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On this Page:

Biographical Sketch

Daniel McDonald and the Lake View Club

The Railroad Comes to Culver...

The Books of Daniel McDonald  (full-text and searchable):

A Twentieth Century History of Marshall County (1908).
The Lakeview Hotel 

Daniel McDonald on Lake Maxinkuckee

McDonald and the Indians


The Removal of the Pottowattomie Indians from Marshall County (1898), here.

The life, legacy, and writings of the late Daniel McDonald  have had an astonishing impact on the development not only of Marshall County in general, but of the Culver-Lake Maxinkuckee area specifically. Had it not been for McDonald, in varying capacities, Culver would not have had a railroad, which would have prevented the growth of the lake community as a resort and the development of the Culver Academy and all its accompanying results. McDonald is also responsible for the most extensive early written histories of the area, and McDonald's pioneering championing of the cause of the local Indians -- long after their removal, of course -- brought about, among other things, the first state-sanctioned monument to an American Indian (the Chief Menominee Monument on Peach Rd. near Twin Lakes) in the U.S. McDonald also was editor of one of the leading newspapers in the county (The Plymouth Democrat) and was a state senator whose involvement in clubs on the then-wilderness shores of Lake Maxinkuckee led indirectly to the lake becoming the unique cultural confluence that it is.

Biographical Sketch

Daniel McDonald's father, Thomas McDonald, according to McDonald's History, "came from southern Indiana in the fall of 1835 and bought a piece of land near Maxinkuckee lake, upon which he built a lag cabin, and in the spring of 1836 brought his family and began the labor of a pioneer in a new country."

"In the spring of that year, in the vicinity of Maxinkuckee Lake and farther north and east in the direction of Plymouth, the Logans, Voreises, Morrises, Thompsons, Dicksons, McDonalds, Brownlees, Houghtons, Blakeleys, Lawsons, and others, arrived and made a permanent settlement. From this on, the settlement of this region was rapid and permanent."

A monument to those first pioneers in the area can be seen in the form of a boulder bearing (most of) their names at the present corner of SR 10 and Queen Road.

The elder McDonald was heavily involved in local political and civic activities (acting as town marshal in Culver for a time, which then was called "Union Town," among other positions). Of his own life and activities, Daniel McDonald wrote, in 1908:

Mr. McDonald was born in Fayette County, Indiana, near Connersville, May 6, 1833, and came to Marshall County with his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth (Dickson) McDonald, locating in a log cabin in the wilderness near Lake Maxinkuckee. His school education was confined to a few terms in the log schoolhouses of the pioneer days, besides such education as he has received by experience. Early in his career he was telegraph operator and station agent, then was a bank cashier, and as a practical printer entered the newspaper field ad for thirty years editor and publisher of the Plymouth Democrat. 

For over eight years he was clerk of the Marshall circuit court, three times a member of the Plymouth School Board, and a member of the Indiana legislature during the regular and special sessions of 1869 and the regular sessions of 1905 and 1907. He was Democratic candidate for Congress from the Thirteenth district in 1880, a delegate to the Democratic national convention at St. Louis in 1876 and Chicago in 1884; and for several years member of the Democratic State Committee and chairman of the District Committee.

Mr. McDonald wrote the first history of Marshall County in 1881, and the present history in 1908; also wrote a history of Lake Maxinkuckee; a history of the removal of the Pottawatomie Indians from Northern Indiana, and the only history of Free Masonry in Indiana ever published... 

Mr. McDonald married Lydia C. Armstrong at Sterling, Illinois, December 31, 1857. Four children were born, one girl and three boys, all deceased except Louis, who married Miss Bertha K. Reynolds, November 19, 1891, and resides in Chicago. His oldest son, Edgar, was accidentally killed by falling from a wagon at Bourbon, Indiana. His wife Lydia died September 22, 1882. On June 30, 1887, Mr. McDonald married Lillie M. Brackett, at Rochester, Indiana. Mrs. McDonald is a native of Rock Island, Illinois. Their one child, James Brackett McDonald was born September 20, 1889, died in infancy. Mrs. McDonald’s parents were Dr. James W. and Sarah (Brown) Brackett, of Rock Island.

