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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    234 times

    Lake Little Sissabagama, Michigan

    Lake Little Sissabagama and the surrounding area was home to various Native American tribes over the years. The tribes were both peaceful and fierce warriors. The abundant wildlife and dense giant white pine forests made the area both an attractive place for Native Americans to live and flourish and loggers to seek their fortunes. Trappers and French explores traded goods for furs with the Native Americans during the centuries when no roads existed and travel was exclusively by water. Historical markers exist outside Hayward, which mark the portages of these early traders and trappers. The collapse of the beaver fur markets in the 1800's ended the period of active trapping is this area.

    The Logging Era
    It is believed that a survey from 1813 indicates a camp was located on Big Island (Frank Stout Island). The lake area remained a wilderness with only footpaths and few inhabitants until around 1880 when the US Government and Wisconsin Government began granting land to companies like the Wisconsin Railroad Farm Mortgage Company for development. This land was later sold around the late 1800's to logging companies such as Rice Lake Logging and Stout Lumber and sill later sold again to smaller independent loggers that took the downfall timber. The next to own the land were the immigrant farmers who often failed and left. The mineral rights for much of the land around the lake was sold and gifted to Cornell University, which still holds title to it. Lakeshore has been sold over the years to families and developers.

    Logging ended by 1910 when it was said, "no trees stood between Little Siss and Stone Lake or Birchwood". Canals were cut between each of the area lakes to Rice Lake to float the giant pines to the mills. The canals can still be seen near Blueberry Bay on Little Siss' northeast end along with earthen dams, also visible by Slim Lake.

    Remains of the stumps from the giant pines can still be found on Big Island (Frank Stout Island). Erosion from the clear-cutting of the forests greatly reduced fish population as lake depths decreased by 10 to 15 feet

    According to legend there are at least three buried items on the lake that contain valuables. One buried bit of loot is somewhere on Frank Stout Island. The stepbrother of Walter Crandall (caretaker at the Isle of Pines) was left money for necessities. Walter's stepbrother leased a small piece of land for a fishing camp on Frank Stout Island. He moved to California and wanted to have some cash on hand should he ever come back. The money was placed somewhere by the Fishing Camp on Frank Stout Island in a small crock. Walter was either not able to locate the money or decided to leave it for emergency use in the future, over the years the exact location was lost.

    A local farmer buried his money somewhere on the lake to protect it from thieves, he died and his relatives never located the money.

    Somewhere on Long Island a bag of arrowheads, marbles and Indianhead pennies are buried in a wooden box. The children of friends of the Gerlach family buried this children's treasure there one summer in the 1930's. The children did not return to claim their treasure as far as anyone knows.

    Some people believe that Frank Stout Island was originally a peninsula and that the Stout Logging and Lumber Company dug a canal across the peninsula to create an island and to make floating logs across the lake easier.

    Loon Island was once well above the water and had trees on it. Now the Island is below water much of the year. Has the lake level changed that much and why did the island disappear?

    Somewhere near the old South Camp village on the lake in the water are the remains of the old village-logging mill; no one has successfully been able to find this equipment.

    Was there Native American villages just west of Musky Bay, some old residence of the lake seem to think that artifact had been found there?

    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2

    Sep 2007
    Saunders Point MI

    Re: Lake Little Sissabagama, Michigan

    Hi Gypsyheart,

    I think I know of most of this area you a talking about, but I believe it in Wisconsin, not Michigan.
    I grew up in Rice Lake WI. and have spent a lot of time wandering around Barron, Washburn, Sawyer and Rusk County area.
    Now as I am getting older I am finding I am getting much more interested in the local history of the area.
    And I know of a few places in North Western Rusk Co. that I want to someday do a little more exploring and poking about in.
    I think the Frank Stout Island is known as just Stout Island, or Isle of Happy Days, in Red Cedar Lake.
    Stout was the Stout in the Knapp-Stout logging co. He built an awesome summer home styled after the addirondak hunting camps from out East on Stout Island
    and he called the place the Isle of Happy Days. There is a local story that there used to be two identicle tender boats for use for getting to and from the island
    and that his wife, in an un-happy mood, loaded one them with most of the valuables from the island and took the boat out somewhere in the lake and scuttled it.
    As far as I know nobody has ever found it and it is speculated that it is buried under that 10-15 foot deep muck at the bottom of the lake. The other boat is still used to get back and forth to the island.

    Later, HH
    The Iron Vulture

  3. #3
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    234 times

    Re: Lake Little Sissabagama, Michigan

    Cool Story.
    I have hunted Rusk county a couple of times...mostly near Ladysmith.
    There are alot of great sites there.

    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow



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