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TI Life in September 2012

September has arrived, the children aren’t spending their days on the river, and parents have returned to their fall routines. There has been some respite from the drought, and a day of high wind made everyone realize that the long, hot, days of summer are on the wane, if not over..

One of the first pieces, received for this issue, was Dr. Richard L. Withington’s essay What Actually Makes You a River Rat…. Several years ago Canadian journalist and writer Shaun Thompson published several books on our Island River Rats, with a different definition. However for those of us who are now living miles away, we can truly appreciate Doc’s wonderful expression of wonder.

Brian Johnson pays tribute to his good friend  Rene Longtin… Still goin’ strong at 80 and Lynn McElfresh provides an incredible in review the Antique & Classic Boats of Grenell.

Kara Lynn Dunn introduces a remarkable computer “App”  in St. Lawrence River: High Tech Trend Setter.   Russ Disotell gives a unique glimpse into Writers find the River.  (Yes, all past, present and future writers should take note)

We asked Shaun McLaughlin to share his research corrections on the life and times of our famous “pirate”, Bill Johnston. Here it is: Bill Johnston: Correcting the Historical Record. Shaun and I think the A-Bay-Pirate Days will be just as important and as much fun for many years!

Kathi McCarthy explains how finding the history of shipwrecks in Found by a Rocket, can be as exciting as finding the shipwreck!

I am also able to share with you Part II of Mitchell & Wilson Ltd’s Minute Book: “People and Place”. Like so many research projects there is not enough room… but it is a good start. I am hoping our readers will have some memories to share in the “Comments” section.

New Contributor

Kara Lynn Dunn - St. Lawrence River: High Tech Trend Setter

Kara lives in Mannsville, NY, with her husband Brian Whattam, a photographer who grew up in Three Mile Bay, NY.

Kara earned a journalism degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She has authored two books on North Country, natural-and-historic sites. Kara vividly recalls childhood camping adventures along the St. Lawrence River with the Village of Mannsville’s Summer-Recreation Program.

Congratulations to Chris Brock

We recently learned that Chris Brock, a features writer for the Watertown Daily Times, has published a new book, Those Carp People and other Tales of Life along the St. Lawrence.  Three of his stories, were published in TI Life in July 2009, November 2009 and December 2010.


Readers will remember his story of how one village became the "Carp Capital of the World." Or when "Junk Day" comes to the River Valley, it can result in some strange activities.  Or how a man has a serious case of "Light Envy" at Christmas. Other stories, in this collection of ten, tell of a farmer who learns to fly and a pastor who learns to float.

One of the book’s reviews is by Ellen Potter, former North Country author of the best-selling-teen book “The Humming Room”, published by Macmillan. Ellen writes, "Funny and inventive, Brock is a natural storyteller, with a flair for the absurd. He makes readers feel like they are sitting on his front porch, sipping iced tea and being regaled with the extraordinary events that erupt in the lives of his otherwise ordinary neighbors. With subtle strokes, he lifts his characters out of their normal lives and launches them into the weird and wonderful."

Chris recently received several New York State Associated Press Association Awards. In this year’s “Features” category in newspapers with 20,000-45,000 circulation he received 3rd Place for ‘Ma' Grandjean's Lasting Lesson” and 2nd place for “Muskrat Love: North Country Trappers Step Up Their Game as Prices for Pelts Rise” in the “Business” category. Also, he placed 1st in the 2011 Awards with “Lowville’s Town Hall Theater, a True Gem in a Multiplex World”.


Those Carp People will be a good addition to your Holiday list.  It sells for $9.99 and is available at  It is also available for Kindle for $4.99.

NPR Radio’s Dead Stop

“On Remote Island, The Dead Are Buried Far And Wide” by Jackie Northam aired on NPR Radio on August 28th, 2012. Jackie is a foreign-affairs correspondent for NPR and often covers some of the world’s hot spots. However, this summer she came to the River and spent a day on Grindstone Island. She was researching a story on Civil War cemeteries for the NPR series “Dead Stop”.

Jackie was given the tour by Grindstone Islanders Ken Deedy and Jack Grobe. Ken is the founder of the Thousand Islands Land Trust and Jack, who lives in Rochester, NY, now attends the University of Toronto and is majoring in history. He kindly provided material about the island, and the region.

