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Turning Back the Pages

100 Years Ago - July, 1913

A thrifty but shifty hermit

Orlando Bryant, a thrifty and by reputation, somewhat shifty citizen of Warrensburgh, who currently lives alone in a hut on his ancestral acres on Harrington Hill, is profiting considerably by the state and county bounty on hedgehogs and hen hawks.

For the extermination of these alleged destroyers of farm crops, the state pays a bounty of 25 cents and at the spring meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, a resolution was passed authorizing the payment of the same amount by the county, thus making the carcass of a deceased quill thrower worth 50 cents to the person possessing it as proof that the animal had been deprived of life and consequent possibilities of future mischief. It is required that the forepaws of a hedgehog shall be presented to the supervisor of the town, who will pay the bounty.

During the past two or three months, Bryant has brought to Warrensburgh Supervisor Milton Eldridge a surprising number of paws and has collected the bounty on them. There is apparently no chance for fraud, but it certainly is curious how so many of the pesky animals could be captured on the hill since the double bounty went into effect. The woods must be full of them and Orlando must have a great knack of catching them. Some weeks ago he collected as much as $8, having the paws to show that he killed 16 or more.

Orlando claims to have a mysterious power over animals. He boasts that he can charm them and relates some wonderful tales of his exploits, especially with foxes, one of the most cunning and wary of the beasts of the forest. He surely has the hedgehogs coming his way, however he does it — and if the supply holds out, he has a good thing going for him.

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

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