History of the Boats or Launches
The boats or launches of Lake Maxinkuckee were a colorful part of the lakes history.
They first provided most the important needed commodity - transportation from the
depot to the cottages that dotted the shores of the lake.
They also provided pleasure and more so - as roads became more accessible and
the advent of the car the importance dwindled down to the pleasure use.
Historical Time line:
|1852|| - || “Queen of the Lake” . . . Large Flat Bottomed Skiff, built by Isaac A. Morris.|
|1874 || - || “The Anna” . . . . Large Sailboat, built by W. W. Hill.|
|1876 || - || “The Nancy Lee” . . . Built by Capt. Ed Morris.|
|1878 || - || “The Victor” . . . . First Flat Bottom Sailing Craft, Steamboat|
|1880|| - || “The Elephant” . . . 18X20’ Sailing Craft, in cooperation building venture, built by Lake View Club membership|
| || - || “The Welcome” ; in 1885 renamed “The Lake Forest” . . . 14X50’ two-deck, side wheeler steamboat . . .
built by Capt. Ed Morris|
|1883|| - || “The Aubbeenaubbee” . . . Steamboat, two-decker|
| || - || “The Bessie” . . .|
|1884|| - || “The Lloyd McSheeny” . . . Steamboat; Owner, Capt. Oliver Knapp|
|1886|| - || “The Peerless” . . . Steamboat; Capacity: 100 passengers; builder, Capt. Ed Morris, (Note: 1894
advertisement says: “Steamer Peerless meets 7 trains daily at Vandalia Park and carries passengers to all Hotels.”|
|1895|| - || “The Peerless II” . . . Steamboat built by Capt. Ed Morris . . . Sold to M. K. Lord, 1897.
Remained in operation till 1915.|
|1903|| - || “The Doxie” . . . Steamer, built by Capt. Crook, was launched May, 1903. (Note: Announcement states: “
Accommodations to all cottages and persons to points around Lake Maxinkuckee.”|
| - || “The Neeswaugee” . . . 14X70’ 2-deck Steamboat, Capacity: 200 passengers, built by Capt. Crook.
Remained in service till 1915.|
| (?)|| - || “The Daisy” . . . Steamboat.|
|1883|| - || “The W. R McKeen” . . . Ironclad Steamer.|
|1905|| - || “The White Swan” . . . 30X70’ 2-deck excursion ship, builder, Capt. Crook . . . Remained in service till 1907. …
Prominent tourist floating dance pavilion.|
|1938|| - || “The Red Wing” Formerly on Lake Manitou, the 65-passenger, diesel powered excursion ship purchased, 1938 by
Art Simpson. Renamed “The Maxinkuckee”. Later owned by Erv Thessin, Frank Amond, Phil Scruggs,
Sold late ‘70’s for use, Lake Wawassee.|
|1941|| - || “CSS Fowler” . . . 3-Masted Square Rigger with auxiliary diesel power. Built, CMA boat shop by W. C. Craft.
Named for Comdr. O.W. Fowler, director, Culver Naval School. (54X13’ ship carries 1,600 sq. ft. Sail.)|
|1958|| - || “CSNS Yarnell” . . . 60X131/2’ diesel powered, destroyer type ship. Built CMA Boat Shop by W. C. Craft.
Named for Adm. Harry Yarnell, CNS Director.|
We have been left with some irreplaceable memories of
John and Bea (Rassner)Bigley
of the launches. Also so did
aniel Mc Donald
|To the right is what David Burns claims to have been a cinder from one of
the Lake Maxinkuckee Steamboats of years past - the first is the front side at one angle
and the second is theback side at another angle - Yeah I know a weird thing to save -
hoard, oh welll...Why not?