What his autobiography does not detail, however, is Daniel McDonald's role in making Culver what it is.

Daniel McDonald and the Lake View Club

In 1878, McDonald, along with several other Plymouth businessmen and residents, started the Lake View Club on the north shore of Lake Maxinkuckee, approximately in the center of the wooded land known today as "the Indian Trails." It should be noted that, in those days before the arrival of railroads to Culver, and when roads in the area were terrible and horses and carriages the only means of transport, very little traffic came and went to the Culver area from outside of town. The lake was still fairly wild and undeveloped (surrounded by woodland, etc.), and the Indians had only been deported from the lake's shores some 40 years earlier.

To this wilderness came the members of the Lake View Club, one of a handful of club houses started on the lake by Plymouth residents (the Plymouth Club, further east on the shore, was another...see photo below). It happened that residents of Rochester were just beginning to settle into the Long Point area in those days, building club houses and the like as well. For members of such clubs, the lakes wooded shores provided cool temperatures in the days before air conditioning and electricity of any kind, and an ideal spot for the leisure of the day: fishing, boating, hunting, and camping. Daniel McDonald wrote, in his History of Marshall County, the following about the initial creation of the Plymouth Club:

Attention was first attracted to the lake as a summer resort by the erection of a clubhouse by a few residents of Plymouth on the east shore of the lake on grounds leased of L. T. Vanschoiack. the same now being owned by Mrs. McOuat, of Indianapolis. This was in 1875. The lease was to run five years. The club house was a story and a half frame building, with sleeping apartments above, and parlor, dining room and kitchen below. It became quite a popular place of resort, and many times during the hot summer months as many as fifty persons were entertained at one time. The officers of the club were Joseph Westervelt, president; William W. Hill, treasurer, and C. H. Reeve, secretary.  

Plymouth Club House 01 Plymouth Club House 02

Above: Two views of the Plymouth Club on the East Shore of the Lake, a similar club to that of the Lakeview Club started by Daniel McDonald (it appears that there was even some crossover in terms of membership in these two clubs).

The Lake View Club, for its part, stood on the north shore of the lake, where the present-day wooded path known as the "Indian Trails" sits. The Club was at what is probably the highest point in the area, a bluff overlooking the lake (hence the name), all of this a short several hundred yards from what is today the Town Park. In fact, curious history-seekers may still catch a glimpse of the remnants of the basement of the Lake View Club (and later Hotel) by walking east of the Beach Lodge in Culver on the upper "Indian Trail" and making a sharp left turn at the confluence of several trails, on the high bluff overlooking the lake. A few yards north of this point, nestled in the wooded undergrowth, are a few deep holes, the remains of the Lake View's basement, having been filled in gradually over the years.

McDonald, writing of the Lake View Club in his History of Marshall County, wrote:

In 1878 a number of those who had been instrumental in organizing this club, wishing to have something permanent and more elaborate and comfortable, purchased fifteen acres of eligible lake front on the north bank, and erected a large two-story frame building, lathed and plastered, containing a large reception and dancing room, and other conveniences. The club was furnished with a fine sailing yacht, and five sailboats and as many row- boats were owned by the individual members. The organization was named "The Lake View Club," and was composed of the following members, all residents of Plymouth: William W. Hill, Nathan H. Oglesbee, Henry C;. Thayer, Chester C. Buck, Joseph Westervelt, Charles E. Toan, Horace Corbin and Daniel McDonald. Within a few years each of these members, except Mr. Westervelt, erected comfortable cottages in which they made their homes during the summer seasons, all taking their meals at the club house.

