1902 Presque Isle Journal [KT01]

Erie County (PA) Genealogy

1902 Presque Isle Journal

Contributed by Karen Smith Tait

Site visitor Karen Smith Tait of Midlothian, VA, has in her possesion a small journal that was written in 1902 about an "adventure" that her grandfather and some of his friends had on Presque Isle. Karen has carefully scanned and transcribed the entire journal, and has provided that to us for use on the Erie County (PA) Genealogy web site. Any comments or questions concerning the material below should be sent directly to Karen Tait.

Image - Page 1

Saturday, Aug 2/02

At 6 P.M. Smith, Emling, Schaaf and Sweeney, being the members of the Bernard McFadden Camping Club, started on our first Outing.
Arrived at destination amid the croaking of frogs and hum of mosquitoes, who were there to receive us with the glad hand. After finally unloading the silverware and bric-a-brac, Chef Sweeney served an airy repast.
After storing the silverware and various

Picture 1 - The McFaddens, all

articles of luggage through the many berths in the commodrous mansion on logs, we departed to escort his Royal Nibs, Bernard McFadden, who could not leave when we did, to his home on the borders of Graveyard Pond.  Arriving again at our destination with the same reception that greeted us on first landing, we most willingly allowed ourselves to be vaccinated by the insects. After disrobing we retired for the night, to dream of the good time we are going to have.

Au revoir


Image - text page 3

Image - text page 4

Sunday, 4:45 A.M.

Bernard McFadden opened his eyes at that time, and decided that it was time to get up.  Sweeney and I came to the same decision after Bernard had pumped enough water on us.  Mike and I rowed over to Life Saving Station and got milk.
Breakfast served at 8:30. Dishes washed and place swept by 10 o’clock, and we all went fishing. Caught enough for dinner and then went swimming. After the swim came back to Boat House and had dinner.
Fried Fish, Ham, Veal Loaf, Boiled potatoes, Radishes, Onions, Olives, Cantaloupe, coffee, milk, cigars.

Sweeney Chef

Picture 2 - Hard Work

Put in afternoon watching Picnic parties and listening to Hockless(?) Orchestra, who were over with a crowd of Yellow Legs. Went swimming again at 6 o’clock.  Came in and had supper, read novels and played freeze out until 10 o’clock and went to our little beds.


Monday, Aug. 4th

As usual McFadden was the first to open his eyes, and gaze upon the large marble clock, which stands on the mantel in the inside cabin.  He was very much put out when he found that it was seven o’clock, but Smith

and I were happy because we had such a long sleep.  Bernard left in the boat and got the milk and some fresh water, and Smith and I went fishing but did not get a nibble, but we stuck to it until Ed returned with his load and then we went in and had breakfast about 8:30.  When everything was cleaned up, Harry and I went trolling, but it was our off day.  We got tired of the sport and went over to the Yellow Legs house to call on Frank and to drink up what was left since Sunday.  He treated us in royal style and gave us enough ice to last us two days.

Returned to our home and we all went out and had a swim and then came back and had dinner at two o’clock. By the way, Smith’s appetite is improving very fast.  As I walked out to the Bay, and when I returned he was just finishing his watermelon.  We had target practice for about an hour, at which there was an awful time to see where one could get farthest away from the mark.  We did some posing, Harry doing the Annie Oakley act.  It was too hot for any more exercise so we came in, and to the accompaniment of the mandolin, sang some sweet selections from

Andy Beers.  We had a large and select audience who did not spare the applause.  About 5 o’clock Howard and Harry left us to take a trip to the City to get some necessary articles and I went over to see Frank again, just for fun, of course,  Ed and I waited until 7:45 without supper, because we expected Harry and Howard home by that time, but they did not show up until 8:30 and seemed surprised because we did not have supper waiting for them, but we naturally supposed that they had supper at home.  Frank the janitor of the Yellow Legs home and Charley Engler called after

Picture 3 - McFadden Graduates (with dog)

supper and staid with us until eleven o’clock, when they left for their own quarters.  Harry and Ed went after frogs and returned with two solitary croakers after an hours tramping around the ponds.  Charley is going to call us at 5 A.M. to go picking berries, but I will remain in my little bed, while they are exercising themselves walking around the Island.  At 10 P.M. we retired to rest and after Harry finally settled into his hammock we all fell into the arms of Morphous(?).


Tuesday, Aug. 5 - 5 A.M.

