin. They carried passengers as well as freight, and the correspondence between Robert Clarke at Adirondac and Thomas G. Shaw, who was in charge at Tahawus, indicates that their business was considerable in volume. Clarke complained that one of the captains claimed that he was entitled to the fare of passengers. “He knows better and you will keep a lookout and collect from passengers at Tahawus as I never know who comes up.” Passenger travel, at least for tourists, was agreeable and leisurely. While the wagons were sent round by the road we were fortunate enough to secure the service of a novel twelve oared pleasure boat belonging to the Company. A pleasant day it was in the genial sunshine of dawning autumn and in the happy temper of our own hearts. Now the pickerel for which the ladies trolled as we sailed along were merrily pulled into the boat; and now our oarsmen rested while we enjoyed at leisure some new passage of delight in the landscape. ... On our way we landed and made an excursion of two or three miles to the clearing of Newcomb farm which commands a wide and noble view of the chief mountain summits in the Adirondack group. Among the rocks in Lake Sanford there is an odd formation called ‘Napoleon’s Cap’ from its striking 79 LM: Haynes dates this building at 1847 (ADV 461). 80 LM: See the note at the front of this book on the church/schoolhouse. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 117
  • 128. likeness to the immortal chapeau of that famous hero. The cap seems to have dropped 81 overboard and to be floating quietly on the water. Lake Jimmy, as appears from a map of this period preserved in the Club House, was then called Lake Hamish, the word Hamish being said by those who profess to know to be the Gaelic equivalent of James. Who Jimmy and Sally were, and why two little ponds should have been named after them has long been a subject of speculation, but the story of their romance is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. In 1853 negotiations were opened by Benjamin C. Butler of Luzerne to purchase the entire property on behalf of himself and associates. The price named was $570,000, payable in ten annual installments. There was delay in closing the transaction and Mr. McIntyre, who was then very infirm and suffering from failing sight, expressed a doubt, justified by the event, that anything would ever come of it. Butler in the following year assigned his contract to Henry Stanton and Harvey N. Wilcox, with whom were associated General Samuel P. Lyman and others. The sum of $25,000 was received in cash, the balance of the first installment being paid by the acceptances of Stanton and Wilcox. The remainder of the purchase price was to be secured by mortgage. It does not appear that any further payments were ever made under this contract and the title accordingly reverted to the Company. Dornberg says: The new company failed. Their outside manager was Benjamin Butler of Luzerne. As soon as the second instalment became due the old company assumed control again. The laborers under the new company having stopped getting their pay, Messrs. McIntyre and Henderson ordered their agent, A. Ralph, to ascertain the amount due the laborers and 82 pay them seventy-five cents on the dollar. This being done the men kept on working. From the prospectus before quoted, it is evident that the plans of the new company were largely based on the expected completion of the Sackett’s Harbor and Saratoga Railroad, which it was believed would be finished by the spring of 1856. The railroad company was authorized by its charter (Laws 1848, Chapter 207) to construct a railroad “from Sacketts Harbor in the County of Jefferson to Carthage in said county, and a railroad from Carthage aforesaid by the most direct and eligible route to the most convenient point of connection with the Saratoga & Schenectady Railroad in the Town of Milton or in the Town of Saratoga Springs.” The corporation was given the pre-emptive right of purchasing land belonging to the state not exceeding 250,000 acres, in the counties of Herkimer and Hamilton. The route, beginning at Saratoga, passed up the valley of the Hudson to the line of the present railroad through North Creek and up the river to Newcomb, thence by way of Long Lake and Tupper Lake northwestwardly to Sackett’s Harbor. 81 “The Adirondack Woods and Waters,” by T. Addison Richards. Harper’s Magazine, vol. XIX, September 1859 [but written about a visit that occurred before 1857]. [TDV 165-66] This article contains interesting illustrations showing the village as it then appeared and the principal mountain views. The rock referred to now stands some ten or twelve feet above the surface of the river and an imaginative person may discover the resemblance of its top to Napoleon’s cap. 82 LM: TDV 345. 118 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 129. Said the prospectus: The owners have labored under great disadvantages because of the long land carriage and bad roads, the unavoidable inheritance of all new countries and notwithstanding the excellent qualities of their iron the odds were tremendously against them in competing with other manufacturers more fortunately situated on the line of the railroad or canal. But this obstacle is no longer in the way. The Sackett’s Harbor and Saratoga Railroad, which is now rapidly being built, passes within eight miles of the iron mines, and a branch road that distance will place its inexhaustible deposits of iron ore on a line of road running directly to the water. A plank road was also projected from Adirondac Village to Preston Ponds and down the Cold River to the Racquette at the foot of Long Lake. According to Lossing, forty miles of the railroad were placed under contract and actually graded. The failure of the railroad project, in which the new purchasers appeared to be also financially interested, naturally involved their abandonment of the iron business. Ten years later the property was again placed under contract of sale, this time to Thomas C. Durant, the promoter of the Adirondack Railway Company (now the Adirondack branch of the Delaware & Hudson Company), and builder of its line. The purchase price on the second sale was to be $500,000, of which $25,000 was paid in cash on signing the contract, and the balance was to be paid in eight instalments. This sale, like the former, was never consummated. The project of building a railroad through to the St. Lawrence was not, however, abandoned until many years later. On the collapse of the Sacketts’ Harbor & Saratoga Company, its rights were acquired by the Lake Ontario & Hudson River Railroad Company, which also got into financial difficulties. By Chapter 37, Laws of 1860, it was provided that on a foreclosure of the mortgages on the property of that company, the purchaser might organize a new company, which should be authorized “to convert and prepare for market the native products of the forest and to mine and prepare for market the iron ores upon the lands owned by them.” The Adirondack Railroad Company (incorporated by Laws of 1863, Chapter 236) succeeded to the rights of these predecessors and it was laid out over substantially the same route, though its northern terminus was to be at Ogdensburg. In a prospectus of the road published in 1870, it was said: An important branch is now being constructed, leading from Plattsburg on Lake Champlain up the Ausable valley and through the Indian Pass to connect with this road in the valley of the Hudson in the vicinity of the Adirondack ore beds. This branch never materialized, but the main road was completed from Saratoga to North Creek, and graded for some miles further. The Adirondack Railroad Company was in turn re-organized, and was succeeded in 1882 by the Adirondack Railway Company. No attempt was made to extend its line until 1897, “when a survey was made for a proposed extension from North Creek through the counties of Warren, Hamilton and Essex, to the outlet of Long Lake in Hamilton county, where it was expected that, by connecting with other roads, a route would be secured to the St. Lawrence river.” THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 119
  • 130. A map of the proposed extension was filed on September 18, 1897. Meantime the Forest Preserve Board, acting on behalf of the state, had been conducting negotiations for the purchase of an extensive tract of land through which the line of the railroad ran, and on October 7 a certificate of condemnation was filed on behalf of the board, taking the lands for the purpose of making them a part of the Adirondack Park. On the same day, but at a later hour, the Adirondack Railway Company filed papers for the purpose of condemning the strip over which its line had been surveyed. A litigation ensued in which the court held that the condemnation proceedings instituted by the Forest Preserve Board were fully completed, as required by the statute then in force, before proceedings to condemn had been commenced by the railroad company. It was held that the company, by merely filing its map and profile, acquired no lien or property right as against the state, and that the statute of 1897 authorizing the state’s condemnation was constitutional.83 An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, but without success.84 Thus at the instance of the state was ended the project of a railroad from Saratoga to the St. Lawrence, which, sixty years before, the state had not only sanctioned but supported by its land grant. The result was to retard for an indefinite period the development of the immense natural resources of several northern counties. This mistaken public policy is generally understood to have been adopted through the influence of the New York Central Railroad, which, having completed a new line from Utica to Montreal, known originally as the Webb road, naturally desired to block any other lines intended to tap the Adirondack region, and which would interfere with its traffic. 83 People vs. Adirondack Railway Company, 160 N.Y. 225. 84 Adirondack Railway Company vs. New York State, 176 U.S. 335. 120 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 131. Pew from Church of Tubal Cain 121
