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Program to focus on life of ‘Black Bart’

By Staff | Feb 11, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED The Captiva Island Historical Society will present a program about former Captive loner Reimund “Black Bart” Holzhey, called “Black Bart: From Bullets to Books,” on Feb. 18.

The Captiva Island Historical Society is selling tickets to its next program for the season, which will entail a presentation on the forgotten notorious life of islander Reimund “Black Bart” Holzhey.

“Black Bart: From Bullets to Books” is set for Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Captiva Civic Center.

A Captiva loner, Holzhey lived from 1866 to 1952 and his life is currently the subject of a book.

“This is a really intriguing story,” CIHS President Tom Libonate previously stated.

Holzhey arrived on the island about 1930 and lived the last 20-plus years of his life in peace. Before that, he robbed stagecoaches and trains and in 1889 he became the most notorious villain in Wisconsin and Michigan. After killing a man in his last robbery, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

It was in prison that Holzhey made a transformation, turning into a model prisoner. He became the prison photographer, librarian and writer, plus an investor. In 1913, he was pardoned and released. His life attracted the attention of newspapers nationwide, even newspapers in Europe wrote about him.

For the first time, Holzhey’s life story will be told on Captiva, where he passed away.

“A book is being written about his life,” Libonate stated.

Professor Dr. Gabri van Tussenbroek, an author and historian with the University of Amsterdam and city of Amsterdam, and historian and publishing house editor Tanja Holzhey are collaborating to present Holzhey’s biography. A blood relative of Holzhey, Tanja Holzhey has been working on the project with van Tussenbroek since 2012. It follows his path from Germany all the way to the island.

“We will have the two authors speaking about that,” Libonate stated.

Tickets are $10 and include refreshments and soft drinks; a cash bar will be available.

Seating is limited, so reservations are recommended.

To purchase tickets, visit www.captivaislandhistoricalsociety.org or call 239-472-2323.

The Captiva Civic Center is at 11550 Chapin Lane, Captiva.