The compiling of this book is without question due to the interest in the history of the Lake Family of Southern New Jersey aroused by the annual Reunions that have been held at Pleasantville for the past ten or more years. In 1912 the compilers published a pamphlet genealogy dealing with the early generations. The favorable reception of this venture encouraged them to carry on the work so as to include some newly discovered data of importance and to include later generations.
Only those who have done similar work can appreciate the labor and difficulty involved in such an undertaking, but the result is here presented to the indulgence of the family. If it is not the adequate record of the lives and accomplishments of the family that the compilers hoped might result from the pamphlet before alluded to, it at least includes much data and many facts of interest that would otherwise soon fade from memory and so be forever lost. No one will be so keenly aware of the incompleteness and inadequacy of the work as the compilers. But the work has been with them a labor of love, and they have done what they could. They trust that no other apology or defense will be needed.
It remains for them to express their appreciation to all who have helped by their labor and counsel in the work.
First, should be remembered those men to whom is due the credit for the origin and the continuance of the annual reunions. The Rev. Dr. S. Wesley Lake has been President from the beginning; the Rev. Dr. James E. Lake, Historian, and Mr. William Lake, Secretary. The work of the Rev. James E. Lake, especially in tracing the line back to William Lake, should not be forgotten. His collection of data has been of no small assistance in the work.
Those whose labors have been of greatest help in collecting data have been Mrs. Flora Lake Ryon, who, alas, was not spared to see the completion of the work; Mrs. Flora (Risley) Champion, Mrs. Mary Bell (Lake) Gardiner, the Rev. W. Elwell Lake, Mrs. Ann C. Fleming, Miss Mattie Collins, and Mrs. Sophia (Lake) Martin. Besides these there were others, literally too numerous to mention, who have helped in greater or less degree, and to whom is due the gratitude of all who find the book useful.
To Mr. Simon Lake, more than to any other one person, perhaps, is due the credit for the present form of the publication. The compilers feel under the greatest obligation to him for innumerable helpful suggestions. He alone made it possible to include the beautiful reproduction of the coat of arms. He also suggested the plan enabling the compilers to include the illustrations, and prepared the unique chart that shows not only his own ancestry, but the ancestry of many other members of the family.
The compilers trust that this book will stimulate still further interest in the origin and history of the family—an interest that will lead to the discovery of the English ancestry, to the completion of the records of those branches of the family that the plan of this work forbade us to trace in detail, and to the working out of many of the "lost" lines of descendants of William Lake.
With gratitude to all who have lightened the labor in any degree or way, and with the hope that others may be led to the same sincere respect for their ancestors that has come to them through their study of the family history, the compilers commit the book to your charitable hands.
SARAH A. RISLEY.
May 12, 1915.