Lake County Michigan Fantastic Sale !!

Lake County, Michigan, has a fantastic sale going on this month at one of its supermarkets. Check this out!

10 Pounds of Sugar for 42 Cents
Coffee- 19 Cents a Pound. That ought to “perk” you up!
Toilet Paper- 6 Rolls for 25 cents
Tall Cans of Milk for 33 cents
3 Pounds of Steak for 25 cents total0
Butter- 2 Pounds for 33 cents
Sliced Bacon for 10 cents a pound
Pork Roast is a little higher for 60 cents a pound
Lard- 4 Pounds for 19 cents
Macaroni- 10 packages for 39 cents

What a fantastic sale! Of course this sale was held in December of 1933 but then maybe one of you has a time machine so that you can avail yourselves of these great prices?

Old Resorts in the Area

This first one on the north side of Big Bass Lake was called Bradshaw’s which is today in close proximity to where Grants Resort is located.

The second photograph is a resort on Sauble Lake. It is no longer in operation but information on any of these resorts would be appreciated. The 3rd Resort is found on Loon Lake. Then there is the last picture of The Big Lodge At Big Bass Lake which today is privately owned.

















Barn Raising

In the Lithuanian community around Big Bass Lake barn raising was not uncommon in the era between 1930-1950. Whole communities came together to raise a barn in one day. How better to illustrate this for you by providing a segment of the movie Witness starring Harrison Ford.  They, the Amish, put up a barn in one day. Here is that segment

Have You Ever Heard Of Natahki Lake?

In 1907, Big Bass Lake received a different name, that of a faithful Indian maiden by the name of “Natahki” who was the heroine in a story by J.W. Schultz at that time. By an act of the Michigan Legislature the name was legalized Lake Natahki on June 27, 1907. Over the course of time it reverted back to its old name, Big Bass Lake, but the names are similar, don’t you think?

Now where has anyone heard the name Natahki before?

Camp Martin Johnson History Part Six by Martin Johnson

People talk about science as God and faith in God will have to give place to faith in science. They do not need God any more. I am sorry for this generation. It is sailing without a compass. But what has science or evolution have to do with faith in God? How long God’s days of creation were or how he went about creating life, I do not think we will ever know. Personally I don’t worry about evolution. I think life has begun in a slow way but that it should disturb our faith in God I can’t understand. St. John tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, or as a spiritually developed scientist of our day would put it, In the Beginning was the Gulding Intelligence and the Guiding Intelligence was with God and without that Guiding Intelligence nothing was made. THen the trees that are now standing leafless and frozen and apparently dead, and the flowers and grass apparently dead, when I see them come to life in the spring, leaf out and blossom, and when I see a tiny seed grow into a plant, flower, or bush or a tree after a definite plan, or when I see a baby grow into a self acting individual can I conceive of all this taking place as the result of haphazard happenings? I cannot. I prefer to take the easier way to believe — that there is a directing intelligence behind everything because it is simpler and it corresponds with my whole life experience. I don’t think any spiritual man who sincerely thinks about science will belittle science, but respect it. Science has done much for the world. All true science brings us nearer to God. Science has found nothing that should disturb our faith in God and Jesus Christ.

There is much talk about the earth being so small, only as a grain of sand compared to some planets, like the star Betilus. True, Betilus is an enormous thing, but for all its bigness it is only a gas bag. It has no soul, it cannot hear the message of the stars that I could hear as an ignorant child and am still hearing as an old man of experience. These big stars are only the beginnng of science. The human soul has not been penetrated by science. Compared to the soul everything in the universe sinks into insignificance. The man of faith does not look with dismay upon the researches into nature and the discoveries of science. On the contrary, he hails them with joy. Each new discovery is affording additional evidence of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God. Full well does he know that facts written on the rock lives beneath the star depth above, and the pages of inspiration when properly understood and interpreted will be found to be in perfect accordance; showing forth the glory of the infinite in them all. There is no controversy between the man of faith and the man of wisdom, providing each one sets in his proper sphere. There has never been any real conflict between religiion and science. There may be conflicts between the interpretations of scriptures and the interpretations of the facts of nature, but what God has written in his word never conflicts with what God has written in his creation.

