The Christmas Ship

On November 21, 1912, the schooner Rouse Simmons set sail from a small northern Michigan town across Lake Michigan. Affectionately dubbed the “Christmas Tree Ship,” this was an annual trek for the Rouse Simmons. With its cargo of Christmas trees, the ship was bound for Chicago. There Captain Herman Scheunemann would sell the trees for 50 cents or $1.00 and even gave many away to needy families. But in 1912 the schooner never makes its destination. The Rouse Simmons, with all hands and cargo, disappears into the cold waters. The ship’s wreckage is not found until 1971.

Drawing from stories told by her grandfather, author Carol Crane weaves a fictional tale based on the true events of the doomed schooner. And she explains how the captain’s widow went on to continue his tradition of delivering holiday trees to Chicago.

Since my husband is from Michigan, I was immediately interested in getting this book and learning more about the Christmas Ship – so buy it, I did.  (Actually it doesn’t take much to convince me to buy a new book.)


Little did I know there was a musical written about this story!  A double win for me.  Here’s a video from The Mercury Theatre where they performed The Christmas Schooner, a musical about the Christmas ship.   I would love to see this someday…  In the meantime, I have do the book.

The Christmas Schooner (excerpt)

(sorry about the color bars at the beginning..)

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