larger communities of Caroga Lake, Newkirk's Mills, Wheelerville and
smaller crossroads of Bradtville, Canada Lake, Glasgow Mills, North Bush, Pine Lake, Rockwood, and Scotchbush

West Caroga Lake


Around the Town:


Businesses & Directories:


In the News


Vital Records:




Ms. Inger McDaniel 
Caroga Historian
PO Box 344 (Route 10)
Caroga Lake, NY 12032

Where to request records

Town Clerk
1840 St. Hwy, Route 10
PO Box 328
Caroga, NY 12032


~~~  Historical Attractions  ~~~


Also known as the Caroga Historical Museum
London Bridge Road, Caroga, New York 12032
The museum is open from July and August, 1 pm - 4pm, 
Thursdays - Sundays; (518) 835-4400

Museum of local history and artifacts.

The 1905 homestead combines the charm of farm and home with the historical aspects of the lower Adirondack industry in the 19th century.  Also on site is 1870 cobbler shop, 130 year old pegged barn and general store.  Also, tanning and lumber industry displays.


History of Caroga

   By an act of the Legislature passed April 11th, 1842, Caroga was formed from portions of Johnstown, Stratford and Bleecker.  Its organization was fully completed at its first town meeting, held at the house of G. A. Newkirk, on the second Tuesday of February, 1843, at which Garret A. Newkirk was elected supervisor and Nelson Brookins town clerk.  The first justices of the peace were A. Van Nest, Silas June and James Timmerman.  The town derived its name from its principal stream, but custom has applied the name "Caroga" to the town and "Garoga" to the stream.  It is bounded on the north by Hamilton county, east by Bleecker, south by Johnstown and Ephratah, and west by Stratford, and has an area of 29,952 acres.  It has a high, rolling surface in the southern part, and in the north it is broken by high, sharp mountain peaks.  In some parts the surface is covered with huge, irregularly shaped rocks from five to forty feet in diameter.  The soil is generally light and sandy, and only a small portion of it is susceptible of profitable cultivation.  The northern and central parts of the town are dotted with numerous lakes of various sizes, in most of which the water is clear and cold, and abounds with trout and other fish.  Chief among these lakes are Garoga, East Garoga, West Canada, East Canada, Mud, Green, Pine, Otter, Prairie, Bellows, Indian, Stewart, Nine Corner, Goose and Stink Lakes.  The latter unpoetic name is applied to two crystal sheets of sparkling water in the northern part of the town, from the fact that, at one time, when Nicholas Stoner and a companion were hunting in this vicinity, they discovered large quantities of fish which had got over a beaver dam in a freshet, and being unable to return, had perished on the recession of the water, to the great annoyance of those hunters, who thus named the lakes.  The principal stream is Garoga creek, which is the outlet of Garoga lake.  It flows rapidly in a southwesterly direction through Fulton county to the Mohawk.

    This town was once covered with an abundant growth of timber, chiefly beech, birch, maple, hemlock and spruce, and some pine, a good portion of which has been worked up into lumber of various kinds.  The principal occupation of the inhabitants has been -- and is still to quite an extent -- lumbering and collecting hemlock bark for tanning.  Ten years ago there were eight large saw-mills in the town, but this number has recently been reduced to five.

    The population of Caroga in 1875 was 881.  The number of taxable inhabitants in 1876 was 115.  The equalized valuation of real estate in 1877 was $37,582; of personal estate, nothing.


     NEWKIRK'S MILLS, situated in the southern part of the town, on Garoga creek, contains a store, a saw-mill, a hotel, a Protestant Reformed Dutch Church, a school-house, and about twenty dwellings.  It took its name from Garret A. Newkirk, who erected a saw-mill at this point about 1840.

     WHEELERVILLE, near the center of the town, contains a store, an M. E. Church, a saw-mill and a large tannery, one hotel, and a very fine school-house.  It has a population of about 125.

    Canada Lake, a summer resort on account of its romantic scenery, cool breezes, limpid waters, and the good trout fishing in the vicinity, has a hotel for the accommodation of pleasure seekers.  There is also a hotel at Garoga Lake.


    Two Indian villages, or settlements, are said to have existed in this town prior to the Revolution, but were broken up and abandoned in the early part of the war.  One of them was located at Garoga lake, and the other near Stink lakes.  Flint arrow heads and other Indian relics are occasionally found in the vicinity of these places.
    The first settlements by whites were commenced immediately after the close of the Revolutionary struggle.  Isaac Peckham, one of the very first pioneers, located as early as 1783 on the farm now occupied by Jacob Dorn.  He was a grandfather of the Hon. Isaac Peckham Christiancy, now United States senator from Michigan, who was born in this town, where his minority was spent.

    Reuben Brookins settled, about the same time with Mr. Peckham, on the place where Wm. Harden at present resides.
    James McClellan secured a title to 1,000 acres of land and became a resident of the town about 1785.  His purchase is now owned by twenty different individuals.

    Cornelius Van Allen located about 1790, and soon after built the first saw-mill in the present town of Caroga.

    Daniel Robert and Solomon Jeffers settled here in 1798.

    Samuel Gage, Wm. Jefferson, Abram Carley, Anthony Stewart, Nathan Lovelace, Elijah Gardner, Ira Beach, John Mead, Titus Foster, Lemuel Lewis and Daniel Goff were among those who settled here prior to 1800.

    Nicholas Stoner took up his abode in this town in the early part of the present century.  A daughter of his, Mrs. Mills, now in her 86th year, has resided here since she was 9 years old.


    Garret A. Newkirk and John Littlejohn built the first tannery in the town in 1843.  Lewis Rider was the first tanner and currier.  He rented this new tannery building, stocked it, and carried on the business for the first two years, when G. A. Newkirk became sole proprietor of both building and business, operating it until 1857, when he suspended.  William Claflin, ex-Governor of Massachusetts, is proprietor of the only tannery now in the town.  he also owns two large saw-mills here.

    Daniel Francisco, of Newkirk's Mills, is one of the principal lumber manufacturers and merchants of the town, owning and operating two large saw-mills and a store.  He is also the present supervisor of Caroga.

    Giles Polmateer, a native of Fulton county, born in 1812, located on his present farm in 1838.  His grandfather, Giles Miller, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.


    The first school-house was erected at North Bush.  The town now contains five school-houses.

    A Methodist Episcopal society was organized at Garoga Lake in October, 1842, by Stephen Parks, then of Gloversville.  John Mead was chosen its first class-leader.  In 1843 S. M. Foster, one of the first members of this society, became a licensed exhorter, and in that capacity served the congregation until 1850, when he was granted authority by the conference to preach, and has since sustained the relation of pastor.

    In 1872 this society erected a church edifice at Wheelerville, which was dedicated the same year by Rev. D. C. Dayton.  It is a frame building in the gothic style and 27 by 51 feet in size.

Source – "History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, N.Y." (New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1878) page 220.

History above transcribed by Lisa Slaski.


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Copyright ©1999,2000 Lisa Slaski
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