The skepticism of our day ought to remember how much science owes to Christian man. To man who believed in a personal God; who believed in his written Word and in his son Jesus Christ. What would be said of the pious Christian Copernicus; what of the Christian Galileo, Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Herchel, Hugh, Miller, Chalmers, McCann, Morse, Dawson South, Southall, LeConte, Henry, and many others who led the vanguard of investigation and discovery? How dense a darkness would envelop the race were all the lights kindled by Christian men blotted out, but let it be remembered that the wisdome of the world is for this world only not for the world to come. Its proper sphere is the seen and the tangible; the here and now, not the unseen and the hereafter.

The wisdom of man has passed out of its proper sphere when it invades the domain of the invisible and the infinite; when it denies that the omnipresent can reveal to man that which the eye never sees, the ear never heard, and the heart never can conceive. It has passed the boundary of the known its only proper sphere. The man of faith does not affirm the uselessness of earthly wisdom but does affirm that it has utterly failed to find out and know the truthful and living God. However useful the wisdom of this world may be in iti proper sphere it has never yet given to man that knowlege of God upon which his soul can rest in satisfaction and peace. The world by wisdom has never known God at any time, in any country, among any people, nor by wisdom has he ever been able to make God known to his fellow being. Without the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and living God has ever been the unknown God. The wise men of this generation are not backwards in boasting of the Word’s progress and yet the hister and ruins of the old world before the coming of our Lord revealed evidence of a civilization that will bear all the light and tests of our day.

Egypt speaks out of this self satisfied generation in her mummied kings, her silent sphinx, her matchless pyramids. Egypt could lift monstrous stones four hundred feet in the air and adjust them to a mathematical line, and not vary a hair’s breadth. They could paint on glass, grind gold to dust, embalm the body to preserve it. They built gigantic houses that have outlived all nations and civilizations, and still this good old civilization lived in died in gross and utter ignorance of the one true and living God. The religion of the wisest men of Arr and Nemphis was negritain fetishism, the lowest kind fo nature worship. The people bowed down and worshipped the Nile, the Ox, tree, hills, the birds, and the creeping things. Egypt has wise priests, her magnificent temples, her gorgeous worship, but alas: all was of the earth. She knew not God and her wise men withstood Moses when he came to them with a message from the living one in whom they lived and moved and had their being. No wonder the people were liars and thieves, sensual and treacherous with all their wisdom. There were four other great world powers of ancient time — Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, but not one of these nations ever attained unto the knowledge of God which is life eternal. The men of those civilizations worshipped and served the creature more than the creator and for this cause God gave them up to vile and unnatural lists and passions. They were afflicted with unrighteousness, fornications, wickedness, covetousness, murder, and deceit. And to this Godless condition many people of our day want the word to go back to the wise men of this world filled with their philosophy. They ask first that we give up the miracles of the Old Testament, the imprecatory songs, the immortal parts of the Scriptures and all the prophets, then the miracles of the New Testament and Jesus himself. This is the modest demand of the unbelieving wisdom of our day, this substituting knowledge of nature for knowledge and faith in God. They would have us believe that this is progress, this is advancement of thought; and so there is left a grave without a resurrection, a universe wtihout God, sin without a savior. Thoughtful men understand well that the objective point of all these infidel attacks is the Cross and the Crucified One. Shall we cease to preach Christ and Him crucified at the request of boasting unbelievers? The answer comes down to us through the ages of patriarchs and prophets, apostles and martyrs, from saints for all ages, all lands who have endured all the evils that man and devils could inflict. Go ask them if the gospel is true, and there shall come this answer, “We know in whom we have believed Christ crucified is the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation.”

