They say she drowned in Lake Fannie Hooe. They say a bear left behind only a spilt basket of blueberries. They say a lot about a woman who returned to Virginia to live a full life after time spent at the remote wilderness Fort Wilkins in 1845.
Writers imagined between and beyond the facts of the real-life character of Fannie Hooe whose legend and name remains upon a lake at the far reaches of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
The following is based on July 19, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Fannie Hooe.
INTRO TO FORT WILKINS by Charli Mills
1844: Fort Wilkins stands to protect the copper. A young nation encroaching further west, the Michigan wilderness known to the fur traders and voyageurs, marks a lucrative spot on territorial maps. From the decks of sea-faring, Great Lakes mariners can trace veins of copper rich ore to the shoreline of the Keweenaw Peninsula. At its tip where land juts into lake like a bent finger, the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Company stakes its claim. The garrison of soldiers with memories of the War of 1812 forge a fort. Peaceful as a Sunday picnic. No one badgers the copper miners.
PART I (10-minute read)
Fanny Hooe, Oh Fanny Hooe by Chelsea Owens
She came from The Virginias and she settled in our town.
Her eyes sparked just like agates and her hair was copper brown.
Fanny Hooe, oh Fanny Hooe
Where oh where, did you go?
She settled at Fort Wilkins, to help her sister’s child.
She settled in the soldiers’ hearts whene’er they caught her smile.
Fanny Hooe, oh Fanny Hooe
Where oh where, did you go?
One night they sought young Fanny but found she had gone away.
The soldiers mourned her memory and call her still today.
Fanny Hooe, oh Fanny Hooe
Where oh where, did you go?
Where Did You Say She Went? by floridaborne
“Breathe,” Fannie whispered, staring at a man six feet tall. Shiny leather boots … broad chest decorated by rows of buttons, she desired … needed …
With a charming smile and a nod, he said, “Howdy, ma’am.”
“Pray, tell me your name?”
His smile gleamed at her. “General Al Eyeon. And you?”
“Miss Fannie Howe,” she said coyly. “What brings you to Fort Wilkins?”
“Want to see my ship?”
At lake’s edge, he lifted her into his arms and jumped through a door she couldn’t see. Fannie loved his starship’s interior. He appreciated the taste of succulent meat.
Truth or Fiction: Will the Real Fannie Hooe Please Stand Up by Norah Colvin
Contestant 1: I am Fannie Hooe. My pregnant sister was an excuse to escape my abusive husband. After the baby’s birth, I ‘disappeared’, started a new life in Canada, and never remarried.
Contestant 2: I am Fannie Hooe. While visiting my sister, I was abducted by miners and forced to be their slave. When I escaped, I was so disfigured, I wanted no one to see.
Contestant 3: I am Fannie Hooe. I was pregnant, unmarried, and begged my sister to hide me. She refused and banished me. I started a new life in Virginia as a widowed mother.
Fanny-tastic Names by Ritu Bhathal
“I’m trying to find Fanny Hooe.”
“Yes, Fanny Hooe.”
“Right… Fanny who?”
“Look, I need the surname for the announcement, mate. So, Fanny who?”
“Listen mate, it’s bad enough her grandma insisted on naming her Fanny. Stop taking the mick with it. Her name is Fanny Hooe. As in H – O – O – E.”
“Okay. Calling out for Fanny Hooe. That’s Fanny Hooe, as in H – O – O – E. Fanny Hooe please come to the service desk. Fanny Hooe!”
“You know they all call me Fran here, not Fanny… Now I’ll never live it down!”
Straight From The Horses Mouth by Teresa Grabs
The Riley County Ladies Reading Circle met every Tuesday night at Lois’ house, mainly because she had the largest parlor in the county, and made mighty fine fresh sourdough bread on Tuesday mornings. The meetings were more talking than reading, and tonight’s tattling stirred up old stories of poor old Fannie Hooe, who disappeared near here.
“I heard she went out west and a buffalo killed her,” Evelyn said.
