The Legend of Wanita LakeBy DEBORA REESE HISTORIC CLARKE COUNTY,
Head northwest, about five miles, from Enterprise, you will find a beautiful little body of water among the hills, named Wanita Lake.
In the late 1940’s it is recorded that Wanita Lake was private property of a fishing club, with most of the members residing in Meridian. But, the story begins long before then…
It was in the early part of the 19th century, a Mr. Schultz, an Easterner who was a wool manufacturer, was drawn to Enterprise, Mississippi. He was looking for a place to raise sheep and for a place where there was a demand for locally manufactured goods. On his trip to look over the area, he became enchanted by the sparkling water of Wanita Lake. He knew it was the perfect place.
Acquiring the land, he and his wife set up their home, and he began erecting a dam and a brick building for a mill. His wool mill and business became an instant success. The Schultz Mill was selling fine garments in abundance to the style famished pioneers of Enterprise, with the reputation of the mill spreading far and wide throughout Mississippi and adjoining states.
In the midst of their success, Mr. and Mrs. Schultz were invited to a large expedition in New Orleans. At the ball, the beautiful Mrs. Schultz, wearing the finest and most exquisite woolen dress, was definitely the belle, capturing the attention of everyone’s eyes.
While attending the affair, Mrs. Schultz happened upon an old flame from years past. Seeing him for that few moments at the ball, stirred her, and old feeling began to rekindle from within. Being so honorable and refine, Mrs. Schultz kept her feelings to herself, never saying anything of her awaking feelings to her old sweetheart or her husband.
On the return trip to Enterprise, Mrs. Shultz found herself thinking about her ex-beau regularly. Upon reaching home, those thoughts of her old flame, continued. She longed to be reunited with the man that captured her heart before she had met her husband, but she kept quiet and told no one.
Unable to sleep one night, with the thoughts of her ex-sweetheart, Mrs. Shultz rose in the middle of the night. She lit a kerosene lamp, and ventured outside the house and into the woods with the lamp. She walked the path to the edge of Wanita Lake, where she sat the lamp into the bottom of a bateau tied up at the landing. Untying the boat, she shoved off into the calm water.
Floating away from the shore, her thoughts rambled on. Her eyes looking out to the skyline, the reflecting shadows of the nearby trees around the Lake, and then into the depths of the deep water. With a sigh, she stood and leaped over overboard.
With the first small rays of the morning, the glowing lamp inside the boat was spotted floating upon the calm waters. The body of Mrs. Shultz was found soon afterwards, and it is said she had a smile on her face.
Some say Wanita Lake has a ghost, for at certain times of the year, a strange glow of a lamp can be seen slowly floating across the lake.
This story of Wanita Lake was placed in writings of Eugene A. Roper in 1947, when he was researching Enterprise and Stonewall.