Why, then, should we want to accept a theory so void and so hopeless as the infidels whose highest inspiration is a world without a God and a grave without a resurrection. Is the soul going to perish with the body when it dies? It does not seem reasonable to me that a creation that has gone on for billions of years as science believes, for the very purpose of producing that wonderful thing, the soul, should cause that soul, your soul and my soul to exist only as long as our physical bodies exist. Although science does not offer mathematical proof of the immortality of the soul it gives us plenty of food for thought, plenty of ground for intelligent hope and it adds to our conviction that our physical life is only a stage in the existence of the soul. In my opinion all scientific evidnece tends to show and point to the belief that it is unlikely that the soul of man will cease to exist when the body perishes.

The law of continuity and the general scientific view of the universe tend to straighten our belief that the human soul goes on existing and developing after death. True science is constantly revealing Divinity and man’s religion and relationship to God, and science therefore is the hgihest form of human theology, the highest form of reasoning about God. Science leads us straight to a belief in God and this is the foundation of religion. Science should not prevent a man form being a Christian but should make him a better Christian. My personal belief is that everything that happens in this world is for the purpose of betterment of the soul. This is where science and religion touch. Science adds immeasurably to the foundation of religious faith. Science should strengthen our faith in God and if it does not bring us nearer to God then science is a failure.

I am not an educated man as far as book learning goes. All that I have is what I have picked up and mostly here rooting and grubbing, but I have seen evidence of an intelligent spirit every day and have learned every day and am glad that I haven’t seen anything which in the least contradicts the faith of my fathers, the faith I had as a child, but it has given me a better faith.

God is not a being far away. He is not far away and is not hard to find. He is near all them who seek him in spirit and truth. God will reveal himself to all who seek him in earnest. Believe in God and Jesus Christ, His Son, believe his word and trust in His grace, accept Jesus as your personal Saviour and you will never be sorry, reach out and take His hand; He is ever ready and waiting for you to take His hand, and He will safely lead you through; He will safely lead you home.

M. G. Johnson. 1930

Camp Martin Johnson History Part Five by Martin Johnsonz


When I built my house I built a sky light in the roof against the time when I could do some painting again. I knew I would not have any time to paint for a number of years but I had a good opportunity to study the beautiful things of nature and at the same time find that although I have not handled a brush for more than a quarter of a century I have not lost anything but gained much if my eyes and mind were always on the beautiful things in nature. Of course, the hands became stiff and hard, and it required a little time to get them broke in again, but they would soon limber up and respond to ones will when I quit using them for hard labor. The seventh summer I was here I worked too hard and got worn out and overheated and had a nervous breakdown with strange experiences. For nearly two weeks I did not try to sleep and it was like a dream night and day; although I did not try to do anything I was on my feet nearly all the time during those terrible days. One day I heard a most wonderful song of peace, it was like a choir of thousands of angels singing praises to God. The sound seemed to come from the skies in a southeasterly direction and every note had a beautiful color like the color of the rainbow that increased and diminished in volume as the sound increased or diminished. It was wonderful, at times soft and gentle and at times like the sound of many waters and indescribable. Most of this time I was travelling through space with beautiful lakes and rivers, and all things were perfect. All the waters were so very pure and clear. I saw many people, old and young, all very happy and their faces were lighted with a happy smile.

From the day I heard this beautiful and wonderful song I commenced to get better and could soon sleep. After that I recovered fast, and in a few days felt better than ever, although I was weak. Although I believe God has someting to do with this I don’t claim anything supernatural about it. After I got well I set to work to clear it up so that I could explain it to my own satisfaction. I always loved music and had in my soul the subjective starting point, also perhaps the birds singing and my imagination doing the rest. As for the colors, I know there were tears in my eyes as I looked in a southeasterly direction, having the sun on a slant I saw the colors of the rainbow and my imaginatio did the rest. The curve of the eye lid gave it the circle shape of the rainbow across the sky for a background. What wonderful gifts the Lord has given us, especially our imagination; but how often do people misuse and abuse this great gift by letting it run wild and on unworthy things.

