HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

PREFACE.

AROUND the name of Saratoga there clusters a wealth of historic lore.

Since this name was first transferred from the oral language of the red man to the written page of the white man, in a word, from the favorite old hunting-ground of the river hills, first, to the little hamlet of the wilderness, and then to the town and county, it has been associated, in peace as well as in war, with the most important events which have been chronicled in our country's history.

It will, therefore, readily be seen that, upon taking up the task of writing the history of Saratoga County, an almost overwhelming mass of material presented itself for consideration.

In one catalogue of books alone, entirely devoted to the subject, or in which important reference is made to Saratoga, there are more than one hundred volumes.

To all this must be added the vast accumulation of public records in the State and county archives.

The important question then was, not what could be got, but what should be taken.

A broad field lay before us, filled with mingled tares and wheat, and we must cull from it what best suited our purpose.

Yet in all this vast field of literature, so rich in many things, there was little to be found relating to the early settlement of the towns and county.

In search of this pioneer history, the public records must be searched, the whole ground must be gone over afresh.

But a hundred years in passing had removed three generations of men, and what could once have been so accurately learned from living lips, now that those lips are sealed forever, must be gathered by the dim light of uncertain tradition.

As this is the first history of the county which has been published, it seems to us that it should be, more than anything else, a history of the pioneers.

The pioneers of a country, those who brave the dangers and endure the toils of its early settlement, be their lives ever so humble, are worthy of notice, while those who come after them, be their social position ever so high, cannot expect to receive the historian's attention, unless they mingle much in affairs, or perform historic deeds.

It is to the pioneers, therefore, that we have devoted a large part of the following pages.

In making our selections from the public records and in gleaning from the literature of the subject we have doubtless often been unwise.

Yet we have not attempted to put everything into the work that would interest everybody.

In gathering material for the history of the early settlements, doubtless we have sometimes, owing to the imperfections of human memory, been misinformed as to names, dates, and circumstances.

There were doubtless, too, many pioneers in the different towns, whose names we have not been able to learn, and therefore we give no account of them in these pages.

The reader should bear in mind that, at the time of the organization of the county, in 1791, there were upwards of seventeen thousand people living within its borders.

Of how few of these, comparatively, is there now much known?

So our work, like all things human, notwithstanding our best endeavors, is doubtless to some extent scored with errors, marred by omissions, faults, and imperfections, and we beg the reader to pass them over with indulgent eye.

In pursuing the subject we have selected such topics for insertion as we thought would best illustrate the progress of the people of the county during the century of its growth and development, from their rude beginnings in the old wilderness to their present state of enlightened culture and refinement.

To those in different parts of the county who have kindly assisted us, and we would like to mention all their names here, but want of space will not permit, and to name a part would seem invidious, to all such we return our heartfelt acknowledgment.

To the publishers of this volume it is due to say, that they have done everything in their power which they could do, to assist us in the endeavor to make it acceptable to their patrons.

To do this they have spared neither pains nor expense.

To the writer it has been mostly a labor of pleasure rather than of profit.

If the reader can find anything in it to approve, we are sure his generous commendation will not be withheld.

What he sees in the execution of the work - in what it contains and in what it does not contain - to disapprove, may his condemnation come rather in sorrow than in anger.

And now, whether good or evil report betide it, the task is done.

N. B. S.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., July 9, 1878.

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.


I. - SINGULAR GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION.

SARATOGA County, it may of a truth be said, owes its historical importance to the striking peculiarity of its geographical position.

From the Island of Montreal, in the River St. Lawrence, a narrow depression, or valley, in the earth's surface extends due south, on a line almost as straight as the crow flies, for the distance of nearly four hundred miles, to the Island of Manhattan, at the mouth of the Hudson river, on the shore of the Atlantic ocean.

This long and narrow valley, which seems to be a deep, downward fold in the mountain ranges, separates the highlands of New England from the highlands of New York.

The summit level of this long northern valley being less than one hundred and sixty feet above the level of the sea, and lakes and streams of navigable water stretching through it either way, it forms a natural highway and route of travel between the great valley of the St. Lawrence on the north and the Atlantic seaboard on the south.

