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Turning Back the Pages

Toll bridge had role in history

[Note: The story of the later South Glens Falls bridge (1890-1913), collapsing into the river after being battered by high water and floating logs, was told in the March 23, 2013 Adirondack Journal. More information must have been eventually found about the first toll bridge, as history books published later say it was built in 1804 by Warren Ferriss and lasted until 1833 when a new bridge was built for the benefit of the general public. In 1834 Harriet Martineau, a lady from Britain, toured the area and later wrote, “There is a long bridge over the roaring floods which vibrates incessantly and clusters of saw-mills deform the scene.”]

Charles R. Bishop born on bridge

The first Glens Falls bridge had a remarkable connection to Warrensburgh. Three years before the “Frenchman” executed his engraving of the bridge in 1825, Samuel Bishop worked in the toll booth on the bridge in the middle of the Hudson River, possibly for Warren Ferriss. It was in that booth that his wife, Maria Reed Bishop gave birth on Jan. 25, 1822 to their son, Charles Reed Bishop. Maria died two weeks later. Samuel died when his son was four.

Around 1826 Charles came to the frontier village of Warrensburgh, a village at that time only 13 years old, to live with his grandfather Bishop who had a 125-acre farm. Today this farm would have been in reality in the North Caldwell area, part of which would have been on the late Col. Ben Guiles property south of town. Charles worked on the farm tending animals and he allegedly attended school in Warrensburgh, but this also could possibly have been across from the old North Caldwell Cemetery. He was eventually hired in the village as a clerk at the mercantile company of Nelson J. Warren, the only child of James Warren, the village’s presumed namesake.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden atjhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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