Thursday, May 15, 2008

Devil Lake?

May 15, 2008
A rough history. Back around 1827 the U.S. Calvary signed a treaty with the local Pottawattamie Indian tribe. The treaty called for a mill to grind flour for the indians. Our soldiers were allowed to build a dam at the north side of the lake area which raised the water level high enough to convert five lakes and surrounding marsh into one large lake of approximately 1 by 1 ½ miles. A mill was constructed and the cavalry and indians ate much better for the flour it provided.

The Pottawattamie had their own trail of tears some years later. You can find a plaque outside the Fulton County Courthouse which tells the story more accurately. The short and rough summary is that they were marched from their beloved lake to the prairies of Kansas with much loss of life. Manitou is their word for the lake. It can mean either friendly spirit or devil spirit (much as the Hawaiian uses Aloha for hello and goodbye). I have seen both in this lake in the form of thunderstorms and balmy summer days—so I vote “both.”