For those who are familiar with Beaver Island, you may or may not have visited. If you have, you might have stumbled across Protar’s Tomb. If not, you may have heard or read about it. For the curious, why is there a tomb on the island and who was this ‘Protar’?

The person in question was Feodar Protar, who lived on the island from 1893 until his death in 1925.

In 1838, he was born Feodor Parrot in Russia. In 1874, due to restrictions and threats from the government on anyone reading or speaking the German language, Feodor split for the United States. Once in America, it’s believed he changed his last name to ‘Protar’.

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Feodor was 36 when he landed in the U.S. and in 1882 purchased and began operating a German-language newspaper in Illinois. When he needed a break, he would travel to Beaver Island for some R&R.

According to Restless Viking, Feodor fell in love with the serenity and seclusion of the island, and moved there permanently in 1893. Now 55 years old, he was thirsting for a natural, spiritual life that had more meaning than superficiality. Feodor was wise in the ways of natural medicines and remedies, and islanders would trek down the trail to Feodor’s secluded cabin in search of some healing and/or medicinal help. Although Protar was not a licensed or professional by any means, he was still the one to go to for help..…over time, he was often referred to as “doctor” and “the Saint of Beaver Island”.

He also taught the isolated island population how to can, dry, preserve, salt, and smoke meat and their crops. Once the tough winters hit the island, they were given handmade mittens and gloves, provided by Feodor.

Protar died on March 4, 1925 at the age of 87. The islanders honored him with a tomb and plaque not far from his log cabin. Protar’s cabin is now a museum, sitting along Sloptown Road, and Protar’s Tomb is just a little ways west on Protar’s Tomb Road.

For approximately 100 years, the Beaver Island residents have been holding the memory of Feodor Protar in high esteem by making sure his cabin and tomb are watched over and maintained.

Protar's Tomb, Beaver Island


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