By James R. Stevens
Wild on the Superior Frontier
A Romance of Settlers' Lives, Lake Superior, 1845-1900.
Winner of the popular Gertrude H. Dyke Award for non-fiction.
With the opening of the Michigan State Canal in 1855, thousands of westernized people migrated into the grand Lake Superior watershed. They came from the eastern states, Lower Canada, and Europe - all of them seeking new lives and opportunities in mid America. In the early days, access into the cold aqueous heart of the North American Continent was only by boat. Vessels would test themselves on a great sea that challenged captains and passengers with furious outbursts of deadly weather.
Onward individuals and families of settlers came carrying with them their personal histories and cultural backgrounds. They brought their love stories, their religious faiths, their personal skills and industriousness, their foibles, and their hopes for rewarding lives.
Their endeavors were many. Prospectors searching for silver, copper, gold, and iron; lumberman hunting for timber; coastal sailors plying between the fledgling ports at Marquette, Superior/Duluth, Fort William and Prince Arthurs Landing; madams involved in the sex trade and women looking for equality with their male counterparts.
Among the many were newspaper editors promoting their towns, writing their stories with little regard for personal privacy of citizens, should they transgress the morals and decorum of the times.
This is a book for those who desire a large picture of the past in Superior Country. It contains stories with humor, deceit, awry cases of justice, rough voyages on the Big Lake, amazing finds of mineral wealth, and loving and strained relationships between men and women on the 19th Century frontier.