Malone Farmer, 1921. Courtesy of the Northern New York Library Network

Born: c. 1887

Died: July 11, 1959, age 72 1



Bert LaFountain was a bootlegger from Gabriels, where Bert LaFountain Road commemorates his name.

On December 20, 1919, he was stopped driving a Buick 6 carrying "40 cases of sealed rye whiskey and one case of gin." 2

In 1921, with James Frenyea he was arrested near Rouses Point with "10 cases of Walker and nine of Dewar whiskey, and one case of White Horse Scotch." 3

In November, 1925, Prohibition agents raided his home and seized "162 bottles of Frontenac Special beer, 11 quarts of whiskey and a gallon of alcohol". He was held on $2000 bail by U.S. Commissioner Utting, of Saranac Lake for a federal grand jury. 4

In June, 1926, he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years for violation of the Prohibition laws. 5 A song, titled "Bert LaFountain's Packard" was recorded about his exploits.

In the 1950s, he sponsored a Gabriels baseball team.

The Plattsburgh Press-Republican ran a remembrance on May 20, 1982:

One of the high spots of history was the state troopers residency at the Riley Hotel during prohibition days. Bert LaFountain's unlicensed oasis where good whiskey was available on credit if necessary and at night when needed was just a stone's throw from Riley's Hotel.

Ambulant patients from the nearby sanitorium managed to walk as far as Bert's place if it was 40 below zero and five feet of snow on the ground. Bert always said his medicinal alcohol and Adirondack air cured the weakest of them and its fame spread far and wide before prohibition officers cracked down and cooled off the bootleg operation at the federal level.

He is still the most famous of all Gabriel's citizens, though dead for many years Noted for charitable works and a great personality, his influence lives on in legend. A short side route called Bert LaFountain Road leads to his old place of business.



1. Chateaugay Record, July 16, 1959
2. Malone Farmer, 12-24-1919
3. Malone Farmer, 1921 (date obscured)
4. Malone Farmer, 11-25-1925
5. Malone Farmer, June 9, 1926