Arose with sun to get ready to go berrying. Harry and Howard arose but had that tired feeling. Howard grunted like an old women and went back to bed. Harry finally mustered up enough courage to get started.  When we got out we found Charley Engler waiting for us to lead the way, and such a way it was.  We walked about three miles through the Island and got 3 quarts of berries between us, and we were wet to the skin.  Our chef cooked the berries while I went for a swim, during the time a little dog walked away with my shoe. After Howard and Mike returned with milk and bait, we went fishing.

We were all too tired to clean the fish, so we threw them in the drink.

At 2:20 we had dinner, breakfast had been served at 10 A.M.  Supper at 8 P.M.  Harry and I went after frogs, and after roaming up and down the beach we returned to the shack and prepared to retire. Getting ready for bed is quite a job for Smith and Schaaf for never did I hear such Oh, Oh, Oh’s, over a little sunburn. The expressions on their faces used at the right time would bring a large salary from any theatrical manager.  After more groans and Oh’s, they finally retired, and Mike and I followed.


Picture 4 - A good days catch (Smith on left)

Wednesday, Aug. 6 - 8:30 A.M.

At first tap of bell all hands arose without a murmur having spent a comfortable night.

9 A.M.

Breakfast Menu

Scrambled hen fruit & bacon.  (unreadable word) cow juice, Hygenic(?) Bread

Chef Sweeney, Dishwasher Schaaf, Dishwasher Emling.  At leisure Schmid. After partaking of the elegant repast and all the hot air had been exhausted, we departed to go fishing. Arriving at fishing station we allowed the Duke and Bernard to alight, after which we crossed the Bay to get bait.  After getting what was required we came back to fishing snag(?)

Allowing the Duke and Bernard to amuse themselves as well as possible.  After they got tired, the Duke did the acrobatic act over Frank’s mansion allowing Bernard to lie in the sun without even a veil, and get his lovely features taned. After finally getting tired of fishing we returned to our mansion, receiving a blast of hot air, that if it were bottled would melt the glass. After the air had cooled some, we partook of an elegant repast, which the Chef and Bernard had served without any objections.


Spuds, Fried minnow, Frogs legs, Fried cottontail, niggers(?) delight, Anheuser Export, Cow juice, Cigars, Pipe.

After spending the afternoon lounging about,

Picture 5 - The natives of Presquile
(Smith second in on right)

we had luncheon which consisted of fried fish, mussigal fruit, spud salad with hen fruit dressing, and iced tea. After having the usual blast of air, we took to our various berths to dream of the past and listen to welcome hum of our dearly beloved friends, the mosquitoes.

Good night


Thursday, Aug. 7/02

Everyone (Bernard McF included) slept until at least 8 o’clock. We all went over to the Station, except Ed who wanted to get the hammock to himself and read. The rest of us left our milk and water pails at the place we got milk and walked out to the end of pier, and tried to catch some minnows to fish with

Picture 6 - A welcome visitor

but we could not get within a mile of them, and we had forgotten the salt.  When we came back we had to go into several houses and try to buy bread, which we were successful in.  We ran across a fisherman on the end of the pier, who had a good minnow net, which we took and caught a couple of dozen of minnows.  When we came back we ran across Ed out in Bay fishing with Connie Mauer, who came over to spend the day with us.  And he did not come empty handed either.  There was something for Harry and Mike and something for Ed, and also for myself.  After we had an unusual good dinner we rowed over to Station. It began to rain just as we started.

Harry and Mike challenged Connie and myself to race to light house, we beat them by at least half a mile.

We fished in the rain for about an hour or so, we caught some Black Bass the first we had seen.  Harry and Mike went out to end of pier again. Connie, Ed and myself came back to boat house and dried ourselves. I rowed over with Connie to his boat house and then walked down track and down to State St. Dock where Harry and Mike were to meet me and get some ice, but we were too late and had to go back. Ed had hot coffee and a lunch ready for us and

after supper we sang until 11 o’clock and then went away back and sit down.


