Gov. Dix visits the Queen Village
The usually quiet little village of Warrensburgh was in a frenzy of excitement Sept. 5, 1912, a day proclaimed as “Governor’s Day” at the Warren County Fair here. The village was decorated in gala splendor in honor of Gov. John A. Dix’s expected arrival and anticipation hung in the air.
The chief of the great Empire State was accompanied by many prominent area state officials among which were State Historian James A. Holden of Glens Falls, Sen. James A. Emerson of Warrensburgh and Assemblyman H.E.H. Brereton of Diamond Point.
The governor and his elite party were guests of Henry Griffing, president of the fair association, for a luncheon at noon in the new Fort William Henry Hotel at Lake George and immediately after they came to Warrensburgh in automobiles to attend the fair here where they were received with many honors. The streets, grandstand and fairgrounds had been decorated with flags and bunting in honor of the distinguished visitors.
Although the weather was threatening rain in the morning, there were 8,000 people present on the first day of the fair to greet the governor, accompanied by his nephew, Thomas Douglas, who were the first to arrive at 3 p.m. They were met at the entrance to the fairgrounds by Prof. Sherman Holcomb and his Glens Falls Band and escorted to the bandstand. The procession passed along the race track and was heartily cheered by the immense crowd. After they were seated on the platform, a vaudeville act was presented by Madame Elite, queen of the tight wire — and at its conclusion the governor and his companions joined heartily in the applause.
Those from Warrensburgh seated with the governor were Senator James A. Emerson, Fred J. Hayes and directors T.J. Smith, Isaac S. Woodward, Lewis Thomson, Charles F. Burhans and Louis Reoux.
Henry Griffing, President of the fair, said in his introduction, ”Pardon me if I make what may appear to you to be a personal allusion…38 years ago I became associated with a number of gentlemen in perfecting the organization of this (fair) association and purchase of the property. My interest since in its welfare has never been abated. All have passed the Great Divide save three, Isaac Woodward, Albert Thomas and myself.”
When Gov. Dix stood up to make a lengthy speech, he was greeted by a hearty round of applause which lasted for a full five minutes. In his speech, he mentioned that $45 million was annually collected from the people for the maintenance of this great state. The sum of $8,656,000 is used annually for the care of the unfortunate of the state and $8,500,000 is used for industrial purposes. $250,000 is divided among the county and state fairs.
In closing Gov. Dix said, “I advise you to make use of every inch of your soil, so that it will be better to hand down to future generations. When you do this, you do your share to make your state permanently better in health and permanently better in wealth.”
After a roaring round of applause, the governor shook hands with those who approached him and than he passed to his automobile with his secretary and nephew and returned to Lake George. The fair than went merrily on its way. (Note: Gov. Dix, a Democrat, was born in 1860 to James Lawton and Laura Stevens Dix in Glens Falls. Dix Avenue in that city is named for him. He died in 1928.)
Animals strut their stuff
The racing program at the fair included many trotting horses, favorites among which were Charles Baker’s horses, Frank A. and Lady Helle from Bakers Mills and Belcher Squires’s horse, Aristides Jr., from Lake George. Present also were Don Mack and John O., both owned by George R. Russell of Lake George. L.T. West’s horse, Inola and B.F. Hammond’s horse, William M., both from Warrensburgh.
The black stallion pacer, Frank A., owned by Charles Baker, was driven by his son, “Dick” Baker, whose horse was lame, but in the second heat “Dick” sailed in and took three straight, winning the race. The boy is only 19 years old and showed great skill in handling his horse. He has been in town all summer training his father’s horses on the Warrensburgh track and has made many friends who rejoiced at his victory.
The ox race concluded the racing program and was an exciting and amusing event. Competing locally were Silas Bennett and Horton Cooper. Bennett’s oxen were driven by Wilbert Monroe and in the race Cooper’s yoke struck him, knocking him to the track and trampling on him. When Monroe managed to get to his feet he was minus one trouser leg which was trailing behind and his yoke was awaiting him several hundred feet ahead. He again took up the chase and finished in third place. Cooper’s yoke, driven by Forest Young, took first place.
The Warren County Fair of 1912 was undoubtedly the big winner of all time and will be remembered for many years to come.
(Note: Charlie Baker was affectionately known as the “Mayor of Bakers Mills.” Actually, in 1912, he was supervisor of Thurman. He was also a rough, tough constable who was famous for his criminal chases through this area and against all odds, he always got his man. He was described as “one of the squarest and cleanest trotting horse race promoters in the Adirondacks.” — He was indeed a remarkable man.)
Lake George waters claim victim
Walter Smith, 25, a chef employed at the Lake View House in Bolton, drowned in Lake George at about 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17, 1912.
The incident occurred while Smith was paddling a canoe in Bolton Bay, between the Lake View House and the Algonquin Hotel. Smith’s body was recovered shortly after the accident.
During Smith’s time off from his job he often went canoeing. About 20 minutes after he started his break on Sept. 17, his employer, R.J. Brown, saw the canoe floating upside-down some distance from the shore and Smith was nowhere to be seen. Brown and several men from the hotel rowed out to the canoe and saw Smith’s body lying on the bottom of the lake in about nine feet of water. Grappling hooks brought the body to the surface and it was taken to shore where Coroner Rogers issued a verdict of accidental drowning.
Smith was skilled in the use of the craft and it is felt that he fell from the canoe while in a fit as no other explanation of the accident can be offered. His only family is a sister in Amsterdam and a brother in Syracuse.
A bumper corn crop, the largest in the nation’s history, will be harvested this year in 1912. There should be about three billion bushels or about 30 bushels for each man, woman and child in the country. Other grain crops are also large in proportion and there should be some relief from high prices. (Note: In 1912, newspaper editors did not have calculators, and they had to rely on arithmetic they’d studied in school.)
At J.A. Woodward’s furniture store, located at his funeral parlor in the Aldrich-McGann block in Warrensburgh, is for sale a beautiful golden oak dresser, 18”x36” top with a French bevel plate mirror, each drawer running free with a lock. The dresser is $7.50 and a washstand to match is $4.50 —a good value. (Note: This business establishment was on the north corner of Main St. and Adirondack Avenue.)
Sweet and sour notes
R.B. Kenyon’s Warrensburgh-Glens Falls stage is now running on its winter schedule. Earl Herrick underwent an operation in the Glens Falls Hospital for adenoids. Miss Esther Thomas is teaching school at The Glen this year.
On Sept. 16, 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Drake of North Creek celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.
Don Cameron of Athol has had his lot near the Judd Bridge in Warrensburgh surveyed preparatory to the erection of a dwelling house thereon.
James G. Herrick, whose variety store on River St. was gutted by fire in early summer 1912, has nearly completed the necessary repairs to his building and is again conducting business at the old stand. (Note: The story of this fire was told in this column in the June 9, 2012 Adirondack Journal. The old store, partially rehabilitated, is currently for sale.)
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210.