Posted tagged ‘peter white’

New Book About George Shiras III Is a Triumphant Look at Man Who Changed Wildlife Conservation and Photography

November 26, 2019

James H. McCommons’ new biography, Camera Hunter: George Shiras III and the Birth of Wildlife Photography, is a stunning look at a man who helped to change the world through his use of photography and his belief in wildlife conservation. This biography is long overdue and has been splendidly assembled by McCommons, who looks at all aspects of Shiras’ life from his family background, to his personal and family life, his political efforts, his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt, his conservation efforts, and perhaps most importantly, his groundbreaking efforts to photograph wildlife, which eventually led to developing National Geographic into the magazine it is today.

While I felt I already knew a lot about Shiras from having read his biography of his father, George Shiras II, who was a US Supreme Court Justice, and his famous book Hunting Wild Life with Camera and Flashlight, I was impressed by McCommons’ extensive research into Shiras’ life. McCommons not only teaches us about Shiras but about the political and social climate of the time and how Shiras was both affected by it and was an influencer of it.

While one cannot deny the importance of Shiras as a wildlife photographer, having taken the first nighttime photographs of wildlife and taken some of the first photographs of wildlife in their natural environment, I was most interested in Shiras’ role in creating legislation to help protect wildlife, specifically through the waterfowl bill he got passed in Congress. We also learn a lot about his conservation efforts and how he worked with others like Roosevelt to protect wildlife nationally and even throughout North America.

McCommons’ substantial research informs every chapter. For example, as an author of a historical novel about the Roosevelt Libel Trial that took place in Marquette in 1913, during which time Roosevelt stayed in Shiras’ home, I was impressed by some of the details McCommons presented that I had not heard before that he gathered from many newspapers across the country.

Of course, all the details are also here about Shiras’ photographic processes. McCommons communicated with the descendants of John Hammer, Shiras’ right-hand man, to shed additional information on their mutual efforts. We also learn about Shiras’ excursions to places like Panama and Alaska to take photographs, often under difficult conditions.

Personal aspects of Shiras’ life explored in the book include his relationship with his father; the loss of his son, George Shiras IV; his relationship with his father-in-law, Peter White; and his personal friendship with Roosevelt. Finally, we learn what a wonderful benefactor he was to Marquette, Michigan, deeding land for Shiras Park, beginning the Shiras Zoo at Presque Isle Park, and establishing the Shiras Institute, which funded the Shiras Planetarium.

Anyone interested in wildlife photography, National Geographic, conservation, Theodore Roosevelt, or the history of Upper Michigan will enjoy this book and come away with an enriched understanding of both Shiras and his times.

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.

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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

Ten-Year Anniversary Edition Released of Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One

April 21, 2016

Marquette, MI, April 20, 2016—In 2006, local author Tyler R. Tichelaar published his first novel, Iron Pioneers, which was soon followed by two sequels, The Queen City and Superior Heritage to complete The Marquette Trilogy. Now Tichelaar is celebrating the ten-year anniversary of this first novel by reprinting it with a new color cover, an interior historic map of Marquette, and a new preface “Creating a Literature for Upper Michigan.”

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

Iron Pioneers has a new cover for its ten-year anniversary edition as well as a new preface.

“It felt like the ten-year anniversary of my first book was a reason to celebrate,” said Tichelaar. “And Iron Pioneers remains my bestselling book to this day, but I was never happy with the brown cover, which was chosen by my publisher at the time. I initially envisioned a gold cover, so I’ve chosen that, which seemed appropriate for an anniversary edition.”

Tichelaar first had the idea to write novels set in Marquette back in 1987 when he began writing his first book, eventually published in 2009 as The Only Thing That Lasts. But it was in 1999, when he was living in Kalamazoo, earning his Ph.D. in Literature, and homesick for the U.P., that he had the idea to write a novel that covered the scope of Marquette’s history. “It was Marquette’s sesquicentennial year,” he said, “and I felt it was time to tell Marquette’s story in a new way that highlighted its significant role in American history.” Tichelaar planned to write one novel, but the more research he did, the larger it grew, until it eventually became a trilogy. “It was seven years from conception to publication,” said Tichelaar, “but nearly 600,000 words and countless drafts later, I found it all worth it when people began reading The Marquette Trilogy.”

The plot of Iron Pioneers begins with a prologue about Father Marquette coming to the Marquette area. It then moves ahead to 1849 when Marquette was founded. It follows several fictional families through the early pioneer years, the Civil War, the fire of 1868, and the growth of Marquette. Numerous historical people, including Bishop Baraga and Peter White, are featured in the story. The story concludes in 1897 with the celebrations surrounding the Father Marquette statue’s unveiling. The successive books in the trilogy continue the story of Marquette’s history up to the sesquicentennial celebrations in 1999. “I wanted readers to feel they were stepping back in time to meet Marquette’s pioneers and to come away appreciating the sacrifices they made and the courage they showed when the settled here,” said Tichelaar.

Tichelaar has been very pleased with his readers’ responses to Iron Pioneers and his other books. “People tell me that they look at Marquette differently after they read my books. They notice old buildings, wonder about the people who once lived or worked there, and want to learn more about them. Tichelaar also noted that when he began writing Iron Pioneers, there was a lack of adult fiction set in Upper Michigan. Since then, the number of U.P. writers has exploded. “Today we can be proud that we have a vibrant and diverse U.P. literature,” said Tichelaar. “We have novels, history books, and poetry. I know of over one hundred U.P. writers all doing their part to capture the essence of our life here. I am proud to be one of the pioneers of that movement, and I intend to write many more books for the people who love this place and call it home.”

