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Cramp Thornham History on Lake Sesekinika

by: Polly Thornham

The official Sesekinika Lake history of the Cramp/ Thornham family began in 1937, but it really began before that.


My Mom, Florena and her sister Pat, were best friends with two other sisters, Tennessee and June Cooper. The Cooper family owned the cottage now owned by Steve and Pat (Lambe) Hertzberg on A-2.


The Cramp girls, especially Pat, spent so much time at the Cooper cottage that my Grandfather, Dave. decided to buy his own cottage at Sesekinika. In 1937, "The Greenhorns" was purchased from Mr. Kingston, a hotelier. (There are still hotel dishes in use at the cottage ). A pair of painted green moose antlers hung over the front porch for some time, denting the Cramp family's "newcomer status".


The next generation- David, Susan, John and I- spent many whole summers at the lake. We learned to love swimming, canoeing, boating in grandpa's green and orange put-put ( (one of several dis pro inboards on the lake at that time) and the very fast fifteen horsepower cedarstrip outboard. We also learned to sail in the little white sailboat with the red sail. At an early age we also learned cribbage and bridge at Aunt Pat's knee.


My Mom learned how to wash diapers using a washtub and washboard. They are still at the cottage, though retired. Aunt Pat still uses a wringer washer, however.


When we reached our teens, Mom and Dad (Jack) felt it was time to find a place of their own, with room to dock our "Whiz-Ski-Jack" with the 40 hp motor.


Our new cottage,"Thornham' s Yoke,"had been owned by two well-known Sesekinika families: the Wiggins and the Robertsons. It had a great dock for skiing, partying and an occasional late night skinny-dip, as long as no one turned on the dock light from the cottage.  


My sister, Susan, saw her chance to become a landowner after our parents bought the north half of island A- 7, with its little cabin. She bought it in 1970 and has entirely transformed it over the years since it became "Sue Lookout".


Eventually, my parents saw the wisdom of relocating to the mainland, to make their retirement years easier. They sold "Thornham' s Yoke" to the Campbells. It is now known as "Sig-n-Al Point", and Scott and Andrew have learned to love the lake as we do.


My parents purchased the lovely property next to Ed and Gayle Havrot's neat round cottage. It was a great decision, for many reasons, not the least of which was the presence of Ed and Gayle. It was also a good location to receive the grandchildren, Jamie, Suzie, Christy and Emily- generation four. My parents also made the inevitable transition from ski boat to pontoon boat.


The most recent acquisition was in 2000 when I decided to provide fulltime cottage life for my own family. Our cottage at the north end of island Al once belonged to Mrs. Brown, who spent many peaceful summers there. The Barnacals added two wings to the cottage- a labour of love, which we appreciate. We are beginning a new set of lake traditions in "Whiskey-Jack Lodge". Our whole clan now has four cottages at Sesekinika.


Naturally, our numbers have changed over the years. We have brought spouses Nancy, Joyce and George into the family and into life at Sesekinika. We have lost our Grandparents, Dave and Bessie Cramp, and more recently, our Mom, Florena. Their love of the lake and fond memories enable us to feel closest to them here. Our Dad, Jack, and Aunt Pat continue to enjoy their cottages every summer.


David's children have added three, in generation five: Jamie and Sarah's Abby, and Suzie and Chet's Claire and Neve. We're already introducing them to the lake.


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