Corey Lake History

The excerpts written out below are from a small advertising booklet entitled,
"St. Joseph County Historical Review and Business Guide"
written in 1932 and compiled by Roy D. F. Sowers, Historian.

Corey Lake, in Fabius township, was so named after the first settler on its shores. Joshua CORRY was the pioneer who settled along the shores of the lake. Why the name of the lake is now spelled COREY we were unable to learn. Perhaps it was the common form of spelling COREY. The lake adjoins "Johnny-cake prairie" and is one of the most beautiful lakes in the county. It was once the hunting grounds of Chief SANGAMON and his tribe of Indians.

Fabius township is noted for its lakes that made it famous a hundred years ago as now. Originally this township was a part of White Pigeon township. In 1832-33 it was divided off as BUCK township, named after a first settler. Later it was divided into Fabius and Lockport townships.

Corey lake now has several resorts and colonies around its shores. The Grand View Hotel, RICHELIEU Lodge, PULVER Farm (a beautiful country home on the lake edge for visitors to the lake), DUDDs Motor Boat Sales and Service Station, POE's Filling Station, Corey Lake Pavilion and PATTERSON Landscaping Gardens, near by.

Many very interesting stories are told of this community. Experiences with the Indians, wild bears, deer, and wolves. The timber wolves were very ferocious and killed many pigs and calves. A story is told about one of the BEADLE boys - Cattle turned lose upon the land with each owner having different toned bells on their cows. One evening the young BEADLE boy was rounding up his cows when he noticed a 'dark bush' - it growled and the boy, true to the pioneer environments, instantly raised his rifle and killed the bear, Captured its two cubs and raised them as pets.

Another interesting bit of early history is the story told by Joshua CORRY. A Mr. Hezekiah THOMAS and his family came to Corry Lake from the east. Mr. THOMAS was a spiritualist medium, so he said, and dressed as oddly as he was eccentric. He was a tall, thin man, wore a black dress suit that had seen better days and a black silk hat that was several sizes too big but with a couple of dents in the crown was kept on his head. He informed the natives he had 'inherited' the piece of land he occupied. As a matter of fact, it was proven later, he was just a squatter. His 'spirit controls' told him to gather up small pebbles and they would turn them in to gold nuggets. Something must have changed the spirits' minds because when the KNEVELS later bought the land from the government, they found several bushels of pebbles in the old THOMAS plank house. Unfortunately, the spirits never inspired Mr. THOMAS to work and his family finally became so destitute that they returned east to relatives and friends leaving Mr. THOMAS to live alone. Again, the spirits visited him and told him to leave off all his clothing, take his gun and dirk and sit in a boat in the middle of Corey Lake and wait for a large fish that would come up. This fish he was to catch and it would be found full of diamonds. For many weeks, he sat in a boat, naked, until the vehement protests of his neighbors made him don the plug hat and black dress suit.

The two incidents of the gold nuggets and the fish-diamonds gave rise to many later "buried treasures" tales. F. A. CHELEY, a storywriter for boys, wrote the "Three Rivers Boys" using the buried treasure tale.

Sometime after, Mr. THOMAS was forced to put on his clothes. He was missed around his plank home and as it was winter, a search was made for him. He was found astride a log near an old lumber camp, plug and all, fully erect - frozen stiff. He had gone to join his spirit controls.

The first Corey lake plat was filed in 1835. The first Grand View addition was filed in 1895. Adam F. SHAFER and Clark RICE made the files. Among the first settlers we find the names of the Garrett SICKLES, Hiram HARWOOD, Granville KNEVILS, Wm. F. ARNOLDS, Deacon William CHURCHILLS, HARVEYS, MORRISONS, BURRETTS, HARTMANS, KINGS, and ANABELS.

The YMCA camp, called "Wakeshma", is located on Corey Lake and hundreds of boys and girls have enjoyed its pleasant outdoor life. It is interesting to note, in this regard, that Mr. Chris WILHELM, now deceased, a prominent Sturgis manufacturer and former mayor of Sturgis, was the first YMCA chairman, twenty-one years ago. (1911)

A complete trip around the historic old Corey Lake makes a wonderful Sunday's outing. Instead of "seeing Europe or the United States", suppose we see the natural beauty and historical spots of "good ol' St Joseph county", FIRST.

 

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copyright This website is created and copyrighted 2004 by Dannielle Thomas