October 5, 1885
William West Durant born in Brooklyn NY; Sister Ella (Heloise) born four years late.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is part of the Philosophers Camp; writes The Adirondacs poem.
Dr. T.C. Durant ships family (Mrs. Heloise Trimbrell Durant, William West Durant and Ella Durant) to England on the SS Great Eastern while he develops the Transcontinental Railroad. William (age 11) educated in England.
Dr. Thomas C. Durant begins to look beyond the Union Pacific for business prospects. Starts land speculation in the Adirondacks. Buys up land form the State for as little as five cents an acre. Dr. Durant forms the Adirondack Railroad Co. with goal of bringing rail route from New York City to North Creek, NY and across the Adirondacks to Canada. Raquette Lake figures prominently – central region. Gained concessions from New York State for no taxation as long as tracks were laid.
NY Times article calls the Adirondacks the Central Park for the World.
NYS law passed that allows companies that have acreage in the Adirondacks to be tax exempt if they develop the land with infrastructure. Adirondack Co. has 1 mil in acreage in the Adirondacks – all tax exempt – until 1883. Dr. Durant buys up more land at tax sales. Lumber companies and investors at the time would purchase land for the lumber rights, clear cut and abandon for unpaid taxes. Durant sends company lawyers to tax sales and buy the land cheap, promise to develop railroad and transportation lines. As long as he fulfilled this promise, the land stays tax exempt.
William West Durant get's his first hunting license to hunt on the Isle of Wight, England.
Mrs. Durant, William and Ella staying with General John Adams Dix in his home in Paris while he was Minister to France.
William H. Murray publishes book Adventures in the Wilderness. Popularizes the Adirondacks for wealthy NYC tourists.
William travels to Egypt from England on the 'Cleopatra'. Meets up with Sam Baker, big game hunter from England.
Alvah Dunning, famous Adirondack guide, stays with William H. Murray on Osprey Island. Dunning builds cabin. Murray eventually leaves and Alvah takes ownership of the island.
William West Durant continues to travel extensively. Takes hunting trips with British aristos to Egypt and Africa. Lives for a time at Cawley's cottage on Isle of Wight. Maintains a friendship with Sir Charles Locock who has a country home at Binstead on isle of Wight.
Credit Mobilier collapse scandal accuses Durant and the Union Pacific in government bribery – will plague Durant estate.
Dr. Durant loses a fortune in Panic of ’73. Meets family in England to discuss future plans. They have ½ million acres of land in Central Adirondacks in assets.
He was land rich and cash poor. His company by then had spent $6 mil on a line from North Creek to Central ADK. He could not get investors in London or NYC interested in helping him refinance.
Dr. Durant tells family it is time to come back to America.
Verplanck Colvin conducts first geographic survey of region. Discovers Lake Tear of the Clouds as source of Hudson.
Colvin advocates for the next decade for the formation of a State Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks. Advocates for protection of the Adirondack watershed which leads to the Hudson River as economic imperative for protection of the Erie Canal.
In the meantime people like Durant and others with logging and tourism interests are damming lakes and rivers in the Adirondacks for navigation and logging; leaving behind wastelands.
William visits Adirondacks for first time. Opening of Pine Knot (now Camp Huntington). William will spend the next 13 years retrofitting Pine Knot to his liking.
Barque of the Pine built (houseboat) at Pine Knot for Mrs. Heloise Hannah Durant, William's mother so she can get away from the biting insects. Anna Leonowens visits Pine Knot; Poultney Bigelow visits Pine Knot.
Charlie Bennet build hunting cabins on Long Point near Pine Knot for Durant’s guests.
William reconfigures the main building at Pine Knot in style of Swiss Cottage using a music box as a model.
Charles Durant (William's cousin) steps on Osprey Island looking to build. Has a stand off with Dunning who states he owns it.
Frederick Clark Durant builds Prospect Hotel on Blue Mountain Lake.
Dr. Durant is officially bankrupt according to a NYT article published June 12, 1880.
Francis Stott, former partner with Dr. Durant, builds camp on Bluff Point on Raquette Lake. William visits.
Durants build Mission of Good Shepard Church on Raquette Lake (still exists). Charles Durant obtains property from Dunning for $100-200.00 after Mrs. Durant cajoles Alvah to acquiesce over a cup of tea. He builds Camp Fairview.
