Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 4

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 4

The longest leg of the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes tour is complete. I’m back to reality for a few days before setting out again on the last leg of the trip, Pte. aux Barques Lighthouse on August 2nd. The signing and presentation at the Eagle Harbor, MI Life-Saving museum went very well. The morning was cold and the fog was thick, a good wind blew mist up on shore blanketing the life-saving station and I felt this was fitting weather for a celebration of the USLSS and Coast Guard. When Kim and I arrived at the station the open house was already under way and I was quickly introduced to Montie Ocha. Montie is the Great-Grandson of Albert Ocha, who was a friend of Rev. William H. Law from about 1901 to 1912. If you have yet to read Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes, Albert Ocha’s story is a pivotal moment in the book. As it turns out, Montie lives only about 45 minutes from my house and we will made plans to get together again to discuss the possibility of a book based on Albert’s life story. I was interviewed at this event by the Superior Sentinel by Gene Johnson, who took particular interest in the book. I look forward to reading his article. I also found out that day that Houghton’s Daily Mining Gazette had run an article on Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes which was a pleasant surprise. As the day wore on and we moved our operation to the Eagle Harbor community center the sun decided to make an appearance. As the crowd started to file in I was impressed with the number of people who came out, With the weather I had expected far less, but Eagle Harbor didn’t disappoint. The presentation went well and the participants seemed to enjoy the discussion and asked all the right questions. When the presentation was complete I signed a few more books for people and had many great discussions with them on Maritime history. Special thanks goes out to Barb Koski of the Keweenaw Historical Society for making me a part of this event. The next day it was time to head back for home. A few storms had materialized along our route so we decided instead of travelling south to the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse as we had planned, we would be better served to detour a bit more north to Grand Marais, MI and do a little rock hounding on the beaches there. This turned out to be a great idea since not only did we miss all the bad weather but I found two beautiful agates on the beach. Once in the Straights of Mackinac we stopped in the at the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and I met with Executive Director Terry Pepper. I had had conversations with Terry for years as I was working on the book but we had never met in person. I proposed a few ideas to him for future fundraising efforts and I could see the wheels turning in his head. While final decisions couldn’t be made we left the ideas open for future discussions. If they pan out they will be amazing. This Friday Kim and I will be heading to to Michigan’s “Thumb” for the Pte. aux Barques Heritage Festival on Saturday August 2nd. The station is a beautiful location and the historical society that maintains it does a wonderful job. I am looking forward to this event and hope to meet Buzz Hoerr of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance and Great-Grand-Nephew of one of the surfmen who was part of the crew that rescued Rev. Law at Bois Blanc in 1900. It should be a great weekend. — Autographed copies of Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes are now available from my store on the Square...

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 3

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 3

It’s been a pretty amazing week in the Upper Peninsula. after leaving Whitefish Point on Monday Kim and I popped on over to Crisp Point. If you’ve never been to Crisp Point I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list. Crisp is one of the most remote, land-based lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Once a large Life-Saving Station and Lighthouse location, old Lake Superior took it’s toll on the buildings. When we had first visited Crisp Point about 10 years ago, all that was left was the Light tower and the Crisp Point Lighthouse Historical Society had recently repaired what was left of the entrance. Today the CPLHS has built replicas of some of the original USLSS station buildings and has plans to do more, including the ongoing erosion control tasks that keep Lake Superior at bay if only for a bit longer. While I was there I met a lady who was currently reading Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes. It was a chance occurrence but a welcome one. I talked with her for a while and we had our picture taken together. I then walked the beach for a bit imagining Rev. Law’s ship ‘Dream’ anchored just off shore while he held a requested service for the fine folks stationed at Crisp, a service that was carried via telephone lines to the other four stations along Superior’s “Shipwreck Coast”. On Tuesday is was time to start heading toward the Keweenaw Peninsula. On the way I decided to pay a surprise visit to my publisher’s office near Gwinn, MI. This was the first time I actually met face-to-face with the people I’ve been working with for the last couple years. I got a tour of the facility and saw stacks of books ready to ship. Of course, I had to take a few photos of the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes section. On Thursday I met up with Barb K. of the Keweenaw Historical Society and she gave Kim and I a boat ride up the Portage Canal to see the Coast Guard Station and Entry Light. Along the way we saw many eagles and we discussed the history of the area. The weather was nice and the company was good. Overall it was a very fun and rewarding trip. Later in the day we stopped by Copper World in Calumet Michigan and talked with the owners. They had asked that I stop in and sign the copies of Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes they had in stock. So if you’re in the area and looking for a signed copy of the book, Copper World has some. Today we are headed out to Baraga to attend the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Pow-Wow and visit with some family in the area. I plan to stop by the Sand Point Light to take a look at the restoration efforts as I hear they have made some good progress. Saturday is the Presentation and Book Signing in Eagle Harbor sponsored by the Keweenaw Historical Society. The event starts at the Life-Saving Museum Open House event and I’m scheduled to sign books from Noon-2pm. At 3pm I will be giving a presentation on the book at the Eagle Harbor Community Center followed by another round of book signings. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello!...

