XX. MAXINKUCKE LAKE.

 

One of the most beautiful bodies of water in the Northwest is, without doubt, Maxinkuckee Lake, a brief description of which will be of interest to those who admire the beauties of nature. It has been truthfully described by the late Jerome Burnett, whose poem is inserted here to give the reader a “birdseye view” so to speak, of this charmingly delightful body of water.

 

Maxinkuckee Lake

 

Ah, here is a scene for a painter!

A gleaming and glorified lake,

With its framing of forest and prairie,

And its etching of thicket and brake;

With its grandeur and boldness of headland,

Where the oaks and the tamaracks grow,

A league with the sunlight of heaven,

And the spirit-like shadows below.

 

Where the swallows skim over the surface,

And quaff as they touch the clear wave;

Where the robins seek out the cool waters,

And warily venture to lave;

Where the sand piper toys with the plashes,

And whistles his passionate note,

And the water-bugs sail like a navy

Of fairies for battle afloat.

 

Where the blackbirds go noisily over,

And the mallard wings rapidly by,

And the heron that flies like a snowflake,

Comes down from the clouds in the sky;

Where the bobolink lights on the flag blade;

And so proudly and prettily sings,

Or, watches askance the swift minnow,

That out of his element springs.

 

Where the lilies abloom on the surface,

Held down by their cable like stems,

And the tints of the bright cardinalis,

Have the semblance of loveliest gems;

Where the mosses in festoons are hanging,

In the richest of fashion and fold,

To decorate submarine dwellings,

O’er pavements of amber and gold.

 

Where the spirit of mortal may worship,

In the freedom of unwritten creeds,

Hearing many and joyous responses

In the music that comes from the reeds.

And where in my fancy I’ve pictured

A temple that’s builded so high,

 It reaches in grandest proportions

From the beautiful lake to the sky.

 

 

96                                             HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY.

 

Maxinkuckee Lake is oblong in shape, about three miles long and two and a quarter wide, with somewhat irregular shore lines and some small bays and undulations. The shores present about ten miles of lake front of almost every character of approach; the level beach, the gradual slope, the steep incline, the abrupt bluff, the rounded headland, and these of various elevations, from the water's edge to nearly fifty feet in places. The water is wholly from springs, except the natural rainfall, there being no inlet that may be called such, and the springs of delicious water are found everywhere along the shores. The banks are bold, clear, shaded, and occupied by all sorts of summer cottages, mansions, hotels, clubhouses, academies, schools of learning, etc. On the west side of the lake a small strip of lowland gives outlet to the surplus water into a small lake close by, and  thence to the Tippecanoe river some miles southwest. There is very little grass, weeds, drift, or other unsightly things in or around the lake, and but little brush, trees, logs, or other debris along the shores. All is clean, pure and healthy. Flowing wells abound on the north, east and south sides, and the most delicious cool water rushes up to about eight or ten feet above the level of the lake on boring a distance of fifty to 100 or more feet. Once on its shores at almost any point, and as long as you remain, be it days or years, the surroundings impress you constantly, and if there be a particle of love for the beautiful in your composition, that sense is called into action at all times arid on all occasions, in sunshine or in storm, the beauties of spring, the charms of summer, and the glories of autumn.

 

Surrounded with unbroken forests as the writer has seen it, with the deer drinking of its limpid water without fear of molestation, the wild fowl floating on its bosom, the forest songsters noisy amid the otherwise silent woods on all sides, and the few hardy pioneers with their new beginnings and humble surroundings, scattered here and there within easy reach of it, it was a gem of imperishable beauty.