From the "sprouts" or mouths {The Mohawk, just before it flows into the Hudson, separates into four spreading branches, which the early Dutch settler significantly called Spruytes, which is from the Danish Spruiten, or Saxon Spryttau, from which comes our English word Sprouts. - Vide "Annals of Albany," vol. ii. page 226, and "Saratoga and Kay-ad-ros-se-ra," by the author, page 19.} of the Mohawk river, nearly in the centre of this great northern valley, another long and narrow valley, also caused by a downward fold in the mountain ranges, extends nearly due west, and reaching to the basin of the great lakes, opens the way to the valley of the Mississippi beyond.

This great intersecting western valley separates the highlands of northern from the highlands of southern New York, and, like the great northern valley, is also a natural highway and thoroughfare, with low summit level, anti teeming with the travel of a continent.

Between the northern or Champlain valley, and the western or Mohawk valley, and the valley of the St. Lawrence to the southwestward, rises the rugged Laurentian mountain chain of the Adirondack wilderness.

Forming the backbone of the Atlantic slope of the continent, the Apalachian mountain range extends from Nova Scotia on the north to Florida on the south.

These vast mountain ranges thus present, through the whole distance from the northern to the southern gulf, a most formidable barrier between the Atlantic seaboard and the great central valleys of the continent.

And these two deep narrow valleys thus stretching around the Adirondacks, and one running north and south and the other trending east and west through the State of New York, are the only mountain passes that lead through or over the Apalachian mountain range.

Everywhere else, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, except through these two narrow valleys, the traveler must pass over high mountain barriers in going to and fro between the Atlantic seaboard and the basin of the great lakes and the valleys of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence.

Over the great natural highways and routes of travel leading through these mountain passes ran the most important of the old Indian trails; through them marched the armies of the long colonial period; and through these valleys now passes the world's commerce in ceaseless flow from the teeming west into the lap of our State's great metropolis, the city of New York, which sits by the sea at the foot of the great northern valley, still holding her proud position, rendered possible by her great natural advantages as the queen city of the New World.

In the angle formed by the junction of these two long deep valleys or passes through the mountain ranges, in the angle between the old Indian war-trails, in the angle between the pathways of armies, in the angle between the great modern routes of travel, in the angle formed by the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers, lies the territory now known and distinguished on the map of the State of New York as the county of Saratoga.

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Re: HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION
, concluded ...

II. - ITS PLACE IN HISTORY.

It will thus easily be seen that its singular geographical position like that of the county of Albany, which lies in the opposite southern angle of the two rivers, gives to the county of Saratoga its important strategical position in time of war, places it along the great centres of traffic and travel in times of peace, and has already given it a long and eventful history.

And it will quite as readily also be seen that, in order to give an intelligible history of the county of Saratoga, so often the theatre of stirring events during the long colonial period, some account must be given, more or less in detail, of all the numerous expeditions and excursions which, both in peace and in war, traversed the great northern and western valleys.

During the indefinite period of the Indian occupancy terminating with its discovery by white men, that part of the State now called Northern New York was disputed ground.

The Algonquin races of the valley of the St. Lawrence contended for its possession with the fierce Iroquois nations of the valley of the Mohawk and of central New York.

After its discovery by white men, the French allies of the Algonquins and the English allies of the Iroquois took up and continued the long quarrel for its mastery.

Thus for two hundred and seventy years, during which its authentic history runs back before the close of the War of the Revolution, there was scarcely an hour of peaceful rest unbroken by the fear of the savage invader in these great war-worn valleys in the angle of which lies the county of Saratoga.

During this whole period it was the midnight war-whoop, the uplifted tomahawk, the cruel scalping-knife, the burning dwelling, the ruined home, that made the whole country a wide scene of desolation and blood.

At length this long wilderness warfare culminated in the surrender of General Burgoyne, on the 17th of October, 1777, at Saratoga.

From that day, with Lexington and Bunker Hill, with Trenton, Monmouth, and Ticonderoga, with Germantown and Yorktown, Saratoga will remain one of our country's high historic names.

In the following pages an attempt will be made to trace the history of Saratoga County, from its rude beginnings in the old howling wilderness of more than two hundred years ago, up to times within the ready memory of many men and women now living.

But this attempt is not without many and serious difficulties.

A hundred years even in passing have taken one by one all the old settlers from us, and much that could once have accurately been learned from living lips now that those lips are sealed forever must be sought in the all-too-meagre records left us, or we must grope our way for it among the conflicting stories of the fragmentary lore of uncertain tradition.

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER II.

EXTENT - ORIGINAL COUNTIES - CIVIL DIVISIONS.


