Hamilton County Adirondack Guides
transcribed by Joanne Murray

We've transcribed portions of this text which include Adirondack guides who likely knew and worked in portions of Hamilton county, many of whom were Hamilton county residents. There are other guides listed for other areas of the Adirondacks in this same source.

Source: State of New York Annual Report of the Forest Commission For the Year 1893, Vol. 1., Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer. 1894.

Pg. 343

Adirondack Guides

A prominent feature of Adirondack life is the large number of guides, whose services are indispensable to the tourist in his journeyings through the wilderness. The fisherman and hunter, also, will find that success is largely dependent on the assistance of an intelligent, skillful guide.

True, a person could, if necessary, dispense with their services to some extent; but only at the cost of considerable labor and inconvenience. Those who can afford it will find that employing a competent guide is a judicious expenditure. He earns his money. If a tourist needs his services, he provides a boat and guides the way; pulls at the oars, through sun and rain, for twenty or thirty miles a day; takes the boat out of the water at various places, and, putting it on his head, carries it over the portages, some of which are four miles long. The fisherman needs his services; for the guide knows better than anyone else just where to drop in a line to catch the fish; just where the spring-holes are in which, during hot weather, the speckled trout may be found. In deer hunting, the guide climbs the mountain side in search of "signs" on which to put out the hounds that are chained to his belt; shows the sportsman on which "runways" the deer will be most apt to pass; and, when the animal is killed, "dresses" the carcass, and carries it to camp. The guide is also necessary in camping out. He knows where the cool spring or brook may be found by which a tent must be pitched, or the shanty, built of boughs or bark, erected. He prepares the bed of balsam twigs, and, being a good axeman, provides the wood for the fire which burns brightly each night before the camp, furnishing light and warmth, and the most attractive feature of camp life. He is skilled in cooking; in addition to trout and venison smoking hot, he [Pg. 344] will serve his guests with Adirondack flapjacks and other tempting dishes peculiar to his woodland cuisine. Happy the tourist, fisherman, or hunter, who can secure the services of a competent guide.

The guides are, for the most part, intelligent, sober, and industrious. That there should be some exceptions is natural; but they are few. During the winter many of them work in the lumber camps. When the ice goes out with the spring freshets, they join the river drivers, and work at driving logs, an employment for which strong, active men are always in demand.

Soon after the ice goes out, which, in our northern lakes occurs often in May, the fishing season opens. The large number of sportsmen who throng into the woods in May and June, on every railroad and from every direction, furnish employment for a large number of guides. The guide provides a boat, furnishes bait, carries the boat over the trails leading to the neighboring ponds or streams, cleans the fish, and packs them properly in case the fisherman wishes to carry some of them home. He is of great assistance, also, in pointing out the exact, circumscribed spots in which it is necessary to cast a line in order to catch trout, places which a fisherman unacquainted with the locality would seldom find.

With the close of the spring fishing season for summer boarders and tourists commences, and the guide locates at or near a summer hotel. If a guest needs his services he will be found at evening about the piazzas, or in the "guide house," where he sits and smokes and listens to the interminable stories which are an interesting feature of that spot. During the hotel season his principal employment, if in the Lake Region, consists in carrying tourists over the long, hundred-mile routes which traverse the wilderness in various directions. He also secures considerable patronage from the "trippers," parties who make short trips through the lakes to some other hotel for dinner, returning at night. Although the fishing is poor during the summer months he finds frequent employment with persons - often ladies - who want to try their luck with hook and line, [Pg. 345] and who generally succeed in getting some fish, to say nothing of a pleasant outing. In the mountain region, the guides during the summer season are in demand for mountain climbing, camping-out parties, picnics, and brook fishing.

