PAUL SMITHS — Every language on Earth has a word for “mother.” An Internet search turns up more than 120 different translations.
The Dutch call her “moeder”; the Hawaiian, “makuahine”; Japanese, “okaasan” or “haha”; and the Bulgarian matriarch is called “majke.”
Around the world, Mother’s Day is observed in different months, but all consider the day a time to stop and appreciate how special a mother’s love is toward her children. Mother’s love isn’t always easy, though, as some have lived through much tragedy relating to their children.
While the North Country has many women who will be celebrated today, one special woman was the backbone of an Adirondack town, famous and successful businessman, and family.
The Adirondack hamlet of Paul Smiths is named after the businessman, guide and all-around adventurous soul Apollos Austin “Paul” Smith. He was born in Milton, Vt., on Aug. 20, 1825.
He didn’t get to the top alone, however. He was married to a young woman by the name of Lydia Martin, who was born in AuSable Forks on Aug. 29, 1834, one of 11 children. Her parents were Hugh and Sarah (Goodell) Martin.
According to information from Historic Saranac Lake, Lydia met Paul after her parents moved to the Adirondack town of Franklin Falls to manage the Franklin House. She had already graduated from Willard Seminar in Troy and was a young woman of social graces.
Meanwhile, Paul, who had moved west from Milton, Vt., was in Loon Lake and built a small hotel called the Hunters’ Home. Lydia went to a dance at Loon Lake, and the rest, as they say, is history. It is told Paul was captured by Lydia and wouldn’t let anyone else dance with her that night.
Paul received backing from some wealthy hotel guests and moved to Lower St. Regis Lake to construct a new hotel. He spent his summers visiting Lydia and her family at Franklin Falls, walking 18 miles one way. When winter came, he made the trip on snowshoes.