I. - BOUNDARIES.

The county of Saratoga is centrally distant thirty-one miles from the capitol at Albany.

It is bounded on the north by Warren county; on the east by the counties of Warren, Washington, and Rensselaer; on the south by the counties of Albany and Schenectady, and on the west by the counties of Schenectady, Montgomery, Fulton, and Hamilton.

The county of Saratoga is situated between latitude 42° 47' and 43° 22' north, and longitude 2° 47' and 3° 20' east from Washington.

Its extreme length from north to south is about 43 miles, and its greatest width from east to west is about 28 miles.

It contains 862 square miles or 551,680 acres.

Of this, according to the State census of 1875, 317,201 acres are improved land, and 148,218 acres unimproved; there being of the latter 89,192 acres of woodland.

This enumeration by the census-takers leaves a remainder of 96,261 acres to be accounted for, doubtless mostly represented by the waste, non-resident lands of the northern part of the county lying within the boundaries of the Adirondack wilderness.

The total population of the county in 1875 was 55,137.

In the "Revised Statutes of the State" this county is described and its boundary lines defined as follows, to wit:

"The county of Saratoga { See Sec. 2, Title I., Chap. ii, Part I., N.Y. Rev. Stat.} shall contain all that part of this State bounded, northerly, by the county of Warren; easterly, by the counties of Rensselaer, Washington, and Warren; southerly, by a line beginning at a point in the middle of Hudson's river opposite to the middle of the most northerly branch of the Mohawk river, and running thence through the middle of said northerly branch and of the Mohawk river, westerly to the east bounds of the county of Schenectady; then along the easterly and northerly bounds of the said county of Schenectady to the northwest corner of said county; then north one degree and twenty-five minutes west along a line heretofore established, drawn from a point on the Mohawk river at the northeast corner of the tract, granted to George Ingolsby and others, to the southwest corner of the county of Warren."

The line above described as "a line heretofore established, drawn from a point on the Mohawk river," and as running "north one degree and twenty-five minutes west," is interesting to the student of history as being what is known as the "old Tryon county line."

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER II.

EXTENT - ORIGINAL COUNTIES - CIVIL DIVISIONS
, continued ...

II. - THE FORMATION OF ORIGINAL COUNTIES.

From the time of the first division of the State into counties, under Charles II., on the 1st day of November, in the year 1683, until the 24th day of March, 1772, all the territory lying northerly and westerly of what was then the county of Ulster was included in the county of Albany.

On the 24th day of March, 1772, the vast county of Albany was divided, and two new counties set off, namely, the counties of Tryon and Charlotte.

The county of Tryon included all that part of the State lying westerly of the aforesaid "established line," which ran from the Mohawk, as above set forth, to the Canada line, at a point near the present Indian village of St. Regis.

Tryon county was thus nearly two hundred miles wide on its eastern border, and stretched out westward two hundred and seventy miles to the shores of Lake Erie.

The shire-town of Tryon county was Johnstown, near the Mohawk, the residence of Sir William Johnson, Bart.

It was named in honor of William Tryon, the last colonial governor of the State.

The county of Charlotte, scarcely less in size than Tryon county, included within its boundaries all the northern part of the State that lay easterly of the "Tryon county line," and northerly of the present county of Saratoga and the Batterskill in Washington county.

Charlotte county also included the westerly half of what is now the State of Vermont, and was then the disputed territory known as the New Hampshire grants.

The easterly half of Vermont, lying west of the Connecticut river, also claimed by New York, and since forming part of Albany county, was set off into two counties, Cumberland, in 1766, and Gloucester, 1770.

Charlotte county was so named in honor of the Princess Charlotte, daughter of George III., or, as some say, of the Queen Consort Charlotte, of Mecklenburg Strelitz.

The county-seat of Charlotte county was Fort Edward.

The first court was held in that village on the 19th of October, 1773, by Judge William Duer.

The first clerk of the court was Daniel McCrea, a brother of Jennie McCrea, whose tragic death soon after occurred near where the court sat.

On the 2d day of April, 1784, the legislature of the then new State of New York passed an act by which it was ordained that:

"From and after the passing of this act, the county of TRYON shall be called and known by the name of Montgomery, and the county of CHARLOTTE by the name of Washington."