“Oh, fiddlesticks,” Lois said. “Everyone knows she drowned in the river.”
“I reckon she just stayed, opened a boarding house, and got married,” Frances said.
Everyone laughed, shaking their head.
A Sister’s Sobriquet by JulesPaige
Fannie Hooe, her
Sister’s helper – was never
“They say” Lucy Frances’ disappearance was due to bear, drowning or murder. So they named a lake after her… in Michigan. I wonder if she knew…
…a memoir letter…
“I was thirty seven when I went to visit my sister and help her birth her child at Fort Wilkens. I told Richardetta I couldn’t stay long. I had my own beau waiting for me back in Virginia. And his name was Mr. Chester Bailey White. Our brother Thornton thought I’d be a spinster. I wed Chester in 1949.”
Hiding on the Inside by Paula Moyer
“Who’s my Fannie Hooe?” Jean asked herself after hearing the UP story. “Who’s my lost girl who’s never found?” Of course, it was herself.
Jean was never missing – not for that long, anyway. She hid in plain sight, though. Went through the motions, learned the rules of the party games. But inside, she was somewhere else: riding a magic carpet, soaring like a bat through hidden caves, gliding down a promenade staircase in high heels – never tripping.
Let the birthday girl’s mom spin her. Around and around. Jean would be dizzy, stumble, blindfolded, toward the donkey. Inside? Somewhere else.
Honey, Don’t Pull a Fannie on Me by Neel Anil Panicker
“How do I know you’ll not do a Fannie Hooe on me?”
Richard looked at his beau from across the window.
Overcome with emotion, he leaned forward and held Janet’s hands.
Her fingers had turned moist, just as her eyes.
“I meant don’t do the disappearing act just like Fannie did eons ago.”
The train’s giant wheels were already trudging forward.
As Richard’s hands slipped out of her fingers his parting words were, “Listen, I know not who or what this Fannie thing’s all about. All I know is we’re going to get married in six months.”
The Lesser Sister by Nillu Nasser
They say she had hair like spun hay and her pretty soprano voice soothed the most wretched heart. They say the touch of her lips fell like satin on the roughest cheek, and old crones wept when they looked upon her, in mourning for their lost youth.
But I know her legend to be a lie.
Always the lesser sister, the one who hooted at others’ misfortune, interested only in men’s purses, not their hearts. That lake was the making of Fanny Hooe. When she emerged from it, her sins had been washed away.
She finally found new life.
Fanny Hooe by Anita Dawes
Last day of our holiday Dad said he’d like to drive to Lake Fanny Hooe.
After an hour’s drive, Tommy was still giggling about the name.
The lake was stunning, the bridge even more so.
Dad was here for the legend about the five kids who drowned after daring to jump from the bridge. Dad snapped away, hoping to catch a shot of them. Thing is he was missing the beauty.
The grape design on the bridge was so beautiful.
Tommy slipped his hand in mine. ‘I can hear them, Alice. They’re laughing as they jump from the bridge.’
A Daughter’s Love by Anurag Bakhshi
All I remember is my name — Fannie Hooe.
And that I’m looking for my Daddy.
Mommy told me that he was a soldier at Fort Wilkins, and I would recognize him if I ever met him.
I’ve met so many soldiers till now, but none of them is my Daddy.
I see another soldier walking past. He seems to be of just the right age.
“Daddyyyyy…” I call out to him.
He turns, starts walking towards me.
Now I just need to wait for him to drown in my waters before I can be sure if he’s my Daddy.
The Legend of Makwa-ikwe by Colleen Chesebro
They say Fannie Hooe drowned, but my daddy told me a different story. He said she didn’t drown, she transformed. After a bear mauled her and rolled her carcass down the hill to the beach to die, the Chippewa found her.
The Indians nursed her back to health. Daddy said she was deformed after the bear attack. The Indians didn’t care. To them, she was Bear Woman, *Makwa Ikwe.
Fannie fully integrated into their native society and became a powerful shaman. Her magic was very strong. I know, because she healed me, and I lived to tell this story.
