Born: May 7, 1882 in Vermontville, New York

Died: March 25, 1972

Married: Theresa Kennerknecht

Children: Alvin Doty, Thelma Doty

Ormon Doty was a guide and a noted storyteller, who became famous for guiding U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. He grew up near the site of the present Brighton Town Hall. From 1914 on, he operated the Rainbow Lake Cottage on Rainbow Lake.

His first name was frequently misspelled as "Orman".

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 27, 1972

Ormon A. Doty

RAINBOW LAKE- Ormon A. Doty, 89, died early Saturday morning at his home.

Mr. Doty, who had lived in Rainbow Lake since 1914, was born in Goldsmith, a village near Loon Lake which no longer exists. His parents were Alexander and Mary Staves Doty.

In 1904, he was married to Theresa Kennerknecht of West Leyden who survives him.

He was a self-employed carpenter and a guide. Survivors, in addition to Mrs. Doty, are: a son. Alvin of Rainbow Lake; a daughter, Mrs. Thelma Caswell of DeFuniak Springs, Fla.; three grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Friends may call at the Fortune Funeral Home in Saranac Lake where the funeral will be held at 10 a. m. Tuesday with the Rev. Philip Zebley, pastor of the Saranac Lake Presbyterian Church, officiating.

Burial will follow in Brighton Cemetery in Gabriels.

From The Arcadia Journal by Blanche Whitney Kloman

Orman Doty when I first knew him was in his early sixties, tall, lanky, grizzled, a colorful Adirondack guide and great story teller. He was the father of my girlhood friend, Thelma.

Few had Orman's sense of humor or his propensity for playing practical jokes.

When President Calvin Coolidge made White Pine Camp on Osgood pond, the summer Whitehouse, Orman was hired as his guide. ever the prankster, one morning Orman hid a crayfish in the President's creel. The crayfish bit down on Coolidege's finger. He took the joke in good humor, supposedly one of the few times he was observed to laugh heartily.

Whenever Orman repeated the story, he slapped his thigh in glee and chortled at the recollection of the incident.

The Doty's ran a small boarding house for summer visitors and hunters in the fall. Their guests returned year after year, a tribute to Mrs. Doty's bountiful table.

Woe to the poor young honeymooners who, expecting privacy, would discover upon retiring three or four cowbells tied to their bedsprings. The following morning, Orman, straight-faced, pleaded innocence.

Black bear skins, a stuffed bobcat, and deer hides hung on the Doty's living and dining room wall, testifying to Ormond's skill as a hunter.

Every August the Dotys held a square dance in their barn. I was always invited by Thelma. and the most fun of all was to dance with Orman himself. He called the steps in his raspy, twangy, ear-piercing voice and never missed a beat until I begged off and sank breathless on a hay bale while Orman kept dancing, calling "allemande left, swing your ladies, do si do".

When Helen Escha Taylor compiled her little book Log Cabin Days, Folk Tales from the Adirondacks, she included one of Orman Doty's stories. It's a tale about a female wolf the Doties had befriended and sheltered one severe winter.

Visiting Lucy in 1971, I also went to see Orman. He was eighty-nine, sharp and merry as ever. We had a great visit. I asked him about the wolf story, "A Hard Winter". Laughing, he told me he had made the whole story up, to take the heat off the wolf packs which were being hunted so relentlessly. He said the story evoked sympathy for the wolves.

This revelation showed me a gentle side of this colorful personality who his entire life had earned a living hunting wildlife.

I wish I had thought to ask him about the renegade Doty relative who had camped at the end of the Flow adding to Rainbow Lake lore.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 29, 1954


More than 107 friends and relatives from the State of Maine, on one end of the Eastern seaboard to Florida, on the other end, visited the Rainbow Lake cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Orman A. Doty, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last Sunday. The Doty's have run the cottage as a guest home and hunting lodge since 1914.

Refreshments included a four-tiered wedding cake decorated with pastry roses and pansies in gold and pink on a background of white frosting, the whole surmounted by a golden lyre and a tiny golden bell. It was the gift of William Pudvah, of the Choate School, Wallingford, Conn., where it was made by him and was brought by car the day before the ceremony, arriving without a blemish in spite of the miles of bumpy roads.

