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Ed Isham, born in 1899, was famous as a guide for two things: his uncanny ability to always find a deer, and his strength.

The following first-person account from Ad-i-ron-dac Jan/Feb. 1957 illustrates both strength and stamina.

     “Mr. Wilton Merle Smith wanted to take a trip overland to a summer school camp at Squaw Brook on Indian Lake. With Mr. Smith were his wife and her sister. I agreed to do it and we went up via the Lakes to a camp at Boreas Pond, where we stayed the first night. The man at that camp, whose name I don’t recall, had good supper for them of trout and meat. The ladies wanted to know what the meat was, and he offhandedly told them, mountain goat. I then warned them not to be too curious about what it was they were eating (of course it was prime venison).

     “Levi Lamb had told me of a road from Boreas to the Lower Iron Works, called the Old Cedar Point Military Road. I had previously been to Indian Lake and also I had a pretty good sense of direction. We had no map or compass, but we started, and found the old wagon road. The traces of the tires were broad ones, were still visible but the road had been disused so long the beech trees, some 10 to 12 inches in diameter, grew in it. When we were about halfway, we ran into a section that had been lumbered. However, we followed the ridges and finally came out at the Lower Works, then taking the road to Newcomb.

     “There I looked up Harrison Hall, brother of James Hall of Keene Valley.  He told me he had a small boat on the River (Hudson) located at the head of Ord’s Riff and to carry it the-half mile to Blackwell Stillwater, and go three miles to the end of the Stillwater, to a trail of three miles to the River Drivers’ Camp. It was necessary to cross it to follow the trail. The ladies kept their skirts just above the water all the way across and didn’t get them wet at all. 

      “On the opposite side we had a good trail first crossing the Salmon River, the Cedar, and finally Indian River which we went up to Indian Lake village where we got a carriage to Squaw Brook and Sabille.  I figured the distance covered was about forty five miles. The next morning I got away at five and retraced the entire trip and was back in Keene Valley at eleven o’clock that evening. The next day I joined Pete Lamb in a guiding trip.”

Isham married Alice Estes in 1924.  He died on October 24, 1974 and is buried in the Norton Cemetery.


(Contributed by Susie Doolittle.)

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