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100 Years Ago - February 1909

Heavy rain boosts local industry

Warrensburgh has just recovered from a bad rain, snow and sleet storm and now normal conditions are at hand to resume work on the trolley road and Adirondack railway. The recent rains have raised the Schroon River so that there is now a fine working body of water for the industries which derive power from their onward rush. Thankfully. two months of almanac winter are nearly gone, and only one month remains.

An act of pure evil

A fire started, according to the claim of Jesse Bentley, the leprous tramp who set it, and destroyed the beautiful H.H. Hayden cottage on the Bolton Road, Lake George, burning the structure to the ground Feb. 13, 1909 while residents of the vicinity and caretakers of nearby cottages stood by helpless to check the flames. In the cottage was much valuable furniture, pictures and other furnishings, which were destroyed, making the loss about $8,000. The burned cottage, part of the Hayden estate, was situated between the summer homes of George Foster Peabody and Charles J. Peabody.

In examining the snow about the house is search of a possible clue to the whereabouts of an incendiary, the men found tracks leading from the cottage to a nearby hemlock tree where they discovered Jesse Bentley trying to climb up into the branches. Emerson Dalrymple threw Bentley to the ground until the other men arrived and he was placed under arrest and taken to the Lake George jail under a charge of arson.

Bentley, who is 30 and a native of Bolton, admitted that he was in the Hayden cottage and sat the fire which he said was caused by his throwing a cigarette into a pile of papers. He said he broke into the cottage to steal, thinking there might be some valuable silverware there, but finding nothing, he laid down on a couch, smoking a cigarette and in this way set the fire.

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