"Thus these two counties," says Judge Gibson, in his "Bench and Bar of Washington County," "organized originally by one legislative act, and simultaneously named in compliment to royalty and its satellite by a subsequent legislative act, after passing through a sea of fire and famine and desolation and war, were simultaneously born again in a baptism of blood, and one of them named after the greatest of its slaughtered heroes on the battle-field, MONTGOMERY, and the other after the most distinguished of its living survivors, the immortal WASHINGTON."

It will thus be seen that what is now the county of Saratoga was not set off in the division of the 24th of March, 1772, but constituted and remained a part of Albany county until the 7th day of February, 1791, when Albany county was again divided, being reduced to its present limits, and the counties of Rensselaer and Saratoga set off.

Besides the county of Albany there are nine other original counties in what is now the State of New York, namely, the counties of Duchess, King's, New York, Orange, Queen's, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester.

These ten original counties were all formed on the 1st day of November, 1683, by order of the Duke of York, then the sole proprietor of the provinces, and who ascended the throne of England on the 6th of February, 1685, as James II., of unfortunate memory.

These counties were all named after James and his near relatives.

Thus, the counties of New York and Albany were so called in honor of his two titles of the Duke of York, in England, and Duke of Albany, in Scotland.

The counties of King's and Queen's (now Kings and Queens without the possessive) were named in honor of the Duke's royal brother, then King Charles II., and his wife, Catharine of Braganza.

Duchess (now Dutchess), containing also what are now Columbia and Putnam counties, complimented James' wife, Mary Hyde, Duchess of York.

Suffolk county was named after King Charles, in whom was then vested the title of Duke of Suffolk.

This title was lost by Charles Grey, father of Lady Jane Grey, in consequence of her rebellion.

Richmond county was named in honor of Charles Lenox, Duke of Richmond, a natural son of Charles II., by a French woman, Louise de Querouaille.

The royal dukedom of Richmond had descended from the brother of Henry Stuart, the father of James I., of England, and had become extinct on the death of James Stuart, son of the first cousin of Charles I.

It was then conferred by Charles II. upon the son of his favorite mistress above named, the ancestor of the present family of Richmond.

Orange county, then including Rockland county and all of the present county of Orange lying south of a line running west from the mouth of Murderer's creek, was called in honor of William, Prince of Orange, and his wife, Mary of England, the daughter of James, who, with her husband, ascended the throne of England as William and Mary.

In 1683 the younger brother of King Charles had the Irish title of the Duke of Ulster, and Ulster county was named in his honor.

The county has since been divided, and from it taken the counties of Sullivan, Greene, and Delaware, and the northern part of Orange.

On the death of the last Earl of Chester, the most important of the peerages of the old Norman kings, the title became merged in the crown, but was always conferred upon the Prince of Wales.

As Charles II. had no legitimate son, he himself retained the title, and it was also in his honor that the county of Westchester received its name.

But at the time of the division of Nov. 1, 1863, there were two other counties made out of what was then considered the duke's province of New York, viz., the counties of Duke's and Cornwall, and where are they?

The title of Duke of Cornwall also remains with the crown of England when there is no Prince of Wales to hold it, and the islands on the sea-coast of Maine being claimed by James, were erected into the county of Cornwall.

Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket islands, also claimed by him, were set off as Duke's county.

But Massachusetts, having the possession of all these islands, refused to give them up.

James therefore yielded his claims, and Cornwall and Duke's became the lost counties of New York.

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Re: HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER II.

EXTENT - ORIGINAL COUNTIES - CIVIL DIVISIONS
, concluded ...

III. - CIVIL DIVISIONS OF SARATOGA COUNTY.

At the time of the division of the county of Albany, and the formation of Tryon and Charlotte counties, on the 24th day of March, 1772, the part still remaining in Albany county, now constituting the county of Saratoga, was divided into two districts, the "District of SARAGHTOGA" and the "District of HALF-MOON."

The district of Half-Moon embraced the present towns of Waterford, Half-Moon, and Clifton Park.

The district of Saraghtoga then contained all the remaining north part of the county, embracing the territory now divided into seventeen towns.

On the 1st day of April, 1775, another district was carved out of the district of Saraghtoga, and named the "District of BALLS-TOWN."

This new district of Balls-Town then included the present towns of Ballston, Milton, Charlton, Galway, Providence, Edinburgh, and part of Greenfield.

What is now Saratoga County remained thus divided into three districts until after the War of the Revolution.

