Established in 1805 and with a robust history, it’s no wonder The Town of Johnsburg has its share of spots that inspire ghost stories and campfire tales. With Halloween right around the corner, we’re sharing some of the spookiest places to visit in Gore Region!
This will give “Trick or Treat” a whole new meaning! Barkeater Chocolates‘ confections are so delicious, it seems that even ghosts can’t resist hanging around its North Creek location. Deb Morris, owner of Barkeater, and many of the business’ employees and customers, have experienced numerous instances of potentially paranormal activity in the store: hearing footsteps and loud noises coming from unoccupied rooms, merchandise falling forcefully from shelves with no obvious cause, and unexplained extreme fluctuations in temperature, among others.
Ms. Morris researched the building’s history to help make sense of their experiences. She learned the building which now houses Barkeater has been the scene of tragic events, leading to speculation that the mysterious happenings may be linked to the restless spirits of the house’s former occupants.
North Creek Union Cemetery
North Creek Union Cemetery is a centuries-old graveyard that’s the final resting place for generations of Johnsburg families and several historical figures. One notable Union Cemetery story is that of Mary Melissa Persons. Also known as Melissa Ordway, Persons is interred in a large mausoleum overlooking the cemetery.
During her lifetime, in the late nineteenth century, she was at the center of a local scandal because of her live-in relationship with Jones Ordway, a prominent – and married – Glens Falls businessman. Persons lived with Ordway in North River until his death in 1890 and had three children with him, all of whom died of diptheria.
Jones Ordway’s wife, Clarissa, continued to live in Glens Falls. Ordway’s fortune was split between his wife and his mistress upon his passing. Persons remained in the home she shared with Ordway until her death, and was remembered as saying she intentionally spent everything Jones Ordway left to her so that it couldn’t be inherited by family who disapproved of her lifestyle.
Ghost towns aren’t just found in Western movies – we’ve got a bonafide ghost town right here in Gore Region. Tahawus, located on the outskirts of present-day Johnsburg near Newcomb, was a thriving mining town in the early 19th century. Iron ore was discovered in the Tahawus Mines in 1826, leading to the birth of the Adirondack Iron & Steel Company. The village, later renamed Adirondac, prospered until the late 1850s, when Adirondack Iron & Steel dissolved and most residents abandoned the town in search of work.
The town had a small resurgence a few decades later, during which time its name was returned to Tahawus. But, industry dried up again in Tahawus in the early 1960s, causing its inhabitants to depart once again. Many of the original buildings from Tahawus’ heydey are still standing, but nobody has lived in the town in over 50 years.
Ghosts and Chocolate!
If we’ve piqued your interest in learning more about Johnsburg’s storied – and sometimes spooky – past, you’re in luck!
Through SUNY Adirondack’s Continuing Education program, Barkeater Chocolates’ own Deb Morris will lead Haunted Tour and Chocolate Making sessions on site at the Barkeater store in North Creek on October 24, and October 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Ms. Morris will share stories of the otherworldly goings-on at Barkeater, and the incidents in the building’s past that may be at the root of the hauntings. Participants will also get to make their own chocolate ghost. Pre-registration is required. Please call 518-748-2238.
And, even if you can’t make it to one of the Barkeaters’ Haunted Tours, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own plans to explore the spookier side of Gore Region!