Lives of Mesabi Pioneers to be Highlighted in Author’s Book Tour

Cover FinalThe Iron Range, Minnesota – An Eveleth Man’s dream of telling the story of the Mesabi Pioneers has come true thanks to a little help from his friends in Minnesota, and across the country. A Kickstarter campaign raised the money needed to publish Russell Hill’s historic novel about the men and women who built the Iron Range.

Hill passed away before seeing the historic novel he spent 40 years working on roll off the presses, but thanks to his daughter Cheryl Gordon’s dedication, Mesabi Pioneers (Lempi Publishing, Oct. 2014, $17.95), is now a reality.

Gordon and Jeffrey Smith, the author who finished the manuscript, will tour the State of Minnesota in November, talking about their book. Here is a list of their upcoming events.

Sunday, Oct. 5 – Noon – 2 p.m.
Bookstore at Fitgers
600 East Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802

Monday, Oct. 6 – 7 p.m.
Official Book Launch Event
Virginia Area Historical Society, B’nai Abraham Museum and Cultural Center
328 5th Street South
Virginia, MN 55792

Tuesday, Oct. 7 – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Book World (Detroit Lakes)
815 Washington Avenue
Detroit Lakes, MN 56502

Wednesday, Oct. 8 – 11 a.m – 1 p.m.
Book World
15528 Edgewood Drive
Baxter, MN 56402

Wednesday, Oct. 8 – 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Book World
211 S. Main
Park Rapids, MN 56470

Thursday, Oct 9 – 5pm – 7 pm
Barnes & Noble (Apache Mall)
1201 12th Street SW
Rochester, MN 55902

Friday, Oct. 10 – 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
3001 White Bear Ave N.
Maplewood, MN 55109

Saturday, Oct. 11 – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Twin Cities Book Festival
Minnesota State Fair Grounds

Sunday, Oct. 12 – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Apple Valley
14880 Florence Trail
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Thursday, Oct 16 – 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
2100 N. Snelling Ave
Roseville, MN 55113

Friday, Oct. 17 – 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Barnes & Noble – Miller Hill Mall
1600 Miller Trunk Hwy. #L25
Duluth, MN 55811

Mesabi Pioneers is the story of Arthur Maki, a Finnish immigrant hired in 1891 by the ambitious Merritt brothers to help build a new mining venture in the dense pine woods of northern Minnesota. Leonidas and Alfred Merritt had discovered rich, marketable ore on what would become known as the Mesabi Range. The story begins shortly after the discovery is made. When Arthur arrives on The Range, he faces one challenge after another, including conflict between members of the crew, the harshness of the environment, and an outside world that refuses to believe the ore on the Mesabi is worth anything at all. Despite the challenges, he perseveres. Throughout the novel, readers are treated to an accurate accounting of the life of the pioneers who lived in Northern Minnesota in the late 1800s.

“A lot has been written about the powerful men of those times, like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, but very little about the immigrants who came from all over Europe and Scandinavia to work in the mines,” says Gordon. “Dad wanted them to get the recognition they so greatly deserve.”

Mesabi Pioneers is intended to be the first in a series of books about life on the Iron Range. The second book in the series will be published in 2016.

Mesabi Pioneers is currently available for preorder at the Mesabi Project Store, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble stores.

About the Authors

Dr. Russell Hill was born and raised on Minnesota’s Iron Range. After graduating from Eveleth High School he joined the Navy, and during World War II he served in Naval Intelligence, receiving several prestigious medals for his service. After the War he received his Bachelor of Arts at St. Cloud State Teacher’s College and began a long and successful teaching career. Hill passed away peacefully in 2011, surrounded by his beloved family. He was 85-years-old. After his passing, Hill’s daughter, Cheryl Gordon, spearheaded the effort to get her father’s book published as a tribute to his memory.

Jeffrey Smith, who finished the manuscript, has been writing for as long as he can remember. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas in 1995, and worked various jobs in both managerial and secretarial roles until 2010, when he became a full-time homemaker, stay-at-home parent and writer.

In addition to writing and parenting, Smith is an accomplished distance runner, completing 16 marathons, seven 24-hour relay races, and half-a-dozen ultra-runs, including two 100-mile races. His short fiction has appeared in The Cynic Online Magazine, Every Day Fiction, Halfway Down the Stairs and in eFiction Magazine. He blogs about running, writing and parenting at

To request a review copy of Mesabi Pioneers, or arrange an interview with Jeffrey Smith and/or Cheryl Gordon, contact Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist, at 952-240-2513 or