CATONSVILLE, MD (March 1, 2017) – Charlestown retirement community resident Stephen Schimpff, MD, has published "Fortune Seekers in the Promised Land: A Tale of Exploitation and Development in the Canaan Valley and Blackwater Region in West Virginia." This historical story follows the transformation of the area from pristine plateau to pillaged woodland to wildlife preserve to tourist destination.
Dr. Schimpff spent five years researching the story of Canaan Valley, the highest valley east of the Mississippi. Most of the information in his book is factual and is based on review of original patents from the Virginia land Office held at the Library of Virginia along with records of sales and deeds recorded in what are now West Virginia courthouses. He also collected materials from libraries, the Internet and from locals who hold vast stores of local history. Old maps and drawings, as well as vintage photos and magnificent contemporary photos of the natural beauty of the land taken by co-author David J. Miller, PhD, are included.
"The book reminds us of the need for appropriate public policy to prevent wholesale destruction of our natural environment," said Dr. Schimpff, a self-described conservationist and environmentalist in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau. "I hope the book imparts a sense of the majesty of the locale and the aspirations and types of people who traveled this way and found the valley they called Canaan of such great interest despite it being an imposing and veritable wilderness."
Dr. Schimpff's writing of this book was a spiritual journey of sorts, especially since he and Carol, his wife of 53 years have a summer cabin on the side of the 4,200-foot mountain ridge halfway up the slope looking west and located on the Eastern Continental Divide. The cabin, which is secluded among 2.5 acres of forest, is named "The Country Squire" in honor of the namesake antique shop in New Market, Maryland, that was once owned and operated by Dr. Schimpff's parents.
"The cabin and the area are our respite and a place for us to decompress," he said. "There is no better feeling in the world than to be one with nature and to come to an understanding of its balance in life."
He and his wife's mutual love of nature is evident on the book's back cover where "Returning," a watercolor by Carol, a former architect and accomplished artist, is featured.
"Fortune Seekers in the Promised Land," a paperback, is published by Amazon.com and is available on the Amazon website.
Dr. Schimpff, a quasi-retired medical school and public policy professor and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center, has authored four books on medical topics for general audiences. He is presently working on a book about the ways people can use nutrition, exercise and stress reduction to slow down the aging process and live longer, and healthier lives.