April 2005 release by Publish America, an Historical/Fiction by Brenda M Weber
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Brenda M Weber
Upper Peninsula of Michigan Author
Deep in the forest along Lake Michigan's Manistique River, a simple wooden grave marker says, "John Horn - April 1897." Why is it there? Who was John Horn?
More than 100 years ago, Manistique was a booming lumber town owned by the Chicago Lumbering Company. Thousands of immigrants worked there, some living in company homes, some in the logging camps. Steamers docked daily at the busy Manistique Harbor, met by a local Indian chief, Ossawinamakee. Into this town came John Horn.
Step back in time to the late 1800's where you will meet John Horn and the woman he loves, Lily, the preacher's daughter, the girl with the moon in her eyes.
You'll also meet Moonwater, John's sister and owner of Ravenwood, a boarding house shunned by the townspeople. Meet their nemisis, a fur trader with a mangled hand and surprising identity.
Come take a walk through the streets of a logging town and the deep Michigan forests where you'll meet Bittenear and you will want to visit time and again. This is one adventurous historical love story you won't want to miss.
About the only thing anyone knows about John Horn is that he was buried along a branch of the Manistique River. He sleeps silently in the ground, deep in the forest of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He has never spoken from the grave to tell his story so I offer you my version of who John Horn was and how he came to be buried in a shallow grave of four feet.
John Horn was a real man who probably walked the streets of Manistique and through the forests where virgin white pine was king. He lived his life as a lumberjack over a hundred years ago. He may have been an immigrant or just a drifter. He may have been well liked or hated. He may have been a socialite or a loner who stuck to his own ways. He may have loved a girl or just dedicated his life to the forest. No one will ever know.
Some years ago a ballad was written about John Horn, another rendition of who he was. Ballads are sentimental narratives while legends are unauthenticated stories from earlier times, preserved by tradition and thought to be historical. Either way, John Horn deserves to be recognized, even though recognition can only be assumed.
If John Horn could speak from the grave I think he'd by happy with this rendition of him. I think he'd be flattered to be thought of as a legend, to know that people still speak of him and visit his grave year after year. John Horn will never truly die as long as people keep him alive by speaking of him and honoring his spirit.
Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an adventure all in itself. People from the cities visit us here, and comment on the serene lifestyle, fresh air, the solitude and the sense of being in God's country. We natives are aware of the beauty and appreciate our simple lifestyles. We take nothing for granted and are thankful for the gifts bestowed upon us by the natural beauty that surrounds us.
Many stories are told and re-told of our historical Upper Peninsula. We hear stories of fur traders and trappers, gangsters as famous as Al Capone and lumberjacks such as Paul Bunyan who walked our lands. This is the story of another lumberjack who left behind nothing more than his name on a wooden cross and a shallow grave in the middle of nowhere.
You are going on a journey, my friend, of both present and past and you will come to know and love the legend and the man John Horn.