Charles Bennet– builds Antlers on Constable Point, Raquette, accommodates 40-50 guests.
Ella Durant has a row with her father over her unfashionable behavior, including opening up Camp Pine Knot with friends for a summer party.
Marc Cook publishes article in Harper's Magazine called the Miracle Cure. Claims that the Adirondacks will heal consumption. People flock to the region (including the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson) for a cure only to find it can be cold and rainy half the time, worst thing for their coughs and colds. Many die staying in region or en route home.
William becomes President of the Adirondack Railroad Co. in partnership with William Sutphen.
Ella has public scene with her father in the streets of New York City over her behavior. Father threatens to disown her. Stays away form home days at a time in NY City. Ella goes into a convent for awhile with the assistance of Rev. Morgan Dix of the Trinity Church in NY City; son of General John Adams Dix civil war veteran and former President of the Union Pacific Railroad.
William asks father for money to marry Janet Stott. Stotts and Durants were once business partners. Stotts have place on Raquette Lake. Dr. Durant says no to giving William money, says he has none to give. Heloise Trimbrell Durant gives Janet $3,500 for wedding.
The tax exemption for Durant properties in the Adirondacks runs out.
William and Janet marry. Live in Saratoga Springs. They have first child. Ella publishes book of poems 'Pine Needles or Sonnets and Songs'.
Adirondack Forest Preserve Act passed May 15, two days after Durants try to gain purchase of lands on Raquette for Stotts and Charles Durant.
William and Janet have a son Lawrence.
Dr. Durant dies leaves no will. William talks mother and sister Ella into signing over power of attorney to him. Estate swamped with claims against it totaling several million.
William assures Ella she will get her share once the estate is settled.
Ella moves back to London with a ticket purchased by William and small inheritance. Publishes her book called Dante: a Dramatic Poem. Spends time with literary and theater friends. Loses money to investments with a Count LaSalle.
William negotiates the sale of the Adirondack Railway to the Delaware and Hudson Co. for $689,500. He then deeds over 380,000 acres of timber land. Janet and William have a daughter Heloise and another son, Basil Napier.
William buys Mohegan Lake and makes plans to build Camp Uncas.
New York State Forest Preserve is established.
Frethey and Ella marry in 1891 – he dies six weeks later. Ella is starting to inquire about her inheritance. Receives a letter from John Barbour (April 14, 1887) – who states that there is a $20 million judgment against her father’s estate from the Credit Mobilier fiasco.
William and Janet visit Ella in London. She is more demanding.
William commissions the building of a yacht July 1890 – by the Neafie & Levy Co. Named Utowana and costs $200,000 to build. William elected a member of the New York Yacht Club.
Ella starts to ask friends in America how William is spending his money. She has old family friend Alfred Lococks - son of Sir Charles Lococks (England) to inquire in a letter to William to account for her estate.
William visits with Ella in England on his yacht. Ella dependent on a $200 monthly allowance from William. He threatens to cut her off if she keeps pestering him.
Collis P. Huntington, former President of the Central Pacific Railroad and competitor of Dr. Durant's Union Pacific Railroad, visits Pine Knot with his wife. Huntington and William become friends. Huntington becomes William's chief creditor.
William still travelling the world oblivious to his sister's call for an accounting of the Durant family estate and her inheritance. He sends letter to lawyer of Union Pacific Railroad to inquire nto his father's holdings dated April 1892, from Cairo Egypt.
William takes another long voyage on yacht. Ella returns to states to try to sue for her share of estate.
Winter - William stakes out the land for building Great Camp Uncas on Mohegan Lake.
Starts building Camp Uncas. Borrows money from J.P. Morgan to build it.
Ella tries unsuccessfully to give summons to William while he is in Adirondacks. Still pursues the suit.
Janet is diagnosed with neurasthenia or 'woman's hysteria'. Dr. Richmond Pratt visits Pine Knot while William away for three weeks. William files for divorce from Janet claiming she committed adultery with Pratt.
Pine Knot sold to Huntington for $35,000. Cost to build, and furnishing estimated at $75,000.
William builds Great Camp Sagamore, selling Uncas to J.P. Morgan under financial distress.
Ella marries Charles Rose. Has a baby - a son: Trimbrell. William cuts off her allowance.
William sells Sagamore at a loss to the Alfred Vanderbilt.
Ella writes the 'Ducal Skeleton'.
Ella has won her suit but there is no money left to the estate.