When resorters began to come here and a few more settlers, we started a Sunday School in our school house, which I kept up about ten years, as long as there were enough children. When Catholic people began to come I worked with them until they got a priest and I lost them. After that I had Sunday School in my home during the summer when the resorters were here. By this time I had about 25 acres of land under cultivation and was in better circumstances, and I had a little orchard in bearing order and a few cattle. Still the thought would often come to me, “What am I doing this for?” I could never get away from the idea that I was doing it for some higher purpose, some purpose that would serve God and humanity.

In the northernmost end of my land is a beautiful high point that I would put in a few days each March, when the snow was off the hill and I could not work elsewhere. I left the nicest trees including the evergreens, and I had several offers to sell the point for a good price but never felt like letting it go because of my feeling about the future.

In 1923, Mr. Ralph Cooke and a committee representing the Young Men’s Christian Association in Chicago came and looked the place over and wanted it for a summer camp for boys, and they wanted the whole place. Then I knew what I had been working for. I was willing to sell the place for very much less than I had been offered, but I finally made up my mind to take a life lease on the point where my house stands and give the Young Men’s Christian Association the whole thing. I took an annuity sufficient to keep me as long I live and when I pass away they will have it all. And now may the good Lord bless “Y” work here and may all the boys and all who come here be blessed. God grant that these boys may grow up and attain strong, clean, healthy manhood.

The world has need of strong Christian men, more now than ever before. What a blessed thing it is for boys to get away from the city where there is so much noise and so much that is misleading. So much deceit, shame, and temptation, and to be able to get out to God’s country where they can be nearer HIm and see more of truth and less of untruth and evil. May the beautiful things that they have a chance to see here in this wonderful place inspire them. May it inspire them to a love for God and humanity and all that is beatiful and noble and true. What a happy world it would be if from sin and unbelief people would turn to God and praise him for his wonderful works with the children of men. Most people are like the bees and grubworms, they live for today and tomorrow without desire for the deeper, broader, higher, and fuller life. The life they are living is not worth being called life; it is only existence.

My final part is next.

Camp Martin Johnson History Part 4 by Martin Johnson


  • When I began to talk about coming up here alone in the wilderness the people all insisted that such a thing would be impossible. It could not be done. People that have to be alone lose their reason in a short time they said. But I felt that I could overcome it was my calling, and if God sent me he would go with me. I can do all things with God in whom I live and move and have my being. The trouble with some people is that they have lost track of a personal God. Their compass has been taken away, and those who have taken their compass have not given them anything in return to go by. In these days there is great unrest, people are running here and there and as the prophets of old have said that worldly knowledge shall be increased and people would be running hither and thither, and the cry is “more, more, give us more knowldge, more light.” Some of the trouble was stirred up by the war, but most of it was here before, and has a deeper source. Too many people are sailing without a compass. Generations ago most people, even those who did not openly profess religion had a faith in a personal God who ruled the affairs of men. They believed in a Divine purpose — in a fixed plan for the orderly conduct of men and they had a simple and literal faith in the Bible. We know that these people were happier than they are now. In this era of intellectual challenge the average man is less ready than his ancestors to accept a hand me down God. He wants to reach his own verdict after all the evidence is in. If science is sending out search lights and seems to uncover facts that do not match the literal interpretation of certain passages in the Bible he adds that to his evidence, and doubt enters his mind. Unquestioning faith is no longer his. His compass has been taken away and there is nothing given to him by those who have taken it from him to replace it.

Through ages man’s mind has been triumphing over matter, but now matter seems to have taken its revenge by triumphing over man’s mind. It seems to me that one trouble is that so many people are ready to believe that everything in the universe can be solved by the mind alone. What an absurd idea. The deeper things of God are revealed to man by the spirit of God.

Many people have given up the idea of a personal God because they can not work him out by an intellectual process. Can they by any such process help us to understand two of the oldest and most elemental mysteries, the mysteries of time and space? Can they make clear to us how time can be without beginning and end? They cannot. Nothing seems to have been put inside the skull of man that makes it possible for him to understand these mysteries. God has to be taken on faith, a faith that is grounded in instinct and reinforced by experience and common sense. God cannot be proved like a mathematical formula. One of the needs of our time is to have the simple faith of our fathers poured into a twentieth century mold. We feel the old fashioned religion dressed in a free and flowing robe and not in a straight jacket in which bigots would be encased. We need more sincerity, more simplicity, more tolerance, more reverence, and less smugness. We need more people who can say, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven” and really believe it.

