The Town of Thurman - Settlers
Farmers and Loggers
Beneath the concrete and steel bridge that now carries travelers on New York State Route 418 into Thurman flows the Hudson River, which forms Thurman’s eastern boundary. Downriver one can see abutments from its predecessor, replaced in 1942. There were at least two timber bridges before the two steel ones.
But there was no bridge, old or new, when Thurman’s first settlers arrived here – only a ford, where horses and oxen could pull wagons across the river, or a ferry. Such was the gateway for the hardy souls who yielded to John Thurman’s marketing pitch to move to his town and help him tame the howling wilderness. By the time, this entrepreneur petitioned the New York State Legislature to designate his holdings as the Town of Thurman, he had amassed thousands of acres, estimated to be an area of 800 square miles — all of the land that is now Warren County except for the towns of Lake Luzerne and Queensbury and part of Caldwell. This mammoth geographic area was difficult to manage and impractical to govern, so it is no surprise that in the ensuing years, parts of Thurman began to splinter away to form separate towns. After Bolton, Chestertown, Johnsburg and Caldwell broke off, the remaining part of the original Thurman adopted the name “Athol,” which was a name nostalgically used by the Scots in that area, a tribute to the Athol region of Scotland from which they had come. But when Stony Creek broke away, the name for the 97 remaining square miles reverted back to “Thurman”.