Turning Back the Pages

In establishing a name for the town, the community leaders considered naming it for Judge Kitchel Bishop, a man of prominence, who settled here in 1804, the same year James Warren did. Bishop, a farmer, lived on the lands where Peter Haggerty and his neighbor Eileen Frasier live today on Main Street opposite the Presbyterian Church. Incidentally, legend has it that it was on Miss Frasier’s property in 1826 that author James Fenimore Cooper, while on his Adirondack vacation, penned a section of his book “The Last of the Mohicans.”

At that first town meeting, James L. Thurman, a prosperous farmer, became the first supervisor of the new town of Warrensburgh. He came here from Athol and lived in the old Samuel Judd farm house overlooking the Judd Bridge with his wife and three children, Susan, Charles and Samuel Thurman. The house was originally the Timothy Stow place and today known in recent years as Austin Perry’s Kit ‘n Kin Horse Farm. Following James Thurman as supervisor of Warrensburgh in 1814 and 1815 was Harmon Hoffman. In 1813 Duncan Cameron became the first supervisor of Thurman.

Transportation in the new ‘Burgh

Traversing Warrensburgh from east to west in the early days was very difficult because the Schroon River split the town in two portions. Many years after the town was founded, a total of five bridges were built in town at great cost.

I used to wonder how Stephen Griffing ever got past this watery roadblock when he passed through here in 1800 from Dutchess County with his family, horses, wagons and worldly goods to settle in Thurman. It later occurred to me that coming up on the historic old north-south trail, probably what is now Rte. 9, he traveled through the woods on today’s Baker Crossing Road, then followed the Schroon River north to Thurman. When he arrived at the area where Thurman Bridge had yet to be built, the ice blocked him from crossing the river and he had to camp out until not only the ice melted, but the Spring high waters to recede. The first Thurman Bridge, built of wood for about $4,000, was not constructed there until 1836.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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