With the closing of the summer hotels the hunting season opens, and the guides find employment with the deer hunters whose hounds make the woods echo until the leaves have fallen. And now comes the time when the distinction between the real guide and one who is a mere boatman is quickly apparent. Many of the sportsmen go into camp during shooting season or hounding season. The guide must then have a boat, pack-basket, rifle, and hound of his own, and must understand handling each one of the four. He must be able to pull a good oar so as to head off a deer in the lake and keep it there a while, if necessary; he must be able to carry a pack-basket loaded heavily with food, dishes, and camp equipments; he must be a quick, sure shot with a rifle, able to kill a running deer at twenty-five rods; and must be enough of a woodsman to know how, when, and where to "put out" hounds to that the deer will go to the runways where his hunters are stationed. If his patron wants to indulge in the questionable sport of "jacking" or night hunting, he must be proficient in rigging up a jack, or a head-light cap, and to paddle his boat through the darkness with absolutely noiseless motion which, to many, is the great charm of night hunting. When the deer is killed, he must know how to cut it open, take out the inwards, wash and dress it, get it to camp, and hoist it on the "pole." He must be able to run a good camp; must be handy in pitching a tent or building a shanty; ready in cutting wood and keeping up a fire that will not smoke his guests into a fit of profanity; and last, but above all, he must be a good cook, neat in his personal habits, and cleanly in all his cooking arrangements. This may be thought an uncommon list of requirements; but there are plenty of Adirondack guides who can fill the bill in every particular.

Many of the guides are retained for the entire season by cottagers or campers. Some of the most competent ones are hired [Pg. 346] by the year as gamekeepers or guides on private reserves and by sportsmen's clubs.

A guide in traveling through the lakes generally carries only one person in his boat, but will, if asked to do so, take an additional passenger without extra charge. The boats, which by some unwritten law are painted blue, are from fifteen to seventeen feet long, weigh from sixty-five to seventy-eight pounds, and cost about sixty-five dollars.

The oarsman sits near the bow, with his passenger in the stern, and the extra passenger, if any, on a middle seat. On landing at a "carry" the guide picks up the boat and, turning it bottom upwards, places it over his head, with its weight resting on his shoulders, using a neck-yoke for that purpose. The passenger is expected to carry his own "duffel *" or luggage, which should be limited to a small hand-satchel and a rubber coat. Sometimes a party will employ an extra guide to run a baggage boat, in which case he looks after the duffel. Where the portages are short the guide carries his boat across; but on some of the longer ones, roads have been made, and a boat-wagon, rigged for this particular purpose, is used to transport the boats and baggage across, a fee, varying from seventy-five cents to one [Pg. 347] dollar and fifty cents, being charged for the service in each case. This fee must be paid by the tourist, instead of the guide. There are some long carries, however, on which there are no boat-wagons - Bottle Pond Carry, on the Tupper Lake route, for instance, which is over four miles long - and over which the guides carry their boats on their heads the entire distance.

In the mountain region, where mountain climbing and camping out are a prominent feature of summer life, the guides provide dishes, cooking utensils, and tents, - carrying them in the peculiar-shaped "pack-basket," made for the purpose, which he slings upon his back and shoulders with leather straps. The guides in the mountain region are good cooks, noticeably so in Keene Valley, some of whom, on the Upper Ausable Pond, can prepare a meal that will rival the dishes offered by the high-priced chef of a summer hotel.

The Adirondack guides have formed an association, with local organizations in various localities - at the Saranacs, Paul Smith's, Long Lake, etc. - each local organization being represented in the association by a member of the executive committee. The officers of the association are: Honorary president, Verplanck Colvin, Albany, N. Y.; vice-presidents, Thomas Redwood, Paul Smith's, N. Y.; Alonzo W. Dudley, Saranac Lake, N. Y.; secretary, John H. Miller, Saranac Lake, N. Y.; treasurer, F. D. Kilburn, Malone, N. Y.

In its constitution, which is printed, there may be found, among others, the following paragraphs:

Sec. 1. This organization shall be called the Adirondack Guides' Association.
Sec. 2. The object of this association shall be to promote and facilitate travel in the Adirondacks; to secure to the public competent and reliable guides, thus assuring the welfare of tourism and sportsmen; to aid in the enforcement of the Forest and Game Laws of this State; to secure wise and practical legislation on all subjects affecting the interests of the Adirondack region; to maintain a uniform rate of [Pg. 348] wages of guides; and to render financial assistance to its members in case of sickness or other disability, or to their families in case of the death of such members.

