Archive for the ‘Upper Michigan Books and Authors’ category

The Prologue of My New Book “When Teddy Came to Town”

September 15, 2018

My new novel When Teddy Came to Town was published recently. It’s a novel about the 1913 libel trial in Marquette when former President Theodore Roosevelt sued the Ishpeming newspaper editor, George Newett, of the Iron Ore, for calling him a drunkard. Here is the prologue:

Prologue

On Wednesday, October 9, 1912, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who now styled himself Colonel Roosevelt, based on his past military experience, arrived by train in Marquette, Michigan. He was there to campaign as the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party candidate for the presidency of the United States.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Libel Trial began on May 26, 1913 in Marquette, Michigan.

An estimated six thousand people turned out to see Roosevelt—most would not be able to hear him because the crowd was so thick. Throngs of people squeezed into the train yard surrounding the depot and on both sides of Front Street near the makeshift platform erected for him in downtown Marquette.

Among Roosevelt’s listeners was George A. Newett, editor of the Iron Ore, a newspaper published in the city of Ishpeming, some fifteen miles west of Marquette.

Because Newett and his paper were staunch supporters of the Republican Party, Newett was already inclined to have an unfavorable view of Roosevelt’s speech. Newett was angry that Roosevelt had broken with the Republican Party after it had nominated incumbent U.S. President William Howard Taft over himself for its presidential candidate. Roosevelt had then decided to form his own Progressive Party and be its candidate. The result had been division within the Republican Party since many of its members chose to support Roosevelt.

No doubt many other Republicans present were not fans of Roosevelt, but regardless, the enormous crowd was thrilled to see a former U.S. president. The only other president ever to have visited Marquette had been President Taft the year before, so regardless of Roosevelt’s politics, the community saw it as a day worth celebrating.

Although Roosevelt had never before visited Marquette, he knew several of the local politicians, including George Shiras III, who summered in Marquette and had served as a congressman for Pennsylvania in Washington, D.C. Roosevelt and Shiras had developed a friendship because of a bill Shiras had introduced to protect wildfowl. Roosevelt shared Shiras’ conservation interests, and since they had met, he had taken great interest in Shiras’ efforts to photograph wildlife. Now seeing Shiras in the crowd, Roosevelt shouted to him, “Did you get your beaver picture yet?” Shiras shouted back that the glass plate had not yet been developed. Then Roosevelt’s attention was diverted away from his friend, and in a few more seconds, he was ready to give his speech.

A presidential candidate’s speeches are notorious for pointing out what is wrong with his opponent’s position on various issues, and Roosevelt’s speech that day was no different. He spoke out boldly against the steel trust, which he blamed for taking over the Republican convention and preventing him from getting the presidential nomination. But today Roosevelt was in steel country. Marquette County’s economy relied on its iron mines, which shipped ore to the great cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo, where the ore was turned into steel. In fact, George Newett’s newspaper, the Iron Ore, was named for the community’s bread-and-butter.

Roosevelt did not let Marquette’s interests in steel dissuade him. Instead, he addressed the situation directly. Speaking without hesitation, he declared, “The steel trust is here in Marquette County, and its attorney, the congressman against whom—”

“That is not true!” a man interrupted him.

The man was John Van Evera, former warden of the Marquette Branch Prison, and a strong supporter of the Republican Party.

Roosevelt, without blinking an eye, shot back, “You stand for theft and you stand for lying and false witness bearing. Another thing I will give you a chance to deny: that every paper influenced by the steel corporation in Marquette and by the standpatters is against us in this county.”

Van Evera replied, “I am not afraid of a Bull Moose.”

Roosevelt continued, “It is perfectly natural that you should object to hearing the truth told about the side you are championing; and it is perfectly natural that you should come here to try to interrupt a meeting in which I am exposing the falsities and misinterpretations of your side.”

“Then tell the truth,” persisted Van Evera.

Roosevelt continued, naming local politicians, including Horace O. Young of nearby Ishpeming, who was currently a member of the Michigan State House of Representatives. “Mr. Young is the ex-attorney of the Steel Trust, and his law partner is attorney for the Steel Trust now. I understand, sir, that I am telling you the truth; I speak here from the information given me; but when I speak of the Chicago convention of last June, I speak of what I know. You are supporting the receivers of stolen goods, and a man engaged with the theft; and if you are a man of intelligence and education, you are acting as dishonorably as if you were supporting a man who had stolen a purse. Now you ask to hear the truth. You have heard it. A man who approves of the commission of theft, or who brazenly defends it, is no better than the thief himself.”

Roosevelt continued his speech without any further interruptions. When he was finished, the crowd applauded, and soon the former president was off to his next stop on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, the local newspapers’ headlines declared:

‘Big Bull Moose’s’ Tour a Continual Triumph

Upper Peninsula Turned Out More Than 40,000 People Wednesday to Welcome the Great Progressive Chieftain

He Was Seen and Heard in Marquette County by Larger Throngs Than Ever Before Had Greeted a Great National Leader

All that said, Roosevelt had already given several speeches that day, and his voice had been somewhat raspy, which caused some people to wonder, especially when he became so animated while responding to Mr. Van Evera’s charges, whether he might have been intoxicated.

George Newett did more than wonder. He went home and wrote the following editorial, which appeared in the Iron Ore on October 12, 1912.

