THE KINNEY COTTAGE — Sandfield, Concession 10, Lot 19

Bob and Mary Kinney first experienced Manitoulin Island when they visited Josephine Evans Whitaker (Bob’s second cousin) and her husband Francis at their Lake Manitou cottage on Ben's Bay, in August of 1939. In 1944, Bob and Mary made another visit to the Island. During this visit, they purchased a plot of land on Fred and Flora Moody’s farm that was next to the Whitaker’s cottage. During the following summer of 1945, Fred, his farmhand, Dan Ferguson, and his brother, Norm Moody, built the two stone-filled cribs that were to be the foundation for Bob and Mary’s boat house-cottage. Bob came up from their home in Ambridge, PA (near Pittsburgh), to watch and give some assistance with the project. He stayed with the Whitakers, slept on their screen porch, and enjoyed some good meals with Fred and Flora. The next summer of ’46, they built the boathouse with a studio apartment above it.

That August the Kinneys, including their eighteen-month-old daughter, Jeannie, as well as Mary’s brother, Dan Sullenberger, arrived at their new cottage. Although not quite complete, there being an eighteen-inch section of empty space in the floor through which could be seen the water below, no screens in place, one door unfinished, and limited furnishings from Eaton’s catalog, they survived. Welcome assistance was warmly received from the Whitakers who invited Kinneys to stay with them until the rest of the flooring and screens were put in place. A few weeks later, two invited guests arrived, bringing cots with them, as Bob and Mary also had needed to do. They constructed a table with two sawhorses and extra lumber. They also boiled water and cooked on their Coleman wood stove. Water was obtained by throwing a bucket, with a rope attached to it, over the balcony’s railing and drawing it up from the lake. Bob and Mary also had brought along a Coleman cooler and two Coleman lanterns. Mary’s brother built a few shelves between studding, to hold an antique clock and a supply of canned food they had brought along. Bob and his guest constructed the framework for a nine- foot long kitchen counter and laid more lumber on top, as well as installing a pitcher pump. What a help that was! Next, they purchased a McClary wood stove in Manitowaning which was used for many years. When Bob and Mary’s guests were leaving, they declared that was the best, and most interesting vacation they had ever experienced! Finally, the remainder of their Eaton’s catalog order arrived with a kerosene-cooking stove and two double mattresses... just in time for them to leave!

The following August of ’47, Bob, Mary, and her cousin, Barbara Stroh, constructed a double bunk bed. Fred Moody built a small loft and installed windows in the front and back roof peaks. Food was kept cool with a wonderful wooden ice chest lined with galvanized tin and cork that Bob and a friend constructed. Large blocks of ice cut from the lake fit into this ice chest. For the first 2 years ice was obtained from the Whitakers. In the fall of 1947 Fred Moody built an icehouse, made from cedar logs. By about 1950, the hydro was brought down to Silver Bay Road, and then on to the Whitaker and the Kinney cabins. For several years the icehouse was abandoned. Since they needed more space for guests, a room was added to one side of the icehouse. Then both rooms were lined with knotty pine lumber and made into an attractive sleeping cabin!

About eight years after Jeannie was born, Bob and Mary had another daughter, named Margaret Ellen (Peggy). Peggy made her first trip to Manitoulin when she was less than seven-weeks old! As Jeannie and Peggy grew up, they made friends with the Moody and Nighswander children. They had lots of water-fun at Lake Manitou, swimming, and floating along on a rowboat and raft. Both daughters also brought friends and relatives from the States to share in the fun.

Bob and his good friend, Everett Moody built a large stone outdoor fireplace. Fish cookouts were enjoyed with the Moody and Whittaker families along with other guests. The children and adults looked forward to the yearly family picnics around the big outdoor fireplace. After dark when the coals were just right, the children and adults toasted marshmallows and enjoyed each other's company under the stars.

The process of adding to and repairing the cottage has continued over the years. The kitchen sink area was improved by adding a dormer window and hot and cold running water was installed to replace the pitcher pump. The bathroom was also added to replace the outhouse! A carport, along with new and larger decks and docks have all added to the improvements.

In 1967, Jeannie was married to David Weaver. They have four children. The first child to arrive was Dave, next Rob, the third was Rich, and finally Christina arrived. About ten years after Jeannie was married, Peggy married Bill Tinklepaugh. They have three children. Brian was first born, next came Adam, and then Megan. Still now, more than seventy years from the building of the cabins, the family comes up each year during their vacations. With their growing families and more space required to accommodate everyone, the two families alternate time, but often try to overlap for a few days during their vacations.

From the beginning, Bob, Mary, Jeannie, and Peggy enjoyed making many Canadian friends. The Moody and Nighswander families were the first, then Mindemoya villagers, and other cottagers. We have also enjoyed sharing our cottage with our relatives and close friends so that they may also experience and make the most use of lovely Lake Manitou on beautiful Manitoulin Island.

"This article is based on early photographs of the cottage, on stories from Bob and Mary Kinney to their daughters, and on the memories of Jeannie, Peggy and their families"