(Courtesy Photo)

  “It’s a medium-sized gravestone in the Newburg Cemetery but if the tree beside it could talk, a whole family’s history would be revealed,” says Author Elizabeth Wehman regarding the grave of Hosea and Sally Baker. Wehman discovered facts about the Baker family as she poured through local historical books from the Shiawassee District Library. She soon visited the Shiawassee Historical Society to delve more into reported tidbits about the family and also the small community of North Newburg. “What emerged surprised me,” she added.

   On Tuesday, April 14, Wehman launched her first complete historical novel titled, The Year the Stars Fell. The patriarch in her story, Hosea Baker, is noted as one of the first settlers to come into the county with his son, Ambrose, in 1833. He arrived from Pennsylvania and soon found the area to be perfect for farming, especially along the banks of the Shiawassee River. Along with a few fur traders and a handful of business owners, he was noted as the first farming settler to come into the county to build a home, farm the land, make a living, and have his final resting place on the hill just north of his land. “But this wasn’t all Hosea Baker did for the tiny community of North Newburg,” claims Wehman.

   The story depicts the Baker family’s first year in Michigan Territory. “It’s probably not anything like what the year was truly like for the pioneering family. The work was hard, the mosquitoes fierce and the family was surrounded by Indians, wild animals, and disease. Many settlers didn’t survive. Even Hosea and his wife passed away at young ages. I did my best to depict the life as accurately as I could,” Wehman comments.

   This is the fifth novel for Wehman and she wants this book to become a series that will include the history of those who established the community of North Newburg in the county. She is planning on two future books that will follow the story of the Baker family and some of the first settlers to build homes in the tiny village at the corner of Newburg and Bancroft roads. The thriving settlement seemed to dissolve around the late 1800s.

   Wehman’s new book as well as her other novels are available on her website at www.elizabethwehman.com or by contacting her at elizabethwehman@yahoo.com. As soon as businesses open up again, it will also be available at Owosso Books & Beans and at the Durand Union Station. It is also on Amazon.

Local Author Announces New Book was last modified: June 1st, 2020 by Karen Elford