The History of New York State
Book VI, Chapter IV

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam

 

CHAPTER IV.

WARREN COUNTY. #1

Samuel de Champlian, in 1609, on a journey through the upper part of New York, was told of a wonderful lake called by the Indians Andia-to-roc-te, but he never went south enough to see it. In 1642, a war party of the Iroquois, returning from Canada to their Mohawk Valley homes, passed down this lake. With them were three French prisoners, one of whom was a Jesuit priest, Father Jogues, the first of many white men who were to see this lake. To it he gave the name Lake of the Blessed Sacrament, a name which it bore for more than a century. James Fenimore Cooper wrote of this body of water as Horicon the "silvery water," But it remained for Gen. William Johnson, encamped at its head, in 1755, to give it a name in honor of his King, one which still clings, Lake George.

Some one has said the Warren county was "the land which grew up around Lake George," and without going into the question of which came first, there is no doubt the county is about the lake to the south and west, and that the fame of the lake, and the thousands who come to it, have had much or most to do with the growth and prosperity of Warren. The lake, with its wild and picturesque setting between the mountains, with its cliffs and points and islets, all reminiscent of the Indian and the olden time, is to well known to be described or lauded. The historic events which have taken place within the borders of the county are recounted in another section of this work. Long before its settlement sanguinary battles had occurred between the French and English. In 1755, General Johnson defeated the French on the shores of the lake in the only successful campaign of the British Army that year. In 1757, they were called upon to defend the territory they had won, and failed. In 1759, Fort George was built by General Amherst; he advanced to Ticonderago, and the French withdrew,, and thus was ended all control by the French in the settlement of Warren County and the State.

The pioneers began to flock to this wonderland by the lake as soon as the French has been driven back to Canada, and there was every reason to expect that a series of towns should come into being. The region is a rugged one, the Adirondacks thrust their peaks almost down to the shores, but not in the high nor stony fashion. The soil is not of the best, but there were water powers and transportation, the distance to Albany being only about sixty miles, and Lake Champlain but a portage away, and it was though that there were metals in the hills. But the prospects of successful settlement were blighted by the breaking out of the Revolution, and the real settlement of Warren County did not come until just before the close of the eighteenth century.

Warren county was formed from Washington, march 12, 1813, and named in honor of Gen. Joseph Warren, Revolutionary hero. Caldwell, or, as it is now known, the village of Lake George, was established as the county seat, and courthouse built in 1816-17. The first courts were held in the Lake George Coffee House. The means of transportation in the county have been primitive from the first until the last fifty years. Boats were placed upon the lakes; one of the first steamboats in the Untied states made its initial run on Lake George. A canal connecting the two lakes, and early improvements of log navigation in the Hudson, were about al that was done to connect the county with the outside world. In modern times, both railroads and improved highways have come in, and it seems likely that in 1926, one or two bridges might be built across lake Champlain, which would have an effect upon the accessibility of the Lake George country. As has been suggested, tourists and summer residents are a source of income to the county. It is only a part of the county, however, that is reached by the tourist. Back from the lake are the farming sections. Here, too, are the timber areas, which are still not exhausted. Lumber was at one time the principal export of Warren. Glens Falls is an important industrial city, with more than 100 factories, and Warrensburg has a number of manufactures.

The county is divided into one city and eleven town. these, with their populations, in 1920, are: Bolton town, 1,184; Caldwell town, including Lake George village, 1,297; Chester town, 1,512; Johnsburg town, 2,243; Luzerne town, 1,068; Queensbury town, 2,548; Stony Creek town, 651; Thurman town, 680; Warrensburg town, 2,025; Population of Warren County, 31,673.

TOWNS.

Bolton, formed from Thurman march 25, 1799, has lost territory to established Hague, 1807; a part of Caldwell, in 1810; and a part of Horicon, in 1838. About one-half of the shore of Lake George forms the eastern boundary of Bolton, and many of the resorts are located here. The Schroon river lies on the western side, and between are many peaks reaching above the 2,000 feet mark, and numerous little crystal lakes. Agriculturally, only a small part of the town is arable. Bolton village, opposite Green island, is the most important of the rural places. The settlement of the town began about 1792, mainly buy New Englanders, and most of the settlements were, and are, along the shores of the lake.

Caldwell, formed from Queensbury, Bolton and Thurman march 2, 1810, is located around the southern extremity of Lake George. It is a hill country, but a valley extends through the town towards the valley of the Hudson. A slight change in the elevation of the valley would have turned the waters of the lake into the Hudson, instead of the St. Lawrence. The town was named after Gen. James Caldwell, a merchant of Albany, who became a patentee of 1,595 acres in this region on September 18-29, 1787. Although there had been settlers in this section shortly after the conquest of Canada, it was not until after the Revolution that permanent settlements began. The principal village of Caldwell is the village of Lake George, formerly known as Caldwell. This is the entry port and the headquarters of the great number of tourists and summer residents of this region. the store section is large and modern. The park, given by the friends of Edward M, Shepherd, a constant visitor to Lake George, separates the mercantile district form the county buildings. The village has four churches, a bank and library, and is the center of the summer colony on the lake. Bolton Road, or "Millionaire's Row," as it is often called, leads out of the village ten miles to the place for which it is named.

Chester, formed from Thurman March 25, 1799, lies on the north border of the county between the Hudson and the Schroon rivers. Loon Lake is the main body of water in the town, although Schroon Lake, which extends into the district, is better known. A natural bridge in the northern part of the town over stone Bridge Creek is visited by many. Feldspar, for use in the making of certain porcelain, was once quarried and exported in large quantities. The most of the section is not fitted for farming. The first settlers came about 1794, there being a church organized in 1796. Chestertown and Pottersville are the principal hamlets.

