Lake George History

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For the historically minded visitor the Lake George area offers the opportunity to visit the sites of events that helped shape history and influenced the beginnings of a new country. Because of its strategic location, Lake George was part of one of the most important travel corridors of the time.

Known to the Mohawk as Andiatarocté Lake George was used by the Iroquois as a hunting and fishing ground and as a passage to the lands of their enemies to the north.

Lake George history indicates that one of the first white men to see the crystal clear waters of Lake George was Father Isaac Jogues, a Jesuit missionary who christened the lake "Lac du Saint Sacrement" in 1646. Soon after, war broke out between the European powers that sought to dominate the eastern part of North America. The conflicts spanned over 100 years and ended with the American Revolution. The lake retained the name given by Father Jogues "Lac du Saint Sacrement" until 1755 when it was renamed "Lake George" by Sir William Johnson in honor of England's King George II.

The first battle to take place in Lake George between the English and French during the French and Indian war was the "Battle of Lake George." The first part of the battle "The Bloody Morning Scout" took place along the old military road a few miles south of Lake George Village. In this battle Col. Ephraim Williams was killed. The section of the bike path bordered by Rt. 9 on the north and Rt. 149 on the south is the location of part of this battle. In this area you can visit the site of Bloody Pond and see the Monument marking the site where Col. Ephraim Williams was killed.

Bloody Pond Marker....

Here Sept. 8, 1755 -Battle of Lake George- the Colonial forces under Lieut. Col. Cole checked the hitherto successful advance of Baron Dieskau and his allies, changing the British rout into ultimate victory. Here likewise on the evening of the same day, Capt. McGinnis assisted by Capt. Folsom with 200 New York and New Hampshire men, fell upon 300 Canadians and Indians encamped near the pond for the night. After a desperate struggle the French force was almost annihilated. Over 200 bodies rolled into the pool stained the water red and gave it its name. In this conflict Rogers, the famous Ranger made his debut as a soldier. Near this spot Oct. 11, 1780 Major Christopher Carleton and his band of Regulars, Tories and Indians, defeated with great loss, Captain John Sill and an American detachment from Fort George forcing the surrender of that station.

The trail continues southward through the forest along what was once a foot path during the French and Indian War and passes a picnic area and then the Colonel Williams Monument that marks the site of his death.

The remnants of Colonel Williams' force retreated back to the shores of Lake George where additional fighting took place at as what is now known as Fort George Park. Here you will find additional monuments and markers commemorating the events.

World wide attention was brought to Fort William Henry by James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Located on the southern shore of Lake George, Fort William Henry overlooks the lake. Here is where General Montcalm mustered a force of 12,500 French Regulars and Indian allies to attack the Fort which was defended by 2,200 colonial troops. After six days, the log fortress battered by the French cannonade finally surrendered and the fort was subsequently burned by the French.

Terms of the surrender included safe passage of the soldiers, women & children to nearby Fort Edward. But the Indian allies defied Montcalm's orders and hundreds of British and Colonial men, women, & children were massacred. More information on the The Siege & Massacre.

Here too is where troops from this fort would move by the thousands up the lake to attack Fort Carillon, later to be renamed Ticonderoga, which was 5 miles past the 32 miles of Lake George. Some of the boats they used were called Bateaux. These were flat bottomed, double ended vessels. They also had floating gun batteries called Radeaux. They were seven-sided with cannon ports in each of the seven sides.

Try to imagine the sights and sounds of 15,000 men launching in 900 Bateaux and 150 other assorted craft and moving down the lake following General Abercrombie on his ill-fated attack on Fort Carillon.

The Northern end of Lake George is also rich in history. Here is where Abercrombie's army of 15,000 landed, where Lord Howe was killed, where Major Robert Rogers and his Rangers took a beating in the Battle on Snowshoes and the location of the Grand Carrying Place. Fort Ticonderoga is one of the best known historic sites in the Lake George region. Many battles and events took place around the Ticonderoga area and should also be explored by the visitor.

Not all of Lake George's historic sites are on land, some of them are underwater. For more information on the underwater heritage see our scuba diving page.

Try this link for a walking tour and map of historic sites in the Fort William Henry area.

For a list of historical sites and state markers around the Lake George Village area contact the Lake George Chamber of Commerce at 518-668-5755 and ask for their brochure.

A brochure titled "The Mohican Trail" showing historic sites from Saratoga to Ticonderoga is available from the Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce by calling 518-798-1761.

The Lake George Historical Association is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Lake George region.


Interesting Facts about Lake George

James Fenimore Cooper, author of "The Last of the Mohicans," thought the name Lake George "too common place" and tried unsuccessfully to have the lake renamed "Horicon". A name he used to refer to Lake George in his novel.


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Ticonderoga, NY 12883

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