16-May-1998 -- We determined that the confluence was in Saratoga County, just north of
a certain spot on Crane Rd. On the USGS topo maps we'd acquired for the
visit, there seemed to be some small ponds quite close to the confluence
that we planned to use as landmarks.
We found a pond that was just north of Crane Rd. and figured we were
close. Herald parked the car by the side of the road, and we pored over
the maps. It started to get confusing, since the pond seemed to be
further south than any of the ones on the maps. There was a nice trail
to the east of the pond that ran along it, and we walked up that to see
if we could spot any other ponds that would help us verify where we
were. The trail petered out near the northern end of the pond, and we
couldn't tell for sure if there were any other ponds nearby in the woods
(on the map, it looked like the ponds were strung out along a small
stream). We turned around to go back to the car, and maybe measure the
distance from the place where Crane Rd. took a sharp bend, to find the
confluence that way.
As we came back, we noticed a man looking at our car. He saw us and we
started talking when we got back to the road. At first, we were both a
little nervous because we thought he might not want us trespassing.
Also, he said he had wanted to make sure that we weren't some kids
tearing around in the woods. Homer Neahr, as he introduced himself
later, was quite friendly. When Herald said that we were looking for a
degree confluence, and I explained that one was right near here, he was
interested and looked at our maps with us. He identified a house marked
on the map just a few hundred feet from the confluence as Marshall's
Homer said Marshall had made the nearby pond years ago - the area near
the road had been basically swampland before that. That was why the
ponds marked on the USGS maps (the most recent of which had been
surveyed in 1970) were different than real life. After some discussion,
we all decided the confluence was probably right in the pond.
Homer also told us some interesting stories about the neighborhood.
Marshall's house used to be a general store in the 1840's. When he was
putting in a bathroom, Marshall found an old ledger from the store in
the wall. It had items like the one about the customer who traded three
acres of land to pay off a 50 dollar debt. A copy of part of the book
had been made by one of Marshall's relatives and given to the nearby
historical society, in Galway.
The house just east of the pond belonged to Homer's daughter and
son-in-law. After talking some more, we parted ways and went back along
the trail by the pond to take pictures. We figured the confluence was
about 200 feet north of Crane Rd. by the scale on the maps, and by what
Alex told me a few weeks ago when looking at his Street Atlas program.
Herald estimated the distance by drawing on his experiences with
football fields back when he was in band.
As we left, we thought it would be interesting to find the historical
society and look at that ledger book. We drove around Galway a little,
but we couldn't find it so we left.
(Narrative by Ada Kerman, with assistance from Herald Williams)