Former judge John Austin retires from county historian post

QUEENSBURY - For decades, John D. Austin has served in Warren County as judge, lawyer, public servant and journalist.

He's investigated and reported the news, settled disputes, presided over family and criminal cases, and brightened many children's lives.

For the last seven years, serving as Warren County historian, he's helped people identify their ancestors.

On July 30, Austin, now 75, stepped down from his historian post - although he's likely to continue his genealogical research.

Without a doubt, Austin's history is as interesting as those he's researched.

Austin's early years, meetup with poet Frost

Austin's education had its roots in a one-room schoolhouse at Ridge and Hicks roads, where he attended second, third and fourth grades.

In high school, he launched his journalism career early, serving as a news correspondent for the Glens Falls Times.

Austin graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1953, and continued his studies at Dartmouth College. During his years there, he served as editor of the college newspaper, the Daily Dartmouth. While Austin was editor, the famed poet Robert Frost gave a talk to Dartmouth students, and Austin reviewed the event in the newspaper, Austin's brother Fred Austin recalled. Frost was so impressed with John Austin's write-up, he visited the college's president and asked to see Austin, who was summoned to the president's office to meet Frost.

Also while at the helm of the Daily Dartmouth, John Austin endorsed Dwight Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson for U.S. President, an action that prompted Eisenhower to send Austin a personal thank-you letter.

Austin graduated from Dartmouth college 1957 with a degree in sociology. He continued his studies at the University of Minnesota's graduate school - on a criminology teaching fellowship.

During his summers after college he worked on a tugboat/barge on the Cumberland River in Tennessee, and fought forest fires in Idaho.

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