Sec. 1. Any person, to become a member of this association, must be (first) a citizen of the United States of America and have a permanent residence within the State of New York; (second) be at least twenty-one (21) years of age, and have been known as a resident of the Adirondacks for fifteen years; (third) an Adirondack guide, having at least three years' experience as such; (fourth) be a well-equipped, competent and in every way reliable guide.

Rate of Wages of Guides
The uniform rate of wages of the guides, who are members of this association, shall be three dollars ($3) per day, and their ordinary expenses.

The members of this association shall assist each other in obtaining employment in preference to those who are not members, and they shall respect each other's rights to camps owned or built by them.

The Adirondack guides, although there is a regiment of them in number, wear no distinctive costume, each one dressing as his taste, purse, or circumstances may dictate. It would be useless to suggest the adoption of a costume. Anything like a uniform would be regarded by them as a sacrifice of their independence. Some of them are negligent and careless as to their personal appearance, which is unfortunate; for as a class they are fine-looking me, well built, with attractive, intelligent faces. There is no reason why they should not adopt some simple, characteristic costume, suitable to their work, with some slight variation to designate each locality.

The guides are earnest advocates of forest preservation. They are always on the alert to prevent forest fires, and will never [Pg. 349] leave a camp-fire burning at any spot where they may have halted for a meal or for the night. Before departing they will extinguish every spark, carrying water for a distance, if necessary to do so. They are always prompt in cautioning smokers against throwing lighted matches or cigar stumps in the dead leaves, and are ready to remind the party of disastrous forest fires which started from just such causes.

Adirondack guides do not roam aimlessly through the entire wilderness in search of employment. Each one attaches himself to some particular locality, and is known or referred to by the locality to which he belongs. Men are spoken of as Fulton Chain guides, Meacham Lake guides, Mirror Lake guides, etc., because they find employment in that particular locality, and remain there when not engaged. Whenever they go elsewhere with a tourist they return to their starting place immediately after being paid off, without waiting to get a passenger for their return trip. It is a rule, strictly adhered to, that the guides in each locality are entitled to the patronage of all tourists, travelers, or sportsmen starting out on trips from that particular place.

The regular pay of a guide is three dollars per day and his expenses, including his time and expenses in returning to the point from which he started. This latter charge is not generally understood, and not infrequently results in some lively discussion before the bill is paid. The charge, however, is a perfectly proper one, as anyone will see on considering the matter for a moment.

For instance, - a tourist hires a guide to take him from Paul Smith's to Blue Mountain Lake, a much frequented route, requiring a three days' ride. For the three days' journey he must pay the guide three dollars per day, and must pay for the board and lodging of the guide at the hotels along the way; and in addition, must pay the charges for hauling the boat over the carrys on which there are boat-wagons. The guide's board on this route will cost from one dollar and fifty cents to two dollars per day, guides being [end of Pg. 349, next page is a photo] [Pg. 351] been so much misunderstanding as to the rates where a guide makes a return trip alone.

Many will be surprised at the number engaged in the business throughout the wilderness. In the following list will be found the name and post office address of 626 guides. In preparing this list an effort was made to include only such guides as were known to be competent and reliable. Doubtless, some names have been omitted which should appear in this list. The compilation of such a peculiar directory was necessarily a difficult task.

In addition to this list there are nearly as many more who are boatmen rather than guides; also many who render occasional services to summer people or sportsmen, but who do not devote their entire time to the business during the season.

Prefixed to each local list is given the names of some of the more prominent places of interest to which the guides of that particular locality are accustomed to take people. Lack of space would not permit mention of all the attractive resorts to which they go.

*"Duffel" is the curious name applied by Edward Eggleston to a volume of short stories issued by D. Appleton & Co., of New York, in his preface the author explains the use of the word duffel as follows, and it is a very interesting etymological explanation:

The once famous Mrs. Annie Grant - known in literature as Mrs. Grant, of Laggan - spent part of her childhood in our New York Albany, then a town almost wholly given to traffic with the aborigines. To her we owe a description of the setting out of the young American-Dutch trader to ascend to Mohawk in a canoe, by laborious paddling and toilsome carrying around rifts and falls in order to penetrate to the dangerous region of the tribes beyond the Six Nations.

