— PART ONE —
While researching A. B. Lamberton’s activities at the Fulton Chain, I found an article written for FOREST AND STREAM, March 23 1876, the only reference to Lamberton in “Adirondack Bibliography” published by the Adirondack Mountain Club.
A copy was generously provided to me by Jerry Pepper, Librarian of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain.
Instead of being the expected, technical report of a naturalist placing young fish in wilderness lakes, I found the narrative to be informative historically and entertaining.
The writing is in a style typical of travel guides written during the late 19th century for introducing sportsmen to the regions.
Not finding it printed elsewhere, I thought it deserved publication for readers today after 125 plus years of being filed in museums and library archives.
Let us go back to 1876 and learn about the first large-scale stocking of fish on Fulton Chain waters.
With apologies to its author, I have added paragraph breaks and removed some commas to assist its readability.
Please note the names provided by Mr. Lamberton, the new owner of the Forge House (renamed Forest House) in 1876.
Alexander B. Lamberton:
I left Rochester with favorable weather for a pleasant journey. Advices from the woods assured me that there was just enough snow to make passable sleighing.
The fish arrived at Rochester on Monday evening from the hatching house at Caledonia and were inspected by my friend, Seth Green, who pronounced them fit for the journey, though quite young. They were placed in charge of the experienced and competent Mr. [Emmett] Marks, who accompanied me to the Fulton [Chain] lakes.
I preceded the fish about twelve hours to Boonville that I might start at once with them upon their arrival.
Mr. Green was aware of the difficulties which we had to encounter, as both he and his brother [Monroe] had made similar excursions to these waters. He therefore remarked to Mr. Marks, not realizing the full import of his words, however, “You have undertaken a hard trip, such a one as you have never made.”
When I stepped aboard the cars at Utica, it rained hard; the Mohawk was running wild. I thought there would be no sleighing on the lakes.
It did not stop raining during that day and night. The next morning the streets of Boonville were covered with ice. [Dr. Webb’s Railroad was not built until 1892]
The fish arrived on the 10 o’clock train in excellent condition. Mr. [Charley (sic)] Phelps, the well known teamster of the John Brown Tract was on hand, the cans were supplied with fresh water from the canal, and the famous guide John Brinkerhoof (sic), the man who accompanied Seth and Monroe Green on their winter journeys to the lakes, was there taking a look at the fish.
All ready, away we went with our babes to the woods.
Nothing transpired in the first twelve miles worthy of note.
Three hours drive through the falling snow brought us to the Tannery, Moose River. Here we found a comfortable hotel, the Lawrence House. The landlord, Mr. [Abner] Lawrence, gave us a hearty welcome.
No man in all the woods takes a greater interest in preserving the game than the proprietor of the Moose River House. It is about a year since he caused some cruel fellows to be arrested for killing deer in the deep snows. None but a brave man dare advocate the enforcement of game laws in the wilderness. The John Brown Tract has, however, many guides and sportsmen who appreciate the necessity of stopping the killing of game out of season.
Our fishes refreshed by a new supply of water, horses fed and dinner over, we took our departure from town and men and were swept into the wilderness by a storm.
Fourteen miles of unbroken road had to be traveled ere the Old Forge could be reached, and however great the difficulties to be encountered, they must be overcome. The fish must reach the Fulton waters or they perish.
To be continued…