Iron Pioneers, The Marquette Trilogy: Book One (ISBN 9780979179006, Marquette Fiction, 2016) can be purchased in paperback and ebook editions through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit www.MarquetteFiction.com. Review copies available upon request.

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The Peter White Home – 460 E. Ridge, Marquette

February 28, 2013

The following is from my book My Marquette. Photos of the Peter White Home are included in the book:

In 1867, Peter White was the first person to build his home on Ridge Street and he lived there until his death in 1908. The home was inherited by his daughter, Frances P. White, and her husband, George Shiras III. George Shiras III was the son of Supreme Court Justice, George Shiras II and his wife, Lillie, another of the Kennedy sisters. George Shiras III would be famous as a naturalist who engineered the ability to photograph wildlife at night. At the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, his work took first prize. Shiras Hills, Shiras Pointe Condominiums, and Shiras Pool at Presque Isle are named for him, but I think he would have been most pleased to be remembered with Shiras Zoo at Presque Isle. George Shiras III would also become a congressman for Pennsylvania and become a friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, having a major influence on Roosevelt’s conservation efforts. Roosevelt would stay at the Shiras home when he visited Marquette, most notably in 1913 during his famous trial at the Marquette County Courthouse. George Shiras III died in 1942 and was buried in Marquette. The Shirases would have two children, George Shiras IV and Ellen Shiras. Ellen would marry Frank Russell Sr., owner of The Mining Journal.

The Frazier Home stands where formerly the Peter White Home stood

The historic Peter White home was torn down by the family in the late 1940s because it was considered too expensive to heat. The current home was built in 1949 by Lincoln and Ann Frazier. Ann Reynolds Frazier was a cousin of the Shiras family and the daughter of Maxwell Kennedy Reynolds and Frances Q. Jopling (Frances’ mother was Mary White, Peter White’s daughter). This new home was the first Ranch style home in the historical residential district of Marquette, which makes it historic in its own right despite its looking out of place among its neighbors. The house was featured in Home and Garden as a model modern home. The entire home is built on one level—no upstairs, no basement—and provides spectacular views of the lake from several rooms. Behind it is the original carriage house and Peter White’s terraced gardens. One can imagine Peter White entertaining his guests there with his famous Peter White punch. Today, the home is owned by Lincoln and Ann Frazier’s son Peter White Frazier and his wife, Peggy.

Marquette’s Maritime Museum and Lighthouse

July 27, 2011

Thank you to Marquette’s Maritime Museum, especially Director Carrie Fries, for the opportunity to be part of the Tall Ships event this past weekend. My fellow authors (Gretchen Preston, Milly Balzarini, and Donna Winters) and I enjoyed talking to all the tourists, natives, and our readers.

Marquette Maritime Museum

Marquette Maritime Museum

As a thank you to the museum, and in honor of August as Maritime Month (can you believe August is only days away?), here is the section from My Marquette about the museum:

           The sudden lurch catapulted several passengers over the ship’s rail. Sophia, having momentarily released Gerald’s arm, found herself thrown overboard with several other ladies. Panic-stricken, she scrambled in the waves, fighting to keep her head above water while her skirts quickly soaked through, growing so heavy they threatened to pull her under. The lake was calm that evening, the waves nearly indistinguishable, yet Sophia was terrified. She had not swum in twenty years, and she sadly lacked for exercise. The sudden surprise and the biting cold water nearly sent her into shock. Gerald was almost as surprised as he stood clasping the rail and trying to spot his wife. After a few initial screams, the other women thrown overboard began to swim toward the ship. One man, Mr. Maynard, had also been pivoted overboard, and like Sophia, he struggled to stay afloat. Sophia’s terror increased when she saw Mr. Maynard’s head sink beneath the waves. She instantly feared he had drowned, and his failure to resurface made her splash and scream frantically until she began to swallow water. Hearing his wife’s screams, Gerald spotted her and dove to her rescue. — Iron Pioneers

The Marquette Maritime Museum was formed in 1980 and opened to the public in 1982. It is located in the old Marquette Waterworks building designed by D. Fred Charlton in 1890. In 1897, the Father Marquette statue was placed on the waterworks building’s property, although it was later moved to its present location. The construction of a new waterworks building resulted in the old one being converted into the Maritime Museum.

In 1999, when I first conceived the idea to write The Marquette Trilogy, I visited the Maritime Museum to see the exhibits as research for my books. During that visit, I learned about the sinking of the Jay Morse which I knew would make a great dramatic scene since most of Marquette’s wealthiest people were on the ship. The passage above resulted from my visit to the museum. Fittingly, my novels have since found a happy place in the Maritime Museum’s gift shop. The friendly employees have read them and frequently recommend them to their customers, something for which I am always grateful.

The museum includes numerous displays about the early schooners and ore boats on Lake Superior as well as dioramas, old rowboats, and a small theatre with ongoing films. In 2002, the museum also acquired the Marquette lighthouse as part of its property.

Marquette was built to be a port for shipping iron ore from the mines in nearby Negaunee and Ishpeming. Every harbor town requires a lighthouse, and Marquette constructed its lighthouse in 1853, just four years after the town’s founding. No building records exist for this first lighthouse, but it was reputedly thirty-four by twenty feet in size. The lantern room contained seven fourteen-inch Lewis lamps which were used until the introduction of the Fresnel lens in the later 1850s. Because the living quarters and tower were poorly constructed, they were replaced with the present lighthouse in 1866.

The 1866 lighthouse is today the oldest structure of any real historical significance in Marquette. The original structure was a one-and-a-half story brick building with an attached forty-foot square brick tower housing a fourth order Fresnel lens. An identical lens is on display today in the Marquette Maritime Museum. The original lens showed an arc of 180 degrees. In 1870, it was increased to 270 degrees.

