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The destiny of the town lies in the beauty of its lakes and streams and mountains. The potential for recreation is unbounded and unmatched within the Adirondacks. Since the land within the town is now largely owned by the State, as part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the future is relatively safe for the thousands who have found and will find that its summers are the best anywhere within our northern mountains.

The Town of Caroga lies south of the center of the northern boundary of Fulton County in New York State. The area is at the southern edge of the Adirondack Park. The name of the town derives from an Indian word, and the initial sound of the native name was somewhere between a “C” and a “G” and a “K.” The hard sound reflects in the fact that early maps sometimes referred to the Caroga Creek and the Caroga Lakes as Garoga. However, from the time of the creation of the town, the State Legislature gave it the name, Caroga. The word may mean either “a creek” or “on the side of.” And either translation is appropriate because it is the lake shores and streams that characterize the town.

— Barbara McMartin (1931–2005), Caroga: An Adirondack Town Recalls Its Past, Second Edition, 1998


By “prehistory” we mean the history prior to the creation of the Town of Caroga by the state legislature.

Early associations and local circumstances give bent to the mind of a people from their infancy, and insensibly constitute the nationality of genius. … Our Revolution is destined, in its fullness of benefit, to emancipate the world from tyranny; and every minute incident relating to that great struggle is not only worthy of record, but highly important, for the proper understanding of its cost to the young, to whose guardianship its principles and advantages must soon be confided.

— Jeptha Root Simms (1807–1883), Trappers of New York, 1851


In the 16th century, a native longhouse village thrived on a hilltop overlooking Caroga Creek. The “People of the Longhouse” or “Haudenosaunee” later became part of the “Iroquois League.” In the 19th and 20th centuries, archaeologists excavated the creek-side “Garoga Site” located in Ephratah, just south of the present-day town of Caroga. Relics appeared to be of the native prehistoric and early-contact era. More than 700 people likely lived in at least nine longhouses with many hearths in the main village area, and a short double palisade ran across the village entrance. According to Funk:

The time period of the mid-sixteenth century, during which the Garoga, Klock, and Smith-Pagerie sites were occupied, is of great interest regarding the understanding of warfare, inter-tribal politics, and the formation of the Five Nations Confederacy. Clearly it was a period of heightened inter-tribal conflict…and a time of increased inter-tribal diplomacy: the period in which the groundwork for the Five Nations Confederacy was being laid, and the period that immediately preceded the formation of that famous alliance.


The Dutch East India Company was established (March 20, 1602). During the Dutch Golden Age of the early 1600s, it issued public stock and bond shares, and so became the world’s first public company. For two centuries, the Dutch East India Company led globalization in the early modern era.


Samuel de Champlain (1567–1635) founded New France and Quebec City (July 3, 1608). He was the first European to explore and describe the North American Great Lakes region, and he published maps and accounts of his journeys and meetings with natives and Europeans living among them. He established trading companies that sent goods, primarily fur, to France, and he oversaw the growth in the St. Lawrence Valley.


The Dutch East India Company chose Henry Hudson (1565–1611) to seek a passage to Asia. In the summer he explored present-day Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and the Hudson River (including the point where Albany is now located). While exploring the Hudson River, he traded with native groups, and his voyage supported the Dutch claims to the region and the fur trade that prospered there beginning in 1614.


Beaver Wars, or Mourning Wars, began among native groups of “Iroquois” versus northern “Algonquians” (and their French allies) involving conflicts over the valuable fur trade and deadly smallpox epidemics.


The Haudenosaunee and the Dutch began the Silver Covenant Chain with the Two Row Wampum Belt. The Natives saw needs to define their relationship with newcomers, initially the Dutch traders who they encountered near present-day Albany. They agreed to a covenant of mutual aid. According to Onondaga oral history, their covenant contained the essential elements of all subsequent treaties. The Guswentha, Two Row Wampum Belt, represented the Haudenosaunee and European newcomers’ mutual agreement to live in peace as family while pursuing parallel but separate paths of culture, belief, and law. The symbol was a ship and a canoe floating side by side on the River of Life: represented in the wampum belt by two dark rows between three white rows. They bound together their water vessels by a symbolic three-link chain, representing Friendship, Good Minds, and Peace. They extended the branches of the Tree of Peace to shelter their new allies. Planting a white pine tree, burying war weapons under it, and re-polishing the silver covenant chain became ritual in subsequent treaty councils. When conflict erupted, they kindled sacred fire and used wampum to explore serious matters until reaching mutual agreement and peaceful resolution. In doing so, they pioneered a working model of human rights, democracy, and sustainability.


The Mayflower sailed from London to Cape Cod. On November 11, 1620, 41 Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, establishing majoritarian governance of the New Plymouth Colony. They pledged to:

Solemnly and mutually, the in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

Essentially, the settlers consented to balance individual liberty with community regulations for the sake of basic survival and enduring order. They pioneered a model of governance based on mutual agreement and freedom.


The Dutch West India Company started the New Netherland Colony. Over time, its settlers formed a multi-cultural community, including European colonists, American natives, and African laborers.


Iroquoian Mohawks defeated the Algonquin Mahicans for control of territory and fur trading with the Dutch at Fort Orange (present-day Albany).


The Anglo-Dutch Wars ended with the Treaty of Westminster. The peace treaty signed by the Netherlands and England provided for the regulation of commerce and gave control of New Netherland to England.


During the Schenectady massacre (February 8, 1690), more than 200 French Canadian and Algonquin warriors attacked the Dutch-native frontier community at the “Queen’s Fort.” They viciously killed and brutally captured at least 60 people in the pine log stockade and palisades. Adam Vrooman (1649–1730) fought briskly and survived, but the attacking warriors slayed his first wife, his children, and his father Hendrick Vrooman. He remarried the widow Margaret Ryckman Van Slyck, whose first husband Jacques Cornelius “Itsychosaquacha” Van Slyck also perished in the massacre. Later in the early 1700s in contracts signed with native chiefs, Adam Vrooman later acquired large local tracts known as “Vrooman’s Land.”


The Great Peace of Montreal, or Grand Settlement of 1701, was a peace treaty signed between New France and 1300 representatives of 39 First Nations of the Iroquois League as well as the British at Albany. They agreed to become of one mind with the natural world and live according to the Kaianerekowa, the Great Law of Peace, through the Guswentha, the Two Row Wampum. The Iroquois agreed to be neutral in colonial wars between France and Great Britain, and negotiation became favored over direct conflict among signatory tribes. Decades of fruitful trade and peaceful relations followed the treaty.


Queen Anne of Great Britain (1665–1714) and the royal monarchs were visited by Colonel Pieter Schuyler (1657–1724), the first Mayor of Albany, and the “Four Indian Kings” (a fifth died in journey) including Algonquian-speaking Mahican Etow-Oh-Koam of the Turtle Clan called King Nicholas of the River Nations along with three Mohawk Chiefs (or Haudenosaunee Kanien’kehá:ka Sachems): Sa-Ga-Yeath-Qua-Pieth-Tow of the Bear Clan called King of Maquas Peter Brant (circa 1670–1711; grandfather of Joseph Brant), Ho-Nee-Yeath-Taw-No-Row of the Wolf Clan called King John of Canajoharie, Tee-Yee-Ho-Ga-Row of the Wolf Clan called King Hendrick Tejonihokarawa (circa 1660–1735) and Emperor of the Six Nations. Queen Anne asked them to help resettle Palatine German refugees (which they did near the Schoharie Creek in New York), and they convinced her to commit resources to strengthen trade and help defend the contested Canadian-New York border. They ratified the Guswentha with the monarchs, resulting in an enduring alliance.


William Johnson (1715–1774), an Irish official of the British Empire, arrived to establish a settlement on his uncle Admiral Sir Peter Warren’s undeveloped land in New York’s Mohawk Valley and to develop trading partnerships with the native people.


The Mohawk Natives took in the stranger, William Johnson, and adopted him as an honorary Mohawk Chief, or Kanien’kehá:ka Sachem, and they called him Warraghiyagey (“Man who takes on great things”).


William Johnson was appointed as New York’s agent to the Iroquois or “Colonel of the Warriors of the Six Nations.”


French and Indian War began with the Battle of Jumonville Glen (May 28, 1754). Around the same time, the Seven Years’ War was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763 (ending with the Treaty of Paris).


Albany Congress, or Conference at Albany (June 19, 1754 to July 11, 1754), met to discuss a treaty with the Iroquois (led by William Johnson), a union for common defense (against the French and Wabanaki Confederacy), and Benjamin Franklin’s Albany Plan of Union for colonial government. Albany Congress delegates unanimously passed the Albany Plan, but colonial legislatures rejected it.


Sir William Johnson was appointed the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the northern colonies and commanded Iroquois and colonial militia forces during the French and Indian War.


Sir William Johnson was granted the Kingsborough Patent (later part of the far southeast corner of Caroga).


The Lott and Low Patent was purchased from the Indians (later a southern strip of town west of Caroga Creek).


The French and Indian War ended with the Treaty of Paris. The treaty restructured the political order in Europe and throughout the world. In the Great Lakes Region, land disputes between the British and native tribes led to Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763 and 1764.


After a post-war influx of people, William Johnson arranged a treaty conference at Fort Stanwix between the British and Iroquois to renegotiate the property boundary line between Indian lands and white settlements. He aimed to reduce rampant frontier violence and hold back white colonial expansion. However, in quasi-legal transactions, he personally acquired lands previously belonging to Native Oneidas and German settlers. People became polarized. Some supported Sir William—such as Canajoharie Mohawks Molly Brant (1736–1796) and Joseph Brant (1742–1807) who enjoyed his patronage—but others did not—such as Oneida Mohawks with Hanyery and German settlers, who lost their land. Communities, families, and neighbors were divided, and conflicts grew. Personal vendettas and tense reprisals mounted.


