From the recording Field Recordings


The Ballad of William Law (The Laughing Doctor)
© 2014 by Russ Franzen

From Canada to Hessel came, a missionary, William Law his name
He built the Bethel Home, a place of hope, for sailors, lumbermen and native folk.
When his boat wrecked off Boblo Island's shore, He got to know the Lifesaver's crew
He learned first-hand the life they knew and vowed to make it better.

Chorus: He sailed the Lakes and preached the Word
But his actions were the sermon heard.
With simple acts of kindness
To the Guardians of the Sea.

A Sky Pilot, a chaplain, he, With his Gospel of Humanity
To the Keepers and Lifesavers working on the Inland Sea.
          He sailed the Dream, a floating library filled with books and magazines
          He cared for the hungry, sick and poor and gave them first aid for the blues.

He brought them books and magazines and to Stannard Rock, he took ice cream
To sooth their weary, lonely time at stations far from home.
    He told them jokes and witty lines, reminding them of happy times
    With wives and kids and with their friends, and they called him their Laughing Doctor.

He was “Law and Gospel, a little sailor, too”
Bringing hope, cheer and sunshine to all he knew
His letters valued more than pearls
On the highways and byways of the Great Water World,