On the maps it was called Crown Point, named, not, as most people presumed, for the crown worn by the nefarious French King, Louis, but for the crowns of the heads of our people whose hair was viciously removed by the Indians and carried there in triumph. Thus, Crown Point became for us, Scalp Point. It was situated near the lower end of Lake Champlain and was a part of the southernmost of the French defensive fortifications against our threatened incursions. It had been, even before a citadel was erected there, the launching place for Indian raids, it giving them swift access to both our New England and New York frontiers. The raiders could travel the hundred miles from Montreal to Scalp Point without fear of interference from us, and from Scalp Point, trails and waterways led off to all the places they could raid. And raid they did. We Americans, fighting alongside our British cousins, urged the British to take the war to the French. Not until this place of the devil was eradicated could we live free from the awful attacks. But before the British could get there with their bayonets and cannons, they had to find their way through the woods, something they were entirely incapable of doing on their own. It was our job to get them there. We were rangers. Rogers’ Rangers.
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Francis Smith (1945 – 1992) grew up in historic Ticonderoga, NY, in the 1950’s, a time and place where the ghosts of old Indians and scouts were more alive than they are today. He was a career merchant mariner, a lifetime spent traveling the world but with his heart firmly attached to his Adirondack birthplace. His “ocean cruises,” while seemingly adventurous to those who stayed home, were lonely and dull, and to fight the boredom, Francis began writing what would become the Skywaters Series.