Hague, formed from Bolton February 28, 1807, was known as Rochester, but changed to the present title April 6, 1808. It is very mountainous, with very little of its land under cultivation; rests along the lake, and the mountains come down to the waters with great abruptness. Roger's Rock is one the lake shore, and Sabbath Day point is a headland in the southern part of the town, projecting into the lake. There is no town in Warren that has the grandeur of the hills and the beauty of the lake in larger measure. There are several small hamlets and of these the oldest are Hague and Wardboro. The first settlement was in 1796.

Horicon, formed from Bolton and Hague March 29, 1838, is one of the northern border towns. Mountains occupy the most of the land, and even the valleys have little that is arable, for the most part being occupied by lakes. Of these, Brandt Lake is the largest, being ten miles long. Brook is a hamlet on Schroon lake. The first settlement was made shortly after 1800.

Johnsburgh, formed from Thurman April 6, 1805, is the northwest town resting upon the Hudson. It is a mountainous region with the tillable soil confined to a few narrow valleys. Kaolin, serpentine iron ore and several minerals have been found in the hills, but are little utilized. Formerly there were a number of tanneries in the district. Johnsburgh, on Mill Creek, is the main village; North Creek and Glen, both on the Hudson, are small hamlets. The pioneer of the region was John Thurman, the owner of the large tracts of land in the State. He came shortly after the end of the Revolution.

Luzerne, organized as Fairfield from Queensbury April 10, 1792, changed to the present name April 6, 1808. Located in the southern extremity of the county, divided by two ranges of the Luzerne Mountains, it has much highland, of which a great deal has been brought under cultivation. From the chain of small lakes within its boundaries two stream flow, the one to the Hudson, the other into Lake George, and from thence reaching the St. Lawrence. The first of the settlements were started about 1770 along the Hudson, on lands leased from Ebenezer Jessup, the patentee. The village of Luzerne is the mercantile and social center of the town.

Queensbury, was first incorporated by patent as a township May 20, 1762. This patent covered only about 2,300 acres. On march 13, 1786, it was formed as a town of much larger size. Luzerne was taken off in 1792, and a part of Caldwell in 1810. In 1802 a strip of one mile wide was given to Luzerne. It lies between the Hudson and Lake George; has a great variety of soils, although in the main a fine sandy loam predominates; is a prosperous farm section. The timber of the section supplied the main industry for many years, while the fall of the Hudson, about fifty feet at Glens Falls, has been a constant source of water power. The first settlement was made in 1766, but there was but little in the way of growth until after the Revolution. Several hamlets, mostly along the Hudson, have come into being, but of these only one has risen to the state of a city, and one is the metropolis of the town, Glens Falls.

Glens Falls city, the "Empire City," the successor to Glens Falls, is the largest, richest and most progressive village in northern New York. Abraham Wing, the founder of the city, came in 1762, bringing with him a number of the Society of Friends. For a time the village which he founded went by his name, Wing's Falls, but was changed by him, it is said, in payment of a debt of honor, in 1788, to the present title, after colonel Glen, of Schenectady. Incorporated in 1837, with a population of 1,270, it was re-incorporated in 1874 and 1887. A city charter was secured on March 13, 1907. The population in 1920 was 16.638/ Beautifully located by the largest falls of the Hudson River, a place of homes, with a business section which has suffered severe fires in 1864, 1884 and 1902, and has been rebuilt in finer style each time, it is the pride of the resident and surprise of the visitor.

Industrially it has from the first been prominent. Lumber came to the fore in the early days, lime was first burned in 1832, and the first paper mill was built in 1864 on the site of the present mill of the International Paper Company. In 1876 saw the beginning of the shirt and collar industry, which later made the town noted. There were, in 1920, more than seventy-five factories in Glens Falls, with products exceeding $11,500,000 annually. Four of these concerns were capitalized for $1,000,000 or more each, and twenty-five for more then $100,000. There is a wide variety of articles made, but in general the more important of them may be included under the head of paper, shirts, cement and other rock products. Electric light and power are provided by the great Spiers Falls dam at Mount McGregor.

Stony Creek, formed from "Athol" November 3, 1852, is the southwest corner town of the county. It is relatively undeveloped, its location off the main line of travel and rugged character of its lands have prevented any large settlement. Stony Creek and Stony Creek Center are the principal villages. Farming is the main occupation. The first settlement was made in 1795, but sufficient folk had located in the next five years to make the formation of a church necessary. The earliest preacher is said to have been a Christian Indian by the name of Jonathan Paul.

Thurman, formed April 10, 1792, lost much of its territory in the making of Bolton and Chester, in 1799; Johnsburg, in 1805; and a part of Caldwell, in 1810. In 1813 the town left was divided into Athol and Warrensburgh. From this Athol part, Thurman and Stony Creek were organized, November 3, 1852. Settlement was begun shortly before 1800. There is but a small part of the town in farms, the most of the section being hilly and valuable more for timber and camp sites then agriculture. Athol and Thurman are the principal hamlets.

Warrensburgh, formed from Thurman February 12, 1813, lies between two branches of the Hudson, near the center of the county. It is one of the best of the agricultural towns of Warren. The village of Warrensburgh is one the Schroon river, three miles from its juncture with the Hudson. It is not only the trading center of the surrounding agricultural region, but has a number of factories. Among the products of the place are: Wood pulp, and paper, woolen cloth, gloves and shirts, lumber. The first of the settlement of this section was on the site of the village and made in 1790. A church was organized in 1796.

 

The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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