Based on measurements made from the Royal Grant to Sir William Johnson, Isaac Vrooman (along with a group of six men from Canajoharie Castle) conducted a survey, including the northern boundary of Henry Glen’s Jerseyfield Patent (which later became the northern boundary of Fulton County and the town of Caroga). Isaac Vrooman described the boundary “in the middle of a small lake” based on “trees sighted by compass in the dense, wild forest.” Later in 1794, Simeon De Witt, the Surveyor General of New York, placed the point “on a spruce tree, marked with a blaze and two notches below.” The next year in 1795, Lawrence Vrooman surveyed Benson Township, found the corner and located it on “the north side of a small lake.”


Great Britain granted the Mayfield Patent (June 27, 1770), with Lot 103 containing the southeast portion of the body of water now known as East Caroga Lake.


An especially bitter land dispute developed in the upper Mohawk Valley in the late 1760s and early 1770s. George Klock, a prosperous German farmer, had obtained a patent on Mohawk land, but the precise property line was disputed. The dispute pitted Sir William Johnson and Canajoharie Mohawks, on one side, against George Klock and Oneida Mohawks, on another. For more than a decade, fights were waged, sometimes with court battles and sometimes with fistfights. Sir William Johnson never succeeded in annulling Klock’s claim, and he died in 1774 with the problem unresolved.


At the prompting of Sir William Johnson, the expansive Albany county in the colony of New York was divided into three smaller counties: Albany, Charlotte, and Tryon. Tryon was named for William Tryon, New York’s Royal British Governor, and Johnstown was the county seat, where a jail and courthouse were soon built. This courthouse is now the oldest existing Court House in New York State and one of the oldest in the Nation still being used as a Court House today. Tryon County contained five districts: Mohawk, Canajoharie, Kingsland, German Flatts, and Stone Arabia (renamed Palatine in 1773). Tryon County’s eastern boundary ran ”from the Mohawk River to the Canada line, at a point near the old village of St. Regis and passing south to the Mohawk between Schenectady and Albany.” To the north, it extended to the St. Lawrence River. The western boundary followed the Unadilla River, Oneida Lake, Onondaga River, and Oswego River to Lake Ontario.


Patriot protests increased with the Boston Tea Party when the Sons of Liberty destroyed a Boston Harbor tea shipment. Britain then closed Boston Harbor and passed a series of punitive measures against the colonists. Colonists began to form shadow governments and prepare for the Continental Congress (1774–1789).


American Revolutionary War of Independence began with open combat in Concord between the British and Massachusetts militia (April 19, 1775).


The Continental Congress appointed George Washington to command the Continental Army, voted for independence from Britain, and issued the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) proclaiming, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


On July 12, the dilapidated Fort Stanwix was reopened after reconstruction by Colonial troops and renamed Fort Schuyler, after the Continental Army Major General Philip Schuyler (whose great uncle Colonel Pieter Schuyler, first Mayor of Albany, organized the 1710 diplomatic trip to England with the “Four Indian Kings”).


Nicholas (“Nick”) Stoner (1762–1853) moved to the Mohawk Valley from New York City as a child with his family in the early 1770s, and his family fought bravely for freedom and independence in the Revolution.

In 1777 at age 15, Nick enlisted as a fifer in the Tryon County militia in Colonel James Livingston’s battalion. His father Henry and younger brother John also enlisted. Imagine Nick and John with fife and drum, “Flammadiddle! Paddadiddle! Flammadiddle dandy!”

The Stoners and their battalion first saw action in August 1777. They accompanied General Benedict Arnold in the relief of Fort Stanwix / Fort Schuyler, after the Battle of Oriskany, otherwise known as the Battle of the Bloody Creek. A summer thunderstorm drenched the Oriskany Creek ravine outside the fort. There a massive ambush left hundreds of local neighbors—British, Dutch, Germans, and Mohawks alike—dead or mortally wounded. Brant and Butler battled Hanyery and Klock amidst hundreds of others. Blood from friends and foes poured together into the soil and the creek. Water ran red. The gruesome sight and smell nauseated relief troops. According to Simms, “Nicholas Stoner corroborated the statement of Sergeant Williamson, that Arnold’s troops could not pass over the Oriskany battle ground, to bury the dead, on account of the dreadful stench, but had to detour and leave the fallen heroes—‘alone in their glory’ unburied.”

Notably, the site marked not only a Revolutionary battle between British loyalists and Colonial patriots. There too began Iroquois civil war, given that Brant’s Mohawks and Colonel John Butler went on to burn the Oneida settlement of Oriska, while the Oneida plundered Canajoharie and Tiononderoge in revenge. Darkness shrouded the covenant chain. Mohawk, Seneca, and Cayuga fought the Oneida, Tuscarora, and Onondaga. In Iroquois history, Oriskany was “a place of great sadness.” Yet, to some, the battle marked stalwart resistance against tyranny. In August 1777, Colonial troops raised a flag of freedom over Fort Schuyler near the bloody creek. Some say this was the first time the United States Flag flew in battle. Oriskany also left British troops divided in a prelude to victory at the Battle of Saratoga, where the Stoner family also participated. According to Simms’ Frontiersmen of New York, “In the action of October 7th, Nicholas Stoner was wounded in a novel manner. A cannon ball demolished the head of a soldier of the company near him named Tyrrell, sending its fragments into the young fifer’s face, which was covered with brains and fragments of skull. He was found senseless, but was cared for and recovered.”


After John and Walter Butler's Rangers killed countless residents and burned numerous towns in raids throughout the Mohawk Valley, the Battle of Johnstown broke out on October 25, 1781. It was one of the last battles in the American Revolutionary War. Walter Butler and John Ross led more than 700 raiding British Loyalists and Mohawks against Colonel Marinus Willett with about 400 American Patriots and Oneida forces. After battling intensely in fields near Johnson Hall, the British Loyalists and Mohawks withdrew north into the bush and forest across Clip Hill, Caroga Creek, and Royal Mountain toward East Canada Creek. A snowstorm slowed both forces, but Colonel Willett and his men caught up with the British Loyalists and Mohawk at the West Canada Creek. In the skirmish there, an Oneida soldier recognized the notorious and brutal Loyalist militia leader Water Butler, and several soliders testified to the details of the day in their Revolutionary War pension applications. For example, Henry Shaver wrote about the pursuit after the Battle of Johnstown:

He [Butler] cried out to his pursuers to “Shoot and be damned” which he had no sooner done than he was struck by a Ball from one Louis The Indian who waded over and scalped him.

Likewise, John Stalker testified that Colonel Walter Butler was struck dead by Lewey, Commander of the American Indians. Thereafter, Colonel Marinus Willett and his Patriot forces headed home toward the Mohawk River, victorious in their final woodland skirmish.


Nick Stoner was at Yorktown with George Washington on October 19, 17881 for the British surrender by British General Charles Cornwallis. That same year, Nick’s father was released from the army. He returned to the Mohawk Valley and settled on a Tribes Hill farm formerly belonging to colonial Judge and Loyalist Colonel John Butler and his son Walter, who had been given a British land grant in Upper Canada for command of war raids against the Patriots including the Battle of Oriskany, the Saratoga Campaign, and the Cherry Valley Massacre.


A raiding Indian party surprised Henry and Catherine Stoner at home. They killed and scalped the Stoners.


American Revolutionary War of Independence ended with a peace treaty ratified on November 30. On November 25 the British troops evacuated New York. The Americans, under General George Washington, entered the city with celebration. Nick Stoner accompanied Colonel Marinus Willett to New York City that day.


When the British lost the war, they ceded territory to the United States. On April 2 the new state legislature voted to change the name of Tryon County to Montgomery County, in honor of General Richard Montgomery, the Continental Army General slain in the 1775 Battle of Quebec. They also changed the name of Charlotte County to Washington County, after their hero General George Washington.


After Nick Stoner returned home from the Revolutionary War, he married his old flame, Anna Mason (after her first husband William Scarborough was killed at the Battle of Johnstown in 1781). In addition to Anna’s daughter Mary, Nick and Anna had six children (John, Jeremiah, Henry, Obediah, Mary, and Catherine) from 1789 to 1802. They lived in the hills near Johnson Hall.

According to Jeptha Root Simms, at De Fonclaire’s Tavern in Johnstown in 1784, Nick Stoner encountered a Canadian Indian boasting about the nine notches on his scalping knife, indicating scalps he took during the Revolution. He pointed to one, cut deeper than the others, and loudly boasted, “That one’s old Stoner!” Hearing this, Nick grabbed a red-hot andiron and threw it at the Indian, yelling, “You’ll never scalp another one!” and knocked him unconscious. Nick was arrested and jailed, but he was freed by locals and never brought to trial.

Nick Stoner also served his country in the War of 1812 as part of the 29th Regiment, and was henceforth known as “Major Stoner.” During his lifetime, he served in various local offices, including a time as deputy sheriff. He also became a noted hunter and trapper in the wilderness. Later in life in 1840, he married a younger widow, Hannah Houghtaling Frank, and they lived in the Newkirk settlement in Caroga until his death in 1853. After his passing, he became a local folk hero. Caroga’s Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course is named for him, and a larger-than-life statue stands there. His name also marks East Stoner Lake, West Stoner Lake, Little Stoner Lake, Nick Stoner Island, Nick Stoner Inn, The Nick Stoner Senior Citizen Club, and the Stoner Trailers Snowmobile Club. Gloversville High School sings a fight song, “Old Nick Stoner, the Man whose Praise we sing.” In 1944, the US launched a liberty ship cargo vessel in World War II: the SS Nick Stoner.


After New York State's Confiscation Act of 1779, indictments and judgments were made from 1780 to 1783 against treasonus loyalists. The Act provided that offenders had forfeited their right to property and were banished from the state, and it empowered the state to seize and sell their forfeited property to raise much needed revenue. Records show that one of the largest confiscated estates was that of Sir John Johnson, son of Sir William Johnson. John Butler was also named. The Commissioners of Forfeiture were charged with carrying out the 1779 Act, but in 1788 New York State abolished the office of Commissioner of Forfeitures and transferred the power over forfeited property to the Surveyor-General. The United State Constitution later included a clause prohibiting bills of attainder, including the broad category of laws under which confiscation acts fell. Decades were spent resolving disputes over property confiscation and making the transition from violent revolution to routine civil government.


