Susan Weston Smith, First Summer People: Thousand Islands 1650-1910

Why would anyone name an  island Deathdealer, Bloodletter, Astounder or Dumbfounder?  Why does the  international boundary zigzag between the United States and Canada? Who  named this region the Thousand Islands? Who were the first explorers,  surveyors, settlers and tourists?

Originally published in 1993, currently republished in softcover

Susan Weston Smith's fascination with the history of the Thousand  Islands led her to libraries, museums and archives, to the homes of  fellow islanders, and eventually to the British Hydrographic Department  in Taunton, England, where, almost accidentally, she happened upon Capt.  William FitzWilliam Owen's original survey map, hand-drawn in 1816.  That map had not been unrolled in more than a century.     There are more than 900  islands reviwed in the book - with the history of their name, a  description of the island at the turn of the century and who were the  first summer people to own the island.  

Smith has a variety of studies of the islands to her credit, including A History of Recreation in the Thousand Islands, and A Photograph Inventory of Historic Sites in the Canadian Sector of the Thousand Islands, both written for Park Canada, St. Lawrence Islands National Park, now known as Thousand Islands National Park. She is also the publisher/editor of the Thousand Islands Life online magazine.

The original book was published in 1993.  A paperback version published 2015 and is now available at:

  • Michael Ringer Studio, Clayton NY.  
  • 1000 Islands History Museum, (formerly known as Arthur Child Heritage Museum) Gananoque, ON.
  • Begger Books, Gananoque, ON.
  • The Tower, Hill Island, Ivy Lea ON.