From The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness by Paul Schneider, pp. 75-78:
“Some of the trappers, like [Nick] Stoner and [Nat] Foster, came as close as any Adirondackers to the mythic image of the western mountain man … When Foster was later put on trial for murder, the man defending him claimed that James Fenimore Cooper had actually modeled Natty Bumppo after his client.
“They were all large characters…Stoner, who wore gold earrings, had been the kind of fife boy in the American Revolution who periodically guided his commanding officers on late-night visits to particularly patriotic Johnstown widows. Nat Foster, a big double-jointed man who had nothing but molars all the way around both jaws, carried musket balls between the bases of his fingers for so long that pouches formed there; if he held up his palms the bullets were invisible. They were the colorful, freedom-loving, manly American men of the type that wilderness is supposed to create.
“But the Revolution had been more than fife playing and midnight lovemaking; Nick Stoner was badly wounded by a flying fragment of skull when the boy next to him was hit in the face with a cannonball…The Adirondacks at the beginning of the ninetheenth century were … a drunken and violent backwater. When Nick Stoner concluded that a Native trapper had stolen his furs, the man was expected consider himself lucky to escape with a glass of whiskey smashed against the side of his head. At least he hadn’t been killed with a red-hot andiron like the man at the Union House Bar.
“Stoner…was already drunk when he showed up at the kitchen of the Union House, a popular watering hole and fur trading locale in nearby Johnstown…seven Native American trappers were already there eating and drinking. For reasons not remembered, the six-foot-tall Stoner was soon throwing one of these patrons across a table, smashing bottles every which way.
“He next tossed the man into the fireplace, where he was seriously burned. (A related account has the victim falling short of the fireplace and landing instead in a kettle of scalding hot gravy.) On his way out of the kitchen, Stoner paused long enough to put his foot on the neck of another passed-out Native and rip an earring he fancied from the man’s ear. In the barroom next door he tried to calm down, which probably meant having another drink.
“Meanwhile, one of the burned man’s companions heard that the crazed white Trapper’s name was Stoner and pulled out his knife. On it were nine notches for nine American scalps taken in the Revolution. One of them, he imprudently bragged, was for ‘old Stoner.’
“Stoner’s father had, in fact, been killed in the field by a raiding party and it was the braggart’s misfortune that the younger Stoner stumbled back into the kitchen just in time to hear the boast. He grabbed a glowing hot andiron and brained the man, though not without burning his own hand in the process.
“Stoner’s friends at this point decided it might be wise to get him out of the bar. And thoase of the Native trappers who were not too drunk or injured to move carried those who were back into the park. Later that night Stoner was put in jail until a mob of fellow Revolutionary War veterans broke down the door and carried him on their shoulders to another tavern. He was never tried.”
But that wasn’t all. According to local legand and the Times-Ledger, after Stoner and his companions were given time to “jollify,” Stoner was re-jailed — only to be sprung by the mob a second time.
This is a group of people who clearly knew how to party.