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LONG LAKE — In searching for the source of the Hudson River in the Adirondack High Peaks midway through the 19th century, author Benson Lossing sought the best guide available.

So Lossing retained the services of Long Lake guide Mitchell Sabattis.

“Sabattis was by far the best man in all that region to lead the traveler to the Hudson waters, and the Adirondack Mountains, for he had lived in that neighborhood from his youth,” Lossing wrote in his book “The Hudson, From Wilderness to the Sea,” a detailed account of his exploration of the entire length of the Hudson River in the 1850s.

For many people visiting the Long Lake region during the second half of the 19th century, Sabattis was the person to go to if you wanted to explore this area of the Adirondacks.

“His feats in the forest were legendary and, although small in stature, he possessed great physical strength and cat-like agility,” Adirondack historian John Duquette wrote in a 1987 Adirondack Daily Enterprise article. “He was blessed with a refined instinct and was a master in the art of woodcraft. His records in the hunting, fishing and trapping category were unsurpassed, which naturally led to his being a most sought-after guide.”

An Abenaki Indian, Sabattis was born in Parishville in St. Lawrence County and moved to Long Lake at an early age. He married Elizabeth Dainburgh in 1843 and had 11 children, including six boys. At the time of his death in 1906, he was survived by three sons: Charles, Isaac and Harry, all reputable guides.

A leader in the Methodist Church, he played an instrumental role in establishing that religion in the area.

“It was through his zeal and untiring energy that the first church was erected in Long Lake,” according to an article about Sabattis by Henry D. Kellogg published in Stoddard’s Northern Monthly shortly after Sabattis’ death.

Kellogg wrote that when Sabattis moved to Long Lake, he was one of the first settlers; only two or three families were living there at the time. And the wildlife was plentiful: Panthers and moose were still known to inhabit the forests.

By the time he died, Sabattis’ reputation as a guide was known throughout the North Country. In his obituary on May 17, 1906, the Massena Observer reported that “he could speak English, French and three Indian Languages and gave the Indian names to many of the Adirondack streams and lakes, which were afterwards interpreted in English, such as Raquette Lake, Long Lake and Blue Mountain Lake.”

Today, his name remains on the map. Sabattis Road, which leads into the William C. Whitney Wilderness north of the hamlet of Long Lake, is named in his honor as well as the wild, rural area of Long Lake to which the road leads.