Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)

6,341 views

Published on

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).

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
6,341
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
32
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
42
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Annals of the Deserted Village (Part 1)

  1. 1. Annals of the Deserted Village
  2. 2. Annals of the Deserted Village TH KEY 20 CENTURY STUDIES OF AN EMBLEMATIC ADIRONDACK SETTLEMENT An anthology edited by Lee Manchester
  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 11. Above, Bierstadt photo, 1886. Below, “GB” photo, 1890.
  12. 12. Above, “Church of Tubal-Cain,” from Masten’s “Story of Adirondac” (1923). Below, photocopy of R.H. Robertson water color, ca. 1910
  13. 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. 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. 15. Part One: Key summaries
  16. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

×