The Adirondacks!

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A New Adirondack Classic!

Adirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns:
Early Settlers and their TraditionsAdirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns

By William J. O'Hern

Press Release - New Title Announcement - July 2003

   The Forager Press, LLC is pleased to announce   Adirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns by William J. O'Hern, a mosaic history of the lives and traditions of the settlers of the Southern Adirondacks.
    This handsome 256-page book is a treasury of Adirondack history, folklore, and traditions with over seventy articles by nine different authors including O'Hern, Lloyd Blankman, Mortimer Norton, and Harvey Dunham, the author of Adirondack French Louie. The book also features more than eighty vintage photographs.
    The articles are organized into three major   "collections":
I) Adirondack Characters, II) Adirondack Traditions and III) Campfire Yarns.
    The book begins with profiles of "Great Adirondack Guides" and "Old Men of the Woods," and introduces guides Slim MurdockSlim Murdock (pictured at right) and Sam Dunakin, while adding to the legends of more famous characters such as "French Louie" and Alvah Dunning.
    A lengthy collection called "The Conklin's of Wilmurt; A Pioneering North Woods Family," chronicles the life and struggles of the descendants of Henry Conklin, a Civil War veteran who moved to the Adirondacks in 1845 and raised his family there. Their story is told through articles written by Lloyd Blankman, who interviewed the aged grandchildren of Henry back in the 1950s and wrote about them, as well as their hunting, trapping and fishing experiences for The Courier, Clinton, NY.
    Blankman began writing columns for his hometown newspaper in 1953 under the banner "Adirondack Characters" after being inspired by Harvey Dunham's 1952 book, Adirondack French Louie. The two writers became good friends.
    At the same time Blankman was writing for The Courier, Clinton, NY, Mortimer Norton was writing articles about fishing for the Utica Press & Dispatch. Coincidentally, Mortimer lived only a mile from Lloyd and they too became good friends.

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Burt Conklin

    After Dunham and Norton passed away, Blankman dreamt of organizing his newspaper and magazine articles, along with articles by his friends, into a book. Sadly, he died before getting very far into the project.
    Through a series of coincidences,  William J. O'Hern resurrected Blankman's vision, by joining his original writing with the enduring works of Blankman, Dunham, Norton and several of their contemporaries in Adirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns.
    Blankman's articles make up the bulk of the vintage material along with dozens of previously unpublished photographs from his personal collection. In sections of the article "Burt Conklin-the Greatest Trapper," the struggles of life on the trapline whisk you away into the frozen wilderness. In other articles, traditions lost to time, such as Spruce gum picking, are illustrated in detail and we learn why one Adirondack spring got it's name "Whiskey Spring!"
Old Lobb    Mortimor Norton's contributions include vivid recollections of fishing the turbulent waters of the West Canada Creek and an entertaining sketch about "Old Lobb," the eccentric hermit of Piseco Lake (pictured right).
    Harvey Dunham's article, "French Louie, an American Character" appeared in New York Folklore Quarterly in 1946, six years before the release of his famous book about the old woodsman.
    William J. O'Hern's writing weaves seamlessly between the vintage articles, framing some stories, telling others. His work is clearly that of an aficionado of everything "Adirondack."
    The last collection in the book, "Campfire Yarns," features O'Hern's colorful interpretations of one of his favorite Adirondack characters, the Rev. A. L. Byron-Curtis. Byron-Curtis fell in love with the mountains while serving as the twenty-one year old deacon of Christ Church in Forestport in 1892. The stories and journals he wrote over the course of sixty years are a treasure trove which O'Hern has mined for the humorous anecdotes that form the basis for each of his "Campfire Yarns."
    Adirondack Characters and Campfire Yarns not only fulfills Blankman's dream, it fills a void in the recorded history of a seldom written-about region of the Adirondacks and the people who settled it.
    For information or review copies write or call: Roy Reehil, 315-675-9704,
email:roy at (replace the word "at" with the @ symbol)

Signed Paperback $19.95


More  about the book:
Table of Contents | Written Description | Edition Information
Author Bio | Back Cover Copy


  Copyright The Forager Press, LLC