Meet the History Team!
Where on the lake is your cottage and what year was it built?
The DeLoye family cottage, Chipmunk Crossing, is in Hohwart's Bay, between Duck Island and Chalmers/Blueberry Island. My parents, Harvey and Janis DeLoye had their modest, off-grid, no hydro, no insulation, water-access, small cedar cottage built by Bill Wilson in 1968. The Wilsons were relatives of my mother Janis Clark DeLoye. Bill Wilson only charged my parents $4,000 to build the cottage but the septic system cost $5,000!
Harvey DeLoye was only able to enjoy his dream for four summers. He died of a heart attack in 1972 at the age 52. Janis enjoyed the cottage for many more years with three generations of DeLoyes.
Summarize your family’s history on the lake.
My Great Grandfather, Harry Bullen, grew up on a homestead farm in Allensville (south of Huntsville). As a young man, he went to work in Toronto and later immigrated to Michigan. His niece was Louisa Bullen Wilson of Wilson's Lodge, thus continuing the connection to Skeleton Lake. Ada Bullen, one of Harry and Charlotte’s daughters, married John 'Pops' Clark, and were my Grandparents. Harry bought Duck Island in 1914. John Clark bought the Mulveney Homestead on Luckey Road. Other property was bought and sold over the years. The Clark’s daughter, Jean Clark Hohwart and husband George built a cottage around the bend from the Devil’s Face in 1948, the very recognizable white cottage on the hill.
My history is vacationing at Wilson’s Lodge from age 1 in 1947 until 1963. From 1963, my family used the Hohwart's cottage, and then in 1968, my parents built in Hohwart’s Bay. We are still on the lake six generations later.
Recount your favourite Skeleton Lake memory.
I was on vacation and happened to take my boat over to Wilson’s Lodge. Don and Jan Bemrose were relaxing in their favourite spot near the dock and told me, “We just got a phone call from your daughter at your house in Michigan.” It was 6:00 p.m. I called my 20-year-old daughter, Tammy, who said, “Dad, I got to Michigan from Colorado, but I have no way to get to the cottage.” I left immediately and drove seven hours. Tammy said, “I can’t sleep. Let’s head to the cottage now and I’ll help drive.” So off we went! Tammy slept all the way while I drove! The best part of the story was seeing the expression on Don and Jan’s faces when I pulled into the Lodge at 8:30 a.m. and they were in the same place having morning coffee!
What is the most interesting thing you learned about the lake while working on the book that you didn’t know before?
One thing that sticks with me is Beaman’s Bay. Who were the Beamans and when did they settle the bay? There were never any Beaman’s. The family name was Beaumont. The locals started calling them the Beamans and the name stuck.
And of course, all the people I never knew before, but now know through writing the book.
Final Say ...Helping to write the book was a labour of love. Stops and starts made us wonder if we would finish the book. We worked on it daily in 2020 with many e-mails, phone calls and finally Zoom meetings.