Pictures of some of the launches that have not been identified can be found under the
'Unknown launches'. It seems that some of the launches from other area lakes or were
moved back and forth between lakes:
Capt. JEWELL has removed his steamboat from lake Manitau to lake Maxinkuckee, the
transfer being made yesterday. He will probably return it when the boating season is
over, if notearlier. . . . Rochester Sentinel - Saturday, August 7, 1880
1884 - Logansport Journal February 5, 1884 - A number of Indianapolis gentlemen have
had a steam yacht built to place on Lake Maxinkuckee. It is about seventy feet long,
and will conveniently carry 80 passengers. It will be run the coming season for the
accommodation of excursionists and private picnic parties, and will, undoubtedly, pay
its owners a fat premium on their investment. It has been shipped to the lake and will
be launched as if soon as the weather will permit
1888 - Jan 24 - A Chicago gentleman has made arangements to place a large steamer on
Lake Maxinkuckee next season for the accommodation of pleasure seekers - Logansport
1890 - Ed Morris
, of the steamer
Peerless, it is understood, will build a new steamer this winter, which will probably
be named "The Climax," as he does not propose that it shall be excelled.
1896 - Jul 23 - Thos. Grittith recently completed the setting up of an engine in one of
the steamers on Lake Maxinkuokee. Lougansport Pharos Tribune 23, Jul 1895
1900 - April - Census shows that one Oliver R. Stevens born May 1869 was a partner
in a boat he was married with a family. on the next page is founf Oliver Crook and was
listed as manger of a steamboat and with him in his house hold was James Smith who
was captain of a steamboat - since livign within the same household one could assume
that Crook was his employeer at the time. They all lived in the 1st ward which was the
Scott Street area. and found in the 2nd ward of the town was one Robert F.
Buckherster and Orrin J. Hudson listed in seperate housholds but both were listed as an
Engineer of a steamboat.
1900 - Nov 3 - CADETS ARE EXPELLED
One Hundred and Three Students at Culver are Dismissed.
A telegram from Culver says that about 100 students_have been expelled or suspended
from the Culver Military Academy for sinking most of the pleasure boats, including one
steamer, in Lake Maxinkuckee, on the shore of which the academy is situated, the '
sinking being a Hallowe'en prank.
The Pharos learned today that while the students were expelled as above, stated, the
cause was entirely another one. It seems that two students named Beck and Harrington
were dismissed from the academy for absenting themselves from the grounds without
When they started away Wednesday evening, 103 students broke ranks and followed
them to the depot, singing songs and shouting defiance to the faculty.
Col. A. F. Fleet followed the crowd, rounded them up and marched them back to the
Yesterday morning an order was read, dismissing the whole 103 insubordinates from
the college. The boys have since packed their traps and gone home and the school is
running along as usual.
From the Chattel Mortgages Book 5 Marshall County, Indiana comes:
|Mortgagor||Mortgagee|| Date || Amount ||Description|
|Koontz, J. H. & J. F. et al || Morris, Edd || 20 June 1887 || 400.00 || Steamboat|
|Walter, D. G. et al || Morris, Edd ||20 June 1887|| 400.00 ||Steamboat |
|Lord, Emma E. || Willard, Chas. P. & Co. || 31 Mar. 1890|| 875.00 || Steam boat |
|Lord, Emma E. || Crook, Oliver ||10 Nov. 1890 ||1,000.00 ||Steam boat |
|Lord, Emma E. ||Schmidt, Harold ||25 July 1891 ||1,800.00 ||Steamboat "Aubbeenaubee" |
|Lord, Emma E. ||Morris, Edmund || 22 Mar. 1897 ||4,000.00 ||Steamers "Peerless" & "Aubbenaubee", all belongings, piano |
|Lord, Emma E. || Forgy, Geo. B. ||14 Mar. 1898 || 360.00 ||Naptha launch, steamers "Peerless", "Aubbenaubee" |
|Lord, Emma E. ||L McCormick, Monroe C. || 12 Apr. 1900 ||107.50 || Launch "Dewey", 3 horses, cow, watch, buggy |
|Lord, Emma E. || Cappel, Louisa A., Admnx. || 18 Oct. 1900 || 700.00 ||Launch "Dewey", 2 steam-boats, fixtures, machinery |
|Lord, Mrs. E. E. || McAllister, Elmer A. || 6 July 1901 || 21.91 || Steambts "Aubbenaubee" & "Peerless |
|Crook, Oliver || Benepe, Dr. J. L. || 11 Sept. 1901 || 300.00 ||Gasoline launch Doxey, portable boat house |
|Crook, Oliver || Lord, Emma E.|| 23 June 1902 ||7,000.00 || Steamboats "Aubbeenaubee" & "Peerless", launch "Dewey" |
|Crook, Oliver || Lord, Emma E. || 10 Sept. 1902 || 2,300.00 ||Steamboats "Aubbeenaubee" & "Peerless", launch "Dewey |
|Crook, Oliver || Lord, Emma E. || 6 Feb. 1903 ||5,500.00 ||Steamboat Neeswaugee |
|Crook, Oliver || Lord, Emma E. || 20 Dec. 1904 || 2,230.00 || Steamers Peerless & Niswaugee, launch Dewey |
1913 - May 29 - The fleet of boats to cruise the waters of Lake Maxinkuckee this summer
for the pleasure of passengers includes:
Captain Crook's Steamers,
Neeswaugee and Peerless and his launches, Charlene and Mildred,
L. S. Finney's launches, East Side May and the Carroll ,
and the boats of Arthur Morris
This is a list of some of the main known ones, a brief history and photographs that have thus
far been found.
