Fraser and Fraser

In Search of Both

By Kit Herndon

It was circa 1962 and we were blessed with another beautiful day at Wagon Wheel Bay on Payette Lake. My sister Anne, who was then about nine years old, and I ventured off in our kayak to visit our older brother Fraser. I’m not even sure we asked permission, nor were we aware of the distance and time that would be involved in this four-mile round trip. Anne and I were competitive swimmers at the YMCA, the water was our playground, and we were always eager for adventures. Still, anyone who knows me should know better than to follow my lead!

Off we paddled, fearlessly and with probably no preparation in terms of food, life jackets, or warm clothing. 

Our brother Fraser was a counselor at the YMCA Camp Ponderosa at Tamarack Bay, the site today of condominiums. Fraser supposedly was camping out at what we lake locals called Fraser Island, not far from the YMCA camp. It was a small island just south of Cougar Island and not far from Camp Ponderosa in Tamarack Bay. I suppose the name “Fraser” originated from our great-grandfather, Alfred Atherton Fraser, who built one of the first cabins on the lake, at the end of Wagon Wheel Bay Road. We called this location Fraser Point or Sheppard Point. The name Sheppard Point came from the adjacent Bradley Sheppard cabin, which was possibly the first cabin at the lake, built in 1912.  In the 1930s, Alfred’s son-in-law, Mowbray Davidson, our grandfather, bought the Sheppard cabin. Some of these landmark names may have changed over the years but my recollections nowadays of our little “Fraser Island” are aided by a family photo.

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