Alexandria's Lake Carlos and Lake Le Homme Dieu named by Navy man and doctor murdered in Arizona
Both lakes are allegedly named after Navy buddies of a man whose death sparked controversy and legend in Arizona.
Editor's note: The following is part of an occasional series about the people who named lakes in Douglas County.
ALEXANDRIA — Around 1857, a Navy man named Glendy King set up a homestead on the south shores of Lake Winona. During his time in Alexandria, he ventured a short distance north and came upon two bodies of water he dubbed Lake Le Homme Dieu and Lake Carlos, reportedly after two buddies he served with in the Navy.
From "An Arizona Mystery Revisited: The Killing of Dr. Glendy King in 1884" by T.F. Mills, King is described as having sparkling blue eyes with a pale complexion and a prematurely white beard, resembling Santa Claus.
King ventured west from somewhere on the East Coast during a leave from the Navy in 1858. He made it to the developing area of Douglas County and settled on the southern shores of Lake Winona to homestead. He became neighbors to Will and Mary A. Kinkead, who were among the first white settlers in Alexandria.
In Warren Upham's book, "Minnesota Geographic Names; Their Origin and Historical Significance," it states that during King's time in Douglas County, he named Lake Carlos and Le Homme Dieu after two of his buddies.
His time in Douglas County is confirmed through letters he wrote to the Department of the Navy during this time, researched by the Douglas County Historical Society.
"We can use those letters, basically to pinpoint almost exactly when he came here," said Brittany Johnson, director of the Douglas County Historical Society.
The letters say he resigned from his leave beginning in May of 1858 and by June requested an address change to St. Paul, which Johnson speculates is due to unreliable mail service in the developing Douglas County area. Johnson was able to find King's will, which states his Minnesota land was located in Douglas County.
King resigned from the Navy in Sept. of 1858 due to arrangements in Minnesota that required his attention.
He went on to live in Douglas County until 1861. His departure is possibly a result of the Dakota War.
There are not many records of King after he left Minnesota until the year 1875.
By this time, it is reported in Mills' book that King arrived in Arizona in 1875. He is described as a loner and a physician from New York whose son succumbed to tuberculosis and whose wife died shortly after. The book said he came to Arizona to restore his own failing health at 45 years old. He settled at Tres Alamos.
On a ride through the mountains, King stumbled upon a site once used as a field hospital during the Civil War. The land was littered with mineral hot springs, trees and wild grapevines. He was so taken with the area that he filed a 160-acre homestead claim.
King set up camp and his health soon recovered, which he attributed to the mineral water. He claimed he had found the fountain of youth.
King made plans to develop his land into a public resort, but what he thought was paradise was actually a death trap.
After Apache natives retaliated against settlers, causing many to flee their homesteads, an outlaw problem broke out when vacant lands became overrun with ranchers and miners who drew the attention of highway robbers and cattle thieves. The hilly landscape became an oasis for criminals to hide.
By 1883, King decided to abandon the dream of making a profit off his land and put it up for sale. But no one wanted the land ridden with criminals.
On Aug. 24, 1884, King and Frank Lewis, a hired hand, were returning to the ranch from town when they came across a man who said he had been living on King's land, unknowingly, and just sold the area to a Mr. Jones. This infuriated King, and he made plans to visit Jones with his land title to prove who owns the property.
Tension grew between the two groups when Mr. Jones didn't leave. A few days later, King saw them driving cattle through a canyon adjacent to his property.
King ordered Lewis to warn the group about crossing a gate he secured across the canyon road. Lewis grabbed his Winchester and took off.
In the meantime, some of the herd wandered away from the now stopped convoy and made their way over to where King was. When a mare nudged the doctor, he whipped out a large knife and stabbed the animal.
Melvin Jones, son of Mr. Jones, saw this and rode toward the wounded horse. King switched the knife to his left hand and grabbed his pistol with his right. When King raised his gun, Melvin drew his rifle and fired. King clutched his chest, walked a few paces and fell face first. He died shortly after.
As word of King's death spread, Mills said newspapers described it as cold-blooded murder. But that tune changed after a couple of the Jones brothers snooped through King's property and discovered two skeletal remains in a charred hidden room in one of the adobe buildings.
Rumors spread that King robbed and killed ranch guests then fed their flesh to cats that ran in clusters on the ranch. Some say the Joneses planned to murder King and planted the remains to make him look bad. Others say the bodies are from when the property housed the field hospital. The remains were never properly examined, and the truth is unknown.
Research materials were compiled by the director of the Douglas County Historical Society, Brittany Johnson.