||June 1919 - Ahdeek, a 38-foot motor pleasure boat, was built in 1916 at Morris Heights,
New York. She was acquired by the U.S. Navy on 2 September 1918 and served into the next
year as USS Ahdeek, probably in the New York area. Served during World War I and in the
early post-war era as USS Ahdeek (SP-2589) in 1918-1919, probably in the New York area. |
Using their powers of persuasion on the U.S. Navy, Ross and Gignilliat received four “motor
yachts complete in every respect” between 1920 and 1922 and they became mainstays in
Culver’s fleet. Two of them, the Estelle and the Ahdeek, were designated as “Flag Boats,”
In June 1919 she was ordered sent to the Culver Military Academy, in Indiana, where she apparently
remained for many years, on loan from the Navy. Ahdeek was finally stricken from the list of Naval
vessels in October 1933.
Belonged to the Culver Military Academy and was destroyed in the Boathouse fire of March
It was used to transport the admiral on his daily trips from his lakeside cottage to headquarters. Following Ross’ retirement, it
went into service as an instructional boat and became a favorite of crew coach. Belonged to the Culver Military Academy and
was destroyed in the boathouse fire of March 1938
|| Admiral Rodman |
Belongs to the Culver Military Academy. It was placed into service in 1935 as 'Regina' and was renamed the 'Admiral Rodman'
In 1935 the Regina joined the fleet and immediately caught the attention of sailors, yachtsmen, and people wandering along
the shoreline. It was nearly fifty-six feet long, had a nineteen foot beam, was diesel powered, and, at twenty-two gross tons,
was the largest vessel on Lake Maxinkuckee. It had bunks and a mess. It was in service until the late 1950's.
1874 - Built by W. W. Hill A large sailboat.
Associated with Scott's Landing.
The first steam boat was owned and run by William Davis in
1885. It was named Bessie in honor of his daughter.
It's name was soon changed to Vandalia.
Owned by Capt. Lee R. Finney. Anchored at
Maxinkuckee Landing. Sold to Dick Louden and Eddie Bobery. Was said to be the last of the lake launches.
1913 - May 22 - L. S. Finney will run the launches East Side May and the Caroll.
Dick Louden will be his right-hand man.
1922 Mar 22 - L. R. Finney has sold his two passenger boats, the "East Side May" and "Carol" to
Walter VanShoiak, who will runt hem this season in conjunction with Dick Loudon's three boats.
The two lines will pool their business and maintain a running schedule which will furnish the pulblice
with a complete service
|| Charline [Charlene] |
1909 - March 4 - Capt. Crook has purchased from a Bay City manufacturer a 30-ft. gasoline boat, driven by a 24-horse power, four-cylinder
engine. The boat, with a speed of 15 miles an hour, will carry 40 passengers, and coat $1,500. It comes "knocked down" and will
be put together by George Terry of Bass Lake, and is to be used to supplement the Lake fleet
1909 - May 27 - Capt. Crook has named his new launch "Charline" in honor of a little granddaughter
1909 Jun 10 The "Charline" Launched
Last Wednesday, June 2, witnessed the launching of the beautiful 35-foot launch recently
built by Capt. Crook.
It is quiped with a high tension Boschmagento and a Buffalo motor, recomended and sold by Capt. Morris.
