How the Lake Got Its Name
BY JANET HASELEY
The little blue Forget-Me-Not flower (Myosotis sylvatica) is common in the springtime in the Rensselaerville area. The lake, which is part of the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve and is the hamlet’s water supply, is called “Lake Myosotis.” It is a man-made lake that early settlers created by damming a stream that comes from Lincoln Pond, in order to create more reliable waterpower for mills downstream. The newsletter published by the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve is called the Myosotis Messenger and the Preserve’s Web site is https://www.huyckpreserve.org.
The lake was originally called “The Big Pond” which is why the hill going from the main street of the hamlet of Rensselaerville up to the lake is called “Pond Hill Road.”
When she was a teenager, Rensselaerville native Deborah Wickes (later Mrs. Charles W. Mulford) named the lake “Lake Myosotis.” There are two theories about why Deborah named the lake “Myosotis.” One is because of the profusion of the little blue Forget-Me-Not flowers that bloom around the lake in springtime. A more likely reason is because “Myosotis” means “forget-me-not” and a 20-year-old classmate of Deborah’s drowned in the lake on June 24, 1844. The name of the young man was Joshua G. Bogue and his gravestone is in the Rensselaerville Cemetery on Methodist Hill Road.
We found this fact on page 51 of Old Rensselaerville (written by Mary Fisher Torrance in 1939) in a section about Mary Brewerton who was the ward of Rensselaerville’s first minister, Reverend Samuel Fuller: Related to the Josiah Conklings by marriage was Mary Hedges, half-sister of Rev. Josiah Mulford Hedges, whom Mary Brewerton was later to marry. Mary tells us of Joshua Bogue who was drowned in “The Big Pond” — afterwards named “Lake Myosotis” by Mrs. Charles Mulford (Deborah Wickes).
Genealogical facts about Deborah Wickes and Mary Brewerton: Deborah Wickes’s father was Dr. Platt Wickes and the family lived in the building now called the Catalpa House. Deborah married Rensselaerville native Charles W. Mulford in 1853 and went west with him to be one of the first women to settle in the Gold County of California, in a town called Nevada City. Charles had gone west in the Gold Rush of 1849, corresponded with Deborah and other Rensselaerville people, and four years later came back east to marry her.
Mary Brewerton first came to Rensselaerville when she was six years old and had a lifelong love of the village. After her husband and several children died, she returned to Rensselaerville and became the editor of the Rensselaerville Press, a newspaper published during the 1870s.
This article is reprinted with permission from the Spring 2014 issue of The Rensselaerville Press, the quarterly newsletter of the Rensselaerville Historical Society.