History of Lake Winona

Early Settlers and the Legend of Winona

Some of the first settlers came before the town was incorporated and before the Revolutionary War. It was a great wilderness. Indians were numerous and so were wild animals. This must have been the favorite hunting ground for the Indians and convenient for food, being near lakes and there must have also been clearings to raise their corn.

As a proof of this, there is a relic in the form of an Indian mortar made in the solid ledge on the top of Beech Hill. Here they ground their corn. This Indian mortar is about two feet deep and about 1 ½ feet in diameter. The big stone pestle was about three feet long. There was also a cover made of stone. Some thoughtless person pushed the cover and pestle over the cleft. The cover was broken but the pestle was found whole by one of the Ward family and can be seen at the Lakeport Bank.

It would not seem right to pass by the beautiful legend of Winona, for whom the lake was named. This is probably an old story to many but it is worth repeating.

It seems that the tribe of Indians who occupied Beech Hill was very hostile to the Waukewan tribe who lived on the opposite hill called Fogg Hill.  (The meaning of Waukewan is rough water. The Indian pronunciation is Wau-ka-wan.)

Winona was an Indian Princess who dwelt with the savages of her tribe near Sky Pond, a little body of water in the hollows of the top of Beech Hill. Often she would steal from her wigwam at night and go out to the Bald Ledge, which overlooks the beautiful little lake that bears her name and watch the full moon rise over the distant hill. Little did she realize that she was being watched by the warrior of the Waukewan Tribe.

One evening she was captured and held prisoner for several months. In the spring of the year, she planned her escape. While the lake was still frozen over she fled from her enemies but was soon pursued. Upon seeing them, she ran out onto the ice. She got half way across when the ice broke and she drowned.

Source: Written and read by Mrs. Stella Pollard for Old Home Day, August 25, 1951. Information provided by Mrs. Grace Thayer who remembered the stories told by Mr. Martin Woodman, Albert Hawkins, Hosea Boynton, Mrs. Clara Hawkins and others.