The saga of Timothy Hill
I was gratified to receive several calls from readers concerning the May 12 article in this column of the life of Timothy Hill and his famous 1912 murder trial. The man was an Adirondack legend in his own time and the story is still recalled by many today. He was accused of murdering his live-in girlfriend by forcing her to drink strychnine while the defense contended that she had taken her own life.
A century ago, the famous murder case concerning the death of Anna Loveland was the subject of endless speculation in area homes, churches, barber shops and pool halls. Even now, some readers are familiar with the story. In the words of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, “Judge of the wonder, guess at the fear! Think what ancient gossips might say, shaking their heads in their dreary way, between the meetings on Sabbath-day.” To the amazement of nearly everyone, the jury brought in a verdict of Not Guilty.
Hill goes to meet his maker
Timothy Hill died Jan. 13, 1941 at Marcy state mental hospital. He was survived by his brother, George M. Hill of Riverbank. According to former Warrensburgh resident Murray Pratt, a distant relative, near the end of his life Tim Hill had been living at the Warren County Home in Warrensburgh for quite some time until home staff could no longer handle him because he was so violent and mean. They sent him to Marcy because he could no longer be restrained.
Upon his death, the Woodward Funeral Home in Warrensburgh transported his remains to Horicon where he was laid to rest in the South Brant Lake Cemetery (also called the Bartonville Cemetery) in a silent grave, in readiness for him to meet his maker — He took many secrets with him.
Thanks go to my good friend, historian Franklin K. Bennett of Warrensburgh, for allowing me to delve into his research files.
A fisherman’s paradise
W.F. Reynolds and Percy Austin of Warrensburgh rode to North Thurman on their bicycles morning, May 11, 1912 and spent the day there fishing. They caught 56 speckled trout between them. Mr. Austin lost his eye glasses in a case somewhere between Athol and the top of Kenyontown mountain.
(Note…In a letter to the editor of the Glens Falls Times, on May 3, 1912, F.D. Orcutt of Chicago wrote in part, “In 1844 my father moved from Hartford, Washington County, to Lake George on what was than known as the Smith Brook place, about four miles north of Caldwell (Lake George) village on the west shore of Lake George. I was then eight, being as poor as Job’s turkey that leaned up against the barn to gobble and fish was an important item. We would bind two logs together for a boat and with a long pole get outside of the rocky point east of the Diamond Point Hotel, the late Coolidge place, here or most anywhere else we could pole this raft. Either one or two people during the early months of summer could catch in less than one hour all the fish — black bass, perch and sun fish (called Ring-Eyed Jonathans) - a family could eat in two days.
As soon as we could buy an old boat we would follow the fish out on the grass ground, 32 to 35 feet of water, where in August and September we could catch black bass up to seven pounds and perch, bullheads and eels in any quantity desired.”
(Note…Orcutt went on to say that in 1854 or 1855, one night he speared the first Pickerel caught in Lake George. It got away from him in the dark but was later found dead and it weighed 22 & 1/2 pounds.
This man’s letter brings back fond memories. In the winter of 1957 I lived in Lake George on McGillis Avenue, not far from Birdie and Dave’s tavern down on the corner of Canada St. Often in the morning, too early for the patrons to be in, I would go down to the tavern and sit in a chair in the front window while Birdie bustled around to get ready for the evening crowd. There I had a panoramic view of the lake. I would watch the ice fishermen diligently pursuing their prey as they huddled over their tip-ups and small holes in the ice as the frigid cold wind whirled around them. Later on, one would occasionally come into the tavern to get warm and show off his fish and usually try to sell them. I heard many good fish stories in those days. Those were happy times!
Death came unexpectedly
Sergeant Thomas McCarthy, 42, formerly of Wevertown, died at the home of his sister, Mrs. McDonald in Seattle, Wash., April 14, 1912 of injuries sustained on that day from the accidental discharge of a gun he was handling. For 17 years he was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and he fought all through the Spanish American War.
Mrs. Caroline Bennett, 70, a sister of Mrs. Dennis Weaver of Warrensburgh, died suddenly of heart failure May 8, 1912 at her home in Glens Falls. She was about the house during the day and in the evening called on a neighbor living on the lower floor of her home. She returned to her own rooms and was found the following morning by her son sitting in a chair, dead in her bedroom. She is survived by her husband, five daughters and five sons.
Local news roundabout
In Lewisville (River St. area) is stated on good authority that there will be a Warrensburgh pool and billiard room in the near future, for the occupancy of which a new building will be erected. Clarence Culver has purchased a new Pope motor cycle. Mrs. John Beswick is suffering from a partial paralysis of the neck and shoulders caused by, it is thought, a recent operation for her ears for which she underwent in Albany. Godfrey Hewitt is building g an addition to his residence.
The Bates Cemetery in Johnsburgh Corners has been enclosed with a new fence which improves the grounds very much. Some of the state lots which have formerly been cleared or denuded by fire are being set to pine trees. State Patrolman R.T. Armstrong has charge of the work.
J.J. Latham of Warrensburgh and Mrs. Effie C. Pratt of Thurman were married May 17, 1912 in Warrensburgh by the Rev. H.F. Titus of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
A fancy big oak chiffioner, handsomely finished with fine deep drawers and a large French plate glass mirror, can be purchased at Burger’s store, Glens Falls for $9.98 on easy terms of $1 down and $1 weekly.
At Dickinson’s Market in Warrensburgh, fresh fish is 6 cents a pound and liver is 3 pounds for 25 cents. At Cora Montgomery’s millinery store, she will give a goldfish in a small bowl with every purchase. On July 1, 1912 she will be going out of business.
It was just 48 years ago, May 31, 1864, at 2:30 in the afternoon, that a coal stove housed in the Glens Falls Hotel kitchen (located about where the roundabout is in 2012) started the worst fire in Glens Falls history. No less than 112 commercial buildings were destroyed which leveled the city’s business district. (Note: The Glens Falls Hotel was rebuilt as The Rockwell House which was later renamed Hotel Towers. It also was destroyed by fire in 1950.)
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210.