Once Pennsylvania’s claim to the contested lands was settled by the Trenton Decree, state “warrants” were sold in a system of land grants. When a warranted owner surveyed his property, the state granted a patented title to the owner. The earliest warrants on lands touching the Lake, then in Plymouth Township, were issued on August 28, 1792. A 436 acre tract was warranted to Simon Harmon. These lands ran from the West Corner to the North Corner. Within a month, a 431 acre tract that covered the area from Outlet Point to beyond Point Breeze was warranted to Jesse Fell. Early histories report that Matthew Scouten was retained in 1792 to watch the Lake properties for the owners, and he settled at the West Corner. On August 28, 1797, the King and Harmon tracts became the property of Matthias Hollenback, a wealthy merchant and land baron who had acquired other large tracts of land in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
On April 9, 1802, Matthias Hollenback also obtained the patent to a 399 acre tract beyond the Sandy Beach area, which was originally warranted to John Meredith. On the same date, Hollenback received a patent from the state to the adjoining Fell tract and Fell’s land became available through a county sheriff sale on September 5, 1801.
Hollenback was born in Lancaster County in 1743 of German-Welsh ancestry. He came to Wyoming Valley in February 1770 with a small military group to aid Connecticut in the contest with Pennsylvania settlers. He originally settled at Mill Creek in 1773, but the following year he moved to Wilkes-Barre where he built a home and store on Public Square. He purchased goods in Philadelphia and shipped them by wagon to Middletown, and then by boat nearly 150 miles up the Susquehanna to Wilkes-Barre. During the Revolutionary War, Hollenback participated in major battles, including Princeton and Brandywine, and he also was a member of the local garrison defeated in the Wyoming Massacre on July 3, 1778. He escaped from the enemy by swimming across the river to the eastern shore. He then obtained aid and provisions for the families of the slain. The day after the massacre Hollenback’s store was burned by the Inidians. Following the war, Hollenback built a new store on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre with branch stores in Athens and Elmira.
Hollenback held several public offices including appointment as the first County Treasurer. For thirty-eight years he served as Associate Judge. Hollenback became the owner of immense tracts of land between the Lehigh River and Elmira, and he was acknowledged as the wealthiest man in Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Lake properties of Matthias Hollenback were undeveloped for many years. Hollenback’s only son, George M. Hollenback, was born in 1791, and as a young man, he joined his father in the merchant trade. As merchants the father and son also engaged in a number of manufacturing enterprises including lumbering, grist and saw milling. The Lake lands would remain untapped until 1838 when George M. Hollenback would take advantage of his father’s foresight in acquiring the tracts.
Settlement at the Lake was slow, and although Matthew Scouten may have spent some time at the Lake in 1792, there is no record of him at the Lake after this early year. Settlement at the Lake ought to be credited to Joseph Worthington and his wife, Mary, who came to the Lake in 1806 from Connecticut. They traveled to the Lake along Bennet’s Path, a bridle lane cut through the Back Mountain wilderness by Thomas Bennet a few years earlier. Thomas Bennet’s descendants once claimed that he was the first man to discover the Lake by following flights of wild ducks from Kingston to the Lake. A son, Andrew Bennet, was the first white man to launch a canoe on the Lake in 1800. Joseph Worthington settled a quarter mile from the Inlet section of the Lake. There were no neighbors within miles. The wolves in the area were troublesome, and at night the family members would climb a ladder to the second floor and pull the ladder up behind them.
Settlement elsewhere in the township was also occurring. The first road through the township, chopped out in 1795 from Wilkes-Barre to Bradford County, ran through the Dallas area and by-passed the Lake. Daniel Lee settled at Pike’s Creek in 1806, and Lee’s Pond carries his name. He was employed by Plymouth farmers to care for cattle that were driven to the Pike’s Creek area to graze for the summer. Additional settlers arrived in the Back Mountain after the War of 1812, but the Lake region was largely an isolated wilderness. Annual Independence Day outings at the Lake were held for a few years after 1810 by young men from the Wyoming Valley, but Lake settlement would not occur for another three decades.
In 1817 Dallas Township was created out of Plymouth Township and the Lake was included within the Dallas boundaries. Worthington then led an effort to build a road from Dallas to Harvey’s Lake in 1821. The road ran to the Worthington home near the Inlet. In 1829 the Lake was included within the newly created township of Lehman.