Fannie Hooe by Frank Hubeny
Fannie disappeared and they searched for her around the lake. Jake went missing as well, but he often went missing. He would pop up again later. No one cared.
Fannie was someone special. She smiled at you and made you glad you were alive.
They searched for days until her sister told her good neighbors to stop. She declared that Fannie was gone.
She never returned except as mythic remembrance. It took them over two months to wonder why Jake hadn’t turned up either. Fannie’s sister suspected why but she let her silence give them a chance to escape.
Hiding by D. Avery
“They say.” The old woman rocked forward and hocked one off the front porch. “They say old women shouldn’t chew,” she cackled. “It’s unseemly. They say.”
She directed her sharp eyes at the young woman sitting on the step. “They say all number of things, made up things, hurtful things, say them as cowards, after you’ve turned your back on them. They can’t take a turned back; makes them wonder about themselves.”
“Great Aunt Fannie, they say you disappeared.”
Phwoot! She hocked another into the tall weeds. “Yes, they’ve always said that. Because they can’t explain me being here.”
Lingering by Miriam Hurdle
“It’s a perfect day to walk in the wood, Dan.”
“Yes, good that you walk with me, Sally.”
“We can pick some blueberries.”
“Lovely ideas. You like making blueberries muffins, I like to eat.”
“Oh, look. A lady walking by herself.”
“She looks frantic, she must be lost.”
“Let’s find out.”
“Humm… She disappeared.”
“Oh, Dan, it was Fannie Hooe. Some people saw her. She’s still finding her way out of the wood.”
“I thought she returned to the family home in Virginia.”
“See that white house down the hill? She lived there. The light goes on and off.”
Tiny Fannie by Ashley Oh
Fannie tumbled downstairs to the same blueberry pancakes she’d eaten for forever because of the overproducing blueberry bush outside her house.
To change her breakfast fate, Fannie headed out to a nearby a lake, where her nose led her: a bush. Finding a pink, round berry, she picked it in curiosity and ate it. Suddenly, the sweetest, magical taste filled her mouth. Grabbing some more, she walked in, when suddenly, her body tingled head to toe.
Her grandma call out, “Fannie Hooe!”, and she frantically waved her hands, so she would notice her, but she just passed her by.
In The Shadow of Fannie Hooe by Geoff Le Pard
‘You know sweet FA, Logon.’
‘You know what FA means?’
‘FA? Eff All.’
‘Nope, it’s Fanny Adams, an eight year old murdered and dismembered in the 1860s.’
‘You’re a mine of irrelevancies. Why’s a dead girl come to mean Eff All?’
‘Navy slang. A euphemism. Navy introduced tinned meat. Sailors loathed it and said it must be the dead girl. Sweet Fanny Adams became sweet FA which then became another way of saying eff all.’
‘Like that Hungarian director… he said, ‘you think I know f**k nothing when I really know f**k all.’
‘You always lower the tone, Morgan.’
Fannie Hooe by TNKerr
Grandma pointed at the faces in the photo one by one.
“That’s Bea, she was my mother. These here are her sisters; Beryl, Fannie, and Clint. Bea became an oilman’s wife and your great-grandma. Clint ran the ranch for as long as she could. Beryl taught at the schoolhouse. She was a teacher of mine when I was young, and Fannie – well Fannie disappeared up north. Some say she was a spy or an assassin. That her life caught up with her, others say she was a gambler; killed in a poker game at a saloon in Kewenaw.”
The Fanny Bay Butt, What If, Talks: Sponsored by the Fanny Bay Hysterical Society by Bill Engleson
“I bet they do,” she interrupts.
“As I was saying…they say a woman by the name of Fanny Hooe boarded a freighter in San Francisco sometime in the early 1920’s, disembarked at Victoria…and then took the train up Island to Fanny Bay.”
“So, our little Piglet was named after her?”
“Hamlet. Not Piglet.”
“Forgive me. Was it?”
“Named after her? No. The source of the name, Fanny Bay is murky. Nevertheless, most authorities agree that our…little community…was named long before she arrived.”
