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The Medallion

OK, the most common question I am asked in my website wilmontkreis.com, “Is the medallion real?” The answer is more complicated than that and with further reflection, I think it may involve an entire new book, so stay tuned and come back next week to begin THE ALLARD BOOK SEVEN: THE WITCH. Thanks for stopping by. Read More 
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Smuggling Slaves, Smuggling liquor:

At base, Book Six is about the Underground Railroad smuggling runaway slaves from The U.S. to Canada. In Book Eight: The Chief (1895-1948), a significant section deals with prohibition. If you read both books, you will see the tricks learned in freeing slaves to Canada became popular and effective in freeing liquor from Canada to the U.S. However, you will have to wait for the blog to deal with Book Seven: The Witch and the Civil War (or buy and read Book Eight in print or kindle, available through Amazon.com.) Read More 
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Saint Felicity Church

St. Gertrude Cemetery today
St. Felicity:
Book Six begins with a modern-day discovery of an old log coffin in Lake St. Clair. The original church, St, Felicity, was built about 1826. In mid-1800, high water washed the church and cemetery into Lake St. Clair. For several years, coffins made of logs occasionally rose to the surface and were re-buried in the new St. Gertrude Cemetery on 12 Mile Road. They remain today in a row of small graves marked with simple crosses found along the back fence line. The cemetery is now surrounded by apartments, but when I was a lad, it sat inside an eerie forest. At night, one ran when crossing the cemetery. Read More 
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Lumber in Michigan

Lumber Boat
Lumber:
In the middle of the 19th century, lumber was a giant industry in Michigan. Ships sailed regularly to the lumber camps near Saginaw Bay to return with lumber for the exploding construction industry of Detroit. They sailed as long as possible into the winter when storms were common, and lives were lost. The episodes of shipping in Book Six are derived from tales told to me in my youth. Read More 
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French-Swiss immigrants

Valley view of Movelier taken from a farm in the hills of Pleigne
French Swiss:
When my research led me to this group of rugged immigrants from the French-speaking Jura Mountains of Switzerland, I was introduced to an expert on the subject, Marie-Angele Lovis. I traveled to her home in the Jura where she graciously entertained my wife and me discussing her knowledge of the many Jura families who came to the Detroit area where many Salgat, Defer, Whitmore, Schaller, and others live today. The small towns of Delemont, Movelier, and Pleigne remain much today as they were in 1833. When I discovered these people came to America at the same time as my father’s Kreis ancestors, I could not resist the connection. Read More 
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George DeBaptiste

George DeBaptiste
George DeBaptiste
I first encountered this iconic figure in the Detroit Historical Collection long before beginning THE ALLARDS SERIES. Once into the project, I realized the Underground Railroad and its French connection would eventually be a part of the series. Introducing George’s family early in the books was my invention and not necessarily accurate. He was born a free black in Virginia and did work his way into the abolition movement including the Second Baptist Church, the Underground Railroad and Detroit’s black regiment. Much of his part in BOOK SIX, is accurate. You can find an excellent summary of his life at http://detroithistorical.org/learn/encyclopedia-of-detroit/debaptiste-george. Read More 
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Therese Allard's barn

Therese's barn
Therese Allard’s Barn
Therese’s barn as a station in the Underground Railroad struck me when I found her mother (the wonderful, Mimi Balard) listed in a document about French women in the abolition movement at an exhibit on the underground railroad of Detroit. The barn in Book 6 is a conglomerate of many things used in various facilities and is probably more complex than any. The stories surrounding it come from tales of my ancestors along with various stories of the movement as a whole. Sean Logan is fictitious (sorry). Read More 
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Detroit Market at Cadillac Square

Detroit Market at Cadillac Square
Detroit Market at Cadillac Square:
The marketplace for French-Canadian Detroiters and others to sell their produce and wares, it was also a hot bed of socializing and gossip. Along with intrigue and plots from smuggling slaves from Detroit to Canada in 1850 to smuggling liquor from Canada to Detroit in 1920. It eventually moved to what endures as the Eastern Market today. My Great-grandmother was filled with stories of the market and related shenanigans which appear from BOOK SIX to the end of the Allard series in BOOK EIGHT: THE CHIEF. This photo of the market in 1870, from the Detroit Historical Collection, shows Cadillac square with two wagons in the left lower corner getting ready to unload. Read More 
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Look out, it's Shakley!!

Apologies to Jeff Bridges
Fillmore P. Shakley:
Without a doubt, the most evil villain I have ever created (and thankfully he is fictitious). He or his son will remain in the Allard Series until the end of BOOK EIGHT: THE CHIEF. Based on a collection of slave-catcher literature, he will stop at nothing to accomplish his goals which are ever changing to suit his needs and the circumstances. Totally self-involved, he will embrace or abandon any cause to suit his personal well-being and gain. Read More 
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Finney's Barn

Finney's Barn (after the war)
Finney’s Barn:
Those of you who have read THE MEDALLION are familiar with the notorious Seymour Finney and his barn. A tailor by trade, Seymour Finney was also one of Detroit’s strongest and most clever abolitionists. Active in the movement and the early Underground Railroad, he took action when the Fugitive Slave Act became law. He opened a tavern near what is now State and Griswold, then he opened a hotel with a large barn ostensibly to hold carriages and horses. Interestingly, his facility was called a temperance house. His barn was used to hide runaway slaves until they could be transported to Canada. He welcomed slave-catchers in his tavern to draw their attention away from the real facility. Read More 
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