On April 4, 1793, three Albany bankers named Cornelius Glen, Barent Bleecker, and Abraham G. Lansing purchased the Glen, Bleecker, and Lansing Patent consisting of 89,000 acres of land. It included the present-day Caroga as well as part of Bleecker, Johnstown, and Stratford. The Patent had an incentive to buy land at 18 cents per acre. Slowly but steadily, pioneers soon began to settle on land in North Bush, Newkirk, Royal Mountain, and beyond.


After the war, James McClellan secured title to 1,000 acres of land in present-day Caroga. The area became McClellan Five Corners at the intersection of the road to Bleecker.

Cornelius Van Allen arrived and built the town’s first saw-mill in North Bush.


A road was surveyed from Johnstown north to the North Bush mill and then north to Beech Ridge.


In addition to families of James McClellan and Cornelius Van Allen, other pioneer heads of households who settled before 1800 included Daniel, Robert and Solomon Jeffers, Samuel Gage, William Jefferson, Abram Garley, Anthony Stewart, Nathan Lovelace, Elijah Gardner, Ira Beach, John Mead, Titus Foster, Lemuel Lewis, and Daniel Goff. Nick Stoner and his family were also early settlers in North Bush and Newkirk on land that is now part of the Town of Caroga.


Following a robust colonial fur and skin trade, American leather tanning and glove manufacturing officially began with settlers in the area. Later in the late 19th century, the area became known as the Glove and Leather Capital of the World. The area’s largest rises in population and economic growth ultimately came from the fruits of the leather business.


A survey of the Ox-Bow Patent was made with a possible road, and Nick Stoner was part of the survey party (in what is now the northern part of the town of Caroga).


The War of 1812 was a conflict between the United States and Great Britain, and their respective allies, from June 1812 to February 1815. The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1814) between Britain and France destabilized the international system.


Isaac Peckham Christiancy (1812–1890) was born in North Bush at the end of Mussey road near Peck Creek and his Grandfather's homestead. Isaac Peckham Christiancy later became Chief Justice of Michigan State Supreme Court and US Senator from Michigan.


A settlement was started in the area later known as Wheelerville in the town of Caroga. According to Henry R. Snyder, William Jefferson cleared and cultivated the land within a densely forested wilderness, where he built a house, barn, grist mill, and a saw mill.


As a 90-year-old man, Mr. Snyder described a fishing trip to Canada Lake near Mr. Jefferson’s homestead:

We removed our outfit to a large Hudson River boat, which was moored on the inlet of the lake, and then started for Pine Bluff where we meant to locate our camp. On our way down the inlet nothing worthy of note transpired except the attentions which the mosquitoes and black flies paid to us making our lives almost, for a time, unendurable. As we entered the Lake a breeze springing up drove them away and allowed me to look about. What an enchanting scene met my view! The lake, the mountains and the woods! They were sublime and every time I have been there since I have been reminded of that visit. Walled in on both sides with mountains, each mountain crowned with a majestic peak raised above all its surroundings, as each peak so placed as if designated to watch over the lake.

In making the passage we saw many interesting things. Once was the numerous broods of wild ducks. I was much interested in the efforts each mother made to screen her little flock from our view.

The place has always been delightful to me and arouses all the romance of my nature, and as I recall my first view of the island as we hove in sight of it, lying off shore like a man-of-war with its three tall masts and bow up-stream it seems as fitting companion to the sentinels guarding the banks.

As we looked from this spot in a northerly direction through the opening in the forest made by Green Lake most magnificent scenery meets our view, and as we turn about and look toward the southwest the entire lower end of the lake stretches away before us…

I prevailed upon father to explore with me the peninsula lying between West Lake and Canada Lake upon which we were encamped. We went over the larger portion of it and found it covered with pine trees from seventy to ninety feet high and varying in diameter from eighteen inches to four feet at the base. The land on which they grew was as free from underbrush as a park. The breeze blowing across it from lake to lake kept the flies and mosquitoes away and the velvety carpet of pine needles and the soft atmosphere, heavily loaded with the scent of the pine trees, combined to make it a most delightful retreat. To me, as I recall the scene, it seem as if the sad, whispering zephyrs of the early dawn and fading twilight were the voices of the pine trees lifted in lamentations for the children of the woods who once peopled that glade and thronged the shores of the lake, roaming through the forest in search of the Moose, Deer and other game, returning at night to smoke their pipes at the camp-fire and compare with each other the incidents of the chase.


Settlers built schools to educate the children. First were the Wiley School (at Caroga’s southern border) and the Shaw School (east of the North Bush Cemetery). Soon after came the Fern Dale School (or Durey School), the Newkirk School, and the McClellan Five Corners School. The McClellan Corners community grew at the crossroads.


Henry Palmer and his family settled a farm on the North Bush Road and had a large family in the area.


The Sexton’s moved to a Five Corners home-site. Their son, Ralph Sexton, became a major local landowner and a political leader, serving as an early town Supervisor in Caroga and later Ephratah.


On April 18, 1838, the New York Legislature passed an act to create Fulton County from part of Montgomery County. With the growing population near the Mohawk River, the county seat of Montgomery County was moved from Johnstown to Fonda. In response, Judge Daniel Cady of Johnstown arranged for the split of Montgomery County and the creation of Fulton County with an area of 550 square miles and the County Seat at Johnstown.

Early 1840s

Jeptha Simms preserved a description of Canada Lake published in the Geneva Courier in the early 1840s:

Two and a half miles from Caroga is a larger lake, about four miles in length, to which I gave the name of Lake Byrn. It takes exactly the form of the letter S. I think this is the most romantic spot I ever visited. The surface of the ground rising back from the shore, is covered with large irregularly shaped rocks, from five to forty feet in diameter, lying entirely above ground, and often tumbling together in mountain masses, lodged and wedged in like driftwood. Many of these rocks are riven asunder and the base of each portion thrown outward from the line of separation, the superior parts resting against each other, thus forming apartments with a solid stone roof large enough to shelter a dozen or twenty men. This I think must have been the work of fire. Strange as it may seem, all this is in quite a dense forest, and almost infinite are the shapes taken by the trees in their turnings and twistings to avoid the numerous rocks. In some instances the roots of a single tree have grown astride a huge rock, the base of the trunk resting on its apex, six or eight feet from the ground. The appearance is the same as if the rock were forced up from the ground beneath, elevating the tree with it, but not a particle of earth attaches to either; and these are all living, healthy trees. … Near the centre of Lake Byrn, is a small rocky island, covered with evergreens, birch and flower shrubs.

Early History


On 11 April 1842 the New York State Legislature established the town of Caroga in northern Fulton County from land previously part of the towns of Stratford, Bleecker, and Johnstown. Caroga’s first town meeting was held on the second Tuesday of February 1843 at the home of Supervisor Garrett A. Newkirk. Nelson Brookins was the first Caroga Town Clerk, and Justices of the Peace were A. Van Nest, Silas June, and James Timmerman.


Garrett A. Newkirk settled Newkirk Mills near the Caroga Creek, where he had a large home, a small dam, a saw mill, and a leather tannery. A Dutch Reformed Church and multiple homes were built in the area. Initially, the Newkirk settlement was in the town of Bleecker, and Garrett Newkirk served as the Bleecker Town Supervisor (1836–1837). He then continued as the first Supervisor of the Town of Caroga. In the 1840s, the State Legislature also authorized a local road from Newkirk Mills to Piseco, including a state road along the north shore of Canada Lake. Local settlements increased throughout the area. J. C. Zeyst started the Caroga Lake House hotel near the Five Corners. German immigrants, such as the craftsman Eune Arnst and the blacksmith Alanson Morey, also moved to the area.


Josiah Durey and his wife, Anneke Bradt Durey, settled in North Bush. They reared seven children. Brother George Durey also settled nearby. The Dureys ran two saw mills in North Bush. Lyndridge Durey later married Lydia Gage, and multiple family generations lived in the homestead.


Stephen Parks, who lived in Gloversville, organized a Methodist Episcopal Society. John Mead was the group’s first leader.


Garret A. Newkirk and John Littlejohn built Caroga’s first tannery. Newkirk operated the tannery until the Panic of 1857, when he went bankrupt and then moved to Ohio to start new enterprises.


Garrett Newkirk was elected New York State Assemblyman and later returned to Caroga politics.


Caroga’s population reached 342, and 79 residents were farmers. At this point, records showed 6 sawmills, 3 schools, and 1 grocery store.


Caroga and Fonda plank roads were completed, and the route went through the Newkirk Mills community. The road was designed to carry lumber and hides from the mills to the rail line at Fonda on the Mohawk River.


Josiah Durey built the first home on Canada Lake’s north shore.


Garrett Newkirk served as town supervisor in 1855. Uriel C. Buck was town clerk.


In the decade from 1845 to 1855, Caroga’s population more than doubled, but the number of farmers declined by half. Economic growth locally and nationally supported Caroga’s growing lumber industry. This shift brought with it skilled tradesmen such as a farrier, cobbler, shingle maker, and carpenters.


James Irving (1817–1883) moved from Sammonsville to Caroga and settled at Irving Pond with his wife Rosa and son William (1850–1935), and they lived at the pond until 1872. He built the first dam on Irving Pond along with a saw mill beside the pond and a house on the knoll. Their nine children attended Wheelerville School. (Their pasture included land on the present-day golf course. Their sawmill was torn down between 1910 and 1912.)


The town of Caroga purchased land to build the first Wheelerville School.


James D. Foster served as town supervisor in 1856 and 1857. Asa Streeter was town clerk.