The outfit of the young "bushlafer", as such a man was called in the still earlier Dutch period, consisted mainly of a sort of cloth suited to Indian wants. But there were added minor articles of use and fancy to please the youth or captivate the imagination of the women in the tribes. Combs, pocket mirrors, hatchets, knives, Jews-harps, pigments for painting the face blue, yellow and vermilion, and other such things were stored away in the canoe to be spread out as temptations before the eyes of some group of savages rich in a winter's catch of furs. The cloths sold by the traders were called duffel, probably from the place of their origin, the town of Duffel in the Low Countries. By degrees the word was, I suppose, transferred to the whole stock and a trader's duffel included all the miscellany he carried with him.

The romantic young bushlafer, eager to accumulate money enough to marry the maiden he has selected, disappeared long ago from the watercourses of northern New York. In his place an equally interesting figure - the Adirondack guide - navigates single-handed the rivers and lakes of the "North Woods." By one of those curious cases of transference that are often found in etymology, the guide still carries duffel, like his predecessor; but not for Indian trading. The word with him covers also an indefinite collection of manifold use.

Pg. 355

Saranac Lake - Paul Smith's - Ampersand Pond - Tupper Lakes - Bog River Chain - Raquette River - Blue Mountain Lake - Fulton Chain.

Eugene Allen, Hiram Benham, Lowell Brown, Andrew Baker, Calvin Brown, Charles Covell, Charles Bartlett, Edward Cagle, Elmer Dockum, Henry Davis, Alonzo W. Dudley, Frank Davis, Luther Evans, John Foster, Arlo Flagg, Edward Flagg, Silas Flagg, Perley Graves, Thomas Healey, George E. Johnson, John King, Robert King, Douglas Kingman, Edward Lewis, Joseph Lamoy, John H. Miller, Benjamin R. Moody, Robert Moody, "Tidd" Moody, "Cleve" Moody, Ransom Manning, William Manning, Stephen Martin, Charles Martin, George Mussin, Theodore Melvin, Charles McCoy, Robert Nichols, Thomas Peacock, Anson Parsons, Reuben E. Sumner, Peter Solomon, Howard Slater, Warren J. Slater, William Stearns, Simeon Torrance, John Turner, Carlos Whitney, Warren Bryant, Charles Bryant, Hosea Colbath, Frederick Colbath, James Moody, John Slater, George Sweeny.
P.O. Address: Saranac Lake, Franklin Co., N.Y.

Pg. 356

Saranac Lakes - Paul Smith's - Big Clear - Loon Lake - Tupper Lakes - Bog River Chain - Raquette River - Blue Mountain Lake - Fulton Chain.

Charles Austin, Millard Derby, Charles McCaffrey, Peter O'Malley, George Otis, Wesley Woods, Edward Otis, Burt Kronk, Justin Farrington, Henry Kempton, David Kronk, Joseph Otis, Ransom Sweeney, Burt Proctor, William Merril, William Keith, James O'Malley, Earl Derby, John Derby.
P.O. Address: Saranac Inn, Franklin Co., N.Y.

Pg. 357

Mount Marcy - Mount McIntyre - Mount Joe - Indian Pass - Avalanche Pass - Clear Lake - Lake Colden - Avalanche Lake - Preston Ponds.

Willard Streeter, Charles Wood, Eugene Smith.
P.O. Address: North Elba, Essex Co., N.Y.

Tupper Lakes - Beaver River - Bog River Chain - Mud Lake - Horseshoe Pond - The Saranacs - Paul Smith's - Raquette River - Blue Mountain Lake - Bottle Pond - Long Lake - Forked Lake - Fulton Chain.

Ernest H. Johnson, Frank Johnson, William Dukett, Daniel Hennessy, George Davis, George Pelleren, George Pittenger, Daniel Hinkson, Harvey Freeman, James McBride, Charles McBride, Fred. J. Moody, George Huntington, Charles Lester, John Butler, James Butler, George Davis, George La Fountain.
P.O. Address: Moody, Franklin Co., N.Y.

Pg. 359

Blue Mountain Lake - Raquette Lake - Fulton Chain - Forked Lake - The Tuppers - Bottle Pond - Slim Pond Chain - Raquette River - The Saranacs - Paul Smith's - Newcomb Lake.