The time honored custom of "breaking the bottle of wine" over the bow as the boat glided int the
water was prefored by Myrtle Delight Thompson, the charming little daughter of Mr. L. B. Simcox,
whose bright eyes while standing on the bow of the boat waiting to perform her part looked like
two diamonds set in the bow.
Before the boat started she read the following lines written for the occasion and christened the boat
Here's to the pride of Lake Maxinkuckee
Whoever rides in her is quite lucky
Heaven will smile on her, as she glides
With loads of people for pleasure rides
Honoe to Terru, VaMeter and Crook
Who built and know her just like a book
There faithfully men have toiled early and late
To give this beautiful lake something great
Now the can look with pride and pleasure
And reap a due reward from this treasure
We trust that no storms she will see
Happiness and peace will her watchword be
In the name of all that is given a queen
I christen thee "Charline.
We must not forget to mention the names of Captain Fisher and Elmer Hall who took such
active part in launching the Chaline
A long and successful life to the Charline.
1913 - May 22 - Capt Crook's fleet will consist of the steamers Neeswaugee, and Peerless; and the
launches Charlene and Mildred - the latter having bee purchased of Capt. A. J. Knapp. John
Buswell will be Capt. Crook's manager this season.
A large double pontoon paddle wheel workboat. This ponderous vessel, designed and built at
the Boat Shop and powered by a 1941 Oliver tractor engine, is used for general maintenance
of the naval fleet
April 1898 - Built by Capt. Morris for Mrs.
Lord. It replaced the Peerless & Aubbeenaubbee. Naptha Launch
1898 - Apr 15 - New Boat. - Mrs. R. K. Lord's beautiful naphtha launch appeared upon the lake Monday in full running order
and is a gem of the first water and can carry about 25 people. It was built by Capt. Morris and will be used for the spring traffic
in place of the large steamers Auhbeenaubbee and Peerless. During the summer season it will be used by private parties,
who desire to ride upon the crystal waters of Lake Maxinkuckee without being in the company of strangers. The boat
was christened "Culver" which will be very appropriate. This will make three magnifieent boats now in the possession
of Mrs Lord, which are absolutely the peers of all boats upon resort lakes in the country. The steamers Aubbeenaubbee
and Peerless are now receiving a new coat of paint aud will soon appear in public resplenden in their beauty.
The Elks' band will play on the streets every evening until next Sunday, advertising the benefit excursion to Lake Maxinkuckee. Last night
they attended the formal launching of the steamer '"Colletta." owned Iby Frank Kienly, a member of the band.
The steamer, Colletta, is again afloat having been stranded on a rock for several days. Aug. 18, 1898 Logansport Pharos Tribune
Owned by the Maxinkuckee Steamboat Co. (Crook & Lord,
manager and Mrs. R. K.
Lord, (owner) Was 30 foot trimmed in brass.
1898 Aug 12 - The Dewey has a big morning's work every Sunday. It delivers a cargo of ice cream and receives a cargo of church goers....
The captain of the Dnwey is the proud possessor of a display of photos showing, himself in various positions
connected with his official position
1898 - Dec 22 - John Gast, the timer, has purchased Captain Crook's launch, the
Dewey. Captain Crook will replace it with a new launch next summer
1900 - June 29 - Mrs, R. K. Lord has purchased a marine engine which will be
placed in the launch Dewey.
1904 - Sep 15 - The steam motive power has [been] taken out of Capt. Crook's boat, the
Dewey, and a gasoline engine put in.
This was just mentioned by name in John and Bea Bigley's rticle in
the 1986 Marshall county history. Nothing more has been found on it - could it be a typo and was meant
to be "Doxie"?
||The Dorcas, an exceedingly fast launch owned by W. H. Fulton on the east side, for a long time has had no
rival, simply because she could show a clean pair of heels to every opponent she came in contact with. But recently
a new boat arrived in Culver by the name of the Lois, owned by Louis Duenweg, and she was placed im the lake.
