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Synopsis

It is 1883 and you are about to plunge into the peak of nineteenth century lumberjack life in northern Wisconsin. Meet sixteen-year-old Tor Loken, whose father owns a remote lumber camp, the Namakagon Timber Company. Join the fight when a sinister lumber baron takes control of the river, threatening the men’s winter wages and the future of the camp. Learn the way of the woodsman from your mentor, Chief Namakagon. This old hermit just may show you the way to his secret silver mine (an actual mine yet to be rediscovered).

Be at the cook shanty table before dawn for breakfast with the men. Then, it’s out into the cuttings where, knee deep in snow, you will help your camp harvest a hundred thousand giant pine logs this season. Hook up the Clydesdales to the water tanker and ice down the trails for the big timber sleighs. Take the train to the city for camp supplies but keep an eye out for cunning charlatans intent on an easy swindle. Spin a yarn or sing along with the other jacks in the bunkhouse. Go to town for a Saturday night of lumberjack merriment but dress warmly; it’s a six hour sleigh ride back to camp at twenty below zero. Come spring, you’ll help drive your camp’s timber down a thundering river, jumping from log to log as they rush downstream. Then it’s time to celebrate. But keep your pocketbook buttoned up when in town; there are bandits and thugs who want to separate you from your generous dollar-a-day wages!

Put on your red wool mackinaw and your calked boots. Grab your peavey or a pike pole. You’re in for a good look at life in the pinery in the 1880s . . . and a twisting, turning, fact-based adventure story that will often leave you breathless.

And the lost silver mine? The legendary lost silver cache of Chief Namakagon will, most likely, be re-discovered one day. It's out there, waiting to be found. This book offers some clues about where to begin your search, although the real treasure may be the rich history of the great timber era.

The Treasure of Namakagon is based on historical facts woven together with fiction. References to the Namekagon River log drives, life in the logging camps, and fraudulent timber sales are based on true events, as is the gun play that resulted from a ploy to charge for timber floated past the dam. The rivers and lakes, the towns and streets are all real. As are the hotels, taverns, depots, and other buildings mentioned. Many historical references help make this tale as close to real life as can be found in a fictional adventure.

Add to that, actual newspaper accounts of Chief Namakagon trading shards of silver for supplies. Although many still search for Chief Namakagon’s secret silver mine, it has yet to be rediscovered. But, perhaps the real treasure is the vast wealth of those forests of giant white pine that, until the 1880s, gave northern Wisconsin its character, its life.

This book will immerse you in Wisconsin’s single, greatest economic event—the post-Civil War harvest of the largest stand of white pine in the world. The timber cache that was estimated to take a thousand years to cut was gone in just fifty. Tens of thousands of lumberjacks descended on the north to harvest the “green gold.” Many northern Wisconsin towns sprang up and boomed into bustling cities full of life, fast money, fortune seekers, loose women, and lumberjacks. Wasteful practices, poor management, and outright greed prevailed.

Most of those boom towns failed soon after the pine was cut, shrinking to impoverished settlements and, in some cases, ghost towns. The great Wisconsin pinery will never return. This adventure is based on the colorful lives of the people who settled this land. It is also based on the history of Chief Namakagon and his legendary lost treasure. This is the setting for this thrilling, fact-filled, fictional adventure, enjoyed by all ages.

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