A few miles north of the Upper Peninsula town of Hessel is the Rockview Cemetery. Reverend William Hainstock Law is laid to rest in the small township graveyard. In 1852 Law was born in Canada and in his late 20s he traveled to the Upper Peninsula to minister to the Lumberjacks. He settled in the town of Hessel and sailed to the many islands in the Les Cheneaux Islands. During a storm, he was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service and stayed with them for a few days until the storm subsided. He got to know the men and the families living there and vowed he would support them through ministry. He collected books for the keepers along with toys and crafts for their children. Many were isolated from civilization and had little contact with the outside world. The reverend brought much joy and comfort to many keepers and their families. He also worked tirelessly to help pass legislation giving the men pensions after their retirement.
“Sky Pilot” is slang that sailors used for a chaplain. He continued his dedication to the families of the Life Saving Service until his death in 1928. His great-grandson, John Kotzian, wrote a book about Rev. Law titled Sky Pilot of the Great Lakes. It is a well-writen book about both Rev. Law and the hardships early keepers and life saving stations had on the Great Lakes. I think it is out of print but you may still find copies of it at your local book store, library or used copies on Amazon HERE
Although Rev. Law died many years ago, I like to connect with the people and places I write about by visiting their home towns and/or graves. I knew he was laid to rest with some of his relatives in Rockview Cemetery. It is not a large cemetery so I figured I would not have too much trouble finding his grave. I looked all around at the headstones in the cut grass and I could not find it. I noticed in the middle of the cemetery a section of waist-high weeds and bushes and a few headstones hidden in the green foliage. I tromped through the weeds and pulled them back to find a stone with the word LAW chiseled into it. I am not sure why this section was not maintained like the rest of the cemetery, but it seemed sad that someone who did so much for the men who braved the Great Lakes storms has been forgotten.
P.S. If you got a notification for this post earlier but it did not work I had a hiccup with my website. Sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully, everything is working now.
Thank you for Subscribing to Lost In Michigan, If you have not subscribed yet, It would mean a lot to me if you did.