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Adirondack Murray

Stories have been told by many people. None have done so well and made the Adirondacks so popular as those told by William Henry Harrison Murray. It did not take long for William to get the nickname of “Adirondack Murray.” I don’t think that was a complement. From my point of view he deserved it. We already had too many city dwellers hanging around in our woods.

Young William could not be satisfied with one book. He had to write a series. Instead of telling about how good a man can feel when walking through the woods or fishing in a stream, William had to lend some sort of religiosity to it.

No wonder! I later found out he had been preaching in Connecticut.

He couldn’t have stopped there, could he? He found a way to give weekly lectures in Boston. People came by the hundreds to hear him invite them to “his” woods. They were not “his” to give away. They were our woods, our Adirondacks, our streams.

I was sure that if I ever met him I would give him a good old North Woods talking to. We had enough city folks coming from New York City and all along the Erie Canal. Now we were going to be saddled with people from Connecticut and Boston.

One day I was working on one of William Durant’s lodges. Bierstadt was there sketching something or another. Bierstadt casually mentioned that a William Henry Harrison Murray was scheduled to show up that afternoon. I was dumbfounded. Bierstadt of all people was going to meet with this nitwit.

Two well-dressed gentlemen showed up at the lodge. Right away I could tell which one Murray was. He was the arrogant one with the sporty hat. It was tipped forward and over his left eye just enough to make him look dashing. When he spoke it was with an affected tone and pace. I had seen plenty of his kind before.

Bierstadt came over to me and said “I want you to meet someone.” We walked over to the two gentlemen and Bierstadt introduced me to the quiet one “This is William Murray.” Turning to the rakish and noisy one William Murray said “And this is my cousin Jules from New York.”

I never judged a book by the wrong cover after that.

Murray’s followers from Boston and Connecticut came by the droves. We called them “Murray’s Fools.”

Young William could write a good story. His degree from Yale must have been the secret behind his success. Yet, on the other hand, he was a preacher.

Believe it or not we became good friends; even though I hated what he had done to popularize “our” Adirondacks.

Tahawas and Tomosky c

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