Friday, June 19, 2015

Don't forget this Sunday's Unveiling of New Book on Black River Shipbuilding Family

At a time when Lorain seems to have lost all connections with its nautical past, along comes a book that celebrates and documents the history of a local pioneering shipbuilding family from the days when the city was known as Mouth of the Black River.

The graceful barkentine Zack Chandler, built by 
James Monroe Jones at his Detroit Shipyard in 1867.
Courtesy Great Lakes Historical Society 
The title of the book – and it's a mouthful – is The Great Lakes Vessels of Augustus Jones and his Shipbuilding Sons William, Benjamin Buel, George Washington, Frederick Nelson and James Monroe from 1818 to 1881. The book is a collaborative effort that was written and compiled by James H. Jones, a descendant of Augustus Jones, and historians Matthew Weisman of Elyria, and ex-Lorainite Paula Shorf of San Francisco.

As a flyer provided to me by the authors noted, "Augustus Jones settled at the Mouth of the Black River in 1818 with his family from Essex, Connecticut. This new book helps tell the fabulous story of Augustus and his five sons and the vessels they built all over the Great Lakes."

(You might remember that Matthew Weisman and Paul Shorf previously collaborated on the book Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter.)

An inaugural book signing and reception will be held this Sunday, June 21 from noon to 4:00 pm at the Jackalope Lakeside restaurant at 301 Lakeside Avenue in Lorain. The authors will be available to sign books and there will be a display of photos and other early Black River shipbuilding memorabilia. There will also be light refreshments.

Richard Payerchin of the Morning Journal wrote a great article about the book, which include an interview with Matthew Weisman. You can read it online here.

So why did August Jones move to Mouth of the Black River and launch a shipbuilding industry here? Matt Weisman theorizes that it was because Jones' vessels and shipyard in Essex, Connecticut were burned to the ground during a British raid that took place during the War of 1812.

You can learn more about the raid in this video.


Wireless.Phil said...

I think if you go down by the coast guard station and look at the plaque on the big rock (if they haven't taken it for scrap), I think it says "Mouth of Black River", no the in the name.

Its been years since I've seen it, but you might want to look?

Susannah7 said...

Does anyone know how I can purchase this book?