The grounds of the Lake View Club extended north, down the sloping grade towards what would later become the Vandalia railroad tracks (and what is today a trail that leads from the Town Park to Academy Road). On these grounds were located several tents and apparently a cabin or two, used for camping and general gathering, with the massive structure of the club building itself looming overhead, up the slope (see photos below).

Lake View Club 01 Lake View Club 02 Lake View Club 03 Lake View Club 04

Above: The Lake View Club in its heyday. The photo at left shows the club building with the lake behind (looking south), in a photo taken by professional photographer Frank Lacey in the summer of 1880. The handwritten caption on the back of the photo (at right) identifies what appears to be "Mrs. C.C. Buck and H.G. Thayer," seated, and , standing, Mrs. C.E. Toan and Buck, Marjorie.

The photo to the right shows the clubhouse grounds that extended down the slope towards what would later become the Vandalia railroad tracks. The back of the photo includes some historical information on the club itself (photos courtesy Marshall County Historical Society).

The Railroad Comes to Culver...Courtesy Daniel McDonald and the Lake View Club

It appears that McDonald and the members of the Lake View Club felt strongly that the Vandalia Rail Company, which was planning to build its line from Walkerton to South Bend, would do better to run the tracks from Culver to South Bend, preferably right past the Lake View Club! Writes McDonald in his History of Marshall County:

The Terre Haute & Logansport branch of the Vandalia railroad from Logansport to South Bend was completed to Plymouth in June, 1884. In 1883 a subsidy tax of $30,000 was voted in Center township Marshall county, by a vote of 648 in favor and 447 against, being a majority of 201 in favor of the tax. The Lake View club, at Maxinkuckee lake, composed of eight residents of Plymouth, gave the company the right of way through their grounds, which was of considerable value, as an inducement to build the road to Plymouth instead of by way of Walkerton to South Bend, as was threatened. The Vandalia Railroad reached Marmont on 30 June 1883.

McDonald's entire chapter on the railroads of Marshall County can be viewed here.

Thus, the Vandalia Railroad was indeed run through Culver, the company purchasing a sizable tract of land where today sits the Town Park (for many years, in was appropriately known as "Vandalia Park"), where they built a depot and set up operations. The Lake View Club, according to McDonald, was disbanded in 1890, "owing to business reverses of some of the members," and it became necessary to dispose of the property, "which was done, the Vandalia railroad company purchasing it for $16,000."

The Lakeview Hotel

The railroad continued the existence of the Lake View Club, making it the Lakeview Hotel, which housed many of the thousands of summer visitors who flocked to the lake on the trains running on the Vandalia line. For years, the Lakeview was the most opulent and sizable hotel on the lake, with a reception room, dining room, kitchen, and eight upstairs rooms (originally, one for each of the families who had founded the club). There were also six cottages for additional guests on the grounds to the north. According to Mark Roeder's History of Culver and Lake Maxinkuckee, the hotel had its own dock at which were docked the many steamboats that trolled the lake during those years (click here for more on the steamboats), and the hotel did wonderful business (Roeder notes that it was filled to capacity in 1907).

Lakeview Hotel 01  Lakeview Hotel 02 Lakeview Hotel 03 Lakeview Hotel 04 Lakeview Hotel 05 Lakeview Hotel 06

Above: several early 20th century views of the Lake View Hotel on the north shore of Lake Maxinkuckee. Especially interesting to the modern viewer may be the landscape surrounding the hotel and the bluff on which it sits. Note the contrast to the appearance of the same area, the wooded "Indian Trails" region of today.

In 1922, the hotel was sold by the railroad (as the tourist business in Culver slowed) to the owners of the Jungle Hotel, which was situated east of the Lakeview near the location of today's one-story motels on the Culver Academy grounds (more on the Jungle Hotel here). The Lakeview and the Jungle became consolidated. On Nov. 15, 1929, having been acquired recently by the Culver family, the hotel burned beyond repair (it has been suggested, by Helen Overmyer in an interview with myself, that one of the ever-growing population of "tramps" or homeless train-hoppers who became prevalent during the Depression all over America, and who are said to have used the then-empty Lakeview as a sleeping spot, may have started the final fire).