The keeper and his family lived in the lighthouse. As long as the keeper’s job was only to maintain the light, a single man was able to do the work. However, when the light at the end of the breakwater was added and a two whistle signal system installed at the end of the point, the work was too much for one person so an assistant keeper was hired and a barn behind the lighthouse was converted into living space for him. In 1909, a second story was added instead for the assistant’s quarters. Additions were also made to the back of the lighthouse in the 1950s.

The Maritime Museum has available on CD the lightkeeper’s log books which reflect some of their interesting experiences. In 1859, Peter White complained about the lightkeeper because “He is a habitual drunkard, frequently thrashes his wife and throws her out of doors.” This lightkeeper also failed to light up until sometimes after midnight which caused great danger for ships.

Just west of the Marquette lighthouse, the U.S. Life-Saving Service established a station in 1891. Led by Captain Henry Cleary, the life-savers performed death-defying rescues on the lake. Their fame grew until they were invited in 1901 to escort President McKinley down the Niagara River during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York (the following day the president would be assassinated by Leon Czolgosz, who for some time had worked in various lumber camps in Michigan, including in Seney. In 2009, Marquette author, John Smolens, published The Anarchist, a novel about the McKinley assassination). Eventually the U.S. Life-Saving Station was absorbed into the Coast Guard, and it became the building in operation for the longest time that was owned by the Coast Guard until 2009 when a new Coast Guard station was built directly on the south side of the Maritime Museum and in front of the Lower Harbor’s breakwater.

The Marquette lighthouse remains one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks for its bright red walls, and it is probably photographed more than any other place in Marquette. When I worked at Superior Spectrum, a former local telephone company in Marquette, the lighthouse was used in numerous marketing pieces, some of which I helped to design. Today, the lighthouse is open for tours operated by the Maritime Museum, and it is being refurbished to reflect the lighthouse keepers’ living quarters in the early twentieth century.

Be sure to check out my several other posts last August 2010 that celebrated Maritime Month. And of course, be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the lighthouse this summer!

Early Upper Michigan Literature – a Brief and Incomplete History

July 18, 2011

The U.P. Author Book Tour is in its last week, but several events are still happening. You can find the list of the remaining events at: http://rariekki.webs.com/apps/blog/. The book tour has generated a lot of discussion about Michigan, and specifically Upper Michigan authors, both present and past, so I wanted to post a little about the legacy of Upper Michigan literature. I am sure there is much more than what I will post here so I invite others to let me know of any early U.P. literature I forget. Finally, thank you once again to Ron Riekki, author of U.P. for all his work organizing the biggest literary event in Upper Michigan history with more than 60 authors over the course of a month!

The Beginnings

the song of hiawatha

The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Upper Michigan literature really begins with the Native Americans since they were here first. They practiced oral traditions and talked about their myths and the supernatural creatures and beautiful Great Lakes area. Much of this wonderful oral tradition has probably been lost, but some parts of it were preserved. As far as printed books go, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft and his half-Ojibwa wife, Jane Schoolcraft, lived at the Sault and wrote down several Ojibwa legends that were collected into book form. Various versions of these works exist today. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow used these stories to compose his famous The Song of Hiawatha in 1855. Longfellow never set foot in Upper Michigan, but we can claim him as one of our own for first making Upper Michigan significant in literature on a nationwide level. The poem remains well-known today and the U.P. continues to commemorate the Hiawatha legend in the Hiawatha National Forest that composes a large part of central Upper Michigan as well as the Hiawatha Music Festival held in Marquette every July (coming this weekend July 22-24–visit www.hiawathamusic.org). And any true Yooper knows Lake Superior’s true name is Gitchee Gumee, as Longfellow states:

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

ojibwa narratives charles kawbawgam

Ojibwa Narratives

Once you read the poem, the rhythm never gets out of your head. An interesting sidenote is that Longfellow borrowed the meter for the poem from the famous Finnish epic, the Kalevala–a work also well-known in Upper Michigan because of the large number of Finnish immigrants who have come to this area, although a generation after Longfellow’s poem was written.

Another wonderful collection of Ojibwa narratives are those that Chief Charles Kawbawgam of Marquette and his brother-in-law Jacques LePique told to Homer Kidder in the 1890s (a depiction of this event is included in my novel Iron Pioneers). The manuscript was not published until 1994 by Wayne State University as Ojibwa Narratives, but it is another example of early Upper Michigan literature.

The First Novels

Snail-Shell Harbor Langille

Snail-Shell Harbor by J.H. Langille

I am uncertain what the first Upper Michigan novel was, but for now, my best guess is Snail-Shell Harbor (1870) by J.H. Langille. This novel is set in the bustling early village of Fayette, Michigan, once an iron-smelting town in the Garden Peninsula. Today it is a famous Michigan ghost-town. The novel describes the everyday life in the village of the ironworkers, fishing in the harbor, and the life and death struggles that those early pioneers faced. A reprint of the book is available at Great Lakes Romances. Fayette is today a historic park open to visitors. For more information, visit Historic Fayette State Park.

Anne by constance fenimore Woolson

Anne by Constance Fenimore Woolson

Another early novel is Constance Fenimore Woolson’s Anne (1882) set on Mackinac Island. Woolson was the great-niece of James Fenimore Cooper. she lived in Ohio but dearly loved to visit Mackinac Island. She was the aunt to Samuel and Henry Mather, owners of the Cleveland Mining Company. Henry Mather’s home still stands in Marquette, Michigan today, although no record exists that Woolson visited any of Upper Michigan other than Mackinac Island. When Woolson died, her nephew Samuel erected Anne’s Tablet on Mackinac Island in her memory. On the tablet is a passage from the novel. The novel itself has beautiful descriptions of Mackinac Island in winter, and frankly the Mackinac Island scenes are the most worth reading. It is a rather conventional romance novel of its time in that the heroine leaves the island and goes to the East Coast where she falls in love with a man in society but is ultimately jilted and returns home to Mackinac Island. It is not a great novel, but it is well worth reading for the descriptions of Mackinac Island alone.

