by Russell P. Bellico


Chronicles of Lake George relies primarily on the diaries, journals, and guidebooks of the early travelers to the region. The individuals who were dispatched to the lake during the eighteenth-century wars witnessed history unfolding, while others traveled as tourists during the nineteenth-century. The stories told by the journal keepers represent personal glimpses into their lives and the historic occurrences of the day. In reading these diaries, we are sharing the experiences of the chroniclers as they participated in major military campaigns or leisurely enjoyed the region of Lake George in a later era.

From the earliest days of travel to Lake George, military history has been interwoven with the tourist trade. Travel books written in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries recounted the fierce battles at the lake and described the remains of the forts and other notable scenes connected with the lake’s stormy past. As visitors viewed the relics of the eighteenth-century conflicts, profound feelings stirred their imaginations. The disintegrating remnants of Forts William Henry, George, and Ticonderoga seemed to cast a spell upon visitors. In 1800, 24-year-old Abigail May “paced over the stones [at Fort Ticonderoga] awe struck…a cold chill ran through my veins…every thing makes this spot teem with melancholy reflections–I knew not how to leave.”