Michigan’s Island King: James Jesse Strang

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

Flight from Beaver Island by Andy Farmer

On July 8th, 1850, James Jesse Strang was crowned king of Beaver Island. Michigan History Magazine shared this article with me years ago:

Despite claiming to be “the perfect atheist,” Strang became a follower of Mormon leader Joseph Smith. When Smith was murdered in March 1844, Strang claimed to be the new Mormon leader, although most Mormons followed Brigham Young to Utah.

King James Strang daguerreotype 1856
King James Strang (daguerreotype, 1856)

Strang’s followers settled on an uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan they called Big Beaver. The island had everything Strang and his followers needed: virgin timber, tillable land, a deep and sheltered bay and exceptional offshore fishing. It also was twenty-five miles off the mainland-a perfect place to protect Strang’s followers from outside influences and beliefs.

By the mid-1850s, the Mormon colony on Beaver Island boasted more than 2,500 followers. Beaver Island replaced Mackinac Island as the principal refueling stop for steamers, and the annual value of the kingdom’s exports (fish, wood and potatoes) was considerable.

The growth of Strang’s kingdom was not without controversy. Non-Mormons, called Gentiles, took exception with the Mormon settlement. Driven from the area’s fishing spots, angry over the establishment of a kingdom and Strang’s adoption of the practice of polygamy, the Gentiles vowed revenge. At the bequest of President Millard Fillmore, the U.S. district attorney prosecuted Strang for an assortment of unfounded offenses that included murder and treason. However, Strang was acquitted on all charges, and a year later he was overwhelmingly elected to the state legislature.

Strang ruled Beaver Island as an autocrat; he even had himself crowned king. But regulating every aspect of his followers’ lives led to his downfall. Describing women’s clothes as impractical and unhealthy, Strang decreed female subjects needed to dress in loose, knee-length smocks worn over modest pantaloons. Most Beaver Island women accepted the change, but a few refused to comply. When two women refused to wear pantaloons, Strang had their husbands whipped. The two men sought revenge and on June 16, 1856, they ambushed and shot their king.

On July 9, 1856, James Jesse Strang died from his wounds. He was buried in Wisconsin.

With Strang gone, enraged Gentiles charged onto Beaver Island and evicted the Mormons. After taking control of the Mormon printing office, the attackers printed a manifesto that boasted, “The dominion of King Strang is at an end.”

Andy took this back in 2016. See a lot more in his great Beaver Island, MI album on Flickr!

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Room with a view on Lake Superior

Summer Day on Lake Superior by Michigan Nut Photography

Summer Day on Lake Superior by Michigan Nut Photography

John took this in late June near Munising on Lake Superior. Head over to Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook or his website for lots more! He’s even got jigsaw puzzles from some of his photos!

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Cool down at Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls by Greg Jarman

Horseshoe Falls by Greg Jarman

The premier resource for Michigan waterfalls is GoWaterfalling, and their entry for Horseshoe Falls in Munising says (in part):

Horseshoe Falls is a scenic, privately owned waterfall in Munising. There is an admission fee to visit the falls. It is spring fed, so it may be flowing when the other five falls in the area are not.

Horseshoe Falls is located in the middle of Munising, just a few blocks away from M-28 … It plunges about 20 feet, and then tumbles down a long series of cascades for another 20 feet or more. The waterfall is spring fed, so it may be running when the other nearby falls thin out in the summer months.

In addition to the falls there is a trout pond, where you can feed the fish.

You can read on for more info including other nearby waterfalls & see dozens more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Greg took this in mid-June. See lots more in his 2020 Upper Peninsula Road Trip album on Flickr & have a great week!

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Independence Dogs

Aren't They Adorable? by StormchaserMike Photography

Aren’t They Adorable? by StormchaserMike Photography

I know that for many, the 244th Fourth of July is a pale shadow of previous years, but I hope that you all have a safe & happy Independence Day!

Mike took this photo on July 4, 2009 & you can get that small town parade experience in his Clawson July 4, 2009 gallery on Flickr.

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Splash it up this Fourth of July!

Splash by Charles Bonham

Splash by Charles Bonham

The strangest (and hottest) Fourth of July weekend in recent memory is on tap with highs in the 90s forecast to blanket the state. Here’s hoping you can get into one of Michigan’s lovely lakes or rivers and stay cool (and safe) this weekend!

Charles took this on Tuesday at Higgins Lake. See much more on his Flickr!

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Michigan’s 2020 Firework Shows Take a Step Back

Bay City's 'Big Show' - focus pulling by Tom Clark
Bay City’s ‘Big Show’ – focus pulling by Tom Clark

Few things in our normal lives have been untouched by the coronavirus pandemic, and public fireworks displays are no exception. Instead of the normal pages & pages of options, MichiganFireworks.com lists just a couple dozen 2020 shows still happening.

Tom took this photo at the Bay City Fireworks Festival back in 2018. He writes that “Focus Pulling is a technique of adjusting focus from out of focus to tack sharp during a firework explosion over 1 to 3 seconds. similar physical operation as zooming during exposure only you use the manual focus ring instead of the zoom ring.”

