Hunt for man who threatened trappers

My files have grown thin during the lockdown (wish I could say the same for me), so how fortunate when I found the copy of the Malone Telegram of Friday, March 4, 1932. This is the third story I have taken from that old newspaper.

This story, then, is for the woodsmen of the North Country. I don’t know as many as I used to, but Joe Hackett is a guide who knows every inch of the North Woods. He has staged photo shoots in the woods for Abercrombie & Fitch and other high-end companies in that business, arranged camping and fishing trips for VIPs who come seeking their privacy, and tells some tales taller than those giant pine trees they are camped beneath.

Then there is Brendon Olsen, a hunter who loves the outdoors. He is a physical therapist at Adirondack Health. He can turn you into a pretzel and make you believe it feels good, and then you walk out of there like you’re performing for your drill sergeant.

How about Jack Fogarty, retired teacher and Navy vet? Loves to hunt, loves the woods, cuts all the firewood to heat their home, which is a B&B on Riverside Drive. It’s a beautiful house, about the size of the Hotel Saranac, high on a hill on Riverside Drive. I think maybe his wife Emily stacks all the wood in the cellar.

The wilderness cabin of famous hermit Noah Rondeau is shown at its original site at Cold River. It is flanked by wooden teepees, which he built and stayed in during the summer months. He stayed in the cabin in the winter months and used the dry wood from the teepees for firewood. He would rebuild his teepee wood supply again the next summer. This photo obviously has nothing to do with the story except it is about the Adirondack wilderness. I met Noah in Saranac Lake when he was being interviewed by my fellow reporter at the Enterprise, Linda Champagne (Hart).

The manhunt is on

“Like the stories of the Royal Mounted Police of the Canadian northwest is the tale that comes from the snow-blocked wilderness in the vicinity of Long Lake where authorities are seeking to track down an armed man who threatened to kill trappers who stumbled upon him in the forest fastness.

“Today, somewhere in the unbroken wild that stretches west of Long Lake to Newcomb, the hunters and hunted are pushing on. Whether the man who is sought knows the search has been instituted is doubtful, for the only ones who have seen him are the two trappers who happened upon him in the Blue Mountain country west of Long Lake. These he threatened to kill if they came near him.

“Inevitably the man will be found for the odds seem to rest heavily with the law. The searchers have snow shoes. The man has none. There are two feet of snow in the region and, although he has many hours start on his trailers, it seems unlikely that he will be able to elude them.

“Game wardens, headed by Merrit Laymos, Long Lake, and state troopers from Troop B formed the posse which is intent on his capture. Their first organized expedition was launched this morning when they picked up the trail of the man near the point where he had been seen by the Long Lake trappers.

“On Tuesday Ernest Blanchard and a man named Hunter came into Long Lake with the strange tale. They had been trapping in the Blue Mountain region when they came across the trail of a man. There were signs showing that he had killed rabbits along the way. Soon they saw a man bent over a fire. The spot was far from any camp of sign of civilization. As they approached, the figure straightened, according to their story, and raised both hands involuntarily in a gesture of surrender. Then he backed quickly to a tree and grabbed a shotgun, telling the two to ‘get the Hell of there’ and warning them that he would kill them if they came near him.

“The face of the man was dark, and the trappers believe he may have been a Negro, but they are uncertain as to this. On his hand he wore raw rabbit hides, and his feet were covered with the same material. It was evident that he had been in the woods for many days, subsisting on rabbits he killed.

“A search of the vicinity was made Wednesday [remember, this is being reported in the newspaper on Friday] by game wardens, but the first note of activity appeared in the case last night when state police were notified. State Police Lieut. C. B. McCann, Troopers A. J. Hall, F. J. Donaldson and Sergeant Eddie Skowyra were assigned from the Troop B barracks. Beecher Wilson, Long Lake Sheriff of Hamilton County, is ready to assist with his deputies if their service is required.

“The region that stretches from the shores of Long Lake to Newcomb is an unbroken forest. It is a mountainous country, dotted with lakes. From Blue Mountain, which to the west of Long Lake, the searchers have tracked the hunted man to Indian Lake. The trail now heads toward Newcomb. The posse carries provisions and is well equipped for a long hunt while the man they hunt to all appearances must forage for his own food. There is a distance of about eighteen miles from Long Lake to Newcomb. Cat Lake, Arch Lake and Harris Lake lie between the two points.

“In Long Lake there are opinions that the man whom the trappers saw has a price on his head, but this theory that he is a fugitive from justice has no official formation.”

[My theory is that he is a fugitive. He raised his arms as if to surrender until he realized the two trappers were not lawmen and the backed to the tree to retrieve his gun.]

Can we get the rest of the story?

I have asked my colleague on the Harrietstown Town Board, Tracy Schrader, who hails from Long Lake, to get the rest of the story. When town Supervisor Mike Kilroy [who knows Tracy from when she was on the Saranac Lake Central School board] needs more information on any subject, he simply asks Ms. Schrader. She is like a beagle after a rabbit.


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