Born: March 5, 1853 in North Elba, the son of William Peacock and Louisa Herring who came to North Elba from England in 1847
Died: June 14, 1942 (or November 1942)
Married: A Miss Stearns
Tomas Henry Peacock was a guide; he also built three cure cottages near the bottom of Helen Street at Church Street. 1 He lived at 192 Lake Street. He also had a camp on Long Pond, in the narrows. "Since then the state tore it down," he wrote. He is buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery.
Abolitionist John Brown was a neighbor of his childhood family.
At 18, Peacock blazed the first trail from Middle Saranac Lake to Ampersand Mountain. As a young man, he moved to Saranac Lake. He served as guide for Grover Cleveland in 1878 and '79 (before he was Governor of New York or the U.S. President). He also worked for Verplanck Colvin.
He traveled widely, hunting moose in Canada, and making several trips to the West. 2
Tupper Lake Free Press and Herald, October 23, 1941
Old Guide Recalls Hauling Supplies to Logging Camps on Big and Little Wolf Ponds Near Tupper Over 70 Years Ago
Billy Burger of Westport, whose column, “The Adirondacker” in the Ausable Forks Record-Post frequently carries material of interest to our readers, interviewed one of the Adirondacks' “grand old men” Tom Peacock, 89-year-old Saranac Lake guide, for his last issue. Old-time lumbermen and sportsmen here may find memories stirred by the following excerpts from that column:
“Tom Peacock's father had a contract to supply food to lumber camps at Big and Little Wolf Ponds, near the present Tupper Lake village. This was back in the late 60's or early 70's, when Tom was just about grown.
They would load hay onto lumber sleds in the evening. Next morning, rising hours before daybreak in the dead of winter, they would put 25 to 30 bushels of potatoes and two or three quarters of beef on the hay. The start was made about half past two or three, but Tom can remember driving through Saranac Lake as early as 3 a. m. They planned to get onto the Lower lake by daylight. There were two sleds so the teams could double up if they struck heavy going.
Followed the Lakes
“The route was through the Lower Lake with the turn off to right up the side of the river and then out onto Middle Saranac or Round Lake, as it is called locally. Crossing the ice on this lake they took to the woods to the left of the river. Crossing the bridge at Bartlett's, they came out on the upper lake above the dam, where according to Tom, the ice was sometimes poor. Out on Upper Saranac they went straight across past Deer Island and into the woods at Johnson's Clearing. The country was now level and for a stretch the crude winter road was in sight of Raquette River. The sleds would usually arrive in camp about 9 p. m. to be greeted by lumberjacks with great enthusiasm. They not only carried food for man and beast but brought mail. Mr. Peacock remarked that in those days mail was carried through the woods by Tom, Dick and Harry.
“As we talked on about this and that, we got onto one of Mr. Peacock's favorite topics, trout fishing. He recalled a trip to Racquette Falls along about '81 or '82, on the 9th or 10 day of May. There were four, in the party, the famous Dr. Ely being one of them. They arrived at Mother Johnson's, near the Falls, about three or four in the afternoon. The water was high, and the ice had not long been out. The guides would put their patrons on the rocks near the foot of the Falls. Then they would hover below in boats. The fishermen would cast their flys [sic] in the white foam above. As the trout were hooked, the guides would pull up in boats and net the fish. About an hour of this would tire them all out.
Mother Johnson's Pancakes
“Supper at Mother Johnson's consisted chiefly of her famous Injun wheat pancakes. (Adirondack Murray raved about them.) These were made with sour dough, were darker than buckwheat and a little bitter. Mother Johnson had two large cabins and two or three smaller ones, a couple of cows and an ox team to draw boats over the carry. There was more fishing that evening and the next morning. When they started back they had a bushel of one to three pound speckled trout.
“Dawson Pond is nearby. It is very cold and used to be alive with little trout. You could get three at almost every cast. Tom remembers catching a pack-basket full in a very short time. He says there was nothing in the Adirondacks like it.
