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St. Clair Flats

Arial view of St. Clair Flats
Saint-Clair Flats:
No book about French-Canadian-Detroit families of this era would be complete without a tale or two set in this area of marshy islands at the mouth of the St. Clair River as it empties into Lake St. Clair. Duck hunting and fishing are legend particularly around Harsens and Walpole Islands. My cousin, Earl Brown, owned and ran Brown’s Tavern on Harsen’s Island where it remains today. The First Nation Reserve of Walpole Island includes seven other islands and remains unceded native land. It has long been a haven for fishing and hunting guided by local residents and contains the burial place of Tecumseh. Read More 
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Detroit becomes a city

Detroit 1886
War Then Peace:
At the end of the war, the Detroit area grew. From 1870 to 1900, the population grew almost four-fold, from 79,577 to 285,577! Vernors, Scripps Newspapers, Sanders, J.L. Hudson and S.S. Kresge were founded. Industry also bloomed with three separate stove works, Eureka Iron Works, Ferry Seed Company, Davis Refrigerator Cars, Park Davis and the telephone company all appeared during this time, pulling the boys from the farms into the city. As a result early labor organizations began to form along with the famous struggle between labor and industry which will follow the city to the present. Read More 
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The Witch of November

Sinking of the Morell
The Witch:
In the post war era, great lakes shipping boomed, to a large extent from the iron industry with increased voyages to Lake Superior and Duluth. Storms in the greatest of the Great Lakes are common and legendary, and the storm of November 1874 was a whopper. The sinking of the Morell and François-Xavier Salgat was a story too good to pass up. It put me in mind of Gordon Lightfoot’s famous ballad about the Witch of November. Hence the title of Book Seven. Read More 
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More Shakley

Detroit during prohibition
Shakley-Shands
When the fall of the south is evident, Fillmore P. Shakley becomes Millard P. Shands, a clean cut cultured person complete with glass eye. He moves north and continues his evil ways on a much more sophisticated scale. Following his mysterious demise, his much more refined illegitimate son, takes over the family business raising it to a sophisticated level rising to its pinnacle in bootleg liquor in Book Eight: The Chief. Read More 
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