‘Did she stay?”
“No. Two days after arriving, she disappeared.”
“Not a trace.”
In Every Rumor by Sascha Darlington
Every rumor holds an inkling of truth. Or so they say.
I never intended to stay in Fort Wilkins. Once my sister had her baby, I’d return to Virginia and the life Jonas and I planned along the Potomac River.
“Miss Fanny, I wish you’d reconsider,” Frederick said.
“I’d loathe these Michigan winters,” I said, attempting to ease my way out.
“I would see to your every comfort.”
While pleasant on the surface, Frederick possessed a darkness I’d seen in men before, a ruthless persistence, which would not end well.
Only my sister knew the truth of my disappearance.
PART II (10-minute read)
Who? By Ann Edall-Robson
I’m looking for information on Fannie Hooe.
Fannie who did what?
No, Fannie Hooe.
Like I said, Fannie who did what?
No, no! Her name was Fannie Hooe.
Round in circles we’re going on this one. Again, I ask, Fannie who did what? Unless you are willing to share more information than her first name, I can’t help you in your search for this person.
All I know is the name, Fannie Hooe.
Sorry, can’t help you.
Wait, you must, she was related to my grandpa’s wife and I need to find her.
What was her name?
Lucy Frances by D. Avery
The summer of ’44? That’s when I visited my brother and my sister out in that God forsaken place. Their eyes shone like copper when they spoke of the Kewenaw, but I couldn’t wait to leave. The summer bugs were fiercer than the bears and wolves. Can you just imagine the winters up there?
I had enough of wilderness, and I had enough of my brother and sister who insisted on calling me, a grown woman of seventeen years, by my childhood appellation.
Let them go west and keep going. I returned East to civilization, happily became Mrs. White.
Grandma Fannie by Charli Mills
Grandma Sarah rocked with restraint as we drank mint water over chipped ice, a luxury in 1870s Virginia, especially after the War. Grandpa Hooe was a Union officer, commissioned in the wilds of Michigan. Grandma told stories about how they met at Fort Wilkins the year she stayed with her sister. She told me how her nickname was the same as mine – Fannie.
“My bonnet blew off, and your grandfather swore he was bedazzled by the sun on my blond hair.”
All the men from the garrison courted her, but she left the wilds with Grandpa as Fannie Hooe.
History’s Full Circle by H.R.R. Gorman
Fannie patted off the birthing fluids with clean linen and magically peered into the boy’s eyes. She shivered and examined his future. This boy, born in a fort, was destined soon to die in a fort.
She handed the child to his mother and ran out into the woods. She cried, “Why bring this boy into the world for such suffering?”
The entire company of the fort looked for her, but she returned at her own pace.
She moved to Virginia where her vision directed. In twenty years, Fannie Hooe comforted a dying young man in a Union fort.
Fannie Hooe by oneletterup
“Let them think I’m out picking blueberries!”
Fannie’s mind raced as she ran through the woods; not noticing her long dress catching on low branches. Leaving a fabric trail.
“Fannie this Fannie that. Do they think I’m just a servant? I’m mighty tired of taking care of everyone.” She dreaded going back to Virginia. And she loved it here near Fort Wilkins. Beautiful and calm.
“The lake! There it is!” She smiled. Sweat dripped from her face.
Thornton must be looking for her, but she didn’t care.
It was so hot and the water was so close.
The Hero’s Wife by Anne Goodwin
They hailed him a hero, she called him a fool. Someone had to save the kid, he said.
Maybe, but why you?
She couldn’t look at him at dinner. Couldn’t eat. Couldn’t watch the evening news, took herself to bed. But even with her eyes screwed tight, she saw him, grinning, dripping lake water on the shore.
Later, he found her, let her cry in his arms. I’m sorry, he said, I didn’t think. Dived right in.
Why should he think? He never met her father, the hero dead before her teens.
Rescuing a girl from drowning. Fannie Hooe.
Fannie’s New Family by Di @ pensitivity101
Fannie’s game of hide’n’seek had gone sour, and now she was alone in the dark having fallen asleep in her hiding place.
