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An intriguing Biography

Under An Adirondack InfluenceUnder An Adirondack Influence
The Life of A. L. Byron-Curtiss
1871–1959

By William J. O'Hern and Roy E. Reehil

352 pages - 6 x 9 - Over 60 Vintage Photographs
Includes an Index and Bibliography

Hard cover $29.95

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Paperback $21.95

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A biography filled with Adirondack and
Central New York history:

  At age 21, Byron-Curtiss was sent to run an Episcopal Mission in Forestport, NY, spending a year there that changed his life. It was 1892. Once he started writing about the people he befriended there, a frontier doctor, lumberjacks, guides and tavern-keepers, he never stopped writing.
  He purchased a lakeside cabin for $15 in 1901 and was soon dubbed The Bishop of North Lake by the local guides and fishermen he tramped the countryside with.
  During his second assignment, in Rome, NY, he finished his first book, the biography of the legendary woodsman Nat Foster, one of the first settlers of Old Forge, and allegedly the model for James Fenimore Cooper's Hawk-eye character in The Last of the Mohicans.
  Through an interest in Adirondack folklore, Byron-Curtiss became a friend and mentor to local authors Thomas O'Donnell and Harvey Dunham who later authored Birth of a River and Adirondack French Louie respectively. Byron-Curtiss is featured prominently in Birth of a River.
  Byron-Curtiss enjoyed sixty seasons of hunting and fishing at his beloved camp on North Lake and recorded his most memorable adventures in camp journals. His stories, tall tales and nature observations punctuate an intriguing life. He is at different times either a friend or foe to Conservation Officers and the Adirondack League Club. He has stints as a barge operator (ferrying lumberjacks and supplies), a lumber camp bookkeeper and a reservoir gatekeeper. His camp log books celebrate a rustic existence where laughter and fish were plentiful. They also reveal his vulnerabilities when tragedy strikes as often it did.
  The Reverend was a wise and courageous man who was ahead of his time. He was as comfortable in Manhattan as he was in the backwoods and as friendly with bishops as he was with lumberjacks and guides. His experience has touched readers and his story, and the history that accompanies it, should not be forgotten.

From the Back Cover:
A. L. Byron-Curtiss first traveled to the Adirondacks in 1892 at age 21 to take over a wilderness mission that changed his life. During the next sixty years, spanning two world wars, prohibition and the Great Depression, he wrote about everything important to him: his family, his outdoor adventures, the colorful North Country characters he befriended and the tall tales they shared around a campfire. He wrote about nature, history, folklore, conservation, philosophy, world affairs, his greatest joys and most unnerving tragedies. He brought passion and humor to all his endeavors, as a father, a fisherman, a preacher, a drinker, a social activist and a scofflaw. Through all his life, the unofficial "Bishop of North Lake" displayed an unshakable faith, uncommon wisdom, and an everlasting love for life in the Adirondacks.

We Use Recycled PaperPrinted on Forest Stewardship Council certified 30% post-consumer recycled paper as part of the Green Press Initiative.



A photograph of A. L. Byron-Curtiss alongside an 1897 edition of his first book, The Life and Adventures of Nat Foster, Trapper and Hunter of the Adirondacks. The picture was one of his favorites, displaying a fine catch of Brook Trout. The popular book forever connected him to the follklore of the region.


Back coverA. L. Byron-Curtiss was in many ways an Everyman, displaying good traits and bad. Perhaps more than in most of us, though, those traits stood out like the contrasting colors on an Adirondack autumn hillside. Authors William J. O'Hern and Roy Reehil tell the sometimes rollicking, sometimes poignant life story of this man of the cloth who loved the backwoods of the Black River headwaters and came to know them as well as anyone.

--Neal Burdick, Adirondack editor and writer

Hard cover $29.95

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Paperback $21.95

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