Lakeview Hotel 07 Lake View Hotel Cup 01 Lake View Hotel Cup 02 Lake View Hotel Cup 03 Lake View Hotel Cup 04

Above, from left: 1) an interesting view of Lake Maxinkuckee from the front area of the Lake View Hotel; 2-5) Specialty cups and saucers made by and for the Lakeview give some indication of the level of tourism and regard for the hotel that existed at the height of its operations.

Again, curious readers in the Lake Maxinkuckee area can see the last vestiges of the hotel in the form of the remaining basement holes on the ground just north of the main Indian trail on the north shore of the lake. The proliferation of tiger lilly plants in the immediate area today has also been attributed to the floral arrangements surrounding the Lakeview in its heyday.

The library's page on the Lake View Hotel here.

Mark Roeder's entire article on the Lakeview here.

Daniel McDonald on Lake Maxinkuckee

Daniel McDonald's relationship with the lake and the town of Culver did not end with the disbandment of the Lake View Club. He went on to purchase a cottage on the south shore of the lake which he dubbed, "The Pottowatomie Wigwam" (giving cottages exotic names was more commonplace in those days), a name which reflected McDonald's fascination with and empathy for the native Indians of the region.

Besides his History of Marshall County and other books, Daniel McDonald also authored, Lake Maxinkuckee: An Early History in 1905, one of the earliest and only books written exclusively about the lake and its makeup and history. McDonald's History of Marshall County also included a chapter on Lake Maxinkuckee, which can be read online here. McDonald, through most of his life, remained an active part of the culture of the lake.

McDonald and the Indians

Daniel McDonald's fascination for the deported Pottowatomie Indians of the Lake Maxinkuckee and Marshall County area is evidenced in much more than just the naming of his lake cottage.

In fact, McDonald's interests in local Indian history would lead to his writing, The Removal of the Pottowatomie Indians from Northern Indiana, in 1898, a book which -- along with the journals and writings of eyewitnesses like George Winter and Fr. Benjamin Petit, remains one of the important sources of information about the Pottowatomie Indians of the area and their removal. The entire book may be read online here.

Far more visible and far-reaching, however, is McDonald's almost single-handed creation of the Chief Menominee monument near Twin Lakes, a feat made possible by his role as state senator of Indiana during the regular and special sessions of 1869 and the regular sessions of 1905 and 1907.

In A History of Marshall County, McDonald wrote, of his efforts:

In 1905 the writer of this history was elected a member of the Indiana legislature from Marshall County, and in the session of 1905 introduced a bill appropriating $2500 for the erection of a monument to Menominee and his band of 859 Pottawattomie Indians who were driven away by the state of Indiana west of the Missouri river in 1838, and for the rebuilding of the old Indian chapel at Twin Lakes, in Marshall County. The bill – House Bill No 37 – was referred to the committee on ways and means, who, in a spasm of reform, recommended it, with five other monument bills, for indefinite postponement. When the bill came up before the house for action, Mr. McDonald delivered an address fully explaining why the provisions of the bill should be adopted. As a matter of history, the House of Representatives deemed it of sufficient importance to order two hundred copies of it printed for the use of the house, which was done.

Notwithstanding the eloquent appeal made, the bill was indefinitely postponed. In noticing this address the “Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History,” published by W.E. Henry, state Librarian, and C.W. Cottman, spoke of it as follows:

