Posted by: winteridge | August 7, 2007

Ad Kelly’s

Funny how things change: When I was young, Tug Hill was always “The Hill”, as in “How’s the weather on The Hill today?”. Over the years, the nickname has evolved to “The Tug”, as in “We went snowmobiling on The Tug this weekend.” I like that better; there are a lot of hills around, but only one Tug Hill.

Those who are familiar with my corner of The Tug will recognize my masthead as the semi-famous Kelly’s General Store in beautiful downtown Rector Corners, Town of Montague. Rector is now but a snowmobile bar/restaurant, a motel, and a handful of camps, but was once a promising community of over 300 residents, numerous businesses, and a broomhandle factory. Another faded dream. When I was growing up, I recall Rector’s Ad Kelly, Adam Salatin, and “Running George” Jacunski, among other local characters. More about those other notables later, but I want to talk about Kelly’s Emporium. As a small child, I was fascinated by the giant oak counters in the store, with the many glass-doored compartments filled with unimaginable goodies.

For many years, “Ad” Kelly’s store was the social center of Montague, where one could always stop in for a chaw of Warnicky or a can of Pet (one didn’t need to buy much else), and catch up on the latest news. Miz Ad always knew the latest gossip, and would usually manage to get you to share some of yours. Later on, the Greenfield sisters on the Salmon River Road took over the news reporting, even had a column in the Lowville paper for years on local comings and goings. Things were simpler then.

Anyway, that brings to mind my ol Tug Hill high school bud, Harry Repak, who later owned Kelly’s store. In Harry’s brief life, he managed to become an Air Force pilot, hot-air balloonist, and film-maker of some renown. If he were still with us, he probably would have become head of Discover Channel by now, or another Jacques Cousteau. The last time I talked with Harry, just before his untimely death, he had just purchased the store in Rector, and was making plans for it. His aim was to restore it as a general store, but was unsure if it would be his camp, a real store, or a sports bar/restaurant. He was a little ahead of the snowmobile madness, but I’m sure that whatever he did, it would have been a success. Harry was a dreamer and a do-er. Now Kelly’s Emporium is just another memory…for a few of us.

O Montague!



  1. Hi: I just happened onto your website for the first time today when I googled George Jacunski (my uncle). Enjoyed your comments in this article about my brother Harry and Kelly’s store. Coincidently I was on Tug Hill yesterday checking on our cabin just above Parkers across from the site of the old prison camp. We don’t get up there very often as it is quite a drive from our home in New Hampshire. Uncle John Repak keeps a watch on the place for us. I noticed that the old Jacunski homestead and barn on the corner are still in use. Do you know who owns Kelly’s store now and what their plans are for it? Would like to hear from you.
    Dave Repak

  2. Hi David: Glad you enjoy my wandering-happy to see that someone reads it. Google fascinates me!
    I am not sure who has the old store now, not much has been done with it. We still have the “Pitcher Hill” property on the Pitcher Road, but do not get up much anymore, mostly just for day trips. It is for sale, if you know anyone interested. We mostly stay at the old family farm down on McLane Road.
    Thanks for stopping by. Have you visited my website?

    John Northrup

  3. BTW, Dave, if you should read this: you said you were researching your uncle George. In case you haven’t seen this, Harold Samson wrote a couple of great books on Tug Hill. The first was “Tug Hill Tales”, and the 2nd “The Other Side of the Hill”, which had a chapter on Running George.
    My Dad, Leon Northrup, knew George, and used to tell some great stories about seeing him run at the County Fair, and on the roads, and visiting him at Parkers. I think I can remember seeing him myself. Pa told about seeing George on the road and stopping to offer a ride, and George said “No thanks, I’m in a hurry!” Often when George heard a car coming behind him, he would turn and run the other way so they wouldn’t stop for him.
    See you at the Montague.

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