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


1886 - Steamer. Built by 1885-6 Capt Ed Morris. Another source says built by Jacob Larson. Launched by Capt. Morris. Capacity: 100 passengers; An advertisement in 1894 states: Steamer Peerless meets 7 trains daily at Vandalia Park and carries passengers to all Hotels It ran for ten years when it was laid aside and the Peerless No. 2 was constructed. 

1894 Apri 13 - Capt, Ed Morris' steamer, the Peerless, has been thoroughly overhauled, and is roady to be sent off into the water as noon as warm weather comes. - Logansport Pharos

1895 - Sep 28 Capt. Morris has made arrangements for the appearance of a fine new steamer next summer = Logansport Pharos Tribune

Peerless II  

From the Chattel Mortgages Book 5 Marshall County, Indiana comes:

MortgagorMortgagee Date Amount Description
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

1896 - May 1 - That Beautiful Steamer
    Capt. Morris will launch his magnificent new steamer May 9th.

    We understand the Culver City Band will be present and render appropriate music for the occasion.

    The boat is cetainly one of the slickest passenger steamers ever set afloat upon a pleasure resort lake, and speaks volumes in praise of the man who performed the work of construction. The capacity of the boat will be between two and three hundred people, and will be very fast. It is expected that a large crowd of the citizens of this section will be present to witness her trail trip - Culver City Herald

1896 - May 8 Captain Ed Morris handsome new steamboat will be launched and christened at Maxinkuckee tomorrow afternoon -Logansport Pharos Tribune

1896 May 9 Steamers at Maxinkuckee. Captain Morris' new steamer, which was launched at Maxinkuckee today, will be called the Peerless, taking the place of the old boat of the same name. It is 12 x 63 feet in size and will carry 200 passengers easily. It, was built by Captain Morris.... Logansport Pharos Tribune

1896 - May 12 - The new steamer which was launched at Maxinkuckee, Saturday, by Captain Morris, cost $4,000. - Logansport Pharos Tribune

1896 - May 15 - With Swan-Like Appearance

The New steamer 'Peerless' Glides into the Crystal waters of Lake Maxinkuckee

    Citv Band was present and discoursed sweet music, and received commendable praise from several parties from abroad.

    Just as the grand steamer was starting upon its career down the tramway, Miss Gertrude Wiseman broke a bottle of wine over her bow and christened her the "Peerless.”

    The boat is owned by Capt. Morris, and was built bv Jacob Larson, one of the champion boat builders of the United States, in fact he can’t be beat, as he is onto all the modern improvements in the boad building line.

    This gentleman also built the handsome and commodious steamer, Aubbenaubbee, the old Peerless, in fact has built every steamer upon the lake. His reputation as a boat builder is established from ocean to ocean, and consequently is in great demand all over the country where scientific boat construction is carried on.

    The new Peerless is a beauty, and will carry between two and three hundred people.

    The engine and boiler are new and are the best class made in America.

    She will be a very fast boat, and Capt. Morris is highly pleased and gratified with the craft after her trial trip, which proved successful , it carrying all that could get aboard without the least sign of being overloaded.

    The citizens of Culver City and vicinity can well be proud of the fact that Maxenkuckee Lake has three excellent steamers to carry over its waters the pleasure seekers.Culver City Herald

1896 - May 22 - Ed. Morris has purchased a new Kimball piano, which will be for the use of the patrons of the steamer "Peerless”... The Aubbenaubbee and the new “ Peerless” have been painted in a most artistic mauner and they now present a magnificent appearance - Culver City Herald

1896 - June 5 - Capt. Morris has placed on board his new steamer “Peerless” an elegantly toned Heintz piano, which will doubt be fully appreciated by his many music-loving patrons. It was purchased of Chicago parties through Mr. Duddleson, of this city. - Culver City Herald

From the Chattel Mortgages Book 5 Marshall County, Indiana comes:

MortgagorMortgagee Date Amount Description
Lord, Emma E. Forgy, Geo. B. 14 Mar. 1898 360.00 Naptha launch, steamers "Peerless", "Aubbenaubee"
Lord, Mrs. E. E. McAllister, Elmer A. 6 July 1901 21.91 Steambts "Aubbenaubee" & "Peerless
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. 20 Dec. 1904 2,230.00 Steamers Peerless & Niswaugee, launch Dewey

It was sold to Mrs. R. K. Lord in 1897
    1897 - Apr. 1 - Mrs. M. K. Lord has purchased the new steamer "Peerless: from Capt. Morris, used in the resort business on Lake Maxinkuckee giving her complee control of the steamboat buisness on that lke. - Argos Reflector
and in turn she sold it in July 1902 to Capt. Crook. The engineer, Jonas; under Capt. Crook

1900 - Jul 27 - The-steamer Peerless was hauled upon the dry dock this week to repair a broken shoe - Culver Herald

Also W. T. Wilson stated that Mr. Buswell was also the engineer of the Peerless besides being patrolman for the Lake Association in the history of the Lake Association that was within An Early History Lake Maxinkuckee (1908) Daniel McDonald.