The table was decorated with huge green ferns and golden mums. Punch was served by Mrs. Katherine Hobart and Mrs. Oscar Otis, assisted by Mrs. Pudvah.

New wedding bands were presented by the children.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 28, 1966

This 'N' That

by Helen Tyler

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. …Matthew 7:1&2.

It is more than a month now since I went to Rainbow Lake to call on my good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Orman Doty. I asked him if he had a story for me, and he replied that he had, I was in hopes it was one of his much-liked tall stores, but in reply to my question he said, "No not this time. This is true, that I am going to tell you to-day."

Then Mr. Doty, went on — "Just recently I heard over the radio that a certain woman on Rainbow Lake had bid in, at a high price, an old-time guide boat at an auction sale.

"The old guide boats are rare, but there are a few of the old-timers left in the country, and I have one of them. My boat is in wonderful condition, and it is at least 125 years old. Many years ago it was owned by the late Benjamin Franklin Hobart of Gabriels. Hobart was then employed by the PenfoId family who had a summer "camp" on Upper St. Regis Lake.

This boat that I have is the boat that Dr. E. L. Trudeau took his first ride in after he came to Paul Smiths, to die, (as he expected) with tuberculosis. He was then so ill and weak that he was helped into the boat by the late Fred Martin, and was rowed around Lower St. Regis Lake, on a sight-seeing tour by Hobart.

"For a great many years Hobart served the Penfold family as caretaker of their Upper St. Regis camp. When he died, at the age of 73, his son, Henry, took over the caretaker's job, and he also became the owner of the old guide boat.

"Henry Hobart married my sister, the late Millie Doty. Though Henry may have seemed a bit young to be a caretaker it worked out well, for he was serving a younger generation of Penfolds. After spending about 20 years at the caretaker's job he quit and turned farmer. His farm was in Gabriels and lakes were not quite so handy, nor time so plentiful for boating, but he was always choice of the boat, and kept it in the very best of condition.

"Time went on. Hobart continued his farming until his death at the age of 69, at which time his son, Frank Hobart, came into the ownership of the old boat, as well as the farm. "Frank Hobart seemed to be a true farmer, and not only did well with the acreage which had come to him from his father, but he bought still more land until he owned what was considered a "big farm" for the times and the area."

Frank Hobart and his uncle, Orman Doty, became good friends. Frank was not so many years (about 10) younger than Orman and all their lives they fished and hunted together whenever possible. In course of time the old boat, which they always used for their fishing trips, was left with Mr. Doty who continued to give it the "tender, loving care" to which it had been accustomed.

Early in June 1966, Frank and Orman had made plans for an outing on June 15th. On that day Mr. Hobart was supposed to be at Doty's by 5:00 p. m. for an early dinner after which the two men planned to take the old boat out to nearby Jones Pond and spend the evening fishing for bullheads. However, you have heard it said, that "Man proposes, but God disposes." and man's plans certainly went awry that day for fairly early that morning Mr. Hobart died suddenly with a heart attack.

A few days after the funeral Mr. Hobart's daughter called Mr. Doty and told him, "You had better take over the old boat for good."

Needless to say the old boat is pretty dear to Mr. Doty, for a number of reasons, and he says definitely, "It is NOT for sale at any price." However he would be glad to show it to anyone who would care to go to his home in Rainbow Lake to see it. Mr. Doty does not know who built the boat. But he does know that during the early years of Paul Smiths Hotel on Lower St. Regis Lake row boat races were among the early events put on for the amusement of the guests. It is also known that Henry Rork, who was then a carpenter for the Hotel won the race three years in succession in this same old boat. The guests enjoyed these races and always made up a purse of $50 which they presented to the winner.

Orman Doty by Pat and Tom Willis, photo of display taken 2/2009. Click on the image to enlarge the display.

Orman Doty, Continued by Pat and Tom Willis, photo of display taken 2/2009. Click on the image to enlarge the display.


Brighton History Days have been held one weekend each summer since 1994, sponsored by the Brighton Architectural Heritage Committee.