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World War I Memorial Day

May 28, 2011

Historic Saranac Lake will hold a Memorial Day open house from 1 to 3 p.m. for viewing of the exhibit "The Great War: World War I in Saranac Lake" in the John Black Room of the Saranac Laboratory at 89 Church St.

If you have not seen the exhibit, do yourself a favor and have a look at this great piece of Saranac Lake history. There are amazing stories and pictures of Saranac Lake WWI veterans in the exhibit. After the event it will be retired and then brought out again some time in the future.

Here are excerpts from a recent Enterprise story about this HSL event:

Article Photos

The cover of a WWI brochure on fund raising

"Servicemen who had contracted tuberculosis came to Saranac Lake for the fresh air cure. One of those men was John Baxter Black, for whom the addition to the Saranac Laboratory was named in 1928.

"On June 22, a new exhibit will be unveiled in the John Black Room: 'Images of the Past: Historic Photographs of Saranac Lake,' a collaboration between HSL and the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library."

A search on the internet revealed that there is only one WWI surviving U.S. veteran (as of June 2010) - Frank Buckles, age 108.

There is an unbelievable detailed record of Franklin County WWI veterans in the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

There were about 295 men from the Saranac Lake/Harrietstown area in the service in WWI these nine men were killed in that war:

Charles Cumiskey, Roy S. Bouvia, Moses Minnie, Jr., Lewis F. Daniels, Harry Kupsick, George Lyeth, Leon Robinson, John H. Shelley and Edmund VanCour.

Timothy L White from the town of Franklin was killed in that war as were Joseph Nevins and Roy A. Otis from the town of Brighton.

Those who gave their lives in that war from the town of Altamont were Benjamin J. Churco, Leon J. Duane, Lawrence T. Hayes and Ernest Sylvain.

Town Supervisors at that time were Charles J. Riley in Brighton, L. P. Demars in Altamont, William H. Moore in Harrietstown and W. C. Fadden in Franklin.


Those who served from the town of Brighton

I was surprised to find my uncle Thomas F. Riley as listed with the group that "went out" from Brighton as the records read.

I knew he was a WWI vet but I thought he was living in Saranac Lake with Ed Riley (his uncle and a Civil War Veteran) and joined up here. He was an ambulance driver and told me the only close call he had was a bullet ripping into the seat beside him. When he was discharged he traveled across the U.S. with a wheat thrashing team; he ended up in California and became a wealthy rancher on property located a mile south of Carmel.

It was even more amazing to me that there were 30 men in WWI from the small town of Brighton where I was born. Here are the names as listed in the county records.

Fred Barney, Frank S. Blanchard, John Bryant, Percy Bryant, Art Downs, Levi LaFountain, Charles L. Leavitt. Richard J. Longtemps, Clarence Lyman, Archie MacDonald, Henry H. Martin, James M. Muncil, Mallory G. Muncil and Maurice Muncil.

Now the Otis boys from Gabriels apparently did not get to serve together as there records were thus listed: Howard Otis, Engineers; Oscar Otis, Motor Transport Company; Roy A. Otis, 128th Infantry.

Joe Tucker, Don's father, was a WWI veteran but apparently did not join up from Gabriels. Also, Halsey Brulliea, another WWI veteran who lived on Easy Street and worked at Paul Smith's College, but in enlisted in Saranac Lake.

Then there was Bernard Paye, Spencer Rork, Edward R. Russell, Francis Sawyer, Jerry Sawyer, Harry L. Strack, Christopher A. Sussey, Charles Tebo, George S. Tebo, John H. Blanchard, Timothy Haggerty, Alexander Lafleur and Albert Vasile.

It's worth a trip to the Adirondack Room to look at that Franklin County record of WWI. Many pages describe in detail the battles that the men were in. It claims that the soldiers from Saranac Lake and Malone pretty much stayed together and fought together in the major battles of the war.



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