 

Again surrounded, as it is now, with fertile and highly cultivated farms, charming cottages, and handsome dwellings with white tents amid the trees, cozy hamlets on either side, railroad stations and conveniences, its surface covered with sailboats, yachts and steamers and hundreds of rowboats, and on all sides the pleasure of fashion and those seeking relief from ennui, overwork or study; music, dancing and social gatherings of strangers from all quarters and temporarily fraternizing; to each and all it is still, notwithstanding the marvelous changes that have been wrought during the more than past half-century, what it was to the Indian the sparkling water the beautiful Maxinkuckee. Once having come within the witching spell of its voiceless charms, in the language of Othello, the beholder can truthfully say: "If heaven would make me such another world of one entire chrysolite, I would not give thee for it".

 

Maurice Thompson, one of Indiana's most beloved authors, was state geologist, and in his report for 1886 he spoke of the lake as follows :

 

"Max-in-kuck-ee In many respects this is the most beautiful of the multitude of small lakes with which northern and northwestern Indiana is studded. Its shores are high, beautifully rounded, and clothed with the native forest. The waters are clean and cold. Hundreds of springs flow out from the banks, and many more rise from the bottom of the lake. Very few weeds grow in the water, and there is far less of moss and peaty formation than is common in our Indiana lakes. Here, to a large extent, sand gives place to gravel, and the beach is firm and clean. Nowhere in the United States is there a lovelier body of pure, cold water. It has become a famous summer resort, and deserves all the good praise it has received."

 


HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY.                                   97

 

The construction of the Vandalia railroad's northern branch to South by way of Plymouth in 1884, with a station at the northwest shore the lake, so facilitated access that the beautiful groves along the east began to be dotted with cottages; hotels were established; clubhouses erected; steamers began to puff about the new buildings, and a fleet of little white sailboats blew over the water. The cottagers have shown most excellent taste in that they have preserved the natural beauty of the and green banks, while building large and costly summer homes, and the careful ornamentation of lawns and groves has handsomely supplemented without destruction the natural beauties of the place.

 

During the summer of 1900 Prof. B. W. Everman, ichthyologist of the United States commission of fish and fisheries, surveyed the lake and made a complete report of everything connected with it, which is to be published by the government, but has not yet made its appearance. The map, how- ever, to accompany the report has been printed and a few copies have been distributed to those most interested in the future of the lake. The map is made from surveys and soundings made by Prof. Everman. The area of the lake is shown to be 1,864 acres. The contour lines of the bottom of the lake ate from soundings taken on section and half-section lines, and is the first and only map of "the bottom of the lake" ever published. The deepest place in the lake is on a line about half way across between Long point and Maxinkuckee landing.. At that point it is eighty-eight feet deep. In the immediate vicinity the depth ranges from seventy to eighty-five feet in several places. The map is a valuable production and undoubtedly the most correct one that has yet been made. It is to accompany a full report prepared by Prof. Everman, embracing a description of the numerous varieties of fish found in the lake, together with the fauna, and other matters of interest.

 

Orthography of Maxinkuckee.

 

The numerous ways of spelling the name of the lake induced the writer of these sketches to investigate the question and the result is embraced in the following information obtained from various official sources, in reply to letters written for that purpose.

 

The commissioner of the general land office at Washington replied that the name appeared on the records of his office as "Muk-sin-cuck-ee."

 

The auditor of state at Indianapolis writes that David Hillis, one of the surveyors of the land around the lake, spelled it "Mek-in-kee-kee." Jerry Smith, another surveyor, spelled it

"Muk-sen-cuk-ee." On the field notes in the surveyor's office of Marshall county David Hillis spelled it "Max-in- kuck-ee," while Jerry Smith, deputy United States surveyor, spelled it

“Muk-sen-cuck-ee." At a treaty made at the lake March 16, 1838, it is spelled

"Max-ee-nie-kee-kee."

 

From these official sources it is shown that the usual spelling, "Max-in-kuck-ee," appears but once and that is on the records of Marshall county, which is a copy of the original field notes from the records of the auditor of state at Indianapolis, where the auditor says Mr. Hillis spelled it "Mek-in-kee-kee." Therefore, whoever transcribed the field notes of Mr. Hillis from the records at Indianapolis, for the records of Marshall county, made a mistake when he copied it

"Max-in-kuck-ee." The record in the department at Washington has it "Muk-sen-cuck-u."