Upon the death of Matthias Hollenback in 1829, George M. Hollenback inherited the four large Lake tracts owned by his father. He also began to acquire additional lands at the Lake. A 150 acre tract was warranted to George M. Hollenback on December 1, 1829, with an adjoining 272 acre tract on September 25, 1838. These lands ran from Warden Place to beyond Point Pleasant. On August 10, 1835, Hollenback acquired his most important tract, the 403 acre Sims warrant at the Outlet. Although originally warranted to William Sims, the tract was patented to Josiah Lewis and was eventually acquired by James Barns. Hollenback acquired the Barns tract for $400.00 when it was sold by the County Sheriff to satisfy a claim against Barns. The Sims warrant covered the Outlet stream, Harvey’s Creek, which provided the only water power at the Lake for milling enterprises. By warrant dated March 12, 1839, Hollenback also acquired an eighty-seven acre tract, called the Wedge, at West Corner. With the purchase of the Wedge, Hollenback had acquired seven tracts at the Lake by either inheritance or purchase.
With the purchase of the Outlet lands, Hollenback planned to expand his enterprises to timbering at the Lake. Preparation for the timbering industry at the Outlet began in September 1838 when Hollenback sent John Fosnock to the Lake to clear the Outlet stream. At this time there was already an old dam at the Outlet. A half-mile channel from the dam to the mill seat on the creek was cleared and the mill dam constructed. The channel was six feet wide at the bottom and twelve feet wide at the top and created a sixteen foot fall to drive logs from the Lake. The saw mill was constructed under the supervision of Hirum Morris in the fall of 1839, and in May 1840 Jacob Sorber built a grist mill on the stream for Hollenback. At this time it took a full day for a round-trip from the Valley to the Lake over crude roads laid by the land owners. A company house was built at the North Corner from which men would timber the North section of the Lake. Apparently, a road from the North Corner to the West Corner, and then over the mountain to the Outlet, was developed at this time.
In November 1840 Hollenback made an arrangement with John Urquhart for a partnership in the new timbering industry at the Lake. John Urquhart, of Scottish ancestry, was originally from New Jersey, but he settled in the White Haven area in 1836, where he became a pioneer of the lumber trade along the Lehigh River. In 1840 he moved to Wyoming Valley where he entered into the Harvey’s Lake partnership with George M. Hollenback. His family lived in a graceful home that fronted on the River Common. Urquhart spent most of his time at the company’s operations at the Lake, returning to his family only on Sundays to spend the day with them.
In the initial years the timbering industry was known as John Urquhart and Company, but later it was commonly called Hollenback and Urquhart. Additional Harvey’s Lake tracts were added when Hollenback and Urquhart jointly purchased the four hundred acre William Ely tract on March 1, 1852. On May 9, 1852, a sixty acre section from the Simon Meredith warrant was purchased. Both of these tracts were along the Harvey’s Creek region beyond the Sims tract. On December 16, 1852, the partnership purchased the 397 acre James Withy warrant for the land between the Inlet and the Outlet.
The Withy tract had its own special history. Following the French Revolution, a haven for French royalists was sought in America. In 1793 the Asylum Land Company was formed to engage in speculation in the Pennsylvania wild lands. The company originally planned to purchase one million acres that would be divided into five thousand shares of two hundred acres each. Headquarters for the Asylum settlement, which legend held would become a home for France’s Queen Antoinette, was along the Susquehanna River below Towanda. France was in the midst of the French Revolution which threatened the lives of the Crown family. The Asylum plan was thwarted when the Queen was beheaded in France. The Asylum Land Company received considerable support from Matthias Hollenback. The company eventually acquired 400,000 acres of land in Northeastern Pennsylvania and New York. Among the lands acquired by the company was the James Withy tract at the Lake. The company failed and the Asylum settlement was abandoned in 1805. The Asylum Company began to sell its land holdings. The Withy tract at the Lake was sold to Thomas Newman in 1823, and it was acquired by Charles Denison in 1850, two years before it was acquired by Hollenback and Urquhart.
In mid-1854 George M. Hollenback transferred a one-half interest to his seven individually owned Harvey’s Lake lands to John Urquhart for $10,000.00. With this transfer the Hollenback and Urquhart firm jointly owned eleven large tracts covering nearly all the lands contiguous to the Lake and the Outlet stream. On April 25, 1857, Hollenback and Urquhart obtain at County Sheriff’s sale the 340 acre John Ely tract that offered new timbering lands adjacent to existing tracts. The only original patented lands along the shore of the Lake not owned by Hollenback and Urquhart were the Samuel Caldwell tract, which touched the Inlet area, and the William Nichols tract from Inlet to Warden Place.
