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Some gone, but work goes on

April 3, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

The news is not all bad, although we have had our share this winter; good news has a way of unexpectedly rising up and bringing us joy. My writing "career" came at a great time in history; there were some great Adirondack authors on the scene doing their best works during that time. Unfortunately, we have lost some prolific Adirondack writers and I have lost some good friends, who always encouraged me along the way. Naturally, we all get old, remember "death and taxes."

Barney Fowler, Maitland DeSormo, Ed Reid, Wardner Cadbury and Barbara McMartin, among others, made great contributions to the body of Adirondack literature and they are missed. They live on in the works that they produced. No one gets rich writing Adirondack books; much of the author's work is a labor of love. Adirondack writers love the Adirondack region and want to share it with the greater public. They spend endless hours digging out the facts and stories and weaving them into a readable book or article. IME, their works speak for themselves; the Adirondacks have the greatest body of regional history found in our country.

The work goes on; it is up to us who are still around to continue to find those Adirondack stories and to get them into print. And, much of what is accomplished is a small unpretentious book that preserves another important facet of the Adirondack story. Fortunately, these contributions, however small, become gems of history for future generations.

Ever hear of Foxey Brown? He was the Piseco guide who was accused of killing a Gloversville banker on a hunting trip (Not true). The good news is that the story is being carefully researched and a new Adirondack book will soon be added to our collections. It tells the story of those who came to the Adirondacks to find a home away from some happenstance in their past; it is a story common to life in the remote Adirondack country.

John Buyce was an Adirondack blacksmith and boat builder who had a business in Speculator. He opened his first shop in 1889 and celebrated more than 50 years as an Adirondack craftsman. His letterhead included "Practical Horseshoer, Sleigh and Wagon Maker, Manufacturer of Lake Pleasant Row Boats." He also spent terms as mayor, town clerk and supervisor. He built snow plows, cutters, buckboards, lumber wagons, and log haulers. In later years he got into automobile and boat motor repairs. His sign read "Odd and unusual things that you can't get done at other places." It is another great Adirondack story and I heard that it may become the subject of a book and possibly a documentary. It is good news to me; I own a Buyce boat.

Mysteries on Main Street Bookstore in Johnstown tracked down another good Adirondack book for me; it is good that we still have bookstores. Someone kindly gave me the information on a book about Joseph K. Dunlop, a professional photographer who recorded "Life in Sacandaga Park 1880 to 1935" with his camera. His grandson, Bradford J. Smith, saved the old glass negatives and, along with grandson Donald Smith and Ellen Kostroff, created a book. The photographs tell the story and the narrative weaves in the details. It is another contribution to that "vivid information" about the Adirondacks.

Finally, I guess it had to come. My five Arcadia Image of America books are somewhere on the computer for use by colleges, collectors, and serious researchers. And now, North Country Books has gone computer; their publications, which they intend to continue, will become available for electronic book (e-book) readers such as Kindle, Nook and iPad. I do not know what that means, but it may be good news. Who knows, I may get greater royalties. Look for Inside The Adirondack Blue Line and The Saga of Nicholas Stoner on a computer near you.



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