Pretty sweet effect! See more at www.tom-clark.net/fireworks!

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Making Changes…

When things change inside you, things change around you by Fire Fighters Wife

“When things change inside you, things change around you”
~Unknown

Don’t know what I can say about this lovely photo & sentiment by Fire Fighter’s Wife except “Too true!” See more in her Waterscapes album on Flickr.

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Talking ’bout a heatwave

Sunset at the Beach by charles hildebrandt

Sunset at the Beach by charles hildebrandt

West Michigan Fox-17 reports that the longest heatwave in West Michigan history possible in the coming weeks:

High temperatures will begin to rise to around or above 90° and will not fall below that point for at least a week. This long stretch of 90s could stretch into the second week of July, which would put us in the territory of longest heatwave since records began back in 1892.

A heatwave is 3 or more days in a row of 90°+ and we have had several of the shorter versions. The difference with this one in particular is it will last a week or even two as no system will swing through to cool us off.

A very strong ridge of high pressure across the country will set us up for the extensive heat. This will also keep rain chance minimal, as this ridge keeps air from rising and also dries the air out.

One good piece of news is that the majority of the heatwave will have manageable humidity. It will be a dry heat, just like the desert southwest.

Charles took this 10 years ago at Ottawa Beach in Holland. See more on his Flickr & stay cool everyone!

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Looking over Michigan’s Capitol

Michigan State Capitol Building by Joel Stevens

Michigan State Capitol Building by Joel Steven

Michigan’s current state capitol building is actually our third. Michigan’s Three Capitols explains:

In January 1872, a plan (called “Tuebor,” meaning, “I will defend”) submitted by architect Elijah E. Myers of Springfield, Illinois, was selected. Myers moved to Michigan to supervise construction and lived for the rest of his life in his adopted state.

Construction began in 1872. When the cornerstone of the eagerly-awaited building was laid on October 2, 1873, a ceremony was held which rivaled anything Lansing had seen since becoming the capital a quarter of a century earlier. People thronged to the city in numbers far exceeding its capacity. Private citizens opened their homes and made preparations to feed and shelter the visitors.

Materials for the building came from all over the country and even from abroad. Although the millions of bricks that make up its walls and ceilings were locally made in Lansing, the stone facade came from Ohio, the cast iron for the dome and floor beams from Pennsylvania, and the marble and limestone floors from Vermont. The Board of Commissioners made sure the best materials were selected for the best price—wherever they could be found. The final cost totaled $1,427,738.78, considered modest for the construction of a state capitol during this period.

Read on for much more!

Joel took this close up panorama of the Michigan State Capitol building on June 19th. Check out more of his work on Flickr and for sure follow Joel Steven Photography on Facebook!

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Line 5 Pipeline Shut Down … for How Long?

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

Straits of Mackinac by Mark Swanson

EDITOR’S NOTE: I believe that the Line 5 pipeline is a ridiculous threat to Michigan’s economy & environment, am quite pleased with it being shut down, and strongly hope that it is shut down for good. Sorry if that makes you sad or upsets you. 😉

Ed White of the Associated Press writes that a judge shut down Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 energy pipeline that travels under the Straits of Mackinac on Thursday after Enbridge reported problems with a support piece far below the surface:

Enbridge Inc. has not provided enough information to Michigan officials to show that continued operation of the west leg of the Line 5 twin pipeline is safe, Ingham County Judge James Jamo said.

Without the temporary order, “the risk of harm to the Great Lakes and various communities and businesses that rely on the Great Lakes would be not only substantial but also in some respects irreparable,” the judge said.

…Enbridge’s Line 5 carries oil and natural gas liquids from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario. A four-mile (6.4-kilometer) segment divides into two pipes that lie on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Enbridge last week said an anchor support on the east leg of the pipeline had shifted. The company said Line 5 itself was not ruptured and that no oil spilled into the water, but it still hasn’t explained how the incident occurred.

The east leg was shut down. But Enbridge said it resumed the flow through the west line Saturday after consulting with federal regulators at the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The judge said he’ll hold a hearing Tuesday on the state’s request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, could keep Line 5 closed indefinitely.

“With the continued operation of this pipeline, the risk of severe and lasting environmental damage to Michigan’s most important natural resource continues to grow every day,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

Read on for lots more. Nessel is not kidding about the potential damage to Michigan’s water from the company that devastated the Kalamazoo River back in 2010 with the largest oil spill in Michigan history. A University of Michigan researcher modeled Line 5 spill scenarios and found that more than 700 miles of shoreline in Lakes Michigan and Huron and on their islands are potentially vulnerable to an oil release in the Straits.

You can also dig into Enbridge’s take on their pipeline that carries Canadian oil through Michigan mainly to Sarnia, Ontario & the case against the LIne 5 at For Love of Water.

Mark took this photo three years ago of the Mighty Mac looking north from the Lower Peninsula across the Straits. See lots more in his Mackinac, Michigan album on Flickr.

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