Pike Killed Off Trout
“The apparently capricious act of two men, an old guide at Long Lake, Lysan[der] Hall, and a fellow who was a sort of lay minister, killed the trout fshing in the Long Lake, Raquette River system. They went over around Tahawus and brought back eight live pickerel or northern pike. They put these in a brook at Long Lake village. Some people heard about it and caught four, but the others got down into the lake. Presently the pike were so numerous, they seemed to almost fill the river. Then they w«re thinned out by a horrible disease, a kind of small pox, which attacked the base of the scales. The consequent rotten stench made travel on the river pretty mean for a while.
“Some fifteen to twenty years afterward old John Duckett and John Hanmer put a wash boiler full of pike into Upper Saranac and that cleaned out the trout from all the Saranacs, including the 33 ponds and streams which fed into them. This was a pure spite act. Jesse Corey was running Rustic Lodge at Indian Carry. Corey called Dukett's place on Stony Creek or Spectacle Pond, “The Pickerel House.” Duckett got mad with tragic results.”
(It Is Interesting to note that Alfred B. Street, whose account of a trip thru this area over 80 years ago is now being reviewed in the Free Press, mentions this same Jesse Corey, then a boy of 16, as having met the party at Indian Carry, with his father and accompanied it as a sort of camp assistant.)
Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post, June 25, 1942
Ike — the Tame Moose
By Tom PEACOCK and BILLY BURGER
(NOTE: Since the following was written, my friend, Thomas L. Peacock has died. Although I had known him less than two years, I admired him greatly. I wish I had met him much earlier. From now on his spirit will be with me—through all the Saranacs, up the Raquette River to Long-Lake and beyond, and about North Elba. He will be especially close at Raquette Falls.
This story is told and vouched for by that grand old man of Saranac Lake, Thomas L. Peacock. Since helped Donaldson write the “History of the Adirondacks.” it must be true!
“Back in 1903 and 4 I had a camp in the Narrows in Long Pond. Since then the state tore it down. I had come from New York where I'd been looking after Gilbert Turner, the son of J. Spencer Turner, who made money on tents in the Civil War. I used to stay for 2 weeks at a time in the Union League Club in New York.
“We had just arrived at the house in Saranac Lake when a boy came in. He was badly scared. He had just come from camp and said he saw 'the awfullest animal there.' We went right up on the train. When we got to camp, there was a moose walking around. I went up to him. He reached out his nose. I patted it and he stayed around all summer. He was so tame Turner would lie up against him when he was lying down and go to sleep. I figure he must have escaped from some private park. He was about three years old. I called him "Ike" after our game protector. He would always come when I called him even if he was way up in the woods.
"But he didn't like women. His eyes would turn green if he saw a woman and he'd start for her. I'd yell, "Ike," at him and he'd stop. Dr. Trembly wanted me to call him one night and I did. He came crashing down through the woods. When the doctor saw his eyes he got scared and ran. The moose chased him right up to a cabin.
"He used to come up to window when we were eating and look right at us.
"One time some boys saw him up on a ridge on Slang Pond. He started for them. They ran to their boat and he swam after them. They carried boat across carry, Into Long, but he came right after them clear to camp, and followed them right up onto the porch of a cabin into which they ran. Then looked in at them through windows and glass door.
"When I wanted to get rid of him, l'd cut a yellow birch about 7 or 8 foot long, with about a foot for a handle. I'd make a withe of it. Then I'd hit him along his side or over his head as hard as I could. He’d stand and grunt "aunk" for 5 or 6 blows. Then when he'd been stung enough, he'd go into the water and be gone 2 or 3 days.
"I'd say to everyone 'look out if you see his eyes turn green.' One time H. H. Mann pulled his bell. Ike chased him right up onto my porch.
"Another time I was down at my house in Saranac Lake. Old Mr. and Mrs. Turner were in camp. The boys came down and told me the moose had noosed up the swing which was hung on 1 1/2 inch rope. His horns got caught and hung up in the rope as he struggled to get loose. Gilbert Turner tried to cut rope. He lunged at Turner, his horns broke and he went wild. He smashed things up. So old man Turner shot him. That was the end of Ike."
1. The three cure cottages Tom Peacock built were probably 20 Church Street and 24 Church Street where DeChantal Apartments are now, and 28 Church Street, now the telephone company building.
2. Charles Brumley, Guides of the Adirondacks: A History, pp. 144-146