Shadowy figures from the grave
A great multitude of hearty souls, brave pioneers and plordinary folks alike have lived and died in Warrensburgh since the first settler, William Bond, appeared 227 years ago on what was then a mere plot in the vast and silent forest.
Most of them were born, lived out their span and then died, leaving no trace of their existence. Some left gravestones while many could not afford such a luxury. It is rare indeed to have a name of a family who has long ago passed to the other side to appear once again on this side of the vast black curtain of time. Such a name is Stackhouse.
In the Warrensburgh Museum is a handwritten book once belonging to Issabella C. Thompson of Moreau. She apparently passed it around to her friends and requested them to write poetry for her to remember them by. Many entries are as early as 1827. The script is so flowery and the writing so faded that it is difficult to read. There are entries from Moreau, Fort Miller, Northumberland, Easton and Warrensburgh.
On the first page is a poem written in Warrensburgh on June 13, 1835 entitled "The Grave." It reads, "Not all the wealth the Indies boast, not all the earth's enchanting bloom. No sea - No scene, nor conquering host, can save a mortal from the tomb." It is signed, G.R. Stackhouse.
The missive continues, "What is friendship but a name that calls us all to sleep. A shade that follows wealth or fame and leaves the wretch to weep."
Alice Stackhouse wrote an entry titled Spring.
"The lovely spring, the joyous spring, comes over our clime again, a welcome to its blossoming, its fleet but smiling reign. I wish, I wish but oh! I dare not say, the warmest wish to thee. I wish that thine hours might fleet away, as sun beams on the dark blue sea."
On June 11, 1835 R.A. Stackhouse wrote in the little book, "I wish, may you be blest with all Heaven can send, long life, good health, great pleasure and a friend. May you in every station happy be and when far distant sometimes think of me." Little did he know that we all would indeed be thinking of him 175 years after he wrote these words.
Spirits from the mist
In 1830 Warrensburgh consisted of 1,191 people in far-flung homesteads, and the central settlement was hardly a wide spot on the Indian dirt trail to Canada. Five years later, in March, 1836 was the turning point when Benjamin Peck Burhans, 38, came from Ulster County to slowly turn Warrensburgh into a town of good jobs and industry starting out with his tanning business. He later became a banker. Other industries soon followed. Burhans left behind the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross, a beautiful edifice in native stone, as his grateful gift to his adopted town.
I searched for the Stackhouse family in my old books. I found Samuel Stackhouse who was a carpenter, joiner and millwright who lived on the south bank of the Schroon River on premises which years later, in 1885, was owned by the shoe peg company. This would be across River Street from where Curtis Lumber Company now stands. There was also a James Stackhouse in the same profession, perhaps the man's son.
Samuel Stackhouse was also listed as a constable, collector and manufacturer. In 1831 he was an Assemblyman in Warren County. Could this be the father of these poetic children who tried to emulate poet Lord Byron?
Issabella C. Thompson's charming little book is preserved in the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History, allowing generations to peer through the ages and ponder aspects of life long ago.
•100 Years Ago - April, 1910•
Words to live by
Do not torment yourself about what people are going to think about your this or that action. No matter what you do or leave undone, some one will criticize you severely and the best rule for getting through life with comparative comfort is, after you have made up your mind as to the propriety and desirability of a certain course, pursue it calmly without paying the slightest attention to the criticisms of onlookers - they can only see the surface.
Crown Point Park planned
Historic Crown Point on Lake Champlain, with its crumbling ruins of the fortifications known as Fort St. Frederic and Fort Amherst will be converted into a state park if the state accepts a gift a tract of 25 acres of land which the firm of Witherbee, Sherman & Co. of Port Henry has offered to donate. Governor Charles Evens Hughes has recommended its acceptance to the state Legislature. (Note: The deteriorating Lake Champlain bridge, not far from the park, was closed indefinitely on October 16, 2009. Built in 1929, it was considered beyond repair and was brought down by explosives Dec. 28, 2009. Folks from around the region were on hand to see this historic bridge, the longest span of its type in 1929, be demolished.)
Trask family launches legal action
Lake George and Saratoga Springs millionaire Spencer Trask was killed in a railroad accident on Dec. 31, 1909 while on the business of the Saratoga Reservation Commission. A suit for heavy damages has been brought by his heirs for damages against the Central Hudson Railroad for $250,000. Trask was killed in a rear-end collision at Croton-on-the-Hudson and he was the only person to die in the accident while two other passengers were seriously injured.
Twenty years ago this month, in 1900, eggs were selling in the Warrensburgh market at 18 cents a dozen, butter at 20 cents a pound and potatoes were 45 cents a bushel.
Holcombs' Orchestra of Glens Falls, including violin, piano and trap drums, has been engaged to furnish music for the dance to be given at Music Hall on April 20, 1910. It will be the dance of the season. Many local dancers and those from neighboring towns are expected to attend in large numbers. (Note: The Warrensburgh Music Hall was next door north of the present day Rite Aid store.)
An electric light plant established by Henry Knoblauch will begin operation May 1, 1910 at Bolton Landing. It will be in the charge of Orrin Tubbs who moved his family there from Warrensburgh.
Benjamin P. Young, 36, died of pneumonia Thursday, April 7, 1910 in Glens Falls Hospital. His earthly remains were removed to Chestertown where his funeral was conducted on Sunday from his home.
One of the twin boys of Bert Robbins of Bakers Mills died April 6, 1910. The child was buried in the Bates Cemetery, Johnsburgh.
Henry Bennett of Garnet is having a new chimney built on his house and Frank Maxim is doing the work.
Fred Truesdale of Hill View (Diamond Point) has broken ground for a bungalow which he intends to build right away. Charles Lanfear has painted his store which is situated on the state road about a half a mile from town.
Attorney Baker is in Fort Ann again. When he disappeared two months ago there were various stories that he had been tampering with the funds of the defunct Fort Ann Bank but all has now been resolved.
Carl Turneur of North Brant Lake was in Chestertown to see his father, Louis Turneur, the famous chef at the Chester House. (Note: Turner Road, just off the Starbuckville bridge is named for Carl Turneur, as he then called himself.)
Classified advertisement: A carefully built house, pleasant location on upper Ridge Street, Warrensburgh, with seven rooms and a large garden, is on sale for $800 with a small down payment, by Scott B. Smith Insurance.
A complete kitchen outfit is on sale at Burger's store, 26 Warren St., Glens Falls. It includes a cast iron range with nickel trimming, golden oak closet with glass doors, dish closet, oil cloth, table, two chairs and window shades, all for a special price of $21.50. One dollar per week will be accepted for the purchase.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at email@example.com or 623-2210