The Roosevelt Way
According to Roosevelt, he is the only man who can call others liars, rascals and thieves, terms he applies to Republicans generally.
All that Roosevelt has gained politically he received from the hands of the Republican Party.
Had he won in the Republican convention in Chicago, then the Republican Party would still be a good party, and all others would have been made up of liars and thieves and scoundrels generally.
But if anyone calls Roosevelt a liar he raves and roars and takes on in an awful way, and yet Roosevelt is a pretty good liar himself. Where a lie will serve to advance his position, he employs it.
Roosevelt lies and curses in the most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all of his intimates know about it.
What’s the use mincing things with him when he maltreats everyone not for him?
Because he has been president gives him no privileges above other men and his conduct is just as deserving censure as is that of any other offender against decency.
How can Roosevelt expect to go unlashed when he maliciously and untruthfully strikes out at other people?
It’s just as Mr. Harlan said, he’s the greatest little fighter in the country when he’s alone in the ring, but he acts like a madman if anyone dares criticize him. All who oppose him are wreckers of the country, liars, knaves and undesirables.
He alone is pure and entitled to a halo. Rats! For so great a fighter, self-styled, he’s the poorest loser we ever knew.

Two days later, October 14, would be a doubly fateful day for the former president. Roosevelt was continuing his campaign, traveling that day from Chicago to Milwaukee. He was already experiencing a sore throat from all the speeches he had given, but he planned to give another that evening. That same day, he would be handed a copy of Newett’s editorial by Oscar King Davis, his party’s secretary. After reading the article, Roosevelt whispered to Davis, “Let’s go after him.” Then, while en route to Milwaukee, the former president sent instructions to Henry M. Wallace, the Progressive national committeeman from Michigan, to retain a lawyer and file a libel suit against Newett.

Once Roosevelt arrived in Milwaukee, he went to the Gilpatrick Hotel, where the hotel owner, a supporter of Roosevelt, provided dinner for him. Word quickly got out that Roosevelt was dining at the Gilpatrick. When he prepared to leave the hotel for Milwaukee Auditorium, where he would give his speech, he found a crowd outside, clamoring to see him.

Roosevelt got into the open convertible waiting for him at the hotel entrance. At first, he sat down, but when the crowd cheered for him, he stood to acknowledge and wave to his supporters.

Suddenly, a gunshot was heard. A man, standing just seven feet from Roosevelt, had drawn a revolver from his vest and shot the former president.

The bullet struck Roosevelt in the chest and knocked him back down into his seat.

The would-be assassin was John Flammang Schrank, a former saloonkeeper from New York who had become profoundly religious. He had followed Roosevelt from New Orleans to Milwaukee. Schrank would later claim he had been writing a poem in the night when the ghost of President William McKinley appeared to him. McKinley had asked Schrank to avenge his death and pointed at a photograph of Roosevelt.

Schrank was immediately arrested. He would later maintain that he had nothing against Roosevelt and he had not intended to kill “the citizen Roosevelt,” but rather “Roosevelt, the third-termer,” claiming that President McKinley had told him to shoot Roosevelt as a warning to other third-termers. Schrank would be diagnosed by doctors as suffering from delusions and insanity. He would then be committed to the Central State Mental Hospital in Waupun, Wisconsin, for life.

As for Roosevelt, the bullet had lodged itself in his chest, but first, it had penetrated his steel eyeglass case and passed through the folded fifty pages of his speech in his suit pocket. Being a hunter, Roosevelt had a good knowledge of anatomy; because he was not coughing up blood, he knew the bullet had not sunk far enough into his chest to hit his lung, so he refused to go to the hospital until after he gave his speech. His motorcar proceeded to the Milwaukee Auditorium.

When Roosevelt took the stage in the auditorium, he began to address the crowd by saying, “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But, fortunately, I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet—there is where the bullet went through—and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.”

The former president went on to deliver his speech, and although at times his voice was hardly more than a whisper, he spoke for ninety minutes, and when he had finished, he was cheered by the crowd. Only then did he agree to be taken to the hospital.

At the hospital, Roosevelt was attended by his personal physician, Dr. Terrell. An x-ray showed the bullet lodged in Roosevelt’s chest muscle; the bullet had also broken his fourth rib. Dr. Terrell determined that because the bullet had not penetrated Roosevelt’s pleura, it would be less dangerous to leave it in place. The former president would carry the bullet inside him for the rest of his life. Because it would hinder his ability to exercise, it would cause him to gain significant weight in his later years.

Roosevelt remained in the hospital for a week. During that time, one highlight of his stay was receiving a photograph from his friend George Shiras. On the back was inscribed the note, “Here is the answer to your question!” It was a nighttime photograph of a beaver gnawing on a tree trunk.

Although the election would be held on November 5, only three weeks away, Roosevelt’s opponents, President Taft of the Republican Party and Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson, both halted their own campaigns out of a sense of fair play while Roosevelt was hospitalized. Once Roosevelt was released from the hospital, all three candidates resumed their campaigns, although Roosevelt himself would only make two more speeches before Election Day.

Roosevelt would not garner enough votes to be elected president, although his 4.1 million votes surpassed the 3.5 million of his Republican opponent, Taft. Because Wilson’s 6.3 million votes won him the electoral vote, he would be sworn in as twenty-eighth president of the United States.

With the election over, Roosevelt would quickly turn his attention to his lawsuit against George Newett.