Friday, Aug 8/02

We all arose after a little wrangling and found out it was about 8 o’clock. After arranging the days program, we proceeded to carry it out.  Harry and I went over to the Station for our supply of milk and we also got a loaf of homemade bread, which one of the women at the Station kindly let us have. After breakfast, the four of us, and the janitor of the Yellow Legs home took baskets and tin pails, crossed Misery Bay and wandered into the

Picture 7 - Dodo - He eats them alive (Smith)

interior of the Island after berries.  On the way across J. Howard shot a snake about 4 foot long.  Then we struck the berry patch and started in to the luscious fruit.  We picked about half a bushel and then decided to come over and have a little something to eat. In the afternoon we started to in the explore the Graveyard Pond, and we had a hard time getting around it, I can tell you.  We found a muskrat house which was built in the middle of one of the ponds, and Bernard said it was an ideal spot for some clever posing. Howard, Harry and myself got on top of the

Picture 8 - J. Howard posing (Smith on left)

house which immediately began to sink. After the three of us stood there about five minutes, doing the Faith, Hope and Charity act, Bernard discovered that he had no plate, so we got off the perch with hot heads but cool feet. We next tried gathering cattails for parlor ornaments, but it took a long time to get them, because Howard had to put the knife in the safe after he cut each one, for he was afraid it would rust. We next decided to set bait for turtles. Harry and Ed worked on the rigging that was intended to clear the pond of turtles and then we all came home.

After supper we took a ride out in the Bay for a couple of hours, and then decided to return to our happy home. We sang several songs, and after Ed rendered “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep”, we thought the best thing we could do was to go to bed.


Saturday, Aug 9th

Sunrise gun at 7 A.M.  Before we had time to crawl out, a German wanderer came around the shack with a carp and wanted to know if we did not want a fine fish!  On being told the fish was not worth eating, he said we did not know what was good.

Picture 9 - An exploring expedition

In Germany, they were considered a luxury. After our Chef informed him that this was the Peninsula of Presque Isle situated in Northwestern Penna, U.S.A. and not Germany, he departed and we prepared for breakfast. Mike as usual doing the cooking, ably assisted by Smith who always keeps a look out that he cooks enough.  Harry and I went after milk, water and bread, the latter a scarce article.  After trying several places we concluded to use a little strategy so the next place we addressed, the housekeeper very pleasantly telling her that we had tried everyone’s bread here abouts but we found hers the best, it had been our pleasure to taste.

It worked like a charm, and saying she would have to bake tomorrow (Sunday) she gave us the last loaf which we carried to camp in triumph. After breakfast we started on exploring expedition. Taking the boat and carrying it through the Island a short distance, we struck a pond in which we launched it. We proceeded to investigate, first we entered a channel about 4 foot wide, then a bay about half a mile around, then another channel and smaller bay, this way we kept on for about three miles, the water in spots was hardly deep and wide enough for the boat to pass, in others it was 10 foot or more deep.

Picture 10 - Faith, Hope, Charity

In some of the ponds we found frond Lillies in great numbers, and some beautiful white water lillies. We made a landing and Howard showed his expertness with the rifle by shooting a four footed animal at first shot. He and Harry then used the remainder of the ammunition shooting at a bird. They finally gave up the attempt and the bird is there yet.  After we found our way back to lake, we returned to shack and prepared for dinner which was a repast fit for a king.  After dinner Mike and I went to see if there were any turtle on night line but could not enter pond on account of low water. 

"What are the wild waves saying sister?"

J. Howard and Maggie(?) on the outside beach

We returned to shack and we all went for a swim after which we returned to shack and had supper. We retired early for the last night’s rest in McFaddens House Boat.



Out last days outing dawned dark and dreary. Some of Harry’s lady friends promised to pay us a visit, so we packed up most of our belongings and loaded them in out two boats and started for the City.  We left our luggage at the power house and returned to Dock, where we found 4 girls waiting for us. They all had provisions enough to satisfy even Smith , so we were sure of a good days feed.

Picture 11 - Solid comfort

The Yellow Legs were all at their home and they treated us to beer and clam chowder. The weather cleared up and we all took a ride on the Bay. About five we had supper and then packed up the remainder of our goods and we all got into our boats, after taking a kind farewell of our home. Charley Engler escorted us to the Public Dock and said good bye.

We left the girls and all went to our different homes to put ourselves in civilized garb once again,



Should old acquaintance be forgot
Where ever we may be
We can ner forget
The times we had
Or the events recorded here.


Final page - signed ??

This page was last updated on  Saturday, November 8, 2008 .

Return to Erie County Genealogy

Return to Faces of Erie County

Return to Everything Else Misc Page

© 2016 Erie County Pennsylvania Genealogy