Lake Erie Pirates: Dodgy Characters at the Cut

May 24th,2023 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Professor/Instructor/Speaker: David Frew, Ph.D.

Lake Erie Pirates: Dodgy Characters at the Cut 


Astonishing as it may seem there was an organized band of pirates on Lake Erie.  They worked the cut (channel) at the base of Long Point from the 1830s until they were finally brought under control in 1868 by Pinkerton operatives from the United States.  Before they were finally stopped, Long Point's pirates had harvested hundreds of thousands of dollars from unwary ships.  The story of Long Point's land-based pirates includes a war that almost happened between the United States and Upper Canada, the formation of the Long Point Company, the system of keepers that continues at Long Point and the eventual development of today's Long Point Biosphere. There are many parallels between the characters who became Long Point pirates and the men who "worked" Presque Isle during the same time period.  


Location: Jefferson Educational Society - 3207 State Street, Erie, PA 16508

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Admission: $10/person or $15 with a guest

Parking: lot behind building, State Street, 33rd Street, 32nd Street, French Street

David Frew, Ph.D.
Scholar-in-Residence, Jefferson Educational Society

Historian and author David Frew, Ph.D., is a JES Scholar-in-Residence. An emeritus professor at Gannon University, he held a variety of administrative positions during a 33-year career. He is also emeritus director of the Erie County Historical Society/Hagen History Center, where he had previously served as Executive Director for five years, and is president of his own management consulting business.


After beginning with a five-year career in engineering, Frew took a teaching fellowship at Kent State University, where he earned a doctorate in Organizational Behavior in 1970. His love of Lake Erie brought him back to Erie where he became a faculty member and the founding director of Gannon's MBA Program. His career at Gannon included administrative posts as Director of the Health Services Administration and Public Administration Programs, as well as Dean of the Graduate School. In 1982 and 1983, he took a leave from Gannon to complete a post-doctorate at Kent State University where he completed advanced coursework in psychology and research design. He was also a visiting professor at Mercyhurst University for four years.


Dr. Frew has authored or co-authored 40 books, most recently “Accidental Parade: A 13,000-Year History of Presque Isle,” and more than 100 articles, cases, and papers. His work has appeared in publications ranging from refereed journals such as The Journal of Applied Psychology to popular magazines such as Sail Magazine and Cruising World.


Growing up on Erie's lower west side as a proud "Bay Rat," Frew was known to join neighborhood kids playing and marauding along the west bayfront. He has written for years about his beloved Presque Isle and his adventures on the Great Lakes. In the “On the Waterfront Series” for the JES, the Scholar-in-Residence takes note of life in and around the water.