"This address written and delivered in support of a bill before our last legislature failed in its immediate object, as the bill did not pass, but as a monograph on the Pottawattomie Indians of northern Indiana it is of such interest and value as to merit a place in any historical collection. Mr. McDonald is regarded as perhaps our best authority on this particular subject. He has long been deeply interested, a conscientious and a sympathetic student of the vanished aborigines as presented by the records and traditions of the locality where he was reared. And a study of this tribe in its passing is a study of the Indian question in little. The story has in it much that was pathetic and tragic, particularly to a large band located on Twin lakes (Marshall county) under a chief called Menominee. Menominee was an Indian of unusual character, a friend to the whites, a convert to Christianity, and a zealous promoter of good among his people. By a treaty of 1832 twenty-two sections of land had been reserved to him and three other chiefs. When the whites came for the reserved remnants (as they always did) Menominee declined to be tractable and sign away his land. As the other chiefs signed it, however, that was held to be sufficient, and at the end of the time stipulated by the treaty the recalcitrant chief and his people were unceremoniously ousted; their cabins were torn down, their mission chapel dismantled and-the whole band, numbering nearly a thousand, put under a strong military escort commanded by Gen. John Tipton, to be conveyed to a reservation beyond the Mississippi river. Amid tears and lamentations they took their departure. It was in September, the weather hot, the season dry and sickly. Suffering from the swelter, dust and thirst the hapless Indians sickened like sheep and the long route was marked with their graves. Particularly was there mortality among the small children; the ailing, jostled along under the burning sun, in rude army wagons, suffering for water and with no relief from the hard ordeal, stood little chance, and almost every day some wronged mother surrendered her offspring to earth."

In 1906 Mr. McDonald was reelected a member of the legislature, and early in the session of 1907 he again introduced the bill, which, having met with many obstructions on its way through the lower house of the general assembly, finally passed that body by a vote of 73 to 13. The bill was then sent over to the senate, where it also met with delays and obstructions. In that body Senator John W. Parks, of Marshall County, introduced and secured the passage of the following amendment:

"Provided, That money herein appropriated shall not be paid until an agreement shall be entered into by the board of commissioners of Marshall county with the state of Indiana to the satisfaction of the governor, making provisions for the control and repair of said monument and chapel."

 On the last day that bills could be passed, the bill finally passed the senate with this amendment, which was afterward concurred in by the house, and was finally signed by J. Frank Hanly, governor, and became a law March 12, 1907.

The following is the bill as enacted into a law:

AN ACT entitled an act providing for the purchase of suitable grounds at Menominee Village, Marshall County, the erection of a monument thereon, the rebuilding of the old Indian chapel, making appropriations for the same, and providing for the appointment of three trustees.

[H.37. Approved March 12, 1907.]

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, That there is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the State treasury not otherwise disposed of, the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars for the purpose of purchasing suitable grounds at Menominee Village, in Marshall County, the erection of a monument thereon, and the rebuilding of the old Indian chapel.

Sec. 2. That there shall be three trustees appointed by the Governor, who shall serve without compensation, whose duties it shall be to carry out the provisions of this act: Provided, that any sums raised by donations for the purposes herein specified may be used in addition to the above appropriation: Provided, That money herein appropriated shall not be paid until an agreement shall be entered into by the Board of Commissioners of Marshall County with the State of Indiana to the satisfaction of the Governor, making provision for the control and repair of said monument and chapel; or that some other satisfactory method shall be provided for the control and repair of said monument and chapel when completed.

Sec. 3. That said trustees shall keep an accurate account of all disbursements, and make a fifth report thereof and of the execution of this trust to the Governor not later than the fifteenth day of December, 1909.

The amendment was presented to the board of commissioners of Marshall county by the author of the act at its April term, 1907, which after a brief consideration was postponed until the May term, when the proposition was again postponed until the June term. At this term the board of commissioners entered into the agreement as provided in the amendment to the bill, ordered it recorded on their records, and a certified copy sent to the governor, which was done by the auditor under seal of his office. Omitting the preamble, the following is the agreement, which the commissioners entered upon their records at the June term, 1907:

"It is hereby agreed by the board of commissioners of Marshall county with the state of Indiana, that when said state of Indiana completes said monument and chapel, as provided for in said act, and fully pays all expenses connected therewith, the board of commissioners as aforesaid hereby agree with the state of Indiana to, make provision for the control and repair of the same as provided in said act."

