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Hannawa Falls author signing copies of her book on Saturday

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WINTHROP - A mother and daughter teamed up for a joint book-writing adventure that chronicles the journeys of the daughter’s grandfather.

Judy Brassard worked with her mother, Dorothy Baxter Arquette, on “Beyond Trail’s End,” a 164-page book that Ms. Brassard will be selling and signing copies of Saturday at Elliott’s Farm & Home Supply in Winthrop.

“This is a joint venture by my mother and I. We grew up listening to my grandfather’s stories, my mom’s dad. We grew up listening to his adventures and how he survived. It’s not an every day story for sure,” Ms. Brassard said.

“We did it for the family, to preserve grandpa’s life and stories. So many of our family are so grateful and so happy we did it. We’ve gotten a lot of nice compliments on it,” she said.

She said her grandfather’s stories were so enthralling that they wanted to get them in writing.

“As a young man he went west on a train. He went as far as the train could take him at the time. Getting off there, he worked the wheat fields and he worked on ranches in Montana,” according to Ms. Brassard, who lives in Hannawa Falls.

Her grandfather, Delbert Baxter, then worked his way up to Alberta and settled his homestead on the prairies, she said. He worked in logging camps in the Canadian Rockies during the winter.

“After a few years he gave it up,” Ms. Brassard said.

He later ended up in British Columbia, where he lived for a couple of years, she said.

The synopsis of the book at Amazon.com, where the book is also available for purchase, describes it this way:

“In the early 20th century, a young man left his northeastern farm in search of a new beginning. With a few possessions and a one-way ticket, Delbert Baxter rode as far west as the train could take him. As he reached the end of the line, Baxter began an unforgettable adventure that would lead him through Montana, Canada, the Rocky Mountains, and eventually to Northern British Columbia. This is the heartwarming story of a true wilderness survivor, homesteader and mountain man.

“In Beyond Trail’s End, Dorothy Baxter Arquette and Judy Arquette Brassard chronicle their ancestor’s fascinating journey as he set out on the adventure of a lifetime. After working for nine years on ranches in Montana and logging camps in the Rocky Mountains and later settling a homestead on the prairie in Alberta, Baxter eventually lands in British Columbia, where he becomes a fur trapper and trader in Peace River County. As he hunts, fishes, and lives off the land, Baxter learns how to survive in the desolate wilderness.”

“My mom’s idea was let’s put grandpa’s story down in the book. She could remember them better than anyone else. I’ve always loved to write. I’ve had a few things published. She was sure we could do it,” Ms. Brassard said.

She said it took a few years, but the book was finally published a couple of years ago.

“We probably started it around 2009 or in that area. I had to do a lot of research because my grandfather, who lived to be 99 1/2, passed away in 1996. He wasn’t around to ask all these questions we needed to ask,” she said.

That’s where her mother, who was born on a farm in Knapps Station, helped move the book along.

“Mom wrote down the stories as she remembers him telling them. I would take one story and work on that and make it into a chapter for the book. I would go over with her and we would work back and forth. We’d ask, ‘Do you think this is how it went?’ My research really helped us decide how it might have happened. We knew the basic story, how he got from one point to another,” Ms. Brassard said.

It’s not the first time the two women have delved into writing. Ms. Brassard published a book called “Thoughts of Long Ago,” containing her mother’s writings.

“I did a small book about my mom. She was writing out her little stories of her growing up in the 20s and 30s at Knapps Station, different little tidbits about being on the farm after she got married. I put those stories together for her in a little book. She didn’t know about it. I had it published and gave it to her as a Christmas gift,” she said, noting that signed copies of that book would also be available Saturday.

“That went over really well with all the local people. The schools had picked it up. Norwood-Norfolk Central School and Potsdam fourth graders are now reading it. The kids just love the stories because they can relate to local history,” Ms. Brassard said.

“People tell me when they read the book, ‘We should do that in my family and more people should do it.’ I say, ‘You absolutely should just start writing,’” she said.

Ms. Brassard will be at Elliott’s Farm & Home Supply in Winthrop from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday as part of a Seed Swap. Customers can purchase “Beyond Trail’s End” there and have it personally signed, as well copies of “Thoughts of Long Ago,” which have already been signed by her mother.

It’s also available for purchase at Ms. Brassard’s Three Falls Antiques in South Colton, as well as through Amazon.

“They can get it in ebook,” she said.

Copies can also be obtained by contacting Ms. Brassard at home, 265-2566.

She said this likely isn’t her final book.

“I do want to write more books. People keep asking me that. I have so many more stories I could write down. I just haven’t had time,” she said.

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