Ferrand B. Austin, Arthur Cary, Henry D. Austin, Nelson Cary, Melvin Benham, Reuben Cary, Otis Betts, R. J. Dunning, James Bissell, B. F. Emerson, Charles B. Cole, Wallace Emerson, Charles E. Cole, Andrew Fisher, Simeon Cole, William Gillies, Alva Cole, David Helms, Clayton Cole, John Helms, William Cullen, David Hough, Edward Cullen, Joseph Hamner, O. D. Hough, Amos Hough, Howard J. Hamner, Charles E. Hamner, Robert Hartson, Curtis Hall, Benjamin Hall, David Keller, Charles Lapell, Justin Lamos, "Captain" Parker, C. H. Palmer, [pg. 360] Lester Palmer, George Stanton, Frank Plumley *, Lorenzo Towns, J. D. Plumley *, Archie Talbot, John E. Plumley *, Harry Williams, Riley Plumley *, Boyden Robinson, Handy Plumley *, John Robinson, George Palmer, Isaac Robinson, William Robinson, Lyman Russell, Amos Robinson, George W. Smith, John Rickertson, Gilbert Stanton, Isaac Sabattis , Edward Stanton, Harry Sabattis , Calvin Towns, Charles Sabattis , Joseph Welch, Willard Sutton, William Wilson,.
P.O. Address: Long Lake, Hamilton Co., N.Y.
* All sons of "Honest John". See Adirondack Murray's tales.
Sons of Mitchell Sabattis, the old Indian guide.

Pg. 360 continued

Raquette River - Marion River - Blue Mountain Lake - Fulton Chain - Big Moose - Forked Lake - The Tuppers - Raquette River - Long Lake - The Saranacs - Paul Smith's.

Jerome Wood, Samuel Jenkins, William Ballard, Wesley Bates, J. O. A. Bryere, Alvah Dunning, William Cornell, Richard Bennett, James Harrington, Arthur Sheldon, "Doc" (Francis) La Prairie, Paul Tibbits, "Cal" (Alexander) La Prairie, Hiram Steers, John Crogan, Andrew Syms, Edward Martin, Seth M. Pierce, John A. Jones, Clifton Pierce, Seth M. Pierce, Jr., George Jenkins, John J. Richards, Warren Steers.
P. O. Address: Raquette Lake, Hamilton Co., N. Y.

Pg. 361

Blue Mountain - Eagle, Utowana, and Raquette Lakes - Long Lake - Raquette River - Saranac Lakes - Paul Smith's - Fulton Chain - Forked Lakes - The Tuppers.

Charles W. Blanchard, William Kelly, Michael McGuire, J. B. McLaughlin, George Bentley, Schuyler Kathan, Daniel Kelley, Lemuel Kathan, DeForest Bird, Edward Bird, William Taher, Arthur Blanchard, Duane Fuller, George W. Fuller, Henry Tayler, A. M. Hammond, Ralph Merwin, B. F. Merwin, Michael Flory, Norris P. Hale, P. D. Smith, Charles Spring.
P.O. Address: Blue Mountain Lake, Hamilton Co., N. Y.

Pg. 363

Indian Lake - Lewey Lake - Cedar Lakes - Cedar River - Chain Lakes - Boreas River - Newcomb Lake - Snowy Mountain.

D. E. ("Rat") Farrington, Henry ("Comical") Brown, Fayette N. Weller, Willard R. Locke, Nathaniel Locke, Hosea G. Locke, Marvin T. Locke, George Pashley, Joseph Locke, Henry Aldrus, Orrin Cross, Clarke Cross, Oscar Cross, Herbert Farrington, Dyer Daniels, Philander Shaw, James Burke, Arvin Hutchins, William Hutching, "Allie" Porter, Thomas Savage, Chauncey Hill, William Starbuck.
P. O. Address: Indian Lake, Hamilton Co., N.Y.

Pg. 364

Cedar River - "Headquarters" - Moose Lake - Cedar Lakes - Indian Clearing - Moose River - Fulton Chain - Indian Lake - Seven Chain Lakes.

