The Life, Love And Letters of Mate Locke Cheney

  Photo: Courtesy Ann Breen Metcalfe

Photo: Courtesy Ann Breen Metcalfe

For a slice of what life was like in Schroon in the mid-1880s, we urge you to read the wonderfully written dispatch Schroon Laker Ann Breen Metcalfe has filed for the latest issue of Adirondack Life Magazine.

The story, in the February issue, is about Ann’s great-grandmother, Mate Locke Cheney. You can find it in the Yesteryears section on page 63.

Mate and her husband James Cheney lived on Leland Avenue. Ann tells us he was part owner and captain of the steamboat Effingham and also worked at the Millbrook Stock Farm (across Route. 9 from where the Marina is now). Ann’s story is based on their letters written in 1885.

Ann’s writing is as colorful as always.

“Whether Mate married up, down or sideways when she became Mrs. James Cheney in 1859 is hard to know,” writes Ann.

Maybe she gets her style from her great Grand Ma. Mate writes in a letter about her reluctance to ride the very steamboat captained by her husband:

“I will shoot the very next person who asks me to ride on the lake.”

  A stagecoach would transport tourists between Riverside (today's Riparious) and Schroon Lake to the Effingham

A stagecoach would transport tourists between Riverside (today's Riparious) and Schroon Lake to the Effingham

Besides delving into love and life on Schroon Lake, Ann gives an overview of the import of steamboats in Schroon for both transporting tourists and their value to the logging industry.

So whatever happened to the Effingham and the other Schroon steamer, the Evelyn,? This has been something of a passion of ours.

Ann confirmed to us what we already knew, saying they were “scuttled”.

Loris Clark from the Schroon-North Hudson Historical Society filled in a few more details – and some commentary.

“They were burned. How sad is that but (there was) no use for them and they were big...and in the way I assume what could one do with them?,” Loris wrote to us.

You can read about our previous attempts to find out what happened to the Effingham and Evelyn in our stories on great steamers here.