The Worst Guides… and The Worst Landowners


Mr. Bull accompanied Cole and they tracked Parker down. Cole urged Parker six times to surrender and then shot him.

Nessmuk says it was while Parker dodged behind his wife who was helping him get away.

The following May, Mrs. Bull died.

Afterward, both Cole and Bull were indicted for murder after Bull abused guides, accusing them of helping Parker get away.

The guides claimed Bull urged Cole to shoot while Parker was surrendering.

The charges evidently did not stick and this ended the first instance in people’s minds where a guide took advantage of the confidence placed in them.

Charles Brown. George Berkley, age 30 with a wife and children, was the bartender and proprietor of Blood’s, then called Riverside Hotel, in Saranac Lake on June 22, 1888.

Charles Brown, a usually well-mannered guide, was drunk and asked for a refill.

When he was drunk, Saranac Lakers feared his often violent and out of control behavior.

So Berkley refused him, a brief scuffle ensued with Berkley being thrown out. Brown swore immediate vengeance.

Brown went to his father’s house for a revolver, hidden by his sister, and took his empty rifle instead, bought cartridges and waited across the street from the Riverside, looking from a store window for Berkley.

Berkley was leaving his hotel, talking with another man and did not notice Brown, who advanced on him and shot him in the stomach, then fled the scene in a boat.

Berkley died twelve hours later from the wound, enduring much pain. Armed citizens and guides pursued Brown.

Charles Brown was never caught, but the papers kept track of him.

A mile from the village, he asked for matches from a man and about Berkley.

Hearing he was dead, Brown fled into the woods. People’s fears of him helped Brown.

He had fled down the river from Saranac Lake to Bill Carey’s camp at Long Lake where two men intended to arrest him but didn’t.

He went through Long Lake and passed five teamsters who stopped and pursued him.

He fled in the woods to Blue Mountain and ended up at Potter’s on Cedar River where Potter gave him away to men eating lunch.

He ended up at a Moose River lumber camp, was recognized, but threatened those about to take action against him and camped out at Muncy’s at Little Rapids.

While on the south branch Moose River, Warren Cole (the Parker killer) and Racquette Laker Charles Blanchard stayed briefly at the Forge House while tracking Brown in the area.

In November 1888, Brown reportedly was at Sweeney Carry where he threatened Berkley’s brother if he came near.

In July 1889, it was rumored that Brown was working on a cattle ranch in Texas.

Almost ten years later, Charles Brown appeared at a lumber camp at Star Lake in the Benson Mines area, was recognized and admitted his identity.

He said he intended to volunteer in a regiment going to Cuba and is no longer heard from.

William Rockefeller. Brandon was a village built by a lumber company for its workers and when the company and the lumber industry declined, most of the people left.

John Rockefeller’s brother William bought the land surrounding the village, fenced it in and refused passage by the remaining villagers through his lands.

Woods open for years to hunters and fishermen were now closed.

He made offers to the villagers for their houses, moved the church and fewer residents remained, one being a Civil War veteran, Oliver Lamora.

But area folks continued to hunt and fish.

Rockefeller repeatedly filed charges against Lamora for trespassing and hunting, even having his retarded son Will escorted from picking berries on the estate’s mountains and caused financial hardship to Brandon’s remaining residents.

Rockefeller had a government friend move the post office to Rockefeller’s lands and tried to get the Brandon railroad station moved.

If successful, Brandon citizens could not receive mail, including Lamora’s pension, and railroad service without trespassing through Rockefeller’s lands.

Fortunately, the postmaster found Brandon’s complaints suspiciously hidden and reopened the Brandon post office.

The NY Railroad Commission ruled that Brandon could not be denied railroad service and the mail it brought.

National reactions of outrage at Rockefeller’s actions were published.

The intense hatred anger that Rockefeller, a member of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, brought upon him and its members was deep among the citizens and guides of the Adiron-dacks, and across the country, and locals thought that the life of Rockefeller, and other preserve owners, were at risk.

The danger intensified when Orrando Dexter was murdered.

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