•100 years ago — March 1914•
Worker killed in mill accident
Death in a most remarkable form came March 10, 1914, in an instant, which ended the troubled career of William J. Armstrong of Warrensburgh. During his lifetime he was the victim of many misfortunes, some of which he brought upon himself by dissolute habits and others, the worst were thrust upon him by an all wise but inscrutable Providence.
Armstrong was killed at 4:30 a.m. at the Schroon River Pulp and Paper Co. plant in Burnhamville, Warrensburgh. He was caught in a belt and hurled to his death in the twinkling of an eye, his body being horribly mutilated. The left leg was torn from his body, the torso being mangled and his skull was crushed like an egg shell.
The man had been employed in the mill until about two weeks ago when he was discharged. He had since been roaming the village, satisfying his thirst for intoxicants as he could by one way and another find to procure them. Estranged from his family and therefore having no place to sleep, he had been going nights to the paper mill where he was permitted by the employees to sleep in most any corner he could find.
On the night of March 9, night engineer Jay Brainard admitted him to his warm and comfortable room and he slept there on the floor during the night. About 4:30 a.m. Brainard left the room for a moment and while he was outside heard a thumping sound which he thought was the sound of a belt breaking. Hurrying to a room through which ran a 26-inch belt connected with the main shaft, he was horrified to find Armstrong’s lifeless body horribly mangled, lying on the floor where it had been hurled after being released from the rapidly revolving belt.
A foot or so above the belt runs a narrow platform which is used to get at the pulleys when necessary. Although no one had witnessed the accident it was evident that Armstrong had tried to walk along the platform and had swerved in such a manner as to be caught by the belt and hurled against the ceiling. There are many people, including the mill workers with whom the man worked, that believe Armstrong deliberately threw himself against the belt in order to commit suicide. He told one of the men recently that he was either going to quit drinking or kill himself.
The body was taken to the Woodward undertaking rooms. Mrs. Armstrong denies that she would not permit the body to be taken home on account of its horrible mangled condition. Besides his widow, the deceased leaves three daughters, Ethel, Ada and Grace Armstrong of Warrensburgh, one son, Charles Armstrong of Johnsburgh and also one brother, John Armstrong.
About 10 years ago, Gilbert Armstrong, a son of the dead man, was shot and killed by a Thurman boy named Pixley, who was sent to the reformatory for the crime, he being rather defective mentally. Last fall his son, Charles Armstrong was shot in the leg while hunting and had the member amputated below the knee at the Glens Falls Hospital. A young daughter died a year ago after a brief illness of pneumonia. (Note: The story of Charles Armstrong losing his leg while rabbit hunting was told in this column in the Dec. 14, 2013 Adirondack Journal.)
Violent canine crime
James Culver, driver of the Warrensburgh-Chestertown stage, on his trip north on the morning of March 7, 1914, near Thomson turn on Spruce Mountain in Warrensburgh, came upon a doe near the road defending itself from the attack of a black and tan Collie dog. The deer was exhausted and badly torn, tail bitten off and gravely wounded.
Culver drove the dog away and the animal crawled into Cataract brook and laid down. Being alone, after a reasonable delay, Culver was obliged to continue his trip and leave the wounded animal to shift for itself. Game Protector Dennis Bump of Lake George, was notified by telephone and he went immediately to the scene of the crime. He found the doe alive but so badly injured that he was obliged to kill it to relieve its suffering.
Culver states that he can identify the dog as one owned by a Spruce Mountain farmer. This man claims he can prove an alibi for his canine. An investigation has begun in the matter and if the dog is indeed guilty, the owner is liable for a fine of $100.
Snow aids area lumbering operations
This has been a great winter for the lumbermen. With snow coming early and in large quantities, the lumberjacks in the Adirondacks have been a busy lot and with everything favorable for logging operations, nearly all of the big lumber jobs have been finished and the biggest cut of timber in years is ready to be floated down the streams. It is believed that this year is fully 50 percent greater than that of last year when there was little snow.
A year ago loggers were compelled to sit idly by and wait for snow on which to draw their pulp wood to the mills and the snow never came and they were forced to carry it over to this year. They are forced to go by their last year’s contract price of $6 a cord when this year the price is $1 higher, an extra amount that they are not entitled to reap due to their previous agreement.
Death in the news
Mrs. Jerome Burton, one of the most prominent residents of Lake George, died the night of March 5, 1914 of apoplexy. She is survived by her husband, three daughters and six sons. She was buried in the Glens Falls Cemetery.
James Cullen, 47, died Monday, March 9, 1914 at his home on Burdick St., Warrensburgh after a two-week illness of creeping paralysis. His sufferings were intense as his body became paralyzed, the deadly disease creeping from his feet up until it reached his vital organs. He leaves a widow, three sons and one daughter.
New transportation machines arrive
A carload of Maxwell automobiles, shipped March 3, 1914 from the factory in Detroit, Michigan and consigned to the Warrensburgh Garage, Edson Granger, proprietor, arrived at the D & H train station here on March 2, 1914. This is the first carload of these machines ever shipped to this town.
Five inches of snow fell the afternoon of March 6, 1914 in Bakers Mills. There is no news in Johnsburgh except there is a new snowstorm there every week.
The state health department reports that smallpox now exists in 15 counties of New York State, including Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties.
Reuben M. and Julia Mick are the proud parents of a two-year-old boy, Reuben C. Mick, who was born Oct. 2, 1911 in Raquette Lake, New York. (Note: Reuben C. Mick, 102, was the fifth of six children. His wife of 67 years, Jane Kelly Mick, died in 2009. He was a teacher and administrator in area schools and died Feb. 4, 2014 in Mamaroneck, N.Y.)
Charles Yaw, who has been confined for a long time in the Utica State Hospital for the insane, has been allowed to return home to Hague.
William A. Potter of East Thurman died March 5, 1914 of pleure-pneumonia. He leaves a widow and seven children.
Augustus Jones of East Thurman, while at work on March 5, 1914 at the D.&H. railroad at The Glen, had a severe attack of heart trouble. He is slowly recovering.
Miss Alice Hadden, Assistant Superintendent of the Samaritan Hospital in Troy, is home on a visit to her parents, Frederick and Harriet Hadden of Lewisville, Warrensburgh.
The store near the river bridge in Riverbank is closed and the proprietor has packed his stock of merchandise into his trunk and has gone to Central Park, Horicon, taking his belongings with him.
In Chestertown, Cyrus Kettenbach purchased 26 chickens, the balance of Mrs. O.H. Benton’s flock. William Edgwerton, poultry enthusiast, is developing a flock of pure bred Rhode Island Red fowls.
Harry Bolton of Warrensburgh, has a yoke of oxen for sale. Fred Vetter of Chestertown has for sale a pair of buckskin mares weighing 2800 pounds.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at email@example.com or 623-2210.