Peeling the Bark off Hemlock Trees
Look at this devastation. I hope it does not come to this in the Adirondacks. This occurred down in the Katskill Mountains; Prattsville I am told.
You can see the ambitious production of these men. Yet they were only following the direction of their ambitious boss Zadock Pratt.
When I ask visitors that come to my cabin about this Zadock Pratt they tell me that he was an ambitious man who buried himself in work after his wife died. He built factories and churches and even became involved with Jason “Jay” Gould the railroad robber barron.
Pratt had built a large tannery in Prattville about 100 miles south of here. I don’t think there was a virgin hemlock tree remaining for twenty miles around by time Pratt was done.
He used the hemlock bark to tan leather. I have no idea if he ever used the rest of the tree or just left it laying there.
Before he was finished he had built a tannery, a church and an academy – - - not to mention the town named after him. Oh yes, I guess I already said that.
He also had a traveling stone cutter make reliefs of him and his ideals on the cliffs of Prattville. Old Zadock will be in that stone for a long time.
Pratt went on to become a congressman in the federal government and had something to do with the bureau of statistics. Pratt loved statistics.
Prattville was not far from Roxbury. Eventually he met up with Jay Gould who was a much younger, and much more ambitious than Pratt; but not in a good way.
Jason “Jay” Gould
They built another tannery together in Gouldsboro way down in Pennsylvania.
So you can imagine what devastation was heaped upon Pennsylvania’s hemlocks as well.
Eventually Gould bought out Pratt’s share of the new tannery.
Gould became involved in several “deals” involving railroads, gold and dirty politics. Much too involved for me – - - who has always lived in the forest. I never did get the drift of all this; other than it was no good.
Gould even attempted to steal another man’s railroad. I don’t have any idea how you go about stealing a railroad line.
I hope to never even think about such things.
The attempt went from financial chicanery to physical violence. Gould hired a bunch of men to take over a tunnel on the railroad line. That was down near Binghamton. There was a train crash and fighting with clubs and fists. Eventually the governor had to send in the militia.
That happened not too long after the civil war ended.
So you can see from our little discussion as to why I am glad that Pratt’s vision of hemlock murder never came up this way.
I could never figure out why.
Maybe I should not even voice such a thing.
Would you like a cup of tea? Maybe I can find a few more pictures or pages from a book for you to see.
© Copyright of Waldo Tomosky