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Mystery of the missing killer solved

August 4, 2012
By HOWARD RILEY (hjriley@adelphia.net) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Now this must also happen to you ... someone brings up a subject in conversation that you have not heard of or talked about in years and whatayano a couple of days later some one else brings up the same subject. Now the following is from the E.L. Gray scrapbook in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

Naturally I can't remember who, why or when the story of the killing of George A. Berkeley (Berkeley Square) surfaced by a guy telling me that his father or grandfather used to talk about that killing even though it occurred in 1887 and the punch line was always "and the killer disappeared and was never seen again."

Well, right here in this space reserved just for me we are going to solve what happened to the killer he was never seen again alive, but wait until you read this story and headlines from the Adirondack Enterprise of 1907: headlines

Article Photos

The Gabriels yearbook, “The Ranger” of 1932 carried the picture of the Rainbow students taught by Miss Marion Handlin.
Back Row: Robert Rambeau, Leo Quirk, Paul Rochester, Melvin Yell. Front Row: Lawrence Amelle, Mary Muncil, Velma Muncil, Pauline Rochester, Wilbur Yell.
(Photo provided)

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Skeleton of guide brown layer of landlord Berkeley

Found Near Schroon Lake - Sensational Murder in the Adirondacks Recalled -?Mysterious Disappearance of Murderer Explained -?Tragedy Occurred at Saranac Lake

"Northville, April 26, 1907 - Albert T. Story who arrived from the Schroon Lake country today, tells of a gruesome find made by Thomas L. Haffen of Newman, that recalls the sensational killing of George A. Berkeley a number of years ago. Haffen, bound for Keene Valley points, was attracted by the scent [Haffen must have been walking from Schroon Lake to Keene]

of his hounds to a spring to the left of the road and following the dogs he came upon the skeleton of a man against a tree. Nearby was a rusty rifle, and scattered about were a number of pocket articles, upon two of which the initials C.W.B. were stamped. All the articles were covered with heavy rust, except a pocket knife which was in a tight-fitting case of metal. On the case was stamped the one letter "S."

"The ghastly remains are declared by Haffen to be those of Charles Walter Brown, who shot and killed Berkeley at Saranac Lake in the summer of 1887, and who disappeared into the woods never to be heard from again.

"The murder was perhaps one of the most sensational in the Adirondacks. Berkeley was wealthy, popular and a prominent Mason. He conducted the leading hotel at Saranac Lake and was known far and wide throughout the region. Among his guests at the time of the shooting was Robert Louis Stevenson, the great novelist.

"Brown and Berkeley were good friends and, it is said, never had a bad word until that fateful day in 1887. Brown, who was a popular guide, had been drinking heavily and when he applied for more liquor at the bar of the Berkeley House he was refused.

"Brown went to his home, a half mile distance, secured his rifle and returning shot Berkeley dead as he sat on the hotel piaza. Brown then entered the woods and was never seen again."

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Another guide story

Although the headline is unreadable it appears that the Enterprise may have honored guides from time to time because in the same issue with the Berkeley story there is a picture, unusable, of D. E. "Dug" Martin of Paul Smith's with this caption:

"One of the leading guides and woodsmen of the St. Regis chain of lakes is "Dug" Martin who makes his home on the highway between Paul Smith's Station and the Lower St. Regis. "Dug" is acknowledged to be one of the best anglers and an expert shot. His travels in the Canadian forests as well as the Adirondacks serve to complete a thorough education in woodcraft."

[When I went to school in Gabriels with my brothers and sisters the farm now owned by the Leavitt family, previously the Young Farm, was owned by Doug Martin or maybe it was "Dug." Their two daughters Adelaide and Patricia went to school with us.]

 
 

 

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