Jeptha Root Simms (1807–1883) published Trappers of New York, featuring Major Nicholas Stoner (1762–1853) who was a local “pioneer, patriot, and soldier” and Revolutionary War folk hero (see above).


After the 1857 world financial panic, 2,000 acres around Newkirk was sold to John Francisco. He acquired the mansion, hotel public house, sawmill, and tannery there. He also ran a general store. His son, Daniel, ran the store, mill, and post office, and he served as an early town clerk in 1862 and town supervisor from 1867 to 1871.


Records showed C. E. Sherman with a license to operate a “Northern Hotel” in the Newkirk Mills area.


Ralph Sexton served as town supervisor in 1858. Samuel Worth was town clerk.


Abner Swan served as town supervisor in 1859. James McMartin was town clerk.


On the Canada Lake Inlet, a sawmill and the small Lessdale Tannery began operating.


Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) won the 1860 Presidential election. The Republican Party platform promised not to interfere with slavery in the states but opposed further extension of slavery into the territories.


Ralph Sexton was re-elected town supervisor for 1860 and 1861.


Samuel M. Foster served as town supervisor in 1862.


27 veterans from Caroga served in the Civil War. Most were part of the Roster of Company K of the 115th Regiment of Infantry. Nearly a third were wounded or died in Olustee, Florida in February 1864. Notably, Amos King joined the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, the first black regiment to fight in the Civil War, and he survived the assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863.


On January 1, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom to more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in designated areas of the South.


On April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the McLean House in Virginia. As news of Lee’s surrender reached Confederate forces across the South, they too surrendered.


On April 14, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Johnson became President.


On May 9, President Johnson officially declared an end to the insurrection, and Jefferson Davis was captured the next day. Additional Confederate generals surrendered their forces.


William Claflin (1818–1905) began his involvement in the town of Caroga. He was a prosperous industrialist (a tannery proprietor and shoe manufacturer), national politician (Massachusetts Legislator and Governor, US Senator, Republican National Committee Chair), and social-reform philanthropist (supporting public health, labor reform, prison reform, women’s suffrage, abolition, and higher education). In 1865, Claflin partnered with Jonathan Wheeler, and the Wheeler-Claflin Company initially purchased 20,000 acres of land in Caroga and beyond. In what became known as “Wheelerville,” they started a massive lumbering and leather tanning operation, curing shoe leather with tannic acid from hemlock trees. They also built a huge livestock barn, storage barn, and leather drying lofts from the local lumber. The sheds housed vats consuming 7,000 cords of hemlock bark to process about 25,000 skins at a time and to produce 250 tons of leather. They also began operations at Pine Lake and Arietta. After about two decades, hemlock bark was exhausted, and operations focused on lumbering for building supplies. The buildings left in Wheelerville included houses (now privately owned), a store (now land owned by the town and the site of the former Golf Pro Shop), and a livestock barn (now the Nick Stoner Inn, with the Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course across the street.)


William Claflin’s company owned the entire shoreline of Canada Lake. His company built a grand five-story luxury hotel, The Canada Lake House, on the north shore of Canada Lake. It was completed and opened in 1868. Initially, the Canada Lake House was managed by W. R. Tunnicliff and later by Joseph Sherman. The hotel’s business was initially strong and then slowed, only to burn in a massive fire in 1884 and then to be rebuilt.


Daniel Francisco served as town supervisor from 1867 to 1871. Joseph C. Zeyst was town clerk.


J. C. Zeyst, proprietor of the Caroga Lake House, started a new stage line between Caroga and Johnstown.


Benjamin Buel started Glasgow Mills. He also built a boarding house for workers, and a small community of homes surrounded the millpond. Later the mill was sold to Ralph Glasgow, who ran an expanded machine-operated clothes pin factory there. In 1888 the business burned to the ground, but he rebuilt with a mortgage and later sold in 1895. The new owners closed the factory within a year.


A plank road was constructed along the Old State Road from Green Lake to Pine Lake, and then north past the Wheeler-Claflin Tannery in Arietta.


William Claflin (1818–1905) and his father Lee Claflin (1791–1871) donated funds to purchase land for Claflin University, the historically black university in South Carolina. William Claflin strongly supported higher education (signing charters for Wellesley College and Mount Holyoke College), and he served on the boards of Wesleyan University and Harvard University.


The Wheelerville tannery supported a period of economic prosperity in Caroga, and Claflin’s hotel attracted visitors to a luxury resort destination near lakes and wilderness. Desires for authentic and challenging experiences supported people’s efforts to reach remote destinations in a pristine natural environment. Such experiences fit with growing awareness of nature and its stewardship, but the rapid changes and land pressures also risked destroying the very experiences people sought. For example, in Hides, Hemlocks, and Adirondack History, Barbara McMartin quoted Rufus Grider who observed in the late 1800s:

The bottom of the lake became coated with a brownish deposit, which destroyed the food upon which the young fish live, also the sawdust entered the gills and interfered with their breathing and killed them. Also the introduction of Pickerel and Perch which fed on other specimens cleared the lake of ‘the speckled beauties (better known as Speckled or Brook Trout).

Canada Lake’s pollution would have been even more severe if the waste had not been biodegradable. Both the destruction and the healing of the land and lakes developed over a long period, and some people began to advocate for Adirondack development that favored sustainable long-term planning and public interests over short-sighted or destructive ventures.


Verplanck Colvin (1847–1920) made the first recorded ascent of Seward Mountain, in the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, after climbing Mount Marcy the year before. As he climbed, he saw and described the obvious and extensive damage done by Adirondack lumbermen, and he made a case that Adirondack clear-cutting reduced water flow in downstream rivers and canals. He read his report at the Albany Institute, and he published it in the New York State Museum of Natural History Annual Report. He applied for a stipend to cover costs of surveying, and he was named State Superintendent of Adirondack Survey with a $1000 budget. Within three years, he wrote another report arguing that Adirondack watershed deterioration threatened the Erie Canal’s viability and New York State’s economy. He recommended an Adirondack State Forest Preserve, and the state began to acquire Adirondack lands through tax sales for unpaid taxes.


Nate Oathout had a large farm at Vrooman’s Grove near West Caroga Lake, and the Mead family had a farm near there too. Most of the area was a natural pine grove, filled with fields of wild blueberries.


Caroga’s Methodist Episcopal Society erected and dedicated a worship house at Wheelerville under the leadership of Rev. D. C. Dayton.


The Wheeler Claflin Company boomed for a decade, and Claflin bought out Wheeler’s share in the company. The firm, Lee Claflin & Son, was represented by J. M. Dudley, a prominent Johnstown lawyer.


Frederick Baum served as town clerk in 1872.


John Cosselman moved to the corner of Beech Ridge and North Bush Roads and opened a store there.


Alfred Dolge offered to buy the Francisco’s mill property. When Mr. Francisco declined, Mr. Dolge went to Brocketts Bridge on the East Canada Creek, where the Village of Dolgeville grew up around his mills.


The Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville Railroad was completed. An original 1865 plan included Caroga too, but that plan failed. Instead of a railroad track, a plank road was built to Caroga.


Nathan Oathout served as town clerk in 1874.


Zachariah Smith served as town supervisor in 1875. Alanson Morey was town clerk 1875 to 1879.


Daniel Francisco returned as town supervisor in 1876 and 1877.


Joseph and Elizabeth Sherman built the first hotel near West Caroga Lake. Sherman was a carpenter by trade and he knew the hotel business after working for other hotels. His polished country hotel featured a parlor, bar, and large dining room. The living room had a huge square piano. Joe and Elizabeth’s son, Frank, jointed the business in 1894, and business was strong. The Shermans ran the hotel until fire destroyed it in 1899.


Thomas Bradley served as town supervisor in 1879.


Reporting to the New York State Legislature, Verplanck Colvin described results of his Adirondack Survey by stating:

The vast Adirondack region contains the only great State forests now remaining as a public domain within New York. At the close of the American Revolution, the Crown lands of Great Britain, confiscated by the provisional government, became the property of the state. The Indian frontier warfare had made this region a dark and bloody ground. … When peace returned to an exhausted land, the fair rich plains of the west began to open before the settler, and the wilds which descended to the valley of the Mohawk and guarded the future pathway westward, were for the time forgotten.

To reconcile survey inconsistencies and ambiguities, including the northern boundary of Fulton County and Caroga with multiple different northeast corners, Colvin retraced the old 18th century surveys. He confirmed:

The corner located in the westernmost of the three Stoner Lakes by Isaac Vrooman in the year 1768, which is nearly in the center of the water that should be called Vrooman’s Lake, or the West Stoner Lake.

In resolving conflicting information, Colvin located a large state land tract that the state did not even know existed. With his unequivocal conclusions, he settled the titles to over 300,000 acres of land in the area.


William Claflin bought 1350 acres of land near Wheelerville from the S. Johnsville and East Canada Lumber Company for $4,000 in a foreclosure sale. He promptly let his company go into arrears for taxes, forcing a tax sale. The state acquired the land in 1885, forming the basis of a public forest preserve.


William B. Caldwell served as town clerk in 1881 and 1882


Joseph Sherman served as town supervisor in 1882.


Rufus Grider (1817–1900) retired from teaching and avidly painted and sketched scenes, including Caroga.

In the same era, George Washington Waters (1832–1912) painted mountain landscapes in Caroga.


Thomas Bradley served as town supervisor in 1883. Alanson Morey returned as town clerk.


Joseph Sherman returned as supervisor in 1884. Van Rensselaer Caldwell was town clerk.


A Post Office was opened at Cosselman’s store, with John Cosselman serving as the first Postmaster.


Verplanck Colvin published State of New York Report on the Adirondacks and State Land Surveys.


A state commission chaired by Charles Sargent recommended establishing an Adirondack Forest Preserve “forever kept as wild forest lands.”


The New York State Legislature designated specific counties as places for the New York State Forest Preserve.


Alanson Morey served as town supervisor from 1885 to 1887. James Houck was town clerk.