  • 132. One of the ladies of the Richards party From a wood-cut in Harper’s Magazine, vol. XIX p. 462 122
  • 133. “Sports Costumes,” 1859 From a wood-cut in Harper’s Magazine, vol. XIX p. 464 123
  • 134. Lake Sanford, from Bear Island 124
  • 135. 10. The deserted village — Trusteeships — MacIntyre Iron Company Only slight information is at hand regarding the subsequent history of the Company, but the meager facts available show that its last years were attended by a series of misfortunes. In August 1856,85 unusual floods occurred which carried away the upper dam at Adirondac, as well as the great dam and saw-mill at the Lower Works. The necessity of rebuilding these structures was alone enough to discourage the owners or any possible purchaser, apart from the failure of the railroad project. The financial panic of 1857, which paralyzed all business activity for a considerable time, made a sale impossible. Mr. McIntyre died in May 1858, at the age of 81. He had been for several years incapacitated for active business. The death of Mr. Robertson, which occurred suddenly in September of the same year, left the enterprise without any responsible head, its ownership vested in numerous heirs, no one of whom was capable of assuming control. The cessation of operations, whenever it occurred, was a sudden step. Work was dropped just as it was. “The last cast from the furnace was still in the sand and the tools were left leaning against the walls of the cast house.”86 The workmen abandoned their homes, and Adirondac became, as it was for many years described, “The Deserted Village.” It was first so called in 1859 by Lossing, who visited it in that year. Robert Hunter, who had been employed as brick maker at the works, was placed in charge as guardian when operations ceased, and with his family occupied for a number of years the premises at the Upper Works, before mentioned. Lossing described the village as consisting of “sixteen dwelling houses, furnaces and other edifices, and a building with a cupola used for a school and public worship.” The wood-cuts in his book, prepared from his own sketches made at the time, are of especial interest. They show Lake Sanford, the “Iron Dam,” the village, a bridge over the river at the beginning of the Colden trail, a lean-to camp at Calamity Pond, the Henderson monument and (best of all) the departure of his party for the ascent of Mount Marcy or Tahawus, as he was among the first to call it. Its members appear equipped in the costume recommended by him in the text, as follows: “A man needs only a stout flannel hunting shirt, coarse and trustworthy trousers, woolen stockings, large heavy boots well saturated with a composition of beeswax and tallow, a soft felt hat or a cap, and strong buckskin gloves. A woman needs a stout flannel dress, over shortened crinoline, of short dimensions, with loops and buttons to adjust its length; a hood and cape of the same materials, made so as to envelope the head and bust, and leave the arms free, woolen stockings, stout calfskin boots that cover the legs to the knee, well saturated with beeswax and tallow, and an india rubber satchel for necessary toilet materials.”87 The guides, he said, would carry the provisions, cooking utensils, gun, axe, and fishing tackle, also “shawls or overcoats and 85 LM: Per Seely, October 1857, not August 1856. 86 LM: The source of this quote is unknown. Seely believed the New Furnace was blown out for the last time in the latter half of 1855. ADV 340-341. 87 LM: TDV 189. 125
  • 136. india rubber capes to keep off the rain.”88 Besides this they would fish, hunt, work, build camps and do all other necessary service “for a moderate compensation and their food.”89 It is needless to say that most Adirondack guides of this description died many years ago. The costumes recommended by Lossing may profitably be compared with those shown in the illustrations to Richards’ story in Harper’s Magazine for September 1859, elsewhere referred to. We have become accustomed to all sorts of feminine garb in the woods within the last few years, from the kid slippers worn by a literary lady through the Indian Pass, to the latest “sports clothes” from Abercrombie & Fitch. The styles of 1859 easily bear off the palm. John Burroughs, the naturalist, who visited the region in 1863, gave the following account of the appearance of the village at the time: At the Lower Works, besides the remains of the dam, the only vestige I saw was a long low mound, overgrown with grass and weeds, that suggested a rude earth-work. We were told that it was once a pile of wood containing hundreds of cords, cut in regular lengths and corded up here for use in the furnaces. At the Upper Works, some twelve miles distant, quite a village had been built, which was now entirely abandoned with the exception of a single family. A march to this place was our next undertaking. The road for two or three miles kept up from the river and led us by three or four rough, stumpy farms. It then approached the lake and kept along its shores. It was here a dilapidated corduroy structure that compelled the traveler to keep an eye on his feet. Blue jays, two or three small hawks, a solitary wild pigeon, and ruffed grouse were seen along the route. Now and then the lake gleamed through the trees, or we crossed on a shaky bridge some of its arms or inlets. After a while we began to pass dilapidated houses by the roadside. One little frame house I remember particularly; the door was off the hinges and leaned against the jambs, the windows had but a few panes left which glared vacantly. The yard and little garden spot were overrun with a heavy growth of timothy, and the fences had all long since gone to decay. At the head of the lake a large stone building projected from the steep bank and extended over the road. A little beyond the valley opened to the east, and looking ahead about one mile we saw smoke going up from a single chimney. Pressing on, just as the sun was setting we entered the deserted village. The barking of the dog brought the whole family into the street, and they stood till we came up. Strangers in that country were a novelty, and we were greeted like familiar acquaintances. Hunter, the head, proved to be a first-rate type of an Americanized Irishman. His wife was a Scotch woman. They had a family of five or six children, two of them grown-up daughters — modest, comely young women as you would find anywhere. The elder of the two had spent a winter in New York with her aunt, which perhaps made her a little more self-conscious when in the presence of the strange young men. Hunter was hired by the company at a dollar a day to live here and see that things were not wantonly destroyed but allowed to go to decay properly and decently. He had a substantial roomy frame house and any amount of grass and woodland. He had good barns and kept considerable stock, and raised various farm products, but only for his own use, as the difficulties of transportation to market some seventy miles distant made it no object. He usually went to Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain once a year for his groceries, etc. His post-office was twelve miles below at the Lower Works, where the mail passed twice a week. There was not a doctor, or lawyer, or preacher within twenty-five miles. In winter, months elapse without their seeing anybody from the outside world. In summer, parties occasionally pass 88 LM: TDV 189. 89 LM: TDV 190. 126 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 137. through here on their way to Indian Pass and Mount Marcy. Hundreds of tons of good timothy hay annually rot down upon the cleared land. After nightfall we went out and walked up and down the grass-grown streets. It was a curious and melancholy spectacle. The remoteness and surrounding wildness rendered the scene doubly impressive. And the next day and the next the place was an object of wonder. There were about thirty buildings in all, most of them small frame houses with a door and two windows opening into a small yard in front and a garden in the rear, such as are usually occupied by the laborers in a country manufacturing district. There was one large two-story boarding-house, a school-house with a cupola and a bell in it, and numerous sheds and forges, and a saw-mill. In front of the saw-mill, and ready to be rolled in their place on the carriage, lay a large pile of pine logs, so decayed that one could run his walking-stick through them. Near by, a building filled with charcoal was bursting open and the coal going to waste on the ground. The smelting works were also much crumbled by time. The school-house was still used. Every day one of the daughters assembles her smaller brothers and sisters there and school keeps. The district library contained nearly one hundred readable books, which were well thumbed. The absence of society, etc., had made the family all good readers. We brought them an illustrated newspaper which was awaiting them in the post-office at the Lower Works. It was read and re-read with great eagerness by every member of the household. The iron ore cropped out on every hand. There was apparently mountains of it; one could see it in the stones along the road. But the difficulties met with in separating the iron from its alloys, together with the expense of transportation and the failure of certain railroad schemes, caused the works to be abandoned. No doubt the time is not distant 90 when these obstacles will be overcome and this region reopened. The last corporate action of the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company appears to have been at a meeting of its directors held in April 1859, when Messrs. James R. Thompson, Oliver S. Strong and J. McD. McIntyre were appointed a committee