In addition to the Hollenback and Urquhart timbering operations, other milling and related industries were developed on Harvey’s Creek, Pike’s Creek and Beaver Run. The Hollenback and Urquhart operation at the Lake gave the name Outlet Mills to the village on Harvey’s Creek. The main road ran from Outlet Mills to Lehman on a fourteen mile trip to Wilkes-Barre. The daily round trip was a long, arduous wilderness journey. In Wilkes-Barre the lumber was loaded into canal boats. The North Branch Canal, which the wealthy George M. Hollenback helped to develop, carried the lumber to commercial outlets along the Susquehanna River basin. After the late 1840s the canal was supplemented by railroad systems.
The Hollenback and Urquhart operations at Outlet Mills peaked in the early 1850s. The Lake mills cut 609,574 feet of lumber in 1852, 970,246 feet in 1853, 755,207 feet in 1854, and 697,762 feet in 1855. In the winter of 1854-1855, oxen teams hauled lumber from Outlet Mills to the Inlet to build the Rhoads Hotel. Hollenback and Urquhart also began to sell farming plots to settlers in the area, frequently in fifty acre parcels. In 1858 the Hollenback and Urquhart operation had forty acres of improved land, several hundred acres of unimproved land, six houses, eight outhouses, a double saw mill, a grist, lath, and planing mills.
The opening of the Lake to timbering and milling drew settlers to the Lake. Settlers would purchase land near the Lake from Hollenback and Urquhart with all timber reserved to the timbering firm. Usually, the land that the settlers would farm was purchased by contract. Hollenback and Urquhart would purchase crops from the Lake farmers to feed the company workmen and the horses and oxen that hauled cut timber to the mills. The farmers also drew credit or cash by hauling wagon loads of timber for the firm. Eventually, as the settlers paid their land contracts, they acquired title to their farms.
In 1841 Lake Township was formed from Lehman and Monroe Townships. In 1842 Jonathan Williams and Stephen Kocher were elected supervisors of the new Lake Township with Ira Bronson as Justice of the Peace. The following year, Curtis Allen was elected town clerk. By 1842 there were sufficient settlers in the township to support a school. The first school was taught by Jonathan Williams at the home of Otis Allen during the winters of 1842-43 and 1843-44. A schoolhouse was built on the farm of Henry Ide in 1844. These schools were near the Loyalville area. In the winters of 1847-48 and 1848-49, Jonathan Williams taught school at the West Corner home of Nathan Kocher at the Lake. Hollenback then donated an acre of land at the West Corner to build a schoolhouse. In 1849 a schoolhouse was built on the Hollenback lot, and Eliner Montross was engaged as a school teacher. Jonathan Williams taught at a new school built at the Outlet for the 1849-50 school year.
Business at Outlet Mills expanded in 1849 when Jonathan Williams built a saw mill at the Outlet for Nathan Kocher and Daniel Urquhart, a son of John Urquhart. The Outlet was the center of business activities at the Lake. A post office called Lake was created at the Outlet on November 1, 1850, with Lewis Allen as postmaster. In the same year, Hollenback and Urquhart opened the first store in the township for the benefit of their employees and maintained it until 1860.
With settlement, new roads were needed. The earliest roads were apparently based on logging trails that encircled the hills around the Lake. But logging trails were designed to bring timber to the mills, rather than settlers to schools and churches. In 1843 a mountainous road from the West Corner to the Outlet was abandoned for a road developed along the Lake’s shoreline. In 1849 a lakeshore road was added from the Worthington homestead to the North Corner. In 1857 a road along the shore was run from the Outlet to the Lake House. Within a short time a dirt road completely encircled the Lake.
Religious services in Lake Township were dependent on ministers from valley towns. The earliest preacher was Elder Clark from Plymouth. Services were held at the homes of settlers until schoolhouses were built. The Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in 1845, and services were held in schoolhouses until a church building was erected at the West Corner in late 1872. Similarly, the Lake First Baptist Church at the Outlet was organized in March 1856. The schoolhouse served the society until a church was dedicated in June 1878. Hollenback and Urquhart erected a church in 1860 at Outlet Mills. It was intended as a Presbyterian Church, but since a society was not formed, it was used by all denominations and had a small burying ground adjacent to it. It was known as the Harvey’s Lake Church with James S. Ferguson as the pastor until 1863. In later years it was reformed and generally known as the Presbyterian Church and it burned down on May 27, 1918, when lightning struck it.