Newett’s charge that Roosevelt was a drunkard had not been the first accusation made to that effect. Several reasons existed for these accusations. First, Roosevelt had a very animated presence when he spoke. His voice boomed and he liked to wave his arms about. He did this largely so the people in the back of the crowd could see and hear him, but it often led to people thinking his behavior somewhat erratic and possibly influenced by alcohol. Second, Roosevelt usually gave multiple speeches a day on the campaign trail and he had to speak so loudly to be heard by the massive crowds that his voice often became quite hoarse and, sometimes, it even sounded like he slurred his words. Finally, the prohibition of alcohol was being hotly debated across the country, but Roosevelt remained uncommitted on the issue. When he was asked for his opinion on prohibition by reporters, he often shrugged off the question or muttered a barely audible response. This attitude made people speculate that he was not in favor of prohibition, the reason being that he was a heavy drinker himself. None of these speculations, however, had sufficient support to prove Roosevelt was a drunk.

Tired of all the accusations about his drinking, Roosevelt decided he would make an example of the Iron Ore and its editor. On October 25, 1912, his lawyer, James H. Pound of Detroit, filed an extensive Declaration of Intention in Marquette County, and four days later, Pound filed the following formal and detailed complaint:

That the said defendant, George A. Newett, did upon October, the twelfth, A.D. 1912, publish the following false, scandalous, malicious and defamatory words…“The Roosevelt Way.”

That the entire article is libelous. But that Theodore Roosevelt waives all claims for damages for any of the libels contained in said article, except the words, “Roosevelt lies and curses in a most disgusting way. He gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently and all of his intimates know about it.”

That Theodore Roosevelt does hereby begin an action of Trespass, in the Circuit Court for the County of Marquette and claims as his damages, the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars.

Newett then hired his own lawyer, William P. Bedell, of Ishpeming, and filed the following response to Roosevelt’s allegations of libel:

Take notice, the defendant will give in evidence and insist in his defense that the words charged in the plaintiff’s declaration, were published in good faith, without any malice, and under circumstances creating a qualified privilege, vis.: That at the time the plaintiff was a candidate for the office of the President of the United States, and that as such candidate his public conduct and his fitness for said high office were properly subject to discussion as matters of common and general interest.

And the said defendant will further give in evidence and insists in his defense, the plaintiff had been and was guilty of the facts and acts charged and imputed to him in the publication.

Newett and Bedell now set out to prove that what Newett had printed was true. They began by collecting depositions to support the statement that Roosevelt often became drunk. Upon hearing of their actions, Roosevelt convinced the court to order that the depositions not be made public until the time of the trial, scheduled to begin at the Marquette County Courthouse on May 26, 1913. A great deal of media attention and interest would build throughout the nation as the trial approached.

When Teddy Came to Town is available locally in Marquette at the Marquette Regional History Center, Snowbound Books, Michigan Fair (downtown and Meijer’s) and Touch of Finland. It is also available online at Amazon and in ebook editions at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play. Copies autographed by the author can be purchased at www.MarquetteFiction.com.

Advertisements

New Novel Features Historical, But Relevant Libel Trial Involving Theodore Roosevelt

July 24, 2018

July 24, 2018—Award-winning author Tyler R. Tichelaar has released his nineteenth book, When Teddy Came to Town, a fascinating look at the Roosevelt libel trial of 1913—a story as relevant today as it was more than a century ago.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Libel Trial began on May 26, 1913 in Marquette, Michigan.

On October 12, 1912, George Newett, the small town newspaper editor of the Iron Ore, in Ishpeming, Michigan, published an editorial after he witnessed Theodore Roosevelt give a campaign speech in nearby Marquette. Newett was unhappy both with Roosevelt’s speech and that the former president had broken with the Republican Party to form the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party. When Roosevelt learned of the editorial, he took offense to a particular statement he termed libelous: “Roosevelt lies and curses in the most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all of his intimates know about it.”

Many other newspapers had already spread rumors about Roosevelt’s drinking, but Roosevelt chose to make an example of Newett by proving the statement untrue. The trial, held in Marquette County, Michigan, in May 1913, made national headlines and was one of the first times someone famous sued for spreading libel and what we would today call “false news.”

Now novelist Tyler R. Tichelaar, a longtime chronicler of the history of Marquette, Michigan, brings the trial back to life through his fictional treatment of it in When Teddy Came to Town. Not only does the novel chronicle what happened at the Roosevelt Trial, but it highlights the influence Roosevelt had upon the citizens of the small city, who were star struck by the famous politicians who came to testify on Roosevelt’s behalf.

Beyond the history, When Teddy Came to Town is a love story, featuring Matthew Newman, a reporter from New York who also happens to be a native of Marquette. Returning to his hometown to report on the trial, Matthew finds himself continually thrown together with George Shiras, the internationally famous wildlife photographer, with whom Roosevelt is staying. This situation is a bonus in terms of Matthew’s professional need to report on the trial, but awkward because he and Shiras had once been close friends—until Shiras married the woman Matthew loved.

When Teddy Came to Town recreates an era not much different than our own. Tichelaar states, “I wanted to chronicle this important trial which most Roosevelt biographers have ignored because I believe it caused newspapers to realize they could not get away with ‘yellow journalism,’ or ‘false news.’ The period’s concerns about sobriety, women’s rights, and journalistic integrity remain concerns today. This is a story that speaks to our time, and in it we may find solutions for dealing with our current crises.”

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He is the author of nineteen books, including Haunted Marquette, My Marquette, and The Best Place. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Writer Award in the Marquette County Arts Awards, and the Barb H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award. His novel Narrow Lives won the 2008 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award. In 2014, his play Willpower was produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium with a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

Tichelaar will officially launch When Teddy Came to Town at the Outback Art Fair at Shiras Park in Marquette on July 28 and 29, Saturday, 10-6 and Sunday 10-5. In Marquette, it is also available at Snowbound Books, Michigan Fair, the Marquette Regional History Center, and Touch of Finland. Online retailers, selling paperback and ebook editions, include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google Play.

