Scots-born David Henderson was one of the first white men to grasp the importance of the iron ore beds in the high peaks of the Adirondacks. From 1826 onward, he made a habit of seasonally penetrating the Adirondack frontier and searching out sites for iron mines.
By all accounts, this little-known explorer had the common touch: He was a prodigious letter-writer, a self-taught musician, a popular raconteur, a good friend, a loving husband and father, and an amateur naturalist and conservationist who was concerned about the spoilage of the Adirondacks even in his time.
He also had an irrational fear of firearms. Although the Adirondacks were teeming with wildlife, including bears, Henderson habitually refused to carry a gun, leaving that task to his guide, usually a hired Mohawk man.
One day, however, in 1845, his guide asked him to hold a pistol so that the guide could have both hands free for a moment. Henderson absentmindedly stuck it in his pocket. When the guide asked for the gun back, the hammer and trigger caught on Henderson's pocket-edge and the gun discharged, killing him.
His friends and family had a monument to Henderson erected in this isolated area, and had Lake Henderson named for him. The lake where the accident happened is called Calamity Pond. The area lies fifteen rugged miles southwest of Lake Placid, New York.