On the 7th day of March, 1788, three years before Saratoga County was set off, the name "district" was dropped, and Balls-Town, Half-Moon, Saraghtoga, and STILLWATER were organized as towns of Albany county; and when Saratoga County was formed, on the 7th day of February, 1791, these towns, BALLS-TOWN, HALF-MOON, SARAGHTOGA, and STILLWATER, still remained, forming the four mother towns of Saratoga County.

The town of Stillwater was originally taken off from the Saraghtoga District, and when erected included the present town of Stillwater, a part of Easton, in Washington county, and all but the north part of the town of Malta.

From these four "mother towns" of Saratoga County other towns have been from time to time set off and subdivided, until the county contained its present number of twenty towns, as follows, viz.:

CHARLTON, MILTON, and GALWAY were all formed from Balls-Town on the 17th of March, 1792, and the line of Charlton changed in 1795.

GREENFIELD was taken from Saratoga and Milton, on the 12th of March, 1793, having first been called Fairfield.

PROVIDENCE was taken from Galway on the 5th day of February, 1796.

NORTHUMBERLAND was formed from Saratoga, on the 16th of March, 1798.

EDINBURGH, as Northfield, was taken from Providence on the 13th of March, 1801, and its present name given April 6, 1808.

HADLEY was formed from Greenfield and Northumberland, on the 27th of February, 1801.

MALTA was taken from Stillwater on the 3d day of March, 1802, and that part of Saratoga lying south of the Kayadrossera creek annexed March 28, 1805.

MOREAU was taken from Northumberland, on the 28th of March, 1805.

WATERFORD was formed from Half-Moon, on the 17th of April, 1816.

HALF-MOON was changed to Orange on the 17th of April, 1816, but the original name was restored on the 16th of January, 1820.

WILTON was taken from Northumberland, on the 20th of April, 1818.

CORINTH was taken from Hadley, April 20, 1818.

SARATOGA SPRINGS was set Off from Saratoga on the 9th of April, 1819.

DAY, as Concord, was formed from Edinburgh and Hadley, and its present name adopted, December 3, 1827.

CLIFTON PARK, as Clifton, was formed from Half-Moon, March 3, 1828, and its present name given March 31, 1829.

In the following pages, after devoting several chapters to the general history of the county of Saratoga, from its earliest exploration by white men, in 1609, to the present time, each of the several towns will be taken up in their order, and, so far as it has been possible in the necessarily limited space allowed, a history of each will be given.

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER III.

TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES.


I. - GENERAL VIEW.

The surface of Saratoga County is extremely diversified.

Towards the north it rises into the rocky crags and towering mountain peaks of the Adirondack ranges of the mountain belt of the great wilderness.

Towards the South it slopes into low rounded hills and gentle undulations, bordered by long river-valleys.

Through the westerly part of the towns of Old Saratoga and Stillwater, and easterly of Saratoga lake, extends an isolated group of hills which rise to the height of some five hundred feet, with rounded summits and terraced declivities.

Along the bank of the Hudson there stretches a broad intervale, bordered on the west by a range of clay bluffs rising from forty to two hundred feet in height.

From the summits of this range of clay bluffs an extensive sand plain reaches westerly to the foot of the mountain chains, and extends southwesterly from the Hudson, near Glen's Falls, across the county, a distance of thirty-five miles, to the Mohawk, at Clifton Park.

This belt of "Saratoga Sands" covers the greater part of six townships, of land, viz., Moreau, Wilton, Northumberland, Saratoga Springs, Malta, and Clifton Park.

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER III.

TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
, continued ...

II. - MOUNTAINS.

The great wilderness of northern New York, now oftener called the Adirondack wilderness, is an upland region of a mean height of about two thousand feet above the level of the sea, and comprises greater or lesser parts of eleven counties of the State, viz., Saratoga, Warren, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Hamilton, Herkimer, Oneida, and Fulton.

A line beginning at Saratoga Springs and running westerly across the country to Trenton Falls, near Utica, on the Mohawk; thence northerly to Potsdam, near Ogdensburg, on the St. Lawrence; thence easterly to Dannemora, near Plattsburg, on Lake Champlain; and thence southerly to the place of beginning, will nearly coincide with the outlines of the great wilderness.

A few small settlements, confined mostly to the fertile valleys of the streams, lie within the boundaries above described.

But in many places the ancient woods stretch down beyond these lines to the very shores of the water-courses, and cast their shadows over the great routes of travel that surround northern New York.