to look after the Company’s affairs with authority “to confirm and continue the powers heretofore conferred on James R. Thompson by its former officers and to act as their agent in the sale of the property of the Company.” In 1880, by an instrument executed by all the McIntyre, Henderson and Robertson heirs, Mr. Thompson was appointed as trustee to hold and administer the property, and continued so to act until his death in 1887. He was succeeded as trustee by Mr. James MacNaughton, of Albany, a grandson of Mr. McIntyre. On account of the large number of heirs, many of whom were infants, it was found difficult to administer the property satisfactorily under a trust agreement, and it was decided to turn it over to a corporation. A partition suit was accordingly brought in 1894, in which the various interests then outstanding were adjudicated, and a sale of the property was directed. The MacIntyre Iron Company, organized June 26, 1894, thereupon took title, issuing its stock in payment for the property. It was capitalized at the sum of $160,000 for the purpose of convenience in distributing the various fractional interests, some of which were expressed in 16ths. Mr. MacNaughton was made president of the Company, and continued to act as such until his death in 1905. Nothing was done in the way of development at the works during this period, the only activities of the Company being in connection with lumbering operations. Mr. MacNaughton, however, devoted much time and energy to the work of familiarizing the iron trade with the quality of the Company’s ore. It contained a considerable percentage 90 “Wake-Robin,” Second Edition, Boston, 1891, p. 102. [TDV 202-204] THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 127
  • 138. of titanium, and for some years there had been a very widespread belief among blast- furnace men that the existence of titanium to any appreciable extent rendered iron ore unworkable. Mr. MacNaughton found in his endeavors to sell the property that this attitude on the part of iron men was a serious obstacle, and he started a vigorous campaign to overcome it. Fortunately, he was able to live long enough to find his efforts to a great degree successful, largely as a result of investigations and tests by Mr. August Rossi, a French metallurgist, employed by him to make a study and elaborate tests of the Adirondack ores. These he tried both in large and small furnaces with satisfactory results, and wrote several papers reporting his conclusions, which were published in the Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers and other engineering societies, also in the Iron Age. Mr. MacNaughton, in the latter part of 1905, practically concluded negotiations for the transfer of the control of his company to Mr. Wallace T. Foote Jr., of Port Henry, a member of a family long identified with the iron business in the northern part of the state and well known throughout the trade. Mr. Foote held a substantial interest in the firm of Witherbee, Sherman & Company, owners of extensive mining properties near Port Henry. These negotiations were carried forward after Mr. MacNaughton’s death, which occurred December 29, 1905, and in the following year Mr. Foote and his associates took over control of the property. During the seasons of 1906 to 1909, extensive explorations of the extent of the ore property were made by diamond drilling and magnetic surveys. The results fully justified the estimates made years before by Professor Emmons. A new road was opened from Lake Sanford to the East River Falls, and hydro-electric surveys were made to ascertain the available water power from the watershed of Lake Colden and vicinity. Railroad facilities were, of course, necessary, but the earlier railroad routes were not available, owing to the fact that because of an amendment to the [New York state] constitution in 1895, it was not permissible to construct a railroad over land owned by the state. A new route was accordingly laid out, and in 1908 the Champlain & Sanford Railroad Company was organized, its line extending from the mines on Lake Sanford to Addison Junction near Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, where ample terminal facilities were secured. This route is some 58 miles in length as compared with 30 odd miles from the mines to North Creek. The additional distance is unavoidable because of the necessity of making long detours to avoid parcels of state land. It has, however, its compensations in the fact that this route gives direct connection with the Barge Canal, thereby affording the benefit of cheaper freights. Negotiations were opened for financing the construction of the railroad, and a preliminary contract made for the disposition of the ore. Before anything definite was concluded, however, Mr. Foote failed in health. His death, in December 1910, was a severe loss to the Company in which he had taken the most enthusiastic interest. The other principal stockholders were men of outside interests and for one reason or another unable to give exclusive attention to the development of a new enterprise of this kind. The property has, therefore, remained substantially without change for the last dozen years, with the exception of temporary mining operations conducted in 1913 and 1914. All records of the old company and all tests of its iron product indicated that the iron made had been of very high quality. Doubt was expressed, however, by some in the trade as to whether the ore, when handled according to modern methods in a modern furnace and with 128 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 139. the use of coke, would produce the same results that were found in the primitive furnaces of the old company, in which charcoal was used. It was accordingly decided that a test should be made under modern conditions and on a commercial scale for the purpose of determining this point and also to set at rest the ever-recurring question regarding titanium. The furnace of the Northern Iron Company at Port Henry, operated by Messrs. Pilling & Crane, of Philadelphia, was chartered for a period of six months and arrangements were made to mine and deliver at that furnace sufficient ore to run it during that period. In order to avoid unnecessary hauling, it was decided to build a small concentrating plant at the mine for the purpose of grinding the crude ore, eliminating the waste products by means of a magnetic separator, and shipping the ore in the form of concentrates. The carrying out of these plans resulted in great activity for a year or two. A separator was built on the east side of Lake Sanford, a large wooden structure still standing. A village grew up nearby for the accommodation of employees, and new roads were constructed to facilitate the hauling of the ore. Notwithstanding the use of modern methods and the added facilities of telephone, telegraph and railroad, the management of the Company found many difficulties akin to those which had interfered with the operations of the pioneers many years before. The delays in obtaining materials and supplies were constant, and the severity of the winter climate seriously retarded progress. There were the usual difficulties in obtaining labor and, as the pioneers had found seventy-five years before, the disposition was universal throughout the countryside to charge the MacIntyre Company at rates largely exceeding those ordinarily prevailing. In addition to these obstacles, the Company suffered from extraordinary delays on the part of the contractor by whom the plant was installed. It became evident, long before the time fixed for deliveries of ore at the furnace, that it would be impossible to secure a sufficient amount of concentrates within the time named. It accordingly became necessary, in order to finish the test while the furnace was under the control of the Company, to arrange for hauling out crude ore in addition to such concentrates as could be produced. The work of mining was pushed with all possible speed. Four log hauling locomotives of 18 tons each and 52 sleds were used. All the concentrates and as much crude ore as possible were drawn to North Creek in this manner, and toward the end of the season all available teams were also pressed into the service. The ore that could not be hauled into North Creek before the end of sleighing was piled along the state highway, at the point nearest the mines, and at the earliest possible date in the spring was hauled to North Creek by means of motor trucks sent up from New York for the purpose. This crude ore was delivered at the concentrating plants of Witherbee, Sherman & Company at Mineville, by rail, and after concentration was reshipped to the furnace at Port Henry. By the utmost efforts a sufficient amount was delivered for the desired tests, although not for as long a consecutive period as had been planned. The results were satisfactory and were fully reported by Mr. F.E. Bachman of Port Henry at the October 1914 meeting of the American Iron & Steel Institute. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 129
  • 140. The Snyder Place (afterwards Gallagher’s) 130
  • 141. Gallagher’s Goose (formerly Snyder’s) 131
  • 142. Wood-cut (from photograph) in Stoddard’s Guide 132
  • 143. From pen and ink sketch by S.E. Stimson 133
  • 144. Cheney Farm-house, near Lower Works 134
