Archived Story

‘Cardinal Charlie’: A mysterious find in a chest dug up by South Bend boys July 4, 1910, at Corey Lake

Published 8:17pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Here is a good story from 1910. It happened at Corey Lake on July 4 when some boys from South Bend were digging a hole for a flag pole and brought up a rusty iron box containing pistols, books and several documents.

gillBesides the real old pistols was a plain gold ring, a silver-cased watch of Swiss manufacture, a small dagger, a rusty hunting knife and leather-bound books dating from 1767 to 1849, among them a Bible, “Children of the Abbey” and “Book of Passions.”

A number of pennies, dates from 1787 to 1854.

Deeds dating back as far as 1739 related to property at Plymouth, Conn.

The mystery was explained by a letter found in the chest by its owner.

The letter said this chest is the property of Hesikia Thomas, formerly of New England, later of the Michigan wilderness.

The story was his wife had deserted him, and all his queer acting followed.

He roamed the woods talking to the trees and animals.

After he sold his house he moved to an island in the lake.

According to another letter found in the home, another chest was buried on the island.

A map which was in the second chest said there was still another chest, the key to which is said by the owner is hidden in a tree.

Thomas’ body was found in the woods about 50 years ago.

He had frozen to death (this would have been 1860).

March 26, 1912: A lot of people went to Cassopolis to see the big fish net that is being operated there at Stone Lake.

The net is 2,500 feet long and weighs about 1,800 pounds.

The pocket in it is 75 feet long.

They desire to clean the lake of all carp and dogfish.

The state game warden is there to see all bass and pickerel are thrown back.

They have been having bad luck on account of the net being caught in snags when they attempt to sink it deep enough for the carp.

The first day they got between two or three tons of fish, but only one carp (talk about a losing cause).

Jan. 16, 1912: It was a great time to harvest ice as the extreme cold weather has produced ice 12 to 14 inches thick and it is as clear as glass. Ice houses are being filled very rapidly.

Did you ever hear of a game of “swop?”

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