THURMAN - Kenneth V. Cameron of Atlanta Ga., heard recently about the effort to officially name a mountain in Warrensburg as Jimmy's Peak, after his great-great-great-great-great grandfather, "Tory" James Cameron, who established a homestead on the mountain in the 1700s.
So two weeks ago, Ken Cameron, raised in Albany, visited the region to learn more about his roots.
While Cameron routinely visits several high school friends every few years in Schroon Lake, he decided this fall to take a detour to learn about his heritage.
With documents and pictures in hand, he decided to uncover information about "Tory" Jim.
Ken contacted me, and I volunteered to give him a guided tour. I am not an expert on James Cameron or local history however I do attend the First Presbyterian Church of Warrensburg and the Cameron tartan hangs on the wall along with an 1804 charter forming the church - so we started there.
After viewing the tartan, we went to Richards Library nearby, where we made copies of a few photographs of a Cameron family reunion in the 1940s. The photos were taken in front of the Cameron farmhouse on the Stony Creek Road in Thurman.
This reunion was well documented in newspapers as far south as Albany, where generations of Ken's family lived - his great grandfather Edward Madison Cameron founded the Cameron Lumber Co. in the city.
It was in the 1940s, around the time of the reunion, that New York State dedicated a historical marker to "Tory" Jim Cameron. Ken and I visited the marker, which describes James Cameron as a pioneer who settled in the valley in 1773, and notes he is buried 100 feet west of the sign. The marker points out the ridge across the river as being the locally renowned Jimmy's Peak. We walked up into the woods looking for the the area believed to be James final resting place beside his wife Christian, or Christy Ann.
Then, we wandered over to the area my Grandfather Rexford Reynolds Sr. had showed me when I was a youngster and explained that this was "Tory" Jim's homestead plot.
I asked Ken if his ancestors were calling to him and he smiled. He looked off into the river at the eddy, the island and the mountains as if he felt completely at home even though he had never been here before.
We talked about our lives and how glad he was that a peak had been named after his family. We traveled back to the Cameron Cemetery, where he took many pictures of the various Cameron gravestones.
I spoke about Henry Cameron and his son Don H. Cameron who had married my grandfather Rexford's sister Beatrice and their children Donald Reynolds Cameron and Myron Cameron. Then we went to a farmhouse nearby to visit briefly with Donald R. Cameron's widow Pearl.
Pearl explained when she had arrived from Virginia and that her sister Lilly was married to Myron.
Ken listened quietly still just taking all the information to be digested later. We took pictures of the beautiful white farmhouse and began to see the lawn as it might have been some 60-plus years ago when the Cameron clan met to celebrate James Cameron, who emigrated from Scotland in 1766, settled in Thurman seven years later, and is now memorialized as pioneer woodsman, farmer, and justice of the peace.