According to my Grandpa Clemons, the story that goes along with the
plaque above shows you a bit of the tenacity that Lake City was built on.
Following is the story, near as I can remember it, as told to me, somewhere
between the ages, I reckon of eight and twelve years old. I've tried
to use the words he used when telling. He was a great story teller...
According to his Dad, back in 1876, about ten years or so, after the Civil
War was over, there came a time of election and Yankee soldiers were sent
to maintain the peace and see that it went the way the northerners wanted
it to go, inparticularly the voting part of things.
Well, Lake Citians, being Lake Citians, didn't "cotton" (his words)
to being told what to do by no Yankees, so a bunch of our town leaders
got together and started working on a plan to get rid of 'em.
It turned out the Yankees were hungry and put in for a couple of ladies
(Mattie and Mary Ellis) that were runnin' the Hancock House, a restaurant
that was located on what is now the Blanche Hotel, to fix them all something
Mattie and Mary, being the God fearing southerners that they were, of
course, flatly refused. On hearing about it, though, the town leaders
put their heads together and came up with a plan. A plan that involved
Mattie and Mary.
They were told to cook a dinner for the Yanks, but tell them they couldn't
come in with no guns. The soldiers didn't like it, but being the
south what it was, figured if they were fixin' them a meal, the least they
could do was show respect by not takin' their guns inside to the dinner
table, so they left them in a shed on the front porch of the restaurant.
Whilst they were in there chawin' down on one of the best southern meals
ever made, our men snuck a mule and wagon up to the back window of the
shed where they stored their guns and slid them rifles out the window into
They then walked the mule right into the center of Lake Desoto, which
was only about 150 yards from the hotel and dumped the whole load. Legend
has it that that old mule tiptoed quiet as could be.
But, Lake Citians, being Lake Citians, couldn't leave it there.
As the Yankee soldiers came out of the restaurant, our guys ganged
up on them, drug them off to the woods and wupted (his words) the devil
out of them. Leastways, whatever happened, they left and didn't come
Lake Desoto in July
Lake Desoto in the Winter