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Leslie Korenko Books In Order

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Publication Order of Kelley's Island Books

Kelleys Island - 1810-1861 (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1862-1865 (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1866-1871 (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1872-1876 (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1877-1884 (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1885-1893 (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Kelleys Island - 1894 (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Leslie Korenko
Leslie Korenko has written historical columns for the Gazette and Black Swamp Trader and writes the Kelleys Island News column in the Put-in-Bay Gazette. Many of her articles appeared in the Sandusky Register. Her stories detailing the Kelleys Island soldiers during the Civil War were featured in the Ohio Civil War Genealogy Journal.

Leslie made an appearance on the Robin Swoboda TV show “That’s Life”, where she presented a slice of the island’s history (because Robin loves pirate stories), Leslie is active in local history, serving on the Board and as the Secretary of both the Erie county Historical Society and the Kelleys Island Historical Association. She has produced several short videos about the Island’s history which includes two walking tours.

She began researching the dusty records of this small island on Lake Erie, Kelleys Island, after she retired.

When Leslie is not busy sifting through forgotten and dusty documents, she can be found wandering around through many of the Island’s hiking trails with (her husband) and their two dogs.

“Kelleys Island: The courageous, poignant & often quirky lives of island pioneers 1810-1861” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2010. A richly detailed and comprehensive, and surprisingly entertaining history of Kelleys Island, this remote and small island in Lake Erie. Its history is told by the islanders themselves, in their own words gently blended together with narrative text. You’re allowed to read their correspondence and letters written to newspapers, as well as the articles found in this incredible handwritten newspaper: The Islander.

The island today is a resort, however 175 years ago it was still the wilderness. Covering the period of 1810-1861, the book has 328 pages and 160 illustration, and has an extensive bibliography and index.

There are stories about the early squatters that occupied this unsettled, wild, and isolated section of Ohio and first hand accounts of Johnson’s Island prison being built and a visit to the soldiers stationed at Tennessee during the Civil Wars’ early days. It’s a must have for anybody doing genealogy or who’s interested in northwest Ohio’s early history.

“Kelleys Island 1866-1871: The Lodge, Suffrage & Baseball” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2012. The Civil War has ended and life is moving forward on this small island in Lake Erie. Islanders have finally gotten a full-time Doctor, and it’s a woman.

The Independent Order of Island Loafers is still meeting and debating all of the hot topics of the time. The right to Suffrage is debated fully during the winter Lyceum.

The Kelleys Island Wine Co. gets established, which changes the economics of wine making. Baseball takes over the hearts and minds of all the island men.

“Kelleys Island 1872-1876: The hotels, the telegraph, & the Lime Company” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2013. It’s now the 1870s and Islanders are experiencing a golden age economically speaking. Some of the Island’s most historic houses are built and the onetime Kelley home, the Island House, gets bought by Jacob Rush (an Island son) who remodels the small hotel into a 102 room hotel that rivals those that are found in other resort areas. Facilities included: a 150 foot addition, new parlor, new porch, and dining room, an outdoor dancing pavilion overlooking the lake, and a billiard room.

The Island is at last connected to the mainland with a telegraph line being installed and is given the title of Longest Freshwater Sub-marine Cable in the World. The Lodge is the home of the Independent Order of Island Loafers (and the general store, telegraph office and Post Office) and marathon checker games.

The Lodge, with its stove, is the island’s unofficial heart. More than 25 people attended the Centennial Exposition, telling all these stories about their trips. The iron-clad mail boat, which makes the 4.5 mile trip across the ice-bound lake during the winter time, carries freight and passengers, Islanders take advantage of Lake Erie’s pure blue ice and builds these ice houses for storing ice during the summers. Civil War soldiers have a reunion on the Island. One experimental fish hatchery gets established. Among some of these first hand accounts are small stories about German traditions, masked balls, rats, new shoes, candy pulls, and island livestock like the voracious horse known as ‘Old Kate’.

“Kelleys Island 1877-1884: The fire, the Great Grooves, & a mysterious disappearance” is a non-fiction book that was released in 2015. The golden age of the island has been interrupted since some unforeseen events have affected the Island economy. The Island House Hotel, the 102 room hotel that was built only years earlier, caught on fire and burnt to the ground. Jacob Rush was just able to save some of the furniture, which left him deeply in debt and the Island crippled by the lack of hotel rooms. It gives birth to the tiny hotel and cottage business.

The first of the Great Grooves are uncovered. But they are quarried out a short time later, unfortunately, but not before photographers manage to capture their magnificence. Elizabeth Selfe vanished one night, leaving her kids and the whole Island consumed with fears that she had been abducted and murdered. The community dragged Lake Erie waters and demanded county authorities conduct an investigation.

Financial news. Charles Farciot, who was the superintendent of the Kelleys Island Wine Co. for 20 years, left the island to join up with Andrew Wherle Jr. in this new enterprise. But unfortunately, Farciot then took off with more than $100,000 of the firm’s cash, driving Wherle into bankruptcy. Financial issues force the Kelley’s Island Lime Co., the owner of the island’s biggest stone quarry, and many landowners into bankruptcy.

There were a few lighthearted moments as well, like a treasure hunt for gold left from the War of 1812, a puzzle which confounds, and the Island’s first telephone shows up at the store. Glass ball shooting competitions start capturing the attention of Island men and one woman sues her father-in-law for alienating the affections of her husband after her husband sues her for divorce.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Leslie Korenko

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