When Teddy Came to Town (ISBN 978-0-9962400-5-5) is available in paperback and ebook editions at www.MarquetteFiction.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through local and online bookstores. Publicity contact: tyler@marquettefiction.com. Review copies available upon request.

###

The Introduction to “Haunted Marquette”

December 5, 2017

In case you’re not yet intrigued enough by my new book Haunted Marquette, here’s the introduction to the book:

Introduction: The Ghosts of Marquette

Let me begin by stating that I have never seen a ghost. I cannot personally say for sure whether they exist or not. I do, however, know several people whom I believe to be reliable and honest who claim to have seen one. And for this book, I interviewed many people who struck me as both completely sincere and having a hard time grappling with the possibility that they had seen a ghost.

“Haunted Marquette” highlights more than forty places in Marquette that may be haunted.

My interest in the supernatural has always been strong ever since I was a young boy fascinated with Dracula. For my doctoral dissertation, I wrote about nineteenth century Gothic novels, exploring how we use the supernatural as a metaphor for our real world difficulties and concerns. But there is more than metaphor to the supernatural. There are many things we simply cannot explain. As humans, we remain both the most intelligent species on this planet and largely clueless about the universe’s many mysteries.

I do not intend this book to provide any answers as to whether or not ghosts exist. It is a question that is impossible for me to answer and remains open to debate. I will simply provide the evidence of those I interviewed, and I will relate the stories I have gathered from other people—in many cases, stories that have been passed down in Marquette’s history and cannot always be verified, although I have tried my best to document sources and suggest what the truth behind a story might be. Some of the stories have clearly been made up for reasons I cannot fathom other than to shock, entertain, or possibly trick the gullible. Others I believe are very likely true.

As someone deeply in love with Marquette and its history, I have often wondered what it must have been like to have lived during Marquette’s early years. What I wouldn’t do to be able to spend just one day walking around Marquette, perhaps circa 1865, so I could talk to Peter White, Chief Kawbawgam, Bishop Baraga, Amos Harlow, and some of my own ancestors—what I wouldn’t give to know these people personally and to see what Marquette was like then.

We have not yet perfected the ability to time travel, but wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could do the next best thing and communicate with those who came before us? The concept of ghosts suggests that some of the dead may also wish to communicate with us. It opens up a whole new realm of possibility for what we might term Marquette’s history. What might we learn if the ghosts of Marquette’s past could tell us what that past was like?

The same is true of any place, for ghosts are found all over the planet. Therefore, I do not think there is anything particularly special about the ghost stories I have compiled about Marquette compared to stories from other cities. I will admit, however, that I never expected to find enough stories to write a whole book on the subject. And I do think Marquette’s history itself is remarkable, so while it may not explain why so many ghosts apparently choose to remain here, a little summary of Marquette’s history may help us better understand whom its ghosts are.

Long before Europeans came to what would become known as Iron Bay and the city of Marquette, the Ojibwa had settled this land. They had their own legends, religion, and beliefs that included various supernatural spirits. While some of these stories were recorded, notably at the end of the nineteenth century by Marquette resident Homer Kidder, who interviewed Chief Charles Kawbawgam, his wife Charlotte, and his brother-in-law, Jacques LePete, for what would later be published as the book Ojibwa Narratives, they do not specifically qualify as what we would term ghost stories today. Native Americans believed in human spirits that could remain behind after a person’s death, but none of these stories associated with the Marquette area appear to have come down to us.

All the stories I have traced surround people of European descent who began settling in the area predominantly in the 1840s and after. In 1844, iron ore was discovered west of Marquette in what is today the city of Negaunee. A port on Lake Superior was needed so that the iron ore could be shipped to cities like Buffalo and Cleveland where it could be turned into steel; as a result, Marquette began in 1849 as a harbor town from which to ship the ore. Amos Harlow, the town founder, came from Worcester, Massachusetts, to establish the town as an agent for the Marquette Iron Company. Originally, he named the city Worcester after his hometown, but the tradition that Father Jacques Marquette, the seventeenth century Jesuit missionary, had visited the area was already strong among ship captains, and so, eventually, Marquette became the city’s permanent name.

Over the succeeding decades, the small harbor town grew until by the late nineteenth century, it became known as the Queen City of the North. That growth continued at a much slower rate throughout the twentieth century. Today, Marquette is a small but bustling city of just over twenty-thousand people, the largest city in Upper Michigan, and one known nationally as one of the most desirable cities to live in and a popular biking and winter sports destination.

Despite Marquette’s prosperity, however, life here has not always been easy. People have died in cave-ins in the nearby mines; they have died in logging accidents in the nearby woods; they have drowned in Lake Superior or been lost in shipwrecks. They have worked hard to tear the iron from the ground, to survive through brutal winters, and to feed themselves during difficult economic times. And like anywhere else, they have loved and married and had children, and they have fought and argued with one another, been greedy, lied, cheated, committed adultery, and even occasionally committed murder. Any degree of tragedy, passion, anger, or accident could cause a ghost to linger and haunt a place or other people because of unfinished business or a guilty conscience over past misdeeds. Therefore, it is not surprising that Marquette, like every other place where humans have settled, has its fair share of ghosts.