  • 145. 11. Old settlers — Cheney — Holt — Snyder During the time when the works were in operation, there were a number of settlers living on the Company’s property, although not in its continual employ. Some of them occupied clearings which still bear their names, although long since so overgrown that they are hardly to be distinguished from the surrounding forest. These men were for the most part farmers; they did teaming, cut wood for charcoal or for the saw-mill, and when occasion arose acted as guides for visitors or tourists. By far the best known was John Cheney, whose chief occupation for many years was hunting, and who acted as general factotum for the proprietors and their friends on their visits to the property. At one time he lived at Adirondac, but afterward built a house about half a mile east of the Lower Works, on the road to Schroon, where in 1849 a farm of 100 acres was given him by the proprietors. This house is still standing, though somewhat enlarged and altered. The lumber used in its construction as well as that used in building the Snyder house (afterward Gallagher’s) was provided by the Company from its saw-mill at the Lower Works. The premises are now owned by Mrs. Masten. For a time Cheney and his family occupied the Company’s boarding house at the Lower Works, where they kept a hotel called the Tahawus House. It was at one time run by Mitchell McIntyre, then by Charles Lincoln, whom Cheney succeeded. In October 1874, Cheney’s son, who was mentally defective, set fire to this house, and stood guard, armed with a shotgun, until it was destroyed. He was later committed to an institution where he spent the remainder of his days. He died in February 1916 and was buried by the side of his parents in the Newcomb Cemetery. John Cheney (born in New Hampshire June 22, 1800, died in Newcomb June 3, 1877) was first known to fame through the description of him given by Charles Fenno Hoffman, whose writings enjoyed great popularity for a time, but long since lapsed into obscurity. Visiting the headwaters of the Hudson for the first time in 1837, Hoffman wrote: If it did not involve an anachronism, I could swear that Cooper took the character of Natty Bumpo, from my mountaineer friend, John Cheney. The same silent, simple, deep love of the woods — the same gentleness and benevolence of feeling toward all who love his craft — the same unobstructive kindness toward all others; and, lastly, the same shrewdness as a woodman and gamesomeness of spirit as a hunter are common to both; and each, while perhaps more efficient, are wholly unlike the dashing swashbuckler of the far west, the reckless ranger of the prairie. In appearance, dress, language, and manner, those two varieties of the genus venator are totally different. Mr. Irving in his account of Captain Bonneville’s expedition has given the best description of the latter; but though the pen of Cooper has made the former immortal, I think his genius might gather some new touches from John Cheney. Worthy John! if he chances to see himself thus drawn at full length, I hope he will not take it amiss. I had heard of some of his feats before coming into this region, and expected, of course, to see one of those roystering, cavorting, rifle-shirted breeds that I have seen upon our western frontier, and was at first a little disappointed when a slight-looking man of about seven and thirty, dressed like a plain countryman, and of a peculiar quiet, simple manner, was introduced to me as the doughty slayer of bears and panthers; a man that lived winter and summer three-fourths of the time in the woods, and a real bona fide hunter by profession. Nay, there struck me as being something of the ridiculous about his character when I saw that this formidable nimrod carried with him as his only weapons and insignia of his art, a pistol and a jack-knife! But when, at my 135
  • 146. laughing at such toys, I was told by others of the savage encounters which John, assisted by his dog, and aided by these alone, had undertaken successfully — not to mention the number of deer which he sent every winter to New York — my respect for his hunting- tools was mightily increased, and a few days in the woods with him sufficed to extend that 91 respect to himself. Some of his methods as described by Hoffman would not accord with modern ideas of sportmanship. In the conflict of opinion which even then existed between the advocates of stalking or other methods of still hunting, as opposed to hounding, he favored the latter. They have several ways of killing them in this water, and some of their ways are so infernal mean, I’m surprised that there should be any deer left in the country. In the first place, there’s the “still hunting” fashion, when you lay in ambush near a saltlick, and shoot the poor creatures when they’re not thinking of you. And there’s the beastly manner of blinding them with a “torch-light” when they come into the lakes to cool themselves, and get away from the flies, during the warm nights of summer. Now I say, that no decent man will take advantage of wild game, unless he is in a starving condition. The only manly way 92 to kill deer is by “driving” them, as I do, with a couple of hounds. He also believed in “tailing” the deer when in the water and cutting his throat if no gun were available. On the other hand, he wholly disapproved of the practice of another local hunter, Linus Catlin, whose method when he had no gun, was to “wythe” the deer by throwing a wythe made of a sapling over his horns and then drowning him. On the question of wanton destruction of game he was quite orthodox. John Cheney like the rest trudging along on foot found an opportunity of shooting several partridges by the way, picking them from the trees with his pistol with as much ease as an ordinary sportsman could have effected with a fowling-piece (admitting the thick cover to give the bird such a chance of life as to warrant a sportsman to take him sitting.) After killing three or four partridges, however, John could not be prevailed upon to shoot at more. I several times called his attention to a good shot, but he always answered shaking his head: “It’s wrong, it’s wrong, sir, to use up life in that way — here’s birds enough for them that wants to eat them and that saddle of venison on the buckboard will 93 only be wasted if I kill more of these poor things.” The pistol referred to was adopted by Cheney as his favorite weapon after an encounter with a wolf during which, being at close quarters and having no time to load, he was forced to club his rifle. With the aid of his dog he was able to kill the wolf at a single blow of the barrel, the stock having been shattered; “but she would never shoot straight after that fight, so I got me this pistol.”94 It was about eleven inches long and had a stock like that of a rifle and made of birch wood. When Cheney was in need of money in later years, this pistol was raffled for his benefit by a friend who had often hunted with him, Mr. S.E. Stimson of Albany. It brought $100 and was presented by the winner to the collection then kept in the State Geological Rooms on State Street, but recently removed to the Education Building near the Capitol. “Many a deer,” said Hoffman, “has John killed with that pistol. It is 91 “Wild Scenes in the Forest.” London, n.d. [TDV 43-44] 92 “Adventures in the Wilds of the United States and British American Provinces,” by Charles Lanman. Philadelphia, 1856, vol. I, p. 232. [TDV 127] 93 LM: Hoffman, TDV 66. 94 LM: Hoffman, TDV 57, and Lossing, TDV 201. 136 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 147. curious to see him draw it from the left pocket of his gray shooting jacket and bring down a partridge. I have myself witnessed several of his successful shots with this unpretending shooting-iron, and once saw him knock the feathers from a wild duck at 80 or 100 yards.”95 His preference for this weapon was due to its lightness and convenience in carrying, and not to any lack of other arms of which he had an abundant supply. Mr. Colden, after one of his visits, sent up to him a rifle bearing a silver plate on which was engraved the inscription “To that Mighty Hunter John Cheney of Adirondack from David C. Colden.” His title of “mighty hunter” was borne for many years. Headley (1849)96 so described him, and [Charles F.] Lanman, whose visit was a few years later,97 and who devotes an entire chapter to his exploits, said: The society of the place, you may well imagine, is decidedly original; but the prominent individual and only remarkable man who resides here is John Cheney, the mighty hunter of the Adirondacs. … His profession is that of a hunter, and he is in the habit of spending about one half of his time in the woods. He is a remarkably amiable and intelligent man and as unlike the idea I had formed of him as possible. I expected from all that I had heard to see a huge, powerful and hairy nimrod; but instead of such I found him small in stature, bearing more the appearance of a modest and thoughtful student, gentle in his manner and as devoted 98 a lover of nature and solitude as ever lived. At this time he had lived in the Adirondacks about thirteen years. “I have always enjoyed good health,” he told Mr. Lanman, “and am 47 years of age, but I have now passed my prime and don’t care about exposing myself to any useless dangers. “You ask me if I ever hunt on Sunday. No, sir, I do not. I have always been able to kill enough on week days to give me a comfortable living. Since I came to live among the Adirondacks I have killed 600 deer, 400 sable, 19 moose, 28 bears, 6 wolves, 7 wild cats, 30 otter, 1 panther and 1 beaver.” 99 As he continued to hunt for more than twenty years later, these figures must represent but a small proportion of the game he actually killed. He married Lucina Bissell of Newcomb, who had a reputation of her own, not only as a notable housekeeper, but as a conversationalist. A graphic description of the couple as they appeared in their later years is given by a member of a party who made the Cheney house their headquarters when on a camping trip in 1869.100 Thin to meagreness, active, alert; straight gray hair cut short and drawn back with a round rubber comb from a plain pockmarked face; garbed in a straight shapeless homespun dress — she did not at first sight present an attractive appearance — but how soon that was forgotten! And how quickly she grew into your heart with her kindness and into your memory with her quaintness, no words could tell. No more hospitable soul ever 95 LM: Hoffman, TDV 57, and Lossing, TDV 201. 96 LM: Headley’s visit was in 1846. 97 LM: Lanman’s visit was in 1847, the year after Headley’s. 98 LM: Lanman, TDV 124. 99 LM: Lanman, TDV 125. 100 LM: In 1911, Frances C. (Mrs. S.E. “Ned”) Stimson recorded her “Personal Recollections of John Cheney and his Wife of Tahawus, N.Y.,” an account on file in the library of the Adirondack Museum. The account starts, “It was in 1868 or 1869 that I first made the acquaintance of the Cheney family.” THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 137