Carlos Hutchins, Edward Smith, Frank Wood, Edward Gerard, George Raymore, O. A. Cole, Jr.
P. O. Address: Indian Lake, Hamilton Co., N.Y.

Moose Lake - Cedar River - Wakeley's - Cedar Lakes - South Branch Moose River - Indian Clearing - Fulton Chain - Raquette Lake - Long Lake - Indian Lake.

Josiah Brown, Joseph La Prairie, George Raymond, Henry Bennett.
P. O. Address: Indian Lake, Hamilton Co., N.Y.

Lewey Lake - Indian Lake - Cunjamuck Creek - Chain Lakes - Cedar River - Jessup River - Snowy Mountain.

James McCormic, James Sturges, John Sturges, Hubert Danforth, Frank Washburn, Elmer Osgood.
P. O. Address: Indian Lake, Hamilton Co., N.Y.

Thirteenth Pond - Indian Lake - Chain Lakes - Lewey Lake - Boreas River.

Richard Burch, Henry Straight, Frank Maxam, Warren Woodward, J. C. Bennett.
P. O. Address: North River, Warren Co., N.Y.

Pg. 365

Lake Pleasant - Sacandaga Lake - Piseco and Oxbow Lakes - Cedar Lakes - Canada Lakes - Cunjamuck Creek - Jessup River - Lewey Lake.

Edwin Courtney, Warren Courtney, Chauncey Courtney, Hugh Call, Frederick Coughman, George Burton, Floyd Abrams, David Abrams, William Cole, William N. Courtney, Sealon Clark, James Sturges, Benijah Page, Abram Lawrence, Perry Page, Ralph Page.
P. O. Address: Sageville, Hamilton Co., N.Y.

Wilmurt Lake - Piseco Lake - Morehouse Lake - Canada Creeks - Woodhull Lakes.

Theodore Reymonda, Henry Kreutzer [sic], Charles Hoffmeister.
P. O. Address: Morehouseville, Hamilton Co., N. Y.

Moose River - Woodhill and Bisby Lakes - Canada and Cedar Lakes - Indian Clearing - Fulton Chain - Big Moose.

George Parker, John Commerford, Edwin Turk, L. O. Gardner, William Stell, H. L. Spinning.
P. O. Address: White Lake Corners, Oneida Co., N. Y.

Moose River - Big Moose Lake - Twitchell Lake - Big Safford Lake - Independence Lake - Fulton Chain - Queer Lake - Raquette Lake.

Richard Crago, J. J. Rose, T. J. Rose, J. H. Higby, [pg. 366] William Dart, H. D. Groat, Garrett Riggs, Cyrus Wood, Milo Ball, William Ball, Robert Roberts.
P. O. Address: Big Moose, Herkimer Co., N. Y.

Pg. 366

Otter Lake - Otter Creek - Independence River - Independence Lake - Moose River - Big Moose Lake - Fulton Chain - Pine Lakes - Middle Settlement - Beaver River - Safford Pond - Hitchcock Lake - Fenton's.

Edward Kirschner, Charles Kirschner, James McConnell.
P. O. Address: Glendale, Lewis Co., N. Y.

Moose River - Fulton Chain - Big Moose Lake - Limekiln Lake - Raquette Lake - Blue Mountain Lake - The Saranacs - Paul Smith's - Forked Lake - The Tuppers - Bottle Pond.

Christopher Goodsell, George Goodsell, Frederick Hess, Daniel Hess, Frank Sperry, William Sperry, Samuel Dunakin, Wellington Weedmark, Eugene Scrafford, John Scrafford, Augustus Syphert, Ira Hart, James Mucle, Frank Yule, Nicholas Weston, David Cherboneau, Frederick Rivett, Peter Rivett, Philip Christy, Ira Parsons, Benjamin Parsons, Frank Joscelin, Charles Johnson, John Wheeler, Dennis Franla, Edward Ball, Alonzo Wood, Oscar Wood, Arthur N. Church, William Wyman, Cornelius Briggs, John Sprague, Robert Dalton, Merrill White, Archie Delmarsh, Frederick Blakeman, Abner Blakeman, Frank Barro, Henry Hart.
P.O. Address: Old Forge, Herkimer Co., N. Y.


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