The Navigation Companies from Inlet to Raquette Lake
Imagine the reaction of Charles Moshier when he received a message in December 1897 from Fred Kirch informing him that three steamers, three scows, a tally-ho coach, buckboards and other property were sold for $5000 cash to brother-in-law Frank Tiffany, especially when a recent inventory by Kirch tallied in excess of $5100.
Frank Tiffany’s plans will remain unknown and if they involved Kirch.
Pages are missing from the diary he kept for this period.
When no proceeds from Kirch’s sale were forthcoming for prorated distribution among the stockholders, Moshier had Kirch arrested in March 1898 and charged with grand larceny.
April 1898 would be newsworthy in more ways than one.
E. H. Myers and Charles O’Hara posted bail for Kirch.
In April, court testimony revealed that Kirch claimed the defect in corporation papers and that he was majority stockholder in what was really a partnership.
As general manager, he had authority to sell the property.
The reason no proceeds were forwarded from its sale was that Tiffany provided notes for the purchase.
His note to Moshier was misunderstood.
On another part of the field, at the end of April, Ephraim Myers grabbed over $6000 from his First National Bank’s drawers and was never seen again, soon followed by son Henry’s skipping out later with the Fulton Chain Lumber Company’s books.
The Moshier Brothers firm dissolved during April to permit William Moshier to concentrate on running the Hess Inn and the steamboat company interests.
The notice indicated that more time in the North Woods would be beneficial to William’s health problems.
He purchased Charles’ share in Hess Inn and the steamboat company.
William would live for years after leaving the Fulton Chain around 1902 or so, but Charles died one year later in 1899 at age 45.
At the beginning of May 1898, the courts dissolved the Fulton Chain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company corporation and appointed Milton Robinson as receiver.
They also must have ruled the December sale by Kirch invalid because the court ordered Robinson to auction the defunct corporation’s property and steamers on May 24 at Moshier’s Hess Inn.
I could not find the results of the auction, but the properties may have been purchased by Moshier and Bennett.
Newspapers on July 4 reported that the already familiarly named company, Fulton Chain & Raquette Lake Steamboat Company would begin regular runs on July 1.
It was under new management, owned and managed by William Moshier and Charles Bennett.
So the competitors combined resources to run the route; probably they split the route.
The company’s name would not appear again.
Another company of stage lines, the Eagle Bay Transporta-tion Company, would carry passengers by stage over the Sucker Brook Bay Road, connecting with Durant Road to Eighth Lake to meet Bennett’s steamers for Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes.
Now picnic excursions to these lakes were offered during 1898.
In late 1899, the larceny charges against Fred Kirch were dismissed.
In July, Kirch launched a grocery and provision boat to service lake residents’ needs.
He would lease this boat two years later to Charles Morris as a grocery boat.
Leaving the management of Hess Inn to Albert C. Boshart, William Moshier now only managed the steamboat company.
The Sixth Lake steamer was the “J. G. Moshier,” built in 1898, with guide Augus Morrison as pilot and Louis Corbett as captain.
The Eighth Lake steamer was the “Gazelle” which, according to Theodore Seeber’s 1896 deposition for the Fulton Chain Railroad, had been running since 1895.
An excursion group in 1899 described its tour through the lakes and trails.
They reported that considerable dead timber remained from the Sixth Lake’s damming about 1880.
Bennett’s portion of the line past Eighth Lake carry was called the “Eighth Lake and Raquette Lake Transportation Company.”
This tour was to be among the last to view Dunning’s camp at Raquette Lake’s shores.
By the end of December, the Raquette Lake Station was being built at that location.
By 1901, Surrogate Judge F. P. Glass of Syracuse had a camp on Dunning’s Eighth Lake island location.
The year 1900 saw the last of the company names.
Moshier’s company was now advertised as the Seventh Lake Transportation Company and only covered Sixth and Seventh Lakes.
But what would spell the end for all of the companies was the Raquette Lake and Marion River Carry Railroads.
These options removed the transportation companies’ reasons for being for the typical traveler.
Pretty soon motorized cars on town built roads would appear.
Now when Moshier bought a boat like the steamer “Caprice” from a Mr. Merrill, it was to service the Arrowhead’s dairy and his hotel’s needs.
One year later in 1902, renamed the Marjory, the overloaded boat would sink with guide Burt Murdock the only victim.
When the Raquette Lake Railroad opened for business in 1900, the lake and carry route from Inlet to Raquette Lake returned to its original status as a canoe and carry trip, an excusion on either of the lakes accompanied by a “shore dinner” or a route for an annual mile canoe race.
Sources for this article were “A Giant on the Earth” by Marion Young, “Notes Collected in the Adirondacks 1895 1896 Arpad Gerster” edited by Sidney Whelan, “Life and Leisure in the Adirondack Backwoods”, “Adirondack Steamboats on Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes” and “An Adirondack Resort in the Nineteenth Century” by Harold Hochschild, “Canoeing the Adirondacks with Nessmuk” edited by Dan Brenan, Deed Records Hamilton County Clerk’s Office, 1909 Forest Fish & Game Commission map, “Yale Decenniary 1898-1907” Google books, , “Who’s Who in America 1903” by John Leonard, Google Books, “History of Hamilton County” by Ted Aber and Stella King, “History of the Adirondacks” by Alfred Donaldson, “Guide to the West Central Adirondacks” by Robert Redington, and issues of the following newspapers available from the websites for the Northern New York Library Network and Fultonhistory.com: Utica Daily Press, Ogdensburg News, Utica Herald Dispatch, Utica Observer, Boonville Herald and ADK Tourister, Utica Weekly Herald, Utica Journal, Utica Daily Union, Utica Sunday Journal, Watertown Daily Times, Lowville Journal Republican, Rochester Democratic and Chronicle, Utica Morning Herald, St. Lawrence Herald, Utica Sunday Tribune and Syracuse Post Standard.