  • 148. inhabited a human body, and nothing within her means or power to do for her guests, was stinted. ... Although she dearly loved to talk and did talk all the time, she never stopped her work for it — but you were expected to follow the thread of her discourse while she journeyed back and forth, from kitchen to woodpile, back to slam wood under the stove lids, into the pantry to deposit a dish, through the dining room (where you sat), down cellar (her voice rumbling underneath) back to bedroom to get her “specs” — off to kitchen &c., &c., never stopping and fortunately never expecting more than a nod or smile in response. ... And what a cook she was! No one ever equalled her skill with trout or venison, no one ever stuffed and baked a muskelonge as she did and I am sure that neither the gods on Olympus or the gourmets on Fifth Avenue were ever served with a more delectable combination than her broiled partridge with potatoes that crumbled into powder at a touch, peppered and salted and smothered with thick rich cream. ... How can I tell of John Cheney. Such an unique and delightful personality needs an inspired pen. He must have been over seventy at that time — a little wiry man, somewhat shrunken but rugged, with deeply lined face, bushy brows and a droop in the corners of his mouth that prepared one for the almost whining, high-pitched voice with which he greeted you. I cannot remember that I ever saw him smile or heard him laugh beyond a sort of chuckle, but one never felt that his whine was more than throat deep and that he had a quiet sense of humour no one could doubt who ever heard his resume of the day’s drive as we sat at the close of it in the glow of a big campfire. He too was a great talker, tho’ not as rapid an one as his wife, and as neither by any chance ever stopped to give the other right of way, it was sometimes difficult — except for the roving habit of the Missus and the sedentary one of John — to get the gist of their discourse when in the house, but out in camp, when all gave way to hear what the old guide had to say, he was in his element and his tales of past encounters with wild beasts and thrilling experiences of many kinds were wonderful to listen to. He told the most blood stirring stories in the same high-pitched sing-song whine as he told the tale of his rheumatism — but it added an unique touch that was inimitable. By the way, he had that form of rheumatism which disappears under the prospect of a good time, and to him a good time meant a tramp through the woods, setting out his dog, a rapid making for a runway to watch — haply to kill, but anyway to recount and hear recounted, while the tea boiled (!) and the toast and venison were browned by younger hands, how the deer came in “kersouse, kersouse” by the “cranberry mash,” made for the “driftwood” and so entangling the dog, leaped for the bank, etc., etc. We had the good luck to dispel his rheumatism several times. We took him as nominal guide for the joy of his company, while younger men carried the “duffle” and did the work. Mrs. Cheney could, however, give way to her husband on occasion. Burroughs speaks of staying at his house overnight, when “he told us a long adventure he had had with a panther. He related how it screamed, how it followed him in the brush, how he took to his boat, how its eyes gleamed from the shore, and how he fired his rifle at him with fatal effect. His wife in the meantime took something from a drawer, and as her husband finished his recital, she produced a toe-nail of the identical animal with marked dramatic effect.”101 John was highly regarded by the proprietors, who had the utmost confidence in his fidelity and discretion. He occasionally went to Albany and even to Jersey City on confidential errands, taking with him on his return the remittances of cash, often large in amount, required for use at the works. 101 LM: TDV 206. 138 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 149. A. McI. to A. Porteous, January 19, 1839. Cheeny’s unexpected appearance last night with your letter of the 15th, was the occasion of some little surprise certainly, but none the less agreeable, however. It would have been cruel in you to have disappointed the good natured fellow in coming with his box of Moose Meat and trout, to his friends. I am glad you consented readily to his taking the journey. I am preparing for him today so that he can start on his return on Monday morning and be able to meet you at East Moriah according to arrangement. A. McI. to A.P., Feb. 18, 1839. Tell John Cheeny that I had an opportunity of sending a good share of his Moose Meat to Mr. Henderson, whilst it was fresh and in fine order — and that Mr. H. had a large dinner party to dine upon it, who gave it high praise. Among the guests were, Mr. Colden, Mr. Ingham, Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Martin, with whom Mr. Cheeny is acquainted. Tell him also that two days after he left here I dined at the Governor’s, and that the last dish of meat which came to the table was a steak from Cheeny’s Adirondack Moose. You may say to him too, that Mr. Henderson is mightily tickled with the expectation that at least one young Moose is to be captured for him alive in March. I cannot say that I shall much rejoice at Cheeney’s success in this matter. Securing and feeding a dozen Cows and Oxen would be less troublesome, and certainly much more profitable, than one Moose. But as this seems to be much of a hobby with Mr. H. we must not grudge him his pleasure that he anticipates in the possession of it. With my kindest regards to Mrs. Porteous, and compliments to Mr. J.S. Holt, my old friend H. Holt, and John Cheeny, I am, dear sir, Very sincerely yours, A. MCINTYRE. He once had a bad accident when hunting on Cheney Pond, while in a canoe chasing a buck. Once I was rowing after a large buck deer, when it was accidently discharged, the ball striking me about half way between my knee and ankle, came out on the other side just below my ankle joint, but being 14 miles from any habitation and alone, I only stopped long enough to see what harm it had done, then seized my oars and started for him again as the thought struck me, I may need that deer now more than ever. I caught up with him and made short work of it, took him ashore, dressed and hung him up, but I soon perceived that if I ever got out of the woods I must lose no time, as my boot was full of blood and my ankle began to pain me very bad, so I cut two crotched sticks, and by their help managed to get out of the woods, but it took me about eight hours; I only stopped to 102 set down once, it was so hard to start again. On the occasion of one of his visits to Jersey City, Mr. Henderson was having a dinner party and invited John in to entertain the company with his hunting stories. This he did so graphically that when it came to the point of describing this accident, he startled the company by pulling up a leg of his trousers to the knee and exhibiting the scars of his wound. John Cheney’s name is perpetuated by two ponds, one to the west of Lake Sanford in the MacIntyre tract, the other near the hamlet of Boreas River on the road between Tahawus and Schroon River, also by a mountain lying to the east of Lake Sanford known locally as Cheney Cobble. Another well known hunter was Harvey Holt, of Keene, who accompanied Mr. Redfield on his trips in 1836-7, and was recommended by him as guide for any one who 102 Stoddard, “The Adirondacks Illustrated,” 1885, p. 134. [TDV 298-299.] THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 139
  • 150. wished to ascend the “High Peak of Essex.” He was employed by the Company in various capacities, and ran the line through the woods for the construction of the railroad. His passion for hunting was sometimes embarrassing. D.H. to A. McI., 27 March 1837. I received your letters of the 22 & 23d yesterday. I was quite amused at your interesting account of the capture of the five moose by Holt & Co. I can easily conceive the eagerness with which they and the dogs pursued the game. I wish that they had been satisfied however, with killing only a couple of these splendid animals, and left the other three to keep up the breed in our manor. It was a great feat indeed, to sledge out, by the hand a box containing 100 Ibs. weight of the meat, and shews the great energy of these woodland people. A. McI. to Porteous, January 17, 1839. I am surprised at what you inform me about the Holts and about the Teams going the Branch road &c. I wish you now to understand, however, that I never have, and have no intention of interfering with your arrangements. You know much better than I can, what is necessary and proper to be done. But I will merely suggest by way of excuse for the hunting scrape, or other carelessness, that under Yates, the Winter was a sort of idle and play time with all of them there and I might add too that when we have been there we afforded too much encouragement to hunting and other idleness. By the way, now that I just recollect it, if Mr. H. Holt should propose to go a hunting for young Moose for Mr. Henderson, do not object to it. You may recollect that Mr. Henderson is very anxious to get a pair of young Moose, and offered a considerable reward, when at the Works, to any who might secure them for him. As for myself I could wish that the Moose might be forgotten — but if the hunt is projected I wish you would throw no obstacles in the way. ... I am well aware that you have a perplexing time of it with the people you