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Now Available -A New Book About the History of the Lake Erie Islands


Early Adventures at Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass and Johnson's Island


by Michael Gora

This new book is a collection of true stories of the Lake Erie Islands covering the period 1786-1865. Several of them contribute strongly to the theory that the original Put-in-Bay harbor was the one called Burgundy Bay off Middle Bass Island today. About half the stories are from pre-1830 newspapers and have not been in print anywhere in over 175 years. Surprisingly, they are also not on the Internet. The book also contains the first publication ever of a picture of John Yates Beall, the "Pirate of Lake Erie", that was taken before he entered military service.


The first signing on the islands will be at the opening party of the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society on Put-in-Bay at 4PM on May 31.


Signed copies of the book can also be obtained via mail order at www.middlebassbooks.com.


You can view the full introduction and table of contents here.


Available at

My Aunt Irma's, Middle Bass Island


Lake Erie Islands Historical Society, Put-in-Bay


Ottawa City General Store, Catawba Island


Ex Libris Bookstore, Marblehead


Lakeside Heritage Society, Lakeside


Sandusky Library Gift Shop, Sandusky



From the Introduction

As I became more deeply aware of the early history of the Lake Erie Islands, I was surprised by some of the maps, stories and pictures that I found because they were mostly unknown to the public at large. They had certainly never been assembled before into readily available material. The number of long forgotten items that others have overlooked was greater than I expected.

The stories in this book provide an important historical picture of what travelers to the Lake Erie Islands encountered in the 18th and early 19th centuries. I believe they are also interesting to a larger set of readers who would like answers to the following questions:


Could Put-in-Bay harbor have been located on Middle Bass Island in the 18th century, and not on South Bass Island?


Why were the Lake Erie Islands called the “Isles of Terror”?


Who found the dead body of a French trader on North Bass Island in 1793 and buried it there?


What occasion led to singing accompanied by flute music in a cavern in Put-in-Bay in 1819?


How was Johnson’s Island selected for the prison there during the Civil War?


What was life like for the Confederate soldiers imprisoned on Johnson’s Island?


What did John Yates Beall, the “Pirate of Lake Erie”, look like?


Why did many visitors who intended to stop on the Lake Erie Islands only once during a lake crossing end up coming back several times?




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Reproduction without written permission is forbidden for any purposes other than personal use.

Revised: 30 Jun 2008 18:58:42.

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