Cornelia Davis built an early private camp on Canada Lake’s north shore. A decade later in 1896, the property was sold to Harry and William Steele. In 1917, Daniel McMartin purchased this summer camp, called “Rocky Lodge”, which has since been renovated and remains in his family more than a century later. Other early settlements in the 1880s began on Spruce Point (aka Dolgeville Point), such as the camp of Captain Frank Faville, Will Faville, Edward Drumm, J. D. Fredericksen, Julius and John Breckwoldt, Henry Patrie, and Doctor Getman.


In a letter from Boston to Mr. Dudley in Johnstown, Claflin envisioned a Canada Lake resort community:

It is our intention to have the lake shore surveyed and developed into cottage lots, in such a way that it will be an agreeable place for summer residents and tourists. … We think the lakes and the country about have natural attractions, attractions enough about to draw summer residents and excursionists. And as population increases in the valleys, there is a demand for such a place to go in the summer months. … We are disposed to cooperate with responsible parties in some plan of development if it can be made mutually satisfactory. Please inform as to what you think might be done and how many there are in your town who would be likely to want land for building purposes.

Their price for lots on the shore was $200. J. H. Decker bought a lot and built the private Silver Springs Cottage and boat house on Canada Lake.


Claflin’s Wheelerville Tannery closed. A local newspaper reported:

The machinery is all being removed from the Wheelerville tannery, and that business has come to a complete stop. It is rumored that the Dolgeville firm intends to establish a branch business there.


James Y. Fulton (great-grandfather of Priscilla Fulton Jung) began construction of a second large hotel on Canada Lake. They named it the Fulton House, and it was on Canada Lake’s southeast corner. The Fulton’s had a Stage service, with carriages drawn by four horses. A double lot was purchased for $300. In addition to the three-story hotel, the resort had boat houses, boat slips, and livery stable. Kerosene lamps provided night lighting, and a telephone switchboard was installed before 1910. The resort featured steamboat cruises and rented rowboats and sailboats. Guests could hear music or play billiards, or they could pick cranberries in the neighboring bog. They were served picnic lunches and formal dinners. For 26 years, Fulton’s Canada Lake House entertained guests, until it was wiped out by the slashing flames and roaring smoke of fire October 12, 1914.


Van Rensselaer Caldwell served as town supervisor in 1888. Chauncey Francisco was town clerk.


Cyrus Durey served as town supervisor in 1889. F. H. Argersinger was town clerk.


The East Canada Lake Protective Association was formed by cottage owners, and the first recorded annual meeting was held in 1890 at the office of the Northrup Glove Manufacturing Company. Officers included President James Hull, VP J. H. Decker, Secretary M. S. Northrup, and Treasurer Eugene Littell. J. H. Decker and J. F. Mason were tasked as a committee on lakeside roads. They stocked 500,000 wall eyed pike in the lake. Later they recommended to the county that Max Arnst (who also filled ice houses and built camps) be appointed as a special game protector for the lake vicinity.


In the 1890s the Point Breeze Club was also formed at Canada Lake. The Johnstown glove manufacturer Godfrey Hillebrandt owned a cottage on Point Breeze near the passage to West Lake, and the site became a popular social spot and the start of the Point Breeze Club. Hillebrandt’s charter members included Don Fraser, Bill Hackney, Dave Hays, Billie McKee, Gene Moore, George Potter, Frank Prindle, Ed Wells, and Frank Wells. The Club grew and included Cy Durey. They later moved to the Argersinger Camp built by New York State Senator Eberly Hutchinson in Point Breeze.


J. W. Gage served as town supervisor in 1890. Felix Kernan was town clerk 1890 to 1892.


Cyrus Durey served as town supervisor in 1891 and 1892. In 1892 he was the Clerk of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors. In 1895, US President McKinley appointed him Postmaster, and President Roosevelt reappointed him in 1903. In 1906 Cyrus Durey was elected as the Representative to Congress, and he won reelection.


Principal town officers were: Supervisor, Cyrus Durey; Town Clerk, Felix Kernan; Justices of the Peace, James Shaw, Alanson Morey, Lewis Ballou, and Frank A. Hill; Assessors, Christopher Horth, Henry Morey, and Fred L. Morey; Tax Collector, George Hine.


Ground was broken on May 11, 1892 for another elegant Canada Lake resort hotel by Joseph Fitch Van Ness, and it opened for visitors on June 8, 1893. The site on the north shore was Claflin’s Canada Lake House. A newspaper article revealed the name:

A careful research into past history and legendary lore surrounding the locality has resulted in … the permanent adoption of “The Auskerada” as the name by which the hotel will be known to the seeker after rest and recreation in the mountain wilderness. This title is one of graceful sound and pleasing utterance, and is derived from the name of the lake itself, which in days of yore was called Auskerada Lake by the Indians, the term signifying “many fishes.”

The hotel was open year-round and featured a stage service, steamboat rides, post office, large verandas, mountain breezes, rocking chairs, steam heat, electric lighting, guest rooms, bathrooms, a dining room, a long wooden bar, iron griffins, an elegant parlor, and a dance hall. One advertisement described a serene health spa:

Each succeeding year city people find the most potential tonic for wrecked nerves among the lakes and mountains and month or two spent here each summer carries with it a longer lease on life.

And the setting was described as awe inspiring:

This lake is sixteen hundred and fifty feet above tide water in the most southerly spur of the Adirondacks. The largest of a cluster of fifteen lakes within a radius of six miles, all of which are nestled among mountains of virgin wilderness, the haunt of fish and deer, and all accessible by carriage road, boat, or trail. There is no prettier sheet of water in the whole Adirondack region than Canada Lake.


Albert N. Simmons and Joseph Fitch Van Ness also sold land from Claflin to J. H. Decker to build a private camp on Canada Lake’s north (later owned by the Lovedays and more recently Dave Graves). James Hull built a nearby camp called “’Neath the Oaks” (later owned by the O’Dells and then Barbara McMartin). The Northrups of Johnstown also built a camp in 1892 on the south shore of Canada Lake, and they called it “Under the Hemlocks.” Dr. and Mrs. Cosgrove built “Loch Villa.” J. Q. Adams and Godfrey Hillabrandt’s Point Breeze and the Cross Cottage were also early gems on the lake. 30 to 40 lots were sold in a year or two in the early 1890s.


Mortgage records document two notable steam ships on Canada Lake, the Kanaughta and a sister ship, run by Captain Lewis Ballou. Other romantic steamers of the era included the Whip-poor-will, Wanderer, Water Lily, Clermont, Bedbug, and Auskerada. During the summer, steamer ships often made one or two daily trips from the east end of Canada Lake to Stewart's Landing and back.


Washington Frothingham published History of Fulton County.


The Wheelerville Store, own by Claflin, closed. By the end of the decade, Wheelerville was a ghost town with the major year-round industry gone.


Lafayette Vanderpool was town supervisor from 1894 to 1897.


The Adirondack Park was established with the adoption of Article VII, Section 7 (renumbered in 1938 as Article XIV, Second 1) of the New York State Constitution:

The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.


Frank Sherman ran a store and Post Office from 1894 to 1900. His house evolved into a boarding house with porches and then into an elegant hotel. George Fort managed it when Frank Sherman lived elsewhere.


Alfred Dolge acquired 4,500 acres of land from Claflin, Simmons, and VanNess (including Canada Lake Southshore-Northend, Green Lake, Dolgeville Point, West Lake, Lilly Lake, and the Outlet), and he extended the road on Canada Lake’s south shore to sand point. He called his company the Caroga Land Company. Decades earlier and by 1876, he had built two factories and mills to manufacture pianos and soundboards in Dolgeville. Fine native woods such as spruce, cherry, ash, oak, maple, and walnut were needed. He encouraged nearly 2,000 Germans to emigrate and settle in his town. Then he began buying huge land tracts and building sawmills with rail lines to haul out the lumber.


Charles Bedford built camp Pioneer, reportedly the first modern camp on East Caroga Lake.


Alfred Dolge built a dam at Stewart's Landing on the outlet of Canada Lake, within the town of Stratford and upstream from Dolgeville. He wanted to “guarantee a uniform pressure of water equal to the production all the year round of from 5,000 to 10,000 electrical horsepower…to operate the machinery in an industrial city of 30,000.” The dam also controlled water level, and deeds to lots sold by William Claflin relinquished the right “to raise the water in the lake known as East Canada, not to exceed six feet, perpendicular, above the present high water mark.”


Alfred Dolge announced the formation of his “Auskerada Park Club, Inc.” with cottage lots and a coordinated resort club within a wilderness preserve and timber investment trust. He had an elegant brochure produced in New York City, and an Indian hero was invented to give the lake a suitable romantic history. He described a travel route to the club via train, car, and steamboat. He emphasized the cluster of five picturesque Adirondack lakes surrounded by forests, and he added, “Not the least beautiful feature of these lakes are the shores that surround them, sloping gently upwards from the waters’ edge, covered with acres of Pinxters. These bushes are covered with a profusion of blooms, varying in color from the most delicate shade of pink to the deepest carmine. Against the background of the green and brown the effect is marvelously pretty.”


Charles Bradt served as town supervisor in 1898 and 1899.


Within a year of advertising the Auskerada Park Club, Alfred Dolge went into bankruptcy. He faced fires at his sawmills and other challenges. Essentially, though, as noted by his biographer Eleanor Franz, “His downfall was also brought about because he overextended himself financially…his visionary personality, the tremendous costs of the Little Falls-Dolgeville Railroad, and the lack of credit due to the Spanish-American War.” The money market became uncertain, and he was unable to meet payment on his debts. His $60,000 mortgage bonds could be bought for less than $20,000.


Nick Stoner’s granddaughter, Catherine Mills Gage, and Christophia Horth donated land for the North Bush Methodist Church, and the church was incorporated the following year. The church held weekly services, Sunday school, and prayer meetings. For years the North Bush Church was an important community symbol.


