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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Mick Lane Beaver Island, Michigan (38) Beaver Island 19 May 98

By the way, have any of you ever heard of Beaver Island, Michigan? It is a great story. It is the northernmost inhabited island in the Great Lakes. It is located about 35 miles out in Lake Michigan northwest of Charlevoix. It was settled by Irish immigrants from the Arran Islands. It seems it reminded them of home. They established the town of St. James, complete with a Catholic Church and were quite happy until a Mormon leader by the name of James Jesse Strang decided that he needed a place to call home for himself and his followers. So he came to the Island and promptly declared it a Kingdom with himself as King. The lads abandoned the Island and changed their base of operations to the mainland. It seems that King James (The only King in American History) pissed off a few of his followers and they assassinated him. The lads heard the news and promptly went back to the island and threw the interlopers out and reclaimed their turf. That was in the mid to late 1800's and the island has been Irish ever since. The music of the island is clearly Irish, but it has developed a style of its own which has many influences from Great Lakes sea shanties to the music of the lumber camps. It is really a kick when you take the ferry to the Island to see one "Old Glory" and about 10 Irish Tri-Colors. It has such a great history and ambience that Dermott Gallagher, before leaving the States to go home from his Ambassadorship, brought his family to the Island for a two week visit. It is quite interesting to hear how some of the old Irish music has evolved separately on the island. There are several musicians there who have recorded the music of the island. My band has performed there and the hospitality is Irish through and through.


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