have to deal with, and I regret it. But you will ultimately get matters better regulated, I trust. Pursue a steady and firm course, but be as conciliatory as you can be under the circumstances. I ought to mention that altho Mr. Harvey Holt is a very steady man through the year, yet in the winter, if a favorable season occur, he always takes a Moose Hunt. Overlook that, however. Anthony Snyder was also well known as guide and hunter. He lived on what was afterward known as the Gallagher place, about two miles above the Lower Works. The house was burned in the summer of 1919, but the log barn built by Snyder is still standing. In the rafters of this barn Snyder once secreted a small keg of whiskey which he purposed using when his neighbors were gathered (as was then the custom) to help him with haying. It was discovered by a thirsty member of his family who, being unable to reach it, took a rifle, shot a hole in the keg and caught the contents as they dripped, thus effectively “tapping the admiral.” An old goose owned by the Snyders remained on the place after they sold it, and continued to live there through the period of the Gallagher ownership. David Hunter remembers it as an old bird in his early boyhood, and its present age is computed to be fully eighty years. When the Gallagher family moved away after the fire, the goose was left the sole occupant of the premises. The house had been burned to the ground and nothing remained of it or its contents save the twisted frames of some iron bedsteads and the water pipe that had supplied the kitchen. From this the water of the spring still came in a melancholy trickle. Over this scene of desolation the old goose presided in solitary state, his companions having long before gone the way of all goose flesh. Marius amid the ruins of Carthage, Macaulay’s New Zealander on London Bridge, or the boy upon the burning 140 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 151. deck were not more alone nor would have been more depressing to see. He was accordingly bought by Mrs. Masten and taken to her farm, where he is spending the autumn of his days in dignified retirement. He is somewhat unsteady on his feet and occasionally falls down unexpectedly upon his beam ends, but he is still brave and undaunted of heart, and the spirit which in his ancestors saved Rome, enables him yet to hiss vigorously at his callers and pull the feathers from the hens and turkeys who would seek to deprive him of his full share of corn. The clearings made by Thomas R. Nutt and Isaac Bennett, on the shores of Lake Sanford, still bear their names, as also does the clearing of Andrew Shaw to the east of Lake Henderson. The Nutt clearing was the one described in the prospectus of 1854 as being located five miles below the village. It was on the east side of the lake back of where the MacIntyre Company’s cottage is now located. The clearings of Mitchell McIntyre, Elias Jones, Ira Daniels and Joshua Daniels were between the Lower Works and Perch Pond. George Arnot, who occupied Newcomb Farm in 1850, appears to have been its last tenant. It was found to have been impoverished by previous occupants, but it was hoped that by his judicious management it would be restored and become in the course of a few years a very valuable farm. William Preston, who acted as one of Lossing’s guides, lived about nine miles from Newcomb (or Pendleton) village, and the Preston Ponds were possibly named after him. Most of these men were of the old type of Adirondack guide and farmer, honest and straightforward, and well skilled in woodcraft. They were esteemed by the proprietors and by the tourists who employed them, many of whom have made kindly mention of them in their writings. Richard H. Dana in his article before quoted, said: The three or four days we were here we gave to excursions up and down Lake Sandford, to Newcomb’s Farm, and Dan Gates’ camp, and to the top of Tahawus. A small company of woodsmen, professional hunters and trappers, took us under their charge, — as good a set of honest, decent, kind-hearted, sensible men as one could expect to meet with, having, I thought, more propriety of talk and manners, more enlargement of mind and general knowledge, than the same number of common sailors taken equally at random would have shown. There was Dan Gates and Tone Snyder; I suppose an abbreviation of Anthony or Antoine and John Cheney and Jack Wright, names redolent in memory of rifles and sable-traps, and hemlock camps and deer, and trout and hard walks and good talks. We rowed up Lake Sandford at dawn and back by moonlight, visiting the Newcomb Farm and drinking of the spring on the hill by the side of Lake Delia, to which 103 opinion had attached marvelous restorative powers. Lake Delia, now known as Newcomb Lake, is on the property of Mr. Robert C. Pruyn. The spring still maintains its reputation. The old-time guides have had some worthy successors in later days. The names of Henry Thilo, “Ack” Thomas, Ira Proctor and Norman Hall, old guides still in service, will long be remembered by those who have frequented the Club in recent years. An earlier generation recalls, among many others, “Aleck” Hunter, John Galusha, Harrison Hall, “Ed” Dimmick, John Hall, Warren Williams, and “Tom” Benham, long the guardian at the Colden Camp. 103 LM: TDV 148. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 141
  • 152. Tahawus Club House (Main building is the old boarding house) 142
  • 153. Lake Sanford, from Echo Mountain 143
  • 154. Lower Preston Pond, from Board Landing 144
  • 155. The Mountains of Essex 145
  • 156. 12. Club occupancy For many years after the closing of the works the property remained idle excepting for occasional lumbering operations, in the course of which practically all the pine timber was marketed. Some of this lumbering was done by Alexander Ralph, the former superintendent. Mr. Thompson was in the habit of visiting the property at least once a year, sometimes more frequently, and other members of the family went up occasionally for the fishing or shooting. In February 1876, Mr. Thompson and a few of his friends organized the Preston Ponds Club, having for its object “the protection, increase and capture of fish and game in and about the Preston Ponds in the County of Essex, and the promotion of social intercourse among its members.” The club took a lease of the Ponds for a term of two years from him, as agent of the Adirondack Iron & Steel Company. It employed as superintendent John Moore of Adirondac, the mail carrier of earlier days. In the following year it was decided to preserve the whole of the Company’s tract, instead of merely Preston Ponds. The name of the Club was changed to “Adirondack Club” and the organization was duly incorporated, the founders being as follows: Charles F. Imbrie, William M. Fincke, Dudley S. Gregory Jr., James R. Thompson, Francis H. Weeks, George W. Folsom, James Weeks, Thomas J. Hall, William E. Pearson, Lockwood deForest and William H. Power. The number of active members was limited to twenty. There were to be thirty associate members exempt from the payment of initiation fee, but without the right to vote. Among the early members were the following well-known men: Austin Corbin, Judge Calvin E. Pratt, Robertson Rodgers, William Lanman Bull, William Hull Wickham, Judge Edgar M. Cullen, Dr. John B. Hawes, Robert H. Robertson, Dr. Daniel M. Stimson, Rutherford Stuyvesant, A.A. Low Jr., Edward Annan, Dr. George G. Wheelock, Alfred M. Hoyt, William Loring Andrews, W. Emlen Roosevelt, Robert W. deForest, Henry W. DeForest, Frederick H. Betts, Charles L. Atterbury, James R. Roosevelt, Colles Johnston, William F. Morgan and Robert B. Lawrence. Myron Buttles of Pottersville and David Hunter were placed in charge as superintendents, the former at the Upper Works and the latter at Tahawus. The boarding house was remodeled for use as a club house, and some old barns immediately in front of it, which were objectionable, were removed, and the ground seeded down. A tank with troughs, etc., capable of holding one hundred thousand fry, was installed in a long room in the rear of the club house, but this arrangement was soon abandoned and a hatchery was constructed at the bank of the river near the falls. In April 1887, about thirteen thousand California salmon and forty thousand lake trout were placed in Lake Henderson. Black bass were also introduced in small quantities into Lake Sanford, and arrangements were made for stocking lakes Harkness and Andrew, Trout Pond, Lake Colden and Beaver Brook with speckled trout. The Executive Committee recommended that the Preston Ponds be fished “in moderation,” and reported that during the first year not over five hundred pounds of trout were taken during the entire season, whereas for some years previously the average quantity was estimated to have been over two thousand pounds. At the suggestion of Mr. Stuyvesant, and largely through his efforts, a bull and cow moose were obtained from Nova Scotia which were placed in a pen of some fifty acres in extent on the ridge back of the 146