NPR has the video segment on their website. Still photographs accompanying the web story were taken by Gretchen Bambrick from Gananoque.

Fred Schmidt’s gift.

Fred Schmidt
Red rose
fred young

Fred Schmidt, from Clayton, provided this poetry. We hope to present more in future TI Life issues. Enjoy.

Readers’ Exchange

I received this relating to “Hill Island’s Link to Monsters and Murders…” an article I wrote with Gayla and Michael Heberling from Hill Island in October 2010. 

Hi Susan,  It's Paul Reilly, formerly of the 1000 Islands. I've been reading your article on Batterman's Point and have an interesting connection.  When I worked for Parks Canada around 2004 I came across an old radio in the Massey Farmhouse on Grenadier Island. Being a collector of old radios I investigated the possibility of obtaining the radio from the Park as it had been in the farmhouse for many years.  It had a  nest in it and was covered in a crust of dust and dirt.    

During my inquiries it came to light that the radio had been removed from the old mansion on Batterman's Point during its demolition and moved to the Massey Farmhouse. It must have sat in there for twenty years or so. In any event, amazingly I was allowed to keep the radio. It has made it's way from the Massey Farmhouse via tractor and cart and boat to Perth, Ontario, and then, via a moving van , on to North Vancouver, B.C. ,  where it resides to this day. Amazingly as well, it still works.     I love to think of who might have listened to this radio, perhaps Winnie Bird herself, while smoking a cigarette and enjoying a gin and tonic  in her final days – but more likely Grant Mitchell. I wonder who listened to it last, before I cleaned it up and got it going again? Perhaps it has witnessed a story or two ---. Any way, here are a couple of photos of the radio, top end for its time, a Saba 300 Stereo Hi Fi table radio, circa 1960.  Thanks for all the work on your great magazine,  Paul

Paul has a websiite: where there are more pictures of this radio.


  • We have 925 Facebook “likes”  FACEBOOK - special prize for #1,000!    Be sure to check throughout the month,  as we add material about the 1000 Islands. 
  • Follow us on Twittertwitter 2.  Send us your tweet tag and we will start to follow you.
  • And… don’t forget these TI Life Tags… tags.  We add Events every week.  Special Properties are  featured and check out the new Publications about the River.  Our newest feature is Excursions.  Did you go on a special excursion this past summer?  If so, tell us about it!

Susan W. Smith, Editor,

  • Photo by Martin Zonnenberg

    Photo by Martin Zonnenberg

  • Saguenay Singer in September. Photo by Paul Cooledge,  1000 Islands Images

    Saguenay Singer in September. Photo by Paul Cooledge, 1000 Islands Images

  • Photo by Dennis McCarthy, Beadles Point

    Photo by Dennis McCarthy, Beadles Point

  • Terns at sunset by Paul Cooledge, 1000 Islands Images

    Terns at sunset by Paul Cooledge, 1000 Islands Images

  • Photo by Joseph Meiros, Full Frame Works Photography

    Photo by Joseph Meiros, Full Frame Works Photography

  • Juvenile loons photographed in September by Lillian Cooledge, 1000 Islands Images

    Juvenile loons photographed in September by Lillian Cooledge, 1000 Islands Images

  • Photographed by Dennis McCarthy, Beadles Point

    Photographed by Dennis McCarthy, Beadles Point

  • Photographed by Joseph Meiros, Full Frame Works Photography

    Photographed by Joseph Meiros, Full Frame Works Photography

  • TI Park on Sept. 8.  Photo by Ray Kowalski

    TI Park on Sept. 8. Photo by Ray Kowalski


Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Mike Joyce
Comment by: Mike Joyce ( )
Left at: 8:22 PM Saturday, September 15, 2012
Outstanding photos this month, the Saba Radio story, Chris Brock's new book review ..... another rewarding issue of Thousand Island Life. A summer with perfect weather from beginning to end has somehow evaporated like a mirage. Thanks for working hard to capturing the memories. Like storing up firewood for a long winter, it's nice to know I will now have time to go through and savor each issue at length in the months to come.