•100 years ago - Sept. 1913•
Bloody death in Johnsburgh
Death from shock and loss of blood caused by a gunshot wound sustained in an accident at a camp at Thirteenth Lake, in the Town of Johnsburgh, was the sad faith of Frank Spaulding, 15 years old, whose home was at Silver Bay, Lake George, but who was staying at the camp with his brother, Myron Spaulding, 24, who is employed at the Garnet Mines at North River. Death overtook the lad shortly after midnight, Sept. 2, 1913, about three hours after the accident occurred, while he was being rushed in an automobile to Glens Falls Hospital, where it was hoped that something could be done to save his life. The end came when the machine was near the entrance to the Fort William Henry Hotel grounds on the state road in Lake George.
Young Spaulding, received the fatal wound from a shotgun when it was allegedly accidentally knocked from a table at the camp. The jar supposedly caused the shell to explode and the full charge lodged in the boy’s left leg just below the knee, tearing away the flesh from the calf and nearly severing his leg.
An automobile owned by Claude Pereau of North Creek was pressed into service and Dr. William R. Lee, accompanied by Dr. Lee Somerville of North Creek rode with the boy in the automobile after they had dressed the terrible wound. The machine was driven at the highest speed possible without endangering the life of the patient but his strength slowly gave out until they reached Lake George where he breathed his last breath.
After the boy’s death the automobile was turned around and the body was taken to J.A. Woodward’s undertaking rooms in Warrensburgh where it was prepared for burial and then it was taken to the home of his father, Frank Spaulding at Silver Bay.
Accidental death theory in doubt
A day or two after the supposed accidental shooting death of Frank Spaulding, residents of the Johnsburgh neighborhood became suspicious and believing that the true story of the shooting had not yet been told they requested that District Attorney Kiley make an investigation at the scene of the mishap, which he did.
Wellington S. Morse, 28, of Brooklyn, was arrested at North River Sept. 6, 1913 on a charge of manslaughter in the second degree. He is accused of causing the death of Frank Spaulding through culpable negligence in handling a shotgun. The arrest was made at the conclusion of the investigation made by District Attorney Kiley and Morse was taken to the County Jail at Lake George to await a hearing to be held Sept. 15, 1913 before Justice A.R. Braley at North Creek. Morse is being represented by Attorney F.V.R. Turk of North Creek.
Morse, admitted that he pointed a loaded gun at Spaulding, first leveling it at his head and slowly dropping it until it pointed at his legs when it discharged. As far as could be learned, there was no trouble between the two that could lead to the shooting, although for some reason that has not been explained, each had armed himself with a gun before the shooting.
There is a story that one of the women present figured in the case and that jealousy prompted the shooting but this can not be substantiated. The women who were present, Mrs. Hess and her companion Miss Sheffer, returned to Philadelphia but are expected to return later to testify at the hearing.
Suspicious forest fire
The Hon. William Cameron of Glens Falls, who is connected with the state Conservation Department, is investigating a recent forest fire in the town of Stony Creek which is alleged to have been set by an aged woman named Clements, who is said to be demented. Considerable valuable timber was destroyed.
Murder suspect deemed eccentric
Wellington S. Morse, suspect in the death of Frank Spaulding, is said to be a peculiar acting individual. He has been at the lake all summer where he posed as an actor. He went about wearing a cartridge belt and either carrying a revolver or shotgun. About three weeks ago he reported having seen a large bear in the vicinity and from then up until the time of the shooting had been hunting the bear with a revolver.
Man and dog parted
Dewey Wells, the Civil War veteran, who prides himself on his resemblance to Buffalo Bill and who with his faithful dog, Tim, occupied a shack in Lewisville (River St.), Warrensburgh for some time a few years ago, was sent to the Warren County Home on Sept. 17, 1913 from Glens Falls, where he has been staying as of late. Dewey yielded to his appetite for strong drink and was arraigned before Judge Safford in city court on a charge of intoxication. He complained of a severe pain in his left side and demanded medical treatment, but his plea was not heeded and he finally pleaded guilty to the offense charged.
He was heartbroken at being separated from his dog, Tim, his faithful companion for many years. (Note - In this column in the Jan. 7, 2012 Adirondack Journal is the story of Dewey and Tim’s “shack” on River St. being burned out, leaving them homeless.)
Bad year hereabouts
Crops are generally poor owing to two June frosts and almost continuous drought since then. Hay is less than half a normal crop, late potatoes are almost a total failure, apples are less than 15 per cent of a normal and plums are a total failure. We had a hard frost on the night of Aug. 25, 1913 which did a good deal of harm. It is very dry now and there is nearly no water in the Schroon River, nearly everything is drying up and a good deal of rain is much needed.
The good old summer time if 1913 is rapidly approaching its end. Autumn will begin Sept. 23, 1913. A heavy frost Monday night, Sept. 15 did considerable damage to this whole area. In Thurman ice was formed a quarter of an inch thick. The life of a farmer this year has been a bad one but we will pull through the winter somehow.
Cat with a knack
Easue Baker of Garnet has a cat that has this season caught two trout, each 10 inches long, six snakes, a dozen frogs and toads and two rabbits. Tabby will be heard from further when the deer season opens.
The Lake George Waterworks Co. is building a new dam for its storage reservoir on the Lake George-Warrensburgh Road.
David I. Combs & Son have recently improved their grist mill in Thurman by installing new Smutter & Hulling machines. They are now able to grind buckwheat as well as feed and solicit custom grinding.
Harry Wells is improving his cabinet shop on River St., Warrensburgh, by installing a new steam engine and boiler in place of water power, which has been very inconstant this summer during the low water in the Schroon River.
Scott B. Smith, the local Warrensburgh real estate agent, recently sold Thomas H. Nevins’ residence property on Smith Street, to William Wallace for $900. Mr. Wallace is now living in the house and Mr. Nevins has moved to Chestertown.
Lemuel Hayes, who recently sold his home to Mrs. Edward Coward of Palmer, is now building another house on Newton St. directly across the street from his former residence. Wallace Baker is adding a new 10-foot piazza to his home on River St.
A new automobile stage, under the management of Edward Lynch, is in successful operation in Minerva.
Mrs. Cora Merrill and her daughter Coralie have been working in a lumber camp located beyond Minerva all summer. Charles Smith is hauling his spruce pulp logs down off the mountain where they were left last winter in Knowelhurst.
Dozens of autoists were turned away from the Chester House (a hotel) in Chestertown, Saturday Aug. 29 and Sunday Aug. 30, 1913 owing to lack of accommodations. Parties unable to secure lodging went to spare rooms at the Fort William Henry Hotel, Lake George and they were soon filled to capacity. All hotels and boarding houses on Friends Lake, Loon and Brant Lake and hereabouts are experiencing a rush of business.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210.