She is a beauty, and her rakish make up denoted speed. Last Sunday the Dorcas and her skipper were out on the
bosom of the lake, and skipped over the water at an 8 knot an hour gait, when it was apparent that the Lois was
close on the former’s heels. Capt, Fulton gave the Dorcas another notch, when she fairly flew over the water; but
her rakish oppoent without apparent effort commenced to close the gap that separated them, aud in a very short
time took the lead, thus making her the champion. We understend that Captain Fulton is not satisfied, and
undoubtedly another race will take place in the future - Aug 16, 1901|
Doxie / Doxey / Helen
Found in the 7 May 1903 issue of the Culver Citizen:
Launch "Doxie" was launched last Monday [27 April] and put in commission. He is now prepared to accommodate all early
cottagers or persons desiring to go to points around the lake.
1904 - May 12 - Capt. Crook’s launch, the Helen was put into the lake last Saturday. This boat was known as the
Doxey last year.
East Side May & Carol
Owned by Capt. Lee R. Finney.
1909 - Apr. 15 - L. F. Finney, at the Carson cottage, is building a 35 foot, 20 horsepower, 3-cylinder motorboat
which will have a capacity for 35 passengers. He will run it as a public conveyance and it will be launched June 1 as the
"East Side May."
1913 - May 22 - L. S. Finney will run the launches East Side May and the Caroll.
Dick Louden will be his right-hand man.
1922 Mar 22 - L. R. Finney has sold his two passenger boats, the "East Side May" and "Carol"
to Walter VanSchoiack.
Owned by Capt. L. S. Finney and operated by Eddie Bobery. Sold to Dick Louden and Eddie
Bobery Anchored at the Maxinkuckee Landing.
Mar 16, 1923 - MAY 16, 1923— The Louden launches are at the depot pier , being placed in
readiness for summer traffic.
1880's - A sailboat Built in Chicago and launched by the Lake View Club. A sailboat.
It was originally built for service on Lake Michigan. It was 18 by 20 foot and at
its time was the largest sailing craft on the lake. It was rumored about that there
was danger of capsizing it. None of the club members were expert sailors and thus
he Elephant - became just that to the club and its members. Eventually it was shoved
up on shore, and a bonfire made of it.
Using their powers of persuasion on the U.S. Navy, Ross and Gignilliat
received four “motor yachts complete in every respect” between 1920 and 1922
and they became mainstays in Culver’s fleet. Two of them, the Estelle and the
Ahdeek, were designated as “Flag Boats,” Serving with distinction for many years.
Owned by Culver Military Academy. Wireless Signal boat
Built by Capt. Ed. Morris and used to transport people and material on the lake
until the coming of the railroad in 1883 and the steamboats arrived.\
||Flotilla pre 1938 Culver Military Academy|
Manager Elbrecht's new launch, the Gladys, arrived last week; It
is a 21 foot boat, fitted with a Western gas engine and handsomely
James Barnes and wife are occuping the John E . Barnes cottage
on Long Point. James has purchased the gasoline launch Gladys, of
Mr. Elbrecht. - June 30, 1904
1870's - A clinker was ran by Capt. Mc Donald
Lady/Lake Forrest or Welcome
1885 - Newly built and launched by Capt. Morris. A side wheeler 50 by 14. Was first named Welcome. Was
junked in the 1890's. Said to have ran at an angle. The hull laid for a long time
near the railway depot.
Clemens O. Mueller of Indianapolis and long-time East Side resident, writes that the
first steamr was a side-wheeler, "Lady Forest", junked in the late 1890's and whose
hulk lay half-sumerged near the rairoad trestle in from the oth Kreutzbergers "of
hallowed memory" - 24 Apr 1957 - CItizen
Koontz, J. H. (Mortgagor) Shakes, Thomas (Mortgagee) on 12 Aug. 1891 for the amount of 200.00 on Und.
1/2 of steamboat Lady Forest
Walters, Daniel G. (Mortgagor) Tyler, Nusel P.; Armstrong, William S. (Mortgagee) on 12 May 1891 for the amount
of 336.40 of nd. 1/2 of steam boat "Lady Forest
1899 - June 30 - The old side-wheeler which has beeu an eyesore to the people for the last eight or ten years, as
it laid in a delapidated condition upon a sand bar near Kreuzberger Park, was burned this week by the section men.
This was one of the first boats that ever plowed the waters of Lake Maxenkuckee, and was a daisy in its palmy days
L. S. Finney
Lloyd Mc Sheehy
1913 - May 22 - Capt Crook's
fleet will consist of the steamers Neeswaugee, and Peerless; and the launches Charlene and
Mildred - the latter having been purchased of Capt. A. J. Knapp. John Buswell will be Capt.
