America’s greatest athlete
Jim Thorpe from Oklahoma is now called the greatest American Olympian of all time. He breezed through the 15 events of the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 summer Olympics in Stockholm and won two gold medals, awarded to him by King Gustaf V of Sweden, to memorialize his name as America’s greatest athlete.
(Note: Jim Thorpe, a 5-foot, 8-inch Sac and Fox Indian, later had his medals taken away from him on a technicality when it was learned that he had at one time played semiprofessional baseball. Best known as a football player, he was born in 1888 and is remembered for promoting the General Mills cereal “Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions.” Actually, his favorite breakfast was said to be fried squirrel with creamed gravy. He died in 1953. His medals were restored posthumously in 1982.)
Hydroplane may smash records
Count Cassimer S. Mankowski of Bolton Landing will shortly enter his new hydroplane “Ankledeep’ in the race for the gold challenge cup to be run Aug. 1, 1912 on Lake George. The count has recently been elected a member of the Lake George Regatta Association. Count Mankowski also expects to enter his boat in the international races to be held on Long Island Sound and then he will ship his boat west for events in Chicago. He is quite confident of his success, barring some untold accident.
Ankledeep is 32 feet long with a six-foot beam, built of mahogany in two layers with canvas between. She has two 150 h.p. 8-cylinder motors built into the stern of the boat by the Sterling people of Buffalo. When running at her speed of 42 to 45 miles per hour, she burns 40 gallons of gasoline per hour from her four gas tanks. She is finished in natural wood and is a beautiful creation to behold. (Note: Count Mankowski was to Lake George what Rudolph Valentino was to Hollywood -- the ladies adored him. The dashing Polish adventurer resided with his countess (the former Miss Bixby) at Tallwoods, the property that was later to become the Contessa Motel and Restaurant, just north of Bolton Landing. It cost Mankowski $15,000 to build Ankledeep, a tremendous amount of money in those days and with his boat he became a Lake George legend. He disappeared some time after 1915 and is believed to have died of pneumonia.)
News near and far
The Democratic National Convention held July 2, 1912 in Baltimore nominated New Jersey Gov. Woodrow Wilson for president. (Note: Gov. Wilson won the election over incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft.
The city of Glens Falls is to be “embalmed” in moving pictures. Photographs have been made showing the fire department in action, the operation of trolley cars and other interesting features of the city’s daily life. Films will be made and the pictures will be shown in local theatres.
Thomas Burch and Miss Ethel Bennett, both of Bolton Landing, were married Thursday, July 4, 1912 by the Rev. Thomas J. Hunter at the Baptist parsonage in Warrensburgh.
A.J. Jones of North Caldwell has a big gray horse and a nice two seater. He is haying and thinks the horse will do better work than the auto.
Ithiel Wescott has bought Jabez R. Waddell’s farm and sugaring outfit in Johnsburgh for $1,000 and Mr. Waddell has bought Walter Whitmore’s farm for $800.
John J. Archer is painting the building on the Warren County Fairgrounds. Reuben Smith of Igerna has purchased a new automobile.
Lost: ladies gold watch in Sheridan E. Prosser’s strawberry patch on Horicon Ave. Finder will be given suitable reward upon return of the watch to Mrs. Orange Wood, Warrensburgh. (Note: This strawberry patch would now be on Rosalie Ave., probably in the dooryard of the Michael Harrington family home.
Recalling a little piece of gum
In the Summer 2012 issue of the Warrensburgh Historical Society Quarterly, Roscoe G. Hastings wrote an article on the history of the Queens Village Golf Course that brought back fond memories. This venue is today known as Cronin’s Golf Resort.
Roscoe Hastings comes from a literary Warrensburgh family. His mother, Abbie Hastings, is a well-known local history book author and his brother John Hastings is a valued member of the historical society, a talented history writer and editor of the Quarterly. Not long ago Roscoe gave a great lecture at the Merrill-Magee House on his ancestor, Mary Sage of Darrowsville, who professed to be a 106 years old when she died in 1916.
In Roscoe’s golf article he said that in Oct. 1929, Mark A. Cassidy and Guy W. Wilkinson had purchased the Clover Leaf Farm from Maurice Ashe as well as the Edward Turner farm adjoining it along the Glen Road on the banks of the Hudson River. He continued that construction had begun on a nine-hole golf course to be named the Queens Village Golf Club. The club opened July 14, 1930. What was not mentioned was that at the turn of the century the property contained the rural farm house of the Whittemore family, the home of Cora, the lady whose diary appeared in installments over a year in this column several years ago. We know Cora did live there, as Historical Society president Paul Gilchrist, researched the property’s history.
It was also mentioned in the article that Mrs. Charles H. Burhans, the wealthiest lady in Warrensburgh, was an outstanding golfer at the Queens Village Golf Club. Colonel Benjamin Peck Burhans, Eva’s husband’s grandfather, was the pioneer who brought prosperity to Warrensburgh when he moved to town with his tanning business from Ulster County in 1836. The Colonel later built a magnificent stone mansion on the hill behind today’s Town Hall for his son, Frederick O. Burhans which later became the home of Fred’s son, Charles Burhans and family. Charles Burhans died in 1946. The mansion was torn down in the early 1960s, and those who respect history and architecture have mourned the loss of this landmark ever since.
In the Quarterly’s golf course article it was mentioned that in 1931 a caddie’s tournament was held at the club. One of those caddies was my late husband, Mervin R. Hadden who was 14 at the time. He used to tell me stories about those long, hot, boring days on the course carrying heavy golf bags for the town’s elite. His closest buddy, Beecher “Beanie” Hewitt, labored along beside him.
One trying day, Beanie was caddy for Eva Burhans and dutifully carried her golf bag around the course all one afternoon. Back at the club house when it was time to pay the boy for his labors, Mrs. Burhans searched through her pockets and finding no coin to give him but only a stick of gum, dropped the gum in his hand saying, “There…that should be good enough for you!” and walked away.
Lionel Ross won that caddie’s tournament in 1931 at the golf club and later he went on to become Assistant Professional there. Merv Hadden, possibly remembering that stick of gum, shot for bigger goals in his life and went into the automobile business here and did very well for 47 years. Born on River Street, he died in 1994 and is buried in the town where he told me nearly every Monday morning for the entire 35 years of our marriage that he was going to move away from. Nothing on earth would have ever have gotten Merv Hadden to leave Warrensburgh. That makes two of us.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210.