  • When my oldest brother was with me while completing my house he did not like it here at that time and wanted me to sell the place and come down to Sparta qivet better. Brother John also came for a few days each summer but now they have both passed away. My youngest sister, Mary, used to come and stay with me every summer as long as she lived, but she too has passed away and I am the only one left out of a family of nine. My nephew, Will Lindberg, and family, have spent their summers with me for more than 20 years, and other nephews and nieces and many friends come occasionally. So it is not as lonely as it was the first years when I did not see a human being for weeks and months. Even then it was not lonesome. I was too busy to be lonesome, and now I cannot find time to be lonesome.

Continue reading “Camp Martin Johnson History Part 4 by Martin Johnson”

Camp Martin Johnson History Part Three by Martin Johnson

The next spring I got shingles and shingled the house outside the legs and then commenced clearing the land, chopping down dead trees and the wind-falls. I rolled the logs together with the bushes to burn, but anyone who has not had the experience cannot understand, or have any idea what a tremendous lot of work it is to go into the wilderness and dig out a farm. It was a long fight, but a good fight, and has had tis reward. There is joy and comfort in it too; it is work that invigorates and gives one a good appetite. I think working in the open and learning the smell of smoke has added very much to my health and strength, as I was not nearly as strong when I first came as afterwards. The work was so slow that it did not look as if I would ever make any headway. If timber was as scarce as it is now the lumbermen would have taken all of it and my work would have been less, but then I would not have had anything handy to build with.
At that time there was no second growth timber of any kind. All that the lumberman left the fire and the camps and logging trains killed; hence all one could see was dead trees and stumps. Where ever the lumberman had been there was desolation supreme. Many times when I look back now I don’t know how I ever had courage to tackle the work of clearing. The first two years I was here I did not have a team, but hired one now and then. The third year I bought a team of horses and commenced to plow among the stumps. It was discouraging work; the plow caught in the roots and snags and I would have to pull and tug and the next minute would be caught again. So it was all the while I kept on clearing. I generally put in from 12 to 18 hours a day, and was many times discouraged but kept at it. If it had not been for this beautiful lake I could not have endured it, as many times I felt like giving up and would sit down and watch the water and shadows and reflections, and think and dream; then I would get at it again. I really never felt I wanted to give up and quit, so little by little the place was cleared. The big pine stumps I left until I got a cable stump machine and dynamite4eqq, and I began to blast enough to split them up and pull them out with the machine. It was slow work for one alone, but it went little by little the same as the other work.

It was remarkable how much stuff came out of the ground; when I had a field stump the ground would be so completely covered that I had to swueeze through and begin in some corner to pile them. It was hard work, but to burn them after they were piled was great fun. There would be a pillar of fire sky high from the turpentine and alcohol in the wood. The fire would seem to rain down from the clouds, and I was happy to see the stumps go. Every kind of work well done has its reward, and there is no joy like the joy of a day well spent. Some of the pine stumps were good sized ones. I had one or two that were big enough to have set a good sized table with chairs around it. Under the biggest one I put five pounds of dynamite, and even then only blew out half of it. After I got well started to stump I cleared about five acres each year until the work grew much easier. Then I began to do what I could to beautify the place; clean up the shores and get logs, trees, and brush out of the water and so kept myself busy.

My days have been pretty full and many of them have been hard, but I do not regret it as I have been much more contented here than ever before, and time has gone flying, where it has flown to I do not know. It is like a dream to me when I look back on these thirty years. My only regreat is that I did not get started ten years earlier so I could have done more for the place while my strength lasted. However, I am glad and thankful for what has been. Part 4 coming up next.