Some people have theorized that Upper Michigan has a large number of ghosts compared to other areas because of some special energy source in the land, perhaps resulting from the rich mineral deposits of iron, copper, gold, and silver. Others believe that ghosts have an affinity for water, so the Great Lakes have caused a larger number of ghosts to manifest here than in most other regions. I have to dismiss both of these ideas because, although I was surprised by how many ghost stories I found in Marquette, I am sure the number of ghosts in larger cities like San Francisco and New York far surpasses the number in Marquette. Furthermore, ghost stories appear to exist in every culture and in every country in the world. I don’t think Marquette is somehow special because of the number of its ghosts.

But I do think Marquette’s ghosts are special. They are another link for us to our past, and each of them has a story to tell, just like each person does, and each of those stories matters. Perhaps some of these ghosts do not rest because they are still waiting for someone to tell their stories, to witness that they, too, lived significant lives. Perhaps we can give them some comfort and help them rest by hearing their stories, trying to get at the truth of those stories, or just witnessing that yes, they do exist, and they are as real as we are.

At the beginning of this book I quote the great eighteenth century British author Dr. Samuel Johnson. Another great British author, Thomas Carlyle, wrote in the nineteenth century of Dr. Johnson:

Again, could any thing be more miraculous than an actual authentic Ghost? The English Johnson longed, all his life, to see one; but could not, though he went to Cock Lane, and thence to the church-vaults, and tapped on coffins. Foolish Doctor! Did he never, with the mind’s eye as well as with the body’s, look round him into that full tide of human Life he so loved; did he never so much as look into Himself? The good Doctor was a Ghost, as actual and authentic as heart could wish; well nigh a million of Ghosts were travelling the streets by his side. Once more I say, sweep away the illusion of Time; compress the three-score years into three minutes: what else was he, what else are we? Are we not Spirits, shaped into a body, into an Appearance; and that fade away again into air, and Invisibility? This is no metaphor, it is a simple scientific fact.

Carlyle wrote this passage in his famous book Sartor Resartus in a chapter titled “Natural Supernaturalism.” According to Carlyle, the supernatural is natural, and we ourselves are ghosts just like those who may appear to us—we are just ghosts in fleshly form while they are fleshless. By this definition, I believe we can see ghosts as our human brothers and sisters, our ancestors, too, so perhaps it is time that rather than fear them, we embrace them. They are no more “the other” than people of another race or culture. We are all human—even if we are not all still in human form.

In these pages, we will get to know our ghostly brothers and sisters. We will meet some spirits who were the victims of tragic and sudden deaths. We will meet people who have had surprising paranormal experiences they never expected, and we will also meet paranormal investigators and mediums who purposely search for ghosts or have had ghosts choose to contact them. Hopefully, all these stories will help us individually make up our minds about ghosts and broaden our understanding of them.

I ask my readers to peruse these pages with open minds. Ultimately, I did not write this book to scare anyone—if I wanted to do that, I would have written a horror novel. Admittedly, some of the stories are a bit scary. Others are very entertaining, and still others contain many unanswered questions. I hope my readers will read them with the intent to understand our existence a little better, perhaps to come to new spiritual understandings of the afterlife, and, ultimately, to admit to the wonder that is the mystery of life—a mystery we all share in, even as we have yet to solve it.

Haunted Marquette is available at www.MarquetteFiction.com.

________________________________________________

Tyler Tichelaar, PhD, is a seventh generation resident of Marquette, Michigan. He is the author of Haunted Marquette, My Marquette, The Marquette Trilogy, and numerous other novels and nonfiction books. You can visit Tyler at www.MarquetteFiction.com

My Newest Book: Haunted Marquette-Ghost Stories from the Queen City

October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017—Local author Tyler Tichelaar will be giving his readers a treat this Halloween season. On Wednesday, October 11 at 6:00 p.m. at the Marquette Regional History Center he will be releasing his newest book, Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. The book contains more than forty stories of ghosts and paranormal activity within the city of Marquette.

Tyler Tichelaar, 7th generation Marquette resident, has spent years collecting stories of Marquette’s hauntings.

“For years I’ve heard stories of various hauntings and collected them,” says Tichelaar. “I never thought I’d have enough for a book, but as I interviewed people, one story led to another. I’ve found sufficient evidence to make me believe several buildings in Marquette may be haunted or have experienced hauntings in the past.”

Haunted Marquette is divided into several sections on hauntings in Marquette’s churches and cemeteries, the downtown businesses, the lakeshore, various houses, and Northern Michigan University. Tichelaar researched each location to determine the likelihood of a haunting there and whether any historical evidence existed to make the haunting plausible. He also interviewed numerous people about their personal experiences with ghosts.

“I was afraid I would end up talking to a bunch of crazy people when I set out to write this book,” said Tichelaar, “but everyone I talked to was very sincere. Not one of them was seeking attention; most had not believed in ghosts before until they had a strange experience they could not explain logically.”

Numerous city landmarks are highlighted in the book as locations where ghosts have been sighted, including the former Holy Family Orphanage, Park Cemetery, the Marquette lighthouse, the Landmark Inn, the Peter White Public Library, and the Thomas Fine Arts building at NMU.

“Haunted Marquette” highlights more than forty places in Marquette that may be haunted.

“Only a couple of the hauntings can really be described as frightening,” says Tichelaar. “Most of these stories are about unexplainable phenomena; a few are heart-wrenching when you realize the tragedies some of the alleged ghosts experienced while still human, which has caused them to linger on this earth.”

