After my great-great-grandfather returned from the Civil War, laws regarding firearms were passed by many different units of government. Laws in Michigan prohibited the firing of guns in towns. Traverse City Police Chief Blacken had lots of firearms turned in to his office in 1926. Blacken dumped the guns in Grand Traverse Bay, ensuring the public’s safety from dangerous misfires.

This week, under little fanfare, Leelanau County celebrated it’s 150th birthday. That is, on Feb. 27, 1863, the Michigan State Legislature create the county of Leelanau with three townships — Centerville, Glen Arbor and Leelanau. The peninsula that looks like the mitten’s pinky finger had previously been part of Grand Traverse County (along with what is now Benzie County).

Glen Arbor’s Cottage Book Shop will host author Jerry Dennis and illustrator Glenn Wolff (who will have engraving prints on hand) who will sign their book The Windward Shore: Great Lakes in the Winter from 11-2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the Vintage Cottage Holiday Market at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay.

All the hot weather we’ve had led me to re-read the 19th century Boizard letters written during the winter time in Glen Arbor. Exploring how some early white settlers got through the cold, snowy winters here offered an instructive perspective on the heat. I also wanted to continue to mine the letters for references to the Civil War, as the Boizard letters offer many informative first-hand descriptions.

Marietta Boizard, March 2, 1868, visiting Chicago, to Charles Fisher, her future husband, in Glen Arbor: “I have received Five very Pretty Valentines this year, but not one of them came from Glen Arbor.”

Frank P. Slaughter, author of Echoes of Distant Thunder, will be signing copies of his book at the Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor on Saturday, July 23, from 1–3 p.m. Echoes of Distant Thunder is a compelling historical drama vividly portraying Michigan’s rich history, landscape and participation in the Civil War. Slaughter, a re-enactor with Battery D First Michigan Light Artillery, brings stark realism to the battle scenes with his knowledge of Civil War tactics and munitions.

In this article I will continue to examine life during the Civil War through the first-hand accounts found in the fascinating Boizard letters, written between 1855-1888, and found in an old house in Glen Arbor. My focus here is on the letters written to and from Mr. John Oliver Boizard, who lived in Chicago from 1864 until his death in 1870, while his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Marietta, lived in the woods across from the northern shore of Fisher Lake.

Reading Mrs. Boizard’s mail served as a window through which I could look for glimpses of the thoughts, activities, relationships, commerce and struggles of people living in Glen Arbor just as the town became established in 1856. What we are shown when reading the Boizard letters is how some families lived and loved and partied and struggled 150 years ago in the very town we all love and visit or live in now. We also get a sense of how some things haven’t changed all that much in 150 years.

On Friday, May 6 at the Glen Arbor Township Hall, the Empire Area Heritage Group will present “The Boizard Letters” at 7 p.m. A half-hour video presentation will feature recollections of Julia Dickinson and Joan Bolton, who found over 100 letters written before, during and after the Civil War between a husband in the service, and his wife who stayed behind in Glen Arbor to fare for herself and her small child.