The Hermit of Red Lake
The story behind The Hermit of Red Lake is a very interesting one. Whether it is a true story or just a fable we will never know for sure. But it is said that in the year 1858 two young boys who had been fishing in a boat on Red Lake near Theresa in Jefferson County, New York were rescued by this hermit. When their boat overturned during a storm that had came up quickly they found themselves floundering in the water and tiring fast. An old man with a long beard pulled his boat up beside them and helped them aboard. They both had been on the verge of drowning and could not recall all the details except they soon found themselves in a half cabin and half cave built into the rock side of the lake. Many books, a telescope and other instruments used in teaching lined the walls. As they were getting warm they heard a strange voice. On investigating this odd sounding voice they found it coming from an old can nailed to the wall with a long string attached. The string seemed to run outside but disappeared into the ground by an old tree. The voice told them if they wanted to repay the act of kindness they could leave him one of their blankets and could they please keep his whereabouts to themselves. Which they did considering how he had saved them from drowning. The hermit was never discovered by anyone else but the story when told in later years seem to bring about much speculation. Who was this Hermit?
He soon was thought to be a one time schoolmaster who some twenty years earlier had locked an older boy in a closet for punishment for disturbing the class and had closed up after school forgetting the boy. What he never knew was after he left school the boys friends realizing the teacher had forgotten him let him out to go home. Sometime in the night the school house caught on fire and burned to the ground. The teacher had been seen in the crowd but later found to be missing along with all his books and things he had in his room. Believing that he was responsible for the horrible death of one of his students he could no longer stay. No one else for a long time knew about the boy who had been released by his friends and at first it was thought the school teacher had just gone back to his family. It was soon forgotten until the day that Jack Shepherd and his friend overturned their boat.