She heard breathing behind her, and turned to see a wolf looking at her quizzically.
She reached out her hand to stroke it, and the animal backed off slightly, but didn’t run away.
She started to shiver, and the wolf came closer, lying down beside her and wrapping her in its warmth. Fannie wasn’t afraid, and curled up against its belly, falling asleep again almost immediately.
When she awoke, she was somewhere else, but she didn’t mind.
Fanny Who? by Anisha Jain
All of them call the old Japanese woman by the lake crazy. But she’s the only one who knows the truth.
They say Fannie Hooe was the daughter in law of an officer at Fort Wilkins who disappeared mysteriously, either eaten by a bear or abducted by a tribal.
But only she knows the truth. Fannie was a Jorogumo — a shape-shifting spider from Japanese folklore, who’d turn into a seductress and lure young men to the lake, playing her flute before drowning and dining on them.
No one believes the old Japanese woman, who used to be her teacher.
Frannie’s Disappearance by Nancy Brady
Frannie Hooe disappeared one starry night. What happened to her was pure conjecture, and yet only Tillie knew the real story behind her disappearance. First off, it must be stated that Frannie was an adventurous young woman. Most people weren’t aware of her wild proclivities; frankly, they considered her a mouse—meek, mild, and well mannered. A real milquetoast, but that wasn’t the case at all. Her imagination took her everywhere. Paris to Marrakesh to Rio to London to Singapore and beyond, she traveled the world in her dreams. Until the night, while stargazing, she was abducted by aliens.
The Wrong Choice by Robbie Cheadle
She was born with a caul. Her mother carefully removed it, dried it and gave it to her brother, a sailor, before he set sail for the Caribbean.
“Take this,” she said, “it will keep you safe from drowning.” The young man appreciated her thought and tucked the wrinkled brown piece of skin into his Bible.
How was Fannie’s mother to know that she was the one who needed the caul. She was the one who would set off on an adventure and be lost in the cold, blue water of the lake. The lake was named after her.
“Ariel’s Island: Prologue” by Saifun Hassam
Clouds turned deep indigo in the fading light of the setting sun. The last slivers of sunlight shot up through pinholes in the towering cumulus clouds.
Fannie Hooe was aboard the passenger ship The Rosalinda, sailing from the Carolinas to Bermuda. As a novelist and poet she was entranced by the intensifying storm. But the ship’s officers had ordered everyone to remain in their cabins.
Gale force winds buffeted the ship. As darkness descended, a thunderous boom echoed through The Rosalinda, churning in surging, seething waves. In the next instant, Fannie and the ship sank deeper into the ocean.
Selkie Mom by Wallie and Friend
Annie always wondered why great-grandmother never insisted on the truth. She wondered why the old woman allowed the legend to persist, when the twists to the story were often so lurid.
Then one day as she sat listening to her husband talk to their little daughter, she realized.
“And that’s how I met your mother,” he said. “I told the selkie king I couldn’t live without her. And he saw that it was true. That coat in the closet there, that’s her selkie coat.”
Annie listened to the little girl’s awe. And for the first time, she understood great-grandmother.
The Talisman by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She held the rock to her lips. Copper and silver shone where her fingers caressed.
For a moment, Gichi-gami rolls beneath this secure Virginia town. A birchbark canoe glides through a long inner lake, a steady plash of paddles dip into dark water. Her strong shoulders stretch in delicious ache of the final reach and scrape to rocky shore.
Two friends part, a talisman given. What had she gifted her?
“Mama! Come tuck us in.”
“Fannie! Where are my silver cufflinks?”
Slipping the stone into her pocket–all her dresses had pockets—she turned away from the gaslit street.
Fannie Who by kate @ aroused
The child was born with a lisp so we kindly indulged his impediment by copying his adaptions. R’s and w’s were particularly difficult to pronounce so Muriel became Mooel, Frances became Fannie, and Howe became Hooe.