In September 1866 Hollenback and Urquhart sold their Harvey’s Lake interests to John L. Hoffman and William H. Hoffman for $40,000.00. The Hoffmans were lumbermen from Allentown. In July 1870 John L. Hoffman sold his interest at the Lake to William A. Hoffman who continued the Hoffman Lumber Company operations at the Lake.
In the fall of 1870 Hendrick B. Wright and Charles T. Barnum applied to the state for warrants to the land underneath the Lake, which had not been included in any previous state warrants. Land warrants to areas under rivers and lakes in the state were not uncommon. Patents to the Susquehanna’s river bottom in the Wyoming Valley, for example, were purchased by mining companies to facilitate coal mining under the river. The Lake was divided into two large parcels, and on October 13, 1870, the state granted Wright a warrant for 285 acres and Barnum a warrant for 329 acres. The Lake was surveyed on November 3, and patents were issued to Wright and Barnum on February 20, 1871.
The Lake patents drew the anger of local residents who protested to the legislature. The legislature responded with a law declaring Harvey’s Lake and Harvey’s Creek to be navigable waters. The law was actually proposed to the legislature by the Hoffman Lumber Company, but it had popular local support, with Wright and Barnum opposing the act.
The effect of the law was not to challenge Wright and Barnum’s ownership of the land under the Lake, but to assure access to the Lake waters by adjoining property owners. In fairness to Wright and Barnum, they probably never intended to exclude public use of the Lake. Wright and Barnum planned to engage in ice-cutting on the Lake in the winter, and the Lake patents arguably provided a legal basis to support the business. Wright and Barnum exchanged one-half interests in each other’s Lake patents, and they built four large ice houses in the Alderson corner for their ice business. But the Hoffman Lumber Company was booming logs in several sections of the Lake creating an unsightly and sometimes dangerous nuisance. At one time, a log boom threatened to damage the Inlet bridge. By obtaining Lake patents, Wright and Barnum may have been able to limit Hoffman’s operations on the Lake and to protect the pristine integrity of the Lake for lakeside owners. Wright and Barnum did exercise a proprietary interest in the Lake by stocking it with three hundred black bass, a new game fish, in late August 1871.
In time, a number of different game fish would be stocked in the Lake. Bass were introduced in the Lake in the same year that the last reported eel were caught at the Lake. Eel had found their way to the Lake from the Susquehanna River and Harvey’s Creek. The dams built in the river earlier in the century to serve the canal system had greatly impeded eel migration to Wyoming Valley, but a few eel still found their way to Harvey’s Creek and the Lake. But small dams built on Harvey’s Creek for grist mill operations would finally end eel migration to the Lake.
The entire population of Lake Township was 597 in 1870, and most of the activity at the Lake was centered at the time at Outlet Mills. William A. Hoffman died shortly after he acquired sole ownership of the Hoffman Lumber Company in 1870. The Lake properties of the company were sold in May 1873 to satisfy debts of the Hoffman Estate. The mills were acquired by Peter Weikle who apparently had a financial interest in the lumber company. He continued the lumbering operations at the Lake under the Hoffman name.
The Lake received local attention in 1873 when the children’s novel, Marcus Blair, was published. The author, Caleb E. Wright, was a Wilkes-Barre lawyer who subsequently moved to Bucks County. He wrote a series of novels with local historical themes. Marcus Blair is the story of a woodsman who became lost in the wilderness in the fall of 1755 while crossing the mid-Atlantic wilderness from Lake Erie to the Atlantic coast. After suffering a leg injury, he camped on the edge of an undiscovered lake for the winter. Blair kept a journal of his adventure. In the spring of 1756, he was able to find his way out of the forest to civilization. In later years, the Blair diary was found by the great-great-grandson of Marcus Blair whose descendant traced the journal’s story to Harvey’s Lake, where signs of the 1755 camp were uncovered. Marcus Blair had a number of parallels to Benjamin Harvey’s discovery of the Lake. Later generations often thought Marcus Blair to be a true account of an even earlier discovery of the Lake. However, the Wright and Harvey families were related, and Caleb E. Wright drew on the Harvey discovery for his fictional account in the Marcus Blair novel.
