Before I go ruining the good name of cameras, which I believe I am about ready to do, allow me to speak of John A. Hows.
John Augustus Hows was the son of a professor. John lived in New York City his whole life. He was able to travel and visited these Adirondack Mountains and all of the mountains between here and New Hampshire. I have been told that he was a studious young man.
It seems to me, in my limited knowledge of him, that he seemed to change major directions from time to time. If I remember correctly, Hether Blakesly from Saranac, told me that he studied for the Episcopalian ministry but then changed to a Catholic.
Other changes were in the area of professions. I wish not to lay any poorly stated facts on Hether but I think she told me of these changes also.
It seems as though John Augustus Hows received his “arts” degree from a place called Columbia University. Hether said it was in New York City. But right after that is when he went for the ministry. Apparently he was not too pleased with that line of work either. He studied law with an office of law but that also didn’t seem to please him. He tried his hand at painting, wood engraving and illustrating. That appeared to be his calling.
I met John just before the Civil War. He had been sketching on the Raquette River. I, of course, had been fishing. He invited me to the lodge he was staying at. He was aware that I knew the Adirondack Mountains like the back of my hand. He wished me to look at his sketches to see what suggestions I could offer to make them seem more realistic.
I looked over the sketches and at first they seem to catch the dark mystery of these mountains in poor weather. But then I kept on looking over more and more of his work. I soon realized that every last one of his sketches was dark and mysterious. If he was not sketching bad weather then it was night scenes, dark and eerie. However, they surely did capture these North Woods as they really were.
I could not get over John’s desire to sketch darkness at almost every turn. Maybe that simply goes along with his restlessness in religion and business. Possibly John Augustus Hows had a dark and un-restful mind; not uncommon of the artistic.
Or possibly he realized that he had consumption. That is how Hether came to know him. There were a lot of consumptives in Saranac.
John left this earth earlier than most.