The Adirondack wilderness is quite the size of the whole State of New Jersey, or of Vermont, or of New Hampshire.

To compare it with European countries, it is three-fourths as large as the kingdom of Holland, or Belgium, or of the republic of Switzerland, whose Alpine character it so much resembles.

Within the borders of this wilderness are more than fifteen hundred lakes and lakelets, and from its mountain heights run numberless rivers and streams of water in every direction.

Over it all is spread a primeval forest, - "covering the land as the grass covers a garden lawn, sweeping over hill and hollow in endless undulations, burying mountains in verdure, and mantling brook and river from the light of day."

The southeastern part of this great wilderness, into whose sombre shades the northern half of Saratoga County stretches, is traversed by no less than five distinct ranges of mountains.

These ranges cover what is known as the Mountain Belt of the Wilderness.

They run about eight miles apart and parallel with each other.

The chains are not always quite distinct, but often their lateral spurs interlock, and sometimes single mountains are so vast in size that they occupy the whole space between the ranges and choke up the intervening valleys.

These mountains are not regularly serrated, but consist of groups of peaks joined together by immense ridges.

From the south these mountains rise continually higher and higher, until at length they culminate in the highest summits of the Adirondack range proper, the old giants of the wilderness.

On every hand this mountain belt of the great wilderness presents the most striking features of an Alpine landscape.

In every part are seen towering mountain peaks, deep, yawning abysses, gloomy gorges, rough granite blocks, sweeping torrents, fresh fountains, and green mountain meadows.

The five mountain ranges of the wilderness are called, beginning with the most easterly one, the PALMERTOWN range, the KAYADROSSERA range, the SCARRON range, the BOQUET range, and the ADIRONDACK range.

Of these five mountain ranges two of them, viz., the Palmertown and the Kayadrossera ranges, stretch a great part of their length far down into the county of Saratoga, almost completely filling all the northern part of the county with their rugged mountain masses.

PALMERTOWN MOUNTAINS.

The Palmertown mountain range is the most easterly of the five ranges of the mountain belt of the Adirondack wilderness.

It begins in Sugarloaf mountain, near Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain, runs down on both sides of Lake George, and stretching southward across the Upper Hudson, which breaks through it, it extends through Corinth, Moreau, Wilton, and Greenfield, and terminates in the rocky, forest-covered hills over which North Broadway runs in the village of Saratoga Springs.

At Lake George this range forms the beautiful highlands which add so much to its wild and picturesque beauty.

French mountain, overlooking the old battle-ground at the head of Lake George, so rich in historic memories, is more than two thousand feet above tide-water.

In Saratoga County one of the highest peaks is Mount MacGregor, while Glen Mitchell lies at the foot of a mountain gap or gorge of this range.

Long before the northern' part of Saratoga County was settled by white men, tradition says a band of Indians, fleeing from the east after King Philip's war, settled at the foot of this mountain range, in what is now the town of Wilton, calling themselves Palmertown Indians.

From them the region round about was called by the earlier settlers, soon after the French war, Palmertown.

From this comes the name Palmertown mountains.

KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA RANGE.

The range of mountains next easterly of the Palmertown range is the Kay-ad-ros-se-ra range.

This range begins on Lake Champlain, near Crown Point, and runs down through Warren county into Saratoga County.

The range enters this county in the town of Hadley, and runs through that town and the towns of Day, Edinburgh, Corinth, Greenfield, Providence, and terminates in the highlands of Milton, Galway, and Charlton.

From Saratoga Spring this range is plainly to be seen, filling up the southwestern horizon with its dark-green forest-crowned mountain masses.

This range derives its name from the old Indian hunting-ground of which it forms so conspicuous a natural feature.

The Hudson winds along for many miles in a deep valley lying between the mountain masses before it turns eastward and breaks through the Palmertown range.

The Sacondaga breaks through the Kayadrossera range from the west, and enters the Hudson in this valley.

The highest peak in this range is Mount Pharaoh, whose Indian name is On-de-wa.

This mountain is on the border of Essex county, and its summit is four thousand feet above the sea.

THE SCARRON (SCHROON) RANGE.

Across the extreme northwest corner of Saratoga County, in the towns of Day and Edinburgh, extends a part of the third great mountain range of the Adirondack wilderness.

This range begins in the promontory of Split Rock, in Essex county, on Lake Champlain.

