On my birthday, one of the gifts I received from my parents was Jim Stark’s Great Lakes Skipper. At his rotary club, my Dad had heard the author speak about his new book. He decided to buy a copy of the book with a personal note.
Over the course of fifteen years, the author researched the Great Lakes where the Connecticut Western Reserve lies. He not only tells facts about the region and how world events impacted it, but he also gives the reader a very good look at his family history.
Stark starts with the treacherous journey fourth-generation grandfather Abel Stark and his family made to the reserve. He continues with them restarting in the region, becoming friends with settlers already in the area then war struck. Abel re-enlisted in the armed forces while his family left to start again closer to the Great Lakes. Stark also included facts about struggles with Indians in the region, the impact of different faiths including Mormonism, the shipping trade, slavery, entrepreneurship of Captain Eben Stark’s son Henry, and much more.
There are illustrations in the book depicting various people, parts of life like the inside of a school, a map of developing Cleveland, and the depiction of his family’s tree. Plus at the end of each chapter he lists the historic data and the sources he used.
I must admit Stark did a good and thorough job of teaching me about part of Cleveland’s history and the connection it had with the state of Connecticut. Unlike him, I doubt I could have told the story of my family’s history as well as he did. Much less have felt comfortable and up to the task.
Great Lakes Skipper is available in paperback and through Amazon.com’s Kindle Unlimited.