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 2

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour part 2

In 1915 the Rev. William H. Law, a.k.a the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes, presented a book to the Keeper and crew of the Whitefish Point station. He also inscribed and signed the book. The book was a copy of Charles Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend” that began its journey to Whitefish Point as a discard book from the Detroit Public Library (DPL). In order for Law to furnish the various Lighthouse and Life-Saving stations with enough books he had made a deal with the DPL to acquire these discard books, then he’d load them on his boat “Dream” then set sail on the Great Lakes.  Yesterday I was honored to be able to hold that very book in my own hands. I had obtain a photo of the inscription for inclusion in Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes when I had learned that Whitefish Point had it on display in the Lightkeeper’s Quarters museum. I contacted them again to let them know I would be visiting this week and asked if it would be possible to hold the book. As it is housed in a glass case carpets would have to be moved and the case pulled away from the wall to access it, so I understood if it wouldn’t be possible due to the amount of traffic the site receives. However, Site Manager Terry Begnoche was more than willing and with his help made holding the book my Great-Great-Grandfather held 99 years ago a reality. For that I am very thankful. If you ever visit Whitefish Point, make sure to go through the Keeper’s Quarters and see the book on...

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour Part 1

Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes – Book Tour Part 1

We started our trip by travelling to Hillman, Michigan, my hometown. My wife Kim and I arrived just in time to catch the end of Russ Franzen’s set at the Music at the Mill event the Brush Creek Mill puts on every month.  Russ is a singer/songwriter who performs all over the Great Lakes singing original songs about the history of Lake Boats, Lighthouses, Shipwrecks, and life along the Great Lakes. If you haven’t heard him perform you really should as he is not only a great songwriter, but a wonderful singing historian. The next day was the scheduled signing event for Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes at the Brush Creek Mill. There were more people attending than I had expected with some coming in from Alpena just for this event. Portions of the proceeds of book sales went to the Brush Creek Mill fund and I think they were very pleased with the number of books sold. I know I was. Besides myself, there were 7 other descendants of the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes in attendance. My mother Pam, My niece Meridien, My nephews Hunter & Fisher and my mother’s cousins Barry, Jim and Bill Simescu. The following day Kim and I travelled back to St. Ignace, continuing our trip that will end in Eagle harbor, MI on July 26th for the Keweenaw Historical Society’s open house at the Eagle harbor Life-Saving station museum. We visited with other descendants of Rev. Law, Margarateann  “Peggy” (Law) Coveyou and her children Mary Kay and Tom. Our hotel in St. Ignace has a great view of Mackinac and Round Islands. It will also serve as a “home base” for our day trip to Whitefish Point and Crisp Point. With any luck I will be able to hold a book that was given by the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes to Whitefish Point in 1915 and carries an inscription by the reverend (a photo of the inscription can be seen in the book). After today’s travels we will be heading to the Keweenaw, stopping at a few book stores and gift shops along the way, a few of which have already asked me to come in an autograph the books they have in stock. This has already been a wonderful...

A Visit to Les Cheneaux

A Visit to Les Cheneaux

This past weekend my wife and I headed up to the Les Cheneaux area for a presentation on the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes and a book signing event at the Les Cheneaux Historical Association’s (LCHA) museum in Cedarville, MI. This was a very special event for me since this is the area where the Rev. William H. Law settled after coming to the United States and a good portion of the book takes place in this area. Prior to heading to the Les Cheneaux Historical Association’s museum, we stopped by the Law Family plot in Rockview Cemetery about 3 miles north of town. While there I paid my respects to the family and left a replica of one of the postcards that the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes had sent out to all the Lighthouses and Life-Saving stations about one hundred years ago.   After visiting the family plot we stopped at Safe Harbor Books in Cedarville to see Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes on the shelf. We had a short, but nice talk with the proprietor of the store who informed us that the book has been selling well in advance of the event at the LCHA museum. In fact they only had one copy left when we arrived. We then headed tot he LCHA museum to set up for the event. I had been to the museum many times over the last few years while doing research for the book but I don’t think I have ever seen the members as happy as they were this day. They really went out of their way to make it a special event complete with snacks and beverages for all the attendees. They even offered me the opportunity to sell my own copies of the book instead of the copies they had on hand. It was very nice of them to offer but I declined as the profits from their sales would benefit the museum. As people started to show up it was apparent that we would have a good crowd. Since this was my first official presentation on the book I was a little nervous but once I was introduced and started talking it was apparent that the audience was interested and the presentation went very well. After I wrapped up my talk I took questions from the audience, all of which where very good questions and luckily they were all questions I had answers for. With the presentation complete it was time for the book signing. I made my way to the signing table as the attendees queued to have their book signed. I met many other descendants of the Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes, Rev. Law. We shared stories and had our pictures taken together. It was surreal for me but also really special. After the books were signed and the stories shared I was informed by Mary, the curator of the museum, that we broke attendance and sales records for these types of events. Needless to say we were all very happy. — I have a few more book signing events coming up in Hillman, MI, Eagle Harbor, MI, Pte. Aux Barques Lighthouse and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival in Alpena, MI. Please see my calendar on this site for details of each event. If you wish to have a signed copy of the book but cannot make any of these events, Autographed Copies of Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes can now be ordered from me through the Square Marketplace....