 

98                                             HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY.

 

At the time the field notes were made by the deputy government surveyors, quill pens :were used, and it is possible-in fact probable-that the final "u" was intended for "eel,"  the top running together and making a letter like "u." The "i" in "sin" was probably an "e" with the top run together. This is a reasonable conclusion based on the spelling of Jerry Smith on the Marshall county records and at Indianapolis. The correct spelling is undoubtedly "Muk-sen-cuck-ee." There is no authority for Max-in-kuck-ee. The word from which it was erroneously copied is "Mek-in-kee-kee," as is shown in the letter of the auditor of state. It is no wonder that the name has got badly mixed in the bungling translations that were made of it, in the original surveys and in the treaties in which the name occurs. In making the treaties, etc., the name was taken down by the interpreters, as the Indians knew not how to spell or write, and the interpreters spelled it according to the sound as well as they could, and it is therefore not strange that it appears in so many different ways. But no matter. The present spelling, "Max-in-kuck-ee," has come to stay, and no power on earth can change it, even were it desirable to do so. The railroad company, the Culver Military Academy, the post office department, and the people generally about the lake, recognize the present spelling, and that fixes it beyond any possibility of change. As to the meaning of the word in its present form, it has none. Originally it was an Indian word, but what its meaning was no one has been able to find out. For a long time it was generally believed to be the name of an Indian chief, but the government records, which have been diligently searched, fail to show that name or anything like it. The late Charles Cook, who lived a few miles north of the lake, and in his early days made his home with the Pottawattomie Indians in this region for many years and understood their language perfectly, said it was the Indian word for moccasin, because the lake was the shape of an Indian moccasin, and further, because of the prevalence of moccasin snakes about the lake at that time. Simon Pokagon, the last of the Pottawattomie Indians in this part of the country, whose death occurred in Michigan in 1900, in reply to an inquiry said it meant in the  Algonquin language (same as Pottawattomie) "There is grass." Pokagon was a graduate of Notre Dame University and knew the meaning of words. As his definition has no relevance to the lake it is additional evidence that the word as we have it is a bungling translation of the original Pottawattomie name, whatever it may have been. But notwithstanding the marvelous changes that have taken place during the more than two-thirds of a century since its discovery by the American, what it was to the Indian, it is yet to the white men of today, the sparkling, laughing water, the beautiful Max-in-kuck-ee! That is what it means let it go at that! A few years ago, James Whitcomb Riley, Indiana's famous poet, spent some time at the lake, and gave his impressions of it as follows: .

 

The green below and the blue above

The waves caressing the shores they love;

Sails in haven and sails afar,

And faint as the water lilies are

In inlets haunted of willow wands,

 

Listless rowers, and trailing hands,

With spray to gem them and tan to glove

The green below and the blue above.

 


HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY.                                   99

 

The blue above and the green below.

would that the world was always so.

 Always summer and warmth and light,

With mirth and melody day and night ;

Birds in the boughs of the beckoning trees,

Chirr of locusts, and whiffs of breeze

World of roses that bud and bloom,

The blue above and the green below.

 

The green below and the blue above,

High, young hearts and the hopes thereof,

Kate in the hammock and Tom sprawled on

The sward-like a lover’s picture drawn

By the lucky dog himself, with Kate

To moon o 'er his shoulder and meditate

On a fat old purse or a lank young love

The green below and the blue above.

 

The blue above and the green below,

Shadows and sunshine to and fro

Seasons for dreams - whate'er befall Hero,

heroine, hearts and all.

Wave of wildwood - the blithe bird sings,

and the leaf-hid locust whets his wings

Just as a thousand years ago-

The blue above and the green below.

