Pioneer journal tells tales of settlers to Sparta

Book signing this Saturday at Great Northern Trading Co.

Dean Cummings

The real diary of early pioneers who homesteaded in the wilds of Sparta was the basis of a book of historical fiction by author Dean Cumings. With imagination and the factual basis of the diary, Cumings tells the story of the difficulties the area’s first settlers faced, from cutting a wagon path through the dense forest to surviving harsh winters.

Check out “Ellie” and talk to the author this Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Great Northern Trading Company in the Squires’ Street Square.

“The story is typical of the way virtually all our ancestors first settled here, in what was then the Northwest Territory,” Cumings said.

A review by Dennis Allen in the Historical Society of Michigan Chronicle Magazine, Vol. 34, No.1, Spring 2011, stated, “Ellie may be a fictional account of a young girl’s journey west, but it’s historically accurate to the place and times of rural Michigan in the antebellum period. In fact, author Dean Cumings was inspired to write the story after reading a distant relative’s journal, which described the family’s migration to the frontier of territorial Michigan in the 1840s. ‘Ellie’ sees the world through the eyes of a young girl, and Cumings channels that persona into an interesting mix of historically accurate fact and fiction.”

“We are pleasantly surprised to note the majority of the purchases comes from adults,” said Cumings. “They tell me they appreciate all the detail we used to describe just how our people forged their way into the complete wilderness of that era, some fifteen years prior to the Civil War.”

Cumings said the process of publishing a book was also interesting and he is in his third print of 500 books with only 40 left of the current printing.

Cumings has spoken to and will be presenting at local historical societies, genealogical societies, library programs (such as June 30 at the Cedar Springs Library’s adult program).

The book is the work of a Kent County author and reflects how the Rockford area was settled, and how the settlers prepared the way for our way of life: agricultural first, industrial, political, religious, economical, et al. The book is also available for purchase online at deancumings.com.

 

About Squire News

The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.
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