My great-uncle John “Spikehorn” Meyer died in 1959. I was but a fortnight old. I never met him. But I grew up with him in our home in the form of larger-than-life stories.
Spikehorn was born in Ohio of Swiss immigrants, but moved to Michigan in his youth. In time he became known as one of the most colorful characters in Michigan history. His unique inventions and colorful way of life attracted attention, notice he parlayed into a career of sorts. My embarrassed grandmother was his little sister.
Various elements of the Spikehorn legacy crept into conversations. The bear den. Early environmentalism. The buckskin clothing. Peddling souvenirs. Inventing. Showmanship. Fighting authorities. Proposals of grand public works. Standing up for personal liberty. Business ventures. He was a Renaissance man in spirit, but without Renaissance-era flourish and silks. He was a one-of-a-kind American character.
Lobbying the state legislature on behalf of wildlife conservation, finding himself jailed for blaspheming a political opponent, promoting massive under-river tunnels and superhighways, or building Rube Goldberg-style contraptions . . . Spikehorn did it all.
Our goal for Spikehorn Press and its products is to have as much color, life, independence and zeal as our namesake, my great-uncle Spikehorn. Although we do plan to bathe more frequently.
Spikehorn was a storyteller . . .
Spikehorn was a naturalist . . .
Spikehorn was an inventor . . .
Spikehorn was a shameless self-promoter . . .
Spikehorn was a political activist . . .
Spikehorn lived his life fully, always learning, creating, inventing . . . honoring traditions while innovating . . .
If you’d like to learn more about my great-uncle Spikehorn, checkout this rare film footage of Spikehorn from a Michigan travelogue: