Mercer, WI --
An unusual outboard motor has found its way home after being submerged for over 70 years in a northern Wisconsin lake. The motor, a shallow water design Caille, was owned by a resort owner and fishing guide Harry Jones, who used it to search the creeks for minnows, and for shallow water fishing on Pickerel Lake near Eagle River where he owned the Pickerel Lake Lodge resort. ...
Jones owned the two horsepower, single cylinder version. However, in 1928 he loaned the motor to a resort guest for a fishing trip. During the day the motor apparently was loosened from the boat by vibrations, and fell overboard.
Not sure of the motor's exact location, Jones and some friends dragged the bottom of the lake for days, hoping to snag the Caille. His two teenage daughters, Shirley and Dorothy, also joined the search conducting diving expeditions in the area they thought might be the location of the motor.
All the search efforts were to no avail, and a few years later the family sold their Pickerel Lake resort and moved to a new resort near Mercer, Wisconsin.
Jones remained a resort owner for thirty years, and continued as a northwoods guide until his death in 1980.
The two daughters who had helped search for the enngine maintained their northern Wisconsin ties as Shirley remained in the Mercer area and Dorothy later moved back to Mercer.
But it was only recently the unique little outboard re-entered their lives.
During the summer of 2000, a fisherman in search of muskies on Pickerel Lake accidentally snagged the engine and pulled it to shore. Finding his discovery of little interest, the fisherman hauled the old engine to the nearby landfill. Had it not been for the curiosity of landfill custodian Emil Ivaska, the engine may have been buried and lost forever.
Ivaska slavaged the strange looking outboard and took it to his home not knowing that a Jones family member would eventually discover the Caille and reveal its history.
Jone's daughter Dorothy Uthe had lived in Eagle River area for years, and had returned to visit old friends one day when she stopped to visit the Ivaska family.
Seeing the old engine, she asked the landfill custodian where he had obtained it; and when Emil explained he had received it from a Pickerel Lake fisherman, Dorothy knew it was the long lost Caille.
Emil's son Tony also learned the story of the outboard, and this past summer after his father diead, returned the little motor to the Jones family.
After savoring the memories of an experience more than seven decades old, the family placed the outboard on display at the Historical Society Museum in Mercer.