1906 - May 31- The Steamer Peerless, while cruising in Maxinkuckee lake with some of the Y. M. C. A. boys from the academy the other night,"ran into about 100 feet of seine which unknown parties had smile preparatory to an unlawf ul ha ul - Logansport Daily Pharos,br>
Cole Porter - the young piano player of the - Peerless:

Thomas A. Hendricks wrote of the Peerless and one of its passengers - Cole Porter, who would one day become famous - :
    According to Great Lakes or ocean standards, the Peerless wasn't a big steamer, but in the eyes of an eight-year-old youngster it was a wonderful creation. It took masterful maneuvering and seamanship to bring the boat to a successful landing. Much bell-ringing and whistle-tooting between Captain Crook, the pilot, and the engineer, and backing of water and reversing of the engine were necessary procedures to complete a landing. This was particularly true when whitecaps spotted the lake and Captain Crook would shake his head and say, "Boys, it's a rough ocean today. You'd better not come aboard."...

    Although Cole had desecrated the sacred piano stool of the "Peerless" by sitting on it in his wet bathing trunks, only a few years later he found himself chosen to occupy the throne by unanimous plebiscite. No longer did Captain Crook menace him, for he ad become Cole's most ardent admirer, in fact his chief claque.

    "When that kid plays the pi-ana everyone rides on the steamer just like it don't cost them ten cents an hour. But they don't look at the scenery no longer - they just listen to him play and sing. At least, they call it singin,' but to me it ain't no more than just talkin' to music. But some of the songs are awfully funny, and sometimes awfully pretty.

    Thus did the master of the "Peerless" voice his deep appreciation of Cole's virtuosity....

    Unconsciously, Cole learned to accommodate his piano playing to the steady, lunging rhythm of the "Peerless" as it drove full speed ahead, reversed, or slow-timed according to the proficient directions of Captain Crook.

    Plenty has been written about the unusual timing of Cole Porter's tunes. But there isn't anything unusual or mysterious about them at all to we who heard Cole play on the old "Peerless" piano. Critics may say Cole's music was influenced by the New York traffic roar, or by the ballet of the opera in Paris. But don't forget that night after night, summer after summer, Cole hammered out his rhythm by the tempo which that master Captain Crook set for the "Peerless" engine. That is where Cole got the heavy accented phrasing and that powerf ul punch in his music which is hard to associate with a person of such slight physique....

    As for Cole, although he hasn't visited Maxinkuckee for years, and although he has seen most of the famous in the world, and has been to all the "right" spots, I believe that some of the melody which lives in his songs is a direct reflection from a Maxinkuckee moonpath of long ago. And I know where the rhythm and pace which stamps them as genuine Cole Porter products come from, for I can still hear him hammering out his piano monologues above the rumble and roar of the old Peerless engine>
More of Thomas Hendrick writings on his childhood days with Cole Porter.

And also :
    Oh, Mr Porter, what did you do?
    Evening Standard (London), Nov 23, 1998 by Lilian Pizzichini
    COLE PORTER: The Definitive Biography by William McBrien (HarperCollins, GBP 17.99)

    ACCORDING to William McBrien, Cole Porter form ulated his trademark punchy rhythms and heavily accented phrasing as a young boy while playing show tunes, late at night, on the piano of a steamer as it churned the waters of Lake Maxinkuckee in Peru, Indiana. He hammered out the chords to drown out the chugging engine.

and more about the book and Cole Porter.

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. Kapp. John Buswell will be Capt. Crook's manager this season.

1915 May 27 - The Peerless is also to be torn to pieces.

In May 1915 it was taken to the outlet and anchored there to let rot away. 
Daniel McDonald wrote of the Peerless and Peerless II:
    Capt Ed. Morris began building boats in 1872...

    The next year he built "the PEERLESS" which he ran for ten years, when it was laid aside and the present "Peerles" No. 2 was constructed. Capt Morris has the distinction of having been the first to build all kinds of boats now on the lake that were built here, except gasoline and naphtha launches, and in all has built more than one thousand boats which have been used on the lake. This is a record that probably no other man in this country can duplicate.

John Bigley wrote of the Peerless and Peerless II:
    Probably the best known of the steamer captains was Captain Morris son if Isaac N. Morris, a pioneer in Marshall County. He not only ran the steamers but built them as well. In 1886, he built and launched the PEERLESS. In 1903 he built the PEERLESS II. This launch was christened by Gertrude Wiseman Behmer and was skippered by Captain Crook. A piano was pout on the launch.

    Famed composer, Cole Porter, as a young boy, spent many summers visiting the lake in the early 1900s. When the Peerless docked at an east shore pier, Cole would climb aboard, slip to the boat's stern in his wet bathing suit, sit on the varnished piano stool and hammer away at the piano. As the Peerless backed away from the dock, Cole would dive off and swim to shore.

1934 - Aug 22 - Old Landmark Removed From Lake's Oulet
    An old landmark, or should it be called a watermark, was removed from Lake Maxinkuckee last week when Juluis Pura dismantled the engine and hull of a lake seamer that had been beached at the outlet years ago.

    The steamer had made regular rounds of the lake, furnishing transportation to town for the cottagers before the days of the automobile.

    When it became to old to repair it was beached rather than to go to the expense of dismantling the boat.

Today is