Isadore Meyerowitz is a man of mystery. No one knows when or where he
was born or how to spell his last name! It is thought he was of Russian
or Polish descent.
In his early 30's, Isadore was a faithful traveling companion of
Peter Lassen for seven years. He was described by writers of his day as
intelligent, likeable, generous, gentle, and kind. Isadore was a valuable companion because he knew the local Indians well and spoke their dialects.
After several years of living between Indian Valley and Honey Lake Valley, Isadore settled in a home he built in Buntingville,
between present-day Standish and Janesville. George Lathrop, William
Reed, Jack the Sailor, and a Native American woman were living with the
In July 1856, Jack and Isadore decided to build a boat to sail on
Honey Lake. They made the "boat" by removing the wheels of a pioneer
wagon box. Neighbors warned them against sailing it. Despite these
warnings, Isadore, the Native American woman, Lathrop, Reed, Jack the
Sailor, and R.J. Scott sailed the boat.
A gust of wind turned the boat over and threw them into the lake.
They clung to the side of the boat or got up on the bottom of it. The
Indian woman slipped from the side of the boat. Isadore kept pulling her
back. Finally he tired and she drowned. Tired himself, he gave up hope
and let go of the boat.
Lathrop decided he would swim to the shore. He, too, tired and almost
gave up, but he discovered the water was waist deep. He walked to
shore! People discovered how shallow Honey Lake was and determined the ill-fated drowning of Isadore and the woman was pointless. Their bodies were never found.
Pioneer Map of Honey Lake
1 Short-Lived Explorations of Isadore Meyerowitz, Levenson, A.
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