Children’s Books

Much of Upper Michigan’s early nineteenth century literature is in the form of children’s books.

In 1904, Marquette author Carroll Watson Rankin published Dandelion Cottage, which is still considered a minor classic by many children’s literature enthusiasts. She reputedly wrote it because her daughter complained that she had read every book ever written for little girls. The story is about four little girls growing up in Lakeville in Upper Michigan who want a playhouse. The church allows them to use a small rental property it has in exchange for picking the dandelions off the lawn. The novel is based on a real house which still stands in Marquette today. See my previous post on Dandelion Cottage. Rankin went on to write several more books, including three sequels to Dandelion Cottage.

James Cloyd Bowman lived across the street from Rankin on Ridge Street in Marquette. He was the head of the English department at Northern State Teacher’s College (now NMU). He became famous for his children’s book story collections, especially Pecos Bill for which he won the Newberry Medal, but he also published a book about Upper Michigan’s own Paul Bunyan, and Tales from a Finnish Tupa (doubtless because of the Finnish population in the U.P.) and he wrote a little known novel Mystery Mountain, set in a fictional version of Marquette and featuring the Hotel Superior. I imagine he and Carroll Watson Rankin knew each other, living across the street from one another. If only their conversations had been recorded.

Two other children’s authors from Marquette were Dorothy Maywood Bird and Holly Wilson. Bird’s best known book, Granite Harbor (1944) is also set in a fictional Marquette and tells of a girl from Texas who comes to stay in Upper Michigan. Although resistant to her new home at first, she soon discovers how much fun a girl can have in the U.P., especially in winter with skiing and other activities. Bird wrote a couple of other novels as well.

Holly Wilson grew up in Marquette on Arch Street. She wrote several children’s books set in Upper Michigan, and others just set in the Great Lakes region. Among her best books are Clara the Unconquered, which depicts a fictionalized version of Marquette in its early years, Deborah Todd, the story of a girl’s antics based on Wilson’s childhood, and The Hundred Steps, about the hundred steps in Marquette that led from Ridge Street down to the harbor; Wilson uses the steps to depict the class divisions in the town.

U.P. Literature Becomes Famous

Anatomy of a murder by Robert TraverDr. James Cloyd Bowman taught creative writing at Northern, and one of his students was John Voelker, who would publish the bestselling Anatomy of a Murder (1956) under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker used to bring his writing to where Bowman was residing and go over his stories with him. Wouldn’t we love to have those conversations recorded as well? Of all the novels to come out of Upper Michigan, Anatomy of a Murder remains the best known. It is based on a real murder that took place in Big Bay. Voelker was the defense attorney in the court case, and consequently, he was well-qualified to write a fictionalized version of it. In 1959, it was made into the film of the same name, starring Jimmy Stewart, Eve Arden, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, Ben Gazzara, and Arthur O’Connell.

Upper Michigan Literature Today

Novels set in the Upper Peninsula remained relatively few throughout the rest of the twentieth century, but in the last decade the number has grown tremendously as more and more locals come to appreciate how special Upper Michigan is as well as changes in the publishing industry allow people to self-publish their books.

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton

Well-known authors like Jim Harrison have depicted Upper Michigan in books like Returning to Earth. Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat series (The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare etc.) are set in a fictionalized U.P. town. Mystery novelist Steve Hamilton has set several books in the U.P. including Misery Bay . (You can catch Steve Hamilton as part of the U.P. Author Book Tour. He makes his last appearance on Beaver Island on Thursday afternoon, July 21st at the museum).  These authors have all achieved nationwide attention.

The list of UP authors today is far too numerous to list them all. I encourage anyone interested in who is writing about the U.P. today to visit the UP Publishers and Authors Association for a list of all the member authors’ books. Another, far from complete list of U.P. authors can be found at my website www.MarquetteFiction.com.

I began writing novels set in Upper Michigan back in 1987, although I did not publish any until 2006. I felt strongly that Upper Michigan is full of stories, wonderful characters, dramatic episodes, significant history, and beautiful settings. The perfect place to write about. At the beginning of my first published novel Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One, I inserted the following quote from Ralph Williams’ biography of Marquette pioneer Peter White. I think those words, more than a century old, remain true today about why Upper Michigan literature is and will continue to be significant:

Iron Pioneers The marquette trilogy book one tyler r. tichelaar

Iron Pioneers: The Marquette Trilogy, Book One

“The beginnings, therefore, of this great iron industry are historically important and are of interest to every citizen in the United States, for there is not a man or woman today living who has not been, directly or indirectly, benefited by the great mineral wealth of the Lake Superior country and the labor of winning it and working it into the arts . . . . Has it not the elements in it out of which to weave the fabric of the great American novel so long expected and so long delayed? For the story is distinctly American. Indeed there is nothing more distinctly American.”

—Ralph Williams, The Honorable Peter White: A Biographical Sketch of the Lake Superior Iron Country (1905)

Wetmore Landing’s Namesake

June 7, 2011

It’s summer and many of us will be venturing to favorite places along Lake Superior in Marquette County. One of those favorite places is Wetmore Landing, but how many of us know where the name came from? Here is what I wrote in My Marquette about Mr. Wetmore and his home in Marquette:

William L. Wetmore lived at 314 E. Ridge St. in Marquette (the home is no longer standing). He was one of the co-founders along with M.H. Maynard, Peter White, William Burt and his grocer brother F.P. Wetmore to organize the Huron Bay Slate and Iron Company, which owned the company town of Arvon as well as a 200 yard wooden dock built on Huron Bay, which was never to have any ore deposited or shipped from it.

