NORTHPORT – Everybody loves a good story, especially if they can see themselves in it and for one seaside community it’s finding its place in the pages of history.
Linda Letcher penned her first historical account of Northport covering the years 1810 to 1940 over the run of two-and-a half years of research, interviews and collecting historical facts and photos. In May, she felt she could offer a run of 50 copies of the book, largely in part to personal requests for copies from the local area.
She underestimated how many would be interested, however.
“I started with 50 but now I’m up to 265 copies sold, “ Letcher said.
It’s a far cry from making the New York Times bestseller list, but it is a hit with Northport, a community once attached to big business through its port but suffered decline as the age of sail made way to train and truck. Today, the community has new life as cottage country.
“My neighbour’s mother had a lot of the stuff and said if I ever put anything together and turned it into something they wanted a copy. And that was book-one,” Letcher said of her first publication ‘Through The Years.’
It’s an account of the ups and downs of the community as it moves towards the second World War – which, Letcher says, Northport can claim it sent many young men, but only one died in combat. It was among the tragedies she says she found inspiration to dedicate more than two years into creating the retrospective.
“One that had really touched my heart, a woman had told me of a farm, where a family lived on a mud road with their five children. The mother had a twin sister and the family had gotten sick with diphtheria and the twin sister came to help. She and the five children died and all of the bodies had to be wrapped in blankets and handed out the window because no one could leave the home. I felt their story shouldn’t be forgotten. I felt the children’s’ story should be told.”
But not all is tragedy in Through the Years and already Letcher is working on book number-two.
“Everybody has flooded me with photos and stories, it’s almost overwhelming,” Letcher said. “It’s different now, because I have to get permission from some to tell stories about their fathers or ancestors. I find it all fascinating and I’m still gathering photos from folks.”
Letcher says her second book to have special chapters on such things as the Cumberland Telephone Company, the Northport Bridge and Larry Brander, the man the present bridge is named after.
For more information on Letcher’s first book, Through The Years, contact 902-661-4201.