Beauties of Camping Out - History and Genealogy of Lake Maxinkuckee

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

Beauties of Camping Out

Indianapolis News
Aug 18, 1885



A Trip Ovrland to the Lake - Pond Lilies, storms and Waves - Cheap Living and High Priced Building Sites

About eighteen or twenty years ago. I saw a family start to drive through the country to Kansas. Their starting point wa a little town iu Jackson county, where I was going to school. Word would fail to envy I felt at this sight. Here was company of people who expected "camp out" all the way from Indiana to Kansas, while I had to "fastle" with Greek verbs and other uneccesary afflictions.

It was a mystery to me how any person or mature years, no longer subject to the enervating mnuemcoi apron strings and like restraints could settle down to the even tenor, of a country business life with such dazzling possibilites in sight.

And yet there were persons who saw hthis glorious pageant a genuine canvas-topped ship of the plains start upon its way, and felt no quickening of the pulse, no eager ambition to go along. My only comfort lay in the thought that my time would some some day.

Much of this gipsy-like feeling has clung to me ever since, and an a conswquence few summer pass without my taking aroughing trip of some kind.

This summer it resulted in a drive through the eountry from Indianapolis to Lake Maxinkuckee. With three companions, a two-horse team, tent, frying-pan, guns. dog and other necessaries and luxuries, I was remindcd of that dream of school boy days.

We early began to experience the trials of the emigrant. Having hitched up, we started ouy in fine style to bid farewell to admiring knd envious friends before heading toward the north.

All went serenely until we had reached the most conspicuous point of cur circuit, when a balky horse attracted even more attention than we desired. The center of a crowd, we became at once the object of much sarcasm and not a little advice. Not less than a dozen, different devices, never before known to fail, were suggested or put into practice by as many different persons. "Lead him," z"Twist his tail," "Tie his tail to the single-tree", "Put sand in his ear", "Rub mud in his mouth," " "Tie as string tightly around his front leg," "Throw stones at his bead," "Whip him," "Get out and carry him." All of these plans, except the latter, were put into practice by their various advocates without success. Finally one genius twisted a stout cord around the upper lip of thc stubb:rrn brute and threw his weight on it. In a moment we were dashing down Washingtom Street with the discomfited horse pawing madly at the cord, which still dangled at his lip.

A train al a crossing necessitated a top, which was prolonged by the bulky horse aqain declining to move on.

Another crowd, more advice, some sympathy, much sacasm, "Arc you goin fur?" Another genius to the front - backs the horses until they nre dizzy and glad to go the other way. And this tim we get back home and hold a council of war.

As a conseqence, we decide that we must secure a different Variety of motive power. The balky horse is taken cut of harness, properly thrashed by its disgusted owner and hitched to a buggy, where he works all right. A drive to a livery stable, a little rhetoric and a cash consderation added, result in dn exchange for a beast who has no scruples against working in redouble harness.

Wedrnsday morning we were actually on our way. Good roads, fine weather and beautiful country made the trip pleasant. We passed through Noblcsville, Tipton, Kokomo, Bunker Hill, Peru and Rochtster. At the Litter place we stopcd at Lake Manitou, which is within a mile of the town. Wc reached there on saturdav forenoon, and it was our intention to stop there over Sunday.

Saturdav night was the most solemn one of our trip. The mosquitoes of that lake are among the most voracious in the State, and their enterprise is only surpassed by their numbers. Three or four times during that mournfulnight I crawled out from under the miserable fraud of a net, and posed thoughtfully, if not prayerfully, on the shore of the lake. I had more room out there to hit,and was in hopes that the exercise would wear me out and I would be able to get so sound asleep that that the blatant insects could not rouse me. No use,though, I just lingered along in that delightful semi - ccomatose state - that makes the victim dream of insane asylums and street dentists until I could stand it no longer.

Then I would emerge from the tent and renew my observations on and of the scenery. As I returned to my couch after one. of these cruises, one of the half-awake inmales of the tent mistook me for Bowser, and it took a lengthy and embarrassing discourse on my part to convince him that I was bi_ed NDnot a qundruped. Regard for the Sabbeth was the only thing - that conatraiued us from moving on our way next morning, and as night drew on and the orchestra began to turn-up again, we laid aside cur scruples - those of us who had any - and silently stole away. We drove until we reached high land, and then tumbled out by the roadside and slept under the wagon, without the formality of putting up out tent. Hogs got into our potato sack, about dawn, and as it formed a part of my bed, I was under the painfulnecssity of arising to preserve the peace and pieces.