In 1871, William Wetmore cut hardwood and built kilns to make charcoal in Alger County as well as founding a general store there. When he retired in 1894, the small community was renamed Wetmore in his honor.

Wetmore Landing was initially a clearing along shore where lumbermen could bring logs out of the forest to the lake from where they could be rafted down to Marquette.  Today it is a popular beach for swimming, as well as surfing, and the rocks along the shore make a good spot from which to fish. Next time you visit, remember that it is not only a place to surf or enjoy the scenery but once a significant part of U.P. history and the logging era.

Dandelion Cottage: Marquette’s Famous Literary Home

May 31, 2011

Anyone  in Marquette can see that it is definitely Dandelion season again, so I thought today would be perfect for posting a section from My Marquette about what may be Marquette’s most famous home, Dandelion Cottage.

Dandelion Cottage was a real place, and its story is yet another example of how Marquette seeks to preserve its past.

Dandelion Cottage Carroll Watson Rankin Arch Street Marquette Michigan

Dandelion Cottage

No one knows when the cottage was initially built, but Peter White, who owned it as a rental property, donated it in 1888 to St. Paul’s with the understanding that it would be moved from its original home on High Street, a couple of hundred feet north to 212 E. Arch Street, behind the church. White had it moved to make room to build the Morgan Memorial Chapel.
The cottage would remain at its second location for 103 years and soon become famous.

In 1904, the house became known as “Dandelion Cottage” after Carroll Watson Rankin wrote her children’s book of the same name with the cottage at its center. The story is a fictional account of four girls, loosely based on Mrs. Rankin’s daughters and their friends. The characters, Bettie, Jeanie, Mabel, and Marjory, earn the right to use the cottage as their playhouse for the summer in exchange for picking the dandelions from the cottage’s lawn.

Although the girl’s antics and adventures are largely fictional, dandelions were a problem in early Marquette. John M. Longyear recalled a contest held to see which child could collect the most dandelions in Marquette, but the contest, despite its popularity, and three-thousand, five hundred bushels of dandelions being collected, did not rid the city of its weeds. Another possible real-life source is the character of Mr. Black, rumored to be a fictional portrait of Peter White.

While the cottage’s notoriety grew throughout the twentieth century along with the popularity of Dandelion Cottage and Mrs. Rankin’s other books, it remained a rental property for the church. Then in 1988, St. Paul’s decided it needed to
expand its parking lot and Dandelion Cottage and the other small house beside it were in the way.

Thankfully, the church acknowledged the historical significance of Dandelion Cottage, so rather than simply tear it down, it
sought someone to buy it for the sum of $1.00 and then move it. The church did not give up easily, and after three years, in early 1991, Mayor William Birch and his wife Sally came forward to purchase and move the cottage. On October 12, 1991, the cottage was moved to its present location, which was directly behind the Birchs’ Ridge Street home.

The Mining Journal ran numerous stories about the attempts to sell the cottage and its successive move. Estimates to relocate it two blocks down Arch Street were said to be $20,000. But the Birchs went beyond just moving it. Dandelion Cottage was
given a beautiful restoration. It was repainted yellow, remodeled inside with a modern kitchen, woodwork was replaced and where possible replicated to match the original hardwood; the maple floors were refinished, and dandelions stenciled on the walls. In all, the restoration cost over $60,000, but William and Sally Birch understood that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Soon after, Phyllis Rankin, the then ninety-seven year old daughter of the author, suggested a state historical marker be sought which today appears on the cottage.

June 28, 1992 was a gala day when Dandelion Cottage was opened to the public. My brother and I were among the many who stood in a long line down Arch Street to tour the newly restored historic cottage. I doubt a single visitor was anything but pleased and grateful that this Marquette landmark was preserved. Phyllis Rankin told The Mining Journal, “I am glad it was saved and I know my mother would have been delighted about it. It looks lovely….It’s a beautiful job.”

Dandelion Cottage by Carroll Watson Rankin

The cottage has since been resold and continues as a residence. Visitors to Marquette make a point to seek it out, and customer reviews at Amazon reveal that Dandelion Cottage remains a favorite among readers, and the Marquette County History Museum sells numerous copies of the book each year. What appears as a weed can turn out to be a gift to future generations.

My First Visit to the New Marquette Regional History Museum

March 12, 2011

Yesterday I visited for the first time the exhibits at the new Marquette Regional History Museum. My first reaction was simply, WOW! And then as I walked through the exhibits, I felt more overcome with emotion than anything to think such a stunningly beautiful museum should exist in Marquette.

Just how “beautiful” was to me the biggest surprise. I knew that in the new museum the space would be larger, I knew more of the museum’s collection would be displayed, and more history told, but I was not at all prepared for the aesthetic effect. There are gorgeous murals painted by local artist Liz Yelland, there are numerous different subjects, all arranged beautifully, there are interactive parts of the museum, and so many pieces of history I had no idea the museum even had. More than anything I marvelled at the overall layout and all the work and planning that must have gone into the entire building and especially the exhibits.

Somewhere I hope Helen Longyear Paul, Olive Pendill, Ernest Rankin, Fred Rydholm, and the many, many other departed souls who were pioneers and early supporters of the museum could see what all their hard work, devotion, and vision for a Marquette County Historical Society that became a museum and now a regional history center has expanded and grown into.

