|Location||Kosciusko County, Indiana|
|Surface elevation||866 feet (264 m)|
Dewart Lake, (formerly Lake Wawasee before Turkey Lake became Lake Wawasee), is a natural lake southwest of Syracuse in Kosciusko County, Indiana, United States. It was formed during the most recent glacial retreat of the Pleistocene era.
Dewart Lake is a 551-acre (223 ha) natural lake, located three miles (4.8 km) south of Syracuse and three miles (4.8 km) east of Indiana State Road 15. 41 degrees 22' 03.31" North Latitude x 85 degrees 46' 18.22" West Longitude, 867.70 feet (264.47 m) above Sea Level. 82 feet (25 m) is the maximum depth with an average depth of 16.3 feet (5.0 m). It lies within the Elkhart River watershed and drains 5,152 acres (2,085 ha). Two small inlets enter on the east side and the outlet, Hammond Ditch, leaves the west side and flows to Waubee Lake. Large areas on the north and south sides of the lake are less than 5 feet (1.5 m) deep. Hydraulic retention time is 601 days. Farming is the main watershed use, although woodlots and wetlands are present. Nearly all of the shoreline is residentially developed. Areas of natural shoreline and wetlands are present along the south shore and in the northeast corner adjacent to a private camp. A state-owned boat ramp is available in the northwest corner on CR 300E.
Dewart Lake is moderately fertile. Its trophic index is 36. Enough oxygen is present for fish 20 deep but levels drop too low below 20 feet (less than 4 ppm.). Water clarity varies from 6 through 13 1/2 feet. The bottom is mostly sand and muck, but boulders and gravel are also present. Eurasian Water Millfol is the dominant submerged aquatic plant. (The lake was treated for this non-indeginoous plant in 2006.) Cattails, spatterdock and water lilies are the major emergent plants. In recent years, an extensive cattail stand along the south shore has been replaced with lilies. Some past management at Dewart Lake has been directed at maintaining the native fishery and creating walleye fishing opportunities.
A Short History of the Name of Dewart Lake
Surveyor’s field notes dated February 21, 1835 describe our beautiful lake as “two square miles located in the southeast corner of Van Buren township known by the Indian name of Wa-we-as-see (pronounced Wawasee)”.
Then Lingle Lake
The land in northern Indiana was opened for settlement on March 20, 1837. Shortly thereafter, President Martin Van Buren granted a land patent of 77.53 acres that contained our lake to Thomas Lingle and his wife Matelene. Soon after this the lake was renamed Lingle Lake. Lingle’s land was located in the northwest corner of the lake in the vicinity of what is now road 300 E. Five years later the Lingles left Van Buren township and the state of Indiana to move further west to Iowa. Thomas Lingle and his wife signed a deed granting the land to Mr. Henry S. Goben in the presence of an Abner Andsmith, Justice of the Peace of Johnson County, Iowa for a sales price of $500. Seven months later Henry Goben sold the land to Edward and Susan Goben of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania for $750 thereby making a tidy profit of $250.
Finally Dewart Lake
Less than two years later Edward and Susan sold the acreage including our lake to another Northumberland County, Pennsylvania couple named Samuel and Margaret Dewart. The Dewarts purchased the land for $1200 on May 8, 1844. The Dewarts were 41 years old when they moved from Pennsylvania to Lingle Lake. The 1850 census lists eight children living in the Dewart household and all were born in Pennsylvania. The children listed were: Lewis, age 23; Amos, age 22; Simon, age 19; Samuel, age 15;William, age 13; John, age 11; Rueben, age 9; and Jessimen, age 8. Samuel Dewart only lived to enjoy his lake for nine years. He died September 8, 1853 at the young age of 50. His wife Margaret lived until September 22, 1877 and died at the age of 74. The gravestones of Samuel and Margaret Muir Dewart are located in Salem Cemetery at the northeast corner of 200 E and 900 N. The name Lingle Lake continued on some legal documents well into the early 1900s. Finally the Dewart name won out by an overwhelming majority and our lake became officially known as Dewart Lake.
Extracted from an article by Jack Elam published in the May 1993 DLPA newsletter then called “…dabbles of data from DEWART”
- Incorporates text from the Dewart Lake Protective Association website, used with permission.