He’d quickly become attached to Fannie who was a plain but pleasant young lady visiting her sister in Kenenaw before she gave birth. So when Fannie went missing the child could be heard wailing Fannie Hooe, Fanny Hooe.
But Molly, the wise one, had watched the rapport build between Fannie and the local chief’s son. Unacceptable to either race she had silently vanished.
Legend or Truth by Susan Sleggs
“Dad’s taking us to Fannie Hooe Lake in upper Michigan for a week this summer. He wants to visit Fort Wilkins. Says that he had a relative stationed there years ago.”
“That should be interesting. I wonder how the lake got a ladies name.”
“Legend is she drowned in it, but Dad’s family story is she ran off with a gambler. She was so wild her parents were thankful so they gave her dowry money to the town fathers who had to agree to never tell the truth. The money was used to build store-front board walks.”
Paparazzi by Reena Saxena
Fannie Hooe came and disappeared in a flash, leaving tales behind.
The paparazzi failed to notice that her sister’s child was not seen after that. Her sister was a single woman, and soon left town, but nobody enquired about the father.
In fact, it should have been about the mother of her child. Fannie Hooe was a celebrity, and her sister had agreed for surrogacy. They had planned to be as discreet as possible, but Fannie’s fame followed her.
Now, the media says that a look-alike had visited the old, dilapidated township to get photographed and create a flutter.
Fannie Hooe: Michigan Auto Workers by Peregrine Arc
“We gonna get some overtime, you think?” Earl asked, pulling on his coat.
“Only if they can pay us for it. Otherwise–could be lean times!” a second worker proclaimed.
“We survived the recession, right?” Earl insisted. “It can’t be that bad. What do you think, Fannie? You’ve been here longer than any of us.”
“I’ve seen Michigan get through harder times yet,” Fannie said. “But right now, we’ve all got warm homes to get to. Let’s go!”
Any Who by D. Avery
“Hoo-wee, Pal, Shorty’s give us a tough one.”
“Fannie Hooe. How’m I ta write ‘bout this Fannie?”
“Yer writin’ ‘bout yer fanny?”
“Hooe! Fannie Hooe!”
“Jeez, Kid, yer practic’ly yodelin’. Is it a hootenanny yer writin’ ‘bout?”
“No! Fannie Hooe. An historical figure up there in Copper Country, so they say.”
“An’ I figger yer hysterical, Kid. Jist spin a story.”
“Any clues ‘bout Fannie Hooe?”
“Well, if’n they named a lake after her she musta made quite an impression.”
“I hear tell she brought smoked bacon ta Copper Country.”
“Ya don’t say.”
Certainly a lot of options as to what happened to poor old Fannie eh!!!
Fannie Hooe never lived it down and had multiple lives! ;-0
Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.
Thanks for sharing!
What a great variety of Fannie stories in this collection. The cleverness of this writing community amazes me. Thanks for letting me be a small part of it. ~nan
Thanks for contributing to the literary community, Nan! The collection is my favorite part each week because of all the different and creative perspectives.
A pirate’s treasure chest of sparkling and somber jewels! <3 <3
If Fannie were a pirate on the high Superior seas, she’d have had treasure as rich as this collection!
Proof positive that the woman’s mystery lives on, beyond fact and in the realm of (our) dreams!
Wow, these are great!
This is definitely a standout collection! Thanks, Pete!
It is quite amazing, Charli, what this topic has managed to bring out in the group. Brilliant.
Such a strange topic but terrific results! Thanks, Robbie!
Every one is terrific.
Fannie had many fine lives!
She really did!
A wonderful collection. It’s great to see the inter-weaving of plausible fiction with possible fact. There’s a nice mix of reality fiction, ghost stories and sci-fi along with more historical non-fiction. Both the diversity in and repetition of some themes adds interest to the collection.
That’s why I enjoy historical fiction, Norah — for filling the gaps in between the fact. Good point that the repetition also adds to the collection as much as the diversity. I liked how this worked out even though it’s one woman with 40+ possible lives!
I’d like an opportunity to try a few parallel lives. 🙂