Mill workers lived in the community at Pine Lake, and a boarding house was open there.


Gloversville Exempt Firemen built the first East Caroga camp at the end of Avery Road. Edgar James purchased the property in 1904.


Edward Decker of Johnstown purchased the Newkirk Mansion. Kate Francisco and her husband Trume Whitman became owners of the lumber mill, logging woods, and pond, and they began a long and successful business manufacturing broom handles.


Orville and Ed Vrooman constructed Vrooman’s Lake View House at West Caroga Lake. The hotel overlooked a stretch of sandy beach, and they had amusements and a long dock and a huge slide extending into the water. In 1904 George Fort of Gloversville purchased the original Vrooman’s Lake View House. He owned it only a few months before fire destroyed it. Ed Vrooman had previously left to manage Pat Tully’s Hotel at the nearby Five Corners or Five Points. In 1907 he renovated Nat Oathout’s farmhouse at Vrooman’s Central Hotel, which became one of the most exciting entertainment spots in town around 1910. A small merry-go-round and a steeple chase game were installed near the beach behind the hotel. Jakey Metz ran games in the grove.


Guy Durey served as town supervisor in 1901.


Ed Vrooman served as town supervisor in 1902 and 1903.


The New York State Legislature passed a bill defining the Adirondack Park, in terms of the counties and towns within it. In the decade that followed, they further clarified that the Adirondack Park included both the public and privately own lands within the boundary of the “blue line.”


Frank Sherman served as town supervisor in 1904 and 1905.


After Alfred Dolge’s bankruptcy, his 15,000 acres of timbers lands and holdings near Canada Lake were not sold until a 1904 public foreclosure auction. Attorney DeWitt C. Moore bid $29,600 for 5,000 acres, and another 10,000 acres of Fulton-Herkimer timber land was sold separately. George C. Moore was the agent for a new company formed by Cyrus Durey and incorporated as the Durey Land and Lumber Company to do what Dolge envisioned: sell lakeside cottage lots and harvest forest timber.


James Ireland brought the first motor launch to Canada Lake. Clay O’Dell later bought the boat, and it is now on display in the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Within a decade, sail and motorboat races began at Canada Lake.


Clare Victor Dwiggins (1874–1958), better known as the cartoonist and illustrator Dwig, and his pianist wife, Betsey Lindsay, were among the artists who summered at Canada Lake. They first visited in 1905. In 1907 built their Dwigwam camp in the cove called Punky Bay, south of Sand Point on Canada Lake, and they began building a summer artists’ community around themselves there. For example, they brought Paul and Grace Bransom and Herbert and Helen Asbury. Helen brought her sister Emily “Micky” Hahn. Edith Evans Asbury also joined them. Other people included John Lowell Russell and his family, and they organized the Blazed Trail Production Company to film Westerns in Caroga. Burns Mantle arrived to see what was happening. Russell Cole, James Thurber and Althea visited too. Nell Stanley and Betsey played piano.


State funds were used to start putting macadam on the North Bush and Cape Horn roads.


James’ Point was developed by the Simonsons from Elmhurst, Long Island. They had a farm on the main Gloversville road called Nosnomis Lodge. On the point at East Caroga Lake, they built a large boat house with a red roof and a rustic foot bridge to reach the point from the farm house. They had lights on the boathouse and Regattas with competitions between Caroga and Canada Lake residents.


Guy Durey returned as town supervisor in 1906 and 1907.


The Caroga Lake Protective Association was formed to support lake improvement and protection. The first meeting was held in Gloversville. The first officers were: President Dr. B. Rush Jackson; vice presidents H. J. Anthony, Edward Vrooman, and J. E. Sowle; Secretary Robert B. Bowers; and Treasurer James Topp. They celebrated Caroga Lake’s fine beach, and they committed to building a new bathhouse along the beach for members of the association. They also discussed repairs to the dam by a committee of H. J. Anthony of Gloversville, Edward Vrooman of Caroga, and John Topp of Johnstown. Within five years, 30 new members joined the association.


Truman Whitman served as town supervisor in 1908 and 1909.


Shadyside, the first camp on the South shore East Caroga Lake was built by Coby Moore of Johnstown. Before 1908, Truman Whitman built Whitman’s Point, and neighboring camps were built by the Townsends and Murray Bryant on the other side.


Frank Sherman attempted a major lumbering operation in the Pine Lake area. He built a dam in 1908, but his sawmill burned down in 1911. He went into bankruptcy, before starting a new venture on West Caroga Lake. Cyrus Durey acquired much of Sherman’s holdings near Pine Lake. He did some logging and used his mill at Canada Lake.


The North Bush Post Office moved to Newkirks, until it was discontinued in 1931.


A steel London Bridge was built for $1211.


Automobiles and paved roads improved the trip to the lake by 1909, and this supported new building and growth in the town. The Gloversville Auto Stage Company operated 1909 and 1910. The Gloversville, Caroga, and Canada Lake Stage Company also offered rides, and its Federal bus was enclosed from dust and rain. By 1917 a bus service was in place between Gloversville and the town of Caroga.


Guy Durey returned as town supervisor from 1910 to 1933.


Between 1900 and 1920, a number of camps were built along the shores of the Caroga Lakes. For example, West Caroga cottages included George Hubbard’s Red Wing and others.


In 1912 and 1913, a larger dam at Stewart’s Landing was erected at the prompting of Cyrus Durey and the Durey Land and Lumber Company. Later control of the Stewart's Landing dam and Canada Lake water level went to the State Department of Environmental Conservation.


World War I began in Europe on July 28, 1914 and lasted until November 11, 1918. One of the deadliest conflicts in history, and estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic led to another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. 18 veterans from Caroga served in WWI (Alvarado Arnst, Frederick Farnsworth, Howard Gage, Eugene Groshans, Arthur Holliday, Ross Hayner, Elmer Lane, Raymond Lane, Harry Lane, Joseph Mostropolo, Edward Morey, Charles Mosher, Floyd Sherman, Martin Spencer, Ray Sterling, Roy Stock, John Under, Delbert Willett).


The Fulton House burned in 1914.


The former Canada Lake Auskerada Hotel was sold to James M. Strong and Fred A. Cook. Later the owners were Frank Kathan and his wife Ruth Allen, and they changed the name to the Allen Inn. Under their ownership, the building was destroyed by fire on 23 April 1921, possibly from fireplace sparks. (The site was later rebuilt as the Little Allen Inn and then the Lakeside Motel.)


The East Caroga Lake Protective Association formed in 1917 and has operated continuously for more than a century.


The Holden Lumber Company bought land in Wheelerville from Cyrus Durey and built a sawmill. The buildings stood where the fire house stands a century later.


WWI ended with the Paris Peace Conference, involving diplomats from 32 countries and nationalities, resulted in the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations.


Kirchens Grove Association formed in 1920 with the residents of the peninsula, mainly to maintain the road into the grove and the commonly-owned tennis area.


The Jacob Unger family moved from Bleecker to Caroga when they purchased Frank Hill’s home and store. They ran a grocery store for years. After renovating the place, they ran a boarding house and dining room. In 1930 lightning struck and their boarding house burned to the ground.


Sherman’s Amusement Park opened on the beach along the shore of West Caroga Lake by Frank Sherman. The site included a two-story pavilion and dance hall, and it immediately attracted crowds of vacationers. A bath house and bathing beach had a massive diving platform. Major bands played in the dance hall most weekends, and local bands played during the week. Charles Mechino managed the dance hall and gave lessons, and he was assisted by Joseph Rowe. Games of chance and rides thrilled visitors. A carousel, Custer cars, and Ferris wheel were added. The carousel’s original animals came from an old park at Sylvan Beach, but they have since been sold and replaced. When Frank Sherman died in 1955, his sons took over the park and ran it until it was sold to the Morris family.


While the East Canada Lake Association began earlier, the Canada Lake Protective Association was formed in 1922 with 39 charter members. Concerns focused on the power company’s raising and lowering of the lake level, and after an agreement was reached the association became dormant. It was reactivated in 1952 to support the community purchase and stewardship of Nick Stoner Island. Later the group adopted, restored, and maintained the Kane Mountain Fire Tower. Since being incorporated, it grew to more than 200 members.


Public electricity came to Caroga in 1925.


Joseph Groshans bought the land around Pine Lake from Frank Sherman, and he built a dance hall at Pine Lake and Groshans’ Park, which opened in 1925.


The Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course was constructed and opened on land that was previously owned by the Durey Land and Lumber Company. Cy Durey developed the Caroga Recreation Park and donated the site.


The Fulton County Fish and Game Club helped establish a State Fish Hatchery on Durey Creek, and the hatchery was moved to Gloversville in 1931.


New York State Conservation Department began development of Caroga Lake State Campground.


Construction of a renovated London Bridge was authorized and completed in 1931.


Caroga Lake State Campground opened with 7,700 annual attendance reported to state legislature.


According to the history in the town’s comprehensive plan, the roaring 20s marked increased commercial activity and a growing summer population in Caroga. “Punty Sowles ran a store on NYS Route 29A opposite Garlock Road, and sold the best ice cream. Mrs. Garlock became the postmistress. John Bedford owned the store between the Caroga Lakes; it had a reputation for its peanuts and firecrackers for the annual 4th of July celebration. By 1920 enough automobiles were bringing visitors that Berghoff’s Country Store put in gas pumps. It was run by Bruce Yates and it too burned. The Shutts family bought the property and turned it into a service station.” Cyrus Durey envisioned a Caroga Recreation Park, air landing field, and golf course. The monument to Nick Stoner was erected with speeches, music, and fanfare.


Unger House reopened after lightning strike and fire in the late 1920s.


The Decker family sold their Silver Springs Cottage on Canada Lake to Parkin T. Snowden in the late 1920s. Mrs. Snowden was aunt to Ruth Googins, Elliot Roosevelt’s wife. The Roosevelts spent several weeks visiting at the cottage sometime after 1932.


