Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A refresher - how I do it

Since I am transitioning from stories of the Ultimate Hugh Heward Challenge to stories of LaSalle's 1680 journey across Michigan (and a new Challenge) I think it's a good time to remind blog readers - and inform new readers - how I come to know what I know about LaSalle.

My retirement hobby for 23 years has been "topology," topographic studies of places in relation to their histories. I take a primary source describing someone's travel in and about Michigan centuries ago and - using my extensive topographic map collection, library research, and road reconnaissance - work out their route. Surprisingly in the process I prove (at least to myself) that most authors and history professors got it wrong. I'll expand on this in a later post.

All I or anyone else knows about LaSalle's 1680 walk across the Lower Peninsula is contained in a single letter he wrote to an investor back in France in September of 1680, describing his trek by canoe and foot from Ft Crevecoeur to the Niagara Country. For his walk across Michigan from Ft. Miami to the Detroit River I wrote what I call a narrative monograph, scholarly but not big enough to be a book but more than a booklet. I self publish and distribute mostly to historical libraries.

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