Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Lake Maxinkuckee - the Beautiful

By Joe S. Miller
Indianapolis Star, Jul 2 1905

Along the edge of the diamond Lake Maxinkukuee, set in the fold of the Northwest, where the glint of the shimmering sunshine not turns it to finest ruby and the reflection of the green grass now turns it to emerald, a group of women sat before a hotel.

They had excape the summer's heat and were talking of the beauties which surrounded them.

An old woman with silvery hair was speaking to the rest, while they half listened and half gave their attention to the white sails, the launches guided by the arms of strong men and the row boats on the surface of the water made luminously the touch of an afternoon sun.

One youn woman in a pink-tinted organdie foondled an old Indian flint arrowhead and mused freamily of a day long passed.

Another left the crowd and went to a nearby spring which gurgled from thr ground, hald envious of the springs which splashed beneath the waves of the lake like frolicking fountains carelss of their imprisonment.

"I remember the first ti,e I ever came to Lake Mainkuckee", said the woman with the silvery hair. "You wouldn't believe it, but I came from southern Indiana and rode in an ox cart."

"Oh, how delightful!" exclaimed a pleasure-loving girl.

"No I was not alone, for there were undreds who sought the beautiful spot. It was like a mirage, for he traveled for days, actuall suffering. We had to stop at night on account of the uncertainity of the road, and out water was drawn from filthy streams and stagnant ponds"

"But I shall never forget the day we arrived. It was about this time of the evening, and all of the caravan which had been on the road together was to meet at a given signal, the blast of a conch shell."

Just then then smoter on the cool air the sond of a locomotive, and a puffinh engine of the Vandalia Railroad proclaimed the advanced made in transportation since the days of which the old woman spoke.

"The men felled trees", continued the old woman, "and we built log huts and the women helped in planting the corn and the potatoes. You can never imagine how refreshing the taste of this spring water was after that long travel."

A timid youn woman spoke up: "Oh i should be afraid to go in one of those boats away out there. It mus be two miles across."

A lazy youn man spoe up and gave the accurate figures. "It is three miles lone and two and a quarter miles wide", he said.

The sun grow redder as it sunk in the opposite edge of the cool waters and the waves made merry for the last few minutes with the ruddy rays for playmates.

They talked of canoe clubs, society affairs in the houses, the cottages and the mansions, about the shores of beautiful Lake Maxinkuckee, as the old woman continued her take of the past.?"

But the listened through courtesy a _ of the days when Indians passed among the trees of the ancient forests, _ of whose majestic monarchs still _ted. and actuall gre deeply interested. She told of some of the old traditions if the Indian tribes who had inhabited these very banks where they sat.

Softly creeping darkness added cred_.

The young women drew their finely _ought shawls about their shapely shoulders and listened.

On the other side of the lake, where the wings of a red-winged blackbird challenged the waters to reflect such a color as that with which it was adorned as it chattered with its mates and flew to its roost, two phantom forms stood on the firm gravel shore. The birds flew away and the silence was broken only by the ripple of the waves and the splash of a black bass who rose from his element and caused the receding ripples to laugh as ther secretly closed the waters above his hiding place.

"It was not like this then", spoke ip the spirit of the old Indian Chief Nees-wau-gee, who had come back on a pilgrimage to his old hunting grond.

Pau-koo-shuck, his sad-faced companion spirit, did not answer, but shoved the transparent dugout canoe into the ater and git in, handing Nees-wau-gee a paddle. The touched the cool water and pushed away

They moved as the shadow of a cloud on the earth moves, softly talking as they touched the waters so dear to themm the waters which glistened as they did the day Nees-wau-gee left with all his peopleto give way to the pae faces.

At that time there was no more pretentious structure about the banks of the moccasin-shaped lake than a few log cabins, and most of the Pottawottamies had lived in the wigwams made by driving poles in the ground, tieing them together with stips of bark and hickory wythes then covering them with bark and a mat of flag grass.

How, how different!

Nees-wau-gee, shading his eyes from the sun as it linered on the edge of the water, viewd in amazement the tall buildings mad not of logs nor of grass, but of something he had never seen.

The whistles of a strange craft caused them to steer toward a small inlet, where when they had stopped, Nees-wau-gee sat still, guite still and lamented.

"Imad the pact," he said. "I agreed to go away and give my home to the white man. In the evening we met together and I told the white man good-by. The ponies were packed and my people were waiting. A sunrise we filed away towar the muddy waters of the Missouri.

"Our ponies were not swift and fever overtook us. Out throats butned and we longed for the cool waters of Muk-sen-cuk-ee. We drank from the mud streams and could not turn back. A hundred of my children stopped on the way and left their bones.

Pau-koo-shuck spoke: "I too, went away," he said "but I cam back again and stayed on these hunting grounds. The MIssouri was muddy and Muk-sen-cuk-ee was clear. When I had killed my father, Au-be-nau-be and had gone away" as chief of my people I could not stay and came back. I have been here ever since.

O, where are Nee-see-aw-quat, and co-e-za, and Ab-bepak-um-sa and Paw-pee?

They shoved away again and Pau-koo-shuck guided the phantom bark with his visiting friend.

The old woman with the silvery hair was still talking of the Indiana lengends to the group of girls on the other side of the lake.

"That is only tradition", replied the old woman. "Since those early days civilization has come so fast about Maxinkuckee that the old days are almost forgotten.

White men come from all ofer the state for the beauties of the lake, and its good water just as the Indians used to."

"Look! What's that?" exclaimed one of the crowd.

The phantom boat with the two Indian chiefs came toward them over the water so softly as a soaring haxk moves. The queer old craft passed by roaboats, birdlike yacths, launshes, steamers, coming on and on as the girls say breathless. They forgot the sound of the pianos in th cottages about them, they forgot the civilization on the shores of the lake, they forgot the pleasure seekers and the fishermen in their boats, and watched the bark of Nees-wau-gee and Pau-koo-shuck as it came nearer and neared. The last fringe of the sinking circle of sun disaapeared, waving good-night with a thousand ribbons of red. The phantom bark came neared and neared, the boom of a cannon at Culver shook the air in answer to the sin's parting salute and the bark disappeared.

It was sunset on Lake Maxinkuckee.