State campground camping loops developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)


First water system and bathhouses installed at the Caroga Lake State Campground.


Cyrus Durey (1864–1933) was born in Caroga as the son of Josiah Durey and Anna Van Buren (Bradt) Durey. He attended Johnstown Academy. He served locally as Postmaster, Clerk, and Supervisor, and he also was a state congressman and an IRS tax collector under multiple administrations. He thrived in lumber and real estate businesses. He managed thousands of acres of forestland, and most has become part of the great Adirondack forest preserve. His political influence impacted the state road development in the area. He worked closely with his brother, Guy, who was the Caroga Supervisor for 26 years. Working with the town government, he was involved in building the 1925 Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course and the 1929 Nick Stoner statue. He contributed much to Caroga throughout his life until his death in 1933 at age 68. Helen Ireland Hays described Mr. Durey as a “professional politician” and added, “He had been Republican boss of Fulton County and our Representative in Washington. These achievements and his skill in poker may have counted in the world, but for me, the thing that mattered was that this tall, lean, stoop-shouldered man with his deliberate speech and dead cigar, seemed to be a real woodsman. He had grown up in the woods like a scout of the early days. I felt sure he knew all about the life of the forest. I was fascinated by his personality and the aura of mystery which, in my mind, surrounded him.”


Howard Morey served as town supervisor from 1934 to 1949.


In the 1800s William Claflin built the red cottage on the knoll near the current golf course, and he used it with his tannery. Later, when Cy Durey gave the Town of Caroga the property for the first nine holes of the municipal golf course, he reserved the ¾ acre knoll with the red cottage for himself. His lawyer, Alfred Dennison, purchased the red cottage in 1934. He renovated it, carefully preserving its basic distinctiveness, and then he gave it to his daughter, Margaret Dennison Fincke, as a wedding gift. The family named it Pine Knoll, and the cottage has been a family summer home ever since.


Street lighting was first installed in the town.


Public electricity came to Pine Lake.


In World War II from 1939 to 1945, the majority of the world’s countries formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis Powers. A state of total war directly involved more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries, and 50 to 85 million people lost their lives. World War II changed global political alignments and social structures, and the United Nations (UN) was established to reduce major conflicts and foster international co-operation. 53 veterans from Caroga served in WWII (Emmeran Arnst, Gordon Barney, Ronald Buchner, Claude Burch, Lyman Chappell, David Clark, Phillip Dalmata, Bert Becker, William Delahanty, Alfred Durey, Edwin Faber, Clarkson Farnsworth, Theodore Farnsworth, Robert Ferrari, Thomas Finch, Alfred Foster, Chester Foster, Edward Foster, Henry Foster, Herbert Foster, Eugene Groshans, Raymond Groshans, Richard Groshans, William Groshans, Donald Hoffman, Albert Knapp, David Knapp, Elmer Knapp, Harry Knapp, Jack Knapp, Paul Kovalovich, Nelson Marucci, Robert Masters, D. Malcolm McMartin, Andrew Meyers, William Moody, Charles Morley, William Morris, Gilbert Mussey, Burton Putman, Frank Rhodes, Charles Scott, Clarence Smith, Kenneth Smith, Robert Smith, William Smith Jr., George Spencer, Vincent Unger, Clifton Westover, Franklyn Winsman Jr., Bruce Yates, Burton Yates). David Knapp, William Moody, and William Smith Jr. were killed in action.


The state highway on Canada Lake’s north shore was rerouted over Green Mountain in 1940 and 1941.


Caroga’s School Districts #1 in Wheelerville and #3 in North Bush were merged.


The Caroga Fish and Game Club was organized by Claude Burch in the late 1940s and remains active with more than 100 members.


The Korean Conflict, or the “6-2-5 Upheaval”, between North Korea (supported by China and the Soviet Union) and South Korea (principally supported by the United States) began at the 38th parallel on 6/25/1950. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans fled as the North Korean army invaded. The UN Security Council condemned the North Korean invasion and recommended military assistance for the Republic of Korea. 19 veterans from Caroga served in Korea (Bruce Busch, Alfred Cheney, Marion Meyers Cheney, John Guy, Frank Hayes Jr., Bradley Hayner, Harry Hayner, George Holliday, Viola Mussey Kovalovich, Ronald Morris, Clayton Shutts Jr., Ronald Shutts, Eugene Smith, Albert Snell, Joseph Snell, Robert Snell, Gordon Spencer, Robert Stock, Donald Stock).


Charles Putman served as town supervisor from 1950 to 1965.


The town of Caroga Fire Department was incorporated 20 March 1951. Supervisor Putman’s political platform was to establish a volunteer fire company, given that so many public, community, and private buildings had burned. The Caroga Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary was also formed in 1951, and it serves to assist the fire company in areas such as providing refreshments and fund raising.


The Vietnam War, or Second Indochina War (in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), began between North Vietnam (supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies) and South Vietnam (supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand, and other anti-communist allies). 19 veterans from Caroga fought in Vietnam (Joseph Bartlett, Harold Brown, Peter Brown, Paul Cheney, Leslie Dalmata, Thomas Delahanty, Daniel Dermott, Phillip Dermott, Kip Fisher, Kerwin Fisher, Kevin Fisher, Theodore Frank, William Frank, Allen Hayes, Kenneth Kayes, David Hayner, Glenn Hayner, Michael Hojohn, John Lane, Arnold Meyers, Raymond Meyers, James Putman, Richard Putman, Daniel Rhodes, Duane Rhodes, Michael Schmutz Jr., David Violyn, John Witzke, and Brian Yates).


Greg Ashlaw (grandson of Ollie Austin of the Durey Mill) began a large harvest of sunken timber from the bottom of Canada Lake (approximately two percent of logs reportedly sunk in prior annual harvests of four to seven million board feet).


The Stoner Lake Association began in the 1960s as the Stone Lake Fish and Game Club to improve fishing in the Stoner Lakes. It was inactive in the 1970s and 1980s. It was reactivated in the 1990s to monitor water quality, improve fish habitat, and to host fishing and boating events.


Charles Sarka (1879–1960) was an artist and Canada Lake resident for 50 years, who found inspiration in the surrounding mountains and changing natural scenery. Every day from spring to fall he set out from his cottage on the north shore to make water color sketches of the views he enjoyed. He died in 1960.


The Groshans family sold their park to Robert Lord and family. They changed the name to the Pine Lake Amusement Park and added a large campground.


Emma Krause served as town supervisor from 1966 to 1983.


The town board did the first water pollution study of Caroga Lake.

Recent History


New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller created the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) as a state agency for Adirondack park planning. The APA oversees private land-use development.


The Nick Stoner Trailers Snowmobile Club formed in 1974 as a winter sport club. Funding comes, in part, from snowmobile license fees from NYS Office of Parks and Recreation, and funds support grooming and trail maintenance. The club sponsors seasonal social activities and a Poker Run.


Fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, on April 30 marked the end of the Vietnam War.


Barbara McMartin published the First Edition of Caroga: An Adirondack Town Recalls Its Past. After town records were previously lost to fire, local townspeople shared their histories to reconstruct details.


The state erected a marker at the “Last Home of Nicholas Stoner”, a local Revolutionary War folk hero.


The Caroga Historical Association and Museum was born on the momentum of the 1976 national bicentennial. Interest in local history inspired the publication of the town history book. The museum opened in 1977, and the first association meeting was held with Lena Durey its charter president and Barbara McMartin the volunteer museum director.


Margaret Widdemer (1884–1978) was a poet and novelist who won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. In 1922 the family purchased their camp in Point Breeze Canada Lake, and they added a Mud Lake cottage in 1928. While living at the lake, she published 40 novels about stories for women set in a historical context, prior to her death in 1978.


Paul Bransom (1885–1979) and his wife Grace made Canada Lake their home and made a point of voting in Caroga, even while traveling for life adventures as the “dean of animal artists.” The Bransoms first came to Canada Lake in 1908, and they built their home in Point Breeze in 1917. Paul illustrated more than 45 books and made covers and illustrations for many magazines. During the 1920s and 1930s, 35 magazines used animal stories with his illustrations or covers. Helen Ireland Hays noted that they were loyal neighbors for many decades, and in 1974 Emma Krause, the Caroga Supervisor issued a formal declaration that “expressed thanks to Paul for his many years of residence and fine influence in the neighborhood and wished him a happy 89th birthday.”


The Nick Stoner Senior Citizen Club was organized in 1979 with Richard Port, Peggy Althiser, Eva Sweet, and Virginia Edick as officers. The group enjoys social events, dinners, and trips. The club also works with the Fulton County Office of the Aging.


“Garoga Site” listed on the National Register of Historic Places (New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Unique Site No. A035-04-0001), an archaeological site of the 16th century Castle Hill and Longhouses of the Mohawk Iroquois (Kanien’kehá:ka Haudenosaunee).


Robert Emmett Stock published Memoirs of an Adirondack Native Son.


Three East Caroga Lake residents formed a weed committee to address the problem of rapid proliferation of aquatic invasive species in East Caroga Lake. They worked with the Lake’s Protective Association and the town on specific goals. Their advocacy led to the DEC’s removal of the sewer effluent pipe discharging into the lake from the campground and installing a septic system away from the lake. They also began fundraising and targeted harvesting of Eurasian milfoil.


The Caroga Historical Association and Museum purchased and opened its present museum site at 145 London Bridge Road. The prior owner was a fourth generation Caroga settler. The main building had been a tanner’s house, and it was moved from its original site near the tannery and reassembled on the present site. The homestead also features an authentic rustic cobbler’s shop, a 19th century general store, an 1860 pegged barn, an arcade, and an ice house. The museum is open in July and August and hosts tours and events.


Bruce Busch served as town supervisor from 1984 to 1993.


