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By Carol W. LaGrasse:

A Hike to Little Canada on John's Pond Road

April 28, 2005

A town road in Indian Lake, Hamilton County, barricaded by DEC, leads to a touching
little graveyard and the vanished settlement of Little Canada, from which the State of
New York evicted the people to expand the Forest Preserve. At the end of the road
was the main settlement at John's Pond.

POSTED

"POSTED"
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) "Posted" sign nailed to tree trunk warns that John's Pond Road is patrolled. Motor vehicles are prohibited.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

A stretch of John's Pond Road

A Stretch of Road Hints of a Once-beautiful Route
Where the natural terrain is protective, some of John's Pond Road sustains itself for now. The road was well built and improved. It could be maintained as a modern gravel road by the Town of Indian Lake until DEC barricaded it with huge boulders when the agency put its new "wilderness" plan into effect. In 1982, the Town Historian had pled with the agency, to no avail, to keep the historical road and deserted settlement area accessible to all the people. DEC signs on the trees warn that motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Remains of a Town Road

Remains of a Town Road
Road trace where the funeral procession of Little Canada residents followed the coffins of young Eliza King and Peter Savarie in 1897, now deteriorated into a muddy "hiking trail."
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Narrow Hiker's Rut

Narrow Hikers' Rut
Young balsam fir trees close in on what remains of John's Pond Road. Elsewhere, the narrow ditch worn by hikers has caused a gully to carry water down the center of the road, washing it away. Streams cross the road. In one place, a stream rushes over rocks where there is no bridge crossing. Elsewhere, a modern metal culvert lies meaninglessly, with water coursing around it on both sides, the road washed away.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

"To the Twin Graves"

"To the Twin Graves"
A sign directing visitors to a footpath up a hillside to the graves of two children appears about two miles beyond the beginning of John's Pond Road. The sign reads, "To the twin graves of Peter Savarie and Eliza A. King of Little Canada."
Photo: Susan Allen
 

"Death Came in the Black Diphtheria Epidemic"

"Death Came in the Black Diphtheria Epidemic"
A sign by the town of Indian Lake mounted on a tree trunk above the gravesite of two children reads, "Death Came in the Black Diphtheria Epidemic of 1897. May Their Souls Rest in Peace."
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Crosses and Plaques Mark the Children's Graves

Crosses and Plaques Mark the Children's Graves
Shaded by a century of forest growth, weathered wooden crosses and shiny metal plaques mark the graves of Peter Savarie (1886 - 1897) and his half sister Eliza A. King (1883 - 1897).
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Peter Savarie's Grave

Peter Savarie's Grave
When 14-year old Eliza King died of the "black diphtheria" in the family's small log house in Little Canada, the family hid her death from her half-brother Peter Savarie, who also lay gravely ill with diphtheria in the next room. But shortly after she died, Peter, who was just 11 years old, began to sing hymns. He would pause a moment and say, "Yes, Lizzie, I'm coming," the Indian Lake Historian Ted Aber wrote in 1982. "Within the hour, the young man had also succumbed to the illness," the historian wrote.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Eliza A. King's Grave

Eliza A. King's Grave
Eliza A. King was born April 13, 1886 of Abraham King and Olivia McQuin. Her half-brother Peter Savarie was born May 1, 1886, the son of Gideon Savarie and Olivia McQuin. They both died on the same day in 1897, according to Indian Lake Town Historian Ted Aber. Mr. Aber authored a book, "Adirondack Folks," from which he quoted in a 1982 report on the history of John's Pond Road.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Susan Allen at gravesite

A Hike to Little Canada Cemetery
On a cold day in late April, Susan Allen stands at the wire fencing that now supports the aging snow fence that Henry King placed around the gravesite of Peter Savarie and Eliza King many years after the half brother and sister died of "black diphtheria" on the same day in 1897. The grave of the fourteen-year old girl can be seen near Susan's feet.
Photo: Carol LaGrasse
 

Carol LaGrasse at gravesite

A Haunting Destination
Carol LaGrasse gazes at the cross and metal plaque marking the grave of Eliza King, who died of diphtheria on the same day in 1897 as her half-brother, buried beside her. After the community kept on in spite of the loss of many settlers, especially children, to diphtheria, the harsh fate of the settlement for another reason seems especially cruel. "Little Canada was extinct around 1915, the State acquiring most of the land," Town Historian Ted Aber wrote in 1982.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Cemetery at Little Canada on John's Pond Road

Cemetery at Little Canada on John's Pond Road
In the dim light of the deep forest, a tiny cemetery enclosed by rude snow fence held up by thin wire fencing memorializes the short lives of Peter Savarie and Eliza A. King where Little Canada once supported a community of settlers, several miles southeast of the village of Indian Lake, Hamilton County.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Adirondack Lean-to at Little Canada

Adirondack Lean-to at Little Canada
No historical plaques or markers of any kind mark the location of the main settlement of Little Canada on John's Pond Road, Indian Lake, but DEC has provided an Adirondack lean-to for the comfort of hikers near John's Pond. Note the hazardous location allowed by DEC for the campfire, with highly flammable conifer branches reaching into the small clearing. Why has DEC failed to place a memorial explaining that the settlement was wiped out when the State forced every one of these people off their land, without ever compensating them, in 1914?
Photo: Susan Allen
 

John's Pond, New York

John's Pond
Little Canada was once located at this lovely pond at the end of John's Pond Road. An ordinary hiker can find no trace of the settlement, and the rich history of the location is obscured by DEC's failure to mark and memorialize the past habitation.
Photo: Susan Allen
 

Boat Rests at Shore of John's Pond

Boat Rests at Shore of Pond
No other hikers were seen, but a boat rested at the shore of John's Pond
at the end of the road in late April.
Photo: Susan Allen

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