Tichelaar will release Haunted Marquette at the Marquette Regional History Center on Wednesday, October 11. A presentation will begin at 6:00 p.m. and last about an hour, followed by a book signing. Partial proceeds from the book signing will be donated to the history center.

Tyler R. Tichelaar is a seventh generation Marquette resident. He is the author of The Marquette Trilogy, My Marquette, and numerous other books. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Writer Award in the Marquette County Arts Awards, and the Barb H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award. His novel Narrow Lives won the 2008 Reader Views Historical Fiction Award. In 2014, his play Willpower was produced by the Marquette Regional History Center at Kaufman Auditorium. You can learn more at Tichelaar’s website www.MarquetteFiction.com and at the MRHC’s website www.marquettehistory.org.

###

“U.P. Reader” Brings Upper Michigan Literature to the World

June 8, 2017

In case you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new literary magazine in the U.P. It’s called U.P. Reader and it’s been published by Modern History Press with the cooperation of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. In fact, partial proceeds of the sales are returned to UPPAA to help with funding its programming and other author-reader-centered activities. In addition, for every twenty copies sold, one copy will be donated to a UP Library. Already twelve copies have been donated.

The UP Reader contains 28 works of prose and poetry, all by U.P. authors.

The magazine is the brain child of U.P. author Mikel Classen. It will be an annual publication and features the works of UPPAA members, all of whom are U.P.-based authors. This first issue contains the works of:

Mikel Classen, Larry Buege, Deborah Frontiera, James M. Jackson, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Sharon M. Kennedy, Jan Kellis, Amy Klco, Becky Ross Michael, Elizabeth Fust, Terry Sanders, Tyler Tichelaar, Lee Arten, Roslyn Elena McGrath, Ann Dallman, Christine Saari, Aimée Bisonette, Frank Farwell, Ar Schneller, Rebecca Tavernini, Edzordzi Agbozo, Sarah Maurer, and Sharon Marie Brunner.

Several authors and local publications are already raving about U.P. Reader. Here are some of their remarks:

U.P. Reader offers a wonderful mix of storytelling, poetry, and Yooper culture. Here’s to many future volumes!”
— Sonny Longtine, author of Murder in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

“Share in the bounty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with those who love it most. The U.P. Reader has something for everyone. Congratulations to my writer and poet peers for a job well done.”
— Gretchen Preston, Vice President, Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association

“As readers embark upon this storied landscape, they learn that the people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula offer a unique voice, a tribute to a timeless place too long silent.”
— Sue Harrison, international bestselling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“I was amazed by the variety of voices in this volume. U.P. Reader offers a little of everything, from short stories to
nature poetry, fantasy to reality, Yooper lore to humor. I look forward to the next issue.”
— Jackie Stark, editor, Marquette Monthly

“Like the best of U.P. blizzards, U.P. Reader covers all of Upper Michigan in the variety of its offerings. A fine mix of
nature, engaging characters, the supernatural, poetry, and much more.”
— Karl Bohnak, TV 6 meteorologist and author of So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories

You can purchase U.P. Reader at Amazon or in the U.P. at several different stores throughout the U.P. including in Sault Sainte Marie, Marquette, and Copper Harbor. A list of several of the local retailers selling the book can be found at its website: www.upreader.org.

You can also learn more about the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association at www.uppaa.org.

 

“Castle Nowhere”: Constance Fenimore Woolson’s Great Lakes Gothic

December 18, 2016

In October, my article “Constance Fenimore Woolson, the Mathers, and a Marquette Literary Mystery” was published in the Marquette Regional History Center’s publication Harlow’s Wooden Man. In that article I discussed how Woolson, who was the aunt to Samuel and William Gwinn Mather, probably traveled to Marquette and she also wrote the first stories set in Marquette back in the 1870s. Woolson is more famously known for her novel Anne (1882) set partly at Mackinac Island and for writing about the Great Lakes in general. In this article, I will talk about how she uses Gothic conventions to create some early U.P. Gothic literature.

In 1875, Constance Fenimore Woolson published a short story collection titled Castle Nowhere: Lake Country Sketches. The collection consists of three stories. The first, “Castle Nowhere,” is set off the shores of Lake Michigan and near Beaver Island, and the other two, “Jeanette” and “The Old Agency,” which are connected, are set on Mackinac Island.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

Constance Fenimore Woolson was one of the best-selling authors of her day and a close friend to Henry James. She traveled the Great Lakes extensively in the 1850s and wrote about them in her later fiction.

While Woolson was not the first author to set fiction in Upper Michigan, she was one of the pioneers of regional fiction for the area, and I believe the short story, “Castle Nowhere,” is probably the first Gothic work set in this region. And even the other two stories in the collection have Gothic elements, although I would not classify them as truly Gothic so I will not discuss them here.

From the beginning of “Castle Nowhere,” Woolson applies a Gothic atmosphere. The first character we are introduced to, Jarvis Waring, is a wanderer figure. He is a surveyor sent to Upper Michigan, but he feels like he has no purpose in the world. He also has conversations with “the Spirit of Discontent,” which is his restless wanderer self—in other words, he speaks to himself. (While I don’t think Jarvis Waring’s name has any symbolic connotations, it’s interesting to note that Jarvis was Woolson’s father’s middle name.)

