Adirondack Murray and His Mountain Tales December 16 2014, 0 Comments

by Bethany Wagner

Sparkling sunrises over white-capped peaks. Warm, rosy alpenglow sunsets. Deep blue rivers carved between mountains, and rich green trees dotting the surrounding slopes. This is a place of great beauty, engulfing peace, and invitations to adventure.

These are the Adirondacks, the mountains of Upstate New York—the mountains beloved by author William Henry Harrison Murray, and the setting of his famed Adventures in the Wilderness, Adirondack Tales, and Holiday Tales: Christmas in the Adirondacks.

Born in 1840 in Connecticut, Murray grew up in a small farming community and eventually attended Yale. During his university years, a friend first introduced Murray to the grand, sweeping landscaping of the Adirondacks. And with that, Murray was completely taken by the mountains.

Eventually he became a vicar in the Congregational Church, pastoring churches in Greenwich and Meriden. He became a well-known preacher and evangelist, publishing sermons and reaching ever-expanding congregations.

But during his vacations, he retreated to the wilderness of the mountains. He published articles on camping, hunting, and fishing in local papers, eventually publishing a book on camping called Adventures in the Wilderness. His experiences even earned him the nickname “Adirondack” Murray.

With a brilliant literary tone, Adventures in the Wilderness exploded in popularity, and it promoted the Adirondacks as places of beauty, healing, and restoration, sparking new interest in visiting these mountains. Murray’s writing also highlighted the rustic life of woodsmen living deep in the forests, and the appeal of life in the wilderness. Eventually Murray wrote further fiction tales set in the Adirondacks.

In Holiday Tales, readers delve into warm stories of old painting a vivid picture of a simpler way of life. The story “How John Norton the Trapper Kept His Christmas” opens with this enchanting scene: “A cabin. A cabin in the woods. In the cabin a great fireplace piled high with logs, fiercely ablaze.” Murray captures life in the Adirondacks with this simple, deep language that touches on the beauty of nature and the peace it provides.

Explore the rich world of Murray's Adirondacks in Holiday Tales: Christmas in the Adirondacks, published in the Open LORE Classics Library with restored original artwork, adapted for optimum readability on Open LORE Read.