Mid-1800s: When Tim Tooker Reigned
Only one official lake memory of Tooker remains today: Tooker's path, now largely semi-swamp as a result of the MC dam's increasing the water level beginning in 1911, is so designated in current plats of Wolf Wildwood. But Tooker was in the memory of historian Charles Deland, author of "History of Jackson County Michigan" in 1903, just after the Wolf Lake - Jackson electric interurban was established in 1902. After describing "beautiful and picturesque resort" Wolf Lake as "first in importance to the people of Jackson", Deland, perhaps inadvertently, establishes the role of Tim Tooker in Wolf Lake history.
The Tooker Era
Timothy B. Tooker was born in New York on 11 Mar 1803. His first Michigan presence was when he became the first owner of 80 acres in Section 36, T3-S,R-2E in 1837 (off Austin Rd. at eastern edge of Jackson County in Norvell Twp). In early 1855, he purchased lakefront in what we now know as Wolf Wildwood (see map below).
This quickly became a thriving business, as evidenced in the following Sept. 1855 article of an unknown author in The Citizen, the weekly Jackson paper, recounting a day-visit to the Lake (it was common to publish readers' experiences) and passed on to posterity by Deland.
"Wolf Lake is becoming noted among the lovers and admirers of nature and a place of resort for excursionists from the region round about. Having had an invitation to join an agreeable party who had made arrangements to pay the lake a visit on a sailing and fishing tour, I could not refrain from going. Captain Tooker's landing was the place of our destination. It is almost three miles north of Napoleon, and reached by a circuitous route, the last half mile (ed. underline) being a new road, cut through the openings for the express purpose of making the landing. When we got there we found ourselves in a beautiful oaken grove, beside a young house about two months old, on the west side of which is a spacious arbor on an eminence that commands the lake through the openings which have been freed from underbrush. The lake is a beautiful sheet of water bordered with nature's finest shades of green, unmarred by the hand of man. The monarch of the realm is a fine sailboat that will bear twenty person's "every whether" as the master listeth. The company passed the day in sailing, fishing, swinging, feasting and walking to and fro in the grove.
"In fishing the ladies seemed to excel in coqueting the finny tribe from their native home(ed. catching fish). During this time, our steeds enjoyed a social interview in the grove, casting glances at each other, as though they drank into the spirit of the occasion. We were held in the enchanting power of the rich and varied scenery until the descending sun silently intimated the nearness of the approaching night, that would soon draw its sable mantle over these visible glories. And we left for our homes in fine spirits, with a full determination to visit Wolf Lake again."
Poetic to be sure, but a brief 30 years after Parke's survey, Wolf Lake was already recognized in Jackson as a resort worthy of a day's visit by carriage. And Captain (Tim) Tooker's was the place to go! As if Tooker's lake influence needed more evidence, the official atlas of 1858 shows his landing (see degraded picture) and, even more, what we now know as Little Wolf Lake was then Tooker's Lake. The 1874 atlas renamed it to the present. Tooker died at 67 in Jackson County on 18 Dec 1870. He is mentioned in several trees in Ancestry.com, a genealogy website.