Woolson also clearly sees the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a Gothic place because of its wild forests. This concept of the forest as Gothic is something she borrows from her great-uncle, James Fenimore Cooper, and other earlier American authors like Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Cooper, especially, took the Gothic out of the castles of Europe and set it in the forests of America where people could easily become lost in the wilderness and where savage Indians threatened white settlers. That said, both Woolson and Cooper were sympathetic to Native Americans and often depicted Natives with redeeming characteristics. “Castle Nowhere” has no Native American characters in it, but the other two stories in the collection do, and Woolson includes other marginalized people in the story.

As the story begins, Waring has entered the woods of Upper Michigan to survey from the Lake Superior shore, but he becomes lost and finally stumbles back onto the lakeshore, not knowing where he is—later he’ll learn he has walked across the peninsula and has arrived on the shore of Lake Michigan, not far from the location of Beaver Island. As he is making camp for the night, Waring, speaking to his Spirit, says he would shake hands with Old Nick (the devil) himself because he is lonely. Soon after, “a phantom skiff” appears on the water, bearing Fog, a man who saw Waring’s fire and stops to visit him. Waring is wary of Fog, who says he comes from “Nowhere” and leads a “wandering life,” but he is polite and lets Fog stay.

Soon after, however, Waring wakes in the night to discover Fog has stolen a book and picture from him. Waring sees Fog making his way out into the water where he has moored his boat. Waring then takes a few days to create a dugout boat of his own and sets off in the direction Fog went to reclaim his property, saying, “I’ll find that ancient mariner,” an obvious reference that equates Fog to Coleridge’s doomed iconic Gothic wanderer figure. Indeed, as the story progresses, Fog reveals himself to be the quintessential Gothic wanderer.

Waring travels on the lake through a fog, but in the morning, the fog lifts and reveals a log house floating on the lake; this structure is the Castle Nowhere of the title, which explains Fog’s saying he was from Nowhere. This moment is interesting because it shows how Woolson is drawing on the Gothic tradition as created by her great-uncle in his novel The Deerslayer. In that novel, “Floating” Tom Hutter lives in a house in the middle of a lake. He also has two daughters living with him, whom he later on his deathbed confesses are not his daughters but stepdaughters. Waring soon discovers that Fog also has a daughter, named Silver, who lives with him (although not until the end of the story will she learn that Fog is not her father), as well as a servant who is a negress.

Woolson again draws on Gothic elements in her depiction of Silver as an innocent young girl who does not know good from evil because she is never allowed to venture off the floating house. She is a sort of Eve before eating the apple, but also a Rapunzel kept by a type of male witch in the form of Fog, and an Immalee, an innocent young woman who lives on an island in Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). Immalee knows nothing of the world save for Melmoth, a cursed supernatural wanderer, who visits her on the island where she is otherwise solitary. Melmoth makes Immalee fall in love with him, and eventually, she ends up entering into a satanic marriage with him. Silver is so innocent that she knows nothing of the Bible and Fog doesn’t want her to. She also has no knowledge of death. Previously, a servant boy, Jacob, and Fog’s sister Shadow, lived with them, but both died of illness and Fog took their bodies away by boat at night so Silver would never have to experience death. Woolson describes Silver in many ways to emphasize her innocence, including calling her a “water-maiden” and a “fair pagan.”

When Waring arrives, Silver is happy to meet him, and they become acquainted before Fog returns from one of his journeys. Fog is not happy at first to see Waring, but when he sees how Silver likes Waring and when Waring understands that Fog stole the book and picture for Silver, he keeps his mouth shut for a while. Later, however, Waring learns that Fog manages to support himself and Silver by being a scavenger and stealing, and worse, he is a “wrecker”—someone who puts lights on the shore to make sailors think it is a safe place to land a ship in a storm and then the ship ends up wrecked on the rocks. Fog then collects what belongings get washed ashore. Fog justifies the fact that he causes death for the shipwreck victims by saying that their lives matter nothing when compared to the pleasure he can give Silver by bringing her their belongings. Waring tries to stop Fog from wrecking a ship and the two end up in a scuffle with Fog hurting his leg. Waring then decides to stay to care for him for Silver’s sake because no one will provide for the family otherwise.

During this time, Fog tells Waring his story—that he committed a crime in New York unintentionally that caused him to become a wanderer, and finally, he convinced his sister to join him in his wanderings. They decided to call themselves Fog and Shadow because both are gone by morning—a wandering metaphor. Fog obviously suffers greatly, saying how his crime only took a minute, but his suffering is endless. Still, he believes God will eventually forgive him and be merciful (this despite how he continues to murder through causing shipwrecks). He claims that when he found Silver as an orphan child, he felt God was letting him know he would eventually be forgiven.

As winter approaches, Fog tells Waring he’s well enough to provide for Silver again, so Waring can leave before the lake freezes and the ice makes it impossible for him to depart. Waring, however, decides to stay because it’s clear he’s fallen in love with Silver. In time, it’s decided that Waring and Silver will marry and Waring will take her back to the real world. They wish to marry before they leave, so Fog and Waring go to nearby Beaver Island to kidnap a former Presbyterian minister who lives there among the Mormons so he can perform the marriage ceremony. This reference to the Mormons on Beaver Island makes it clear the story is set between 1848 and 1856 when the Mormons had a colony there before being driven off the island.

After the wedding, Fog becomes ill and dies, but not before his deathbed confession to Silver that she is not his daughter, but an orphan he found and cared for as if she were his own. This scene is obviously heavily influenced by Floating Tom’s death scene in The Deerslayer, as well as other scenes in Gothic tradition where people reveal family secrets on their deathbeds. As he dies, Fog asks God whether his sin is expiated, but whether he receives an answer is unknown as he dies right after the question is asked. After Fog’s death, Waring and Silver return to the civilized world, taking the negress with them, while Castle Nowhere slowly disintegrates and sinks into the lake until it is, indeed, Nowhere.