The West Caroga Lake Association formed in 1988 with Kevin Grygiel as chairman. Initial focus was on issues such as safe boating, excessive speed, noise, and ducks. They hold annual meetings and family events.


George and Ruth Abdella purchased Sherman’s Park and refurbished the carousel and gardens. They hired Adirondack Stained Glass to design and create the clerestory windows surrounding the upper walls of the carousel. The designer, Pat Duell, filled each panel with different animals: “horses with flowing manes, dragons, unicorns, and more swirl around the building. Bright-colored glass pieces are studded with glass globs and jewels that sparkle and enhance the sense of movement.”


Supervisor Bruce Busch appointed a committee to study strategies to manage black flies. The Adirondack Park Agency stopped communities from doing aerial spraying, especially of toxic DDT. The town moved to a program of applying Bti. It requires mapping and testing streams and waterways for black fly larva prior to Bti application.


On 4 July 1991 the town hosted a fireworks display and parade with over 5,000 people attending. The events were dedicated to honor the late Staff Sgt. Harold P. Witzke III, a Caroga man who died in combat during Operation Desert Storm. The portion of Old State Road east of the Caroga Campground was renamed after him, a plaque in his honor was placed at the Wheelerville School lawn, and a scholarship fund in his name was established.

The current Wheelerville Union Free School officially opened on 3 September 1991.


The town of Caroga acquired the old Wheelerville School. The town opened municipal offices, a courtroom, a public meeting space, and a medical clinic there.


FritzAnn Surace served as town supervisor from 1994 to 2001.


The old town landfill was closed, and a new county transfer station was opened near the old landfill.


The Irving Pond Dam was dismantled and removed.


A ceremony and marble marker honored Caroga’s black residents at the North Bush Cemetery.


The Pine Lake Civic Association formed in 1997 with Lucille Hunt as president. It was formed to protect the lake and properties, and it hosts social events.


London Bridge was reconstructed.


Barbara McMartin published the Second Edition of Caroga: An Adirondack Town Recalls Its Past and gave the copyright to the town of Caroga.


An engineering evaluation of the town hall building identified mold and air quality concerns, and the town council concluded that constructing and maintaining a new building would be more cost effective over time. On November 2, 2010 a public referendum was held about borrowing $999,000 for the project. The public voted 301 to 171 to reject the proposition.


The log cabin post office closed, and a new post office opened in town center.


The Kane Mountain Fire Tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (00NR01664, July 26, 2001).


9/11 Islamist terrorist attacks against the US killed almost 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others. Attacks resulted in at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage to the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, New York and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Passengers thwarted hijackers on another passenger airplane flying toward Washington DC that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 9/11 marked the beginning of the US international military campaign known as the War on Terror. The local veteran Harold Witzke III died in combat in the Persian Gulf, and other local citizens have served.


Steve Barker served as town supervisor from 2002 to 2009.


Barbara McMartin (1931–2005) was an Adirondack writer and advocate. As a child, she spent summers at her grandfather’s camp on Canada Lake. She later lived year-round in the neighboring camp with her husband W. Alec Reid. She authored the local history Caroga: An Adirondack Town Recalls Its Past and served as volunteer curator at the Caroga Historical Museum and Fulton County Museum. After completing her PhD in mathematics in 1972, she became involved in the Adirondack environmental movement. She chaired the NYS DEC Forest Preserve Advisory Committee and helped to write many policies. She belonged to multiple environment groups, including being vice-president of the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. While serving on the Adirondack Council in 1990, she co-authored 2020 Vision: Fulfilling the Promise of the Adirondack Park. Volume 3, Realizing the Recreational Potential of Adirondack Wild Forests. She wrote many articles and 25 books, both guide books and Adirondack histories, including the Fifty Hikes in the Adirondacks; the 11-book Discover series; Hides, Hemlocks, and Adirondack History; The Great Forest of the Adirondacks; and Perspectives on the Adirondacks: A Thirty-Year Struggle by People Protecting Their Treasure. She died at her Canada Lake home September 27, 2005.


First Annual Polar Plunge Benefit was held for the Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Department.


Sherman’s Amusement Park closed. The property was posted for sale for several years with no buyer.


James Selmser served as town supervisor from 2010 to 2011.


Final approvals were given to construct a cell tower on the east side of Route 10 near the golf course.


A committee formed from Canada Lake about invasive species and lake stewardship. Later the group secured grant funding for a program with lake stewards, boat inspections, and boat washing.


Ralph Ottuso served as town supervisor from 2012 to 2015.


Kyle Barrett Price started the first annual Caroga Lake Music Festival (CLMF) with his family and six other friends. CLMF featured 14 artists in 2013, 36 artists in 2014, 30 artists in 2015, and 50 artists in 2016. By 2017, CLMF grew to 5 weeks of music, 30 performances, 85 total artists, and 6 special guest artists.


New York State finalized the State Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan.


George and Ruth Abdella donated Sherman’s Park to the town of Caroga.


After Bob Sullivan resigned as supervisor in August 2016, Deputy Supervisor Tony Sturchio led the town.


The association at Canada Lake changed. The Canada Lake Conservation Association (CLCA) was formed in 2015, and its first general membership meeting was July 9, 2016 led by its President Dave Graves. The shift focused on conservation advocacy and NYS Department of Taxation and IRS compliance. “The CLCA was formed for two purposes: to preserve, protect and maintain the Canada Lakes Watershed which incorporates Canada Lake, West Lake, Green Lake, Mud Lake, Lily Lake and its tributaries as well as the surrounding lands and forests for the benefit of the public residents; and promoting and educating the users about safety and good stewardship practices.”


Caroga Arts Collective (CAC or Caroga Arts) formed as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, acting as an umbrella for the Caroga Lake Music Festival (CLMF) and other projects with a mission of “reigniting the Caroga Experience through interdisciplinary and inter-arts collaborations among musicians, artists, scholars, and their communities.”


Bruce and Richard Veghte donated to Caroga Arts a 10.5 acre parcel from the “Myhill” Estate, formerly the summer home of theater and hotel magnates, J. Myer Schine (1890–1971) and his wife Hildegarde Feldman Schine (1903–1994).


Caroga was awarded a NYS Smart Growth grant with $6,000 initial seed money for a proposed Wheelerville Trails Mountain Bike Park with multi-use trails. Councilman Jeremy Manning led work with Steven Ovitt of Wilderness Property Management on initial planning and public educational phases of the project.


Beth Morris served as town supervisor for one year.


Caroga Arts began the first annual Sherman’s Revival Series, featuring the CLMF musicians, Chris Jamison, Mike Block, J-Music Pocket Band, Saunders Brothers, and LoMarie.


New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) renovated the 49.1 acre Caroga Lake State Campground and Day Use Area and adopted a Unit Management Plan (UMP) to conform to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP).


James Selmser returned as town supervisor. He also serves on the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.


Caroga Arts hosted the CLMF with 80 resident artists, the first annual Myhill Film Series, the first annual Saundersfest, and the National Summer Cello Institute Your Body is Your Strad. Caroga Arts drew thousands to Caroga for the second annual Sherman’s Revival Series, featuring Sawyer Fredericks, Cara Samantha, MARO, Matthew Whitaker Quartet, Rhythm Future Quartet, Crooked North, Chris Wilson, Kate Lee & Forrest O’Connor, Geoff & Rob Saunders, and the Saunders Family. Along with above artists, the Glenn Zaleski Trio also packed the Nick Stoner Inn at the Encore! Jazz Sessions.


Town of Caroga’s Revised Zoning Ordinance became effective 2019-01-01.


Caroga Arts received the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce Tourism Partner Award.


Canada Lakes (2019). Canada Lakes Conservation Association, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.canadalakesconservation.com.

Caroga (2011). Comprehensive Plan. Retrieved from townofcaroga.com.

Caroga Arts (2019). Caroga Arts. Retrieved from http://carogaarts.org.

Caroga Museum (2019). Caroga Historical Society and Museum. Retrieved from https://www.carogamuseum.org.

Frothingham, Washington (1892). History of Fulton County. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co.

Funk, Robert E. and Kuhn, Robert D. (2003). Three Sixteenth-Century Mohawk Iroquois Village Sites. New York State Museum Bulletin 503. Albany, NY: New York State Education Department.

Gould, Kevin Scott (2019). Ambush at Oriskany. Retrieved from https://www.varsitytutors.com/earlyamerica/early-america-review/volume-4/ambush-at-oriskany.

Guswentha (2019). Guswentha: Two Row Wampum Belt. Retrieved from https://indigenousvalues.org/decolonization/guswentha-two-row-wampum-belt/.

Lothrop, Jonathan (2019). Garoga Site Collection. Web. http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/research-collections/archaeology/native-american-archaeology/collections/garoga-site-collection.

Mayflower Compact (1620). Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth 1620. Avalon Project, Yale Law School. Retrieved http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/mayflower.asp.

McMartin, Barbara (1992). Hides, Hemlocks, and Adirondack History: How the Tanning Industry Influenced the Region’s Growth. Burlington, VT: North Country Books.

McMartin, Barbara (1994). The Great Forests of the Adirondacks. Burlington, VT: North Country Books.

McMartin, Barbara (1998). Caroga: An Adirondack Town Recalls Its Past. Caroga Lake, NY: Town of Caroga.

McMartin, Barbara (2002). Perspectives on the Adirondacks: A Thirty-Year Struggle by People Protecting Their Treasure. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Simms, Jeptha Root (1851). Trappers of New York: Or a Biography of Nicholas Stoner & Nathaniel Foster. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell.

Simms, Jeptha Root (1883). The Frontiersmen of New York: Showing Customs of the Indians, Vicissitudes of the Pioneer White Settlers, and the Border Strife in Two Wars, Volume II. Albany, NY: Geo C. Riggs.

Smalley, Carol Parenzan (2011). Images of America: Around Caroga Lake, Canada Lake, and Pine Lake. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.

Wikipedia (2018). Caroga, New York. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroga,_New_York.

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