About one hundred years ago on Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, a family of five was marooned on a small island for three weeks, left to subsist on cranberries, fish and the wild game Harry Murray was able to shoot.
According to a front page story in the Oct. 24, 1921, edition of the News Tribune, Murray and family were hired by a cranberry buyer to pick berries on Iroquois Island. When the buyer returned to shore, creditors seized his property — including his freshly used boat.
The buyer made no mention of the family he had just dropped off on the island.
A fisherman eventually saw a bonfire on the 6-acre mass off the southeast shore of Lake Superior and went to investigate. He called the Coast Guard, which brought a rescue boat.
“Most of their discomforts were caused by exposure,” according to the News Tribune, “there being no shelter other than the rude hut Murray built, with the temperature falling below the freezing point.”
Iroquois Island is in Bay Mills Township, Chippewa County, Michigan.
Christa Lawler is a features reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.