The Loon Lake Dancing Pavillion

Otto Bartlett, the owner of the Big Bass Lake Store, also owned the Loon Lake Roller Rink which was about a half-mile south of the store.  But before it was a roller rink, it was a dance hall.  And every Saturday and Sunday night there was dancing galore on the same floor that roller skaters would in the future call home, 

Here’s the teaser for this post.  Do any of our readers know who The Lucky Stars were?  They were the musicians who provided live music for the Pavillion in those days.  Were they a local group?  Does anyone know the names of those in the group? 

Even better, are there any that read our website that danced at the Pavillion in those days?  I have a hunch that Dixie Bartlett was somewhere in the mix at that location.  These questions are liable to take you way back and test your memory.  The dance floor is open for comments on this subject.  How about taking a whirl at them? 

My Grandparents and Lithuania


Many of you have emailed me about the country of Lithuania which is where my grandparents Joseph and Barbara Noreika hailed from. I have compiled the following information for you in regard to that country. It should be noted that a great many Lithuanians farmed the Big Bass Lake landscape in the early years. Many still live in that area.

Lithuania is situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea and borders Latvia on the north, Belarus on the east and south, and Poland and the Kaliningrad region of Russia on the southwest. It is a country of gently rolling hills, many forests, rivers and streams, and lakes. Its principal natural resource is agricultural land.


The Liths, or Lithuanians, united in the 12th century under the rule of Mindaugas, who became king in 1251. Through marriage, one of the later Lithuanian rulers became the king of Poland (Ladislaus II) in 1386, uniting the countries. In 1410, the Poles and Lithuanians defeated the powerful Teutonic Knights at Tannenberg. From the 14th to the 16th century, Poland and Lithuania made up one of medieval Europe’s largest empires, stretching from the Black Sea almost to Moscow. The two countries formed a confederation for almost 200 years, and in 1569 they formally united. Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland in 1772, 1792, and 1795. As a consequence, Lithuania came under Russian rule after the last partition. Russia attempted to immerse Lithuania in Russian culture and language, but anti-Russian sentiment continued to grow. Following World War I and the collapse of Russia, Lithuania declared independence (1918), under German protection.

The republic was then annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. From June 1941 to 1944, it was occupied by German troops, with whom Lithuania served in World War II. Some 240,000 Jews were massacred in Lithuania during the Nazi years. In 1944, the Soviets again annexed Lithuania.

The Lithuanian independence movement reemerged in 1988. In 1990, Vytautas Landsbergis, the non-Communist head of the largest Lithuanian popular movement (Sajudis), was elected president. On the same day, the Supreme Council rejected Soviet rule and declared the restoration of Lithuania’s independence, the first Baltic republic to take this action.

Confrontation with the Soviet Union ensued along with economic sanctions, but they were lifted after both sides agreed to a face-saving compromise.

Lithuania’s independence was quickly recognized by major European and other nations, including the United States. The Soviet Union finally recognized the independence of the Baltic states on Sept. 6, 1991. UN admittance followed on Sept. 17, 1991. Successful implementation of structural and legislative reforms in Lithuania attracted greater direct foreign investments by the mid-1990s.

In late 2002, Lithuania was accepted for membership in the EU and NATO, and it joined both in 2004. In Jan. 2003 Rolandas Paksas defeated the incumbent, Valdas Adamkus, in the presidential election. It was a surprising upset, given that Adamkus had helped bring about his country’s entry into NATO and the European Union. In April 2004, President Paksas was removed from office after his conviction for dealings with Russian mobsters. It was Lithuania’s worst political crisis since independence from the Soviet Union. In July 2004, Valdas Adamkus was again elected president.

The Big Bass Lake School in the 1800’s

Do you notice something missing here? Trees! This is during the time when lumber companies devastated the area by curing down too many trees out of greed. That could have provided this school with a couple of topics for the day. My dad told me there were two communities in those days.

There were English and Lithuanian households and each kept separate. My father and his brothers and sisters had to speak in Lithuanian at home and not the English they were learning in school. In those days school was in one large classroom. Any comments about your families in those days?