  • 157. club house. This was enclosed by a fence about nine feet in height, the vestiges of which still remain. The Executive Committee was authorized to purchase an additional pair of moose, and great hopes were entertained that the effort to breed these animals would be successful. The committee in its annual report said: These woods within the memory of the present generation have abounded in moose, John Cheney alone having killed about twenty, almost all of them on this tract, and there is no reason why with proper care they should not in time be as abundant as ever. There are probably no wild ones left in the State of New York at the present time, but if a proper supply from which to breed can be obtained, and all hunting prevented for a term of years, there is little doubt but that the natural increase would again populate the woods so as to afford excellent sport. Unfortunately, these hopes were not realized. The moose lived but a short time, perhaps from having an insufficient range, although it was reported that they were poisoned. The first cottage to be occupied by a member was that of Mr. Francis H. Weeks, who obtained permission “to repair the house now called the Hunter House104 for his own exclusive use.” Permission was also granted to Mr. William L. Andrews to build at the Upper Works a house for his own exclusive use, but such permission was not availed of. In 1880 the wages of the club guides were fixed at $2.50 per day without dog or boat, the guides to board themselves. The overhauling of the building adjoining the Club House, now called the “Annex,” was authorized in that year; also the construction of a boat house on the river at the head of Lake Sanford large enough to hold six boats. In the following year it was decided that there should be no fishing for black bass in Lake Sanford until after July 15, nor for trout in lakes Jimmy and Harkness before the spring of 1882. In 1884 the Executive Committee purchased the George W. Folsom camp on Preston Ponds for the sum of $125, which continued to be in use until the construction of the present camp upon the same site about ten years ago. Mr. Alexander Taylor Jr. built in later years a log camp at Lake Colden which is still standing, and which was also purchased by the Club. The Adirondack Club remained in existence until 1897 when, from various causes, it became moribund.105 A new organization was then formed, largely through the efforts of Mr. Taylor, who was an enthusiastic lover of the woods. This organization was incorporated in the following year under the name of Tahawus Club, of which the incorporators were Samuel Spencer, Dr. George G. Wheelock, Walter H. Lewis, William F. King and Arthur H. Masten. The directors, in addition to Mr. Spencer, were Gordon Abbott, Dr. Walton Martin and William H. Wheelock. The other original members were as follows: A.H. Alker, Frederic Bonner, Robert L. Burton, E. Holloway Coe, T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr., Chauncey F. Kerr, James MacNaughton, George L. Nichols, Robert Treat Paine II, Robert C. Pruyn, Edward L. Pruyn, Robert H. Robertson, Alexander Taylor Jr., George C. Ward and Christopher Wolfe. Dr. Wheelock was the first president, and was followed successively by Messrs. Gordon Abbott, Walter Jennings and Marshall Geer. 104 LM: Now known as the MacNaughton Cottage. 105 LM: For more on this, see Masten’s “Tahawus Club, 1898-1933,” ADV 194-196, 199. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 147
  • 158. Myron Buttles, the superintendent of the old Club, was an amusing personage. He was a keen sportsman, especially as a fisherman, and was as excited about each sizable fish that he caught as if he had never taken one before. It used to be said that whenever he hooked a lake trout of unusual size in Lake Henderson, his yells could be heard at the Club House. He would act as guide for members whenever his other duties permitted, and he generally arranged that they should, not only because of his love of sport, but for the sake of the additional stipend. He was a capital story-teller and could beguile a quiet afternoon on Lake Sanford in a way to be remembered. In those days, when the Constitution of the United States was not likely to be subverted by so ordinary an occurrence as a fisherman taking a drink, the favorite beverage at the Club was “Old Club House.” This was an excellent rye whisky purveyed by Macy & Jenkins, and bottled in small jugs. It was worth while to see Buttles, when offered hospitality of this sort, reach out his hand in protest to check the amount being poured into his glass, but always, it was noted, contriving to bear down on the hand that was doing the pouring. The Club members at that time were practically all quartered in the Club House and it was their custom in the mornings to go down to the pool below the dam for a plunge. Buttles was moved to imitate their example and started one morning for the pool, to be stopped by the voice of Mrs. Buttles asking in compelling tones where he was going. He told her briefly, and she called back, “Now, Myron Buttles, don’t you go trying no experiments. Come back here” — and he did. After the death of Buttles in 1890 David Hunter became Club superintendent, with his summer headquarters at the Upper Works. Each succeeding spring Mrs. Hunter has migrated thither with her household staff, to put the Club House and cottages in order for the season, returning to the Lower Works in October. Michael Breen has been in charge of the Lower Works since 1900. As all are living (let us hope to be long spared), they may not be treated as historical characters, whose praises can be sung or regarding whom anecdotes may be related. To some future writer it must be left to do them justice. In the long years of their service they have ministered to the comfort and enjoyment of hundreds of people — club members, their families and their guests, all of whom have been glad to count them as valued friends. While originally an organization chiefly for sporting purposes, like its predecessor, the character of this Club has changed in recent years. The abolition of hounding, and deferring the open season for deer until late in the autumn, rendered the hunting unavailable for some of the members, and the systematic stocking of the Club’s waters having been for a time abandoned, the fishing became less of a feature. Such stocking has recently been resumed. The Club is now more of a family resort than it was in its early days. Mr. Alexander Taylor Jr. was the first to build a cottage for his own use. His example was followed by other members, and a number of cottages now line the village street. With better facilities for the entertainment of guests of members, there have been numerous visitors at the Club, and its interesting registers show many well-known names. The Duke of Marlborough, who was one of a party visiting Mr. Taylor in 1889, was pleased to express his approval of the place, but found the walk to Preston Ponds fatiguing. He remarked that it ought to have been made possible to drive over in a dog-cart for the fishing, and suggested the construction of a road for that purpose. Governor Hughes and Governor Whitman, each during his term of office, were guests of the Club. The former wrote (September 5, 1910): 148 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 159. Our visit has been delightful in every way, and we shall never forget the days of freedom and out door life which we enjoyed in the club preserves — the choicest spot, to one who loves the woods, in the Empire State. Most noteworthy of all historically, was the visit of Colonel Roosevelt in 1901, after the assassination of President McKinley. On September 11, he arrived from Buffalo to join his family, who were spending the month of September in the MacNaughton cottage. The following day he started with Mrs. Roosevelt and others for the camp on Lake Colden, where they spent the night. On the morning of the 13th he left the camp at 9:20 for the ascent of Mt. Marcy, reaching the signal on the summit in exactly three hours. His companions were Mr. MacNaughton, Messrs. Beverley R. and Herman F. Robinson and a guide. On their way down the mountain the party stopped for luncheon near Lake Tear of the Clouds. While there another guide arrived from the Club House with despatches stating that the condition of President McKinley, which had been favorable when Colonel Roosevelt left Buffalo, had suddenly changed for the worse, and that his immediate presence there was required. He started at once for the Club House, which he reached at 5:15, and left shortly after midnight for North Creek, where a special train was in waiting. President McKinley died at 2:15 A.M. on September 14, shortly after Colonel Roosevelt had left the Lower Works, and he, therefore, became president while still on Club territory. This fact is commemorated by a tablet at the side of the highway near Heffern’s, erected at the instance of the late Harry V. Radford. As soon as it was known that President McKinley’s condition was dangerous, the reporters began to congregate at North Creek. They endeavored to reach Colonel Roosevelt, but their efforts were not encouraged. Having no accurate information regarding his movements, they drew on their imaginations to supplement such meager facts as they could gather, with the result that many extraordinary accounts of his trip appeared in the newspapers. Notwithstanding it was the close season, some of the reporters assumed that he was on a hunting expedition. One especially gifted young man described him as receiving the news of the President’s relapse “while seated on the summit of Mount Marcy sorting out his game.” In view of these fantastic accounts, a careful record of what actually occurred on the Marcy trip was made by members of the party and entered on the Club Register. Several modern writers have published their impressions of this region, but with the exception of Mr. Grant LaFarge’s graphic description of his winter trip up Mount Marcy106 these accounts are of little value. Most of them are newspaper or magazine hack work, written in haste and full of inaccuracies, and, notwithstanding the aid of artistic photography, they are not to be compared in literary or historical interest with the descriptions of Dana, Burroughs, Lossing and other early writers.107 Whether as a result of change of taste, or because of the development of photography, it is a noteworthy fact that among the visitors of recent years there have been comparatively few artists. It was otherwise in the early days. Homer D. Martin, Henry Inman, Charles C. Ingham, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Charles C. Gignoux and F.T. Vance, some of 106 Outing, April 1900, vol. XXXVI, p. 69. 107 For example: “Up Mount Marcy after Governor Hughes.” N.Y. Tribune, August 16, 1908. “The Indian Trail,” by Marie Van Vorst, Harper’s Bazar, July/August 1908. “The Hudson River,” by Marie Van Vorst, Harper’s Monthly, March 1905, vol. CX, p. 543. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 149