Crook's manager this season.
A steamer owned by Capt. Morris and was in operation as of 17 jun 1886
1876 - Capt. Ed Morris. A sailboat. It was sold to the Peru Club. Before this one he had built the first
flat bottom sail boat of which the name is unknown.
||The O. W. Fowler, Culver's first square rigger,
was in use from 1941 until 1982-1983 . It was named in honor of CMA's Lt. Commander
O. W. Fowler and it was placed into service in July 1941. |
Academy powerboat destroyed in the March 1938 boathouse fire. Was possibly one of the
four “motor yachts complete in every respect” that Ross and Gignilliat received between 1920 and 1922
Using their powers of persuasion on the U.S. Navy, and they became mainstays in Culver’s fleet. Two of them,
the Estelle and the Ahdeek, were designated as “Flag Boats,”
9 Jul 1903 Culver citizen - A New boat Capt. Morris has been at work on , a new sail boat for the last six
month and it was completed and launched last week. It is a new departure in the sail boat line on Lake
Maxinkuckee; being known as a knock-about. It is sloop rigged, 7 1/2 feet beam 24 feet over all and
15 feet and 5 inches on the water line. It carries 380 square feet of canvas and can beat anything of her
class that is on the lake. It will be named the "Katheryne" and Mr. Allen Williams has chartered her for
the season. Her approximate cost was $600.
||The R. H. Ledbetter was placed into service 7 July 1984.
It is steel hulled, 54 feet. It was funded by Robert H. Ledbetter it was constructed by T. D. Vinette of Escanaba,
Mi. as much of the hardware and equipment was used from the O. W. Fowler as was the mast spars and sails
incorporated into it. It was outfitted with a new Cummins diesel engine. |
Queen of the Lake
1852 - Built by Isaac N. Morris. A Flat bottom skiff.
|| Revluc |
Shortly before World War II the Revluc, a Richardson cruiser was a gift of Bertram B. Culver , Jr. It had been based at Harbor Springs,
Michigan, and was well known in the yachting fraternity. At Culver,it served a special function as a VIP boat and became a mainstay
of the summer fleet It served the Naval School of 36 years into the 1960's. It was then scuttled off Perry's Point to become
a diving site for scuba instruction.
S. S. Arlington
Built by Edmund Morris. A large sail boat used to transport people before the steamers arrived.
Dr. Durr had his gasoline launch, the Sentinel D., hauled down from Plymouth and put in the
lake this week. It is a good boat and will make a fine addition to the large number of powercrafts on
Lake Maxinkukckee - April 21 1904
1903 - Was launched by the Culver Military Academy. Said to have been on displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair.
Was renamed from 'Bessie' when the railroad reached the lake. It came in February 1883 and owned and ran
by William Davis in 1885 and named in honor of his daughter. It came from the St. Joseph River at South Bend.
It was not a profitable investment as patronage was not sufficient. It was removed to Cedar Lake [Bass Lake]
Starke county, Indiana.
1878 - Brought to the lake in 1878 from Rochester. It was launched from the Maxinkuckee Landing on the East
side. It ended also in 1878 because there was only a few that patronized it and thus did not justify the owner
keeping it on the lake. It was a was to small unpretentious boat it had a diminutive engine and boiler and was not
considered entirely safe.
W. R. Mc Keen
1880 In chattel book 5 is found Barber, Emitt P. (Mortgagor ) Killen, M. L. & Jewell, R. S. (Mortgagee ) on
23 Aug. 1880 for the amount of 96.72 on One steam boat "Victor"
Capt. R. K. Lord.
Unknown by name
Sometime during the life of the Elephant - Ed. R. Wheeler of the Shady Bluff also
built a large sail boat. It was intended to be the finest boat of its kind on
the lake at that point in time. But its construction proved to be fa ulty and it
leaked badly. Mr. Wheeler being so annoyed soaked it with coal oil, set a match to
it sending it up in smoke! The name of the boat is unknown.
1910 = 18 Aug. issue of Culver citizen states the W. L. devine placed a fine, new launch in
the lake recently. It is 26 feet long, has a 35-horspower, four-cylinder engine and cost $1,800.