When Jim Whyte settled outside the slate mining town of Monson, Maine in 1895, people hardly knew what to make of him. Almost 130 years later, people still do not know much about the man who became the “Hermit of Monson.” Join author Jeffrey Ryan at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. as he talks about Whyte and his book “Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte.”
A world traveler that spoke six languages fluently, Whyte came to town with sacks full of money and a fierce desire to keep to himself. And, it was clear from the beginning that Whyte was hiding from something. Even the FBI came to town looking into Whyte and his background. And, no one could figure out how Whyte who lost every penny he had when WWI broke out, amassed another fortune before he died. Based on this true story, “Hermit,” is a semi-fictional story about one man’s quest to discover all he can about Whyte’s secret life before it is too late.
Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., Maine State Historian, writes “Ryan tells an engaging story about a mysterious Maine hermit who lived in the woods of Piscataquis County near the Appalachian Trail. The author takes us back to the mid-20th century in the Maine woods with a descriptive force and a gentle nostalgia that realistically evoke both time and place.”
Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his time in the outdoors, as well as his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, “Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-Year Hike on America’s Trail” was called “a classic of nature and travel writing” by the executive editor of National Geographic.
Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. For more information on the event, contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245.