Treasure hunting in Central Lake

Posted on May 15, 2010


I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon with Lois and Gary Dawson and heard so many good stories I don’t know how I’ll even remember them all, let alone make them into posts. Why the road to Ellsworth bends. The adventurous life of Jeanie Sage of Shady Nook. Taking the train to Petoskey. The Grandmothers Club.

Lois gave me copies of a whole lot of research from the Knowles House museum in Central Lake, including the full list of members of GAR Post 227 in Eastport, and then conned me into helping her with a Central Lake Historical Society fundraiser on May 26. I figure it’s the least I can do.  She also made me promise to credit Beverly Johnson with digging out the references.  Done. [Ed. update: OK, as you can see from Lois’s comment below, I had it wrong. The GAR list was not copied from Knowles House files but was given to to Lois by Ms. Johnson, whose first name is spelled Beavery. I imagine she is quite weary of having her name misspelled, and I apologize for doing it here.]

Lois and Gary know stuff. Where the old log schools were. Who owned what land in 1898. How the Dawsons are related to–well, OK, the Dawsons are related to practically everyone in Central Lake Township, including Morses and Bennetts and Daniel Webster Sage himself[Ed. update: Sigh.  Wrong again.  The Sage connection is that Gary’s dad bought the Sage house.]  This cupboard in their house came from the old Sage farmhouse.

Gary and Lois know the old names for things.  The Flat Road.  Larabee Corners.  The Indian gardens.  They love the old stories and honor the past, but they don’t live there.  Orange kayaks are bungeed to the garage wall.  Birds flock to their feeders.  Clouds of wildflowers border the property.  Grandchildren visit.  There are always new adventures. 

Lois is writing a book and making jewelry and growing herbs and cooking up a storm.  This is because she’s relaxing to give a blown tendon time to heal.  She and Gary are going to Mike Berst’s concert at The Back Porch tonight.  Life, they agree, includes a great deal of fun.