Mr. Tillott was a lawyer who lived in Schenectady. In 1910, at the age of 29, he married Anne Orton, daughter of Dr. Darius Orton. Dr. Orton came to Fish House after the Civil War. His doctor’s office was a small brick building that had been a tailor shop before the war. This brick house is now part of my home. It is because of this house, built in 1805, that I became interested in the history of Fish House.
In 1888,, Dr. Orton purchased the old Grinnell house up on Shew Hill. He built a small cottage close by that served as his office. He gave the brick house to his daughter, Ann. Dr. Orton died in 1918 and Ann and Tom Tillott inherited the house up on the hill. Ann died in 1928, leaving her husband with both the small brick house and the large house.
By 1928 the Sacandaga Valley was being transformed in preparation for the closing of the Conklingville Dam in 1930. Trees were cut down, brush was burned. Houses were torn down, or burned, or moved to a higher elevation. Families were moving away from the only homes they knew. Tremendous changes were happening in the area, but there are very few articles in the local newspapers that reported on this.
How is this related to Tom Tillott? Tillott loved photography. He traveled around the Sacandaga Valley from 1928-1930 and took photos. Those photos were saved over the years as the big house changed owners. I was fortunate to see the photos several years ago. I have brightened them up but left the writing on them.
So thank you, Tom Tillott, for taking the time to record history. I am forever grateful.