Thence it runs down through Warren into the southeast corner of Hamilton and across the northwest corner of Saratoga, and ends in the rounded, drift-covered hills that rise from the valley of the Mohawk, in Fulton county.

Scarron (Schroon) lake lies at the foot of this range in Warren and Essex counties, and Schroon river there winds through its deep valleys.

From this lake and river this great mountain chain derives its name.

The name is now commonly written Schroon, but on all the older maps it is written Scarron.

It is a tradition, which seems well grounded, that this name Scarron was given to this lake and river by the early French settlers at Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, in honor of Madame Scarron, the widow of the celebrated French dramatist and novelist, Paul Scarron: who was styled in his day "the emperor of the burlesque."

After her poet husband, who was a paralytic and a cripple, died, being still a most beautiful and fascinating woman, she captivated even royalty itself by her wondrous charms.

By some means the young widow became the secret governess of the natural children of Louis XIV. by Madame de Montespan, and soon became the rival of the latter in the affections of the voluptuous and dissolute king.

After the queen, Maria Theresa, of Austria, died, the king made the charming widow Scarron his wife by a secret marriage.

Louis then settled upon her a large Estate, named Maintenon, and made her Marquise de Maintenon.

As Madame de Maintenon, for thirty years she controlled the destinies of France.

But this mountain chain, the lake, and the river bear her more humble name, - the name of her poor, brilliant poet-husband, Scarron.

The next two mountain ranges of the wilderness, the Boquet range and the Adirondack range proper, neither of them lie within the bounds of Saratoga County.

Thc mountains of the great Adirondack wilderness belong to the old Laurentian system of Canada, and not to the Apalachian system of the Atlantic slope, as is by some writers erroneously stated.

A spur of the vast Canadian Laurentian chain crosses the river St. Lawrence at the Thousand Islands into northern New York.

After, by its rugged, broken character, forming the Thousand Islands in crossing the St. Lawrence, this spur of the Laurentides spreads easterly to Lake Champlain, southerly to the valley of the Mohawk, and westerly to the Blank river, forming the whole rocky groundwork of the upland region of the great wilderness.

In the interior these mountains rise into a thousand lofty peaks, towering above thousands of crystal lakes and emerald mountain meadows.

From the high, rounded hills on the east side of Saratoga lake, the well-defined ridges of the two great ranges that fill up all the northern part of the county with their wild grandeur can be distinctly traced.

First, the Palmertown, ending at Saratoga Springs, and beyond them the Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, in bold relief against the western sky, extending still farther southward into Galway and Charlton.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

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HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER III.

TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
, continued ...

III. - RIVERS.

The Hudson river for more than seventy miles of its course sweeps along and washes the eastern border of Saratoga County.

The Hudson is fed by a system of forest branches that spread over the whole mountain belt of the Adirondack wilderness, but only one of these main branches - the Sacondaga - enters the borders of Saratoga County.

The Mohawks called the Hudson Ska-nek-ta-de, meaning "the river beyond the open pines."

To the Mohawks, when going across the carrying-place from the Mohawk river at Schenectady to the Hudson at Albany, the latter river was literally "the river beyond the pines," and thus they so called it in their language.

Its Algonquin name, however, was Ca-ho-ta-te-a, meaning "the river that comes from the mountains lying beyond the Cohoes falls."

Henry Hudson, its first white discoverer, translating its Algonquin name, called it the "River of Mountains."

The early Dutch settlers on its banks sometimes called it "The Nassau," after the reigning family of Holland, and sometimes "The Mauritius," in honor of the Stadtholder, Prince Maurice.

But it was not called The Hudson until the English wrested it from the Dutch, in 1664, when they so named it in honor of their countryman, its immortal discoverer and first explorer.

The Hudson is literally a "river of the mountains."

It is born among the clouds on the shaggy side of Mount McIntyre, and in the mountain meadows and lakelets near the top of Mount Marcy, almost five thousand feet above the level of the sea.

The infant Hudson is cradled in the awful chasms of the Panther Gorge, the Gorge of the Dial, and in the Indian Pass, called by the Indians Da-yah-je-ga-go, "the place where the storm-clouds meet in battle with the great serpent."

Near the centre of this wondrous chasm of the Indian Pass, high up on the rugged side of Mount McIntyre, two little springs issue from the rocks so near to each other that their limpid waters almost mingle.

From each spring flows a tiny stream.

The streams at first interlock, but soon separate and run down the mountain side into the chasm, which is here two thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven feet above tide.