And of course, most of the success is due to director Kaye Hiebel and all the staff, the museum board, all the generous donors in the community, and all the people who support the museum by visiting it. It is a job well done in every way possible, and I feel personally grateful to everyone who contributed in any way.

I would have loved to provide some photographs of the exhibits but photography is not allowed in the exhibits, so you will just have to visit the museum yourself to see everything, and for $7 per adult, you can see what is worthy of a much larger metropolitan area than Marquette. Plan ahead for spending about two hours. I spent nearly two and a half and I still didn’t get to read everything posted, although I read well more than half the signs and skimmed the others.

Everything I could imagine being relevant to the Marquette region was depicted – displays on wildlife include beaver and wolf and deer. There are extensive collections of artifacts from prehistoric people. A large display of various rocks, minerals, and Lake Superior sandstone are exhibited with enough detail to please the most active rockhound. The Native American imprint on the area is given extensive attention aside displays about the coming of the white men through the discovery of iron ore by William Austin Burt.

The founding of Marquette is told in letters and artifacts from Peter White, Amos and Olive Harlow, and Mehitable Everett. Replicas of Native American lodgehouses are beside early Marquette homes and voyageur fur trading posts. The history of shipping on the Great Lakes is displayed, along with that of farming, logging, and mining.

The area’s brave men and women who fought in the Civil War, Spanish American War, both World Wars and the Vietnam War receive recognition for their sacrifices.

Transportation changes are reflected in automobiles, streetcars, railroads, and snowmobiles. Descriptions of Marquette County’s major communities are provided. And the entertainment, the fun, of living in the U.P. also is provided in a movie projector from the Delft, the story of a pageant on Teal Lake, the creation of quill work and other crafts, the history of hockey, a basketball jersey from J.D. Pierce High School, and early restaurants like Hamburger Heaven.

That’s a small taste of all the history provided at the Marquette Regional History Center. Several fun, interactive aspects of the museum will also provide entertainment for children.

Go visit our wonderful new museum. Marquette, the Queen City of the North, now has a new jewel in her crown, and anyone who loves Marquette and its surrounding communities will be thrilled to see it shine.

For more information, visit the Marquette Regional History Center’s website at www.marquettecohistory.org

“Iron Pioneers” Celebrates Five Year Publication Anniversary

February 26, 2011

Five years ago today, Iron Pioneers was published. I started writing The Marquette Trilogy in 1999 and nearly seven years later, I finally had the first volume published. It was a scary and exciting moment for me as I wondered whether what I had spent so much time writing until I loved the book like it was my own child would be received by the public. Obviously it was since I now have eight books to my name.

To celebrate Iron Pioneers five year anniversary, I am posting not the Prologue or the first scene but the second scene of the novel, following when Clara and Gerald have arrived in 1849 to the little wilderness settlement called Worcester and whose name was soon after changed to Marquette. In this passage, Clara meets the Harlow family and Peter White, who are among the most famous names in Marquette history. To get a copy of the full novel, visit http://www.marquettefiction.com/iron_pioneers.html

Enjoy!

From Iron Pioneers:

            When Clara woke, it took her a few seconds to remember she was no longer on a boat, or a train, or in her comfortable bed back in Boston. Above her was a wooden roof with a crack that revealed the sky. She crawled out of bed and onto boards laid across a dirt floor. Since Gerald was already gone, she feared she had slept later than she should; from the crack in the ceiling, she could tell it was already daylight. Last night, she had been relieved to have a roof over her head and a bed to sleep in, but now this dingy little partition of a room made her hope Gerald would not be long in building her a decent house.

            Last night, she had hardly more than glanced at the other buildings in the village. She had noted the rough exterior of the Harlows’ house and that of Mr. Harlow’s assistant. Both buildings had been rundown fishing huts moved from farther down the lakeshore to serve as temporary residences. Clara was surprised to find herself envious that Mrs. Harlow had her own house, no matter how dilapidated its condition. Even if at this moment, Gerald were purchasing them a plot of land to build on, she knew she could not expect more than a small one-room cabin this first year. Winters here were supposed to be long and harsh and to arrive early, so Gerald would have to build soon and spare no time for fancy details if they were to have a shelter before the first snowfall. It was August, but as Clara emerged from her makeshift bedroom, she could already imagine the fierce winter winds.

            She found Mrs. Wheelock in the kitchen cooking breakfast.

            “Your husband went to look around the village, but he told me to let you sleep,” said Mrs. Wheelock. “I know how tiring the long journey here can be.”

            Clara thanked her hostess as Mrs. Wheelock placed eggs and bread before her. She wished Gerald were here, but she understood he had work to do. Mrs. Wheelock said he had promised to return by noon, and he had suggested she call on Mrs. Harlow that morning.

            “I’ll visit her as soon as I finish eating,” Clara replied. Mrs. Wheelock planned to go wash up the dishes, but Clara asked her landlady to stay and talk while she ate, in return that she help her with the dishes. Clara had never washed a dish in her life, but she was not so spoiled that she did not understand she would have no servants here as she had in Boston.

            Mrs. Wheelock gladly sat down to rest a few minutes. She told Clara how quickly her boarding house had filled with guests, and that she had her hands full cooking and doing laundry for the inmates. She was thankful to have a female guest if only to have someone to talk with. Clara had nearly finished her breakfast when a young man stepped into the house. He was about her age; Clara assumed he was Mrs. Wheelock’s son until he introduced himself.

            “Hello, I’m Peter White,” he said. “I’m a boarder here. You must be Mrs. Henning.”

            “Yes, I’m pleased to meet you,” she replied, taking his offered hand.

            “Peter is one of the youngest and most active members of our settlement,” said Mrs. Wheelock. “In fact, he helped to build the first dock. Peter, why don’t you tell Mrs. Henning about it?”

