- February 8, 1928 – JSA to Wm. Dalton –
Dear Mr. Dalton:
Our three Lake George lot lines were fixed by old deeds many years before we acquired the property, and were, therefore, not located by any plans at the time we acquired the land, and while the lines were fairly logical for three parcels, they are plainly at variance with the natural lay of the land for two pieces of property. It is now obvious that any division that neglects to recognize the hill in the center as a natural barrier between the two properties is sure to result in trouble for both parties.
I was happy to labor long and hard to find you a place on Lake George, with no thought of self-interest, and when the transfer of land was made to the three of us, the original deed was made out in your name to simplify the transaction. It is also a fact that you acquired slightly more than half the land and paid something less than half the total money required. It is also a fact that both the north and south parcels have cost to date per acre, more than your center strip, all of which is reasonable under the circumstances.
Answering your letter of the 6th more specifically. About five years ago, Mr. Roosevelt expressed willingness to transfer his strip of land to us, and I was amazed to find you insisting on having all the additional 160 feet of shore land, and all the protection which it gave to your property, and yet unwilling to concede to me any additional protection on my side of the hill. The only recourse left to me was to buy a half interest in the north strip, although located on the other side of the hill from my property, and take my chance on you or your heirs recognizing the wisdom, if not the justice, of my claim, all of which was explained to you at the time. Your unwillingness to recognize the fairness of my request made a decided “issue” of our lot lines, my camp being less than 60 feet from the line, and your attitude cast a shadow over our relations.
A few months ago Mrs. Dalton expressed in writing to me her dissatisfaction with our joint ownership, and made me a proposition which I accepted also in writing. Sometime later you and Mrs. Dalton and myself made a special trip to the Lake and measured up the proposed division of land, locating the change in lines, and I understand, we were in agreement. The question has since been discussed several times, but not pleasantly.
With further reference to your proposition of February 2nd, your land from the top of the hill north, is vitally affected by any use made of the land we own jointly, and it is therefore easy to see that if I should buy your half interest, and carry out the terms you impose, it would be to your advantage, with no possible benefit to me whatsoever, or benefit to my property on the other side of the hill. I would virtually have to tie up ten or twelve thousand dollars to improve the property the way you want it, and allow you to decide who and what use would be made of it. I hardly need to comment further on such a one-sided proposition.
I am writing this to you at your request; also as a memorandum to my heirs to aid them in understanding this situation and to help them avoid similar difficulties should this property still be a part of my assets at the time of my death.
I do not want my Lake George life depressed any longer with such questions, and I will in the next few days collect my papers on this subject and file them for all time, erasing as far as possible the subject from my mind, and you can do likewise with perfect assurance that the question will not again be raised by me.
Very truly yours,