Foxey Brown was a railroad man when he came
to New York State around 1890 from Boston. In
Tales from an Adirondack County, it was reported that he’d gotten into a fracas there and had
left the other guy for dead. Brown worked on
logging operations around Lake Peasant before
settling in the backwoods six miles north of
Piseco and about 10 miles southeast of Louis
Seymour’s West Canada country.
Foxey, whose real name was David
Brennan, was a short individual with a heavy
beard and gruff manner of speech. He built
himself a little log cabin at the lower end of
an old logging flow on Fall Stream, where
he lived for about 25 years. He cleared a few
acres of land, built a small barn, and kept a
few chickens and livestock. Like many other
Adirondack hermits, he hunted, trapped, and
made shingles, which he sold locally. He had a
small spring at the base of a hill where he kept
canned goods to prevent them from freezing
in the winter.
Trespassers weren’t welcome in his neighborhood, and he would holler out that he
would “send lead for sinkers” if they didn’t get
moving. He wasn’t fooling, and he did shoot
several times at Piseco game protector Charlie
Preston. (The two later became friends.) He
also claimed to have put a bullet hole through
guide Old Man Courtney’s hat – while it was
on his head. Foxey mellowed in later years, but
most people still kept their distance.
In November 1916, Brown was guiding
hunter Carleton Banker when Banker disappeared after being placed on a deer stand.
Foxey and another man who was hunting
with the pair fired signal shots, but no answering shot was heard. The next day a massive
search involving 100 men and bloodhounds
began; searchers combed the woods for five
days without finding any definitive sign of the
missing hunter. Then a heavy snow blanketed
the Piseco Mountains and the search was
Many suspected that Brown was responsible for Banker’s death, though there were
also reports that the two had been friends.
Banker’s body was eventually found miles
from where he’d taken his deer stand. In the
intervening years, Foxey learned that he’d
been tried in absentia and found not guilty of
murder in the case, but by then he’d packed up
and moved south. What happened to Carleton
Banker remains a mystery.