            Peter laughed as Clara prepared herself for a humorous tale.

            “Well, any city needs a good dock,” began Peter, “and we were determined ours would be one of the best. Captain Moody was in charge, and in no time at all, he had us hauling entire trees into the water and piling them crossways until we had built two tiers from the lake bottom up level with the water. Then we covered it all with sand and rocks. In just two days, we had the dock finished. We believed we had accomplished the first step in transforming Worcester into a future industrial metropolis. We imagined a hundred years from now our descendants would look upon the dock and praise us for our ingenuity.”

            Clara smiled at Peter’s self-mocking tone.

            “Next morning, imagine our surprise when we discovered one of Lake Superior’s calmest days had been enough to wash the dock away. Not a single rock or log was left behind to mark where it had been. The sand was so smooth you never would have known the dock existed. How easily man’s grandest schemes succumb to Nature’s power.”

            There was a moment’s pause while Peter smirked. Then Mrs. Wheelock scolded, “Peter, be fair. Finish the story.”

            Peter grinned but obeyed.

            “The entire episode was so comically tragic I could not help but feel some record of it should remain for the city’s future annals. I took a stick and wrote on the sand, ‘This is the spot where Capt. Moody built his dock.’ Well, Captain Moody took one look at that and wiped it away with his feet. He was apparently not as amused as I was, and he told me I would be discharged from his service at the end of the month.”

            Clara had been smiling, but the story’s conclusion saddened her.

            “What a shame. You didn’t mean any harm by it, and it was as much your work as his that failed.”

            “I was sorry to offend him,” Peter confessed, “but he hasn’t dismissed me yet. Either he quickly got over his temper or he’s forgotten about it. I’m certainly not going to remind him.”

            “I’m sure Captain Moody has forgiven you by now,” said Mrs. Wheelock. “He realizes what a blessing you’ve been lately. Mrs. Henning, I don’t wish to scare you, but there’s been an outbreak of typhoid fever here. Nearly everyone has now recovered, so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but we can all thank Peter for his hard work. He has bravely cared for the sick, even bathing them at risk to himself.”

            Peter ignored the praise to explain further. “We recently had a large number of foreigners arrive in the settlement. Mr. Graveraet brought them up by boat from Milwaukee to work. Most of them are German, but there are a few Irish and French among them. Almost all of them got typhoid on the trip here and several died before they arrived. It’s a sad situation, so I did what I could for them. Everyone has been taking turns helping.”

            “It isn’t as bad as we first feared,” Mrs. Wheelock told Clara. “We thought it might be cholera; that was enough to scare the local Indians into deserting the area, but then Dr. Rogers determined it was only typhoid, though that’s bad enough.”

            “There’s only a handful still recovering,” Peter added. “And no one else has contracted it, so it can’t be contagious anymore. I’m sure it’s nothing to be concerned over, but we could use a little more help caring for the sick.”

            “Oh,” said Clara, terrified at the thought, yet anxious to do her share of work in the new community; she knew she would need friends to lend her a hand in future hardships. “I’d be happy to help with the nursing.”

            “We wouldn’t want you to become ill too,” warned Mrs. Wheelock.

            “Oh, but I can’t let those people suffer if I can help them,” Clara said to mask her fears.

            “I could show you the building we’re using for a hospital,” Peter offered. “Then you can decide if you want to help.”

            “All right, I should be free this afternoon,” Clara replied, “but I promised to call on Mrs. Harlow this morning.”

            Peter agreed to come fetch her after dinner and thanked her in advance for her help; Clara felt a sudden fondness for this young man who seemed so bright and capable. She did not believe even typhoid could lessen his liveliness.

            After Peter rushed off, Clara helped Mrs. Wheelock wash up the breakfast dishes. She also inquired more into Peter’s history.

            “Oh, Peter is quite an adventurer,” replied the landlady. “He’s been all over the Great Lakes working on boats, doing various types of work.”

            “How old is he?” asked Clara.

            “Only eighteen,” said Mrs. Wheelock, “but he’s already an old timer in terms of knowing this country. His family is from New York, but when he was nine, they moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Then when he was fifteen, he basically ran away from home and went to Mackinac Island; ever since, he’s been exploring the Great Lakes and working at whatever he can find. Last spring, Mr. Graveraet hired him to help with the iron company, and he’s been living here since.”

            “What an adventurer,” Clara said. Even Gerald’s courage in coming to this region seemed small beside a fifteen year old boy traveling all over these dangerous lands.

            Once the breakfast dishes were finished, Mrs. Wheelock went to start the laundry before she needed to prepare lunch. Clara decided to act on her promise to visit the Harlows. Mrs. Wheelock pointed the way to their dilapidated hut; then Clara started down the path through the little settlement. Along the way, she glanced at the tall, unfamiliar trees that surrounded the few scattered buildings. She had never before seen so many trees stretching for so many miles. She wondered what ferocious beasts might lurk in those woods. Even in the forests of Massachusetts, it would only be a mile or two until a person saw a house or farm, but here one could walk for days without seeing another human being. Worse, a bear might be encountered. Frightened by the thought, Clara scurried to the Harlows’ hut, wishing someone were in sight in case of danger.

            She found Mrs. Harlow and her mother, Mrs. Bacon, occupied with sorting the new supplies Mr. Harlow had brought from Sault Sainte Marie. After introductions, Clara’s first remark was about how nervous she felt to be outside alone, but Mrs. Bacon assured her she was perfectly safe. “No one will harass you here, and we aren’t established enough to worry about such social proprieties as a woman walking without her husband. You’re as safe here as on the streets of Boston.”

            “But are there any Indians nearby?” Clara asked.