By 1874 there were essentially three settlements at the Lake. At Outlet Mills the Hoffman firm managed two saw mills, a planning mill and grist mill. The Outlet school and Presbyterian Church were active and a number of homes dotted the area. At the West Corner, there were several families, including Nat Kocher, Jacob Sorber, Abel Perrego and M. N. King. The third settlement was the Kitchen farm at the North Corner. Hollenback had sold a fifty acre tract to Jesse Kitchen in December 1852. There were also isolated homesteads elsewhere along the Lake. Joseph and Charles Anderson had homes near Point Breeze. The Wardan farm was established by Joseph Wardan in 1855. Near the Picnic Grounds area an Associate Judge from Wilkes-Barre, Warren J. Woodward, purchased over three hundred acres of land between the West Corner and the North Corner in 1853, and in 1871 the Woodward property was purchased by Charles T. Barnum, who had been appointed a local judge in 1856.
Under Weikle, the Hoffman Lumber Company apparently continued to have financial problems, and it was reorganized in April 1877. But the Hoffman Lumber Company survived only a few more years. In October 1880 Peter Weikle obtained the Lake properties at a sheriff’s sale in satisfaction of debts owed to him by the Hoffman Company. The following month Weikle sold all his Lake properties to Ephraim Troxell for $12,000.00.
With the settlement of the Lake and a developing road system, the Lake drew the attention of prominent families in the Valley seeking summer vacation retreats. The Barnum farm frequently entertained a wide social circle from the Valley. Influential local figures fished at the Lake and in late June 1876 the state stocked the Lake with 5,000 landlocked salmon. It was local news when a seventeen inch, three and one-half pound bass was caught at the Lake. It was a record fish at the time, and it was placed in the Lake House aquarium. The summer months were drawing camping and fishing parties, but it was too early for a significant cottage community to grow at the Lake. As late as 1878 there were only a few buildings visible from the Lake with only four on the shore. In addition to the log school at the West Corner, there were also homes of William Allen, Joseph Wardan, Joseph Worthington, Martin Meyer, John Fosnock, Moses Perrego, Jesse Kitchen, Daniel Casebeer, William Crandall, and Charles T. Barnum.
As the decade ended, civilizing influences began to reach the Lake and draw it closer to the Valley. In 1878 the telephone invention was marketed as a practical device, and almost immediately a few were found in Wilkes-Barre. On July 4, 1878, a local telephone company was formed. Since there were no laws for the incorporation of telephone companies and the new system was thought similar to a telegraph line, it was called the Wilkes-Barre and Harvey’s Lake Telegraph Company. The Wilkes-Barre office was located at 7 West Market Street, in Wilkes-Barre, with offices in Dallas and at the cottage of H. S. Rutter near the Lake. On November 24, 1878, the line was in operation. The country folk disbelieved the new invention, and the curious crowds gathered around the telephone offices to listen to the system. Some said the voices were shouted through a hollow wire.
In these early days the only public access to the Lake was by stagecoach. One stagecoach of the time was operated by John Rainow whose four-horse stage ran in 1879. The stage left the Luzerne House on Public Square for the Lake at 7:00 A.M. and would leave the Lake for the Valley at 8:00 P.M. In 1880 a stage left the Exchange Hotel in Wilkes-Barre at 3:00 P.M. for guests who planned to stay overnight at the Rhoads Hotel. A stagecoach ride to the Lake one July day provided a local item for the newspaper. A gentleman entered the Harvey’s Lake stagecoach at Wilkes-Barre. He placed on the seat beside him a bag and fishing basket. Shortly, a young lady boarded the stage and took an adjoining seat. After traveling a little distance, the lady began to display frequent looks of surprise and concern at the gentleman who was oblivious to her discomfort. Finally, the lady sprang to her feet and exclaimed “Insolent!” as she boxed the gentleman’s ear. When the gentleman inquired as the reason for her fury, the lady exclaimed, “You pinched me.” The gentleman looked under the lady’s seat and recovered a large live lobster that he had purchased in town and had escaped from the bag. The affair was settled by an apology.