“Castle Nowhere” is both a remarkable and gripping story to read in many ways, as well as an early work that shows Woolson is clearly imitating authors she has read. It is also fascinating because of its Gothic, supernatural, and somewhat fairy tale atmosphere. Woolson would go on to write her first novel, Anne (1880), which bears some resemblance to “Castle Nowhere,” although it is more realistic; in that novel, the title character is also a young girl who has lived a sheltered but happy life on an island—although Mackinac Island and so she is isolated but not solitary—and eventually, Anne also leaves to enter the real world, only her experiences will not be happy, while we can predict that Silver and Waring will live happily ever after.

As a resident of the Upper Peninsula who is familiar with many of the locations Woolson writes about, I can say that the area remains heavily forested, and I can definitely see why it would inspire a Gothic atmosphere for a novel. Woolson, who was a close friend of Henry James, would go on to write many more books set in the Great Lakes area as well as the South before her fatal death falling out of a window in Venice. Some speculation exists that she committed suicide. Perhaps Woolson had a bit of the Gothic wanderer’s spirit about her.

________________________________________________

Tyler Tichelaar, Ph.D. is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, the Children of Arthur series, and numerous novels and nonfiction books set in or about Marquette, Michigan. You can visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com and www.MarquetteFiction.com

U.P. Book Market to Be Held at Peter White Public Library: Twenty-Two Local Authors to Meet Their Public

June 11, 2016

MARQUETTE, MI (June 11, 2016)—On Friday, June 17, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Peter White Public Library, in association with the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, will host a U.P. Book Market—the event will be like a farmer’s market, but devoted to the display and selling of books by local authors.

book market posterThe event is the brainchild of Gretchen Preston, Vice President of the U.P. Publishers and Authors Association, and author of the Valley Cats children’s book series. “We are always looking for ways to get the public more interested in reading and local authors, and we also appreciate the support the Peter White Public Library constantly provides to authors, so we thought we’d have an event at the library and raise some money for it. Every author who participates will be making a donation to the library.”

Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director and fellow coordinator of the U.P. Book Market, added, “This event is a such a great showcase of literary talent in the Upper Peninsula.  PWPL is fortunate to have the support of organizations like the UPPAA.  Funds raised at this event will benefit the PWPL’s Annual Fund which helps provide materials and programming.”

The list of authors attending will encompasses the entire U.P. literary scene and beyond. They are: Aimée Bisonette, author of North Woods Girl (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Corey LaBissoniere, author of Land of Enchantas (Houghton), Sharon Brunner, author of Shadow Travelers (Sault Sainte Marie), Larry Buege, author of the Chogan Native American Series (Harvey), Mikel Classen, author of Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial (Sault Sainte Marie), Deborah Frontiera, author of Living on Sisu (Lake Linden), Jan Kellis, author of Bookworms Anonymous Cookbooklet (DeTour Village), R.E. Kelly, author of The World According to Luke series (Escanaba), Sharon Kennedy, author of Life in a Tin Can (Brimley); Jesse Koenig, author of Brief Perversions (Baraga), L.E. Kimball, author of Seasonal Roads (Newberry), Tim LaJoice, author of Little Whittle: Tale of a White Beaver (St. Ignace), Tamara Lauder, author of Breaking Free Too: Taking a Flight With a Butterfly Toward Self-Discovery (St. Germain, WI), Sonny Longtine, author of Magnficent Mansions and Courtly Cottages (Marquette), Martyn Martello, author of Serial Killer Confessions: Just Friends (Marquette), Paulette Noble, author of the A Virtual Reality series (Escanaba), Rondi Olson, author of All Things Now Living (Munising), Gretchen Preston, author of the Valley Cats series (Chocolay Township), Janeen Pergin Rastall, author of Objects May Appear Closer (Gordon), Richard Smith, author of hunting and wildlife books (Marquette), Tyler Tichelaar, author of The Marquette Trilogy (Marquette), and Lloyd Wescoat, owner of Mudminnow Press (Copper Harbor).

In addition to authors selling their books, several children’s authors will participate in activities for younger readers. “Summer is a fabulous time to encourage children to read,” said Preston, “and, hopefully, this event will get them excited about reading just as the school year is ending.”

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

Local authors Tyler Tichelaar and Gretchen Preston will be among the many authors at the UP Book Market on June 17th.

The festive event will include additional attractions. Before you can relax with a good book, you may need help relaxing, so Nancy Ring, a massage therapist, will be on site to provide massages. Superior Mobile Koney will be providing culinary delights to book market visitors. Live music will be performed throughout the day, and face-painting will be available for all the young at heart. The musical schedule is: 12:00-1:00pm – Corinne Rockow (musician and storyteller), 1:30-2:30pm – Kerry Yost and Dylan Trost (experimental instrumentals and eccentric, folksy songwriting), and 3:00-4:00pm – Tanya Stanaway (Finnish music).

The event is being held in conjunction with the 19th annual U.P. Publishers and Authors Association Conference, which will take place the following day on Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Community Room and Shiras Room of the Peter White Public Library. This year’s conference will host several speakers on writing, publishing, and book marketing, including keynote speaker Judith Briles of Aurora, CO, who is nationally known as The Book Shepherd. Those interested in attending the conference can find more information and register at www.uppaa.org

###