Herbert Haselton was a guide; he served as a caretaker at Clarence M. Hyde's camp, Point O'View, for twenty years. He became notorious when, at age 65, he shot and killed a man in a drunken brawl. Although initially charged with manslaughter, a grand jury declined to indict him in the matter.
Ogdensburg Republican-Journal, May 24, 1921.
BRAWL OVER DRINK LEADS TO A MURDER
Guide Winds Up Long Carousal by Killing Saranac Lake Man
HERB HASELTON SLAYER, LEVI LEBEAU VICTIM
SARANAC LAKE, May 23.—A sanguinary struggle at the C. M. Hyde camp, set in the wooded shore of Ampersand bay on the shore of lower Saranac Lake at 12:30 o'clock yesterday morning, ended when Herbert Haselton, 65, caretaker at the camp and one of the best known woodsmen in the Adirondacks, sent two bullets from a 45 caliber automatic revolver into the heart and jaw of Levi Lebeau, 34, son of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lebeau of Saranac Lake, killing him instantly.
Since surrendering to the police Haselton, weakened by the struggle and a month's carousal, his senses deadened to the horror of his crime, has said little about the tragedy.
The events leading to the tragedy were traced in minute detail by Philip Favro of Saranac Lake, a veteran of the world war, who was with Haselton, and Frank Budlong, a barber at St. Regis hotel, who was with Lebeau.
Budlong, who came here from Frankfort last Monday, was walking along Bloomingdale avenue opposite Finnegan's drug store at midnight, when Lebeau appeared in a taxicab driven by Frank Liberty. Lebeau had been attending the Saturday night dance in Bryant's hall. He called Budlong, with whom he was casually acquainted, and asked him if he would like to go for a ride. The night was warm and the prospect of a drive inviting, so Budlong got in the car. Lebeau knew that Haselton had been drinking heavily for some time, and he told Budlong he wanted to go to the Hyde camp.
On the trip to the camp, which is near the Mark Twain property, a mile and a half from this village, near the site of the old Ampersand hotel, Budlong sat in the rear seat and Lebeau sat with the driver. When the camp was reached, Lebeau left the car. Budlong remained until the shots were fired, when he and Liberty, fearing a bullet would be sent in their direction, returned to Saranac Lake.
Haselton was asleep in a room on the second floor. In an adjoining room was Favro, who has been Haselton's assistant for three years at the camp and who had been looking after the care camp during the time Haselton was away.
Shortly after midnight, while he and Haselton were asleep, he heard shouts at the door.
"Who's there?" Favro asked. "It's Lee," replied Lebeau. "Let me in. I want to see Herb."
Favro opened the door, admitted Lebeau and showed him the way upstairs to Haselton's room. Haselton lay on the bed, attired in his trousers and shirt.
Favro went out of the camp and was conversing with the occupants of the car, when he heard loud talking upstairs. He returned to Haselton's room.
"Levi wants a drink, Phil," said Haselton. The caretaker was still lying on the bed, and Lebeau was seated beside him.
"The bottle is empty," replied Favro. Again Lebeau asked for whisky.
"Give him a drink," said Haselton to Favro. "I won't," replied the caretaker's assistant.
Haselton turned, to Lebeau. "Phil's the boss," he said. Lebeau insisted on getting a drink. Haselton, after telling him to leave, rolled over on the bed. Lebeau grasped him and turned him over. The argument started and both men got to their feet.
Favro attempted to part them as they fought viciously in the dark room. Then seeing that his efforts were unavailing Favro went downstairs to the woodshed. There he remained while Lebeau and Haselton struggled upstairs and then down. Finally Lebeau left the camp and went to the car. Favro locked the kitchen door. Lebeau had dropped his hat in the upstairs room and returned for it. At that instant Haselton asked Favro where his revolver was. Favro told him it was in a holster at the head of the bed. Then Haselton recalled that it was under his pillow. When he went after it Favro secreted himself in the Butler's pantry.
Haselton and Lebeau met at the door and renewed the argument on the outside. Then two shots which were heard by campers on the lake were fired and Lebeau fell, shot through the jaw and heart.
Haselton, probably thinking that Lebeau had returned to attack him again grappled with Lebeau when he opened the door. In the scuffle he fired. Altho the shots were fired on the threshold of the door Lebeau reeled ten feet away and fell face downward.
Favro then appeared. "I got him, Phil," said Haselton calmly and went to his room.
Favro telephoned to Frank E. Sheldon, chief of police. The chief, accompanied by M. M. Jones, patrolman drove to the camp. They found Haselton lying on the bed dazed and covered with blood. He told the chief that a man 65 years old had to resort to some defense when attacked by a young man.
At the jail the officers attempted to wipe the blood from his face, but he refused to permit it, his reason being to show the authorities that he had been in a fight.
Haselton, altho he has been active at all times, show his age. His hair is sparse and his face seamed with wrinkles. He is tall and of slight build. Lebeau was short and thickset. Haselton has been drinking steadily for a month. Saturday night at 5:30 o'clock he telephoned police headquarters from the camp and asked G. A. Utting, police judge, if a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
The judge could scarcely understand what Haselton said, but made out that Haselton was afraid of being arrested for an argument over the daylight saving question. He said he had been opposed to it.
Haselton has lived here many years. He is of a genial disposition except when drinking, and has many friends here who are shocked by the crime. He has been at the Hyde camp for 20 years. An expert woodsman, guide, hunter and angler, his services are highly valued by the owner of the camp.
Lebeau was a well-known resident of Saranac Lake and was well liked. News of his tragic death horrified the community where he and his relatives are so highly respected. He came here a number of years ago but recently had been in Buffalo and Detroit, where he tested motor for the Dodge company. After returning to Saranac Lake he was employed as a driver by Thomas Dollard, taximan, but had been working up to Saturday night as a painter in the employ of Arthur Wood.
Besides his aged parents, who live at No. 82 Lake street, he is survived by six sisters, Mrs. Bert Miller of Johnstown, Mrs. Viney Betters of Paul Smiths, Mrs. Frank Vosburgh of Coreys and Mrs. George Murray, Mrs. Dominick Disco and Mrs. Delbert Oldfield of Saranac Lake and three brothers, William, Frank and Joseph Lebeau.
Ogdensburg Republican-Journal, June 14, 1921
SLAYER'S ACTIONS ARE KEEPING ALIVE STORY OF HOMICIDE
SARANAC LAKE, June 13.—The activities of Herbert Haselton, slayer of Levi LeBeau following a fight at the C. M. Hyde camp on Lower Saranac Lake early in the morning of May 22 last, are keeping alive the circumstances of the crime, which for a time passed from the public mind when the grand jury at Malone in session the day following the crime failed to indict the camp caretaker and set him free after less than a week's confinement.
Haselton has asked the police for the revolver which snuffed out LeBeau's life and has several times visited the scene of the shooting and rehearsed the encounter with Jim Moody, who succeeded him after the owners' of the camp discharged him. There is some talk that the case may be reopened.
Haselton's calm attitude toward the shooting took a rather sensational turn when he approached Frank E. Sheldon, chief of police, and asked for the return of the .38 calibre revolver. He was told that it was in the possession of the authorities at Malone. Then he asked that the police request the county authorities to return the weapon, intimating he wanted it as a memento.
Still more sensational has been Haselton's visits to the camp where he was attacked by LeBeau before firing the fatal shots. To his successor he has gone minutely over the phases of the struggle, pointing out where it started and the relative positions of the men when the shots were fired. He says he shot LeBeau first through the heart and then the jaw.