By early summer 1881 there were clear signs that Harvey’s Lake was destined to become a major summer resort. Prominent Wyoming Valley families were busy building or improving cottages. H. B. Wright, Congressman for a number of terms between 1841 and 1878, was building Lakeside, a cottage near the Rhoads Hotel. Wright had also arranged to stock the Lake with white fish from Lake Erie during the winter, and his son, George, undoubtedly hoped the summer would bring luck in catching the new fish. As an aging H. B. Wright, with only a short time to live, finished his cottage, a neighbor at Warden Place, Andrew Hunlock, was erecting a large barn, picket fence and outbuildings to expand his cottage grounds. Other summer residents improving their summer homes were Col. Samuel S. Sturdevant and J.C. Paine, each of whom married daughters of John Urquhart. Paine erected the Lake’s earliest summer cottage in 1874. It was erected on the shore above Inlet, near the site of the future Hotel Oneonta. In 1881 H. B. Paine was building a summer home. Stewart Pearce was preparing a boarding house for summer guests, and the new Lake Grove House was opened at Inlet across the bridge from the Rhoads Hotel. On July 4, 1881, Susquehanna crews were attracted to the Lake for boat races sponsored by the Lake hotels. The Monockonocks of Port Blanchard won the two and one-half mile boat race and the one hundred dollar prize from the Rhoads Hotel, beating the Lohmann team from Wilkes-Barre, which received a fifty dollar prize from the Lake Grove House.
The Lake was high when the season opened in the rainy spring of 1882. Renshaw’s four-horse stage was the earliest to arrive on July 4, 1882, with Plymouth passengers. Rain dampened the day, and the Rhoads and Lake Grove House were over-prepared for the small crowd. When the rains subsided in the early afternoon, the coaches were already returning to the Valley. Despite rumors of new roads, a local correspondent complained that the township supervisors should better care for the existing roads if the Lake intended to compete with other resorts in the region. By late July the summer season was full. Visitors enjoyed bass dinners at the Lake Grove House, and G. R. Wright had landed the largest bass of the season at three pounds ten ounces. W. G. Groff was building a new cottage. Professor Dean of Kingston Seminary was enjoying his summer retreat; he struck water at seven feet while digging his well.
In 1884 there was an improved Old Lake Road to the Lake Grove House. It was also shorter than the old road. In July 1884, A. M. Lee of Scranton placed a small steam launch on the Lake. At the same time, G. R. Wright added an eighteen foot steam launch, the Lucille. The small launches were a novelty at the time, but Wright found Lucille helpful as he used it to hunt for ducks at the North Corner. It would be another decade, however, before personal powerboats in the form of naptha launches would be in vogue at the Lake.
Until the Golden Years began in 1887, the Lake’s attraction for the general public was limited due to the poor road system to the Lake. Other regional resorts, particularly along the Lehigh Valley Railroad system, were more popular. The Lake was an attraction only on holiday and on weekends during the warmest summer days. The long stage rides hampered the wide expansion of the cottage community. A familiar figure of the time was Mark Neuman who managed a stage line to the Lake. He started as a driver in June 1882 for a stage line jointly operated by the Rhoads and Lake Grove House hotels. By July 1885, Neuman had his own line to the Lake, and William Rice, owner of the Lake Grove House, ran a separate line to the Inlet.
It was a long cold winter in 1885-86. On January 11, 1886, at 8:00 a.m. it was 10 degrees below zero at the Lake. In very early March it was only thirteen at sunrise. In mid-May grading for the new railroad through Kingston Township began for its next push to Trucksville. On June 1, 1886, the Lake Grove House opened its seasonal stage line between the Lake and Wilkes-Barre – a three hour trip from the Lake to the city and a four hour trip from the city to the Lake hotel. The Summer buzz was all about Albert Lewis’ projected railroad to the Lake. He also acquired timber lands along two miles of Lake front to feed a lumber mill at the North Corner. Lewis would not cut timber along the Lake but timber on the Lake hills would be felled. An early winter arrived in the Fall and by October 1, 1886, H.S. Rutter was already cutting ice on the Lake for his cottage.
Another familiar Lake figure was William “Daddy” Emmons, the celebrated fisherman of Harvey’s Lake. He had moved to the Lake from New Jersey in 1852, and until 1885 he lived in a hut at the Inlet in the warmer months. He lived in Dallas during the winter. Emmons was a popular guide for prominent political and business leaders who fished at the Lake. He retired from the Lake at age ninety in 1885; he died two years later after suffering a broken thigh when struck on a Dallas road by a hay wagon. His passing was mourned by the most prominent men of the community, who had shared his company at the Lake for decades. A long tribute to “Daddy” Emmons was written in a local newspaper by Caleb W. Wright, author of Marcus Blair. “Daddy” Emmons had been included in Wright’s Marcus Blair as a minor character. With the death of the old fisherman, the Early Years also ended as the Lake would suddenly glow with the excitement of a special and unforgettable time.