 

Attention was first attracted to the lake as a summer resort by the erection of a clubhouse by a few residents of Plymouth on the east shore of the lake on grounds leased of L. T. Vanschoiack. the same now being owned by Mrs. McOuat, of Indianapolis. This was in 1875. The lease was to run five years. The club house was a story and a half frame building, with sleeping apartments above, and parlor, dining room and kitchen below. It became quite a popular place of resort, and many times during the hot summer months as many as fifty persons were entertained at one time. The officers of the club were Joseph Westervelt, president; William W. Hill, treasurer, and C. H. Reeve, secretary.

 

In 1878 a number of those who had been instrumental in organizing this club, wishing to have something permanent and more elaborate and comfortable, purchased fifteen acres of eligible lake front on the north bank, and erected a large two-story frame building, lathed and plastered, containing a large reception and dancing room, and other conveniences. The club was furnished with a fine sailing yacht, and five sailboats and as many row- boats were owned by the individual members. The organization was named "The Lake View Club," and was composed of the following members, all residents of Plymouth: William W. Hill, Nathan H. Oglesbee, Henry C;. Thayer, Chester C. Buck, Joseph Westervelt, Charles E. Toan, Horace Corbin and Daniel McDonald. Within a few years each of these members, except Mr. Westervelt, erected comfortable cottages in which they made their homes during the summer seasons, all taking their meals at the club house. In 1890, owing to business reverses of some of the members, it became necessary to disband the club and dispose of the property, which was done, the Vandalia railroad company purchasing it for $16,000.

 

100                                           HISTORY OF MARSHALL COUNTY.

 

In 1878-9 Louis B. Fulwiler, Moses Muhlfield, and others of Peru, purchased ground and erected a two-story clubhouse on the northeast bank of the lake. The club in its earlier days was one of the most noted organizations on the lake, and its disbandment a number of years ago was a distinct loss to the cottagers who made their homes around the lake during the summers.

About the same time several Rochester people formed a club and erected a clubhouse on Long point, on the west side of the lake, and occupied it with considerable irregularity for several years. The club went out of existence many years ago, but the club house still stands and has been remodeled into a double cottage, which is occupied by private families during the summer seasons. The Rochester people were the pioneers in discovering the beauties of Long point, being the first to erect a building there. For that reason for many years it was called "Rochester point," and even yet many of the early comers about the lake call it by that name.

 

Since then there have been erected about 150 cottages, and the progress made in the improvements about the lake since the coming of the railroad is marvelous, a description of which would require more space than the limits of this sketch will permit.

 

In selecting the names for their cottages around the lake, the owners have exercised considerable ingenuity and imagination. Many of the names are more than merely fanciful-they describe, in some particular, the character of individuality of the surroundings, or some natural feature associated with the location, such as Shady Bluff or South View. Others commemorate some personal attachment or some sentiment associated with the owner's experience, such as Hamewold or The Wigwam. Others are named in a vacation spirit, such as Hilarity Hall or The Powwow. The following is a list of the cottages as complete as the names can now be recalled: Oak Lodge, Oak Dell, Oak Knoll, The Oaks, Two Oaks, The Illinois, Shady Point, Shady Bluff, Portledge, The Tepee, The Wigwam, Grand View, The Martin Box, Squirrel Inn, Manana, Beach Lawn, Cosy Cote, Willow Spring, Meadow Lodge, Waupaca Hall, Woodbank, The Roost, Ingleside, Windermere, Hilarity Hall, Idleden, The Sunset, Cricket Camp, South View, The Powwow, Edgewater, Fairview, Maple Grove, Pleasant Point, The Buckeye, Sleepy Hollow, Kemah, Idlewild, Aubbeenaubbee Park, Cherry Villa and Halcyon Villa.

 

A sketch of the town of Culver on the northwest shore of the lake, and also of Culver Military Academy on the northeast shore, will be found elsewhere under appropriate heads.