After reaching, the bottom, one runs southerly as the head-waters of the Hudson, the other northerly into the St. Lawrence.

Upon the south side of Mount Marcy is a little lake called "Summit Water" by the old guides, and by Verplanck Calvin, in his Adirondack survey, "Tear of the Clouds."

This little lakelet is four thousand three hundred and twenty-six feet above tide-water.

It is the highest lake-source of the Hudson.

After thus rising upon its highest mountain peaks, the Hudson in its wild course down the southern slope of the wilderness crosses four of the mountain chains, which all seem to give way at its approach, as if it were some wayward child of their own.

After bursting through the Palmertown range, its last wilderness mountain barrier, it encounters in its more placid course to the sea the great Apalachian system of mountains, and seems to rend them from top to bottom.

Or, rather, from the natural head of tide-water, some two miles above Waterford, in Saratoga County, the Hudson virtually ceases to be a river and becomes an estuary, or arm of the sea, in which the tide throbs back and forth, and on whose peaceful bosom now float the navies and the commerce of the world.

THE MOHAWK RIVER, before it mingles its waters with the Hudson, washes almost the whole southern side of the county of Saratoga.

The Indian name of the Mohawk was Te-uge-ga.

It rises on the highlands of the Lesser Wilderness of Northern New York, northerly of Oneida lake, near the head-waters of the Salmon river, which runs into Lake Ontario.

The Salmon river was the ancient River de la Famine of the old French explorers.

The Cohoes falls, in the Mohawk, on the border of this county, were called by the Indians Ga-ha-oose, meaning "the falls of the shipwrecked canoe."

THE SACONDAGA RIVER, enters the county of Saratoga on its western border, and breaking through the mountain barriers crosses the whole width of the county, and enters the Hudson on its eastern border.

For twenty miles of its course before it enters the Hudson there is a reach of still water which is navigable by small steamers.

Sacondaga is an Indian name, signifying "The river of the sunken or drowned lands," in allusion to the large Vlaie, or mountain meadow, through which it runs just before it reaches the border of the county.

This great vlaie was the favorite hunting-ground of Sir William Johnson, and near it he built his two hunting-lodges, called the Fish House and the Cottage, on Summer House Point. {See "Trappers of New York," by Jeptha R. Simms.}

THE KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA RIVER is the largest stream whose whole course lies within the borders of the county of Saratoga.

It rises on the southern slopes of the Kayadrossera mountains in Greenfield and Corinth, and running thence southerly between the mountain ranges, through Milton to Ballston Spa, it then turns easterly into Saratoga lake.

From the lake to the Hudson it is known as Fish creek.

The other numerous smaller streams of the county are mentioned in the history of the several towns through which they run.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK, continued ...

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

CHAPTER III.

TOPOGRAPHICAL FEATURES
, concluded ...

IV.--LAKES.

The principal lakes of the county of Saratoga are now called Saratoga lake, Round lake, Ballston lake, and Lake Desolation.

As the old Indian name for Lake Champlain was Caniad-eri-guarunte, "The door of the country," and that of Lake George was Caniad-eri-oit, "The tail of the lake," so the Indian name for Saratoga lake was Caniad-eri-os-se-ra, "The lake of the crooked stream."

The name was afterwards written Cai-ad-er-ros-se-ra, and since, Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, its present form.

The name 'Sharlatoga, now Saratoga, was never applied by the Indians to this lake, nor to the great hunting-ground in which it lies.

Saratoga was the name of the hunting-ground along the river hill-sides.

On some old Dutch and French maps, the Hudson river is represented as taking its rise in, and running from, Saratoga lake.

Hence it is called on those maps Capi-aqua.

The Indian name of ROUND LAKE is Ta-nen-da-ho-ra, and for BALLSTON LAKE is Sha-nen-da-ho-ra.

The signification of both of these names seems to be lost.

LAKE DESOLATION, as its name indicates, is a wild, weird body of water, situate on the top of the Kayadrossera mountain range, on the border of Greenfield and Providence, its waters running, first westerly and then northerly, a long circuit into the Sacondaga, within six miles of their source in the lake.

The stream was called by the Indians Ken-ny-et-to.

The other smaller lakes in the county, like the smaller streams, will be described in the history of the several towns in which they lie.

Having thus given some account of the most striking topographical features of the county, in the following chapter will be found a brief statement of the geological outlines of it, rocky groundwork and surface soils.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
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