A John Beargrease Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving week, 1896. The North Shore. John Beargrease and his boss, the postmaster of Beaver Bay, take off up the North Shore, in their rowboat.

It’s November, right? A storm blows in. So strong that the postmaster Wegner and Beargrease can’t return to shore. To keep their boat afloat, and to keep themselves from hypothermia, all they can do is row. Against the wind and the waves.

It’s a three-day blow, like usual. So they row, taking turns, for three days. One man rows, the other huddles under a blanket.

As the storm lets up on Thanksgiving day, finally they make it to shore. At the mouth of the Baptism River in today’s Tettegouche State Park. 40 hours of rowing. Seven miles.

The reporter from the Duluth News-Tribune reflected, “It was an experience only the sturdiest of men could survive, and that they did not freeze is undoubtably due to their exertions at the oar.”

Think your Thanksgiving travels were rough?


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One Response

  1. Manisha says:

    Just got back from our week long trip up North. We managed to hike up Oberg Mountain and this year, we actually got to see the spectacular view! We ran into a couple who had a poodle. Was thinking of you and yours the whole time! Although our trip up was a little slick, it was certainly not as rough as that of Beargrease and his boss.

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