  • 160. whose names have already been mentioned, are among the painters of a past generation whose work perpetuates the attractions of this region. Headley’s book, “The Adirondack,” is illustrated with engravings of Ingham’s “Lake Colden,” “Lake Sanford,” “Adirondack Pass,” and Gignoux’s “Lake Henderson.” In the National Museum in Washington may be found James Henry Morser’s “Evening Glow, Mt. McIntyre” and Alexander Wyant’s “The Flume — Opalescent River.” Wyant’s “Avalanche Lake” is in a private collection in Boston. Homer D. Martin spent two summers at John Cheney’s house near the Lower Works. His favorite sketching ground and the region that left the deepest impress on his memory seems to have been the forest bound lakes at the head-waters of the Hudson 108 about Tahawus. One of his best-known paintings, “Lake Sanford,” hangs in the lounging room of the Century Club. Another, “An Adirondack Lake — Lake Sanford,” is in the collection of James G. Shepherd. His “Adirondack Scenery” is owned by Samuel Untermyer, and his “Misty Morning on an Adirondack Lake” forms part of the Charles W. Harkness gift to the Art Museum of Cleveland, Ohio. For some years past the members of the Tahawus Club have been disquieted by fears lest they should be deprived of their summer home as a result of the acquisition by the state of a considerable portion of the MacIntyre tract. It is now reasonably certain, however, that with the exception of Lake Colden and the immediate surrounding territory, which was appropriated by the state in 1920, the Club is assured of its tenure for some years to come. There will be more difficulty than before in protecting the property from trespassers, but this is inevitable in view of the changed conditions throughout the Adirondack country within the last decade. With the introduction of automobiles and the opening of good roads throughout this entire section, no place is too remote for the tourist nor, unfortunately, for the poacher. Curiously enough, the Conservation Commission, which spends vast sums annually for the protection of fish and game, is chiefly responsible for the influx, in constantly increasing numbers, of that class of the community which is most destructive of wild life. For some years the expressed purpose of the commission in acquiring lands from private owners was to protect the mountain slopes from lumbering operations, not only because of their beauty but in order to preserve the sources of water supply. The first effort of the Commission is to acquire land on the high mountain slopes where the danger of denudation following lumbering and forest fires is the greatest. These are the sections that should forever be maintained as protection areas and upon which no 109 lumbering should ever be permitted. This wise policy has in recent years been subordinated to the promotion of what the Commission considers the “recreational features” of the Adirondacks. The wide circulation of propaganda on this subject has resulted in bringing into the country many people, neither sportsmen nor forest lovers, who regard the woods much as they would Coney Island and 108 Homer Martin, Poet in Landscape, by Frank Jewett Mather, New York, 1912. 109 Annual Report 1919, p. 99. 150 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 161. treat them accordingly. They are the sort who leave their camp fires smouldering and whose route through the woods is marked by a trail of tin cans and tattered newspapers. Most of these people have no regard for the game laws. They come from remote parts of the state, even from neighboring states, to hunt deer with flashlights. They shoot does and fawns and take under-sized trout in or out of season. The results of this popularization of the Adirondacks by the Conservation Commission are well illustrated in the case of Lake Colden, one of the most beautiful spots in the woods and formerly a famous fishing ground. Although ostensibly protected by the state, the fishing is practically exhausted after having been open to the public for two seasons. Formerly trout were permitted to be taken only on the fly, and no Club member or guest was entitled to kill more than 20 fish daily. Now almost every known method of fishing is employed except dynamiting, and sometimes as many as 40 or so pounds of trout have been taken home by visitors, not to mention the fish they have consumed in camp. That such results were likely to follow was recognized by Mr. Pratt, former Conservation Commissioner, who at one time gave positive assurance that the lake would not be taken from its owners. Later, however, he yielded to pressure, being somewhat in awe of one of his subordinates who vociferously insisted that the occupation of the property by a private club constituted an abhorrent “special privilege,” subversive of the rights of the people. The gore around Lake Colden was accordingly appropriated in October 1920, notwithstanding the protest of its owners. A more enlightened public policy prevails in Canada, where the conservation authorities recognize the desirability of encouraging a reasonable number of private preserves to serve as refuges and thus promote the increase of fish and game which, on lands thrown open to the public, are in danger of speedy extermination. It was several years ago proposed by the Conservation Commission to take also the Preston Ponds. Proceedings to that end were commenced but have since been abandoned by the present commissioner,110 who, unlike his predecessor,111 had the courage of his convictions. The state undertook to acquire, however, in addition to the gore around Lake Colden (which includes the Flowed Lands, and the East River Falls), a portion of the gore east of Township 47, in which is located the Indian Pass or famous “Notch” of former years. Without waiting for the formality of taking the land, a state camp was built and trails were marked a little north of Lake Henderson some three years ago. The sovereign state of New York, through its Conservation Commission, moves deliberately in these matters and the land is not yet paid for (July 1923), although monumented as the state’s property. There is a “shorter and an uglier word” to describe such acts when done by a private individual. During the last year considerable tracts of land have been sold to Finch, Pruyn & Company of Glens Falls, but the rights of the Tahawus Club to the hunting and fishing thereon were reserved for a period of years. It is not likely that any lumbering will be done on the premises in the meantime. Of the original tract of some 105,000 acres there now remain in the fee ownership of MacIntyre Iron Company 10,874 acres, chiefly in the vicinity of Lake Sanford and the Club House, where the ore beds are situated. Nearly 100 years have passed since the discovery 110 LM: Ellis J. Staley, former assistant counsel to the Forest, Fish and Game Commission, former assemblyman and former surrogate of Albany County. 111 LM: George D. Pratt, president of Finch, Pruyn & Co. and founder of the Adirondack Mountain Club, was New York state conservation commissioner from 1915 to 1921. THE STORY OF ADIRONDAC 151
  • 162. of those deposits excited the hopes of the original proprietors. Some of their descendants, to whom from childhood “Adirondac” has been a tradition of hope deferred, profess to believe that another century may elapse before the needs of the iron trade will compel the construction of a railroad to these mines. Others of the present owners, more sanguine, take comfort in the recent prediction of Professor Nason, a leading metallurgist, that the property will be developed within his span of life. Whatever its future, it has at all events an historic past, and several generations have gratefully enjoyed the charm of its woods and waters since the days when Mr. MacIntyre longed to be snuffing “the mountain air of Essex.” 152 ANNALS OF THE DESERTED VILLAGE
  • 163. Elevations MOUNTAINS Marcy.....................................................5,344 McIntyre.................................................5,112 Skylight ..................................................4,920 Colden ...................................................4,713 Redfield .................................................4,606 Santanoni ..............................................4,621 Allen.......................................................4,305 MacNaughton ........................................3,976 North River ............................................3,890 Bartlett Ridge.........................................3,880 Cheney Cobble......................................3,673 Calamity.................................................3,641 Adams ...................................................3,584 Moose....................................................2,766 LAKES Avalanche..............................................2,863 Colden ...................................................2,764 Flowed Lands ........................................2,745 Henderson .............................................1,810 Sanford ..................................................1,720 Andrew ..................................................2,354 Harkness ...............................................1,948 Newcomb...............................................1,735 Harris .....................................................1,552 PONDS Upper Preston .......................................2,158 Lower Preston .......................................2,156 Cheney ..................................................2,041 Perch .....................................................1,775 Trout ......................................................1,809 Bench Mark opposite Tahawus Club House: 1,770.881 153

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