Shortly after this agreement the governor appointed three trustees to erect the monument provided for in the act, thereby indicating that he was "satisfied" with the agreement entered into by the Marshall county board of commissioners. J. S. Kumler, of Peru, one of the trustees appointed by the governor, declined to serve. The trustees as finally appointed by the governor are as follows:

Charles T. Mattingly, capitalist, Plymouth.

Col. A. F. Fleet, superintendent Culver Military Academy, Culver.

Col. William Hoynes, dean of the Law School, Notre Dame University.

Not long after the appointment of the trustees Gov. J. Frank Hanly concluded that the agreement filed with him by the commissioners of Marshall county was not "satisfactory" and sent to Trustee Mattingly an agreement written by his attorney general, to be presented to the members of the board with a request that each sign it personally, This document differed from the original only in phraseology and the manner of executing It. Mr. Mattingly presented it to the board at the September term when it was postponed until the October term, then until the November term then until the December term, and then until the January term, 1908, when the board, having been reorganized, took the matter under consideration and signed the agreement as prepared by the governor. The members of the board who signed the contract which insures the building of the monument are William H. Troup, Joel Anglin and James B. Severns.

Up to the time of closing this sketch nothing has been done toward the erection of the monument, but it is thought by the trustees having the matter in hand that it will be completed some time during the year 1908 or early in 1909.

Plymouth Democrat 01 Plymouth Democrat 02

Above: The Plymouth Democrat, Daniel McDonald's newspaper, announces that the contract to erect the Chief Menominee monument has been let.

In fact, of course, the monument was completed in 1909, and was dedicated in September of that year, in a ceremony held on Sept. 4, the day the "Trail of Death" that marched over 800 Indians from Marshall County to Kansas, commenced in 1838. The Menominee monument is believed to be the first state-sponsored monument to an American Indian in the U.S. This is reflected in the Culver Citizen article below:

Chief Menominee Monument 01 Chief Menominee Monument 02 Chief Menominee Monument 03 Chief Menominee Monument 04 Chief Menominee Monument 05 Chief Menominee Monument 06

Chief Menominee Monument 07 Chief Menominee Monument 08 Chief Menominee Monument 09 Chief Menominee Monument 10 Chief Menominee Monument 11 Chief Menominee Monument 12 Chief Menominee Monument 13

Above, from left: 1) A Culver Citizen article reports on the unveiling ceremony on Sept. 4, 1909, quoting at length from McDonald; 2-13) The Plymouth Democrat, naturally, featured a lengthy piece on the unveiling ceremony, represented above in 12 images.

Chief Menominee Monument 14 Chief Menominee Monument 15 Chief Menominee Monument 16 Chief Menominee Monument 17 Chief Menominee Monument 18 Chief Menominee Monument 19 Chief Menominee Monument 20

Above: Several items relating to the unveiling of the Chief Menominee monument near Twin Lakes (see legislation and article above). (left to right) 1. A postcard dated Sept. 9, 1909, which reads: "Sorry I didn't get to see you but will write and tell you the reason and explain all. I was down to the unveiling of this monument Sat and had a good time. -Chet"  2. A photo from the unveiling itself, on Sept. 4, 1909. In the center is Menominee's grand-daughter, Julia Po-Ka-Gon.  3. A very early postcard of the monument.  4. Original program for the 1909 unveiling ceremony, which included an address by Daniel McDonald and the band's rendition of "Slumber Song of a Vanishing Race." 5. Slumber Song of a Vanishing Race, a transcription of a song sung by the Indians at Menominee's village just before leaving for the Trail of Death and played by the band at the unveiling  6. Potawatomi Indians dancing at the unveiling ceremony.   7. A Patawatomi wigwam made of birch bark: this photos shows the wigwam erected at Twin Lakes for the unveiling of the statue of Menominee.