•100 years ago - Dec., 1913•
Brilliant lawyer commits murder
With fiendish brutality, Edward F. Hitchcock, 62, a Kingsbury farmer, on the night of Dec. 4, 1913, murdered his brother-in-law Henry Norton, 52, who lived with him in the little hamlet five miles north of Hudson Falls. Hitchcock attacked his victim while he was asleep in his room and crushed his head with a seven-pound sledge-hammer.
The crime was discovered by the murderer’s son, Adolphus Hitchcock upon his return from church at 11 a.m. He notified authorities and his parent was arrested and lodged in the Washington County Jail in Hudson Falls.
No motive for the man’s horrible crime is known and he is believed to be insane by the fact that he was confined in the Matteawan asylum several years ago after he had threatened to kill several persons.
When Adolphus Hitchcock, 21, returned home from church, he found his father at the barn harnessing a horse with the apparent intention of going away. His actions were peculiar and the young man sought the reason. Near the wagon he discovered a sledge hammer which was covered with blood near a satchel packed with his father’s belongings. With considerable difficulty he induced his parent to enter the house and go to bed.
Calling to his uncle and receiving no reply, he went to Norton’s bedroom and found the dead body in the bed, the clothing of which was saturated with blood, while the head was crushed and hammered almost to a pulp. The son notified the Justice of the Peace and police went to the farm and took the murderer to jail.
Hitchcock was formerly a brilliant lawyer in New York but succumbed to drink and was committed. For many years he had eked out a living at farming in Kingsbury. His wife ran a boarding house about three miles from his home. Henry Norton, whose sister had married Hitchcock, was a widower and had been living with his brother-in-law for some time. He leaves a son and a daughter.
At the hearing it was revealed that Hitchcock had been drinking all day Saturday and had quarreled with Norton that day. He had ordered him from his residence a year ago, but the latter came back a few months later and they had been unfriendly for some time.
Hunter loses leg, but rabbits dodge injury
With a gunshot wound in his right leg, received accidentally while hunting rabbits, Charles Armstrong of Riverside on Sunday afternoon, was hurried to an automobile on route to the Glens Falls Hospital and immediately after arriving there had the member amputated at the knee. He stood the shock well and is making good progress toward recovery.
Mr. Armstrong started out Sunday morning, with Cecil Waddell and Frank Hewitt of Johnsburgh, to hunt rabbits in that town. After walking quite a distance they became tired and sat down on a log to rest. In some accountable manner Hewitt’s gun was discharged and the contents entered Armstrong’s leg.
Dr. W.W. Aldrich of Wevertown and Dr. Lee Somerville, of North Creek were hurriedly summoned to the scene of the accident and dressed the wound. They agreed that amputation was necessary and advised the man’s immediate removal to the hospital and an automobile was quickly secured for that purpose.
The injured man is 27 years old, as young as his friend, Frank Hewitt, who is grief-stricken over the accident.
Unfortunate day for local boy
Guy Wilkinson, the young son of Dr. and Mrs. W.F. Wilkinson, fell from his bicycle while riding down Warrensburgh’s Main Street on Saturday Dec. 6, 1913 and struck with considerable force on the brick pavement. Two of his front teeth were broken off after cutting through both lips. Earlier in the day he was injured slightly while playing basketball.
Remarkable old lady
One of the most interesting old women residing in northern New York is Mrs. Laura Gilmore, widow of James R. Gilmore, author and one of the peace envoys sent by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War to urge Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederates states, to terminate the war in a peaceful way. Mr. Gilmore was employed as a writer on the New York Tribune. He was one of the founders of the Continental Monthly and was much admired by Horace Greeley, owner of the Tribune. Mr. Gilmore was the author of many books. It was his book, “Among the Pines” that first brought Mr. Gilmore into the lime light.
Mrs. Gilmore, 82, bright and active for her advanced age, resides at 7 Pine St., Glens Falls. She is the daughter of the late Judge J.W. Edmonds, once one of the most prominent supreme court justices in the state. Mrs. Gilmore is most always in a reminiscent mood and loves to show off her husband’s books and to recant many interesting stories of the notable careers and great work done by her husband and father.
The death of George W. Bates
George W. Bates, 70, of Lake George, died at his home there and his funeral will be held at St. James Episcopal Church, the Rev. E.M. Parrott officiating. Mr. Bates was a lifelong resident of Lake George. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined the 22nd Infantry Regiment, New York Volunteers and served in Co. B throughout the war. In his active years, he was a carpenter of more than ordinary skill and a contractor and builder. Some of the finest cottages on the lake shore were erected under his careful supervision.
The deceased was twice married, his first wife dying some 25 years ago. Some years later he married Miss Eliva Fox, of Lake George, who, with one daughter, Louise, survived him. He was the brother of Samuel M. Bates of Lake George. (Note: Captain George W. Bates was also a well-known boat-builder. In 1912 he plied the waters of Lake George in his homemade gasoline gondola. In this column in the June 8, 2013 Adirondack Journal was the story how Bates disappeared in 1913 after he lost his memory and was missing for several days at Gettysburg during a Civil War reunion.)
Pete Monroe, farmer and weather prophet of Hayesburgh, Horicon, says “Expect little snow this winter, as wasps built nests last fall in the ground.”
During a period of 10 months, ending Nov. 1, 1913, County Treasurer Beecher W. Sprague took in $587.75 for hedgehog and rattlesnake bounties. Of this amount, only $100 was for snakes.
The Fort William Henry toboggan site in Lake George is now under construction and will be completed by the time the lake freezes.
Carter Pasco recently killed a hog that weighed 617 pounds dressed. This is undoubtedly the biggest porker produced in this section in some years. The pig was fed on grain.
D.B. Jenks of Valley Farm, Chestertown said potatoes were the most abundant of any crop raised by him this year.
With the burning of Dr. Magee’s summer home at Loon Lake, old furniture and other heirlooms of sentimental rather than commercial value were destroyed to the great disappointment of the family.(Note: This mystery was told in the Nov. 16, 2013 Adirondack Journal.)
There will be a donation party at the parsonage in Darrowsville the evening of Dec. 18, 1913 for the benefit of Mrs. Anna Young, whose husband recently died of pneumonia leaving her in destitute circumstances. It is hoped that a large attendance will be present to leave a large donation.
William Tobin of Bolton Landing is having a piazza built on his house. W.W. Janser of Chestertown is having a slate roof placed on his residence.
Thomas Collard of Newcomb is laid up with blood poisoning in his thumb. A son was born in Athol on Dec. 18, 1913 at the home of Clarence Brown. The stork left a lovely baby girl with Mrs. Joseph Mahoney at Friends Lake.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at email@example.com or 623-2210.