Mikel B.Classen

Tahquamenon Morning - Mouth of Tahquamenon River - Chippewa County - Michigan

Welcome to the website of Michigan writer, photographer and managing editor of the U.P. Reader: 

Mikel B. Classen. 
Sault Ste. Marie

          Finally, the summer has begun. The birds are back and the insects are thick. Keep that in mind if you are planning on spending time in the U.P. outdoors. I recently took a trip up the Tahquamenon River from the mouth at Lake Superior to the lower falls. Some of the picture on this page are from that trip as well as a new video that was made by my companion on the trip and fellow author, Steve Lehto. The video is linked below, about halfway down the page. It gives a good feel for what it was like on the trip. This is a section of the mighty Tahquamenon River that few travel and is mostly thick wilderness. Please check out the video and some of the photos from the trip. 

I am currently scheduling appearances throughout northern Michigan for booksignings and discussions about my books. The schedule is listed below and I'm always adding to it, so check back for updates. My next book "Points North" is in production and will see the public soon.

We have produced the third issue of the U.P. Reader and it is on sale now.  Check it out at upreader.org. or you can order it through any bookstore.

To contact me, email: classenmikel@gmail.com

 Lower Tahquamenon Falls - Chippewa County - Michigan

To see more picture like this, check out my flickr page:

To purchase art prints of some of my photographs click on the picture below:


From My
Historic Pictures Collection

Charlotte Kawbawgam - Marquette County - Michigan

Charlotte Kawbawgam who is pictured above is a U.P. Woman in History. This Marquette area Native American changed the rights of Native Americans in a profound way and has become nearly lost in time. I expect few have heard this story. 

Marji-Gesick, a Chippewa chief, was hired in 1845 by Philo Everett to locate valuable iron ore deposits near Ishpeming. The ore was found exposed under an uprooted tree and the Jackson Mining Company was born. He was paid with a certificate of interest entitling him to stock in the company. 

After Marji-Gesick's death, his daughter, Charlotte Kawbawgam, who was married to Charlie Kawbawgam, the new Chippewa Chief, found the certificate. When the Jackson Iron Company refused to recognize her ownership interest, she took the company to court.

The Michigan Supreme Court considered the company's claim that Charlotte Kawbawgam should not be recognized as Marji-Gesick's lawful heir because she had been born to one of the three women to whom her father had been married simultaneously. Polygamy was prohibited under Michigan law, but permitted under tribal laws and customs.

The Court decided that since the marriage was valid under Chippewa law, it must be recognized by Michigan's courts. Charlotte Kawbawgam was declared Marji-Gesick's lawful heir, inheriting his ownership interest in the Jackson Iron Company. This was a landmark Michigan Supreme Court decision acknowledging that tribal laws and customs govern the legal affairs of Native American families.

Charlotte remained married to Charlie for over 50 years and when Charlie died, his grave can be seen at Presque Isle where they lived, Charlotte had become blind.

The story of Marji-Gesick, Charlotte Kawbawgam, and the Jackson Iron Company is immortalized in "Laughing Whitefish," a book authored by former Michigan Supreme Court Justice John Voelker under his pen name, Robert Traver.

If you would like to see more pictures from my historical photograph collection, including past pics from here, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikel_classen/sets/72157630887269582/


On The Road

Mackinac Grille - St. Ignace - Michigan


Video on YouTube of latest adventure.


I'm standing next to the plaque that dedicates the Marquette County Courthouse as a historic site. This is where Theodore Roosevelt came to clear his name in 1913 of a libelous statement made by the editor of the Ishpeming Iron Ore newspaper who had called Roosevelt a drunk in an editorial, a perception that had been following Roosevelt with rumors and gossip of his disorderly and intoxicated behavior. My new book, Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial, published by the History Press, tells the story of this fascinating trial which would forever change the world-wide perception of an American President.


Lake Superior Tales
Teddy Roosevelt and the Marquette Libel Trial
Au Sable Point Lighthouse

June 28 - Sault Ste. Marie - Engineer's Day Bookfest - Island Books & Crafts - 10 - 4

July 10 - Negaunee - Pioneer Days - Negaunee Public Library - 1-3

July 28 - Traverse City - Festival of Pop Culture - Bookbrokers and Kramer's Cafe - Grand Traverse Mall - 12-5

Sept. 19 - Marquette - MCAA Room - Peter White Library - 9-5

Dan McDougall and I at an author signing at Bookbrokers & Kramer's Cafe in the Grand Traverse Mall, Traverse City. You can find all of my books here.

Stories of humor and adventure on the Lake Superior frontier.

Order Your Copy Here

Also available at Amazon, or can be ordered through any bookseller.
E-versions too.

Pirates, thieves, shipwrecks, sexy women, lost gold, and adventures on the Lake Superior frontier await you! In this book, you’ll sail on a ship full of gold, outwit deadly shapeshifters, battle frontier outlaws and even meet the mysterious agent that Andrew Jackson called “the meanest man” he ever knew. Packed with action, adventure, humor, and suspense, this book has something for every reader. Journey to the wilds of the Lake Superior shoreline through ten stories that span the 19th century through present day including “The Wreck of the Marie Jenny,” “The Bigg Man,” “Wolf Killer,” and “Bullets Shine Silver in the Moonlight.”

“It’s clear that Mikel B. Classen knows and loves the Lake Superior area of Michigan and brings it to life in a delightful way. If you want frequent laughs, unusual characters who jump off the page, and the fruit of a highly creative mind, you’ve got to read this little book.”
— Bob Rich, author, Looking Through Water

On the same day Theodore Roosevelt narrowly survived an assassination attempt, his press secretary handed him a newspaper editorial from the Iron Ore, a small town daily located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Its publisher, George Newett, had printed "...Roosevelt lies and curses in a most disgusting way; he gets drunk, too, and that not infrequently, and all his intimates know about it." Tired of having his boisterous personality equated with intoxication, Roosevelt angrily shouted, “Let’s go at him!” and the paper was formally charged with a suit of libel. As the case convened, a cadre of admirals, statesmen and fellow explorers descended on Marquette to testify to T.R.’s unimpeachable personal character in the biggest libel trial of the early Twentieth Century.


History Press

Also on Amazon

Skeleton ship frames surround Au Sable Point, marking a mile-long sandstone reef that reached out into Lake Superior waiting to grab any and all ships that passed by. In an effort to end this tragic loss of lives, the Au Sable Point Lighthouse was constructed to warn mariners of its hidden reef. At the heart of the famed “Shipwreck Coast,” Au Sable Point was a beacon of hope and safety. Mikel B. Classen charts the history of the lighthouse and the dangerous reef that waits six feet under the lake’s surface and serves as the final resting place for so many sailors.


History Press

Also on Amazon
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