February 12, 1929 – JSA to Andrew Smith


  • February 12, 1929 – JSA to Andrew Smith, Atty. (Glens Falls) (Lot 11)

Dear Mr. Smith:

Will you please get in touch with Mr. Frank Morehouse and ask him to let you help him wind up our long effort on Lot 11 of the Ford and Robinson Tract, originally belonging to Mrs. Merrill. I have telephoned and written to Morehouse so many times, I hesitate to bother him any more, and he has all my papers on the subject.

It was very plain from the beginning that the State should own Lot 11, located as it is in the narrow Northwest Bay valley, at the end of water navigation, and the first piece of flat land suitable for park purposes. After a year of insisting I finally succeeded in getting the Commission to acquire part of this lot, with funds loaned by Mr. Bixby. The Commission, however, neglected to purchase the adjoining strip of 20 acres bordering on the navigable part of both streams and the highway. Their action was delayed until this land was contracted for by Mr. Sukman, Mr. Booth and others who planned to establish a commercial camp on this strip of land which virtually is the entrance to the Lake George Park.

I enlisted Morehouse’s help and we found their contract was very loosely drawn. Mrs. Merrill had a prior agreement to sell to Mrs. Frazier and Mr. Booth and Mr. Sukman agreed to release her from any prior obligation and failed to do so. I believe that Booth and Sukman brought suit against Mrs. Merrill but it was settled out of court for a nominal sum.

The Conservation Commission were backward and acted very niggardly, having had a specific understanding with me that I was to advance the money – about $800 – which would be returned as soon as they could overcome the impediments in their own organization. This verbal understanding took place with Mr. Pettis in my camp in the presence of Mr. Morehouse and Mrs. Pettis, and was confirmed only verbally, I believe, afterwards at several conferences – one at the Mohawk Club here with Mr. Morehouse, Mr. Hopkins and a man from the Attorney General’s Office. Procedure was agreed to several times but no final action was ever taken to compensate me or to take over the land, until about a year and a half ago when all the land in that vicinity was appropriated, including the 20 acre strip.

While the main object of my efforts has been accomplished, in that the land has been kept available for the public, I naturally am not pleased with the shabby treatment of the Commission and I think I should receive either by court action or by the Court of Claims, the money which I advance, with interest, which would not include any of my expense or time. If I remember correctly I advanced $800 and then some time in 1926 sent Mr. Morehouse a check for $50 to buy some outstanding claims. I am not sure whether I sent him check for settlement with Booth and Sukman or not.

Mr. Morehouse being Mrs. Merrill’s attorney, was in a good position to help the situation and he has been put to so much trouble that I am in hopes that you can be of some real help in entering my claim of taking such other action through the Court of Claims and I would urge you to get in touch with Mr. Morehouse as soon as possible.

Cordially yours,