We reached Maxinknckie in dur time, striking the lake in the hospitable vicinity of Hilarity Hill, near which we pitched

our tent. When we left Indianapolis we were jprudent enough to have no definite destinationin view.

We simply proposed to drive north until we were tired or until we struck some locality where we feltl we could rusticate comfortably for a time. We found the latter right here at Lake Maxinkuekee.

We were on a bank thirty or forty feet above the water, a pleasant breeze was blowing from the lake, and we had abundant assurances from other campers that there were no mosquitoes. This last arguement settled the matter.

We pitched out rent, erected a rustic table and prepared for permanent residence for a few weeks.

We have had no reason to repent of this decision.

So carried away was I by the beauty and desirability of the place that I immediately wrote to my better half to come directly there and put up at one of the hotels, if she wanted to find the nearest approach to heaven that this melancholy earth affors. It must be admitted that this lady had looked upon out trip from its incipiency with undisguised scorn.

Consequently I was surprised to receive a letter from her saying that she was coming with a tent and her sister, and proposed to camp out too!.

My surpeise bordered on dismay when rowing out to the little steamer which brought them across the lake from the railroad station, Marmont, to find that she had brought three large tents and people enough to fill them all.

My apparel became tne immediate subject of conversation and criticism. A grease-spot in the center of the back of my fannel shert was especially commented on, and anxious inquiries were made by beings in Swiss muslin as to whether that was the prevailing stle of polka dot at the lake. I geadually hardened under the remarks and impassively ferried the clamorous crowd ashore.

Having selected a sutable spot for the tents nd erected them, I was informed that I was expected to remove to the new encampment in the capacity of patriarch.

It was my day to cook atr Camp No, 1, annd of course I could not think of deserting at once, but as soon as my culinary dutues were completed I assumed my position referred to above at the big camp I was now referred to upon questiond of propriety, upon the safety of the lake, the state of the weather, etc. and found my self overburfened, in a general way, by a sense of responsibility.

A neglect to provoide bathing suits occasioned mych invention upon the part of the new arrivals, but a cruise along the shore in a skiff enabled them to acquire information from other mermaids that led to the adoption of miscelianeous and variegated but eminently proper regalia, and from that time on the placid waters of the lake were disturbed by the wild and unskillful thrashing of inexperienced but ambitious swimmers.

Directly across the lake from our camp was the outlet, and several expeditions were made across there and to Lost Lake, a little farther on, in search of water lilies. One day the party making this trip were met on their return to the big lake by a strong breeze and large waves. It was after dark before they got around to Marmont, from which point one of the bravest rowed across and bribed the little steamer to make just one more trip and bring them home.

Meanwhile the Patriarch sat moodily in the gloom awaiting their return. He slept in the tent which held the provisions, and knew from sad experience that there would be a raid on the c ommissary department for grub before the surroundings would be conducive to slumber. An hour devoted to carousal on bread, butter and cold bacon, a graphie but rather disjointed account of the trip, and the voyagers separated for their different tents.

On would thin that sleep would soon ensue. But any Patriarch could assure you to the contray. It takes an hour for good-nights and giggling after the curtain falls on such a camp. The Patriach could have stood this if he had not known that the hods would make their regular morning rounds about daybreak and this compel him to cut short his nap at both ends. His revenge lay in unchaining Tip, the canine of the big camp, and allowing him to rush around and lick the faces of the sleepers.

This is the finest camping place in the STate of Indiana. The high banks, the cold springs of water, the cool breezes, the convenience of the necessaries of life, groceries, vegetables, etc., delivered at the door and at reasonable prices. (I bought nine a-falf pounds of fresh country butter at ten cents a pound the day my duties as Patriarch began. )

All of these things combine to make it a desirable place for out-door life. In addition, there are fiashing, sailing and bathing facilities.

Many person from Indianapolis and other cities have built cottages around the shore of the lake, and land is rising in price. The lowest price I hear of was $500 for a strip with eighty feet lake front. A lady owning a strip with fifty feet front asked $7 a foot. SOme value their property at $10.

It is certain that this place will one day be the principal summer resort in the state, and I only regret that I did not buy some land there when I first heard of the place several years ago before the railroad was built to it.

My camping comrades some day after my desertion (or promotion, just as you wnat to look at it) turned their faces homeward and I presume ere this have reached the city of concentric circles. - W. A. C.