People of Importance
First 100 Years
Kitchel Bishop established the first tannery on the banks of the Schroon River. (This tannery was later to be developed by Colonel Benjamin Burhans.) In 1802 he was appointed as the first Postmaster of the Town of Thurman, Washington County, New York, which position, in 1813, made him the first postmaster of Warrensburgh. He served until 1822. In 1813 he sat on the first Court of Common Pleas, which met at Lake George. Judge Bishop served as a representative of the County in the State Legislature until 1815.
John G. Smith came to Warrensburg and owned a half interest in a clothespin factory. He built a number of homes in town and helped build the Burhans' Sawmill on the Schroon River. At age 44 he leased the abandoned Burhans' Tannery to use the river to power a dynamo and provide electricity to the town. In 1894 selected home and street lights in Warrensburg were illuminated with electricity. He was also engaged in the lumbering business, machine works and was Secretary of the Schroon River Pulp and Paper Mill.
Louis W. Emerson, the elder son of Albert C. Emerson, was born in 1857. He graduated from the Warrensburg Academy at 16. After a few years working in New York City he went to work with his grandfather, Joseph Woodard, in the lumber business.
In 1879 he teamed up with Louis Weinman to start the Empire Shirt Company. By the time they joined forces with J. P. Baumann they were making 100,000 dozen shirts a year. In 1885 Lou partnered with others to open the Warrensburg Woolen Mill, where they employed the entire process of spinning, weaving and sewing to make the famous Warrensburg Wool Pants, as well as coats and blankets.
In 1884 he became head cashier of the Emerson and Company bank, started by his father. He learned how to tell a winner from a loser, and the fortunes of Emerson's bank grew. Bankrolling selected candidates for political office, Lou got involved in the local Republican political scene. He subsequently served two terms as New York State Senator, 19th District, from 1890-1893.
Back in Warrensburg to attend to multiple family businesses, he partnered with others to open the Schroon River Pulp Company in 1892 and built the huge buildings on River Street for Empire Shirt in collaboration with J.P. Baumann.
In 1900 Louis Emerson was elected U.S. Congressman from New York 23rd District - serving for two terms, 1899-1903, under Presidents McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. He continued to be active in politics, serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1904, 1912 and 1916, until his death on June 10, 1924.
Second 100 Years
Floyd Bennett (1890-1928) was born on Truesdale Hill and spent his boyhood years at the home of his aunt Mary and uncle Warren Stanton on Harrington Hill. Floyd is Warrensburg's hero, having been the pilot for Commander Richard E. Byrd on the first flight over the North Pole in 1926. This accomplishment was proclaimed internationally and he received the Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge. The monument and flag pole in the park at the corner of Main, Hudson and Elm Streets was dedicated to him at a Memorial Day ceremony in 1931. Floyd Bennett died of pneumonia in 1928 while on a mission to rescue two downed pilots.
Oscar Quintal and his wife Edith moved to Warrensburg in 1943 and opened the original Oscar’s Smoke House. Two fires later and a brand new “green” building, their son Jerry and his sons are still running this thriving business, one of Warrensburg’s biggest attractions, now called Oscar’s Hickory House. Their products have been eaten in the White House and Rachael Ray often promotes them on her TV program.
James A. Emerson, the younger son of Albert C. Emerson is best known for his service as New York State Senator. Born in Warrensburg in 1865, he attended Warrensburg schools and Boy's Academy in Albany. He became involved in and helped found family businesses, including Emerson & Company Bank, Empire Shirt Company, Warrensburgh Woolen Mill, Schroon River Pulp Mill, the Leland Hotel of Schroon Lake and the Schroon Lake Navigation Company. He was a co-founder of the Warrensburgh Water Works.
Upon election to the New York State Senate in 1906 he pushed for a "trunk highway" from New York City to Rouse's Point, just south of Montreal (now Route 9), and got $1,200,000 to build it in 1911. He also had fishermen in mind when he got $20,000 to build the State fish hatchery in Warrensburg. He served the 32 District for 12 years.
Married to Margaret MacGregor, they had one son, Albert Louis, who succeeded his father as president of the Emerson National Bank. James Emerson died in 1922 at Long Island College Hospital after a long illness.
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