            “Yes, but the Chippewa are perfectly friendly,” Mrs. Harlow added. “They’ve been very kind to us since we arrived a few weeks ago.”

            “Olive, tell her about your first meeting with a Chippewa,” laughed Mrs. Bacon.

            “Oh,” Olive laughed. “My first morning here, I was determined to see everything I possibly could about my new home. I stepped out my front door and practically the first thing I saw was a wigwam. I’d never seen one before, and I was just so curious it never suggested itself to my brain that it might be someone’s home. So I went over and opened up the blanket door, and to my amazement saw two squaws. At first I was surprised, and a little frightened, but they smiled and giggled, and then I giggled back and retreated.”

            “I would have been terrified!” Clara gasped. “You’re lucky they weren’t male Indians.”

            “Oh, the male Indians are just as kind as the women,” replied Mrs. Harlow. “They’ve already assisted us a great deal. Chief Marji Gesick has been very kind by stopping to inquire how we are all coming along, and Charley Kawbawgam has an Indian village not far away on the Carp River. He’s been showing the men the best hunting and fishing grounds, and some white men are even staying in his lodge house. Granted, we’ve only been here about a month, but so far, there’s been no need to worry, and our hearts are strong. Now that my husband has brought us some more supplies, we should have little trouble getting by for several months. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but I feel this little settlement will grow and prosper faster than one might suspect.”

            “Yes,” said Mrs. Bacon, “the men had the dock built in just three days, and the sawmill and forge should be finished before winter arrives. It may not be until next year that we really become a businesslike town, but it will happen soon enough.”

            Clara smiled, but she was presently more concerned about the settlement’s safety than its prosperity.

            “I can’t believe how this country is changing,” added Mrs. Bacon. “I was born just about the time President Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, and since then the country has more than doubled in size. When I was a child, no one ever would have imagined Michigan becoming a state, and here it’s already been one for a dozen years. Just imagine, Mrs. Henning, how much this town will have grown by the time you’re my age.”

            “Yes,” said Clara, “but I’m afraid it will be a lot of work along the way.”

            “Hard work is what we’re put on this earth for,” replied Mrs. Bacon. “Besides, we have it easier now than any of our forefathers ever did, and after how they struggled to make this nation what it is today, we have to carry on the tradition of that hard work.”

            Clara recalled her grandmother uttering similar sentiments. She thought again of her ancestress, Anne Bradstreet, trembling upon arrival in the New World, only to become a famous poetess and one of the first ladies of the land, daughter, wife, and sister to colonial governors. Clara wondered whether someday she might equally be remembered as a pioneer of this rugged place. If the iron ore recently discovered made them all as rich as predicted, and Worcester grew as large as Boston, she might delight her mother by becoming a leader of Worcester society.

            But Clara had not come to gain wealth or social position. She reminded herself she had come to support her husband, and to prove she had the courage to surmount challenges rather than settle for the dull social rituals of Boston. For the first time, she felt excited to be living along the shores of Lake Superior. Her travel fatigue was lifting, and she felt anxious to see the rest of her new home, despite what dangers might exist in the forests. So Mrs. Harlow and Mrs. Bacon could return to their work, she soon excused herself.

            “I think I’ll go for a walk along the lake before Gerald returns at noon.”

            “Go ahead,” said Mrs. Harlow. “You might as well enjoy your first day here.”

            “Yes, I told young Mr. White I would go to the hospital this afternoon to help.”

            Mrs. Bacon and Mrs. Harlow exchanged approving glances. Clara’s heart glowed inside her–she had been afraid people would think her some frail young miss from high society, but already she felt she was proving herself.

            As she stepped out of the wooden hut, she scanned the other log cabins under construction. A few wigwams and a lodge house were in the distance; she wondered whether Indians resided in them or had white men taken possession. Scarcely enough buildings existed to qualify as a village. She looked down to the lake where the lone dock stood. The schooner had already disappeared from sight, leaving no chance to escape. Lake Superior stood before her–the only source of communication with the outside world–so large she could not see Canada across it. How long before another ship would come, before ships would come regularly? It might be years before there was a railroad or even paved streets, before there would even be stores in which to buy trinkets, or cloth, or even food. There wasn’t even a butcher–Gerald would have to hunt for their meat, and they would have to plant their own vegetables. She wondered how much land they would have to plant to feed themselves. Mr. Harlow had told Gerald sixty-three acres had been purchased for the village to expand upon, but only a few acres were now cleared. She could not imagine the settlement ever growing enough to cover that much land. The trees would only encroach back in. All around her were towering pines, oaks, and maples. So many trees–a giant unexplored forest all around, full of mystery, perhaps horror.

            “Clara!”

            She turned to see Gerald walking toward her with Mr. Harlow. He was beaming.

            “I’ve found the perfect place for our house. A few of the other men have agreed to help build it, and when they heard I had a wife, they said we could raise our roof first, and then I can help them later. We should have our own shelter within the week.”

            “That’s good,” Clara smiled. “Then I’ll have a place to put my china.”

            “More than that,” said Gerald, “we’ll have a home, and I’ll fill it with homemade furniture. Isn’t it exciting, Clara? It’s a whole new world for us.”

            She hesitated to reply, but Gerald’s enthusiasm won her over; he was so free from self-doubt, so charismatically able to make others believe in him; she believed in him. His confidence was what made him most attractive to her. If they did not survive here, it would not be through the fault of this brave man she loved.

            Clara took his hand.

            “It’s a fine land, Gerald. I’m sure we’ll be happy here.”

            Mr. Harlow smiled in recognition of the same courage his own wife possessed. Maple leaves rustled in the breeze, as if confirming Clara’s words. Gerald once more felt he had made the right choice in his bride, in this brave, beautiful young woman.